Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Expert guidance or assistance

BLOOPER REEL: Mark Kimmitt, military moron, on why the US, which just called in air strikes to level a minaret in Fallujah (and don’t be gettin’ all Freudian about it either, sometimes a minaret is just a minaret), is the real victim: “Many times it would appear that these provocative actions on the part of the enemy are intentionally inspired for the purposes of trying to get a tank into the camera lens, an airplane in the camera lens.” The sneaky bastards!

China rules out full, free elections in Hong Kong again, but I have yet to hear it explain exactly what’s wrong with universal suffrage. The electorate for the chief executive will remain 800 people.

Iraqis holding 3 Italian hostages (security guards) name their conditions: an anti-war protest to be held in Rome within 5 days. I don’t think they quite get what civil protest means, do you? Actually, I don’t think I’ve ever heard of such a demand from hostage-takers. Anyone?

We may not know what form the fake Iraqi government will take in a little over 2 months, what powers it will have if any, and who will be in it, but at least they’ve picked a new flag. White, 2 blue stripes, 1 yellow stripe, a crescent. Gone are the words “God is great,” possibly because a year of American occupation would make anyone question just how great She really is. The blue stripes represent the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the yellow represents the Kurds, possibly all being drowned in the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

From a piece by Peter Galbraith in the NY Review of Books:
While telling Iraqis it wanted to defer constitutional issues to an elected Iraqi body, the US-led Coalition Provisional Authority could not resist trying to settle fundamental constitutional issues in the interim constitution. The US government lawyers who wrote the interim constitution, known formally as the Transitional Administrative Law, made no effort to disguise their authorship. All deliberations on the law were done in secret and probably fewer than one hundred Iraqis saw a copy of the constitution before it was promulgated. To write a major law in any democracy—much less a constitution—without public discussion should be unthinkable. Now that Iraqis are discovering for the first time the contents of the constitution, it should come as no surprise that many object to provisions they never knew were being considered.

Roman Polanski is filming a version of Oliver Twist, with Ben Kingsley as Fagin, the charismatic head of a gang of impressionable...uh oh.

The joint patrols in Fallujah have been postponed, perhaps because the Iraqis found out that not only were they not getting any body armor, but they were going to *be* the body armor for the Americans.

Note to the president of Westminster College: what, you’re surprised that Dick Cheney made a political attack on John Kerry rather than giving a dispassionate analysis of geopolitics? Dick Cheney? Dick Fucking Cheney??

NYT article on a trial of a Saudi computer sciences grad student in Idaho under provisions of the Patriot Act criminalizing the provision of “expert guidance or assistance” to terrorist groups. It was of course meant to deal with expert assistance relating to anthrax or dirty bombs, but the Saudi helped a Muslim group put up a website. Period. So would it be “expert guidance or assistance” if someone were to send out the URL of that website?

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