Friday, November 02, 2007

Other Items

As if Turkey and northern Iraq didn't have enough problems with the continuing tensions and violence across the border, US Secretary of State and Anger Condi Rice is in Turkey.

From Warren P. Strobel's "Former envoy: U.S. driving Turkey, Iran together" (McClatchy Newspapers):

The retired general who served as President Bush's special envoy to deal with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) said the United States has failed to keep its promises to Turkey to confront the Kurdish terrorist group, and Turkey may feel that it has no choice but to attack the PKK's sanctuary in northern Iraq.
Retired Air Force Gen. Joseph Ralston, in a brief interview, declined to say why he stepped down several weeks ago. But published reports have said that he was frustrated by the Bush administration's failure to act against the PKK.

Strobel quotes Ralston declaring, "The U.S. government should make good on the commitments they have made to the Turks."

Daneil Dombey and Vincent Boland (Finacial Times of London) reported, ahead of Rice's landing, that an offer would be made by the US of "a package of measures:"

concrete measures to allow Mr Edrdogan to show that government-to-government co-operation against the PKK had improved, support for limited Turkish action to punish the PKK for its behaviour, and a longer-term strategy to force it to change tack. The Pentagon also says it is making efforts to provide Tukrey with "actionable intelligence" -- real time information to allow Ankara to strike PKK targets.

Erdogan is Recep Tayyip Erdogan is the prime minister of Turkey. Matthew Schofield (McClatchy Newspapers) sketches out the schedule for diplomatic talks noting that the talking:

opens when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice calls on Turkish officials here Friday and ends Monday when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan calls on President Bush. The meeting Monday will 'determine the steps Turkey will take,' Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babcan said Thursday.

Ankara will tell Rice that the PKK's presence in northern Iraq, which Ankara initially saw develop as a result of the power vacuum in the region after Saddam Hussein's forces were forced to leave in the early 1990s, is now tolerated and supported by the Iraqi Kurds. according to the source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

But someone's feeling rather Alanis. Uninvited, Yusuf Kanli (Turkish Daily News) informs is the Kurdish Jalal Talabani whom some outlets call the Iraqi president but Kanli calls him "the puppet" of the US -- and who can argue with that? He also refers to Barzani as "the local warlord" and calls the US out for its inaction. Barzana runs the northern region of Iraq and is referred to as the leader of the KDP. From "What does the PKK want? What does Barzani want? What does the US want?" (Turkish Daily News):

Obviously Massoud Barzani is keeping the PKK in hand as a bargaining tool for making Turkey recognize him, namely the "Kurdish Regional Administration" as he told Miliyet's Hasan Cemal. Turkey would have perhaps lived with Barzani but as he continues to protect the PKK and to insist on Kirkuk, talks are going nowhere. Besides, isn't Barzani playing with fire while he triest to bargain by using such a terror organization? After all whether or not the PKK is the right trump card for Barzani is debatable. Does the U.S. see the PKK deal as part of the Iranian equation? At this point, the ambassador shared his opinion referring to Turkey, "I think the U.S. prefers Kurds over you."

Glen Carey (Bloomberg News) notes Iraq's Foreign Minister and Kurd Hoshyar Zebari is again asserting Iraq is doing something. It's the same assertion Zebari's made throughout the last few weeks. It's hollow and has been hollow. The northern region is not responsive to Baghdad.

Apparently there is one set of rights for Blackwater mercenaries and another for the rest of us. Normally when a group of people alleged to have gunned down 17 civilians in a lawless shooting spree are questioned, investigators will tell them something along the lines of: "You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law." But that is not what the Blackwater operatives involved in the September 16 Nisour Square shooting in Iraq were told. Most of the Blackwater shooters were questioned by State Department Diplomatic Security investigators with the understanding that their statements and information gleaned from them could not be used to bring criminal charges against them, nor could they be introduced as evidence. In other words: "Anything you say can't and won't be used against you in a court of law."
ABC News obtained copies of sworn statements given by Blackwater guards in the immediate aftermath of the shootings, all of which begin, "I understand this statement is being given in furtherance of an official administrative inquiry," and that, "I further understand that neither my statements nor any information or evidence gained by reason of my statements can be used against me in a criminal proceeding." Constitutional law expert Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, says the offering of so-called "use immunity" agreements by the State Department is "very irregular," adding he could not recall a precedent for it. In normal circumstances, Ratner said, such immunity is only granted after a Grand Jury or Congressional committee has been conveyed and the party has invoked their 5th Amendment rights against self-incrimination. It would then be authorized by either a judge or the committee.

Closing with the New York Times and this entry is dictated. Front page of the New York Times is "Obama Envisions New Relationship With Iran" -- if the text is accurate portrait of Obama's remarks, the article should receive serious attention. However, it's co-written by Michael R. Gordon. Gordo has long pushed a link between Iran arming Iraqis (be it Sunni or Shi'ite -- it's however the mood strikes Gordo). The co-writer is Jeff Zeleny who has his own struggles with the truth. If his campaign issues no clarification then -- as with Social Security -- the left has another example of Barack so desperate to find an issue that he'll go with a lie so many have been combating with the truth.

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Added by Dona: The friend C.I. dictated this too was e-mailing the post. Here's a link to Ian Wilder's online video of Ralph Nader discussing ballot access this summer. Ian and Kimberly Wilder's site is On the Wilder Side.