February 28, 2004

Operation October Surprise? Asheq Hossein, the director of Iran radio's Pashtun service: "Osama bin Laden has been arrested a long time ago, but Bush is intending to use it for propaganda maneuvering in the presidential election."

One of the sources for the report was Shamim Shahed, the Peshawar bureau chief of the English-language Pakistani newspaper The Nation. Shahed claims he was misquoted, but he did add: "[OBL] is within their (the Americans') reach, and they can declare him arrested any time." ... The Pakistani military and the Pentagon both deny the report. ... For what it's worth, it was the Iranian press that first announced Saddam Hussein's capture, scooping the US by several hours.

Rumsfeld's visit to the region this week was allegedly in connection with the arrest, but on Thursday, he discounted reports that US forces may be close to locating bin Laden. ... Cartoon.

The US "is scaling up its military presence in Africa as concern mounts over terrorist threats — both immediate and future — on the continent ... Africa is a growing strategic interest to the United States because of its terror links and its oil ... [Air Force Gen. Charles] Wald's trip includes stops in regional military powers Nigeria and South Africa; oil-rich Angola, Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe ... [Wald:] 'Waiting for a crisis to occur just isn’t the way to do business any more.' ... Further south, the United States wants to protect oil supplies in the Gulf of Guinea." [Emphasis not in original, of course.]

Apparently, Antonin Scalia has a habit of hanging out with parties with cases pending before the Supreme Court and then ruling in their favor.

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