CNN reports: Sources: Congress to hear Iraq had 'active WMD program'. Excerpt:
The conclusion that Iraq had an "active WMD program" is based on recent interrogations of Iraqi regime officials, as well as on a series of documents that the United States has seized and now analyzed. Those documents show that Iraq had plans in place to destroy weapons stockpiles quickly; shift dual-use plants from commercial to weapons production as part of a deception effort; and reconstitute its weapons if it had to destroy them in the face of inspections or a U.S. attack.
Dean Esmay at Dean's World has kindly interviewed me and John (click here for the interview). There are a couple of previously unpublished cartoons with the interview, so we're directing you there today instead of posting a cartoon. An extra special "thank you" from us to Dean for all his work.
From Fox News: Saudi Arabia: Friend or Foe?. Excerpt:
"The [Saudis] need to reply and not just say 'these are fabricated reports,'" said Steven Stalinsky, executive director of the Middle East Media Research Institute.
MEMRI just released a report that shows that for decades, the Saudi royal family has been the main financial supporter of Palestinian groups fighting Israel. Saudi Arabia came under scrutiny when it was widely reported that it held a fund-raiser last year to raise money for families of suicide bombers in the Middle East.
Through two committees -- the Popular Committee for Assisting Palestinian Mujahideen and the Support Committee for the Al-Quds Intifada -- the Al-Aqsa Fund has given over $4 billion and reportedly pledged Palestinians up to $1 billion to finance the continuation of the Intifada, commonly referred to by Saudi officials as "jihad" and "resistance."
"Four billion dollars is a lot of money and this is just for two committees run by two very high-profile princes," said study author Stalinsky. "It's just a tiny dip in the bucket on Saudi money on what is being spent throughout the world."
The New York Post has an excellent article by Amir Taheri about The Real Iraq (Hat tip Jena Trammell). Excerpts:
"The daily Al Quds, another pro-Saddam paper, quotes from The Washington Post in support of its claim that 'a popular war of resistance' is growing in Iraq. Some newspapers in the United States, Britain and 'old Europe' go further by claiming that Iraq has become a 'quagmire' or 'another Vietnam.' [...] This chorus wants us to believe that most Iraqis regret the ancien regime, and are ready to kill and die to expel their liberators. ... Sorry, guys, this is not the case. [...] There are two Iraqs today: One as portrayed by those in America and Europe who wish to use it as a means of damaging Bush and Blair, and the other as it really exists, home to 24 million people with many hopes and aspirations and, naturally, some anxiety about the future."
"Those who continue to try to play the quagmire card should look at, and recall, the facts. US involvement in Vietnam lasted a decade and cost more than 50,000 US lives. So far, it has been barely four months since US troops first crossed into Iraq, and since the end of major combat on May 2, just 33 US soldiers have been killed by the so-called 'Iraqi resistance' [as of July 24]. ... While every soldier's death is tragic (and it is touching to see so many on the Left suddenly concerned about the welfare of American men and women in uniform), it doesn't take a Stephen Hawking to figure out that these losses are nothing like those inflicted by the Vietcong."
A Voice of America News article (among others) quoted the head of coalition ground forces, Lieutenant General Ricardo Sanchez, as saying the reconstruction efforts "are way ahead of schedule".
"Right now, we're in the process of rebuilding the country," Sgt. J.J. Johnson, of the Coalition Press Information Center in Baghdad, said recently. "A lot of these problems were not problems we caused or the Iraqis caused themselves but they're issues we have to deal with. [...] We've got 20 years of neglect to make up for" that occurred during Saddam's regime. "A lot of that we can't do overnight."
And Scrappleface has this hilarious satirical take: Quagmire Index Revised to Reflect Death of Saddam Sons.
With apologies to high-speed photography pioneer Harold Edgerton.
Fox News reports: U.S. to Release Photos of Saddam's Sons' Bodies. Excerpt: "The disbelief runs very deep, and it goes to the level almost of paranoia," Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said Wednesday on PBS' NewsHour. "One of the great effects of yesterday for Iraqis is to demonstrate our seriousness. But we need to make sure we believe this."
UPDATE: Fox News is posting the death photos of Saddam's sons on its main page (Warning: somewhat graphic). At this time, the updated article about the photos does not contain the photos (UPDATE: Now it does).
Fox News reports: S. Korea, America Respond to Report of Secret Nuke Plant in North Korea.
This cartoon is from January of this year and original ran at The Intellectual Activist.
Here's another gag cartoon from our Buster series.
This cartoon is from January of this year. As North Korea signals readiness for three-Way nuclear talks, it's important to keep in mind that we're dealing with a Stalinist psychopath.
Just months ago North Korea vehemently denied the U.S. charge that the communist dictatorship was pursuing nuclear weapons. Their exact words were: "The claim that we admitted developing nuclear weapons is an invention fabricated by the US with sinister intentions. [...] If the US challenges us, we'll turn the citadel of imperialists into a sea of fire." (Just how they'd do that without nuclear weapons was unclear.)
And that wasn't the first time the threat was used. The BBC reported in January 1999: "North Korea has accused the United States and South Korea of preparing for nuclear war, and said it will turn both countries into a sea of fire if it is attacked."
Hopefully the Bush Administration will not allow Baby Kim to again blackmail economic aid from the U.S. like Clinton did. Such diplomatic appeasement simply prolongs the life of a murderous enemy regime.
The Miami Herald reports: Cuba Accused of Blocking U.S. Satellite Feeds to Iran (Via Iran Va Jahan). Excerpt:
"All the transmissions affected so far are beamed from Los Angeles -- which has a large population of Iranian exiles -- by privately owned stations that oppose Iran's theocratic government, officials of the four stations said."
Yahoo News reports: Iran admits dead Canadian-Iranian journalist beaten. Excerpt:
"A top Iranian government official admitted that an Iranian-Canadian photo-journalist who died after her arrest here last month had suffered a 'brain haemorrhage caused by a beating.' [...] Kazemi was arrested on June 23 for taking photographs of protesters outside Evin prison in northern Tehran who were demanding the release of relatives locked up during last month's wave of anti-regime protests. ... She was transferred three days later to Baghiatollah Azam hospital where she died. Iranian authorities initilly said Kazemi fell ill while agents from the intelligence ministry -- a hardline-run institution -- were questioning her."
"We are very worried", Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said, "not only because fourteen journalists have been arrested by Iranian authorities within the last month -- a sad record in the history of this country -- but also because the five new arrests bring to twenty-two the number of journalists presently imprisoned in Iran."
"As events in Iran develop and dynamics of power and influence change rapidly, more Iranian voices are needed to express our wants and goals to the global community. English blogs are a vital way to express your views for this audience. With the current restrictions inside Iran, the safety concerns and language barriers, more of this load lays on the shoulders of those of us living abroad. Besides, most bloggers choose to remain anonymous and there is virtually no fear of reprisal."
Fox News reports Dems Switch Gears, Attack President Rather Than Each Other. But apparently NAACP President Kweisi Mfume didn't get the memo. In the same article, he attacked the Democratic presidential candidates that didn't show up for his meeting. "In essence, you now have become persona non grata. Your political capital is the equivalent of Confederate dollars," he said.
Some conservatives used the "states' rights" argument to condemn the recent Supreme Court sodomy ruling. Objectivist scholar Dr. Harry Binswanger concisely explained why that argument is mistaken in this letter to the editor of The New York Sun:
"Scalia in his dissent on the sodomy decision writes: 'It is the premise of our system that those judgments are to be made by the people, and not imposed by a governing caste.'
"Sounds like he's trying to keep meddlesome government out of people's lives doesn't it? But look at the switch he has pulled: the 'judgments' he wishes to protect are the laws passed by the Texas legislature -- laws arresting individuals for behavior that, whatever one thinks of it, is clearly within their rights. The meddlesome 'governing caste' is the Texas legislature, which the Supreme Court properly told: stop arresting individuals for private, peaceful, consensual activity.
"Yes, I'm sure the Texas law does reflect the will of the majority of Texans. So what? Slavery represented the will of the majority in the ante-bellum South. Hitler's Reich reflected the will of the majority of Germans in the Nazi era.
"Unlimited majority rule is a form of statism, not Americanism. Our system, contrary to Scalia's notion, holds individual rights above the power of any majority to infringe, 'and among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.' A right is the individual's protection against the will of any collective, whether that collective is called 'the State,' 'the people,' or 'Das Volk.'"
(Dr. Binswanger moderates an e-mail discussion list called HB List. His site has samples and a one-month trial offer. I've been a subscriber to HB List for years and highly recommend it.)
"The anti-fast-food suits are a logical extension of the premise behind the anti-tobacco suits: the denial of individual responsibility. The courts used to recognize the principle that manufacturers are not responsible for the misuse of their products -- that if individuals choose to smoke too much, or eat too much, or shoot innocent people, then the manufacturers of cigarettes, fast food, and firearms cannot be held responsible. [...] The cost of abandoning the principle of personal responsibility is a kind of decentralized totalitarianism -- what legal scholar Walter Olson calls 'the rule of lawyers' -- in which the individual's judgment about how to live is constantly being overruled by the latest lawsuit."
It's bad enough when a crucial story goes virtually unreported by the major media (see yesterday's entry), but the BBC takes the cake in this story: Tehran jammed by protesters. They provide a list of actions taken by the tyrannical regime to suppress the protests, such as jamming outside radio and TV signals, disabling mobile phone systems, and arresting student leaders. The problem is that the BBC lists them under the subhead "Safety measures," which I'm sure is exactly the way mullahs categorize of them. (The BBC gets credit for even reporting the evening protests, which I could find no mention of in the U.S. media.)
UPDATE: As of 7:30am CST, the top story from Iran this morning: Bodies of Iranian Twins Arrive in Tehran. I found only one new story about yesterday evening's protests against the Islamists: Iranians again defy govt on riots anniversary. The twin's deaths are tragic, but we're in trouble if the media consider that story more important than the repression of freedom-fighters by an enemy regime.
CNN still has the short story about the early clashes on their front page (along with the twins story). Fox News, however, has reported nothing about the protests. What happened to "We Report, You Decide"?
UPDATE 2: Here is an excellent article about yesterday by an Iranian student: Our Struggle Continues. Are You Hearing Us?. Excerpt: "Have no doubt: This is the face of President Mohammad Khatami's 'religious democracy.' We are living under a reign of terror and tyrannical censorship. ... To make matters worse, so many of us believe that the regime used the surgery performed on the late Iranian conjoined twins earlier this week to distract the world's attention from the July 9th anniversary. I don't want to speak for them, but I did meet the sisters at the university a few times. They were true Iranians: lovers of freedom, as most young Iranians are these days."
Also read the latest entries at Notes of an Iranian Girl, one of which highlights the censorship of Iranian blogs.
UPDATE 3: InstaPundit has a good round-up of other limited media coverage of the protest.
If the media isn't providing appropriate coverage of the Iranian Islamist repression, at least the blogosphere is trying to fill the void.
A Small Victory listed a number of good links.
Aspragirl wrote about and photographed the anti-mullah demonstrations in NYC (scroll down to a link for more photos).
And Ken Wheaton also has informative links and comments.
Also, Priorities & Frivolities has coverage of the L.A. demonstration.
We continue to hope for freedom in Iran -- for our sake and theirs.
Today was supposed to be a momentous day for the revolt against throcracy in Iran, but sadly, according to a Reuters article, it appears that the mullahs' arrests, murders and threats have struck terror into those hoping to speak out: Iran students cancel protest to mark 1999 unrest. We'll see what actually happens throughout the day.
UPDATE: Yahoo News is reporting that Islamic Vigilantes Seize Three Iran Student Leaders. Excerpts: "Armed Iranian Islamic vigilantes seized three student leaders on Wednesday as they left a news conference where they announced they had canceled protests to mark the anniversary of 1999 university unrest, witnesses said. ... Authorities have banned off-campus rallies, closed campus dormitories, postponed summer exams and vowed to deal strictly with any unrest after arresting 4,000 people during 10 nights of sometimes violent protests across the country in June. [...] Witnesses said police and military units were posted outside the Tehran U.N. headquarters on Wednesday and photographers and camera crews were prevented from taking pictures at the scene." (Via Little Green Footballs)
A sworn enemy dedicated to our destruction is censoring, kidnapping and murdering dissidents right before our eyes, and all the media and the administration are talking about is Liberia. This is outrageous.
UPDATE 2: Yahoo News reports: Islamic Vigilantes, Police, Youths Fight in Iran. Excerpt: "Hundreds of Iranian hard-line Islamic vigilantes, police and pro-democracy youths fought three-sided running street battles near Tehran University on Wednesday on the anniversary of 1999 student unrest. ... A witness said police had fired tear gas at groups of youths near the campus and also fought fistfights with plainclothes Islamic militiamen to prevent them from engaging in more running battles with youths."
CNN and Fox News have nothing on this crucial story. One would think that after 9/11 the media would consider it a priority to report news of an anti-Islamist revolt in Iran, a country that even the State Department lists as the world's biggest sponsor of terrorism. But apparently not. It is a horrible error.
UPDATE 3: BBC reports: Raid anniversary sparks tensions. Excerpts: "[T]he students agreed to call off all protests after an intervention by reformist members of the Iranian parliament, who told them their demands would stand a better chance of being met -- and their leaders of being freed -- in an atmosphere of calm. ... Despite their compliance, three more student leaders were detained immediately after giving a news conference [...] One of them is believed to have had his nose broken as he was being detained. 'If I am arrested today, I don't guarantee that I won't come out with confessions against myself after they've held me for a while, because of the pressures they put people under,' Ameri-Nassab told journalists only minutes before he was seized."
Apparently detained student leaders were used as hostages to pressure the remaining student leaders not to protest. Once the protest was suppressed, the remaining leaders were taken hostage.
The BBC story notes more of the government censorship measures: "The authorities have also taken steps to silence the radio and TV stations run from California by Iranian exiles bitterly hostile to the Islamic regime. Residents who defy the ban on satellite dishes and watch the broadcasts said they had been jammed for several days. ... Several of the stations had openly incited Iranians to rise up against their rulers."
No need for mullah censorship in the American media. As of 2:30pm CST, CNN had buried the Update 2 story in their World section. Still nothing on Fox that I could find.
CNN online has finally moved their story to the bottom portion of their front page (under World tab). Still nothing on Fox online.
More editorials on the Iranian demonstrations against the mullahs:
Iran is the Root of Islamic Terrorism by Joseph Kellard. Excerpt: "In January 2002, Israel intercepted a ship from Iran delivering 50 tons of weapons to the terrorist Palestinian Authority. A month before this, former Iranian 'President' Hashemi Rafsanjani stated publicly that when the Islamic world has nuclear weapons 'the strategy of the West will hit a dead end, since a single atomic bomb has the power to completely destroy Israel.' Last month, an Iranian opposition group discovered another secret nuclear facility in Natanz, undoubtedly part of Iran's advanced nuclear weapons program." (Via Capitalism Magazine).
It's Mullah time! by Mark Steyn. Excerpt: "[W]hatever the defects of post-ayatollah Iran, the fall of the prototype Islamic Republic will be a huge setback to the world's jihadi. ... It was Ayatollah Khomeini who successfully grafted a mid-20th-century European-style fascist movement on to Islam and made the religion an explicitly political vehicle for anti-Westernism. It was the ayatollah who first bestowed on the US the title of 'Great Satan.' And it was the ayatollah who insisted that this new Islamic revolution had to be taken directly to the West -- to the embassy hostages, to Salman Rushdie, and, ultimately, to America itself."
For more information: Blogs of War features an extensive list of Web sites; Winds of Change today features a compilation of articles; and Jeff Jarvis is following the news (latter via Andrew Sullivan).
This cartoon is from August 2002 and is in our book, Black & White World.
As an editorial below puts it: on "July 9th [...] on the occasion of the annual commemoration of the bloody suppression of the student uprising of 1999, there will be renewal of massive protests inside and outside of Iran." We support the students and other Iranians in their fight for freedom against the Islamist tyranny and hope our government will do more to help them. (Unlike, say, Liberia, Iran is waging a war against America and civilization in general.) Here are a few must-read editorials on the subject:
Death to Theocracy: America Must Act Now to Bring Down Iran's Regime by Robert W. Tracinski of The Ayn Rand Institute. Excerpt: "Iran's rulers use terrorism as a tactic because it allows them to wage war against America without suffering the consequences of a real confrontation with a powerful foe. But this only works because we have chosen not to respond. ... Now, however, we have been given an unprecedented opportunity to strike at the heart of the mullah's power. When the Soviet Union fell, the world discovered that no one hated Communism more than those forced to live under it. Similarly, no one in the Middle East hates Islamic theocracy more than the young people of Iran. For four years, Iranian students have held mass protests in the streets. These protesters are openly fighting for the right principles: the idea of a secular government with freedom of speech and separation of mosque and state."
Mr. Secretary, You Are Wrong! by Shaheen Fatemi of Iran-Va-Jahan. Excerpt: "Mr. Secretary [of State Colin Powell], have you not been told that ever since their inception those who are ruling Iran today have chosen not to be part of the Iranian nation, its history, its culture and its traditions? Ask them this question or read their so-called 'Constitution.' They do not even believe in nationhood. They wish to reduce every citizen, every woman and man, to a token, to an instrument to be used in their ultimate 'nightmare' of creating the Islamic Uma. Their Constitution clearly calls for the exporting of the 'Islamic Revolution' world wide. Their motto at their so-called 'Friday-prayers' is 'Death to America!' Doesn't this ring a bell, Mr. Secretary? In their system people are not free individuals, independent citizens with rights and obligations as free humans. For them people are no more than, and no different from, animals. They are there to be ordered around, ruled over and slaughtered, amputated, imprisoned and disposed of whenever necessary."
Looking Toward July 9: Independence Day in Iran? by Michael Ledeen. Excerpt: "The [Iranian] government itself now admits to having arrested 4,000 demonstrators, of whom some 800 were students. The student movement says the numbers were even higher, and the actual number could well be upwards of 6-7,000. Many were killed. Iranian websites carry the piteous cries of parents whose college-age children have disappeared without a trace, as well as reports from students who describe being thrown into cells of incredible crowding, and then subjected to psychological and physical humiliations. [...] [The Bush] administration clearly has no stomach for any sort of campaign against the mullahs, at least for the moment. But it can no more avoid the showdown with the mullahs than it can cause Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein to surrender; this is a fight for survival, and they will not permit us the luxury of setting the timetable at our convenience."
Happy Independence Day!
Put the 'Independence' Back in Independence Day -- The Forgotten Meaning of America is an excellent editorial by Michael Berliner of The Ayn Rand Institute.
Excerpt: "'Independence Day' is a critically important title. It signifies the fundamental meaning of this nation, not just of the holiday. The American Revolution remains unique in human history: a revolution -- and a nation --founded on a moral principle, the principle of individual rights. Jefferson at Philadelphia and Washington at Valley Forge pledged their 'lives, fortunes, and sacred honor.' For what? Not for mere separation from England, not -- like most rebels -- for the 'freedom' to set up their own tyranny. In fact, Britain's tyranny over the colonists was mild compared to what most current governments do to their citizens. ... Jefferson and Washington fought a war for the principle of independence, meaning the moral right of an individual to live his own life as he sees fit. Independence was proclaimed in the Declaration of Independence as the rights to 'life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.'"
This cartoon is in our book, Black & White World.
Recent rulings, both good and bad, are so contradictory they seem random. Mark Da Cunha at Capitalism Magazine has two good entries regarding the unprincipled nature of recent Supreme Court decisions. One is by The Ayn Rand Institute's Dr. Edwin A. Locke: Supreme Court pro-affirmative-action elevates primitive tribalism over individualism. The other is by ARI's Robert Gramong: Texas's Ridiculous and Unconstitutional Anti-sodomy Law, in which he takes conservative Justices to task for their dissent.
This cartoon appears in the June 2003 print edition of The Intellectual Activist.
UPDATE: Bill Hobbs points to some spot-on commentary he made on this subject in mid-May (scroll to the Hope for the Worst entry). He quotes an AP story that sums up the idea: "Democrats, who are fielding nine candidates in search of the presidential nomination, believe that continued economic woes, problems in postwar Iraq or even another terrorist strike on U.S. soil could change Bush's political fortunes."