31 January 2006

Eco-Nazis Keep it in "The Family"

Don't like S.U.Vs? No worries, just go blow up a Hummer dealership. Don't like the fact that the U.S. Department of Agriculture allows logging in our National Forests? Fret not, just firebomb a ranger station. Tin foil not keeping the voices out of your head? Don't go for another layer, simply destroy a cell tower. Not skills that you currently posses? Don't worry -- I'm sure a "family" member can teach you. The Christian Science Monitor reports:
ASHLAND, ORE. - The group called itself "The Family." After meticulously casing a horsemeat packing plant in Redmond, Ore., they made a firebomb using soap and petroleum products (a napalm-like substance known as "vegan Jell-O") and a time-delayed incendiary device called a "Cat's Cradle."

Arriving at the staging area after dark, they dressed in dark clothing, masks, and gloves, and checked their walkie-talkies and police radio scanner. Quietly, they crept through the sagebrush toward the target. They drilled holes through the wall so the fuel would pour into the building. Then, they set the firebomb against the wall and retreated to the staging area. There, they dumped their dark clothes and shoes into a hole and poured in acid to destroy DNA and other evidence. By the time the packing plant, Cavel West, Inc., was engulfed in flames, "The Family" had vanished into the night.

Five days later, through an anonymous communiqué, the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) took credit for the fire that destroyed the facility in July of 1997. But it would be years before the alleged plotters were apprehended. And until then, according to a 65-count indictment announced last week by the US Justice Department, the 11-member group of activists launched 17 similar attacks across Oregon, Wyoming, Washington, and California in what authorities consider one of the most extensive campaigns of "ecoterrorism" in US history.

Documents and other information revealed in recent court hearings provide an inside look at how a band of extremists - 20th century Luddites, in a way - tried to leave their explosive imprint on a society whose commerce and industry they believed was overwhelming nature.

Edward Abbey, the desert curmudgeon whose 1975 novel "The Monkey Wrench Gang" inspired the environmental group Earth First!, once declared that "sentiment without action is the ruin of the soul." Most who took this to heart had no intention of breaking the law.

But somewhere along the way, vandalizing log trucks and "liberating" lab rats escalated into firebombs, plots to blow up electrical towers and dams, code names, and anonymous communiqués boasting of destroying millions of dollars in property.

Other targets allegedly attacked by "The Family," for instance, include US Forest Service ranger stations, wild horse corrals used by the US Bureau of Land Management, a Bonneville Power Administration electrical tower, and an SUV dealership. There were also three forest products companies, the University of Washington Horticultural Center, a Colorado ski resort, and a police station in Eugene, Ore.

Those close to the underground activists say the FBI has targeted the wrong people. "What law enforcement has done is round up a bunch of above-ground, well-known, peaceful animal-rights activists and environmental activists and charged them with being members of the ALF and the ELF [Earth Liberation Front] simply because they can't find the real members," says Jerry Vlasak, spokesman for the North American Animal Liberation Press Office in Canoga Park, Calif. "These people are completely innocent of the charges."

Activists writing online blogs have issued veiled threats against two "snitches," one of whom has been charged in the destruction of an electrical transmission tower in 1999. The sister of one of the informants, describing herself as "brokenhearted," speculated that law-enforcement officers may have provided drugs to her heroin-addicted brother.

"Just assume every conversation you have is bugged, assume everyone is an informer if you must, and don't talk about ANYTHING to ANYONE," another person wrote on an Internet site.

That warning seems to be well-founded. Evidence supporting the indictments reportedly includes 35 compact discs of recorded conversations and 40,000 pages of transcripts, police reports, and photos. Earlier this month, three more people were arrested for conspiring to destroy a US Forest Service genetics institute near Placerville, Calif.
Why is when politicians and "Homeland Security" types talk about terrorism ashore, they always leave out these pieces of human debris.

Open Post Thanks to The Mudville Gazette, Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation, Third World County, bRight and Early, Is It Just Me?, Jo's Cafe and Don Surber.

They Just Can't Help Themselves

Well, the past few days have done wonders of the G.O.P., in my opinion. Kerredy, which is my short hand for the two oxygen thieves from Massachusetts, made complete asses of themselves during the hugely successful Alito confirmation hearings. On Monday, Ted Kerredy looked like my two year-old son throwing a tantrum. Much like the Kerredy, my son throws a stronger tantrum when he knows he's on the losing side of the issue. Then comes Jean-Clause Kerredy, trying to host a filibuster that no one wanted to attend, not even Fienboxer of my state. Again, Jean-Claude brought memories of the kid that wanted to be popular by inviting people over to his house when his parents were gone. Not even free beer could bring in the crowds. Poor Jean-Claude was on the outside looking in. Next comes Harry, errr Hillary, Clinton. During tonight's State of the Union address, she couldn't help but roll her eyes and nod her head. At least she stayed awake this time. They really showed well.

The coup-de-grace this evening was the appearance and swift ejection of Cindy Sheehan. It seems that ol' Cindy was the guest of Lynn Woolsey (D, really big D, CA). It saddens me that my former home district has spawned such political speed bumps such as Woolsey and Boxer. Anyway, Cindy decided to wear a t-shirt that had some petty anti-Iraqi Freedom slogan on it and she was advised to cover it up during the event. Once again, she just couldn't help herself and took off her sweater and showed the shirt. The ejection was swift and certain.

Truly a great week for the G.O.P. and America.

Open Post Thanks to The Mudville Gazette, Basil's Blog, Right Wing Nation, Third World County, bRight and Early, Is It Just Me?, Jo's Cafe and Don Surber.

22 January 2006

All of Hollywood Doesn't Suck

There are still a few good guys in Hollywood -- not many, but a few. Gary Sinise is one of them; along with Chuck Heston, Cheryl Ladd, James Woods, Tom Selleck and others. While some simply give a check or a few minutes of their time at a mindless award show, Mr. Sinise has traveled to Iraq not once, not twice but three times in support of USO efforts. DOD reports:
WASHINGTON, Jan. 22, 2006, – When not appearing on the CBS show "CSI: New York" as Detective Mac Taylor, actor Gary Sinise devotes much of his time to raising support for U.S. troops.

Sinise, who is planning his third trip to Iraq with the United Service Organizations, appeared on ABC's "This Week" today to talk about his new venture to help the children who have felt the effects of the war in Iraq.

On his last trip to Iraq, Sinise accompanied a U.S. military unit that remodeled an Iraqi school. He watched the troops transform what had been a cinder-block, dirt-floor structure into a building with concrete floors, windows and fans, he said.

"It was not much, but to these kids and those Iraqis who had been living there with this school, it seemed like a brand new place," he said.

Sinise said seeing the school being remodeled and witnessing the gratitude of the Iraqi children at the school and when he rode with troops on convoys motivated him to come home and found the program, Operation Iraqi Children.

Operation Iraqi Children provides a way for Americans to send school supply kits to Iraqi children. Sinise and author Laura Hillenbrand founded the program in March 2004.

It's a way for you to support the children by sending pencils, beanie babies or soccer balls,"

Sinise said. "That all started because of one of those convoys I was on."

Sinise said his experience playing Lt. Dan, an injured Vietnam veteran, in the movie, "Forrest Gump," helped him identify with the troops he met with in Iraq.

Servicemembers today have much more support than during the Vietnam War, he said, noting that it's important to maintain that support because military service is a sacrifice that should not be taken lightly.

"It's an honorable thing to serve your country," he said. "We need those volunteers; we need those defenders."

Operation Iraqi Children is a partner in the Defense Department's America Supports You program that showcases America's support for the men and women of the armed forces and the myriad ways the country is expressing that support.

I have been a big fan of Mr. Sinise for a long time, but never more than now.

Open Post thanks to The Mudville Gazette, Rantburg, The Uncooperative Blogger, bRight and Early and The Bullwinkle Blog,

21 January 2006

China Wants a Pearl Necklace

China is sending strong signals that it wants to improve its standing in the Arabian Sea. Asia Times reports:
BANGALORE - The port project at Gwadar in Pakistan's restive Balochistan.

Gwadar is on Pakistan's Arabian Sea coast, just 72 kilometers from Iran. It is near the mouth of the Persian Gulf and is 400km from the Strait of Hormuz. The Pakistani government identified
Gwadar as a port site way back in the 1960s, but it was only in 2001-02 that concrete steps on the proposal were taken.

It was the arrival of US troops in Afghanistan - literally at China's doorstep - in the autumn of 2001 that spurred Beijing into action. China agreed to participate in funding, construction and development of a deepsea port and naval base in Gwadar and in March 2002 Chinese premier Wu Bangguo laid the foundation for the port. Its engineers are engaged in the port's design and construction.

China insists its interest in Gwadar is purely commercial. No doubt it is hoping that the port will transform the economy of its landlocked Xinjiang province.

However, Gwadar port has a far-larger significance in China's scheme of things. It is said to be the western-most pearl in China's "string of pearls" strategy (this is a strategy that envisages building strategic relations with several countries along sea lanes from the Middle East to the South China Sea to protect China's energy interests and other security objectives), the other "pearls" being naval facilities in Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and the South China Sea.

China's interest in the Gwadar project stems from the port's proximity to the Strait of Hormuz. A base at Gwadar enables China to secure the flow of its oil - 60% of its energy supplies come from the Middle East - through the strait. More important, Gwadar is said to be a "listening post" for the Chinese, one that will enable Beijing to monitor movement of US and Indian ships in the region.

Pakistan is eyeing huge economic and strategic gains, with Gwadar poised to become a key shipping hub at the mouth of a strategic waterway. A port at Gwadar provides Pakistan with strategic depth vis-a-vis India. Gwadar is 725km to the west of Karachi port, making it that much less vulnerable than Karachi to an Indian naval blockade.

Not surprisingly, the construction of Gwadar port and Sino-Pakistan cooperation in the project are causing concern for India, the United States and Iran. The Chinese presence in the Arabian Sea heightens India's feeling of encirclement by China. Iran fears that the development of Gwadar port will undermine the value of its own ports as outlets to Central Asia's exports.

As for the US, it has been uncomfortable with Chinese presence at the mouth of a key waterway. And now in the run-up to a possible war with Iran, Washington appears to be eyeing Gwadar's naval facilities all the more. It appears that the US is pressuring Pakistan to reduce Chinese involvement in the project and to involve Washington instead.

The New Delhi-based online Public Affairs Magazine has reported that the US "could be [pressuring] Pakistan to outprice the Chinese from Gwadar to take over the entire facility". Citing diplomats, the report said: "Pakistan has now raised the cost of Chinese participation to US$3 billion in addition to the $1.5 billion yearly payment, which China has refused, saying it is steep, and in breach of the terms of the contract. China has said that it had already agreed to offset construction costs by giving Pakistan four frigates, but Pakistan is unmoved, and offered to return all the Chinese investment, if they would have it that way."

Dismissing such reports as "wishful thinking on the part of India", a Pakistani government official told Asia Times Online that the Gwadar project was "very much on track" and that "Sino-Pakistan cooperation in the venture remains strong".

But even if the reported differences between China and Pakistan in the Gwadar project were indeed "wishful thinking on the part of India", the project is under fire from Baloch insurgents.

Balochis are not opposed to the Gwadar port project or other megaprojects per se. What they are opposed to is the way these projects have been conceived and implemented. They resent the fact Balochis have been excluded from the benefits of these projects and that "outsiders" have grown rich by exploiting Baloch resources. Balochistan's Sui gas reserves, for instance, meet 38% of Pakistan's energy needs, but only 6% of Balochistan's 6 million people have access to it, and the royalties Balochistan receives for its gas are very low, especially when compared with what other provinces receive.

Likewise, the Gwadar project does not seem to be transforming Baloch lives for the better. Baloch nationalists see Gwadar as "a non-Baloch project", one that has been conceived and implemented without provincial approval or participation, in which "outsiders" have gained the most. They point out that land in Gwadar is being sold at throwaway prices to non-Baloch civil-military elites.

There is concern, too, that the Gwadar project would leave Balochis a minority in their homeland. As the Baloch leader, the Khan of Kalat, pointed out in an interview to the Pakistani daily Dawn, the entire project would need at least a million people, and with Gwadar being a town of 60,000, people from "Karachi, mostly Urdu-speaking", would be brought in.

Not surprisingly, then, the Gwadar project has been repeatedly targeted by Baloch insurgent groups such as the Baloch Liberation Army (BLA), the Baloch Liberation Front and the Baloch People's Liberation Army. Insurgents have struck repeatedly with bombs and rocket attacks. In 2004 for instance, Gwadar airport was the target of rocket attacks.

Several of the insurgent attacks in Gwadar have targeted Chinese working on this project. About 500 Chinese engineers are employed in Gwadar. On May 3, 2004, three Chinese engineers were killed and nine others injured in a bomb blast by the BLA. On May 14 last year, four bombs went off in Gwadar. Then in October, several Chinese engineers had a narrow escape when the vehicle in which they were traveling missed a landmine. The following month, insurgents launched a rocket attack on a Chinese construction company in the Tallar area of Gwadar district. The Chinese engineers and other staff escaped unhurt but several vehicles were damaged.

In total, according to official data, there were 187 bomb blasts, 275 rocket attacks, eight attacks on gas pipelines, 36 attacks on electricity-transmission lines and 19 explosions on railway lines in 2005. At least 182 civilians and 26 security force personnel died in the province during 2005.

An interesting aspect about Baloch nationalist insurgents, who are by and large secular, and the religious militants is that while both view China as an enemy, their opposition to Chinese involvement in the Gwadar project differs. Tarique Niazi, a specialist on resource-based conflict, said: "Baloch nationalists, for instance, are opposed to the Chinese government for advancing its strategic goals at the expense of their freedom and autonomy. But several religiously inspired groups are opposed to the Chinese government for its putative persecution of the Uighur Muslim minority in the autonomous region of Xinjiang."

The kidnapping of two Chinese engineers in October 2004 by members of the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is said to have been a response to Pakistan's killing of ETIM chief Hasan Mahsum, to whom it had provided shelter in South Waziristan, on Beijing's request.

While India, Iran and the US might be wary of the Sino-Pakistan cooperation in Gwadar, internal opposition to the bonding seems far greater, as indicated by the ferocity and frequency of attacks on the Gwadar project and Chinese employees there.

With the Baloch insurgency growing in intensity and the Pakistani government's military approach to the problem only fueling Baloch resentment and the insurgency further, it does seem that even if the Gwadar port project is, as officials claim, "on track", it will be near impossible to realize its full potential.
So, we have China, Pakistan, India, Balochistan, and several insurgent groups all interested in this potential deep water port. I am shocked.

Open Post links at The Mudville Gazette, Stuck on Stupid, The Uncooperative Blogger, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog and Adam's Blog.

20 January 2006

Big Re-Up for Army in 2005

Here is another item for the "Gosh the MSM Never Told Me This" file. DOD reports:
WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2006 Army re-enlistments in 2005 were the highest they've been in five years, with more than 69,500 soldiers choosing to continue their service, the Secretary of the Army said here yesterday.

This surplus in retention made up for recruiting shortfalls the Army has faced, Francis J. Harvey said at a Pentagon news conference.

The U.S. Army is the most capable, best trained, best equipped and most experienced force the United States has fielded in more than a decade, and 2005 was a year of many significant achievements, Harvey said. Speculations that the Army is severely stretched or "broken" are incorrect, he added.

"To be sure, the Army is facing great challenges, but it is more accurate to describe the Army as a full-spectrum force with a portfolio of capabilities that are relevant to the 21st century," he said.

The Army recruited more than 73,000 soldiers in the last fiscal year and has met its recruiting objectives for the last seven months, Harvey said. The number of recruits who have signed an enlistment contract to date is almost 25 percent higher than it was at the same point a year earlier, he said. New authorizations provided by Congress for financial incentives will help that trend continue.

The unusual demands on the Army in 2005 proved the service's capability and versatility, Harvey said. When Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast, the Army was able to surge 50,000 soldiers to the area in little more than a week, he said. The Army also responded to the Southeast Asian tsunami and the earthquake in Pakistan, while still maintaining its role in the war on terror, he added.

The Army would not have been able to support all these operations without the National Guard and Reserve, he said.

"2005 reaffirmed that we are truly an 'Army of One,'" he said.

Under transformation initiatives, the Army stood up four new modular brigade combat teams and one Stryker brigade combat team in 2005, Harvey said. Seven existing brigades were transformed to the modular design in the past year, and 37 combat or support brigades have now either completed the transformation process or are well along in the process, he said.

In 2005, the Army continued to reverse its funding shortages of the 1990s, Harvey said. The Army's budget included $2.9 billion for the Future Combat Systems program, in which 18 of the critical technologies have a model or prototype fielded and tested in a relevant environment, he said. The budget also included $10 billion for other research and development, and $5 billion for the Army Modular Force Initiative, he said.

The Army also excelled at force protection, fielding more than 4,400 new up-armored Humvees and 16,000 add-on armor kits in Iraq and Afghanistan, Harvey said. Almost 700,000 sets of Interceptor body armor and more than 170,000 sets of additional protection for shoulder and upper-arm areas have been fielded since the beginning of the war, he added.

The political, military and economic progress being made in Iraq and Afghanistan is due in large part to the efforts of the U.S. Army, and 2006 will be another year of solid progress, Harvey said.

"This is clearly an Army that is highly trained and ready, playing a pivotal role in the global war on terrorism," he said.

Shameless Army of One posting at Bloggin' Outloud, Right Wing Nation, bRight and Early, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog and Third World County.

The Kong Arm of the Law

This is one of the wierdest fuggers I have ever heard of in my life. The Daily Record (Glascow) reports:

Pete Burns could be hauled out of the Big Brother house in handcuffs after police seized his "gorilla skin" coat for testing yesterday.

Animal-lovers complained to the cops after the transvestite pop star bragged of wearing fur from the endangered creatures.

And officers responded by swooping on the house and taking the coat away to be examined by experts.

Burns could face criminal charges if the fur is found to have come from gorillas. Trading in body parts from endangered animals carries a maximum sentence of five years in jail and a £5000 fine.

Even owning gorilla skin without a permit is illegal.

Police don't know how long it will take to test Burns's coat. But they have vowed to take "appropriate action" if his boasts are found to be true.

Posted Openly at Bloggin' Outloud, Right Wing Nation, bRight and Early, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog and Third World County.

Muslims Call for Danish Boycott

They won't condem beheadings, murder or kidnapping, but print an illustration of a religous leader and muslims lose it. Arab News reports:

RIYADH, 20 January 2006 ­— Saudis and non-Saudis in the Kingdom are urging consumers to boycott Danish products in response to cartoons of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) printed in September in Danish daily Jyllands-Posten.

The appeal was circulated recently in e-mails and mobile messages.

Arab News called the phone number that accompanied the message. A man who did not identify himself answered and explained his organization’s stance.

“The main objective of this message is that we encourage people to boycott goods from Denmark, which is the least thing we can do until Denmark offers an official apology for the drawings that have offended the world’s Muslims,” said the man.

“We urge all Muslim countries to protest officially to the Danish government for what the Danish newspaper has done by publishing the cartoons.”

Jamal Badawi, 29, said he is supporting the boycott. “I would really support such a campaign, because this is the least thing we can do. If they do not respect our religion or our Prophet (pbuh), then we should act in any way to respond to them except violence which will never solve any problem.”

On Sept. 30, 2005 newspaper Jyllands-Posten, Denmark’s largest, ran an article about freedom of speech centering around the issue that artists were unwilling to illustrate the Prophet without remaining anonymous for fear of being attacked by extremists. Depictions of the Prophet of Islam are religiously prohibited.

The paper accompanied the article with 12 depictions of Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) by various Danish illustrators.

The Organization of the Islamic Conference and the EU Commission have condemned the printing of the cartoons.

“We are deeply alarmed that a Danish newspaper has found it appropriate to publish caricatures of Islam’s most prominent figure,” said a statement by the EU Commission, posted on the OIC website. “A picture of Muhammad (pbuh) is by itself a breach of Muslim tradition.”

The statement then went on to condemn the threats of violence that have been sent to the newspaper.

“We therefore sympathize that many Muslims feel hurt, but naturally unsympathetically oppose that some Muslims, mainly living abroad, have deemed it appropriate to threaten the newspaper in question and the caricaturists.”

Some Saudis have decided to take a more peaceful route by calling for a boycott of Danish products.

The Muslim World League recently expressed its resentment over the cartoons published by a Norwegian magazine offensive to the Prophet.

Shamelessly pimped to the Open Posts at The Mudville Gazette, Bloggin' Outloud, Right Wing Nation, bRight and Early, Jo's Cafe, Basil's Blog and Third World County.

17 January 2006

Kennedy To Quit Anti-Women Club

The good folks over at Hub Politics, via Pardon My English, report that the Senator from a really blue state Ted Kennedy will give up his seat in the very posh Harvard alumni group known as the Owl Club. Evidently, the Owl Club has a bit of a problem allowing membership to women.
U.S. Sen. Edward M. Kennedy — who ripped Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito for ties to a group that discriminates against women — says he’s going to quit a club notorious for discriminating against women “as fast as I can.”
Kennedy was outed by conservatives late last week as a current member of The Owl Club, a social club for Harvard alumni that bans women from membership.
In an interview with WHDH Channel 7’s Andy Hiller that aired last night, Kennedy said, “I joined when I . . . 52 years ago, I was a member of the Owl Club, which was basically a fraternal organization.”
Asked by Hiller whether he is still a member, Kennedy said, “I’m not a member; I continue to pay about $100.”
He then said of being a member in a club that discriminates against women, “I shouldn’t be and I’m going to get out of it as fast as I can.”
Not a member but he pays about $100. "Get out of it as fast as I can". Sounds like what he did on Chappaquiddick Island back in 1969.

Thanks for the open posts at Stop the ACLU, The Conservative Cat, Bloggin' Outloud and Third World County.

Air Force Bowls Them Over

There's a real bad joke just waiting out there. DOD reports:
RENO, Nev., Jan. 13, 2006 The Air Force swept the individual and team efforts in the Armed Forces Bowling Championships at the National Bowling Stadium here Jan. 11.

Staff Sgt. Kristen Elmore of Geilenkirchen Air Base, Germany, and Tech. Sgt. Martin Bedford of Hill Air Force Base, Utah, won the women's and men's divisions, respectively.

Elmore finished her 24 games with a 4,605 total to top the Marine Gunnery Sgt. Lisa Beeksma of Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Fla., who had 4,598. Chief Petty Officer Bessie Lowery of USS Ross, Norfolk, Va., was third with 4,520.

Bedford totaled 5,076 to top the men's field. Army Staff Sgt. Dwayne Watkins of Fort Rucker, Ala., was second with 4,902, while Air Force Staff Sgt. Jack Barfield of Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., was third with 4,875.

Bedford, Watkins and Barfield advanced to the 32-player match play round and qualified to play for a spot on Team USA.

Air Force won the team event in both the women's and men's divisions. The six Air Force men totaled 27,835, while the service's women counterparts scored 17,631.

The 21 women and 24 men representing the Air Force, Army, Marines and Navy competed as part of the United States Bowling Congress Team USA Championships.

The only thing worse than winning is not being invited. What's the matter Coast Guard, no bowlers anymore?

Shamelessly pimped via open posts to Stop the ACLU, The Conservative Cat, Bloggin' Outloud and Third World County.

Suicide Bid by Yemeni Guantanamo Detainee

News out of Yemen, yes, the Yemen that champions democratic rule and abhors terrorism. The Yemen Observer's Daily Chew...uh...reports:
SANA'A - A Yemeni detainee at Guantanamo Bay says he has tried to kill himself due to the treatment he has received from the US military, Gulf News reported. "Mohammad Al Adahi alleges that US troops have used methods of interrogation that were used by Soviet Union and North Korean interrogators in years past. His treatment has been so degrading that Al Adahi has tried to take his own life," said a statement sent to Gulf News by three US lawyers representing Yemeni detainees, including Al Adahi.
So, USSR and North Korean interrogators have detained Al Adahi in the past? Seems as if the good gentleman is somewhat of an expert regarding information gathering techniques.
"Al Adahi's account of his journey to Guantanamo and the despicable treatment he has suffered is not just one man's story. Sadly, it is a shocking narrative that could be told by numerous other Guantanamo detainees," said the statement sent by the lawyers, John Chandler, Kristin Wilhelm and Richard Murphy, from the US firm Sutherland Asbill and Brennan.
By the way, all of the lawyers mentioned have very strong ties to the ACLU, which should raise a flag of concern to our friend at Stop the ACLU.
Al Adahi says he has suffered physical, psychological and religious torture. "On one occasion the troops forced Al Adahi's face down into a toilet while he was handcuffed," said the statement. Al Adahi claims he has spent protracted periods in shackles and his interrogators threatened to detain his wife and mother if he did not admit to supporting al-Qaeda. Other times, they threatened to place his children in an orphanage if he did not talk.

The story of 43-year old Mohammad Al Adahi started in August 2001 when he took a vacation from a Yemeni company where he had worked for 21 years, according to his lawyers.
He was said to be a faithful provider for his wife and two children. He accompanied his sister who left Yemen to meet her husband in Afghanistan. It was his first time out of the country.

Al Adahi and his sister flew from Yemen to Karachi. On the second day, Al Adahi and his sister flew to a town bordering Afghanistan and then traveled by car to Kandahar to meet his sister's husband. Because he wanted to ease his sister's transition to life in Afghanistan Al Adahi remained in Afghanistan for about one month. He then started making his way back to Yemen.

He says he was detained in Pakistan by Pakistani military forces who leveled several charges against him. He was perplexed as the charges centered on his alleged involvement with al-Qaeda or the Taliban, or both. He was also charged with possessing a bomb detonation device - the cheap Casio watch he was wearing at the time he was detained. The Pakistani military turned Al Adahi over to US forces. Al Adahi is now in poor health due to this torture, and is on daily medication. Military physicians refuse to take his ailments seriously, lawyers said.
An unscheduled month in Afghanistan, a trip back to Yemen via Pakistan. What could possibly go wrong?

Shamelessly pimped via open posts to Stop the ACLU, The Conservative Cat, and Third World County.

15 January 2006

Islamic Group Wants Catholics to Step Aside

This just moved to the front of my "You Have Got to be Kidding Me" file. It seems that an islamic group in Glasgow (Scotland, not Yemen), wants a local Catholic elementary school to abandon Catholic teachings and embrace muslim doctrine. Scotsman.com reports:
An islamic campaign group has called for a Catholic primary school to be based on the Muslim faith.

The Campaign for Muslim Schools said 90 per cent of pupils at St Albert's Primary, in the Pollokshields area of Glasgow, are Muslim, yet children are having to take part in Catholic rituals like saying the Lord's Prayer and attending mass.
Last I checked, attendance at Parochial schools was voluntary. Don't like the doctrine, start your own school.
Osama Saeed, co-ordinator of the alliance of Glasgow's main mosques and Muslim organisations, said he could see no reason why the main faith of the school should not change.
It's a Catholic school, or was the SAINT part of SAINT Albert's lost on you.
He said: "Clearly the parents of that area find a faith school, even if it is of another denomination, preferable to a secular one. But surely it should be possible for them to have one that is relevant to their own faith.
Exactly, start a school that is relevant to your faith.
"To move towards this would be a fantastic example of good faith - in more ways than one - on the part of the Church."

The call came just days after Scotland's most senior Catholic, Cardinal Keith O'Brien, sparked controversy by stating that Scotland's core faith was Christianity and that other faiths should recognise they were "living in Scotland as a Christian country". A spokesman for the Catholic Church in Scotland was not available for comment tonight.
And also with you.

Open Post Thanks to The Conservative Cat, Stuck on Stupid, Stop The ACLU,
The Uncooperative Blogger and Bloggin' Outloud.

Is Sex to Blame for Sec. Rice's Harsh Russian Stance???

If you ask the folks at Pravda, Condoleezza Rice's status as a single woman without children is the root of her recent stance towards the Russian / Ukrainian gas crisis.

Condoleezza Rice's anti-Russian stance based on sexual problems

Condoleezza Rice, the US Secretary of State, openly criticized the Russian government in connection with the gas conflict with Ukraine. Ms. Rice used quite a trivial technique of psychological pressure, which is mostly practiced, in the field of education.

According to Condoleezza Rice, Russia's actions towards Ukraine did not characterize it as a respectable member of the Group of Eight. The statement from the high-ranking US official sounded like a reprimand from a strict babysitter that was teaching its baby to behave.

Ms. Rice's criticism can be explained with the politician's personal peculiarities. Why is Condoleezza Rice so fond of her "strict teacher" role? Is it her technique that she follows to stay in the center of political attention? The leader of the Liberal and Democratic Party of Russia (LDPR), Vladimir Zhirinovsky, expressed his opinion on the matter in an exclusive interview with Pravda.Ru.

"Condoleezza Rice released a coarse anti-Russian statement. This is because she is a single woman who has no children. She loses her reason because of her late single status. Nature takes it all.

"Such women are very rough. They are all workaholics, public workaholics. They can be happy only when they are talked and written about everywhere: "Oh, Condoleezza, what a remarkable woman, what a charming Afro-American lady! How well she can play the piano and speak Russian! What a courageous, tough and strong female she is!

"This is the only way to satisfy her needs of a female. She derives pleasure from it. If she has no man by her side at her age, he will never appear. Even if she had a whole selection of men to choose from she would stay single because her soul and heart have hardened. Like Napoleon, Genghis Khan, Tamerlane, or Alexander the Great of Macedon Ms. Rice needs to fight and release tough public statements in global scale. She needs to be on top of the world.
She is on top of the world – knuckleheads.

Open Post Thanks to The Conservative Cat, Stuck on Stupid, Stop The ACLU and The Uncooperative Blogger.

14 January 2006

Islamic School Confronts Terrorist Image

A mind is a terrible thing to waste. Tomorrow's Jakarta Post reports:
A thick cloud of suspicion hangs over the country's pesantren (Islamic boarding schools), with many convinced they are a breeding ground for terrorists.

The second Bali bombings last October, in which several boarding school alumni were implicated, were followed by discussion of the mass fingerprinting of students, as well as revisions to the curriculum to avoid the sowing of hatred.

It's notoriety that administrators at Al Mukmin Islamic boarding school in Sukoharjo, Central Java, say they would rather do without.

"Whenever a terrorist incident occurs, the world always points at us," director of the school, Wahyuddin, told The Jakarta Post recently. "We are constantly accused of training terrorists, while achievements of the school and students never get the attention of the media, including the national media."

It will be a hard image to dispel for the school, often called Pondok Ngruki.

One of the school's cofounders 30 years ago was the late Abdullah Sungkar, who lived in exile during the New Order regime, fought against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan and established Jamaah Islamiyah, the militant group linked to al-Qaeda.

The other cofounder was controversial cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir, and several of the school's alumni were linked to the wave of bombings in the country in recent years.

A 2001 thesis written by a Ngruki alumnus, Muhammad Nursalim, estimated that at least 5,000 of Abdullah Sungkar's combat-trained followers were to be found in several countries.

"The organization's principle of struggle adapted by Ustad (cleric) Abdullah Sungkar is underground in nature. It is forbidden to reveal one's identity," a source told the Post on the condition of anonymity.

The school's alumni say the assumptions are all wrong, and they will hold a seminar on jihad and terrorism on Jan. 21-Jan. 22. Thousands of former students, many now living abroad, are expected to attend.

Among the invited guests are 20 foreign embassies.

"We will hold the seminar in the school complex so that the Western envoys, who have been suspicious of Ngruki thus far, can see first hand the real conditions at the school," said an organizer, Ali Usman.

As of Thursday, the organizing committee had yet to receive confirmation on the number of foreign envoys who would attend.

"Only Malaysia has stated its readiness to attend, and the Netherlands asked us to forward the complete schedule," said organizing committee head, Isfihani.

At a previous seminar in 2004, only ambassadors from Germany and Japan attended.

Minister of Home Affairs Muhammad Ma'ruf is slated to open and deliver the keynote speech in the event. Other speakers will include Ma'ruf Amin, head of the Fatwa committee of the Indonesian Ulemas Council (MUI), who is also the initiator of the committee to rectify the curricula at Islamic boarding schools.

Ali Usman hopes the presence of the home affairs minister will persuade the foreign envoys to find out more about the school.

"Come and prove for yourself whether our pesantren grooms terrorist members," said Usman jokingly.
Open Post Thanks to The Conservative Cat, Stuck on Stupid, Stop The ACLU and The Uncooperative Blogger.

Eco-Jackasses Busted in Foothills

Three people were arrested at a local KMart for allegedly plotting to destroy public property. The irony that these eco-jackasses were arrested at a KMart is fabulous. "Attention KMart shoppers, we are having a Blue Light Special on explosive devices on aisle 5." Their parents must be so proud. The Auburn Journal reports:
The FBI arrested three people Friday in Auburn, California including a Foresthill man for allegedly plotting to destroy buildings in the name of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF).

Eric Taylor McDonald, 28, of Foresthill, was arrested along with Zachary O. Jenson, 20, of Monroe, Wash. and Lauren Weiner, 20, of Philadelphia, Penn. at the Kmart shopping center on Bell Road in Auburn around 11 a.m., said Karen Ernst, spokeswoman for the Sacramento FBI office.

John Cauthen, special agent with the Sacramento FBI office said Friday that the arrest was related to the eco-terrorist group, the ELF.

"The arrest was based on evidence that they were plotting on behalf of the ELF to destroy unspecified cell phone towers, power generation facilities and U.S. Forest Service facilities," Cauthen said.

The three did not resist arrest, Ernst said.

"The arrest was based on probable cause at this time," she said. "A criminal complaint is anticipated to be filed early next."

Ernst said the criminal complaint and accompanying affidavit will lay out the foundation for the charges. More information is expected in the following days.

At this point, authorities said the arrest is not in direct connection to the planting of any bombs.

"We've been asked if there if this (incident) is related to the ELF bombings in Auburn and Lincoln last year and there is no connection to that investigation," Ernst said.

According to an FBI press release, Jenson, Weiner, and McDavid were intending to use explosives to also destroy " unspecified power generation facilities."

FBI officials said there is no information to indicate there is an immediate danger to public welfare or safety.

Open Post Thanks to The Conservative Cat, Stuck on Stupid, Stop The ACLU and The Uncooperative Blogger.

Western Media Hype and Iran

Today's (or was it yesterday's depending on where you sit relative to zulu time) Arab News posted an article stating the exact date that the U.S. would invade Iran.

The United States has decided to invade Iran and change its regime. The invasion will start on March 19 with bombing raids against “sensitive targets” in Iran by the US Air Force operating from Turkey, the Mussandam Peninsula, and the island of Massirah.
March 19th? That's a Sunday, correct? I think I can make it.

This is the gist of a number of articles, news items and “strategic analyses” published in the Western media over the past two weeks.

Wow! But is this really true? Since journalists should not engage in fortune-telling, we cannot offer a definite answer.

What we can do, however, is to recall the fact that this is not the first time that reports about an “imminent invasion” of Iran by the United States hit the Western media.

Last year the New Yorker magazine published a lengthy article detailing what it claimed was an American plan to invade Iran. Quoting the usual “senior sources speaking on condition of anonymity”, the magazine even fixed date for the invasion for June 2005. It reported that units of American Special Forces had already entered Iran from Afghanistan and were engaged in unspecified operations without being detected. Well, we know that there was no June invasion.

Thank goodness. And may be there will not be a March invasion either.

So, why did those “senior sources speaking on condition of anonymity”, let’s call them the SSSCA for short, chose June as the invasion date? The only answer is that they wanted to demonstrate their sense of humor.

On the calendar of Iran, June is the month of the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the father of the revolution. It was in June 1963 that he organized his first uprising against the Shah. And it was also in the June of 1989 that he died.

But, why have the SSSCA now decided to shift the invasion from June to March?

Because of March Madness, of course. Since the majority of westerners, and gambling Turks, will be swept up in the Enn-Cee-Dubble-A (don't want to get sued by using a trademarked acronym) tournament, they probably won't notice that a country the size of Alaska was invaded.

The reason may be that March 19 would be the third anniversary of the invasion of Iraq. It will also be the eve of the Iranian New Year, Now-Ruz, which starts with the spring equinox on March 20. As you see the SSSCA are not so dumb after all.

My guess is that the SSSCA either do not exist or, if they do, are using some gullible journalists dreaming of a Pulitzer-securing scoop, to exert psychological pressure on the Iranian leadership.

But what if the SSSCA do exist and the New Yorker and other media that frequently publish their “leaks” know something that we don’t? What if the invasion starts on March 19 ? Would we not end up with egg on our face? Well, we will have to wait and see.

In the meantime the best we can do is to review the causes of a putative clash between Iran and the United States.

Uh, causes? How about a treaty they signed 35 years ago?

The immediate cause cited by the SSSCA is Tehran’s alleged plan for building an arsenal of nuclear weapons in violation of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which it signed 35 years ago.
Thank GOD you remembered this.

It is an established fact that Iran did violate the NPT for almost 18 years before admitting it and promising not to do so again. The International Atomic Energy Agency took note of that promise and agreed not to punish Tehran for its past misdeeds. In exchange Tehran offered to suspend its program of uranium enrichment and was promised economic “goodies” by the European Union.

Did you really say that Tehran DID violate the NPT? Amazing. For a moment there, I couldn't see the puppet strings. Good work Giappetto.

Now, however, Tehran has decided to end its voluntary suspension of at least part of its enrichment program. This in no way violates the NPT and is no proof that Tehran does have a nuclear military agenda.

In no way violates the NPT? Let's see, a country vast in petroleum resources needs nuclear energy. A country that could trade fossil fuels for "energy-grade" fuels rods. Doesn't seem to pass the smell test to me.

Here then is the interesting part: When Tehran actually admitted having violated the NPT it suffered no sanctions. Now that it says it is not violating the NPT, and there is no evidence that it is, it would be rich to talk of sanctions let alone invasion and regime change.
Hey, I fouled Kirk Ansel in a water polo game years ago. To this day I have suffered no sanctions.

In any case Tehran can always walk out of the NPT and tell its members where to get off. Developing nuclear weapons is a legal right for any nation that has not signed that right away by joining the NPT.
They did join the NPT. Did you miss what you typed a few paragraphs north of here?

The problem with Iran, therefore, is not its alleged plan to develop nuclear weapons. Seven NPT members are confirmed nuclear powers and at least five other nations outside the NPT are suspected of having such weapons.
Key words "OUTSIDE THE NPT."

Iran’s regional ambitions, of course, are in contradiction with the American ambition to reshape the Middle East on the basis of the Bush doctrine.
Regional ambitions? I thought this was about a sustainable power source for future Iranians?

Paradoxically, a nuclear-armed Iran could be far more dangerous to the countries of the region, including Russia, India and China, than to the United States. Further afield a nuclear-powered Iran could also emerge as a strategic threat to the European Union.

In the short to medium-terms, however, Tehran is unlikely to develop the kind of nuclear arsenal that could pose an imminent and present danger to the US itself. In fact, by going nuclear Iran may play into the American hands. As a non-nuclear state, Iran cannot be attacked by a nuclear state. By becoming a nuclear state, Iran would lose that immunity, enabling the US to use its nuclear superiority in any final showdown.

As far as the US is concerned Tehran cannot become anything more than an irritant. Tehran could do mischief in Iraq and Afghanistan while funding and arming the Hezbollah and some Palestinian groups. But it does not have the wherewithal to impose its design on the Middle East.

So, if the SSSCA are right and the US is going to invade Iran it would be doing so in the interests of the regional countries that will be threatened by a nuclear-powered Iran.

If I were one of the SSSCA I would wonder why I should do the dirty work of others who would then march to demonize rather than thank me. If the Gulf Cooperation Council, the League of Arab States, the Russian-led Commonwealth of Independent States, Turkey, the European Union, China, India and Pakistan are happy with a nuclear-powered Iran why should the SSSCA in Washington behave in a holier-than-thou manner?

The SSSCA may be clever enough to manipulate some Pulitzer-seeking reporters and use them to spread rumors and misinformation to confuse the adversary.

But when it comes to the broader task of developing a strategy they are certainly not as naïve as the New Yorker makes them sound. At least, I hope they are not!

Open Post Thanks to The Conservative Cat, Stuck on Stupid, Stop The ACLU and The Uncooperative Blogger.

11 January 2006

An Arab's View of Sharon

Quite a flaming piece in today's Arab News.

He was brutal, he was ugly, he was criminal, of the kind associated with war. He was known as the bulldozer, not only because he weighed as much as one, but because for decades he strutted around our homeland acting like one. And indeed what size stroke would he have suffered last week other than a massive one, a stroke that, by deadline Sunday, still left him alive but with permanent damage to areas of the brain that control speech, faculty of analysis and motor response, producing huge odds against his survival, let alone his ability to function again as a political leader.

You cannot overstate how much Palestinians loathe the man. His life-long war against them began with dreadful massacres, proceeded on to land grabs, and ended with a fraudulent disengagement plan designed to put their dream of independence, as one of his top advisers called it, in “formaldehyde.”

Among the many massacres, raids and “mopping up” operations Sharon mounted against the people of Palestine, the one inscribed in their collective memory — on a par with Deir Yassein — none matches the one in the village of Qibya in the West Bank, perpetrated by Israel’s Unit 101, which he commanded, on the night of Oct. 15, 1953.

Presumably as a reprisal against the killing of three Israelis by Palestinian refugees enraged at seeing their own land across the border being tilled by European immigrants, Unit 101 entered the village and blew up 45 houses with their inhabitants inside. Sixty-seven men, women and children perished. And Israel’s occupation of the two small remnants of the Palestinian people’s homeland left them after 1948 had not even started yet.

But soon after it did, Sharon was soon there to demonstrate his savagery. Between 1967 and 1970, after the resistance began to show its first stirrings in Gaza, Sharon, as commander of the Southern Front, mounted one of the most brutal campaigns in modern history to stamp it out. In August 1970, after entering Gaza, he moved his troops from street to street, neighborhood to neighborhood, refugee camp to refugee camp, orange grove to orange grove where, using their commander’s weapon of choice, the bulldozer, they demolished thousands of homes and uprooted large portions of the Strip’s groves, the region’s only crop.

Orders were given to shoot “terrorist suspects” without questions being asked. Over a thousand people were executed.

Clearly such collective punishments perpetrated against a helpless people under occupation contravened the Geneva Conventions, and the extra-judicial killings of civilians were strictly forbidden by international law, which defines them as war crimes.

But the man got away with it and went on to become Israel’s defense minister in 1982, when he launched the devastating invasion of Lebanon that year, which concluded with the massacres at Sabra and Shatilla — massacres that he was held “indirectly” responsible for by an Israeli court of inquiry. As to what the term means precisely, well, search me.

In June 1974, outside Nablus, a group of fanatic settlers, hell-bent on establishing another illegal settlement on Palestinian land, were resisting soldiers who had been ordered by Yitzhak Rabin’s centrist government to evict them.

Then who would stroll into the midst of this screaming, kicking and chanting mob other than the ex-general and now newly-elected Knesset member, Ariel Sharon, who proceeded to urge the soldiers to “Resist orders! Resist orders!”

After the right wrested control of the government in 1977, and the expansionist Menachem Begin was appointed prime minister, Sharon truly came into his own as the architect of Israel’s settlement policy.

He never wavered in his pursuit of that policy, despite his crafty withdrawal from Gaza late last year, which was intended to consolidate his grip on the West Bank and block the emergence of a future Palestinian state.

After all these years, after all these massacres he has committed, after all the grief he has caused, after all his attempts to subdue the people of Palestine, Sharon has failed. And failed miserably.

He leaves the scene with his dream of a Greater Israel in tatters, a joke, a lunatically improbable goal in the first place. The international community, along with many people in the US — but excluding dorks like the Evangelist Pat Robertson and his equally dorky followers — has turned against Israel much because of his actions.

Sharon’s problem was that he did not understand history and its implacable laws, the most important one of which is that you can colonize, subjugate or dehumanize a human community for so long, but then a tipping point comes where they will revolt.

And once they do that, there’s no going back. No one knew that more astutely than the 19th century French commentator, Alexis de Tocqueville, in his commentary on the French revolution, when he wrote: “Endured so long as it seemed beyond redress, a grievance comes to appear intolerable once the possibility of removing it crosses men’s minds.”

“Now, it appears, Ariel Sharon is leaving the stage of politics,” said Gershom Gorenberg, in an opinion piece in the Washington Post last Friday. “Those who follow him should understand his tragic flaws.” Never mind that one would be hard put to use an adjective like “tragic” to describe anything about Sharon’s life and career. But it is good advice nevertheless.

A more eloquent way of putting it was what Baruch Kimmerling had to say in the conclusion to book “Ariel Sharon’s War Against the Palestinians.” “If both sides make or remake the painful compromises they find unthinkable at present, but which are needed to effect a mutual reconciliation, they may not only cease being enemies but may find that their common interests lead them to become allies as well,” he wrote.

“Without a reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, the contemporary Jewish state will become a mere footnote in world history.”

This from the Religion of Peace.

Open Post thanks to Right Wing Nation and Third World County.

08 January 2006

Army Awarded 231% Salary Increase Ahead Of Planned Protests

Sorry for the lost leader, but the pay increases are for the Zimbabwe Army -- not the U.S. ZimDaily reports:
THE government of President Robert Mugabe has given pay increases of 231% to the army and instructed them to crush planned opposition protests, Zimdaily heard yesterday. The increase, made hardly two weeks after the opposition threatened to launch mass protests, have drawn accusations that Mugabe was paying off key groups with a critical role in the wider effort to keep Zanu PF in power. Sources in the Army Data Capture Unit at the KG6 Barracks told zimdaily that they were currently working on the soldiers' payslips. "They are getting a 231% increase across the board," the source said. "I understand there is likely to be another increase soon. "Zimdaily heard that a private in the 40 000 strong army is currently earning $3,5 million while a captain was earning $7 million and a Major $8 million. These figures exclude other allowances such as transport and housing. Zimdaily also heard that there were salary differentials based on the length of service.

The massive increase follows seething discontent among soldiers over poor salaries and working conditions. Military sources said before the raise, soldiers were increasingly unsettled by government’s refusal to increase their salaries and provide adequate food supplies to the 40000-strong army.

Disgruntled armed forces pose a serious threat to President Robert Mugabe’s regime, which depends on the state security apparatus — the army, the air force and the intelligence service — for its survival. Mugabe recently urged the armed forces to remain vigilant to deal with what he termed a “vicious imperialist onslaught”. Soldiers who spoke to zimdaily said the increase was still negligible as they were expecting a 500% increase.

Zimdaily heard the army commanders were battling to assure soldiers the situation would be attended to as soon as possible. It is said some troops have been detained at 2 Brigade barracks in Harare in connection with “indiscipline” related to agitation for salary increases. Sources said the soldiers were expected to be court-marshalled. Zimdaily understands that senior army commanders have been telling soldiers to channel their grievances through proper structures instead of engaging in “unruly campaigning” which could easily be interpreted as “mutiny”. Army spokesman Lt Col Aggrey Wushe declined comment on the salary adjustment and the revolt in the army.

He also denied there was unrest within the army's ranks ranks. Army commanders are traditionally loyal to Mugabe and generals occupy the upper echelons of parastatals and government posts. Mugabe has militarised government bureaucracy by deploying former soldiers to perform civilian duties. In the run-up to the disputed 2002 presidential election, army generals announced they would not accept an elected president without liberation struggle credentials — a reference to opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai. And more recently a Major General warned junior troops against supporting the opposition. The army was heavily involved in the controversial election, which was won by Mugabe.
Excellent story, but you must go to the link and scroll to the bottom for the real deal. ZimDaily also operates as somewhat of a message board / forum site. The posts in response to this article are fantastic. Something tells me that ZimDaily is not a government-sanctioned news agency.

Open Post thanks to The Mudville Gazette.

Slaughterhouses Busy for Eid

I suppose many cultures consider Haloween or St. Patrick's Day to be odd. This piece refers to the Eid festivals of the Muslim world. Nancy Oteifa of the Kuwaiti Times reports:
Nearly all Muslims are busy thinking of where and how to sacrifice their animal of choice. So, I decided to visit one slaughterhouse in Kuwait and see how they have prepared for this season.

When I went to Shuwaikh slaughterhouse, the men in charge were very helpful and kind enough to give me all the information I needed. Nasser Al-Wazan, the head of technical department said, "Our sheep are mainly from Australia, but there are also local and Arab ones."

Australian sheep are cheaper than the pure Arabian sheep and they are the most wanted and demanded by the customers, because they are cheaper".

Hygiene and cleanliness are paramount and the area is cleaned daily. They also make sure that all equipment is ready all the time. The third step is that workers or owners must be in place to make sure that the animal is healthy.

He added, "All slaughterhouses are open after the Eid prayer until 6pm -- and from 6pm till the next morning it is for charities. It's important to note that from a religious point of view, not any sheep can be used for scarifying. It depends on the size and age of the animal."

Vets such as Talat Al-Shafiee noted, "The vets have their own procedures in checking the sheep while they are alive. First they check the animal to make sure that they don't have any kind of disease of sickness, like tetanus, salmonella poisoning, or coughing. But when it comes to check the dead animal the vets first make an overall check on the animal to scan if there is any disease, to see if there are any changes in the colour or smell. Then they check the animal's head including the face and the tongue."

He added, "There are more than 220 diseases that are common between human beings and animals. These diseases not only have a great effect on human beings but also it has a huge damage on animals in terms of milk. Those diseases are transferred by touching or indirectly by eating the meat or by milk consumption."

Diseases are caused by bacteria, viruses or even parasites, and consumers are advised to make sure that the animal is free from any tumours on the skin before buying the animal.
Pretty matter-of-fact, eh?

Open Post Thanks to Right Wing Nation, The Bullwinkle Blog, bRight and Early, The Uncooperative Blogger and Don Surber.

07 January 2006

Iraqi Troops Celebrate Army Day

Iraqi troops recently celebrated the 85th anniversary of the creation of Iraq's military forces. While the celebration was smaller in size, it packed more firepower. The Lebanese Daily Star reports:
Iraq's fledgling military marked Army Day Friday to the sound of mortar and rocket fire, highlighting the tough battle the troops face to bring security to the country.Waving Iraqi flags, some 800 soldiers from the army's 10 divisions paraded in front of senior Iraqi government and U.S. officials as marching music played inside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone.

But the annual ceremony, marking the 85th anniversary of the military's creation, was a fraction of its previous size under Saddam Hussein.

The toppled dictator used to sit with a rifle on his lap, firing off rounds, as thousands of troops, tanks, helicopters and fighter jets took part in a three to four hour-long parade.

This time around, there were only two old Russian tanks on display as well as some U.S.-made Humvees and military trucks, while Iraq's current president and prime minister both chose to stay away.

Saddam's theatrical gunshots were replaced by real mortar fire.

One mortar round, fired by rebels, even struck about a 100 meters away but did not explode, said an AFP correspondent at the scene.

Abdel-Aziz Mohammad, official spokesman for the joint operations room at the Defense Ministry, had been talking to reporters at the time and ducked as the round flew past. "It was nothing, it was nothing," he said afterwards.

At the start of the ceremony, Defense Minister Saadun al-Dulaimi and U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad laid flowers at the Monument of the Unknown Soldier - a giant shield-shaped stone slab erected in the center of a vast circle.

It was built under Saddam to commemorate soldiers who died in the Iran-Iraq war.

The Iraqi national anthem struck up as everyone stood to attention.

The soldiers then marched grim-faced for about five minutes. Then Dulaimi and General Babkir Bederkhan al-Zibari, the army's chief of staff gave rallying speeches.

"Today's festival has a special meaning and it is not like the previous ones," said Dulaimi.

"Today we serve the nation and not the [then] victorious leader," he said, in a reference to Saddam.

Standing to attention, with unloaded guns at their side, the soldiers then repeated an oath of allegiance.

"I swear in the name of God and on my honor to protect the land of Iraq and its people from all aggression," they chanted.

The country's security forces, including the army and the police, are now some 210,000-strong.
Open Post Thanks to The Right Wing Nation and Stop the ACLU.

South America's Coup du Jour

The Cato Institute recently ran a piece regarding the new-style military coup/prison term/landslide victory in the next election leadership in South America. This reminds me of the typical VH1 Behind the Music series. You know, an unknown band from L.A. leaves mom's garage, hits it big, signs a ridiculous record contract where they don't make a penny, get horribly hooked on heroin, break up, have failed solo careers and reunite at a state / county fair somewhere? Anyway, Cato.org reports:
A new form of military coup d'état is emerging in South America.

Today's new militarism is characterized by leftist military men who lead a rebellion, are jailed for it, and then emerge with the popularity to win the next presidential election with large majorities of the vote.

With the patriarchal blessing of Fidel Castro, the model of new militarism started with Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan colonel who led a failed coup in 1992, served two years in prison, and returned to capture the presidency in 1998. Ecuador's President Lucio Gutierrez - an Army colonel who led a successful indigenous rebellion in 2000, was jailed briefly, and was elected president last November - has consolidated the trend that, without a doubt, will spread.

There are imitators of these caudillos everywhere on a continent where confidence in free markets has been shaken and prevailing public opinion is that democracy has failed.

In Bolivia, one such imitator, Evo Morales, seems to be very interested in exercising this new-style coup d'état. Though not a military leader, he is a populist who blames Bolivia's problems on capitalism and explicitly admires Cuban communism and its military leader Fidel Castro. Mr. Morales has successfully roused indigenous masses to violent protest over economic hardship that has resulted, in part, from questionable economic policies. In February, those demonstrations led to street violence, including 33 deaths, the reversal of some government policies, and the weakening of the government.

Not long ago, here in Peru, we had another self-appointed upstart, Lt. Col. Ollanta Humala. Despite leading a mutiny during the last few days of the presidency of Alberto Fujimori, Colonel Humala has just been "rewarded" with the post of Peruvian military attaché to France. What tremendous foolishness: Three of Peru's former military dictators - Oscar R. Benavides, Luis M. Sanchez Cerro, and Juan Velasco Alvarado - held the same post before returning to Lima to strike their blow. If the pattern holds, Ollanta Humala could be next.

This neomilitarism is characterized by a profound hostility to demo- cratic society and to an open economy. It also seems to have a pronounced populist accent and a dangerous dose of communist infiltration. In essence, it represents the popular dissatisfaction with democratic policy in Latin America.

The paradox is that this doesn't seem to worry the United States. Of course, that's historically typical - more so now, because after Sept. 11, American foreign policy seems to be based exclusively on national security criteria. If in the past, Washington was not bothered by Somoza, Trujillo, and Duvalier, why should it be bothered now by Chávez, Gutierrez, or whoever else might come along?

The first wave of Latin American militarism occurred after the wars of independence and was largely a settling of political control with military strongmen alternating in power, often overthrowing one another and plunging the region into a series of civil wars.

The second wave was characterized by a combination of the doctrine of national security and the military taking a role in managing economic policy. Brazil's Getulio Vargas, Argentina's Juan Peron, and Chile's Augusto Pinochet all came to power at different times in this 20th-century wave of militarism and were influential in shaping modern economic profiles of their nations.

In today's incarnation of militarism, which comes on the heels of two decades of democratic progress, it would not be possible simply to install a military government because of the international consequences and the isolation it would entail. Our modern caudillos resort to a stratagem of leading what they know will be a failed revolution in order to become democratic candidates against the system. It's a kind of plebiscitary Bonapartist revival - and it's a new perversion of Latin American democracy.

Shamelessly pimped to the Open Posts at Stop the ACLU, The Mudville Gazette, The Uncooperative Blogger and The Bullwinkle Blog.

Haiti UN Forces Commander Found Dead

BBC reports that the Commander of the UN forces in Haiti has been found shot dead in a Port-au-Prince hotel room.
The body of Gen Urano Teixeira Da Matta Bacellar, a Brazilian, was discovered early in the morning in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

The general had taken over as head of the 9,000-strong peacekeeping force in September last year.

Haiti has been blighted by political and criminal violence and instability over the last two years.
The past two years? Haiti had a very promising begining -- it was the world's first black-led republic and the first Caribbean state to achieve independence. However, previous regimes such as "Papa Doc" and "Baby Doc" Duvalier dragged the island nation into a hole it has never climbed out of. Life is so bad in this tiny nation that thousands of hopeful refuges take to the Caribbean in vessels ranging from bathtubs to dozens of pallets lashed together only to be intercepted by the Coast Guard and repatriated.
The role of the UN troops is to keep the peace between rival gangs who support and oppose the ousted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide. The mission's mandate, which expires in mid-February, also includes supporting the political process.

On Friday, the UN Security Council urged the country's interim government to hold an election by 7 February.
Hmmm. The UN has an armed military mission in Haiti to support the political process and to ensure that elections take place within a certain timeframe. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Why aren't France, Germany, John Kerry and John Murtha demanding that the UN forces immediately withdraw from Haiti?
The election has already been delayed four times because of spikes in violence, delays in distributing 3.5 million voter identification cards and problems with polling stations.

Voting has originally been scheduled for November, then moved to December, and then delayed a third time until 8 January.

But last week Haiti's provisional electoral council postponed the election again, without setting a new date.
I'm still waiting to see blue fingers in Haiti.

Thanks to the Open Posts at Stop the ACLU and The Mudville Gazette.

06 January 2006

New Enlistment Oaths

Strategypage.com has revealed the latest enlistment oaths. Pretty good stuff. The Coast Guard Oath is quite different than the one I swore to in 1982.

New Enlistment Oaths

"I, (State your name), swear to sign away 4 years of my life to the UNITED STATES COAST GUARD because I know being in the real military scares me. However, I swear to defend our position as the fifth branch of the Armed Services, although at one point we were under the Department of Homeland Security. I understand that at least twice a day, someone will refer to me a member of the Air Force or Navy, and when I correct them, they will question my military status. I will work on boats the size of kayaks and small yachts during the worst of natures storms, and recieve no thanks or notice form the public. I will fly in helos into the eye of the storm to rescue people dumber then rocks, and then be heckled by the same people when I bust them for transporting drugs two months later! I will prevent thousands of gallons of pollution, but be accused of impeding the economy when I won't allow vessels to pour oil into the ocean. I will be the red-headed step child to all of the other services, although I know I got the better deal. All of my equipment will be discarded Navy property. I will use most of my time in the Coast Guard to take college classes, and perfect my web surfing abilities, then complain that I work too much. I will perfect avoiding PT at all costs, and do my best to attend training that will give me a great competitive edge in the career field of my choice, making retention efforts of the Coast Guard pointless. I will come in contact with so many pollutants during my tenure, I will glow in the dark for the rest of my natural life and refer to myself as "salty" because of it. I will do my best to work 8 to 3, with a two hour lunch, on normal days, and have my pager and cell phone surgically attached, SO HELP ME GOD.


"I, (State your name), swear to sign away 4 years of my life to the UNITED STATES AIR FORCE because I know I couldn't hack it in the Army, because the Marines frighten me, and because I am afraid of water over waist-deep. I swear to sit behind a desk. I also swear not to do any form of real exercise, but promise to defend our bike-riding test as a valid form of exercise. I promise to walk around calling everyone by their first name because I find it amusing to annoy the other services. I will have a better quality of life than those around me and will, at all times, be sure to make them aware of that fact. After completion of "Basic Training", I will be a lean, mean, donut-eating, Lazy-Boy sitting, civilian-wearing-blue-clothes, Chair-borne Ranger. I will believe I am superior to all others and will make an effort to clean the knife before stabbing the next person in the back. I will annoy those around me, and will go home early every day. So Help Me God!"


"I, (State your name), swear to sign away 4 years of my otherwise mediocre life to the UNITED STATES ARMY because I couldn't score high enough on the ASVAB to get into the Air Force, I'm not tough enough for the Marines, and the Navy won't take me because I can't swim. I will wear camouflage every day and tuck my trousers into my boots because I can't figure out how to use blousing straps. I promise to wear my uniform 24 hours a day even when I have a date. I will continue to tell myself that I am a fierce killing machine because my Drill Sergeant told me I am, despite the fact that the only action I will see is a court-martial for sexual harassment. I acknowledge the fact that I will make E-8 in my first year of service, and vow to maintain that it is because I scored perfect on my PT test. After completion of my "Basic Training," I will attend a different Army school every other month and return knowing less than I did when I left. On my first trip home after Boot Camp, I will walk around like I am cool and propose to my 9th grade sweetheart. I will make my wife stay home because if I let her out she might leave me for a better-looking Air Force guy. Should she leave me twelve times, I will continue to take her back. While at work I will maintain a look of knowledge while getting absolutely nothing accomplished. I will arrive to work every day at 1000 hrs because of morning PT and leave everyday at 1300 to report back to "COMPANY." I understand that I will undergo no training whatsoever that will help me get a job up! on separation, and will end up working construction with my friends from high school. I will brag to everyone about the Army giving me $30,000 for college, but will be unable to use it because I can't pass a placement exam. So Help Me God!"


"I, Top Gun, in lieu of going to prison, swear to sign away 4 years of my life to the UNITED STATES NAVY, because I want to hang out with Marines without actually having to BE one of them, because I thought the Air Force was too "corporate," because I didn't want to actually live in dirt like the Army, and because I thought, "Hey, I like to swim...why not?" I promise to wear clothes that went out of style in 1976 and to have my name stenciled on the butt of every pair of pants I own. I understand that I will be mistaken for the Good Humor Man during summer,! and for Nazi Waffen SS during the winter. I will strive to use a different language than the rest of the English-speaking world, using words like "deck, bulkhead, cover, geedunk, scuttlebutt, scuttle and head," when I really mean "floor, wall, hat, candy, water fountain, hole in wall and toilet." I will take great pride in the fact that all Navy acronyms, rank, and insignia, and everything else for that matter, are completely different from the other services and make absolutely no sense whatsoever. I will muster, whatever that is, at 0700 every morning unless I am buddy-buddy with the Chief, in which case I will show up around 0930. I vow to hone my coffee cup-handling skills to the point that I can stand up in a kayak being tossed around in a typhoon, and still not spill a drop. I consent to being promoted and subsequently busted at least twice per fiscal year. I realize that, once selected for Chief, I am required to submit myself to the sick, and quite possibly illegal, whims of my newfound "colleagues." So Help Me Neptune!"


"I, (pick a name the police won't recognize), swear..uhhhh....high-and-tight.... grunt... cammies....kill....fix bayonets....charge....slash....dig....burn....blowup....ugh...Air Force women....beer.....sailors wives.....air strikes....yes SIR!....whiskey....liberty call....salute....Ooorah Gunny....grenades...women....OORAH! So Help Me Chesty PULLER!"

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Thanks to The Mudville Gazette for their Open Post.

Dream Clears Sailor of Rape


Wren's sexy dream clears sailor of rape
A sailor was cleared yesterday of raping a Wren in their warship after a jury heard that she had had a sexy dream in her bunk bed.

The woman said she had been having a dream in which she was engaged in foreplay with her Royal Marine boyfriend, Plymouth Crown Court heard.

But she said she awoke at 3.30am to find Christopher Ellerington, 23, a marine engineering mechanic, on top of her in her bottom bunk bed which had a space of only 15in above the mattress.

At first she thought it was her boyfriend but she told the jury that she realised she was being attacked when she shone the light from her mobile phone in Ellerington's face.

She claimed: "He was touching me and then I realised he was having sex with me. I was shocked and angry and told him to get out."

Ellerington said she kissed him and put her hand down his trousers before saying: "What are you doing? I thought you were my boyfriend."

He said he had gone to the Wren's quarters to check that she was all right after a night out in pubs and clubs in Plymouth. She consented to his touching her because she mistook him for her boyfriend but they did not have sexual intercourse, he said.

The court heard that the alleged attack took place when the warship was moored at Devonport, Plymouth.

Ellerington, from Hull, denied raping and sexually assaulting the Wren on Feb 17 last year and was cleared of both charges. He has been transferred to another ship.

A Navy spokesman said the commanding officer would review the case and decide whether Ellerington should face any disciplinary action.
There has to be more to this story than just a dream? Doesn’t there?

Thanks to The Mudville Gazette for their Open Post.