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Shootout in Dammam
Today's Headlines
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Britain
UK troops in court martial over Iraqi murder
LONDON - The court martial of seven serving and former British soldiers for the murder of an Iraqi civilian in May 2003 is due to open on Monday at an army base in Essex, eastern England. The men, from the 3rd Battalion The Parachute Regiment, also face charges of violent disorder following a roadside incident in southern Iraq which led to the death of Nadhem Abdullah.

The four serving soldiers facing trial at Colchester Garrison are Corporal Scott Evans and Private Samuel May, Private Billie Nerney and Private Morne Vosloo. They will be joined at the court martial by three former army privates, Scott Jackson, Roberto Di Gregorio and Daniel Harding. The military trial is expected to last 10 weeks.

In February three British soldiers were jailed for abusing Iraqi detainees at court martial held at a military base in Osnabrueck, Germany. British military prosecutors are taking action in two other cases of alleged abuse of civilians, with a prosecution pending in one other case.
Posted by: Steve White || 09/05/2005 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [385 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It's Tommy this, and Tommy that,
And "Tommy where's your soul?"
Posted by: gromgoru || 09/05/2005 9:36 Comments || Top||

#2  But it's "Thin red line of 'eroes" when the drums begin to roll,

Ah yes, some things never change.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 09/06/2005 0:00 Comments || Top||


Families of 7/7 terrorists invited to victims' memorial services
CHURCH leaders want to invite the families of the July 7 suicide bombers to a national memorial service in honour of the victims. The service of commemoration is to be held at St Paul’s Cathedral on November 1 and will be attended by the Queen and Tony Blair.

Two senior Church of England druids bishops believe that extending the invitation to the bombers’ families would acknowledge their own loss and send a powerful message of reconciliation to the Muslim community. “It will acknowledge the wickedness of the act and the grief and devastation it has caused,” said Martin Wharton, the Bishop of Newcastle. “I believe this has to be an inclusive invitation.”

Jack Nicholls, Bishop of Sheffield, said: “We have to look forward, not back, forward to a society in which Muslims and Christians live together amicably in an integrated community." While Rowan Williams, the Archdruidbishop of Canterbury, declined to comment, senior church sources said that he would “see the value” of inviting the bombers’ families.

The uncle of Shehzad Tanweer, one of the bombers, said his family would be prepared to attend if invited. Asked if some of the victims’ relatives might take offence, Bashir Ahmed said: “If the objection is raised I will be happy to go and apologise for any pain a member of my family may have caused.”

Government officials oppose the plan because of the sensitivities involved and will take the final decision about the guest list. The proposal has also outraged some families of the innocent dead.
Can't imagine why...

Perhaps I'm tarring all the families with a broad brush here, but how many support the idea of jihad though perhaps with someone else's son)? They should be invited to services in Pakistan.
Those of youwishing to learn more about the moral meltdow of the Anglican/Episcopalian Church are encourage to go read Christopher Johnson's Midwest Conservative Journal.
Posted by: Jackal || 09/05/2005 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [274 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Sounds noble, but at least one of the parents of the 9-11 terrorists is now an enthusiastic supporter of his son. At last count, 6% of UK Muslims supported the 7-7 terror. A little exclusion message would be in order.
Posted by: Vlad the Muslim Impaler || 09/05/2005 0:57 Comments || Top||

#2  WTF? Nanny Nutty Church of PC
Posted by: Captain America || 09/05/2005 13:23 Comments || Top||

#3  a group beating can be very cathartic
Posted by: Frank G || 09/05/2005 13:58 Comments || Top||

#4  These people are *not* representative of what many people in the UK think.
Posted by: Tony (UK) || 09/05/2005 15:34 Comments || Top||

#5  These Druids are totally out of touch. The victims' families determine who attends and stays the hell away.

Reconciling is not what is needed now. The Muslim community needs to police up its trash, or someone else will do it for them, and that way will not be pretty.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 09/05/2005 15:40 Comments || Top||

#6  Then who are representative Tony?

Group beating? How about a mass exile to and abandonded island off the coast of Scotland.
How about the Queen order them to STFU and remove the head druid.
Posted by: Sock Puppet O´ Doom || 09/05/2005 15:43 Comments || Top||


China-Japan-Koreas
Koizumi headed to victory in Japan
Junichiro Koizumi's Liberal Democratic party-led coalition is heading for victory in this week's general election, according to a slew of polls published yesterday.

The surveys, the most comprehensive so far, show the opposition Democratic Party of Japan is in danger of winning fewer seats than the 177 gained in the previous lower house election.

The findings suggest the public has responded to the prime minister's gamble in calling a snap election over the issue of postal privatisation - the first such parliamentary dissolution under the postwar constitution.

It also suggests the DPJ has failed to capitalise on what many political analysts had considered its golden opportunity to seize power after 50 years of almost unbroken LDP rule.

Polls in the Yomiuri and Nikkei newspapers and from the Kyodo news agency showed the LDP has an outside chance of winning a majority of more than 240 seats in the 480-seat lower house on its own. That does not include Komeito, its junior coalition partner, which should bring a further 30 seats.

Much is at stake since Mr Koizumi has pledged to resign if his coalition cannot win a simple majority.

Polls showed the LDP doing better than expected in urban constituencies, where the DPJ has recently dominated.

However, analysts warned that the election remained hard to read. About a third of voters have yet to make up their minds, giving the DPJ an opportunity to catch up by wooing floating voters.

The outcome is further clouded by the fact that, in about 10 per cent of single-seat constituencies, the LDP is split between pro-Koizumi candidates and LDP postal rebels. That provides an opportunity for DPJ candidates, even in traditional LDP rural strongholds, to come through the middle.

Takao Toshikawa, editor of Insideline, a political newsletter, said the DPJ had a slim chance of staging a comeback. Mr Koizumi's high-profile tactics of sending in "political assassins" to oust LDP postal rebels had so far excited the electorate. "But the magic could always wear off," he said. "When the hype dies down, it may be that the electorate prefers the DPJ's more substantial platform."

Katsuya Okada, the DPJ leader, has so far been frustrated in his attempts to move the electoral debate away from Mr Koizumi's chosen battleground of a simple referendum on postal privatisation. The DPJ has been trying to discuss pension and tax reform as well as new foreign policy initiatives, including withdrawing troops from Iraq.

Campaigning in the industrial city of Osaka this weekend, Mr Okada suspended his normally sober demeanour to launch a fierce attack on the prime minister, accusing his party of practising grubby money politics. He also said Mr Koizumi had broken several election pledges.

Mr Okada said: "According to the media, the LDP is enjoying a lead. But when the public reflects soberly I think there is every chance that they will give the DPJ a majority."
Posted by: Dan Darling || 09/05/2005 00:57 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [256 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Looks like yet another Iraq war supporter will win re-election. The medias silence on this subject is deafening.
Posted by: phil_b || 09/05/2005 2:14 Comments || Top||

#2  And he is a world acclaimed dresser too
Posted by: Captain America || 09/05/2005 13:24 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Politix
9/11 commission left hanging in the wind
Members of the Sept. 11 commission feel they have been left swinging in the wind by the growing tide of revelations about a secret Pentagon program that may have identified the ringleader of the attacks more than a year before they happened.

Claims by two people who worked on the project -- code-named Able Danger -- that they were ignored by commission staff when they briefed them have touched off a firestorm of criticism: including allegations from some victims' relatives of a cover-up.

"Other people have questions they need to answer," Al Felzenberg, the spokesman for the commission's embattled successor body, the 9-11 Public Discourse Project told United Press International.

The National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States disbanded after publishing its report in July last year, when its mandate expired. But its members formed the public discourse project to follow up on their work.

"The American people deserve answers," Felzenberg said, adding that both the White House and the Pentagon had left questions about the issue unresolved for weeks -- something other commission sources say has exposed them to a fierce backlash.

"They are sitting on their hands and we are swinging in the wind," complained one former commission official.

Others, including Rep. Peter Hoekstra, R-Mich., chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, say the commission is merely getting "a little bit of its own medicine," being second-guessed in hindsight much as it judged the actions of officials before Sept. 11.

"In hindsight it is always easy to see people's mistakes," Hoekstra told UPI. "You have to be sympathetic to people in hindsight. More sympathetic than they were."

At the center of the controversy is a claim that Able Danger, a data-mining project that trawled vast quantities of open source information for patterns, linkages and associations, produced a chart in 2000 bearing the names (and in some case, photographs) of about 60 people thought linked to al-Qaida.

Among them was Mohamed Atta, the ringleader of the attacks, according to five people who worked on the project.

If their recollections prove to be accurate, they will entail a major re-write of the commission's accounts of the missed opportunities to thwart the attacks.

But many questions remain.

Rep. Curt Weldon, R-Penn., a passionate advocate of data-mining technology, and the man who first publicized the claims about Able Danger, has said repeatedly that he gave a copy of the chart to Steven Hadley, now the national security advisor, at the White House on Sept. 25, 2001, and that Hadley said he would show it to the president.

The chart Weldon gave to Hadley, if it exists, may be the only copy that remains. Last week Pentagon officials told reporters that vast quantities of data from Able Danger were destroyed as a matter of routine.

The White House has point blank refused to comment on Weldon's statements about the meeting, or to allow reporters to interview Mr. Hadley about them.

"It would be helpful if Mr. Hadley would answer those questions," said Felzenberg. "He could make this whole thing go away."

Weldon says he does not know why the White House refuses to comment, but told UPI that at a meeting in June, Hadley acknowledged meeting him in September 2001 and receiving the chart.

"I've never had a detailed discussion about it with him, but he remembered the meeting," Weldon said.

Hoekstra says that his committee is conducting inquiries, and "the people who've been reported to have information that could help answer these questions are the Pentagon and the National Security Council."

But he declined to discuss what inquiries committee staff had made. "We don't talk about what we investigate or how," he said.

Commission staff say that -- in the absence of any corroboration among the papers they had received about Able Danger -- they did not believe the accounts about the project they received.

"We had two-and-a-half million pieces of paper we'd crowbarred out of the administration," said Felzenberg, referring to the uphill struggle the commission had to get documents about their pre-Sept. 11 activities from federal agencies. "We'd interviewed 1,200 people."

"It was (their) story stacked up against these mountains of material -- none of which mentioned Atta before Sept. 11 or this famous chart," he concluded.

Hoekstra said the commission "may have been blindsided by their own stove-piped thinking" -- a reference to one of the panel's more famous criticisms of how U.S. intelligence was organized. "(They may have thought) that information that comes through unconventional channels isn't worth looking into."

"But that's hindsight," he added.

The Pentagon said last week that it had again searched millions of documents -- including many not turned over to the commission -- but had found neither the chart nor any reference to it.

Nonetheless, they said that a total of five people who had worked on the project remembered seeing a chart with Atta's name on it, and called them "credible."

Felzenberg says that response raises more questions than it answers.

"Did they have Mohammed Atta in their sights before Sept. 11?" he asked. "They stand accused of that. People they say are credible are accusing them of calling off the dogs," Felzenberg said, a reference to charges that Pentagon lawyers blocked the Able Danger team from passing information to the FBI.

"Anything they say now only raises questions about what they told us then," he said.

The Defense Department was notorious among commission staff as the most recalcitrant government agency when it came to document production.

"At every agency there was an element of CYA about the handling of our document requests, but (the Department of Defense) was the most difficult to get material out of," said one.

"The bureaucracy there was just so, so thick... The people on the ground were awesome, but they'd say 'Yes, you can have something,' and that would be the start of this slippery slope. It was such a vast bureaucracy, and so many people had to sign off on anything, sooner or later there'd be someone who'd say 'No.'

"Usually a lawyer."

Felzenberg insists that history will absolve the commission.

"If it turns out that the commission missed this, that will be a failure on our part. But if it turns out (the Pentagon) had (Mohamed Atta) in their sights and let him get away, that is a much bigger failure."
Posted by: Dan Darling || 09/05/2005 00:34 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [262 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Lawyers, just like Jamie S. Gorelick? Does that directive still stand?
Posted by: Sock Puppet O´ Doom || 09/05/2005 1:27 Comments || Top||

#2  Look the 9/11 Commission was a freakin joke from its origin. Media circus with clown commissioners "has beens".

To the pols it represented a circuit breaker against blow back, particularly the Clintonians.

Now the circus has moved to another ring as the self-named "9/11 Public Discourse Project." They want to hold the President and Congress accountable to carry out their worthless suggestions.

It would be another matter if they had some good lookin' babes on the commission to stare at, but these folks looked like warmed up shit.
Posted by: Captain America || 09/05/2005 2:06 Comments || Top||

#3  If those clowns are "hanging in the wind," it's because they tied the noose and kicked the chair from under their feet themselves.
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 09/05/2005 9:57 Comments || Top||

#4  This:

"... sooner or later there'd be someone who'd say 'No.' "

is an endemic problem for any large organization in the touchy-feely, PC, consensus driven age.

No one can say 'Yes', but everyone can say 'No'.
As a software mgmt. consultant I have been closely involved with many large projects at many large companies and this problem exists at every single one of them. Like the old joke goes.....
20 vote yes, 1 votes no....the nos have it.

Posted by: AlanC || 09/05/2005 11:24 Comments || Top||

#5  Mybe the Commission could be re-activated to investigate the government's Katrina failures?

Nah, I'd rather see 'em re-investigate the things the overlooked the first time.
Posted by: Bobby || 09/05/2005 12:17 Comments || Top||

#6  Bobby are you suggesting a Prince like title change:

The Katrina Commission formerly known as the 9/11 Clowns
Posted by: Captain America || 09/05/2005 19:08 Comments || Top||


Home Front: WoT
How to Rebuild New Orleans in One Year, With Money Left Over
Gerard Vanderleun has a modest proposal:

Dear World,
Greetings. It has come to our attention that we haven't really been at the top of your Christmas list for some time now. Like some spouse that has become too used to having the good life, you've decided you need your space. And we are here to give it to you.

We gave you a lot during the last 50 years in terms of direct aid, the Marshall Plan, the continuing defense of Europe during the Cold War, all sorts of loans never paid back, and many billions and billions more in private charity and donations above and beyond what our government has done for you with our money.

Alas, it wasn't enough for you. Like a teenage stoner with an unlimited American Express card, you've always needed more.

Even when your own economies were robust enough to give you the 30 hour week and the whole month of August off, we still couldn't pony up enough to keep you in beer, skittles and fromage.

This situation has made us poorer than we would otherwise have been. There are a lot of things here at home we could have spent the money on -- schools, infrastructure, scholarships, lower taxes, aid to dependent children, and the kind of local American charities that always need help. We hope you'll understand when we say we need just a little year of working the "Charity begins at home" concept in order to catch up.

It's also more than a little depressing to wake up every day and find that the New York Times (your voice in America) blathering on and on about how stingy and uncaring we are. Whew, we just can't get no respect.

Hence, we are taking the year off not only to save many, many billions, but for a time of reflection and boosting of the old "self-esteem." After all, you can't help others unless you feel good about yourself.

And let's face it, how can you other nations (Egypt,EU, Africa, South America, Mexico, and all the worthy, struggling and proud totalitarian Islamic states) feel good about yourself when all you do is push your shabby stolen grocery carts around Washington hoping for a hand-out? You need to have a little time to develop some self-reliance. We realize now that in protecting you and the world's markets, and keeping everybody out there from just killing everybody else, we've robbed you of the chance to determine your own destiny. For many of you, your destiny seems to be death, slavery, boredom, or some bizarre combination of all three. Hey, we guess you've gotta just go for the gusto.

Therefore, as Americans, we've decided to take a break and bag the world for exactly one year.

All foreign aid is going to become internal aid.

All charitable giving is going to be directed at deserving institutions and individuals inside the United States.

All profits made by US companies will be only be allowed to be reinvested in facilities within the United States.

We'll be running trade on the one dollar in one dollar out basis, so if you want to come out of this year with favored nation status, you'd best have your Visa card out.

For those of you with a lot of your people already living here in the United States and sending money back, well, there's going to be a litle interruption in remittances for a year, but you can just raise taxes on your own people to take up the slack. Enjoy.

Our military men will all be returning home to spend more time with their families. (Time for all you Iraqis to man up and get those guns locked and loaded.)

As Americans, we never want to do anything to interfere with our own super-rich and their freedom, so there will be a bit of slack around the edges. Foreign tourism, for example, will not be eliminated but will be socked with a 225% surcharge for any spending done outside the United States. It will be a great time to, as they used to say, "See the USA in your Chevrolet." (Oh yes, foreign automobiles will have, for one year, a 300% tariff on their purchase.)

Oil? We'll be drilling the entire states of Alaska, California, Texas, and Oklahoma for one year. After which we'll clean them up better than before. (Eco-nuts protesting this will be given honory Swedish citizenship and deported by kayak.) But if we need extra oil and we ask, you'd better think twice before you say no. We'll always have enough in the strategic petroleum reserve for B-52's and our carrier groups. If we have to send them out, they will be, we promise you, in a very bad mood. Very bad.

But, hey, it's a free world. Make our day.

We hope this message is taken in the spirit of love and friendship in which it was written. After all, we're founded on the proposition that all men are created equal.

Go get equal. We'll be back.

Hugs,
The United States of America

P.S. Since all of our Armed Forces, conventional and nuclear, will be either ready for instant deployment, or on station as ballistic missile submarines around the world (No, we're not going to tell you where.), don't get any funny ideas. Play nice.

P.P.S. We almost forgot. For the purposes of this note, Israel will become the 51st State for one year. Be cool.
Posted by: too true || 09/05/2005 15:38 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [393 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Excellent proposal's but, not on NO, NO will never be revived again. Implement the proposal's next door, Batttton Roooo.
Posted by: Poison Reverse || 09/05/2005 16:33 Comments || Top||

#2  Just in case you didn't notice: You've just summed up quite a few recipes to ruin the U.S. sconomy.

Think twice.

Oh btw, nobody is working 30 hours a week here and the only guy who took all August off... well you know.
Posted by: True German Ally || 09/05/2005 16:57 Comments || Top||

#3  TGA, Dubya gets a lot more done when he's on "vacation" in Crawford than Bubba did when he was at the Oral Office getting serviced by the interns.
Posted by: Phil Fraering || 09/05/2005 17:31 Comments || Top||

#4  I don't have a problem with the foreign policy stuff, but the economics sounds like something Kim Jong-Il cooked up.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 09/05/2005 17:32 Comments || Top||

#5  Phil I know, it was somewhat tongue in cheek. The economic proposals are indeed lunatic.
Posted by: True German Ally || 09/05/2005 17:34 Comments || Top||

#6  What lunatic dreamed up this pile of steaming crap? "Vanderleun" has to be a pen name, right? I mean, it ends with "loon".
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 09/05/2005 18:31 Comments || Top||

#7  Read the rest of the post at the link ... it will become clearer.

This is a Modest Proposal. Remember your Jonathan Swift and then go read him to get the satirical point.
Posted by: Omerens Omaigum2983 || 09/05/2005 19:10 Comments || Top||

#8  If it weren't for the last sentence, this could have been a serious proposal from Pat Buchanon.
Posted by: Jackal || 09/05/2005 20:18 Comments || Top||

#9  In case you slept through World Literature in high school:

Jonathan Swift's "A Modest Proposal" was one of the most ferocious satires ever written, meant to give a well-deserved black eye to the English absentee landlords who held estates in Ireland, in the 18th C.

(Sister Jeremy would roll in her grave if she knew I just wrote that run-on sentence).
Posted by: mom || 09/05/2005 22:16 Comments || Top||

#10  I could see only two men in world history who could boldly implement such an ambitious plan, Alexander The Great and Adolf Hitler! Everyone else would subject themselves to the politics of the day!
Posted by: smn || 09/05/2005 22:53 Comments || Top||


It is time to move out of harm’s way
In WOT Background due to the strategic role of oil. Subscription required.

Hurricane Katrina is a reminder that the really big cumulative disrupters, if not killers, are natural catastrophes rather than the man-made disasters so much on people’s minds since September 11 2001. But certain regions are prone to natural catastrophe, none more so than the southern US that is so regularly hit by storms rising out of the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. Yet the increasing number of people who choose to live and work in Florida and along the US Gulf coast are literally putting themselves, as the American cliché goes, in harm’s way.

For hurricanes are the natural catastrophe most studied by meteorologists and insurance companies, because they are easier to track and cost more in damage (though not lives) than earthquakes. In contrast to the few seconds’ warning of an earthquake, they give advance notice; Katrina was declared a major storm several days before it hit New Orleans. Nor was there any surprise about New Orleans’ vulnerability, and has not been since the US Army Corps of Engineers started in the 19th century building sluices to carry the Mississippi past the sunken city. It has since sunk further, deprived of the river silt that would have bolstered its base. In recent years, federal aid has switched from active to passive measures, cutting money for flood control and increasing the government’s liability to provide insurance for flood damage. Is this due to the distraction of Iraq and focus on terrorism-related homeland security, or tacit recognition of New Orleans’ indefensibility?

A broader vulnerability arises from the offshore oil industry’s bunching in the western part of the Gulf because Florida refuses to allow the drilling of equally good prospects in the eastern half. bad republicans! Bad! Bad! Actually I've wondered about that myself .... In 2001 President George W. Bush backed off from a proposal to allow drilling near the western tip of the Florida panhandle in the face of fierce opposition from, among others, his brother Jeb, Florida’s governor. So there remains a curious white collar/blue collar divide in the Gulf, with Florida determined to keep its waters pristine for its tourists and retirees and the western Gulf states ready to open all their waters to the oil industry.

It makes good industrial sense for onshore refineries also to be clustered in the western half, where the oil comes ashore, Ah, so maybe it's isn't all about bad white collars? but bad risk management, as Katrina has shown by shutting down nine refineries, or one-tenth of US processing capacity. Joe Barton, the Texas congressman who chairs the House energy committee, wants to change this. In advance of the energy committee hearing he has called tomorrow on Katrina’s energy market impact, he said he wanted to “diversify the location [of oil facilities] so that we are not as dependent on the area that the hurricane hit”. Short of Texas and Louisiana annexing Florida, it is hard to see how this can be done. The Gulf shutdowns come on top of a general capacity crunch created by the fact that the US has not built any new refinery since 1976. Part of this is because of local opposition on environmental and health grounds, or what Robin West, head of the PFC Energy consultancy in Washington, calls the Banana approach (Build Absolutely Nothing Anywhere Near Anything).

So what now? How should the US Gulf coast adapt to the certainty of future Katrinas? New Orleans’ fate is the obvious priority. While the city’s older, more elevated part will surely be retained as a matter of national pride, the case for rebuilding in lower parts must be weak. As for the oil industry, it may find cover scarcer from insurers, some of whom, says Tim Fillingham, head of energy insurance services for Aon, started to scale down Gulf exposure after last year’s Hurricane Ivan. So oil companies may need to strengthen offshore platforms and develop their own back-up power sources. For its part, the federal government should consider building an emergency gasoline stock.Stockpiling of crude alone made sense at the creation of the strategic petroleum reserve in 1976 when another cut-off of Arab oil supplies was the main danger, but not today when the risk is a domestic refining crunch. Partly true. But that reserve is there for things like jet fuel, not just automobile gasoline.

But federal and state authorities also need to start taking strategic decisions on how much protection and insurance it is sensible to promise coastal residents. Yes! Someone has said it! Americans have been flocking to the Gulf coast – Florida’s population rose 70 per cent from 1980-2001 – and exposing themselves to risk. Does greater protection make sense?

Tom Mitchell, a Caribbean and Gulf storm specialist with the Benfield Hazard Research Centre in London, doubts it. “The chances of a locality getting a direct hit in any one year from something stronger than the Category 3 storm New Orleans was prepared for are relatively small, and providing that extra protection is very expensive.” So perhaps residents, or certainly those who cannot afford the extra insurance premiums, should pull back from the Gulf coast. Otherwise, if disaster strikes, Mr Mitchell says, people’s only hope is “a strong cohesive society which can join together in an effective relief effort”. Sadly, New Orleans has shown failure on that score, too.
Posted by: lotp || 09/05/2005 10:31 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [266 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Make it happen so I can rebuilt the family beachhouse without a buncha damn Permits pullers, inspektors, turtle snappers and climatologists dragin me down. Seriously, I don't need insurance, I just want to be left in peace to enjoy property my family has owned since 1934.
Posted by: Shipman || 09/05/2005 16:04 Comments || Top||

#2  For homes built in a dumb place (i.e. on a flood plain, on a barrier island or BELOW SEA LEVEL in hurricane territory): when they house floats away - Uncle Sam should come through and pay for the house (via Federal flood ins). But, the US should also buy the land, and require the owner has to rebuild someplace more sensible.

A few years back - I'm watching some reporter interview some home owner after a flood: "Third time in five years that we've been flooded out". Ya know - that would have provided a hint for some folks.
Posted by: DMFD || 09/05/2005 19:33 Comments || Top||

#3  Not what Ima looking for DMFD, I'll build, I'll assume the risk. Hell, I'll put in a generator. But don't use trickery to take the land.
Posted by: Shipman || 09/05/2005 20:02 Comments || Top||


Southeast Asia
Editorial on situation in southern Thailand and SE Asia
The murderous, 20-month-old violence in the South must be ended as quickly as possible. The so-called insurgency has claimed hundreds of lives. Last week, it escalated once again as the Islamist gangs mounted simultaneous violence in 10 districts of Narathiwat and Pattani provinces. These murders, arson and bombings, accompanied by racist and religious incitements, threaten both law and order, and long-term prospects of peace in the South.

Events in neighbouring countries provide even more urgency to defeating the insurgents and establishing peace in the southern provinces.

The pattern of terrorist attacks in the Philippines began again. Every six months, the violent gangs in the southern Philippines launch a fresh round of violence, mostly bombings. Last week, a bomb hidden in a box of clothes on a passenger ferry exploded at the wharf in southern Basilan. The blast wounded 30 people, burning most victims, and authorities agreed it probably was the work of the Abu Sayyaf, a gang that has misused religion in a bloody campaign against southern Catholics, peaceful Muslims and government forces for more than a decade. Philippine troops currently have an offensive against Abu Sayyaf, and are attempting to capture its leader Khadaffy Janjalani.

The Abu Sayyaf and related gangs in the southern Philippines are aligned and receiving aid from the regional terrorist organisation Jemaah Islamiyah (JI).

Philippine authorities warned last week after the ferry explosion that terrorists with help from JI were planning a bomb attack in Manila. In Jakarta, President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono told newspaper editors JI is planning a big terrorist attack in Indonesia, probably in the capital in the next two months. Australian officials had already restated warnings against travel to Indonesia.

On the other side of Thailand, Bangladesh is still coming to grips with the shock of a coordinated series of more than 500 bombings. They killed two people and wounded more than 100, but the small bombs were obviously intended as intimidation. The opposition Awami League organised major protests after the bombings. They charged Prime Minister Khaleda Zia and her ruling Bangladesh Nationalist Party had contributed to the violence and threats by allying itself with the extremist Jamat-E-Islami.

This is a controversial group which some say has ties to the even more dangerous, banned Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, led by the violent fugitive ''Bangla Bhai''. Democratic and tolerant Bangladesh has been heavily infiltrated by gangs favouring violence. Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen, as well as other gangs, openly brag of foreign connections to JI and to al-Qaeda of Osama bin Laden. Abu Sayyaf was established and financed by bin Laden's relatives, and its members helped terrorists responsible for attacks in the Mideast, Southeast Asia and the 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center in New York.

State-centred terrorism also is flourishing. The United Nations last week reported they have narrowed the suspects in the murder of former Lebanese prime minister Rafik Hariri to four generals known chiefly for their loyalty to Syria. Damascus is lately also suspected of helping foreign extremists loyal to bin Laden to travel to Iraq. Iranian extremists with ties to the new government have sponsored recruiting drives for suicide bombers.

In the Philippines, insurgents have made informal pacts with local governments, and in Bangladesh the opposition charges that extremists have infiltrated the government. In both areas, as in Thailand's South, the insurgents and extremists have no mandate to represent local people. Indeed, all evidence indicates that southern Thais and Filipinos, and the people of Bangladesh, do not support either the separatist goals of the insurgents or the violent means being employed.

Southeast Asia, including Thailand, is a target of international terrorism. JI aims to establish a regional ''caliphate'' of Muslim rule from the Southern Philippines to the Burma-Bangladesh border. Indonesia and the Philippines are active, terrorist battlefields. Malaysia and Singapore authorities say they are threatened by extremist political actions, and have come under terrorist threat. Southern Thailand is an objective of such groups, and it is vital to end the insurgency in order to end the international terrorist threat to the South.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 09/05/2005 00:26 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [270 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Ima hoping the Thais lose their tolerance really soon
Posted by: Frank G || 09/05/2005 14:59 Comments || Top||


Syria-Lebanon-Iran
Iran blasts Saddam trial plans as failure
THE head of Iran's judiciary has said the Islamic republic is preparing its own charges against former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, saying Iraqi prosecutors have failed to lay sufficient charges against him.

The official news agency IRNA said Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahrudi has "ordered the prosecutor general to prepare an indictment against Saddam for his crimes during the eight year Iran-Iraq war and to put it through legal channels."

"What is important for the (Iranian) judiciary are the rights that were lost by Iranian citizens during the eight-year sacred defence war, those who lost their loved ones and the many war veterans who were wounded by chemical weapons," Ayatollah Shahrudi was quoted as saying.

Ayatollah Shahrudi also criticised "the fact that Saddam's crimes against human rights during the war and his continuation of such crimes in Halabja and Kurdistan are not among the accusations brought up in this trial".

Iraqi officials announced yesterday that Saddam would go on trial on October 19 over the massacre of Shiite villagers more than two decades ago, and an Iraqi government spokesman added that he could be executed for that crime without facing further charges.

"For Saddam, this indictment is too insignificant and petty," Ayatollah Shahrudi said, urging Iraqi prosecutors "to prepare a real indictment" so that the trial will not be viewed as being "directed by the global arrogance" - or the United States...
The realization dawns that the trial and execution of Saddam, not taking place in Tehran, implies that Tehran is not the center of the universe.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 09/05/2005 19:43 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [247 views] Top|| File under:


Iran security chief cancels Pakistan visit
The president of Iran's powerful Higher Council for National Security, Ali Larijani, canceled a Monday visit to Pakistan.
A statement by the council said no new date was fixed for the visit and mentioned no reason for the cancellation.
But political observers quoted that linked the cancellation to Pakistan's decision to establish diplomatic relations with Israel following the latter's withdrawal from Gaza Strip.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Hamid Reza Asafi deplored Pakistan`s move, saying 'we express sorrow and bewilderment over the cordial meeting between Pakistani and Zionist officials.'
Asafi was referring to a meeting last week between the Pakistani foreign minister and his Israeli counterpart in Turkey.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 09/05/2005 19:40 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [256 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Face it Iran, Israel makes better weapons than the copies you make, including missle systems.
Posted by: Sock Puppet O´ Doom || 09/05/2005 19:49 Comments || Top||


Scandal hits Ukrainian UN troops
The UN has told Ukraine to withdraw its peacekeepers in Lebanon, saying some have engaged in "financial misconduct". It gave no details, but Reuters news agency quotes unnamed UN officials as saying the troops have been involved in reselling $1m (£0.54m) worth of UN oil.

The Ukrainian contingent is part of the Interim Force in Lebanon (Unifil), which has 2,000 troops. The Ukrainian unit consists mainly of engineers and landmine removers.

"The United Nations has initiated action to replace the Ukrainian unit in Unifil and is taking necessary measures to prevent recurrence," the UN said in a statement.
"Youse guys can't cut in on our action!"
In Kiev the defence ministry said both the UN and Ukraine were "taking these events very seriously". Ukraine says an investigation is underway. It also says it will continue to play a role in UN operations elsewhere in the world.
Posted by: Steve White || 09/05/2005 00:19 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [260 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Give me a taste".
Tony Sopprano.
Posted by: gromgoru || 09/05/2005 9:41 Comments || Top||

#2  "...reselling $1m (£0.54m) worth of UN oil." Interesting that the UN would own a bunch of oil.
Posted by: Super Hose || 09/05/2005 9:51 Comments || Top||

#3  Guess somebody forgot the UN's pay envelope.
Posted by: raptor || 09/05/2005 10:05 Comments || Top||

#4  imagine my surprise that Sylwester didn't post this...
Posted by: Frank G || 09/05/2005 10:40 Comments || Top||

#5  Note the faster response when UN graft is threatened versus "peacekeepers" getting involved in sex and/or slavery trade...
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 09/05/2005 10:44 Comments || Top||

#6  Good observation RC. We're talking about saving lifestyles here, so the response will be fast.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 09/05/2005 11:23 Comments || Top||


Africa: Horn
57 Somalis Drown in Illegal Boat Crossing
Smugglers on a boat making an illegal crossing from Somalia to Yemen forced passengers into the Red Sea at gunpoint miles from shore, leaving at least 57 dead and about 100 missing, fishermen and a diplomat said Monday. An estimated 200 Somalis and Ethiopians, including children, left Somalia's semiautonomous Puntland region in two boats Wednesday. Their ultimate destination was Saudi Arabia, Jama Moalin Omar, a fisherman in the region, said by telephone.

The 18 smugglers — who were armed with guns, daggers and clubs — appeared to be trying to avoid detection when they forced passengers into the Red Sea while the vessels were about 10 miles from the Yemeni coastline, Omar said, citing information filtering to relatives in Puntland. Husein Haji Ahmed, a Somali diplomat in Yemen, said 57 bodies have been recovered from the shore, 38 people survived and the rest are still missing. The bodies of the drowned were immediately buried, he said. It was unclear what happened to the smugglers.
Posted by: Fred || 09/05/2005 21:35 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [262 views] Top|| File under:


Home Front: Tech
Another US Submarine Captain Purchases Retirement Turkey Farm
A U.S. Navy submarine collided early Monday with a Turkish merchant ship in the Gulf, the U.S. Navy reported. No one was hurt on either vessel. The USS Philadelphia was traveling on the surface of the Gulf when it hit the Turkish-flagged M/V Yaso Aysen, a cargo ship, at around 2:00 a.m. local time, the U.S. Navy 5th Fleet Headquarters in Bahrain reported in a statement.
No sailors or merchant seamen were injured, the Navy said.

The Philadelphia was conducting surface operations on its way to Bahrain for a scheduled port visit, the Navy said.

The submarine continued to Bahrain where inspectors will check it for damage. There were no immediate reports of damage to the Turkish ship. The Navy statement did not say exactly where the collision took place.

The Philadelphia is part of a fleet of U.S. and allied navy vessels patrolling the Gulf, conducting what are called "maritime security operations" against weapons and drug smuggling.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 09/05/2005 10:21 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [375 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The Navy statement did not say exactly where the collision took place.

Well, 'up forward' would be a good guess...

Mike
Posted by: Mike Kozlowski || 09/05/2005 11:38 Comments || Top||

#2  Nah. If it was a direct hit, the fisherman would've gone down. Probably a "nudge" at worst.
Posted by: mojo || 09/05/2005 13:10 Comments || Top||

#3  During the cold war Soviet ships would try to cut in front of our ships to cause a collision that they then would trumpet as "American Agression"

More details please.
Posted by: Redneck Jim || 09/05/2005 23:55 Comments || Top||


"Boomerang" system detects snipers
BBN recently received a $1.4 million increment as part of a $6.3 million cost-plus-fixed-fee contract to Design, Fabricate Prototypes, Test and Document and Support Upgrades to the Counter Shooter System (aka. Boomerang).

The Boomerang units attach to a vehicle and use seven small microphones, arranged like the spine of a sea urchin, to detect both the muzzle blast and the shock wave from a speeding bullet. Once a sniper's bullet is detected, Boomerang's display panel, which is located inside the vehicle, alerts soldiers through an LED 12-hour clock image display panel and speaker mounted inside the vehicle that a bullet has been fired, and gives its direction and elevation. The system resets for subsequent shot detection. Like counterbattery, except for rifles rather than artillery.

Incoming fire detection and shooter position are determined and reported in less than 2 seconds. False shot detections are less that one per thousand hours of system operation at vehicle speeds under 50 miles per hour. Missed shots are less than one per 500 shots at vehicle speeds under 50 miles per hour. The system is especially calibrated to detect the 7.62×39 mm round, which is the round fired by the AK-47 and similar small arms common to Iraq and Afghanistan; nevertheless, the system has been tested and proven to perform successfully with 5.56 NATO and .50 caliber machine gun rounds.

Boomerang is currently being tested on 50 HMMWVs deployed to Iraq. See this BBN White Paper for further details [PDF format].
Posted by: Jackal || 09/05/2005 09:55 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [459 views] Top|| File under:

#1  'Too bad our soft vehicles can't carry enough ammo to allow this system to be connected to a chain gun - to basically give every vehicle its very own Aegis counterfire system. Boy - THAT would shake up a sniper - he pops off a round,and five seconds later it comes back at him times 5,000 rounds - arrayed to blanket more space that he can cover in five seconds.

The Vegematic - it slices, it dices, it julienne fries..........

In the immortal words of Bernard Goetz - "Hey, you don't look so bad - here, have another (blam)"
Posted by: Lone Ranger || 09/05/2005 10:17 Comments || Top||

#2  Oops! I meant Phalanx system - as in http://www.navweaps.com/Weapons/WNUS_Phalanx.htm
Posted by: Lone Ranger || 09/05/2005 10:21 Comments || Top||

#3  RE: Boomerang
Shouldn't this be a military secret? Telling all these particulars kind of spoils the surprise.
Posted by: Unans Spomorong7458 || 09/05/2005 12:26 Comments || Top||

#4  US7458:
Well, it depends on what we are doing in Iraq. If we are going to fight a war of annihilation, then, yes, this should be a secret. OTOP, if we are trying to get the "snipers"* to just give up and go home, the mere announcement of this will (I hope) cause several to realize that they might not kill any infidels before being killed themselves.

* Apologies to any true professional snipers at their being lumped in with a bunch of scum who just point and shoot.
Posted by: Jackal || 09/05/2005 12:32 Comments || Top||

#5  IIRC, any number of companies have built systems like this, years ago. I thought we were using systems like this in the Balkans. I wonder why we keep reinventing the wheel.
Posted by: jolly roger || 09/05/2005 12:32 Comments || Top||

#6  My vote is for annihilation. But then, it usually is.
Posted by: BH || 09/05/2005 13:13 Comments || Top||

#7  LR: Too bad our soft vehicles can't carry enough ammo to allow this system to be connected to a chain gun - to basically give every vehicle its very own Aegis counterfire system. Boy - THAT would shake up a sniper - he pops off a round,and five seconds later it comes back at him times 5,000 rounds - arrayed to blanket more space that he can cover in five seconds.

5000 rounds burped out in one go? Our chain-guns can fire 5000 rounds without melting? Can these things even fire 5000 rounds without reloading?
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 09/05/2005 13:52 Comments || Top||

#8  US: RE: Boomerang
Shouldn't this be a military secret? Telling all these particulars kind of spoils the surprise.


Makes no difference whether or not these capabilities are known. Fact is that if we start taking a lot of their snipers down, they will note that they are losing men, and switch to a different, less expensive, mode of operation. They won't know why, but they'll see that they are being attrited. The importance of this system lies not in its secrecy but in the fact that - like the Maxim gun - we have it, and they don't.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 09/05/2005 13:56 Comments || Top||

#9  They can do a lot better than this. That is, we already have counter-weapons systems that are both small enough to fit in a Humvee and can return accurate fire fast enough to take down even pro snipers. That is, when the shot is detected and calculated, it returns fire in a five or more shot pattern, around the point where the shot originated. And with AP rounds, capable of penetrating typical concrete wall.

Round #1 goes to exactly where the shot originated. #2 and #3 go 3' to either side of #1, then #4, #5, and #6 do a parallel pattern 3' down from where #1, #2, and #3 went.

Six shots that will get the sniper, no matter if he just sits there, dodges to the left or right, or hits the floor.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 09/05/2005 14:08 Comments || Top||

#10  I doubt the US military would let a Boomerang type system fire back automatically in Baghdad. A counter tactic for such a system would be to shoot from a crowd of civilians. A Boomerang on auto would cut loose on the civilians. Maybe the trigger man would get killed too, but when have they cared about that. The cameras would record the civilian carnage of course because Al-Jazeera would be pre-alerted. That is not a desireable result. Which brings you back to a system that does not do counter-battery fire.
Posted by: Zpaz || 09/05/2005 16:40 Comments || Top||

#11  zpaz: I doubt the US military would let a Boomerang type system fire back automatically in Baghdad. A counter tactic for such a system would be to shoot from a crowd of civilians. A Boomerang on auto would cut loose on the civilians.

I have to agree. The Boomerang will still come in very handy, because half the battle - in a city environment, where there's any number of hiding places - is knowing where shot came from.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 09/05/2005 17:45 Comments || Top||

#12  The Boomerang and other sniper detection systems work best when integrated with a remote weapon system. The remote weapon system takes a directional command from the Boomerang and performs a "slew to cue" operation. There is a man in the loop...ie the system slews over to where the sniper is located and then the operator decides whether to shoot or not.

Boomerang is an acoustic system. There are also radar and infrared systems out there. Each has their own set of benefits and tradeoffs.

This technology is rapidly maturing, especially for mobile applications. Certainly not foolproof, particularly when multiple shots are incoming.

Note that gatling style weapons, such as the Dillon mini-gun are not particularly accurate. They are best used from aviation platforms. If you have an accurate platform, then you don't need to waste a lot of ammunition to defeat your target. The best weapon systems are all about the precise application of minimum force.
Posted by: Remoteman || 09/05/2005 19:40 Comments || Top||

#13  if the sniper detector was integrated with a remote pilotless air vehicle, we could occasionally track the sniper to his HQ.

This would be way better than simply killing the sniper instantly.
Posted by: mhw || 09/05/2005 20:47 Comments || Top||

#14  Think 3-D here. That is, you wouldn't want a system like that to operate in a horizontal mode, just as an elevated system. It would not engage "gunmen" on the ground, just "snipers" in an elevated position.

It *would* have a human operator, but essentially one who would select its field of fire. "This angle left--this angle right--from this to this elevation. Anything shooting at us from this assigned field automatically engage within that field."

The weapon itself could *generally* point forward, sideways, or reverse, depending what the unit was doing, and would be much like a "security" soldier, able to lay down quick covering fire at maximum distance. And, hopefully, far faster than humans could return fire, or, in the case of the sniper, than he could get away.

Even if it didn't nail the sniper, he couldn't squeeze off a few more rounds in the confusion, having to get the heck out of there.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 09/05/2005 23:01 Comments || Top||


Iraq-Jordan
Politics break out in Iraq
By Zalmay Khalizad, a key mover and shaker in the process.
Iraq's draft constitution should be evaluated on two standards: its substance in the areas of democracy, human rights and proposed political structure; and its potential to be a national compact that brings Iraqis together and undermines the insurgency. It meets the first test. With respect to the second, the jury will decide in the Oct. 15 referendum.

The draft enshrines values and structures that should aid Iraq's democratization, as well as its lasting stability, freedom and prosperity. It contains an enlightened synthesis of universal values and Iraqi traditions. It states that no law may be enacted that contradicts "the established provisions of Islam," "the principles of democracy," and "the rights and basic freedoms stipulated in this constitution" -- rights that are far-reaching. This formula requires that Islam be interpreted to be consistent with democracy and human rights.

The draft states that all Iraqis are equal before the law regardless of "gender, race, ethnicity, origin, color, religion, sect, belief or opinion, or economic and social status." It protects the rights of personal privacy; the sanctity of the home; public trials for criminal defendants; and the freedoms of movement, expression, association and political organization. It states that all defendants are innocent until proven guilty. It prohibits extrajudicial punishment, group punishment, property seizures without compensation, and intellectual, political, or religious coercion.
Continued on Page 49
Posted by: Dan Darling || 09/05/2005 01:05 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [274 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Oh the Humanity! Oh politics, carry on, by all means. A place to start from tna things to move toward. Many things unheard of in this region. A very good start for people in a very bad place.
Posted by: Sock Puppet O´ Doom || 09/05/2005 1:20 Comments || Top||


Iraqi women start talk radio shows
The two radio hosts, Majda and Majid, a chattering woman-and-man team, said the subject for the next hour would be childbearing and motherhood, from the first flush of pregnancy to the tribulations of labor.

So Majda opened the show with a poem, dedicating it to the "mother of Baghdad": "You are my darling, you are the flower of my table, you are my drink."

Then the talk turned as heated as an Iraqi summer.

"Most of our operating rooms for giving birth aren't clean," Majid said.

"It's not healthy," Majda said. "There are no standards of cleanliness in these hospitals."

Majid said: "How can we receive the baby, a flower, a gift, in a dirty place? If the baby is born in an unhealthy place, the mother also won't be healthy."

The rest of the recent talk show, called "Cup of Tea," went much like that, with the two hosts trading barbed insights.

The station broadcasting it, Radio Al Mahaba, on 96 FM here in central Iraq, could well be the only one in the Arab world devoted to women's issues, its founders say. Started with United Nations financing by an American woman and an Iraqi refugee from western New York, it falls between National Public Radio and "The Oprah Winfrey Show."

The station broadcasts programs about marriage, divorce, careers, religion, the constitution, physical abuse and dress codes, all from the perspective of women. The shows are especially sharp-edged in a country where Shiite militiamen in the south harass women without head scarves and religious leaders in Baghdad have pushed for a greater role for Islam - and, consequently, a potential rollback of women's rights - in the new constitution.

"We want to affirm women's rights," said Ruwaida Kamal, 30, a producer at the station. "We're in a dangerous period. There are many movements, many groups that aren't taking women's rights seriously. Women are being marginalized."

With its slogan "The Voice of Iraqi Woman," Radio Al Mahaba is an example of how, amid the cacophony of violence, the American experiment has prompted some Iraqis to try to build an open, democratic civil society. With newspapers, radio networks and satellite television channels popping up, the media are flourishing in ways they were never permitted to under Saddam Hussein.

The aim of Radio Al Mahaba is aligned with one of the Bush administration's main goals in Iraq - to spread secular, American-style interpretations of equality and justice in the Middle East.

Whether the station will succeed is far from certain, given the rise of fundamentalism here. But its 33 workers, half of them women, remain optimistic.

"This is unique in the Middle East and all the Arab nations," said the station's director, Ali Abbas Hamoudi. "Now that we're facing a new government, a new nation, we're trying to help expose the voice of the Iraqi woman to the new officials."

Radio Al Mahaba, which means "love" in Arabic, went on the air on April 1 with four hours of programming and now broadcasts from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. It has a 120-mile reach from central Baghdad, though there is no measure of how many people listen. Sprinkled among talk shows are blocks of Middle Eastern and Western music, including the Lebanese singer Fairuz, Mariah Carey and Kurdish folk singers.

The station is in an office building overlooking Firdos Square, where American marines and Iraqis toppled a statue of Saddam Hussein on April 9, 2003, signaling the fall of Baghdad.

It has the rough-and-tumble feel of a college radio station, with a small recording studio, a kitchen alcove and cramped offices. Black-and-white photographs of famous female Iraqi singers from decades ago hang on the walls of the main hallway above the faded brown carpeting.

The women here do not wear head scarves, a sight rare enough these days to elicit a gasp of delight from a visiting female interpreter.

On a recent afternoon, a Kurdish producer spliced together a debate show, "Two Viewpoints, One Issue," while a Jennifer Lopez song was played on the air.

Across the hall, Ms. Kamal edited an interview for a weekly show called "Details About Women."

"This story is about disabled women," Ms. Kamal said, sunglasses perched atop her head, earphones around her neck. "This woman is paralyzed; she can't walk because she was shot in her back. She was 4 years old when this happened, during the Iraq-Iran war in 1982. She's in a wheelchair, but she's also a sportswoman, a tennis player."

Radio Al Mahaba was founded by Deborah Bowers, an American from the Buffalo area, and Kamal Jabar, an Iraqi refugee whom Ms. Bowers met in upstate New York in 1992. Ms. Bowers became intensely interested in Iraq after befriending Mr. Jabar, and the two traveled to Iraq after the American-led invasion. Mr. Jabar proposed the idea of the radio station.

Ms. Bowers applied for a grant from the United Nations Development Fund for Women and got approval in January 2005 for $500,000.

"We saw radio as an educational tool; there would be programming that would empower women to be part of the rebuilding of civil society and to encourage women to think about democracy," Ms. Bowers said in a telephone interview. "A lot of it is just the freedom to voice opinions or hear other opinions."

Because of relatively low literacy among Iraqi women - about 24 percent in a 2003 estimate - she saw radio as the best way to spread the feminist message.

Ms. Bowers said her group had received $350,000 of the United Nations grant. The United States Institute for Peace, a research group created by Congress, recently agreed to give some financing for more programs on the Iraqi constitution. Ms. Bowers declined to give the exact figure because she said highlighting American support could endanger the station and its employees.

Majda al-Jubouri, 41, who is the host of "Cup of Tea" along with Majid Hussein, exemplifies the type of progressive woman the station promotes. Ms. Jubouri grew up on a farm south of Baghdad. Her family belonged to the Communist Party, she said, and she was imprisoned for five years at age 14.

She worked on the farm until after the fall of the old government, when she moved to Baghdad with her boyfriend, a journalist for a Communist newspaper. She also began writing for the paper. They married last year. Then came Radio Al Mahaba.

"Because of war since the 1980's, Iraqi people have been slipping backward, and now it's getting worse," she said. "We just hope that in the future, society will respect the rights of women, and women won't be alone in the Iraqi street."
Posted by: Dan Darling || 09/05/2005 01:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [254 views] Top|| File under:


Afghanistan/South Asia
Former Taliban foreign minister discloses regime's secrets
Former Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil has disclosed that the Russians had offered to recognize the Taliban regime if the then Kabul Government de-recognized Chechnya.

In a book published shortly before the general elections in Afghanistan, in which he is also a candidate, the ex-Minister goes on to disclose an important Taliban-Russian contact in Turkmenistan's capital city of Ashgabat.

At the meeting, Russian delegates offered to accord recognition to the Taliban government if the latter de-recognized Chechnya, he reveals. Taliban spurned the proposition, nonetheless, as it was probably the only country in the world to officially recognize the Chechnya separatists.

In his book titled Afghanistan and Taliban, Mutawakil also directly attacks Osama ben Laden for making repeated promises to Taliban leader Mulla Omar to invest his money in development of Afghanistan. These promises were never fulfilled, he says.

In his riveting book, Mutawakil has also ticked off the fugitive Saudi multimillionaire for mouthing meaningless platitudes to Mullah Omar regarding Afghan hospitality, courage and adherence to Muslim brotherhood.

America's enemy number one, who paid little heed to a string of warnings then hurled at Afghanistan, would often pledge to construct parks and highways and revive agricultural farms devastated by decades of war. But these vows, aimed at endearing Osama to the Taliban chief, were never translated into action, writes the ex-minister.

The post-bellum book chides the world's most wanted man - familiar with the impoverished South Asian country's chilling fiscal realities - for his inscrutable failure to devote even a fraction of his immeasurable riches to the prosperity of a nation that offered him refuge in the face of mounting global pressures.

Now in the run for a Wolesi Jirga seat from Kandahar, the soft-spoken Pashtun, who can also speak fluent Dari, Arabic and English, has published the paperback a fortnight ahead of the landmark legislative elections. However, he discounts as entirely coincidental the timing of the book, which is an informative analysis of the challenges facing the country - then and now.

Commenting on his scholarly effort, Mutawakil rejected the impression that there were political motives behind the publication of the book at this point in time. He has touched on the strengths and weaknesses of the seven-year Taliban rule and the daunting tasks before the incumbent administration led by US-backed President Hamid Karzai.

Widely regarded as a straight-shooter in the Taliban leadership, Mutawakil's views are in no way colored by party politics or his profound respect for Mullah Omar. In the 98-page book, he makes no bones about his aversion to the demolition of the rare Buddha statues in Bamyan.

Already defaced, the statues did not look like living beings, he reasons. Hence, knocking them down was not necessary even from an Islamic point of view, he maintains. "Clearly beyond the pale, the destruction - decreed by the Vice and Virtue Department in compliance with a Supreme Court fatwa - didn't take into consideration the political, cultural or artistic sensitivities involved."

Although he does not conform to small-town, warped and blinkered ideas of Taliban, Mutawakil is ambivalent on controversial topics like cinema, television, female literacy, working women and photographs. He writes Taliban temporized on these subjects in the absence of a precise fatwa from religious scholars.

The son of revered religious scholar Allama Abul Faiz Maulana Abdul Ghafar, Mutawakil alleges Americans always tried to bully the ousted government into handing over Osama bin Laden. "They tended to boss us around without listening to our proposals for sorting out the problem."

With regard to the much-maligned Vice and Virtue Department's performance, the 36-year-old admits: "In a bid to prevent evils, the department with an extremely vulnerable teaching branch often ran into bust-ups with people. In some instances, its incompetent and clueless staff didn't balk even at humiliating citizens on trifling matters."

Coming to the ban on women education, he observes: "Dealing with the other half had been a big teaser for Taliban, who closed down girls' schools in Kabul, Herat, Nangarhar and Balkh , dealing a blow to a female literacy in the process...the introduction of hijab (veil) or segregation of boys and girls would have been a better option."

Printed by the Maiwand Publishing House, the paperback, yet to hit the news stands, is a hugely insightful read for those interested in knowing Afghanistan's tattered economy and administrative problems under the Taliban regime.

The book also carries Mutawakil's letter urging President Karzai to show magnanimity to his political foes in the supreme national interest. "The spirit of accommodation and tolerance holds the key to resolving political disputes in an amicable way," he stresses.

It sheds ample light on important things like the genesis of the Taliban movement, its links to jihadi outfits, support from Pakistan, the designs of American oil giant UNICOL, its partnership with the Bridas company of Argentina, Dr Najibullah's execution, income sources of the dislodged regime, the Indian plane hijack episode, Iran's threats to invade Afghanistan, the US missile attack and his surrender.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 09/05/2005 00:36 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [266 views] Top|| File under:

#1  It sheds ample light on important things like the genesis of the Taliban movement, its links to jihadi outfits, support from Pakistan, the designs of American oil giant UNICOL, its partnership with the Bridas company of Argentina, Dr Najibullah's execution, income sources of the dislodged regime, the Indian plane hijack episode, Iran's threats to invade Afghanistan, the US missile attack and his surrender.

Hope it comes out in English.
Posted by: Paul Moloney || 09/05/2005 3:36 Comments || Top||

#2  Contradicts the assertion that OBL bought local goodwill with huge investments in local infrastructure.
Posted by: Super Hose || 09/05/2005 9:45 Comments || Top||

#3  Mutawakil also directly attacks Osama ben Laden for making repeated promises to Taliban leader Mulla Omar to invest his money in development of Afghanistan. These promises were never fulfilled, he says.

Lies, lies, all LIES!
Posted by: Sen. Patty Murray || 09/05/2005 10:37 Comments || Top||

#4  #1. PM: Hope it comes out in English.
If it does, Paul, you think we should send Washington's Sen. Patty Murray a copy?
She might want to rethink restate her assertion that Osama bin Laden is popular in poor countries because he helped pay for schools, roads and even day care centers.
Posted by: GK || 09/05/2005 10:50 Comments || Top||

#5  Former Taliban Foreign Minister Wakil Ahmad Mutawakil has disclosed that the Russians had offered to recognize the Taliban regime if the then Kabul Government de-recognized Chechnya.

A superpower - even one as badly hobbled as Russia - has no friends, just interests.

Mike
Posted by: Mike Kozlowski || 09/05/2005 11:40 Comments || Top||


Al-Qaeda link to Bangla booms not ruled out
Prime Minister Khaleda Zia's son Tarique Rahman has aired the suspicion that international terrorist networks like Al-Qaeda might have links with the August 17 bomb blasts across Bangladesh.

''Some misguided people of Bangladesh might have staged the incident with the support of those militant outfits which have launched terror attacks in the US or Britain,'' he told BBC Bengali service monitored here this evening.

This is for the first time a top leader of the ruling alliance admitted possible presence of activities of international terrorist groups inside the country.

Mr Rahman, Joint Secretary General of BNP, said, ''I personally feel that what happened here and also whatever happened in the USA or the UK a few days ago, maybe part of the international terrorism of which they too are victims.'' Asked whether activities of international terrorist groups like Al-Qaeda were there in Bangladesh, he said, ''since it is part of that, maybe, one or two might have come here or made contact. There are some disgruntled people here who are being used by them.'' he suspected Asked if the government had identified these persons who are doing this in Bangladesh, he said whatever he gathered from newspaper reports or discussions from his party leaders indicated that the government has been doing that.

Asked if the government measures were adequate to dispel the fear from the public mind, he said, ''This is a relative term. There is no yardstick to scale the level of satisfaction. As far as I know, with whatever resources we have and with possible assistance from outside, the government is trying its best to ensure safety for the people.''
Posted by: Dan Darling || 09/05/2005 00:23 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [260 views] Top|| File under:


Iraq-Jordan
Zark tells us hears cares (Katrina)
The al Qaeda group in Iraq on Sunday hailed the hurricane deaths in "oppressor" America as the "wrath of God", according to an Internet statement.

"God attacked America and the prayers of the oppressed were answered," said the statement, which was posted on an Islamic Web site often used by the insurgent group fighting the U.S.-backed Iraqi government.

The statement's authenticity could not be verified.

"The wrath of the All-powerful fell upon the nation of oppressors. Their dead are in the thousands and their losses are in the billions," said the statement from the group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, who has a $25 million U.S. bounty on this head.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 09/05/2005 00:22 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [388 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Does that mean Iran is apostate because with the 1 or 2 earthquakes that kill 1000s every year?
Posted by: anymouse || 09/05/2005 10:20 Comments || Top||

#2  What did he have to say about the tsunami, again? I forget.
Posted by: Bobby || 09/05/2005 12:13 Comments || Top||

#3  anymouse: according to Zark, Iran is apostate - to be taken care of after his business with the Zionists and Crusaders is concluded.
Posted by: xbalanke || 09/05/2005 22:17 Comments || Top||


Africa: North
US formalizes alliance with Qadaffi
As it struggles to combat Islamic terrorist networks, the Bush administration has quietly built an intelligence alliance with Libyan leader Moammar Kadafi, a onetime bitter enemy the U.S. had tried for years to isolate, topple or kill.

Kadafi has helped the U.S. pursue Al Qaeda's network in North Africa by turning radicals over to neighboring pro-Western governments. He also has provided information to the CIA on Libyan nationals with alleged ties to international terrorists. In turn, the U.S. has handed over to Tripoli some anti-Kadafi Libyans captured in its campaign against terrorism. And Kadafi's agents have been allowed into the Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba to interrogate Libyans being held there.

The rapprochement is partially the result of a decade of efforts by Kadafi to improve relations with the United States and end international sanctions imposed on Libya for bombing Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. But it also reflects the fact that Libya and the United States regard Islamic extremism as a common enemy. Even though he long supported radical causes, Kadafi views religious militants as a menace to his secular regime.

"Their assistance has been genuine, if motivated in large measure by self-preservation," Bruce Hoffman, director of counter-terrorism and counterinsurgency studies at Rand Corp., said of the Libyans. "You have to give Kadafi credit for recognizing the existential threat posed to his rule and revolution by [Osama] bin Laden and Al Qaeda."
Nobody ever said he was dumb. Crazy, yes, dumb, no.
Critics charge that the partnership with Libya, like those with countries such as Sudan, Uzbekistan and Egypt, illustrates how Washington is allowing its war on terrorism to trump its effort to promote democracy and human rights in the Arab world. They say that in cooperating with Kadafi, the U.S. has strengthened his oil-rich regime and permitted him to crack down on political opponents, some with democratic credentials far stronger than his own.

Kadafi's point man for dealing with Washington is his head of foreign intelligence, who is banned from entering the U.S. because of his suspected involvement in terrorist acts, including the Lockerbie bombing. He also is suspected of taking part in a plot to kill Saudi Arabia's ruler.

Libyan dissidents, who for years thought they could count on American support, have been deeply disappointed by the Bush administration. "Kadafi was considered to be a dictator and terrorist, and Libya was a rogue regime," said Ashur Shamis, a prominent London-based Libyan exile and longtime proponent of democratic reform. "Suddenly, everything has changed.

"The Americans no longer want to see Kadafi's regime destabilized," he said. "Opponents have written off the possibility of receiving tangible political support from the United States."

Libya's decision in 1999 to turn over suspects in the Pan Am bombing, which killed 270 people, and, 4 1/2 years later, its renunciation of its nuclear, biological and chemical weapons programs have been the most public examples of its effort to improve relations. But experts say Kadafi already had been moving in that direction because sanctions had crippled his economy, causing high unemployment, shortages of consumer goods and political discontent.

Kadafi came to power in 1969 at the age of 27, when he led an army coup that overthrew Libya's pro-Western monarchy. A decade later, the Carter administration placed Libya on a list of state sponsors of terrorism, where it remains. In April 1986, U.S. warplanes attacked Libya in retaliation for the bombing of a Berlin disco that killed three people, including two U.S. soldiers. The U.S. attack killed dozens of people, including Kadafi's 15-month-old adopted daughter, and nearly killed the Libyan leader himself. Meanwhile, the CIA funneled millions of dollars in money and equipment to anti-Kadafi rebels.

Kadafi began reaching out to the U.S. as early as the mid-1990s, expelling or severing ties with radical groups. In April 1999, he surrendered two Libyans who were suspected in the Pan Am bombing. The Clinton administration responded by launching secret talks with Tripoli.

The thaw accelerated in January 2001 with the inauguration of President Bush and the conviction of Abdel Basset Ali Megrahi of murder in the Lockerbie case. A Scottish court said Megrahi had acted "in furtherance of the purposes of 
 Libyan Intelligence Services," but it acquitted a second man. In 2003, Libya agreed to a $2.7billion payout to families of the Lockerbie victims. American oil companies, eager to invest in Libya, lobbied the Bush administration to improve ties.

Relations improved markedly after the Sept. 11 attacks, which Kadafi immediately condemned. The Libyan leader said the United States had the right to retaliate, and urged Libyans to donate blood for American victims. He subsequently said Libya and the U.S. had a common interest in fighting Islamic extremism.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 09/05/2005 00:17 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [258 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Why did Arab governments publicly blame "Zionists" when 9/11 occurred? I always thought that this was to divert the blame from themselves. It just occurred to me that the problem we have in the Arab world may have nothing to do with the rulers and everything to do with the populace. Arab governments may actually think that bin Laden did it. But their populations may think better of bin Laden for having carried out 9/11. Arab governments may be blaming "Zionists" as a way to divert prestige from al Qaeda - Arab popular opinion is such that a 9/11 attack carried out by al Qaeda would improve al Qaeda's popularity. Why worry about diverting prestige away from al Qaeda? Because in a popularity contest between autocracies, al Qaeda might win.

I think most Arab governments just want a quiet life. They don't really care about the Palestinians all that much - except in formalistic pronouncements. Black September in Jordan and the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait taught them that Palestinians aren't the most loyal of subjects. This is why they haven't absorbed the Palestinian refugees in their midst as full citizens.

Arab governments have said that "Zionists" carried out 9/11 to drive a wedge between Arab governments and the West. They are right about the motive but have obfuscated the identity of the perpetrators. In fact, Al Qaeda carried out 9/11 to drive a wedge between Uncle Sam and existing Arab governments, hoping either that the US would pull an Iran and cause those Arab governments to fall to al Qaeda, or lash out in fury at all Muslim governments in general, causing a worldwide jihad against the US.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 09/05/2005 0:49 Comments || Top||

#2  Pulling an Iran is what Jimmy Carter did to the Shah when he decided that an anti-American autocracy was preferable to a pro-American autocracy, resulting in the Iranian theocracy we know and love today. Here's an exchange from Froggy Ruminations:

Anonymous Liberal: "THE FLASH POINT for the Middle East as it stands today" Actually goes back to the US installing the represive Shah in iran. The revolution in Iran and triumph of the extremists was a response to our supporting the despotic Shah."

Huntress: written by "Anonymous" - too cowardly to leave somekind of name -no doubt because he/she DOESNT have ANY understanding of Int'l relations and of WHY the revolution in Iran occurred.

Newsflash: It was NOT in response to the US SUPPORTING the Shah...It was in response to the Jimmy Carter ABANDONING the Shah.

Liberals have a bad habit of believing that negotiating with evil people - i.e. "Appeasement" - will bring about peace and love and prevent war.

Sadly the millions of jews that died in the Holocaust prove otherwise. Churchill understood that it was both foolish and dangerous to appease Hitler. Neville Chamberlain disagreed. Too bad Neville didn't suffer the same fate as European jews!

Jimmy Carter betrayed the Shah and in turn betrayed our country when he turned his back on the Shah.

In the 1970s Iraq was a client state of Russia...and very well armed. You will NOTE that RUSSIA not the US armed Iraq. Iran however was oil rich, possessed both a military and air force, and was pro western, along with Turkey. Both those allies were important in keeping a balance of power in the Middle East.

It would be that feckless foolish peacenik, President Jimmy Carter, who stupidly cleared the way for an extremist anti- american autocratic regime to take power.

While it's true that the Shah tried to modernize Iran too quickly, and led an oppressive regime, Iran was nonetheless of strategic importance to the US and to maintaining a balance of power in the M.E.

To add insult to injury...the crimes committed by the Ayatollah's regime would in time prove to outweigh anything the Shah had done. .

And if that isn't bad enough -liberals are still insisting that appeasement will work in Iran today -even as Iranian powerbrokers laugh in the face of feckless appeasement loving fools!

The Shah's modernizing influence was being felt in the M.E. but Jimmy decided that the Shah should cease having military tribunals AND release KNOWN terrorists! He threatened to cut off military aid until the Shah did as he asked. The Shah complied and that created the opening that Russia and Iranian dissidents afraid of modernization would use to assault the Shah's govt, while Carter stood by and DID NOTHING. He threw the Shah to the lions and with that left the US to deal with a legacy of problems. And for THIS he is awarded the NOBEL PEACE PRIZE? Or was it for sitting back fecklessly while Americans were held hostage in Iran for 444 days??

What you, Mr.Anonymous and your liberal ilk do not seem capable of grasping is that Carter's decision to standby and watch the Shah become forced from office led to creating a despotic regime more evil than the one it had replaced. Again, I ask, for this he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize!!??

Under the Shah, Iran did have human rights problems...but he was a benevolent despot and a friend to the US.

Now instead you have a regime that has inflicted worse human rights violations on its citizens..AND is an enemy of the US.

Khomeni said "we will export our revolution to the four corners of the world" and his son has said that as long as ISLAM exists..US Hostility exists..and therefore the struggle exists.

Im guessing feeble liberal minds won't understand the meaning..so let me spell it out for all of you:

IT'S EITHER OUR MISGUIDED FORM OF ISLAM THAT DEMOCRACY SUCCUMBS TO OR WE WILL DO BATTLE DIRECTLY WITH AMERICA AND ANY COUNTRY THAT SUPPORTS DEMOCRACY, FREEDOM, AND SECULARISM.

THESE people who are training terrorists to go to Iraq and to go to Europe, have been hellbent on killing Mr Anonymous, and all his/her appeasement loving secularist liberal friends, EVER since that Nobel Peace Prize Recipient, Pres Jimmy Carter, HELPED PUT THEM IN POWER!

Let me be clear...The flashpoint started when Peacenik Carter betrayed and turned his back on the Shah...refusing to help him stifle the dissidents whose fire Carter helped fuel and who came to power and now want to kill you..and unfortunately..EVERY OTHER AMERICAN THAT VALUES FREEDOM, DEMOCRACY INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO JEWS AND CHRISTIANS AND SECULARISTS!

In case you need even more help understanding WHO got us into the mess with Iraq and Iran...lets read what Jeane Kirkpatrick, a democrat at the time, has to say:

"The US cannot be indifferent to the subversion or others independance or to the development of new weapons by our adverseries....the last Democratic administration did not seem to notice much.......Carter's administration's motives were good, but their policies were inadequate, uninformed, and mistaken. They made things worse, not better. The US grew weaker..the Soviet Union grew stronger..Carter's unilateral restraint in developing and deploying weapons systems was accompanied by an unprecendant Soviet military and political buildup.....
....(they)developed missiles of stunning speed and accuracy and targeted cities of our friends in Europe"

Gotta love appeasement!! Democrats left us vulnerable then and once again wanted to do the same with Shitdam.
They forgot that WE HAD APPEASED HIM ...and yet he invaded Kuwait,where he ruthlessly murdered babies and whole families...killing 400 civilians in 7 months...and brutalizing thousands more.

Yet you, Anonymous, and all your liberal friends;those adorable peace loving Dumocrats; who claim to be the party of compassion and human rights,but refuse to rise to the defense of victims of brutal regimes, seem to view Saddam as some benevolent grandfather, yet believe Pres Bush is the evil one! Last time I looked..you didnt have your tongue cut off for voicing your dissent about his policies!

Maybe if Pres Clinton hadn't so busy "not having sex with that woman" and maybe if he hadn't been so busy having his balls licked by Monica -he might have had used them to be more aggressive with Al Queda when they first attacked the WTC and maybe over 2000 innocent americans - liberals and republicans - black and white - jews christians muslims aethiests and securalists, would not have died on Sept 11th 2001!

That is the price WE paid for Carter's appeasement in Iran and Clinton's inability to confront evil!
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 09/05/2005 0:53 Comments || Top||

#3  In fact, Al Qaeda carried out 9/11 to drive a wedge between Uncle Sam and existing Arab governments

You're giving AQ way too much credit. They did it because they wanted to kill Americans in a spectacular fashion. There was no "foreign policy" involved here. Binny et al. are simpleton thugs (with Swiss bank accounts). That's all there is to it.

I recommend Peter Bergen's Holy War Inc, for an excellent background on Binny (written mostly before 9-11).
Posted by: Rafael || 09/05/2005 1:56 Comments || Top||

#4  R: You're giving AQ way too much credit. They did it because they wanted to kill Americans in a spectacular fashion. There was no "foreign policy" involved here. Binny et al. are simpleton thugs (with Swiss bank accounts). That's all there is to it.

Simpletons would not have been able to kill 1,800 GI's. They're ill-equipped and cash-poor compared to the mean green machine, but they're no dummies Our boys encountered simpleton thugs in the Dominican Republic, Panama and Grenada - we crushed them like bugs. By contrast, al Qaeda has inflicted the highest number of military dead we've encountered, post-WWII, outside of Vietnam and Korea.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 09/05/2005 2:21 Comments || Top||

#5  ZF -
In July 1876 the aboriginals killed 212 of Custer's command in one day. BTW, that was in a population of 38M, extrapolated that would be above 1,500 casualties in our population of 280M. Natives may be crafty and brave, but in the long run, their goals and means are indeed simple. Our casualties are a reflection of our unwillingness to practice war in the Mongol school of utter destruction which, whether you like it or not, has shown historically to cow the remaining local and regional populations into submission.
Posted by: Glolurong Chailet2972 || 09/05/2005 4:38 Comments || Top||

#6  GC: In July 1876 the aboriginals killed 212 of Custer's command in one day. BTW, that was in a population of 38M, extrapolated that would be above 1,500 casualties in our population of 280M. Natives may be crafty and brave, but in the long run, their goals and means are indeed simple.

The Sioux, like the other Indian tribes in the Americas, were a Stone Age people before Europeans showed up. Arabs have thousands of years of military and diplomatic traditions behind them. Zawahiri is a doctor. Bin Laden is an engineer and a scion of the Saudi equivalent of the Rockefellers, the Morgans and the Carnegies all rolled into one.

To us, pitting one enemy against another may be deep strategy, since we've never really had to it. But that's a classic tactic in much of the rest of the world. There is a reason that bin Laden keeps on referring to the Crusades, Andalusia and so on - these guys are steeped in the moves and counter-moves of the wars of jihad. The primary difference between then and now is that the forces of the Caliphate had a fine military instrument with which to work their will, whereas today's jihadists are working with scraps.

But even Muhammad started with nothing, and he and his successors built that into an empire that covered big chunks of Africa, Asia and Europe. What bin Laden is trying to do is get a country, much as Muhammad's success started with getting a city-state. For a short time, he had Afghanistan, with Mullah Muhammad as his figurehead. The problem with Afghanistan is that it was too remote and it was too poor. He needs a country with resources. And that is why he is fighting in Iraq. If he wins in Iraq, he's got a country that is producing 2m barrels of oil a year under his thumb. For al Qaeda, fighting in Iraq makes sense, not merely to kill Americans - that's merely a side benefit - but to obtain the resources to get to the next stage - waging jihad against the other Arab states, not by invasion, but via guerrilla movements.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 09/05/2005 11:04 Comments || Top||

#7  The Sioux, like the other Indian tribes in the Americas, were a Stone Age people before Europeans showed up. Arabs have thousands of years of military and diplomatic traditions behind them.

*sigh*

The Sioux also had thousands of years of military and diplomatic tradition behind them. Just because they were fighting other redskins doesn't mean they never learned anything.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 09/05/2005 11:09 Comments || Top||

#8  RC: The Sioux also had thousands of years of military and diplomatic tradition behind them. Just because they were fighting other redskins doesn't mean they never learned anything.

These were oral traditions, which is why you can't trace Sioux history back very far. Arab military and diplomatic history goes back 5,000 years. This has nothing to do with bloodlines and everything to do with the availability of historical materials from which to draw strategic lessons.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 09/05/2005 11:15 Comments || Top||

#9  I'd say a bigger difference was that the Iraqi's had oil and the Souix didn't.

Timing is everything.
Posted by: Mrs. Davis || 09/05/2005 11:19 Comments || Top||

#10  RC: The Sioux also had thousands of years of military and diplomatic tradition behind them. Just because they were fighting other redskins doesn't mean they never learned anything.

The other aspect is that the Sioux were a Stone Age culture that may have numbered a few hundred thousand at their peak. The Arabs established an empire with a total population in the tens of millions. The two are simply not in the same league.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 09/05/2005 11:20 Comments || Top||

#11  MD: I'd say a bigger difference was that the Iraqi's had oil and the Souix didn't. Timing is everything.

Oil was discovered in the Middle East in the 20th century. Prior to that, the main source of wealth for the region was agriculture and the control of trade routes between Europe and Asia.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 09/05/2005 11:22 Comments || Top||

#12  This has nothing to do with bloodlines and everything to do with the availability of historical materials from which to draw strategic lessons.

Those strategic lessons sure as hell have helped the Arabs succeed in the modern world, haven't they? When was the last war won by an Arab army? Excepting an accident of nature and their own excess population, what exports come from the Arab world? Excepting fatwas and rehashed Nazi propaganda, what do they contribute to the world's knowledge supply?

So they've managed to kill lots of people. In the process they've achieved how many of their goals?

None. Bugger all.

That's not impressive. It's pathetic.

So is admiring their "prowess".
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 09/05/2005 11:36 Comments || Top||

#13  RC: Those strategic lessons sure as hell have helped the Arabs succeed in the modern world, haven't they? When was the last war won by an Arab army? Excepting an accident of nature and their own excess population, what exports come from the Arab world? Excepting fatwas and rehashed Nazi propaganda, what do they contribute to the world's knowledge supply?

So they've managed to kill lots of people. In the process they've achieved how many of their goals?

None. Bugger all.


I believe we were talking about the relative achievements of the Sioux and the Arabs - and the availability of historical examples from which al Qaeda could draw strategic lessons. You suggested that the Sioux and the Arab record were equivalent. I explained why they weren't. The bottom line is that al Qaeda aren't the simpletons that some people think they are, and pitting one enemy against another isn't beyond the ken of al Qaeda operatives.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 09/05/2005 12:04 Comments || Top||

#14  The Arab cultural tradition involves cleverly creating elaborate Gordonian(?) knots. Our cultural tradition involves slicing through them. And, we've got very sharp knives to pit against their cleverness.
Posted by: trailing wife || 09/05/2005 16:54 Comments || Top||

#15  TW: The Arab cultural tradition involves cleverly creating elaborate Gordonian(?) knots. Our cultural tradition involves slicing through them. And, we've got very sharp knives to pit against their cleverness.

Actually, we've created elaborate Gordian knots for the simple reason that it's too much like work and too expensive to fight everyone who doesn't think exactly like us. This is why we have good relations with a lot of Arab and Muslim nations - despite the fact that we have very little in common. If we were going up against every single one of these nations, the Iraqi venture would be a lot more expensive. Al Qaeda's the one using its sword to slice through these Gordian knots to sunder the ties that bind Uncle Sam to its Arab allies. And as of today, it is unlikely that it will succeed.

Arab governments want to stay in power. Uncle Sam can provide them with the training and equipment to fight domestic insurrectionists. From the American standpoint, using local auxiliaries (Arab countries) to fight your enemy (al Qaeda) is an ancient Roman strategy. We are merely rehashing what the Romans used to good effect for centuries.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 09/05/2005 17:22 Comments || Top||

#16  We are merely rehashing what the Romans used to good effect for centuries.

Thank God for the Romans and the Arab fighting nation, else there'd be nothing new under the sun.
Posted by: Sitting Sneer || 09/05/2005 19:58 Comments || Top||

#17  SS: Thank God for the Romans and the Arab fighting nation, else there'd be nothing new under the sun.

Actually, the only thing new under the sun is the technology we use to achieve our ends. It's all been done before, in one way or another. That's why military guys spend so much time dissecting historical battles, and diplomats spend time reading about the interactions among the ancient states.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 09/05/2005 20:15 Comments || Top||


Israel-Palestine
Paleo homes razed in mob fury at couple's 'affair'
The only brewery in the Palestinian territories escaped an attack yesterday by a mob that razed a dozen homes over an alleged affair between a Christian man whose family owns the beer factory and a Muslim woman from a neighbouring village who was then murdered by her own family.

The attack on Taybeh, a wholly Christian village which gives its name to a popular Palestinian beer, came despite appeals from residents to their neighbours in Deir Jarir to refrain from violence while the body of the murdered 25-year-old woman, identified only as Haim, was disinterred for DNA tests to try to ascertain if she had sex with the accused man, Mahdi Abu Houria. "Because we were afraid of what would happen, we got permission from Abu Mazen [the Palestinian president] to dig her up from her grave and have DNA testing," said Maria Khoury, the wife of Taybeh's mayor who co-owns the brewery. "You can't just accuse someone without evidence. They buried without testing. We are very suspicious that this family raped their daughter and buried her and they want to find an excuse to destroy our village."
Not that such a thing has ever happened before in the Muslim world. Wonder why the dhimmis are complaining publicly?
The accused woman was murdered by her family last week in an "honour killing" after the alleged affair was made public. Palestinian women's groups say that women are sometimes killed after being raped by relatives who then attempt to shift responsibility for pregnancy to an innocent man.
And if the innocent man is an infidel, so much the better.
Abu Houria was arrested by the Palestinian police after he was accused of the affair and is being held in "protective custody" in prison where his family says he is routinely beaten.

Despite the pleas to wait for the results of the DNA test, Taybeh's residents say hundreds of men descended on the village in the middle of the night. "They came from Deir Jarir, the Muslim village, armed, and they threw petrol and they lit up one home right after another," said Mrs Khoury. "They burned 12 homes down which are those of the accused man and every member of his family, third cousins, fourth cousins, anyone related. We have 12 homeless families without clothes, without anything.
Par for the course.
"These are fanatics who take the law into their own hands. If one person is guilty that person deserves punishment, not the whole village."
"Hey, that ain't Islamic justice you're talking about!"
The brewery was founded by Nadim Khoury a decade ago when he returned to the Palestinian territories after living for nearly 20 years in Boston. He and about 25 other residents of the village are naturalised American citizens. The family says it attempted to enlist the help of the US consulate in Jerusalem during the attack but it said that the only action it could take was to inform the Israeli army.

"The Israeli army came in, looked around, smiled and left," said Mrs Khoury. "The whole village is a peaceful village."
"Except when the Muslims are burning it, of course."
"We don't participate in resistance [against the Israeli occupation] and we really don't want to be burned down. We are very afraid. These people will come back."
Well yeah, they prol'ly will, since you're such easy marks.
The Israeli army said that when it arrived at the scene it concluded there was no imminent danger to life and, in accordance with agreements, waited for Palestinian forces to arrive and quell the disturbance.
Posted by: Steve White || 09/05/2005 00:12 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [257 views] Top|| File under:

#1  (li)You are Christians, if you haven't noticed you are getting scarce in Paleo parts. They don't want you and really don't claim you. Ask Hamas.

(li)If you are US Citizens leave this hole and move to some place much safer like East LA.

(li)Do you really think the PA is going to look out for you?
Posted by: Sock Puppet O´ Doom || 09/05/2005 1:33 Comments || Top||

#2  They seem like reasonable people. Let's give them a country!
Posted by: WhiteCollarRedneck || 09/05/2005 10:25 Comments || Top||

#3  "After Saturday, comes Sunday."

- Paleo saying/threat
Posted by: 11A5S || 09/05/2005 10:26 Comments || Top||

#4  "And the Sun Also Rises" Ernest Hemingway
Posted by: macofromoc || 09/05/2005 11:24 Comments || Top||

#5  "I'm seething"
"No, I'm seething more!"
"Why, you...."
Posted by: Frank G || 09/05/2005 13:50 Comments || Top||

#6  al-guardian is to be commended for reporting this; however, the headline should have read, "Christian Homes Razed in Muslim Mob Fury..."
Posted by: mhw || 09/05/2005 18:28 Comments || Top||


Home Front: Tech
Oddity: The New US Army Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH)
Just as the Kevlar PASGT helmet replaced the World War II M-1 Helmet, the Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) replaced the PASGT (or Kraut)(*) helmet in the U.S. armed services in 2004.
Advanced Combat HelmetThe Advanced Combat Helmet (ACH) is one of the fourteen Rapid Fielding Initiative items developed in 2004 for deploying soldiers on their way to Iraq or Afghanistan.

The ACH is made of a new type of Kevlar, that provides improved ballistic and impact protection. Tests show it will withstand a hit from a 9mm round at close range, a test th e PASGT would fail. The ACH as a platform is compatible with the current night vision devices, communications packages, and NBC defense (Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical) equipment, although some special mounting kits are needed to achieve compatibility.

The ACH is smaller and 3.5 lbs lighter then the PASGT model and is cushioned on the inside, which sits more comfortably on a soldiers head. It also has a different suspension system inside that allows a soldier to fight more effectively when wearing body armor.

The ACH allows maximum sensory and situational awareness for the operator. This includes an unobstructed field of view and increased ambient hearing capabilities.

The ACH's retention/suspension system provides unsurpassed balance, stability, and comfort. This system provides for proper size, fit, and ventilation. The ACH’s pad suspension system provides superior impact protection throughout all operational scenarios, including static-line airborne operations.
(*)Actually, I believe that it is better known as the "Fritz" design. Isn't it an odd looking monster?
Posted by: Anonymoose || 09/05/2005 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [411 views] Top|| File under:

#1 

Yeah, looks very open on the ears but if it can withstand more damage, all good!
Posted by: Slugum Javing2724 || 09/05/2005 2:58 Comments || Top||

#2  Speaking as an old grunt : "If it looks stupid or ugly, but works, you have misunderstood the intent."
Helmets are not a fashion accessory, they are there to protect your head and keep your brains in said head.
Posted by: Shieldwolf || 09/05/2005 3:02 Comments || Top||

#3  The Marines are keeping the old design, just upgrading the Kevlar. The old design was done by engineers, this one is done by opinion. The main grip being the back of the 'Fritz' and body armor would jam when the soldiers were in a prone position. I suspect there are going to be more casualties with wounds in the more exposed portions compared to the old design. Looks more like the old WWII British Para helmet this time around.
Posted by: Glolurong Chailet2972 || 09/05/2005 4:28 Comments || Top||

#4  I think its the Mitch helmet. But speaking from experience when you dive into the prone and try to fire a weapon, the old helmet hits your body armor and pushes the front of the old helmet over your eyes. The same happens in fields of view. You can not look up with the old helmet on. You have to arch your back and twist. It's a pain. Engineers are great guys, by evidence of it being lighter, but the old helmet was not designed to be worn with the new body armor system. It really does not matter if the troops like it or not, troops will wear what they are told to wear, most agree that the new helmet is better to wear when you need to see and move in a fight.
Posted by: 49 pan || 09/05/2005 9:48 Comments || Top||

#5  Since we have some good opinions, here, if you could add what you wanted, what would you add and why?

Personally, I would go for a Humvee-style philosophy of design. That is, have all sorts of augumentations as options to the helmet. Worry less about the "every soldier an infantryman" concept, and give them helmets optimized both for protection and for efficiency based on their job and location.

That is, an infantryman's helmet is optimized for closing with and defeating the enemy while protecting himself.

A field officer's helmet should be fully integrated with his unit high tech, more concerned with directing the flow of battle than fighting himself.

Eschelon soldiers concerned with IEDs, bomb attacks and snipers need defensive, not offensive helmets. This could include mideval-style neck protectors, clear or extra-strong face plates, flash protection, extra hearing and vision protection, etc.

Rear area soldiers need your basic "run-away" or "hit-the-dirt" helmet. That is, minimal fragmentary protection for un- or lightly-armed personnel. Such a helmet would be very light, and may even have soft, removeable, anti-frag "drapes" descending from its sides and back, along with a clear face shield that can be pulled down from the front of the helmet.

Observation personnel could have plug-on sensors for any number of purposes. Telescopes, digital cameras, IR, night vision, sound amplifying, all on the *outside* of the helmet. He sees them on his face shield *virtually* inside the helmet. If they shoot the sensor, they hit his helmet, not his face.

The big one as far as I'm concerned is a fully integrated protective mask/helmet combo. Absolutely different from today, it is the only possible solution to future NBC warfare. A primary function of the helmet will be both to store the filters, and to have a fuel cell motor to *overpressure* the helmet/mask. Air is drawn in through the filters, then possibly even heated or cooled as it surrounds the head for breathing. Exhaled and extra air descend into the suit. They helmet/mask would be put on first, then the suit donned over it.

This boosts the MOPP-4 viability from a few hours to a day or two. Narrow-face chin air leakage is far less important, as are pinhole punctures or small tears.

Filter replacement is also easier. Just turn off the overpressure motor, open the helmet and replace filters, then turn the motor back on. If the filters were located on the sides, a soldier might even be able to do it himself, without removing his protection.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 09/05/2005 14:50 Comments || Top||

#6  Anonymoose, how familiar are you with the Future Combat System setup and how it is going to be rolled out?

A lot of what you recommend here is at cross-purposes to that ... just wondering if that's intentional or inadvertent.
Posted by: lotp || 09/05/2005 14:59 Comments || Top||

#7  Take off that camo cover and I'll bet it's made out of the same styrafoam as my bike helmet.
Posted by: Mrs. Davis || 09/05/2005 15:13 Comments || Top||

#8  Of course Mrs. D, thats ballistic styeafoam.

Betcha kan't kook K-rats in a ACH though.

/I lika the good "Fritz" cracker myself.
Posted by: Red Dog || 09/05/2005 18:58 Comments || Top||

#9  Some observations from a grunt

replaced the PASGT (or Kraut)(*) helmet
We did call it that.

Tests show it will withstand a hit from a 9mm round at close range, a test the PASGT would fail.
The old Kevlar wasn't designed to withstand, just redirect. I know of an engineer from the first gulf war that took an AK-47 round at close range (10-15 feet) and lived. The bullet was redirected to just graze his skull, instead of going through it. More protection is good, but hopefully they kept that old feature design.

The ACH is smaller and 3.5 lbs lighter then the PASGT...
GOOD, that old model was freaken' heavy! A friend dropped his on my foot and broke my right little toe! The old model was hot as hell too, especially in the desert. I am glad this new one has some ventilation for the skull.

...increased ambient hearing capabilities.
Another good. We would never wear a Kevlar on patrol since it really interfered with sound. You couldn't pinpoint noises and track them without sight effectively.


All in all, sounds good. My only question is, why the hell did they make it look so dorky? We are the badest military in the world. Why make us look like a bunch of bicycle dads?
Posted by: mmurray821 || 09/05/2005 20:10 Comments || Top||

#10  lotp: FCS is all well and good, but designing for the future will need to be based on the philosophy for design in the future. FCS is pre-Iraq war in its philosophy. Still clinging to the advantages of uniformity and the technologies of the time.

My point was that, in the future, instead of worrying about uniformity, helmets be designed, have a philosophy of design, for adaptability.

If they need an FCS-type helmet, use the FCS attachments. If they don't, use other modifications, to fit the soldiers' needs, much like in a Humvee. Granted there are limitations to adaptability, which you get around by having different basic styles of helmet.

One type is a combat helmet. Another is a combat support. A third is a rear area ("REMF", if you like), helmet. There may be a specialized NBC helmet, made available only for continuing operations in an NBC environment, not for a casual gas attack, say.

Each of these, and many more, wear different hats, so why shouldn't they wear different helmets?

FCS was created for the war we thought we would fight, for advantages we wanted in such a fight. But the dizzying pace of future war technologies is such that no technology, or even a philosophy of military tech, should gather dust before it is re-examined.
Posted by: Anonymoose || 09/05/2005 22:16 Comments || Top||


Iraq-Jordan
Sammy Faces Neck-stretching for Mass Killings
Ousted Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein will go on trial on a charge of mass killings on Oct. 19, Iraq’s government spokesman confirmed yesterday, raising the possibility that he could soon be hanged. “There is a date set for Oct. 19,” Laith Kubba told a news conference, adding that several of Saddam’s associates, including one of his half-brothers, would face trial with him. “They will be tried for the execution of 143 citizens.”

Kubba was referring to reprisals for an assassination attempt on Saddam in the Shiite village of Dujail in 1982, after which over 140 men from the village were killed. Iraq’s Shiite-led government has reintroduced the death penalty after it was suspended following the US invasion in March 2003. On Thursday, three convicted criminals were hanged, the first since the suspension was lifted. Saddam faces execution if found guilty.
Posted by: Fred || 09/05/2005 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [254 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I suspect the Kuwaities are standing in line too for their opportunity to engage in justice.
Posted by: Glolurong Chailet2972 || 09/05/2005 4:30 Comments || Top||


Africa: North
Algeria Referendum Boycott
Algeria’s opposition Socialist Forces Front (FFS) called yesterday for a boycott of a planned Sept. 29 referendum on a draft national reconciliation charter, saying it would “consecrate impunity” for atrocities committed in the north African country’s civil war. The FFS “cannot endorse a text that glorifies force and deprecates political mediation, consecrates impunity and amnesty, and in the end negotiates away pain and suffering,” the FFS said in a statement.
Posted by: Fred || 09/05/2005 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [260 views] Top|| File under:


Afghanistan/South Asia
Anti-Musharraf Campaign to Begin on Friday
When did it stop?
Posted by: Fred || 09/05/2005 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [270 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Boomlets to follow?
Posted by: Captain America || 09/05/2005 2:08 Comments || Top||


Africa: North
Egypt campaigns end in run-up to vote
Egypt's presidential election campaign has officially ended as an election committee spokesman said thousands of monitors wouldn't be allowed in polling stations. "We have explained more than once that whoever wants to monitor can do so outside the polling stations," Osama Attawiya said on Sunday. "But monitoring from inside is a right to all the representatives of the candidates."

Political activists pushing for the monitoring of the election planned to contest the committee's decision and demand a ruling by Egypt's administrative court allowing the monitors to enter polling stations be enforced. Egypt's government earlier rejected allowing international monitors observe the poll, claiming it infringes on Egyptian sovereignty and is opposed by Egyptians sensitive to their country's colonial past.

The campaign season was a novelty for Egyptians, who had previously only voted at referendums at which they were asked to vote "yes" or "no" for the incumbent. Mubarak has won previous referendums with more than 90% of the vote.
Gee golly gosh shucks. I'm on the edge of my seat waiting to find out who won...
Posted by: Fred || 09/05/2005 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [269 views] Top|| File under:

#1  How about a pool?

I will go with 94%.
Posted by: Jackal || 09/05/2005 20:14 Comments || Top||


Israel-Palestine
UAE denies Israeli mission in Dubai
Posted by: Fred || 09/05/2005 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [249 views] Top|| File under:


Abbas Looks for Peace Talks to Resume
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday said Mideast peace talks should resume immediately after Israel completes its Gaza withdrawal and expressed hope that a Palestinian state will be established by next year. "We live off hope," Abbas told The Associated Press. "And we hope that a Palestinian state can be achieved next year, God willing. What is important is to have the state."

In a wide-ranging interview, Abbas also pledged to bring diverse militias from the ruling Fatah movement under central control within three weeks. He said the U.S. has assured him that peace negotiations with Israel can resume as soon as Israel completes its withdrawal from Gaza, expected by Sept. 15. Israel has already evacuated some 9,000 Jewish settlers from Gaza and four isolated West Bank enclaves. U.S. Embassy spokesman Stewart Tuttle said Washington sees the Israeli withdrawal "as an opportunity to re-energize the road map," referring to an internationally-backed peace plan that calls for the creation of a Palestinian state. He said he had no information about a specific timetable.

Abbas said he has high hopes for the Palestinian economy after the Israeli pullout, which will be finished as soon as Israel completes the withdrawal of troops. "Palestinian investors are coming here to build projects," he said. "If we are successful in this endeavor then we will have accomplished something incredible, which is to pull the Palestinian people out of poverty and into prosperity."

Abbas praised Ariel Sharon's decision to leave Gaza but criticized the Israeli leader for following up the Gaza evacuation with announcements of more building in the West Bank's largest Jewish settlement. "If Mr. Sharon is facing internal problems, then I say he cannot solve one problem by creating another," Abbas said. "It was the correct decision to withdraw from Gaza, and this is a good thing, and he now must continue with the peace process." Israel has conditioned a return to negotiations on Palestinian willingness to rein in militants, especially the Islamic Hamas group.
Posted by: Fred || 09/05/2005 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [271 views] Top|| File under:


#2  Puppet boy may not live another year. Does IJ and Hamas have a copy of the Road Map? I didn't think so
Posted by: Captain America || 09/05/2005 13:26 Comments || Top||



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Two weeks of WOT
Mon 2005-09-05
  Shootout in Dammam
Sun 2005-09-04
  Bangla booms funded by Kuwaiti NGO, ordered by UK holy man
Sat 2005-09-03
  MMA seethes over Pak talks with Israel
Fri 2005-09-02
  Syria Arrests 70 Arabs Attempting to Infiltrate Iraq
Thu 2005-09-01
  Leb: More Hariri Arrests
Wed 2005-08-31
  Near 1000 dead in Baghdad stampede
Tue 2005-08-30
  Leb security bigs held in Hariri boom
Mon 2005-08-29
  Will Musharraf ban Jamaat-e-Islami and JUI?
Sun 2005-08-28
  UK draws up list of top 50 bloodthirsty holy men
Sat 2005-08-27
  Death for Musharraf plotters
Fri 2005-08-26
  1,000 German cops hunting terror suspects
Thu 2005-08-25
  UK to boot Captain Hook, al-Faqih
Wed 2005-08-24
  Binny reported injured
Tue 2005-08-23
  Bangla cops quizzing 8/17 bomb suspects
Mon 2005-08-22
  Iraq holding 281 foreign insurgent suspects

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