Bill Weinberg

C-SPAN caves in on Irving imbroglio

In response to a high-profile petition by historians, C-SPAN canceled its planned broadcast of a speech by David Irving; instead it aired a program (on April 3 and April 4) in which Book TV executive producer Connie Doebele admitted it was wrong to plan to "balance" Deborah Lipstadt's lecture with Irving, and expressed regret; and presented brief excerpts of Irving's remarks with a commentator describing him as a Holocaust-denier, rather than uncritically presenting his speech, as it had originally planned. (US Newswire, April 4)

Wiretaps up under Patriot Act

From the AP, April 1:

Washington - The government requested and won approval for a record number of special warrants last year for secret wiretaps and searches of suspected terrorists and spies, 75 percent more than in 2000, the Bush administration disclosed Friday.

Assistant Attorney General William E. Moschella revealed the figure in an annual report to Congress. Last year’s total of 1,754 approved warrants was only slightly higher than the 1,724 approved in 2003. But the number has climbed markedly since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, as authorities have moved aggressively against terror suspects. In 2000, there were 1,003 warrants approved under the 1978 Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Fear in New York City

Writes the NY Post:

April 8, 2005 --

Two teenage New York girls are in prison as illegal aliens after stumbling into a federal probe of recruiters trying to sign up homicide [suicide] bombers, The Post has learned.

The unidentified 16-year-old Muslim girls—who reportedly are being held in a Pennsylvania detention center—were taken into custody last month on immigration charges.

The arrests took place after authorities decided it would be better to lock up the girls than wait and see if they decided to become terrorists willing to die for a cause, law-enforcement sources said.

Terror re-emerges in Egypt

The April 7 nail-bomb attack on a bazaar jammed with foreign tourists in Cairo left three dead, including a French national and a U.S. citizen. A previously unknown group, the Islamic Brigades of Pride, has claimed responsibility. (Al-Jazeera, April 9) The incident harkens back to the wave of terror in Egypt in the '90s led by the underground Islamic Group.

Bigotry unites monotheistic faiths

"Middle East Peace Finally Reached," reads the April 4 headline in the quasi-satirical Swift Report

Leaders of the world's three major faith groups—Christianity,
Judaism and Islam—have agreed to call a cease fire in a dispute that
dates back thousands of years. Instead of warring against each other,
the religions have agreed to join forces against a foe they can all
agree on: homosexuals.

Lebanon deadlocked, closer to brink

The opposition is threatening a new wave of protests in Lebanon, with the country still in political deadlock. Parliament has refused to accept the resignation of Prime Minister Omar Karami (which had been a key victory of the protests), and now Karami is accused of procrastinating on calling new elections, as pledged. (Lebanon Daily Star, April 6)

Saudi petro-producers still can't get it down

Reports the Chinese news agency Xinhua April 6:

Saudi Arabia might increase its crude reserves by 200 billion barrels, Petroleum and Mineral Resources Minister Ali bin Ibrahim al-Nuaimi was quoted by the SPA news agency as saying on Tuesday.

"There is a possibility that the kingdom will increase its reserves by around 200 billion barrels, either through new finds or by increasing what it produces from existing fields," al-Nuaimisaid at an annual meeting of graduates of the Saudi Branch of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The official said Saudi Arabia currently holds 261 billion barrels of oil reserves, which is the largest in the world.

Internecine Wahhabi violence in Saudi Arabia

By any objective standard, the wave of deadly gunplay in Saudi Arabia in recent days is an internecine dispute between rival Wahhabi fundamentalist factions—although that is not how it is being portrayed in the media. Today's claims by Saudi authorities that two al-Qaeda bigwigs are among the 15 killed in three days of fierce gun-battles in Riyadh and al-Qassim will doubtless grab big headlines in tommorrow's papers—although al-Qaeda commander for Saudi Arabia, Saleh al-Oufi, is said to remain at large.

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