Target Centermass

1/31/2006

Iran Threatens to Lock out UN

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:58 pm

Long-delayed move.

Immediate Iraninan counter.

Iran yesterday threatened to halt snap UN inspections of its nuclear sites and resume uranium enrichment if it is reported to the Security Council as agreed by the council’s five permanent members.

In an angry response to the move by Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States in the early hours of yesterday, Iran also warned it would hit back in the region if put under severe international pressure.

[…]

The agreement by the five permanent members of the Security Council to call for the IAEA to refer Iran to the full council, where it could face sanctions, was hailed by Tony Blair.

“I hope it’s sending a message that the international community is united,” the Prime Minister said.

But Ali Larijani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, responded angrily, amid signs that Russia and China are stalling over the issue.

He said: “We consider any referral or report of Iran to the Security Council as the end of diplomacy. If these countries use all their means … to put pressure on Iran, Iran will use its capacity in the region.”

It was not clear what regional capacities he meant. Analysts and diplomats say Iran, with its links to Islamist parties and militants, has the means to create trouble for the West in Iraq, Lebanon, the Palestinian territories and elsewhere.

You know, this is a rather tiring dance.

Tucked into the story is this little tidbit.

It also emerged yesterday that Iran has given the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a sensitive document that appears linked to nuclear warhead designs in a show of apparent openness designed to stave off being reported to the Security Council.

Diplomats said the one and a half page document, which described how to cast fissile uranium into the hemispherical shape of warheads, was given to IAEA inspectors last week.

This is good news, assuming that Iran’s thirst for thermonuclear warfare technology took precedent over their acquiring the copying machine.

100th British Soldier Dies in Iraq

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:38 pm

The casualty-figure coverage and round-number obsession is not limited to merely American troops, as the media and anti-war folks are now using the sad century mark for British deaths in Iraq.

Two British soldiers have died in southern Iraq this week, bringing the number of the UK force to die during the conflict to 100, a Ministry of Defence statement said.

On Tuesday morning, an explosion killed a solider in Basra province. Three other soldiers were wounded in the same incident — one seriously.

Another British soldier died Monday morning after his patrol came under fire in Maysan province.

The defense ministry did not give the identity of the 100th soldier, nor of the others hurt in Tuesday’s blast, all from the 7th Armoured Brigade, the main British force in Iraq. The three injured soldiers were being treated at a British base.

Anti-war campaigners in Britain seized on the 100th death to once again demand Britain pull out of Iraq.

The Stop The War Coalition was due to hold a vigil at parliament Tuesday evening to read out the names of the dead.

Left-wing Member of Parliament George Galloway, one of those reading out the names, told CNN it was a “melancholy milestone.”

“We have just sent thousands of new soldiers to Afghanistan, if anything an even more dangerous mission. Events are marching in the direction of the vindication of the anti-war movement.

I’m afraid Galloway is unsurprisingly confused. Simply put, dangerous does not imply wrong. Had the likes of Galloway held sway in the Great Britain of the ’40s, well, red armbands would be all the rage in London today and reality TV would still suck.

As to the media attention to casualties at the expense of true war coverage, I’ll again quote Power Line‘s Paul Mirengoff, who blogged the following:

Have you ever read a history of war that focused almost entirely on casualty figures (with an occasional torture story and grieving parent thrown in), to the exclusion of any real discussion of tactics, operations, and actual battles? I haven’t. But that’s what our self-proclaimed “rough drafters” of history are serving up with respect to Iraq.

Carnival of Liberty XXX

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:54 pm

This week’s installment of the Life, Liberty, Property community’s Carnival of Liberty is up over at Mover Mike. Go read another fine collection of posts from a libertarian slant.

State of the Union Transcript

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:52 pm

… can be found here in case you missed the speech like I did.

Sheehan Arrested in House Gallery

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:06 pm

Okay, I missed tonight’s State of the Union address, so I’m about to head over to the Vodka Dude and catch up with his traditional live-blogging.

It seems I’m not the only one who missed the event, though. The State of the Union address? Just another opportunity for Gold Star mom Cindy Sheehan to score another hit of her drug of choice — attention.

Peace activist Cindy Sheehan was arrested Tuesday in the House gallery after refusing to cover up a T-shirt bearing an anti-war slogan before President Bush’s State of the Union address.

“She was asked to cover it up. She did not,” said Sgt. Kimberly Schneider, U.S. Capitol Police spokeswoman, adding that Sheehan was arrested for unlawful conduct, a misdemeanor.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of one year in jail, Schneider said.

Unfortunately, I doubt that Gold Star mom Cindy Sheehan will get the maximum. Still, she is now a repeat offender. I wonder what this will do to her senatorial bid? Okay, that’s prossibly a joke site, but Gold Star mom Cindy Sheehan has threatened to run.

Previous Gold Star mom Cindy Sheehan blogging:

1/30/2006

Dominatrix Acquitted in Bondage Death

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:28 pm

Why, oh why, didn’t this sordid case get the national attention poured onto so many other so-called trials o’ the century?!! At least this one appears to have been truly interesting.

A dominatrix was acquitted of manslaughter Monday in the death of a man who prosecutors say suffered a heart attack while strapped to a replica of a medieval rack.

Barbara Asher, a 56-year-old woman who called herself Mistress Lauren M, was also cleared of dismemberment.

Prosecutors said that 53-year-old Michael Lord suffered a heart attack in 2000 during a bondage session in a “dungeon” in Asher’s condominium and that Asher did nothing to help him for five minutes for fear authorities would find out about her business.

Asher had her boyfriend chop up the body of the 275-pound retired telephone company worker, and they dumped it behind a restaurant in Maine, prosecutors said. His remains have never been found.

Prosecutors said Asher confessed to police, but the alleged confession was not taped, and investigators testified they did not save their notes.

Asher’s lawyer, Stephanie Page, said there was nothing to prove Lord was even dead — no body, no blood, no DNA.

One does have to give mucho credit for the prosecutor’s closing theatrical Gimp routine.

During his closing argument to the jury, prosecutor Robert Nelson put on a black leather mask with a zippered mouth opening and re-enacted the bondage session. With both hands, he reached back and clutched the top of a blackboard as if strapped to the rack. Then he hung his head as if dead.

Asher’s lawyer objected, and the judge agreed.

“That’s enough Mr. Nelson,” Judge Charles Grabau said. “Thank you for your demonstration.”

Suddenly, my mind rattles with a mostly-forgotten early ’80s song with the following majestic lyrics:

Whip me, beat me, call me Edna
Tie me down and stomp my head now

Does anybody else remember that sweet little tune?

Dutch Debate Sending Troops to Afghanistan

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:53 pm

The Dutch parliament is set to vote on a commitment of troops to the more volatile southern provinces of Afghanistan and, surprisingly, Kofi Annan is campaigning in favor of the deployment.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan is urging the Dutch parliament not to leave Canadian and British soldiers in the lurch in southern Afghanistan. Annan warns international efforts in Afghanistan may fail if the Dutch balk at the deployment of over 1,000 troops.

“No one can afford to see a destabilized Afghanistan in the region,” said Annan, speaking in The Hague. “We saw what it meant when Afghanistan was destabilized in the hands of the Taliban and terrorists. Do we want to go back to that?”

Yes, it isn’t very often that I find myself in complete concurrence with dear ol’ Kofi. Let’s cherish this moment.

Okay, that’s enough cherishing.

The Dutch government supports the move, but public opposition is growing over the increasing risks to troops in Afghanistan.

Dutch parliamentarians will vote on the issue on Thursday.

The Dutch forces would be part of a NATO-led mission. The Afghanistan operation is reviving bitter memories of other peacekeeping missions and stirring fresh debate among the people of the Netherlands.

It was just over 10 years ago that Dutch peacekeepers faced frustration and horror as they tried to operate in Srebrenica under a restrictive UN mandate. They ended up looking on as Serbs killed thousands of Bosnian Muslim men and boys.

This time, the public and politicians are asking a lot of questions.

I’ve said before that such questions and concerns are understandable in light of earlier Dutch involvement in a NATO misadventure.

Afghanistan Foreign Minister Abdullah Abdullah even flew to The Hague to plead his nation’s case for Dutch help. Later, upon his arrival in London for an international conference on the future of his country, Abdullah hinted at his frustration.

“It’s good that these debates are underway,” he said, “but signs of hesitation will not help anybody.”

I don’t want too hang too much on the Dutch, who most assuredly have their own domest radical Islamist issues, but a vote against military involvement would only serve to strengthen my concerns about the future value of prolonging NATO’s existence.

Security Council to Review Iran Nuke Case

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:14 pm

Well, it’s about time the UNSC agreed to take a closer look at the Iranian quest for nukes. Actually, it’s well past time and, even now, too meekly begun.

The United States and other permanent members of the U.N. Security Council agreed Tuesday that Iran should be hauled before that powerful body over its disputed nuclear program.

China and Russia, longtime allies and trading partners of Iran, signed on to a statement that calls on the U.N. nuclear watchdog to transfer the Iran dossier to the Security Council, which could impose sanctions or take other harsh action.

Foreign ministers from those nations, plus the United States, Britain and France, also said the Security Council should wait until March to take up the Iran case, after a formal report on Tehran’s activities from the watchdog agency.

Any of the five permanent members of the Security Council, all nuclear powers themselves, can veto an action voted by the full council membership.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and other foreign ministers discussed Iran at a private dinner at the home of British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw. After the four-hour meeting, which spilled over into the early hours Tuesday, a joint statement called on the International Atomic Energy Agency to report the Iran case when it meets in Vienna on Thursday.

Foreign ministers from Germany and the European Union also attended the dinner and agreed to what amounted to a compromise – take the case to the Security Council but allow a short breather before the council undertakes what could be a divisive debate.

A short breather? I’m sure the Iranian nuclear program will use the interim just for catching its collective breath, hoping cooler heads prevail. That, or perhaps March will give the Iranians all the time they need to become a nuclear menace.

Another Sci-Fi Quiz

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:03 pm

If you ever wondered which sci-fi crew you would best fit in with, here’s your chance (hat tip to the Llama Butchers). My results are as follows:

You scored as Serenity (Firefly). You like to live your own way and don’t enjoy when anyone but a friend tries to tell you should do different. Now if only the Reavers would quit trying to skin you.

Serenity (Firefly)

81%

Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)

69%

SG-1 (Stargate)

69%

Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)

56%

Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)

56%

Enterprise D (Star Trek)

50%

Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)

50%

Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)

50%

Moya (Farscape)

44%

Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)

38%

Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)

38%

FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)

25%

Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

Quote of the Week, 30 JAN 06

Filed under: — Gunner @ 9:58 pm

Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.

—Theodore Roosevelt

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