Only a year ago, Muammar Qaddafi was held up in Washington as an example to the Arab and Muslim world of a ruler who renounced the sponsorship of terrorism and was willing to relinquish his weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear resources. He was also praised to the heaven for passing to Washington, London and Paris priceless intelligence data on the terror groups targeting the West. President Jacques Chirac of France, Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of German, Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi and British premier Tony Blair, all went on pilgrimage to Tripoli and were received in the Libyan ruler's exotic silk tent. But not US president George W. Bush or any top administration official. Although American congressmen, intelligence officers and oil company executives visited the Libyan capital, the Bush administration kept its distance from Qaddafi and his son Seif al Islam. There are four reasons for Washington's cold shoulder:Wow, great. I was hoping Qaddafi wouldn't get permanent immunity from the Bush doctrine. Libyans deserve freedom too, and just because their dictator cooperated doesn't mean he should still keep his job. He no longer deserves to lose his head, sure. But the job should go to someone else, with electoral legitimacy. I sure hope Debka's right on this one.
1. The Americans have never been absolutely sure that the Libyan ruler and his intelligence services have cut themselves off completely and finally from terrorists and their methods. For more than a year, a Libyan intelligence colonel has been locked up in the central prison in Riyadh after he was captured in Egypt and accused of being on a mission for Libyan intelligence to assassinate the Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah. The plot required the colonel to draw on North African elements in Saudi Arabia with former ties to al Qaeda for assistance.
2. No one in Washington, or anywhere else for that matter, is sure what Qaddafi's real views are on any important issue.
3. Libya's expansionist policies in Africa are violently anti-American. He is in league with Washington's most extreme opponents on the continent, South Africa's Thabo Mbeki and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe.
4. Neither the Libyan ruler nor his powerful son shows any inclination to join the Bush democracy drive in the Middle East. There is nothing surprising therefore in the report DEBKA-Net-Weekly received exclusively from Paris whereby, on April 18, a secret conclave of five Libyan opposition groups took place in Washington, organized jointly by US and French intelligence. It was the first time in three decades that the fractious Libyan opposition factions were prepared to sit in one room and around one table. They even agreed to move forward and arrange a large assembly this summer in Paris to discuss ways of promoting democracy in Libya. Our Washington sources stress that the Libyan resistance movement is still embryonic, and political organization, demonstrations and protest action inside Libya are still still to come. The Washington encounter ended with a document signed by representatives of the following groups: The Republican Alliance for Democracy and Social Justice, the Libyan Islamic Organization, the Libyan Movement for Reform, the National Libyan Movement, and the largest and most important organization of them all, the National Front for the Salvation of Libya. The Bush administration plans to lead this opposition movement not only into a campaign to promote democracy in Libya but, straight after the Paris meeting, the establishment of a Libyan government in exile that will draft a new national constitution. This operation rests on the shoulders of six key Libyans: Abrik Ibrahim Jibril, Abdullah Kadoura, Ibrahim Sawiasi, Khiyari Abu Shoukour, Salem Admousi and Faraj Bulasha, the last being the live wire of the Libyan opposition in Europe. According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly's sources, the US government has spent large sums on the Libyan project and is planning to spend several millions of dollars more.
Reigning champion Maccabi finished on Sunday the first half of the Euroleague basketball finals against Tau Vitoria with a 50-39 lead.A very proud moment for Greeks. And congratulations to Israel.
The 7,000 Maccabi fans in Moscow were reinforced by about 2,000 Greek fans who came to cheer Greek Panathinaikos, but agreed to cheer on Maccabi after their own team lost to Maccabi on Friday.
It was only on Friday that fans of the two teams seemed as if they were each other's sworn enemies, as each competed for a single ticket to Sunday's finale.
Perhaps it is the Mediterranean blood flowing through the veins of both Israelis and Greeks, but the two fan groups were expected to work together in Moscow's Olympiysky Arena, where the game is taking place.
Maccabi fans roar at Final Four
TEL AVIV - Jonathan Pollard demands the State of Israel acknowledge him as a Prisoner of Zion after spending the past two decades in an American prison.Well, jail certainly sucks, but I didn't know it sucked that bad. If he's really being treated this way, it's an outrage. He got sentenced to life in prison, not life in prison plus torture.
After numerous past rejections to grant him his status of desire, Pollard seems to embrace a different tactic.
In his appeal to the Supreme Court he describes his 20-year-long journey through the American punitive system in terms that resemble the conditions in Siberia of the past century rather than U.S. in the year 2005.
"The petitioner has been going through difficult tortures," Pollard's attorney Niztana Dreshen-Latner begins the long list of physical and mental tortures, which make up the prosecution's case.
Graphic descriptions of tortures
In his graphic descriptions Pollard includes the time when he was held naked in freezing solitary confinement. He said he was forced to sustain these conditions for long periods of timeduring the winter.
In addition to his clothes, his glasses were taken away and he was not given any normal sleeping accommodations, such as bed or linen. In his appeal, Pollard said he "had to sleep like an animal on a concrete platform."
In another incident, Pollard described he was taken into a special cell, where he was seated on an iron chair, to which his arms and legs were tied to with iron chains. While seated there, his guards ruthlessly sprayed ice water at him.
"He could not sustain the pressure of the ice water tossed at his face with enormous force. "The water was so cold, so that they burnt his whole body. This abuse had taken away his will to survive," the appeal reads.
In addition, Pollard claims he spent a year committed to a special ward for the mentally ill against his will. This is also where they would electrically shock him from time to time.
The guards "would guarantee Jonathan's obedience by electrical shocks, when he was beaten, he would collapse on the floor and lose control of his bladder, he could not move or talk, his body would quiver," the appeal read.
When German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder travels to Moscow on Sunday to mark the end of World War II in Europe, he leaves behind a niggling debate over whether May 8 is a day of liberation or defeat for his country.
Schroeder, like foreign heads of state, speaks of it as the date of Germany's liberation from Nazi tyranny, reflecting the views of 80 percent of Germans, according to a recent poll.
He will join victory celebrations for the first time in Russia on May 9 -- the day Moscow considers the end of the war in Europe -- to pledge Germans' responsibility to remember the past and affirm the extent of modern day reconciliation.
But there are Germans from across the political spectrum who point out the Allies' victory brought Stalinism to those in the East, and marked the start of a bitter struggle for survival for millions of refugees and bombed-out families.
That feeling chimes with a European Union declaration that the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 rather than the end of Nazi Germany marked the true "end of dictatorship" in Europe.
Hubertus Knabe, who runs the historical center at a former prison in Berlin where the East German secret police interrogated political opponents, questions the assumption that May 1945 brought liberation.
"May 8 was a capitulation which brought freedom and democracy. It became a liberation, but it was one against the will of those liberated," he wrote in Welt am Sonntag newspaper, adding that millions of East Germans saw nothing of that democracy.
Knabe fears talk of liberation conceals a move to exonerate Germans.
"If the Germans were liberated in 1945 then they cannot have been perpetrators, but rather victims of the regime."
The second world war killed children on an unprecedented scale. They were massacred, together with their families, when the German army invaded Poland and the Soviet Union. They perished in the death camps and the transports. They were incinerated in allied bombing raids on German cities. They froze in the mass flight from the advancing Russians in 1945. Yet nobody has tried to write their history until now. That is understandable, for most of them vanished without trace, and of those who survived many could not bring themselves to recall what they had been through. In later life, however, some broke their silence. Among the memoirs that Nicholas Stargardt draws on in this dark and harrowing book, one is by a former member of the Hitler Youth who, as a 15-year old, assisted at the execution of 200 Jewish women on a beach in East Prussia in 1945. Another is by a Czech boy who worked alongside the penal battalion at Auschwitz that drove prisoners into the gas chambers.