106 (E) - A funny thing happened on my way to the forum

What politicians say might be revealing, but what they don't say, saying it, is often more fun.

NEWSWEEK (Q) How do you assess the U.S.-Saudi relationship, and what is your opinion of President Bush's emphasis on the need for reform in your country?
Prince Saud al-Feisal (A) (the Saudi foreign minister for 30 years)
The relationship is going well.  The relationship stinks.
The president also indicated that reform has to come from inside the countries of the region.  Bush would better mind his own business.
He expressed the wish that this would happen quickly in the Middle East, and we express the wish that the Palestinian question be quickly solved.  He can wait till hell freezes over, or till he stops supporting the Zionist renegade state of Israel.
So I hope both our wishes will come through.  So you see, there is no such thing as a free lunch.
NEWSWEEK (Q) But there have been strains since September 11th, isn't that so?
Prince Saud al-Feisal (A)
Magazines, newspapers and television stations have described the relations as those of enmity.  Thank Allah, so we ourselves didn't have to do it.
This is not true.  This is true.
The relationship with the government of the United States is healthy.  The relationship with the government of the United States stinks.
It has become more healthy recently.  It stinks more and more.
Compared to the warmth that existed before September 11th ... we are reaching gradually the level of comfort and warmth we enjoyed before.  And it will get worse unless Bush does something about it, keeps his nose out of the Middle East business, and stops supporting Israel. You see, they might have the guns, but we have the oil, whether they like it or not.

Philippine Daily Enquirer, April 6, 2005, page A2: Belgian IPU delegate mugged
Despite the thight security provided by 13,000 policemen, a delegate to the 112th Inter-Parliamentary Union general assembly fell victim to muggers in Pasay City [one of the cities of Metro Manila, Philippines - VH] on Tuesday morning. [...]  What business has a delegate to do in Pasay city, of all places? Along with their free allowance and $200/day hotel and free lunches and dinners, weren't they provided with a _map_ of Metro Manila indicating "safe" (5%) and "dangerous" (95%) areas?
Georges Brion, deputy secretary general of the Belgian parliament, left the Westin Philippine Plaza Hotel at 5:45 am to go to church, took a tricycle, and got held up by its driver and an accomplice in a Pasay side street, police said.  A liberal/socialist parlementarian, going to church? At 5:45 am in the morning? There are no Masses at 6 am in the morning, certainly not in Pasay City. And it's even before dawn. And it was a tuesday, not a sunday. And he took a tricycle? A tricycle for heavens sake! Mr. Brion, apart from being a lousy liar, must also be suicidal. Was the allowance for our beloved representatives too small to include some taxi fares? Greedy Belgian taxpayers, a taxi is only P70 (1 Euro).
The muggers took Brion's cash of P4,000 and $60, and his identification and credit cards. He suffered bruises in the forehead and arms after he resisted his knife-wielding attackers and was treated at the San Juan de Dios hospital as an outpatient, police said. [...]  It must have a been long time ago since mr. Brion went out at night in the Brussels streets (Schaarbeek or St.Jans Molenbeek, Brussels "Pasay"), without police escort and without his luxury parliamentary car. He would have know that in close encounters with our beloved Moroccan street robbers, you _never_ resist, just hand over your cash and your cell phone. Everybody happy and nobody hurt.
PNP (Philippine National Police) Director General Arturo Lomibao reiterated police appeals to delegates to inform the security desks at their hotels of their plans should they choose not to avail themselves of police escorts. Brion had left his hotel without informing the security desk, police said.  Brion, as all delegates in this top-security convention, had free police protection at any time. Why did he choose to wander out alone and incognito at dark in Pasay? Taking an inconspicuous tricycle? Some lies are not only too transparent, but also too pathetical.
Mr. Brion must have done his "research" well. Pasay is a very intensive hookers area. Girls, boys, travestites, kids hanging around at every corner of the street and available for only 7 Euro. Of course, it would be very inconvenient to pick them up with a police escort at his tail. Now, this is a grave accusation. Let's just suppose mr. Brion suddenly woke up at 5 am in a deep spiritual mood, and in need to talk to the Lord, and to pray for the Pope's swift revovery. "Benefit of the doubt", it's called. And nobody ever disproved the existence of unicorns either. A weird incident anyways.
"He's good, he's working at the moment," Geert Versnick, another of Belgium's 13 delegates to the six-day IPU convention, told reporters later who were asking after Brion.  So Versnick was here too? The omnipresent Flemish Liberal Party backbencher that never made it to the top, but feels very happy close to the Belgian political porc barrels. Rumors of course. The IPU has been described by local Manila newspaper commentators as a giant waste of taxpayers money. "Nothing ever really came out of it", Pascua wrote the other day. Well, politicians are very hardworking lads, and they are entitled now and then to a free holiday in a $200/day hotel in a tropical city. The taxpayer shouldn't be that greedy. Or "verzuurd" (disgruntled) as they say in Belgium.
Versnick played down the incident, saying it was too minor an incident to change his view of the country and the Filipinos.  Why downplay this incident? The PNP didn't. Or do mr. Versnick and mr. Brion have something to hide? A good advice to the Belgian delegates. Metro Manila is neither Paris nor London. If you are in need of some local intimate exotic company, try it the safe way. After all, a bribed politician looks bad, but a fooled politician looks silly.
A Brazilian delegate, on the other hand, lost his passport, but he could not say how, police also said. Sampaio told police he had lost his passport, but Velasco {PNP Deputy Director General - VH] said he could not tell them exactly where or how it happened.  Mr. Sampaio just meant he couldn't really remember which hooker exactly ran off with the passport from his room.

05:40 Gepost door VH | Permalink | Commentaren (2) |  Facebook |


Great analysis I have been monitoring international conferences for a few years. For 85% of the male delegates, finding fresh, exotic titbits is the number one priority from day one. (I even believe it is what conferences are organised for in the first place.) It is a bad sad, though, the media play along in distributing these silly cover-up stories.

Gepost door: Stof | 07-04-05

...unless you meant tidbits.... "finding fresh, exotic titbits is the number one priority from day one."

A TIT-BIT? Well, if I was eating from political porc barrels I wouldn't say no either.

Gepost door: The Outlaw Michael Cosyns | 07-04-05

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