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another example of American freedom

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  • thekoba@aztec.asu.edu
    Eric Mueller appreciates Mike Ross s articles and has this commentary to add as well as some articles of his own. --Kevin ================= Begin forwarded
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 22 6:04 PM
      Eric Mueller appreciates Mike Ross's articles and has this
      commentary to add as well as some articles of his own.


      ================= Begin forwarded message =================

      Dear Kevin,

      I heard something about this "don't lock your baggage"
      crap. Having lived overseas, I am well aware that
      people can put anything in a bag that you fail to lock
      -- drugs, explosives, whatever -- then when you pick
      up your bag and attempt to go through customs (or
      possibly pass cops on the way out of the airport in a
      domestic flight) you can be stopped and asked to open
      your bag. When they find the contraband items you are

      This might be done by people trying to get illegal
      drugs or other items delivered somewhere, or
      naturally, it might be done to frame you.

      Of course, if one assumes that the agents who bust
      open your bag are the ones who might want to plant
      contraband on you, then this new situation doesn't
      change much of anything.

      But if things might be planted in your luggage by
      smugglers or by other government agencies than those
      supervising the luggage handling per se, then this new
      arrangement greatly facilitates their activity.

      I don't do that much flying, and when I do I have
      always tried to keep checked luggage to a minimum just
      to avoid having to wait for it. On the other hand,
      since pocket knives, scissors, and other such items
      are now banned from carry-on luggage, checking bags
      might be more necessary on some trips.

      I flew to Cincinnati with only carry-on luggage and
      left my edged "weapons" behind. I was thoroughly
      searched, however. To my surprise, even papers in my
      pockets set off their metal detectors for some reason.

      Anyhow, I do not plan to leave my luggage unlocked, if
      and when I fly again, because I'd rather absorb the
      cost of a new suitcase than be jailed for being a drug
      courrier or the like.

      Interesting on the car search story as well. I'm not
      too surprised that there are blanket laws requiring us
      to do whatever they say, basically, and then punishing
      us for "failure to obey an officer's commands." An
      interesting precedent, though.

      Below are some interesting stories that people have
      brought to my attention in the last day or so.




      From a south Korean newspaper:


      US Hawk Warns Not to Rule Out Military Option
      by Ju Yong-jung (midway@...)

      WASHINGTON - Richard Perle, the chairman of the
      Pentagon Defense Policy Board (DPB) advisory panel
      said in a December 17 (local time) interview with the
      Chosun Ilbo, that the option of using military tactics
      should not be eliminated in dealing with North Korea.
      Perle said, "The Bush administration will consider all
      the alternatives, because the dangers involved are so

      He also said those who thought "resolution through
      diplomatic means" meant something other than
      resolution were mistaken, and that "the danger to be
      brought upon us by North Korea's nuclear development
      is so great that it will result in a quarantine of
      unprecedented comprehensiveness."

      On the subject of the interception of North Korean
      Scud missiles headed toward Yemen, he said, "The
      recurrence of such an incident might have the same
      meaning to lawyers but will actually have different
      and important aspects."

      The DPB chairman said that dealing with North Korea
      had different elements, in that it could inflict
      considerable harm on South Korea, and that there was
      no country in the world that supported the rogue
      nation. Perle said he could not understand why the
      Korean government did not fully adopt counter-battery
      artillery techniques, which counter-attack by tracing
      the origin of fire.

      DPB chairman Perle is considered one of the "hawks" in
      US President George W. Bush�s foreign policy advisory
      council. The board includes Henry Kissinger, former
      Secretary of State, Dan Quayle, former vice US
      president, James Schlesinger, former Secretary of
      Defense, and Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the
      House of Representatives.


      From the Daily Telegraph (U.K.)


      US covers up killings of its troops in Kuwait
      By Jack Fairweather in Kuwait City
      (Filed: 22/12/2002)

      Attacks on American forces in Kuwait are being covered
      up and played down because of concerns that further
      disclosures will destabilise military preparations for
      war against Iraq.

      Incidents have either gone unreported or have been
      passed off as harmless recreational shooting by
      hunters, a senior Kuwaiti government official told The

      "The Americans have told us to downplay these
      incidents for fear of creating the sort of climate in
      which further attacks can happen," the official said.

      One United States marine has been killed and five
      seriously injured in terrorist attacks over the past
      two months. Although no further injuries have been
      reported, there have been a number of "close shaves"
      as America's military presence continues to provoke
      hostility among some Kuwaitis.

      The country's leadership and most of its population
      remain resolutely pro-American and grateful for the US
      role in liberating them from Iraqi occupation in 1991.
      Islamic militancy has taken root, however, and there
      is growing anti-American sentiment and support for
      groups such as al-Qa'eda among some young men.

      The American request to play down the terrorist threat
      comes at a sensitive time in its preparations for war.
      US troop numbers have recently risen from 10,000 to
      15,000 and several new camps have been built in
      readiness for the campaign to oust Saddam Hussein.

      A US military official said: "These attacks and the
      threat of further attacks are making a difficult
      environment to operate in. But we are working with the
      Kuwaitis to keep everything under control."

      As part of a widespread government clampdown on
      extremists, there have been more than 70 arrests in
      recent weeks, in addition to several "sedition" trials
      in which Kuwaitis have been accused of advocating
      attacks against American interests.

      The American embassy recently advised its citizens not
      to visit shopping precincts for fear of creating a
      "target" for extremists.

      "The majority of Kuwaitis fully back what the
      Americans are doing. All this trouble is being caused
      by a very small, extremist fringe," said a Western

      Most Kuwaitis have been shocked by the violence in the
      country. However, according to an official at
      Kuwait's ministry of the interior, further incidents
      were "just waiting to happen." He added: "The real
      problem is that we have a lot of wealthy, disaffected
      young men who are looking for some excitement and are
      easily influenced."

      Kuwait already has a record of providing al-Qa'eda
      with high-ranking members. Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, a
      Kuwaiti national who used to teach children religious
      affairs, went on to become its spokesman in

      Last month Kuwaiti authorities also announced the
      arrest of Mohsen al-Fadhli, 22, a "senior" al-Qa'eda
      commander, who confessed to trying to raise funds for
      a terrorist atrocity in Yemen.

      From Reuters


      U.S. Soldiers Watched Massacre of Taliban-Filmmaker
      Wed December 18, 2002 06:09 PM ET
      By Erik Kirschbaum

      BERLIN (Reuters) - Scottish filmmaker Jamie Doran said
      on Wednesday he hoped his documentary about an alleged
      massacre of Taliban prisoners of war last year would
      lead U.S. authorities to investigate any involvement
      of American soldiers.

      In his film "Afghan Massacre: The Convoy of Death,"
      which was broadcast on Germany's ARD television
      network, Doran quotes witnesses who saw U.S. special
      forces stand by and watch as Northern Alliance allies
      murdered Taliban POWs.

      A spokesman for the U.S. embassy in Berlin rejected
      claims made in the film.

      "The claims are completely false that American
      soldiers were involved in the torture, execution and
      disappearance of Taliban prisoners," the spokesman
      said. "In no way did U.S. troops participate or
      witness any human rights violations."

      Doran, an award-winning documentary filmmaker who
      covered the Afghan war for Japanese television, said
      in an interview with Reuters in Berlin up to 3,000
      Taliban POWs were killed late last year after
      surrendering at Kunduz in northern Afghanistan.

      "This film is about the disappearance and murder of up
      to 3,000 Taliban POWs and the involvement of the U.S.
      special forces in that disappearance," Doran said
      after members of the German parliament
      invited him to discuss the alleged massacre.


      Doran, 46, said witnesses from different ethnic groups
      in Afghanistan told him during his investigation into
      the suspected war crimes they saw Taliban POWs herded
      into unventilated shipping containers, where
      many died of suffocation, thirst, or starvation.

      In the film broadcast on Wednesday, eyewitnesses are
      quoted saying some of the Taliban held in the
      containers for up to four days had taken to
      licking sweat off each other and even biting into the
      corpses lying next to them out of desperation.

      One witness said about 600 Taliban POWs who survived
      the shipment of the containers to the Shiberghan
      prison 75 miles away were taken to a spot in the
      desert at Dasht-e-Leili and executed -- in the
      presence of about 30 to 40 U.S. special forces

      "All the injured and sick were transferred to my
      truck," said one eyewitness identified as a truck
      driver but whose face was concealed in the film. "Some
      were injured, some were unconscious. They were shot
      here and here and here," he added, pointing to spots
      in the desert.

      The truck driver, who said he made four trips with
      about 150 Taliban in a container on the back of his
      truck, was asked if American soldiers were present at
      the executions in the desert.

      "Yes, they were here," he said, standing in the center
      of a 1,000 square meter (10,760 square foot) mass
      grave site where bones, army uniform fragments and
      bullet casings were filmed. "Lots of them, maybe
      30 to 40. The first two trips they were here. I didn't
      see them on my last two trips."

      Doran's 55-minute film also includes allegations from
      witnesses who say they saw U.S. soldiers taking part
      in the torture of Taliban POWs at the Shiberghan

      Doran said he spent six weeks trying unsuccessfully to
      obtain comment from the Pentagon in Washington for his

      "I would like to see the American authorities agree to
      a proper investigation," he said. "They have nothing
      to fear from the truth. I have the feeling they hope
      the story will go away.

      "We establish beyond a reasonable doubt that U.S.
      soldiers stood by and did nothing to prevent it (the
      massacre)," he added. "I have absolutely no evidence
      that American troops were involved in the shooting
      took place in the desert."

      Afghan General Abdul Rashid Dostum has rejected
      reports his troops killed up to 1,000 Taliban fighters
      by taking them to Shiberghan prison in the airless
      containers. He said up to 200 died, but they were
      already badly injured from fighting.

      Dostum was a key U.S. ally in late 2001 when he helped
      oust the Taliban from northern Afghanistan with the
      help of U.S. air attacks. U.S. special forces are
      still in the north working with leaders to hunt
      Taliban and al Qaeda members.

      Doran said his documentary was screened on commercial
      and public networks in Britain, Australia and Italy.
      Rights have been sold or are about to sold to networks
      in 25 territories.
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