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Five Afghans held in Perv attack
Today's Headlines
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-Short Attention Span Theater-
Trying To Land One More Miracle: DC-10 Pilot Al Haynes Needs Your Help
KING COUNTY - A local man’s quick thinking saved the lives of 184 people, 14 years ago. Now, former United Airlines pilot Al Haynes is hoping to save another life -- his daughter’s.

Captain Al Haynes and his crew managed to crash-land a crippled DC-10 in Sioux City Iowa back in 1988. Their heroic actions saved many lives. Now, Haynes is helping his daughter raise more than $150,000 to pay for a life saving transplant.

While we were interviewing Haynes and his daughter at his SeaTac house, a survivor of Flight 232 called. "The gentleman in 13B," is how Haynes described him. He called to offer a donation and support.

Laurie Haynes Arguello needs a bone marrow transplant. She has aplastic anemia -- a potentially fatal disease. She has a donor, but doesn’t have the money needed for the surgery.

"That’s what’s really tough for me," Laurie Haynes Arguello told KOMO 4 News, "because I could have been having the transplant done and be done and be getting better by now and I’m not."

Her dad has become her chief fundraiser, sending notes to many of his old friends throughout the airline industry asking for their help.

The response has been overwhelming.

"People say, ’Well are you embarrassed they’re taking advantage of your name to do this?’ " Haynes said, "And I say no, I’m glad I can help under the circumstances because if we didn’t have that (name recognition) we’d be in a world of hurt."

His family has seen its share of hurt. Al’s wife died four years ago. His oldest son was killed in a motorcycle crash two years before that. Now his daughter is fighting for her life.

But many who survived Flight 232 with Captain Al Haynes have not forgotten what he did for them. That’s why the "gentleman in 13B" called to pledge money, to help the man who saved so many lives save one more.

"It’s overwhelming," Laurie said reacting to the phone call, "it makes me want to cry. The fact that they would want to help -- it’s truly fabulous."

For More Information:


Donations can be sent to:

NFT (National Foundation for Transplants)
P.O. Box 7781
Covington, WA 98042

Posted by: Frank Martin || 12/29/2003 10:32:59 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [261 views] Top|| File under:

Offbeat stories vie for attention
OT I know, but it’s year’s end.
Every year, thousands of news stories get overlooked, lost beneath the welter of major international events.
Most of them with good reason, we might add...
They are, for the most part, simple matters with a human dimension, not involving world leaders, war or other political upheaval, stories which illustrate the extraordinary in the everyday, the amusing, absurd and the downright bizarre occurrences which can befall any of us.
You might even call them "goofy."
Here, then, is a selection of some of those "offbeat" stories which offer an insight into human nature but which may have been overshadowed by more weightier news items in 2003.
  • OSLO: A state visit to Norway by Kyrgyzstan President Askar Akajev ended in diplomatic disarray when none of his hosts wanted to accept his gift, a pair of extremely rare and expensive Taigan puppy dogs, of which there are only about 100 left. The President was told at Trondheim airport in the north of the country that he could not bring them into Norway, which has strict quarantine rules.
    "Those... those are dogs?"
    "They look like... ummm... possums."
    "With catfish lips."
    "And they smell funny."

  • MOSGIEL (New Zealand): Organisers of a Christmas grotto banned children from sitting on Santa’s knee because they feared being held responsible if anything untoward happened. Instead, the children had to sit next to him, on special "elf chairs", as they discuss their Christmas wish list.
    "Keep yer hands to yerself, Beardo!"

  • HELSINKI: A Finnish judge who often rules in drink-driving cases landed on the other side of the bench when she was charged with being drunk in charge of a court. The judge, a woman in her late 50s, was trying a criminal case when lawyers said they believed she was inebriated and an alcohol test showed her blood-alcohol level was more than three times over Finland’s legal limit for driving.
    "Well, what the hell? I washn't drivin' anything!"

  • VOLGODONSK, Russia: Alexander Nakonechny triumphed at a vodka drinking marathon after downing three half-litre mugs in quick succession but was unable to collect his prize of 10 bottles of the stuff when he dropped dead on the spot. The contest also left four other men fighting for their lives at the local hospital but a woman who took part managed to stagger out of the clinic a few hours after being rushed there and having her stomach pumped.
    "Lookit dat! Nakonechny's dead! Don't that mean he'sh dishqualified?"

  • ISTANBUL: A woman locked her rich industrialist husband naked in the bathroom for three years claiming he was mentally disturbed. His crime? Taking three showers a day. Orhan Babutcu, 41, was found naked with a bowl on the floor for his food. "Her goal was to make me sick so that I die and she inherits my fortune," he said, adding that his wife had been living it up with other men while he was locked in the bathroom.
    I certainly hope that's grounds for divorce in Turkey...

  • ZURICH: A Swiss-based underwear maker has developed a hightech bra which it claims will help women quit smoking thanks to perfumed capsules which give cigarettes an unpleasant taste and soothe withdrawal symptoms. Triumph International said the capsules contain lavender scent, which has sedative properties, as well as normally sweetsmelling jasmine that alters the taste of cigarettes. The company said the bra was also treated with liquid titanium to break down cigarette smoke.
    The only problem is that it has to be supercooled, which causes the bosom to shatter if struck sharply...

  • KUALA LUMPUR: A Malaysian man who sought treatment for swelling in his eye had a shock when doctors found a six-centimetre length of chopstick embedded just beneath his brain. It was believed to have been lodged there five years ago during an attack by unknown assailants.
    I can't recall ever having been attacked with chopsticks in my life...

  • LANCIANI (Italy): An Italian couple were given suspended jail sentences for indecent exposure after being caught making love in their parked car. Nothing unusual in that, except that rather against the odds the game couple were aged 86 and 74 and they were denounced by a group of prudish teenage schoolgirls.
    Hey, at that age you don't want to lose the moment. There's no guarantee it'll ever come again. Little bitches. I hope they all get pregnant out of wedlock. At age 74.

  • LAGOS: A doctor was shot dead by a patient who was testing the potency of an anti-bullet charm the doctor had prepared for him. Ashi Terfa died when patient Umaa Akor fired a gun at his head after he had tied the charm around his neck. The man was charged with culpable homicide and released on bail.
    This is the fourth time this particular fatality has appeared here. Is this some sort of message from the Lord?
Posted by: tipper || 12/29/2003 8:13:14 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [276 views] Top|| File under:

#1  We had the Russian vodka drinking. I remember discussing how long the corpse would provide energy for the region.

The doctor shot to death we had twice. It still brings a smile to my face.

And the Instabul one I remember shuddering at. All the others are new to me.

I wish I could have helped study the "Results" from the Swiss-bra.
Posted by: Charles || 12/29/2003 20:48 Comments || Top||

IndyMedia on the ropes?
LGF has information about trouble IndyMedia is having staying on line. Citing being forced to move from donated machines on short notice, they are begging for equipment and donations.

If this is true, this is happy news.
Posted by: badanov || 12/29/2003 12:06:46 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [348 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Very happy news, badanov!
Posted by: Jennie Taliaferro || 12/29/2003 0:14 Comments || Top||

#2  The LGF regulars ("to morlocks* as morlocks are to eloi") are really whooping it up at this wonderful news; sticking the knife in and twisting it, with tabasco sauce on the blade.
(BTW, rumors of my death were not, in fact, greatly exaggerated. I suffered the annoyance of a heart attack a while back and was out of action for a while. Contrary to some reports, and some wishful thinking, this had nothing to do with Rantburg and the ravings of lefty trolls. As you see, I survived, much to the horror of some and the relief of the anointed.)
*Charles, High Priest and Lizard-King at LGF, refers to Indymedia devotees as "morlocks", from the brutish cannibalistic underground dwellers in HG Wells' The Time Machine.
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 12/29/2003 1:24 Comments || Top||

#3  It took me 12 years, but I finally have found something good in the planned obsolescence of the computer industry. Like the rising tide that floats all boats, the obsolescence of computers affects all servers, even the ugly ones.

I suspect that they'll get their donations, though, because the libs have a lot riding on the IndyMedia concept.
Posted by: Rivrdog || 12/29/2003 2:08 Comments || Top||

#4  You might be right, dog.
But there is a silver-lining in every cloud, as indicated by this post at LGF.

The open line publishing system at Indymedia gave false flag propagandists an open highway into the hearts and minds of the morlocks.

Obviously, the Indy mob were aware of this, but they never showed much ability to discern the real thing, despite their constant paranoid yammering about "COINTELPRO."
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 12/29/2003 2:33 Comments || Top||

#5  Death pool at the Futures Market for al-Indymedia?
Posted by: Mahmoud, the Weasel || 12/29/2003 2:35 Comments || Top||

#6  Welcome back AC, glad to see you on the mend.
Posted by: Gasse Katze || 12/29/2003 3:30 Comments || Top||

#7  Indy media's website was paid for by somebody called Richard Stallman. The name may not mean a lot to the average Rantburger but he is well known is the software biz, and coincidentally a friend of mine was ranting about him today on a totally different subject. Stallman is the archetype loony lefty who got fairly rich almost by total accident.

Wonder why he changed his mind about funding Indymedia. Maybe an attack of concience?
Posted by: Anonymous || 12/29/2003 5:18 Comments || Top||

#8  I don't know if IM's potential demise is a good thing or not.... they acted unknowingly as a troll cage.
Posted by: Shipman || 12/29/2003 8:34 Comments || Top||

#9  welcome back AC - good health in '04 to ya!
Posted by: Frank G || 12/29/2003 9:28 Comments || Top||

#10  Don't the EPA or local health authorites have regulations regarding pollution if these toxic turds are flushed down the toilet?
Posted by: ScottAK || 12/29/2003 10:03 Comments || Top||

#11  Glad to you see you back, A.C.!
Posted by: Raj || 12/29/2003 10:49 Comments || Top||

#12  Welcome back, AC, and bestt wishes for better health in the new year. Can somebody tell me what COINTELPRO is?
Posted by: seafarious || 12/29/2003 10:54 Comments || Top||

#13  ???http://cointelprotool.blogspot.com/???

Posted by: Anonymous || 12/29/2003 11:02 Comments || Top||

#14  I hope they stay in business, better they are in the open and everyone can see how bankrupt their ideas are. Lok how well DU has shown the spotlight on the liberal cause.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge (VRWC CA Chapter) || 12/29/2003 11:07 Comments || Top||

#15  Karl Rove. Send them a check. They're one of your best weapons.
Posted by: tu3031 || 12/29/2003 11:11 Comments || Top||

#16  As I understand it, COINTELPRO is the legendary CIA/FBI effort to infiltrate the anti-war movement in the 60s. It's "legendary" because the left has taken what was just the common police practice of using undercover agents to find information and turned it into a grand conspiracy responsible for every one of the left's excesses during the 60s, 70s, and on towards today.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 12/29/2003 11:13 Comments || Top||

#17  Ladies and gentleman. I give you Rantburg U.
Posted by: Lucky || 12/29/2003 12:15 Comments || Top||

#18  As a former Spook, let me enlighten you. COINTELPRO is a simple military program that has migrated into mainstream usage because of the CIA/FBI programs of the 60's and 70's. It's an acronym for "COUNTER INTELLIGENCE PROGRAMS", a blanket identification for everything from "spoofing" to sending blatantly screwball messages to adding padding to the front, middle, and/or end of a message - such as the "turkey trots to water" and "the whole world wants to know" from famous WWII messages. Its purpose is to try to throw off the bad guys and give them heartburn, make it harder for them to collect intelligence on our forces and government, and even harder still to understand what they do get. No great conspiracy, just plain common sense and normal military operations. Since the loonely left never bothers to even TRY to understand military operations, it's all a grand conspiracy to them.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 12/29/2003 12:38 Comments || Top||

#19  Don't you like it when they put the footnotes at the bottom of the page, where you can quickly access them, digest their information and then just as quickly carry on with the main text.
Posted by: Lucky || 12/29/2003 13:14 Comments || Top||

#20  Rantburg U.,Indeed.
Come to Rantburg and learn!
Espionage,Pollitix,(brain lock,can't spell),Religion and associated madmen.

I bow to the Proffeser.
Posted by: raptor || 12/29/2003 13:26 Comments || Top||

#21  For some stupid reason, every time I hear that name "COINTELPRO" I think of the firm that services the washing machines and clothes dryers in the laundry rooms of my apartment complex....
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 12/29/2003 13:50 Comments || Top||

#22  So like, I started crawling through IM's various international sites, and through their various articles and peoples' comments, and I came across something like this: "If it wasn't for the White House and Wall Street supporting Hitler, WW2 never would have happened."
I'm not at all acquainted with the IM sites. Is this their typical clientele??? If it is, I would have to agree with Shipman. We need special cages for these people.
Posted by: RW2004 || 12/29/2003 14:00 Comments || Top||

#23  Atomic Conspiracy! I don't know if you remember me (rubysue from Bad Astronomy and Skeptical Friends), but I'm glad to see that you are back in action and hope you have recovered. I spend my time now mostly reading (and very occasionally posting) on my favorite blogs (this one, LGF, Tim Blair, Den Beste, Instapundit, etc.).
Posted by: rubysue || 12/29/2003 14:08 Comments || Top||


Posted by: Shipman || 12/29/2003 17:31 Comments || Top||

#25  Great to hear you're still with us, A.C.! Keep getting healthier!

As for Indymedia, et al, I subscribe to the troll cage school of thought. I'm as big a civil liberterian as anyone but I certainly hope that whatever COINTELPRO-style program we might have under the Patriot Act is reading that site and taking notes. Most are wussies but there are bound to some Sirhan Sirhan types out there.
Posted by: JDB || 12/29/2003 18:54 Comments || Top||

#26  #23 Ruby! Of course I remember you. I quoted you on LGF just yesterday, on the Indymedia belly-up string:

"(Indymedia)...powered by 12 volt organic solar cells hung from the roof of the unabomber's outhouse."
It's one of my favorites and never fails to get laughs.

(Fifth Column Watch is still up, I post once in a while to preserve the archive but, like you, I have switched mostly to the blogs.)

I've given up completely on SFN, now that the Hate America Mob and Michael Moore=God Cult have taken over.
Everyone else, thanks for your good wishes. It's good to be back.

As for COINTELPRO, as lefty paranoids use the term, none other than Attorney-General Ramsey Clark was the originator of the program to infiltrate the 60s anti-war movement.
This is at least spooky, and possibly far more than that.
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 12/29/2003 19:24 Comments || Top||

#27  As always, Rantburg is the place to go for the facts. Thanks to everyone who helped answer my question.

Personally, I think COINTELPRO is hard to pronounce and looks quite ominous on the printed page. It's easy to see how the term could be ascribed to eeeevil G-men "out to get you".
Posted by: Seafarious || 12/29/2003 22:00 Comments || Top||

Boat Boyz Bagram Bound
Ten men captured recently aboard boats carrying drugs in the Persian Gulf area have been taken for questioning to a U.S. prison in Afghanistan, a U.S. defense official said Monday.
They are held on Bagram Air Base north of the Afghan capital of Kabul and are being questioned about suspected connections to Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida terrorist network, the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Only very special guests are invited to Bagram.
The U.S. military has more than 100 people in custody at the Bagram facility, U.S. military spokesman Lt. Col. Bryan Hilferty said recently.
Gitmo is mostly a holding area, Bagram is where people go to, well, no one really knows. It’s a black hole.
Three of the 10 men transported to Bagram were captured Dec. 15 by the U.S. Navy aboard a small wooden vessel called a dhow, which the Navy said was carrying nearly two tons of hashish in the Persian Gulf. The Navy said some of the crew were suspected of having al-Qaida connections. The seven others were captured in a raid Dec. 20 on two other dhows that were sailing in the northern Arabian Sea. U.S. officials said one of the dhows was transporting heroin and the other had methamphetamines. The Navy said at the time that it was investigating potential al-Qaida connections to the drug-running operations. Australian, British, New Zealand and U.S. air forces tracked the two dhows for two days after receiving intelligence information gleaned from the Dec. 15 seizure.
Posted by: Steve || 12/29/2003 3:52:49 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [266 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Bon voyage, boat boyz!
Posted by: seafarious || 12/29/2003 15:58 Comments || Top||

#2  Crystal Meth, too? Wait until the Hells Angels hear about this... That is their franchise!
They will be biking to Bagram before you know it.
Posted by: Capsu78 || 12/29/2003 17:02 Comments || Top||

#3  Mullah Omar gonna get dogpiled by the best.
Posted by: Shipman || 12/29/2003 17:33 Comments || Top||

#4  Hells Angels biking to Bagram? Doesn't Afghanistan have enough problems with the Talib bikers?
Posted by: OminousWhatever || 12/29/2003 18:08 Comments || Top||

Two Pakistanis, one Afghan arrested in Kabul
Afghan authorities today arrested two Pakistani nationals and an Afghan who are alleged to have links with the ousted Taliban and al-Qaeda, state-run television said. One of the arrested men was dressed as a woman in a burqa, a veil that covers the body from head to toe.
Burqa wearing men usually are on somebody’s wanted list, either that, or he just likes playing dress up.
"Mahmoud! We can't go to Kabul! What if somebody recognizes my face?"
"Here! Put this burka on. Nobody'll expect you to be disguised as a woman!"
"Hmmm... This feels kinda... nice."
’’During the investigation, the (arrested men) confessed to having connections with the Taliban and al-Qaeda network,’’ Kabul TV quoted security sources as saying.
"Lookit dat, Masood! Another of those 6-foot women, wearing combat boots and smellin' of see-gars!"
"Stick 'em up, 'girlie'!"
The report quoted the men as saying they had been hiding in a northern district of Afghanistan since the fall of the Taliban, but security sources have rejected that claim.
"Mahmoud! We gotta get out of this shipping container! I really gotta pee!"
’’It is believed that these people entered Afghanistan for terrorist purposes,’’ the TV report said quoting security sources.
Tap, nope.
Posted by: Steve || 12/29/2003 2:17:54 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [251 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I wonder if they're going to televise the guy's gynecological exam, like they did Sammy's teeth...?
Posted by: Fred || 12/29/2003 14:20 Comments || Top||

#2  he's dilated to 18 cm
Posted by: Frank G || 12/29/2003 16:53 Comments || Top||

#3  My ears are buzzing... I need to lie down, don't want to think about 18cm... nitey nite.
Posted by: Shipman || 12/29/2003 17:36 Comments || Top||

Kabul suicide boom kills 5
Five Afghan security officials were killed in Kabul on Sunday when a “terrorist” they had detained blew himself up, a Defence Ministry spokesman said.
Does that mean they're "dead"?
The blast, at around 5:30pm, destroyed the car in which the six men were sitting just south of the Kabul airport. “Altogether six people were killed,” the spokesman said. “We believe Dr Jalal, head of Fahim’s personal security, was killed when the terrorist that was caught set off explosive devices he had attached to his body. The bodies are beyond recognition.” A Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the suicide blast and warned that another 60 suicide bombers planning to attack foreigners had entered Kabul. The spokesman said the bombers would attack peacekeeping troops, coalition forces and people working for the UN and NGOs. “The attack was carried out by martyred Abdullah, 35 years old and a citizen of Chechnya. He was walking toward the ISAF base in Kabul airport to carry out a suicide attack.”
Yeah. That Afghan resistance. Made up of Paks and Chechens.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 12/29/2003 2:55:08 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [258 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Memo to Afghan security: #1 - Catch suspect, #2 - frisk suspect, if bomb vest found, remove same, #3 - hand cuff suspect's body.
Posted by: Steve || 12/29/2003 8:57 Comments || Top||

#2  ps to Steve's memo: #4 transport to police station by dragging suspect chained to reaar bumper. #5 Interrogate remains
Posted by: Frank G || 12/29/2003 9:31 Comments || Top||

#3  I can't get over how sloppy Afghans are about security. First, there was the Massoud assassination. Then, there was the prison revolt that killed Mike Spann, the CIA operative. And now this. I think the US presence will persist for decades - the Afghans are just too incompetent to hold off the jihadis.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 12/29/2003 11:57 Comments || Top||

#4  It's because they have that liking for guns, but no liking for discipline, either self- or imposed. Allah will take care of the details... and somebody will do the maintenance.
Posted by: Fred || 12/29/2003 12:46 Comments || Top||

#5  Fred, you've been reading Kipling again.
Posted by: G || 12/29/2003 13:24 Comments || Top||

#6  You just know Fred's got a pith helmet stashed somewhere. :)
Posted by: Shipman || 12/29/2003 13:40 Comments || Top||

#7  Hurree Chunder Mukkerjee and I get a lot of laffs out of this site...
Posted by: Fred || 12/29/2003 14:20 Comments || Top||

Morality Police to Ban New Year Trinkets
Morality police in southern Saudi Arabia plan to conduct raids to ensure that shops do not sell flowers, candles and gifts to those planning to celebrate New Year, a local newspaper reported on Monday.
"Stop that unseemly frivolty and mirth!"
The Arabic-language al-Watan said the Authority for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice (APVPV) in Assir province was determined to uphold a ban by the conservative Muslim kingdom on non-Muslim celebrations. "Patrols will be dispatched to gift and flower shops in the next two days before the New Year to ensure that ornaments are not sold for New Year celebrations," al-Watan quoted the local APVPV head as saying.
Is this the most important thing they have to worry about in Soddy Arabia?
The authority — a nest of blue-nosed lunatics pillar of the ultra-conservative kingdom since its founding — had also banned Christmas ornaments from shops. It also bans shops from carrying Valentine's Day gifts. "For Muslims, there are only two holidays in a year: Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha," the official said, referring to the Muslim feasts that follow the annual fasting month of Ramadan and the haj pilgrimage to Mecca. Answerable only to King Fahd and separate from ordinary police, members of the authority patrol the streets with police escort, ensuring that their strict interpretation of Islamic customs are upheld.
... and that nobody, anywhere, under any circumstances, enjoys themselves...
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 12/29/2003 16:26 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [255 views] Top|| File under:

#1  ...and here they are, folks! The Hall Monitors of Saudi Arabia! Lets all give 'em a big hand!
Posted by: tu3031 || 12/29/2003 16:33 Comments || Top||

#2  How about a digit, the one next to my index finger?
Posted by: Raj || 12/29/2003 17:06 Comments || Top||

#3  I have an uneasy feeling that in the end, we're just going to have to exterminate their entire culture. This "Arab Democracy" experiment we're trying might work, I suppose, but crap like this gives me real doubt.
Posted by: Dave D. || 12/29/2003 17:25 Comments || Top||

#4  Q: Why are the Wahabbis opposed to celebrating New Year's Day?

A: They know they have no future.
Posted by: Mike || 12/29/2003 18:00 Comments || Top||

#5  annual fasting month of Ramadan

fasting??? what a laugh.. more like shifting your schedule from eating during the day, to pigging out at night.
Posted by: RW2004 || 12/29/2003 20:19 Comments || Top||

Small bomb explodes in Saudi Arabia, no casualties
Saudi Arabia said on Monday a small bomb exploded in a car in Riyadh but caused no casualties or damages. An Interior Ministry official said the car exploded while it was parked in front of a building in the Salam district, a residential area in the eastern part of the Saudi capital. Police surrounded the blast site, preventing journalists and passers-by from reaching the area. "It was a small blast and the car was not stuffed with explosives but we are investigating the incident," the official told Reuters.
"Nothing to see, move along"
Another official said the car belonged to a major in the security forces, adding that the blast appeared to have been timed to coincide with the dusk Muslim prayers. "Forensic experts are now investigating the car to find out what substance was used," he added.
Bet they don’t pick up the major for being a "alk runner".
Posted by: Steve || 12/29/2003 2:34:51 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [279 views] Top|| File under:

#1  More details:
The Dubai-based Al-Arabiya satellite channel said the explosion occurred under a car owned by a police officer who had parked outside a mosque. The blast destroyed the car and shattered windows in nearby buildings, Al-Arabiya's correspondent in Riyadh reported. Security forces cordoned off the area. Witnesses said they saw a car exploding in a street in the Hay el-Salaam district on the eastern side of the capital. The witnesses, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said it appeared that two cars collided. They said they heard a crash and an explosion almost simultaneously and were not sure which came first.
Posted by: seafarious || 12/29/2003 14:42 Comments || Top||

Beagle Won’t Bark (another kill for the Martian Defense Force)
Scientists have ruled out two possible explanations for their inability to pick up signals from Europe’s Beagle 2 Mars probe and discovered another — a large crater where the vessel was supposed to land.
Y'know, if that crater wasn't there before it landed... ummm...
The European team has received no transmissions from the craft, which was supposed to touch down on the distant planet on Christmas Day to begin its search for Martian life. NASA’s orbiting Mars Odyssey has passed five times over the spot where scientists hope Beagle landed, without picking up a signal. The latest attempt, between 0741 and 0901 GMT Monday, failed to pick up a bark from Beagle. Chief Beagle scientist Colin Pillinger said at a news conference that the team had received a new, detailed picture of the area where they believe the Beagle landed. While they cannot make out the ship itself, the image shows a 1 km (0.62 mile) wide crater at the center of the 70 by 10 km (43.5 by 6 mile) target area near the Martian equator, Pillinger said. It is possible, although unlikely, that the Beagle may be unable to communicate because it landed in the crater, he said. "This would be an incredibly unlucky situation," he said.
Or because it made the crater, which'd be even unluckier...
Scientists have ruled out two other possible causes for the failure, mission manager Mark Sims said. Neither the Martian weather nor trouble with the hardware of the Beagle’s clock appeared to be the source of the problem, he said. The vessel is programmed to transmit its signal when its orbiter or telescopes on earth are in position to receive it. If the clock had been damaged, the Beagle could have been "talking" and staying quiet at the wrong times. Sims said a problem with the clock’s software was still possible. The team planned to send the clock a reset command Wednesday. Lord Sainsbury, Britain’s science minister, said the government remained committed to unmanned space exploration and did not consider the mission a failure.
You shot a few million into the cosmos and it went "splat." How is that not a failure?
"We’ve always recognized that Beagle 2 was a high risk project," he said. "We must in future resist the temptation only to do low-risk projects... Long term, we need to be working with the European Space Agency to ensure that in some form there is a Beagle 3."
Maybe the next one should be armed?
Scientists at Britain’s National Space Center in central England are studying a functioning scale model of Beagle to work out what might have gone wrong. "They are keeping up their spirits," said Peter Barratt, spokesman for the British government’s physics and astronomy research agency.
Somebody sent out for gin, huh?
Project leaders say the Beagle’s mother ship, Mars Express, will offer the best hope of contacting the probe when its enters a lower orbit of the planet on Jan. 4. "That was always the prime chance for communication," Barratt said. "But if we get negative responses after a few tries, we will start to become concerned."
"Captain Skzgx! It looks like the mother ship is preparing to land!"
"Prepare to engage, Mr. Glpzzz!"
Mars Express, which carried Beagle into space and set it free more than a week ago, is currently orbiting the planet as high as 188,000 kilometers (117,00 miles) above its equator.
"They're looking at us, Councilor Murblx!"
"I know, Captain Skzgx. What do they want?"
"Who can tell, sir? They're... alien!"
"Well, we can't take chances. Mars must be protected. Have your men bring up the zong ray!"
On Tuesday, European Space Agency scientists at mission control in Darmstadt, Germany, will fire Mars Express’ engine in an attempt to shift its orbit. They hope to move it over one of the Martian poles — necessary for it to survey the entire planet with its high-resolution camera and a powerful radar that can look for underground water. Scientists hope to gradually reduce the polar orbit and say that by Jan. 4, it should pass as low as 200-250 kilometers (125-155 miles) above the surface, enabling it to take close-up pictures and listen for Beagle. Britain’s powerful radio telescope at Jodrell Bank Observatory struck out again early Monday after sweeping the planet’s surface for the craft’s distinctive call sign, composed by the British band Blur.
"Gah! That noise! What can it be, Captain Skzgx?"
"I dunno. But it's kind of got a beat..."
"Stop waving your palps like that!"
The 67-kilogram (143-pound) probe, which has a robotic arm to take soil and rock samples, was supposed to unfold its solar panels and transmit a signal confirming its arrival within hours of landing. An "analysis and recovery think tank" at Britain’s space center is working on possible scenarios to explain why it has failed to make contact. Even if Beagle fails to transmit its call sign, team member Alan Wells said in a statement that the sensitive radio telescope at Stanford University in California, which has joined the hunt, could scan the surface for low levels of radiation emitted by the probe.
"I found the low-level radiation, professor!"
"It blew all the readouts!"
"Send out for more gin!"
Getting a working spacecraft to Mars has proven frustratingly difficult. Several vehicles, most recently NASA’s 1999 Mars Polar Lander, have been lost on landing. The Soviet Mars-3 lander touched down safely in 1971 but failed after sending data for only 20 seconds.
Various internet wags are having a lot of fun with this. Some(MG owners, no doubt) blame Lucas ("The Prince of Darkness") electronics:

"Why do the Brits drink warm beer? They have Lucas refrigerators."

"Lucas has 3 settings: Dim, Flicker, and Off"

One variation on the "crater theory": "Judge Crater found it on his lawn and called Martian Disposal Services to get rid of it."

My own theory: Martians spotted the Union Jack decal, assumed that Robert Fisk was inside, and beat it to a pulp.
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 12/29/2003 8:21:21 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [366 views] Top|| File under:

#1  My own theory: Martians spotted the Union Jack decal, assumed that Robert Fisk was inside, and beat it to a pulp.

Interesting theory. Mines similar, but more logical. The Martians realized it was from the EU and vaporized it upon landing.
Posted by: Charles || 12/29/2003 20:42 Comments || Top||

#2  Calling Duck Dodgers!Earth to Duck Dodgers!We have a mission for you!
Posted by: Stephen || 12/29/2003 21:18 Comments || Top||

#3  I'll bet anything that Marvin disintegrated the probe.

All that needs to be done is to find a re-integrator....
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 12/29/2003 21:37 Comments || Top||

#4  "It went "splat." How is that not a failure?"
Obviously,you don't work in the government.
Posted by: El Id || 12/29/2003 22:06 Comments || Top||

#5  What is amazing is the astounding large number of probes to Mars that have failed. I think there are more failures than successes at this point.
Posted by: ruprecht || 12/29/2003 22:27 Comments || Top||

#6  Well, after Earth's bacteria wiped out the Martian landing 65 years ago, the Martians have even more reason to be angry at us.

2X2L, calling CQ. 2X2L, calling CQ…
Posted by: Eric Jablow || 12/29/2003 23:02 Comments || Top||

Airlines' fears over marshals
Airlines have expressed concern at the deployment of armed sky marshals on some British passenger planes.
"Eww! Sky marshals! Ucky, sweaty men!"
Their worries over the anti-terrorist initiative follows the strong opposition expressed by the pilots' union Balpa. "We have always said we have concerns about having armed people on aircraft," said a British Airways' spokeswoman.
I have concerns over people trying to fly airplanes full of screaming civilians into things that are also full of screaming civilians...
She said: "We feel it is best to have strong security on the ground and that is where the focus of attention should be. We have always been of the opinion that if it is not safe to fly then we will not fly."
"So obviously we don't need those... men... with their... guns."
Another airline spokesman said: "We have reservations about this."
"We can put it on standby, though..."
"If you bring arms on to a plane then you raise the level of danger. Introducing a weapon into a cabin could lead to that weapon being used against passengers."
"Those men with the turbans, rolling their eyes and skewering the stewardesses, they've paid for their tickets, too, y'know!"
"If the level of risk is so high that a sky marshal has to be deployed, then it would be easier to just not operate that particular flight."
"Since I have 20-20 foresight, and I'm a seventh son of a seventh son, I know how to make sure there aren't any Bad Guys on our flights."
Transport Secretary Alistair Darling, who first announced the plan a year ago, said pilots would be informed if there was a sky marshal on their flight. "The captain of the aircraft would know. For perfectly obvious reasons. He has got to fly the aircraft," he told the BBC. Mr Darling said that sky marshals would be the "last line of defence" and they were among a series of measures being put in place - including improved screening of passengers and baggage - to prevent hijackings.
No. Really? That's brilliant. I'd have used them as the first line of defense. Have them start shooting at the passengers, preferably in the boarding lounge. Any passengers that shoot back must be hijackers.
He went on: "It is someone who is there when people have got on to the plane and is intent on trying to take over that plane. It is one of the last lines of defence," he said. "Of course the best thing to do is to try to stop people getting on to the plane in the first place."
"You, there! With the ordnance! May I see your boarding pass, please?"
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 12/29/2003 15:33 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [355 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Archie Bunker had it right. Give everybody on the plane a gun.
Posted by: tu3031 || 12/29/2003 15:37 Comments || Top||

#2  Well, we could just outfit all passengers with remote-controlled explosive decapitation collars...

All part of the service.
Posted by: mojo || 12/29/2003 15:58 Comments || Top||

#3  Perhaps British Airways would prefer to simply forgo all flights to and from the US rather than allow the Sky Marshall's aboard. Works for me.
Posted by: ruprecht || 12/29/2003 16:06 Comments || Top||

#4  What's with all this weak-kneed Pommie whining about armed sky marshals on flights? Seems to me that if safety is the paramount issue, they'd welcome this step.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 12/29/2003 16:14 Comments || Top||

#5  Ah, how far the victors in the Battle of Britain have fallen.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 12/29/2003 16:53 Comments || Top||

#6  Well, we could just outfit all passengers with remote-controlled explosive decapitation collars...

You actually trust the airline crew to hit the button for the right collar? Guns also might puncture the cabin at 20,000 feet. I suggest giving everyone aboard a Bowie knife.
Posted by: Charles || 12/29/2003 17:22 Comments || Top||

#7  I believe it was Moms Mabley (PBUH) who suggested in the middle of the Cuban hijacking era that if you wanted to be safe... carry your own grenade on board... theory being what are the odds of two grenades on one flight? I still can't refute the logic.
Posted by: Shipman || 12/29/2003 17:42 Comments || Top||

#8  Charles, in theory the air marshalls would have bullets designed so that they do not penetrate the cabin.

Flight 93 that crashed in Penn and the shoebomber flight showed that American passengers are no longer going to sit passively and allow a plane to be taken. Recent news indicates Al Queda is banking on the French to shut up and die though.
Posted by: ruprecht || 12/29/2003 22:25 Comments || Top||

#9  I hope they're not banking too much. There was a Frenchie prominent among the passengers who beat the crap out of Shoe Boy.
Posted by: Fred || 12/29/2003 22:48 Comments || Top||

British clergy slam Bush, Blair
Two British church leaders blasted Prime Minister Tony Blair on Monday for going to war in Iraq, with one bishop saying he and US President George Bush had acted like "a bunch of white vigilantes."
What if they'd acted like a bunch of black vigilantes? Or a bunch of Chinese vigilantes? G.W. and Tony have to work on that, get a little variety into their foreign policy...
Their criticism - plus an embarrassing contradiction over weapons of mass destruction by the US administrator of Iraq at the weekend - comes at the end of a miserable year for Blair whose popularity has tumbled over the invasion of Iraq.
"Cherie, my year has been just miserable. I've taken part in tumbling one iron-fisted dictator and scaring another into reforming, but the Archbishop... the Archbishop... doesn't like me."
"The Archbishop doesn't like you? Tony, I want a divorce."
The Archbishop of York, David Hope, who is the Church of England's second most senior churchman, said Blair had displayed "a real lack of listening" over Iraq and his claims of fallen dictator Saddam Hussein's arms capability remained unproven. "Undoubtedly a very wicked leader has been removed, but there are wicked leaders in other parts of the world," he added in an interview with The Times newspaper.
"Therefore we shouldn't remove any of them, ever."
Hope urged British churchgoers to pray for Blair, and said he and Bush should remember they will one day answer to God. "I want to say... that there is a higher authority before whom one day we all have to give an account," he said.
"Of course, if I actually believed that, I'd be saying entirely different things..."
The Bishop of Durham, Tom Wright, was scathing about Blair's military alliance with Bush in Iraq. He likened them to a pair of mavericks fighting crime in multi-racial inner-city London.
That statement makes no sense, even for a churchman...
"For Bush and Blair to go into Iraq together was like a bunch of white vigilantes going into Brixton to stop drug-dealing. This is not to deny there's a problem to be sorted, just that they are not credible people to deal with it," he told The Independent newspaper.
Seems like they missed the Archbishop's drug dealer, doesn't it? I wonder which credible people His Excellency had in mind to deal with the problem?
"The world now needs a UN army in the way that Britain 200 years ago needed to turn its bands of militia in each town into a national police force."
He thinks a UN army would be the credible people? He doesn't read the papers, does he?
Wright said the religious conservatives surrounding Bush espouse "a very strange distortion of Christianity" while the fact "some of them stand to benefit financially from the reconstruction of Iraq" made their motives suspicious.
"Not that I believe any of it for a moment, of course, but suspicions have been raised... Could you help me get this meal out of my mouth, please?"
Blair braved major opposition in Britain before the March invasion, saw support rise as fighting began, but has since faced a barrage of criticism over the reasons for war and the handling of post-Saddam Iraq. He has said he would do it again and is "ready to meet my maker".
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 12/29/2003 14:44 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [337 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I read somewhere that Cherie Blair is Catholic, which is relatively unusual in England, so she might not care too much what the Archbishop things.

Blair is more ready to meet his maker than any Bishop quoted here. He acted to remove an evil from the face of the earth, something these blathering wankers have obviously never done.
Posted by: JAB || 12/29/2003 14:49 Comments || Top||

#2  Blair has done more for advancing human rights more than these KKK-styled white robed assclowns hiding behind a clerical collar. I wonder if any of them looked in the Iraqi mass grave photo album lately [or ever]?
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 12/29/2003 14:57 Comments || Top||

#3  I'd like to take these two self-styled "Christians" and frog-march them to the edge of one of Saddam's mass graves and force them to explain to the wailing, sobbing relatives there why we should have let Saddam go on murdering their loved ones.

Damned inhuman, immoral bastards.
Posted by: Dave D. || 12/29/2003 15:05 Comments || Top||

#4  I think both Blairs are Catholic. I understand they attend services at the Church of St. Vincent at the Brompton Oratory in London. The Latin Mass there on Sundays with the choir is excellent.
Posted by: Tibor || 12/29/2003 15:08 Comments || Top||

#5  I don't think that Catholicism is that unusual these days in England - I think it's currently the biggest religion. (The Jedi religion is closing the gap with almost 400,000 members according to the 2001 census)

As for the C of E bishops, they are all loopy and have been for some time. Their line on the war was that there needed to be definitive proof of WMD before action could be taken. In response someone suggested that if they applied such rigor to their own jobs, they should all resign.
Posted by: A || 12/29/2003 15:14 Comments || Top||

#6  And so, while Islamic fundies continue their bid to pound the nails in Christianity's coffin, Western religious leaders take the opportunity to, um, pound the nails in Christianity's coffin.
Posted by: BH || 12/29/2003 15:20 Comments || Top||

#7  C of E has always been a political tool. Don't ever forget that. The LLL elements are firmly ensconced in the upper levels of the C of E and are rapidly destroying that Church from the inside. Their lack of recourse to ancient doctrinal roots like the Catholic Church has, and lack of adaptability as the US Protestants are, has doomed the CE to fail as an institution as it rots from within by its own lack of faith and doctrine. They have left behind both the modern Bibilical basis and the recourse to Tradition and Absolute Values that are required as a foundation for the Church to continue.
Posted by: OldSpook || 12/29/2003 16:05 Comments || Top||

#8  "Will no-one rid me of this troublesome priest?"
Posted by: mojo || 12/29/2003 16:06 Comments || Top||

#9  The Church of England heirarchy epitomises white middle class guilt.

Otherwise this is more cognitive dissonance. These guys are supposed to be concerned with moral questions. Their opposition to the Iraq war is looking more and more immoral with each new mass grave found. So they end up saying silly things in an attempt to justify their position.

A few weeks back there was considerable talk here in Australia of the Anglican (Church of England) splitting becuase of this kind of left wing claptrap. The new church would espouse a more robust and muscular christianity and be centred around the Anglican church in Nigeria, which apparently has more Anglicans than any other country.
Posted by: phil_b || 12/29/2003 16:11 Comments || Top||

#10  I would damn them, but they have already done so themselves. I have no illusions: but for God's saving Grace, I'd be meeting those vermin in Hell. The difference is that I realize my errors and repent, they do not.

The Church of England, were it a sailing ship, is on the verge of becoming a hulk. From years of neglect, its has broken its rudder (Values/Traditions) and let the sails (Scripture/Faith) tatter into rags, and its hull (The Church as the Body of Christ) is rotting from the transom up. The barnacles and worms chewing their way through the hull are the Looney Left Clergy and Bishops, who have long ago lost sight of the Truth of Christ and continue to feed and grow fat (playing to popularity rather than morality), heedless of the damage they are doing.
Posted by: Anonymous || 12/29/2003 16:11 Comments || Top||

#11  Don't shoot! I'm a Baptist!
Posted by: Shipman || 12/29/2003 17:55 Comments || Top||

#12  Actually, the UN and Blair may have to answer for the 10,000+ Iraqis who died while these two insisted on 6 months palavering about whether to act or not. Meanwhile, George "Avenger of the Bones" Bush will enjoy the support of the 40,000+ and growing number of Iraqis who didn't die after the Invasion.

Bush, and the Coalition Armed Forces, class of 2003.

Bring it on!
Posted by: Ptah || 12/29/2003 18:02 Comments || Top||

#13  Raised Episcopalian in a small church in NJ. Everything fine and old-fashioned until Bishop Spong took over the Diocese of Newark (NJ) - didn't believe in any of the tenants of the faith! I truly believe that God sends people like this our way every so often to get us off our butts. I stayed, working on/with the vestry of my church. We went to minimum funding back to the diocese - he tried to close us down, even replacing the priest with his own man. As it happened, when Spong retired, the diocese didn't have a job for the priest, who was thrown out the door - after trashing the church-owned house he lived in. The church is still there, still Episcopal, but I know they are taking a careful look at the alternatives. My family and I are now 1800 miles west, my son's in a Jesuit high school, and we go to chapel there!
Posted by: OldeForce || 12/29/2003 18:34 Comments || Top||

#14  Thank GOD we don't have a state religion in the U.S. These ?men? now realize that there were VERY wrong over the war and are trying to fix it by attacking Blair? They need to take a LONG look at themselves in the mirror and think about what they stand/stood for. You can call the war in Iraq anything you want but getting rid of that EVIL government was, is, and will always be the right choice. The Clergy in the COE should take this opportunity and not remind people that they SUPPORTED a murderous dictator. God Bless all leaders in the coalition of the willing. PM Tony Blair, America WILL NEVER FORGET that you stood by us.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge (VRWC CA Chapter) || 12/29/2003 19:20 Comments || Top||

#15  "For Bush and Blair to go into Iraq together was like a bunch of white vigilantes going into Brixton to stop drug-dealing."

(Cue The Clash song and All Hail Bush & Blair as the new "Guns of Brixton"!

'When al Qaeda kicks in your front door/ How you gonna come?/ With your hands on your head or on the trigger of your gun?')

"This is not to deny there's a problem to be sorted, just that they are not credible people to deal with it," he told The Independent newspaper.

(Who has that credibility? You guys remember the Monty Python skit "The Bishop"? Maybe he fancies his chances v the Yardies?)
Posted by: JDB || 12/29/2003 19:24 Comments || Top||

#16  Offhand, I can name two wicked leaders in Britain that need removing. On the other hand, we can leave them in peace to continue sanctimoniously buggering each other.
Posted by: ed || 12/29/2003 22:48 Comments || Top||

#17  Oh, they're done buggering altar boys and can turn themselves to other business?
Posted by: Raj || 12/29/2003 22:53 Comments || Top||

French Catholic Newspaper fires reporter for book on Iraq
PARIS Alain Hertoghe believes that in covering the Iraq conflict, French newspapers recreated "the war they would have liked to have seen." That meant concentration on the Vietnams and Stalingrads that didn’t take place, he said, and so many more accounts of U.S. difficulties rather than advances that it was "impossible to understand how the Americans won." In the book, Hertoghe explains what he considers the press’s unanimity not as the result of some kind of explicit understanding but coming from a combination of factors. He regards the single most cohesive element as French anti-Americanism.
Nice to see him admit it
The two other central motors, in Hertoghe’s view, were France’s nostalgia for its lost status as a great power and what he described as "the Arabophilia that reigns among France’s deciders and in particular among the journalists specializing in this part of the world."
So they really are afraid!
As an example, he compares headlines involving Saddam Hussein, President George W. Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair of Britain during the period. He said there were 29 clearly negative ones concerning Saddam, and 135 for Bush and Blair. The coalition leaders were routinely described, he says, as violent, imperialist, fundamentalist and unreasonable.
Four-to-one? That’s balanced!
"Le Monde went the furthest," he added. "I wrote that Le Monde became ’Saddam’s Gazette.’ It gave a picture from Baghdad of Saddam’s units perfectly controlling the situation. The difference between Le Monde and Le Figaro was that Le Figaro insisted that American tanks would operate easily on Baghdad’s wide streets. Then when the Americans made their move, we read how they were massacring the Iraqis. The explanation for the collapse was that Saddam’s fedayeen had so much compassion for the population that they stopped fighting."
I don’t get the French Newspapers (or the English versions) but I suspected that they and others in Europe were in FULL ATTACK mode towards the U.S. Now that someone calls them on their lies he gets fired. This guy should go work for Fox News or the Washington Post.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge (VRWC CA Chapter) || 12/29/2003 11:03:51 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [262 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Glad too see that someone over there still has some cojones.
Posted by: Charles || 12/29/2003 12:27 Comments || Top||

#2  FULL ATTACK mode indeed! "War!", "Kamikazes alert!", "Calls to holy war", "The failures of a blitzkrieg", "The murderous urban warfare", "War's desolation", "Iraqi resistance", "Marines stall", "Beware, boobytrapped war", "Iraq, Somalia, same script?" "Good morning iraq!", "A new Viet nam?", "The traps of an insane war", "War or dhijad?", "How saddam prepare himself for the battle", "Saddam up to the challenge", "The shiite south doesn't weaken", "How saddam endures", "Why the war goes on", "The hawks in the storm", "Americans and britons caught in a long and bloody conflict", "Saddam's stand", "Britons worry about Us methods", "Saddam's gauntlet", "Bagdad's battles", "The castastroph", "The sinking", "The quagmire", "The tragedy", "How Bush's war sets the whole world on fire", "The Bush sect attacks", "Bush's holy war", "Georges Bush's fault", "The fall" (Titles from the mainstream french press, in a chronological order 03/20/03 - 04/10/03, casually compiled by André Glucksmann for his book); NOT the more expressive! The one that stick to my mind is a tabloid's frontpage, with a tired-looking Us soldier pic (always the choice for illustrating quagmire), and a splashing "Bush's insane crusade!".
Posted by: Anonymous || 12/29/2003 13:15 Comments || Top||

#3  Update: The Instapundit notes that Hertoghe was rewarded by being fired.
Posted by: G || 12/29/2003 13:23 Comments || Top||

#4  That's in the headline here...
Posted by: Fred || 12/29/2003 14:00 Comments || Top||

Fifth Column
Trotsky’s idea clearly similar to forced democracy upon Muslim World
Indymedia may be down, but never under-estimate the ability of an Islamist to find a propaganda outlet, in this case The Jakarta Post. Essentially Amir’s brain fart boils down to this: Islam is a Religion Of Peace, who only want to live in peace with the US. (Yes forget about Sept 11 and all those other nasty incidents. Reasonable people can sit down and work through these issues) No, the main problem is a "cabal", yes a "cabal" of Joos who control the US Government, and are working in the interest of Israel to bring "democracy" to Muslim countries, whether they want it or not.
Or something like that I think?. Trotsky also gets a look in

Amir Butler, Executive Director, Australian Muslim Public Affairs Committee (AMPAC), Melbourne, abutler@muslimaffairs.com.au
On Nov. 6, George W. Bush announced that America, through it’s interventions in Iraq and Afghanistan was leading a "global democratic revolution". That he should have made such remarks on the eve of Leon Trotsky’s birthday — the architect of "global socialist revolution" — was of course just coincidence.
It was Trotsky's birthday? Damn. I forgot to get him something...
However, the similarities between Trotsky’s idea that socialism should be spread at the barrel of a gun and the idea that democracy can be forced upon the Muslim world through violent occupation and threat of invasion are obvious.
Oh, sure. Who could miss them?
Contemporary American foreign policy is Trotsky’s revenge. The neoconservative movement that holds Washington in its thrall is itself merely a warmed-up version of Trotsky’s Fourth International. As Michael Lind wrote in Britain’s The New Statesman (April 7, 2003), the neocons are "products of the largely Jewish-American Trotskyist movement of the 1930s and 1940s, which morphed into anti-communist liberalism between the 1950s and 1970s and finally into a kind of militaristic and imperial right with no precedents in American culture or political history."
Y'see, they grew up going to these Little Red Schoolhouses, learning all that Marxist-Trotskyite cant and the techniques of red revolution. Then they discovered that the Marxist-Trotskyite cant was all baloney, but they were left with the techniques — same language, just a different dialectic. Dontcha hate it when that happens?
If the neoconservative vision of a "democratic revolution" in the Muslim world mirrors Trotsky’s equally flawed vision of a permanent socialist revolution, then will America’s reaction to democracy in Iraq mirror Brezhnev’s doctrine of "limited sovereignty"? In early 1968, the Czech Communist Party under Alexander Dubcek attempted to introduce a series of reforms. In May of that same year, Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev invaded Czechoslovakia, justifying the invasion by claiming that "Czechoslovakia’s detachment from the socialist community would have come into conflict with it’s own vital interests and would have been detrimental to other socialist states". In other words, the invasion was to protect socialism as an ideology. Once a nation chose socialism, the soviet state could never allow it to turn back. A nation’s sovereignty was limited by a tight ideological straitjacket.
It's kind of like becoming a Muslim, isn't it? You get enticed into signing up, then discover that if you don't like it you're an apostate, who has to be killed...
As America attempts to extricate herself from the Iraqi disaster, it has promised a free election next year. If the Iraqi people are given a true democracy, then America must face the bitter prospect that, finally able to choose their political destiny, Iraq may choose a government that is not malleable to American interests. As both Shiite and Sunni Iraqis mobilize politically, it seems certain that the government ushered to power will actually reflect more the wishes and aspirations of Baghdad and Basrah, than the Beltway. If that happens, will America accept that the people have spoken — albeit with a possibly anti-American and anti-Israeli voice — or will America invoke its own Brezhnev Doctrine of Limited Sovereignty and demand Iraqis adopt America's export-grade democracy.
Probably we'll be patient with them, just as we are with Jordan, where they're trying to implement something that looks like democracy, just as we are with some of the Gulf States where they're trying to do the same. We recognize that democracy per se will be good for them — we over-simplify it, in fact, using "democracy" as shorthand for a system which allows and nurtures individual liberty. If the Iraqis do manage to implement a system of individual liberty, to include freedom of religion, then they won't be able to turn back, because the Iraqi people won't want to give up those liberties to another man on horseback, nor to a cabal — I can use the word, too — of bearded mullahs who are against singing, dancing, flying kites, looking at pretty girls, or anything else that's remotely enjoyable. If it's a facade democracy, like Pakland has, then there's a problem. The more we rush into returning sovreignty to them, the more likely the facade democracy becomes, which is why my undies bunch at all the back-seat drivers who want to turn things over to the Iraqis last week.
Yet seeking to prevent terrorism and promote democracy by vetoing the people’s democratic aspirations is, like the strengthening of the West’s totalitarian "allies" in the region, a self-fulfilling prophecy. On the day that Pearl Harbor was bombed, ex-President Herbert Hoover warned that as long as America continues "putting pins in rattlesnakes" it is only natural that one day those rattlesnakes would bite. 19 of those rattlesnakes attacked America on Sept. 11; these same rattlesnakes kill and attack American soldiers every day in Iraq.
To me, that just means we have to kill the rattlesnakes when we find them, and then we have to go after their nests.
As the neoconservatives push America towards war, they charge those who argue for realism in American foreign policy with "appeasement". Yet, it is not appeasement to recognize that one’s actions and policies are counter-productive to one’s stated objectives: Fighting terror. There are one billion Muslims in the world who adhere to a religion that has withstood a thousand years of attack by ideological and military opponents. It will take more than the demands of a cabal of intellectuals in Washington to transform the Muslim world.
The writer is obviously a Muslim, since Islam's been under attack all that while. Us infidels describe it differently: a religion that started out aggressively, spread with the sword, fire, and rapine; that displaced and destroyed older, more mature cultures, reached a brief apogee of civilization, then began to slowly and linearly deteriorate as stagnation set in. The original Arabian culture that spread Islam was a warrior culture, and warrior cultures are always supported by serfs and tributaries. They're wealth-consuming societies, rather than wealth-producers, as bourgeouis societies are.
A secure and prosperous future for America will not be found in "permanent democratic revolution"; "benevolent hegemony"; "creative destruction" or any of the other neocon code-words for empire. Since World War II, the United States has intervened in over twenty countries, with no democracies resulting.
Japan, Germany, and Italy don't count. Each is chopped liver. Neither does Greece, which is likewise patÚ South Korea is a bloody-handed autocracy, pretty near...
The solution lies in a return to the foreign doctrine articulated by Thomas Jefferson in his farewell address. The United States should seek, "peace, commerce and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none". Likewise, John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States articulated, Americas "goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own".
Until they wipe out 3000 of her citizens on a September morning. Then all bets are off. In my opinion, our vengeance hasn't been terrible. But I understand why we extend the presumption of civilization to nations that patently aren't...
It is these "entangling alliances" that have led to so much hostility against America in the Muslim world; particularly America’s alliance with Israel and its interference in Muslim societies. Rather than seeking honest friendship with the Islamic World, the American administration has entered into Faustian pacts with the totalitarian governments of the region in the interests of "regional security" and has attempted to forcefully spread its export-version of democracy to a people who just want to be left alone. America fails to see where the real battle for security must be fought. Fighting off the hordes of rattlesnakes is not the answer; nor is "liberating" Kabul or Baghdad. Rather America must liberate Washington from those who are, through their self-destructive idealism and zeal for democratic revolutions, perpetually sticking pins in the tails of these rattlesnakes. America’s foreign policy should once again be the shield of the Republic, and not the sword of Empire.
I'm actually pretty happy with the neocons, despite the exaggeration of their power. Had I been in power on September 11th, 2001, there would have been a great weeping and gnashing of teeth among our domestic turbanry, and more than a few necks stretched.
Posted by: tipper || 12/29/2003 6:58:58 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [341 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Interesting twist on the impossing democracy at the point of a gun. Its true, but the gun is pointed at the autocrats, not the populace. Apologists for terrorists and Islam just won't allow themselves to see that.
Posted by: ruprecht || 12/29/2003 22:21 Comments || Top||

#2  Am I the only one that finds it funny that Butler hitches his wagon to Trotsky's, who was Jewish?
Posted by: Raj || 12/29/2003 22:27 Comments || Top||

#3  Plus, this guy's a real idiot. It was Joseph Schumpter who coined the term 'creative destruction' which described a dynamic capitalism in which the introduction of new technologies, by necessity and design, destroy old ways of doing things. The microprocessor replaces the drawing board; JIT inventory replacing huge warehouses and the telegraph replacing the Pony Express are a few things I remember and are mentioned in the link (3 minute read, tops). Any MBA student could give a five minute lecture on this subject, which might explain why this guy got that point very wrong.

He quotes Adams with the tone "Yankee, go home."

Too bad no one's going to read this; my first insightful, non wiseass post in eons...
Posted by: Raj || 12/29/2003 22:40 Comments || Top||

#4  I read it Raj.
Posted by: Shipman || 12/30/2003 8:20 Comments || Top||

Scientists used German, Lankan go-betweens to sell N-secrets
Rogue scientists from Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme used German go-betweens to sell their secrets to Iran, a high-level government source said. The scientists, motivated entirely by money, were also helped by two Sri Lankan businessmen based in Dubai when they passed on details of Pakistani nuclear technology during the late 1980s. The disclosure follows reports that four scientists have been questioned over suspected links with Iran and lends credence to claims on Rantburg in Washington that Pakistan poses some of the biggest international security problems of the year ahead. Pakistan has long been suspected of responsibility for the proliferation of nuclear know-how, not only to Iran but also to North Korea.
"No, no! Certainly not!... Well, maybe... But it was rogue scientists, not government policy!"
The illegal sale of nuclear secrets came to light when President Pervez Musharraf visited Tehran after the Iranian government’s decision to allow inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to see its facilities. Musharraf was caught unawares when the Iranians told him of the Pakistani scientists’ involvement. They also said they had informed the United States. According to the source, who wishes to remain anonymous, Musharraf was aghast.
Went through four extra rolls of "Holy Koran" brand toilet paper in a weekend...
His horror soon turned to anger because while Pakistan was trying to protect its nuclear assets by convincing the world that it had stringent checks, the country had been betrayed in a way that made it appear to lack control over its scientists.
"Uhhh... Define 'stringent'?"
The embarrassment was compounded when a former army chief suggested that Pakistan sell its nuclear technology to Iran for a sum in the region of $20bn. The Pakistani scientists who were subsequently questioned included two men regarded as being close to Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan, the so-called father of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb. Suspicion also fell on Khan, who was built up to heroic proportions by successive Pakistani governments in the 1980s and 1990s. Last week the military guard had gone from Khan’s row of houses in an affluent district of Islamabad. A foreign ministry spokesman confirmed that he was being questioned. He has always denied any link with Iran.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 12/29/2003 17:17 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [263 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Someone's going to die for this. I wonder if Perv cracking down on these rogue scientists for Iran has anything to do with Al-Queada trying harder to kill him? It's an interesting thought with the recent reports of Binny in Iran.
Posted by: Charles || 12/29/2003 17:26 Comments || Top||

#2  I say let India take care of the Pakistan problem.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 12/29/2003 18:12 Comments || Top||

One of the Perv boomers was a released JeM gunny who fought in Afghanistan
A hardcore Jaish militant, identified as one of the suspected suicide bombers who tried to assassinate President Pervez Musharraf, had been released from prison in Afghanistan and was later cleared by Pakistani security agencies for good conduct. Jameel, 23, was captured by Afghan security forces in an injured condition soon after the ouster of Taliban and was handed over to Pakistan security forces along with 29 other militants. He was declared "white" by Pakistani security agencies and was cleared after questioning by Joint Interrogation Team (JIT) in April last year.
"You a terrorist, Jameel?"
"Nope. Not me, Sahib!"
"Then get the hell out of here."
The JIT had concluded that the suspect was not involved in any anti-state activities and nothing adverse had been found against him, local daily The Dawn reported.
"Killed a few guys, but that ain't nuttin'. They wuz only Afghans an' infidels..."
Jameel, hailing from Torarh in PoK, had attended militant training camps in Rishkore near Kabul when Taliban was in power and was actively involved in carrying out several terrorist attacks in Jammu and Kashmir, it said.
That's "freedumb fighter attacks," Bub...
He was identified two days ago after police found his damaged face at the site of the December 25 attack on Musharraf in Rawalpindi.
"Lookit dat guy lookin' outta the window up there, Mahmoud!"
"There ain't no window there, Ahmed. Get a ladder and climb up there and get his face down."
The other suicide bomber has been identified as an Afghan from the ranks of the jehadi groups active in the North West Frontier Province.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 12/29/2003 12:27:43 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [265 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I think Perv will show the prisoners less sympathy next time.
Posted by: Charles || 12/29/2003 12:35 Comments || Top||

#2  This is perfect example of what happens when a suspected terrorist is released. A lot of times he'll simply go from "suspected" to "known".
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 12/29/2003 13:46 Comments || Top||

Attack on Musharraf: five Afghans held
Over 50 people have been arrested by intelligence agencies in the wake of latest attack on President Pervez Musharraf besides shifting security of the General in the hands of the Pakistan Army.
Army now in charge of Perv’s continued health.
Those who have been rounded up include five Afghan nationals, who were arrested on Sunday from their accommodation in a flat of Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Karachi, a police source said. They were arrested from flat No 605 and have been taken to an unknown place for investigation.
A nice quiet basement room with a chair bolted to the floor, a stove for heating the pliers, and a liberal supply of truncheons and mustache wax.
Since December 26, the Pakistan Army has taken over the responsibility of Musharraf. "I cannot offer any comment over the security arrangements of President Musharraf," Major-General Shaukat Sultan, Director-General Inter Services Public Relations told to this news agency by telephone.
"I can say no more"
Damn. I wanted him to tell us if they'd arrested all the people who were in charge of Perv's security before...
The latest arrests of Afghan nationals were made during an operation by joint teams of intelligence organisations and Shahrah-e-Faisal Police. These Afghans arrived Karachi on Saturday from Rawalpindi in a vehicle registered in Kandhar, Afghanistan. According to reports, latest assassination attempt on Musharraf was a job of extremists, and the two foreigners, who were driving both the vehicles, are believed to be of Chechen and Kashmiri origin.
Imported deniable gunnies, or fall guys?
According to Information Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed, both of them have been identified. He, however, refused to tell their nationalities. "We have entered the network," Rashid said without elaborating. "It’s a huge network of terrorists having tentacles from Kashmir to Afghanistan. They also have international ties," Rashid said.
Domestic ties as well, some which are a little too close to the government for comfort.
I'd have to check a map really closely to verify it, but it seems I recall that Pakistan stretches from... ummm... Kashmir to Afghanistan.
Sultan, when asked to offer a comment on their identification, said: "I would not offer any comment. As I believe that offering any comment without completing investigation can harm the process of probe."
"So shut up"
A Kashmiri group of freedom fighters, Al-Jihad, is being suspected by the Interior Ministry to be behind the assassination attempts, especially the latest one. Authorities are also questioning some 300 personnel responsible for the security of presidential motorcade on December 25, a highly placed source said.
Well, that answers my previous question.
Posted by: Steve || 12/29/2003 10:08:06 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [845 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Additional: One of the two suicide bombers, who attacked President Gen Musharraf's convoy in Rawalpindi last Thursday, had been cleared of involvement in anti-state activities by security agencies in April last year , background interviews and investigations by Dawn revealed.
Security agencies working on the twin-suicide bombings to eliminate President Musharraf have established the identity of one of the bombers, Muhammad Jamil. His identity was established after security agencies rummaging through the debris and human body parts recovered his torso and national identity card, a source told Dawn.
Dawn's investigation revealed that Muhammad Jameel, 23, was affiliated with the banned Jaish-i-Muhammad, a militant organization.
Investigations revealed that Muhammad Jameel, resident of Androot, Police Station, Torarh in Poonch district, Azad Kashmir, had received only primary level education and was a Hafizul Quran (memorized the Holy Book by heart). Fired by fiery speeches by Jihadi leaders, Jameel went to Jalalabad via Torkham in eastern Nangrahar province in January 2001 through an Afghan cloth merchant in AJ&K. Soon afterwards, he moved to Kabul and lived in Darul Aman area on the outskirts of the Afghan capital. Jameel, however, was wounded and captured when the US-backed Northern Alliance attacked Kabul later that year. He was shifted to a hospital and remained under treatment for fifteen days. The transitional government in Afghanistan led by President Hamid Karzai handed him over to Pakistani authorities along with 29 other militants that same month and they were flown to Peshawar in a military aircraft. They were re-arrested by the Pakistani authorities and charged with entering Pakistan without travel documents. Significantly, though, Jameel was declared "white" by security agencies when interrogated by a Joint Interrogation Team in April last year. The JIT had concluded that the suspect was not involved in any anti-state activities and since nothing adverse had been found against him, the JIT had unanimously declared him "white" implying that his custody was not required by the agencies.

Posted by: Steve || 12/29/2003 10:14 Comments || Top||

#2  ID on bomber number two: Investigators have identified the body of the second terrorist involved in Thursday’s suicide attack on President Pervez Musharraf as Hazir Sultan.
He is believed to have link with an Afghan militant group "Afghan Jihad", an investigation agency official told The News on Sunday. Hazir Sultan, son of Muhammad Rafiq, belonged to Panjsher valley of Afghanistan and was a "significant figure" of Afghan Jihad. He was a religious extremist having links with different militant religious parties active in Pakistan, said the source. Detectives have arrested his close aides in Rawalpindi and confirmed the identification of his body. The source said that Hazir Sultan, 42, was camped in South Waziristan Agency. He was there during the Wana operation. The source suspected that the attempt on Musharraf’s life could be to avenge the armed operation there. The source believed that Hazir had moved to Rawalpindi a few days back to carry out the task of assassinating President Musharraf. A joint team of intelligence agencies has been sent to South Waziristan to arrest the mastermind behind the assassination plan, the source said.

A true mastermind would be long gone by now.
Posted by: Steve || 12/29/2003 10:22 Comments || Top||

#3  It looks like every mistake they've made in the past two years has risen up en masse to bite Perv's ass.
Posted by: Fred || 12/29/2003 10:55 Comments || Top||

#4  Investigations revealed that Muhammad Jameel, resident of Androot, Police Station, Torarh in Poonch district, Azad Kashmir, had received only primary level education and was a Hafizul Quran (memorized the Holy Book by heart).

One of the jihadis was a sharp guy. It's a non-trivial exercise to memorize every word of a thousand-page (?) book, especially when it's in an incomprehensible foreign language. (Bill Gates reputedly memorized the Bible at the age of 9). Pakistan uses the Arabic script, but Pakistan's national language, Urdu, bears the same relationship to Arabic as English does to Latin. The pattern continues - of above-average intelligence jihadis who are, however, lacking in judgment.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 12/29/2003 11:53 Comments || Top||

#5  Urdu's got less in common with Arabic than English with Latin - two separate language groups. In fact, Urdu has more in common with English.
Posted by: Fred || 12/29/2003 12:02 Comments || Top||

#6  Urdu's got less in common with Arabic than English with Latin - two separate language groups. In fact, Urdu has more in common with English.

That's correct - Latin, Urdu and English are all Indo-European languages, whereas Arabic is a semitic language. My point was that Urdu and Arabic are completely different, and yet this jihadi volunteer was able to memorize the Quran (which is in Arabic) from cover to cover without understanding much of what he was memorizing. This indicates the guy was pretty sharp, like many of his terrorist brethren.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 12/29/2003 12:13 Comments || Top||

#7  Gates reputedly memorized the Bible at the age of 9

The FORTRAN Bible?
Posted by: Shipman || 12/29/2003 13:50 Comments || Top||

#8  Oh no. He wasn't sharp. In fact emphasis on mechanical memorization instead of reasoning is one of the things who have caused the Muslim world lagging behind farther and farther and farther. (Look at the article "Why Arabs lose wars" and another about spotting the losing countries, don't remember the exact title). I think the root cause of this emphasis in memorization is the haddith telling that you will go to Paradise if you memorize the book. And teachers in madrassas will routinely whip to blood the sytudents who can't recite it. Even when they don't speak a word of Arabic.
Posted by: JFM || 12/29/2003 15:02 Comments || Top||

#9  Oh no. He wasn't sharp. In fact emphasis on mechanical memorization instead of reasoning is one of the things who have caused the Muslim world lagging behind farther and farther and farther.

My point wasn't that he had accomplished anything tangible, but that he was in the upper range of intelligence among Pakistanis - the ability to memorize the Quran does require native intelligence. Jihadi organizers do have a formidable base of talent to draw upon - all they need to do is provide these people with training, and they can quickly become dangerous opponents.
Posted by: Zhang Fei || 12/29/2003 18:46 Comments || Top||

Thailand Holds Its Ground in Iraq
The Thai military may send additional combat troops to Karbala to help ensure the safety of the Thai contingent there. Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra said details had not been settled. The team was likely to comprise 30 combat specialists, to boost the 50 already at Lima camp. Mr Thaksin said if the government did decide to send the combat troops, they would be there to provide protection for the Thai soldiers, nothing else.

Thai soldiers at Lima camp on Sunday observed a moment of silence as they mourned the deaths of two colleagues killed in a truck-bomb attack the day before. The bodies of Chief Warrant Officer Mit Klaharn and CWO Amporn Chulert will arrive at Don Muang airport about 8.10am today on board a Thai Airways International aircraft. Top military leaders including army commander Chaisit Shinawatra will take part in a ceremony today to honour them. CWO Mit and CWO Amporn have been promoted posthumously to the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel. Gen Chaisit said the two officers, on duty at the gate at the time of the attack, died to save hundreds of other troops at Lima. ``They opened fire at the vehicles, forcing the attackers to detonate the bombs before they entered the camp,’’ he said. A source at Lima camp said the attackers planned to use two car bombs. The first was to destroy the camp wall, making way for a second bomb attack. ``But the wall is strong because we have reinforced it with concrete and sandbags,’’ said the source.

Lt-Gen Pisal Wattanawongkhiri, assistant chief of staff officers attached to the army commander, said the Thai troops were not the target. Sentry box No 5 which was hit by the bomb was 200-300 metres away from the Thai soldiers’ barracks. The bomb went off close to the US quarters. Lt-Gen Pisal said five mortar shells hit the same area on Nov 19. ``The Thai soldiers happened to be on duty that day. CWO Mit was killed instantly while CWO Amporn died at the Polish hospital,’’ he said. Col Boonchu and his Polish counterpart were revamping security at the camp. ``He wants the Polish troops to send out more patrols. The areas outside the camp are under the supervision of the Polish soldiers,’’ Lt-Gen Pisal said. ``Further attacks are possible. So more security and precautions are needed,’’ he said.

Lt-Gen Pisal said the mortar attack was not carried out by Iraqi people and neither was the truck-bomb attack. ``We now know who the attackers are, but we’d rather not identify them,’’ he said. Lt-Col Issara Supanamai, chief of the civil affairs of Task Force 976, recalled the Saturday incident, saying he first thought an artillery round had gone off. Gen Chaisit said Thai troops would remain in Karbala and two replacements would be sent soon. The camp has 50 combat specialists now. Col Boonchu Kirdchok, chief of the Thai contingent, was recently made camp commander and would need help.
As an American resident of Bangkok, I offer my sincerest respects to the two fallen Thai soldiers - who apparently went down fighting - and I applaud Thailand for standing its ground against thugs.
Posted by: Lone Ranger || 12/29/2003 6:53:56 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [261 views] Top|| File under:

During the last 24 hours, the 82nd Airborne Division and subordinate elements conducted 192 patrols, 35 of which were joint patrols with Iraqis, and carried out three offensive operations. These operations resulted in the capture of 16 enemy personnel.

In 1st Brigade, 1st Infantry Division’s area, soldiers conducted a cordon and search mission in Ar Ramadi aimed at capturing a suspected IED maker. Five Iraqis were captured during the operation including the mission’s targeted individual.

Last night in 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment’s area, soldiers conducted two raids in Husaybah. The operation was conducted successfully and resulted in the capture of three enemy personnel.

Earlier today in 1st Brigade’s area, an Iraqi citizen reported the location of an IED in Khalidiyah and later led a patrol from Forward Operating Base Manhattan to the location. An Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team successfully deactivated the IED.

Also in 1st Brigade’s area today, a team of engineers found two complete mortar systems north of Habbaniyah. Additionally, the soldiers confiscated an SA-7 missile, several mortar rounds, detonation cord, small arms weapons and ammunition, and a box of Iraqi military maps. The cache was found near where recent mortar attacks against Coalition Forces had taken place.

Soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division, 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment, and the 1st Infantry Division continue to work with the people of Al Anbar to secure a successful future for the citizens of Iraq.
Posted by: Chuck Simmins || 12/29/2003 4:13:23 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [273 views] Top|| File under:

Iraqi Spiritual Leaders Form Committee
That always works well...
Influential spiritual leaders from Saddam Hussein's hometown — a bastion of anti-American sentiment — are joining forces to persuade Iraqis to abandon the violent insurgency, one of the leaders said Monday.
"Put the gun DOWN, Mahmoud!"
The effort marks a new, open willingness to cooperate with U.S. forces — a shift in the thinking of at least some key members of Iraq's Sunni Muslim minority, which lost political dominance with the fall of Saddam and has largely formed the most outspoken and violent opposition to the U.S.-led occupation.
Are they still showing that video of Sammy having his teeth examined?
Sheik Sabah Mahmoud, leader of the Sada tribe, said he and 10 other tribal elders have formed a reconciliation committee in Tikrit to speak to other Iraqi leaders about trying to persuade rebels to put down weapons.
I did not make up that name. I swear it.
He said he took that message last week to a group of scholars, religious leaders and other prominent figures meeting in Baghdad. "It's about time we put our differences aside and looked to the future," Mahmoud said. "I told them, 'The reality is they (American forces) are here on the ground; the past is dead. Give the Americans a chance to see what they are going to give us.'"
"I don't want to have my teeth examined on the teevee!"
The committee was formalized Saturday, he said. "It's just the beginning," the sheik said during a meeting in the provincial government building with a U.S. Army commander and seven other spiritual leaders. The committee is one of the fruits of a forum that has been meeting since the summer. Such gatherings offer a glimpse into deepening ties between U.S. commanders and Sunni leaders in a rebel stronghold, even as attacks against coalition forces and those who cooperate with them continue. Initially, the Sunnis participating in those sessions did not advocate cooperating with American forces. The early meetings were mainly gripe sessions — their only outlet for complaining to U.S. commanders about arrests, raids, night curfews and so forth.

With the U.S.-led occupation trying to install democratic government, the Shiite Muslim majority — long oppressed under Saddam — is positioning itself to hold sway in Iraq. Sunnis apparently are realizing they must cooperate with the occupation if they are to have a role in the country's future leadership. Lt. Col. Steve Russell, who heads the meetings on the American side, welcomed the idea of a formal effort at reconciliation. "It's some good news," he said. The elders responded, "Inshallah," Arabic for "God willing."

Russell also credits tribal leaders with help in recruiting some of the men that American forces are training for the new Iraqi army. The sheiks have also helped disperse crowds of angry protesters, he said. Russell, of the Army's 4th Infantry Division, said his superiors from Central Command were surprised by reports he brought back of stronger ties with the Sunni sheiks, whom he greets with a few words of Arabic and the traditional custom of a kiss on the cheek. "They were somewhat surprised that we had had such an established dialogue, because everyone imagines that Tikrit is such an evil place that nothing will ever happen here," he told the sheiks, drawing laughter. Russell now wants the Sunni leaders to help spread a message of cooperation — and the tribal leaders seek some U.S. concessions in return.

U.S. forces operating in the area of Tikrit and the cities of Kirkuk and Baqouba still detain 248 Iraqis suspected of involvement in attacks on coalition troops. Their release tops a list of demands from the sheiks who now find themselves fighting to save their credibility with their own people. "Everybody knows we are meeting with the Americans, and they ask what we did and if we talked about prisoners," said Sheik Mahmoud al-Nada, leader of the powerful Nassari tribe from the village of Uja, Saddam's birthplace, just outside Tikrit. "Right now our credibility and honor are on the line."
It's the Army of Mahmouds in battle with the Axis of Stevel!
Russell said he was able to release three detainees last week based on information the elders provided him. He promised to check into other cases. But Russell told them bluntly that some would have to stay in custody. To prove his case, Russell showed the elders photos of weapons seized from one detainee's house — grenades, assault rifles and ammunition, some of them hidden under a baby's bed.

Also joining the meeting was Brig. Gen. Abdullah al-Jabouri, the Iraqi provincial chief of military affairs, who said active and visible U.S. involvement in improving in the lives of residents will help bring an end to the violent resistance. "Then people will see that these are not occupation forces. They'll change their view," he said.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 12/29/2003 16:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [374 views] Top|| File under:

#1  If you have yet to read LTC Russell's report from Aug through Christmas, he does talk about setting up this committee of Sheiks, how he works with them. They meet each Monday and he has been encouraging them to take this point.

His lengthy post is here -- great read!
You may have missed the Saturday post -- so here's the address

Posted by: Sherry || 12/29/2003 16:21 Comments || Top||

#2  We are lucky, TV's still don't transmit smells. Imagine if it had transmitted the smell of Saddam's mouth.
Posted by: JFM || 12/29/2003 17:01 Comments || Top||

#3  Yeah... Smell O Vision was supposed to be invented around 1965.

Seriously... there was a movie made in Aroma Rama ? One the weird Texas Indy types....?
Posted by: Shipman || 12/29/2003 18:04 Comments || Top||

#4  "I don't want to have my teeth examined on the teevee"
OMFG Fred my keyboard/screen are ruined!
Posted by: NotMikeMoore || 12/29/2003 22:17 Comments || Top||

US sees tide turn on Iraq insurgents
Attacks on soldiers have dropped steeply in the Tikrit area over the past month. After more than six months of intensive raids, foot patrols, and intelligence gathering, commanders believe they have tapped into the rhythm of the insurgency. "We’re making steady, [unstoppable] progress,’’ says Lt. Col. Steve Russell, who commands the 1st Battalion of the 22nd Infantry.
Posted by: Chuck Simmins || 12/29/2003 1:35:41 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [322 views] Top|| File under:

#1  What do brackets sound like when you speak them? I imagine it sounds something like Subliminal Man.
Posted by: BH || 12/29/2003 13:46 Comments || Top||

#2  Army of Steve again!

If we had more like him in the Press, we'd need less like him in the fields of Iraq.
Posted by: Anonymous || 12/29/2003 16:15 Comments || Top||

#3  I wonder if he might have a future role in Government? Maybe a Senator, or better yet, Chief of Staff.
Posted by: Charles || 12/29/2003 17:29 Comments || Top||

Saddam Says He Siphoned Billions
Saddam Hussein has acknowledged depositing billions of dollars abroad before his ouster and has given interrogators the names of people who know where the money is, a member of the Iraqi Governing Council said in remarks published Monday.
If true, that’ll make a whole lot of people nervous.
The U.S.-appointed council estimates that the Iraqi dictator seized $40 billion while in power and is now searching for that amount deposited in Switzerland, Japan, Germany and other countries, Iyad Allawi told the London-based Arab newspapers Al-Hayat and Asharq al-Awsat. "Saddam has started to give information on money that has been looted from Iraq and deposited abroad," Allawi told Asharq al-Awsat. "Investigation is now concentrated on his relationship with terrorist organizations and on the money paid to elements outside Iraq." Allawi said Saddam, who has been questioned by American interrogators since his capture this month, gave names of people who know where the money is deposited and also know the location of arms and ammunition depots used by insurgents in attacks against the coalition forces and the Governing Council.
Even if not true, saying so will make people try to move funds and stuff. That’ll make them easier to find.
In similar remarks to Al-Hayat, Allawi said Saddam had confessed to "important matters," a reference to the smuggling of billions of dollars abroad. "We have asked international legal and specialized companies to follow up the money he (Saddam) has deposited in Switzerland, Germany, Japan and other countries which is estimated at around $40 billion under fictitious companies’ names," Allawi told Al-Hayat.
Blabber mouth, or designated spokeman? We report, you decide.
In Baghdad, Ahmed al-Bayak, another member of the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Governing Council, said he was informed by council members that Saddam had started to talk about names of people inside Iraq who were carrying out attacks against U.S. forces. "But nothing about funds," said al-Bayak. Entifadh Qanbar, spokesman for Ahmed Chalabi, another council member, said Chalabi’s political party, the Iraqi National Congress, had its own information about Saddam’s funds before his arrest. "We don’t have new information on funds, and if we did we won’t be talking about this," he said.
Well, you’d be the only one it seems.
Posted by: Steve || 12/29/2003 9:43:26 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [334 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Given the deep pockets, a lot of American lawyers are probably thinking how they could represent someone who can sue Saddam for wrongful death.
Posted by: mhw || 12/29/2003 9:50 Comments || Top||

#2  So, how hard do you need to suck on the hose to siphon billions? And does it taste as bad as gasoline?
Posted by: Chuck Simmins || 12/29/2003 9:56 Comments || Top||

#3  The giggle juice must be working...
Posted by: Nick || 12/29/2003 12:32 Comments || Top||

#4  It's the round-the-clock Brittney Spears videos that are doing the job. Could YOU resist?
Posted by: Old Patriot || 12/29/2003 13:03 Comments || Top||

#5  Even if we identify all the accounts, I wouldn't get too hopeful that the money will be returned to Iraq. Remember, it's the Swiss holding the $$$. After acknowledging that they held (and profited from) some $12 billion of money looted from the Jews by Hitler, it was decades before any of it started to trickle back. Don't expect much speedier resolution here.
Posted by: Rivrdog || 12/29/2003 14:47 Comments || Top||

#6  The Jews didn't have ICBMs to persuade the Swiss. :-)
Posted by: JFM || 12/29/2003 15:07 Comments || Top||

#7  I wonder if his wife(s) own 8 trillion pairs of shoes...
Posted by: Laurence of the Rats || 12/29/2003 15:11 Comments || Top||

#8  It is important that we rigorously document and track the money back to where it is stored now. If it goes back to Swiss bank accounts, the Swiss Govt will need some serious public heat. This is the same as the Taliban aiding and abetting Al Q, which is like harboring terrorists. This neutrality stance is more of a crock of s--t, when a nation's banking system is in the middle of the equivalent of money laundering.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 12/29/2003 16:27 Comments || Top||

#9  This suggests another thought.. Saddam was worth $40 billion. Bill Gates is worth $50 billion.

Maybe Billy-boy is giving a little consideration to the thought that, as he's not THAT much richer than Saddam, he might wake up one morning with the 82nd Airborne outside his front door wanting to talk to him about all of the customers he's annoyed these past twenty years?

Now THERE'S a lovely thought. *grin*

Posted by: Ed Becerra || 12/29/2003 19:06 Comments || Top||

#10  Lacking a sense of humor as I do, it occurred to me that $40 billion is almost half of what Congress signed off on for Iraqi reconstruction. If Sammy hadn't skimmed the cash, and he hadn't pissed at least as much away on arms and ammunition and palaces, Iraq would be the richest country in the area.
Posted by: Fred || 12/29/2003 21:09 Comments || Top||

2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Fights Ansar Al Islam
Soldiers from the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) fought suspected members of the Ansar Al Islam terrorist group Dec. 28 in the city of Mosul during a cordon and knock operation. When the soldiers attempted to enter the home the suspects engaged them with small arms fire and one grenade. The unit returned fire, then entered and cleared the building. The American soldiers killed three terrorists during the operation, and turned one male, two females and three children over to the Iraqi Police. Two soldiers were wounded in action during the mission; both are in stable condition. The house caught fire during the engagement and was extinguished by the Iraqi Fire Department. The unit discovered and confiscated two rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) launchers, 11 RPG rounds, eight grenades, two AK-47s with 1,100 rounds, one 9-millimeter sub-machine gun, $30,000 worth of Iraqi dinar and nine religious books with anti-Coalition content.
Posted by: Chuck Simmins || 12/29/2003 8:35:31 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [286 views] Top|| File under:

#1  was extinguished by the Iraqi Fire Department.
A little good news in that.
Posted by: Shipman || 12/29/2003 8:42 Comments || Top||

#2  and nine religious books with anti-Coalition content

Sounds like shades of the old North Korean elementary primers: "If you take five running dog imperialist murderous cowardly American soldiers, and you kill two of them, how many dirty, rotten, running dog American warmongers do you have left?"

Well, if the books have title pages showing the publisher's identity, then I have a suggestion as to where to hold the next test firings of large bore weaponry.....
Posted by: Lone Ranger || 12/29/2003 10:05 Comments || Top||

#3  nine religious books with anti-Coalition content

It's not a good idea to confiscate copies of the Koran.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 12/29/2003 11:18 Comments || Top||

#4  It's not a good idea to confiscate copies of the Koran.

That remark is so uncalled for! :)
Posted by: Charles || 12/29/2003 12:30 Comments || Top||

#5  OK, it was uncalled for. Probably accurate, though.
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 12/29/2003 12:59 Comments || Top||

#6  I never said it wasn't accurate. Just uncalled for. We don't need Moonbats showing up here like over at LGF.

Although it is amusing...
Posted by: Charles || 12/29/2003 17:17 Comments || Top||

580 Rockets Found
An Iraqi citizen provided information to U.S. Air Force airmen concerning a large weapons cache that he said consisted of close to six hundred rockets. The Air Force in turn asked the U.S. Army for assistance. Air Force personnel and a patrol from 1st Battalion, 68th Armor Regiment went to the identified site in the evening of Dec. 27 to investigate. The intelligence acquired suggested the rockets could be found hidden in some undergrowth along the river next to a tree line. After a short search, the soldiers and airmen found a berm near a tree line that was approximately 35-feet long and four feet high. Buried in the berm, covered with plastic and dirt, they found 580 57-millimeter rockets. The unit secured the perimeter of the site and coordinated with an explosive ordinance disposal team for the destruction of the weapons.
Posted by: Chuck Simmins || 12/29/2003 8:33:20 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [274 views] Top|| File under:

Boomers get 2 confirmed kills on Iraqi Children
Roadside bombs in and near Baghdad killed two American soldiers and two Iraqi children Sunday, a day after a coordinated guerrilla assault in a southern city killed 19 people and wounded nearly 200, the U.S. military said.
Boomers blowing up kids - kittens next?
...a blast in Baghdad killed an American soldier and two Iraqi children, and wounded five American soldiers, their Iraqi interpreter and eight members of the Iraqi civil defense corps... A prominent lawyer working with coalition officials was shot dead outside his home in the northern city of Mosul on Friday, police said, a day after a tribal leader and member of a U.S.-appointed local council was assassinated in the city...
Ok, all you peaceniks, how are we supposed to negotiate with people who will do things like that to their own people, their own children? Remember - this was a command detonated device - someone deliberately set it off knowing those kids were there. Hey moonbats - now its "For the Children", care to climb on board?
Posted by: OldSpook || 12/29/2003 12:12:17 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [304 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Time to get tough. They set the rules - Deguello. (Roughly translated, it means "No Quarter". No Mercy.)

Arrest the families for 'aiding and abetting' (Mafia style), cordon the towns that host the boomers, and kill them on sight instead of capturing. No more taking prisoners if we catch them in the act. Summary execution, by way of "They were trying to escape".

Have to show them more stick and less carrot. Like the Commander of the Army of Steve said "We arent going to win them over by handing out lolipops."

Posted by: OldSpook || 12/29/2003 0:15 Comments || Top||

#2  OldSpook...You speak truth.
Posted by: ScottAK || 12/29/2003 9:54 Comments || Top||

#3  Arrest the families for 'aiding and abetting' (Mafia style), cordon the towns that host the boomers, and kill them on sight instead of capturing. No more taking prisoners if we catch them in the act. Summary execution, by way of "They were trying to escape".

The Big Cheese&trade is already in custody, so there isn't going to be much value in taking people lower down on the ladder into custody. Those that organize and/or carry out terror attacks and are caught should be dealt with promptly, keeping the Iraq prison system from having to be burdened with their upkeep.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 12/29/2003 10:37 Comments || Top||

#4  These people have to get their information from someone, their supplies from someone, and the money to carry out the operations from someone. Capture them, wring them dry, then hang them in a public place. Put a big sign, in ten languages so no one's confused, "These people tried to steal your freedom", under each one. List their names, the names of their families, and what they did (or tried to do). Pretty soon, about 5% of the population will be social pariahs, the number of booms will drop drastically, and there won't be a need for many more hangings.

The biggest problem with our government is that it's still operating in "civilized" mode in an uncivilized environment, against an enemy that considers not only us, but our civilization, our morals, and our behavior, the enemy. That is not a means of operation conducive to success. We don't need to get as anal as they do, but we need to let the perps know we CAN, and WILL if pushed to it. The people doing the booming believe anything they do is ok, if it brings about the results they want. We need to let them know we'll use their behaviors against them if they don't "develop some manners". We also need to let them know they don't even have a CLUE about really being anal. I think Falluja would be a good place to stage a demonstration.
Posted by: Old Patriot || 12/29/2003 13:22 Comments || Top||

#5  Yes,Daddy's in the jug.If they don't want to quit by now it is way past time for"Shoot on site"orders.
Posted by: raptor || 12/29/2003 13:56 Comments || Top||

#6  I wonder what a MOAB would do to a town like Fallujah? Would they even care if we turned Fallujah into a glow in the dark spider-hole? Sometimes I think Islam, as a whole, has a death wish. 'Gee, daddy, how long CAN we poke the tiger with a stick before he eats us?'
Posted by: Swiggles || 12/29/2003 14:08 Comments || Top||

Southeast Asia
Two Americans Arrested in Philippines
Two American brothers were arrested for possible links to terrorism, a Philippine official said Monday. Michael Ray Stubbs and his brother James, a convert to Islam, have been held at an undisclosed location since they were arrested earlier this month 21 miles southwest of Manila, an immigration intelligence official said on condition of anonymity.
More converts to the R.O.P. arrested, what a surprise.
The official said the brothers were of Middle Eastern origin but gave no other details. It was not clear what charges they could face or why authorities believe they may be linked to terrorism. The two were to be brought before the media on Tuesday, when more information was expected.
I’d wager it involves explosives, money or both.
It was also not known where they were from in the United States.

Additional from Australian Broadcasting:
Philippines authorities are reported to have arrested two foreign nationals suspected of being members of the Jemaah Islamiyah network. The AFP news agency, quoting Philippine military intelligence officials, named the two suspects as brothers James and Michael Ray Stubbs. James Stubbs is also known as Jamil Daoud Mujahid. AFP says the suspects were caught in a joint operation in the town of Tanza, south of Manila last week. Philippine authorities are determining if the men are Jordanians or Americans of Yemenese descent.
Additional reports say they are Jordanian and are undergoing "tactical interogation". One brother is on the US watchlist for al-Qaida connections.
Posted by: Steve || 12/29/2003 9:32:44 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [262 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Phillipine news website adds:

Both Americans are of Middle Eastern descent and married to Filipinos, one intelligence official told Reuters, adding that James Stubbs also uses a Muslim name, Jamil Daud Mujahid. He is on the U.S. watch list.

Intelligence sources said Michael Ray Stubbs works in a state-run, high-security nuclear and biological research facility in the United States. what the f....? If the Homeland Security boys aren't zeroing in on guys like this, what are they doing??????

"These guys had slipped through the tight U.S. watch list but we were lucky to get them here," a senior naval intelligence official told Reuters. "The Americans were completely taken by surprise when informed about the arrest of these two men."

He said the brothers were looking to buy property and had met regularly in the Philippines for the past several years.

Posted by: Lone Ranger || 12/29/2003 10:00 Comments || Top||

#2  and are undergoing "tactical interrogation."

Is that like "getting to know a rubber hose?"
Posted by: ScottAK || 12/29/2003 10:01 Comments || Top||

#3  "He said the brothers were looking to buy property"

Foreigners are not allowed to buy property in the Philippines
Posted by: Lizzel || 12/29/2003 10:05 Comments || Top||

#4  Foreigners are not allowed to buy property in the Philippines

If their wives are locals, couldn't they purchase it in wives names?
Posted by: Steve || 12/29/2003 10:18 Comments || Top||

#5  What is it with American terrorists and Filipino brides?
Posted by: Robert Crawford || 12/29/2003 11:19 Comments || Top||

#6  LOL I love it when Americans go off the deep end! The State department probably gave the travel plans of the brothers to the Filapino CIA. Thats a trick I hadn't seen used in years. You let the bad guy (U.S.) travel (flee) to a country that: A) will use torture to get information and B) will extradite them when they are through. Believe me they will want to come back to America, even in chains.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge (VRWC CA Chapter) || 12/29/2003 13:33 Comments || Top||

#7  I know a few sailers who have past through the Phillipines,personally know one Phillipino lass.
Sure was a pretty,little lady.
Posted by: raptor || 12/29/2003 14:00 Comments || Top||

More on the Said arrest, Abu Nidal bagged as well
Two men believed to be field commanders of the Muslim Abu Sayyaf kidnap gang have been captured following military raids in the southern Philippines at the weekend, the military said Monday. Troops arrested Alih Malabon, also known as Abu Nidal, and Mohammad Said, alias Commander Kaiser, in operations Saturday near the southern port city of Zamboanga, the military southern command said. Malabon has a P1 million bounty on his head and is believed to head a rebel unit directly receiving orders from overall Abu Sayyaf leader Khadaffy Janjalani, who remains at large.
Kud-huffy must be feeling the heat right about now. Abu thugs have been falling all around him...
Malabon and Said are implicated in the murders of Americans Guillermo Sobero and Martin Burnham, two of three US hostages kidnapped by the group from a beach resort in May 2001. Martin Burnham’s wife, Gracia, was rescued by US and Filipino troops after a year in captivity.

The Abu Sayyaf is a small group of bandits styling themselves as Islamic militants. The US and Philippine Governments, however, consider the group a foreign terrorist organization and officials said it once had links with Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network. Last Saturday, a soldier was killed and another wounded while trying to disarm a homemade bomb allegedly planted by Abu Sayyaf rebels near an airport in southern Jolo island. The gunmen earlier this [week] warned they would launch retaliatory attacks after the military captured Galib Andang, known also as Commander Robot, one of the group’s top lieutenants who engineered a daring kidnapping raid on Malaysian resorts in 2000.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 12/29/2003 3:01:51 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [261 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The other Abu Nidal, I presume?

What an odd lot, with both a Kaiser and a Robot. They all seem to be Commanders, too.
Posted by: Chuck Simmins || 12/29/2003 16:20 Comments || Top||

Abu Sayyaf leader Mohammed Said bagged
A top Abu Sayyaf commander carrying a P1-million bounty on his head was captured Saturday by the military during a raid on his hideout in Zamboanga City.
Somebody's buying the beer tonight!
Mohammad Said, reportedly a henchman of Abu Sayyaf leader Isnilon Hapilon, was arrested in Barangay Recodo on the strength of a warrant of arrest issued by the Basilan regional trial court, said Col. Daniel Casabar, commander of "Task Force Zamboanga." Said was captured by a task force from the Army Scout Rangers and military intelligence agents in the morning of Dec. 27. Said used the alias Kaiser Said.
That's a pretty damned boring alias. "Commander Robot" is much more dashing...
Last Dec. 7, troops captured Ghalib Andang, alias Commander Robot, who led an Abu Sayyaf band in snatching 21 mostly European tourists from an island resort off Sabah on Easter Sunday in 2000.
See what I mean? "Commander Robot" -> daring raid. The Abu boyz prob'ly burned through the walls of the resort and came swarming in, knives clutched in their teeth, carrying off wenches and such. Had Kaiser Said run the operation, they'd have come goose-stepping up in tight formation, laid down a barrage of mustard gas, then gone "over the top," with fixed bayonets, and killed everyboyd in sight. Where's the big money in that?
The hostages were held in the jungles of Sulu for almost six months before they were freed in batches after Libya and some of their governments reportedly paid millions of dollars in ransom.
See? The dough was prob'ly paid in gold and jewels, and Commander Robot's boyz buried it in a chest on the beach in a deserted cove on a flyspeck isle in the dead of night, after paying out the graft to the negotiators, of course. But what does all this have to do with Mohammed Said?
After his arrest, the 36-year-old Andang was taken to a military hospital at Edwin Andrews Air Base in Zamboanga City and was later flown to Manila on a military transport plane under heavy security. Andang was confined at V. Luna military hospital in Quezon City, where doctors have amputated his left leg.
"Yar! Now I be Commander Peg-leg Robot! Avast me hearties! Come spring me from this here calaboose!"
Armed Forces spokesman Lt. Col. Daniel Lucero said a major artery in Andang’s left leg had been severed and the limb was removed above the knee after gangrene had set in. "There was no recourse but to amputate it to save his life," he said.
"And to get rid of the smell... Eeewwww! Stinky!"
Col. Rafael Regino, Armed Forces surgeon general, said Andang did not object to the operation to cut off his left leg.
"More giggle juice, Commander Robot?"
"Yersh, shank 'oo!"
"By the way, we're gonna cut off one or two of your legs. Do you mind?"
"'Ash awright..."
"When he woke up, Robot thanked me," he said.
"Yersh. Shanks a heap. Never liked that leg anyway... Shay! Izh there any more giggle juice?"
"I think he gladly received (the outcome of the operation)," which took almost two hours to perform.
"Shay, Nursh? I got up to go to the bashroom an' my leg wudn't there. You sheen it?"
Regino said the government can provide Andang an artificial wooden leg made of yakal, and that his amputated leg will be used for laboratory and pathological tests.
... and target practice.
Roughly, the government has spent around P50,000 to P1 million for Andang’s hospitalization, he added.
"But we're gonna hold the leg for ransom for P1 million, so we should get our money back."
On the other hand, Brig. Gen. Bonifacio Ramos, commander of the Army’s 103rd Infantry Brigade, said even before the arrest of Andang, troops have been tracking down Hapilon and Abu Sayyaf commander Hamsiraji Sali alias Commander Jose Ramirez. Sali was reportedly wounded when troops chanced upon the bandit leader in Upper Kumalarang near the border of Lantawan town, Basilan. Brig. Gen. Alexander Yano, commander of the Army’s 601st Infantry Brigade, said troops backed by intelligence units have also been looking for Abu Sayyaf chieftain Khaddafi Janjalani in Central Mindanao. Janjalani was last monitored in Palembang, Sultan Kudarat, he added.
[Knock knock!]
"Good evening, Madame. We're the 601st Infantry Brigade..."
"Good evening. Won't you come in?"
"Thank you."
"Yes, thank you. Sergeant Major!"
"Tell those men to stop messing with the piano. They don't know how to play it!"
"Madame, we're searching for Khaddafi Janjalani. Have you seen him?"
"Janjalani? I don't believe I know anyone of that name, Colonel."
"Thank you, Madame. Sergeant Major!"
"Form the men up and move them out!"
"Yessir! Here, you men! Careful of that antimaccassar!"
Posted by: Dan Darling || 12/29/2003 2:59:54 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [762 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Superior commentary!
By the way what's yakal? As in made of yakal Is it related to Yohimbe?
Posted by: Shipman || 12/29/2003 14:07 Comments || Top||

#2  I think it's like spackle, only instead of mixing it up with water, you use yak butter.
Posted by: Fred || 12/29/2003 14:18 Comments || Top||

#3  Yakal- Often found behind potted plant after major fraternity keg party.
Posted by: Capsu78 || 12/29/2003 17:19 Comments || Top||

Terror Networks
Al Qaeda letter gives U.S. an ultimatum
ALBUQUERQUE, NM (Talon News) -- A letter to the Bush administration from an alleged representative of al Qaeda and the Islamic Jihad Brigade Black Death Squad makes reference to a document supposedly sent to the White House last week that contained a laundry list of requirements for the government.
Less starch, better creasing, perhaps?
The most recent warning reads in part (sic), "Don’t ever think that your ’orange alert’ system will help you although you know very well that even ’severe is less than the situation you are in.’ Nothing will help you but delivering our demands and as soon as possible. Your arrogance and childish acts of dictatorship are leading you directly to the cave of darkness."
Would that be Osama’s new hangout?
"We have not seen a single step that reflects any logic thinking of any sort, nor clear and wise decisions, and no fast actions."
Nope, nope, nope. Us ’Mericans have no plan whatsoever. Pass it on.
You’re fooling yourself and the American people, making them believe that you can defend them, when you know very well that you’re totally helpless."
That’s us - all turban, no jihad. Ignore that smell from Tora Bora.
In a portion of the letter addressed directly to President Bush, letter writer Daleel Almojahid (an alleged al Qaeda operative) wrote in part, "Are you really still wondering if we have weapons of mass destruction? Why are you lying to your people, Bush? Tell them what you know, we bet you to tell them what you and the administration know. Tell them ... ’we have been losing all the wars with al Qaeda since they ever started.’ Tell them that al Qaeda is simply unbeatable!"
"Somebody hold me ..." (SOB)
The alleged demands made in last week’s letter from the same individual included a demand that the United States cease "invading" Islamic lands anywhere in the world and return all "stolen" Muslim money, "in gold not in any kind of money note."
But a check or Paypal will do just dandy.
Other demands read (sic), "The returning of the old borders known to you and we press on the northern borders, the release of all our prisoners in your jails whom you know and we know only. The dismantle of the so called (United Nations and its council) in an international decision."
Dismantle the UN? Man, that may be something that even Rantburgers can agree on.
Another portion of the letter read in part, "(sic), "We will give you a prior few minutes notice before our blessed attack so that you will be able to watch your destruction with your own satellite, as we would be by then have passed the skies of the seventh sky to heaven and your nation to the fires of hell."
Glad they’ll be giving us the heads up. I would hate to sleep through the armageddon.
Posted by: Baltic Blog || 12/29/2003 3:52:10 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [303 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Oh, piffle. Come get some or STFU, you monkeys.
Posted by: mojo || 12/29/2003 16:00 Comments || Top||

#2  You have to love the phrase "Islamic Jihad Brigade Black Death Squad". It will make for a nice football team in the Muslim football league- see article on this site.
Posted by: mhw || 12/29/2003 16:06 Comments || Top||

#3  This sounds like another leaked Democratic memo, not something from Al Queda. Same whining either way.
Posted by: ruprecht || 12/29/2003 16:07 Comments || Top||

#4  *yawn* Yer boring me, cabbie. Either do something big so we can finally get down to seriously eradicating your moonbat death cult, or go away.
Posted by: BH || 12/29/2003 16:08 Comments || Top||

#5  More Monty Python-esque blabberings. I say whack more members of their group and see if the "demands" increase.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 12/29/2003 16:11 Comments || Top||

#6  You guys have any ID? We get so many nutcases going through, that, you know, we can't be too careful.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 12/29/2003 16:20 Comments || Top||

#7  Damn! Not even worth a 1 on the spittle scale.

Very disappointing! Better to leave the spittle spewing to the pros.
Posted by: CrazyFool || 12/29/2003 16:24 Comments || Top||

#8  MEMRI says this letter is bogus and they give some good explanations too. And didn't the Internet Haganah say this guy was a phoney too?

Posted by: LJ || 12/29/2003 16:31 Comments || Top||

#9  I think the dean campaign hired away all the true spittle-speech writers. These guys are rank amateurs, makes me sort of nostalgic for the old days.
Posted by: 4thInfVet || 12/29/2003 16:42 Comments || Top||

#10  written by an 8 year old
or Dean's campaign manager
Posted by: Anonymous || 12/29/2003 16:48 Comments || Top||

#11  It sounds phoney to me. Since when does AQ have "demands"? They aren't blackmailers they're Krazed Killers©
Posted by: Spot || 12/29/2003 16:52 Comments || Top||

#12  Careful everyone!! You can never tell whether there might be coded messages in any of these communications!! Analysis of the group name has come up with this:


I'm not sure what it means! But I'm certain it's not good!!

Posted by: Vic || 12/29/2003 16:54 Comments || Top||

#13  I think I've had a long day: when I saw the phrase, "Islamic Jihad Brigade Black Death Squad", the first thing I thought of was a brand of ant and roach spray.
Posted by: Dave D. || 12/29/2003 17:30 Comments || Top||

#14  Do us a favor, AlQ, and learn real ranting and threatening from North Korea. Ask for Army First man.

*Mutters* Should give us a good excuse...
Posted by: Ptah || 12/29/2003 18:10 Comments || Top||

#15  LOL Vic
Posted by: Shipman Anagram Maker to the Stars || 12/29/2003 18:13 Comments || Top||

#16  Dave D.

When I first read it I saw "Black Death Squid."

I think the prescription on my glasses just expired...
Posted by: Fred || 12/29/2003 19:01 Comments || Top||

#17  I hope that when they take over my airplane they wear those scary masks! That way I can shove down his throat and pull it out of his ass. "Islamic Jihad Brigade Black Death Squad" Isn't that Saddam's private security firm in Jersey? But maybe this is a Demo memo? Anyone seen Dennis today? Bring it on punks!
Posted by: Cyber Sarge (VRWC CA Chapter) || 12/29/2003 19:26 Comments || Top||

#18  If this is legit, I'll give those mutts credit for not stopping the smack talk. It takes quite a committed (and dense) breed to spend the past 2 years getting their asses righteously kicked from one end of this world to the other, and yet convince themselves they are winning. F*tards.
Posted by: JerseyMike || 12/29/2003 20:42 Comments || Top||

al-Qaeda using drug cash to buy radioactive material
Osama bin Laden’s al Qaeda network has become deeply involved in international drug trafficking, using the money to buy arms and, possibly, radioactive material for use in a so-called "dirty" nuclear bomb, senior U.S. officials say.
I think we've seen a couple references to this before. Even if we hadn't, somebody's got to be doing something with the output of the poppy fields, unless they're making an awful lot of bagels...
The seizure earlier this month of boats carrying heroin and hashish, and operated by al Qaeda-linked persons, has brought to light an al Qaeda drug operation that has grown tremendously since the September 11 attacks, the sources say. "Bin Laden does not mind trafficking in drugs, even though it’s against the teaching of Islam, because it’s being used to kill Westerners," said a defense official who asked not to be named. "He has allies and associates who are not members per se, but who move products for him and take drugs and buy arms and give the arms to al Qaeda."

This official and other sources say the intelligence community still does not have a firm grasp on the scope of the al Qaeda drug operation and how much money it raises, although estimates are in the millions of dollars. And officials say U.S. Central Command is so busy fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan it does not devote large resources to stopping the drug trade. But the Bush administration is starting to realize that to ultimately defeat al Qaeda, it must mount more aggressive counternarcotics operations. With its source of money from Islamic charities being shut down by the United States and its allies, al Qaeda has turned to the poppy fields of Afghanistan as barter to finance operations. The poppies are converted into opium and heroin, which fetch huge sums of money as they move from the Afghanistan-Pakistan region to the West. "If you’re going to get terrorism under control, we’ve got to stop their livelihood, which is money," said the defense official. "Without money, they die."

Said Andre Hollis, a former senior counternarcotics official under Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld, "The linkage between terrorists and drug trafficking are only now becoming clear and are a great concern. The methods by which terrorists and other underworld actors move drugs are the same routes that are used to move weapons, terrorists and, potentially, [weapons of mass destruction]."
If they're only now becoming clear, we need to hire some smarter guys to run the intel operations.
Bin Laden reaps the profits in two ways: His allies regulate smuggling routes out of Afghanistan into Iran, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and other countries, essentially placing a tax on each shipment to let it pass. Or, alternatively, al Qaeda takes the drugs as payment and uses them to buy arms. There are unconfirmed intelligence reports that al Qaeda has bought radioactive material for use in a "dirty bomb." Such a device is a conventional bomb packed with radioactive material that the explosion spreads, instead of using the radioactive material for the more technically demanding task of igniting a nuclear reaction, as in an atomic bomb. A "dirty bomb" would be not nearly as destructive as a nuclear explosion, but could expose thousands of people to deadly radiation poisoning if exploded in an urban area.

The United States does know, however, that smugglers are trafficking in radioactive substances. Last May, police in Tbilisi, Georgia, arrested a man carrying boxes labeled "Danger: Radiation." Inside were two capsules of the radioactive metals strontium and cesium. A third vial contained a substance used to make the chemical weapon mustard gas. The man was en route to the train station to deliver the material to a still-unknown recipient in southwest Georgia for shipment to another country.
What substance used to make mustard gas? One simple recipe is to combine bleach and ammonia, shake well, then fall down dead. The original recipe was ethylene and chlorine, invented sometime around 1860. We aren't talking hi-tech here...
The arrest points out that smugglers are willing to traffic in any type of weapons and sell to just about anybody if the price is right. The drug trafficking is not limited to the Persian Gulf region. Jemaah Islamiyah, al Qaeda’s ally in Southeast Asia, also deals in narcotics. "Al Qaeda has a presence in Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines, where drugs are a currency," said retired Army Lt. Col. Robert Maginnis, a military analyst who has studied the terror-drug nexus. "It has dealings with nations in Southeast Asia, such as Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia. Drugs are a currency that fuels terrorist groups everywhere." The model for al Qaeda is a terrorist group that has terrorized Colombia for decades. The left-wing Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, has cornered the cocaine trade to finance all aspects of its war against Bogota’s democratic government. With the coca crop and drug labs bringing in millions of dollars, FARC has no need for financial allies and has a self-contained terror army.

Al Qaeda’s drug operations rose to the surface in mid-December, when the U.S. Navy seized three al Qaeda-linked boats. In the first operation, a Navy destroyer stopped a 40-foot boat, arrested three men and confiscated two tons of hashish worth $10 million in the Persian Gulf near the Strait of Hormuz. "This capture is indicative of the need for continuing maritime patrol of the gulf in order to stop the movement of terrorists, drugs and weapons," said Rear Adm. Jim Stavridis, commander the carrier USS Enterprise battle group.
Sounds like it's indicative of the need for letters of marque and reprisal. Make it more profitable to be a privateer than to be a smuggler...
A day after the announcement, Navy ships on interdiction duty in the Arabian Sea captured two sailboats carrying 85 pounds of heroin valued at $3 million. Again, the crew was suspected of links to al Qaeda. The Navy also found 150 pounds of methamphetamines worth $1.5 million. The defense official said all the drugs likely came from Afghanistan, where opium also finances Taliban fighters. "We stopped two shipments," said the official. "How many have gotten through? How much money are they getting from this? We don’t know. But we think it’s the tip of the iceberg."
Posted by: Dan Darling || 12/29/2003 2:53:38 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [413 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Opportunity to develop some plant virus that kills opium poppies here surely?
Posted by: Tony (UK) || 12/29/2003 4:09 Comments || Top||

#2  I think it's time to legalize drugs. It's the surest way to take the trade out of the hands of criminals, and would elimitate the massive profit potential a black market creates. Plus, the tax revenue governments could collect would be huge.
Posted by: Scooter McGruder || 12/29/2003 8:18 Comments || Top||

#3  So drug trafficking is allowed, but only if the money is used to kill people. What a lovely f*cking religion.
Posted by: BH || 12/29/2003 10:16 Comments || Top||

#4  Going after the smuglers is a major step in this war. I like that privateer thing though, I think. Something dashing about that. Might really spark the imagination of a new generation of Iraqi's.
Posted by: Lucky || 12/29/2003 13:06 Comments || Top||

#5  Here is a link to a privateer that one would not like to sign on to...heh heh....great song!
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 12/29/2003 13:17 Comments || Top||

#6  I'm still waiting for the USPO to deliver the Letter of Marque that I requested back in '82. This is what happens when you a Democrat as a Congressman... piss poor constituent service I'd say.
Posted by: Shipman || 12/29/2003 14:16 Comments || Top||

#7  Arrrrrr.
Posted by: Pete Stanley || 12/29/2003 15:47 Comments || Top||

#8  Keep in mind that privateers sailing under Letters of Marque traditionally had to supply their own equipment and personnel. Edward Teach, who later became widely known as "Blackbeard", started out as a Brit privateer, but couldn't make it pay without taking the occasional British-flagged ship and adding it to his "fleet". The crown got all huffy about these "requisitions" and called him a pirate then. Same deal applied for whats-his-name in the Indian Ocean.
Posted by: mojo || 12/29/2003 16:22 Comments || Top||

#9  Screw it.. I'm gonna get a Letre of Reprisal from the Governor.
Posted by: Shipman || 12/29/2003 18:16 Comments || Top||

#10  Mojo - Plenty of naval gear left over from the 60's and 70's, and I'd suspect that you'd only need light ordinance. A good PT boat with, say, a light recoilless rifle replacing the torpedoes, a pair of .50 cal machine guns, and a pair of 40mm auto-grenade launchers.

Something like a destroyer escort, only smaller yet.

Posted by: Ed Becerra || 12/29/2003 19:26 Comments || Top||

#11  Something more M-shipish, I think. Fat and plodding, with pop-up Bofors guns fore and aft...
Posted by: mojo || 12/29/2003 22:15 Comments || Top||

Middle East
Jihad’s real meaning to be explained
I know you Kufrs are all impatient to find out the true meaning of Jihad, but you will have to cool your heels a bit longer, ’til at least the target date next year.
The Council of Religious Ministers for Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore (MABIMS) will publish a comprehensive working paper for explaining Jihad (crusade or holy war) to their Ummah (followers of Islam) by its target date next year.
First time I've ever seen "jihad" translated as "crusade." It's a fairly accurate translation...
Such a move is needed to avoid confusion and will also serve as a guideline for Muslims, especially young Turks, who could be misguided by certain elements, caused by lack of definition to the phrase’s real meaning. The decision was made several days ago at the Senior Officers Meeting (SOMS) during the 28th unofficial meeting of MABIMS held in Kuala Lumpur. It was attended by the acting Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Religious Affairs of Brunei Darussalam, Hj Tasim Hj Akim; Secretary General for Ministry of Religious Affairs of Republic of Indonesia, Prof Dr H Faisal Ismail; Director General Islamic Development Department of Malaysia, Datuk Mohamad Shahir Abdullah; and the President of Singapore Islamic Religion Council, Mohammad Alami Musa. The Sultanate will take a leading role by collecting all needed materials from the concerned nations towards the final processing of the aforementioned book, which will be in the Malay language, also translated into Arabic and English.
I'm soooo looking forward to seeing it on Amazon.com...
It shall also provide explanations to non-Muslims who may associate terrorism with Islam, said Datuk Mohamad Shahir Abdullah, as quoted by Berita Harian. Jihad is a religious conviction for able Muslims towards defending the integrity of Islam. Those who may die because of Jihad are promised good returns and paradise in the afterlife.
So we've heard. 72 flat-chested 12-year-olds, wasn't it?
Posted by: tipper || 12/29/2003 7:17:38 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [374 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Oh, good. This should sort it all out.
Posted by: tu3031 || 12/29/2003 20:10 Comments || Top||

#2  Those who may die because of Jihad are promised good returns and paradise in the afterlife.

Christianity has a similar thing...except that killing yourself and others in the process doesn't count.
Posted by: RW2004 || 12/29/2003 20:15 Comments || Top||

#3  Jihad == all purpose cop out.

Been humiliated? Issue fatwa for jihad. Been thoroughly pounded by the infidels and/or Jews? Declare jihad. Unable to come to grips with your society's failures? Engage in jihad against the infidels and/or Jews. Need to rally your fellow Muslims to your cause? Put "Jihad" into its name. Extra points given if Islam is also part of the name. (as in Islamic Jihad)
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 12/29/2003 21:45 Comments || Top||

#4  ever notice almost everything they accuse the west of are exactly what they are actually doing
Posted by: jimmytheclaw || 12/29/2003 23:23 Comments || Top||

Plea for action on piracy
The UK shipping industry is urging the UN to act on the growing threat posed by pirates. Official figures show there were 344 pirate attacks worldwide in the first nine months of 2003, compared with 271 in the same period last year.
"Yar! We be pirates!"
The number of attacks involving guns has risen from 49 last year to 77 in 2003, with incidents in which knives were used increasing from 99 to 115.
"Yar! We be fierce pirates! Hand over them jewels, me proud beauty!"
The first nine months of 2003 have seen 416 violent attacks on seafarers, with 20 killed - compared with six last year - and 43 missing.
"Arrr! Where'd he go, matey?"
Britain's Chamber of Shipping, the ships' officers' union Numast and the International Transport Workers Federation are among organisations pressing for action.
"Yar! We be unionized!"
The worst area for piracy this year has been Indonesia with 87 incidents, followed by Bangladesh with 37. Attacks in the Malacca Straits in the Far East have increased from 11 in 2002 to 25 this year, while incidents in Nigeria have risen from nine to 28 in the same period.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 12/29/2003 15:24 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [271 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Anyone else think the USN or somebody trustworthy ought to have a squadron of corvettes based in Singapore or Camh Ran Bay?
Posted by: Pete Stanley || 12/29/2003 15:27 Comments || Top||

#2  The best answer to pirates is the old one -
A short drop and a sudden stop.
Posted by: mojo || 12/29/2003 15:46 Comments || Top||

#3  Step up right here for your weekly piracy reports!

21.12.2003 at 0400 LT in posn: 01:54S-116:37E, Apar Bay anchorage, Indonesia.
Five pirates armed with long knives in a speedboat boarded a bulk carrier via hawse pipe. They threatened duty A/B with a knife but he
managed to warn the bridge. Pirates broke open forecastle store and tried to steal a life raft. Crew raised alarm and shore security guard fired warning shots. Pirates jumped overboard and escaped empty handed.

Aye and Yar!
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 12/29/2003 18:47 Comments || Top||

Middle East
Israel warns of major 'non-conventional' attack
Israeli intelligence officials say militant groups are planning a major "non-conventional" attack on New Year's Eve. Possible targets are holy sites, nursery schools, apartment buildings and hospitals.
Especially nursery schools...
Police have been told to prepare for three possible scenarios: an air or sea-based attack or a ground assault involving several simultaneous suicide bombings. Senior intelligence officials know which of the three scenarios is most likely, but are reluctant to share the information with police officers to prevent leaks.
My guess would be some sort of air attack...
The warnings are connected to Israel's killing of a senior Islamic Jihad militant in the Gaza Strip on Thursday. Following the airstrike, Defence Minister Shaul Mofaz said the death had prevented a "mega-terror attack," but security officials said the warnings are still relevant.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 12/29/2003 15:19 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [343 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I would suggest that a good move would be to plan a swift, major reprisal, just in case.
Posted by: Bomb-a-rama || 12/29/2003 16:19 Comments || Top||

#2  "a senior Islamic Jihad militant in the Gaza Strip on Thursday."

Ho ho ho, Santa has a special stocking stuffer for you, Jihad-boy !
Posted by: Carl in N.H. || 12/29/2003 16:57 Comments || Top||

#3  Let's keep an eye on those Soddy F-15s at Torbruk.
Posted by: Shipman || 12/29/2003 18:09 Comments || Top||

#4  are you nuts...they would never get off the ground.
Posted by: RW2004 || 12/29/2003 20:13 Comments || Top||

#5  hmmm.... sounds like the jihadi's have to be reminded of the samson option
Posted by: jimmytheclaw || 12/29/2003 23:20 Comments || Top||

Africa: North
Ex-Mauritania leader to appeal
Former Mauritanian President Muhammad Khuna Wald Hidallah is to lodge an appeal against his conviction of plotting a coup to overthrow the current head of the West-African country. Wald Hidallah, who vehemently denied planning the ouster of Preident Muawiya Wald Sidi Ahmad Taya was handed a five-year suspended jail term and ordered to pay $1,550.
"It wudn't me! Yez gotta b'lieve me! It wudn't me!"
"This verdict is not just and does not reflect the proceedings that took place in front of the court during this long trial and we are going to lodge an appeal with the supreme court", said Wald Hidallah.
"Yeah! That's it! They'll believe me!"
Of the 14 others on trial for the past four weeks in the country, eight were given suspended prison terms of two to five years and fined. Six others were acquitted and released. Speaking to Aljazeera, following the sentencing, Ali Wald Sniba, spokesperson for Wald Hidallah said: "it is an unfair sentence as it is based on wrong judgement".
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 12/29/2003 15:05 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [261 views] Top|| File under:

Middle East
Quraya seeks funds
Palestinian PM Ahmad Quraya to Saudi Arabia where he was hoping to persuade officials to become more involved in Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts and to step up its financial support for the cash-strapped Palestinian Authority.
"Especially the money. We really need some money. Yasser skimmed all we had."
In 2002, Saudi Arabia presented its own proposal for Middle East peace that was partially incorporated into the road map.
Hamas used it for toilet paper...
The visit will be Quraya's first to the Gulf region since he became prime minister in October. "I will ask (Saudi Arabia) to play a role with the international community to pressure the Israelis to implement the road map," Quraya said.
"There! That should do it!"
Palestinian Foreign Minister Nabil Shaath said the Palestinians would ask the Saudis for help in "encouraging Gulf states to support us financially."
"Maybe youse guyz could hold another telethon?"
The Palestinian economy has been badly harmed by more than three years of violence and more than 60% of the Palestinian Authority budget is supplied by international donors.
"Look, Martha! It's a failed proto-state!"
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 12/29/2003 15:01 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [255 views] Top|| File under:

#1  In a twisted way, this is good news. It means that the PA is hurting for money publically. Saudi is having its own cash flow problems, so now the PA is going to have to (1) change their ways to get more funding or (2) they will slowly go extinct. Given the track record of brilliant decisions made by the PA, I vote for 2 as the choice they will make. Unless the EU wants throw some of their unrepresented public's hard-earned tax money down the ultimate rathole.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 12/29/2003 15:07 Comments || Top||

#2  I think Quraya should contact Dean's campaign manager, Joe Trippi. He will be looking for a new job in about 10 months, and he's done wonders raising money over the 'net.
Posted by: Tibor || 12/29/2003 15:23 Comments || Top||

#3  Tell them the "we couldn't have Christmas lights this year" sob story. It hits you right here.
Don't know if it'll do much for them though. Kinda doubt it...
Posted by: tu3031 || 12/29/2003 15:35 Comments || Top||

Palestinians gunned down in Gaza
Three Palestinians were reportedly ejected from the gene pool shot dead by Israeli occupation army fire overnight on Sunday near the Jewish settlement of Netzarim in the Gaza Strip. Israel Radio said three armed Palestinians approached the isolated settlement southwest of Gaza City, late on Sunday.
"Huh huh! Keep low, Mahmoud! They'll never know what hit 'em!"
Israeli tanks opened fire at them and killed them.
A herd of lemmings Many armed Palestinian activists were spotted late afternoon on Sunday near the Netzarim settlement (in the northern Gaza Strip) from where mortar shells were fired, injuring no one," said an occupation force source. "The Israeli troops responded, opening fire in the direction of the source of the bombardment and the Palestinians announced that they had incurred three fatalities in their ranks," the source added. Occupation troops were preparing to retrieve the bodies at first light.
"Avner! Where the hell's the mop?"
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 12/29/2003 14:56 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [265 views] Top|| File under:

Quake toll may hit 30,000
As rescue efforts enter their fourth day in the southeastern Iranian city of Bam, officials say the toll could reach 30,000 and that disease is now a threat.
"Mene mene tekel upharsin..."
Alain Pasche, a member of a UN rescue coordination team, said on Monday operations to find survivors of the devastating earthquake would last for at least one more day. More than 2000 people have been pulled alive from rubble, said the head of the Iranian Red Crescent rescue operations, Bijan Daftari. "The search to find more people alive is continuing with the help of domestic and foreign rescue workers using sniffer dogs," he told the state news agency IRNA. But rescuers said they were no longer finding survivors - only the mangled remains of people killed when the world's most lethal quake in at least a decade levelled much of the ancient Silk Road city.
Posted by: Fred Pruitt || 12/29/2003 14:50 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [260 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I would imagine that mud brick walls break apart completely, which is pretty unforgiving to persons trapped beneath the pile. Other types of structural walls, such a wood framed or reinforced concrete block would give people a greater chance of survival.
Posted by: Alaska Paul || 12/29/2003 15:02 Comments || Top||

#2  Probably not much wood in the region, though.
Posted by: Pete Stanley || 12/29/2003 15:29 Comments || Top||

#3  AP, not just the mud-brick walls, but the type of roof:
The traditional sun-dried, mud-brick construction of houses doomed many occupants, as it has for centuries in quake-prone Iran. Heavy roofs, often sealed with cement or plaster to keep out rain, sit atop mud-brick walls that have no support beams.

In the Kobe quake in Japan, the older traditional wooden houses had heavy tile roofs. Designed to protect against typhoon winds, when they shook, the walls failed and the roofs dropped down on the sleeping residents. Then, the fires finished off the survivors.
Posted by: Steve || 12/29/2003 15:38 Comments || Top||

#4  Fox is reporting that at least three "corpses" started moving during their funeral processions! Remind me not to be buried in Iran.

I watched a special ("The Day They Died"?) on the History Channel earlier this weekend that mentioned George Washington no less specified in his will that he be laid out after death for three days before being buried as he understandably had a fear of being buried alive, which wasn't as uncommon back then (1799) as we'd like to think.

At least in modern times in America you are guaranteed to be dead--if you weren't before the autopsy, you will be during!
Posted by: Dar || 12/29/2003 16:59 Comments || Top||

Africa: Central
Vatican Ambassador Is Killed in Burundi
The Vatican’s nuncio, or ambassador, in Burundi was shot and killed, the Vatican said Monday. Monsignor Michael Courtney, 58, died while undergoing surgery, the Vatican’s Misna missionary news agency said. A Vatican official, speaking on condition of anonymity, confirmed the Irish-born prelate’s death but would offer no further details until the nuncio’s family had been informed. Further details were not immediately available.
Posted by: Seafarious || 12/29/2003 12:29:31 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [255 views] Top|| File under:

#1  More details:
Army officials in the tiny African country said papal nuncio Michael Courtney was ambushed by National Liberation Forces (FNL) rebels and shot three times. The 58-year-old Irishman later died while undergoing surgery. "The nuncio was ambushed this afternoon by elements of the FNL near the Minago locality 25 miles south of Bujumbura," army spokesman Augustin Nzabampema said. The FNL immediately denied any involvement and condemned the shooting. "We have nothing against the nuncio. We have men in the area where he was ambushed, but I swear it wasn't us who attacked him," rebel spokesman Pasteur Habimana told Reuters. The army said Courtney had been traveling in a diplomatic car flying the Vatican flag. The other two occupants of the vehicle, both Burundian and one a priest, escaped the ambush uninjured. "They deliberately killed him, but we do not know the reason," the army spokesman said. A Burundian clergyman said Courtney had been returning from a funeral for a priest in Minago. Courtney, who had lived in Burundi for three years, had been due to leave for Cuba in the next few weeks, said the clergyman, who asked not to be named. "The nuncio received three bullets, one in the head behind the right ear, another in the thorax and a third in the right leg," said Tharcisse Nzeyimana, a senior official at the Prince Louis Clinic in Bujumbura.
Posted by: seafarious || 12/29/2003 13:53 Comments || Top||

#2  "Nope. Wudn't us."
Posted by: Fred || 12/29/2003 13:58 Comments || Top||

Home Front
Dean and Gore to celebrate New Years on Dec 30
...It’s not too late to join the countdown to Election Day! Join us
[the big event is a conference call - oh wow, be still my heart]
on December 30th for our biggest House Party fundraising event EVER. It’s the night BEFORE New Year’s Eve, so plan to invite friends, family, and Dean supporters to your home to get a head start on the New Year as we count down 311 days
[I guess if they had the event on Dec 31, it would have been only 310 days and they would have raised about 0.3% less per mini party]
to the general election.

News Flash: Vice President and Tipper Gore will join us for this special event and will be introducing Governor Dean on the conference call... How much money do I need to raise? To qualify for the conference call with Governor Dean you need to set a minimum goal of just $311. If you raise $622 or more, we’ll send you a "New Year for America: Dean in 2004" mug. If you raise $1,311
[shouldn’t this have been $1,244 or $1,555??]
or higher, you’ll qualify for an extra-special host bonus. -
but then how to you qualify for double plus super duper host bonus -

Remember, you have to ask them to supersize it...
Posted by: mhw || 12/29/2003 12:27:34 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [344 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "You know you're a Vermont Redneck when your campaign celebrates New Years Eve on December 30th."
Posted by: Charles || 12/29/2003 12:33 Comments || Top||

#2  Maybe if they had some Longaberger baskets or Pampered Chef reps at this party...
Posted by: seafarious || 12/29/2003 12:35 Comments || Top||

#3  "our biggest House Party fundraising event EVER."

What is this, Al Gore channelling Natalie ("the Gnat") Lileks? "Oh, Tipper, this'll be the best fundraiser EVER!"
Posted by: Mike || 12/29/2003 12:40 Comments || Top||

#4  I think a lot of people would pay money to be able to get out of listening to Al and Tipper on a phone conference call. Say, maybe that would be an idea for another fund raiser.
Posted by: mhw || 12/29/2003 12:45 Comments || Top||

#5  Partying with Howard and Al on (almost) New Year's Eve! What a thrill! About the only other place I might want to be is.... HELL!!!
Posted by: tu3031 || 12/29/2003 13:42 Comments || Top||

#6  to paraphrase a song by Pink: "I'm coming up so you better get this party conference call started!"

just doesn't have the same pizzazz...must be that famous "reckless" Gore charm?
Posted by: Frank G || 12/29/2003 14:14 Comments || Top||

#7  I bet this is all a big tupperware scam! Who want's to Party with Al Gore and Dean on New Years eve? You'd be asleep by 8:00P.M.
Posted by: Cyber Sarge (VRWC CA Chapter) || 12/29/2003 14:48 Comments || Top||

#8  Cyber Sarge
near as I can tell, the Q&A conference call starts at 930pm EST. So it would be hard to be asleep by 800pm EST unless you started reading "earth in the balance" at, oh, say 758pm.
Posted by: mhw || 12/29/2003 14:57 Comments || Top||

#9  It's only fitting that Dean have Al on for a conference call. After all Al Gore invented the conference call. And the telephone too!
Posted by: Swiggles || 12/29/2003 14:59 Comments || Top||

#10  What do you get if you donate $3.11, a Dukakis "Return to the Days of Malaise" mug?
Posted by: Tibor || 12/29/2003 15:20 Comments || Top||

#11  mhw, the thought of having a Dean/Gore discussion makes me (yawn) ZZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Posted by: Cyber Sarge (VRWC CA Chapter) || 12/29/2003 19:04 Comments || Top||

#12  It was Trotsky's birthday? Damn. I forgot to get him something

what? A Tiffany Icepick?
Posted by: Frank G || 12/29/2003 21:51 Comments || Top||

#13  D'oh! How did I post this here? I was posting to the Islamist/Trotsky rant!
Posted by: Frank G || 12/29/2003 21:52 Comments || Top||

#14  Nonsense, Frank. A Tiffany icepick would be a perfect door prize for this festive event. Remember: It's all fun and games until someone loses an eye!
Posted by: Seafarious || 12/29/2003 22:11 Comments || Top||

#15  Seafarious, TY for the faux pas release...that is my sister's favorite saying BTW lol!
Posted by: Frank G || 12/29/2003 22:54 Comments || Top||

Muslim Football Tournament Under Fire
IRVINE, Calif. Dec. 29 — The idea was innocent enough: A group of young men organize a holiday football tournament and give their teams such innocuous names as "4th and Goal" and "Playmakerz." It was some of the other team names that raised eyebrows: Intifada, Soldiers of Allah and Mujahideen

The furor that followed has forced some teams to change their names and a handful of players to quit. It also sparked a debate that threatens to overshadow the tournament, which was planned primarily for young Muslims and scheduled for Jan. 4.

"This was really just supposed to be about the youth playing football. Now it’s become so political that a part of me thinks we shouldn’t even play," said Tarek Shawky, 29, one of the tournament’s organizers.

Those involved in the league said they never set out to upset or offend anyone. But critics say such names as Intifada and Mujahideen glorify terrorism.....
Posted by: Nick || 12/29/2003 12:17:07 PM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [254 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Didn't I see this one a few weeks ago?
Posted by: Raj || 12/29/2003 12:36 Comments || Top||

#2  Yes, you did Raj. And this stills baffles me why more people aren't outraged about this.
Posted by: Charles || 12/29/2003 12:39 Comments || Top||

#3  I can't get outraged over it. It's too tiresomely stoopid.
Posted by: Fred || 12/29/2003 12:50 Comments || Top||

#4  I still think the Stern Gang is an excellent name for a team.
Posted by: Shipman || 12/29/2003 13:45 Comments || Top||

#5  Yeap,pretty stupid.
Posted by: raptor || 12/29/2003 13:46 Comments || Top||

#6  well, the way Arabs, and Muslims in general, throw, they better have good running games
Posted by: Frank G || 12/29/2003 14:17 Comments || Top||

#7  Given all the running we saw from the Iraqi army I suspect their ground games will do formidable. ;)
Posted by: Laurence of the Rats || 12/29/2003 15:10 Comments || Top||

#8  Aw, hell, them goobers'd prob'ly get upset if somebody named their team the "Zionist Entities", too...
Posted by: mojo || 12/29/2003 16:05 Comments || Top||

#9  I guess you can rule out any "Hail Mary" plays.
Posted by: Steve || 12/29/2003 16:05 Comments || Top||

#10  Steve - yeah but "Statue of Liberty" and "Flying Wedge" plays would take on a whole new meaning. . .
Posted by: Doc8404 || 12/29/2003 16:15 Comments || Top||

#11  So which team gets to run with the Goat carcuss first.
Posted by: Rick || 12/29/2003 20:20 Comments || Top||

Wacko Jacko had Wacko NOI monitor Wacko 60 minutes interview
Sunday night’s Michael Jackson interview with Ed Bradley on “60 Minutes” could have been a little more enlightening, couldn’t it? For one thing, Bradley didn’t get into the whole issue of control over Jackson’s finances and fortune — shaky at best — being sought by several camps, including the Nation of Islam.
actually the Michael J finances may actually be in worse condition than the NOI finances but that’s anyone’s guess
But I am told that Leonard Muhammad, NOI chief of staff and newly minted Jackson confidant, was present during the Bradley taping on Christmas Day. Jackson’s loyal publicist, Stuart Backerman, was not.
’who is creepier’ contest between Michael and the NOI
I told you first that Muhammad had quickly become a Jackson adviser in the last two weeks. A subsequent report claimed that Jackson had actually become a member of the Nation of Islam.
Tell us again about the Number 19? How did it get pregnant?
Nevertheless, when I reached Muhammad on Sunday by phone in Los Angeles, he told me: “We have not tried to recruit Michael. Nor has he expressed any interest in becoming a member of the Nation of Islam.” ...
well maybe if the NOI needs child care then Michael would...
Posted by: mhw || 12/29/2003 7:57:12 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [259 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Is Jackson too old to join the Fruits of Islam?
Posted by: Shipman || 12/29/2003 8:37 Comments || Top||

#2  I'd say 'insufficient net worth to render us an ongoing concern' based on NOI's inquiry.
Posted by: Raj || 12/29/2003 10:54 Comments || Top||

#3  Fred, FYI,

That 19 stuff is nearly an article of faith even among non NOI muslims. A website bragging about all the surrahs, verses, letters, etc. coming to 19 is at: http://www.submission.org/miracle/

and an article showing how this claim of the Muslims is drivel is at:


(of course the Islamazoids still believe it anyway)
Posted by: mhw || 12/29/2003 12:05 Comments || Top||

#4  He also says he was "manhandled" and seemed pissed off about it. Next time maybe they'll "boyhandle" him. Bet that'll shut him up.
Posted by: tu3031 || 12/29/2003 15:50 Comments || Top||

#5  See, they hurt my arm. I cant even raise it, except to brush my hair back occasionally.
Posted by: Rick || 12/29/2003 20:22 Comments || Top||

#6  Oh... you're all just a bunch of... doo-doo heads!
Posted by: Alleged King of Pop || 12/29/2003 20:54 Comments || Top||

Chechen krazed killers coming heading into Azerbaijan
Coming soon, to a formerly stable country near you!
A group of armed Chechens intends to move to the territory of Azerbaijan, according to Russian media reports. Khizry Labayev, deputy head of the Dagestani Tsuntin District Administration for Public Security, told the Interfax news agency that it is very easy to cross into Azerbaijani territory from Ansukh village, where the group was last seen. Labayev underlined that those seeking to pass into Azerbaijan are terrorists. Other armed people intend to move to Georgia and Chechnya. In an interview with ANS TV, Elchin Guliyev head of the Azerbaijan State Border Service rebuffed Labayev’s assertions, noting that the area where the armed Chechens are located is far from Azerbaijan’s borders.
Sounds like he's very over-confident...
In addition, the roads through the mountains are frequently blocked due to heavy snow fall. He underlined that the terrorists were moving to the Russian-Georgian border.
"Nope. Nope. Ain't comin' here. Nope..."
The Russian Defense Minister, in turn, told journalists that Russia’s federal forces had blockaded the Chechen militants in the mountains. He also stressed that all of them would quickly be captured and killed if they show resistance.
Always assuming the Russers can find them...
It has been noted, however, that it is difficult to prevent Chechen rebels from entering Georgia, as there are many uncontrolled mountain roads between Dagestan and Georgia. An armed group recently killed nine Russian soldiers and occupied a mountain village while traveling to Dagestan through the mountainous areas of Chechnya. The terrorists were forced to retreat to mountainous areas after additional federal troops were deployed. Russian newspapers report that criminal gangs are still active in mountainous forests of Zakatala and Balakan districts in northwest Azerbaijan. The militants can easily slip into neighboring Dagestan in southern Russia, and make contact with Chechen rebels. In 2002 a criminal gang was apprehended in Balakan district as result of a special operation by Azeri law enforcement. The gang’s leader was killed, but some members escaped into Dagestan. Some pundits believe that Russian news reports about Chechen rebels trying to enter Azerbaijan are attempts to create pressure on the Azeri government. It has been theorized that Russia is concerned about the growing possibility of deployment of NATO troops in Azerbaijan. Russia seems to be trying to find reasons to strengthen its border with Azerbaijan, should that scenario come to pass. Last week, some Russian MPs called for such steps if NATO troops are deployed.
Posted by: Dan Darling || 12/29/2003 2:57:37 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [268 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Last week, some Russian MPs called for such steps if NATO troops are deployed."

I still think we should bill these ingrates for the hundreds of Chechen jihadis who won't be returning from their excursions to Afghanistan.
Posted by: Atomic Conspiracy || 12/29/2003 3:11 Comments || Top||

#2  "it is difficult to prevent Chechen rebels from entering Georgia, as there are many uncontrolled mountain roads"

These must be the ancient smugling routes I keep hearing about.
Posted by: Lucky || 12/29/2003 12:22 Comments || Top||

Iranian kidnappers say they were linked to al-Qaeda
Yet another story that looks like BS to me, if al-Qaeda kidnapped Westerners they’d either kill them or ransom them for money the way that the GSPC did. This could easily have been staged by the Iranian government to show that they’re acting against al-Qaeda and not to believe those nasty rumors about Binny’s latest address.
The kidnappers of one Irish and two German tourists released Sunday after a three-week ordeal in southeastern Iran said they were linked to Islamic militant network al-Qaeda, Intelligence Minister Ali Yunessi said. "The hostage-takers claimed to be linked to al-Qaeda," Yunessi said in a statement carried by the official IRNA news agency, without saying whether they had been arrested or had released their hostages voluntarily. "According to the declarations of the hostages, the hostage-takers took their orders from abroad," the minister said, adding that the trio had been released "Saturday evening and Sunday morning."
Posted by: Dan Darling || 12/29/2003 2:48:23 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [254 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Saw a german tourist being interviewed on tv,seems he got caught-up in that Iranian earthquake.

TGA,what is it with German tourists?
Are they insane,or just a bunch of fun loving,adventurous folks?
Posted by: raptor || 12/29/2003 6:44 Comments || Top||

#2  Raptor, Germans get something like three months of paid vacation each year by law. Anywhere tourists go, you'll find Germans!
Posted by: Scooter McGruder || 12/29/2003 8:13 Comments || Top||

#3  Anywhere tourists go, you'll find Germans!
I told chou we would win. If you had just listened to mir!
Posted by: Bismark || 12/29/2003 8:41 Comments || Top||

Africa: North
Libya gave al-Qaeda germ bombs
This story has been circulating for the last couple of days and now the Hindustan Times has picked it up. It looks like BS to me given how often the Libyan al-Qaeda tried to ice Muammar back in the 1990s, but you never know.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who recently abandoned his country’s weapons of mass destruction programme, had armed Al-Qaeda terror network with germ bombs, a report claimed on Sunday. Libyan intelligence chief Musa Kusa told British secret service agency Mi5 that tens of thousands of weapons had been produced at 10 secret sites in the country, the Sunday Express said. Kusa has named 500 Al-Qaeda terrorists in Britain and the information he gave is being checked. Libya was closer than Syria, Iran and Iraq to producing a nuclear bomb but last week Gaddafi surrendered his weapons of mass destruction and was praised for his "statesmanship and courage" by British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush. He was welcomed back on to the world stage on the agreement that his help to Osama bin Laden would never officially be mentioned, the report claimed.
This looks like the start of the "Qadaffi is just as bad as Saddam and they aren't doing anything about him" campaign.
"It was a sweetener deal like no other. Gaddafi’s links to terrorism have been air-brushed," said a senior British intelligence officer. Kusa escorted British officials to Libya’s secret sites on what was described as "the best bus tour in intelligence history."
Posted by: Dan Darling || 12/29/2003 2:45:39 AM || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [261 views] Top|| File under:

#1  The statement that Libya was further along than Iran on nukes is almost certainly untrue.

I do like the line "the best bus tour in intelligence history" but such a tour package would not have been booked without the lesson Sammy provided.
Posted by: JAB || 12/29/2003 13:08 Comments || Top||

#2  I think the Col. made Libyan terrirory available for other countries' weapons labs. I wouldn't discount the fact that some of the end products made thier way into al Qaeda's hands.

But QKhGaddafi's flipped, so the US and UK know what was being made, who was making it, and who was paying him rent. We shoulnd't underestimate the importance of this.

Posted by: Pete Stanley || 12/29/2003 16:00 Comments || Top||

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Two weeks of WOT
Mon 2003-12-29
  Five Afghans held in Perv attack
Sun 2003-12-28
  Saudis Foil Attack on British Air Jet
Sat 2003-12-27
  Berlusconi Reports Vatican Terror Threat
Fri 2003-12-26
  Up to 20,000 dead in Iran quake
Thu 2003-12-25
  Another boom attack on Perv
Wed 2003-12-24
  Air France cancels U.S. bound flights
Tue 2003-12-23
  Libya invites US oil companies back
Mon 2003-12-22
  Egyptian FM attacked by Paleos in Jerusalem
Sun 2003-12-21
  Syria seizes six AQ couriers, $23 million
Sat 2003-12-20
  Train boom masterminds identified
Fri 2003-12-19
  Libya to dump WMDs
Thu 2003-12-18
  Malvo guilty!
Wed 2003-12-17
  Big-time raids in Samarra
Tue 2003-12-16
  Izzat Ibrahim hangs it up?
Mon 2003-12-15
  Sammy sings

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