2008-03-28

Morning Report: March 28, 2008

Stupidity from the usual suspects at NYT and TSA; Muslim groups begin to get a clue on Darfur; updates on the Tibet protests; and a voice from Iraq.

Your tax dollars at work. TSA officials thought a nipple ring was a threat to security, according to a complaint by Mindi Hamlin of Texas. MSNBC: 'A Texas woman who said she was forced to remove a nipple ring with pliers in order to board an airplane called Thursday for an apology by federal security agents and a civil rights investigation. ... Hamlin, 37, said she was trying to board a flight from Lubbock to Dallas on Feb. 24 when she was scanned by a Transportation Security Administration agent after passing through a larger metal detector without problems.' According to Hamlin, the female TSA agent who scanned her declined Hamlin's offer to have the female agent examine her pierced breasts in private, and instead called over a male colleague with a pair of pliers. Unbelievable. Hamlin and her lawyer, Gloria Allred, are considering legal action. Read the full story at the link.

Strategy Page: Muslim groups starting to pressure Arab League on Darfur. Strategy Page: 'March 28, 2008: The Arab League is under increasing pressure from Moslem organizations, to pressure Sudan to stop the atrocities in Darfur. The Arab League has defended Sudan to the world, accusing critics of being anti-Moslem. But many Moslems know better, and are appalled at the suffering of the Moslem victims of Sudan's ethnic cleansing program in Sudan.'

Tibet protest detentions estimated at 2,000. International Campaign for Tibet: 'Tibetan protests have continued and spread even in the presence of substantial security forces. As of March 27, the number of counties in which protests have occurred has increased to at least 42. Official Chinese reports have acknowledged more than 1,000 detentions of persons who surrendered to authorities for rioting. In addition, unofficial reports estimate that authorities have detained at least another 1,200 Tibetan protestors.' Full details at the link.

"According to this theory, Iran is supporting Moqtada al-Sadr in order to rein him in." The Belmont Club examines how CNN's Michael Ware attempts to "patch up a theory that is rapidly falling to pieces."
According to this theory, Iran is supporting Moqtada al-Sadr in order to rein him in. If the US would only leave Iran alone then all would be well. But unfortunately Americans are too stupid to understand that people who are firing EFPs, mortars and rockets are you are not your enemy. By acting against Sadr, America has created the real enemy. ...

But if Iran were determined to advance peace by restraining Sadr why would "the most daring attacks on U.S. forces in the country" be "committed by Iranian-backed breakaway elements of Muqtada's militia faction"? If these are two dogs with the same master how can the master be benign in the one case and malign on the other? Inquiring minds want to know.


Commentary. Kathleen Parker writes of her correspondence with Iraqi journalist Mayada al-Askari, who was the subject of Jean Sasson's book Mayada, Daughter of Iraq.
In the course of the war, Mayada sometimes insisted that the U.S. had to leave for the violence to stop. Like many Americans, she was enraged that no plan was in place for the day after:

“All the resistance, insurgents, party militias and other forces that came through . . . all this would not have taken place if the coalition forces had a clear plan for the day after. . . . Your soldiers need to return home, as more fighting and killing will not solve anything.”

At other times, she insisted that a U.S. withdrawal would plunge Iraq into a ceaseless civil war and genocide.

In June 2006, she wrote: “Tell him (Bush) we are ever thankful for his ousting the dictator, but to forget democracy and announce martial laws, and put an end to the blood bath and misery.”

By April 2007, Mayada was critical of the Democrats and their promises to bring the troops home. Should that happen, she wrote, America “will leave Iraq in its current devastated state, and who knows what will happen in the area, and everything inside this red-hot region.” ...

oday she insists that Iraqis who are not Baathist hope that McCain wins the election for one simple reason: “The man knows the job that has to be done in Iraq. If the U.S. pulls out of Iraq now or anytime soon, then that will mean one thing: al-Qaeda won the war.”

Go to the link to read the whole article. In light of my comments the other day, these words from the article jumped out at me:
Says Mayada: “When you ask the young people of Iraq — what are you, a Sunni or a Shiite? — the ready answer is: I am an Iraqi.”

2008-03-26

Morning Report: March 26, 2008

Iraq resists Iranian control.

Roggio at LWJ: Iraq Security Forces battle Mahdi Army. Long War Journal:
BAGHDAD, IRAQ: The cease-fire extension issued by Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the Iranian-backed Mahdi Army, appears to be in jeopardy after the Iraqi government has launched an offensive against the Shia terror group in the southern city of Basra. Dubbed Operation Knights' Assault, Iraqi security forces have gone on the offensive to wrest control of the strategic oil hub and Iraq's second largest city from Mahdi Army control. The fighting has spread to Baghdad and the southern provinces.

The Knights' Assault is an Iraqi-led operation, and was ordered directly by Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, who is in Basrah to direct the operation along with Interior Minister Jawad Bolani. Basrah has seen an uptick in Iranian-backed terror activity since the British withdrew from the city late last year. Political assassinations and intimidation campaigns have been on the rise as the Iranian work to extend their influence in the oil-rich city.

At least 18 Iraqis were killed, including three policemen, and more than 100 wounded in fighting in the southern city on Tuesday, as Iraqi troops advance to clear neighborhoods controlled by the Mahdi Army. Fighting is reported to have broken out in Baghdad and Al Kut in Wasit province. Curfews have been imposed in Karbala, Wasit, Babil, Diwaniyah, Nasiriyah, and Basrah after fighting between the Mahdi Army and Iraqi security forces broke out in the South. ...


Steve Schippert at TW: Sadr speaks from the gopher hole. ThreatsWatch:
No sooner do I write that there are “no attributions of direct quotes, commands or comment from Muqtada since the Shi’a militia uprising began in earnest” than we ‘hear’ from Muqtada that he threatens a civil revolt in Iraq….sort of. It is a logistical challenge to personally address one’s followers in Najaf, Iraq when one is busy shuttling between Qom and Tehran in Iran.

But Sadrist lawmakers and officials denounced the (US/Iraqi coalition) offensive and said they felt the government is targeting the Sadr organization, which is a powerful political force in southern Iraq.
The cleric’s [al-Sadr’s] aide Hazem Al-Aaraji read a statement on behalf of Sadr, demanding and end to the operation.

He said Sadr’s group was calling for a nationwide strike, and then if the Iraqi government does not comply, he said, “the second step will be civil disobedience in Baghdad and other provinces.” He said after that would come a “third step,” but did not say what it would be.


Two things: First, Sadr does not want to raise his head from the gopher hole, which is a wise precautionary measure. It’s pretty clear that Petraeus does not play games for political consumption (such as the decision to allow Sadr to survive a deathmatch he declared in 2004). It’s also clear that the (largely Shi’a) Iraqi Army and police forces are shooting to kill.

Second, Sadr’s gopher hole is, after all, in Iran. Having a statement read is what leaders do when they either want to remain in the shadows or are not present to make such. In this case, it’s a bit of both most likely. Keep in mind that anyone could have written (or directed the writing of) the statement read. ...


Iraq closes Basra/Khuzestan (Ahwaz) border. Via SKF, a site dedicated to news about Iran's ethnic Arabs discloses that the Iraqi government has closed the border between Basra and Iran's Khuzestan province, indicating that it sees Tehran's hand in militia-led terrorism in Iraq.
Iraqi troops have begun a campaign against the Mehdi Army of Shia extremist Moqtada al-Sadr. Mehdi Army leaders have been arrested, prompting al-Sadr to call for nation-wide civil disobedience. Weapons and improvised explosive devices have been seized in raids. Iran is suspected of being the source of weapons and explosives used by militias in Iraq.

Khuzestan, known as Al-Ahwaz by its indigenous Ahwazi Arab inhabitants, is a major supply route for arms entering Iraq from Iran. Iran has militarised the border region and ethnically cleansed Arab residents to secure its hold on Iraqi militias and direct terrorist attacks inside Iraq. Iraqi militias, the Lebanese Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas group have been mobilised to quash all dissent among Ahwazi Arabs both inside Iran and throughout the Gulf region. This has included the assassination of Ahwazi Arab leaders. The regime has also sought to intimidate Iraqi and British forces. In 2006, it kidnapped Iraqi coast guards in the Shatt al-Arab, which forms the border between Basra and Khuzestan. The kidnapping of British naval personnel in 2007 was inextricably linked to the regime's long-term ambition to impose its territorial control over the strategic waterway and hold Baghdad hostage to its interests.

After receiving documents leaked from the Fajr Garrison in Ahwaz, the British Ahwazi Friendship Society (BAFS) warned three years ago that the militarisation of Khuzestan was establishing the region as a base for terrorist operations inside Iraq. ...


For a Beijing Olympics boycott. Jonathan Quong guest-blogs at Norm Geras and demolishes Norm's well-intentioned arguments against a boycott.

Briefly noted. A big mazal tov to Robert Avrech on the birth of a granddaughter. May you have much simchas and nachas.

Commentary. As we saw yesterday, the departure of Admiral Fallon ("presented to the American public as the one sane mind between a dangerous Bush Administration and conflict with Iran", as Schippert says) may signal that the Administration is feeling more confident about confronting Iran. It's about damn time.

The Belmont Club asks, "How far against Sadr?"
There question about Operation Knight's Assault, Iraqi PM Maliki's onslaught on the Mahdi Army is how far it will go. Bill Roggio reports that the showdown has been in the works for some time.

The current Iraqi offensive has been in the works for some time. The Iraqi Army and police have been massing forces in the south since August 2007, when the Basrah Operational Command was established to coordinate efforts in the region. As of December the Iraqi Army deployed four brigades and an Iraqi Special Operations Forces battalion in Basrah province. The Iraqi National Police deployed two additional battalions to the province.

DJ Elliott, who has been closely following the buildup of the Iraqi Army has watched it expand over the last year. Of particular relevance were the creation of mobile reserves and improvements in the Iraqi Army's capability to sustain combat operations.

The offensive is almost entirely an all-Iraqi show. British forces, though still in Basra are uninvolved. The International Herald Tribune says "U.S. forces also appeared to play little role in the clashes in Baghdad."
Maliki himself toured Basra a few days ago. A Time article by Bobby Ghost speculates on whether Maliki will finish off Sadr as a political force, unlike Iyad Allawi, who crushed Sadr with US help in 2004 only to let him off the hook after intervention by Ayatollah Ali Sistani.

But more than Sistani's intervention saved Sadr's position on that occasion. The US was preoccupied in combating what it felt was the primary threat: al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Sunni insurgency. ...

The fact that operations against the Sadr have been undertaken by the Iraqi Army under a Shi'ite government sends a powerful signal to Iran that this beef is between Baghdad and Teheran. It is not a Sunni-Shia affair nor one in which Washington is the primary belligerent. Iraqi politicians, like every other, are jealous of their power. Iran has in the past tried to run things via Sadr. But now Iraq may be claiming primary power within its borders for itself. Thus, Operation Knight's assault is not only aimed at frustrating Sadr's dream of recreating a Hezbollah-style organization in Iraq, but communicating Iraq's determination to defend its sovereignty internationally.

This, needless to say, is a really big deal. But I want to focus for a moment on Richard's point that "it is not a Sunni-Shia affair." How many times have we heard liberal "intellectuals" pontificating on the importance of understanding the nuances of Sunni versus Shi'a Islam? How eager they are to trot out their erudition on the manifold complexity of the Islamic faith, in pointed contrast to us hawkish ignoramuses who surely don't know one kind of Islam from the other. But as we've seen again and again, everything doesn't reduce to Sunni/Shi'a, and making the supposed Shi'a/Sunni split the focus of everything is itself simplistic and ignorant.

2008-03-25

Morning Report: March 25, 2008

A buildup in the Levant, no-shows in Syria, and the fallout from Fallon in Iraq. Meanwhile, the view across the Atlantic remains murky.

Syria deploys three divisions on Lebanon border. Via Internet Haganah: 'Syria has deployed three military divisions along the borders with Lebanon amidst mounting tension in the region, press reports said Sunday. The leading daily an-Nahar attributed the report to well informed sources, noting that the deployment backs a similar massing of fighters by pro-Syrian Palestinian factions in the Bekaa valley, especially Ahmed Jibril's Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command (PFLP-GC) in the Qoussayah area.' Debka: 'DEBKAfile’s military sources report that the Syrian deployment is backed by the concentration of pro-Syrian Palestinian factions in the Beqaa valley of Lebanon, amid rising war tensions between Hizballah and Israel. Hassan Nasrallah declared Hizballah would wage “open war” with Israel at the end of the 40-day mourning period the group observed for Imad Mughniyeh who was killed in Damascus February 12. His deputy has maintained that Hizballah had “100 percent solid evidence" that Israel had killed Mughniyeh, which Israel has consistently denied.'

A dozen Arab leaders skip Damascus. Summit by proxy? Ha'Aretz: '"The strength of the Arabs is in their solidarity" is the slogan of the Arab League Summit in Damascus, but it seems the Arab world has not been this fragmented for a very long time. The leaders of at least 12 Arab countries will not attend the summit that opens, according to remarks by Arab sources to Haaretz on Monday. They also said no significant decisions will be made at the summit.' Saudi Arabia will be represented by an ambassador-level official, and Egypt by its foreign minister.

Iran, Iraq, and Fallon. Debka: 'US Iraq commander Gen. David Petraeus said he has evidence that Iran was behind Sunday’s bombing of the Iraqi government-US embassy seat in the fortified Green Zone. He accused Iran of training, equipping and funding the insurgents who fired the mortar and rocket barrage. He also charged Iran with adding “lethal accelerants” to the ordnance.' The Belmont Club: 'One of the rumored frictions between Petraeus and former CENTCOM CINC "Fox" Fallon centered around how strongly to respond to threats from Iranian sponsored groups. And Sadr's men would fall under that category. Maj Gen Paul Vallely was quoted as saying CENTCOM may not have been done all that it could to prevent Iran from endangering American troops.' See also SKF.

Karmah free. Michael Totten: '“It was much worse than Fallujah” said more than a dozen Marines who were themselves based in Fallujah.' That was then. This is now:
Today Karmah is no more violent than Fallujah – which is to say, hardly violent at all.

“A lot has changed since just before we arrived,” Lieutenant Macak said. “I arrived in July just when the checkpoints were starting up. We expanded what 2/5 started. We took that snowball and made it bigger. As soon as they put that checkpoint up near the lollipop [a notoriously dangerous traffic circle], the IEDs on IED Alley disappeared.

“That's all it took?” I said.

“Yes,” he said. “But within a couple of weeks of them putting the checkpoint up, they had a suicide car bomb attack. They assumed that no one would want to be out manning that checkpoint if it was just going to get blown up again. So the Marines went out there and fortified it. They maintained a squad-sized Marine element out there for about a month and a half. The Iraqi Police and Provincial Security Forces were out there manning it, as well. We slowly phased the Marines out of it, and now it's exclusively run by Iraqis. No one would ever go past that point. They had kill lines set up. If they saw any vehicle coming down that road, it would be engaged. They knew anything past that line was Al Qaeda. No vehicles were allowed to move from the east to the west toward that checkpoint.”

What happened?
Implementing basic security measures wouldn't work in a counterinsurgency if a significant number of local civilians supported the radicals. But the locals were terrified and savagely murdered and tortured by the radicals on a regular basis. Al Qaeda in Iraq is the self-declared enemy of every human being outside its own members and loyal supporters. Nothing could possibly discredit jihad more completely than the jihadists themselves.


MLK and GOP. The Spirit of Man links a story on the National Black Republican Association.

Briefly noted. Morning Report nominates New York's governor David Paterson for the award of this button.

Commentary. Exit Zero breaks the bad news to Janet Daley at the Telegraph: Americans actually are not living in constant torment from their terrifyingly anonymous, rootless existence. I'll have more to say about this in another post.

2008-03-24

Morning Report: March 24, 2008

Morning Report is back in action. Today's report salutes Magdi Allam for exercising his freedom of thought, conscience, and spirit.

Magdi Allam embraces Roman Catholic Christianity in Easter ceremony. Michael Ledeen:
My friend Magdi Allam, the deputy editor of the Italian newspaper il Corriere della Sera, has converted from Islam to Catholicism and was baptized the night before Easter in a service conducted by the pope in St. Peter’s in Rome. It’s a courageous act, but then Magdi Allam is a brave man. His outspoken criticism of Italian Muslim radicals–especially their support for the Muslim Brotherhood and for Hamas–had already produced threats to his life several years ago, and, ever since, the Italian Government has protected him, his home, and his Italian wife Valentina. The increasingly sloppy Andrew Sullivan calls on his readers to pray for Magdi, who Sullivan says is NOW at risk, when in fact he is accompanied by carabinieri whenever he moves around Rome, and his house is under constant surveillance. So far as I know, no attempt on his life has been made. But, like Salman Rushdie and Ayaan Hirsi Ali, he is precisely the sort of elegant, sophisticated and thoughtful person that sets the Islamic fundamentalists’ teeth on edge.

He has long spoken on behalf of moderate Muslims, and greatly admires Pope Benedict XVI for his courage in simultaneously criticizing the lack of Muslim toleration and openness to human reason. And he incurred the wrath of both leftists and Muslims when he wrote a best-seller entitled “Viva Israele!” ...

Read the rest at the link.

Meanwhile, in Egypt. Sandmonkey covers Christian conversions in Egypt.
While it is illegal to do so, there are evangelical forces operating in Egypt to convert Muslims to Christianity. The two very famous ones are the Protestant Qasr El Dobara church in downtown Egypt, and the Coptic St. Mark Church in Shobra. Qasr El Dobara does good old evanagelism through usually really good sermons, and if you ever go there, you would find that the first 3 rows usually have Hijabis in them. It is rumored that Muslim Evangelist Superstar Amr Khaled actually spent 2 years attending the Qasr ElDobara services in order to learn the ins and outs of evangelistic speeching. One of m christian friends once told me that when he first heard Amr Khaled he thought it was one of Qasr El Dobara's tapes. But that's not our Story. Our Story has to do with St. Mark's church.

You see, St. Mark, on the other hand, doesn't really count on sermons: they convert through exorcisms. Yep, that's right. Exorcisms. I once saw a video of one of his conversions (By the way, there is a whole underground thing with movies and plays in the egyptian coptic community. Forbidden plays, testimonials of the recently converted, and tons of other stuff. And they usually don't share them. Hmmph.. Copts are no fun!) where he did the exorcism on a muslim boy, and then told him to do the mark on the Cross on his chest, and when the boy refused, Makari [Father Makari Yunan] told him that he should do it, because it was Jesus who kicked the demon out, and then left the boy's side, who eventually, and kind of defeatedly, ended up doing the mark of the cross to joyous applause from the congregation. And stuff like this supposedly happens, like, every week.

Go to Sandmonkey's post for a link to the AFP story.

Second thoughts on Egypt strike. Also from Sandmonkey, we read about a political protest organized by Kifaya (Egyptian reformist party). Sandmonkey is cool with the agenda as far as ending police torture and providing a living wage for workers. But he's not so sure about some of the fine print. 'So the campaign is for our borders to be breached and our soldiers attacked, the end of peace with Israel, and in support of the Taliban, Hamas, Hezbollah. Al Qaida and Muqtada's Al Sadr's militia? A7a!! Really? Seriously? Fuck that. I ain't playing with those assholes.' Read it all at the link.

SKF is back. Morning Report welcomes Shiro-Khorshid Forever back after a hiatus. If you haven't already, please consider bookmarking this site, as it's a great resource for Iran-related news. Most recently, here's a transcript of the President Bush interview on Radio Farda.

Commentary. With various projects under construction in my personal life (including having undertaken two computer programming courses), I've been pretty busy. But I anticipate a return to regular posting this week. Stay tuned.

2008-03-18

Chahar Shanbe Souri in Iran - photos and video.

The Spirit of Man: Riot time.
http://thespiritofman.blogspot.com/2008/03/riot-time.html

Photo slideshow (captions in Esperanto):
http://www.ipernity.com/doc/reza.torabi/album/50585

YouTube videos:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f9jRmL316u4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3ZtQHOPUus
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4nfA0potyiY
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtpTLem2bC4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2o0APSpNSFc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=896BFJgjJfI
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CRoJmcB4I9A
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iy7rS6mGVz8
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z9oASQjr1tA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t9lB8mu7FDw
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CgLC-CHOsNc
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fqvWgJWEDKk
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uUCkOBhYjWU
http://persiancards.com/images/ecard/132.swf

2008-03-17

China Cracks Down on Tibet Freedom Protests

With the Olympics coming up, the thugs in Beijing are worried about China's image. Here's a roundup of the Chinese dictators' latest headaches.

Washington Times: China tightens grip on Tibet.
Foreign tourists were asked to leave Tibet yesterday, and witnesses said Lhasa looked like a ghost city after a day of violent protests Friday. Protesters were given until tomorrow to surrender to authorities or face criminal action.

China's official Xinhua news agency reported at least 10 "innocent civilians" were burned to death Friday. The Dalai Lama's exiled Tibetan government in India said Chinese authorities killed at least 30 Tibetans, including at least five by shooting, and as many as 100. The figures could not be independently verified. The Tibetan administration denied that the protesters came under fire.


China blocks YouTube.
Internet users in China have reported that they have been unable to access YouTube.com starting from Sunday. This happened after dozens of amateur videos chronicling the violence in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, were apparently posted on the popular video-sharing site.

Excerpt from Wired blogs:

The blocking added to the communist government’s efforts to control what the public saw and heard about protests that erupted Friday in the Tibetan capital, Lhasa, against Chinese rule. Access to YouTube.com, usually readily available in China, was blocked after videos appeared on the site Saturday showing foreign news reports about the Lhasa demonstrations, montages of photos and scenes from Tibet-related protests abroad.


This Ain't Hell: Buddhist monks lead democracy protests in Tibet.
Just as they did in Burma last fall, Buddhist monks are the engine driving the latest protests in Tibet ...

Go to the link for a complete roundup.

Gateway Pundit links to International Campaign for Tibet:
An unprecedented wave of protests swept monasteries and towns in eastern Tibet as violence and crackdown continued in Lhasa today.

More than a thousand monks were joined by laypeople in a major protest at Kirti monastery and town in Ngaba (Chinese: Aba) Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture, Sichuan, this morning, which led to at least eight, possibly many more, people being killed, according to several sources. Three were named as Norbu, a 15-year old high school student, 30-year old Tsering, and Lobsang Tashi, 35. According to one reliable report, eight bodies had been on display outside the police station in Ngaba, in an act that appeared to have been intended to deter the local populace from further acts of protest.

According to one eyewitness report, the paramilitary armed police had been carrying out drills in the town in a display of force which appears to have angered Tibetans. After a morning prayer ceremony, monks reportedly joined laypeople in a spontaneous protest, shouting slogans of Tibetan freedom and in support of the Dalai Lama before armed police fired into the crowd. An eyewitness report from the area said that the local government run hospital was refusing to treat the wounded.

A crackdown may now be beginning in the county town of Machu (Chinese: Maqu), Gansu province, after an estimated 1500 Tibetans gathered this morning, calling for the Dalai Lama to return to Tibet and shouting pro-independence slogans. Some were carrying Tibetan flags and images of the Dalai Lama. Around 11 truckloads of armed police were seen approaching the protestors by one eyewitness, according to a new report received by ICT.

Information of new protests in the region has emerged today so quickly that full confirmation of all details is not possible. Sources reported that despite high levels of fear and intimidation, and the shock of witnessing people being killed in front of them, Tibetans still had the courage to report on what they had seen. Unlike in Lhasa, where there has been an ethnic element to protests, the demands of demonstrators in monasteries and towns of eastern Tibet appeared to be entirely political, focusing on Tibetan freedom and independence, the return of the Dalai Lama to Tibet, and concerns about the Panchen Lama, Gendun Choekyi Nyima, who has been in Chinese custody since 1995. In one demonstration, protestors reportedly called for the dialogue between the Dalai Lama's representatives and Beijing to be supported. ...

Times Online: Chinese troops parade parade handcuffed Tibetan prisoners in trucks.
The Chinese Army drove through the streets of Lhasa today parading dozens of Tibetan prisoners in handcuffs, their heads bowed, as troops stepped up their hunt for the rioters in house-to-house searches.

As the midnight deadline approached for rioters to surrender, four trucks in convoy made a slow progress along main roads, with about 40 people, mostly young Tibetan men and women, standing with their wrists handcuffed behind their backs, witnesses said.

A soldier stood behind each prisoner, hands on the back of their necks to ensure their heads were bowed.


Dreams Into Lightning welcomes International Campaign for Tibet to the blogroll and our feed reader.

Via International Campaign for Tibet, Race for Tibet: San Francisco.
The International Campaign for Tibet invites Tibet supporters to join our Olympics campaign, Race for Tibet, by participating in two events coinciding with the arrival on U.S. soil of China's official 2008 Olympics Torch. At the University of California in Berkeley on April 7 and at U.N. Plaza in San Francisco on April 8, ICT will engage the public in an examination of China's human rights record in Tibet in this Olympics year.

The Chinese government, to underscore the theme of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, "One World, One Dream," is running the Olympics Torch around the world. The torch arrives in San Francisco - its only North American stop - on April 9.

We hope you will join ICT and a coalition of human rights advocates to honor the principles of fair play and human rights enshrined in the Olympics Charter, under which American and athletes from around the world will compete in Beijing. We will call on President Bush to publicly align himself with our positive message affirming these Olympics ideals before he departs to attend the Games.

Most critically, we will challenge the Chinese government to use the Olympics opportunity to step forward on the world stage, abandoning its human rights abuses and failed policies in Tibet.


A CONVERSATION WITH ICT - APRIL 7, 2008

On Monday April 7 at 7:00 p.m., the International Campaign for Tibet will host an interactive conversation on the situation in Tibet and other human rights considerations around Beijing's hosting of the 2008 Olympics. The event is free and will be at the Joseph Wood Krutch Theatre on the Clark Kerr Campus of UC Berkeley, 2601 Warring Street. For directions please click here: http://www.housing.berkeley.edu/conference/conf_dirto_CKC.html

Refreshments will be served.


CNN:
Anti-Chinese protesters in Tibet Monday faced a midnight deadline to surrender to police or face harsh punishment following days of violence as the region's governor insisted his security forces had showed restraint.

Shops, schools and businesses were open Monday in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, but tensions remained high throughout the territory and three neighboring provinces three days after deadly clashes.


Telegraph: Police flood Tibetan areas ahead of deadline.
Police staged a massive security operation across Tibetan occupied areas of China today in advance of a deadline for rioters and protestors to give themselves up to the authorities.

Convoys of paramilitary vehicles were seen on roads in the provinces of Gansu and Sichuan, which border on the Tibetan autonomous region.

In Rebkong, Qinghai province, which saw some of the earliest protests by monks in the current wave of disturbances back in February, riot squads were jogging in formation towards Tibetan areas of town this morning.

They were joined by hundreds of paramilitary police. ....