Saturday, December 31, 2005

Man of the Year For 2005

Because Time magazine dropped the ball this year in spectacular fashion (what the hell were the Time editors thinking?), The Dread Pundit Bluto now takes this opportunity to name the man who, this year, had the greatest effect on the news, for good or ill.

President George W. Bush

I have absolutely no idea how Time's editors came up with Bill and Melinda Gates and Bono as "Persons of the Year". Their published explanation is nonsense; obvious lies concealing some other motivation.

Most likely, they violated their own criteria for "Man of the Year" because they felt it might give the Republican Party a boost in the midterm elections in 2006. Even naming the Iraqi voters would have been defensible, but again, it would have acknowledged American success in the War on Terror.

Molly Ivins and the Little Red Book

The story of the innocent Dartmouth student who was investigated by the Department of Homeland Security for checking out Mao's Little Red Book made the rounds quickly.

Originally reported by reporter Aaron Nicodemus in, the story grew legs:

shrieked here by Gary Leupp in counterpunch,

and at The Daily Kos,

at truthout,

This story had everything. Irony: the student was researching fascism and repression. It came on the heels of allegations of government "eavesdropping" on al Qaeda cell phone conversation with Americans. It "exposed" Bush adminstration bumbling.

As it turns out, the story was a hoax.

And certified loonie lib columnist Molly Ivins was forced to apologize for spreading the story in her column.


Embittered Brit Ex-Ambassador Leaks Documents

The land of HAR "Kim" Philby brings us another in a long line of lunatics who somehow managed to worm their ways into government positions. Of course, Philby was supposedly motivated by ideology. Craig Murray, who was fired from his position for cause, seems to have more of a taste for petty revenge and self-promotion.

From the Associated Press via Yahoo!News:
LONDON - A former British ambassador has published government documents he says prove that Britain knowingly received intelligence extracted under torture from prisoners in Uzbekistan.

Craig Murray, who was removed as ambassador to Uzbekistan after going public about his concerns, defied a Foreign Office ban to publish the internal memos on his Web site Friday. The documents include memos to Foreign Office chiefs in which Murray expressed his concern over the use of "torture material."

Common sense is finally invoked in the sixth paragraph of the AP story:
A Foreign Office spokesman said Friday that while Britain condemns the use of torture, it would be "irresponsible" for the intelligence services to reject out of hand information which might protect British citizens from a terror attack. The spokesman spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with government policy.
Duh. The very fact that this has to be articulated is a dismal comment on the average liberal's IQ.

For hints as to Murray's true nature, one might visit his blog, if one has the taste and tolerance for bug-eyed moonbattery.

Also posted at The Jawa Report.

Hezbollah Satellite TV Station Banned From Americas

The terrorist organization Hezbollah has been broadcasting through several satellite companies using propaganda from its television station al-Manar. Hezbollah, literally, "Party of God", originated in Lebanon, purportedly as a "resistance" group against Israeli occupation. They quickly showed their true colors as typical jihadi babyhunters, and offically are recognized by the US State Department as a terrorist organization.

From US Newswire:
WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 /U.S. Newswire/ -- The Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM) today praised satellite company Hispamar for removing the terrorist group Hezbollah's al-Manar television station from broadcast into North and South America. This marks the second time that CATM has taken al-Manar off the airwaves in the United States and throughout the Americas.

"Al-Manar runs graphic videos encouraging viewers, even children, to become suicide bombers and calls for acts of terrorism against civilians," said Mark Dubowitz, COO of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, which organized CATM. "Al-Manar is an operational weapon in the hands of one of the world's most dangerous terrorist organizations."

"We applaud Hispamar for quickly ending al-Manar broadcasts over its Amazonas satellite after we alerted them to its incitement to violence and support for terrorism," Dubowitz continued. "By removing al-Manar, Hispamar is ending a very real threat. Hezbollah is known to have terror cells in more than 14 major American cities. It conducts illegal operations, including drug smuggling, throughout the Americas. And it demonstrated its ability and willingness to strike on this side of the Atlantic when its terrorists killed more than 100 innocent civilians in two bombings in Argentina."
Al-Manar is still broadcast into Europe and the Middle East by satellite companies controlled by Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

Friday, December 30, 2005

Another Sign of the Apocalypse

Chihuahua Pack Attacks Cop
FREMONT, California - A pack of angry Chihuahuas attacked a police officer who was escorting a teenager home following a traffic stop, authorities said. The officer suffered minor injuries including bites to his ankle on Thursday when the five Chihuahuas escaped the 17-year-old boy's home and rushed the officer in the doorway, said Fremont detective Bill Veteran.
Via The Drudge Report.

Terrorist Detainees Taking it Through the Nose

The dotty old Beeb reports that a United Nations official is concerned that hunger-striking detainees at Guantanamo Bay are being force-fed in a way that, "...definitely amounts to an additional cruel treatment.":
There are credible allegations that Guantanamo hunger strikers are being force-fed in a cruel manner, the UN special rapporteur on torture has said.
Manfred Nowak's comments came after it emerged that the number of detainees refusing food at the prison camp had more than doubled since 25 December.
I'm certainly as mystified as you as to just what a "rapporteur on torture" is. Perhaps it's similar to a "rapporteur on raping children entrusted to UN care" or "rapporteur on skimming profits from UN sanctions". Who knows.

At any rate, it's revealed that rapporteur Manfred has never visited Gitmo.
Mr Nowak has not been to Guantanamo, and turned down an invitation to the camp because the US refused to give him unrestricted access to the detainees.
Well of course he wasn't granted unrestricted access. Too many UN folks have been identified as accomplices of Saddam in the oil-for-food scandals. Why take a chance with a corrupt organization like that?

As for the scum languishing in durance vile; once they've given up all their useful information, let them eat or not, their choice.

Also posted at The Jawa Report.

Latest Salvoes in the Media War Against Western Intelligence Agencies

In news on the media war against Western intelligence-gathering activities, MSNBC reports that the Justice Department is going to investigate the leaking of a classified NSA foreign cellphone call and email intercept program (the MSM prefer to use the disparaging term "eavesdropping"):
WASHINGTON - The U.S. Justice Department has launched an investigation to see who disclosed details about a secret domestic eavesdropping operation, department officials said Friday.

“We are opening an investigation into the unauthorized disclosure of classified materials related to the NSA,” one official said, referring to the National Security Agency.
And terrorist-friendly Brit fish-and-chips-wrapper the Guardian has the breaking news about a sinister NSA plot involving the "bugging" of millions of computers:
The intelligence service at the centre of the row over eavesdropping tracked visitors to its website, despite US government regulations. Monitoring files, known as "cookies", were discovered by a privacy activist at a time when the White House is on the defensive about its use of the National Security Agency to monitor the communications of US citizens.
That's right, cookies. Those things you collect from every commercial website you visit. And the Guardian's so-called "privacy expert" is Daniel Brandt, who apparently believes that Google has deliberately written their search algorithms to exclude one of his websites, and is on a Quixote-like quest to humble the search engine giant.

Also posted at The Jawa Report.

And...We're Back in...Three, Two, One...

Many thanks to Mad Dog Vinnie and Mike for helping me out by keeping The Dread Pundit Bluto current while I goofed off in the PRM (People's Republic of Massachusetts). You guys are welcome to post here any time.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Three Brits Kidnapped in Gaza

Since Israel relinquished control of the Gaza Strip in September, it seems that abductions of foreigners are occurring on a weekly basis. Earlier today, armed kidnappers abducted a British human rights activist and her parents in Gaza near the Egyptian border.

The 25-year-old worker at pro-Palestinian rights group Al Mezan, identified by British media reports as Kate Burton, was showing her visiting parents around the town of Rafah when they were bundled into a car and driven away, residents said.

There was no public claim of responsibility, but police sources said officials were in talks with the kidnappers in the hope of securing the hostages' release by early Thursday.
The British consulate confirmed that the kidnappings occurred, likely by a group known as the Black Panthers, an armed offshoot of the Fatah movement.

Isn't it just typical of these thug kidnappers to abduct a human rights activist who supports their cause? I think it's an indication that the kidnappers are not too smart. If they want to maximize media attention and public outrage, they've got to quit kidnapping members of the home team.

Similarly, last week armed men mistakenly kidnapped two teachers, a Dutchman and an Aussie, thinking they were Americans. The two were held briefly and released with an "Oops!"

If recent history is an indicator and assuming the kidnappers realize that Kate Burton and her parents actually support the Palestinian cause, they won't be held hostage for very long.

Companion post at Interested-Participant.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Happy Hannukah!

Hm, it seems the IDF is giving its own festival of lights this Hannukah week:

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Israeli aircraft attacked a militant training base south of Beirut early on Wednesday in response to rocket attacks on Israel, an army spokeswoman said.

She said the attack targeted a training base used by the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). There was no immediate information on casualties or damage.

Late on Tuesday, three rockets were fired into the northern Israeli town of Kiryat Shemona from Lebanon, slamming into residential areas and wounding one, the army said.

It's unclear whether or not enough terrorists heads were set alight to create a Live Menorah, but it's kind of annoying, really, that the IDF is trying to copy the Christian tradition of a Live Nativity during the Holiday Season.

Oh, but wait. It appears they may be going for the flame they need right now:

The IDF inched one step closer toward creating what one official has termed a "cordon sanitaire" in the northern Gaza Strip.

Tuesday evening, the IAF dropped pamphlets in Gaza telling residents to keep away from Kassam rocket teams.

The message, said military sources, warned residents, "Presence in areas used for projectile rocket launchings puts your life in danger."

Here's to the IDF and their efforts to make a living menorah out of terrorists.

Napa Winemakers Killing Bears

(Napa County, California) The succulent prized grapes grown in the California wine region are attractive to the wild black bears but the vineyard owners aren't predisposed to sharing. Consequently and in accordance with state law, the bears are being killed. Naturally, the animal rights advocates and environmentalists are opposed to the killing of the bears, but they protest meekly. I guess the liberals love their wine a little more than they love the bears.

Evidently, animals have rights only to extent that they don't mess with the merlot.

Companion post at Interested-Participant.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Why Did He Take A Break, Anyway?

And the question on everyone's mind is, "Why did our Dread Pundit take off so suddenly?"

I think I know why.

Poor gob, it was tearing him apart.

Meanwhile, In That Other Monotheistic Religion

I wonder if this guy is a militant, or an insurgent, or maybe even a radical. One thing we know, he isn't a gunman.

MULTAN, Pakistan — A father, angry that his eldest daughter had married against his wishes, slit her throat as she slept and then killed three of his other daughters in a remote village in eastern Pakistan, police said Saturday.

Nazir Ahmad, a laborer in his 40s, feared the younger girls, aged 4, 8, and 12, would follow in their sister's footsteps, police officer Shahzad Gul said.

Actually, over there, they may very well call him Father of the Year.

College Grads Can't Read

For at least a couple generations, prudent observers have opined that the American education system inappropriately allows students to advance without mastering subject material. Progressive educators responded by stating that achievement in rigorous curricula is less important than the students' self esteem and ability to work with others. The controversy will certainly continue even though a recent assessment indicates that "dumbing down" works. Less than one in three college graduates can read a book.

"It's appalling -- it's really astounding," said Michael Gorman, president of the American Library Association and a librarian at California State University at Fresno. "Only 31 percent of college graduates can read a complex book and extrapolate from it. That's not saying much for the remainder."

While more Americans are graduating from college, and more than ever are applying for admission, far fewer are leaving higher education with the skills needed to comprehend routine data, such as reading a table about the relationship between blood pressure and physical activity, according to the federal study conducted by the National Center for Education Statistics.

Experts could not definitively explain the drop.

"The declining impact of education on our adult population was the biggest surprise for us, and we just don't have a good explanation," said Mark S. Schneider, commissioner of education statistics.
According to Schneider, the assessment simply determined the ability to read, not understanding complex subject matter.

In my opinion, the blame for the dismal results can be attributed to several factors. These include the practice of social promotion, the elimination or disregard for effective grading systems, the elimination or reduction of testing requirements, the dilution of core academic standards, and affirmative action. Simplistically, graduates can't read because it wasn't a requirement to graduate.

Companion post at Interested-Participant.

With a Little Help From My Friends

I'm leaving tomorrow to visit relatives for a few days in the People's Republic of Massachusetts. I should be back posting on Friday. In the meantime, a couple of friends from the The Jawa Report have agreed to post here.

You've already met Mad Dog Vinnie from Vince Aut Morire. Also, Mike from Interested Participant, and Traderrob from OpiniPundit may post as well.

My thanks to all.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Stockholm Syndrome Might Explain It

Medienkritik reports that recently released hostage Susanne Osthoff is apparently insane, based on a bizarre interview she gave to terrorist-medium-of-choice al Jazeera:
She described her captors as "poor people" and said that she "cannot blame them for kidnapping her, as they cannot enter [Baghdad's heavily fortified] Green Zone to kidnap Americans."

Mrs. Osthoff contemplates a return to Iraq in the near future (her subsequent kidnapping is a safe bet if terrorists are still not permitted to enter the Green zone).
This loon needs to be barred from Iraq.

Group Cites Progress in Middle East: WaPo Writer Flies Into Snit

Fred Hiatt's glass is half empty, and somebody spit in it

The "non-profit, nonpartisan organization" Freedom House notes improvement in the state of democracy in the Middle East in a December 19 press release:
The people of the Arab Middle East experienced a modest but potentially significant increase in political rights and civil liberties in 2005, Freedom House announced in a major survey of global freedom released today.
The press release goes on to mention Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as Lebanon as hopeful "potentially significant" signs of progress in the region. Only effects are cited, not causes. Thus there is no mention of the United States' role in Afghanistan's elevation from "Not Free" to "Partly Free" status. Likewise, those in Lebanon who cited the American intervention in Iraq as the spark that led to Syria's expulsion aren't quoted.

Unfortunately, even this implied faint praise for President Bush's Middle East foreign policy is a threat to Fred Hiatt at the Washington Post:
But even those bright spots had shadows. The gainers in Arab elections were Islamist parties that may or may not be committed to the democratic process. The elected government in Ukraine faced internal and external pressures. Liberia's president will need help from wealthier countries that she may not receive.
In Fred Hiatt's world the sky is always overcast during Republican administrations. What a sad little man.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

The Night Before Christmas - Revisited

By Kurl, an old internet buddy:

Twas the night before Christmas, Two Thousand and Five
All the kiddies would wonder: Will Santa Arrive?
For it seems that this season his presence is rare,
And he’s even been banned from our Towne Public Square.

Yes, the scene’s been the same for some 80-odd years,
There was Jolly Saint Nick, bringing toys and good cheer.
On that brilliant red fire truck’s engine a’roar,
Sat a rosy-cheeked Santa, the townsfolk adored.

But on this Christmas Eve, well that engine stood silent
For a court has now ruled we’re no longer compliant.
Yes that truck is municipal government owned,
Your religious event is forever postponed.

We have gotten complaints, and they’ve threatened to sue
In this letter addressed from the ACLU.
See, they find it offensive, these church-state displays
We shall make it expensive: YOU MUST CHANGE YOUR WAYS!

Ah the lefties guffawed, and they blithely opined:
This alleged "War on Christmas" is all in your mind.
On the contrary, well just the opposite’s true
An established theocracy’s what you pursue!

With bibles and churches, nativity scenes!
With crusades and witch burnings and Rosary Beads!
There’ll be mass crucifixion of all non-believers!
Intelligent Design will be forced on all teachers!

They will close down Los Vegas and ban Howard Stern,
Every textbook on science, collected and burned.
No displaying of cleavage, no Daisy Duke shorts
As Bible Belt Christians take over the courts.

What you read, what you hear, what you see they’ll determine
Every radio station, just Billy Graham sermons.
All abortions are banned, homosexuals stoned
Neither porno, nor Hip-Hop, nor Playboy condoned.

It’s the end of the world, all sane people agree
As we slowly regress to the 12th Century.
If you dare disagree, you’ll be drowned in the lake
Even murmur dissent, you’ll be burned at the stake.

When I was a child some four decades ago
All that evening we’d pray for a blanket of snow
Then the carolers knocked, they were braving the cold
Singing Come All Ye Faithful, and Joy To The World.

Later on in the evening, we’d tromp into town
Such a sea of humanity, spirits abound.
A nativity scene, and a tall Douglas Fir
Donned with seasonal lights, our emotions to stir!

Over Two Thousand years celebrating His birth,
For believers and others, a season of mirth.
In this country we celebrate freedoms we’ve earned,
To express unimpeded the Faith we have learned.

Now it seems we’ve been challenged, a cynical crew,
Who’d tear down our traditions, assuaging the few.
And they parse and they threaten, under cover of law
And they shout and they rant: WE DEMAND YOU WITHDRAW!

What they don’t understand about Christians and Jews,
About Muslims and Hindus, all colors and hues.
This great country was founded on freedom and faith,
Not division and fear, not resentment and hate.

So let’s spring to our feet, but before we take leave,

Let us celebrate Jesus this glorious eve

I heard Santa exclaim ‘ere he drove out of sight

"Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good-night"!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday Funny

From the Dry Bones Blog.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

NYT Still Pimping Risen's Book

The New York Times is busy today doing yeoman work to help promote the January publication of reporter James Risen's sensationalist new book.

The really, really masterful propaganda stroke in the Gray Whore Lady's article is the fact that the article, allegedly examining large-scale government data-mining, never once mentions the Able Danger scandal, or the 9/11 Commission's role in trying to bury it. Of course, that was a Bill Clinton screwup.

Some Christmas Eve Goodies

Jim Lynch at bRight & Early has discovered a sinister surveillance plot that's gone unreported in the mainstream media.

Traderrob from OpiniPundit illustrates how old Christmas traumas have helped shape the views of a couple of current Democratic party leaders.

Lord Spatula of the spatula city bbs reports a truly touching random act of kindness performed for a Marine.

Hi Ya!

In the near future, Bluto's gonna take a powder for a couple of days. I'm going to fill in for him.

I'm just doing a test post for the moment, to give you a glimpse of what you're in for.

A Reporter With A Mission

From the Associated Press:
A classified radiation monitoring program, conducted without warrants, has targeted private U.S. property in an effort to prevent an al-Qaida attack, federal law enforcement officials confirmed Friday.

While declining to provide details, including the number of cities and sites monitored, the officials said the air monitoring began after the Sept. 11 attacks and was conducted from publicly accessible areas, which they said made warrants and court orders unnecessary.

U.S. News and World Report first reported the program on Friday. The magazine said the monitoring was conducted at more than 100 Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C. area — including Maryland and Virginia suburbs — and at least five other cities when threat levels had risen: Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, New York and Seattle.
Let's be real clear on this. Federal officers do not require a warrant to be present on public property. They do not require a court order to monitor radiation levels. And if they had not been doing so following 9/11, they would have been derelict in their duty.

This story is one of the most egregious examples of agenda journalism I've ever seen. Every mention of court orders and warrants in the story above is a deliberate attempt to make it appear that something sinister is happening, when, in fact, Federal agents simply are doing their lawful duty. Where were the much vaunted eleventy-seven layers of editors when writer Larry Margasak was puking out this profoundly biased attack piece?

What the hell is wrong with the author? Well, Margasak is on a mission to end the Bush Presidency and destroy as many Republicans as possible. Josef Goebbels would have loved him.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Hwang Screws Scientists

From ABC News:
SAN FRANCISCO Dec 23, 2005 — Scientists fretted Friday that a spectacular cloning fraud that hid in plain sight has set back legitimate stem cell work around the world.

Cloning experts and stem cell scientists said research in the potentially revolutionary field of regenerative medicine will continue unabated. But they said public confidence in their work had been weakened by a sham branded by experts as the most visible case of scientific fraud they could recall.

A disgraced Hwang Woo-suk resigned from Seoul National University on Friday after the school said the researcher fabricated groundbreaking cloning and stem-cell research that had raised hopes of new cures for hard-to-treat diseases.
I don't really have anything to add. I just wanted to use that headline.

Terrorists Using Fake Bombs

I'm not sure whether this is a new tactic, or if the Coalition has discovered so many weapons caches that some terrorist groups are running out of ordnance.

From a CENTCOM press release:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Three terrorists were captured as they were caught emplacing a hoax roadside bomb in east Baghdad Dec. 21.

At about 6 p.m., a patrol from 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry observed a civilian vehicle dropping cement blocks in the median of a major thoroughfare. The patrol intercepted the suspicious vehicle and detained three suspected terrorists.

Additional elements of 3-7 CAV secured the site surrounding the suspicious items and an explosive ordnance disposal team investigated the objects and found them to be hoax roadside bombs.
Another press release indicates that terrorist insurgents may be short on other weapons:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - A local national identified a home in east Baghdad that was being used as a factory to make improvised rocket-launchers.

At about 6:30 p.m. elements of 3rd squadron, 7th Cavalry, raided the home and discovered 15 rocket-launchers were in the process of being built and one 57 millimeter rocket was completed and ready to be fired. No one was present in the home at the time of the raid.
I'm reprinting these stories on the off chance that our loyal, unbiased, non-partisan mainstream media completely ignore them.

Congressional Black Caucus Sitting On Katrina Donations

The Cybercast News Service reports that the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which severely criticized the Bush administration for its slow response to Hurricane Katrina, has yet to distribute one penny of money contributed to their own relief fund:
"We are collecting all the way up through the very end of the year and then our board has set aside a committee who is going to administer the funds," Patty Rice, spokeswoman for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation (CBCF), told Cybercast News Service on Wednesday.
This seems like a particularly lackadaisical attitude for an organization whose members have repeatedly gone over-the-top in condemning government response to the catastrophe:
"We have witnessed something shockingly awful and that is the lack of response, the quick response, from our government to those Americans who are suffering [and] who are dying," said U.S. Rep Jesse Jackson Jr., (D-Ill.) on Sept. 2, four days after Katrina made landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast.

"I'm ashamed of our government. We don't want another Iraq, where the money just goes off somewhere. This is real human need. And I'm outraged by the lack of response from our federal government," U.S. Rep. Carolyn C. Kilpatrick (D-Mich.), said.
Cybercast New Service also reports that in September, CBC Foundation told reporters that they had already collected over $700,000 for Katrina relief. Apparently someone miscounted, because now only $400,000 is waiting to be distributed. And will continue to wait until at least February.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Saddam Embraces Democratic Party Platform In His Defense

From the The Daily Star (Lebanon):
Iraq's former leader said the White House had lied to justify its 2003 invasion by saying he had chemical weapons, and had lied again Wednesday when it denied his claim he was tortured in U.S. custody.
Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.):
“I think I was either lied to or we got some really bad intelligence. And I’m not sure I’ll ever know which it was.”
Rep. Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-N.Y.):
“If I had known the administration lied, if I had known that the presentations were rigged … I certainly wouldn’t have trusted [the administration]. … The evidence was rigged, and the case wasn’t proven at all.”
Now that Saddam has revealed his political affiliation, The Dread Pundit Bluto suspects that Democratic strategists are hoping to get him to run for Senator from New York when Hillary makes her Presidential bid.

Enemy Within: British Muslim Convicted

Sky News reports that a 21 year-old Briton has been convicted under British anti-terror laws:
A market stall holder has been found guilty of plotting to kill a highly-decorated British soldier who served in Iraq.

Abu Mansha, 21, was convicted of breaking anti-terror laws.

He was arrested in South London and found with a piece of paper which had the name and address of Corporal Mark Byles written on it.
Mansha apparently focused on this particular soldier because he was highly decorated:
Cpl Byles had led a "perilous" bayonet charge killing up to 20 Iraqi rebels and had won the Victoria Cross by saving 30 of his colleagues.
Mansha was also found in possession of terrorist porn, including video of the beheading of hostage Ken Bigley.

Senate Votes To Maximize Foreign Oil Imports

From the Associated Press via Yahoo!News:
WASHINGTON - The Senate blocked opening the nation's largest untapped oil reserve in an Alaska wildlife refuge Wednesday, denying President Bush his top energy priority and delivering a victory to environmentalists who said drilling would threaten wildlife.
Now, if a few million old and/or weak people would help us all out by popping off during the next blizzard/heat wave, we can build the utopia of the environmentalists' dreams.

Your cooperation is needed now more than ever, in light of the disappointingly low death rate from Hurricane Katrina. Won't you please do your part to cull the excess human population? Animals would thank you if they could talk and think in abstract terms.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"I was tortured", Saddam Whimpers in Court

BAGHDAD, Iraq - Saddam Hussein interrupted his trial Wednesday to allege he had been beaten and tortured while in U.S. custody and still had the marks on his body.

"I have been hit by the Americans and tortured," he said during his trial on charges of crimes against humanity. "I have been beaten on every place of my body, and the signs are all over my body."
Thank you to all those whose short term political goals have so watered down the definition of torture that this senile old mass murderer thinks wearing the same underwear for three days qualifies.

Evidently, the marks are all on the back of his body.

Lebanon Refusing to Hand Over Navy Diver's Murderer

Reuters reports that Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora is "questioning" a US request to extradite Mohammad Ali Hammadi. Hammadi spent a "life" sentence (18 years) in Germany for his role in the cowardly 1985 murder of US Navy diver Robert Stethem, committed during an aircraft hijacking.

"Originally they (the U.S. government) could have requested that Germany hand him over. Why are they asking us?" Prime Minister Fouad Siniora told reporters.
That would be because the Germans, who are so piously against interfering in other countries' sovereign affairs when it suits their purposes, refused to extradite Hammadi because he might have faced the death penalty in the US. And, of course, if they had extradited him, he wouldn't have been available to use as ransom for the release of German hostage Susanne Osthoff.
At his trial, Hammadi confessed to helping stage the 17-day hijacking to help win the release of 700 Lebanese detainees held by Israel, but he denied any role in killing Stethem.

But according to witnesses, Hammadi and an accomplice took the 23-year-old to the cockpit and beat him. Then they shot him and threw his body out of the Boeing 727 plane.
I disagree with those in Washington who are seeking Hammadi's extradition. This POS should just be taken out, Mossad-style.

Arabs See US Press as Supporting Bush Administration

The Daily Star (Lebanon) discusses a study of US newspapers by Dr. Ghazi Falah of the University of Akron, who focuses on the way Arabs and Muslims are portrayed by the American news media. Dr. Falah makes some astute observations, but draws some questionable conclusions.
With the vast majority of stories and photographs appearing in Western media from the Arab world pertaining to, or insinuating an environment of violence and conflict, readers are left with these impressions of the region.
This is true of US media, but it's not an attempt to portray Arabs negatively. First, blood sells. It's in the nature of journalism to hype the drama, not to describe peaceful, everyday events. Second, the American mainstream media have made a point of deliberately emphasizing negatives, particularly in Iraq, hoping to politically benefit their preferred party, the Democrats. The resultant biased view of Arabs is just collateral damage.
"It is striking how much the editorial policies of the foreign [American] newspapers consulted for this study overlap with U.S. government positions and its geo-political interests in the Middle East."
I'm not sure what other newspapers Dr. Falah was studying, but I would ask him this question: if these newspapers are so supportive of the Bush administration, why has there been an embargo on images of the 9/11 attacks? And why does MSM coverage of Iraq focus only on Coalition deaths, while ignoring our soldiers' daily successes?

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Terrorist Killed By Premature Explosion

No, no, Mahmoud! The blue wire! The blue wire! Aieee!

From a CENTCOM press release:
TIKRIT, Iraq – One terrorist was killed and another severely injured when the improvised explosive device they were attempting to emplace detonated prematurely. The incident occurred Dec. 19, near the city of Tikrit.

Tikrit police and Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Division’s 1st Brigade Combat Team responded to the explosion. The police officers performed first-aid on the injured bomber, who was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment.

The IED was composed of a 155 mm artillery shell and a detonating device, according to an explosives ordnance team investigating the explosion.

Soldiers searching the area discovered another artillery round and several other IED components in a nearby vehicle.

In addition to the wounded bomber, two other men were detained for allegedly attempting to help the surviving bomber avoid the responding security forces.

Court Ruled in 1982 That NSA Could Monitor Overseas Messages

"Mithridate Ombud", posting at NewsBusters, has found a 1982 New York Times story about a court ruling that appears to contradict the 1979 FISA rulings:
By DAVID BURNHAM, SPECIAL TO THE NEW YORK TIMES (NYT) 1051 words Published: November 7, 1982

A Federal appeals court has ruled that the National Security Agency may lawfully intercept messages between United States citizens and people overseas, even if there is no cause to believe the Americans are foreign agents, and then provide summaries of these messages to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
It's unclear yet whether this ruling will serve as a precedent to dash the hopes of the Democrat party's Defeatist Wing and their allied media.

Traderrob at OpiniPundit notes that Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas, Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, believes that the President's authorization of the NSA surveillance is legal and Constitutional. Traderrob also cites another case in which warrantless searches for the purpose of obtaining foreign intelligence were upheld.

The Wonders of Socialized Medicine

From Sky News:
Hospital bosses have apologised after maggots were found crawling in and out of an unconscious patient's nose.

Christine Ellison was in intensive care when her daughter, Nyree Ellison Anjos, made the revolting discovery.

"I thought there was something not quite right so I had a closer look and I could see maggots crawling in and out of her nose."

The maggots turned out to be fly larvae.

A statement from Gloucestershire NHS Foundation Trust said: "We would like to offer our sincere apologies to the family of Mrs Ellison for any distress caused by this incident.

"We can confirm that a very small number of maggots were found.

"The incident was incredibly rare and we took immediate steps to prevent it from happening again."
Yes, rare. So rare in fact that the hospital has gone nearly two months since their last maggot episode:
Maggots found in hospital treatment room

A hospital trust has been criticised after one of its treatment rooms had to be fumigated when maggots were found feeding on a discarded sandwich.

A corridor and room at the Gloucestershire Royal Hospital was sealed off after the maggots were discovered on October 25, hospital officials said.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Heads We Win, Tails You Lose

Arab leaders are calling for the Middle East to be free of nuclear weapons. The only problem is that they would have the ban enforced only against Israel.

From The Daily Star (Lebanon):
Gulf Arab leaders called on Monday for a nuclear weapons-free Middle East, but singled out only Israel, not Iran, despite having voiced alarm at Tehran's nuclear ambitions at the end of their two-day summit.
Somehow I don't see Israel going along with this idea.

President: Patriot Act Obstruction 'Inexcusable'

The President came out swinging at his press conference this morning, singling out Congressional Democrats and RINOs for obstructing the Patriot Act, and offering no apologies for authorizing NSA monitoring of international phone calls and emails involving suspected terrorists.

Here are some highlights from a Washington Post transcript of the press conference:
BUSH: Most of the senators now filibustering the Patriot Act actually voted for it in 2001. These senators need to explain why they thought the Patriot Act was a vital tool after the September the 11th attacks but now think it's no longer necessary.

BUSH: Let me give you an example about my concerns about letting the enemy know what may or may not be happening.

In the late 1990s, our government was following Osama bin Laden because he was using a certain type of telephone. And then the fact that we were following Osama bin Laden because he was using a certain type of telephone made it into the press as the result of a leak.

And guess what happened. Osama bin Laden changed his behavior. He began to change how he communicated.

[It was the Washington Post that revealed the government's monitoring of bin Laden's phone]

BUSH: It is inexcusable for the United States Senate to let this Patriot Act expire.

You know, there's an interesting debate in Washington -- and you're part of it -- that says: Well, they didn't connect the dots prior to September the 11th -- "they" being not only my administration but previous administrations.

I understand that debate. I'm not being critical of you bringing this issue up and discussing it. But there was also -- you might remember, if you take a step back, people were pretty adamant about hauling people up to testify and wondering how come the dots weren't connected.

Well, the Patriot Act helps us connect the dots. And now the United States Senate is going to let this bill expire -- not the Senate; a minority of senators.

And I want senators from New York or Los Angeles or Las Vegas to go home and explain why these cities are safer.

It is inexcusable to say, on the one hand, connect the dots and not give us a chance to do so.
Indeed, I'd be interested in hearing those Senators explain exactly that. An unbiased mainstream media would certainly hold their feet to the fire based on the President's challenge. It remains to be seen what our mainstream media will do.

Media Bias Quantified By UCLA Study

A UCLA study linking news media reporting to Americans for Democratic Action political scorecards found a "significant" bias to the left:
"I suspected that many media outlets would tilt to the left because surveys have shown that reporters tend to vote more Democrat than Republican," said Tim Groseclose, a UCLA political scientist and the study's lead author. "But I was surprised at just how pronounced the distinctions are."
Editorials were excluded from the study, to gauge the effects of bias on news gathering:
Of the 20 major media outlets studied, 18 scored left of center, with CBS' "Evening News," The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times ranking second, third and fourth most liberal behind the news pages of The Wall Street Journal.
The Dread Pundit Bluto would like to modestly propose a solution; an Affirmative Action program to help media outlets balance their staffs in order to represent political orientation fairly. Unfortunately, given the state of media bias found in the study, that means most news organizations won't be able to hire any more liberal reporters for probably twenty years or so.

Via The Drudge Report.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

German Hostage Freed

From the Associated Press:
BERLIN - A German aid worker and archaeologist kidnapped in Iraq with her driver has been freed after three weeks in captivity, Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier announced Sunday night.

He did not disclose any details about Susanne Osthoff's release.

"I am glad to be able to announce to you ... that Mrs. Susanne Osthoff is no longer in the hands of the kidnappers," Steinmeier said at a hastily arranged news conference. "As of today, she is safely in the care of the German Embassy in Baghdad."
This is excellent news.

Via OpiniPundit's Traderrob writing for The Jawa Report.

Sunday Funny

Senator Says New York Times Endangered Country In Order To Sell Book

As I posted Friday, the Drudge Report has revealed that the New York Times apparently lied about the reason for the timing of their story. In fact, the story's release date was not in deference to national security issues as the Times claimed, but was timed to help hype a book by reporter James Risen (State of WAR: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration). Now a US Senator has taken notice.

From the Associated Press:
"At least two senators that I heard with my own ears cited this as a reason why they decided to vote to not allow a bipartisan majority to reauthorize the Patriot Act," said Republican Sen. John Cornyn of Texas. "Well, as it turns out the author of this article turned in a book three months ago and the paper, The New York Times, failed to reveal that the urgent story was tied to a book release and its sale by its author."
The Times has gone into damage-control mode:
A call to The New York Times' Washington bureau was referred to spokeswoman Catherine Mathis, who could not be reached immediately.
Now it's time for a Special Prosecutor to subpoena the reporters, so that the government employees who leaked highly classified national security information to them can be given a new home in Leavenworth.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Assassination Attempt on Iranian President Reported

From Iran Focus:
Tehran, Iran, Dec. 17 – One of the bodyguards of Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was killed and another wounded when an attempt to ambush the presidential motorcade was thwarted in the southeastern province of Sistan and Baluchestan, according to a semi-official newspaper and local residents.

“At 6:50 pm on Thursday, the lead car in the presidential motorcade confronted armed bandits and trouble-makers on the Zabol-Saravan highway”, the semi-official Jomhouri Islami reported on Saturday.

“In the ensuing armed clash, the driver of the vehicle, who was an indigenous member of the security services, and one of the president’s bodyguards died, while another bodyguard was wounded”, the newspaper, which was founded by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, wrote.

Ahmadinejad traveled to the restive province, where ethnic Baluchis have been fighting for years for autonomy, on Wednesday and returned to Tehran on Friday afternoon. Tehran often refers to anti-government activists and political opponents of the Islamist regime as “bandits” and “trouble-makers”.
This story hasn't been picked up in the mainstream press. Iran Focus is based in London.

Via The Jawa Report.

Smear and Loathing

Harold Bloom is purportedly, as the Guardian notes in their story header for Bloom's American epitaph (Bushitlerburton, that tired cliché again), a "celebrated critic". They neglect to mention who celebrates him, if anyone, outside academic cloisters. Certainly not me, and I also understand why he is a critic, rather than one of the classic American authors he admires.

The man can't write. His words reveal a brain that is a walk-in closet packed with disjointed literary tidbits hung in mismatched sets and hateful paranoid fantasies lurking in the shoeboxes.

He wanders on for hundreds of words when his entire message can be summed up thusly, "I'm an old partyline Democrat and I hate Republicans in general and George Bush in particular, and Americans are stupid for voting him into office". That's it, all Bloom has to say. Yet he drags out this message with inappropriate and boring literary references and unfounded lunatic fringe innuendo until one just wants to scream at him, "Enough! Pass gas in the President's general direction and be done with it, you senile old misanthrope."

Here's Bloom's "argument":
At the age of 75, I wonder if the Democratic party ever again will hold the presidency or control the Congress in my lifetime. I am not sanguine, because our rulers have demonstrated their prowess in Florida (twice) and in Ohio at shaping voting procedures, and they control the Supreme Court. The economist-journalist Paul Krugman recently observed that the Republicans dare not allow themselves to lose either Congress or the White House, because subsequent investigations could disclose dark matters indeed. Krugman did not specify, but among the profiteers of our Iraq crusade are big oil (House of Bush/House of Saud), Halliburton (the vice-president), Bechtel (a nest of mighty Republicans) and so forth.
There you have it. Bloom's case, such as it is. Sound and fury. Unreasoning hatred. The real tragedy is that Bloom, a Yale professor, has been spewing his bile to young people for 51 years.

Friday, December 16, 2005

NYT Betrayed Us For Money, Not Principle

The New York Times's latest teapot tempest - fussing over some international calls and emails being monitored by the NSA - was timed to coincide with a book release by one of the reporters, according to the Drudge Report.

The incriminating passage is here:
The White House asked The New York Times not to publish this article, arguing that it could jeopardize continuing investigations and alert would-be terrorists that they might be under scrutiny. After meeting with senior administration officials to hear their concerns, the newspaper delayed publication for a year to conduct additional reporting.
According to Drudge, this is a lie. In fact, the publication is timed to maximize buzz for the imminent release of reporter James Risen's new book, "STATE OF WAR: The Secret History of the CIA and the Bush Administration".

The Gray Lady has been showing her age and growing senility for years. Now she has taken up prostitution.

Welcome Hugh Hewitt readers, and many thanks to Hugh for linking to The Dread Pundit Bluto.

Malarkey Is An Affront Up With Which They Will Not Be Putting

And now for something different from the Secret Kingdom of Beloved Leader.

WARNING: Do not read the following story aloud unless you are seated. If you begin to feel faint, stop reading and place your head between your knees while breathing deeply. Persons suffering from respiratory illness or disease should not attempt.

From the Korean Central News Agency of DPRK:
U.S. Ambassador's Repeated Malarkey under Fire
Pyongyang, December 15 (KCNA) -- The Korean people will resolutely cope with the repeated malarkey of the U.S. ambassador in Seoul slandering the system which they chose by themselves, established by their own efforts and value like their lives, considering them to be a declaration of war against the DPRK and the whole nation. A spokesman for the Korean Democratic Lawyers Association said this in a statement issued on Dec. 14 in denunciation of the U.S. ambassador's malignant outcries that there is no change in his thought that the north is a criminal state and that cooperation should be coordinated, while openly interfering in inter-Korean relations and taking issue with "military threat" from someone.
I'm not sure exactly what malarkey has Beloved Leader's panties in a bunch, or if it is, indeed, malarkey, and not, in fact, bunkum, piffle or balderdash.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

European Left Flys Into Another Snit; Pilot Error Blamed

Glenn Greenwald of Unclaimed Territory has been bashed recently (richly deserved) in these pages. But Greenwald's post about the European Left's reaction to the Tookie Williams execution is a must-read:
Whatever the proper definition of the term “anti-American” is, it exists in grotesque abundance throughout the European Left. It was difficult to read yesterday’s Associated Press article reporting on the so-called “outrage” among “Europeans” towards Arnold Schwarzengger’s refusal to grant clemency to mass murderer Tookie Williams without feeling a good amount of outrage of one's own.
I encourage you to go read the whole thing. Thanks to Tracy S. for emailing me a link to Greenwald's post.

A Little Historical Perspective

"We came from the people, we remain part of the people, and see ourselves as the executor of the people's will." - Josef Goebbels

Montaser Marai, a producer for al Jazeera, whining again in al Jazeera's allegedly independent Don't Bomb Us blog:
When I heard about the Daily Mirror report about the Bush-Blair memo, it made me question what we, in the Aljazeera news room, were doing that made the U.S. Administration want to bomb us.
Good lord, The old "When did you stop beating your wife?" question. And then Montaser has the nerve to whine about being labelled a propaganda tool?

But what the hell, I'll play along. Uncritically accepting the Daily Mirror report as fact, then using the reports for propaganda purposes might have something to do with it. Of course, starting this "blog" and calling it "Don't Bomb Us" might give you another clue as to why you have more in common with Josef Goebbels than you do with Horace Greeley.

"We have helped ourselves, creating real things, not illusions."

Montaser continues: I knew that they were not happy about our reporting on events in Iraq, but I always felt it was a professional disagreement in the way they saw the war from the way we saw the war. These different perspectives were part of an important debate, and our right to voice our perspective was as important as their right to state theirs'. Even though we may have disagreed, I still thought this was part of the media's job, our job, and if we were doing our job professionally, then maybe the U.S. could be upset with our stories, but they would understand our duty to our audience.
We certainly understand your duty to your Islamist masters. We also understand that the Islamic principle of taqqiyeh provides you with all the justification you need to lie and cheat, so long as it's done for the furtherance of Islam.

"We have always said: We will succeed only if we use our full energies."

I have read a lot of comments on this blog in which people mistakenly believe we are part of some sinister anti-West conspiracy. Nothing could be further from the truth. I agree that we may have a different editorial angle on a story, - and it seems only natural that an Arab viewpoint might be different than the U.S. viewpoint - but our reporting is at least as objective, impartial and professional as any other international new [sic] organization including BBC, CNN and Sky.
BBC? CNN? Damn, you set your sights pretty low, don't you? And then don't even manage to live up to those meager requirements.

Regardless, is it your "different editorial angle" that compels you to ignore inconvenient video like the craven, Islamist murder of Margaret Hassan, while endlessly replaying Kevin Sites' tape of a Marine killing a wounded terrorist insurgent?

Give it up, Montaser. Even the Spaniards have recognized your "reporters" for what they are. That's why al Jazeera "correspondent" Taysir Alluni is serving seven years in a Spanish prison for helping finance al Qaeda.

Iraqis Vote

8:57 Baghdad Time
The polls have been open for about two hours now in Iraq. There are reports of a large explosion near the Green Zone in Baghdad, attributed to a mortar shell, and a roadside bomb near Ramadi. No reports of injuries. No reports yet about voter turnout, though pre-election polls indicate it will be heavy.
9:21 Baghdad Time
Fox reports mortar rounds landing outside the Green Zone in the past few minutes, but no reports of injuries. Their correspondent says that authorities expect about 10 million Iraqis to vote today (out of 15 million eligible). Turnout has been light so far, which is attributed to many Iraqis waiting to see if the polling places will be secure. Most are expected to wait several hours before venturing out to vote.
10:35 Baghdad Time
Reports of sporadic violence in Mosul and Tikrit, with a poll worker killed by a bomb planted near a school. However, the lack of cable news coverage is a telltale that things are quiet overall, though it may be that the spectacular events threatened by al Qaeda will come later in the day, when more people are at the polls.

Clueless Idiots Get Their Press Credentials Pulled

From the Richmond Times-Dispatch:
NORFOLK -- The military this week pulled the press credentials of an embedded reporter and photographer for the Norfolk-based Virginian-Pilot newspaper in Kuwait, saying they had violated ground rules by photographing battle-damaged military vehicles.
Stupid, but their editor is an even bigger imbecile:
But after the paper published the story and photos on Saturday, the Kuwait-based Coalition Forces Land Component Command, Forward, pulled their press passes, noting that one of its ground rules prohibits video or photos of battle-damaged vehicles.

[Editor Denis] Finley said the incident happened on the final day of the men's two-week trip to the Middle East, "so we were done anyway." He said he was waiting to hear the full story from the two, who were in transit back to the U.S., before deciding how vigorously to protest.
I'm sure all the anti-war folks are convinced that the Bushitlerburton military doesn't want photos of damaged military vehicles circulating for propaganda purposes.

The fact is that battle damage photos can give enemy combatants important clues about any vulnerabilities the vehicles may have. Vulnerabilities that can then be exploited to kill more American soldiers. And the fact that editor Finley (who is so stupid he doesn't even know how to spell "Dennis") is going to "protest" being gigged for endangering troops, simply shows why such a pair of monumentally stupid morons were sent by his paper in the first place.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Live-Blogging the Iraqi Vote

From the Associated Press via Yahoo!News:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Troops were in place, the borders were closed and the ballots were ready early Thursday ahead of Iraqi parliamentary elections the U.S. hopes will build democracy and lay the groundwork for American troops to begin returning home.
I'll be up late tonight, trying to keep tabs on developments in Iraq as this historic vote gets underway.

Iranian President Calls Holocaust a 'Myth'

From the Associated Press via Yahoo!News:
TEHRAN, Iran - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad escalated his anti-Israeli rhetoric Wednesday, calling the Holocaust a "myth" used by Europeans to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world.

His remarks drew swift condemnation from Israel, Germany, France and the European Commission. Germany said the remarks would affect upcoming negotiations over Iran's nuclear program.

Ahmadinejad last week questioned whether the Nazi destruction of 6 million European Jews during World War II occurred and said Israel should be moved to Europe. He also provoked an international outcry in October when he called for Israel to be "wiped off the map."
Ahmadinejad has to push this denial of history to help justify calling for Israel's eradication. Keep in mind that this pinhead is still desperately seeking nuclear weapons, and has received help in developing missiles from North Korean madman Kim Jong-il.

What was that somebody said about an "Axis of Evil"?

Swedish al Qaeda Suspect Arrested in Prague

Oussama Kassir scouted locations for Bly, Oregon al Qaeda training camp

From the Times of Oman:
STOCKHOLM –– A 39-year-old Swede accused of terrorism by the United States has been arrested in Prague, Swedish tabloid Expressen reported on Tuesday.

The man, who was not identified, is wanted by the US CIA spy agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, which accuse him of being terror mastermind Osama bin Laden's "man in Sweden", Expressen wrote.

The US has tried to obtain his extradition for several years, accusing him of setting up Al-Qaeda training camps in the US state of Oregon in 1999, but Sweden has refused to hand him over, the paper said.
US Newswire reports that the unidentified man is Oussama Kassir, a Lebanese-born Swede:
KASSIR was arrested in Prague, Czech Republic, on December 11, 2005, based on the sealed criminal complaint, and the corresponding arrest warrant that were on file with Interpol. He is currently detained in Prague, and the United States is pursuing his extradition.
Kassir reportedly visited Oregon with London bombing suspect Haroon Rashid Aswat:
Aswat is one of two al-Masri associates who are referred to but not named or charged in the 2002 indictment of Ujaama by a federal grand jury in Seattle, officials said. The other is Oussama Kassir, a Lebanese-born Swede, who was convicted of weapons violations in Sweden in 2003.

Aswat and Kassir traveled to the high desert area of Oregon in 1999 to check out property Ujaama identified as suitable for a training camp because it was on terrain comparable to Afghanistan's and could be used to store guns, ammunition and bunkers, the indictment said.
Aswat was charged earlier this year.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Gay Cowboys Eating Pudding

From Variety:
Gay themes grab hold

This year's Globe noms highlight a year in which lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender characters played major roles in crossover titles.

"Brokeback Mountain," "Breakfast on Pluto," "Capote" and even "The Producers" put gay characters front and center.

"Transamerica" has a transgender lead, and Pierce Brosnan plays a bisexual man in "The Matador."
Plummeting 2005 box office sparks Hollywood crisis
Even a much-hyped giant gorilla, a geisha and a schoolboy magician won't be able to create a happy ending at the US box office, as Hollywood ends its most disappointing year in nearly two decades. Plunging movie ticket sales, after a string of uninspiring remakes and movie sequels coupled with an explosion of the DVD and video game markets, are keeping audiences at home and have sent Hollywood into a deep existential crisis.
Yeah, it's the DVDs killing ticket sales. Give us more gay cowboys eating pudding and we'll come back. Yeah, that's the ticket.

Group Holding Peace Activists Linked to Violent Terrorist 'Army'

The shadowy terrorist group holding four members of the Christian Peacemakers Teams hostage in Iraq has been confirmed to be linked to the violent "Islamic Army in Iraq" (IAI). Videotapes of the hostages were uploaded to a hidden directory on an IAI website, indicating that the "Swords of Righteousness Brigades" is closely connected to the IAI.

Dr. Rusty Shackleford of The Jawa Report was the first to speculate about the connection in a post on November 29. Today, an article by the director of the SITE Institute was printed in the Canadian paper the National Post. Shackleford was not mentioned, though he had forwarded information of the connection to SITE.

This post at The Jawa Report explains the links between the Swords of Righteousness Brigades and the Islamic Army in Iraq.

Aussie Taliban to Become Brit Citizen

An Australian captured while fighting with the Taliban in 2002 has apparently won a court battle to be declared a British citizen. David Hicks has been held at Guantanamo Bay since his capture, and hopes that the United Kingdom will be more aggressive in seeking his release than the Australian government has been.

From Sky News:
The 30-year-old, whose mother is British, has argued that the Australian government is not doing enough to secure the release of its citizens.

His lawyers will now press the Government to make arrangements for him to take the required citizenship oath and pledge.

They will then urge the Home Office to seek his release from the Cuban camp.
Allahu Akbar.

Israel: EU Violating International Law By Contacting Hamas, Hezbollah

A recently disclosed Israeli Foreign Ministry document states that the European Union is breaking international law by contacting the Islamist terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. Hamas is running candidates in the coming Palestinian elections.

From Haaretz:
"Several countries have adopted a policy that includes entering into official talks with representatives of Hamas and Hezbollah, or refraining from taking harsh measures against their involvement in terrorism," the document states. "From a legal standpoint, such political considerations cannot justify activity that is contrary to international law."

The writers of the document based their comments on resolutions passed by the United Nations Security Council, which outlaw active or passive support for bodies or individuals involved in terrorism.
The Israeli charge is apparently based on UN Resolution 1373 (2001), which states, in part:
The Council also decided that States should prohibit their nationals or persons or entities in their territories from making funds, financial assets, economic resources, financial or other related services available to persons who commit or attempt to commit, facilitate or participate in the commission of terrorist acts. States should also refrain from providing any form of support to entities or persons involved in terrorist acts; take the necessary steps to prevent the commission of terrorist acts; deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, commit terrorist acts and provide safe havens as well.
It would seem that Israel has the EU dead to rights. Let the weaseling begin.

Hamas candidates discuss their platform at a press conference

Monday, December 12, 2005

French Arrest 20 Members of 'Islamic Network'

France's domestic counterterrorism agency, Direction de la surveillance du territoire (DST), arrested twenty people in pre-dawn raids around Paris today believed to be part of " Islamist network linked to terrorism".

From the BBC:
Some of the suspects are believed to have been involved in crimes to help fund Islamic groups.

The raids on homes and internet cafes were ordered by French anti-terrorism magistrates.

Most of those detained were young men of Tunisian and Moroccan origin, some holding French nationality, officials told AFP.
French politicians have not yet agreed on a new anti-terror bill that would allow terrorist suspects to be held up to six days, instead of four. We'll have to check back in four days to see if the French government is busy negotiating terms of surrender with the Islamists.

Hasta la Vista, Tookie

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger has refused to commute the death sentence of Stanley "Tookie" Williams, founder of the "Crips" and convicted of 4 murders over a quarter of a century ago. Williams became the cause célèbre of the usual Hollywood idiots, who lobbied for clemency.

JSchwarzenegger said he was unconvinced that Williams had had a change of heart, and he was unswayed by pleas from Hollywood stars and capital punishment foes who said the inmate had made amends by writing children’s books about the dangers of gangs.

“Is Williams’ redemption complete and sincere, or is it just a hollow promise?” Schwarzenegger wrote less than 12 hours before the execution. “Without an apology and atonement for these senseless and brutal killings, there can be no redemption.”
Some of Williams' supporters have threatened violence if he is executed. Tookie is scheduled to get the needle at 12:01AM Tuesday.

Talabani Doesn't Believe German Hostage Will Be Killed

Perhaps a case of whistling past the graveyard, but Iraqi President Jalal Talabani thinks that German hostage Susanne Osthoff will not be killed. Osthoff is an archaeologist abducted nearly two weeks ago. From United Press International:
"There is no reason or motive for terrorists to kill a German citizen," he said in a television interview Sunday night. "Germany did not have any troops here and did not take part in the war."

"We have tried our best to find out where she is and which group is behind the kidnapping," he told German public TV station ARD, adding that he deemed it helpful for German politicians to continue to speak publicly about the kidnapping.
Unfortunately, terrorists do a lot of things without rational reason or motive, but we can only hope that Talabani is right on this.

Osthoff's kidnapping has been overshadowed in the news by the abductions of the four Christian Peacemaker Teams members.

ABC/Time Poll: Iraqis Optimistic

Hard on the heels of their Afghan poll, which contradicted much of the mainstream media's conventional wisdom, ABC is now reporting the results of a similar poll in Iraq. The poll shows what ABC characterizes as "surprising levels of optimism":
An ABC News poll in Iraq, conducted with Time magazine and other media partners, includes some remarkable results: Despite the daily violence there, most living conditions are rated positively, seven in 10 Iraqis say their own lives are going well, and nearly two-thirds expect things to improve in the year ahead.

Surprisingly, given the insurgents' attacks on Iraqi civilians, more than six in 10 Iraqis feel very safe in their own neighborhoods, up sharply from just 40 percent in a poll in June 2004. And 61 percent say local security is good — up from 49 percent in the first ABC News poll in Iraq in February 2004.
Here's a little nugget that should give the MSM pause, but probably won't:
The number of Iraqis who say things are going well in their country overall is just 44 percent, far fewer than the 71 percent who say their own lives are going well. Fifty-two percent instead say the country is doing badly.
What explains this anomaly? Relentlessly pessimistic news reporting. The same thing happens in the US. For example, by objective measures, the US economy is doing well, but, with a Republican in the White House and mid-term elections coming up, mainstream media journalists are striving to emphasize the negatives. Thus many people are optimisitc about their own circumstances, but convinced that the economy is tanking.

Thanks to OpiniPundit, via The Jawa Report.

CBS Anchor Mike Wallace To Be Subject of Competency Hearing

Chris Wallace, the son of CBS newsman Mike Wallace and a Fox News anchor, stated on a radio on Friday that his father has "lost it" and the family intends to have a competency hearing. The younger Wallace's comments came after being questioned about his father saying that the country was "[expletive]-up" for electing President George Bush.

From Newsmax:
"He's lost it. The man has lost it. What can I say," the younger Wallace lamented to WRKO Boston radio host Howie Carr on Friday.

"He's 87-years old and things have set in," the Fox anchor continued. "I mean, we're going to have a competence hearing pretty soon."

Wallace Jr. quickly dispelled any notion that he was joking. When Carr suggested that his comments were likely to be covered by NewsMax, he responded: "You know what? Fine. Go ahead. Call them. That's fine. I'll stand by that."
Chris Wallace also had this to say about Howard Dean's statement that the US would lose the war in Iraq:
"We are in a war. We do have 150,000-plus American soldiers over there. I mean, it's Tokyo Rose, for God sakes, going on radio saying we can't win the war."
Via The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Iranian Militants Abducted in Iraq

From a CENTCOM press release:
BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Two members of the People’s Mojahedin of Iran, Hossein Pouyan and Mohammad-Ali Zahedi from the City of Ashraf, were reported to authorities as abducted on Aug. 4 in eastern Baghdad while on a routine logistics trip. The residents of Camp Ashraf have been considered protected persons under the fourth Geneva Convention since June 2004.

Upon receiving reports of the abduction, Multi-National Force - Iraq requested that the Iraqi Police investigate the incident and is assisting in attempts to locate the missing individuals.

MNF-I requests that anyone in possession of information on the whereabouts of these two individuals to contact the Iraqi Police or MNF-I at the email address below.
The PMOI, also know as Mujahedin-e Khalq, is a little-known group, apparently welcomed into Iraq by the Saddam Hussein regime during its war with Iran. PMOI was designated as a "terrorist organization" by the US State Department in 1997, and the organization's UK-based media arm has been fighting to get the designation changed.

No reason has been given for the long delay in reporting the abductions.

Sunday Funny

Saturday, December 10, 2005

GOP Highlights Democrat Surrender Monkey Wing

The Republican National Committee has released a new video featuring cut-and-run soundbites from prominent Democrats. Excerpt:
HOWARD DEAN:"The idear that we're gonna win this war, is an idear that unfortunately, is just plain wrong."
Each new soundbite is preceded by a white flag waving across the screen. Undoubtedly, the featured Dems will claim to have been misquoted or taken out of context.

The undeniable message, which comes at the end of the video, is that our troops and our enemies are watching the antics of the surrender donkeys.

Via The Anti-Idiotarian Rottweiler.

Terrorists Kidnap 8 Year Old Son of Saddam Guard

These are the scum that Howard Dean and Jack Murtha want us to surrender to.

From the Associated Press:
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Saddam Hussein followed through on his threat to boycott his trial Wednesday, and gunmen kidnapped the 8-year-old son of a bodyguard for a judge.

The 8-year-old boy, Karim Salam, was grabbed Tuesday as he played in front of his parents' house in the eastern Baghdad neighborhood of Kamsarah, according to his father, Salam Hirmiz Gorgis.

"At about 5:30 p.m. a car came here," Gorgis told AP Television News. "They took my son, put him in the car and left,"

Gorgis works for one of the trial's five judges. The judge's identity cannot be revealed because of special security measures. Two attorneys representing co-defendants have been assassinated since the trial began Oct. 19.
Elsewhere in the story, the writer notes:
One of Saddam's seven co-defendants lashed out at conditions of his own detention, saying guards offered only "the worst brands" of cigarettes.
Via The Jawa Report and Vince Aut Morire.

Friday, December 09, 2005

You say Nuance, I Say Nuisance

The American Forces Press Service reports that Iraqi officials are suggesting changes in how certain groups are labelled in official reports and press releases. Despite the facetious title of this post (I just love whimsical wordplay, especially filthy limericks), what they say makes sense. For instance, "Saddamists" is now preferred over "Sunni insurgents". Why? Because there are a lot of Sunni moderates and using "Sunni" as a modifier demeans the entire group.

Then there are the Baathists:
Coalition officials also said many Iraqis want to change the perception that all Baath Party members are evil people. Saddam Hussein, of course, ruled through the Baath Party. Iraqi officials maintain that millions of their countrymen and women joined the party simply to get or keep a job.

Coalition officials now are using the term "Saddamists" to refer to die-hard Baathists who want a return to the bad old days of Saddam's rule, officials said.
This blog uses the term, "terrorist insurgents". There have been honorable insurgencies in history (the French Resistance comes to mind) but the terrorist insurgency murdering folks in Iraq has proved to my satisfaction that none of its members have any concept of honor, or decency either, for that matter.

AQ in Iraq Terrorist "the Butcher" Turned in by Ramadi Citizens

From a CENTCOM press release:
CAMP BLUE DIAMOND, Iraq —The number three terrorist on the 2nd Brigade Combat Team (28th Infantry Division) High Value Individual list was detained Dec. 9 in the provincial capital of ar Ramadi.

Amir Khalaf Fanus, an al-Qaeda in Iraq terrorist in the Ramadi area, was wanted for criminal activities including murder and kidnapping. Today, local Iraqi citizens brought him to an Iraqi and U.S. Forces military base in Ramadi.

Fanus, also known in Ramadi by his Iraqi moniker, “the Butcher,” was well-known for his crimes against the local populace. He is the highest ranking al Qaeda in Iraq member to be turned into Iraqi and U.S. officials by local citizens.
Great news for Iraq, and an excellent POS to have in custody before the December 15 elections.

Also noting the Butcher's capture, Dr. Rusty Shackleford at The Jawa Report.

WSJ: Press Shot Itself in the Foot Over Valerie Plame

In their mad, drooling dash to pin something, anything on their ideological enemies in the White House, the mainstream media have encouraged precedents that will affect journalism for years to come. That's the opinion of Daniel Henninger, writing in the WSJ Opinion Journal, and his argument is hard to counter:
It is bitterly ironic that this most apolitical of prosecutors has come to Washington and is sucking into his legalistic maw one journalist after another, while the press privilege to protect sources is put at risk. Yet the legal raccoon hunt continues. The impression remains that if the Beltway press could tree Karl Rove or Dick Cheney for an IIPA violation, the sacrifice of their colleagues and any potential damage done to newsgathering would be regarded as well worth it. The relish with which the pack descended to chew on Bob Woodward for not joining them is proof enough of that.
This is a good read. Henninger really points out the short-sighted political agenda that lead mainstream media to hype the Plame case.

Unsaid is that there's not really any reliable way to distinguish a leaker from a whistleblower. Sometimes whistleblowers are a good thing. Thanks to the scorched earth policy of today's "journalists", tomorrow's whistleblowers have something else to consider before pursing their lips. A subpoena from a special prosecutor.

And 90% of Them Hate Osama's Guts

Somewhere, an ABC News executive is weeping quietly. UN flags at mainstream media headquarters are flying at half-staff, and an Apple falls in the Gray Lady's orchard (profit yes, prophet no). There is no joy in Leftville, for the numbers don't pan out.

And now, a few results from the recent ABC News poll taken in Afghanistan:
77 percent of Afghans say their country is headed in the right direction — compared with 30 percent in the vastly better-off United States. Ninety-one percent prefer the current Afghan government to the Taliban regime, and 87 percent call the U.S.-led overthrow of the Taliban good for their country. Osama bin Laden, for his part, is as unpopular as the Taliban; nine in 10 view him unfavorably.

Eighty-three percent of Afghans express a favorable opinion of the United States

Eighty-three percent of Afghans express a favorable opinion of the United States overall, similar to the 87 percent who call the U.S.-led overthrow of the Taliban a good thing.

nine in 10 view him [Osama] unfavorably

85 percent of Afghans say living conditions there are better now than they were under the Taliban. Eighty percent cite improved freedom to express political views. And 75 percent say their security from crime and violence has improved as well. After decades of oppression and war, many Afghans see a better life.

Nine in 10 Afghans support girls' education and women voting, three-quarters support women holding jobs and two-thirds support women holding government office — remarkable in a country where the Taliban so thoroughly repressed such rights.

Eighty-three percent rate their overall living conditions positively, and ratings are nearly as high both for local schools and the availability of food. Just more than seven in 10 likewise say their security from crime and violence is good.

The fall of the Taliban happened while the Left was still in disarray; the anti-war chorus never tuned up and got into full throat, as they have in Iraq.

Also posted at The Jawa Report.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

Every once in a while a liberal passes on a falsehood so egregious and obnoxious that it simply requires a response:
Much of the American population is too young to remember how it was that the combat phase of the Vietnam War dragged on from 1965 until 1975, with virtually no progress, culminating in clear American defeat.
Glenn Greenwald then goes on to make a particularly longwinded comparison of Iraq to Vietnam that reminded me of that old song about the Kennedy and Lincoln assassinations ("...both 'Kennedy' and 'Lincoln' have seven letters...").

Well Glenn, from one of those who actually is old enough to remember, there was a little process called "Vietnamization", that culminated in 1972, by which time virtually all US troops had been withdrawn, (not 1975) and was successful (there was also a major American victory called the "Tet Offensive", but that's another story). Successful, that is, until Congress voted to withdraw all funds from the South Vietnamese government. ARVN forces were down to three rounds per soldier and were washing soiled bandages for re-use when the communists in the North launched a Soviet-backed invasion using more armor than the Wehrmacht had had at their command.

A "clear American defeat", yes, but it was suffered in the halls of Congress, not on the battlefield. Glenn and his fellow defeatists would hand the Islamist terrorists an identical victory. This time, though, the victors will pursue their advantage on American soil.

Update: Glenn has fired back, first wailing piteously about being called a "liberal" (if it walks and talks like a duck), then claiming that we fought the "North Koreans" in Vietnam. I take that as a rather clear sign that my knowledge of history is superior to Glenn's.

To help young Glenn further his education, I recommend the book, The Myth of a Liberation, by Truong Nhu Tang, former Justice Minister of the Viet Cong provisional government. If he reads with an open mind, many of his liberal paradigms will be shaken.

Terrorists Say Hostage Ronald Schulz Murdered

The terrorist group Islamic Army in Iraq claimed to have murdered American hostage Ronald Schulz. From MSNBC:
BAGHDAD, Iraq - An Iraqi insurgent group said Thursday in an Internet posting that it killed a U.S. security consultant it had taken hostage. The claim’s authenticity could not be immediately verified.

The Islamic Army in Iraq said it had killed “the American security consultant for the Housing Ministry,” after the United States failed to respond to its demand of the release of Iraqi prisoners.
Perhaps if Ronald Schulz were a journalist, MSNBC might have brought themselves to call his alleged kidnappers and murderers what they are - terrorists.

Update: Dr. Rusty Shackleford at The Jawa Report has more background information on Ronald Schulz.

The Mistakes of Able Danger Live On

Answers to some of the troubling questions about the Able Danger data-mining project can be found in this National Journal article posted at In interviewing Erik Kleinsmith, the officer who destroyed the Able Danger electronic data, Shane Harris has managed to resurrect quite a bit of the short history of the Information Dominance Center, of which Able Danger was a part, and offers this explanation as to why the massive stores of data and analysis were destroyed:
In early 2000, in the midst of Able Danger, a lawyer with the Army's general counsel visited Kleinsmith. As Kleinsmith testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in September, the lawyer reminded him that under Army regulations, any data the IDC collected on U.S. persons -- even inadvertently -- had to be destroyed within 90 days. If analysts could establish a legitimate reason to investigate a person further, they could keep the corresponding data.

But with potentially tens of thousands of names, checking each one would have been impossible, Kleinsmith said. In the Pentagon briefing, Gandy concurred: "I don't think they had the capability to scrub it in the fashion that the oversight rules could live with."
So two and a half terabytes of data were sent to oblivion. This is not to say that the work of Able Danger would have prevented the 9/11 outrage. Other factors drew attention away from whatever schemes al Qaeda had for attacks on US soil.
After the Cole bombing [October 12, 2000], the IDC concentrated on projects not related to Al Qaeda. "We went on to do some other things, other projects," the former IDC employee said. Less than a year later, the 9/11 attackers struck. Looking back, Kleinsmith doesn't claim that he saw the attacks coming. Rather, he felt resigned. "I wasn't surprised," he said. He had studied Al Qaeda's evolution and believed he knew its capabilities. "I thought, 'So it begins.'
A number of "what ifs?" come to mind here - what if more resources had been available, what if walls had not been constructed between military intelligence projects and civilian counter-terrorist agencies, what if politicians had not been so eager to spend the "peace dividend" that the Cole could have been met at sea by an oiler - instead of entering a hostile port to refuel? All twenty-twenty hindsight, to be sure, and all the "what ifs" are ultimately forgiveable if analysis of them helps us be more effective in the future.

But it seems that lessons may not have been learned.
Today, Kleinsmith is still struggling with the same puzzles. And, to hear him tell it, apart from the advancements in technology, little has changed. So much is still unknown, and undone, about the terrorist threat to the United States, he said. He can simply watch television to know that law enforcement isn't rounding up the terrorist cells he believes his team identified in the United States five years ago.

Ultimately, Kleinsmith sounds less like a man burdened by his past than one nervous about the future. No one seems to be acting on the information the IDC found that terrorists had taken up residence in the United States, far from New York, he said. And, as if they were listening, waiting for him to tip his hand, Kleinsmith cautiously added, "I'd just prefer not to say where they are."
And the much ballyhooed 9/11 Commission didn't mention a word about "Able Danger". I think that deserves an "F" for the Commissioners.

Via Captain's Quarters.

Also posted at The Jawa Report.