Thursday, November 1, 2007

20 Million Things

I'm trying to follow 20 million stories at the same time this week; I can't even list them all, but I will give you some pointers:


Scotland Yard has been found guilty in the murder of Jean Charles de Menezes, the Brazilian electrician who was shot dead in the subway two years ago [photo] after London cops mistook him for a suicide bomber. The case has been strange from the beginning, with the police being charged not over the death of the man they killed, but rather for allowing him into the subway even though they thought he was a suicide bomber.

Times of London : Scotland Yard guilty over De Menezes death
BBC : Police guilty over Menezes case
Guardian : De Menezes: the key questions
Guardian : Embattled police chief facing further criticism


Retired General John Abizaid says the war in the Middle East might go on for another 50 years.

ABC 13 (NC) : Former Middle East commander sees long road ahead
AP : Abizaid: Mideast Wars May Last 50 Years
Dawn : Retired army general says conflicts could keep U.S. in Middle East for 50 years

Abizaid also says the war should be fought with an all-volunteer army. No draft, please: How uncivilized!

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review : Gen. Abizaid: No draft please


Fighting in the Swat Valley of Pakistan has resumed after a short cease-fire.

Dawn : Fighting resumes in Pakistan’s Swat valley; five militants killed
Dawn : Pakistan says up to 70 militants dead in new clashes

A suicide bomber on a motorbike has attacked a busload of Pakistani Air Force recruits, killing at least eight people and wounding 20 or more. Police say they have found the bomber's head, and that parts of his body were found plastered against the side of the bus.

Dawn : Suicide attack on Pakistan air force bus kills eight
NYT : Suicide Bomber Kills 8 in Pakistan

Pakistan's Supreme Court probably won't reach a decision on the petition against the "re-election" of President General Musharraf until just before his term in office expires on November 15th.

Dawn : Musharraf vote ruling unlikely until after Nov 12

Benazir Bhutto, having caused enough trouble to last at least another week, has left Pakistan for Dubai, promising to return November 8th.

Dawn : Benazir leaves for Dubai
CNN : Bhutto leaves Pakistan for Dubai


The US embassy in Azerbijan may have been the target of an intended attack; on the other hand the authorities may be blowing smoke up our exhaust pipes once again. Reports say police raided and killed and detained and siezed but no report I've seen so far has said anything about bombs or bomb-making materials.

Financial Times : US Baku embassy ‘target of attack’


Shady dealings in the Pentagon's procurement department? What else is new?

WaPo : Protest Leads Army to Reconsider Big Contract


American diplomats are upset about having to choose between going to Baghdad and losing their jobs. I shed no tears for their predicament. They should have resigned en masse years ago as far as I'm concerned.

BBC : US threat over Iraq embassy staff
FOX News : With Shortage of Volunteers, U.S. State Department to Order Diplomats to Serve in Iraq
NY Daily News: Go to where? U.S. civil servants flee Iraq jobs
LAT : Compelled Iraq duty angers U.S. envoys


Karen Hughes is leaving the State Department after finding out that the rest of the world is not interested in being told how great Bush and his administration is for all of us. Some jobs are impossible. Good riddance, anyway.

LA Times : Bush confidant quits administration


We don't use torture. And we don't kidnap people. We just get others to do those things for us. And we're proud of it.

BBC : CIA chief backs rendition flights


The price of a barrel of oil approaches the $100 mark. Somebody's very happy about this but it's not me.

NYT : Price of Oil Reaches $96 a Barrel


The best news analysis of the day comes from Pak Tribune.

US meddling by Kamran Kiani:
Pakistan was never as unstable and vulnerable as it is today. The most important of the reasons for this is America`s interference in our internal matters. Condoleezza Rice and Richard Boucher and other US officials, as well as the American ambassador to Pakistan, exceed diplomatic prerogative when they issue statements on Pakistani affairs. This is extremely annoying to the people of Pakistan, which is why we have such intense anti-American sentiment today.

Then there is Benazir Bhutto, who hastily returned to the country following her deal with the government. May I ask why she went into self-imposed exile, in the first place? She pretends as if no one loves Pakistan as much as she does, which is why she has returned from her life of luxury abroad. As for the people of Pakistan, the Oct. 18 carnage would not have taken place if their memory were not so short.

Why did the multitude have to attend the homecoming rally of such a politician? She would surely have been grilled by the media about the deal and the National Reconciliation Ordinance if everything else had not been overshadowed by the tragedy of the bombings. People should not attend such rallies in the future because they only benefit opportunistic politicians and the participants end up being killed or maimed. The blood spilled in turn gives an opportunity to such politicians, who themselves escape unhurt, to gain sympathy.

Nawaz Sharif left the country under a deal and Benazir Bhutto came back as the result of one, in either case with the same military dictator. All these players have made this country a banana republic. Pakistan needs someone who can lead it to stability. Otherwise the increasing American interference, the threats from the neighbours and from within the country will ultimately lead to its destruction.