"“We have lent a huge amount of money to the U.S. Of course we are concerned about the safety of our assets. To be honest, I am definitely a little worried.” "

Chinese premier Wen Jiabao 12th March 2009

""We have a financial system that is run by private shareholders, managed by private institutions, and we'd like to do our best to preserve that system."

Timothy Geithner US Secretary of the Treasury, previously President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.1/3/2009

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Yeah...yeah ..Whatever Part II

The Washington Post on May 12th reported -"Abu Karrar, 41, who said he was an Iraqi member of the insurgent group al-Qaida in Iraq, told a reporter near the town of Karabilah, where Marines were operating, that "we use the same method they use. They use what they call multinational forces, and we use our brothers, the Arabs and Muslims." (see recent pic enhanced by NASA of Abu Karrar)

Now today this guy is named by the Washington Post as replacing the mysterious Jordanian (1 or 2 legged) leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

So let's set up a Google search on "Abu Karrar", I guess it's going to be busy. By the way that's his "nom de guerre" so he actually might be someone else, or not exist, or be Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in a cunning disguise, or made up...or...

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

LUKOIL & Conoco Philips set to exploit Iraq oilfields

Exploitation of Iraqi oil fields has taken 3 years since the invasion. Now after much backstage wrangling the players (No 1 Vagit Alekperov see pic )are making their moves with the new Shia dominated Gubment. The Russian energy companyLUKOIL, the 20th biggest oil company in the world, has Mr Meyer of Conoco Philips on the board, they also never closed their office in Baghdad. LUKOIL is planning to start joint exploration of the West Qurna-2 oil deposit in Iraq with U.S. company ConocoPhillips (they have a 17.7% stake), LUKOIL President Vagit Alekperov announced Tuesday. CP took a stake in LUKOIL last September which they want to raise to 20%.

This deposit has estimated recoverable resources (according to Cambridge Energy Research Associates) at 11.3 billion barrels and is third biggest in Iraq.

"All conditions have currently been met in Iraq that are needed to start project implementation," Alekperov said. "In the near future, LUKOIL Overseas head Andrei Kuzyaev will fly to Baghdad and at the end of the year I might go there as well."

Alekperov is certain the Iraqi side sees the project's validity and assumes that Baghdad will not demand the revision of existing agreements.

Alekperov told journalists that the American company would participate in the exploration of the Iraqi deposit.

LUKOIL also plans to join efforts with ConocoPhillips on the U.S. market. After a visit last week by Vagit Alekperov to meet President Chavez LUKOIL will conduct exploration of Venezuelan oil deposits and produce oil that will be supplied later to U.S. refineries that belong to ConocoPhillips. The resulting oil derivatives will be sold at the more than 2,000 (ex Getty Oil) U.S.-based gas stations that belong to LUKOIL.

LUKOIL will also reduce oil supplies in the East. According to Alekperov, if the company had planned to supply three million tons of oil to China this year, it now is assuming the supply volume will not exceed two million tons this will free rail space for state-owned Rosneft, Interfax reports. Rosneft will supply China with 10 million tons of oil this year via national rail monopoly Russian Railways.

Lukoil produced 81.5 million tons of oil and 5.5 billion cubic meters of gas in 2003. According to Energy Intelligence Group. Their reserves are said to exceed those of Exxon. Vagit Yusopovitch Alekperov was born in Baku, Azerbaijan in 1950. His nicknames, "the General," "Alek the First" and "the Don," are indicative of his indisputable authority at LUKoil, whose name came from the first letters of the three companies that consolidated-- Langepas, Urai and Kogalym. Today LUKoil is among the world's most powerful oil companies,

In March 2004 , LUKOIL's chief executive Vagit Alekperov met Iraq's Oil Minister Ibrahim Bahr al-Ulum who has said that oil companies of different countries should do business in Iraq. According to him, talks with LUKOILl were held in December 2003. During their March 11th meeting in Baghdad, they signed a deal to train Iraqi oil industry employees and students. 40 Iraqi students will study in Russia's I.M. Gubkin Oil and Gas University. Their numbers were due to increase to 100 students in 2005.

Mr. Alekperov has moved into banking and the media. He and Lukoil control the Imperial Bank, several television stations and the newspaper Izvestiya.

For more information see

Oil is not well in Iraq Edward Teague

Yeah! Yeah!...Whatever

Zarqawi Reportedly Shot; 9 U.S. Troops Die in Attacks

By Ellen Knickmeyer and Saad Sarhan
Washington Post Foreign Service
Wednesday, May 25, 2005; A01

BAGHDAD, May 24 -- Insurgent leader Abu Musab Zarqawi, the most-wanted man in Iraq, was shot and wounded in a weekend ambush by U.S. and Iraqi forces, according to one of his lieutenants and a statement attributed to his organization, al Qaeda in Iraq.

Several previous reports have had Zarqawi wounded or ill, noted Lt. Col. Steve Boylan, a military spokesman in Baghdad. "We don't know whether it's fact or fiction," Boylan said of Tuesday night's claim. "He continues to be our No. 1 target."

Asked about the reports, State Department spokesman Richard A. Boucher said in Washington, "I don't know."

So that looks pretty conclusive evidence so we'll run astory saying he's wounded.

(Pssst.... there is a $25MN price on his head...Zarqawi's NOT Boucher's )

Uzbeki Police arrest leading dissenter

Italian State Television say that Human Rights Watch announced that Saidiahon Zaynabitdinov a leading dissenter has been arrested by Police in Tashkent. He claims to have watched the Uzbek troops open fire on inoccent citizens in Andiajn.

Nothing more is known. No other news site carries any reports.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

On the Spit Fines

Chewing gum is a spot on the pavement (US = sidewalk) a stain on the stone, that won’t budge – it costs local authorities a lot of money to remove.

Well, now the forces of Laura Norder are going to stop the spot, eradicate the stain.

Under the Environmental Protection Act 1990 anyone can be fined on the spot up to £50 for littering – not something that absorbs PC Plod’s time or effort. Well the Anti Social Behaviour Act 2003 made littering illegal and the Clean Neighbourhood and Environment Act 2005 defines gum and smoking materials (not just butts) as litter. Local Authorities can now fine you for spitting gum – that means the new breed of ersatz plods, Street Wardens, “Community” Wardens and maybe even Traffic Wardens can fine the gum spitter (but not the swallower) up to £50 – er…on the spot.

The Chewing Gum Action Group, (honestly) sponsored by Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), includes chewing gum industry representatives, the Keep Britain Tidy Group, the DfES, the Local Government Association and the street-cleaning industry has launched a publicity drive which includes both "awareness-raising" advertising and publicity to reinforce strict enforcement measures. This includes posters in busy shopping areas and on telephone boxes and beer mats.

They want to stop gum- gobbing and save money for local authorities faced with big clean-up bills for scraping used gum off the streets.
A special trial began today in Preston and will be extended next month to Manchester and Maidstone.

Specially-designed disposal pouches will be handed out in pedestrian shopping areas. Local councils will also employ trained wardens to issue fines to those who drop gum.

Ben Bradshaw, the oleaginous Exeter MP who lives in Tony Blair’s trousers and is the Environment Minister (also singlehandedly has helped to effect the destruction of the North Sea Cod) said in Ministry Press Release:
"The Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act passed by Parliament before the election included a range of measures to improve the appearance of the local environment. One of them was making it clear that chewing gum is litter and that people who get caught dropping it are liable to be fined.

Reaction to the campaign will be assessed ( let me guess, ...... let’s roll it out nationwide) and the information used to develop a national campaign later this year.

So yet again this Gubment of obsessed micro-managers are flooding our streets, overlooked universally by CCTV cameras, with swarming uniformed Wardens with powers for on the spit fines.

“Man proud man dressed in a little brief authority”.
Measure for Measure (Isabella Act II,Sc. ii)

Want my reaction to the campaign ? I fucking despair.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Ever get that sense of deja vu all over again ?

AFX News Limited
US military confirms plans to consolidate its bases in Iraq
May 22nd 2005

WASHINGTON (AFX) - A US military spokesman in Iraq confirmed a Washington Post report that the US will consolidate its forces in Iraq onto four big air bases.

Lt. Commander Gil Mendez, subsequently told Agence France-Presse in Iraq that 'the information contained in The Washington Post article today accurately depicts the future plan for consolidating bases in Iraq.

The Post article listed 4 bases to be centred at Tallil in southern Iraq, Al Asad in the west, Balad in central Iraq and at Irbil or Qayyarah in the north.

The Post was unclear what happens to US-run detention centres in Iraq which currently hold over 11,000 (?) inmates........

Pentagon Expects Long-Term Access to Four Key Bases in Iraq
New York Times Saturday 19 April 2003

American military officials, spoke this week, of maintaining perhaps 4 bases in Iraq that could be used in the future: the international airport just outside Baghdad; Tallil, near Nasiriya in the south; the third at an isolated airstrip called H-1 in the western desert, along the old oil pipeline that runs to Jordan; and the Bashur air field in the Kurdish north.

The military is already using these bases to support continuing operations against the remnants of the old government, to deliver supplies and relief aid, and for reconnaissance patrols. But as the invasion force withdraws in the months ahead, turning over control to a new Iraqi government…….

"There will be some kind of a long-term defense relationship with a new Iraq, similar to Afghanistan," said one senior administration official. These goals do not contradict the administration's official policy of rapid withdrawal from Iraq …….

Cakewalk In Iraq
By Ken Adelman
Washington Post Wednesday, February 13, 2002; Page A27

Even before President Bush had placed Iraq on his "axis of evil," dire warnings were being sounded about the danger of acting against Saddam Hussein's regime .....

George Galloway hasn't disappeared

Pendennis in the Observer on Sunday, tells the story of George Galloway's visit to Vietnam as a young MP who met with various local dignitaries who recalled the comrades they'd lost during the war. Their stories prompted the young George (now 51) to say he admired his hosts because they, like him, had suffered in the struggle against American imperialism. "I was kicked by a police horse during a protest outside the US embassy in Grosvenor Square,"

According to the Scotsman today GG (now the MP for Bethnal Green and Bow) will be carrying his fight into the heartland of the enemy where he is "set for a money-spinning speaking tour of America's Ivy League colleges" at £5,000 a pop, including Harvard, Princeton and Yale.

He is sure of a welcome according to the South Asia Tribune, "The paper you can Trust" published in Washington, who claim - "He has straddled on the waves of greatness on the wings of causes that demand justice and fair play. What profound devotion and commitment his sincerity voluntarily evokes was writ large on every face of his multi-nation, multi-ethnic, multi-religious followers who had jam packed the Friends Hall at Euston Square, May 18, in their enthusiasm to welcome back their hero after he had singed the holy beards with the filth of their lies in the insulated Senatorial four walls of Capitol Hill in Washington."

BBC listeners and viewers in Scotland have of course benefited from the reporting of GG's Senate triumph ( GG described as "Braveheart" ?) by Bob Wylie.

His presence in Washington begs two questions: why in the current climate of cost cuts, did BBC Scotland send its own man when the BBC’s Washington correspondent, Clive Myrie, was already there .... and more than up to the job?

If BBC Scotland sent anyone, why Wylie? A friend of Galloway who received an acknowledgement in Galloway’s entertaining and "fully authorised" autobiography?(< left)

Full transcript and access to complete video of GG's Senate testimony at Bellaciao

Sadr seeks credibility

Senior aides of Muqtada al-Sadr, Hazim al-Araji & Abdul-Hadi al-Daraji met Sheik Abdul Salam al-Kubaisi, spokesman for the Sunni Association of Muslim Scholars on Sunday (see AP pic). Their intention was to reduce tensions that have flared amid violence that has killed at least 550 people, including 10 Shiite and Sunni clerics, since the new Shiite-dominated government was announced on April 28.

Sadr is also seeking political credibility within the Shia communities – which is backed by military force. His offer of an alliance with the Sunni clerics predicates a joint wish to remove the US and allied forces from the country.

On Al-Arabiya TV last week ,Harith al-Dhari, a Sunni cleric leader blamed the death of Sunni clerics last week on the Badr Brigades. “The people that are behind the campaign of killings of preachers and worshipers are the Badr Brigade," he said. Brigade general secretary Hadi al-Amri in the heated exchange seen by many throughout the Middle East, denied the charge, and accused the Sunni clerical association of wanting to "push Iraq into a sectarian conflict." The militia leader Amri claimed that Dhari and his outspoken son, Muthanna, support the Al-Qaida-allied terrorist network of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Al-Sadr, in an interview on Al-Arabiya TV on Sunday said the talks were aimed at settling the feud between the cleric's association and the Badr Bridges.

"Iraq needs to stand side-by-side for the time being," al-Sadr said identifying the concerns that Iraq's Shiite and Sunni communities were pushing the country toward a civil war.

Sunni leaders announced on Saturday that they had formed an alliance of tribal, political and religious groups to help Iraq's once dominant minority regain power and influence following a Shiite rise to power after Saddam's demise.

The Sunni loss of power since the US inspired elections is seen by most observers as a key source of Iraq's soaring internecine strife which saw many more victims over the weekend.

Elsewhere Laith Kuba, spokesman for Iraq's prime minister, urged Sunni Muslim leaders to take a strong stand on the killing of security forces and others at the hand of the insurgents. Sunni extremists are believed to be driving Iraq's insurgency.

''They should also give their opinion about the killing of civilians,'' he said. ''The Iraqi people want to hear that.'' A court on Sunday sentenced to death three Sunnis claimed to be members of the Ansar al-Sunnah Army “terror group” for killing 3 Iraqi police officers last year.

Survivors and Toe Tags Offer Clues to Uzbek's Uprising

New York Times 23rd May 2005 C. J. Chivers reports from Karasu, Uzbekistan, and Karadariya for this article. Ethan Wilensky-Lanford contributed reporting from Karadariya, and Yola Monakhov from Andijon.

“Much about the events in Andijon, a city of 300,000 in the country's main cotton belt, remains unknown. Uzbekistan has blocked free travel to diplomats, human rights investigators and journalists seeking access to the city.”

This is as good as it gets for a factual clear report about events in Andijon - recommended reading.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

26 June 2005 International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

This year's theme is "Value yourself...make healthy choices"

Put it in your Diary

Poppystan - Karzai gets a kicking from US Embassy

United States Embassy in Kabul, the Afghan sent a 3 page cable to on May 13th to Secretary of State, Condoleeze Rice which the Washington Post claim to have seen.

This memo claims that an American-financed poppy eradication program to cut Afghanistan's huge heroin trade had been ineffective (A recently published US State Department report stated that, since 2003, the area under poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has tripled and now encompasses 510,000 hectares) in part because President Hamid Karzai "has been unwilling to assert strong leadership."

"Although President Karzai has been well aware of the difficulty in trying to implement an effective ground eradication program, he has been unwilling to assert strong leadership, even in his own province of Kandahar," said the cable, which was drafted by embassy personnel involved in the anti-drug efforts.

The cable also blamed the British, who have the top responsibility for counternarcotics assistance in Afghanistan, for being "substantially responsible" for the failure to eradicate more acreage. British personnel choose where the eradication teams work, but the cable said that those areas were often not the main growing areas and that the British had been unwilling to revise targets.

Officials worry that heroin trafficking could threaten the American-led reconstruction effort in Afghanistan and worsen corruption in the country's fledgling central government.(!)

"President Karzai is a strong partner and we have confidence in him," said the State Department spokesman, breezy Richard A. Boucher who seems to favour spectacles of the rosy tinted hue who concludes "We are succeeding in our overall effort" to address the drug problem.

American and Afghan officials decided late last year that a more aggressive anti-poppy effort was too risky. State Department officials had proposed aerial spraying of poppy-growing areas, but the plan was opposed by Chicago educated neo-con Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad and American military officials in Afghanistan who agreed, though effective at killing poppies, spraying fields by aircraft could lead to protests and unrest. (Not to mention a lot of dead fliers and downed spraying planes – mind you didn’t some of those 9/11 guys trained on crop dusters – here’s their chance!)

A spokeswoman for the British Foreign Office defended the choice of targets. (natch)"We don't believe we are picking the wrong targets, but we have a long struggle to go," she said. "We work very closely with the U.S. and other partners."

A major reason Britain picked up the responsibility for counternarcotics efforts is that some 50 tons ends up every year up in European countries compared to the 20 tons estimated to go to the United States.

Since beginning work last month, the country's Central Poppy Eradication Force, an American-trained group, has destroyed less than 250 acres, according to the two American officials. Its original goal was to eradicate 37,000 acres, but that target has recently been “reduced” to 17,000 acres. (That is 50% in my arithmetic) With the poppy harvest now under way, the actual eradication levels will probably be far lower, (you bet!) the American officials said. ( I think they have confused acres with hectares here – the UK now use the latter)

Congress recently passed a supplemental spending bill that included $260 million for the State Department's anti-drug effort in Afghanistan this year.

A senior State Department official said that Mr. Karzai had wanted the eradication team to begin work before the poppy harvest season began in March, when he felt there was a better chance of persuading farmers to give up that lucrative crop. Because of bad weather (entirely unforeseeable of course) and other delays (?) the team did not begin work until early April.

The American officials involved said they also believed that Mr. Karzai might not want to challenge local Afghan authorities and thus incite opposition and even violence ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled for next fall.

A State Department official said that the United States remained optimistic that, through a combination of eradication and reduced plantings, it could achieve a 70,000-acre reduction in poppy planting from last year's record crop, which was estimated at more than 500,000 acres.(unit of measure confusion again I think).

A Karzai spokesman, Jawed Ludin, said that foreign donors had failed to follow through on promises to help farmers shift to other crops and find other sources of income.

Mr. Karzai called for a "jihad" against drugs after his election last November, Mr. Ludin pointed out. He also noted that Mr. Karzai would risk losing his moral authority if promised assistance to the poppy farmers was not forthcoming.

"It is actually the international community that is showing a lack of seriousness, by failing to show that there is an alternative for farmers," he said.(i.e it’s not my fault Guv, I only work here)

On their first day of operations in early April, in the Maiwand district of Kandahar Province (Karzai’s hom epatch), the eradication force encountered armed farmers blocking the fields. Gunfire broke out, resulting in the death of at least one Afghan protester and the wounding of several others.

The American officials said they suspected the protesters had been organized by traffickers and local officials with a stake in the drug trade.(smart thinking there then).

Over the next eight days, according to the embassy cable, American and British officials in Kabul sought help from the Afghan minister responsible for the anti-drug effort, Habibullah Qaderi, to end the confrontation in Maiwand and a similar standoff in nearby Panjwayi. But he was unable to persuade the Kandahar authorities to help, the embassy cable said.

The embassy cable praised Muhammad Daoud, the deputy minister of the interior for the anti-drug effort, for trying to win access for the eradication teams, but it said he had "no support whatsoever from key members" of the government, "namely President Karzai."

President Karzai is due in Washington this week. Has he booked a return flight ?

PS The UN Office on Drugs and Crime remarks "The three neighboring provinces of Osh, Murghab and Andijan (common border area of Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan) called "Osh Knot" covers an intensive cross border trafficking routes.

Avril Lavigne stalker jailed

A Seattle computer technician obsessed with Canadian rock singer Avril Lavigne was sentenced to 30 days in jail for stalking her last week.

James Speedy, 31, entered a plea of innocent in court, but during testimony, admitted to stalking the 20-year-old.

Prosecutors said he had "relentlessly" pursued the singer and had been arrested once before and ordered to stay away from Lavigne and her family. However, he admitted to the judge he showed up at a free ticket mini-concert the singer was giving at a Seattle mall less than 20 minutes from his home in mid 2004. He was arrested before she went on stage and later posted $5,000 bail and released.

Speedy claimed he had no intention of harming the star and had been encouraged to meet up with the star by his wife - so he could get his obsession out of his system.

He told the court: "I wanted to meet Avril Lavigne. I'm not in love with her. I didn't want to hurt her."

Judge Stephen Dwyer described him as being "in an extreme state of denial" and awarded the jail term. He said: "Quite frankly, almost anyone would suspect you're at least a strange-acting person."

Lynnwood Police have been investigating the case since last summer, when they were contacted by Ontario, Canada, police about harassing letters and e-mails sent to Lavigne, Detective Jerry Reiner said. "These did place the family of Avril Lavigne, and Avril Lavigne herself, in fear."

Lavigne was recently named one of the top stars under 25 by Teen People magazine.

She's currently on the road in South Africa and will do a European tour before returning for a North American leg that begins July 12 in her native Canada.

Report Washington Times

Ozat Uzbekistan !

Protestors outside Uzbeikistan Embassy 21 - 5 05

Craig Murray ex HM Ambassador to Uzbekistan joined a protest outside the Uzbeki Embassy in Holland Park, London yesterday to protest about the slaughter of the innocents in the Ferghana valley.

President Karimov has rejected UN Secretary general's call for an International investigation into the events of last weekend when up to 700 men, women and children were killed by Government military, Police and special forces resulted in the exodus of 500 Uzbekis to Kyrgistan.

Earlier this week a group of 37 Uzbeks protesting at the embassy , who threw red ink /paint over the Embassy were arrested and later released without charge.

"Official" Terrorist lights fires of resistance in Afghanistan

Gulbuddin Hekmatyar leads the Mujahideen faction, of fundamentalist Sunni Muslim Pashtuns, the Hezb-e-Islami, which was one of the groups that ended the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. His forces were a main beneficiary of the 7 mujahideen groups recognised by Pakistan and US intelligence agencies for the channelling of money and arms during the 1979-89 war. Among those arms were Stinger surface-to-air missiles. (The first Stinger was fired by a Hezb-e-Islami soldier near Jalalabad on September 25, 1986. The Stingers traced back to the Afghan Mujahedin have since been located in Chechyna. Tajikistan and the Philippines.) Mullah Omar supported him during this period.

Hezb -e - Islami clashed with other groups but refused to share power with Burhan-ud-Din Rabbani and Ahmed Shah Masood of the Northern Alliance for control of the capital, Kabul. As a result the The Hezb-e-Islami ( who with General Dostum) was blamed for the violence and destruction of that period, and Hekmatyr was called the butcher of the Muslims. Many Afghan observers accuse Hekmatyar of killing more Mujahideen members than Communists. After losing support from the Pakistan ISI and Saudi he was forced to flee Kabul when support shifted to the Taliban.

Hekmatyr ended up being given refuge in Tehran where the Iranians saw him as a useful Pashtun bargain counter. However his very vocal opposition to the US and their man Kharzai , became an embarassment and he was expelled and his offices closed on Feb 26th 2002.

Late 2002 it was reported that Hekmatyar was giving full support to Karzai administration, although the warlord's whereabouts were unknown. Soon after Afghan administration arrested 160 people in Kabul in a suspected anti-government plot who were said to be members of Hezb-e-Islami.

Another report claimed the CIA reportedly spotted him in the Shegal Gorge, near Kabul, and tried (unsuccessfully) to kill him with a modified anti-tank missile from a Predator unmanned spy plane. The US still had him in their sights and were said to be behind the arrest in Islamabad in October of his son, Ghairat Baheer.

On February 19, 2003 American tolerance snapped and the US DOS designated Gulbuddin Hekmatyar as a Terrorist.

All has been quiet so far this year, whilst the poppy harvest have been rolling in and the pipeline of drugs packed in bales of cotton shipped by Karimov’s daughter, to the West through Uzbekistan keeps rolling on. According to United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimates, Afghanistan’s total opium output in 2004 was 4,200 tons, a 17 percent increase over the previous year. A recently published US State Department report stated that, since 2003, the area under poppy cultivation in Afghanistan has tripled and now encompasses 510,000 hectares. The report went on to suggest that Afghanistan stood on the brink of becoming a narco-state.Now the warlords see an opportunity to remove the puppet US administration in Kabul, whilst an increasingly desperate Kharzai is asking his US protectors to set up bases in Kabul and elsewhere.

There are reports that five parties met last week near Mazar-e-Sharif (N Afghanistan) and agreed to support the mass mobilisation of people against the US presence.and to turn it into a political movement. Among those present was former Afghan president Burhanuddin Rabbani, Ittahad-i-Islami Afghanistan, a representative of two local Tajik groups and a group came from neighbouring Uzbekistan.
Whilst Western Press reports have been anxious to suggest that the Afghan rioting last week was directly related to the Newsweek report of Koranic toilet douching ( a widely read weekly in Kabul ?) The Taliban radio and prayer leaders at local mosques, were asking Afghans to rise up against the American presence in the country. A prayer leader at a local mosque in Kabul, Maulvi Habibullah Shariati, was arrested when he told those who had gathered for the prayers to kick out the American forces from the country.

The Hizb-i-islami Afghanistan, a Taliban movement led by Maulvi Younus Khalis, as well as Gulbadin Hikmatyar's Hezb -e- Islami were the most active segments within the Pashtun-dominated cities of Kabul, Jalalabad, Khost, Asadabad and Kandahar, that were asking for a massive mobilisation against the US presence in Afghanistan.

Diplomatic sources in Kabul Sources in Kabul see a strong spring offensive that the Taliban fighters have launched, with a much wider and popular a wider political movement against the US.

UK / NATO military observers were seen in the region last week considering a call from the White House (Condi / Rummy et. al. as the ordure hits the aircon)to plunge UK troops into this bloody cauldron.

Watch this space for an announcement about troop movements from the Scotsman John Reid AKA Minister of Defence… augmenting NATO forces (now approx 500) …beefing up the response…sharing the burden…spreading the load … part of a widening response in the War on Terror… blah blah ... pulling US chestnuts out of the fire - re-run history reel .. Terrorist aided by US bites the hand that feeds ... Osama ? Hekmatyar ?

Get yer placards out.

Sadr stirs

Muqtada al-Sadr’s influence continues to grow in Iraq. He stands outside the conformist Iraqi political structure. U.S. and Iraqi forces hold 13 supporters of Muqtada al-Sadr after a swoop on a Shiite mosque in Mahmoudiya, 20 miles south of Baghdad. Iraqi troops confiscated weapons from the mosque . As a result Sadr called for massive demonstrations against the American occupation and the painting of Israeli and Stars & Stripes at the entrances of Mosques. His supporters made their mark.

More than 520 people have been killed since the country’s new Shiite-dominated government was announced April 28.

(C) Very Seriously Disorganised Criminals 2002/3/4/5/6/7/8/9 - copy anything you wish