A popular comic strip that poked fun at the Rev. Jerry Falwell without incident one week ago was deemed too controversial to run over the weekend because this time it took a humorous swipe at Muslim fundamentalists.
The Washington Post and several other newspapers around the country did not run Sunday's installment of Berkeley Breathed's "Opus," in which the spiritual fad-seeking character Lola Granola appears in a headscarf and explains to her boyfriend, Steve, why she wants to become a radical Islamist.
The installment did not appear in the Post's print version, but it ran on WashingtonPost.com and Salon.com. The same will hold true for the upcoming Sept. 2 strip, which is a continuation of the plotline.
The Washington Post Writers Group syndicates "Opus," and the Post is the cartoon's home newspaper. The syndicate sent out an alert about the two strips in question, according to Writers Group comics editor Amy Lago.
Sources told FOXNews.com that the strips were shown to Muslim staffers at The Washington Post to gauge their reaction, and they responded "emotionally" to the depiction of a woman dressed in traditional Muslim garb and espousing conservative Islamic views.
There was also considerable alarm over the strip at the highest echelons of The Washington Post Co., according to the sources.
UPDATE -- Sept. 4: Click here to see the second "Opus" strip about radical Islam.
From FOX News: Iraqi Cleric Muqtada al-Sadr Suspends Mahdi Army Activities.
Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has ordered a six-month suspension of activities by his Mahdi Army militia in order to reorganize the force, and it will no longer attack U.S. and coalition troops, aides said Wednesday.
The aide, Sheik Hazim al-Araji, said on Iraqi state television that the goal was to "rehabilitate" the organization, which has reportedly broken into factions, some of which the U.S. maintains are trained and supplied by Iran.
"We declare the freezing of the Mahdi Army without exception in order to rehabilitate it in a way that will safeguard its ideological image within a maximum period of six months starting from the day this statement is issued," al-Araji said, reading from a statement by al-Sadr.
In Najaf, al-Sadr's spokesman said the order also means the Mahdi Army will no longer launch attacks against U.S. and other coalition forces.
"It also includes suspending the taking up of arms against occupiers as well as others," Ahmed al-Shaibani told reporters.
Asked if Mahdi militiamen would defend themselves against provocations, he replied: "We will deal with it when it happens."
The order was issued after two days of bloody clashes in the Shiite holy city of Karbala that claimed at least 52 lives. Iraqi security officials blamed Mahdi militiamen for attacking mosque guards, some of whom are linked to the rival Badr Brigade militia.
Idaho Sen. Larry Craig's political future is now on much shakier ground following news that he was arrested and then pleaded guilty in connection with a police sting operation of lewd conduct in a men's bathroom.
Craig, 62, is a Republican with a conservative record — he has voted against gay marriage and opposed extending special protections to gay and lesbian crime victims. He is up for re-election next year, and has not announced whether he will run for a fourth term. ...
Craig, who is married and has three children, has diffused rumors about his sexual behavior since the 1980s, including a rumor last year that he was gay. ...
A former staffer called Craig's behavior stupid and selfish.
"I am disappointed by how he dealt with the situation," the staffer, who worked for Craig for a number of years, told FOX News.
The Romney campaign has also pulled a video of Craig from its YouTube channel, first reported by the online Web site "The Politico," and confirmed by CNN
The video, a clip of Craig praising Romney for his "strong family values," was changed to a "private" video shortly after the news surfaced of the arrest, The Politico reports.
Hot Air has the video.
Also from CNN: Report details Craig's disorderly conduct.
UPDATE From FOX News: Senator Larry Craig: 'I am Not Gay'.
From FOX News: Iran Vows to Use 'Smart' Bomb Against Enemies.
Iran vowed Sunday to use a new 2,000-pound "smart" bomb against its enemies and unveiled mass production of the new weapon, state television reported.
The government first announced development of the long-range guided bomb Thursday, saying it could be deployed by the country's aging U.S.-made F-4 and F-5 fighter jets.
"We will use these (bombs) against our enemies when the time comes," Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said on state television Sunday.
Iran often announces new weapons for its arsenal, but the United States maintains that while the Islamic Republic has made some strides, many of these statements are exaggerations.
The broadcast included a brief clip of a fighter jet apparently dropping one of the bombs, which destroyed a target on the ground.
The defense minister continued his threats as state television showed him unveiling a mass production line for the weapon in Tehran. ...
Emanuel Winston, a Middle East analyst at the Houston-based Freeman Center for Strategic Studies, said Thursday that Iran's smart bomb claim sounded "plausible" but said that it would be less dangerous than a missile development program given the limited range of the country's aircraft.
UPDATE -- Sept. 3: From Double Tap Blog: Iran very proud of its copy of an obsolete U.S. guided bomb. (via Boaz Arad)
General David Petraeus and Ambassador Ryan Crocker will testify before US lawmakers at public hearings to be held early next month, the White House said Monday. The two men, responsible for implementing and assessing President George W. Bush's "surge" strategy in Iraq, will likely testify September 11 and 12, national security spokesman Gordon Johndroe told reporters.
The two men are preparing a report on the Iraq war which is due to be released on September 15.
"General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker will testify in open hearings on (Capitol) Hill," Johndroe said.
"Given the tight schedule leading up to September 15 and the congressional recess ... the likely dates for testimony are September 11 and September 12," he said.
He denied, however, that the date was chosen to coincide with the anniversary of the September 11, 2001 attacks.
To see more of John's caricatures, see his new blog John Cox Art.
If you haven't seen it yet, I highly recommend the new History Channel documentary debunking the 9/11 "truth" movement: 9/11 Conspiracies: Fact or Fiction. The show airs twice more this weekend: Saturday, August 25 at 8:00 PM and Sunday, August 26 at 12:00 AM.
Examines the various conspiracy theories espoused on the Internet, in articles and in public forums that attempt to explain the 9/11 attacks. It includes theories that the World Trade Center was brought down by a controlled demolition; that a missile, not a commercial airliner, hit the Pentagon; and that members of the U.S. government orchestrated the attacks in hopes of creating a war in the Middle East. Each conspiracy argument is countered by a variety of experts in the fields of engineering, intelligence and the military. The program also delves into the anatomy of such conspiracies and how they grow on the Internet.
Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up To The Facts by David Dunbar and Brad Reagan, both editors at Popular Mechanics, is the must-read book on the subject.
See the Screw Loose Change blog for the latest information about leaders of the "truth" movement and the conspiracy film "Loose Change." They also have links to other debunking sites.
From USA Today: Heat wave sparks drive to start school after Labor Day
A heat wave that has forced some schools to hold classes for only half a day, is renewing interest in a school calendar that delays the return to classes until after Labor Day when the weather is cooler.
Legislation that would have prohibited school start dates before Aug. 25 failed two years ago, but some parents say lawmakers would have more luck now after a recent round of early school closings and canceled athletic practices in Middle Tennessee.
Tennessee has sweltered in a heat wave that began more than two weeks ago. The National Weather service has issued a heat advisory in effect from noon Wednesday to 7 p.m. CT Thursday for much of the eastern two-thirds of the state, where high temperatures will climb above 100 degrees.
Tuesday marked the 12th day of 100 degrees or above in Nashville this month, by far the most ever recorded in August. It is also the most ever recorded in any month for the city.
The hot weather has been cited in 13 deaths in Shelby County and one in Wilson County.
Temperatures are predicted to climb above 100 degrees through Friday for the eastern two-thirds of the state, including Memphis and Nashville. In East Tennessee, Chattanooga was expected Wednesday to see a high of 100, while in Knoxville highs were predicted in the high 90s. The Tri-Cities area was expected to hit the mid-90s.
From CNN: Vick waits to hear if he has NFL future
Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick is waiting to hear if he'll ever play professional football again after agreeing to plead guilty and face prison in his federal dogfighting case.
Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank told the NFL Network Monday he could not speculate on Vick's future as a Falcon, at least not until he has seen "a statement of facts" in the case. ...
Vick's attorneys had been negotiating with National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell's office about Vick's career with the Atlanta Falcons before he agreed to any deal, the sources said. ...
It's unclear if a conversation ever happened but Vick's attorney Billy Martin said his client "agreed to enter a plea of guilty to those charges and to accept full responsibility for his action and the mistakes he has made."
"Michael wishes to apologize again to everyone who has been hurt by this matter," Martin said. ...
Vick's three codefendants in the dogfighting case had already accepted agreements to plead guilty in exchange for reduced sentences.
Court documents released last week showed that two of Vick's alleged partners said he helped kill dogs that didn't fight well, and that the three men "executed approximately eight dogs" in ways that included hanging and drowning.
The dogs were killed because they fared poorly in "testing" sessions in April at Vick's property in Virginia, where the dogfighting venture was based, according to documents released following guilty pleas from two co-defendants ...
From FOX News: Iran's Revolutionary Guards: We Will 'Punch' U.S.
Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards said they would not bow to pressure and threatened to "punch" the U.S., in their first response to Washington's plan to list them as a terrorist organization, newspapers reported Saturday.
Local press in the Iranian capital of Tehran quoted Revolutionary Guards leader Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi saying that he could understand Washington's ire toward the group because of their "leverage" against the U.S.
"America will receive a heavier punch from the guards in the future," he was quoted as saying in the conservative daily Kayhan. "We will never remain silent in the face of U.S. pressure and we will use our leverage against them."
There was no elaboration on what Safavi meant by the punch or the organization's "leverage."
American forces are tracking about 50 members of an elite Iranian force who have crossed the border into southern Iraq to train Shiite militia fighters, a top U.S. general said Sunday. ...
Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, whose command includes the volatile southern rim of Baghdad and districts to the south, said his troops are tracking about 50 members of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps in their area — the first detailed allegation that Iranians have been training fighters within Iraq's borders.
"We know they're here and we target them as well," he said, citing intelligence reports as evidence of their presence.
He declined to be more specific and said no Iranian forces have been arrested in his territory.
"We've got about 50 of those," he said, referring to the Iranian forces. "They go back and forth. There's a porous border."
The IRGC [Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps], through its longstanding relationship with Hezbollah, has the blood of hundreds of Americans on its hands — among them the 241 American servicemen who were killed in the Oct. 23, 1983, bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. In essence, SDGT designation will treat the Revolutionary Guards, who are heavily involved in obtaining nuclear weapons technology and supporting terrorist organizations, much the same as the Cali and Medellin drug cartels, making it possible to move relatively quickly to seize the organization's business assets — which are substantial. Federal officials said that the IRGC would become the first military branch of a national government to be included on the terrorism list — which generally consists of non-state actors.
For more on Iran's war in Iraq, see the links in this post: State of War.
A Cox & Forkum editorial cartoon is slated to appear in the CNN investigative report God's Warriors on Tuesday, Aug. 21, at 9pm EST. The cartoon is Peace, Love & Genocide, which we reposted during the controversy surrounding Jimmy Carter's book, "Palestine, Peace Not Apartheid." I'm told our cartoon will appear in a segment about criticisms of Carter's book within the United States.
UPDATE I -- Aug. 21: Just finish watching the first show. We were told by CNN that the cartoon would appear in the context of criticism of President Carter's book, and that was certainly the case. But being CNN, we had to wonder, and as it turns out there was a little more to it: apparently John and I are part of a Jewish lobbying conspiracy and didn't even know it!
In the documentary, Carter complains that criticizing Israel triggers accusations of anti-Semitism from Americans who are all somehow connected to pro-Israel lobbyists. No evidence is offered for this connection; it's merely implied. Another speaker says such "smears" are designed to "silence and marginalize" critics of Israel. A series of video clips show Carter being accused of bigotry, the climax of which is our cartoon ... accompanied by a scary musical sting no less!
Of course, for those who know our work, the implication that some outside force prompted us to create a cartoon meant to smear Jimmy Carter is laughably absurd. If anything, we're the ones being smeared. The cartoon is not even about Carter's book, much less him being an anti-Semite. The cartoon -- which was first posted many months before Carter's book on the occasion of Hamas election victories -- is about Carter's disgusting defense the Hamas terrorist group, which to this day refuses to recognize Israel's right to exist and openly advocates the destruction of Israel. Since then, these Islamic theocrats have continued to prove their tyrannical aims by violently seizing Gaza, and yet Carter continues urging us to give Hamas a chance. President Carter doesn't need a Zionist conspiracy to smear him; he's doing a fine job himself.
That said, I'm still glad that our work -- and that work in particular -- got such widespread exposure. I think the cartoon stands on its own, even in a context biased against it.
UDPATE II -- Aug. 22: YouTube has the whole program in 10 parts. You can see the segment (Part 5) with our cartoon below less than two minutes in:
From CNBC: The Fed chief's measured response to crisis.
As the world's financial markets experienced a wrenching upheaval and markets for home mortgages and many other kinds of debt came to a standstill, Wall Street begged Ben S. Bernanke and the Federal Reserve to do something about it.
On Friday, they did. Wall Street rejoiced when the Fed cut the interest rate on loans to banks and indicated that it would do what it takes to protect the economy from problems in the markets.
But the Fed, chaired by Bernanke, was not as disengaged before Friday as conventional wisdom suggested, and it is not now as eager to take dramatic action as some investors seem to hope, close watchers of the central bank say. Friday's moves were narrowly tailored, and they stopped well short of using all the tools in the Fed's arsenal to ease the crisis, such as lowering a key interest rate that would make it cheaper for consumers and businesses to borrow money. ...
Bernanke is betting that the underlying U.S. economy is strong enough to weather the damage. In this view, if he had done more to address the concerns of Wall Street sooner, it would have had the effect of bailing out people who made bad bets and could have worsened the crisis. Crucially, Bernanke does not expect the ups and downs of financial markets to cripple what economists like to call the "real economy" -- the decisions of businesses to expand and hire, for example.
If he is right and the United States does not suffer any significant economic downturn from the recent trauma in the markets, he is likely to be heaped with praise for his level-headed response. It might even gain him some of the mystique that his predecessor, Alan Greenspan, enjoyed.
To see more of John's caricatures, see his new blog John Cox Art.
Toy-making giant Mattel Inc. (MAT) issued recalls Tuesday for about 9 million Chinese-made toys that contain magnets that can be swallowed by children or could have lead paint.
The recalls includes 7.3 million play sets, including Polly Pocket dolls and Batman action figures, and 253,000 die cast cars that contain lead paint. The action was announced on the company's Web site and at a news conference here by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
Nancy A. Nord, acting CPSC chairman, said no injuries had been reported with any of the products involved in the new recall. Several injuries had been reported in an earlier Polly Pocket recall last November. ...
It was the latest blow to the toy industry, which has had a string of recalled products from China, ranging from faulty tires to tainted toothpaste. With more than 80 percent of toys sold worldwide made in China, toy sellers are nervous that shoppers will shy away from their products. ...
Two weeks ago, Mattel's Fisher-Price division announced the worldwide recall of 1.5 million Chinese-made preschool toys featuring characters such as Dora the Explorer, Big Bird and Elmo. About 967,000 of those toys were sold in the United States between May and August. ...
Days after the Fisher-Price recall, Chinese officials temporarily banned the toys' manufacturer, Lee Der Industrial Co., from exporting products. A Lee Der co-owner, Cheung Shu-hung, committed suicide at a warehouse over the weekend, apparently by hanging himself, a state-run newspaper reported Monday.
China on Thursday hit out at the foreign press and "irresponsible people" for raising fears about Chinese-made toys and other exports that have been recalled due to safety concerns.
"Some media and irresponsible people take a small problem and make it into a large one," Commerce Ministry spokesman Wang Xinpei told reporters when asked about various recalls, most recently by US toy giant Mattel.
"The Chinese government steadfastly opposes these actions by irresponsible people."
Wang did not specify who "irresponsible people" referred to, but a top US senator on Tuesday added his name to growing calls for stricter US supervision of all Chinese-made imports.
This cartoon was originally posted on May 7, 2006, and is one of over 400 illustrations you'll find in our latest book Black & White World III, which can be ordered via Cox & Forkum, The Steyn Store, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.
President Hugo Chavez was presenting his blueprint Wednesday for sweeping constitutional changes expected to allow him to be re-elected indefinitely.
Chavez, who is seeking to transform Venezuelan society along socialist lines, announced late Tuesday that he would unveil his project before crowds of supporters at the National Assembly. He predicted it would bring renewed political upheaval to Venezuela.
Chavez's political allies firmly control the National Assembly, which is expected to approve the plan within several months. It then would have to be approved by citizens in a national referendum.
Critics accuse Chavez of seeking to become a lifelong leader, like his close friend Fidel Castro. Chavez denies allegations that he poses a threat to democracy, noting that he has repeatedly won elections by wide margins.
The Venezuelan leader predicted in a televised interview that "the immense majority of Venezuelans" would support his proposal to reform the constitution, but he also forecast a political struggle with the opposition.
From The Washington Post: Rove: Departure Unrelated to Investigations.
Karl Rove is under no illusion that leaving the White House will end the congressional investigations into his activities. "I'm Moby Dick," he said, "and they're after me."
In an interview after announcing his resignation today, Rove said he is leaving after 6-1/2 years in the White House because he genuinely wants to spend more time with his family and scoffed at the idea that the probes played any role in his decision.
"The people who are saying that are suggesting that if the rooster crows enough and the sun comes up, it's because of the rooster," he said. "I'm leaving on my own terms and I'm leaving with a clear-eyed realism that this isn't going to mean fewer investigations or subpoenas or weird comments by members of the Democratic caucus. These guys are obsessed with me and they think I'm a convenient and easy target to play to their base and raise money."
Even when he returns to Texas, Rove said he expects that he will be under attack for his role advising Bush. "I realize that some of the Democrats are Captain Ahab and I'm the great white whale," he said. "I noticed the other day some Democratic staffers were quoted calling me the big fish. Well, I'm Moby Dick and they're after me."
Democratic-led congressional committees are looking into Rove's involvement in the firings of U.S. attorneys last year as well as the series of political briefings conducted at government agencies and the use of Republican National Committee email accounts by White House officials.
Some Democrats cast Rove's departure as a response to the investigations. "The list of senior White House and Justice Department officials who have resigned during the course of these congressional investigations continues to grow, and today Mr. Rove added his name to that list," said Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.).
From AP: Clinton a drag? Dems fear her negatives.
Looking past the presidential nomination fight, Democratic leaders quietly fret that Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton at the top of their 2008 ticket could hurt candidates at the bottom.
They say the former first lady may be too polarizing for much of the country. She could jeopardize the party's standing with independent voters and give Republicans who otherwise might stay home on Election Day a reason to vote, they worry.
In more than 40 interviews, Democratic candidates, consultants and party chairs from every region pointed to internal polls that give Clinton strikingly high unfavorable ratings in places with key congressional and state races.
"I'm not sure it would be fatal in Indiana, but she would be a drag" on many candidates, said Democratic state Rep. Dave Crooks of Washington, Ind. ...
The chairman of a Midwest state party called Clinton a nightmare for congressional and state legislative candidates.
A Democratic congressman from the West, locked in a close re-election fight, said Clinton is the Democratic candidate most likely to cost him his seat.
A strategist with close ties to leaders in Congress said Democratic Senate candidates in competitive races would be strongly urged to distance themselves from Clinton.
"The argument with Hillary right now in some of these red states is she's so damn unpopular," said Andy Arnold, chairman of the Greenville, S.C., Democratic Party. "I think Hillary is someone who could drive folks on the other side out to vote who otherwise wouldn't."
"Republicans are upset with their candidates," Arnold added, "but she will make up for that by essentially scaring folks to the polls." ...
The problem is her political baggage: A whopping 49 percent of the public says they have an unfavorable view of Clinton compared to 47 percent who say they hold her in high regard, according to a Gallup Poll survey Aug. 3-5. ...
Her baggage is heaviest in those states. Private polling conducted in Colorado, for example, shows that Clinton's negative rating is 16 percentage points higher than her favorability score.
UDPATE: From CNN: Clinton: Strong, yes; likeable, maybe.
From FOX News: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney Wins Iowa Straw Poll.
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney won an easy and expected victory in a high-profile Iowa Republican Party Straw Poll on Saturday, claiming nearly twice as many votes as his nearest rival.
Romney had been expected to win the test because he spent millions of dollars and months of effort on an event that was skipped by two of his major rivals.
Romney scored 4,516 votes to outpace former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee who had 2,587 votes. Kansas Sen. Sam Brownback was third with 2,192 votes.
Announcement of the results was delayed for 90 minutes because a hand count was required on one of the 18 machines.
The biggest loser of the evening likely was former Wisconsin Gov. Tommy Thompson, who finished in 6th place with 1,039 votes. He had said repeatedly that if he didn't finish in the top two his campaign was likely to end. He left the event before the results were announced, and there was no announcement from his campaign.
The missing big names got only a handful of votes.
Former Sen. Fred Thompson of Tennessee got 203 votes. He was on the ballot, although not an officially declared candidate.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani received 183 votes and Sen. John McCain of Arizona got 101.
From CNN: Romney: No-shows knew they would lose.
To see more of John's caricatures, see his new blog John Cox Art.
From The New York Times: U.S. says Iran-supplied bomb is killing more troops in Iraq.
Attacks on U.S.-led forces using a lethal type of roadside bomb said to be supplied by Iran reached a new high in July, according to the U.S. military.
The devices, known as explosively formed penetrators, were used to carry out 99 attacks last month and accounted for a third of the combat deaths suffered by U.S.-led forces, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the No. 2 commander in Iraq, said in an interview.
Such bombs, which fire a semi-molten copper slug that can penetrate the armor on a Humvee and are among the deadliest weapons used against U.S. forces, are used almost exclusively by Shiite militants. U.S. intelligence officials have presented evidence that the weapons come from Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, although Iran has repeatedly denied providing lethal assistance to Iraqi groups.
In recent weeks, the U.S. military has focused on mounting operations in sanctuaries used by Al-Qaida in Iraq, a Sunni group that is predominantly made up of Iraqis but which has foreign leadership. But, as the information provided by Odierno shows, Shiite militias remain a major worry. ...
According to Odierno, who serves as the day-to-day commander of U.S. troops in Iraq, 73 percent of the attacks that killed or wounded U.S. troops in Baghdad in July were carried out by Shiite militants. ...
Of the 79 U.S. troops killed in July, the lowest toll in months, 23 died as a result of attacks with the devices, according to data supplied by Odierno's command.
"July was an all-time high," said Odierno, referring to strikes with such devices.
Penetrator attacks have been a worry for years. In 2005, the United States sent a private diplomatic protest to Tehran complaining that Iran's Revolutionary Guards and the Iranian-backed Hezbollah had been training Iraqi Shiite insurgents in Iran and providing them with bomb-making equipment.
According to U.S. military data, penetrator attacks accounted for 18 percent of combat deaths of Americans and allied troops in Iraq in the last quarter of 2006.
Dramatic video produced by Iraqi insurgents and captured in a raid earlier this week by U.S. troops clearly shows a battery of sophisticated Iranian-made rocket launchers firing on American positions east of Baghdad, Pentagon officials said Wednesday.
The video, captured during a raid on Monday by the 3rd Squadron, 1st Cavalry Regiment in northeast Nahrawan, shows insurgents setting up and carrying out an attack on Sunday, as well as an attack on July 11 that killed one soldier and wounded 15 others, officials said. The raid last month appeared to involve 34 launchers firing 107 mm Iranian-made rockets.
Below is an updated list of stories about Iran's war with us, mainly in Iraq. The list includes the two stories above. Notice that the chronologically first story is almost two years old to the day, meaning we've know of Iran's involvement in Iraq at least that long.
U.S Troops Tracking Iranian Forces Aiding Shiite Militias in Iraq (FOX News, August 19, 2007)
Iran's Revolutionary Guards: We Will 'Punch' U.S. (FOX News, August 19, 2007)
Captured Video Shows Iraqi Insurgents Firing Sophisticated Iranian-Made Rockets at U.S. Positions (FOX News, August 8, 2007)
U.S. says Iran-supplied bomb is killing more troops in Iraq (New York Times, August 6, 2007)
U.S.: Iranian Training Responsible for 'Significant Improvement' in Iraqi Insurgents Aim With Mortars (FOX News, July 26, 2007)
U.S.: Smugglers nabbed in Iraq may have links to Iran (CNN, July 22, 2007)
Chinese missiles smuggled through Iran into Iraq: US (AFP, July 22, 2007)
Americans held in Iran on alleged security offenses shown on state TV (CNN, July 18, 2007)
Iran Is Found To Be a Lair of Al Qaeda (New York Sun, July 17, 2007)
Iraqi official says 200 explosive belts captured in truck crossing from Syria [an Iranian ally] (Ynet News, July 11, 2007)
US takes China to task over Iraq and Afghan arms [flowing via Iran] (Financial Times, July 9, 2007)
Officials: Captured Hezbollah agent helped plan deadly Karbala raid (CNN, July 1, 2007)
Iran supplied missile that hit UK helicopter (The Sunday Times, June 24, 2007)
Gates: Taliban getting weapons from Iran (The Boston Globe, June 13, 2007)
Iran arming Taliban, U.S. claims (CNN, June 13, 2007)
US troops attacked by Iranian military last year (The Jerusalem Post, March 25, 2007)
Iran's influence grows in Iraq, region (Chicago Tribune, March 7, 2007)
Iraqi extremists trained in Iran: US intelligence (AFP, February 28, 2007)
Military: more evidence of Iran-made explosives (Seattle Times, February 27, 2007)
U.S.: Large Cache of Weapons Discovered in Iraq Traceable to Iran (AP via FOX News, February 26, 2007)
Iraqi insurgents using Austrian rifles from Iran (The Telegraph, February 13, 2007)
Iran involvement suspected in Karbala compound attack (CNN, January 31, 2007)
Donkeys harboring weapons stopped at Iran-Iraq border (Army Times, November 2, 2006)
Barbero: Iran training Shiite insurgents (AP via Army Times, August 24, 2006)
Casey cites Iran hand in attacks by Iraqi Shiites (The Washington Times, June 23, 2006)
Rumsfeld accuses Iran of troublemaking in Iraq (AP via Army Times, March 7, 2006)
EXCLUSIVE: Iraq Weapons -- Made in Iran? (ABC News, March 6, 2006)
Rumsfeld: Iraq bombs 'clearly from Iran' (CNN, August 10, 2005)
The United States has decided to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, the country's 125,000-strong elite military branch, as a "specially designated global terrorist," according to U.S. officials, a move that allows Washington to target the group's business operations and finances.
The Bush administration has chosen to move against the Revolutionary Guard Corps because of what U.S. officials have described as its growing involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as its support for extremists throughout the Middle East, the sources said. The decision follows congressional pressure on the administration to toughen its stance against Tehran, as well as U.S. frustration with the ineffectiveness of U.N. resolutions against Iran's nuclear program, officials said.
The designation of the Revolutionary Guard will be made under Executive Order 13224, which President Bush signed two weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks to obstruct terrorist funding. It authorizes the United States to identify individuals, businesses, charities and extremist groups engaged in terrorist activities. The Revolutionary Guard would be the first national military branch included on the list, U.S. officials said -- a highly unusual move because it is part of a government, rather than a typical non-state terrorist organization.
UPDATE -- Aug. 19 From FOX News: U.S Troops Tracking Iranian Forces Aiding Shiite Militias in Iraq.
Here's another gag cartoon we recently created for the Buster McNutt humor column in AutoGraphic's Automotive Report.
For more gag cartoons, be sure to visit John Cox Art. John's even posting what he calls "Say What?" cartoons where readers are invited to fill in blank dialogue balloons.
From CBS News: On The Road With Sean Penn And Chavez.
Aboard the presidential jet, a grinning Hugo Chavez put a hand on Sean Penn's shoulder, praised his acting and added: "And he's anti-Bush!"
The Venezuelan president reveled in his role as host to the Hollywood star as they flew across the country Friday and traveled through the countryside in a military jeep with Chavez at the wheel, stopping to greet cheering supporters.
The Oscar-winning actor has previously condemned the Iraq war and called for President Bush to be impeached, but he revealed little about his thoughts on Venezuela, saying he came as a freelance journalist after reporting stints in Iraq and Iran -- and was saving his conclusions for print. ...
While Chavez made a speech, however, Penn stood at a distance alongside the audience, occasionally jotting down notes. He spoke only when Chavez asked the actor to say a few words. ...
Holding a map of the border region, Chavez said the U.S. "empire" has a strong presence on the Colombian side, including military advisers and spies.
But he kept the tone light with visiting dignitaries from countries including Canada, Poland and Burkina Faso who joined him on the presidential Airbus jet. With a hearty laugh, he said: "Surely they're going to take satellite photographs, and they're going to say in Washington that Chavez is going around with... a crazy international battalion -- African, Canadian, Cuban ... and gringo!"
From FOX News: Sean Penn: No Such Thing as Winning Wars.
When asked if he wants the United States to win the war in Iraq, Penn replies: "I think we're past that point in human evolution where there's such a thing as winning wars."
From FOX News: Iran Arrests 230 Youths Attending 'Satanic' Rock Concert.
Iran arrested more than 200 music fans at an underground rock concert that one official called a "satanic" gathering and authorities accused the youths of breaking Islamic law. A witness said Sunday that police raided the concert as it was ending late Wednesday near the town of Karaj, some 30 miles west of the capital.
"Police detained the young people who had gathered to enjoy music in a private orchard," said the witness, who requested anonymity for fear of government retaliation.
The arrests come during a recent crack down on "immoral behavior" in Iran, where holding mixed parties or concerts without permission has been forbidden since the 1979 Revolution that brought hardline Shiite Muslim clerics to power.
Calls to authorities were not immediately returned on Sunday. But the public prosecutor in Karaj, Ali Farhadi, said Saturday about 230 people were arrested during the concert.
"Most of them were wealthy young people who were not aware of the satanic nature of the concert," Farhadi told state television. "A female singer, who was performing, and some rock and rap music bands were among the detained." ...
Boys and girls mingled and danced together during the concert, and some of the women were not wearing the modest clothing and Islamic headscarf required by law, media reports said.
Concert organizers were not available for comment.
More on the title: Wikipedia: "Rock the Casbah" by The Clash.
The song was inspired by the banning of rock music in Iran under Ayatollah Khomeini. The song gives a fabulist account of the ban being defied by the population, who proceed to "rock the casbah". The King orders jet fighters to bomb any people in violation of the ban. The pilots ignore the orders, and instead play rock music on their cockpit radios.
UPDATE -- Aug. 8: From The Wall Street Journal: Domestic Terror in Iran by Amir Taheri. (via Banafsheh Zand-Bonazzi)
The campaign of terror also includes targeted "disappearances" designed to neutralize trade union leaders, student activists, journalists and even mullahs opposed to the regime. According to the latest tally, more than 30 people have "disappeared" since the start of the new Iranian year on March 21. To intimidate the population, the authorities also have carried out mass arrests on spurious grounds.
According to Gen. Ismail Muqaddam, commander of the Islamic Police, a total of 430,000 men and women have been arrested on charges related to drug use since April. A further 4,209 men and women, mostly aged between 15 and 30, have been arrested for "hooliganism" in Tehran alone. The largest number of arrests, totaling almost a million men and women according to Mr. Muqaddam, were related to the enforcement of the new Islamic Dress Code, passed by the Islamic Majlis (parliament) in May 2006.
Most of those arrested, he says, spent a few hours, or at most a few days, in custody as "a warning." By last week, 40,000 were still in prison. Of these, 20,363 men and women are held on charges related to violating the Islamic Dress Code. According to the Deputy Chief of Police Gen. Hussein Zulfiqari, an additional 6,204 men and women are in prison on charges of "sexual proximity" without being married.
Prime Minister John Howard has warned against an overreaction to a video showing Australian soldiers binge drinking and one person dressed in a Ku Klux Klan (KKK) outfit.
Mr Howard says it should be left to the military to deal with the issue.
"I just think we can overreact a bit with these things and people get into a lather of sweat and so on," he said.
"Let's be sensible and understand that people will let off a bit of steam."
The video was posted by a former soldier on YouTube and has been condemned by the Australian Defence Force (ADF) and Attorney General Philip Ruddock. ...
Labor has criticised Dr Nelson over his reaction to the YouTube video.
Opposition defence spokesman Joel Fitzgibbon says Dr Nelson has made a mistake by trying to defend the indefensible.
"In doing so, he's really reflecting on the tens of thousands of ADF personnel who at all times do the right thing," he said.
To see more of John's caricatures, see his new blog John Cox Art.
From The Washington Post: Obama Says He Would Take Fight To Pakistan.
Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama issued a pointed warning yesterday to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, saying that as president he would be prepared to order U.S. troops into that country unilaterally if it failed to act on its own against Islamic extremists.
In his most comprehensive statement on terrorism, the senator from Illinois said that the Iraq war has left the United States less safe than it was before the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and that if elected he would seek to withdraw U.S. troops and shift the country's military focus to threats in Afghanistan and Pakistan.
The muscular speech appeared aimed at inoculating him from criticism that he lacks the toughness to lead the country in a post-9/11 world, while attempting to show that an Obama presidency would herald an important shift in the United States' approach to the world, particularly the Middle East and nearby Asian nations.
The speech came a week after Clinton described Obama as "irresponsible and frankly naive" for saying during a Democratic debate that he would be prepared to meet during his first year as president with leaders of rogue nations without preconditions. That set off a days-long argument between the two over diplomacy and the use of the presidency.
Of his proposed Iraq pull out, Obama said, "[M]y plan would maintain sufficient forces in the region to target al Qaeda within Iraq." But he fails to acknowledge Iran's war against us in Iraq and its central role in spreading Islamic totalitarianism and terrorism.
What does he think is the primary cause of Islamic terrorism? Poverty. "I will make poverty reduction a key part of helping other nations reduce anarchy," Obama said. Has he forgotten or is he evading the fact that the 9/11 terrorists were middle class and that the recent failed UK attacks were carried out by well-educated medical professionals?
IBD Editorials has more: Obama Gets Tough.
This cartoon was originally posted on February 15, 2006, and is one of over 400 illustrations you'll find in our latest book Black & White World III, which can be ordered via Cox & Forkum, The Steyn Store, Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble.com.
A human rights group says new evidence has emerged that, if genuine, suggests the internet company Yahoo lied to the U.S. Congress about its role in the conviction of Chinese political dissidents. Yahoo says the suggestion is false. Daniel Schearf reports from Beijing.
The allegation is based on information circulating on the Internet this week. It appears to show that Chinese police clearly informed Yahoo they were investigating political dissidents when they asked the company to turn over private e-mails and account information.
The key items are notices from the Chinese police to Yahoo, translated by the Dui Hua group, a San Francisco-based group that promotes human rights in China. According to Dui Hua's translations, the notices informed Yahoo that the police were investigating separate cases involving the "leaking of state secrets to foreigners" and "subversion."
Dui Hua says it believes the notices are genuine.
The Chinese authorities have often used the vague charge of "revealing state secrets" to silence dissidents.
Dui Hua says Yahoo subsequently handed over information the police used as evidence to convict dissident writers Wang Xiaoning in 2003, and Shi Tao in 2005. Both were sentenced to 10 years in prison.
Rebecca MacKinnon has more.