Docudharma Times Sunday November 2

Using McCarthy Era Tactics

And Racism

John McCain Is Unfit To Lead

Sunday’s Headlines:

The campaign that changed America

Congo battles bring new exodus

Roberte Mugabe supporters grab one of Zimbabwe’s last white-run farms

Six months after cyclone, Burmese junta tightens grip

North Korean facade of self-sufficiency can’t hide signs of hunger

Presenting the most glamorous goat in all Arabia

Questions raised over Syrian complicity in US raid

Poland’s Muslims Thrive in Tiny Warsaw Community

Iceland, mired in debt, blames Britain

Tijuana streets flow with the blood of rival drug cartels

Candidates Make Their Final Push on Reshaped Map


Published: November 1, 2008

Senators John McCain and Barack Obama began their final push for the White House on Saturday across an electoral map markedly different from four years ago, evidence of Mr. Obama’s success at putting new states into contention and limiting Mr. McCain’s options in the final hours.Mr. Obama was using the last days of the contest to make incursions into Republican territory, campaigning Saturday in three states – Colorado, Missouri and Nevada – that President Bush won relatively comfortably in 2004. In what seemed as much a symbolic tweak as a real challenge, Mr. Obama bought advertising time in Arizona, Mr. McCain’s home state.

Terrorism Financing Blacklists At Risk

Global System Faces Multiple Challenges

By Craig Whitlock

Washington Post Foreign Service

Sunday, November 2, 2008; Page A01

BRUSSELS — The global blacklisting system for financiers of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups is at risk of collapse, undermined by legal challenges and waning political support in many countries, according to counterterrorism officials in Europe and the United States.

In September, the European Court of Justice threw the future of the United Nations’ sanctions program against al-Qaeda and the Taliban into doubt when it declared the blacklist violated the “fundamental rights” of those targeted. The Luxembourg-based court said the list lacked accountability and made it almost impossible for people to challenge their inclusion.



Four big questions of the presidential election

Who wins, and where, will give clues about the nation’s feelings on race, the role of government and the hold of partisanship.

By Peter Wallsten and Janet Hook

November 2, 2008

Reporting from Washington — Iowa gave the first sign that the American political landscape had changed. ¶ Democrats in an overwhelmingly white state, many from small towns and farms, said an African American man from Chicago was the best choice for president — and by a convincing margin. ¶ Barack Obama went on to build a broader coalition than any previous black candidate, winning the Democratic nomination on an agenda of “change.” John McCain emerged as the GOP nominee, despite a history of breaking from Republican beliefs. He too promised “change” from the nation’s current course. ¶ On Tuesday, as results from the presidential election roll in, so will clues to what kind of change the nation wants, and to how much it has changed in the last four years. ¶ Who wins, and where, will shed light on the nation’s feelings on race, the role of government and the hold of partisanship on the public dialogue. Here are four big questions arising from the 2008 presidential campaign:

Has America’s racial divide narrowed?

Watch Obama on television, and he will often be framed by flags and furnishings reminiscent of the Oval Office. During his overseas trip this summer, Obama enjoyed warm banter with the likes of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, the two men standing at twin lecterns beneath a crystal chandelier.

The campaign that changed America

?It started two years ago and now the race to become the next American President has just two days to run. A momentous campaign has changed the rules of US politics forever. While John McCain has tried to refresh Republicanism in the face of George Bush’s unpopularity, Barack Obama has galvanised millions, received unprecedented funding and crossed gender, age and race lines. America will never be the same again

Paul Harris in Sunrise, Florida

The Observer, Sunday November 2 2008

The crowd could sense history in the warm Florida air. They had come from miles around. The town was called Sunrise. The assembled thousands wanted to see the man who stands on the brink of being the first black president of the United States.

Dan Bernard, 49, had brought his three young nephews and nieces. They had driven for hours. ‘I wanted them to see history. I want them to look back when they are grandparents and be able to say: “I was there”,’ Bernard said.

It was a common sentiment. Obama himself shared it. ‘At this defining moment in history, you can give this country the change we need,’ Obama told the cheering throng, prompting an ear-splitting level of noise


Congo battles bring new exodus

As fighting flares up again between Tutsi rebels and the army, Steve Bloomfield witnessed terrified civilians fleeing their homes in the country’s east

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Marceline was sitting on a long wooden bench outside a ramshackle health post, deep in the Congolese jungle. Her eyes were vacant as she gently bounced her six-month-old son, Patrick, on her knee. His weak cries filled the humid air. Patrick had malaria – a disease that could easily kill someone so young and vulnerable.

When his mother spoke, she sounded like a woman who had given up. As she explained what had happened to her family, it wasn’t hard to understand why. In the past six months, Marceline and her seven children had run for their lives twice. Each time gunmen had entered her village, firing indiscriminately. She had seen men, women and children felled by bullets; had watched with horror as neighbours had been killed as they ran for safety.

Roberte Mugabe supporters grab one of Zimbabwe’s last white-run farms

A leading Zimbabwean farmer working some of the country’s last productive land has had his property invaded by allies of Robert Mugabe.

By Peta Thornycroft in Makonde

Doug Taylor-Freeme is one of Africa’s most respected farmers, a white Zimbabwean chosen by his mostly black peers to be their champion.

Elected unanimously as president of Zimbabwe’s Commercial Farmers Union, Mr Taylor-Freeme has represented the interests of hundreds of thousands of Southern African farmers on international agricultural organisations and he addressed the European Parliament last summer.

But he faced his greatest challenge yet when his property at Romsey, one of Zimbabwe’s last productive farms, was invaded by allies of President Mugabe last week despite half the country teetering on the brink of starvation.

Romsey has the only productive fields for miles around in the once-fertile Makonde South district, 90 miles north of Harare.


Six months after cyclone, Burmese junta tightens grip

Despite its uncaring response to the disaster that killed 150,000, the military is stronger than ever

By Andrew Buncombe, Asia Correspondent

Sunday, 2 November 2008

Six months after a huge cyclone tore through Burma’s Irrawaddy Delta, killing up to 150,000 people, thousands of people remain dependent on food aid. The disaster set the country’s military junta one of its biggest challenges in more than four decades of oppressive rule, but, if anything, its grip has been strengthened.

The latest risk to the population of the Delta, the most densely populated area of the country, is a lack of drinking water. Immediately after the cyclone, most people relied on monsoon rain for safe water. But now the dry season is coming, and despite an enormous effort to clean up drinking water ponds, many are still unfit for consumption.

North Korean facade of self-sufficiency can’t hide signs of hunger

In the countryside, listless adults and children wander about. Many in the isolated nation try to work the fields, but lack fertilizer and equipment.

By Barbara Demick

November 2, 2008

Reporting from Nampo, North Korea — Along the sides of the road, people comb through the grass looking for edible weeds. In the center of town, a boy about 9 years old wears a tattered army jacket hanging below his knees. He has no shoes.

Sprawled on the lawn outside a bathhouse, poorly dressed people lie on the grass, either with no better place to go or no energy to do so at 10 a.m. on a weekday.

Despite efforts to keep North Korea’s extreme poverty out of view, a glance around the countryside shows a population in distress. At the root of the problem is a chronic food shortage, the result of inflation, strained relations with neighboring countries and flooding in previous years.

Aid agencies say the level of hunger is not at the point it was in the 1990s, when it was defined as a famine, although they have found a few cases of children suffering from kwashiorkor, the swollen belly syndrome associated with malnutrition. Mostly what they are seeing is a kind of collective listlessness — the kind shown by the people on the streets of Nampo.

Middle East

Presenting the most glamorous goat in all Arabia

Contestants in the Gulf’s most hotly contested beauty pageant turn heads with their shaggy coats and unnerving eyes

?By David Randall

Sunday, 2 November 2008

There are nanny goats, nervous goats, and probably even nefarious goats. And now, we learn, there are also Najdi goats – the most desirable and expensive in the world. And, for a mere £16,500, plus shipping, one of these beauties – the newly crowned thoroughbreds of the goating world – can now be yours.

The place to go for a Najdi goat is Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where, following the famous competitions for the most comely camel, the latest pageant for good-looking beasts has been held. Owners of pedigree Najdi goats from around the Gulf region converged on Riyadh in the past week, hoping to win the prizes for top male and top female goat. “The Najdi goat is a pure national product like nothing else in the world,” said Sheikh Faisal al-Saadoun, a Saudi breeder who organised the show. “They are different in terms of beauty, shape and how eye-catching they are.”

Questions raised over Syrian complicity in US raid>

Syria has denounced a US strike on its territory but sources say Damascus secretly backed the raid

From The Sunday Times

November 2, 2008

Marie Colvin and Uzi Mahnaimi

The 38-year-old farmer was watering his maize in the scrubby vastness of eastern Syria when four Black Hawk helicopters swooped in low over the palm trees, heading from the border with Iraq formed by the Euphrates River.

It was late afternoon. The light was fading and the chill of the desert winter night was setting in. The helicopters, following their leader in a disciplined arc, hovered just above the one-storey concrete and mud homes of the village of Sukariyeh before the attack began.

Two of them landed next to a ramshackle building site and uniformed men hit the ground firing. Two other helicopters gave aerial cover


Poland’s Muslims Thrive in Tiny Warsaw Community

 Warsaw’s Muslim community is thriving in a tiny corner of the Polish capital; a microcosm of the country as a whole which has a minute Islamic minority living amongst a predominently Catholic populace.


Warsaw’s only mosque lies in a quiet suburb and hardly stands out from the surrounding homes with its arched brick entrance.

But inside, the mosque serves as the spiritual center for Warsaw’s tiny Muslim community: many slowly made their homes in an overwhelmingly Roman Catholic nation, and a few can trace their Polish roots back centuries.

Prayer services in Warsaw on Friday can draw up to 300 people. There are Arabic lessons on Saturdays, a halal food store next door and an Islamic Cultural Center that offers booklets on Islam translated to Polish.

Imam Nezar Charif answers the phones, switching between Polish and his native Syrian dialect, before he leads the evening prayer during Ramadan. He tells a Polish woman the proper time to break the day-long fast, shares a joke in Arabic with a visitor and supervises renovations going on in the hall.

Iceland, mired in debt, blames Britain

By Sarah Lyall Published: November 2, 2008

LONDON: No one disputes that the economic troubles of Iceland are largely the country’s fault. But there may be more to the story, at least in the view of Icelandic government, its citizens and even some outsiders. As grave as their situation already was, they say, Britain – their old friend, NATO ally and trading partner – made it immeasurably worse.

The troubles between the countries began three weeks ago when Britain took the extraordinary step of using its 2001 antiterrorism laws to freeze the British assets of a failing Icelandic bank. That appeared to brand Iceland a terrorist state.

“I must admit that I was absolutely appalled,” Foreign Minister Ingibjorg Solrun Gisladottir of Iceland said in an interview, describing her horror at opening the British Treasury Department’s home page at the time and finding Iceland on a list of terrorist entities with Al Qaeda, Sudan and North Korea, among others.

Latin America

Tijuana streets flow with the blood of rival drug cartels

A vicious turf war has claimed 2,700 lives in Mexico this year. Its front line runs through Tijuana, the gateway to San Diego and the vast US drugs market, where 15 people were murdered in the space of 72 hours last week. Ed Vulliamy reports on a border town living in fear, where honest citizens pay a cruel price for the greed of others

Ed Vulliamy

The Observer, Sunday November 2 2008

When the balaclava-clad paramilitary police officer pulled back a blanket covering the corpse, a group of women wailed, shielding their babies’ eyes. The security guard, whose body had been left outside the 4/9 Minimart in Villa Foresta on the edge of Tijuana, had been shot repeatedly at point-blank range with what appeared to be a semi-automatic weapon, his face and chest grated by gunfire into something more like a raw carcass on a hook.

This was body number six last Monday night, and the sixth of what would become a total of 15 people murdered during less than 72 hours in this frontier city that acts as a portal from Mexico to California and vice versa. This is the front line in the ‘narco-war’ – savage, sanguine and sudden – that drug cartels are waging between each other and with the authorities.


  1. Abu Ghadiya was feared by the Syrians as an agent of Islamic fundamentalism who was hostile to the secular regime in Damascus. It would be expedient for Syria if America would eliminate him.

    In the time-honoured tradition of covert US operations in the Middle East, this one seems to have gone spectacularly wrong. The Syrians, who had agreed to turn a blind eye to a supposedly quiet “snatch and grab” raid, could not keep the lid on a firefight in which so many people had died.

    It is not clear what went wrong, but it is believed that the helicopters were spotted by the militants on their final approach and a gun battle broke out. That is supported by an account from a local tribal leader, who said a rocket-propelled grenade had been launched from the compound at the helicopter. The firefight blew the cover on a supposedly covert operation.

    Lesson learned: Never trust the Americans to do anything quietly.

    • RiaD on November 2, 2008 at 2:25 pm

    thank you!


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