Aung San Suu Kyi Speaks With Party Leaders

In a sign of concession, or a sign that Than Shwe wants to take the heat off the military junta awhile, Aung San Suu Kyi was allowed to meet with her Parties Leaders Friday in Burma. (aka Myanmar, but I refuse to call it that.) A representative from the reigning junta was at the meeting.

From International Herald Tribune:

Nyan Win, a spokesman for her party, the National League for Democracy, said Aung San Suu Kyi believed that the military government was “serious and really willing to work for national reconciliation,” Reuters reported.

Analysts say they are watching to determine whether the ruling generals’ outreach to Aung San Suu Kyi is genuine or whether it falls into a well-established pattern of short-lived concessions toward dissidents followed by a return to a hard-line stance. Myanmar has been under military rule for 45 years.

The state-run New Light of Myanmar newspaper said Friday that the government would continue to carry out democratic change, as promised in a convention in July. The convention set up guidelines for a constitution that the junta said was the first of a seven-stage process to establish what it called a disciplined form of democratic rule. But the meeting came 14 years after the first constitutional convention, and the junta has given no time frame for the overall process. The government will “continue striving earnestly for national reconsolidation in true cooperation with the UN Secretariat,” said the paper, which is closely read by diplomats and analysts seeking hints to the secretive government’s intentions.

Aung San Suu Kyi has been captive under house arrest or in jail most of the past two decades. After winning democratic election, she was placed under arrest by the ruling military junta, and Dictator Than Shwe. Her husband died apart from her, and her children grew up without her.

Previous articles

Hillary’s Jihadi Donors

The Clinton Campaign of Corruption continues — this time the donors are terror supporters who even Cynthia McKinney returned money from. Story at IBD:

Some of the donors, in fact, are under active federal investigation for supporting terrorism, money laundering and tax fraud. After the press reported their alleged terror ties in past elections, Democrat Reps. Jim Moran of Virginia and Cynthia McKinney of Georgia had to refund their donations, making national news.

But that hasn’t stopped Hillary from pocketing their money. So much for her promise to fly-speck donations for criminal ties following her fund-raising scandal with fugitive donor Norman Hsu.

In the past several months, the Democrat front-runner has received at least $2,000 from M. Yaqub Mirza, M. Omar Ashraf and Omar Barzinji, records show. Federal agents raided the Virginia homes and offices of the Muslim donors after 9/11, as part of a counterterrorism investigation targeting the so-called Safa group, a Saudi-backed conglomerate of Muslim businesses and charities.

None of the men has been charged with crimes. But their connections are worrisome enough that even Islamist-sympathizing lawmakers such as Moran and McKinney felt compelled to give back their gifts.

Mirza is said to act on behalf of Saudi millionaire Yassin al-Qadi, who’s been designated an al-Qaida financier by the U.S. government, according to WorldNetDaily, which broke the story about the donations.

It wouldn’t be the first time Saudi money has found its way to Clinton coffers. In fact, the “Royal Saudi Family” is listed as one of the top donors bankrolling Bill Clinton’s presidential library in Little Rock.

Again I have to ask — is there any foreign interest group that does not own a piece of the Clintons?

Previous articles on the Clinton Campaign of Corruption:

There’s a growing list of suspect and criminal Hillary Clinton supporters that just keeps getting bigger, today it’s time to add Aaron Tonken to the list.

William Danielcyzk ; Hsu SurrendersBoard of Trustees for New School, New York  ; Sant Chatwal Indian Immigrant Bundler ; “Ray” Jinnah Rehmanpreviously of Pal-C ; Vinod Guptaof InfoUSA ; Mayor Samuel Rivera ; Peter Paul??; Aaron Tonken.

MOP Gets Attention in Iran; Dems Kick up a Storm

The request for expedite of a new class of massive bunker-buster has the attention of the mullahs in Iran. As reprorted by Kansas City.com:

Longer than a Humvee and weighing more than two elephants, the latest and largest bunker-busting bomb is an attention-getter.

The $88 million request last month to speed up the operational ability of the MOP, or Massive Ordnance Penetrator, was noticed by some in Congress who saw a signal that Washington was on track for a war with Iran.

Presumably, its listing as an “urgent operational need from theater commanders” was noticed, as well, by Iran’s leadership.

The 15-ton weapon would be most tailored to blast away at deeply buried nuclear facilities. Defense analysts have predicted any attack on Iran would involve the B-2 stealth bomber using its radar-dodging ways to slip past Tehran’s air defenses and drop bunker busters on places like Natanz, where nuclear facilities hum away 100 feet below the surface.

The jets could be MOP capable by late 2008, said a spokesman at Whiteman Air Force Base, near Knob Noster, home of the B-2 bomber.

In its October emergency appropriations request for $196 million more for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the White House essentially sped up funding for the new bomb. Previously, only about $30 million had been allocated to develop it.

The administration listed the request under “technologies to improve the survivability of U.S. personnel and equipment.”

While American forces at times needed to blast through sturdy defenses during the very earliest stages of the invasions that ousted Saddam Hussein and put down the Taliban, those conflicts now are guerilla and counterinsurgency fights that demand a much lighter touch than a 15-ton bomb.

When Two Tribes go to War

This is dedicated to the Identity, Tradition, Sovereignity committee of the EU, a far right PAC of parliament members with questionably large amounts of “xenophobia”. The article inspiring the dedication is here. This video fits with some of their medieval yearnings.

Taliban Murders 52 Muslim Schoolchildren

In earlier reporting the parliamentary members were mentioned, but this is the most heinous evil of the suicide bombing in Afghanistan earlier this week. From AP:

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — Dozens of schoolchildren and five teachers were among those killed in a suicide attack in northern Afghanistan earlier this week — the country’s deadliest since the fall of the Taliban — the government said Friday.

The 59 schoolchildren had lined up to greet a group of lawmakers visiting a sugar factory in the northern province of Baghlan on Tuesday when a suicide bomber detonated explosives.

“The education minister has ordered that no children should be ever again be used in these sort of events,” said Zahoor Afghan, an Education Ministry spokesman. He said the children ranged in age from 8 to 18.

In all, the explosion claimed the lives at least 75 people, including several parliamentarians, and wounded 96. It was the deadliest attack in the country since the toppling of Taliban regime from power in the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai declared three days of mourning Wednesday and ordered an investigation. No group has claimed responsibility, and the Taliban denied any involvement.

Also Friday, NATO and Afghan troops battled Taliban fighters near Gulistan district in western Farah province. The soldiers seized the district center, killing up to 20 suspected militants who overran it last week, said Gen. Abdul Rahman Sarjang, the provincial police chief.

Bhutto Arrested

UPDATE: BHUTTO RELEASED

Pakistani authorities have removed the detention order after capturing some suicide bombers, story at Reuters:

“The detention order has been withdrawn,” said Aamir Ali Ahmed, Acting Deputy Commissioner of Islamabad.

Earlier in the day police prevented Bhutto from leaving her home and sealed off the capital and the nearby city of Rawalpindi to stop a rally against President Pervez Musharraf.

Bhutto, the politician most capable of galvanizing mass protests against Musharraf’s imposition of emergency rule, appealed to police to let her through their cordon.

“The government has been paralyzed,” Bhutto shouted to supporters across a barbed-wire barricade.

“If he restores the constitution, takes off his uniform, gives up the office of the chief of army staff and announces an election by January 15, then it’s okay,” she said, vowing defiance if Musharraf did not comply.

Musharraf, who took power in a bloodless 1999 coup, said on Thursday elections would be held by February 15, about a month later than they were due.

He also said he would quit as army chief and be sworn in as a civilian president once new judges appointed to the Supreme Court struck down challenges against his re-election.

It remains to be seen whether Musharraf, who had viewed Bhutto as a potential ally, can control events set in train by his shock decision last Saturday to impose emergency rule and suspend the constitution.

student-protest.jpg.

News is just breaking that Benazir Bhutto has been arrested by the military.

Update: There is a 30 day detention order that keeps her under house arrest, just as she was readying a mass demonstration in Rawalpindi. It also comes on the heels of her reaching out to PML-N, the party of Nawaz Sharif, to join her in the march. Police strung barbed wire around her house to keep her inside and has stopped her from departing in her car twice now. 5,000 of her supporters have been arrested, and in phone interviews Bhutto spoke out, saying that Pakistan could become like Iraq, and that it’s in a state of paralysis due to the emergency rule imposed by Musharraf.

Around the country small gatherings of students have been grouping at schools to protest against Musharraf and the blanket on the media, and to protest for Freedom.

[editor – purely personal opinion below] 

The saddest thing to see about all of this is the comments on blogs around the country. While Bhutto is seen as a viable candidate in some parts, the rest of the country dislikes her almost as much as Musharraf.

Pakistan has no real leaders, no statesmen, just people who are aligned to various corrupt power factions and mullahs wedded to evil repression. It’s no wonder that the Islamists are able to gain good purchase in a country where politics is always about the cult of personality instead of ideals, purpose, platform, reason, and the future. This is what happens when tribal factions and splinters are played continuously against each other – only the worst rise to the top. [editor: end of venting.]

More from the Daily Telegraph:

Ms Bhutto told The Daily Telegraph that she would not enter into any negotiations until the emergency rule was lifted, Gen Musharrraf resigns as army chief and the constitution is “revived”.

The government is monitoring the PPPs reaction carefully today to make sure that protests do not create an obstacle to Gen Musharraf’s plans to have his newly formed Supreme Court dismiss objections to his eligibility before resigning as army chief and taking oath as president for second time.

He said that general elections will be held by mid-February but with the imposition of a state of emergency, the arrests of thousand of lawyers, politicians and human rights workers and the dismissal of the chief justice, the credibility of both himself and the polls is in grave doubt.

This comes as the new Supreme Court sworn in after Musharraf arrested and deposed the former justices gets ready to hear the challenges against his candidacy for President. Increasing pressure has come from around the world to both hold free and fair elections, and for him to remove the uniform thus ending the dual offices he holds. This will become unconstitutional on November 15th under the old constitution, if it’s still in effect. 

Meanwhile Metroblogging Islamabad has this:

I’ve just heard on the “wireless” that BB has been placed under house arrest. She announced the “long march” and hey presto, she too has been made “nazar bannd”… the entire nation is at the mercy of the armed forces once again in our turbulent 60 years having to submit our fate to the Armed forces – again.
At the same time we have seen how easily chacha Bush has so much influence over our dear leadership – one phone call and we are on the road to “democracy” !.. The question I’d like to ask is where is the United Opposition ?? it seems each party has once again resorted to thier petty demands which Musharaff easily exploited to his advantage earlier in this year.
Who will lead Pakistan out of this quagmire ?

Meanwhile in the Frontiers the Islamists continue to march forward pretty much unopposed as another garrison of 60 Frontier Corps troops surrendered weapons to them at Druskela Camp in Swat.

More on the situation in Swat from Metroblogging Lahore.

Militants, belonging to a religious extremist lot under the leadership of Mullah Fazlullah have taken over most parts of Swat stressing the imposition of (their own form of) Sharia Law. Mullah Fazlullah is also widely known in Swat as “Mullah radio” as he would make speeches through a pirate FM radio station, calling it holy war against the government. The inhabitants of the region are harassed and are seen evacuating their homes and cities/ villages in troops only for their own safety and freedom.

Al Qaeda or Tribal Attack?

In another attack on oilfields that could send oil prices up again, a Yemeni tribe attacked an oil installation at Shabwah, about 136 miles Southeast of  Sanaa. 16 were killed total including six of the attacking tribesmen. Tribesmen from Bani Harith also took hostages, but those were freed during the fighting.

While the papers have it as related to lack of employment opportunites, there was also sabotage earlier in the week and this comes after Al Qaeda members were sentenced  Wednesday for plotting to attack oil installations. From IHT:

At least six government troops and six tribesmen were killed in a clash Thursday that followed the tribesmen’s attack on an oil installation in Yemen, a local official said.

It was the second attack on the country’s oil industry this week.

The clash took place in the Shabwa province, about 220 kilometers (136 miles) southeast of the Yemeni capital, San’a, when men from the Bani Harith clan attacked a Ukrainian-run oil field installation, the province’s governor, Mohammad Ali Ruwashan, said.

Ruwashan said six other persons were also wounded in the shootout, but it was not immediately clear how many among the wounded were government troops and how many were tribesmen.

Those killed included Yemeni Capt. Abdullah Allwan, commander of the installation’s guard unit…

…Al-Qaida militants have also been active in sabotage operations targeting oil pipelines and power stations in the country.

In June, Yemeni security arrested two men suspected of al-Qaida links who confessed to an unsuccessful attempt to blow up an oil pipeline with TNT near the port city of Aden.

Yemen produces 330,000 barrels of oil a day. In August, al-Qaida militants attacked a power station and a government building in Marib, causing a major power outage.

On Wednesday, a Yemeni court convicted 32 al-Qaida suspects of planning suicide attacks on oil and gas installations in the country in September 2006 and sentenced them to up to 15 years imprisonment