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BBC World Service (July 2000 - Present)
#1
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Edward
Head Administrator of PolUK
Special Advisor for the Prime Minister, Cabinet, Foreign Office, Defence and the Chief/Shadow Whip
Advisor for the Labour Party

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand." ~ Milton Friedman
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#2
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Powell Officially Nominated as GOP Candidate For US Presidency

Colin Powell, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Four Star US General and National Security adviser to President Ronald Reagan has been nominated as the Republican Candidate for the Presidency after a long and close fought primary campaign. Powell becomes the first Black Jamaican-American candidate to be nominated by either major US party in the history of the country, as well as another of a select few Presidential candidates who have come from a non-political military based background. He was nominated by acclimation after second place finisher in the Primary campaign George W. Bush - son of former President George H. W. Bush - withdrew from the contest in May when it became clear that General Powell would be the choice of the Republican Party. He was nominated with Vice Presidential candidate and former Governor of Michigan John Engler, an establishment figure in the GOP with experience in Government and the internal politics of the Republican party. 

Having declared his candidacy in early September of 1999 alongside other major candidates including Arizona Senator John McCain, Texas Governor George W. Bush, Businessman Steve Forbes and Utah Senator Orrin Hatch, Powell fought in an often described as "bitter and racist" campaign against his various opponents. Despite delivering a poor performance in the Iowa Caucus - a vital first step to any campaign - which went to Bush, Powell successfully delivered his campaign a win in New Hampshire where him and George Bush campaigned against John McCain for the win in the first Primary campaign of the election. Having won in New Hampshire Powell found easy success in the subsequent Delaware, Michigan and Virginia primaries and caucuses despite struggling to deliver in key contests in the south where George Bush began to emerge as the stronger contender. The victory in the state of California for General Powell was a vital step in his path to nomination, which would become a spring board for victories across the North east of the United States, the Industrial heartland of the nation and other vital states like Florida. John McCain's campaign, while energetic and popular, was hampered by Powell's decision to run as a moderate candidate for the Republican ticket.

Powell has come into the race as a moderate Republican preaching his platform of what he calls "America's Promise"; aiming to cut taxes, encourage fiscal responsibility and unlock the potential of individual Americans and migrants to the United States. While incredibly popular with moderate Republicans and independents - as well as even a lot of Democrats - Powell does suffer however from lacking support in the south and from the GOP's traditional religious base who consider him, like McCain, to be too moderate of a candidate for the Presidency. The choice of John Engler, a more Conservative and better liked candidate by the Conservative right of the party, as the other name on the ticket will however benefit Powell in the race for the Presidency that will soon begin with the nomination of the Democratic ticket. The question on many people's lips now however is simple; can a Black Republican win the Presidency of the United States?
Edward
Head Administrator of PolUK
Special Advisor for the Prime Minister, Cabinet, Foreign Office, Defence and the Chief/Shadow Whip
Advisor for the Labour Party

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand." ~ Milton Friedman
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#3
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Gore Nominated Democratic Candidate for Presidency

Vice President to US President Bill Clinton and former Tennessee Senator Al Gore has been nominated by the Democratic Party for the Presidency of the United States today in the party's national convention in Los Angeles, California. His nomination, completed by Gore's former college room mate Tommy Lee Jones, came after a landslide victory in the Democratic primary where Gore took on and defeated Senator Bill Bradley of New Jersey and political activist Lyndon LaRouche.

Gore was nominated alongside Democratic senator from Connecticut Joe Lieberman who will run as his running mate in the contest - another first in this campaign due to Lieberman being the first ever Jewish American candidate to be nominated by any party for the Vice Presidency. 

The nomination of the two candidates now officially marks the opening of campaign season for the final leg of the Presidential run, both Colin Powell of the Republican Party and Al Gore of the Democrats have been cited as possible victors - Powell being very popular among independents but unpopular among the right of the GOP and Gore being popular among Democrats as well as many independents alike. The two candidates are however running remarkably similar campaigns, using centrist platforms with their own personal touches on policy as the main cruxes of their campaigns. Gore too has focused relentlessly on the need for experience in the white house - something an outsider to the white house like Powell arguably does not have - while Powell is running on a platform of reform and change from someone who understands the security and daily challenges of Americans. The contest is expected to be tight and with results being counted on November 8th there is much work to be done by both campaigns.
Edward
Head Administrator of PolUK
Special Advisor for the Prime Minister, Cabinet, Foreign Office, Defence and the Chief/Shadow Whip
Advisor for the Labour Party

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand." ~ Milton Friedman
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#4
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Greater Romania Party Wins Romanian Elections

Rocked by allegations of corruption and the after effects of Communist rule under Nicolae Ceausescu Romania has elected it's third President in the nation's short history since the collapse of soviet rule in 1989 and return to democracy. Corneliu Vadim Tudor of the 'Greater Romania Party' won the two round contest with 51.2% of the vote in the second round stunning political experts on the eastern European country who expected a narrow victory for the First President of the country Ion Illiescu despite last minute allegations of corruption and misuse of public funds against the former President in the dying days of the campaign. Mr Tudor, who won the election despite losing the first round by over 6%, is thought to have recieved a last minute boost in support after he began campaigning on the suggestion that former President Illiescu - much like former dictator of the country Nicolae Ceauseacu - used money for his own benefit, investing state finances in foreign holding accounts and purchasing himself gifts indirectly through colleagues and family members. While many of these allegations are yet to be proven, and almost certainly exaggerated, the Romanian people who remain shaken by the rule of the former Communist dictator quickly turned on the candidate allowing Mr Tudor to take the mantle of power.

The victory has been taken with shock from many western nations, Mr Tudor's party being often accused of sitting on the 'far right' of Romanian politics by advocating for the return of territories formerly owned by the Kingdom of Romania that now are owned by Ukraine and the independent state of Moldova. Described by the Times Newspaper, the Party is summed up as being "a crude mixture of anti-Semitism, racism and nostalgia for the good old days of communism" with the celebration of Romanians such as Ion Antonescu being a common crux of the party platform - Antonescu being a close ally to Hitler during the second world war.

 With turnout low, the win for the far right party carried further down the 'ticket' too, with the party winning 72 seats in the Romanian Senate and 152 seats in the Chamber of Deputies - an effective majority in the Senate but a minority in the Chamber of Deputies that may require some form of coalition with one of the two more Conservative parties in Romania; the National Liberal Party and the Democratic Party. With turnout in the poll limited however in what observers expect was a protest against the choice of candidates the result is expected to be challenged in Romanian courts, and opposition parties stunned by the result too are also already speaking of a stronger and more united challenge against the now leading party in Romania in the 2004 elections. Until then however this election has been taken by many foreign Governments as the election of the first 'far right' party in Europe since the second world war with European Commission President Romano Prodi and Vice President, former Labour Party Leader, Neil Kinnock releasing a statement labeling the result as "a regrettable and unforeseen hurdle in Romania's return to it's rightful place in Europe" with the victory expected to stall or even end accession talks to the Community with the country. Furthermore, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban read a statement to the press this morning labeling the victory as "anti Hungarian" and expressing his fear for the rights of Hungarians in Romania as a result of the victory. With so many questions left unanswered, only time will tell how this victory affects the development of Eastern Europe as the country moves away from it's Communist past.
Edward
Head Administrator of PolUK
Special Advisor for the Prime Minister, Cabinet, Foreign Office, Defence and the Chief/Shadow Whip
Advisor for the Labour Party

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand." ~ Milton Friedman
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#5
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Powell Inaugurated as President of the United States

Following a close fought Presidential election in which former General and chairman of the joint Chiefs of Staff came out on top of former Vice President Al Gore, Colin Powell has been Inaugurated as President of the United States - the first from an ethnic minority. The election, fought on various issues branching from Security, Healthcare and the US Budget, was long thought to be one of the closest contests in Presidential history between a popular and experienced Vice President who had strong support within his party and Powell as an outsider 'reform' candidate following eight years of the Clinton Presidency. Powell, who despite being unpopular with Conservatives on the Republican side, benefited from his opponents' more liberal stances on policy allowing him to gain the support of many moderates throughout the country, carried 33 states and recieved 313 votes in the electoral college to Al Gore's 225. 

Powell, who has promised a new age for America and a return to the days when the US was the land of opportunity remarked on his victory in his speech, concluding with the statement; "America:  In the face of our common dangers, in this new millennia, let us remember these timeless words.  With hope and virtue, let us brave once more the icy currents, and endure what storms may come.  Let it be said by our children's children that when we were tested we refused to let this journey end, that we did not turn back nor did we falter; and with eyes fixed on the horizon and God's grace upon us, we carried forth that great gift of freedom and delivered it safely to future generations". 

Powell's victory comes as a new chapter in American history with their first ever President of a Jamaican American background being elected - the first of any ethnic minority - and equally one of the few Presidents to be elected with a background in the Military. With the world entering a new millennia, many have seen this landmark event in history as a promising sign for the direction the US is going, with many speaking of a new found hope for the future. President Powell and Vice President Engler now will begin the process of appointing their cabinet, several of the candidates having been announced already. Donald Rumsfeld is to be appointed Secretary of Defence, former Governor George W Bush - a primary election opponent of Powell and son of former President Bush - is to become Secretary to the Treasury and the US Secretary of State is set to be another former Presidential candidate; Senator John McCain who was a vital supporter of the Powell campaign during the last days of the Primary election campaign.
Edward
Head Administrator of PolUK
Special Advisor for the Prime Minister, Cabinet, Foreign Office, Defence and the Chief/Shadow Whip
Advisor for the Labour Party

"If you put the federal government in charge of the Sahara Desert, in 5 years there'd be a shortage of sand." ~ Milton Friedman
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#6
MAY 2001

Roosevelt Johnson Assassinated in Nigeria.

Colin Powell, the President of the United States, spoke on American TV tonight to reveal evidence secured by intelligence sources that David Roosevelt Johnson, a former leader of an opposition military force in Liberia, was killed by individuals loyal to Charles Taylor and acting on his orders.

According to US and Nigerian investigation, three individuals entered the compound where Mr Roosevelt Johnson lived, with his wife and sons. It is believed they were able to enter because they worked as service staff for some years, but had been members of the crack anti-terrorism team - an effective paramilitary group loyal to Taylor alone. The individuals shot Mr Roosevelt Johnson, his wife and security detail before escaping and attempting to get a flight out of Nigeria. They were stopped by Nigerian police and interrogated by the both US and Nigerian intelligence forces. Interrogation revealed that Charles Taylor, and other leaders at the top of the Liberian Government, had requested the attack. 

Johnson led the United Liberation Movement of Liberia for Democracy. His group triggered the first violation of the Abuja Accord in December 1995, the first Accord to be violated through the long history of brutal civil war in Liberia.

Like all sides in the Liberian civil war, Johnson used mercenary fighters to further his group’s cause. He funded a brigade of drunken teenage boys who would fight naked or in women’s clothing because of a belief that it would protect them from bullets. Such was the mix of politics, semi-religious belief, uneducated leaders, drugs and utter fall of civil society that typified the Liberian conflict that makes it extremely difficult to foreign powers to intervene.

In 1998, following following several government accusations that he planned a coup d'état, Johnson's faction in Monrovia was attacked by President Charles Taylor's security forces, resulting in brutal clashes that saw most of his followers being killed. He was able to secure sanctuary in a US embassy, before fleeing eventually to Nigeria. He was charged with treason and convicted in absentia, in April 1999.

Until now Charles Taylor has been content to leave Mr Roosevelt Johnson alone in Nigeria, but clearly something has changed for the bloodthirsty dictator. The last time Mr Taylor attempted to assassinate Mr Roosevelt Johnson, narrowly failing, it was followed up by massacres of individuals of Krahn ethnicity. International groups are voicing concern of such a repetition.
Liberal Democrat Adviser

Admin for Foreign & Defence, Health & Social Security, and Local Government, Regions and Devolution. 

“If socialism is a matter of total abstinence and a good filing cabinet, some of us will fall by the wayside.” - Anthony Crosland.
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#7
EU attacks Irish budget

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The European Commission has publicly reprimanded Ireland over its economic policy. The Commission has expressed concern over Irish budgetary plans for 2001. Ireland's plans for tax cuts and increased government spending conflict with the European Union's current support of budgetary constraint, according to the Commission. Tax cuts proposed in the budget are "inappropriate in an economy operating well above potential", the European Commission said.

In an unprecedented move, the Commission has exercised its disciplinary powers. "The Commission has decided to recommend for the first time the use of a recommendation as provided in Article 99.4 of the Treaty," said Pedro Solbes, EU Commissioner for economic and monetary affairs.

Ireland has enjoyed seven years of economic growth, with expansion hitting 10.7% last year, the highest rate within the EU. This performance, while earning the country the title of the Celtic Tiger, has been accompanied by inflation which has topped 6%, more than twice the EU average.

Ireland has so far defied the calls to rein in the country's "overheating" economy. Irish finance minister Charles McCreevy said the prospect of a slowdown in the global economy lent only more weight to budget proposals he had unveiled in December, which will inject some IR£2bn into the Irish economy. "If there is going to be a slowdown, the recipe is to put more money into the economy," Mr McCreevy said. "Major economies like Germany, France and Italy are all planning fiscal stimuli like this." Mr McCreevy's defence to the Commission is expected to be based on the fact that Ireland is top of the league in the EU Stability and Growth Pact, which calls for budget surpluses and reduction in debt.

Some observers have interpreted the Commission's stance on economic policy co-ordination as a warning to new entrants applying for membership of the euro-zone.
Andy
Advisor for the Labour Party, the Home Office, Education and Communities
Poll wrangler and election psephologist
Scandalmonger

I forget Andy has political opinions. I always just think of him as a Civil Servant in real life - Mac
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#8
May 2001:

Forces Loyal to Taylor Conduct Raids Across Monrovia.

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The BBC has seen video evidence of a number of raids conducted by the Liberian Anti-Terrorist Unit (ATU) against properties in Monrovia. These properties are believed to be owned and occupied by members of the Krahn ethnic group.

In one video, three members of the ATU forcibly escort a family of 10 out of a property. The men and boys are separated from the women and girls, before the former group are put on a truck and escorted away from the scene. The recording of the raid is followed by questioning of the women and girls; they do not know where the male members of the family went.  

In a second video, the forced entry of the ATU is followed by shots and bangs coming from the property. A couple of minutes later all of the ATU group exits the property and quickly escape the scene. When neighbours investigate the scene, they found four bodies, including a child under the age of 5.    

Altogether, the video seen by the BBC show 20 different raids across Monrovia. The source of this video has suggested that this is just the first round of a sustained period of raids that have happened and will continue to happen across Liberia. The Anti-Terrorist Unit is led by the son of Charles Taylor, operates outside of the command of the Ministry of Defence, and is formed predominantly of foreign nationals.  

These attacks follow the assassination of David Roosevelt Johnson, a former opposition leader to Charles Taylor, in Nigeria.
Liberal Democrat Adviser

Admin for Foreign & Defence, Health & Social Security, and Local Government, Regions and Devolution. 

“If socialism is a matter of total abstinence and a good filing cabinet, some of us will fall by the wayside.” - Anthony Crosland.
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#9
MAY 2001:

PROTESTS IN MONROVIA; SHOTS FIRED.

Hundreds of students have congregated across Monrovia, including on the University of Liberia campus to protest, against the actions of the Taylor Government. They are calling for the elimination of the Anti-Terrorist Unit and a commitment of the President Charles Taylor to step down before the next election.

Students have reportedly hurled stones at the police, smashed windows, burned tyres and occupied buildings. They have paralysed a number of areas in the city, causing large traffic jams and a number of frustrated Monrovians. After an hour of protesting and rioting, the police fired warning shots against the students in an effort to disperse them. Only with the discharge of teargas did the large crowd disperse. Throughout Monrovia, the police have set up roadblocks to restrict the flow of traffic to embassies and government buildings.

A number of police officers sustained injuries and at least 50 students were arrested as a result of the unrest. It is currently unconfirmed, but one student, Billy Chambers, may have died during the protests. Opposition figures are claiming he died after the police beat him for over 5 minutes.

Students are promising protests every week on a Tuesday, after seeing the success of weekly protests elsewhere around the world.
Liberal Democrat Adviser

Admin for Foreign & Defence, Health & Social Security, and Local Government, Regions and Devolution. 

“If socialism is a matter of total abstinence and a good filing cabinet, some of us will fall by the wayside.” - Anthony Crosland.
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#10
MAY 2001

STATEMENT FROM THE BBC.

“Earlier this week, we released a news story on reported raids across Monrovia, Liberia by the Anti-Terrorist Unit. This was based on what we believed to be concrete video evidence provided by a trusted asset in the country. However subseuqnet analysis proves that this video evidence was faked by members of the opposition. As far as we know, there have been no raids in Monrovia conducted by the Anti-Terrorist Unit. We apologise for the confusion.”
Liberal Democrat Adviser

Admin for Foreign & Defence, Health & Social Security, and Local Government, Regions and Devolution. 

“If socialism is a matter of total abstinence and a good filing cabinet, some of us will fall by the wayside.” - Anthony Crosland.
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#11
DECEMBER 2001
Incident in Lille confirmed to be a bomb attack

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Jacques Chirac, the President of France, has confirmed that the incident in Lille - where American Airlines Flight 63 appeared to explode and crash - was done 'on purpose', with forensic analysts confirming a bomb had been set off inside the plane and that all 197 passengers on the plane were killed.

Though the President warned that France would be "cautious" in connecting the incident to the attacks in America, he stated: "it is clear now that what happened in France and in the United States demands change and justice."

Following the announcement, the President of the United States has described the destruction caused in New York, Washington and Lille as an act of war against all freedom loving people. In a statement broadcast at 10:53 local time (15:53BST), Colin Powell vowed the US would use all its resources to 'find and avenge' the worst ever attacks on American soil.

But he warned an angry and wounded nation they would have to be patient and warned any action could be a monumental struggle.

The President has confirmed he would be seeking the backing of world leaders for an international campaign against terrorism. 

As the estimated number of dead rose into the thousands the day after the tragedy, with up to sixty Britons feared dead, members of the US government began talking openly of war. US Secretary of State John McCain said: "This isn't going to be solved nor avenged with a single counter-attack against one individual, it's going to be a long term conflict."

Expressions of support have come quickly from American allies, and also from countries not known for their sympathy for the US - the leaders of Libya and Palestine both condemned the attacks in the strongest terms.  Only Iraq endorsed the attacks, saying that they were a "lesson for all tyrants and oppressors" and were the fruits of American crimes abroad.

UK Prime Minister and leaders of all UK political parties expressed their full support and solidarity to the United States and France. In a statement in Parliament, Callum Finch said: "we are grieving with the United States and France today."
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“In politics, guts is all.” - Barbara Castle.


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#12
NATO invokes "collective defence" clause for first time in history

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The North Atlantic Council met today and unilaterally agreed with a motion put forward by the Secretary General of NATO, Lord Robertson, to invoke the collective defence clause of the Washington Treaty in response to the 12/22 terrorist attacks in the USA and France. The motion had strong support from the American and French Governments.

Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty states that "the Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all", and commits NATO members to such action as they deem necessary in response. The article has been invoked contingent on the source of the attacks being a "foreign power".

While invoking the article does not bind any nation to go to war as a result (members could provide logistical or non-combatant support) it does send a strong signal that the NATO allies are willing to undertake a collective military response to the 12/22 attacks. This is the first time in NATO's 52 year history that collective defence has been invoked.

Following the meeting, Lord Robertson, Secretary General of NATO and former Defence Secretary in John Smith's cabinet, made the following statement:

Quote:The Council agreed that if it is determined that this attack was directed from abroad against the United States and France, it shall be regarded as an action covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which states that an armed attack against one or more of the Allies in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all.

The commitment to collective self-defence embodied in the Washington Treaty was first entered into in circumstances very different from those that exist now, but it remains no less valid and no less essential today, in a world subject to the scourge of international terrorism. When the Heads of State and Government of NATO met in Washington in 1999, they paid tribute to the success of the Alliance in ensuring the freedom of its members during the Cold War and in making possible a Europe that was whole and free. But they also recognised the existence of a wide variety of risks to security, some of them quite unlike those that had called NATO into existence. More specifically, they condemned terrorism as a serious threat to peace and stability and reaffirmed their determination to combat it in accordance with their commitments to one another, their international commitments and national legislation.

Article 5 of the Washington Treaty stipulates that in the event of attacks falling within its purview, each Ally will assist the Party that has been attacked by taking such action as it deems necessary. Accordingly, the NATO Allies stand ready to provide the assistance to the United States and to France that may be required as a consequence of these acts of barbarism.
Steve
Acting Acting Head Av | Parliament | Prime Minister's Office | Cabinet Office | Treasury
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#13
JANUARY 2002
U.S and France make joint statement saying Al Qaeda were 'responsible' for 12/22 attacks:

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Today the President of the United States, Colin Powell, and the President of France, Jacques Chirac, ended the Presidents' state visit with a joint statement from the Palais de Chaillot - NATO's initial headquarters - where they announced that the intelligence had 'undoubtedly put culpability for the coordinated attacks on both of our countries on Al Qaeda.'

Colin Powell told reporters and journalists: "When the attacks were made and thousands of innocents were killed, I made it my personal responsibility to make sure that the perpetrators would be found and brought to justice. We seem to have made the first great step in that. US and French intelligence, as well as intelligence from our allies the United Kingdom and Germany, overwhelmingly points to Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden having planned this attack."

The French President made it clear this would be the first step in a long struggle. "For too long we have been too hesitant. Something has to change," he said. "Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden declared war not just on France and the United States, but on our values and our freedoms. We might fight for those freedoms."

Powell elaborated on the steps both nations had taken, saying: "After invoking Article V of NATO and collecting the necessary intelligence, the next step would be pushing for the Taliban in Afghanistan to hand Bin Laden over, to close down Al Qaeda's terror camps in Afghanistan and open the region up for inspection." 

Both Presidents seemed reluctant to elaborate on what course of action would be taken should be taken should the Taliban refuse to comply. President Chirac said that should the Taliban refuse, "collective action would naturally be taken to ensure that there is justice, with or without the Taliban complying."

The US and France's allies from around the world expressed similar sentiment. Prime Minister Callum Finch said "The United Kingdom, working with foreign intelligence services from the United States and France, along with our own intelligence which has been shared with our allies, have identified the attackers to be from Al Qaeda and led by Osama Bin Laden. We join President Colin Powell and President Jacques Chirac in placing the blame for the attack at their doors. 

We must do everything in our power to denounce these people, their widely-unaccepted, extreme version of the peaceful religion of Islam, and protect ourselves and our way of life.  These people will not win."

Osama Bin Laden sent a statement to Al Jazeera, continuing to strongly deny involvement in the attacks. The Taliban's Foreign Minister, Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, also appeared critical of this approach, saying: "When they happened, we strongly condemned the attacks, but in its reckless pursuit for revenge the United States is pursuing false and fabricated evidence to point the blame at innocents. We do not believe this is productive and we fear their recklessness will endanger our nation and themselves."
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#14
MARCH 2002
America and France call on allies to 'step up to the job.'

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The President of the United States, Colin Powell, delivered a blistering public statement today where he confirmed the Taliban had shown their 'true colours' and that negotiations with the Taliban to extradite Osama Bin Laden to the United States had been 'worse than unproductive, but outright hostile.'

The President of the United States said: "We have taken a while - too long - trying to explore diplomatic routes with the Taliban following the devastating attacks in the United States and France. They have not listened to our concerns or responded to them in an appropriate manner. I have spoken to Mr. Chirac and he has agreed that with all diplomatic routes exhausted, it is time for us to take action. We will be launching a joint mission in Afghanistan."

In a separate statement, President of France Jacques Chirac confirmed the Presidents' statement, saying: "This is the Taliban's final warning before we are forced to act in self defence. We have already received support for direct intervention from the Prime Minister of Spain, with many of our NATO allies pledging to support us by forming a NATO coalition which will support our mission in order to honour Article V. It is time for our more hesitant allies to step up to the job."

The Taliban's Foreign Minister, Wakil Ahmed Muttawakil, has responded to the statements, saying: "The United States, France and Spain's warmongering is a danger to Afghanistan, to themselves and to the wider world and we encourage they be stopped in their tracks. They are prepared to strike us for the actions of another man - a man who has repeatedly denied responsibility for the attacks.

We are prepared to respond to the United States' and France's concerns, but they must be willing to compromise and approach us with calm heads. We hope the situation does not become regrettable."
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“In politics, guts is all.” - Barbara Castle.


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#15
MARCH 2002
US and France launch air strikes against Taliban

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The United States has begun its military campaign, Operation Enduring Freedom, against Al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan. Cruise missiles and bombers have targeted the airports of Kandahar and Kabul and terrorist training camps around Jalalabad.

The attacks, which begun around 16.30GMT were quickly followed by a public broadcast from President Powell, who promised a "sustained and relentless" campaign. The Taliban has condemned the strikes and have claimed that it shot down a plane, a claim which the Americans denied.

Up to 50 cruise missiles are reported to have been launched from submarines in the Arabian sea. The US also flew in B52 bombers stationed in the island of Diego Garcia, and B2 stealth bombers direct from the US itself.

Jacques Chirac confirmed direct French involvement with the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier as well as a number of submarines. The British government also contributed logistical support to the present NATO coalition. 

Speaking at a news conference, the US Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld said key targets would be terrorist training camps, Taliban communications, fighter planes and air defence installations. 

But the Pentagon says it will be mounting operations from the air and the ground, and defence experts say special forces are likely to be used soon into the campaign.

In his broadcast, Colin Powell underlined America's commitment to pursue terrorism in light of the events on the 22nd of December. He strongly stated that any government found to be sponsoring terrorism would be acting "at their own peril."

The US and French administrations have repeatedly rejected Taliban offers to bargain over the fate of its guest, Saudi-born militant Osama Bin Laden.

The Al-Qaeda leader, who is accused of plotting the December attacks, also released a speech to time with the strikes. In a message delivered to al-Jazeera television, an Arabic news channel, he sought to portray the bombing as part of a wider war of two sides, "the side of faith, and the side of infidelity."
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#16
SEPTEMBER 2002
Al Qaeda Leader and Founder Osama Bin Laden Killed

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The Prime Minister has announced that the mission in Afghanistan has achieved its tactical aims after NATO forces have seized the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar and a mission in the Tora Bora region successfully deposed of the Taliban. He also confirmed that the leader and founder of Al Qaeda, the terrorist group which has been linked to the 22/12 attacks in the United States and France, was killed by British forces. It has been reported that his body has been recovered and that there no British casualties in the mission. 

Mullah Mohammed Omar, the leader of the Taliban who successfully fled from Western forces released a statement to Al Jazeera also confirming the death of Bin Laden. He said: "No trial, no compromise, no negotiation. The true stripes of the United States and its allies were revealed to the world today. I have faith in god to deliver swift justice, and will do everything in my power to ensure the actions of the United States and her allies do not go unpunished."

Jacques Chirac, the President of France, proclaimed "justice has been delivered to the many thousands of lives Bin Laden destroyed." After news reports of celebrations in the United States following the announcement of Bin Laden's death, US President Colin Powell delivered a statement, saying: "Today is a time for celebration and for reflection. I promised the world swift justice, and the US and our vital allies have delivered on that promise. But there is still work to be done and evil still reigns: it is an important step, but it is not the end." 

UK Prime Minister Callum Finch said in a statement to Parliament: "By standing united with our allies in this mission, we have managed to make inroads into defeating the concept of terror and I believe the United Kingdom is safer as a result of this mission. We will now continue to focus on tracking down remaining Taliban forces and bringing this mission to an end. This Government will not stop in bringing those who spread fear and terror through violence to justice."
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