Tuesday, November 15, 2005


The Atlantic Monthly this month (which is apparently December 2005) did short little articles on two things I think are interesting. First, apparently starting in 1979 a number of (un)fortunate coincidences befell the Iraqi effort to enrich uranium. Initially, the reactor cores that the French sold the Iraqis were scheduled to ship from France to Iraq in April. However, the French Ecological Group blew them up in a warehouse in France. Interesting. That group has not been heard from since, and had never been heard of when the explosion happened. The cores shipped in October 1979 instead. Ooopsy.

In 1980 an Iraqi scientist in the Iraqi program was in France in connection with the program. He was found dead, stabbed and blugeoned to death. The hooker he spent the night with, "Marie Express," died in an unsolved hit and run soon after. Ooopsy.

Thereafter workers who worked at companies supplying materials to Iraq were threatened, bombs went off in their offices, and two more Iraqi scientists died of poisoning. Ooopsy.

Finally the Israelis bombed the Osirak reactor and put paid to the 1970s efforts to get The Bomb.

I remember when they made this into a movie and Matt Damon was kicking ass in the United States consulate in Geneva, and he and Marie went to Paris and he killed that guy with a pen.

Good God, don't mess with the Mossad. That and "Marie Express" does not come up when you google it. Just in case you were wondering.

Second, the Monthly has a picture entitled "The Other 'El Norte'" of which I was unable to find a copy to which to link. Too bad, because it is something. There are two fences that the caption says are ten feet high with razor wire on top of each. A guy is climbing over. It looks like the Mexican border. Except that it is not. It is Europe's border with Africa.

Melilla and Cueta are both what are called "exclaves." They are integral parts of Spain that reside on the Moroccan coast of Africa. Immigrants from all over Africa try to cross into the European Union here. Their Spanish nationality appears to be a hangover from the Reconquista, and perhaps more trouble than they are worth. That being said, exclaves are pretty interesting. For instance, the Europeans are going to have to figure out what to do about Kaliningrad with the Russians. The Namibians finally got Walvis Bay back from South Africa, so that exclave is cleared up, but the Northwest Angle persists.

We won't even get into enclaves.


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12:11 AM  

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