November 26 2009
Its's Thanksgiving Day here in the US. Even if you don't celebrate it for any reason, it is a day to think and reflect on what has been happening in the world. So, here is a few of things to reflect on as we move quickly toward a new year.
The Anniversary of the Mumbai Attacks.
"Today is the first anniversary of the attacks on the buildings and hotels in Mumbai by Pakistani Terrorists (it is good remember that not all terrorist necessarily come from the same place, though). The Guardian describes the events of the day in its reporting today.
The first anniversary of last year's terror assault on Mumbai was marked today by a show of strength from the city's security services and a series of ceremonies to remember the 166 people killed by 10 Pakistani Islamist gunmen.
Police marched from the Trident hotel in Mumbai, scene of a hostage drama a year ago, and abseiled down prominent buildings. The security forces paraded armour-plated vehicles, machine guns and amphibious craft – part of a 1.3bn rupee (£16m) upgrade approved after the security forces' ineffectual response to last year's attack.
Religious leaders and diplomats gathered for a candle-lit memorial service in the city's synagogue.
"We will not let the terrorists deter us," said Rabbi Avraham Berkowitz, who is in charge of rebuilding Chabad House, a Jewish centre where six people were killed. "We will continue with the full faith in God that he will protect us."
The two luxury hotels attacked, the Taj and the Trident, both took out full-page newspaper advertisements praising staff and thanking guests. "We offer our heartfelt gratitude … Today we take a step forward. Tomorrow we'll take many more," ran the words."
Things have since quieted down in India, but the threat from their neighbor's terrorist front is still real, as is their own home-growm varities that occasionbally raise their heads. Read the rest of the story here
The travels of Ahmadinejad - Brazil
The Christian Science Monitor is reporting today on the visit of the Iranian president to Brazil and his effusive welcome by President da Silva. They point out that da Silva is actually doing what Obama only suggests should happen--discuss major issues without preconditions, and is apparently having some success. da Silva seems to recognize the inerent dangers but is willing to try.
The Montitor story, written by Taylor Barnes, suggests that real discussions, rather than the rhetoris of the Obama Administration thus far, may produce more real results over time--even with a country that exports terror, rigs elections, and persecutes those opposing the country's leadership. it may also represent an effort by other countries to begin to enter the dialogues ongling on terrorism and middle east peace that so far seem to elude resolution by the major powers. The story is a great treatment of what can happen when leaders want to start their conversations in earnest. Read it here.
Holder's Decision on the Detainees
Criticism of Attorney General Holder's decision to try Khalid Mohammed and others in New York Federal Court conti nues to be pilloried in the press--as it was today in the Washington Post. It has not helped, of course, that both he and the president have made it clear that these guys will be tried, convicted and executed--after a fair trial, of course. From my perspective, there is too much of a possibility that their trials could be thrown out by the judge. Of course, Holder has already said that even if they are not found guilty it would only mean their return to Guantanamo or elsewhere.
What is happening here can only produce a huge black eye for the US. It would have been more prudent to give them a kind of trial in a military copmmission and then execute them. That's done in wartime. To bring them to a civilian court and risk the possibility that they will not be convicted, but still sent to prison would be disasterous for the country that prides itself on exporting democracy and the rule of law to the world. The US has so little credibility now, that erosion of any more may eventually make us irrelevant.
Perhaps the government will reconsider before the trial starts. It would be wise to do so.
See the Post Story here
On the Israeli - Palestinian Front...
There is a website, Right Side News, which often has information on the continuing conflict between Israel and the palestinians. Their latest reports deal with rockt attacks and responses. The statistics are very illuminiating. I have included their graph on mortars and rockets here.
My one criticism is that, while they have charts and graphs for Arab rockets, but not for Israeli rockets and bombs in reponse. That would complete the story. Nonetheless, it has a lot of good information and a great read. See it here
That's it for today.