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Old 03-31-2006, 07:57 PM   #1
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Rice and Straw in the news

Condoleeza Rice and Jack Straw cancelled plans to visit a mosque in England due to security concerns. Here's the whole story.

Rice visit to English mosque canceled over security fears
Friday, March 31, 2006
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LONDON - AFP


U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her British counterpart Jack Straw have canceled plans to visit a mosque in England, officials said on Thursday, amid opposition from anti-war protesters.

The mosque in Straw's constituency in Blackburn, withdrew its invitation for security reasons after opponents of today's planned visit threatened to "invade" the building, mosque official Ibrahim Master said.

"The visit wasn't canceled because we don't like Condoleezza Rice," said Master, a member of the mosque's governing committee. "What these people had threatened to do was invade the mosque during dawn prayers."

He said the Masjide Al Hidayah mosque's governing committee met Wednesday night with a group of Muslims which included members of the "Stop the War Coalition," which is sharply opposed to the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

He said the group threatened to protest inside the mosque when the two top diplomats were inside.

"It would have compromised the safety of the visiting dignitaries," he said.

Master said because the group were Muslims, it would be impossible to prevent them from entering the mosque.

Rice is due to visit Blackburn to repay a visit Straw made to her home state of Alabama last year. She will attend a concert in Liverpool during the two-day trip as well as meet dignitaries in Straw's constituency.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said: "It's a pity that we will not be visiting a mosque in Blackburn. Everything we are doing on this visit is being done with respect to the communities involved, taking their views into consideration."

She added: "We are looking forward to meeting Muslim and civic leaders during the visit."

A spokesman for Stop the War Coalition said the invitation was withdrawn because of pressure from the Muslim community.

Alex Martindale, chair of "Blackburn With Darwen Stop the War," said: "An historic decision has been made.

"The mosque committee and the surrounding community, in conjunction with Muslim scholars from Blackburn and Preston, have taken the decision to withdraw their invitation to Condoleezza Rice.

"It has been presented that local people would be in support of Jack Straw's invitation to the U.S. Secretary of State. But this decision is evidence that the bulk of the community, Muslim and otherwise, are strongly against the visit.

"Blackburn With Darwen Stop the War salutes the committee of the mosque and extends our thanks to the community and scholars involved for their united efforts in arriving at this decision," Martindale said.
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Old 03-31-2006, 08:10 PM   #2
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Quote:
Rice admits "thousands" of errors in Iraq

Fri Mar 31, 2006 9:46 AM ET

By Gideon Long and Sue Pleming

BLACKBURN (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice accepted on Friday the United States had probably made thousands of errors in Iraq but defended the overall strategy of removing Saddam Hussein.

Local Muslims and anti-war activists told Rice to "Go Home" when British counterpart Jack Straw earlier led her on a tour of his home town of Blackburn in the industrial northwest, an area which rarely plays host to overseas politicians.

"Yes, I know we have made tactical errors, thousands of them," she said in answer to a question over whether lessons had been learned since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

"I believe strongly that it was the right strategic decision, that Saddam had been a threat to the international community long enough," she added.

Earlier, about 250 protesters gathered outside a school which Rice visited, waving placards urging her to go home and shouting as her motorcade arrived.

Many of them were locals from Straw's constituency of Blackburn, a former cotton town with a 20 percent Muslim population. Straw invited Rice to the area after he toured her home state of Alabama last year.

Protesters had already persuaded a mosque in the town to withdraw its invitation to her.

"The Muslim population is very angry. She's not welcome in Blackburn," said Suliman, one of the demonstrators outside Pleckgate school, where Rice met young pupils.

"How many lives per gallon?" asked one of the placards held aloft, in reference to the U.S. invasion of oil-rich Iraq which many Britons opposed.

During a visit to a Student Council meeting at the school, Rice was asked whether she was upset by the demonstrators.

"Oh, it's OK, people have a right to protest and a right to make their views known," Rice told the teenage student.

"Each individual all over the world has the God-given right to express themselves. I'm not just going to visit places where people agree with me. That would be really unfortunate."
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Old 03-31-2006, 09:22 PM   #3
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Incidentally, mods I cut and pasted the whole thing because it was from the Turkish Daily News which requires a subscription to get the whole article.
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Old 04-01-2006, 02:55 AM   #4
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Protesters heckle Rice

5.24PM, Fri Mar 31 2006

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has had a rough ride on her trip to the north-west of England.

Anti-war protesters gave her a rowdy reception on a trip to a school in Blackburn.

Around 150 protesters gathered outside Pleckgate High School in the Lancashire town.

Watched by police, they chanted anti-war slogans and waved banners protesting against the visit.

Schoolchildren joined members of the local Muslim community in Blackburn to shout: "George Bush is the number one terrorist", and "Who let the bombs out? Bush and Blair did".

Salim Amed, 38, a call centre worker from Blackburn, said he had a long list of complaints against the US.

"I'm opposed to her coming here because of the arrogance of the American government shows towards normal civilian life around the world," he said.

"They go around killing people with bombs and missiles from the air."
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Old 04-01-2006, 01:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
RICE NOTEBOOK: Condi Has a '60s Moment

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer 25 minutes ago

Condoleezza Rice said she wanted to get a slice of life outside of the halls of government in London, and Jon Netton was more than happy to serve it.

The 22-year-old student at singer Paul McCartney's old high school, now a performing arts academy, wore a specially made black T-shirt that read "No Torture, No Compromise" to protest the secretary of state's visit, part of a two-day tour of Britain's industrial north.

The shirt bore a drawing of blood pouring from an open prison cell door, a reference to the debate in Europe over U.S. policies in pursuit and detention of terrorism suspects at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and elsewhere.

"We've had our lives completely turned upside down by this woman," Netton sputtered, noting that he and other students were turned out of their classroom Friday morning so bomb-sniffing dogs could case the place ahead of Rice's 20-minute stop.

Several students wearing the T-shirts booed Rice as she spoke to reporters after her tour.

In the Liverpool Institute for Performing Arts' purple-painted auditorium, Rice nodded as a choir sang a traditional hymn, and she clapped along with a rollicking gospel number.

___

Rice met protesters nearly everywhere she went in her tour as the guest of British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw.

Straw represents the slightly scruffy Blackburn area in Parliament, and he said he wanted to show off the economic revival and multicultural mosaic of the place to his pal Condi.

Straw also wanted to show off the gleaming soccer, er, football stadium that is home to his beloved Blackburn Rovers. The middling team has an American goalie, Brad Friedel, who gave Rice a Rovers jersey.

Rice did not see the Rovers play. Although her trip was timed to take in a match between the Rovers and an arch rival, that game was rescheduled too late for Rice to change dates. So she toured a largely empty field, or pitch, and watched some local kids kick the ball around.

___

Rice, a classically trained pianist and student of the great composers, is also a Beatles fan.

"Isn't everybody?" she asked a TV interviewer during her trip to the Fab Four's native Liverpool area. "I actually used to skate to the song 'Imagine,'" she said in a joint interview with Straw for Grenada TV.

"Oh, right," Straw scoffed.

"Yes, when I was a figure skater," Rice insisted.

Rice was a dedicated skater as a child and young adult, but she says she gave it up in college because it cut into her social life. She remains an athlete, and a weekend pianist.

___

Rice has other things to do, but she apparently didn't study up on her Beatles discography before she came.

She looked mystified by a British reporter's reference to the "4,000 holes in Blackburn, Lancashire," although in fairness she might not have heard the question very well.

No worries, as they say here. Straw leapt in to explain the line from the 1967 Beatles song "A Day in the Life."

The band threw a reference to a newspaper article about the Blackburn roads surveyor's count of 4,000 potholes in the area in "Sgt. Pepper's," Straw said.

He was referring to the album "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band," on which the song appears.

At that point, the reporter asked Rice to sing a few bars. She meant the bit about the 4,000 holes. But Rice, in over her head in Beatles trivia and looking sorry she had gotten into the whole thing, woodenly intoned, "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Heart's Club Band," then left with Straw.
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Old 04-01-2006, 06:15 PM   #6
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http://www.sky.com/skynews/article/0...516795,00.html
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Old 04-01-2006, 07:31 PM   #7
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Rice "The other point I was making to the questioner is that I'm enough of a historian to know that things that looked brilliant at the moment turn out in historical perspective to be mistakes, and the things that look like mistakes turn out to have been right decisions."
Rice actually admits the Bush Administration doesn't have a fucking clue what the hell they are doing.
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Old 04-01-2006, 07:47 PM   #8
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Huh?

I think it is more a comment on our society's desire for instant results. The best evaluation of the current Administration will occur after decades go by, not the comments from every Joe-Pundit that we hear.
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Old 04-01-2006, 07:53 PM   #9
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A National Security Advisor
/
Secretary of State

is hardly a Joe-Pundit
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Old 04-01-2006, 08:07 PM   #10
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No, but folks like Salim Amed are. Just because you can find something critical of the administration in the press doesn't mean that it has any value.
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Old 04-01-2006, 09:04 PM   #11
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It is indeed true that time is the least subjective of judges. In ten years we'll have a more balanced view of the situation in Iraq. My prediction is that they'll conclude the Bush people screwed up from beginning to end, but I have no way of knowing this. Hindsight is 20/20. Foresight is basically nonexistent in my book.
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