January 31, 2005

Have You Stopped Beating Your Wife?

So how racist are you, exactly?  Harvard thinks they have a way of figuring that out, via the Harvard Implicit Association Test (Courtesy Tim Blair.)

This test purports to discover what hidden biases you might have on race, gender, sexuality or any one of a number of things.  The methodology the test seems to use is based largely on what appears to be the Freudian Slip methodology.  Take it and you'll see what I mean.

The part that I found supremely interesting was that I took the test to determine whether or not I was biased in favor of Kerry or Bush.  Now, I am going to wait a minute for you all to look back through my posting history and form your own judgment on where I stand.  Don't worry, go ahead - I'll wait.

Back?  Good.  The Harvard folks told me that I have somewhere from a slight to moderate bias in favor of ...  Kerry.

Yup.

So, all I can figure is that the test is a good mechanism for telling you what word associations have been seared, seared in your memory by a mind-numbingly relentless media assault.  In other words, after hearing the 4.9 million assertions that Bush = Hitler, it seems that the word association game gets weighted a bit to go along with whatever the dominant saturation message of the day happens to be.

Now, just for a flight of fancy, suppose that we assume that Harvard is a bastion of the leftist liberal elite intelligentsia, and that the media establishment is heavily biased towards the left, wouldn't this then make the Harvard test a measure of how effective the media is in telling us what we think?

Personally, I think that argument is a bit tin-foil hattish.  Nonetheless, I still stand by the assertion that the test is a better measure of what reflexive word associations have been impressed upon us by our environment, rather than any latent bias.

And I was kind of hoping that anything of this magnitude that Harvard chose to roll out wouldn't have produced such contrary results so very easily.

But then again, I'm not an Ivy Leaguer.

(Simultaneously launched by Bravo Romeo Delta from Demosophia, The Jawa Sun-Times, & Anticipatory Retaliation)

By Bravo Romeo Delta at 04:46 PM | Comments |

Congratulations!!!

Was there a major power outtage or what nine months ago? Did I miss orglefest 2004?

baby2.jpg

image-republicanbaby.jpg

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 04:26 PM | Comments |

Religion of Peace Update 1/31/05

cairbears03.jpgToday's Religion of Peace Update is brought to you by the folks at American Greetings, now offering their new line of CAIR Bears. (Thanks to Eric Smith for the CAIR Bears pic) and by the Mathemeticians for Freedom Alliance reminding you that d/dt (mv) = 0 ; v = const

Today's Religion of Peace theme: "Nunca encontraras una mas miserable madriguera de escoria y villania." (via Flea)

Federal judge says terror suspects at Gitmo can challenge detention in US courts.

Al Jazeera may be put on auction block--bin Laden to start early bidding on e-Bay.

Terror suspect raised money for Islamic schools (shock)

Terrorists strike in Tajikistan, blow up government building.

Iraqi election news roundup from the Poliblogger.

Pakistani, Afghani, and Lebanese jihadis open fire on ex-patriot Iraqi elections voters in Australia. And John Howard, the Aussi PM, proves once again to be one of America's staunchest allies.

Iraqis give terrorists the finger---literally!! (scroll down)

Ansar al Islam Claims To Have Shot Down British Plane but 1920 Revolution Brigade (the group that brought you such hostage takings as Dean Sadek) also claiming responsibility. (via Michelle Malkin)

Giving a Muslim a dirty look = anti-Muslim
Murdering Arab Christians in New Jersey = anti-Muslim
Remembering Israeli victims of terrorism at UC Irvine = anti-Muslim

Christians on PalTalk Chat Service Tracked by Radical Islamic Web Site.

Religion of Peace Uses Child With Down's Syndrome as Suicide Bomber

Thousands protest in Morocco: Tsunamai was Allah's punishment for wicked!

Islamic miracle: Like the images of Mary on a corn tortilla, Abu Mussab al Zarqawi begins to turn up in the oddest of places.

Kofi Annan gets it wrong again.

Arab broadcasters report Iraqi election more favorably than Germans. (via Instapundit)

Iraqi elections a European victory, not US.

Auschwitz and al Qaeda

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:02 AM | Comments |

Ansar al Islam Claims British Plane Shot Down

UPDATE: This is an archive page. If you are looking for more recent news about terrorist communiques or videos, please go to our MAIN PAGE HERE. Updated daily.

UPDATE: I knew it! 1920 Revolution Brigade claims downing of British Plane on Video. This is the same group responsible for the kidnapping of American Dean Sadek. (ht: Michelle Malkin)

10 are believed dead in the crash. Via Jeff Quinton this Times article:

The Ansar al-Islam group said in a statement on an Islamic website that its fighters tracked the Hercules aircraft, "which was flying at a low altitude, and fired an anti-tank missile at it".

The statement said: "Thanks be to God, the plane was downed and a huge fire and black clouds of smoke were seen rising from the location of the crash."

Established after the 9/11 attacks, Ansar al-Islam is one of Iraq’s older extremist groups and has been linked to al-Qaida.

On the face of it, I do not believe the report. Why?

First, Ansar al Islam has not been active in over a year. Unless the report is wrong and they mean Ansar al Sunna, which happens from time to time. The fighting remnants of Ansar al Islam seemed to have joined Ansar al Sunna. The only Ansar al Islam related activities in the past year have been fundraising and planning by a cell in Germany.

Second, wrong area. Ansar al Islam's base of operation was in Kurdistan. Ansar al Sunna has been operating in areas that were formerly Kurdish but which were 'Arabized' under the Saddam Hussein regime. The plane was apparantly shot down only 20 miles north-west of Baghdad which is in the Sunni triange but nowhere near al Sunna's normal base of operations.

Unless of course the terrorists were referring to this....

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:44 AM | Comments |

Religion of Peace Uses Child With Down's Syndrome as Suicide Bomber

Via Matt Cardens this WaPo report:

"A handicapped child was used to carry out a suicide attack on a polling site," al-Naqib said. "This is an indication of what horrific actions they are carrying out."

He gave no other details about the attack, but police at the scene of one the Baghdad blasts said the bomber appeared to have Down's Syndrome.

Related.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:31 AM | Comments |

Kuwaitis Kill 4 Terrorists, Capture 'Spiritual Leader'

The 'spiritual leader' of an al Qaeda linked jihadi group in Kuwait, Amer Khlaif al-Enezi, was captured in a 9 hour running gunbattle between the terror suspects and Kuwaiti security forces. Four suspected terrorists were killed in the battle. One of those killed was a Saudi national. The former imam's brother was taken into custody yesterday.

One civilian was also killed in the clashes.

Thousands of rounds were said to have been exchanged in the shootout.

This is the fourth clash in the past month between suspected terrorists and Kuwaiti security forces this month. Many of the suspected terrorists are believed to have been in transit from other Arab states to Iraq. Hundreds of foreign terrorists have been reported fighting the U.S. in Iraq.

More: AFP, The Scotsman.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:21 AM | Comments |

January 30, 2005

But, but, but... (Update)

by Demosophist

Today, during a discussion on Fox News about the Iraq Election Moira Liasson objected to Brit Hume's contention that many people had been habitually skeptical about the odds of establishing a legitimate democracy in Iraq. Moira allowed that this just wasn't so, and that although many people had expressed skepticism about the details of the Bush plan nearly everyone had always had faith in the "will of all people to be free." Well, I can't speak for Liasson, nor do I know what she thought back then, but it seems to me her memory may be a bit "selective." Frankly, I don't know anyone who has more credibility with political sociologists on the topic of democratization than Amitai Etzioni, and over a year ago, back in November, 2003, I posted a comment to his blog post A Sociologist's Iraqi Exit Strategy. For documentation purposes you can find the original here, along with his response, but it's reproduced below for the sake of convenience:

I find your observations on this topic useful, but primarily as a way of motivating 'progressives' to reflect a bit on their positions. As a practical matter it is far too early to label the reconstruction effort a failure, nor is it particularly accurate to label it an 'afterthought.' One would think that had it been much more than that, that they'd have come in with a better plan, but I personally think it's more a matter of Republican naiveté about social legitimacy than the notion that the reconstruction wasn't important. In fact, for many of us the entry into the Middle East to establish a beachhead for liberal open society is at least as important as the WMD issue. I also have little confidence in the UN's ability and resolve when it comes to establishing such a beachhead, both because of the 'Euro-cocoon,' that many of the European members of the Security Council believe they are in and because the UN has no legitimacy as a democratic body.

My problem is that we appear to have a Republican administration that's willing to do the right thing, but doesn't quite know how... and a Democratic opposition that could probably muster the know-how, but doesn't want to for partisan reasons. The Democrats seem preoccupied with what I call 'little democracy,' and insist on training a microscope on those liberal societies that have already proven to be stable... just because they can. However, they neglect 'big democracy' at our peril. As for the UN and NATO, I honestly think they're not exactly the wave of the future, although the UN will survive as a kind of international debating society. What we need in their stead is some sort of deliberative body composed exclusively of democratic nations, since they together represent a cohesive 'meta-tribe' with common interests that, as a community, can probably begin to set the stage for a world absent totalitarian regimes like Iraq, Korea and Burma. They would represent a sufficiently dominant majority that those nations left outside the alliance would be compelled to liberalize in order to join the club. They'd be motivated by both pressure and attraction, or stick and carrot.

Amitai just couldn't see it:

Thanks for the very thought-provoking comments. As I see it, there is no way on earth that Iraq can be turned into anything that resembles a democracy in the immediate future (unless it is “defined down” so it does not mean a thing). It took the Brits (and us) generations; and the Iraqis are less prepared. It is not so much that the Republicans don’t how to do it – it cannot be done. Just look at our track record in third world countries.

"No way on earth." A year ago that was the standard wisdom, not only in academe, but in the derivative press establishment... so if Liasson thought differently at the time her memory is unreliable about her peers and about the "experts." But what's important isn't so much that I was right, but that Iraqis rose to the challenge that justified the faith some of us had in them... and that courageous Americans and Iraqis have paid a worthy price so that citizens of what was once the cradle of civilization could walk triumphantly to the polls today, to fulfill that ancient promise.

It would be well to remember, just for the sake of precision, that there are those whose vision fell short of their learning, and who are still inappropriately dismissive about hope that was expressed today by a people with the dragon still nipping at their heels. And it appears that Republicans have, in fact, finally been able to get the knack of the thing, shouldering a task that most Democrats seem to eschew out of some overly cultivated sense of sophistication about democracy in the small.

Update: Protein Wisdom has some observations about the impossible-but-easy nature of the problem

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and Anticipatory Retaliation)

By Demosophist at 09:28 PM | Comments |

January 28, 2005

D.C. Trip Planning Woes

Sorry for the absence today, folks. I'm busy throwing together a student trip to Washington, DC. The problem is that I can't find a place at a reasonable price with enough rooms!! The hotel also needs to be near a Metro stop. I'll be in DC from May 14th to the 22nd.

Any ideas out there?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:04 PM | Comments |

What?

No, seriously. I see a lot fairly baffling stuff on the internet, but this one I just don't get.

Watch it and tell me.

LINK FIXED

Although, now that I think of it, if I can just manage to get it broadcast on Al-Jazeera without that little note at the bottom, it might cut pretty heavily into the pro-Bin Laden demographic.

By Bravo Romeo Delta at 11:23 AM | Comments |

January 27, 2005

Muslim Studen Union celebrates the liberation of Auschwitz at my alma mater

In case your wondering, my alma mater won the NCAA football championship this year....Via Mere Rhetoric:

holocust schmolocost.....
that whole thing drives me nuts.
there arent that many holicost surviviers.
most of those guys havent experienced anything -- except possibly excess. its a tool the zionists use... but to be honest wonder how effective it is these days.
and
Just thought id contribute its fun reading about the holohoax. it probably happened but 6mil is a lot i think the figure was much smaller and yes i think its possible to fabricate such a story. the jews are masters at this and congrats to them for being able to do so. not only do they claim sole bearers to the "anti-semetic" crimes, but they are able to live of reparations forever. smart idea dont you think?
Ah, to be young and in graduate school again so I could pop one of these guys in the mouth.

On a paranthetical note, on 9/12/01 I was in a class and we were discussing the events of the previous day. I made the comment that the "Islamist extremists are every bit as dangerous as the Nazis." The Professor's eyes went buggy and he (literally) screamed at me to shut up.

Funny, he never flinched when students would call George Bush a Nazi. (ht: Charles Johnson)

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:54 PM | Comments |

No...

I have nothing left to say. Screw you guys, I'm going home.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:37 PM | Comments |

Pele, Ronaldo, Ronaldinho Plea for Hostages

BBC:

Brazilian football star Ronaldo has made a televised plea for the release of a countryman kidnapped in Iraq [ Joao Jose Vasconcelos ]...

"I hope they will show pity and let him return home to his family and friends."...

Ronaldo's fiancee and the hostage are from the same Brazilian state...

Barcelona midfielder Ronaldinho and Brazilian legend Pele are also preparing to record messages, reports say....

Maybe we should get Brett Favre to do the same?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:45 PM | Comments |

Russians Kill 7 in Terror Raid

This is why Russia is our natural ally. AP:

Hundreds of security forces stormed an apartment building today in southern Russia, killing seven suspected Islamic extremists linked to Chechen rebels and ending a two-day standoff.

Black smoke billowed from the building in Nalchik, the regional capital of the province of Kabardino-Balkariya, near Chechnya, as police and Interior Ministry troops fired automatic weapons and hurled grenades. The gunmen returned fire, wounding two police officers, the Interior Ministry said.

After a five-hour shootout, authorities found seven bodies, Interior Ministry spokesman Alexei Polyansky said.

Unfortunately, one of the bodies was that of a child. That some of the others were women means nothing to Chechen terrorists who don't discriminate on who will be the next martyr for Allah.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:39 PM | Comments |

State Department Admits 3 American Hostages 'Probably' in Iraq

AFP reports that the State Department is now admitting that at least 3 Americans are probably alive and being held in Iraq:

"We know of three Americans who are held hostage in Iraq, and then there is a handful of others that are unaccounted for," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said on Wednesday.

Boucher declined to identify the three or provide any details on their situation, only saying that officials are in regular contact with their families.

By my count there are four, possibly five. They are:

Roy Hallums, Dean Sadek, Tim Bell and Bill Bradley. The Army of Ansar al Sunnah claimed to have killed Spc. Matt "Keith" Maupin on video, but the victim could not be identified as in other videos released by the group.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:27 PM | Comments |

Islamic Comic Books

Look, up in the sky! It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Supermuhammed!!!

John at Crossroads of Arabia blogs on this Arab News article:

Muslim children from the Gulf states, the UK and Australia now have something new to look forward to: An English-language comic book for kids, described as the first of its kind in the Arab world...

“The aim of this Saudi-Swedish educational project is to wean Muslim children away from satellite TV and expose them to Islamic views,” Al-Hajji told Arab News.

Can someone tell me why countries with religious freedom allow the totalitarian state of Saudi Arabia to proselytize in them? Isn't it about time to tell the Saudis to take their money used to build Islam in the US and shove it until they allow full religious freedom at home?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 09:11 AM | Comments |

Iraqi Election Blog

Friends of Democracy is blogging the Iraqi election from Iraq. The next few days should be very interesting.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:56 AM | Comments |

Why does the Arab World Suck Ass? It's the Jews

Did you notice this CNN I linked in yesterday's Religion of Peace Roundup?

"The U.N. Development Programme (UNDP) will lend its name to a controversial report on freedom and governance in the Arab world despite U.S. objections to parts of the text".
...
"The dispute reflects differences between the U.S. view that the Arab world's problems are mainly internal and the Arab consensus that external factors such as foreign intervention and Israel's treatment of the Palestinians have contributed significantly to oppression and poor governance in the region".
So let me get this straight, Tunisia is underdeveloped because of Zionist oppression? That's a lot like saying that the large number of mullets found in Needles, California, can be explained by New Jersey.

The Watcher over at Indymedia wonders if this is another case of payola going to higher ups in the UN to change the reports conclusion. Who better to blame than the Jews?

On the other hand, since when has blaming the Jew menace needed a payoff? The U.N. does it all the time with hundreds of resolutions condemning Israel for the very same acts other countries routinely engage in. The question is not why the U.N. is blaming the Jews now. The real question is why they didn't blame the Jews earlier?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:49 AM | Comments |

Islamist Joke

A guy walks into his house after returning from Mecca. "Honey, I'm home," he yells. Then slits his 14 year old daughters throat for being a 'filthy filthy Jew slut'.

Turns out she was a virgin. "Oops, my bad."

HT: Tim at Opinion Bug

(PS-what kind of society runs medical tests to see if the father was justified in murdering his daughter?)

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:36 AM | Comments |

A haiku for Dave at Garfield Ridge

Dave at Garfield Ridge,

is down like a clown Charlie Brown.

Go visit Garfield Ridge.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:20 AM | Comments |

January 26, 2005

Walk-Ins

From time to time, a foreign national will walk into a US embassy and start divulging sensitive information.  In some circles these people are known as walk-ins.  And today, the comments section of Winds of Change had, what can be considered an inadvertent walk-in of sorts.

Recently there has been a great deal of discussion about the validity of the notion of "activistism."  Activistists tend to define themselves by their apparent desire for protest for it's own sake, rather than as a tool to achieve specific political ends.  Much of this discussion has been carried on in posts by Marc Cooper, Michael Totten, myself, and most recently Joe Katzman at Winds of Change.  The current debate deals with, in part, about the role of activistism in today's left, and the ideological nature of those who seem to be calling the shots in the Democratic Party.  Closely related to this subject is the notion that the activist left is completely tone deaf on national security, due to the apparent allergy that the far left has to the field of strategic studies.

In the comments section of Joe Katzman's roundup of discussion about activistism, a certain T.J. Madison manages, in his comment, to provide a glaring illustration of this allergy to strategic thinking in just under 100 words.

In the context of discussion about prevailing trends in the Democratic Left, T.J. Madison has become an unintentional walk-in in the debate about the intellectual proclivities of the activistist left and the role of activistism in the Democratic weakness on security.

T.J.'s comment and my analysis follow:

That's why they don't offer alternative strategies for avoiding a nuclear 9/11: they just don't care.

I've offered my strategy. Here it is again:

As you'll see below, his strategy is about a nuclear 9/11. Which, in terms of utility via applicability is wonderfully useless. It's not to say that a nuclear 9/11 is a trivial possibility, but it is worthwhile pointing out that the phrase "nuclear 9/11" is used as a short-hand to describe the entire vocabulary of threats related to the use of WMD in a terrorist attack. In creating a strategy so neatly focused on the nuclear threat, one runs a very real risk of simply making chemical and biological weapons more attractive. And if you are familiar with exercises like Dark Winter, one quickly notes that the any WMD terrorist attack is of great significance. So, in essence, T.J. has opted to focus on one microscopic element of national security in order (as you may gather later on) to provide a vehicle for his preconceptions about the military and national security.

Step 1: Secure the Russian nuclear arsenal and upgrade their early warning system.

The first statement, securing the Russian nuclear arsenal, is breathtaking in its oversimplification of complex issues. One gets the feeling that there is some desire to believe that a sitting President can magically snap his fingers and by so doing, secure thousands and thousands of nuclear weapons belonging to a sovereign state. This is something we can safely call a non-trivial difficulty.

"There are vague Russian claims that the stockpile [of non-strategic nuclear weapons] has been reduced, but many questions remain about what “reduced” means. How many weapons are there really? Where are they located? What is their level of readiness, their viability? Are they secure from theft? Why does Russia still need so many of these weapons? On none of these issues has Russia been forthcoming. All are unanswered questions that lessen confidence in the fidelity of Russian claims. The ambiguity represented by Russia’s stated willingness to reduce these nuclear weapons while refusing to engage in meaningful discussion on any of these questions is indeed troubling."

Moreover, one of the most significant problems with the effort to secure fissionable material arises from peculiarities of management in the Soviet economy. Since production was mandated by quota, many managers would hoard surpluses off the books so that if a production shortfall arose, the hidden cache of surplus product could be used to overcome production shortfall. And yes, this was a very common practice among those responsible for producing weapons-grade fissionable material.

The second element (which seems to be added as an afterthought to the afternoon's work of securing a stockpile of tens of thousands of nuclear weapons) is that we should upgrade the Russian early warning system. First off, no argument supporting the concept that this would enhance our security is presented. If we were to hazard a guess about the rationale, we might suppose that T.J. is under the impression that anything done to make another state secure will make us safer. Except that this approach is far from accepted gospel truth in the strategic community. It may have merits, and it may not, but it is certainly an argument that cannot be presented without support. One could, arguably, make the assertion that enhancing Russian strategic nuclear warfighting capability is akin to buying North Korea billions of dollars in conventional weapons to reduce their inclination to produce nuclear weapons.

The other element that tickles me about this assertion that the US should spend a significant amount of money on Russian capabilities is T.J.'s later commentary about military bureaucracy.

Step 2: Offer to buy up stray nuclear material for a fixed (high) price, no questions asked. Send the CIA guys with suitcases full of cash out there to buy up all the nukage.

Going back to basic economics, what happens when demand for a product is set artificially high? That's right, supply increase to meet that demand and market inefficiencies result. In other words, if you start paying for nukes, there becomes absolutely no reason not to manufacture them. Imagine a situation in which the US will pay $100 million dollars for every nuke they can get their hands on. Then guess how long it's going to be before the Iranian, Pakistani, North Korean, and Indian intelligence agencies set up front operations to cash in on this new export line. With this image in place, one might significant difficulties in continuing with non-proliferation efforts, as the US would have just turned fissionable material into highly concentrated cash. The proposition that we would start bailing out big suitcases full of money to unsavory people with no questions asked is tantamount to an engraved invitation for abuse.

The next problem is how, exactly, we can do things like convince others to limit the size of their nuclear arsenals when we will have, in effect, paid huge amounts of money to increase our nuclear stockpile.

Additionally, I would also be quite interested if this program would cover only completed weapons, all weapons-grade fissionable material, or all fissionable materials. Would any quantity of material be fair game, or only amount sufficient to be used to make weapons? Does T.J. intend to extend this to all radiological materials that could be used in a dirty bomb?

And finally, just because we start throwing money around doesn't mean that a group that obtains, by hook or crook, a functioning device is going to sell us their bomb. If Al Qaeda steals a nuke, they probably aren't going just decide to pawn it because we've artificially inflated the market price for "nukage."

Neither of these things are being done, likely because they would be too cheap and too effective to justify the existence of the current military bureaucracy.

And this statement is the gem that compelled me to write this post.

"Too cheap" except for the rebuilding of Russian strategic nuclear warfighting capabilities. And the whole business about men in trench coats wandering around throwing vast sums of cash to people with parcels that set off Geiger counters. Not to mention the continually expanding size of the program that will occur once we've made violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty a viable investment strategy.

"Too effective" except for the economic, and logistical shortcomings mentioned above. Too effective except for the fact that this kind of effort would demand someone waving the magic cooperation wand at Moscow. And too effective, except for the other significant elements of the WMD triad that this effort would, presumably, leave unchecked.

But fortunately, T.J. has a scapegoat - justification of the current military bureacracy. Breathtaking, isn't it? How incisive, how insightful. How truly, fundamentally stupid.

One arrives at the conclusion that T.J. is under the impression that we field things like aircraft carriers (the sort providing Tsunami relief right now) because Admirals stalk the halls of Congress yammering about loose nukes. That we spend money on things like rebuilding Iraq and training the Iraqi military because we just don't like to play nice with Russians.

I just can't helped but be amazed that, evidently, our entire defense budget would be slashed if only intelligent people absorbed the deep lessons contained in T.J.'s 100-word nugget of brilliance.

Additionally, I like the concept that spending money on American defence capabilities is perpetuating the current military bureacracy, but spending money on Russian defence isn't. Yes - we'll increase the nuclear warfighting capability of the only country on the planet to be a rival in the strategic nuclear arena, because, as T.J. seems to believe, it will make us all safe and snuggly warm.

No, much like T.J. I can't possible imagine how blowing the bottom out of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation regime by, effectively, paying people signficant cash to violate it, could possible do anything other than help cut the bloated military bureacracy down to size.

Furthermore, I can't possibly see how (as implied) curbing our military capability wouldn't do a thing to get other countries to believe that we were now less capable of defending our interests in places like northeast Asia.  Nope - no chance that our security assurances that keep the peace in numerous places across the globe wouldn't just become worthless paper once we've shown those rascals in the Pentagon what's what.  Heck, and once those security agreements have been devalued, there's no chance that conflict might erupt because people think we're a paper tiger.  Nope, nothing like that happened at all, eventually leading to the 1991 Gulf War.

That, and the notion that, given current troop rotation levels in Iraq, that it would also be, somehow, better if we just spent less money and had fewer troops altogether. Or the inevitable impact that a slashed military budget would have on our peacekeeping capabilities.

No, you see, T.J. has got it all sussed out, because evidently threats to our security are all monocausal and easily discovered by those of keen insight. Because T.J. understands that there aren't any bad people out there, only bogeymen conjured up by those evil capitalist guys at the Pentagon.

If people wonder why the activistist left has destroyed the credibility of the Democratic Party on national security, just remember T.J. - the accidental walk-in.

(Simultaneously launched by Bravo Romeo Delta from Demosophia, The Jawa Mercury, & Anticipatory Retaliation)

By Bravo Romeo Delta at 05:25 PM | Comments |

Ghadaffi calls for Roy Hallums Release

Via Chad at In the Bullpen this story:

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Wednesday called on Iraqi insurgents to release a U.S. hostage [Roy Hallums], responding to the captive's plea for his intervention...

"As a response to the begging, we ask the Iraqi resistance in the name of Islam and Arabism to free him, implementing the principle of forgiveness," the Arab satellite news channel Al-Jazeera quoted Gadhafi as saying in a statement...

What was really meant by Roy Hallums' plea for the Libyan leaders help was that he pay the $12 million ransom demand. Presumably so the terrorist could buy the baby heard in the background of the hostage video some new pampers and some bling-bling.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 04:39 PM | Comments |

Religion of Peace Roundup 1/26/05

Brought to you by the Religion of Peas in a Can Council.

After videotaping himself beheading civilians for the past year and a half and publicly proclaiming himself the head of al Qaeda in Iraq, the UN finally designates Abu Musab al-Zarqawi a 'terrorist' and freezes his assets.

England to free 12 terror suspects. (ht: Chad Evans)

Two ex-Gitmo inmates return to England--promptly promise to sue US.

They're guerrillas, not terrorists says Italian Judge--then sets them free! (ht: Robert Spencer)

Profile of foreign terrorists fighting in Iraq (ht: Evan)

Are the Saudis funding Wahhabi extremist propaganda on Iraqi 'independent' TV? (ht: Captain Ed)

80 lashes given to 12 year old pick-pocket in Kingdom of the Religion of Peace (ht: Robert Spencer)

Terrorism caused by ideas, yeah but I wonder what ideas those would be.... (ht: Spencer, again)

Jihad recruitment on the rise in Europe...no connection to massive influx of Muslims immigrants, though. (ht: Charles Johnson)

UN Blames Zionists and Jew Controlled America for Arab Social Problems (ht: Daniel)

Let's face it, Islam doesn't mean Peace...(ht: Cameron)

Where are all those Leftist human shields when you need them?? You know, to guard the polling stations....

Jews causing Anti-semetism in Russia. (ht: Ace)

Has Iraq made us weaker?? No, say's VDH (ht: Dean)

75% of Iraqis say security where they live is either 'good' or 'average.' (ht: Instawhateverhisnameis)

Marine Helocopter Crashes, no foul play suspected (so far).....31 killed.

Support our troops, sign the petition (ht: Beth and Commissar)

And remember, you can't support the troops if you don't support the mission. (ht: John Donovan)

Excuse me while I whip this out.....

Asia by blog roundup.

I'm bigger than Jebus Martin Luther.

It's funny, because it's true....

Also true....

Peter.....Teets...(snort...giggle...gafahh....)

He said phial

INS finally showing some initiative and getting its act together.

Visionary Zarqawi offers anti-dote to democracy....

Remember, today is White Trash Wednesday

Speaking of White Trash, happy B-Day Robo!!

And friday should bring a brand new red-headed white trash redneck son of the soil into the world. Congrats!!

Team America: World Police coming to video April 5th!!!---classes cancelled.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:21 PM | Comments |

Hallums Family Reacts to Hostage Video, $12 million dollar ranson demand made

Susan and Carrie are finally getting some MSM press again. As suspected, the bastards holding Roy are demanding a $12 million ransom. KESQ:

The former wife of an American who was kidnapped in Baghdad and appeared in a recent hostage video is urging President Bush to save him.

Speaking on the "Today" show this morning, Susan Hallums of Corona, California says her former husband Roy is a "patriotic" American hero who needs help....

[speaking of Roy's allusions to Bush] Hallums' daughter, Carrie, says she believes that statement was scripted. She insists he's "always been a supporter of our U-S government."

San Bernadino Sun:
"It was terrible to see him, but good to see him,' said Susan Hallums, Roy's ex-wife. "He's strong, but I could tell he was fearful for his life. He had a machine gun next to his head.'

The Corona woman said she thought Roy looked "pale, thin and fearful.'...

"The week before (the abduction), he e-mailed me every day, and he called (the) kids two or three times a week,' she said. "We were both very close to our children, so that should keep you close friends, and we were.'

Susan Hallums said that although the U.S. government adheres to a strong policy of non-negotiation with terrorists, Roy's former employer, Riyadh-based Saudi Arabian Trading and Construction Co., had been in contact with the hostage-takers since his abduction. The company told her $12 million was being demanded in exchange for her ex-husband's release....

"It hit me this morning when I was crying,' she said despondently while packing her suitcase. "I was devastated. It's still hard to see him. But he's strong and he's brave. If anybody could get through this, he will.'

Fox41.com:
The ex-wife of hostage Roy Hallums is appealing to President Bush to do something to win her ex-husband's freedom in Iraq.

On the tape, Hallums says he won't ask Bush for help because of what he calls Bush's "selfishness and unconcern."

But Susan Hallums says she believes he was forced to say those things. She says he's "an American hero" who "never hurt anybody" and "needs our help."

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:34 AM | Comments |

Google Search: Is THIS how the MSM works??

In the past 24 hours I've gotten e-mails from producers at Fox News, CNN, NBC's Today Show, and several regional newspapers. Why me? Google.

Has Google become the foundation for MSM research? I certainly hope not.

That's how I do research.

So, tell me again why the MSM is superior to blogs?

On a related note check out Take Back the News, which integrates MSM stories with Bloggers and their takes.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:19 AM | Comments |

January 25, 2005

Plane Forced Down by Feds

Flight school catering to foreigners....terrror alert....why does this all sound so familiar? Michelle Malkin is on the case from top to bottom.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:31 AM | Comments |

Terrorists Release Video of American Hostage Roy Hallums (UPDATED)

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UPDATE 9/07: ROY HALLUMS RESCUED IN IRAQ!!!! Details here. Or try the Main Page.
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A new video has surfaced showing American hostage Roy Hallums. I have posted a transcription of the video below.

Roy Hallums was abducted on Nov. 1st, 2004 from his apartment in Baghdad along with several other foreign nationals. Roy is a civilian and was in Iraq working on the reconstruction effort. A Fillipino hostage, taken with Roy, was later released [ht: Digger] seems to be still in captivity, even though the government of the Phillippines is directly negotiating with the hostage takers. Roy's abduction was first broken at the Jawa Report on November 30th. We also reported on Roy in the post Remembering the Forgotten American Hostages in Iraq and in our Tribute to American Hostage Roy Hallums). I would urge readers to check the comments on those posts as many of Roy's family and friends have left comments.

UPDATE III: I have obtained a copy of the video. A transcription of it follows. Roy seems in good health, but is obviously agitated. He is seen sitting on the floor, crosslegged, an rubs his hands as he makes the statement. An AK-47 is pointed at his head throughout. At several points in the video a baby can be heard crying in the background. The copy of the video I have may be incomplete as the audio cuts off as Roy continues to speak:

My name is Roy Hallums. I'm an American national and I have worked with the American forces.

I have been arrested by a resistance group in Iraq.

I'm please asking for help because I...my life is in danger because it's been proved that I worked for American forces.

I'm not asking for any help from President Bush because I know of his selfishness and unconcern for those that have been pushed into this hell hole.

I am asking for the help of Arab rulers, especially President Muammar Gaddafi because he's known for helping those who are suffering.

I also ask that Arab leaders help me in this situation so that I can be released as quickly as possible from this definite death. I would remember this favor for the rest of my life, should my life remain.

And I ask my family to help because my health is in a very bad situation.

So please, please I'm asking any one, Arab leader, especially President Gaddafi, please help me in this situation so I can be reunited...(audio ends but lips keep moving)

It is not clear whether this is the end of the video, or if my copy is only partial. No demands are made by his captors. The entire video is in English and Roy is the only one that speaks. The pleas for Ghaddafi's intercession are a first to my knowledge in a hostage video. It is also obvious that Roy is unaware of his families efforts to free him.

Xinhua:

One US citizen, apparently taken hostage in Iraq, has pleaded for his life, according to a video tape released on Tuesday.

The man identifying himself as Roy Hallams said, "I have been arrested by a resistance group in Iraq. I am asking for help because my life is in danger because it's been proved that I work for American forces."

But the authenticity of the video has to be verified.

On the video, the man asked for help from Arab leaders instead of US President George W. Bush. But he fell short of saying when or where he was captured.

UPDATE I: More details of the tape are emerging.....

News24:

A videotape found on Tuesday shows an American abducted last November by gunmen in Baghdad pleading for his life and appealing to Arab rulers including Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi to intercede to spare his life...

On the tape, Hallums, with a rifle pointed at his head, stated his name and said "I have worked with American forces."

"I am please asking for help because my life is in danger because it's been proved I worked for American forces," he said. "I'm not asking for any help from President Bush because I know of his selfishness and unconcern for those who've been pushed into this hellhole."

Hallums, speaking slowly, said he was asking for help from "Arab rulers especially President Muammar Gaddafi because he's known for helping those who are suffering."

"I also ask that Arab leaders help me in this situation so I can be released as quickly as possible from this definite end," he added. "I would remember this favour for the rest of my life should my life remain and I ask my family to help because my health is in a very bad situation."

Ghaddafi?? Bad words against Bush?? This does not sound like the Roy Hallums as described to me by his family and friends. I'm sure the rifle pointed at his head had something to do with his pleas.

Further, the intervention on the part of Ghaddafi may be a hidden plea for money. Robert Tarongoy, the Fillipino abducted with Roy, was released reportedly after ransom was paid. How else could Ghaddafi help??

UPDATE II: More details from ABC News:

The undated video shows American contractor Roy Hallums, who was seized with five colleagues in Baghdad in November, sitting cross-legged in front of a black background anxiously rubbing his hands as he makes an appeal to the camera....

"I have been arrested by a resistance group in Iraq," 56-year-old Hallums, dressed in civilian clothes and his beard flecked with white, says on the tape.

"I'm asking for help because my life is in danger because it's been proved that I work for American forces."

As he speaks, the barrel of an assault rifle is held inches from his head. Unlike other tapes made by militants of hostages seized in Iraq, no flags or banners of an organization appear in the picture and no demands are made.

ABC News:

Susan Hallums said she kept her ex-husband's kidnapping a secret for weeks after finding out that he had been abducted in Iraq this past November.

Now her former husband's pleas for mercy are being heard by the world. A newly released videotape shows missing American Roy Hallums pleading at gunpoint for Arab rulers to let him live.

Susan Hallums told ABC News' "Good Morning America" — in an interview that aired on Dec. 19 — that she hoped speaking out about her former husband of 32 years might help him be released.

"He's on the quiet side … in every walk of life he's always been very well-liked and well-received," Susan Hallums said on "GMA."

When Susan Hellums and her two grown daughters were first told of her her ex-husband's abduction, she said they were asked by authorities to refrain from discussing it with anyone else. She said she decided to speak out after reading about his fellow captive.

Roy Hallums, 56, was abducted on Nov. 1 along with Robert Tarongoy of the Philippines. The kidnappings took place after an armed assault on their compound in Baghdad. Roy Hallums and Tarongoy had been working for a Saudi company that does catering for the Iraqi army.

Susan Hallums, 52, said her former husband was supposed to come home in late November. She said he'd planned to stay through his daughter Carrie's birthday in late December.

His daughter Carrie Cooper told "GMA" that she hoped his captors would show mercy if they knew he had a family.

"Please let my dad go," she pleaded with his kidnappers on "GMA," before telling her father "I love you and I hope you can come home soon."

Carrie Hallums has set up a tribute page to her father here.

Susan Hallums, Roy's ex-wife, sent me this e-mail a week ago. Let me share part of it with you:

Father, I ask You to bless my friends, relatives and email buddies reading this right now. Show them a new revelation of Your love and power. Holy Spirit, I ask You to minister to their spirit at this very moment. Where there is pain, give them Your peace and mercy. Where there is self-doubt, release a renewed confidence through Your race. Bless their homes, families, finances, their goings and their comings.

Amen.

Amen.

Roy's family has made these 'Save Roy' magnets, and may be purchased by sending a minumum donation of $3 to the 'Free Roy Foundation' at:

Hallums Family
PO Box 947
Westminster, Ca. 92684

Click Image to Enlarge

UPDATE 1/26:

Susan and Carrie are finally getting some MSM press again. As suspected, the bastards holding Roy are demanding a $12 million ransom. KESQ:

The former wife of an American who was kidnapped in Baghdad and appeared in a recent hostage video is urging President Bush to save him.

Speaking on the "Today" show this morning, Susan Hallums of Corona, California says her former husband Roy is a "patriotic" American hero who needs help....

[speaking of Roy's allusions to Bush] Hallums' daughter, Carrie, says she believes that statement was scripted. She insists he's "always been a supporter of our U-S government."

San Bernadino Sun:
"It was terrible to see him, but good to see him,' said Susan Hallums, Roy's ex-wife. "He's strong, but I could tell he was fearful for his life. He had a machine gun next to his head.'

The Corona woman said she thought Roy looked "pale, thin and fearful.'...

"The week before (the abduction), he e-mailed me every day, and he called (the) kids two or three times a week,' she said. "We were both very close to our children, so that should keep you close friends, and we were.'

Susan Hallums said that although the U.S. government adheres to a strong policy of non-negotiation with terrorists, Roy's former employer, Riyadh-based Saudi Arabian Trading and Construction Co., had been in contact with the hostage-takers since his abduction. The company told her $12 million was being demanded in exchange for her ex-husband's release....

"It hit me this morning when I was crying,' she said despondently while packing her suitcase. "I was devastated. It's still hard to see him. But he's strong and he's brave. If anybody could get through this, he will.'

Fox41.com:
The ex-wife of hostage Roy Hallums is appealing to President Bush to do something to win her ex-husband's freedom in Iraq.

On the tape, Hallums says he won't ask Bush for help because of what he calls Bush's "selfishness and unconcern."

But Susan Hallums says she believes he was forced to say those things. She says he's "an American hero" who "never hurt anybody" and "needs our help."

UPDATE II 1/26/05: Ghadaffi calls for Roy Hallums release.

Via Chad at In the Bullpen:

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi on Wednesday called on Iraqi insurgents to release a U.S. hostage [Roy Hallums], responding to the captive's plea for his intervention...

"As a response to the begging, we ask the Iraqi resistance in the name of Islam and Arabism to free him, implementing the principle of forgiveness," the Arab satellite news channel Al-Jazeera quoted Gadhafi as saying in a statement...

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:33 AM | Comments |

January 24, 2005

Religion of Peace Update

As time is short, here are a few headlines. This post sponsored by The Religion of Peas...have you eaten your peas today?

Iraqi Forces Arrest Top al-Qaeda Lieutenant

New Abu Musab al-Zarqawi Tape Calls For A "Bitter War" On Election Day

Zarqawi executes hostage on street, posts video online. (video here)

Brazilian Engineer Taken by "New" Terror Group

The Army of Ansar al-Sunnah executes Iraqi Colonel on video.

Islamist TV Guide

Domestic Front

Doubts cast on Boston dirty bomb tip

University of Oregon BANS support of the troops

Last but not least, reader Andre sports his new '72 Virgins' shirt, and wishes the jihadis a speedy trip to their eternal reward!!

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Shirts may be bought by clicking above image.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:42 AM | Comments |

January 22, 2005

Zarqawi or bin Laden: Who is the bigger threat??

Two must reads: Professor Chaos and James Joyner.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:32 PM | Comments |

Al Qaeda in Iraq Releases Beheading Video (Images)

alqaeda1.jpgAbu Musab al-Zarqawi's al Qaedi in Iraq terrorist organization has released a video of the beheading murders of two Iraqi civilians. The victims identify themselves in the video as Ali Hussein Jassem Mohammad al-Zubaidi and Ahmad Alwan Hussein al-Mahmadawi. Graphic Images from the video are posted below.

The video begins with the taped 'confession' of the two victims who admit to the 'crime' of being truck drivers for a Lebanese firm servicing a US base in Ramadi. After the taped 'confession' the two are taking outside where they are slowly beheaded with a knife. The beheading appears to take place on a sidewalk in broad daylight.
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News.com.au puts the story this way:

THE group of al-Qaeda frontman Abu Musab al-Zarqawi posted a video on the Internet today showing the beheading of two Iraqis after they "confessed" to working at a US base in the country.

The men identified themselves as Ali Hussein Jassem Mohammad al-Zubaidi and Ahmad Alwan Hussein al-Mahmadawi, both residents of Sadr City, a teeming Shiite slum in Baghdad...

After making their "confessions" in front of a banner carrying the name of Zarqawi's al-Qaeda Group of Jihad in the Land of Two Rivers, the video showed each man having his head cut off.

The severed heads were held aloft by the men's slaughterers and put on their backs to shouts of Allahu Akbar, or God is greatest.

The grisly footage of the beheading, in which about four men appeared to be involved, was followed by a chilling written warning from the group that "anyone who helps the occupying enemy in any way" would meet the same fate.

UPDATE: Fellow blogger Interested Participant was already on the case, unknown to me, as well as Hyscience.

UPDATE: This comes on the heels of a slew of murders. Note that the two stories below are DIFFERENT MURDERS.

Army of Ansar al-Sunnah (linked to al Qaeda in Iraq) murders two.

Terrorists behead Iraqi policeman in broad daylight--Others ITB, Diggers Realm, OTB, JQuinton, Hyscience, Command Post, Daily Dish, Decision 08


WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW!!!!!!!!!!! DO NOT PROCEED IF UNDER 18!!!!!

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Why do I post these images? Because we ought to know what kind of an enemy we are dealing with. The kind of enemy that cuts off the heads of any person caught working with the US. The kind of enemy that murders truck drivers...Trust me, the video is much more gruesome.

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WARNING: GRAPHIC IMAGES BELOW!!!!!

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The video may be downloaded here. The proprieter of the site is looking for donations if you are able to give.

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By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:54 PM | Comments |

January 21, 2005

'Cool Mom' Has Sex-Drug Parties for Teen Boys

(Denver, Colorado) A 40-year-old woman, Sylvia Johnson, has been charged with sexual assault and contributing to the delinquency of a minor for hosting weekly sex-drug parties for teenage boys. According to the affidavit, she gave them marijuana, methamphetamines, and alcoholic drinks and then had sex with some of them. Eight boys got drugs and drinks and five boys got sex. The jig was up when one of the Johnson party boys told his mommy who called police.

The media seems to be reporting more and more instances of adult woman engaging intimately with young boys and one wonders how much of this type of behavior remains hidden.

Companion Post at Interested-Participant.

By at 10:43 PM | Comments |

Aurora Alert! (Yeah, it's off topic.)

by Demosophist

I posted a few days ago about an unprecedented series of sunspot and solar flare events that would lead to some electromagnetic pyrotechnics in the atmosphere, and it looks like it's coming to pass. For those in the mid-lattitudes who have never seen an aurora this may be your chance-in-a-lifetime. According to an astrophysicist friend of mine:

There is a distnct possibility of auroral activity in the mid latitudes for the next few days. If you happen to be outside, look up, you "might" get a show.

The latest event was another X-level, but it was 7.1 vice 3.8 (bigger numbers are much more powerful).

And he updated recently with this:

WOW! Mid-latitudes are experiencing one right now and did those numbers climb in the last couple of hours.

Do check tonite....... you might actually see one this time. Reports areindicating that those who are currently in darkness are experiencing an aurora in the mid latitudes. Dang.... and it's daylight here!

He lives in Arizona, but since there have been flares within the last few hours one would not expect this event to be over very soon. Once it gets dark, take a look outside, weather permitting.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and Anticipatory Retaliation)

By Demosophist at 12:17 PM | Comments |

Rusty Shackleford is a Vietnamese Whore

Still sick.

Any blogging will be done under the influence of a fever......

Bloggie-bloggie, $5 Joe?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 10:56 AM | Comments |

New Internet Message From Terrorist Zarqawi

The Scotsman.com reports that Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has released a new Internet audio recording which denounces Iraqi Shiites for fighting alongside US troops and ridicules Iraq's prominent Shiite Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani. Zarqawi also asked his terrorist followers to be patient and "prepare for a long struggle against the Americans."

From another report comes the news that a top Zarqawi lieutenant, Omar Hadid, was killed during the Battle of Fallujah in November.

The authenticity of the tape has not yet been established, however, one has to wonder why the Internet message has no video of Zarqawi, only audio.

Companion post at Interested-Participant.

By at 05:40 AM | Comments |

January 20, 2005

Inaugural Notes: Congratulations Culver BHT

by Demosophist

My high school alma mater has a unit marching 17th in today's Inaugural Parade, and I just want to congratulate the kids from the Culver Black Horse Troop and Equestriennes who will be in the event. It's the 19th time for the cadets and the 5th time for the equestriennes. (I'm actually not sure whether that's 19 times at the inaugural, or 19 state events. Going by the BHT website this will be the 14th Inaugural.) I was a member of this contingent in LBJ's 1965 Inaugural, and it was one of the most memorable experiences of my life. We took the train from Indiana along with the horses, and (at the time "little") Stevie Wonder was on the same train. I barely slept, and it could fairly be called the first "adult" experience of my life. My horse was approriately named "Jughead" and he managed to canter backwards in front of the Presidential Reviewing Stand without any input from me at all. It was quite a circus trick, but really represented a lack of skill rather than any great proficiency. I'm afraid old Jughead was the boss. Still, I did stand out enough as a result of that nonsense to be readily identifiable to my family who were watching on TV.

The parade today starts at 2:30PM EST and the best place to view it is CSPAN.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophiaa and Anticipatory Retaliation)

By Demosophist at 01:16 PM | Comments |

Tsunami Survivors 'Eating Leaves'

According to this report, people in a camp in the village of Beurawang in the Aceh region on Sumatra have been eating leaves to stave off hunger, increasing fears of mass starvation and disease. The news comes from American nurse Linley York and is at least second-hand information.

Meanwhile, Indonesia's Health Ministry has confirmed additional dead that were believed to be only missing. The Indonesian death toll has been raised to 166,320 which brings the global total for the tsunami disaster to 226,566.

Companion post at Interested-Participant.

By at 08:19 AM | Comments |

January 19, 2005

Four Baghdad Car Bombings

A suicide-homicide car bomb exploded outside the Australian Embassy and close to the Australian military barracks in central Baghdad today. At least two Iraqis died and six others, including two Aussies, were wounded.

A short time later, a second suicide-homicide car bomb explosion occurred near the Al-Andalus traffic circle at the edge of the Baghdad neighborhood of Karrada. Less than an hour after the second car bomb, an Iraqi army base in Western Baghdad was targeted for a third suicide-homicide attack. Two deaths and five wounded were reported.

Based upon available information, at least eight deaths and more than a dozen wounded have been reported to have resulted from today's three suicide car bomb attacks.

[Update 0645 EST] A fourth car bomb is reported to have exploded at a military complex in Baghdad, killing two civilians and two Iraqi soldiers. An update on the second car bomb has 18 dead, including five Iraqi police. The total dead is now believed to be at least 26. There's also been a report of an explosion at a Baghdad bank, but no casualties have been identified.

Also, according to this report, a message on the Internet stated that the Abu Musab al-Zarqawi group called al-Qaeda Organization for Holy War in Iraq sent "martyrdom squadrons" to detonate the bombs at the Australian Embassy and other locations today.

Companion posts at Interested-Participant.

By at 07:43 AM | Comments |

January 18, 2005

Sick Blogging

I'm sick. Going home early to sleep. I blame the Mossad. Oh, and the CIA.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:14 PM | Comments |

Of What Use?

In a recent post on the landing of the Huygens probe on the surface of Titan, a lamentable, if predictable response was left in the comments, about how this provides value for the taxpayer. I guess the thing of note that this was posted on a blog, which is directly made possible by basic research done by the then Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) which led to the creation of the Internet. It is, of course, debatable whether or not the internet would have arisen without the aid of ARPA, but it is undeniable that, in the history that has unfolded, ARPA has played a significant role.

And this, in particular, was an irony that I just couldn't pass up.

Just about every time mankind reaches a new pinnacle of achievement, there is a member of the peanut gallery who chimes in with something along the line of "Is this worth taxpayer dollars?" or "Why spend money on this when there is XYZ that needs funding?"

This begs the immediate question of why it is worth the taxpayer dollar to conduct fundamental research on science and technology. The first problem that we encounter in determining the future value of research is that it is often unpredictable to the point of being a complete guessing game.

Sometimes, the application is evident only once certain other, heretofore unknown enabling technologies rise to the fore. For instance, the binary counting system (apologies for lack of reference here), was referred to in a very early 20th century mathematical dictionary as being a curiosity devoid of practical application. And, outside of some Boolean logical exercises, it had no use, until its utility in computation was later discovered.

Similarly, sometimes a technology may exist without being useful until a larger infrastructure exists to successfully exploit that technology. Many of you are familiar with the DVD and its earlier predecessor, the VHS and BETA tapes. Some of you may even remember the earlier attempt at DVDs, known as the Laserdisc. But before that, was the RCA SelectaVision Video Disc system, marketed during the early 80's, which captured color video and sound on a grooved vinyl disc. But long, long before that were the Phonovison discs produced during the late 20's and early 30's, which likewise recording moving images and sound on a grooved disc.

In all of these cases, at which point would one be able to effectively predicted that this particular iteration of an idea would be successful and how long after development the concept would become useful. And if this specific attempt was foredoomed to failure, when would the idea catch on? The next attempt? The third? Tenth? When? In retrospect there has never been a completely reliable way to forecast in all cases, without fail, when the next next thing would arrive. The killer app, quite often, is apparent only in hindsight.

I hope that these examples have illustrated that the concept that any given bit of research or exploration today will yield unknown dividends. But, along with that is the notion that the vast, vast majority of discoveries and technological advances are not lost, but become part of the technological genome of the species as a whole.

How does this all tie back to the question of whether or not it is worth it? Well, one has to ask why should the government do anything at all? When does a government effort become a good use of taxpayer dollars? The answer lies in organization. If you require widespread, neat, and organized theft - have a government do it (they call it taxes). If you want a whole lot of people killed and things broken - ask the government in (they call it warfare). Looking for a massive strong-arm protection racket - the government's your guy (also known as law enforcement).

There are simply some ways to increase the net total of human knowledge that can be accomplished most quickly (not necessarily most efficiently) through the application of organized, centralized effort of the kind in which governments specialize.

Why is this a more worthy pursuit than any other organized undertaking? Simply because research and scientific advancement, on average produce a higher, more reliable rate of return for mankind over the long run. Moreover, technological development often benefits the first, wide-scale adopter the most. While, as we've seen above, not all early development equals early profitable adoption, it's is universally understood to be hard to play catch up when someone else is the lead dog. So, if you want to maximize your odds of being the front runner, be willing to accept that occasionally the cutting edge of technology is the bleeding edge.

To compare, look at one of the most common suggestions about where money should be spent, if not on science: social programs. I think that social programs are, on average, of dubious value on a pure accounting basis. But this still doesn't address the broader moral good of looking out for the weakest in your society. While looking out for the weak few does have an unquestionable moral benefit, I would also submit that propelling mankind ahead as a whole also has a strong moral component, a benefit that won't expire in a lifetime.

Or, to look at it another way, I would say that the broader benefit to be derived from expanding human knowledge is a general benefit that must be weighed against the transitory benefit of money spent on late-night basketball or social programs of questionable value targeted at those who may or may not benefit from such efforts.

Not unlike, I suppose, the opposite proposition of how much we will rely on the few (the rich) to bear the burden, through taxation, for the funding of programs to produce benefits for the greater society.

Except that research is tangible and has a long shelf life. Warm and fuzzy feelings about shaking down Bill Gates to put new computers in an inner-city school with horrific dropout rates really don’t have much shelf life at all.

(Simultaneously launched by Bravo Romeo Delta from Demosophia, The Jawa Mercury, & Anticipatory Retaliation)

By Bravo Romeo Delta at 02:06 PM | Comments |

Leader of Jaish Muhammed Admits Iran-Syria Connection

This MEMRI translation of the taped confession of Jaish Muhammed leader Muayed Al-Nasseri, who was captured last month.

Highlights:

The Army of Muhammad was founded by Saddam Hussein after the fall of the regime

We got aid primarily from Iran. The truth is that Iran has played a significant role in supporting the Army of Muhammad and many factions of the resistance. I have some units, especially in southern Iraq, which receive Iranian aid in the form of arms and equipment."

"As for other factions of the resistance, I have reliable information regarding the National Islamic resistance, which is one of the factions of resistance, led by Colonel 'Asi Al Hadithi. He sent a delegation to Iran from among the people of the faction, including General Halaf and General Khdayyer. They were sent to Iran in April or May and met with Iranian intelligence and with a number of Iranian leaders and even with Khamenei." (Supreme Leader of Iran)

"According to my information, they met with him personally, and they were given one million dollars and two cars full of weapons. They still have a very close relationship with Iran. They receive money, cars, weapons, and many things. According to my information, they even got car bombs."

Cooperation with Syria began in October 2003, when a Syrian intelligence officer contacted me. S'ad Hamad Hisham and later Saddam Hussein himself authorized me to go to Syria. So I was sent to Syria. I crossed the border illegally. Then I went to Damascus and met with an intelligence officer, Lieutenant-Colonel 'Abu Naji' through a mediator called 'Abu Saud.' I raised the issues that preoccupied Saddam Hussein and the leadership. There were four issues: First, the issue of the media; second, political support in international forums; [third], aid in the form of weapons, and [fourth], material aid, whether it is considered a debt or is taken from the frozen Iraqi funds in Syria."

"Through the Ba'th party - the Arab Socialist Ba'th Party operates in Syria with complete freedom. It maintains its relations and organizes the Ba'th members outside Iraq. The Syrian government is fully aware of this, and the Syrian intelligence cooperates fully, as well as the Ba'th Party, in Syria.

"As for the Ba'th Party, after we contacted them, they organized a meeting for me with a man named Fawzi Al-Rawi, who is a member of the national leadership and an important figure in Syria. The Syrian government authorized him to meet with me. We met twice. In the first meeting, I explained to him what the Army of Muhammad is, what kind of operations we carry out, and many other things. In the second meeting he told me that Syrian government officials were very pleased with our first meeting. He informed me that the Army of Muhammad would receive material aid in the form of goods, given to us for free or for a very low price, for us to sell in Iraq, in order to support the Army of Muhammad. This was done this way due to Syria's current circumstances, international pressure, and accusations of supporting the terrorism and resistance in Iraq."

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:45 AM | Comments |

Terrorist Webhost on Sale at eBay

What do you give a guy like Osama bin Laden who has everything? Why not give the gift that keeps on giving--a terrorist website! Hosting Anime is up for sale at eBay.

You might remember Hosting Anime from such memorable websites as Tawhid and Jihad Beheads Paul Johnson and Tawhid and Jihad II: Kim Sun-Il.

Good riddance. (hat tip: Terrorist Media)

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:19 AM | Comments |

Eight Chinese Taken Hostage in Iraq

Chinese.jpgThe story seems to indicate that these hostages will not be executed because of China's opposition to the invasion of Iraq.

The names of the hostages are Wei Wu, 19, Lin Bin, 38, Lin Qiang, 39, Zhou Sunqin, 17, Chen Qin'ai, 36, Zhou Sunlin, 18, Lin Zhong, 38, and Lin Xiong, 34.

Al Jazeera:

Unidentified gunmen kidnapped eight Chinese employees, working for a construction company, they say is collaborating with U.S. occupation troops, a video released on Tuesday showed.

Various news channels aired the video, in which eight Chinese appeared holding their passports, and standing in front of a small mud brick building. Along with the eight Chinese, two gunmen appeared in the video with headscarves wrapped around their faces.

In the tape, the kidnapping group said it grabbed the men as they were on their way out of the country.

"After interrogation, we found that they are working for a Chinese construction company that is working inside American sites in Iraq," the note said.

"The movement decided to free these Chinese soon on condition that they will not go back to their work with the occupation forces. And we hope the Chinese company will not deal with these forces," said the voice in the tape.

"At a time when the position of the Chinese government toward our cause was clear -- not taking part in invasion forces and their aggression against our country."

"We call on the Chinese government to clarify its position on them and other Chinese. We will kill them 48 hours after their pictures are televised unless that is done."


By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 10:59 AM | Comments |

Preventing an ACCURATE Fake

Paul at Wizbang notes why CBS disabled the copy function for the PDF document detailing the Rathergate 'investigation'---they were worried bloggers might alter the content and pass the forged document along as authentic.

That's a lot like worrying that the Secret Service is in the counterfeiting business.

Which reminds me of this girl I once new with enormous boobs. Were they real? Who cares, as long as they were ACCURATE.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:40 AM | Comments |

Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa Freed

Catholic World News:

Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa of Mosul, Iraq, was released on Tuesday morning, January 18, less than a day after being kidnapped.

Details of the archbishop's abduction and release were incomplete, as of Tuesday morning. But the Vatican was notified promptly that Archbishop Casmoussa had been freed, and papal spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls expressed "great satisfaction" with the news.

"The Pope was informed immediately, and thanked God" for the Iraqi prelate's release, Navarro-Valls added. He said that no ransom had been paid.

Earlier, Church officials in Iraq had been quoted as saying that they had received a ransom demand. Father Tetrus Mosei, the vicar general of the Mosul diocese, reportedly received a phone call on Tuesday morning demanding payment of $200,000 for the archbishop's release. Catholics in Mosul were collecting funds for the ransom payment when they heard that Archbishop Casmoussa was already free.

In Rome, Navarro-Valls said that the archbishop's abduction came as a surprise, in part because he is "very well liked by both Christians and Muslims."

Archbishop Paulos Faraj Rahho, who heads the Chaldean Catholic diocese of Mosul (Archbishop Casmoussa is the Syrian-rite leader), suggested that the kidnapping was probably not motivated by religious issues. He told reporters that criminals in Mosul, taking advantage of the unrest in the city, have begun kidnapping prominent people to generate quick profits from ransoms.

Good news. I still find it hard to believe that this was a simple act of extortion. Christians in the Middle East routinely play down religious tensions fearing further persecution. Further, Christians have been in dhimmi subjegation for so long that they become some of the best apologists for their own oppression. Uncle Toms if you will.

I may be going out on a limb here, but it remains a distinct possibility that whoever took Casmoussa might not have realized what kind of press this would receive--even in the Arab world. After all, the Catholic church opposed the war making itself the darling of terrorist media such as al Jazeera. An ignoble ally for such a great institution.

Having said that it does remain a distinct possibility that simple extortion was the only motive. Wherever we go human greed seems to remain the same. However, in my own experience I find that one is rarely motivated by a single factor. It is then also possible that extortion and religion played motivating factors.

Hat tip Digger and Interested Participant

Expect an update later.....

Let's not forget that at least four (possibly five) Americans are still being held hostage in Iraq. Roy Hallums, Dean Sadek, Tim Bell, and Bill Bradley.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:23 AM | Comments |

January 17, 2005

Archbishop Kidnapped in Iraq (UPDATED)

Mosul is a base of operation for The Army of Ansar al Sunnah, and I suspect that this is their handiwork. Right: Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa at the UCIP World Congress 2004.

Critical update 1/18/05: Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa freed! No ransom paid. Details at this post.

Reuters:

The Catholic archbishop of the Iraqi city of Mosul was kidnapped Monday in what the Vatican called an "act of terrorism."

Vatican spokesman Joaquin Navarro-Valls told Reuters the Holy See had received news of the kidnapping of Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa in Mosul. The spokesman demanded his immediate release but gave no details of the abduction.

BBC News:
A Catholic archbishop in the northern Iraq city of Mosul has been kidnapped by insurgents, the Vatican says. Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa, 66, was abducted from outside his church in the east of the city.

The Vatican said in a statement that it deplored "in the firmest way such a terrorist act", and asked that the archbishop be freed immediately.

There have been a number of attacks on Iraq's Christian minority. Two churches were bombed in Mosul in December.

Developing.....

More on Archbishop Basile Georges Casmoussa,a Syrian by birth, he was Archbishop of the Catholic Syrian Church--which is affilated with the Roman Catholic Church.

Recently quoted as saying, "The terrorist groups that carry out the attacks “hope that many, many more Christians will go. Their strategy is to create fear among the Christians and push them out of Iraq,”

UPDATE I: No claims of responsibility aired yet on al Jazeera, but only this story:

Casmusa, 66, leader of the city's Syrian Catholic community, was seized at around 5pm local time (1400 GMT) as he was about to enter his car, Father Faraj told AFP.

The armed men tossed him into the trunk of their vehicle before speeding away, according to the priest, who follows the rival Chaldean rite.

The Chaldean patriarch in Baghdad, Emmanuel Delly, said Casmusa "was abducted outside his home as he was returning from a pastoral visit in the diocese of Mosul".

"He was abducted and taken off in a car. We don't know who took him, nor the reason why," Delly told the missionary news agency Misna by telephone.

UPDATE II: There has been some discussion at other blogs as to the possible motivation for kidnapping the Archbishop, some speculating that this could be a simple act of extortion for money.

However, one need look no farther than a recent communique from Abu Musab al Zarqawi to see why Christians in general have a great deal to fear in the Middle East. Al Qaeda in Iraq justified the recent murder of Amer Nayef saying he was "the deputy police chief of the Jews and Christians" and that Nayef's son was murdered because he "serves the pagan guard."

The terrorists really believe that the liberation of Iraq was a reenactment of the Crusades. Iraq is just another chapter in the Crusades and who better to symbolize Christianity's victory than Archbishop Casmoussa?

The deep paranoia of Muslims in the Middle East plays out in such a way that all Christians should now consider themselves targets. Jews who once lived in Arab countries can tell you what I am talking about. All Jews in Muslim lands are considered potential spies for the "Zionist entity."

I suspect the same suspicions and paranoia will now scapegoat Christians as responsible for the ills of Iraqi society and as possible collaborators with the "Crusader forces."

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:25 PM | Comments |

Family of Four Murdered in NJ After Father Receives Death Threats for Speaking Out Against Islam

A New Jersey man originally from Egypt, Hossam Armanious, his wife, and his two daughters, age 16 and 8, were found brutally murdered in their home on Jan. 14th. Mr. Armanious was an Egyptian Christian who spent his spare time online speaking out against Muslim persecuation of Christian Copts in Egypt. He had been threatened online for his criticism.

The death penalty is prescribed for blasphemy under Islamic Law.

Let's see...guy says things about Islam that could be construed as offensive...guy gets death threats from followers of the Religion of Peace...guy won't back down...why does all of this sound so familiar?

NY Post (via Cranky Neocon):

The father of a murdered New Jersey family was threatened for making anti-Muslim remarks online — and the gruesome quadruple slaying may have been the hateful retaliation, sources told The Post yesterday.

Hossam Armanious, 47, who along with his wife and two daughters was found stabbed to death in his Jersey City home early Friday, would regularly debate religion in a Middle Eastern chat room, one source said.

Armanious, an Egyptian Christian, was well known for expressing his Coptic beliefs and engaging in fiery back-and-forth with Muslims on the Web site paltalk.com....

The married father of two had recently been threatened by Muslim members of the Web site, said a fellow Copt and store clerk who uses the chat room.

"You'd better stop this bull---- or we are going to track you down like a chicken and kill you," was the threat, said the clerk, who was online at the time and saw the exchange.

But Armanious refused to back down, according to two sources who use the Web site....

The FBI confirmed it has been called in to help with the case.

Faith Freedom (via Robert Spencer):
The Father, Hossam Armanious, spent some of his spare time in Internet chat rooms debating about religion and speaking out against the Islamic persecution of the Coptic Christians in his native country Egypt .

About two months ago, when he made a comment in a Paltalk chat room, he was threatened.

"Some Muslim guys said if you don't stop this, we're going to come out and kill you," said a family friend. To which he responded: “Here is America , I am free to say whatever I want”.

Armanious could not be more wrong. When he found out that even in America he was not free to speak his mind, it was already too late. He was stabbed to death, his throat was slashed and his entire family was butchered.

The article continues with this editorial on the media silence
Has America already become a dhimmi nation? Are the big American media afraid of the Islamists? Do the reporters fear for their own lives? What is the explanation of this silence? How many more death you need before you wake up and realize our freedom in America is hijacked? How many more innocent people should bathe in their own blood before you realize we are no more free in our own homes and the first amendment does not exist anymore? If today, Muslims with less than 2% of the population, can intimidate you to the extent that you are afraid to report their crimes, what will befall on you (and us) if their number is allowed to grow to 10%
And some of you were wondering why I feel the need to blog anonymously?

Other commentary:

McQ reasons why this was probably a religiously motivated killing: A)Everything I've read about the Muslim fanatics (and make no mistake, if this is a religious killing, it was done by fanatics) out there seems to indicate a preference for slitting the throats of "infidels" (when they're not beheading them).

B) The Coptic cross tattoo on the wrist of the girl had been stabbed. While you may find defensive type wounds on a wrist of a stabbing victim, the stabbing of the cross without any other such injuries to the wrist would argue against defense being the cause of the wound.

Michelle Malkin: Will the patriotic leaders of CAIR--always quick to jump on the hate-crimes bandwagon when it fits their agenda--join the Egyptian Christian community in condemning the vicious Armanious slayings?

Indy Media Watch calls Hossam Armanious a 'blogger' but being a member of a chat community is not the same thing as being a 'blogger'.

Auterrific notes: In any event, it does give us all pause to reflect on the potential for crimes of passion related to on-line discussion, and while I do not feel that this incident should cause anyone to consider censorship in any fashion, it does underscore the need for responsibility that goes hand-in-hand with freedom of speech.

Evangelical Underground: Do you think it would receive more coverage if it were Muslims killed by Christians?

Darleen's Place: We already are witnessing Euro countries, including England, being threatened by moslems into dhimmitude. We cannot allow it to happen here.

Pink Flamingo: The Islamofacists think they are dealing with the Europeans who are sorry for existing? The Europeans may apologize for Pym Fortuyn but Americans don't apologize for free speech or Christianity.

Six Meat Buffet: God forbid we actually hear about the growing and very real islamofascist threat in our country.

Grumpy Old Man: If so, the event represents the intrusion of foreign ethnic and religious conflicts into our country, and may be a warning sign of potential radical Islamic violence in this country.

Powerpundit: Islamist jihadists demonstrate once again that they have no tolerance for dissenting views, and that brutal violence is their preferred form of argument.

The View from the Nest: Well, then the people in charge of Mecca must not be Muslims! Why? Because they seem to think that slitting the throats of uppity Christians is a fine idea.

Others: Jihad Watch, Cranky Neocon, The Conservative Voice, House of Wheels, Tim Blair, Senescent Man, Californian Sojourn, Small Dead Animals, Kommentariat, Carnivorous Conservative, Powerline, Ed Driscoll, Sheep Dog Blog, Relapsed Catholic,

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:06 PM | Comments |

MLK Day Blogging and the Religion of Peas

My six year old daughter reminded me this morning that she didn't have to go to school because "today is the King's birthday." So how can I celebrate the King's birthday? Link drop. Apologies for not being able to put each link in its own post, but this is exactly how MLK would have wanted it to be.

It's the Religion of Peas update--

U.S. Prof Attacks Arab Muslim Student's Pro-Americanism at Hyscience.

"Kuwaiti Mujahideen" Claim Attacks on Foreigners, Army Base by Evan Kohlman.

Is the coming Caliphate of Europe dangerous over at the Astute Blogger.

Crosswalk notes the insurgents have produced an English language propaganda video.

Misha on 'Torture' in the press.

(via Aylward) Chrenkoff's good news from Iraq.

Saddam's piggybank: UN Oil for Food at Friends of Saddam.

Abbas calls for end to intifada....sorta at Captain's Quarters.

(via Ace) Blackfive has the goods on the traitors that call themselves 'reporters' in Iraq.

Unrelated to the Religion of Peas, but interesting.

Rally against illegal immigration photo-blogging by Digger.

Armstrong Williams' brother still not paying Jawa Report for support and Iowahawk has generic forms for product placement in your posts.

Hotel Rwanda movie review....I gots to see that!

SNL Rathergate skit over at RatherBias (via Slantpoint)

Interesting, interesting, very interesting, then suddenly I lost interst while walking down the street @ SWG.

Now you know who NOT to talk to at a dinner party from the Colossus.

Flea, art, and the value of the snow peso.

Orgazmo in the GWOT at Edotors in PJ's.


By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:01 PM | Comments |

Quakes, Waves and Spiritual Awakenings

by Demosophist

A recent installment of The Belmont Club on a "colonial corps" had a reference to Sam Huntington's speech on a "great awakening" in the US, and his thesis that the greatest ideological force in the world today is God. This, from a Harvard professor. His perspective, however, isn't as a religionist but as a sociologist and political scientist. I wrote a piece several years ago, on the first anniversary of the 9/11 attack, about a "tidal wave" of totalitarianism in the Middle East traveling, mostly unnoticed, toward landfall. It's somewhat ironic to think about that wave analogy now. The term "tidal wave" is slightly misleading, because it really has nothing to do with the lunar tides, but is "tidal" in the sense of being a sudden change in sea level as a result of a shift in the earth itself. One might call it an "earth tide," or a "quake wave." I therefore reasoned that it was a good analogy to what had happened to the Middle East where subterranean pressures had built up over centuries and had finally resulted in a paradigmatic shift in the culture. And I reasoned that the only way to deal with the consequences of that shift, analogous to the rise of the Nazis in the early 1930s, was to create a "counter-wave." In terms of the jihadist movement a liberal/democratic vanguard to counter their Qutbist vanguard.

The issue isn't WMD, it's ideology and "political paranoia" in the Middle East. That has far more potential for harm than physical weapons, though the weapons are certainly a "force multiplier." (Most people think it's the other way around.)

The thesis of Sam Huntington's Clash of Civilizations was that any counter-wave we generate will clash with the wave of belief and sentiment in the Middle East, resulting in an ongoing and massively destructive conflict. The way I see it is that the special characteristics of the counter-wave are all-important and that those could be adjusted to largely cancel the wave of Totalitarianism rather than add to it. That's the hope, anyway. It optimistically argues for smaller localized wars and a political transformation to forestall a larger, and otherwise almost inevitable, general clash. So I'm seeing a somewhat different phenomenon than Huntington. But this interview, which outlines a thesis he raises in a new book, Who Are We?, appears to demonstrate an evolution on the part of Huntington's thinking (in spite of the title of the article): the gradual realization of the possibility of a cancellation rather than a monstrous clash. Anyway, here's an excerpt:

In an interview with Kyodo News on postelection America and the world, Huntington, a professor at Harvard University, said the United States is now going through a period of religious "Great Awakening." ... We have gone through several religious revivals. They are called "Great Awakenings." We had one before the (American) revolution, which many historians say created the basis for the revolution, another in the early 19th century, which generated all sorts of reforms, including the abolitionist movement to abolish slavery. I think we are going through such a period of Great Awakening now. The movement is in a way meeting a great concern of the American people about the decline of morality and traditional values.

The first Great Awakening in the 1730s and 1740s coincided with the intensification of the wars between the British and the French, which were fought in part here in North America. It certainly played a major role in promoting the development of an American sense of nationality. ... The current (Great Awakening), with the collapse of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the U.S. as the only superpower, it seems to me, has reinforced the sense of confidence in ability to go out and change the world in ways in which we think it should be changed. That is very notable in the policies of the Bush administration.

The model of a spiritual "awakening," as used by Huntington to describe a response to an epochal social challenge implies that such a phenomenon has some measure of utility enabling and conditioning the society to meet that challenge. I think Huntington would agree that it's not simply a matter of building empty confidence, but of conditioning certain capabilities, skills, and resolve. Although we know the nature of past "awakenings" that fit this model we don't yet know the precise nature of this one, or what it could prepare us to accomplish. But concerning what some have called "the dirty job of changing the world:" If not us, who? If not now, when?

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and Anticipatory Retaliation)

By Demosophist at 10:09 AM | Comments |

Al-Qaeda Women's Magazine

(Rome, Italy) According to the Italian Information and Democratic Security Service (SISDe), al-Qaeda publishes a monthly Internet magazine for female terrorists called Al Khansa which provides guidance and advice on how Muslim women can be better suicide bombers. The view of al-Qaeda is that women become "emancipated" through martyrdom and equality between the sexes is achieved.

Among a variety of subjects, Al Khansa gives tips to aspiring female suicide bombers on fitness, diet, fashion, and how to "conquer the passions" to prevent any final flings before lacing up an explosive-laden corset. Also included are instructions for first aid and emergency training, for learning the Koran, and for shooting and carrying ammunition. Nevertheless, although aspiring martyrs are considered largely emancipated, some prohibitions are emphasized. These include absolute restrictions on watching television and enjoying air conditioning and, of course, restraints on mandatory veils and tunics. Violations could result in a prison sentence, ruining any near-term plans for martyrdom. In other words, behave and be covered from the head to the floor or miss your chance to be adorned with C-4.

It's inconceivable to me that an aspiring suicide bomber would reasonably need or care about advice regarding her diet. And, the contention that a female martyr is equal to a male martyr makes no sense. A male martyr is greeted in heaven by 72 virgins. As far as I know, nothing comparable awaits the female martyr.

Companion post at Interested-Participant.

By at 04:56 AM | Comments |

January 14, 2005

'Torture' vs 'Torture' (Redux)

Spc. Charles Graner Jr.'s fate has gone to the jury. He has been accused of 'torturing' inmates in the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. In the spirit of solidarity with human rights activists around the world outraged at American abuses, I present to you 'torture' vs. 'torture', an old but oft overlooked post.
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Three British nationals recently released from Guantanamo Bay have claimed they were tortured. The ICRC goes so far as to say that what is going on at Gitmo may be a war crime. Many involved in the Abu Ghraib torture scandal now stand trial for their crimes. In fact, Islamist websites routinely use pictures of 'torture' at Abu Ghraib to justify their jihad against the US.

But what exactly does 'torture' mean? Is what was done at Abu Ghraib torture? Laying aside the fact that most of what is being said by the released Gitmo prisoners is rubbish--also, suspend for a second your knowlege that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to non-uniformed enemy combatants---what about the more credible claims of 'torture'?

I offer the following photo essay. Us vs. Them. Our 'torture' vs. their torture.

WARNING: Extremely graphic. You must be an adult to see this!! The images below are extremely violent and ought to make you sick.

Post Continued Below. Last warning.
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Torture vs. Torture


Exhibit 1: What our prisoners have to look at vs. what their prisoners have to look at. Ok, it's a tie. [note: humorous on purpose. Last chance to bail on this post]

Lynndie England vs. Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi

__________________________________________________________________

Exhibit 2: Guards practicing psychological torture vs. guards practicing psychological torture.

Below: Guards at Abu Ghraib tell a prisoner the wires he is holding are electric---they aren't, he get's scared then they take him back to his cell (this picture is the most frequent image found at terrorist websites. It passes for 'torture'.)

vs.

Kim Il-Sun's guards (Zarqawi and co.) threaten him with death by beheading----then they behead him.

__________________________________________________________________


Exhibit 3: Sensory deprivation vs. sensory deprivation.

Below: American soldiers cover Afghani POWs heads in transport.

vs.

The Saddam Hussein regime randomly drips nitric acid on a prisoner, forcing him to constantly move--this causes severe sleep deprivation and disorientation.


__________________________________________________________________

Exhibit 4: Cultural insensitivity as a form of torture vs. cultural insensitivity as a form of torture.

Below: Corporal Lynndie England, on trial for abuse, leads a naked Iraqi prisoner around on a leash.

vs.

Captured US soldiers in Fallujah are murdered, their bodies burned, then hung from wires while 'freedom-fighters' celebrate.


__________________________________________________________________


Exhibit 5: Death threats as torture vs. death threats as torture.

Below: Guards at Abu Ghraib threaten a naked prisoner with their dogs. (note: the dogs are only used to scare him, they are not released on him)

vs.

The Abu Ghraib cemetery yielding it's victims from the Saddam Hussein Regime.


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Exhibit 6: Blows to the head vs. blows to the head.

Below: Mr. Sadiq, recently released from Abu Ghraib, shows his head injury allegedly received at the hands of his guards. He claims he has been tortured.

vs.

A Russian soldier receives a 'head injury' from a Mujuhadin in Chechnya. Remember, this is a 'war of liberation'--religion has nothing to do with it.


__________________________________________________________________

Exhibit 7: Pure torture vs. pure torture.

Below: Lynndie England tortures prisoners by pointing at their tiny little peckers---how humiliating!!

vs.

A member of Abu-Musab al-Zarqawi's organization holds up the head of Turkish prisoner Ivaylo Kepov.



__________________________________________________________________


Exhibit 8: Head injuries, done in a certain way, are torture when people see the images (because it's humiliating) vs. Head injuries, done in a certain way, are torture when people see the images (because it's humiliating).

Below: A prisoner is rounded up after a firefight in Iraq.

vs.

Paul Johnson.


__________________________________________________________________

PERSPECTIVE PLEASE

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:14 PM | Comments |

al Qaeda Gearing Up for Iraqi Elections

Evan Kohlman is now blogging over at The Counterterrorism Blog and links a number of his original translations of recent al Qaeda in Iraq communiques. His analysis?

Abu Musab al-Zarqawi--has dramatically increased its targeting of influential Iraqi government officials, potential candidates in the election, and anyone else associated with the electoral process.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:56 PM | Comments |

Iraqi Soldiers Taken Hostage

Via Chad at In the Bullpen the news that 15 Iraqi National Guardsman have been captured by the terrorists. Sadly, their fate is already sealed.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:45 PM | Comments |

Guantanamo Detainee May Run For UK Office

And I thought American actors were idiots....Maybe they belong to a British chapter of F.A.G?? BBC News:

Actors Corin and Vanessa Redgrave want a British detainee at Guantanamo Bay to stand for a Parliamentary seat.
Moazzam Begg, 36, from Birmingham, was arrested in Pakistan and has been held as a terror suspect at the US military base in Cuba since January 2002.

The Redgraves want Mr Begg to stand for their Peace and Progress Party

h/t Robert Spencer

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 11:17 AM | Comments |

Terrorists Kill 6 Israeli Civilians at Gaza Crossing

PAfingerscrossed.jpg

....al Aqsa Martyrs Brigade claims responsibility.

"Just not quite yet."

Related, and funny. -- Dittos.

More commentary.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:56 AM | Comments |

January 13, 2005

Cambridge Community TV Airs Beheading Video

Notice how the person thinks that airing the beheading video believes it would galvanize public opinion against the war. I should think it would do just the opposite. Which victim was shown is unknown. Cambridge Chronicle:

Cambridge Community Television broadcast the beheading of a hostage in Iraq, sparking a fresh round of complaints about cable access standards.

A tape of the execution ran on Channel 10 at 7:30 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 31, immediately after a family-friendly scene of a pumpkin-carving festival....

Foley said the beheading could play a role similar to searing photos from the Vietnam War. He cited the photos of the point-blank execution of a Viet Cong prisoner and a napalm-burned Vietnamese girl as helping the anti-war movement.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 04:22 PM | Comments |

AIDS/HIV, Bad Science, and the Cultural Pathologies of Africa

I love Dean Esmay. He's cool. He throws me a link every once in a while and actually reads this blog from time to time. So it is with a great deal of reluctance that I challenge the inferences drawn by the quack Harvey Bialy, Ph.D. over at Dean's World.

Bialy's argument is rather poor on its face, and I'm surprised that any one could be duped by it.

The argument goes something like this. If HIV causes AIDS, then how come the AIDS rate has gone down but the HIV rate has remained constant? If HIV causes AIDS then shouldn't you expect that the AIDS rate and the HIV rate would mirror each other?

The conclusion he wishes the reader to draw is this: Since the HIV rate has remained fairly constant, but the AIDS rate has declined--then HIV does not cause AIDS. Something else does.

This is a clear case of drawing false inferences from reliable data. The major hole in Bialy's argument is that he leaves out the fact that since the early 1990s--precisely when the HIV/AIDS rates began to diverge--several intervention strategies have been introduced which lessen the likelihood that a person with HIV will contract full-blown AIDS.

That is, because HIV is treatable it should be expected that the number of HIV cases will be much larger than the numbers of AIDS cases. These data, then, support the fact that HIV is the cause of AIDS.

What is more interesting to me are the unspoken reasons why so many in Africa are unwilling to accept that fact. Why would so many people go on this insane hunt to find another culprit for the AIDS crisis in Africa?

In my mind such insane theories as advocated by Dr. Bialy are a matter of cultural denial. What are Africans in denial over? They wish to deny the pathologies of their own culture--namely that rape, molestation, and sodomy are much higher in sub-Saharan Africa than elsewhere in the world.

Those that wish to deny that HIV causes AIDS are in fact denying that their own culture is largely responsible for the pandemic. For instance, it is estimated that 37% of the adult population in Botswana has AIDS. Read that number again--37%!!!

I once went to a campus-wide convocation in which the speaker was a children's advocate in Africa. She spoke of entire regions of Africa where there are literally no Adults. None. Remember that a rate of 37% does not mean that every area of the country is equally affected. Some parts of the country may have much smaller infection rates, in other areas the rate is close to 100%.

She spoke of entering a village controlled by a gang of teenagers because all the adults were dead from AIDS. I couldn't help but think of Lord of the Flies.

She spoke of gangs of men with AIDS who would go from village to village raping little children. How little? Infants.

Why would grown men rape infants? Because they have been told that HIV does not cause AIDS. A popular cultural myth is that the only way to get the AIDS infection out of their systems is to have sex with a virgin.

Another example. In post-appartheid South Africa the police will no longer patrol the streets of some ghettos. Rape is a nightly occurence. Again, rape in these ghettos is of the gang rape sort. The only recourse has been for vigilante groups to lynch those suspected of being members of the rape gangs. Even so, the rapes continue.

Of course, most cases of HIV are probably not caused by rape. Most cases are probably contracted in Africa just as it is contracted in the US--sodomy. The easiest way to contract the disease is to be on the receiving end of sodomy. It is very difficult for a man to get AIDS from a woman. Men usually get AIDS from another man--and women get AIDS from men who have slept with another man.

Denying that AIDS is caused by HIV is part of the cultural machismo in Africa that tacitly allows bisexual relationships among men and in which heterosexual promiscuity is tolerated (as long as it is the man that is promiscious).

On the other hand in Arab Africa, which generally looks down on these behaviors, the incidence of AIDS is much lower. (Yes, homosexual relationships with young boys is probably common in Northern Africa, but the underground culture of man-boy relationships does not allow for grown men to be penetrated--the main mechanism for transmission.)

HIV causes AIDS. To deny this is to buy into the myth that all cultures are equal to the task of addressing the problems before them.

The essay published by Dean does not falsify the hypothesis. On the contrary, these data verify the hypothesis. By adding intervention to the mix, the data does just what it is supposed to do.

Blog reactions.

I am not surprised that many in the blogosphere have been misled by this essay. I've categorized them, roughly, as 'duped' and 'seeing through the bull'. Even the smartest people can sometimes by misled by powerful arguments when selective pieces of information are with held.

Duped
A Texan Abroad

Cinomed's Tower (easy answer to your querry--the geometric progression of the disease)

Pajama Pundits--sorry, this is a tin foil hat theory. Even smart people get duped some times. Trust me, if I had a buck for every stupid theory I once believed I'd be rich.

You Big Mouth, You

Seeing Through the Bull
MUSC Tiger (not surprised) who explains the differences as an artifact of the delay in time which HIV translates into full blown AIDS. The reason AIDS takes longer to contract today is because of succesful intervention strategies (eg, drugs).

Cal Tech Girl--Amen sister, but it is causal, let's face it. Excellent post.

O'Donnell Web

No opinion (ie, wusses)
The Glittering Eye

Weekend Pundit

Joe Gandalman

Queen of All Evil (aka, Mrs. Dean Esmay)

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:37 PM | Comments |

No mi gusta! Mexican Simpsons on Strike

bumblebee guy.jpg

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:49 PM | Comments |

Abbas / Hamas Promise to Recognize Israel

PAtupac.jpg
via Charles Johnson

PS-Can you name that hand?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:04 PM | Comments |

Islamic Army in Iraq Threatens US Attack

Parousing Internet Hagganah today to see what I had missed I found this message from the Islamic Army in Iraq, first published at an Islamist BB in French. Freeper Penguino's original translation can be found here:

"The year 2005 will be one of misfortune for America," affirms this group in an official statement sent on-line from an Islamic site published Monday, whose authenticity couldn't be immediately verified.

"The next days of this new year will see the biggest surprises that the Mujahideen have prepared for your children outside and inside America," he writes, adding that the fighters "will carry the battle from inside our country (Iraq) to inside yours."

"We address you after your New Year's celebration hoping that you have sobered up...We are going to make you American civilians taste that which our civilians endure," continues the group in "a message to the American people," who behave "uncivilized" and "very ignorantly."

"The entire world hates America and hates the American people... Did you know that the number of them who support the idea of attacks against America on her own soil has increased enormously this year?," also says the group.

"Last year was a walk in the park for your soldiers in Iraq. The year 2005 will see a quantitative and qualitative change in the operations against your soldiers, who will enter the annuals of history," he adds.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:45 AM | Comments |

Sistani Aide Shot in Iraq

AP via Globe and Mail:

Gunmen killed a representative of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most senior Shiite Muslim cleric, along with the aide's son and four bodyguards in a town south of Baghdad, an official in the cleric's office said Thursday...

Sheik Mahmoud Finjan, Mr. al-Sistani's representative in the town of Salman Pak, 20 kilometres southeast of Baghdad, was shot dead Wednesday night as he was returning home from a mosque where he performed the evening prayers, the official said on condition of anonymity. His son and four bodyguards were also killed, the official at Mr. al-Sistani's office in this Shiite holy city said.

Given the location of the assasination, my money is on the Islamic Army in Iraq.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:33 AM | Comments |

Georgian Breakaway Republic of Abkhazia Elects President

Like South Ossetia, Abkhazia wishes to leave Georgia and become part of the Russian Federation. The election changes none of this. While war between Russian and Georgia is not imminent, it still remains a real possibility. Xinhua:

Opposition leader Sergei Bagapsh won a landslide victory in Wednesday's presidential election in Georgia's breakaway republic of Abkhazia, the republic's Central Electoral Commission (CEC) announced Thursday.

CEC chief Batal Tabagua said Bagapsh won 91.1 percent of the vote, demolishing his only rival, the People's Party leader Yakub Lakoba, who took just 4.5 percent, the Itar-Tass news agency reported....

Abkhazia has enjoyed de facto independence from Georgia since fighting a separatist war in the early 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union. The region has been seeking to integrate with Russia against the wishes of Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili who has vowed to regain control over the republic and another rebel region, South Ossetia.

Bagapsh said Thursday that any future dialogue between Abkhaziaand Georgia must be held under the premise that both sides are equal and independent states.

He regarded with great optimism relations with Russia and advocated further integration with Moscow, stressing that Abkhaziawill have no future without financial and legal assistance from Russia.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:29 AM | Comments |

US/Israel Want Continued 'Military Gap'

File under 'no sh*t, Sherlock'. Of course, al Jazeera spins the obvious into a Zionist conspiracy.

The United States and Israel are perpetuating the military gap between Israel and Syria by controlling the balance of power, a Syrian analyst has said.

Following reports the US and Israel were trying to prevent Russia from selling SS-26 Iskander missiles with the ability to hit any target in Israel to Syria, Imad Fawzi al-Shuaybi, a Syrian political analyst, told Aljazeera on Thursday, "This is not the first time Israel and the United States, individually or jointly, have interfered to halt Syrian defence plans.

"Imbalance of powers deprives Syria from its right to possess defensive weapons."

Al-Shuaybi added: "What the US and Israeli want is to maintain a big military gap between Israel and Syria in order to create an illusion of a possibility of imposing a peace settlement."

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:21 AM | Comments |

WWII Allied POW Deaths in Japan

During World War II, the Imperial Japanese Army took over 35,000 prisoners of war to Japan to perform backbreaking work as forced laborers in coal mines, factories, and other locations. Out of the total, a Japanese organization called the POW Research Network Japan has compiled a listing of 3,526 who died, many from malnutrition and pneumonia. According to the network's website,

How and where these casualties met their death has never been clarified. Prior to the surrender the Imperial Japanese Army issued instructions to destroy all documents relating to these camps. Japan’s Government has never told the full story of the treatment of POWs either in Japan or overseas.

Our group has endeavoured to unveil this hidden history, and this list is nearing completion. The roll of Commonwealth soldiers has already appeared on our web site. We are now adding the names of American and Dutch casualties to each individual camp site.

We wish to express our deep sympathy to those who lost their lives in this conflict. We trust that this list will prove helpful to families and friends, especially those who up to now did not know the fate of their loved ones.

Data from the General Headquarters of the Allied Powers, along with lists of names retrieved from cemeteries and war memorials, were used to compile the listing.

The effort to compile a listing of the dead Allied POWs should be heralded. No doubt, there are generations of families who are eager to know what happened to their loved ones.

Companion post at Interested-Participant.

By at 05:22 AM | Comments |

January 12, 2005

Germans Arrest 22 Followers of the Religion of Peace

SF Gate:

German police stepped up their crackdown on Islamic extremism Wednesday, detaining 22 people during raids of apartments and mosques allegedly used by a network that provided financing and other support to terrorists.

About 700 officers searched dozens of apartments, mosques and call centers in five German states, discovering militant Islamic propaganda and forged passports and visas, authorities said....

The suspects included German citizens and nationals of Egypt, Tunisia, Algeria, Libya and Bulgaria, Bavarian state police investigator Gerhard Zintl said. Their ages ranged from 17 to 46, and five of the suspects were female.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 04:01 PM | Comments |

Mosul Bombing

Speaking of Ansar al-Sunnah, this is surely their work.....Turkish Press:

Twin car bombs killed at least two Iraqi soldiers in Mosul...

In the troubled city of Mosul, a white van tried to swerve inside a joint convoy of US and Iraqi military vehicles, but exploded prematurely, killing an unknown number of civilians, US army Sergeant Chris Schaeffer told AFP.

A second car parked on a street, not far away from the first blast, exploded and killed two Iraqi soldiers, Schaeffer said.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:58 PM | Comments |

Christain Rock Band to Play at Bush Innagural

christianrock.gifIn light of all the controversy surrounding an invitation to Kid Rock to perform at the Bush innagural, I thought I'd throw in my own two cents. Might I suggest Faith + 1?

First off, let me distance myself from all those South Park conservative-" types who are ridiculing the protesters. And to all you potty mouths who are pooh-poohing all of us real conservatives, well let me just tell you that there's no room in the big tent for your ilk. What did you think the big tent metaphor was about? We we're talking about a revival tent, morons not a tent of ill repute.

Does any other band represent the second Bush era better than Faith + 1? With such inspiring songs as "I've been thinkin bout you, Jesus", "The body of Christ", "I can't live without you, Jesus", and "Don't you ever leave me, Jesus" there's something in their songs for every one. And family friendly? You better believe Faith + 1 is family friendly! I mean, what could be more family friendly than an interracial Christan rock boy band??!!??!!

butterscartmantoken.jpg
Members of Faith + 1 from left to right: Leopold Stotch, Eric Cartman, and Token

Shamelessly linked at the Traffic Jam....because WWJD?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:59 PM | Comments |

Not The Last Samurai

by Demosophist

The issue of Hiroshima/Nagasaki comes up whenever the left or the Islamofascists get around to listing the "crimes of the US." In the past I've tended to agree with the critics, because by and large I was as uninformed as they about what was actually going on within the Japanese High Command in those last days. Well, we now know that using nuclear weapons was probably the only way to get Japan to surrender, and even that almost didn't work. From John Hawkins' interview of Victor Davis Hanson:

John Hawkins: A couple of historical questions; One thing I seem to hear a little more these days is people questioning whether the U. S. was right to drop two atomic bombs on Japan and whether they would have surrendered without it. What’s your view on that issue?

Victor Davis Hanson: Well, they wouldn’t have surrendered after the first one; we know that. They almost had a coup after the second one; there was a plot to kidnap the emperor during the peace signing ceremony. [Note: There was a History Channel episode on this plot, and had not an enterprising Japanese officer hidden a copy of the Emperor's surrender speech so that it could be played at the proper time, the plot might well have succeeded.]

I think the answer to that question is for a person to go back very carefully and look at the campaign in Okinawa which was started on April 1st and actually the United States military didn’t declare the island secure until July 2nd which was just about 70 days before the surrender. If they would go back and look at that they would see that was the costliest campaign for the U. S. Marines.

It was also the costliest campaign for the Japanese, 100,000 Japanese killed, 100,000 Okinawans killed, 50,000 American casualties and wounded, missing and killed --- and that was just a foretaste of what was going to come with an invasion. If some people say, “Well, maybe we didn’t have to invade,” then they should look at what Curtis Lemay had as an alternate solution; bringing B-17’s and 24’s, Lancasters and B-29’s and putting them on Okinawa to continue the incendiary raids of Japan. That would have been a bloodbath. So any calculus you have for achieving a non-conditional surrender would have cost more lives.

If you take the third alternative and say, “Well, we didn’t have to have an unconditional surrender,” then critics should look and see what the Japanese army was doing in places like the Philippines, Korea and China up until the last days of the war. They were continuing a pattern of systematic butchery and execution. That’s really not been commented on, but they were just as bad in some ways as the Nazis and the Soviets were. So they were just a barbaric military and the only thing that put them out of business was the U. S.

I recently saw The Last Samurai and felt it one of a long line of fundamentally anti-American films eminating from the left coast, essentially siding with a totalitarian movement and ideology against the US. I don't know if the movie is historically accurate or not, but sincerely doubt it. In the early 20th Century there was an effort to reform the Japanese culture by turning the lowest class of nobility, the Samurai, into businessmen. It was partly successful, but the culture was still vulnerable to fascism and the Samurai/Warrior cult later had a resurgence leading to Japan's involvement in WWII as allies of the Nazis. The Last Samurai is an utterly foolish movie, with almost no redeeming social value. It could easily have been produced by the Japanese Fascists in the High Command as a propaganda film during WWII, except that censorship would have prevented it from being shown here.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and Anticipatory Retaliation)

By Demosophist at 02:53 PM | Comments |

Six al Qaeda Operatives Arrested over Baghdad Governor Assasination

I wasn't around when the governor was killed, but Chad guest posted on it here. Via Chad at In the Bullpen this Reuters story:

U.S. troops have arrested six suspects in the assassination of Baghdad's provincial governor, the highest-ranking official hit so far in attacks to sabotage Iraq's Jan. 30 election, the military said on Wednesday.

Acting on a tip from residents, soldiers seized the suspected insurgents on Tuesday in a house in western Baghdad, U.S. officials said....

"We were able to act on this intelligence and detain these guys without firing a shot," said Major Web Wright, an army spokesman. The military said the men were being held for questioning.

Good news. These guys were agents of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al Qaedi in Iraq.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:16 PM | Comments |

Washington State Protest

(Via Ace) Headmistress SondraK went to the protest in Washington state and provides some excelent photos of the fun. Wait a minute...there's a Washington state?

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 02:02 PM | Comments |

Ansar al-Islam/Ansar al-Sunnah

The Commissar, who I hear has gone into semi-retirement, republishes this SPI article on Ansar al-Islam.

Because large portions of this site have been devoted to exposing the Ansar al Sunnah, I thought I'd republish it also below. I would correct the SPI article only in stating that Ansar al-Islam is now defunct. Ansar al-Islam bases of operation were heavily bombed during the Iraq invasion and Kurdish forces have completely suppressed the groups activities in the area. All terrorist activity in Northern Iraq has been by Ansar al-Sunnah, an offshoot and now replacement of Ansar al-Islam. Further, it was the Army of Ansar al-Sunnah themselves that have claimed allegiance to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's al Qaeda in Iraq group. The article makes it sound as if there is some question about the relationship. There is none.

SPI:

A look at the Islamic extremist group Ansar al-Islam, blamed for attacks in Iraq and supported by a network of members in Europe, according to authorities.

-HISTORY: Founded in late 2001 in Kurdish part of northern Iraq by Mullah Krekar, who has lived as refugee in Norway since 1991. Area was beyond Saddam Hussein's control thanks to Western-enforced no-fly zones. Supporters set up an enclave near the Iranian border ruled by strict Islamic law. Members trained in Afghanistan and provided safe haven to al-Qaida members fleeing after the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

-SIZE: Ansar al-Islam fighters in Iraq, believed to number about 700, scattered by U.S. invasion. U.S. officials say some regrouped and linked up with Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi for attacks.

-ABROAD: European supporters, including Iraqis and North Africans, believed to be concentrated in Germany and Italy. Authorities accuse them of channeling fighters to Iraq for attacks on U.S.-led forces. United States has declared Ansar al-Islam - Arabic for Supporters of Islam - a foreign terrorist organization.

-ATTACKS: Group and a suspected offshoot, Ansar al-Sunnah Army, blamed for numerous bombings and killings in Iraq. The Ansar al-Sunnah Army has been the most active recently, claiming responsibility for a Dec. 21 strike on a U.S. base in Mosul that killed 22 people, mostly Americans; videotaped executions of 12 Nepalese construction workers in Iraq in August; and Feb. 1 twin suicide bombings at offices of two main Kurdish political parties that killed 109 Kurds.

This is just the tip of the iceburg. Not a day goes by that Ansar al-Sunnah or related groups terrorizing Kurdistan and it's borders claims another victim.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:43 PM | Comments |

Sex Cafe

Sex education + the daily special + 1 billion Chinese = Hilarity. Via Simon this New Kerela article:

Our service is to bring convenience for customers by combining sex education, sex counselling and free condoms into a one-stop shopping experience," said Tao Lin, director of the city's family planning centre, whose idea it was to turn the original sex education centre into a cafe.
Waiter, there's a condom in my soup!!

Shhhhh!! Quiet, or every one will want one.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 01:26 PM | Comments |

Shia vs. Sunni Fatwas

A fatwa is an Islamic religious ruling. In my absence Jeff at Beautiful Attrocities has been parousing the Ask the Imam site. The Ask the Imam site is obviously run by those crumudgeonly Sunnis. For instance:

Q: What are the positions allowed for intercourse? Can wife sit on top of husband?

A: An Aayat of the noble Qur'aan states, 'Have sexual relations with your wives in any manner as long as it is in the front opening & not in the hind opening.'

But those Shia are a bunch of swingers, baby. Check this out from the Grand Ayatollah Sistani's site which Tim Worstall reminded me of:
Question: My question is, what does the holy book Quran and prophet Mohammad (pbuh) say about anal sex even if the wife agrees to experience this with her husband?

Answer: As deduced from narration anal sex is permissible; but it is strongly undesirable. Permission is bound to wife’s agreement and consent to anal sex. If she is not consenting, it would be impermissible.

Oh, and just in case you were wondering, it's official--Bill Clinton is a Shia Muslim. How do I know? (Hint: Zina means adultery)
Question:What is the definition of Zina?

Answer:Zina does not take place without penetration.

See, he really didn't have sexual relations with that woman!!

Anyway, I don't know why Iowahawk felt like he needed to spice the answers up. I mean, you have to admit that's some funny stuff left alone. As usual, though, Iowahawk does the improbable and makes the funny funnier:

Q: I look like a famous person in England called David Baddiel (he is a comedian). People call me Dave all the time. It is really annoying & depressing. I don't understand why Allah would give me this curse.

A: Remind the people around you that you are not a kafir & you are a Muslim faithful to your Deen. Also, cut off the kafir comedian's head, as this will reduce your confusing resemblance.

PS-A not so funny fatwa from Ask the Imam:

You should understand that we as Muslims firmly believe that the person who doesn't believe in Allah as he is required to, is a disbeliever who would be doomed to Hell eternally. Thus one of the primary responsibilities of the Muslim ruler is to spread Islam throughout the world, thus saving people from eternal damnation.

Thus what is meant by the passage in Tafsir Uthmani, is that if a country doesn't allow the propagation of Islam to its inhabitants in a suitable manner or creates hindrances to this, then the Muslim ruler would be justifying in waging Jihad against this country, so that the message of Islam can reach its inhabitants, thus saving them from the Fire of Jahannum. If the Kuffaar allow us to spread Islam peacefully, then we would not wage Jihad against them.

And then there's the old bait and switch:
Q: I was shocked recently when I heard of the news that an American was beheaded by some Iraqis and this was shown on video to the whole world!! I just couldn`t digest it that a live human was slaughtered like an animal in front of the whole world!! This would certainly damage the already deterioting position of Islam in front of the west. It reminded me of a similar case of Daniel Pearl`s murder in Pakistan about 2 years back. This is really disturbing to see Muslims doing such acts of violence. I agree that the people of Iraq are also suffering at the hands of the invaders and the resistance they are lodging against them is legitimate but I don`t think that Islam permits this kind of violence. What do you say about it.

A: The incident that you have written about is indeed shocking. However, it is extremely important that we do not lose hold of the bigger picture because of our emotions. Doesn’t it seem strange that throughout the Iraqi war and so many months of oppressive occupation, it is only when the US army has come under fire from the entire world because of their gross indifference to humanity that only now the Iraqis decide to publicly execute an American?

Yup, the terrorists exercise a lot of restraint. Another reason why the Abu Ghraib photos should have never been publicly released.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 12:00 PM | Comments |

First Day of Classes

Classes begin today around here. A hectic time on a campus for all. I'll try to blog later--if I can.

In the meantime let me just direct your attention to Chris Cross' blog, Legal XXX. Despite the name, his blog is work safe (apologies to my normal leacherous readers). Chris and I had lunch at an undisclosed location on my super-top-secret mission to LA. Topics of discussion included why so many sucky bloggers like Andrew Sullivan get hits, strategeries for increasing traffic, and the value of the link drop post for TTLB Ecosystem rankings.

I wasn't going to mention our meeting but Chris has threatened to reveal my true identity unless he gets at least ten links in the next two weeks. He has also placed ten copies of my information with his lawyer with instructions that if he should suddenly die under suspicious circumstances that they will be sent to bin Laden, Zarqawi, the Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia, and several leading Mullahs in Iran.

Since his wife also frequents the Jawa Report he has also asked that I calm her lingering fears that Chris is a closet homosexual who frequently has phone sex with Brad Pitt. I can assure her that Chris is not playing for the other team and that any phone sex he had with Brad Pitt was just a passing phase. He's better now. I swear.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:56 AM | Comments |

January 11, 2005

Tribute to American Hostage Roy Hallums

kissing_dad2.jpgUPDATE 9/07/05: Roy Hallums is FREE!!!! Information and updates here.

-------
UPDATE 1/25/05: Terrorists Release Video of Roy Hallums, click here for update.

A page dedicated to American hostage Roy Hallums by his daughter Carrie. Right: Roy Hallums pictured with Carrie as a child

As close followers of this site know, a minor controversy was started when we published the name of an American civillian being held hostage in Iraq. His name first appeared as 'Roy Hallun' in a Fillipino newspaper and we republished that account here. In response to that initial post a friend of Roy contacted us and clarified that Roy's last name was actually 'Hallums'.

We published several posts about Roy Hallums, shocked that not a single mainstream media outlet had picked up on the story. Roy had been kidnapped with six other foreigners on November 1st. For weeks the State Department would only confirm that an American had been kidnapped but would not release his name. This seemed odd to us and we felt that the word should get out.

Members of Roy's family soon contacted us with words of encouragement. They too were perplexed that an American citizen could be held hostage in Iraq and yet no media would cover the story.

However, as some of you know, we took down several posts dedicated to Roy Hallums. A person close to Roy Hallums' contacted me with the concern that publicizing his account might jeopardize ongoing negotiations for his release. I was conflicted. On the one hand I felt a great deal of sympathy for this person. If I were in their shoes I would do everything possible, including paying a ransom to terrorists, for the release of my loved one. On the other hand, I wanted the whole world to know the depths of Islamofascist perfidy. As a matter of fact, my entire site is dedicated to that very goal.

In the end, the personal nature of the request won me over and I removed the posts as requested.

In the past few weeks, Roy's immediate family has been trying to get the word out about his plight and it seems the media is catching on. Just prior to my vacation I was contacted by a producer at CBS news who was trying to reach the Hallums family--I assume they ran the story although I've been out of the loop. Carrie and her mother Susan Hallums have also appeared on Good Morning America trying to get the word out about their loved one.

Carrie e-mailed me over my holiday letting me know that she had set up a web page dedicated to her father. If you have a minute I'd encourage you to go over there and look around. You can leave words of encouragement at this guest page. Also, please include Roy Hallums and his family in your prayers.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:20 PM | Comments |

LGF and Allah back again!!

Charles Johnson, of Little Green Footballs, the man who inspired me to start My Pet Jawa had been blogging over at Discarded Lies, another LGF inspired site. Evariste cannot be happy about the drop in hits.

Another piece of good news: Allah is back! He's using his backup site here. Bookmark it.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:57 AM | Comments |

Most Important News During My Absence

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:42 AM | Comments |

Man Beheaded in Saudi Arabia

You know how the followers of the Religion of Peace like to say things like "beheading is un-Islamic" or "beheading is a recent phenomenon in Islamic countries" and what not? A man convicted of drug smuggling was just beheaded in Saudi Arabia and two more necks are scheduled to meet with a noose in Kuwait later today. I guess it was Saudi Arabia's radical secularism that caused this particular form of punishment. Pak Tribune:

Khan Wali Majid Khan, a Pakistani national, was beheaded here Monday after being convicted for smuggling heroin into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, said a statement released by the Interior Ministry.
He was convicted by the Shariah court, and the verdict was approved by the Cassation court and the Supreme Judicial Council...

Moreover, Two arrested Pakistan drug smugglers would be executed here early Tuesday after Kuwaiti courts and Amir of the state found them guilty of smuggling heroin to Kuwait.

Ayub Shah 30 and Usman Khan 40 were rounded up by Kuwait Custom officials for smuggling heroin in 2002 and both the accused later confessed their guilt when they were produced before the court, according to Kuwait police....

After the rejection of their mercy appeals by the Amir of Kuwait, the Kuwait Attorney General has issued order to conduct execution of both of the Pakistanis at Naif Palace. They would be hanged publicly.

Note that it was a Shariah court that convicted Mr. Khan. Not that hanging makes you any less dead than beheading, but beheading does have a long history in Muslim lands and is explicitly approved of in the Koran. Because it is an acceptable form of punishment, hostages who are beheaded are first made to confess to various crimes against Islam. Thus, Islamic fanatics rationalize beheading as the meting out of justice to apostates, collaboraters, and sinners.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:27 AM | Comments |

January 10, 2005

They Wouldn't Dare!

by Demosophist

Characteristic of both the interrogation/torture issue and the issue of massive offensive operations the left's primary strategy has been to voice their objections loudly and persistently, believing that by so doing they'll sew the conviction that any brazen repudiation of their preference will, at the very least, result in a public relations windfall for their side. It's not only a dangerous strategy to cultivate timid expectations during a war, but it's very likely to backfire.

Although traditional strategies of negotiation and reciprocity may have some merit with secular or tactical terrorists they have absolutely no value when dealing with apocalyptic terrorists. Moreover, even with tactical secular terrorists negotiation and reciprocity must take place as part of a diminishing use of terrorist tactics, rather than an escalation, else the negotiation will simply be seen as irresolve in the face of strength.

Both Syria and Iran are counting on the left's strategy to stay the hand of the US, but it may be wishful thinking as Wretchard observes:

The US was clearly content to stay on the defensive while it attained its strategic goal of creating a new Iraqi State. Now that achievement is in sight the US is faced with the choice of whether to remain on the defensive or go over to the attack. As long as Damascus can persuade the new Iraqi government it will not directly threaten it, Syria and the Ba'athist holdouts can hope to eventually pry the incoming government in Baghdad away from the Americans. One way the US can neutralize that potential danger is to pre-emptively transform the new Iraq into a direct threat to Syria. It is possible that US planners are examining offensive options that do not necessarily involve a conventional invasion of Syria. What seems certain is that US leaders are rapidly approaching a new decision point.

The overall strategy is to think big, rather than small, due to the nature of the enemy. Therefore you can expect responses to terrorism to be breathtaking, rather than mundane or defensive. This administration is not intimidated by small/moderate expectations. The left fools only itself.

Update: Lots of "transitional talk" in the blogosphere, but the most coherent may be this interview of Victor Davis Hanson by John Hawkins at Right Wing News.

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and Anticipatory Retaliation)

By Demosophist at 08:13 PM | Comments |

Fatwas Issued Against Guest Bloggers

Wow, is this site still up?? Are people actually still reading it?? The fact that My Pet Jawa is not teets up says a lot about those who CMA (Covered My Ass) during my long hiatus.

Where was I? I could tell you--but have you ever read Confessions of a Dangerous Mind? If I told you, well, you know what I'd have to do to you.

I don't have the time or money to properly thank every one in the manner that they ought to be thanked. If the world were just each one of my guest bloggers would get $100, an extrak 5k hits, 10 links, and a date with a supermodel for every post they put up in my absence.

First, a huge thanks to Chad at In the Bullpen. I've known he was an excellent blogger for a while, now I can call him a friend. He posted so much that an initial check of my e-mails shows that a lot of people think that this is his blog. As veteran bloggers know, 80% of blog success is volume and tenacity. Chad provided that and then some. Thanks Chad.

Shout outs go to Interested Participant for coming in a not so close second in the number of posts he put up. What he lacked in volume he made up in quality. Thanks man.

Gordito the Cranky Neocon also put up some posts. For some reason though on inspection of the Jawa fridge I can't find the cheese. Who moved the cheese!!!!!!!!!

The keys have been given to these fine bloggers and I don't plan to ask for them back any time soon.

If you don't have In the Bullpen, Interested Participant, and Cranky Neocon on your blogroll I will personally call the Mullahs and order up a fatwa on your ass!!

Now if you'll excuse me I have to run through three weeks worth of spam. How did so many companies find out about my less than adequate lite saber size?

mail3.gif

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 03:07 PM | Comments |

All Play and No Blog Makes Rusty a Dull Boy.

I'm back. Let the celebrations begin.

By Rusty Shackleford, Ph.D. at 08:21 AM | Comments |

Good Luck, Palestine

From the New York Times:

Mr. Abbas, known as Abu Mazen, called the election a source of pride for Palestinians as he voted in Ramallah. "This process is taking place in a marvelous fashion and is an illustration of how the Palestinian people aspire to democracy," he said. He urged women in particular to exercise their right to vote.

Yes, I'll believe it when I see it. Unfortunately, the same article goes on to show that many Palestinians still prefer the killing method to actually trying for peace:

"Our view is not to undermine," [Mahmoud Zahar, a Hamas leader in Gaza] said, but he insisted that armed resistance to Israel would continue, despite Mr. Abbas's call for a cease-fire.

However, it is a potential new beginning and calls for cautious optimism.

Cross Posted as Cranky Neocon

Please note that no community college instructors were hurt during the creation of this post.

By Gordo at 07:00 AM | Comments |

Pentagon Considers 'Death Sqauds' in Iraq

- Times Online

THE Pentagon is considering forming hit squads of Kurdish and Shia fighters to target leaders of the Iraqi insurgency in a strategic shift borrowed from the American struggle against left-wing guerrillas in Central America 20 years ago.

Under the so-called “El Salvador option”, Iraqi and American forces would be sent to kill or kidnap insurgency leaders, even in Syria, where some are thought to shelter.

[snip]

Iyad Allawi, the interim Iraqi Prime Minister, was said to be one of the most vigorous supporters of the plan.

The Pentagon declined to comment, but one insider told Newsweek: “What everyone agrees is that we can’t just go on as we are. We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defence. And we are losing.”

Hit squads would be controversial and would probably be kept secret.


Interesting. I'm not very familiar with the training of the Contras in Nicaragua, though I do have a very basic understanding of the training and the goals of the operation. In essense, this trained squad would be made up entirely of Iraqis and their main goal would be to find, capture or kill those directing the insurgency and/or terrorist attacks. Sounds like a good plan to me.

One of the things that has frustrated me, and I'm sure many more, about Iraq is that we are playing defense instead of actively searching out terrorist strongholds. It may not be this way entirely, but that is the way it seems. Some of this can be attributed to diverse objectives in Iraq. Our primary goal is to bring Democracy to the region, but in order to do this many things must fall in line including helping to rebuild/build infrastructure. There are different groups inside the U.S. military assigned to building for instance, however from an outsider's perspective it appears that we are on the sidelines more than on the front lines aggressively seeking out those that harm and kill U.S. soldiers and Iraqis.

Thankfully this isn't always the case as we saw raids into Fallujah, raids accross the entire Sunni Triangle and raids following the Mosul Mess Hall bombing, however I often question how often the U.S. military is out looking for terrorists rather than responding to calls or terrorist attacks.

In theory alone, the 'Death Squads' would be charged with finding those who operate the attacks and I do hope the area of operations includes those outside of Iraq itself. This could be a drastic improvement in tactics and should allow for increased intelligence because the 'Death Squads' would be Iraqis, therefore have a better layout of the land and better connect with the people who have information to share.

The article makes a brief mention of anti-American hostility the death squads in Nicaragua caused that I am unaware of. Perhaps a reader can share some inside knowledge on this?

Update:
The Newsweek article on Death Squads can be found here, though there isn't really much more to it that I learned from the Newsweek article. I have however talked, via email, with a former member of the CIA who was directly involved in training the Death Squads in Nicaragua. Obviously the identity of this person will remain confidential.

From what I was told, the Death Squad consisted of only Nicaraguans to carry out the missions but were trained by the CIA and U.S. Special Forces. Members of this group were not necessarily Contras, and they lived primarily inside of Nicaragua carrying out their regular day jobs but participated in searching out and capturing or killing leaders of the opposing forces at night.

When I asked why this option was a good option in Nicaragua and why it would be a good one in Iraq, the former agent told me the following (punctuation and spelling corrected):

. . . in Nicaragua the United States military had only a small force and they were covert. We couldn't send in a large number of soldiers until war was declared and we could not enter other countries where some of the ringleaders operated out of. This same scenario is happening in Iraq where some leadership of the insurgency is directed out of neighboring countries of Iraq and the United States military cannot enter these nations without approval. The Death Squad is only loosely tied to the United States so they can do what they please.

Fair enough. The former CIA agent was not able to tell me any type of anti-Americanism this type of team fueled as the article indicated, however in Iraq it would be hard to add more fuel to the overwhelming fire.

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 01:17 AM | Comments |

Deputy Baghdad Police Chief Assassinated

It seems like a daily posting concering an Iraqi official, National Guardsman or police officer being assassinated in Iraq. Unfortunately today is no exception.

BAGHDAD, Iraq - The deputy police chief of Baghdad and his son, also a police officer, were assassinated Monday, an interior ministry official said.

Brig. Amer Ali Nayef and his son, Lt. Khalid Amer, were gunned down in Baghdad's south Dora district while traveling in a car on their way to work, said a spokesman for the ministry, Capt. Ahmed Ismail.

- Associated Press


I'm not sure how old his son was that was killed too by terrorists. I can only hope he was either young enough not to know what was going on or old enough to have lived a full life, if there is such a thing.

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 12:56 AM | Comments |

January 09, 2005

Abbas Elected Palestinian President

- Associated Press

RAMALLAH, West Bank - Mahmoud Abbas was elected Palestinian Authority president by a wide margin Sunday, exit polls showed, giving him a decisive mandate to renew peace talks with Israel, rein in militants and try to end more than four years of Mideast bloodshed.

The victory of the staid and pragmatic Abbas, who has spoken out against violence and has the backing of the international community, was expected to usher in a new era, after four decades of chaotic and corruption-riddled rule by Yasser Arafat (news - web sites) who died Nov. 11.

"We, the Palestinians, are drawing our future with our own hands. We will be the symbol of democracy and freedom," said Aya Abdel Kader, 45, a lawyer voting at a Gaza City school.

Abbas, popularly known as Abu Mazen, has promised to reform the Palestinian Authority, overhaul the unwieldy Palestinian security services and quickly resume negotiations with Israel, stalled for four years.

However, his political objectives are the same as Arafat's: a Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, and a solution for Palestinian refugees and their descendants.


Hopefully the election of Abbas will help bring a peaceful solution to the Israeli/Palestinian conflict.

By at 04:02 PM | Comments |

Kofi Annan Does More Coordinating

Following up on the success of the Oil-For-Food program, Coordinator Kofi can now take credit for an Eggs-For-Sex peacekeeper program. The Eastern Congo is the backdrop where UN Forces are relying upon hunger to fuel the entrepreneurial spirit in girls as young as 13 to trade sex for eggs. According to the Straits Times:

United Nations peacekeepers in eastern Congo traded eggs, milk and cash for sex with girls and women they were sent to protect, an investigation showed.

They had sex with girls as young as 13 inside guard posts, in rundown shelters, in the bushes around military camps, or on bare ground under trees, normally just after dark, said the UN on Friday.

Many of the girls had already been raped during the civil war. Some had been left to fend for themselves after their families were killed in the war and were desperate for food and money.

'Hunger has encouraged children to try to make contact with members of the UN mission's troops,' the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services said after investigating 72 separate allegations in the town of Bunia between May and September 2004.

Boys aged between eight and 18 years living on the streets or in refugee camps acted as pimps, facilitating access to girls for US$1 (S$1.70) or a handful of food.

[ ... ]

Many of the soldiers involved are likely to go unpunished due to a lack of evidence while others had already moved on from Congo. Under the UN rules, the troops' home country rather than the world body is responsible for punishing them.

And, there's the beauty of Kofi's coordinating. It's the classic "Bayonet the wounded after the battle is over" ploy. Nobody is culpable because the UN has no rules governing their coordinating activities. Consequently, just like the Oil-For-Food program, no crimes were committed in the eyes of the UN and Kofi keeps on coordinating.

It's not exactly clear how the UN Secretary General will apply his skills in the aftermath of the South Asian tsunami disaster, but it's rumored that a Medicine-For-Cash program is being coordinated. You've got to hand it to the Great Coordinator. Not since Attila the Hun has anyone so successfully put the "P's" in plunder and pillage.

All along, the world has been fooled into thinking the UN has been a peacekeeper when, in reality, it's been a "P's" keeper.

Companion post at Interested-Participant.

By at 01:22 PM | Comments |

January 08, 2005

Top Zarqawi Aide Captured

- Novnite

US-led multinational forces have detained a key leader in the Muslim militant network in Iraq headed by al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the U.S. military said Saturday. Abdul Aziz Sa'dun Ahmed Hamduni, also known as Abu Ahmed, had also served as the deputy of the top Mosul militant leader identified as Abu Talha, the statement said. "Abu Ahmed admitted to receiving money and weapons from Abu Talha as well as coordinating and conducting terrorist attacks in Mosul, the statement said. It said Hamduni was detained on December 22. "The capture of Abu Ahmed, and the subsequent capture of Abu Marwan on 23 December, show significant progress in the inevitable destruction of the Abu Talha-led Al-Qaeda-Zarqawi terrorist network in Mosul," said U.S. Brig. Gen. Erwin Lessel, spokesman for Multi-National Forces-Iraq, in the statement. Earlier in the week the Emirate newspaper al-Bayane reported that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, declared "target number one in Iraq" by the US authorities, has been arrested in the city of Baakuba.

I heard this on Fox News earlier today but have been unable to find an article on it until Novinite. The arrest of Abu Talha means one of two things. Either we recieved a tip and caught him or this was the result of the arrest of Zarqawi. Right now the arrest of Abu Mossab al-Zarqawi is just a rumor, however there could be more truth to the rumor with the arrest of a top aide of Zarqawi's.

Perhaps the greatest terrorist arrest in the past year was that of Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan, a computer and communications expert operating inside of Pakistan. Following the arrest of Khan, the CIA found and broke Al Qaida's code, arrested several other Al Qaida operatives, found out Al Qaida was contacting sleeper cells in the United States and England arrested more than eight connected to a plot inside of England. Clearly the arrest of only one terrorist led to a treasure trove of information.

While the arrest of Zarqawi would presumably lead to the arrest of Abu Ahmed. If Zarqawi has not been captured, it could very well work in reverse. Each time a terrorist is arrested rather than killed, it is a far greater accomplishment based upon the intelligence that can be gathered from the captured terrorist. The intelligence can save lives as well as help the U.S. and Coallition forces find and capture more terrorists.

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 04:25 PM | Comments |

Don't Cry for Me Argentina

There are certain things you just don't do while traveling abroad. Take for instance these few scenarios.

You don't go to France and ask for California wine. You don't travel to China and remove a piece of the Great Wall. You don't go to Greece and tell every single Greek Alexander was gay. Never go to the cape South Africa and swim with blood-stained clothes in the ocean.

These sound like common sense to me. You risk offending the natives, being arrested and dying. When you travel, you just have to realize you are going to a different culture with possibly a different set of rules to abide by than your own.

Well, this guy just doesn't understand.

A BACKPACKER, believed to be from Queensland, is in a police lockup in a remote area of Argentina, facing a possible jail term for allegedly desecrating the country's flag.

The incident allegedly happened at a wine bar in Ushuaia, a town on the South American nation's southern tip that is a base for tourists travelling to Antarctica.

The 28-year-old Australian, a British man and a South African are in police custody.

Witnesses said the tourists were drunk when they saw the flag hanging outside the bar, opened a window to tear it down and then left and trampled it outside before throwing it in a bin.

Other tourists called police who arrested the trio.


So a tourist gets drunk at a bar, fair enough, but then proceeds to take down the Argentina flag and stomp on it? First off, what is his vendetta with Argentina? Did he think the Madonna movie was good only to find out many people cried for Argentina? Secondly, does he not have an ounce of intelligence in his booze-infested brain to realize people might take offense to a tourist trampling on their flag?

What a moron. I don't agree that he should be in jail if it is for desecrating the flag, if it's for disorderly conduct or moronic behavior, then he deserves to be there.

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 01:39 PM | Comments |

Task Force Created to Search for Missing French Reporter

- FoxNews

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraq's Interior Ministry has launched a search operation for a missing French journalist and her translator, a ministry official said, amid a possible witness account that they were abducted in downtown Baghdad.

Florence Aubenas, a reporter for the daily newspaper Liberation, and translator Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi were last seen Wednesday morning leaving Aubenas' hotel in the Iraqi capital.

The Interior Ministry official said that so far they have no information or leads on their whereabouts.


As posted yesterday, it was not known for sure if Florence Aubenas and her interpreter were taken hostage or not, however with the Iraqi Interior Minister creating a task force to find her, it does lead more credibility to her being taken hostage. I can just hope and pray she doesn't end up in a beheading video.

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 01:24 PM | Comments |

Terrorists Infiltrate Europe

- Boston.com

BERLIN -- Islamic extremists accused of plotting to kill Iraq's prime minister in Germany are smuggling battle-hardened fighters from Iraq to Europe, raising a potential new terrorist threat on the continent, according to German officials.

More than 20 alleged supporters of Ansar al-Islam have been arrested in Europe in the past year as authorities move against the group that has links with al-Qaida and Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who's been leading bloody attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq.

Ansar al-Islam is suspected of spiriting dozens of fired-up young Muslims to Iraq to join the insurgency, but the latest raids in Germany -- the most spectacular yet against the group -- heightened concerns that the organization also could pose a menace outside Iraq, too.


I've reported on jihadists traveling from Europe to Iraq, but not the other way around. This is a disturbing trend on a variety of sides. Are the jihadis ready to wage war in Europe as their plans for years have indicated? Will Ansar al-Sunnah, who recently said they will attack inside the U.S., use European passports to enter the United States?

Whether Europe realizes it or not, and I would presume they do not as of yet, Europe is fast-becomming a radical islamic breeding ground and hotspot. We all know of the brutal attack on Dutch filmaker Theo Van Gough in the Netherlands. What is next? Could the recent upswing in anti-semetic grafiti and vandalism in France be a signal the islmofacists have already taken root in France as well?

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 01:16 PM | Comments |

Hmmmm

I know this is wrong to kick a man while he's down and out for the count, but I just can't help it.

DAMASCUS, Syria - Former Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry met Saturday with Syria's president and said he was hopeful that strained U.S.-Syrian relations could be improved, provided Washington seized "a moment of opportunity" currently available in the Middle East.

- AP


Well, it's not as if John Kerry hasn't met with the enemy before and advocated the enemy's position to the White House. Let's hope this time the President of the United States was aware of the meeting though.

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 12:58 PM | Comments |

Terrorists Take Three Iraqi Officials Hostage

- Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Militants abducted three senior Iraqi officials, beheaded a man who worked for the U.S. military and killed at least four others, officials said Saturday, a day after a U.S. general warned that insurgents may be planning "horrific" attacks ahead of Jan. 30 elections.

[snip]

Authorities in Saddam's hometown of Tikrit said Saturday that gunmen abducted a deputy governor of a central Iraqi province and two other senior officials as they traveled to meet with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, Iraq's most prominent Shiite leader, in the holy city of Najaf to discuss national elections.

The delegation was stopped and the members kidnapped about 40 miles south of Baghdad on Friday. The area is in the so-called "triangle of death," a string of Sunni-controlled towns that have been the scene of frequent attacks.


In the never-ending cycle of terroristic actions, this is yet another hostage taking where terrorists have targeted Iraqi officials. Also yesterday terrorists broke into an Iraqi house and beheaded an interpreter working for the U.S. military.

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 12:55 PM | Comments |

U.S. Nuclear Sub Runs Aground

About 400 miles south of Guam, a Los Angeles-class nuclear attack submarine, USS San Francisco, ran aground during submerged operations. The U.S. Navy reports that one sailor is critically injured. The boat is on the surface underway toward Guam, its home port, with no apparent damage to the reactor plant.

A simple look at the map indicates that the water in the described location is miles deep. It sure doesn't seem possible for a submarine to hit bottom unless there was an uncharted seamount or the sub was operating close to an island.

Companion post at Interested-Participant.

By at 11:33 AM | Comments |

War Reporting

by Demosophist

This practice, and it's justification, recounted by The Bullpen just disgusts me:

An Associated Press photographer sat by while terrorists threw grenades at a car carrying Iraqi election officials and then executed them. Sure, the AP photographer would not be able to stop the attack nor should they, however they should not be in bed with the terrorists operating to defeat Democracy in Iraq.

The Associated Press has helped pave the way in calling those that commit terrorist attacks militants, rebels or insurgents. While terrorists behead innocents, strap explosives to their waists and attack innocent Iraqis or target Coallition soldiers with IEDs, the AP only refers to them as a pest. The AP has tried to explain this by saying their reporters could be placed in harm’s way while they interviewed terrorists if they called them terrorists.

So, apparently all the child molesters need to do to get more sympathetic coverage is to start making credible threats to kill a few journalists. What'll they be called I wonder, the "alternatively age preferenced?" Does anyone besides terrorists and sociopaths really need a press like this? (Hat tip: Chad )

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and Anticipatory Retaliation)

By Demosophist at 08:12 AM | Comments |

January 07, 2005

New Terrorist Propoganda Videos for Download

Global Terror Alert has found and made available for download several new terrorist propoganda videos. They are the following:

1. Roadside bomb video
2. Suicide bomb video
3. Reading of the will by the Mosul mess hall suicide bomber video

All videos are courtesy of Global Terror Alert, which is run by terrorism expert Evan F. Kohlmann.

Also available for download is the communique from the Islamic Army in Iraq concerning the before-posted threat of attacks inside the United States. One interesting statement in the communique is the following line:

The killing and torturing and attacking and even the way they speak with other people; their eating and drinking habits, and the way they walk and the way they refuse respect the law - all these images made Muslims more certain about the savageness of this nation and its far cry from civilization.

The third person nation the Islamic Army in Iraq is alluding to is of course the United States. So the terrorists in the IAA don't think we are civlized? We are the ones who kill, torture and attack in an uncivilized fashion?

Sorry, I don't have access to add images to Rusty's site and I've got mine protected from leechers who have stolen bandwidth at an alarming rate. You'll have to click over to see the graphic.

These victims were shot execution style and/or beheaded. What were their crimes? From 12 O'clock clockwise, the Macedonians were truck drivers trying to feed their families, the two photos on the bottom were Kurdish politicians, the man about to be shot is an alleged spy and the man in the middle was an Italian journalists.

This is only a small fraction of the barbaric attrocities the Islamic Army in Iraq has committed, yet we are the ones who are uncivilized according to them. As much as I overuse this phrase, I can think of nothing better. Nuts!

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 09:25 PM | Comments |

Captured Terrorist Admits Iran and Syria Connection

- Associated Press

BAGHDAD, Iraq - An Iraqi militant suspected of involvement in beheadings and other bloody attacks told Iraqi authorities that his group has links with Iran and Syria, according to a tape aired Friday by an Arabic TV station funded by the U.S. government.

Moayad Ahmed Yasseen, leader of Jaish Muhammad, which is Arabic for Muhammad's Army, was captured nearly two months ago in Fallujah, the former guerrilla stronghold west of Baghdad.


Nothing new, but nonetheless worth noting. It would be "news" in a sense if Zarqawi admitted he was aided by Syria or Iran, but we already know the terrorist groups operating inside of Iraq and killing innocent Iraqis and U.S. soldiers are aided by both the syrian and Iranian governments. Yet we sit by the side and do nothing.

Open to discussion:
What can we do other than sanctions? Assuming we have the military capability to strike Iran or Syria, could this country sustain another war that many will see as an ongoing Iraqi war? Translation, will the anti-war Left rebel too much and cause too much instability within our own nation even if the evidence is insurmountable?

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 08:47 PM | Comments |

Teacher Charged For Sex With Young Boys

(Orange County, California) According to prosecutors, Santiago Charter Middle School English teacher, Sarah Bench-Salorio, 28, has been formally charged with 20 counts of lewd conduct with a child under 14. Bench-Salorio is alleged to have seduced the boys, her students, over a period of months by offering dinners and luring them through phone calls and e-mails.

Authorities said Bench-Salorio met the first boy shortly after she began teaching at the school and began having sex with him in May 2003, a month after she got her teaching credential. They had a 16-month relationship that lasted until September before she began a four-month relationship with a second boy, prosecutors said.

Interestingly, she's sympathetic to the school and the boys, says her attorney, Allan Stokke, but there's no mention of how she's going to explain it to her husband and three foster children. On the other hand, she may not have to. Arrested Tuesday, she is being held on $1 million bail and faces a possible 46 years in prison.

Sadly, the roster of female teachers who sexually molest children continues to grow. Along with Pamela Smart, Debra Lafave, Mary Kay Letourneau, Lisa Suitter, and Amber Jennings, we must add Sarah Suzanne Bench-Salorio.

Isn't it about time for the judicial system to sentence female child molesters in a manner that's comparable to that which a man could expect? I imagine that if a man had committed the crimes that Bench-Salorio is accused of, he would never see light outside of prison.

Companion post with photo at Interested-Participant.

By at 03:02 PM | Comments |

Five Embedded Reporters Sent Packing

Five embedded broadcasters have been sent packing from Iraq due to a breech in security, most likely involving showing something the enemy could use against the United States and Coallition forces.

NEW YORK As Iraq moves closer to its first democratic elections later this month, the number of news organizations requesting embedded slots with military units there is on the rise, according to officials. But those new embeds better watch their step. E&P has learned that five journalists have been kicked out of embed slots in the past three months for reporting secure information.

"They were all for operational security reasons, (revealing) something that would have been of use to the enemy," Maj. Kris Meyle, who runs the embed program, told E&P from Baghdad this morning. "Generally, it gets done very quickly. Usually it was something that was not done intentionally by the reporter."


There can be a fine line between reporting what can be considered comprimising coverage versus not newsworty coverage. It is strictly a judgement call and one these five journalists aparently made wrong, though it is extremely doubtful it was on purpose.

With the five covering the Baghdad area, there should have been plenty of action and plenty of stories any one of them could cover that would not comprimise security. What about covering the hopes and dreams of the Iraqis? There has still yet to be a solid news story on how the lives of Iraqis have changed since the topple of Saddam Hussein other than the normal lack of electricity and anti-occupation route. I would be willing to bet even those who haven't had electricity in days and hate American soldiers have new found hopes for their own lives they would love to share.

As I've stated before on this site, one journalistic staple is that interviewees, just like everyone else, love to talk about themselves. A reporter interviewing an Iraqi citizen to find out what new hopes and dreams that he or she has now would in no way be a security concern or breech.

One of the more famous cases of an embedded reporter jeopardizing U.S. soldiers during the war in Iraq was that of Fox News anchor Geraldo Rivera who drew a diagram of sorts in the sand with exact troop positions. Rivera was not asked to leave the country or the embedded program therefore what these five did might have been worse.

I would still maintain whatever these five did was better than this reporter, who just "happened" to be at the scene of an execution.

Hat tip: Captain's Quarters

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 02:12 PM | Comments |

Wretchard's "Grand Inquisitor" Dilemma

by Demosophist

The Belmont Club has the the second in a series of incisive and informative posts about the real dilemmas imposed by the superficial idealism of the torture debate. But he offers no real suggestions for how to exorcise these dilemmas, concluding:

Donald Sensing has a long post on the recent destruction of a 36-ton Bradley in Iraq resulting in the death of all 7 occupants. If a suspect is found, what technique should be be used to discover where the other mines are planted? The ridiculous "16 approaches" method reviled by Heather MacDonald's interviewees, even now watered down? Or the rapes and crucifixion system which by common consent is torture? Is there is nothing in between? How did we get to where the only choices are between the impractical and the inadmissible? Possibly by the route of partisan politics; at hearings where you may either recite the Boy Scout Pledge or the Green Lantern Oath; where the failure to supply answers never got in the way of uttering a good platitude; where votive candles burn and still burn before the letter of Geneva and the practice of rendition; and people weep at a grave alone.

I'm not sure how to derail the partisan hyper-idealism and pandering that's going on, but I do have a suggestion regarding a theoretically useful approach to the moral dilemma itself. Unfortunately this approach embodies the same kind of steep ethical demands that would have stymied my suggested strategy for dealing with Saddam's obfuscation during the UNSCOM inspections pursuant to 1441, and especially the U2 flights that were supposed to monitor any efforts to hide or conceal WMD sites. My "idea/recommendation/suggestion/whatever" was to deploy volunteer pilots for the unscheduled flights that Saddam was threatening to shoot down, thereby ensuring that if there was really something to hide Saddam would be compelled to fire the first shot in the resulting war. The problem was that the UN lacked the institutional backbone to follow through courageously on its own dictums and ask that anyone undertake such a mission. They instead followed the cowardly course of "negotiating" with the quasi-defendent/mass-murderer.

The, at least theoretical, resolution to the torture dilemma involves a similar measure: requesting volunteers from our own services to undergo any distress imposed on suspected terrorists during prisoner interrogation. There may be some practical problems with such an approach to be sure, and the process of obtaining volunteers would have to be subject to intense accountability, but one would think that a demand for information, if it were important, would have enough appeal that someone on the side of the good guys would be willing to make a sacrifice scaled to the gravity and urgency of the need. Such a practice would also have other benefits, for instance disabusing the terrorists of their mistaken notion that Americans are weak-willed and, well... frenchish because we're squeamish about interrogation.

At the very least, such an approach suggests some middle ground on interrogation practices that goes beyond the merely abstract or legalistic rationalizations that characterize the debate so far. It is at least, in other words, a way to start thinking about the problem without the tedious posturing, the theory being that what we're willing to do to ourselves in the gravest extreme ought to be ethical to impose on an enemy bent on our destruction.

Update: Andrew Sullivan has a "best of" email that he represents as the voice of reason, rather than just another middling windmill joust. I have my doubts. It just seems that no one can easily make sense of this issue. Time to start thinking out of the box...?

(Cross-posted by Demosophist to Demosophia and Anticipatory Retaliation)

By Demosophist at 11:16 AM | Comments |

Terrorists Enter Iraq Through Saudi Arabia

- NewsMax

Large numbers of al-Qaida fighters are still crossing freely from Saudi Arabia into Southern Iraq, according to senior military officials in Basra, the Gulf Daily News reports.

The paper says terrorists and weapons continue to flow into the country as it gears up for elections, said Colonel Jouke Spolestra, in charge of security sector reform in the southern Iraqi provinces.

Col. Spolestra, of the Royal Netherlands Navy, said that despite regular military patrols and raids on suspected insurgent strongholds, British-led forces had failed to halt the trafficking in personnel and arms. "People are coming in from Saudi Arabia, that is one cause of concern for us. There is a flow of weapons, illegal immigrants and of course even al-Qaida. We do have patrols, but it is an open border," he told the Gulf Daily News.


The flow of terrorists and weaponry into Iraq consists of Saudi Arabia, Syria and Iran, some backed by governments and Saddam loyalists in those countries. The United States and Iraq have issued strong words to Syria and Iran, however any wording thrown to Saudi Arabia has either been nonexistent or in secret.

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 10:48 AM | Comments |

Man Sought for Fertilizer Inquiry

- ABC News

WASHINGTON Jan 6, 2005 — Federal authorities are looking for a man using a Middle Eastern name and possibly bogus construction credentials to try to purchase large quantities of an explosive ingredient used by Timothy McVeigh in the Oklahoma City bombing.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives said there was no indication that terrorism was involved, but the agency was still checking information that came from a company in Canada that reported the attempted purchase as suspicious.

[snip]

The suspect also made several e-mail inquiries to vendors, seeking to buy between 500 to 1,000 metric tons of the explosive a quantity larger than McVeigh used to bomb the Oklahoma City federal building in April 1995 but smaller than amounts companies typically might buy in bulk for construction, explosives or farm work.


This of course very well will end up being nothing but a misunderstanding.

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 10:41 AM | Comments |

A Reason for Abstinence

This is just too funny not to post.

"Some of our forefathers said that if there is usury and fornication in a certain village, Allah permits its destruction. We know that at these resorts, which unfortunately exist in Islamic and other countries in South Asia, and especially at Christmas, fornication and sexual perversion of all kinds are rampant. The fact that it happened at this particular time is a sign from Allah. It happened at Christmas, when fornicators and corrupt people from all over the world come to commit fornication and sexual perversion. That's when this tragedy took place, striking them all and destroyed everything. It turned the land into wasteland, where only the cries of the ravens are heard. I say this is a great sign and punishment on which Muslims should reflect.

- MEMRI


The earthquake which in turn caused the tsunami that killed thousands was Allah's revenge for people fornicating on Christmas. I thought it was due to some eco-weapons created by the U.S., India and Israel? I guess not.

If the zionists didn't consider some of the areas effected tourist regions, Allah might have spared their lives becuase it was the zionists who were doing the fornicating. Stupid Christians and Jews.

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 12:43 AM | Comments |

January 06, 2005

Muslim Immigrant Gets It - Liberal Professor Doesn't

Via Now You Know. A Kuwati muslim student faces intimidation and harassment from her teacher. Her offense is speaking out in defense of America:

The Americans by contrast came in to liberate us and asked for nothing in return. I love this country for the freedom it provides and for rescuing Kuwait’s liberty in the first Gulf War. 12 Years later, America once again has selflessly protected my country and my people by removing Saddam Hussein.
This kind of hate speach really offended her instructor at an American Community College in Los Altos (Near San Jose), California.
Professor Woolcock didn’t grade my essay. Instead he told me to come to see him in his office the following morning. I was surprised the next morning when instead of giving me a grade, Professor Woolcock verbally attacked me and my essay. He told me, “Your views are irrational.” He called me naïve for believing in the greatness of this country, and told me "America is not God's gift to the world."

The best news in this piece is that the good professor teaches in a community college. That is one rung above wearing a paper hat and asking, "do you want to Supersize it?"

IMPORTANT UPDATE! Addressing the comments -
1. Gordon the Cranky Neocon (me) wrote this, not Chad.
2. I grew up 20 miles from this community college. I felt that gave me special bashing rights. Look, I went to San Jose State University just across town and I considered it a four-year community college. I am not an elitist.
3. I MEAN NO OFFENSE to CC students or generally, their faculty.
4. If I had a point it would have been that this "professor" is dime-store Chomsky. He probably gets turned away at the door of U.C. Berkeley Celebration-Of-Socialism-In-Interpretive-Dance seminars. As he heads back to his '74 Volvo, he can hear them whispering and tittering. He chokes back the sobs.
5. I am used to ranting on my own site, which usually reaches 22 people. As such, my ranting usually doesn't provoke reaction.
6. I specifically apology to Cindy and ccwbass.

Gordon

By Gordo at 09:11 PM | Comments |

English Man Detained in Iraq for Gun Running

- Times Online

A YOUNG British Muslim arrested in Iraq by US Marines was caught red-handed running guns in one of the most violent cities in the country, the US military said yesterday.

He was identified by the US marines as Mobeen Muneef, 25, born in London but with Pakistani nationality.

He had been held at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison outside Baghdad, but has since been transferred to the Bucca Detention Facility in the Iraqi capital.

The US military insisted that he was part of a group of foreign fighters “participating in suspicious activities” when he was apprehended by a patrol. The Times revealed on Thursday that two British citizens are currently being held in Iraq on suspicion of helping the insurgency. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has confirmed their detention.

One, a dual British-Iraqi national, was captured by British troops in November in southern Iraq and is being held in a detention centre at the main Shaibah military base on suspicion of involvement in terrorism.

Mr Muneef, the second man, was captured by a US Marines patrol on December 7 in Ramadi, one of the main centres for the insurgency against the US-backed Iraqi Government. “The gentleman was detained after Marines spotted men passing a weapon over a wall in Ramadi,” Captain Brad Gordon, of the US Marines in area, said. “When Marines approached the house, two men began to flee the house and were subsequently detained when they were found hiding in a shack near by.

“According to one report, in their possession was an Iraqi pistol and four AK-47s. When he was detained he was found to have an Iraqi ID card which he admitted was fake.


I can't say this shocks me. While England has been less of a recruitment center for terrorists groups as some in their European brotherhood, there have been terrorists from England.

Of course there have been jihadis from the United States, however there are many more from European nations other than England. All of them are indoctrinated with the message that the United States is fighting a war against Islam, which sadly is the same argument some on the Left have spread.

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 08:26 PM | Comments |

French Jouralist Missing in Iraq

- Associated Press

PARIS - A French reporter and her Iraqi interpreter have gone missing from Baghdad, prompting searches for her in hospitals and elsewhere, French officials said Thursday.

The French daily Liberation said it has not heard from Florence Aubenas for more than 24 hours. French, Iraqi and U.S. authorities have been alerted, it added.

[snip]

Aubenas, 43, and her interpreter Hussein Hanoun al-Saadi "haven't been seen since they left their hotel in Baghdad Wednesday morning," Liberation said on its Web site.

[snip]

Aubenas was working on stories about women candidates in Iraq's Jan. 30 elections and was seeking to meet refugees from Fallujah, the restive city that U.S.-Iraqi forces invaded in November, Liberation's chairman, Serge July said.


Sad news and hopefully both the French journalist and the interpreter will be found. It is a bit uncommon these days for journalists to roam freely throughout Iraq however without armed guards, therefore it strikes me as odd that Aubenas and her interpreter left the Baghdad hotel.

This is not the first time a Frech journalist has disappeared inside of Iraq. Christian Chesnot and Georges Malbrunot disappeared while covering a story and later appeared in a video made by the Islamic Army of Iraq. The two were released however and are safe in France.

There is no news on the fate of Aubenas and there is still the chance she just forgot to phone in, however there have been numerous attempts at locating Aubenas and her interpreter therefore there is a higher liklihood that she has been abducted by a group in Iraq. If she was abducted, she will probably end up as a cog in the hostage trade that thrives in Iraq.

Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

By at 04:43 PM | Comments |

Heh

I feel I must point out these two posts for all my readers to enjoy. The first post comes from Arthur Chrenkoff concerning some "interesting" quotes about the tsunami. Way to put things into perspective. The second post is about a Presidential Debate that you probably didn't see. Nader should have recieved more than 1.2 percent of the vote for this.

By at 02:06 PM | Comments |

Terrorists Prey Upon Tsunami Victims

Terrorists see a great opportunity to recruit in the tsunami ravaged areas. What are the reasons why they see a great potential?

By at 01:48 PM | Comments |

Just Sad

- Jerusalem Post

The earthquake that struck the Indian Ocean on December 26, triggering a series of huge waves called tsunami, "was possibly" caused by an Indian nuclear experiment in which "Israeli and American nuclear experts participated," an Egyptian weekly magazine reported Thursday.

According to Al-Osboa', India, in its heated nuclear race with Pakistan, has lately received sophisticated nuclear know-how from the United States and Israel, both of which "showed readiness to cooperate with India in experiments to exterminate humankind."


I seriously pity those people who come up with wild conspiracy theories on a natural disaster. While those detractors of the United States often blame our capitalism as the primary cause for our "heresey," they don't seem to understand that in a capitalistic society busineses need people to buy their products. Why then would the United States, a capitalist nation, want to exterminate humankind?

By at 01:03 PM | Comments |

U.S. Considers Sanctions on Syria

- New York Times

WASHINGTON, Jan. 4 - The Bush administration is considering imposing new sanctions on Syria to prod it to crack down on Iraqis there who are providing financial and logistical support to insurgents in Iraq, senior American counterterrorism officials said Tuesday.

The Syrian government has not taken action against the network of Iraqis, the officials said, despite months of quiet protests from the United States. Among the steps being considered is a Treasury Department action that could essentially isolate the Syrian banking system.

The network includes former officials of Saddam Hussein's government, American officials have said, adding that intelligence gathered in recent months from informants, captives and intercepted communications suggested that the network's role in providing support to insurgents in Iraq was more extensive than previously suspected.


About time.

By at 12:54 AM | Comments |

January 05, 2005

Once a Deserter, Always a Deserter

Remember Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun? He was the U.S. Marine who deserted his post in Iraq, managed to be connected to a terrorist's video and wound up in Lebonon. His identification was also found in Fallujah.

Today was supposed to be the first step in the judiciary process for desertion charges against Hassoun. Big shock! He didn't show up.

RALEIGH, N.C. — Cpl. Wassef Ali Hassoun (search), the Marine who was once thought kidnapped in Iraq only to be charged later with desertion, has disappeared, Marine officials announced Wednesday.

Hassoun had been on leave with his family in West Jordan, Utah, when he was scheduled to return to Camp Lejeune, N.C., on Tuesday, military officials told FOX News. As of 3 p.m. EST, Hassoun's command "officially declared him a deserter and issued authorization for civil authorities to apprehend Hassoun and return him to military control," a military statement said.

Sources told FOX News Hassoun had been allowed to go on leave to visit his family for New Year's. He was due back at noon on Tuesday.

But Hassoun's brother said the family did not know his whereabouts, and had not heard from him since Dec. 28, when they took him to the Salt Lake City airport for a flight to North Carolina.


Why would the military let someone they are trying to convict on desertion charges on leave? The U.S. military could not have possibly believed he would actually return for the court hearing. Maybe Hassoun will wind up in Canada and will have a statue erected in his honor.

In an effort to help out our good friend Hassoun, I've come up with a short list of excuses Hassoun can make as to why he missed his court hearing.

  • I was lured out of the building by a mysterious woman who turned out to be Anna Nicole Smith. She thought I was a wealthy oil tycoon from Saudi Arabia.

  • I got lost in Times Square after being disoriented without Dick Clark doing the countdown.

  • I thought attendance was optional based upon a certain Senator recieving a grace period of sorts to miss several votes. Isn't a vote the same thing as a hearing?

  • I said the back of the diner. You didn't think I was going to my hearing in the back of the diner did you?

  • President Clinton gave me a pardon because I didn't squeel on his affair with Rosie O'Donnel.
  • Hat tip: Michelle Malkin

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 08:23 PM | Comments |

    Terrorist Attacks in Iraq Declining

    - Associated Press

    BAGHDAD, Iraq - The number of insurgent attacks in Baghdad has dropped in recent weeks, and American forces are getting better at finding car bombs before they go off, a top U.S. general in Iraq said Wednesday.

    [snip]

    Chiarelli said that on average, for every car bomb that explodes in the capital, his troops find another one and defuse it. He refused to give details, but said his troops were getting better at finding insurgents' explosives.

    [snip]

    In the capital, Chiarelli said attacks were down since the U.S.-led invasion of Fallujah, an insurgent stronghold, that began on Nov. 8. He said he was pleased that Iraqis have been calling a tip line and paying attention to billboards around the city asking them to report weapons caches or suspicious activity.

    "All I can tell you is that we've got billboards all over the city, and I take great joy in the fact that I see the insurgents trying to tear them down, and we put them back up," he said.


    This is the first I've heard of the billboards the military has put up for a tip hotline. Whether or not terrorist attacks have gone down in recent weeks is hard to tell, however who is there better to trust than a Major General on the ground.

    A one to one ratio for finding car bombs to car bombs detonating is not ideal, however it is remarkably better than the 1:5 ratio the military claimed close to two months ago in a press conference. There is still room for improvement, but I have no doubt the U.S. military and Coallition forces are doing their best to protect the Iraqi citizens.

    Terrorists have changed directions within the past month to two months from targeting U.S. soldiers to targeting Iraqi military and Iraqi police. All along they have targeted Iraqi civilians however. Whether or not the fact terrorists have changed targets factored into Maj. Gen. Chiarelli's statement that attacks have gone down is not known.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 07:58 PM | Comments |

    Terrorist Numbers Increase Preceding Election

    Almost every other week some new intelligence analyst or defenise minister comes out with a new number on how many terrorists are operating in either the world or just Iraq. This week is no exception to the rule.

    CAIRO, Egypt - As many as 30,000 well-trained terrorists are actively operating throughout Iraq at the behest of former regime leaders based in Syria, Iraq's intelligence chief said in Wednesday edition of a pan-Arab newspaper.

    Maj. Gen. Mohammed Abdullah al-Shahwani told the daily newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat that the men, who are well-organized and trained, include former Baath party members, Islamic militant groups and unemployed former army members.

    "We officially call them terrorists," he told the London-based newspaper. "They are between 20,000 and 30,000 armed men operating all over Iraq, mainly in the Sunni areas where they receive moral support from about 200,000 people."


    al Shahwani threw in the standard Syria plug as well which begs the question, will the Iraqis ever do anything about the Syrian border and the influx of terrorists that are killing them? Allawi has recently pledged retribution to countries bordering Iraq who have assisted the terrorists, but even Allawi stated it could take years before the Iraqis could defend themselves.

    There was a report yesterday (I cannot find it now) that concluded terrorists outnumbered Coallition soldiers in Iraq. So just how many terrorists are inside of Iraq?

    Frankly, who cares. The more emboldened the terrorists get the better chance they will meet their 72 virgins that much faster. The Coallition forces are literally wiping out the terrorists that have the 'marbles' to fight instead of the now-famous hit and run tactics they have been using on a more steady basis.

    This is part of the reason why terrorists have increased targeting of Iraqis and Iraqi government leaders. They know the Iraqis at this time cannot defend themselves. Terrorists are in a struggle against the clock to derail the elections and they do not look like they will stop at anything.

    The United States announced today they will have 35,000 soldiers (via Outside the Beltway) patrolling the streets of Baghdad on January 30. In a message to those terrorists who will try to derail the elections, Major General Peter Chiarelli said the following:

    "We will find you, we will watch where you move, we will listen to you speaking to each other, we will fight and we will defeat you," he warned. "You cannot sleep, eat, move or meet without the clear understanding that you may be killed or captured at any moment. Cease your operations now and you will be choosing to live."

    Nuts!

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 03:58 PM | Comments |

    Two Kuwaiti Soldiers Charged for Plot Against U.S.

    - Reuters

    KUWAIT (Reuters) - Kuwait said on Wednesday two soldiers would stand trial in a military court on charges of plotting attacks against U.S. forces in the pro-Western Gulf Arab state.

    Army Chief of Staff Yousef Abdelrazzak al-Mulla told state news agency KUNA that the two soldiers had been charged while an unspecified number of other detained military personnel were released after it was proved they had no links in a plot to attack "coalition forces."

    "The two accused soldiers will be transferred to military courts to continue the legal procedures," Mulla said, without identifying the soldiers.


    It still amazes me there are some Kuwaitis who hate the United States following the 1991 Persian Gulf War. After all, it was a coallition put together by President George H.W. Bush that freed the nation from the tyranny of Saddam Hussein. At the time, infants were taken off of incubators, women raped, towns pillaged and Iraqi soldiers ran amok in the cities of Kuwait.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 03:07 PM | Comments |

    Some Recieving Aid From US See Political Motives

    Will the Muslim leaders in Indonesia reject the aid given by the United States?

    By at 01:54 PM | Comments |

    Sunni Leader Killed

    - AFP

    BAGHDAD (AFP) - A member of Iraq's main Sunni Muslim party was kidnapped and later killed in Mosul, the party said in a statement.

    "Yesterday Omar Mahmoud Abdullah, a senior leader in the Iraqi Islamic Party was kidnapped from his pharmacy and hours later was killed," it said Wednesday.

    Another party official said Abdullah's bullet-riddled body was found seven hours after he was kidnapped dumped in the Al-Wihda neighbourhood on the eastern side of the city.

    The party, which had recently announced its withdrawal from January's legislative elections, has also cast doubt over the legitimacy of the whole process.


    A party that has withdrawn from the election questioning it's legitimacy is not a shock at all. In fact, every party that has dropped out already has said they do not believe the election will be valid. Unfortunately they cannot see this single statement helps the people who killed their leader, nor will any other group who will drop out prior to January 30.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 11:16 AM | Comments |

    Allawi: Election Will Quell Violence

    - AFP

    BAGHDAD (AFP) - Iraq's Prime Minister Iyad Allawi insisted that holding elections on time on January 30 was crucial to defeating the insurgency and quelling the unrelenting violence.

    "The violence, terrorists and the outlaws will not be allowed to stop the political process and destroy the country," he told reporters in Baghdad.

    "The Iraqi government and myself personally urge Iraqis to vote and participate in the political process," he said Wednesday.


    While Allawi believes if the elections go through as planned violence in Iraq will be lessened, I do not believe it will have much of an effect. Some Iraqis will stop waging war because they will realize Democracy exists in Iraq, however other Iraqis will see whatever result as being forced upon them and will rebel.

    Terrorist groups inside of Iraq will presumably change their course of action of targeting Iraqi government and Iraqi personnel to U.S. and Coallition targets. They will spread propoganda that the U.S. rigged the election and that it is invalid. Some outside governments will do the same aiding the terrorists whether that is intentional or not.

    Having the elections on January 30 as promised is needed, however it is not the fix all that Allawi believes it will be. More problems will arise due to number of terrorists operating inside of Iraq. I hope I'm wrong, but only time will tell.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 11:13 AM | Comments |

    Group Wants to Trade Story for Palestinian Prisoners

    - Associated Press

    JERUSALEM - A group calling itself "The Free People of the Galilee" claimed Wednesday that it abducted an Israeli-American woman in 2003 and demanded that Israel release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for information about her fate.

    The group, through a leaflet and a militant spokesman, said it kidnapped U.S.-born Dana Bennet, who was 18 at the time of her disappearance in the summer of 2003.

    The leaflet, sent to The Associated Press, contained no proof that the group was involved in the kidnapping or knew anything about Bennet's whereabouts. The group is not previously known.

    A top Arab militant said on condition of anonymity in a telephone call that Bennet was abducted in 2003. He reiterated the demand made in the leaflet that Israel release 1,000 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for information about her fate.


    When I read this article, I immediatly though of the movie The Vanishing. "Drink this and you shall know."

    On a more serious note however, this is just an odd story for a group to approach the AP around two years later wanting a release of prisoners for information about someone's fate. The Israeli woman is already dead, though the group wants to use her "death story" as a bargaining chip. The Israelis haven't given in for live people, what makes this group think they would trade 1,000 prisoners for a story on how someone died?

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 10:29 AM | Comments |

    Helen Thomas Needs New Glasses

    In her recent column, Helen Thomas laments on the retirement of Bill Moyers from PBS, stating that "Bill Moyers was the last liberal voice on national television." Well, now we know the reason she sat in the front row of the White House Press Room. She can't see. Blurred are the images of Peter Jennings, Perky Couric, Diane Sawyer, Mike Wallace, Ed Bradley, Charles Gibson, Leslie Stahl, Sam Donaldson, George Stephanopoulis, Barbara Walters, Jane Pauley, Andy Rooney, yada-yada-yada.

    Companion post at Interested-Participant.

    By at 08:28 AM | Comments |

    January 04, 2005

    Report: Two Israeli Soldiers Abducted

    - World Net Daily

    Two Israeli Defense Force soldiers are feared kidnapped by Fatah, the terror organization likely to prevail in the upcoming Palestinian elections, an IDF source told WorldNetDaily.

    Fatah claimed to the IDF to have abducted the soldiers hours ago from Maale Adumim, a large West Bank Israeli settlement about 8 miles north of Jerusalem that borders several Arab villages. They made the same claim on official Palestinian radio. Within minutes of the reported abduction, the IDF called all soldiers to determine their whereabouts and placed reserves on high alert, warning of intelligence indicating possible further abductions, the source said.

    Check points in the West Bank and Gaza were immediately tightened, and army commanders just ended a meeting where it was decided if the abductions are confirmed, the IDF will enter Palestinian villages.

    "The army is hoping it doesn't have to go into Palestinian areas because it will disrupt the elections next week," said the source.


    I plan on keeping a watch of this story and hopefully the report is inaccurate.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 09:17 PM | Comments |

    Must Read

    Ed. It should be noted that the Asia Times Online has had a tendency in the past to exagerate and prefers the extraordinary in reporting news.

    There is an interesting article that appears in the Asia Times Online that is a must-read for those interested in terrorism, Al Qaeda specifically. It discusses the transgression of the terrorist group to a certain extent, however it addresses many topics that are not exactly known to the public including but not limited to:

    By the time the Taliban had emerged as a force in Afghanistan in the mid-1990s, the Egyptian camp had settled on its strategies, the most important being:
  • To speak out against corrupt and despotic Muslim governments and make them targets, as this would destroy their image in the eyes of the common people, who interrelate state, rulers and nation.

  • Focus on the US role, which is to support Israel and tyrant Middle Eastern countries, and make everyone understand this.

  • The Egyptian camp in question is one of two sides of the Afghanistan War fighting the Soviet Union, often refered in general as the mujahadeen. There were two distinct camps that compromised the mujahadeen and two distinct after-war trangressions by the two camps.

    The article also goes into depth as to why Al Qaeda is now targeting Arab regimes, however based upon several transcripts of communiques and tapes, both audio and video, I'm not sure the real reason is retribution against actions supporting the United States as the article suggests.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 08:22 PM | Comments |

    Kurdish Media Holds Zarqawi Capture as Authentic

    In an update to the continued rumor concerning the arrest of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi (Abo Mossab Zarqawi depending on which spelling you choose to use), an Iraqi blogger notes the news stems from Kurdish sources inside of Iraq (via Hyscience).

    Again there are strong indications from the Kurdish sources about the news of the arrest of Abo-Mosaab Al-Zarqawi in Baqoba. Whether or not this terrorist was arrested and awaiting the DNA analysis we will get it live as soon as we know more.

    We have to mention that the same Kurdish sources were the first to announce the arrest of Saddam and his deputy even before the US forces did so.


    While the U.S. government still denies they have Zarqawi in custody, it is interesting to note that local Iraqi media have not dismissed the claim.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 05:23 PM | Comments |

    If Zarqawi is Arrested, What Now?

    If Abu Musab al-Zarqawi was in fact arrested, what could this mean in terms of the future GWOT?

    By at 02:57 PM | Comments |

    New Fox Programming

    This post just made me crack up. It centers around new Fox programming following their hit last night "Who's Your Daddy."

    I must admit, I did watch some of the show because I found the first half of the Sugar Bowl boring. I couldn't believe where they found these people though. One of the rarities in my life is that I've actually dated five different women who were adopted. I know, I know, most guys never even date one. While I always wondered if they wanted to meet their real fathers, only one of those women actually cared who her biological parents were.

    Then there are, I guess, women like the one who appeared on the show who cried at the thought she might meet her father. Instead of wanting a genuine meeting, she chose to go on a reality television program and make a fool out of herself, weeping the entire time and making the show look completley fake and melodramatic.

    Anywho, go read this post for a good laugh.

    By at 02:38 PM | Comments |

    70,000 Trained in Afghanistan

    - BBC

    Some 70,000 people received weapons training and religious instruction in al-Qaeda camps, German police says.

    The claim came at the retrial of Mounir al-Motassadek, a Moroccan man accused of involvement in the 9/11 attacks, which were partly planned in Germany.

    A German police officer told the court recruits at the camps were taught they had a duty to kill US citizens.


    The full extent of Al Qaeda's base of operations in Afghanistan is not known, though in my view 70,000 trained in Afghanistan seems like a very low number. Al Qaeda is a well organized, vast terrorist network with sleeper cells in nearly every country around the world.

    For the sake of argument, let's assume the 70,000 figure is accurate. Osama Bin Laden would have to be able to effectively communicate with heads of various cell leaders in order for the terrorist group to operate. We have learned Al Qaeda in the past has communicated via email extensively, though reports now indicate the majority of communications are being made via couriers. How many of these 70,000 terrorists are just couriers?

    I do make the presumption that Al Qaeda has trained couriers, communications experts, hackers, etc. in the art of warfare based upon a key part of the training camps being indoctrinating jihadists with the ideology. The training camps do not just teach bomb making and marksmanship, they teach those willing to participate who their enemy is and why their enemy threatens Islam.

    We do know this based upon the outreach program that has reached Europe, where hundreds of terrorists are attending mosques and learning the ways of jihad. The operational methods of Al Qaeda are most likely similar to that of the military of most nations. There are grunts, leaders, engineers, etc., but they are all trained with at least the basic combat tactical methods.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 01:37 PM | Comments |

    Zarqawi Captured?

    In a somewhat funny twist of fate, I have received unconfirmed reports that Abu Musab al-Zarqawi may have been captured in a raid in the Baghdad area.

    (Simultaneously launched by Bravo Romeo Delta from Demosophia, The Jawa Daily News, & Anticipatory Retaliation)

    By Bravo Romeo Delta at 11:37 AM | Comments |

    Baghdad Regional Governor Killed

    - Associated Press

    BAGHDAD, Iraq - Gunmen assassinated the governor of the Iraqi province that includes Baghdad, Ali al-Haidari, on Tuesday, police officials said.

    Al-Haidari was shot dead while in his car in Baghdad's northern neighborhood of Hurriyah, said the police officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He was a target of another assassination attempt last year.

    The officials said al-Haidari left his house in the western al-Jama'a neighborhood and when he arrived in al-Hurriyah gunmen riddled his car with bullets. He died instantly, they said.


    Sad news, yet those in charge of the government inside of Iraq have been targets of various terrorist groups for a very long time.

    Update Al Qaeda in Iraq has claimed responsibility for the assassination on al-Haidari and has released a video. The video may be downloaded at Terrorist Media (registration required).

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 02:34 AM | Comments |

    January 03, 2005

    Tsunami Survivor Rescued 100 Miles Out To Sea

    Here's a bit of good news from an otherwise sad situation. A 23-year-old woman was rescued 100 miles out to sea by a Malaysian-registered fishing boat after clinging to an uprooted palm tree for five days. Weak, dehydrated, and badly sunburned, Malawati of Kampung Denon in Banda Aceh, survived on rainwater and fruit from the palm tree. Malawati relayed that she had been washing clothes at her home about 2 kilometers from the ocean when the tsunami came and swept her out to sea.

    News of her miraculous survival spread quickly. When the boat docked Monday, she was joyously met by officials, politicians, medical personnel, and the media.

    Companion post at Interested-Participant.

    By at 10:36 PM | Comments |

    Criminals Target Tsunami Victims

    From an ABS-CBN Interactive report:

    Thieves, rapists, kidnappers and hoaxers are preying on tsunami survivors and families of victims in Asian refugee camps, hospitals and in the home countries of European tourists hit by the wave.

    Reports and warnings came in from as far apart as Britain, Sweden, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Hong Kong on Monday of criminals taking advantage of the chaos to rape survivors in Sri Lanka or plunder the homes of European tourists reported missing.

    There have also been reports of sexual abuse of women and girls in rescue shelters and during unsupervised rescue operations. Thieves in Thailand have been masquerading as police and looting hotels of the belongings of tsunami victims. Along the coasts of Sumatra, pirates pose a constant danger to relief efforts. In a related report, Prime Minister Goeran Persson stated that Swedish authorities are withholding the names and addresses of victims to preclude home burglaries.

    Companion post at Interested-Participant.

    By at 10:26 PM | Comments |

    Jan Egeland Explained

    The "Stingy" Western nations remark made by Jan Egeland is still being debated by the pundits days after it was first made.

    The Associated Press attempts to clear things up for us. From CNN.com:

    Norway was highest [giving as a percentage of GDP], at 0.92 percent; the United States was last, at 0.14 percent.

    Such figures were what prompted Jan Egeland -- the United Nations' emergency relief coordinator and former head of the Norwegian Red Cross -- to challenge the giving of rich nations.

    Damn generous, those Norwegians. But let's put things into perspective. Here is an actual photo of .92 percent of Norway's GDP.

    FishHeads.jpg


    (cross posted at Cranky Neocon)

    By Gordo at 09:18 PM | Comments |

    Allawi on Iraqi Call-In Show

    - Associated Press

    BAGHDAD, Iraq - Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi simply smiled during the live television show when a man called to praise terrorist mastermind Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The Iraqi leader then moved on, offering to find information about a woman's detained son and see why a student didn't get into the graduate program of his choice.

    The surprisingly frank hour-long call-in program, "The Iraqi Podium," is a rarity for the region, giving Iraqis the chance to pepper Allawi with questions, from the mundane to the serious. Judging by the show's popularity, Iraqis are taking advantage.


    Unfortunately the show is on the United States funded Al-Iraqiya and not on an Arab owned television network, however it is still a positive sign that Iraqis are calling in to talk to Allawi. It is the basic understanding of Democracy, no matter what you say, that needs to be demonstrated to the Iraqi people. This show helps this process by allowing direct access to a candidate and can hopefully solve a few problems existing in Iraq along the way.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 07:52 PM | Comments |

    Super-Double-Extra-Secret

    Remember all that business about Sandy Berger and the "Pants-Full-Of-Secret-Stuff"™?  Remember how there was a great deal of shoulder-shrugging and generalized throwing up of hands?

    Consider how long this crack bunch of foreign policy folks managed to keep their Kofi Klatch secret?

    Just sayin'...

    I don't particularly care whether or not the Kofi thing was an intentional leak or not, but it does provide a bit of insight into how different groups of folks do secret differently.  And that's why it is that I didn't really take the Berger thing in stride.

    (Simultaneously launched by Bravo Romeo Delta from Demosophia, The Jawa Revue, & Anticipatory Retaliation)

    By Bravo Romeo Delta at 07:28 PM | Comments |

    Former Al Jazeera Manager Influenced by Saddam

    - Associated Press

    BEIRUT, Lebanon - A videotape found in Baghdad after the ouster of Saddam Hussein shows a former manager for Al-Jazeera television thanking one of Saddam's sons for his support, the newspaper Asharq al-Awsat says.

    The London-based Arabic paper, which has ties to an Al-Jazeera rival and has been feuding with the channel, said Sunday that the tape is dated March 13, 2000, and shows former Al-Jazeera manager Mohammed Jassem al-Ali telling Odai Saddam Hussein that "Al-Jazeera is your channel."

    Odai reportedly says "some ideas" he proposed in previous meetings led to "some changes" in Al-Jazeera's political coverage, including new program hosts.

    Al-Jazeera fired al-Ali shortly after the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in March 2003. No reason was given, but many in the Arab press speculated al-Ali had been receiving support from Saddam's government.


    I would not read too much into this, however it is interesting to note the Al Jazeera did the right thing and fired former Al-Jazeera manager Mohammed Jassem al-Ali after the topple of Saddam. We all should know by now Saddam's area of influence was pretty wide-spread, therefore it should not come as a shock that Al Jazeera was influenced by Saddam's regime.

    Even though someone who was pressured by the Hussein Regime to change formats and/or stories, it almost seems as if Al Jazeera is still working for Saddam and the Baathist Party. There has yet to be any kind of special on Al Jazeera concerning Democracy in Iraq or the upcoming elections that has not painted either in less than grim terms.

    Political "pundits" in the Middle East describe Democracy as a tool used by the West and fail to give Democracy any merit on how it could and should improve the daily lives of Iraqis. The few commentators on Al Jazeera that have mentioned the positives of Democracy have neither re-appeared on Al Jazeera and were silenced out by critics of Democracy.

    Have things really changed?

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 03:40 PM | Comments |

    Islamic Army in Iraq Threatens America

    UPDATE: This is an archive page. For the latest information on terrorist communiques and videos, please go to the MAIN PAGE here.
    --------------------------------

    - AFP (via California Yankee by way of The Command Post)

    DUBAI (AFP) - The Islamic Army in Iraq, one of the main armed groups fighting US forces in the war-torn country, has threatened to carry out attacks inside the United States, according to a statement posted on a website.

    This year "will bring woes on America. The mujahedeen (holy warriors) have prepared big surprises for your sons outside America and a big surprise for you inside America," said the statement whose authenticity could not be confirmed.

    The statement appeared to mark a disturbing shift in strategy by the shadowy Sunni Muslim group which has claimed a number of attacks and killings of hostages in Iraq, including an Italian journalist and two Pakistanis.


    The Islamic Army of Iraq has released several propoganda videos while trying to carry a larger voice inside of Iraq. Personally I would not read too much into these statements as just about every single terrorist group operating in Iraq has called out the United States and threatened attacks on our homeland.

    While the well-known terrorist groups in Iraq (Al Qaida in Iraq and Ansar al-Sunna) get almost daily press coverage, the Islamic Army of Iraq has not recieved the attention it craves. In order for a terrorist group to be effective, they must recieve attention for their demands. After all, terrorist groups operate on a fear-based system and many Americans have never heard of them.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 01:56 PM | Comments |

    Blog Growth

    A new study by the folks at Pew Internet & American Life Project have just released a study on growth in blog usage over the last year. There were a few interesting subtleties in growth in blog readership.

    Without getting too deeply into the tea-reading leaves, there are a couple stats worth noting:

    Blog readership increased from 17% of Internet users to 27% in just 9 months - an increase of some 58%.  Meanwhile, the number of blog authors increased from 3% in July 2002 to 5% at the beginning of 2004 to 7% by late November of 2004.  Over the same time period that readership increased by 58%, the number of bloggers increased by 40%.

    I find it intensely interesting that the number of readers grew 18% faster than the number of authors.  I imagine that there are more than a few of the MSM outlets that would be quite happy to have such increases in circulation.

    Another interesting point is that the number of people who have left comments was at 12%.  If we assume that those who blog also comment (not an entirely unreasonable simplification), then we find that more people write blogs and comment than only comment.  But, it does lend some credence to the notion that comments are a way to boost readership to some extent.

    Another study (cited in this article) from November 2004 estimated that by the end of 2004, there would be some 10 million blogs created, the vast majority of which are dead.  Others note that only about 1 million blogs are updated regularly.  Or, in other words, just about one percent of Internet users keep regularly updated blogs.

    Compare the conclusions drawn in the last two paragraphs with points number 4 and 5 in this post.

    (Simultaneously launched by Bravo Romeo Delta from Demosophia, The Jawa Herald Sun, & Anticipatory Retaliation)

    By Bravo Romeo Delta at 01:27 PM | Comments |

    Bush, Clinton Appeal to Americans to Donate

    - BBC

    President George W Bush and two of his predecessors, Bill Clinton and George Bush Senior, have called on Americans to aid the Asian tsunami's victims.

    The three men appeared together in the Roosevelt Room at the White House to issue a joint appeal to private citizens and businesses.


    As much grief as I've given President Clinton over not capturing Osama Bin Laden despite numerous times to either kill him or acquire him and his overall lax policy on terrorism, I'll cut him some slack here and praise him for his acceptance to this position. Both President Bush 41 and President Clinton excel in foreign policy and foreign relations which is why these two appointments by President Bush 43 should do a mountain of good in giving aid to those in need.

    The appeals by both Bush 41 and Clinton are geared more towards businesses and wealthy individuals to donate to the Red Cross, which in turn is directly aiding tsunami victims.

    I must caution my readers there are fake charities already in place and they have already accepted "donations." The American Red Cross of course is reputable and I would strongly urge my readers to only donate to organizations that have a history of humanitarian aid.

    Captain's Quarters is putting together a blogger coallition of sorts to donate money directly to the victims as well. Ed Morrisey has marked January 12 as World Relief Day and asks for donations to be given on and prior to January 12 to World Vision.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 01:20 PM | Comments |

    Pakistan Goes at it Alone to Aid Tsunami Victims

    As I like to report good news from smaller nations directly effecting the GWOT, it is a pleasure to post on Pakistan sending out aid packages and military equipment to the tsunami ravages areas of SE Asia.

    ISLAMABAD, January 03 (Online): Pakistan stepping up its efforts to provide disaster relief assistance to the countries hit by earthquake and tsunami in South and Southeast Asia would send seven military planes to Indonesia and two naval ships to Sri Lanka today.

    Six to seven sorties of two C-130 aircraft are being sent to Indonesia from Monday to deploy one composite engineering task force and one field hospital.

    Two Naval ships carrying helicopters together with a Marine Expeditionary force as well as doctors, paramedics, medical supplies, relief goods and foodstuff to Sri Lanka would be dispatched on Monday as well.

    The State Bank of Pakistan has also announced that all of its branches as well as the branches of National Bank, Habib Bank, United bank, Muslim Commercial Bank and Allied Bank will receive donations to the President Relief Fund for Tsunami victims. Donations and contributions from foreign countries, will be received at Pakistan Missions.


    Pakistan, much like the U.S., Australia, Japan and India, have decided a "go at it alone" policy works best in times of a crisis. They have virtually shunned the United Nations due to the UN's failure to do anything worthwhile in terms of aid to the effected area and are sending aid themselves. Kudos to Pakistan and Pakistanis contributing.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 12:08 PM | Comments |

    Mess Hall Bomber was Saudi National

    - The Scotsman (via Hyscience)

    The suicide bomber who killed 22 people when he blew himself up in a US army mess tent the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, was a Saudi medical student, an Arab newspaper reported today.

    Saudi-owned Asharq Al-Awsat identified him as 20-year-old Ahmed Said Ahmed al-Ghamdi, citing friends of the man’s father.

    The friends said members of an Iraqi resistance group contacted al-Ghamdi’s father to tell him his son was the suicide bomber who carried out the December 21 attack, the deadliest on an American installation in Iraq.

    US officials have said their investigation indicates the bomber was dressed in an Iraqi military uniform – but was not an Iraqi soldier – when he slipped into a mess tent packed with soldiers eating lunch in northern Iraq.

    The father refused to discuss the suicide bombing, but told the newspaper his son had gone to Iraq to fight the Americans and had died there.


    Saudi nationals fighting a jihad while giving up their lives to attack Americans is nothing new, though that does not make is less disturbing. The man was reportedly recently married before he decided his wife must be too ugly not to want the 72 virgins promised by Jihadis when one martyrs himself.

    For background information on the mess hall suicide bombing, click here for the initial news, here for an update and here for the communique relased by Ansar al-Sunna.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 10:41 AM | Comments |

    Osama: Catalyst for Democracy

    I'm a little late on linking to this, however better late than never. Jane at Armies of Liberation has written a great post on how she feels Osama Bin Laden is becomming a catalyst for Democracy, whether that is his intention or not. It is clearly a must-read and I urge all readers to go over and take a gander.

    While you're thinking Democracy, Middle East and Iraq, read Arthur Chrenkoff's latest Good News from Iraq for the stories the MSM feels are not as newsworthy as the failures inside of Iraq. Chrenkoff continues to do amazing work in the area of sheding light on stories no one hears about.

    By at 10:21 AM | Comments |

    Syria to Open Iraqi Expat Polling Places

    - Associated Press

    DAMASCUS, Syria - Iraqi expatriates in Syria will have the opportunity to vote in this month's Iraqi elections under an agreement signed Sunday between the Syrian government and the Geneva-based International Organization for Migration.

    More than 250,000 Iraqis are believed to be living in Syria. Many of them fled here to escape worsening security conditions since the onset of the U.S.-led war that ousted former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein last year.

    The agreement says Iraqis wishing to cast their votes in Syria must prove their eligibility and register at a Damascus election center from Jan. 17 to 23. Polling will take place over three days, from Jan. 28 to 30.


    Anyone else see the problem with this? First off, Syria is not a Democracy therefore their "agreement" to offer polling places for those that have fled Iraq is a bit strange. Syria hasn't exactly supported Democracy in Iraq and is actually responsible for sending foreign fighters, weaponry and money to those that are killing innocent Iraqis and Coallition soldiers. What guarantees do Iraqis have that there will not be some kind of fishy results coming from the polling places in Syria?

    Syria is controlled by the Baathist Party, very similar if not identical to the Baathist Party that used to run Iraq under Saddam Hussein. While the Syrian government is not as oppressive as Hussein's government, there are many similarties between the two. Hussein held elections in 1996 where he recieved 99 percent of the popular vote. Will the Baathists in Syria operate the Iraqi polling places in much the same way?

    Syria is also housing Saddam loyalists who are working with terrorists entering Iraq. You might have heard of some of the terrorists the loyalists are working with. They include those who strap bombs to their waist and shout out Allah Akhbar before detonating their explosives belt in a crowded group of Iraqis. Why would the international community want these types of people to vote in an election that could help bring freedom to millions accross the region?

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 10:16 AM | Comments |

    January 02, 2005

    Sit Still While Thousands Perish

    I'm sick and freaking tired of pundits, journalists and world leaders lambasting the United States' response to the tsunami in SE Asia. President Bush has pledged $350 million to the cause and set up a coallition of nations (Australia, Japan, India and the U.S.) to spearhead support to the region and its inhabitants.

    The Diplomad is inside of the effected area and reports the combined efforts of the U.S. and Australia have been the only deliverers of food aid to the region while the UN is setting up camp. While I care not what the UN does because I believe it is nothing more than a paper government that has done virtually nothing in the past 20 years, this is the area where the UN is supposed to excel. However they are not excelling and are dragging their feet slower than a young boy going to church.

    While there are those even inside the UN talking down about President Bush's late response, the UN itself hasn't even done anything but start to set up shop. So I ask you, good readers, if you were there when the tsunami hit, starving, lost members of your family and several friends, are you going to give a rat's ass whether or not the UN headquarters that is supposed to be giving aid to you has a roof over it's head or pictures on their walls?

    Why on earth are we even debating whether or not President Bush acted quickly enough? Why can't we focus our attention on what matters, the people directly effected or the people who have lost their homes, instead of this partisan bullsh*%?

    There are even shows on television where members of the Bush Administration have to defend their reasoning, not because they are giving too little or too much money, but because President Bush didn't "officially" end his vaction fast enough according to these pundits.

    A memo to the UN, pundits, journalists and others of your ilk: Grow up, grow a pair and put your own money where your mouth is. Donate money, food, supplies, etc. to the millions of people who are starving to death while people try to turn a disaster into a political weapon.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 11:24 PM | Comments |

    Quote of the Day

    - NewsMax (via Young Pundit)

    "It was a unique scheme," Annan told ABC's "This Week." "Yes, there may have been some corruption. There may have been some mismanagement. But the program achieved its results."

    If you think of it from Annan's perspective, the UN oil-for-food program was successful. His son got rich, the UN didn't have to act against a dictator who defied a UN resolution, some member nations got rich, a couple of the UN Security Council nations were bribed so they would vote to keep Saddam in power, etc. Unfortunately for every other nation and person who didn't recieve the benefits of the program, including the Iraqi people, it was a complete failure and will be the undoing of the justification of the United Nations.

    For more memorable Quotes of the Day, go here.

    By at 10:13 PM | Comments |

    Immigration Reform Needed

    - Washington Post (via Hyscience)

    Smith is part of an effort to track down 370,000 "absconders" -- illegal immigrants who have disobeyed orders to leave the country. As part of a get-tough approach after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the Homeland Security Department has deployed 18 fugitive squads to catch these immigrants, including a team in Maryland.

    [snip]

    At the top of the list were 6,000 absconders from Muslim and Middle Eastern countries, officials announced.

    But by early 2003, authorities had resolved only 38 percent of those cases, either by detaining the immigrants or by confirming that they had left the country or gotten legal status, according to the 9/11 Commission. In a report on terrorist travel, the commission concluded: "It is very difficult to find alien absconders without extraordinary effort or pure luck."


    The absconder program started after 9/11 and is directly responsible for tracking down illegal aliens. While I agree with this program, it should prove far easier as well as far more efficient to prevent as many illegals from entering the U.S. instead of hunting down those who have defied orders to leave.

    Our lax border policy, which is borderline attrocious under President Bush, is a primary concern of mine since numerous reports of people of Middle Eastern descent have crossed our pourus border with Mexico. Our Border Patrol is both undermanned and tied up with full jails and restrictions upon apprehending illegals crossing for them to do anything.

    When the Intelligence Bill passed in December, the crisis of immigration was put off until 2005 with a promise to re-visit the topic to put the best policy in place. While the passing of the Intelligence Bill by Congress was neeeded, there is a further need to actively enforce our immigration policy and patrol our borders with more than unmanned drones and stationary Border Patrol Agents.

    Digger's Realm has led the blogger front in combating immigration issues with more ferver than anyone else concerning this topic. While he has written too many posts to link to, check out his archives and you will see illegal immigration is a threat to our national security.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 10:03 PM | Comments |

    Who Is Afraid of the UN?

    So, what's with this whole UN thing anyways?

    The newly found heft given to the UN's opinions has a number of Americans well and truly puzzled, and for good reason, too.

    The UN has no army, save what it can rent from the stellar powers like Bangladesh and Argentina.  It has no power, therefore, to actually enforce any of its dictates, save asking pretty-please-with-sugar-on-top.  No revenue collecting authority, except the charity of nation states.  And at this point, transparency at the UN would involve actually codifying a price list and giving better invoicing documentation when vetoes are bought and sold.

    How can an organization that has "approved" only two wars - the Korean and Gulf Wars - decide that their imprimatur is the definition of just war?  How can the organization that provided the audience for genocides in the Balkans, decide that the United States lacks the moral authority to give aid to tsunami victims?

    Simply put, for the prior 60 years, there was a pretty simple equation.  If the Soviet Union went on a tear, the US and NATO could take them down to size.  Conversely, if the US decided to go off its rocker, the weight of Soviet arms would put paid to that in short order.  The problem being, is that with the end of the Cold War, there is no counterweight to US military might.

    The rest of the world is slowly coming to grips with the notion that the third most populous nation in the world, accounting for more than 20% of the world's GDP, and by some counts, more than half the world's military expenditures, cannot be stopped or curbed without a most extraordinary effort.

    Now, to put this in context, imagine that it were any country, other than the US, that had such a dominant position.  Let's say France or China for example.  Would you feel comfortable with the idea that they would have no effective check, save the checks they choose to impose on themselves?

    A reasonable response might be to acquire a sufficient amount of power to provide a counterweight of one's own.  But the problem is that, compared to other "peer" competitors, the US is so far ahead in so many respects that it would be virtually impossible to match the US on any short-term time scale.  Consider the fact that European nations, with the possible exceptions of France and Britain would have to double their defense expenditures simply to keep from lagging any further behind.  Add to this the notion that one of the entire (possible) reasons behind the effort to "transform" the military is to develop our capabilities to such an extent that it will be all but impossible to compete symmetrically with the US in the defense arena.

    So, what to do then, what higher power can one appeal to?  Anyone?

    That's right, for many people, the last best hope is that the UN, acting as a proxy for the world as a whole, can be some sort of regulator or counterbalance to American power.

    The problem is, however, twofold.  Not only is the UN a catastrophically inept paperwork sink rife with corruption and virtually unparalleled in incompetence.  And the other problem is that nations, powerful or not, are not in the habit of acting against their own interests.  Regardless of how much persuasion is applied, talking can't be relied to drown out the clash of blood and iron.  For if it could, the UN would be actually able to make their demands stick.

    Which wouldn't be the first batch of wishful thinking to rise out of the that Manhattan monument to self-importance.

    (Simultaneously launched by Bravo Romeo Delta from Demosophia, The Jawa Tribune, & Anticipatory Retaliation)

    By Bravo Romeo Delta at 10:01 PM | Comments |

    58 Times the Headache

    For some men, committment scares them. For others . . . well, I'll just leave it at this (via The Roth Report).

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 02:44 PM | Comments |

    Congressman Matsui Dies

    (Bethesda, Maryland) A blood disorder is being blamed for causing the death of California Democratic Congressman Robert Matsui. He died last night surrounded by his family at Bethesda Naval Hospital. Matsui was 63. (via Interested-Participant)

    By at 01:16 PM | Comments |

    Saddam Speaks with His Lawyers

    Saddam Hussein has met with his lawyers. DEBKA has learned some of the topics of the dicsussion between Hussein and one of his lawyers. It is interesting to say the least.

    He had two main gripes. One was that the Americans will not let him shave his beard despite his repeated requests. He even offered to let a US military barber shave him, but they refused. His theory is that the Americans want to make sure that whenever he appears in public, as he did on June 30, 2004 before an Iraqi investigating judge, he will look confused, unkempt and too low in spirits to bother to shave.

    His second complaint was against the Red Cross workers. He wanted their visits stopped because he said they are neither polite nor respectful.

    - DEBKA


    While the Red Cross has consistently make statements trying to get access to the most secretive captives held by the U.S. military for humanitarian reasons, I find it more than funny that Saddam does not wish to meet with them. Saddam, who is reportedly in better health now than he was prior to the war, has recieved good treatment and is even writing poetry while in prison.

    The nature of the strategic military role of Iraqi forces has been revealed. While the Coallition is facing insurgency coupled with terrorism, it was Saddam who ordered a switch to guerilla tactics.

    Two days later, he called together the military commanders serving in the capital and its environs. They informed him they had run out of troops for conducting the war. It was then, Saddam said, “I ordered the transition to guerrilla warfare. I told the commanders: the Americans will stretch out full length across Iraq like a viper. That will be the moment to attack and lop off each section one by one.” The deposed president bragged: “All the insurgency and guerrilla operations in progress are the fruit of my decision and my pre-planning.”

    While Saddam has made numerous statements in the past which are neither credible or accurate, the full extent of Saddam's call for a more guerilla style of warfare is not known. In all liklihood the above did occur however which is why many former Baathist Party and Saddam loyalists are leading the insurgency accross Iraq. There has been that transition into guerilla warfare, though any Saddam loyalists are being aided by terrorist groups and visa versa.

    In Fallujah there were hundreds of Saddam loyalists fighting the United States as the U.S. cleared out the city. Many of the terrorists left the city prior to the invasion, but what was left was many of the old Iraqi army.

    Saddam has never recognized Israel's right to exist, which is not entirely new in the Middle Eastern world. According to DEBKA's sources however, a deal from the Israelis and some Western sources would have centered upon Saddam recognizing Israel. This type of deal would not have detered the U.S. and allies who believed Saddam had WMDs, however this act would have sent shockwaves throughout the Middle East.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 12:53 PM | Comments |

    January 01, 2005

    Iraqi Interest in Elections on the Rise

    - Washington Post

    BAGHDAD, Jan. 1 -- The number of Iraqis making sure they are properly registered to vote has surged dramatically, officials said Saturday, calling the rise evidence of enthusiasm for the Jan. 30 elections despite continuing security concerns that have blocked the process in two provinces.

    After a slow start to the six-week registration process that began Nov. 1, the number of voters making corrections to official voter lists more than doubled in the final week, according to a final tally quoted by election officials Saturday.

    Officials said that more than 2.1 million people went to local election offices to assure that eligible members of their households could vote. About 1.2 million forms were submitted to add names to the voter lists, an involved process that requires providing proof of identification and residence.


    Despite the constant threats by the terrorists inside of Iraq against Iraqis voting, Iraqis are eagerly awaiting January 30, the day of the scheduled elections. Iraqis do not have to register to vote, therefore there will of course be more than 2.1 million people voting on election day.

    Signs of Democracy inside of Iraq are slow showing, however they are there. While terrorists and countries surrounding Iraq are actively fighting against the idea of Democracy in the Middle East, they are being aided by many of the media organizations based in the Middle East as well. Al Hura is perhaps the only exception, though they are funded by the U.S. government.

    Al Jazeera has yet to run a piece on any of the candidates in Iraq and has only mentioned Democracy in passing. Iraqi newspapers have reported on the elections, however with over 200 daily newspapers in Iraq there are a few papers who are anti-Democracy. Of course a free press is crucial in a Democracy therefore any view is welcomed in a Democratic society.

    News of increased interest in the elections as well as increased awareness is crucial in trying to quell the views expressed by both the world-wide media and several world leaders' opinions regarding what percentage of people voting would constitute a legitimate Democracy. While these views may not be accurate considering some of the comments have come from leaders in tyrannies and dictatorial regimes, there are others who need to recognize the election as legitimate in order for Democracy to succeed in Iraq.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 11:47 PM | Comments |

    Murder and Warfare, Redux

    Ok, in a bid to try to retackle the long-ago post on Murder and Warfare, let me, um... tackle it again.  Or something...

    "There are no dangerous weapons; there are only dangerous men.  We're trying to teach you to be dangerous - to the enemy.  Dangerous even without a knife.  Deadly as long as you still have one hand or one foot and are still alive." -- Starship Troopers

    There are three classes of people, as far as warfare is concerned: non-combatants, combatants, and prisoners.

    Non-combatants have tacitly agreed to follow the dictates of whoever has the guns and is in control.  Essentially, non-combatants have agreed not to be "dangerous", at least as far as combatants are concerned.

    Combatants are the folks with the guns.  They have two roles.  The first role is to impose their will (or more accurately, the political will of their leadership) on the non-combatants in a war zone.  Or, to put it another way, they are they guys with the guns to whom the non-combatants listen.  The second role of a combatant is to resist the guys on the other side with guns and prevent them from imposing their will on the non-combatants.  The primary distinguishing feature of combatants is that they are "dangerous" men.

    Prisoners are people who have made the transition from combatant to non-combatant.  The important thing to note about being a prisoner is that it is nothing other than a state of mind.  Prisoners are disarmed, but not all who are disarmed are necessarily prisoners.  To return to the terminology of Starship Troopers, prisoners are those who were formerly "dangerous" into non-dangerous people.

    But getting back to the business of combatants, combatants have at their disposal, a tool to compel people to obey them - force.  The thing that works rather well about such a scheme is that it provides a rather simple binary choice for those on the receiving end: surrender or die.  Either cease being dangerous, or you will be rendered incapable of being dangerous through the use of controlled, organized violence.

    The interaction of these two parties is governed, at a most basic level, by two constraints: the limits of capability and the fear of reprisal.  The first, limits of capability, reflect the inability to apply perfect force anywhere, anytime, in any amount desired with absolute unerring aim and intelligence.  If there were no limits on capability, it is entirely possible that there would be no war whatsoever, since any warlike act would be subject to instant fatal response.

    The other limiting factor, reprisal, is essentially the choice of one combatant to be deterred from some action.  From a certain point of view, it's kind of another version of the Golden Rule - "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you."  Sometime this fear of retaliation limits action, such as the non use of chemical weapons during World War II.  Other times, it doesn't, as can be shown with either the use of chemical weapons during World War I, or the use of nuclear weapons in World War II.  So, sometimes, the mechanics of deterrence is a tricky business.

    Now, in the long-ago case of the Fallujah Marine who put paid to a jihadi in a headline-grabbing case of misfortune highlights these two basic features of warfare - the three classes of actors and the two limiting factors of warfare.

    The jihadis are severely constrained in their ability to wage warfare by the first constraint - limitation of capability.  For reasons that hardly bear elaboration, they cannot successfully compete against the American military on a "conventional" warfighting basis.  So they seek to explore other ways of enhancing their capabilities.  In this case, the avenue they have chosen to pursue is taking advantage of certain traditions that have arisen and have been widely adopted by many warfighting parties.  In particular, they have sought to exploit some of the ways that armies have sought to identify the three classes of actors.

    Historically, long before the Geneva Convention arose, leaders sought to prevent the active, intentional slaughter of non-combatants (genocidal wars are a special case).  Killing non-combatants kind of runs counter to the whole business of trying to exert one's will on those same non-combatants.  Or, to put it another way, it's far more profitable to co-opt a conquered people than kill them.

    To that end, two conventions were adopted - uniforms and surrender.  Uniforms provided a very simple way for combatants to assess whether or not a person is a combatant or not, even if they are not actively resisting or exerting force.  Surrender traditions, such as the raised white flag, are used to indicate that a person is making the transition between combatant and prisoner.

    In the case of uniforms, that is something that the jihadis can, and do, violate freely.  First of all, they have the capability to do so, and second there is no reasonable way to retaliate.  Short of killing all people in civilian dress, we cannot effectively retaliate against such actions.  Destroying a village to save it is one thing.  Nuking Iraq into barren wasteland would be taking it a bit too far.

    The second arena in which the jihadis have sought to compete is through violation of the traditions of surrender.  A specific problem area in this respect is not that the jihadis violate such a tradition, but that they lack sufficient coherence, command, and consistency to be reliable in their violation of such conventions.  If all jihadis surrendered peacefully, then there would be no problem.  If all jihadis faked surrender, then there would be no problem either, since it would be widely acknowledged that any surrender-like activities did not represent a genuine decision to become non-dangerous prisoners.

    Unfortunately, sometimes the jihadis really surrender and sometimes they don't.  This is the problem we found ourselves in with the Fallujah incident.  By exploiting a well recognized set of traditions to mark the willing transition from combatant to prisoner, a great deal of uncertainty has been introduced into the situation.  Hence, the young Marine in question was forced to assess a jihadi's state of mind - was the jihadi a dangerous man, or had this formerly dangerous man truly made the shift to becoming a non-dangerous man?  For my money, the guy made the correct choice, since any uncertainty cedes the local initiative to the would-be attacker - a mistake that is quite often fatal, especially if the would-be prisoner is still truly a dangerous man.

    So where does that leave us now?  When it gets down to cases, I don't recall many Americans being taken prisoner in combat in Iraq.  I don't know if this is due to an inability to take prisoners or a jihadi unwillingness to take live prisoners.  In any case, it doesn't really matter, because it means that the Iraqis can't retaliate in kind by refusing to take prisoners.

    Some have asked about whether or not this will effect treatment of prisoners or hostages taken by the jihadis.  As it turns out, this business of beheading prisoners renders the point moot.

    As we continue to go through the other retaliatory options available to the jihadis, we discover that they really have no retaliatory options open to them.  Simply put, they have pretty much tapped out their entire repertoire of capabilities, so there's not a whole lot that they can do in Iraq to up the ante.

    We, on the other hand, have a vast range of retaliatory capabilities.  The difficulty is proving to be the controlled application of violence in a fashion which provides coalition forces with the sufficient effect to deter or shape the actions of the jihadis, while being sufficiently surgical to avoid unwanted problems that would sap the political will necessary to see the conflict through.

    The Marine in Fallujah hasn't been so indiscriminant to effectively alter political will, while on the other hand, it has shown that there is a limited utility in playing possum.  In other words, he has taken something that couldn't be effectively deterred through fear of retaliation, and simply reduced the means available to the jihadis to continue to wage war.

    (Simultaneously launched by Bravo Romeo Delta from Demosophia, The Jawa Sun Sentinel, & Anticipatory Retaliation)

    By Bravo Romeo Delta at 08:52 PM | Comments |

    Two Beheaded Bodies Found in Baghdad

    - News.com.au

    IRAQI police found beheaded two bodies in western Baghdad today along with a note that said they were truck drivers killed because they were working with the US military.

    It was not yet known whether the two men were Iraqis or foreigners, police said.

    "This is the punishment for all those working with the Americans," read the note left with the bodies, which were both inside bags and dumped on the street.


    No group has yet to claim credit for this act, however there have been many terrorist groups inside Iraq who have targeted truck drivers and later beheaded them. While the "reasoning" the terrorists gave sounds familiar to that of Al Qaeda in Iraq and Ansar al-Sunnah, it is important to note the many terrorist groups in Iraq have copied tactics, targets and statements from other groups in a sort of copycat fashion.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 07:55 AM | Comments |

    Al Qaeda in Iraq Executed Five Iraqi National Guardsmen

    - Reuters

    DUBAI (Reuters) - Militants from a group led by al Qaeda ally Abu Musab al-Zarqawi said they had killed five men and warned those who work with the U.S.-backed government they faced the same fate.

    Video footage showed five men in civilian clothes lined up and shot repeatedly in the back. It was posted on the Internet Saturday from the Al Qaeda Organization of Holy War in Iraq.

    Five men in civilian clothes were found shot dead in Ramadi, capital of Anbar province, Monday. A note said they were policemen killed by guerrilla fighters.

    A masked militant on the video Saturday said: "These apostates are ... allies with (Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad) Allawi's apostate government and support the American enemy. They are attacking Muslim homes in Ramadi under the pretext of preventing terrorists from entering Iraq. Anyone who follows them will face the same fate."

    "To the families of civil defense forces, the National Guard and the police we tell you to say your final goodbyes to your sons before you send them to us. Our reward to your sons is slaughter," he added.


    Iraqi National Guard and Iraqi policemen have been a favorite target of terrorist groups, however Ansar al-Sunnah has been the primary terrorist group targeting such individuals beforehand while Al Qaeda in Iraq seemed to center on foreigners and innocent Iraqis who were in the market areas.

    Three roadside bombs were detonated near Iraqi National Guardsmen killing one and injuring six.

    Update:
    The video of the execution of five Iraqi National Guardsmen can be downloaded here (courtesy of Ogrish).

    Hat tip to Hyscience who found the video link and also has some great commentary.

    Cross-posted at In the Bullpen

    By at 07:40 AM | Comments |