Thursday, February 23, 2006

In the News - Feb. 23

Sept. 11 report ties bin Laden to UAE - 23 Feb 2006 at 12:44pm - WASHINGTON -- The United States raised concerns with the United Arab Emirates seven years ago about possible ties between officials in that country and Osama bin Laden, according to a section of the Sept. 11 commission's report that details a possible missed opportunity to kill the al-Qaida leader.
Scott McClellan, from yesterday's press briefing, when asked about the wisdom of allowing a UAE-state-run company to operate U.S. ports: "We also have to take into account the broader foreign policy implications something like this could have. The United Arab Emirates is a strong ally and partner in the global war on terrorism. General Pace, just yesterday, talked about how the UAE is providing superb military-to-military cooperation, and how they are a very solid partner in the global war on terrorism. They provide access to their ports for our aircraft carrier, they provide access to our Air Force planes over their airspace and at their airports. The UAE is someone we have worked very closely with to crack down on terrorist financing. They work very closely with us in sharing important intelligence. And so I think you have to also look at it in that context."

So does the Bush administration consider this deal a quid-pro-quo for past military cooperation? Or for future military cooperation? If this deal isn't allowed to go through, will the UAE stop cooperating in counterterrorism activities? How important to the US is access to UAE airports? And why was GWB so quick to issue a threat to veto any legislation which would block the deal? One can see the proximity of UAE airports to Iran in this map. I imagine access to them would be of great interest to the US in the event of a US-Iran war. Just sayin'.

Revenge attacks rage in Iraq; 7 U.S. soldiers killed - 23 Feb 2006 at 12:23pm - More than 100 people have been killed in Iraq in violence that boiled over after Wednesday's attack on a revered Shiite mosque in Samarra. No one seems safe from the attacks. According to police, casualties include senior members of the Iraqi army, soldiers, journalists, civilians and children. Fifty Sunni mosques have been attacked in Baghdad since the strike on the Shiite mosque.

Watchdog Group Questions 2004 Fla. Vote - 23 Feb 2006 at 3:54pm - An examination of Palm Beach County's electronic voting machine records from the 2004 election found possible tampering and tens of thousands of malfunctions and errors, a watchdog group said Thursday. Bev Harris, founder of, said...

Iraqi president warns of civil war - 23 Feb 2006 at 3:50pm - Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has warned that widespread rebellion could engulf his war-torn country as sectarian bloodshed over the past two days claimed the lives of more than 130 people.

Libby's lawyers seek dismissal of charges - 23 Feb 2006 at 4:10pm - WASHINGTON -- Lawyers for Vice President Dick Cheney's former top aide asked a federal judge Thursday to dismiss his indictment on grounds that the special prosecutor in the CIA leak case lacked authority.

Military rebuffed FBI Guantanamo worries: files - 23 Feb 2006 at 2:17pm - WASHINGTON (Reuters) - FBI agents accused military personnel at the Guantanamo prison of using illegal "aggressive interrogation tactics" on detainees but senior military officials rejected FBI concerns, documents made public on Thursday showed.

Court 'should probe war decision' - 23 Feb 2006 at 11:37am - The legality of the Iraq war should be able to be questioned in court and not given the immunity of being an "act of state", the Law Lords have heard.

World science body slams tougher U.S. visa rules - 23 Feb 2006 at 11:23am - PARIS (Reuters) - A leading world science body denounced tougher U.S. visa policies on Thursday after its Indian-born president said he failed to get permission to enter the country on charges he was hiding information that could be used for chemical weapons.

Guantanamo 'damages terror fight' - 23 Feb 2006 at 11:18am - The war against terror is being damaged by America's Guantanamo Bay centre, says an influential MPs' committee.


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