Home' InDaily : December 4 2009 Contents www.independentweekly.com.au
The Independent Weekly
December 4 - 10, 2009
Including The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, The Independent and AAP
WASHINGTON: President Barack
Obama has announced he will
swiftly deploy 30,000 more troops
to Afghanistan, just days after a
report claimed the US missed a
crucial opportunity to capture or kill
al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden at
Tora Bora in 2001.
The troop buildup will raise the
US commitment to 98,000 troops by
next summer, at an estimated added
cost of $30 billion a year. However,
Mr Obama said the new forces
would begin withdrawing from
the embattled nation in July 2011,
because Americans "have no interest
in fighting an endless war".
The goal, the President said, was
"to seize the initiative", finally, in
a war that started after September
11, 2001, and is not going well after
eight years. He said he wants to
build Afghanistan s capacity to
secure itself and then allow for "a
responsible transition of our forces
out of Afghanistan."
A report by the Senate Foreign
Relations Committee has suggested
the debate over sending more
soldiers to Afghanistan might have
been avoided if the US hadn t missed
a crucial opportunity to capture
or kill al-Qaeda leader Osama bin
Laden at Tora Bora in 2001.
The report from the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee offers
the most definitive account to date of
Bin Laden s escape into Pakistan.
Signal intercepts and other
evidence confirm he was holed up
with other al-Qaeda fighters in the
caves of Tora Bora, according to the
report, based on a review of military
histories as well as interviews with
CIA and US Special Operations
officers involved in the battle.
Requests to send US troops to
seal off the border were rejected
by General Tommy Franks, who
was then the leader of US Central
Command, and then-Defence
Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. Instead,
fewer than 100 US Special Operations
troops were involved in the pursuit,
working with Afghan troops poorly
equipped for the job.
Franks has since questioned
whether Bin Laden was at Tora Bora,
but the Senate report says Bin Laden
was among dozens of al-Qaeda
fighters hiding in cave compounds
there for several days.
At one point, CIA operatives
picked up a radio from a dead
al-Qaeda fighter. "Bin Laden s
voice was often picked up, along
with frequent comments about the
presence of the man referred to by
his followers as the sheikh ," the
Bin Laden eluded an intense
bombing campaign and relied on
a cease-fire ruse to slip across the
border into Pakistan, where he is
believed to be hiding still, said the
"The failure to finish the job
represents a lost opportunity that
forever altered the course of the
conflict in Afghanistan and the
future of international terrorism,"
the report said. Bin Laden s escape
was a major factor in "laying the
foundation for today s protracted
Afghan insurgency and inflaming
the internal strife now endangering
The war in Afghanistan has
cost $243 billion since 2001, and the
Government estimates will rise $1
million a year for every additional
The one that got away: Bin Laden.
Bin Laden blunder costs billions
LONDON: The chief of a prestigious
British research centre caught in a
storm of controversy over claims
that he and others suppressed data
about climate change has stepped
down pending an investigation.
The University of East Anglia
said this week that Phil Jones,
whose emails were among
thousands of pieces of correspond-
ence leaked to the internet late
last month, would relinquish his
position as director of the Climatic
Research Unit until an independent
review is completed.
The university s Pro-Vice-
Chancellor for Research, Trevor
Davies, said the investigation would
cover data security, whether the
university responded properly to
Freedom of Information requests,
"and any other relevant issues".
Jones has been accused by
sceptics of man-made climate
change of manipulating data to
support his research. In particular,
many have pointed to a leaked email
in which he writes that he had
used a "trick" to "hide the decline"
in a chart detailing recent global
Jones has denied manipulating
evidence and insisted his comment
had been misunderstood, explain-
ing that he d used the word trick "as
in a clever thing to do".
Davies said there was nothing in
the stolen material to suggest the
peer-reviewed publications by the
unit "are not of the highest-quality
of scientific investigation and
But the correspondence from
Jones and others -- which appears to
include discussions of how to keep
critical work out of peer-reviewed
journals and efforts to shield
scientists data and methodology
from outside scrutiny -- have been
seized on by those fighting efforts to
impose caps on emissions of carbon
dioxide as evidence of a scientific
Senator James Inhofe, an
Oklahoma Republican and a vocal
sceptic of global warming, this
week called for Senate hearings on
the emails. He said the emails could
have far-reaching policy implica-
tions for the US. Congress and the
Environmental Protection Agency
are taking action to curb global
warming based on a report that
uses data produced by the Climate
Davies defended Jones and his
colleagues, saying the publication
of their emails "is the latest
example of a sustained and, in some
instances, a vexatious campaign" to
undermine climate science.
The sentiment was echoed by
Nicholas Stern, a leading climate
change economist, who said those
who posted the leaked emails had
muddled the debate at a critical
"The degree of scepticism among
real scientists is very small," he
Scientist steps down amid
climate change storm
The climate change row is heating up
PARIS: Psst! Wanna see some dirty
books and pictures?
France s official hoard of erotica
and pornography, lovingly assem-
bled by the Bibliothque Nationale
over 170 years, will be thrown open
to the startled eyes of the public for
the first time this week.
More than 350 books and prints
from the forbidden section of the
state library, officially known as
"L Enfer" (hell), will be presented
in an academically meticulous, but
often frankly filthy, exhibition in
Paris for three months.
The material is often beautifully
executed, sometimes surreal,
sometimes very funny, sometimes
brutal. It is steeped in French (and
So confident are French authori-
ties that the exhibition will not
offend the French public that a
disused Metro station has been
taken over as a teaser for the show.
Passengers on Line Ten, between
Svres Babylon and Mabillon, will
find the abandoned Croix Rouge
station turned into an erotic ghost
train. Large reproductions of
naughty old prints will be glimpsed
briefly through drifting curtains.
The "Enfer" section of the
Bibliothque Nationale -- containing
books, prints and photographs
purchased, confiscated or donated
over almost two centuries -- is
believed to be one of the largest and
richest collections of pornographic
and erotic materials in the world.
The Vatican s secret stash is said to
be even larger but that, presumably,
will never be opened to the public.
The exhibition is an eye-opener: a
quietly and intelligently displayed
but garish cornucopia of sadism,
masochism, bestialism, scatology,
bums, tits and staring genitalia. It
is also a fascinating, and sometimes
beautiful, expedition through the
dark, winding corridors of the
One series of explicit prints
once belonged to Leon Gambetta,
a highly respected late 19th-
century French prime minister.
The Marquis de Sade has three
display cases to himself, and there
is a whole display case devoted to
"flagellation novels", which the
catalogue describes as an "English
speciality" imported to France in
the late 19th century.
Paris airs its dirty linen
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