Afghan court drops case against Christian convert. News reports state that 'An Afghan court on Sunday dismissed a case against a man who converted from Islam to Christianity because of a lack of evidence and he will be released soon, officials said. The announcement came as U.S.-backed President Hamid Karzai faced mounting foreign pressure to free Abdul Rahman, a move that risked angering Muslim clerics here who have called for him to be killed.' An official cited "lack of information and legal gaps in the case"; apparently in Afghanistan it's still OK to execute a person for changing their religion if you do your legal homework. Big Pharaoh, who continues to follow the case closely, sees Abdul Rahman's courage as a true martyrdom operation but advises him to exercise the better part of valor. More reaction at Free Iran. (AP via Yahoo, BP, Free Iran)
Russia denies passing American secrets to Saddam's Iraq. BBC via The Intelligence Summit: 'Russia has denied providing Saddam Hussein with intelligence on US military moves in the opening days of the US-led invasion in 2003. "Similar, baseless accusations concerning Russia's intelligence have been made more than once," a Foreign Intelligence Service spokesman said. A US Pentagon report said Russia passed details through its Baghdad ambassador. One piece of intelligence passed on was false, and in fact helped a key US deception effort, the report said. The report also quoted an Iraqi memo which mentioned Russian "sources" at the US military headquarters in Qatar.' AP via the Jerusalem Post: 'The Bush administration will ask Russia about a report that Moscow turned over information on American troop movements and other military plans to Saddam Hussein during the US-led invasion of Iraq, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Sunday. Rice declined to speculate on whether Russia's actions, as detailed in a Pentagon report based on captured Iraqi documents, resulted in casualties among US troops or what Russian President Vladimir Putin knew about any possible Russian involvement.' Significantly, 'The false intelligence apparently passed on by Russia concerned the date the US was likely to start its main attack on Baghdad. A document from the Iraqi foreign minister to Saddam Hussein, dated 2 April 2003, and quoting Russian intelligence, said the attack would not begin until the Army's 4th Infantry Division arrived about 15 April. This reinforced an impression that the US military were trying to create, in order to catch Iraqis by surprise with an earlier attack, the Pentagon report said.' (BBC via TIS, AP via JPost)
US general says Iran attack "a long way" off. Voice of America reports: 'The chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Peter Pace, said Friday that Washington does not see military action against Iran as an immediate option to force the Iranian regime to scrap its nuclear program. General Pace made the comments on the second day of an official trip to Ankara. Speaking to the private Turkish news channel, NTV, General Pace said, "Iran is a long way from needing any kind of military solution." General Pace added that there was much more that needed to be done "politically and diplomatically before any country considers some kind of military action." ' (VOA)
Hundreds arrested in SE Iran after attacks. Iran Focus: 'Hundreds of people have been arrested in Iran’s south-eastern province of Sistan-va-Baluchistan after a deadly ambush on a government convoy carrying dozens of top provincial officials, an informed source in Tehran told Iran Focus. The majority of those arrested are Baluchis, a predominantly Sunni Muslim ethnic minority, who the authorities have claimed have ties to the attackers. A group calling itself Jondollah has claimed responsibility for the attack. Local state-run media have received instructions from the government not to report the arrests on security grounds, the source, who asked to remain anonymous, said. Twenty-two Iranian government and provincial officials were killed and at least seven, including the governor of the city of Zahedan, were critically wounded in the ambush as their convoy was returning from Zabol to Zahedan in the early hours of March 17. A further seven were taken hostage.' (Iran Focus)
China steps up spying on Russia. Via The Intelligence Summit: '(UPI)- Russia's Federal Security Service or FSB, the successor to the Soviet-era KGB, has arrested Russian scientist Oleg Korobeinikov and charged him with disclosing classified information. Interfax news agency reported Wednesday 23 that Korobeinikov has given a written pledge to the FSB not to leave the area and is currently being interrogated by the FSB. Korobeinikov heads a laboratory of combustion kinetics at the Institute of Chemical Kinetics and Combustion in the Siberian branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences. The FSB would not comment on the case. Korobeinikov is well-known in Russia and abroad and is an associate fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He has published over 170 articles and monographs. Analysts speculate that the recipient of the data was either the United States or China. ... In a second espionage case involving China, in February a Moscow court remanded Russian Academy of Cosmonautics member Igor Reshetin in custody after he was charged with sharing dual-purpose technologies with a Chinese corporation. New intelligence has raised concerns in some states that the People's Republic's international spying network may be larger and more penetrative than previously believed.' Morning Report is not sure what a "larger and more penetrative" spy network looks like, but the Russian's can't be happy about it.
TMG on anti-Semitism, then and now. In a welcome return to the blogosphere, Kat at The Middle Ground has an eye-opening analysis of anti-Semitic themes in 'Mein Kampf' and compares Hitler's famous tract to today's anti-Jewish propaganda:
The first thing to note is the language of Mein Kampf, which punctuated with numerous descriptive phrases, appearing similar in floridity to modern Arabist and Muslim writers. This must make it easier to read, comprehend and regurgitate within the psyche of these modern readers as it reflects or is reflected in popular modern treatise.
Secondly, because the writing follows a logical progression and brings the reader along with Hitler in his own ideological progression, it does not appear to be the ravings of a madman, but an intelligent well thought out position.
Third, because I am reading chapter three in which he describes his Vienna period and begins his discussion of his anti-Semitic emergence, it is not enough to simply say that Hitler hated the Jews and the Muslims (of all professed conditions of the faith from "liberal" to "extreme") hate the Jews thus their shared hatred's make them the same. It is, in fact, exact language, rhetoric, descriptions and values which match ...
Read the rest at the link.
news March 26, 2006