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Saturday, September 30, 2006

War, What's it For?

The anti-war mood has hijacked the headlines this week.

In the US, as al-Qaeda's number two has called US President George W Bush a "liar" who is losing his war against the network, veteran US journalist Bob Woodward has claimed that the true extent of insurgent attacks in Iraq has been hidden by the administration.

Mr Woodward has had better access to policymakers in the Bush White House than any other writer.

And with no reason given, the Iraqi government has declared an immediate curfew in the capital, Baghdad, to run until Sunday morning, possibly to curb sectarian violence and blasts that have been increasing in recent days.

That should give more for former US President Bill Clinton to finger wag about.

Staying (almost) in the US, the head of Canada's national police force has publicly apologised to a man deported to Syria after being falsely accused of terrorism.

Maher Arar was deported by US customs agents to Syria after Canadian police labelled him an Islamic extremist. Using UK airspace for his rendition, he was imprisoned for a year and tortured before Canadian officials finally secured his release from Damascus.

Meanwhile in Europe, France's anti-terrorism authorities have launched an enquiry into death threats against a philosophy teacher who wrote an article criticising Islam in reaction to Muslim protests following remarks made by Pope Benedict XVI. Robert Redeker has been forced into hiding after describing the Koran as a "book of extraordinary violence" and Islam as a religion which "exalts violence and hate".

And finally, back in the US is a Catholic priest under arrest with another on the run after being accused of stealing millions of dollars from their parishioners.

The two men are suspected of stealing a total of $8.6m (£4.6m) from their Palm Beach church and funding a lavish life of property, holidays and gambling.

Taking the saying "make love, not war" to the extreme.

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