November 30, 2007

Message #3

Embassy Moscow reports U.S. Ambassador being summoned to meeting with President Putin Friday afternoon. Subject not given.

November 1, 2007

3 Guilty 7 Acquitted in Madrid Bombings

7 Are Acquitted in Madrid Bombings - New York Times

Does this buttress the administration's arguments to keep terrorism suspects in an alternate "legal" universe?

The counterterrorism experts said the verdicts reflected the challenges faced by police forces and judges as they seek to imprison those accused of international terrorism: the preponderance of circumstantial evidence rather than concrete proof; problems with evidence translated from Arabic and with evidence collected by other countries; unreliable witnesses; and the absence of confessions — none of the 28 defendants confessed.

“It is a point of pride to be able to try people in a courtroom, with full constitutional guarantees,? Fernando Reinares, an expert in international terrorism at the Royal Elcano Institute, said. “But in Spain there is space for debate about whether we need to adapt our judicial legislation and culture to confront international Islamist terrorism.?

October 31, 2007

U.S. spy planes watching Iraqi-Turkish border

Sources: U.S. spy planes watching Iraqi-Turkish border -

Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell confirmed Wednesday that U.S. military and intelligence communities are sharing information with Turkey to help them fight members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, who have made cross-border attacks.

October 26, 2007

Putin compares US shield to Cuban Missile Crisis

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Putin compares US shield to Cuba

Pootie-Poot must have watched the movie with us in class yesterday, as he totally compares US efforts to put a missile "shield" in Europe to the Cuban Missile Crisis.

October 24, 2007

Can the President Overrule the People?

French President Nicolas Sarkozy has announced that he will submit the EU "Reform" Treaty agreed upon in Lisbon last week to the French parliament for ratification. In so doing, is he proposing to ratify a treaty that is essentially identical to the "Constitutional" Treaty that French voters rejected in a referendum in 2005? French constitutional law scholar Anne-Marie Le Pourhiet says yes -- and outlines the drastic consequences of such an action. [From World Politics Review | Can the President Overrule the People?: France and the EU Reform Treaty]

October 20, 2007

Poland's Powerful Twins Face Key Test Sunday

Poland's Powerful Twins Face Key Test Sunday -

A big turnout is expected Sunday. Competition for votes is so intense that Tusk traveled overseas to campaign in Britain, courting some of the estimated 2 million Poles who have emigrated since Poland joined the European Union, with its open internal borders, in 2004. About 170,000 expatriate Poles in Britain have registered to vote, and about 30,000 have done so in the United States, a sixfold increase since the last election.

October 14, 2007

U.S. Urges Turkish Restraint On Kurds

U.S. Urges Turkish Restraint On Kurds -

October 13, 2007

Rice worried by Putin's broad powers

The U.S. is concerned about the centralization of power and democratic backsliding ahead of Russia's legislative and presidential elections in December and March. Putin will step down next year as president. He has said he would lead the ticket of the main pro-Kremlin party in the parliamentary elections and could take the prime minister's job later. [From Rice worried by Putin's broad powers - Yahoo! News]

October 11, 2007

Turkey takes their ball and goes home

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Turkey recalls ambassador to US

Turkey recalls their ambassador in a hissy fit over the US congress moving forward on a non-binding resolution calling the Armenian genocide a genocide. This is serious business in Turkey and US-Turk relations will suffer because of this. Turkish movements along the Iraqi border are becoming more ominous.

France Talks about NATO Membership

BBC NEWS | Europe | France edges closer to Nato

October 10, 2007

Attack of the Nonbinding Resolutions

White House And Turkey Fight Bill On Armenia -

A nonbinding resolution that would label as "genocide" the deaths of Armenians more than 90 years ago during the Ottoman Empire has gained majority support in the US House, but the President as well as all living Secretaries of State and others are lobbying the House to not pursue this because it will hurt America's relations with Turkey, a key ally. The US is seeking to keep Turkey from launching attacks into the Kurdish north of Iraq and needlessly hitting them at this sensitive spot would not make it easier to convince the Turks not to attack Iraq.

October 3, 2007

Poland;s ambassador attacked

FACTBOX - Security developments in Iraq | Top News | Reuters

BAGHDAD - Poland's ambassador to Iraq was wounded in a bomb attack on his diplomatic convoy in Baghdad, which killed a bodyguard and a passerby, officials said.

October 1, 2007

Pootie-Poot for PM?

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Putin eyes prime minister's job

Thought Vladdy was just going to walk away from all that power when his presidential term ends? Not bloody likely as it looks like he's going to become the PM after Russia's upcoming parliamentary elections. I would expect lots of changes to the Russian constitution and political system as I don't see Putin playing the junior partner in the PM-President relationship, as the PM usually does under the Russian system.

And just for the fun of it, here's a Putin montage!

September 30, 2007

Kyrgyzstan Signs Nuclear Material Deal with US

Kyrgzstan to help on nuclear smuggling - Yahoo! News

In Last Best Chance News: Kyrgyzstan on Sunday signed on to a U.S. program to curb nuclear smuggling, becoming the fourth former Soviet state to join the initiative. Still no word on vowel smuggling talks...

Yet Another Ukranian Election

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Pro-West blocs 'win' Ukraine vote

"The pro-Western parties of Orange Revolution leaders Viktor Yushchenko and Yulia Tymoshenko appear to have won a slim majority in Ukraine's election. Exit polls suggest their combined vote gives them a slender advantage over Russian-leaning PM Viktor Yanukovych. He took 35.5% of the vote, with Ms Tymoshenko's bloc second on 31.5%, exit polls suggested. Mr Yushchenko, the president, won just 13.5%, but is now expected to enter coalition talks with Ms Tymoshenko."

I wouldn't get too excited about this as I'm sure they'll have another election in about 10 months and the other side will win by 1%, starting the nonsense cycle all over again.

September 29, 2007

EU Wheat Policy

BBC NEWS | The Reporters | Mark Mardell

Sorry I didn't post this when I saw it last week, I didn't think it was serious or important enough to warrant discussion in class. Still, it should help with the Info Memo.

September 27, 2007

Long ABC Article on US missile defense plans for Czech Republic, Poland

ABC News: Physicists: Bush Missile Claims 'Inaccurate'

September 26, 2007

Merkel Says Further Sanctions May Be Needed Against Iran Germany

I find it more than a bit odd that Germany and France among other European countries elected center-right heads of state in a time when there is was growing opposition to President Bush's agenda in Europe in regards to foreign policy as well as U.S. domestic policies.

Scientists on missile defense: meh.

Missiles no defense

Politically, the Polish and Czech deployments are a provocation in projecting the establishment of U.S. bases even closer to the Russian homeland. But both sides in this depressing confrontation seem to ignore the technical-scientific realities.

Germany 'drops CIA extradition'

BBC NEWS | World | Europe | Germany 'drops CIA extradition'

Germany will no longer seek to try CIA operatives for kidnapping a German citizen and flying him to Afghanistan for interrogation for five months before realizing they got the wrong man. Presumably this means that US intelligence agencies will be able to continue their aggressive anti-terrorism activities in Europe, including extraordinary rendition, without worrying about interference from the local governments. Or so the Germans would have us believe...