Saturday, November 20, 2004

UPI: Clash Of Civilizations in Europe

Arnaud de Borchgrave
UPI

The Netherlands has long been Europe's most permissive society - everything from window-shopping in Amsterdam for scantily clad hookers (50 to 80 euros for 15 to 30 minutes) to hashish aroma in marijuana smoke-filled cafes.

The government and the sex workers union protect some 30,000 women. The pimps are landlords and the aging prostitutes are quickly replaced with a steady influx from the former Soviet republics and East European countries.

A Dutch brothel chain is suing the government for failing to green-light the "Yum Yum Caviar Club" at Schiphol Airport "to cater to stressed travelers in transit." The government responded that plans for an airport bordello were on hold pending new building and space in the departure areas.

It was such Dutch tolerance, pragmatism and guilt about the country's colonial past that allowed hundreds of thousands of immigrants from Muslim Indonesia (a Dutch colony from the 17th century until World War II) to flood into tiny Holland. Today, Muslims are a majority among children under 14 in the Netherlands' four largest cities.

There are 1 million Muslims (6 percent of the population) now living in Europe's most crowded small country. Some 30,000 new Muslims arrive every year. They tend to live among themselves, with their own schools, mosques and restaurants. Most are horrified by what they view as sacrilegious in their own religion. Their imams speak no Dutch and know nothing of the Netherlands' history and culture.

Western Europe as a whole gets about half a million new Muslims a year. Most make their way from sub-Sahara Africa and North Africa, illegal immigrants smuggled by boat to Spain and Italy, where they are free to travel with impunity to the rest of Europe. Thus, Europe's Muslim population has doubled to 20 million in the last 10 years.

The anti-Muslim backlash spawned far right-wing parties. Belgium's highest court this week ruled the anti-immigration Flemish Bloc party - the most popular political force in Dutch-speaking Flanders - will lose the government subsidies allocated to all parties, and is now forced to disband. It quickly renamed itself the Flemish Interest Party and toned down its inflammatory rhetoric.

Europe's largest mosque is in Rotterdam, which is also Europe's busiest port. Half the people there are of foreign origin. Unemployment among the Muslims is high. And the Dutch live-and-let-live permissiveness made this nation, a quarter of it below sea level and protected by 1,500 dikes, ideal breeding grounds for Muslim fundamentalism and the kind of extremism that spawned one of Osama bin Laden's European fan clubs.

But for years the government was in denial about Islamist extremism in what is otherwise a well-managed society.

Dutch Muslims, repelled by the freewheeling lifestyle, sought solace with radical imams in the mosques. There men outnumber women. And women are relegated to a part of the mosque where they can be neither seen nor heard.

What Dutch filmmaker and columnist Theo Van Gogh saw as the shabby treatment of females throughout the Muslim community led him to produce documentaries that portrayed Muslim men as tormentors of women, especially their wives. One recent scathingly critical Van Gogh film carried the message that Islam promotes violence against women.

Last week, Van Gogh, a grandnephew of the painter, was shot as he cycled to work. He managed to get up and stagger across the street to his building, where he collapsed. The assailant followed him and slit his throat before pinning to his chest with a knife a five-page manifesto that called on Muslims to rise against the "infidel enemies" in the West.

Dutch security authorities launched a nationwide manhunt for the murderer of the popular Van Gogh. A hand grenade injured four policemen as they went after two suspects in a working-class district of The Hague. Air space over the capital was closed for a day as Dutch Special Forces lay siege to a building, and the two surrendered after a 14-hour standoff.

Ten others were arrested, including the prime suspect, Muhammad Bouyeri, a 26-year-old Dutch Moroccan, who was charged with murder and suspected links to an al-Qaida group. A two-time visitor to Saudi Arabia, he had doffed Western clothes in favor of Arab dress.

Both Mr. Bouyeri and his close friend Samir Azzouz, 18, another Dutch Moroccan, moved between five apartments in an Amsterdam suburb favored by Islamist radicals. They were on Dutch intelligence's terrorist watch list as they communicated with like-minded extremist cells throughout Western Europe.

Last year, Mr. Azzouz was stopped in Ukraine and turned back as he made his way to Chechnya to fight the Russians. Released by the Dutch and then re-arrested because bomb-making equipment and detailed maps of public buildings were found with his fingerprints, he is in jail awaiting trial.

Tit-for-tat terrorism quickly followed Van Gogh's assassination in widely scattered parts of the otherwise peaceful Netherlands. An arson attack against a Muslim school was followed in the same village of Uden by a Muslim attack against a primary school that was set ablaze and completely gutted. Then a small bomb damaged a Muslim school in Eindhoven. A score of mosques and churches were targeted by arson attacks in one week.

Two young men were also arrested for putting a video on the Internet that promised 72 virgins in paradise for the "beheading" of Geert Wilders, a popular right-wing politician who decries the dangers of radical Islam.

Two years ago, Pim Fortuyn, a populist politician who called for a halt to immigration by simply saying the Netherlands was "full," was similarly gunned down.

Over the past year, the presence of 1,300 Dutch troops in Iraq triggered repeated threats from Muslim groups. Last summer, a last will and testament was found when an 18-year-old man of Moroccan-born parents was arrested for plotting terrorist attacks in the Netherlands. The list of targets included the Dutch Parliament, Schiphol Airport and the nuclear reactor at Borssele. Floor plans of several public buildings were also found. The former student wrote in his will he wants his newborn son to live "in the spirit of jihad."

Described by a police psychiatrist as "fearless and fatalistic," the student "gradually fell under the spell of ideas about the oppression of Islam." During a court hearing, his family remained seated as all present rose when the judge entered. The mother was covered in a head-to-toe chador in Muslim fundamentalist fashion.

Islamist extremists even penetrated the Dutch intelligence service with a double agent. One officer was arrested last September. The government hastily drafted a Patriot Act-like law which enables it to strip citizens of their citizenship and deport them if they engage in extremist acts.

Could the Netherlands be a curtain-raiser for a wider clash of civilizations in the old Continent? Hundreds of thousands of young Muslims in Europe are potential jihadis, according to European intelligence chiefs speaking not for publication. They have been warning their political masters about the tinderboxes that many Muslim communities have become. Jihadi volunteers are known to have left for Iraq from a number of Muslim slums on the outskirts of major European cities.

Recruitment posters come on regular European and Arabic news programs - from the Abu Ghraib prison pictures to the battle of Fallujah.

Arnaud de Borchgrave is editor at large of The Washington Times and United Press International.


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Friday, November 19, 2004

Militants Discuss the Use of Weapons of Mass Destruction on America

This from: http://www.trackingterrorism.com/default.asp?dismode=article&artid=934

Source: Al-Ansar | 8:46:50 AM


In a very ominous posting started just yesterday on Al-Qaeda's most popular website, Al-Ansar, Militants are beginning to ask each other whether or not they support the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction on the United States of America.

The thread has grown to over 3 pages long, with every popular militant getting their opinion in on the use of WMD's. Because every posting carries an ominous response, we will attempt to bring you every response and comment that each militant makes on this growing discussion.

Below we have included some machine translations along with human translations of this ongoing Terrorist Chatter.

-BEGINNING POSTING-

"Do you support the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction against the United states?"

---------------------

"No, No, No, No"

---------------------

"The American Criminals have used Chemical Weapons in Fallujah and as we all know, Chemical Weapons are a weapon of Mass Destruction. Therefore, we have the right to use them on their own ground, but not chemical weapons, nuclear weapons!"

---------------------

"We agree on the use of all internationally banned weapons! The banned use of such weapons is forbidden by their Sharia only! They've even used such weapons on us! We grant you permission oh Jihad Lions! Your brother, Allah's Supporters"

---------------------

"Has anyone even thought about the expected result if we were to use WMD's on the Americans?"

---------------------

"Yes brother, the world relaxes"

---------------------

"I grant you 1000 blessings brother!"

---------------------

"You have my blessings as well"

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"Destruction! If Allah were to destroy America with the use of Nuclear Weapons, then we cannot guarantee who will come after us, the European Union, China, or even Russia!"

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"They used weapons of mass destruction against the Muslism during the battle at Baghdad International Airport before the fall of Baghdad! They used missiles made from depleted uranium. They used different types of chemical gasses and cluster bombs as well! You have my permission brothers, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth."

---------------------

"I suggest that you use Weapons of Mass Destruction on the half of the country that voted Bush back into office, and then allow the remaining half to stand there in disbelief!"

---------------------

"Definitely yes, Equal treatment! Also, they've used them in the blockade of Iraq as well as in Fallujah."

---------------------

"Yes, I support each weapon and the results of the use of each weapon on the Americans. As for the presence of Muslims in America, they may be harmed by this. However the militants and the messenger of Allah has warned them to leave their houses. There is no god except Allah!"

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"Yes, oh Yes, and if there is such weapon worse than the weapons of mass destruction, than you have my permission to use those as well!"

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"My brothers, it is pretty obvious that Muslims in all Arab countries and Islam's supporters, agree to the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction, whether it be chemical or nuclear on the United States of America."

---------------------

"Allah and O Brothers, I as well as you care about seeing the destruction of this horrible country with the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction, however until now they have not attacked us with an Atomic bomb, so we will postpone that response until the Americans start this type of aggression against us. However, there is no harm in using an dirty bomb, which is your everyday explosives carrying radioactive material. A dirty bomb will not carry the same destruction as the bombs that the Americans used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki."

-END POSTING-





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CIA Plans More Agressive Posture

By John Diamond, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — CIA Director Porter Goss told his new chief of spy operations this week to launch a much more aggressive espionage campaign that would use undercover officers to penetrate terrorist groups and hostile governments such as North Korea and Iran, according to a senior U.S. official with direct knowledge of Goss' plans.
The risky new strategy would be a sharp departure from the CIA's traditional style of human intelligence, in which field officers under flimsy cover as diplomats in U.S. embassies try to recruit foreign spies and gather tips from allied intelligence services. Those methods don't work with terror groups or in countries where the United States has no embassies, such as prewar Iraq or present-day North Korea and Iran.

The new strategy is dangerous — agents could gather much better information but would run a much higher risk of being killed if found out. Goss hinted at this strategy during his confirmation hearing and has told agency officials it is key to his effort to revamp the agency to meet new and unconventional threats.
The new spy operations chief, an official who is himself under cover, took over his post Tuesday after a messy shake-up in which his predecessor and the No. 2 official at the spy service resigned after clashing with aides to Goss. Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, the CIA has struggled to transform the Directorate of Operations, as the spy service is formally known, but not to Goss' satisfaction. When he was chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Goss issued a scathing report in June that referred to the CIA's human intelligence efforts as "dysfunctional."

The move to more aggressive field operations represents Goss' first major effort to put into effect a strategy that he laid out on his first day on the job Sept. 24, when he told agency employees that the CIA is "the pointy end of the spear" in the war on terrorism, "and now is the time that we need the pointy end of the spear."
The speech was transmitted or distributed in writing to agency employees worldwide. Portions of the speech were read to USA TODAY by the U.S. official who described Goss' plans for transforming espionage operations. The official also read portions of an e-mail Goss sent to agency employees Monday telling them they should provide unbiased intelligence but must not oppose administration policies. The official asked not to be named because the speech and e-mail have not been made public, and because the CIA's clandestine operations are highly classified.

"Our core business in my view is close-in access to the plans and intentions" of adversary states and terror groups, Goss said in his speech. He said he expects the strategy to yield successes, but also painful failures he will have to explain to Congress. Goss said he would give his field officers "more autonomy" to do their work and pledged to back them if they fail. "We're going to encourage and expect calculated risk-taking that will be rewarded," he said. "I know it won't go right all the time. When it goes wrong, it will be supported."

Field officers who blow their diplomatic cover are typically thrown out of foreign countries. Under the new tactics, officers caught under deep cover could expect no protection and could be executed. If caught trying to penetrate a terrorist group, they could count on being tortured and murdered.

Goss wants to train and field more officers as "NOCs" — meaning they would work under "non-official cover" to give them more options for penetrating an adversary, the official said. Goss' strategy was described Tuesday night by former CIA director James Woolsey on Boston radio station WBUR's On Point program. Woolsey said he has spoken this week to top CIA officials.

The high-stakes shift in intelligence collection comes at a time of turmoil:

• Four senior officials have resigned from the CIA in less than a week, including the top two officials at the Directorate of Operations who left after feuding with aides to Goss.
• President Bush pressed Congress this week to pass legislation that could reduce the CIA's influence and access to the president by creating an intelligence post above the level of the CIA.
• With the United States involved in two wars and expecting further terrorist attacks, the CIA is struggling to close major intelligence gaps on the growing Iraqi insurgency and to find al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
• The intense scrutiny on past CIA mistakes shows no sign of abating. Bush met Wednesday with members of a government commission headed by former senator Chuck Robb, D-Va., that is investigating the poor intelligence reporting on Iraqi weapons prior to the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.

Goss' push for more aggressive covert action and human intelligence collection comes as the Pentagon is gaining power to conduct operations previously restricted to the CIA. This year's defense authorization bill gives Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld authority to spend up to $25 million to support "foreign forces, irregular forces, groups or individuals" assisting U.S. commandos in the war on terrorism. Such cash handouts to shadowy paramilitary groups had been the sole purview of the CIA.
In the e-mail sent to agency employees Monday, Goss warned of more turmoil ahead. He said he will "announce a series of changes — some involving procedures, organization, (and) senior personnel." White House spokesman Scott McClellan and CIA spokesman Paul Gimigliano discussed its contents Wednesday.

Goss' e-mail gave his employees "rules of the road" concerning relations with the White House. "We support the administration and its policies in our work," Goss wrote. "As agency employees we do not identify with, support or champion opposition to the administration or its policies. We provide intelligence as we see it — and let the facts alone speak to the policymaker."
Gimigliano said that by "support," Goss meant providing accurate, unbiased intelligence, not political support for administration policies. At the White House, McClellan said the CIA's job was to "provide unvarnished facts" and stay out of policymaking.
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Call These Congressional Conferees Today!

Alert Update
Your calls today are paying off! The House continues to hold its position in support of the immigration provisions - despite major opposition by Senate conferees.

Many of you have received instructions from the offices of Speaker Hastert and Majority Leader DeLay to call Senators Joe Lieberman (D-CT) and Susan Collins (R-ME) and Representative Jane Harman (D-CA). These conferees are threatening to kill the bill entirely if the House immigration security provisions are not removed from the final bill.

We are issuing this alert update to urge those of you who have not yet called these legislators to please call their offices right away.


Please make an additional round of calls to these conferees:
Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-CT) 202-224-4041
Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) 202-224-2523
Rep. Jane Harman (D-CA) 202-225-8220

Ask these conferees to put the security of our nation ahead of special interest politics. Press them to accept the House immigration security provisions. Read our press release for further details.

*Note - If they refuse your comment because you are calling from outside of the state or congressional district, politely remind them that the decision they are making will have national consequences; therefore, they should consider your concerns, as well as those who voted them into office.


* Please forward this message to friends and email lists.
* Not on our action alert list? Click here to subscribe.
* For breaking immigration news, visit the Stein Report.
* Fax your legislators for free from FAIR's Legislative Action Center.
* Support our work! We depend on contributions from people like you.

http://www.fairus.org/
(202) 328-7004
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'Democracy is the Best Regime, and has Brought Progress and Prosperity to Those Countries that Have Adopted It'

Egyptian Progressive:'Why Can't We [Arabs] See Things as the Rest of the World Sees Them?'

The progressive Egyptian intellectual Dr. Amr Isma'il whose articles are regularly published on the secular Arab website www.rezgar.com, wrote an article condemning the Arabs' lack of self-criticism and the Islamists' abuse of the term "democracy." The following are excerpts from the article, which appeared on the progressive Arabic website www.elaph.com :(1)


'Why Do We Talk by Means of Bullets, and Hasten to Make Sweeping Accusations of Unbelief?'

"Why can't we see things as the rest of the world sees them? Why do we always feel that someone is conspiring against us, and that he is the cause of our problems and our cultural and economic backwardness?... Why are we not able to criticize ourselves and [why do] we view anyone who tries to do so as an enemy of the nation and of its principles, and other things of this kind that make some people afraid to think?...

"Why do we talk among ourselves by means of bullets, bombs, and car bombs, and when we disagree we hasten to accuse [our interlocutor] of unbelief and of being dragged after the West and the East? Why don't we recognize that nobody among us has the answer to all the questions and whoever pretends to have the absolute truth is nothing but a pretender? Have we heard that in any respectable country the parties and political streams talk by means of bullets, as sometimes happens between the various factions in Gaza and as is happening now in Iraq?..."


'We Kill, Blow Up Cars, and Slit Throats in the Name of Allah, Yet Protest When Others Depict Muslims as Terrorists'

"Why are we the only nations in the world that still use religion, Islam, and the name of Allah in everything - in politics, economics, science, art, and literature. We kill in the name of Allah, blow up cars in the name of Allah, and slit throats in the name of Allah and Islam, and then we protest when others depict the Muslims as terrorists. We indiscriminately kill doctors who went to provide medical care to Afghans, and then we protest when the world describes these acts as acts of terror. We blow up embassies and trains [and consequently] children, women, and citizens with no connection to our cause are killed, and then we protest when the world describes these extremists, who view themselves as Muslims, as terrorists.

"We do not ask ourselves why no other religious group perpetrates these acts of atrocity, and when a terrorist country like Israel does so, it does not say it is killing in the name of the Lord or in the name of Allah, but claims it is doing so out of self-defense. Why Allah is [held responsible] for our bad deeds and for our desire for revenge... Why don't we act like [Israel] and say that these acts are for self-defense or for defense of the homeland, without bringing Allah and Islam into it? Why don't we ever ask ourselves what are the roots of extremist thinking and why don't we try to deal with it? When other countries demand that we deal with these roots and reconsider them, we scream that they are intervening in our internal affairs and that they are the enemies of Islam. Why don't we ask ourselves whether anyone had demanded that we reconsider our curricula before we blew up the [World] Trade towers and killed thousands, and before we blew up the trains in Madrid and killed hundreds, and before we kidnapped hostages and slaughtered them on the TV screens, so that the entire world would see our ugly face?"


'Democracy is the Best Regime, and has Brought Progress and Prosperity to Those Countries that Have Adopted It'

"Why can our brain not understand that democracy has proven itself to be the best regime and that it has brought progress and prosperity to those countries that have adopted it? Why can our brain not understand that democracy is not just the election ballots, but is an entire framework, the most important [aspect] of which is freedom of choice, in religion, in belief, in attire, and in the freedom to express political and cultural opinions, even if they differ from what is accepted, as long as they do not incite to violence. Why don't we understand that democracy is complete equality between people, regardless of sex, color, or religion...

"We have reached a crossroads. If we want Islam as a political solution, not as a religion ... we must be strong and admit honestly that Islam - according to the belief of groups of political Islam that follow bin Laden and Al-Zawahiri's organization - stands in utter contradiction to democracy in its true meaning... Let all the political Islamic groups, and first and foremost the 'Muslim Brotherhood,' cease their policy of concealing [their real opinions] and show their true faces [and reveal] that they are trying [to bring] an Islamic rule that at best will be no different from Iran, and at worst, [no different] from the Taliban...

"However, if we want a democracy, we cannot avoid agreeing that religion must not [be mixed up] with politics, which is the expression of the people. Since most of our peoples are Muslims, they will not legislate laws that contradict the principles and spirit of Islam, and they do not need parties that claim to speak in the name of religion, [while in actual fact] they are appropriating it in the name of their political and mundane interests.

"Democracy has only one meaning: No party or political trend has [the right] to claim that it absolutely and everlastingly represents the people. Governing is a ball that we pass between ourselves... Citizenship, and its attendant rights and obligations, belongs to all those who live in the homeland, regardless of sex, color, or religion. The most basic civil right is the right to vote and the right to present candidacy to any public office, including the presidential office, whether man or woman, Muslim or non-Muslim, as long as they uphold the constitution and pledge not to change it, except through the means of change determined in the constitution itself, and to which the people have agreed.

"This is democracy. If we want a different regime, let us call it by any other name except democracy. Otherwise we will be using the tools of democracy in order to destroy it, just as those who conceal [their true opinions] in our world - and these are, regretfully, many."

Endnote:
(1) http://www.elaph.com/elaphweb/AsdaElaph/2004/10/19110.htm, October 31, 2004.


*********************
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles
and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with proper attribution.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077
E-Mail: memri@memri.org
www.memri.org

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Thursday, November 18, 2004

Arab Media Reactions to President Bush's Re-Election

President George W. Bush's re-election and the Republican Party's victory elicied diverse reactions in the Arab media. While some columnists expressed their disappointment with the election results or their hopes that President Bush would change his policy during his second term, others articulated their satisfaction with Bush's re-election and even called on the Arab world to take a page out of the book of American-style democracy. The following is a review of the reactions in the Arab media:


Criticism and Threats Following Bush's Re-Election

Bush's Re-Election Will Escalate of the Situation

In an article titled 'To the Shelters, It's Bush!' Josef Samaha, editor of the pro-Syrian Lebanese daily Al-Safir, wrote: "President Bush will continue forward, armed with a power of attorney from the [American] people. [In his] second [term,] Bush will make us long for Bush [of the] first [term,] just as Bush Jr. made us long for Bush Sr..."(1)

Sate' Nur Al-Din, Al-Safir columnist, wrote: "This is a black day in world history, and its evil results are not limited solely to the Arab and Islamic world, which is the most prominent target of the U.S.'s agenda. There are capitals in Europe and Asia which at this very time are planning to dig trenches and open up the shelters...
"In an unknown location on the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, the people are merry, and can now declare that they have in effect triumphed over the U.S. by driving it crazy and causing it to lose its way..."(2)

Walid Abu Bakr, columnist for the Palestinian Authority daily Al-Ayyam, wrote: "In the next four years, there will be no joy among the Arabs... In its fundamentalism, the conservative U.S. does not differ from any other fundamentalism on the face of the earth, including that of those whom the U.S. is fighting. In the Palestinian areas, there is no hope; these will be years of drought, from which the Palestinians will suffer if they continue to seek justice from the evil ones - since the American president did not act justly following the previous elections in which the Arabs voted for him and the Jews voted against him..."(3)

The Iranian Foreign Ministry's English-language mouthpiece Tehran Times, which is close to Iranian Leader Ali Khamenei, claimed that "Bush's re-election indicates that after the September 11 terrorist attacks the American people are still suffering from a nightmare caused by the expansion of terrorism throughout the world." Bush's re-election, the paper stated, "connotes that the world will witness the expansion of tensions, skirmishes, and terrorist attacks for another four years." The paper advised Bush to "moderate his former policies in the Middle East, refrain from repeating his former mistakes, and avoid all-out support for the Zionist regime so that the region can gradually move toward the total elimination of terrorism."(4)

The Election Results Proved that American Society is Fundamentalist

Palestinian columnist Hani Habib wrote in the PA daily Al-Ayyam: "I, like others in Palestine and in the Arab continent, wished for Bush's defeat. But we ignored the most important element that could determine the American people's choice. This was the popular American character, which transforms every American citizen into [someone who sees himself] above international law and who lacks any consideration of others' interests, including those of his allies. Each American has become so patriotic that he can see no one else...

"It is America that sends its sons to war to kill and destroy everywhere. It is America that has reverted to the language of the American South prior to the War of Independence [sic], it is the America of slavery... It is true that America is divided [in its opinions], but the majority supports the return of slavery on the international level. In accordance with this method, every American has slaves - but the slaves are not in America, except for those from the Third World. [They are] 'suspects' in the eyes of the laws of the war on terror that were invented [during] Bush's first term..."(5)

Columnist Mazen Hammad wrote in the Qatari daily Al-Watan: "What happened is regrettable, but it happened, despite all the mistakes and crimes committed by the Bush administration, and despite all the lies it published. This alone constitutes undeniable proof that the Americans have become more right-wing and more religious, that they have increased their desire to avenge the September 11 events, and that they have become more willing to sacrifice blood and money in order to pursue Osama bin Laden, Al-Qa'ida, and everything the administration defines as terror everywhere in the world."(6)

Dubious Extremist Organization Threatens U.S. Following Bush's Re-Election

On November 4, 2004, a communiqué was issued by an organization calling itself the Abu Hafs Al-Masri Brigades - an Al-Qa'ida organization in Europe, whose actual existence is doubtful. The communiqué states: "The re-election of the criminal Bush - who is in no way different from the other leaders of that country which made efforts to murder Muslims everywhere - will not prevent Jihad warriors from striking the fortresses of the leader of unbelief, and will not be an obstacle to those lying in wait who have defended and are still defending this religion.

"Bush and Kerry are two sides of the same coin. Each has his own black history that will cling to him until Judgment Day. Ultimately, the American people is the one that will bear the burden of the results of its president's policy over the next four years.

"To the American people, [we say]: The coming days will prove that that with which you were pleased will drag you into an insufferable hell, and that [despite] your unifying around this criminal [Bush], he will not realize for you the security that you seek, and will not prevent the Jihad warriors from reaching your fortresses."(7)


Positive Reactions to Bush's Re-Election

Hope for Change in American Policy

Syrian Information Minister Mahdi Dakhlallah, who is also the former editor of the regime newspaper Teshreen, stated: "The Americans certainly will know that there is no place for or use in pressuring Syria, and that dialogue is the best way to achieve concrete results and understanding between the two countries [i.e. the U.S. and Syria]... We hope that the upcoming period of President Bush's [term] will be one of more objectivity regarding the Arab-Israeli conflict."

He went on to say that Bush's re-election was "an expression of the American people's will" and that Syria "respects the will, and hopes that the U.S. respects the will of all the peoples, [as will be reflected] by their internal choices."(8)

An editorial in the Jordanian daily Al-Dustour read: "The American president is freer during his second and last term... He is freed from the Zionist lobby, and is more concerned about U.S. interests. This is how it was during Clinton's second term, when he acted to achieve a Palestinian-Israeli agreement, and not out of love for the Arabs... Thus, Bush's re-election is preferable as far as the Arabs and Muslims are concerned - because if Kerry had been elected, his situation would have been no better, and he would have surrendered to the Zionists.

"Similarly, there is hope that during his second term, Bush will act to rein in his policy, reduce his hostility toward the Arabs, and pay some of the bill for their support of him in 2004..."(9)

The Saudi daily Al-Watan wrote in an editorial: "With Bush's re-election, the world in general and the Middle Eastern countries in particular hope that this time the Bush administration will adopt a policy of peace instead of the policy of war it employed during the previous four years... This time, Bush has an historic opportunity that will not recur. Now the widest doors are open to him to enter history as a president of peace, after entering it as a president of war.

"It would be just for Bush, this time, to give a policy of peace a chance, so that the American people and the peoples of the entire world will pluck the fruits [of this policy]. This, after he gave enough of a chance to a policy of war during his first term, in whose fire the entire world was burned, particularly the peoples of the Middle East region."(10)

Bush's Victory is a Victory for Proper U.S. Middle East Policy

Liberal columnist Shaker Al-Nabulsi wrote on the liberal website www.elaph.com: "Congratulations to President Bush on his landslide victory in the presidential election. Congratulations to the Republican Party for its landslide success in Congress. This is the first time in the history of America that the Republican Party has gained a landslide victory for the presidency and Congress alike. This landslide victory is the victory of American policy on the Middle East, particularly regarding Iraq, Afghanistan, and the war on terror.

"The American people, [who number] over 100 million voters, elected the president of human freedom who liberated Iraq and Afghanistan and promised to establish a Palestinian state in 2005. [They also elected] the son of the one who previously liberated Kuwait.

"The Arab-Americans who voted for Kerry made a mistake, as we said before. They always put their eggs in a basket full of holes, due to lack of clear and clean political vision, lack of knowledge, and failure to read history properly..."(11)


On U.S. Democracy

U.S. Democracy is Fake

In an article titled 'America: Between Delusions of Power and Democracy,' columnist Suleiman Abu Suwailim wrote in the Jordanian daily Al-Ra'i: "The [American] democracy is based on forgery and deception, and on competition [among the candidates] in their election campaign over killing Arabs and Muslims, whom they consider terrorists; over the occupation of their [Arab and Muslim] land; and over plundering their [Arab and Muslim] resources without any legal justification.

"This is democracy that contradicts what they say, because [this democracy] is against freedom, peace, security, and stability in the world. [This democracy], which is directed by a staff of intelligence [personnel], is based on incitement, surprise, and deception. We have seen how war was declared on Iraq [based on] false intelligence reports and invented claims..."(12)

Jawwad Al-Bashiti, a Palestinian political commentator in Jordan, wrote an op-ed titled 'The Democratic Regime of Which the U.S. Is Proud': "We admit that the political regime in the U.S. is more democratic than the democratic regimes elected in our Arab world. [However,] this regime has capabilities for peacefully controlling the will of the voter, who goes to the polling booths under the delusion that he is voting in a completely free election - because no one forces him to vote for Bush or Kerry - but finds himself obligated to vote for one of them, or to stay home.

"The voter is always forced to choose and vote for the representatives of the same group that controls 90% of the national resources, although it does not constitute more than 10% of the number of inhabitants. Bush rules democratically over a country that rules the world, or tries to rule it, imperialistically."(13)

The Arabs Must Learn from the U.S. Electoral System
Journalist Hassan Younes wrote in the Qatari daily Al-Watan: "The American elections are an important and sad lesson that the Arab world does not study, and in which it makes do with observer status and expresses its hopes for the victory of the candidate that it thinks will realize its own interests...

"The Americans are voting for everything: president, legislature, governors of states, judges, education superintendents, and many officials. This, while the money-hungry ones in the Arab world scrap amongst themselves to gain the ruler's pleasure and a job - by means of which they will be able to plunder and steal everything within reach.

"The American elections are an opportunity for soul-searching in the Arab world, so that [we will be able to] establish a new regime to reflect the expectations and true will of the people. Only democracy can correct what exists, and only [through democracy] is it possible to find solutions to painful and unsolved problems - including, of course, the Arab-Israeli conflict.

"Had there been such democracy in Iraq, neither the first nor the second Gulf War would have broken out. [Also,] neither the invasion and occupation of this Arab country [i.e. Iraq], nor the disintegration and the destruction which we witness today, would have taken place..."(14)

Criticizing the Arab Media's Lack of Objectivity in Election Coverage

Columnist Ahmad Al-Rab'I, wrote in his article 'The Defeat of Kerry and the Arab Media' in the London Arabic-language daily Al-Sharq Al-Awsat: "President Bush's landslide victory in the American presidential elections, the flooding of Congress and the Senate with Republicans, [Bush's] control of political decision-making, and President Bush's winning the largest number ever of popular votes in the history of the United States - [all these] proved the disappointment and superficiality of most of the Arab media across the Arab world.

"Anyone who followed the [Arab] media ... might think that Kerry would win by a landslide - How could it be otherwise, because President Bush as depicted by the Arab media is a failed president hated by the American people. Further, he is an idiot who led to the impoverishment of the Americans and to their entanglement in wars...

"The catastrophe of the Arab media is this mixing of what the media wants and dreams of with reality. [This] mixing of personal ideas and accurate information is self-deception, and deception of the public.

"From the defeat of 1967 [the Six-Day War] to the toppling of Saddam and Bush's victory, the Arab media has presented things wrongly to the people, and the result is always deception of the public. The 1967 war, depicted by the Arab media from the very first hours as a crushing victory ... ended in a shameful defeat, in which Israel conquered all the Palestinian areas along with Arab areas.

"The dissemination of the theory of the possibility of Saddam's victory over America ended with the fall of Baghdad within a few days, while their presentation of Bush as a fool hated by the American people ended in his crowning, again, as president of the world's board of directors.

"The disaster is that some of the Arab media presented Kerry as a man who defends Arabs, without telling people anything about his anti-Arab racism, particularly his racist statements about Saudi Arabia - and without saying a word about his demand to stop being dependent upon Arab oil.

"Until we act objectively ... without mixing reality and imagination, the Arab public will remain the big loser and the primary victim of its inciting media..."(15)

Endnotes:
(1) Al-Safir (Lebanon), November 4, 2004.
(2) Al-Safir (Lebanon), November 4, 2004.
(3) Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), November 6, 2004.
(4) Tehran Times (Iran), November 6, 2004.
(5) Al-Ayyam (PA), November 7, 2004.
(6) Al-Watan (Qatar), November 5, 2004.
(7) http://www.hostinganime.com/abuhafs/ , On this organization's lack of credibility, see MEMRI Inquiry and Analysis No. 185, August 10, 2004, 'Assessing the Credibility of the 'Abu Hafs Al-Masri Brigades' Threats', http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=ia&ID=IA18504 .
(8) Champress (Syria), November 6, 2004.
(9) Al-Dustour (Jordan), November 5, 2004.
(10) Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), November 4, 2004.
(11) www.elaph.com, November 4, 2004.
(12) Al-Ra'i (Jordan), November 5, 2004.
(13) Al-Ayyam (PA), November 6, 2004.
(14) Al-Watan (Qatar), November 4, 2004.
(15) Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), November 7, 2004.



*********************
The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI) is an independent, non-profit organization that translates and analyzes the media of the Middle East. Copies of articles
and documents cited, as well as background information, are available on request.

MEMRI holds copyrights on all translations. Materials may only be used with proper attribution.

The Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI)
P.O. Box 27837, Washington, DC 20038-7837
Phone: (202) 955-9070
Fax: (202) 955-9077
E-Mail: memri@memri.org
www.memri.org


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Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Suitcase Nukes:" Permanently Lost Luggage

This is a story from CNS at the Monterrey Insitue For International Studies

by Nikolai Sokov

On February 8, a London-based Arab newspaper, Al-Hayat, reported that in 1998, in Kandahar, Afghanistan, al-Qaeda had bought nuclear weapons from Ukraine using the services of a Ukrainian scientist, whose first name was Viktor. Multiple news sources immediately linked this story to the 1997 statement by the late General Alexander Lebed, who claimed that a special commission established by the Russian government in 1996 could not account for about 100 portable nuclear devices (commonly known as "nuclear suitcases").

These allegations are not new. In 1998 another London-based Arab daily, Al-Watan Al-Arabi, reported that 20 "suitcase nukes" had been acquired by Chechen separatists, who then sold them to al-Qaeda for cash, arms, and drugs. Another similar story, also from Arab sources, surfaced in 2000, but this time it pointed at Kazakhstan.[1]

As in earlier cases, the Al-Hayat story was immediately and firmly denied by both Ukrainian and Russian officials, all of whom declared that all nuclear weapons had been removed from Ukraine by 1996, and consequently there simply were no weapons to sell. The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine further stated that "the so-called 'suitcase weapons' had never been kept in the territory of Ukraine and had never fallen under its control."[2]

Official denials closely coincide with the findings of a study conducted by CNS in 2002: "'Suitcase Nukes:' A Reassessment." That study concluded that the loss of any nuclear weapons, including portable devices, during the withdrawal of nuclear weapons from Ukraine and other former Soviet republics was highly unlikely (that report was quoted on February 10 by ITAR-TASS along with the statement of Deputy Chief of the General Staff Yuri Baluevski to the same effect[3]).

The relevant findings of the CNS report include the following:

First, portable nuclear devices did, indeed, exist in the Soviet Union, notwithstanding the many denials made by Russian officials in the mid-1990s.

Second, these weapons most likely remained in the custody of the Ministry of Defense's 12th GUMO - the department charged with handling nuclear devices, which also oversaw the withdrawal of these weapons from the newly independent states in 1992-96. Consequently, that department was in a position to ascertain that no weapons remained outside Russia (following Lebed's allegations, a well-known Russian ecologist, Academician Alexei Yablokov, claimed that "suitcase nukes" had been under the control of the KGB, and consequently the records of the Ministry of Defense were incomplete).

Third, these devices, if any had been located outside Russia, were most likely removed to the territory of Russia in 1992. Although the withdrawal of all nuclear weapons was completed only in 1996, tactical weapons were withdrawn by May 1992.

Fourth, the withdrawal from Ukraine was conducted according to a special procedure, which made the loss of any weapons even less likely than in the case of other former republics. Namely, after a temporary freeze on the withdrawal, Ukraine and Russia concluded a special agreement in April 1992, which established strict accounting rules.

One is left to speculate about the reason for publishing yet another story about "al-Qaeda suitcase nukes." Judging by Al Hayat's claim that its source was in Pakistan, the goal of that source might have been to shift attention from the ongoing scandal over secret sales of nuclear equipment and technologies by that country's nuclear scientists.

An unexpected benefit of that story is the availability of additional information about Soviet portable nuclear devices, which allows us to verify and augment the data contained in the CNS 2002 report.

Two years ago, based on scanty information, CNS concluded that such weapons (a) existed and (b) were intended for special forces of the Ministry of Defense (Spetsnaz). We also tentatively sketched the likely characteristics of these weapons. Newly available information confirms and expands these conclusions. It has been disclosed that these weapons were indeed intended for Spetsnaz. Two versions of these devices were created - RA-155 for the army and RA-115-01 for the navy (to be used under water). The weight of one device was 30 kilograms and it could be armed by a single operator in just 10 minutes.[4] These weapons, which were called "nuclear backpacks" ("yadernyi ranets"), had a yield of 0.5 to 2 kilotons and could contaminate areas of up to 10 square kilometers. They were kept at only two secret storage facilities and had never been released to troops.[5]

Information vital for the assessment of the threat presented by these weapons if they had fallen into the wrong hands has also been confirmed, namely that "nuclear suitcases" have a very short shelf-life and have protection against unauthorized use. The former director of Research Institute No. 4 (the research arm of the Strategic Rocket Forces) General (ret.) Vladimir Dvorkin confirmed that portable nuclear devices were designed in such a way that they could not remain in the ready-to-use status for a long time because certain components had to be periodically replaced by experts[6] (sources quoted in the CNS report mentioned regular maintenance at six-month intervals). In addition to some type of permissive action link (PAL) device, they were also protected against attempts to forcibly remove electronic locks. In the event of such an attempt, the weapon automatically switched into a "non-use" mode and would not explode.[7]

Finally, the CNS report concluded that the sensational statement by General Lebed was based on an incomplete study. That study was launched in 1996 in response to reports that several portable nuclear devices had been stolen and landed in the hands of Chechen separatists, but it was not completed by the time Lebed was forced to resign from the position of the Secretary of the Security Council. It remained unknown whether the study was completed and which methods were used, specifically, whether the commission only checked records or also matched records to actual weapons.

The chairman of the commission established by Lebed, Vladimir Denisov, has now come forward to say that the commission was able to complete its job. Furthermore, he disclosed that its members were able to match records to actual weapons or, as he put it, "counted them on fingers."[8] The latter statement also implies that at least in the mid-1990s, a number of portable nuclear devices still existed, contrary to the common belief that they had been eliminated years before.

Thus, even though the Al-Hayat allegations are apparently groundless, it still seems advisable to continue closely monitoring the situation surrounding portable nuclear devices. The most intriguing question remains open: whether such weapons still exist or have been eliminated? Russia was supposed to have eliminated all "nuclear mines" - the category, into which "nuclear suitcases" should fall - according to the 1991 unilateral statements by Presidents George Bush and Mikhail Gorbachev, but implementation of these initiatives has not yet been completed. In 2002, Russia announced that the deadline for completion was extended from 2000 to 2004 due to insufficient funds. To date, there has been no official update on the status of this work.


[1] "Report Links Bin-Ladin, Nuclear Weapons," Al-Watan Al-Arabi, November 13, 1998 (FBIS FTS19981113001081); Emil Torabi, "Bin Laden's Nuclear Weapons," Muslim Magazine (Winter 1998), (accessed on July 13, 1999, no longer available); Michael Binyon, "Osama Bin Laden Said To Have Acquired Tactical Nuclear Weapons," Times (London), October 7, 1998; "Arab Security Sources Speak of a New Scenario in Afghanistan: Secret Roaming Networks that Exchange Nuclear Weapons for Drugs," Al-Sharq al-Awsat, December 24, 2000, .
[2] "MID Ukrainy: Obvineniya Ukrainy v Postavkakh Yadernogo Oruzhiya 'Al Kaide' Bezosnovatelny," (The Foreign Ministry of Ukraine: Allegations That Ukraine Sold Nuclear Weapons to al-Qaeda are Groundless) February 9, 2004, .
[3]"Ni Odin yadernyi Boezaryad Sovetskogo Proizvodstva Ne Mog Popast' v Ruki 'Al Kaidy', Zayavlyauyt Rossiiskie Kompetentnye Litsa," ITAR-TASS, February 11, 2004.
[4] "'Al-Kaida' Grozit Yadernym Oruzhiem," (Al-Qaeda Threatens With Nuclear Weapons) Moskovskii Komsomolets, February 10, 2004.
[5] Viktor Myasnikov, "Eto Byl He hash 'Chemodanchik'," (This Wasn't Our Suitcase) Nezavisimaya Gazeta, February 11, 2004.
[6] Yuri Gavrilov, "A Nu-Ka Uberi Svoi Chemodanchik," (Put Your Suitcase Away), Moskovskii Komsomolets, February 10, 2004.
[7] Gennadi Nechaev, "Smelye Vyvody," (Bold Conclusions), Novye Izvestiya, February 10, 2004.
[8] Yuri Gavrilov, "A Nu-Ka Uberi Svoi Chemodanchik," (Put Your Suitcase Away), Moskovskii Komsomolets, February 10, 2004.


CNS Experts on "Suitcase Nukes":


Nikolai Sokov | Bio
Senior Research Associate
nsokov@miis.edu

William C. Potter | Bio
Director of the Center for Nonproliferation Studies
wpotter@miis.edu



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Last Chance to Stop Stealth Foreign Worker Increase

Call Key Decision Makers RIGHT AWAY!

Your continued effort is needed to help stop a sneaky end-of-the-year push for more foreign guest workers. Earlier, we asked you to contact your legislators to build opposition to efforts to expand the H-1B "high tech" and H-2B "seasonal" guest worker programs. Now we ask you to focus on Senate leadership and key committee members. Help us burn up their phone lines. CALL RIGHT AWAY.

Urgent Action Needed:

Call Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-TN) (202-224-3344) and urge him to keep the omnibus appropriations bill free of amendments to expand the H-1B "high tech" and H-2B "seasonal" guest worker programs.

Check the list below to see if your senator sits on the Appropriations Committee. If so, call immediately and urge your senator to reject efforts to attach language to the end-of-year omnibus spending bill that expands these guest worker programs. (See below for phone numbers and talking points.)

Keep faxing your legislators and urging them to oppose this. Follow this link to send faxes.

Forward this to others and ask them to get involved.

Background:
Business lobbyists have been pushing for more H-1B "high tech" and H-2B "seasonal" guest workers all year. Now that elections are over, it's payback time, and American workers are going to pay if this end-of-the-year guest worker expansion is passed.

Senators Edward Kennedy (D-MA) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) are seeking a limitless exemption to the H-1B cap for foreign nationals holding advanced degrees from U.S. universities. Chambliss is pretty good on other immigration issues, but Kennedy is open-borders all the way and is constantly looking for ways to liberalize our current immigration system.

This guest worker expansion is going to be virtually impossible to defeat if added to the Omnibus Appropriations Bill as planned. Please help us convince key decision makers to keep the appropriations process clean. American jobs are on the line.


Senate Appropriations Committee Members
Alabama - Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) 202-224-5744

Alaska - Sen. Ted Steven (R-AK) 202-224-3004

California - Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) 202-224-3841

Hawaii - Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI) 202-224-3934

Idaho - Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID) 202-224-2752

Illinois - Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) 202-224-2152

Iowa - Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) 202-224-3254

Kansas - Sen. Sam Brownback (R-KA) 202-224-6521

Kentucky - Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) 202-224-2541

Louisiana - Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) 202-224-5824

Maryland - Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) 202-224-4654

Mississippi - Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) 202-224-5054

Missouri - Sen. Kit Bond (R-MO) 202-224-5721

Montana - Sen. Conrad Burns (R-MT) 202-224-2644

Nevada - Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) 202-224-3542

New Hampshire - Sen. Judd Gregg (R-NH) 202-224-3324

New Mexico - Sen. Pete Domenici (R-NM) 202-224-6621

North Dakota - Sen. Byron Dorgan (D-ND) 202-224-2551

Ohio - Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) 202-224-2315

Pennsylvania - Sen. Arlen Specter (R-PA) 202-224-4254

South Dakota - Sen. Tim Johnson (D-SD) 202-224-5842

Texas - Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) 202-224-5922

Utah - Sen. Bob Bennett (R-UT) 202-224-5444

Vermont - Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) 202-224-4242

Washington - Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) 202-224-2621

West Virginia - Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV) 202-224-3954

Wisconsin - Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) 202-224-5653


Talking Points:

As long as Congress allows employers to look overseas to fill jobs, it's always going to be a race to the bottom for wages and working conditions in this country.

It's outrageous to expand guest worker programs when general unemployment is high and unemployment among high-tech American workers is at a 30 year high.

In 2003, caps on the H-1B and H-2B visa programs were reached within no time, which is a clear sign that employers are abusing these programs to cut costs at the expense of American wages and working conditions.

These guest worker programs need to be curbed or eliminated, not made more generous.
Check out our press release and the following issue briefs for more information:


H-1B Visas: Harming American Workers

Why the IT Industry Doesn't Need More H-1B Workers

How Guest worker Programs Harm American Workers

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From Ratherbiased: Network Heads Grapple With New Media World


--At a public forum, the presidents of the nation's three broadcast news operations came to grips with the decline of scheduled television news, admitting that their companies no longer have a monopoly on information.

"It's very different from the comfortable oligopoly that prevailed at the beginning of broadcast news, where you had networks with enormous market share," CBS News president Andrew Heyward said. "I think that's to the public benefit. It puts more pressure on us to be excellent."

Heyward and his colleagues Neal Shapiro of NBC and David Westin of ABC also expressed dissatisfaction with aspects of their coverage, saying that they were not sufficiently skeptical of the Bush Administration's case for deposing Saddam Hussein. The three also said that they were displeased that network exit poll data had proved inaccurate for the second presidential election in a row.


Internet Use, Bias Awareness Increase from Four Years Ago (Updated)

--The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has once again proved its status as the best source of political media demographics with its latest survey, a study of America's attitudes after the 2004 election.

Most notable among the poll's media findings was the continued rise of the internet as a news source for voters. Forty-one percent of respondents said that they used the web to obtain campaign news with 21 percent saying that they used the internet as a primary news source.

That trend was even more pronounced among voters under the age of 30. Nearly 60 percent of these younger voters said they used the internet as a news source while 40 percent said it was their preferred medium.

The other big winners this year was cable journos, particularly those at Fox News Channel which emerged as the most dominant news organization in the Pew survey. Forty percent of respondents said they got their election information mostly from cable news; over half of that number (21%) identified FNC as their favorite news source. The biggest losers on the television side were CBS and MSNBC which were named as a primary source by just nine and six percent of respondents.

Despite an across-the-board increase in media consumption from 2000, Americans did not improve their opinion of the journalists and commentators, ranking the two dead last in terms of satisfaction, below both candidates, both parties, pollsters, and political consultants.

This year's voters were more attuned to perceptions of bias in their news as well. Forty percent of respondents said that media coverage of George Bush's campaign was unfair, up 10 points from four years ago. Thirty-one percent felt that coverage of John Kerry was unfair, compared to 24 percent who thought the same about coverage of Al Gore.

There is much more on the political side of the study that is worth reading including how Bush and Kerry supporters view various issues and their prognostications on a second Bush term.

Relevant links:

Summary:
http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?ReportID=233

Questionnaire:
http://people-press.org/reports/print.php3?PageID=912

Methodological notes:
http://people-press.org/reports/display.php3?PageID=911


Demographic data:
http://people-press.org/reports/tables/233.pdf

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Bin Laden's nuclear plot

This from http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-1357695,00.html Myself and others have been writing about this for several years now and don't really understand why Michael Scheur thinks this is a revelation
------------------
Osama Bin Laden approached a prominent Saudi Arabian theologian to obtain religious approval for the use of a nuclear weapon against the United States, according to a senior CIA analyst who led the hunt for the Saudi-born terrorist chief, writes Tony Allen-Mills.

The theologian provided a “rather long treatise” that concluded Bin Laden was entitled to use the weapon because America was responsible for “millions of dead Muslims around the world”, said Michael Scheuer, the former head of the CIA unit dedicated to tracking Bin Laden.

Scheuer resigned from the CIA last Friday to enable him to speak freely about what he regards as the agency’s failures to take Bin Laden seriously prior to the attacks of September 11, 2001. He was previously known in intelligence circles as the anonymous author of the book Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror.

In an interview to be broadcast on the CBS 60 Minutes programme in America tonight, Scheuer says Bin Laden was criticised in some Muslim circles because he failed to provide advance warning of the September 11 attacks and, according to some interpretations of Islamic law, should first have offered to help convert his victims to Islam.

Scheuer argues that Bin Laden’s recent video appearance amounted to a warning of a future attack.



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Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Theo van Gogh and "Education By Murder" in Holland

by Daniel Pipes
New York Sun
http://www.danielpipes.org/article/2218
http://www.nysun.com/article/4878

"Education by murder" describes the slow and painful way people wake up to the problem of radical Islam. It took 3,000 deaths to wake up Americans, or at least to wake up the half of them who are conservative. Likewise, it took hundreds of deaths in the Bali explosion to semi-wake up Australians; it took the Madrid assault for Spaniards, and the Beslan atrocity for Russians. Twelve workers beheaded in Iraq awoke the Nepalese.

But it took just one death to wake up many Dutch. Indeed, one gruesome killing may have done more to arouse the Netherlands than September 11, 2001, did for Americans.

The reason for this lies in the identity of the victim and the nature of the crime. He was Theo van Gogh, 47, a well-known radical libertarian, a filmmaker, television producer, talk show host, newspaper columnist, and all-around mischief-maker who enjoyed the distinction of being a relative of one of Holland's most renowned artists, Vincent van Gogh. In recent years, Theo garnered attention by critiquing Islam (in a 2003 book Allah Knows Best and a 2004 film Submission).

He was murdered at 8:40 a.m. on November 2 in his hometown of Amsterdam while bicycling down a busy street to work. In the course of being shot repeatedly, Van Gogh beseeched his killer, "Don't do it. Don't do it. Have mercy. Have mercy!" Then the killer stabbed his chest with one knife and slit his throat with another, nearly decapitating van Gogh.

The presumed murderer, Mohammed Bouyeri, 26, a Dutch-born dual Moroccan-Dutch citizen, left a five-page note in both Arabic and Dutch attached to Van Gogh's body with a knife. In it he threatened jihad against the West in general, ("I surely know that you, Oh Europe, will be destroyed"), and specifically against five prominent Dutch political figures.

Police investigators quickly realized that the assassin was an Islamist whom they knew well and had been following until just two weeks earlier; they also placed him in the "Hofstadgroep" network and charged him and six of his associates with "conspiracy with a terrorist intent." The authorities additionally asserted that these had possible connections to the Takfir wa'l-Hijra and Al Qaeda terrorist groups.

That a non-Muslim critic of Islam was ritually murdered for artistically expressing his views was something without precedent, not just in Holland but anywhere in the West. Dutch revulsion at the deed shook the deep complacency of what is perhaps the world's most tolerant society. The immigration minister, Rita Verdonk, one of the five persons threatened, publicly rued the country's having long ignored the presence of radical Islam. "For too long we have said we had a multicultural society and everyone would simply find each other. We were too naïve in thinking people would exist in society together."

Jozias van Aartsen, parliamentary leader of the VVD party, went further, warning that "jihad has come to the Netherlands and a small group of jihadist terrorists is attacking the principles of our country. These people don't want to change our society, they want to destroy it."

One day after the murder, 20,000 demonstrators gathered to denounce the killing, and 30 people were arrested for inciting hatred against Muslims. The interior minister, Johan Remkes, announced that he could not rule out unrest. "The climate is seriously hardened." Proving him right, the next two weeks saw more than 20 arson and bombing attacks and counterattacks on mosques, churches, and other institutions, plus some major police raids, giving the country the feel of a small-scale civil war.

Dutch attitudes toward Muslims immediately and dramatically hardened.. A poll found 40% of the population wanting the nearly million-strong Muslim community no longer to feel at home in the Netherlands. Double that number endorsed more stringent policies toward immigrants.

De Telegraaf, a leading paper, published an editorial unimaginable before the van Gogh murder calling for "a very public crackdown on extremist Muslim fanatics." Even left-wing politicians woke up to the need to speak "harsh truths" about immigration, focusing on the disproportionate criminality of Muslims.

Islamist terrorism in the West is counterproductive because it awakens the sleeping masses; in brief, jihad provokes crusade. A more cunning Islamist enemy would advance its totalitarian agenda through Mafia-like intimidation, not brazen murders.

But if Islamists do continue with overt terrorism, the tough Dutch response will everywhere be replicated.


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Stay home, you pathetic whining maggots

By Ian Robinson

From the Calgary Sun

In the wake of the U.S. presidential election -- in which I cheerfully took a Sun assistant city editor, who figured Senator John Kerry couldn't lose, for $10 (a quick pause to gloat here) Americans disenchanted with President George W. Bush's re-election romp back into the White House, continue to deluge the Canadian immigration website.

How anybody can be unhappy with the president's re-election is beyond me.

Bush has my admiration in no small part because he manages to simultaneously annoy France and Germany, not to mention those renowned deep, geopolitical thinkers, the Dixie Chicks, Bruce Springsteen, P-Diddy or whatever he's calling himself now, Gwynneth Paltrow and Ben Affleck.

Interesting note about France: America invades Iraq without UN approval and America is portrayed as a barbarian striding across the world stage. Recently, France essentially invaded the Ivory Coast to protect its interests there ... without asking the UN squat. Just pointing out the hypocrisy.

Plus, let's face it: France deserves to be annoyed by as many people as possible, as often as possible, if only for encouraging Jerry Lewis by telling him that he was a genius.

Not to mention for exporting snotty wine culture across the Atlantic so that otherwise reasonable North Americans have turned into cork-sniffing oenephiles – although the word sounds like an exotic perversion, it just means wine-nerd – who can actually say with a straight face: "This is a full-bodied Cabernet, rich with a full body tasting of plum, blackberry and leather cooked on an oak plank."

Anyway, the day after the U.S. election, 115,628 Americans checked out the site and those numbers haven't fallen off very much.

Before the election, some U.S. celebrities and numerous other Democrats vowed that they'd move to Canada if Bush were re-elected.

I hope I'm not alone in gently suggesting to those considering coming to Canada: Stay home, you pathetic whining maggots.

Particularly celebrities. Canada has suffered enough without having to put up with any of the Baldwin brothers or – heaven forbid – Barbra Streisand.

And frankly, I don't know if we can afford to feed Michael Moore.

Bad enough that Canada became a haven for the gutless wonders of the 1960s, who fled the Vietnam draft. I sometimes think that the draft dodgers welcomed by the Trudeau government were a political virus that invaded our body politic, and we still suffer the lingering effects of that illness.

Our nation's preposterous pacifism, belief in nonsense such as "soft power" and fidelity to a morally bankrupt United Nations overrun with tin-pot dictators and other left-wing idiocies, may well be traceable back to the influx of thousands of the testosterone-challenged whose allegiance to country was superceded by their allegiance to smoking dope while trying to figure out the inner meaning of Beatles songs.

We have immigrants coming to this country who have been hunted from the air by murderous Islamofascists in Sudan.

Some new Canadians survived the atrocities in Rwanda or old Europe's final convulsions of genocide in the former Yugoslavia.

We have physicians from some parts of the world who are willing to throw away their prestige and power in their homelands for the privilege of driving a cab in Moose Jaw.

As a nation, we ought to welcome our share of people fleeing genuine oppression, and those willing to gamble everything to secure a safe and decent future for their families.

But welcome a bunch of spoiled brats willing to abandon their very nation because they don't like the man elected to be their leader for the next four years?

Geez, in my entire lifetime, there was maybe one prime minister I'd trust to run a street-corner hot dog stand – the rest of them weren't fit for much more than compost – but it never occurred to me to emigrate.

If we close our borders to anybody, it should be these fools. They'll be easy to screen out.

They'll be the ones who are whining.

URL: Http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/Columnists/Calgary/Ian_Robinson/2004/11/14/713559.html




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Bush Breaks First Campaign Pledge By Renewing Call For Illegal Alien Amnesty

Washington, DC— It wasn't quite "Read my lips," but in the last presidential debate in Arizona, George W. Bush clearly stated that he would not support amnesty for illegal aliens. One week after being narrowly returned to office, the president has reneged on that pledge. Bush has dispatched Secretary of State Colin Powell to Mexico City to open discussions with the Mexican government about the size and scope of amnesty for illegal immigrants and for a massive new guest worker program.

"President Bush and Karl Rove have seemingly missed the message of their own, and the Republican Party's, success at the polls ," said Dan Stein, president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). "In spite of a poor record on jobs, further erosion of the middle class, and staggering budget deficits, the people returned the GOP to office because they believed that the Republican Party was more in tune with them on values and respect for the law. One of those gut issues that led voters to ignore the administration's poor record in other areas was the belief that Bush and the Republicans would enforce laws against illegal immigration, not reward illegal immigrants and auction off every job in America to the lowest bidder."

The immigration plan being dusted off in Washington and Mexico City is essentially the same one the administration introduced last January, which proved to be so wildly unpopular among voters that they were forced to shelve it. "Who is the president seeking to reward by reintroducing his amnesty/guest worker proposal?" asked Stein. "Not middle class workers who made it very clear that they are feeling squeezed. Not the millions of families who have lost their health insurance benefits because their employers no longer feel that it is necessary to offer such benefits to attract American workers. Not Hispanic voters, whom polls indicate do not consider this to be high priority and who voted in significant numbers in favor of an Arizona ballot measure that bars illegal aliens from receiving most public benefits.

"The only interest group, besides the estimated 10 to 12 million illegal aliens and their families who could be in line for legal U.S. residency, are cheap labor employers who have come to believe that it is their right to have workers who will work at whatever wages they wish to pay," Stein said.

The latest White House announcement will touch off yet another surge in illegal immigration and further compromise homeland security, predicted FAIR. Last January, when the president first proposed this plan, the U.S. Border Patrol reported a marked increase in the number of people attempting to enter the U.S. illegally in order to benefit from the proposed amnesty. "Aside from betraying the interests of millions of people who voted for him because they believed the president shared their core values, this irresponsible renewal of talk of amnesty will betray those who voted for him because they believed the Republicans were the party that could be entrusted to protect homeland security. You cannot have homeland security and chaos at the border. You cannot have homeland security while granting amnesty to millions of people with only minimal background checks. And you certainly cannot have amnesty and unlimited guest workers, and preserve a solid middle class," asserted Stein.

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Bush Is Facing Tough Choices on Immigration

BY DANIELA GERSON - Staff Reporter of the Sun

URL: http://www.nysun.com/article/4770

One of the most contentious policies of President Bush's first term was a proposal to grant the estimated 8 million to 12 million undocumented immigrant workers in America a path to legal status. Rejecting a general amnesty, the president called his proposal a temporary-worker program. Last week he indicated he would act on his words, no doubt encouraged by Election Day polls showing that 44% of Hispanic voters chose Mr. Bush, up from 35% in 2000.

But if the president intends to use his second-term mandate to reform the country's broken immigration system, it will be a tough road, requiring a careful approach to a growing problem that defies party lines.

"It's not a partisan issue. Both parties are split on it," said sociologist Nathan Glazer, a professor emeritus at Harvard University and co-author of "Beyond the Melting Pot." "On the Democratic side, there are those who are just friends of immigrants, then there are also those who are concerned about [immigrants'] impact on wages. And the Republicans are divided between the business-oriented groups and those who are more nationalistically focused."

Mr. Bush's proposal attempts to appease immigrant groups and employers, by giving foreigners a legal way to work in America, as well as those concerned about unchecked immigration, by providing incentives for temporary workers to return home after their work visas are completed.

"The system is not working," Mr. Bush said in a speech last January when he introduced the proposal. "Out of common sense and fairness, our laws should allow willing workers to enter our country and fill jobs that Americans are not filling. We must make our immigration laws more rational, and more humane. And I believe we can do so without jeopardizing the livelihoods of American citizens."

The proposal includes two key components: a renewable temporary work visa available for immigrants to fill jobs not being taken by American citizens, and a similar visa for undocumented immigrants already working illegally in America, who must also pay a fine for breaking the law.

Despite the president's announcement, the proposal was not linked to any specific legislation, and observers say it will probably take years for a substantial change in the law.

Indeed, the effort appeared stalled until last week, when Secretary of State Powell promised action at talks in Mexico City and Mr. Bush met with Senator McCain, a Republican of Arizona who is author of the immigration bill that is most similar to the president's proposal.

It was a hopeful sign that reform is on the horizon, said a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, Tamar Jacoby.

"I think he's determined to do it," said Ms. Jacoby of the president's intentions." There are a lot of details, getting what can work and then getting the right centrist combination. Business and labor are both very interested in it, but they have very different ideas about how it should work."

In general, she said, the majority of Democrats support immigration reform. Republicans are divided between about a third who want to clamp down on immigration, a third who support it, and a third who are still undecided.

Labor is one of the newest additions to an alliance of unlikely bedfellows that supports immigration reform, including Alan Greenspan, farmers, and a wide spectrum of immigrant groups. Their reasons for supporting reform range from the dearth of Americans willing to take bottom-rung jobs to national security issues, with millions living here under the radar of American law enforcement.

Agriculture is one sector of the economy where the need for reform is most evident.

"We need to have a recognition that a large percentage of agricultural workers have fraudulent work documents," said the executive vice president of the National Council of Agricultural Employers, Sharon Hughes. "Fifty to 70% have fraudulent documents, and the growers have no way of knowing until someone comes around doing enforcement or they get Social Security 'no match' letters."

Ms. Hughes, whose group has been lobbying for immigration reform for nearly a decade, has been pushing the AgJobs Bill, a temporary worker program for agricultural workers that is also similar to the president's proposal. It is one of a handful of bills in Congress that attempts to address specific issues of immigration reform. Another one would provide education for undocumented students

"Now that the elections are behind us, I think we have a good chance to get something done in our sector," Ms. Hughes said. "We've been at this a long time and we really need to get something done."

The linchpin for any immigrant reform, according to many observers, will be how the immigrants already working illegally in America fit into the program, an issue the president has yet to definitively address.

In his speech, Mr. Bush said he "opposes amnesty" and the program "expects temporary workers to return permanently to their home countries," but that some workers will choose to pursue citizenship and will be allowed to do so. Speaking from Mexico last week, Mr. Powell affirmed the president's commitment to reform, but cautioned against keeping expectations too high for a rapid and complete overhaul.

One concern expressed by immigrant and labor groups about the president's proposal is that it might replicate the bracero program, a guest-worker program during World War II, in which "we exploit them and everyone has to leave at the end," said Ms. Jacoby of the Manhattan Institute.

"We don't want to be a rich middleclass country with a poor (immigrant) working class," said Ms. Jacoby, who is the editor of "Reinventing the Melting Pot." "That corrodes our democratic ideal of what kind of country we are."

In spite of Mr. Bush's assurance that the program would not promote illegal activity, critics call it an amnesty in disguise that it is rewarding immigrants who broke American laws and are undercutting citizens for jobs.

"It's probably the most radical immigration proposal any president has ever offered. It's breathtaking and would destroy whole occupations," said the director of the Center for Immigration Studies, Mark Krikorian. Still, Mr. Krikorian, who supports restricting immigration, does not believe the Republican-controlled Congress will support the proposal, saying, "Congress is not going to pass any of that."

The chairman of the Immigration Subcommittee of the House Judiciary Committee, Rep. John Hostettler of Indiana, told the Washington Times last week that passage of Mr. Bush's guest-worker program is unlikely in the House. "We have held hearings in the 108th Congress that indicate such a program would continue a long-term downward spiral in the wages of low-skilled and no-skill workers," he said.

Even immigration experts, who urge the necessity of changing the country's system, question whether Mr. Bush is up to the challenge of passing such a massive immigration reform.

"I'd be very surprised if anything but lip service and more 'beef up the border' were the result," said an immigration historian, Roger Daniels. "Bush has said some good things about immigration, but he hasn't done any of them as president. He has left his good buddy in Mexico high and dry."


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Between the Lines:Bush may have won, but Election results contain no mandate for illegal-alien amnesties.

From NRO ONLINE

By Mark Krikorian

I'm quite sure the White House isn't thinking about immigration right now. But before rolling out its agenda for next year, the administration would do well to examine Tuesday's results, and recognize that they contain no mandate for the president's guestworker-amnesty plan.

The 109th Congress will likely be more favorable toward tough immigration control than the 108th. In all of the notable congressional races, the winner is as good as or better than his predecessor, according to the grades from Americans for Better Immigration — a low-immigration, pro-law-enforcement group. In Texas, Pete Sessions (A+) stays and Martin Frost (D-) goes. Republicans in Oklahoma traded Don Nickles (D+) for Tom Coburn (B+, based on his former tenure in the House). North Carolina also traded up, replacing John Edwards (D) with Richard Burr (B). Thune wasn't very good on immigration while in the House (C+), but he replaces Daschle's D-. DeMint (B), Isakson (B-), and Vitter (B) all replace senators with comparable grades, while Campbell (D+), Fitzgerald (D+), and Graham (F) were so bad, their replacements can't be much worse.

Notably, the first issue ads in the Thune-Daschle and Sessions-Frost races were run last spring by a coalition of immigration-reduction groups, targeting the Democratic incumbents' support for illegal-alien amnesties, and causing squeals of outrage from Tuesday's losers.

Tom Tancredo, leader of the Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus and thorn in the side of the open-borders elements in the administration, easily beat the toughest opponent he's faced in years. He won 60 percent of the vote in his Colorado district — despite a wave of money for his opponent from immigration lawyers, and despite the efforts of a 527 group funded by three multimillionaire Democrats.

In its first electoral test, Tancredo's new immigration-control PAC — Team America — won half the races it supported, quite an accomplishment for a start-up organization.

Also, every member of Tancredo's Congressional Immigration Reform Caucus seeking reelection won, and Tancredo's staff expects the caucus to grow even larger in the next Congress. Also returning in January will be John Hostettler of Indiana, the steadfast chairman of the House immigration subcommittee.

Another good sign was the result in the 26th District of California. David Dreier had been the target of a "Fire Dreier" campaign by two popular radio talk-show hosts seeking to stiffen the spines of lawmakers on immigration (with a career grade of B- on immigration, Dreier was "voted off the island" by the program's listeners for being insufficiently tough on the issue). Though he dodged the bullet and won reelection, he had his smallest victory margin in 24 years, and the smallest margin of any incumbent in California this time around. His opponent — a lesbian environmentalist — did as well as she did in this Republican district because she boarded the Fire Dreier train and ran as one of the nation's few pro-immigration-control Democrats. Dreier appears to have gotten the message; shortly after the Fire Dreier campaign started on the radio, he introduced an uncharacteristically potent immigration measure. Dreier is now a sure vote for future immigration-control legislation.

And on the state level, the Arizona anti-illegal-immigration initiative (requiring proof of eligibility to vote or receive state services) has won handily. Proposition 200 ran even with the president and was widely supported — 47 percent of Hispanics voted for it, plus 42 percent of Democrats, 55 percent of Catholics, and 66 percent of "other" (mainly American Indians). And this was despite (or perhaps because of) monolithic opposition to the ballot measure from politicians of both parties, as well as Big Media, Big Labor, Big Business, and Big Religion. The voters of Arizona sent a clear message that they want something done about the immigration mess in their backyards.

And, lastly, the White House needs to correctly decipher the Hispanic vote. The exit polling by Edison Media Research showed Bush winning 44 percent of the Hispanic vote, a historic high for a Republican, if true. However, this appears to be as suspect as the other results from Tuesday's exit polling, which projected a Kerry victory. Exit polling specifically targeted at Hispanics, conducted by the William C. Velazquez Institute, found that a more believable 31.4 percent of Hispanics voted for Bush. This would be a significant decline from 2000.

Because the presidential candidates were in basic agreement about immigration and therefore swept the issue under the rug, there was no sustained national debate and thus no specific message from voters. But the evidence from Tuesday points to wide public support for muscular immigration enforcement, and little stomach in Congress for any kind of amnesty. The president should reserve his newfound political capital for fights he has a chance of winning (like Social Security or tax reform), rather than waste it on a quixotic effort to enact harmful and politically counterproductive immigration measures.

— NRO contributor Mark Krikorian is executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies.



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Monday, November 15, 2004

It's Payback Time and American IT Workers are Going to Pay

With the Election Over, Congress Aims to Reward Employers With Increases in Guest Worker Program

(Washington, D.C. – November 15, 2004) Even as American high tech companies have been shedding jobs in record numbers, and workers in other sectors of the economy have seen their real wages declining, some in Congress are preparing to use the lame duck session to push through a massive increase in the number of foreign guest workers who may be admitted to the country. With the elections behind them, there is an effort underway to use the remaining appropriations measures still pending before Congress as a vehicle to vastly expand the H-1B high tech guest worker program and the H-2B unskilled worker program.

During the third quarter of 2004, high tech companies in the United States laid-off workers in record numbers. That did not stop them, however, from using every single one of the 65,000 H-1B visas that became available on October 1 - the start of the new fiscal year - to employ foreign guest workers. Meanwhile, as workers in other sectors of the economy struggle through a jobless recovery and adapt to jobs that pay significantly less than the jobs that have been lost over the past four years, employers are demanding access to still more unskilled workers.

"From President Bush on down, every politician in America who ran for office in 2004 ran on the promise of more jobs, better wages and health care benefits for an increasingly agitated American middle class," said Dan Stein, president of FAIR. "No sooner than the votes were counted, they are poised to betray the voters who elected them in order to pay off the special interests who financed their campaigns."

Since 2000, the actual number of IT jobs in America has declined, while unemployment among American IT workers in that sector of the economy has more than tripled. Likewise, unemployment is up across the economy, while millions of Americans who have been lucky enough to find new jobs are working for lower wages and fewer benefits.

"What possible justification could there possibly be for giving companies that are laying off American workers and cutting wages access to still more foreign guest workers?" asked Stein. "We have just gone through an interminable campaign in which politicians of both parties looked voters in the eye and told them that they feel their pain. Yet their first order of business - before the new Congress is even sworn in - is to rub salt in the wounds and reward powerful special interests with more guest workers.

"Worse still, those pushing a hike in the guest worker quota do not even have the courage to do so openly," continued Stein. "Instead of a straightforward bill to increase guest worker visas, they are attempting to hijack the appropriations process needed to keep the government operating to sneak through an increase in the dead of night. That way every member of Congress can later deny responsibility for shoving this dagger into the heart of the American middle class."




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Bordering On Nukes?

You have to wonder (besides politics) why the Bush Administration refuses to pursue effective border and immigration control policies
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New accounts from al-Qaeda to attack the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction
By ADAM ZAGORIN

A key al-Qaeda operative seized in Pakistan recently offered an alarming account of the group's potential plans to target the U.S. with weapons of mass destruction, senior U.S. security officials tell TIME. Sharif al-Masri, an Egyptian who was captured in late August near Pakistan's border with Iran and Afghanistan, has told his interrogators of "al-Qaeda's interest in moving nuclear materials from Europe to either the U.S. or Mexico," according to a report circulating among U.S. government officials.

Masri also said al-Qaeda has considered plans to "smuggle nuclear materials to Mexico, then operatives would carry material into the U.S.," according to the report, parts of which were read to TIME. Masri says his family, seeking refuge from al-Qaeda hunters, is now in Iran.

Masri's account, though unproved, has added to already heightened U.S. concerns about Mexico. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge met publicly with top Mexican officials last week to discuss border security and smuggling rings that could be used to slip al-Qaeda terrorists into the country. Weeks prior to Ridge's lightning visit, U.S. and Mexican intelligence conferred about reports from several al-Qaeda detainees indicating the potential use of Mexico as a staging area "to acquire end-stage chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear material." U.S. officials have begun to keep a closer eye on heavy-truck traffic across the border. The Mexicans will also focus on flight schools and aviation facilities on their side of the frontier. And another episode has some senior U.S. officials worried: the theft of a crop-duster aircraft south of San Diego, apparently by three men from southern Mexico who assaulted a watchman and then flew off in a southerly direction. Though the theft's connection to terrorism remains unclear, a senior U.S. law-enforcement official notes that crop dusters can be used to disperse toxic substances. The plane, stolen at night two weeks ago, has not been recovered.


— With reporting by Syed Talat Hussain

From the Nov. 22, 2004 issue of TIME magazine

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