The unluckiest person in the world

If you’ve ever wondered who the unluckiest person in the world is, I think I’ve found him. His name is Abdul Rahim. In January 2000, he was arrested in Afghanistan by the Taliban. They tortured him. They burned him with cigarettes, smashed his hand, deprived him of sleep, submitted him to water torture, and hanged him from the ceiling. Eventually he “confessed” to being a spy for the United States.

News to spread

Today’s news: An authoritative US intelligence report pooling the views of 16 government agencies concludes America’s campaign in Iraq has increased the threat of terrorism. […] The report, Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States, points out the “centrality” of the US invasion of Iraq in fomenting terrorist cells and attacks. One section of the 30-page report, Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement, describes how the American presence in Iraq has helped spread radical Islam by providing a focal point for anti-Americanism.

Was that a buck I saw whizz past?

Seymour Hersh is the journalist who broke the story of the My Lai massacre, a Pulitzer prize winner. He’s got a new book out. Expect to see it rubbished extensively on TV. Evidence of prisoner abuse and possible war crimes at Guantánamo Bay reached the highest levels of the Bush administration as early as autumn 2002, but Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, chose to do nothing about it, according to a new investigation published exclusively in the Guardian today.

Politics

Wednesday’s Guardian had a story with the headline Bush names rightwing Republican as CIA chief. I half expected to see a story elsewhere on the page saying Study confirms bears defecate in woods or Pope announces he isn’t Jewish. Yes, I’m talking about the guy who says he’s not qualified for a job at the CIA. Also yesterday, Wikipedia’s featured article was MKULTRA. I must admit, I was amazed by some of the details.

9/11 warnings: mistakes were made

So, that memo which mentioned that Al Qaeda was in America, planning a terrorist action, probably involving hijacking a plane, probably like the attack on the World Trade Center… Remember how we were told there was no reason to take it seriously? Well, in early 2000 a Muslim spent a ton of money in Atlantic City, then turned himself in to the FBI. He told them that he had been in training, learning to fly a passenger jet.

First casualty of war

The US-led coalition in Afghanistan has distributed leaflets calling on people to provide information on al-Qaida and the Taliban or face losing humanitarian aid. The move has outraged aid organisations who said their work is independent of the military and it was despicable to pretend otherwise. – Guardian 2004-05-06

Attacked by Saudis? Invade Iraq!

I’m sure there are some people who still doubt that Bush decided to attack Iraq immediately after 9/11, in spite of the fact that the 9/11 attackers were Saudi Arabian and Iraq had nothing to do with it at all. So: PRESIDENT George Bush first asked Tony Blair to support the removal of Saddam Hussein from power at a private White House dinner nine days after the terror attacks of 11 September, 2001.

Wit

Ho ho, tell me another: In Europe last week, French fighter jets almost shot down a civilian helicopter that wandered over Lake Geneva, after a Swiss controller jokingly labeled the helicopter as “al-Qaeda” on his radar screen. —Aviation Web Newswire

OJ’s hunt for the real killers

US News: On the evening of February 1, two dozen American officials gathered in a spacious conference room at the Central Intelligence Agency in Langley, Va. The time had come to make the public case for war against Iraq. For six hours that Saturday, the men and women of the Bush administration argued about what Secretary of State Colin Powell should—and should not—say at the United Nations Security Council four days later.