Monday, February 18, 2002
Hence the elaborate series of snubs that has been dealt out to the European Union’s election monitors. Mugabe must be enjoying himself playing with the EU’s determination to be fair. He has ruled out monitors from specific member countries and granted the head of the EU monitoring mission a tourist visa only. The mandarins in Brussels, though furious, have kept on smiling. No doubt, between now and next month’s elections, Mugabe will contrive to test those smiles further by humiliating and hamstringing the monitors that he has approved.
But the EU is only going to give Mugabe enough rope to hang himself. It is planning on the last laugh. If, as seems likely, it declares the presidential elections a fraud — if only because it will have been unable to monitor them properly — the trap will close on Mugabe.
A remarkable and welcome condemnation of rigged elections. I am sure that as soon as Saudi Arabia gets around to holding elections itself, they will be pure as the driven snow.
There was a belief during the Cold War that the USSR would not tolerate the US-supported arrogant Israeli expansionist policy. During that period, however, both big and small wars took place as a result of which Israel occupied the lands of five Arab States. Further, Israel invaded and occupied Beirut and even went as far afield as Uganda. The USSR did nothing but called for red lines that were of no value.
So, apparently, some wars took place and we need not concern ourselves with who was the aggressor. How dare Israel fight off the Syrian attack and capture the Golan Heights, from which Syrian troops had lobbed mortars into Israel for years?
But the piece de resistance has to be the line about Uganda. Apparently the raid on Entebbe that rescued hostages from a hijacking was really part of Israel's expansionist policy. How Dada.
Le Gougne, who left the Olympic Games shortly after the Russians won the gold medal last week and a scandal broke out calling her marks into question, initially told officials that she had been pressured to vote in favor of the Russian pairs team....But in today's article, Le Gougne said her vote had not been influenced by anyone and that she had only said so after Sally Ann Stapleford, an International Skating Union official, suggested that she might have been unfairly propositioned.
"Feeling threatened both mentally and physically, I did not reject her suggestion immediately," said Le Gougne, who insisted she made up the story about Gailhaguet out of fear for her safety. Stapleford has denied any wrongdoing...."I felt trapped," she told the newspaper. "I exploded in sobs in the face of this injustice and under overall pressure."
Later in the day, the French newspaper Le Monde announced that tomorrow's edition would include a retraction of Le Gougne's allegations of pressure to make up a story about pressure exerted on her vote. According to sources, Le Gougne now says that she was not pressured by the ISU to claim that she was pressured by Didier Gailhaguet, but rather she was pressured by the journalists from L'Equippe to claim that she was pressured by the ISU to claim that she was pressured by Didier Gailhaguet. 'The journalist asked if perhaps Sally Ann Stapleford pushed me around,' Le Gougne tearfully explained. 'I perhaps may have said "yes." But, you see, I feared for my very life, and agreed that perhaps Ms. Stapleford had pressured me, but only because of the truly unbearable pressure applied by the journalist.'"