Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 01, 2014, 11:59:05 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
82695 Posts in 2251 Topics by 1062 Members
Latest Member: seawolfpack5
* Home Help Search Login Register
  Show Posts
Pages: 1 ... 521 522 [523] 524 525 ... 626
26101  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 07, 2007, 07:45:21 PM
Pakistan's nuclear history worries insiders
'Nuclear coup' in 1990 and bin Laden meeting offer two chilling precedents
ANALYSIS
By Robert Windrem
Senior investigative producer
NBC News

updated 5:04 p.m. PT, Tues., Nov. 6, 2007
It is the most disturbing element in the mix that makes Pakistan the most dangerous country in the world: its stockpile of at least 30 and perhaps as many as 45 nuclear weapons. And it is always the element that captures the most attention from US intelligence officials.

The United States has essentially let Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal grow over the past three decades, as succeeding governments in Islamabad have supported US policies in neighboring Afghanistan, first in thwarting the Soviet occupation and then in driving out the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

Still, the fear is that in the chaos that regularly afflicts Pakistan, al-Qaeda or other jihadis will somehow gain control of one of the weapons, some of the highly enriched uranium that forms the core of a bomb or the technology to make a bomb -- or even gain control of the government.

“It’s always been easier to steal a government in Pakistan than to steal a bomb,” said one former senior US intelligence official.

It is not an abstract concern, one driven by war game scenarios. There have been two incidents in the past 20 years that call into question who controls the weapons, controls the technology.

Indeed, the incidents offer chilling precedents to what could happen now in a chaotic Pakistan. One is what Benazir Bhutto called a “nuclear coup” in 1990, while the other is knowledge from intelligence that al-Qaeda’s top leaders, including Osama bin Laden, met with Pakistani nuclear scientists in Afghanistan just before September 11 and offered the terrorist group advice on how to build a crude nuclear device.

For better or worse, the US is confident that it knows where the Pakistani nuclear arsenal is located and that it is secure. And in 2003, the US secretly provided technology and training to Pakistani nuclear scientists so they could develop “permissive action links”—codes that prohibit unauthorized detonation. Prior to US intervention in this area, none of the Pakistani warheads were protected, say US and Pakistani officials.

Moreover, military and intelligence officials have told NBC News that should the need arise, the US is prepared to take out—or simply take—the weapons from Pakistani control. As Condoleezza Rice said at her confirmation hearings in January 2005, “We have noted this problem, and we are prepared to try to deal with it. I would prefer not in open session to talk about this particular issue.”

“There wasn’t much concern about physical security, but a high degree of angst that the government would fall into the hands of bad guys and they would be in charge,” said the former official, who added that there were “some in the nuclear program who are sympathetic to the radicals”.

As laid out in “Critical Mass: The Dangerous Race for Superweapons in a Fragmenting World," a 1994 book by Robert Windrem and William E. Burrows, the first incident unraveled in the summer of 1990 when India and Pakistan were in one of their seemingly innumerable crises. For the first time, the US had detected that Pakistan had actually put together a nuclear weapon without the knowledge of the country’s prime minister, Benazir Bhutto. And not long after Bhutto learned what her military had done, she was deposed by the same men who had kept the weaponization secret from her.

The CIA had determined that in May 1990 Pakistani scientists had succeeded in converting highly enriched uranium from a gas into a heavy metal. The uranium had undergone successive changes, going from gas to pellets to the mold and machined spheres—perfect spheres—that constituted the cores of atomic bombs. The CIA knew that the cores were then stored near the other components needed to make a complete weapon so the Pakistani bomb could be assembled in as little as three hours at Dalbandin, an airbase in the Baluchistan desert well out of reach of Indian jets. There was enough metal to make between six and eight nuclear weapons, each with the explosive capability equivalent to the bombs that devastated Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The United States later learned the final number of cores was seven. Two cores had been machined in May, and five more were turned out by the end of July. The first two used about 40 pounds of uranium while the last used about 26 pounds each. Like most other things, a learning curve improves efficiency.

The Pakistanis had not only “crossed the line” as the saying went in Washington’s nuclear precincts. They had actually prepared bombs for delivery. More importantly, in relation to the current crisis, the whole scenario had been carried out without Bhutto even knowing what had happened.

“I think it is criminal that the Prime Minister, who is ultimately responsible in the eyes of the people and in the eyes of history, should not be taken into confidence on such a major issue.” She told NBC two years later. “I did not know.”

Bhutto in fact had not just been Prime Minister. She was Defense Minister and Atomic Energy Minister as well.

The decision had been taken by the Army chief of staff, Mirza Aslam Beg, and the country’s president, Ghulam Ishaq Khan. The presidency then, unlike now, was more of a ceremonial post. Both had been proponents of the Pakistani bomb program, which ironically had been started by Bhutto’s father when he had been prime minister. Khan in fact had run the program.

Bhutto also found out in a most unorthodox way. In late June, two long time American friends of hers had come to Islamabad to tell her what happened. Peter Galbraith, then the south Asia specialist on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Mark Siegel, her Washington lobbyist, took her to a garden outside her offices in the Pakistani capital to inform her.

The news Galbraith and Siegel had delivered took Bhutto by surprise, but she knew the consequences. The United States now had the proof it needed to cut off aid to Pakistan under a law called the Pressler Amendment, and ultimately the US did just that.

A few weeks later, the US ambassador delievered the news to her. Robert Oakley informed her that US law required a cutoff in aid to Pakistan if it possessed a “nuclear explosive device” and demanded that Pakistan reverse the process.

Around the same time, US officials flew to Islamabad while Bhutto was on a state visit to the Gulf States to warn Ishaq Khan and Beg there was no way Pakistan could win a war with India and that continued nuclear brinksmanship would risk a catastrophe.

Bhutto, unaware of the US meeting, contacted Ishaq Khan to relay Oakley’s warning and three times called for a meeting of the top-secret committee that ran the nuclear weapons program. Each time Ishaq Khan said he would get back to her. She also asked Beg for an explanation as well and he promised one would be forthcoming.

Neither happened, but on Aug. 6, less than three months after Pakistan had begun the process of building a bomb, Bhutto was deposed. With the world’s attention then focused on Saddam Hussein’s four-day old occupation of Kuwait, Ishaq Khan went on Pakistani television to denounce Bhutto’s government as corrupt and incompetent.

“I have no proof of this,” Bhutto later told NBC News, “but I feel that someone may have turned on the switch in the spring of 1990 to justify the dismissal of my government.” She called it a “nuclear coup.”

More troubling was what former CIA Director George J. Tenet wrote about in his memoir, “At the Center of the Storm” about al-Qaeda’s attempt to obtain nuclear know-how from Pakistani scientists.

In August 2001, just weeks before the 9/11 attacks, two officials of an ostensible Pakistani charity, both senior scientists in the country’s nuclear weapons program, met with Osama bin Ladin and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri, in Afghanistan.

“There, around a campfire, they discussed how al-Qa’ida should go about building a nuclear device,” wrote Tenet.

The scientists were not ordinary scientists. Sultan Bashirrudan Mahmood, was the former director for nuclear power at Pakistan’s Atomic Energy Commission. Chaudiri Andul Majeed, a prominent nuclear engineer, had retired from the Pakistani Institute of Nuclear Science and Technology in 2000. Both institutes were part of the nuclear weapons establishment. Their charity, UTN, also included retired Pakistani nuclear scientists, military officers, engineers, and technicians.

The United States had already learned from Libyan intelligence that UTN scientists had approached Moammar Khaddafi’s government with an offer they thought the Libyans couldn’t refuse: “They tried to sell us a nuclear weapon,” Tenet quoted Musa Kusa, the head of Libyan intelligence, as saying. “Of course, we turned them down.” The CIA was able to confirm through other sources that indeed the offer had been made, according to Tenet.

“CIA passed our information on UTN to our Pakistani colleagues, who quickly hauled in seven board members for questioning,” Tenet wrote, adding with some exasperation, “The investigation was ill-fated from the get-go. The UTN officials all denied wrongdoing and were not properly isolated and questioned.

“In fact, they were allowed to return home after questioning each day. Pakistani intelligence interrogators treated the UTN officials deferentially, with respect befitting their status in Pakistani society. They were seen as men of science, men who had made significant contributions to Pakistan. Our officers read the question etched in the faces of their Pakistani liaison contacts: Surely, such men cannot be terrorists?”

Ultimately, after more intelligence came in, President Bush dispatched Tenet to Islamabad in November 2001 with a file of accusations and a less than subtle threat.

“After a few pleasantries, I explained to President Musharraf that I had been dispatched by the U.S. president to deliver some very serious information to him. I launched into a description of the campfire meeting between Usama bin Ladin, al-Zawahiri, and the UTN leaders. ‘Mr. President,' I said, ‘you cannot imagine the outrage there would be in my country if it were learned that Pakistan is coddling scientists who are helping Bin Ladin acquire a nuclear weapon. Should such a device ever be used, the full fury of the American people would be focused on whoever helped al-Qa’ida in its cause.'”

Musharraf was incredulous.

“But Mr. Tenet, we are talking about men hiding in caves,” Tenet quotes Musharraf as saying. “Perhaps they have dreams of owning such weapons, but my experts assure me that obtaining one is well beyond their reach. We know in Pakistan what is involved in such an achievement.”

“Mr. President, your experts are wrong,” Tenet said he responded.. “I told him that the current state of play between weapon design and construction and the availability of the needed materials made it possible for a few men hidden in a remote location—if they had enough persistence and money, and black enough hearts—to obtain and use a nuclear device.”

A second round of interrogations followed and the full story finally emerged. As Tenet recounts it, there was little doubt that bin Laden and Zawahiri saw Pakistan’s nuclear fraternity as its most likely source of help. Moreover, there was even less doubt of bin Laden’s interest in nuclear weapons.

“Mahmood confirmed all we had heard about the August 2001 meeting with Usama bin Ladin, and even provided a hand-drawn rough bomb design that he had shared with al-Qa’ida leaders. He told his interrogators that he had discussed the practicalities of building a weapon. ‘The most difficult part of the process,’ he told Bin Ladin, ‘is obtaining the necessary fissile material.’ ‘What if we already have the material?’ Bin Ladin replied. This surprised Mahmood. He said he did not know if this was a hypothetical question or if Bin Ladin was seeking a design to use with fissile material or components he had already obtained elsewhere.”

An unidentified senior al-Qaeda leader also present at the campfire displayed a canister for the visitors that may or may not have contained some kind of nuclear material or radioactive source. He also shared his ideas of building a simple firing system for a weapon using commercially available supplies, according to the interrogation quoted by Tenet.

Tenet says in spite of extensive efforts to learn whether bin Laden actually had HEU, the US intelligence and law enforcement community had no luck. Luck in fact may be what is needed more than anything else in dealing with Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

© 2007 MSNBC Interactive
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21660667/
26102  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: November 07, 2007, 05:40:20 PM
Cops Say the Darndest Things!


#16 "You know, stop lights don't come any redder that the one you just went through."


#15 "Relax, the handcuffs are tight because they're new. They'll stretch after you wear them a while."


#14 "If you take your hands off the car, I'll make your birth certificate a worthless document."


#13 "If you run, you'll only go to jail tired."


#12 "Can you run faster than 1200 feet per second? Because that's the speed of the bullet that'll be chasing you."


#11 "You don't know how fast you were going? I guess that means I can write anything I want to on the ticket, huh?"


#10 "Yes, sir, you can talk to the shift supervisor, but I don't think it will help. Oh, did I mention that I'm the shift supe! rvisor?"


#9 "Warning! You want a warning? O.K., I'm warning you not to do that again or I'll give you another ticket."


#8 "The answer to this last question will determine whether you are drunk or not. Was Mickey Mouse a cat or a dog?"


#7 "Fair? You want me to be fair? Listen, fair is a place where you go to ride on rides, eat cotton candy and corn dogs and step in monkey poop."


#6 "Yeah, we have a quota. Two more tickets and my wife gets a toaster oven."


#5 "In God we trust, all others we run through NCIC."


#4 "How big were those 'Just two beers' you say you had?"


#3 "No sir, we don't have quotas anymore. We used to, but now we're allowed to write as many tickets as we can."


#2 "I'm glad to hear that Chief (of Police) Hawker is a personal friend of yours. So you know someone who can post your bail."


#1 "You didn't think we give pretty women tickets? You're right, we don't. Sign here!
26103  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wanted to teach Al Qaeda on: November 07, 2007, 03:18:21 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Musician in Terror Case Gets 15 Years

November 7, 2007 - 3:15pm

By LARRY NEUMEISTER
Associated Press Writer


NEW YORK (AP) - A New York jazz musician who pledged to teach martial arts to al-Qaida members was sentenced to 15 years in prison Wednesday by a judge who said it didn't matter that no one from the terrorist group was actually involved in the case.

Tarik Shah, a martial arts expert, pleaded guilty in the spring to conspiracy to provide material support to al-Qaida. He was the third of four defendants to be sentenced for his role in a conspiracy to aid terrorist groups abroad.

Shah's lawyers had said he should get leniency because the plot originated when a government informant enlisted him to help al-Qaida, taking him away from an otherwise law-abiding life.

U.S. District Judge Loretta A. Preska, however, gave him the maximum sentence, noting that Shah was recorded embracing a chance to teach martial arts to al-Qaida operatives, and even boasting that he knew how to fashion prayer beads into a strangulation tool.

Before he was sentenced, Shah, 44, asked the judge for mercy.
"I guarantee you will never see me again, judge, unless it's on the television playing (music) with someone," said Shah, who plays bass.
Tapes played at the trial of a co-defendant, Dr. Rafiq Abdus Sabir, showed that Shah met with an undercover FBI agent he thought was an al-Qaida recruiter in May 2005.

During the meeting, he pledged allegiance to Osama bin Laden and al-Qaida and agreed to provide martial arts expertise to al-Qaida fighters, according to the tape.

Prosecutors also said Shah met multiple times from 2003 through May 2005 with a confidential source and an FBI undercover agent, expressing the desire to help al-Qaida by recruiting others.

Sabir, of Boca Raton, Fla., is to be sentenced next week. He was convicted in May of providing material support to terrorists by agreeing to treat injured al-Qaida fighters so they could return to Iraq to fight Americans.

Previously in the case, a Brooklyn bookstore owner who pleaded guilty to money laundering and lying to federal agents was sentenced to 13 years in prison, and a Washington, D.C., cab driver who pleaded guilty to conspiring to help a terrorist organization was sentenced to 15 years.

(Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
26104  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: November 07, 2007, 12:30:30 PM
A long and thoughtful piece from Col. Ralph Peters
http://armedforcesjournal.com/2007/10/3026423
26105  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Hearts & Minds myth on: November 07, 2007, 11:32:45 AM

The hearts-and-minds myth
Sorry, but winning means killing
By Ralph Peters
Mastering the languages, cultural nuances, beliefs and taboos that prevail in a theater of war, area of operations or tactical environment is vital to military success. It's much easier to kill people you understand.
Beyond that, cultural insights ease routine operations and negotiations, the training of local forces and the development of intelligence. Environmental mastery helps us avoid making unnecessary enemies. But that is where the advantages end in conflicts of blood and faith: No amount of cultural sensitivity inculcated in U.S. troops will persuade fanatic believers to discard their religion, nor can any amount of American empathy change a foreign thug's ethnic identity.

Frustrated with the difficulties facing us in Iraq after being denied both adequate troop strength and the authority to impose the rule of law in the initial days of our occupation, U.S. military commanders responded with a variety of improvisations, from skillful "kinetic ops" to patient dialogue. Nothing achieved enduring results — because we never had the resources or the fortitude to follow any effort through to the end, and our enemies had no incentive to quit, surrender or cooperate. We pacified cities with force but lacked the forces to keep them pacified. We rebuilt schools, but our enemies taught us how easy it was to kill teachers. Accepting that it was politically impossible on the home front, we never conducted the essential first step in fighting terrorists and insurgents: We failed to forge a long-term plan based on a long-term commitment. Instead, we sought to dissuade fanatics and undo ancient rivalries with stopgap measures, intermittent drizzles of money and rules of engagement tailored to suit the media, not military necessity.
 

It is astonishing that our efforts have gone as well as they have.
Yet no honest soldier or Marine would argue that we could not have done better — and should have done better. Setting aside, for now, the inept leadership from the Rumsfeld Pentagon and the fateful, if not fatal, lack of adequate troop strength, we're left with one crippling deficiency on the part of our leadership: The unwillingness to recognize the nature of the various conflicts underway simultaneously in Iraq.
With an obtuseness worthy of the left's caricatures of military officers, we drew the wrong lessons from the wrong historical examples, then did exactly the wrong things. Enmeshed in bitter conflicts over religion and ethnicity resurgent after decades of suppression, senior officers ignored myriad relevant historical examples and focused instead on the counterinsurgency campaigns with which they were comfortable — and that were as instructive as dismantling a toaster to learn how to fix a computer.

Reality's delete key
Officers looked to operations in Malaya, Vietnam, Northern Ireland and, occasionally, Algeria for positive and negative examples. Yet not one of those political struggles is relevant to the situation in Iraq (or Afghanistan). As for the pertinent examples of insurgencies rooted in religious or ethnic fanaticism, such as the Moro Insurrection, Bloody Kansas, the Sepoy Mutiny, the Mahdist Wars, the various European Anabaptist risings, the Thirty Years' War, the Armenian Genocide, Nagorno-Karabagh, the destruction of Yugoslavia, Rwanda, Kashmir, the Pueblo Revolt, the Ghost-Dance Rebellion, 1,300 years of uninterrupted warfare between the Islamic and Judeo-Christian civilizations, and several thousand other examples dating back to the savagery chronicled in the Old Testament; well, the lessons they suggest are, to say the least, politically incorrect. So we hit the delete key on reality.
Our civilian and uniformed leaders have engaged in comforting fantasies about the multilayered conflicts we're in, while speaking in numbing platitudes. Now we're back to "winning hearts and minds."
We can't do it. Not in the Islamic world. Arabs — Sunni or Shiite, in Iraq and elsewhere — are so battered psychologically that many need to blame the West, Israel, unbelievers, Shiites, Sunnis, Kurds and the ice-cream man for their failures. Any chance we had of winning the minds, if not the hearts, of the biddable minority in Iraq was thrown away when we failed to enforce the rule of law the moment Baghdad fell. Proclamations of American generosity fall short when you cannot walk your neighborhood streets without fear.

Even with the limited forces we had on hand three-and-a-half years ago, we could have done more. But the Bush administration and our military leaders had fallen into the politically correct trap that spares the murderer at the expense of his victims. We weren't ready to kill enough of the right people. As a result, our enemies have been able to spend more than three years killing the people we meant to liberate. Our reluctance to kill evil men proved murderous to innocent men, women and children, and our unwillingness to do what needed to be done leaves us at least partly responsible for the thousands of Iraqis killed and maimed by acts of terrorism — as well as for our own unnecessary losses.
The law of war is immutable: Those unwilling to pay the butcher's bill up front will pay it with compound interest in the end.
Mush, not rigor

The new counterinsurgency doctrine the Army and Marines are developing gets the language right initially, noting that no two insurgencies are identical and that each must be understood on its own terms. Then it veers into nonsense, typified by the insupportable claim that a defection is always better than a surrender, a surrender is always better than a capture and a capture is always better than a kill. That's intellectual mush. And it's just plain wrong.
It's Malaya again, with doughty Brits hacking through the jungle to pip-pip-wot-ho those wily communists. It's Kit Carson Scouts in Vietnam and faithful Montagnards. It's the PX at Tan Son Nhut air base (oops, almost wrote "Balad"). It's the nonveteran John Wayne starring in "The Green Berets" and proving beyond any doubt that all good Vietnamese instinctively loved Americans and dreamed of drinking Cokes in suburban freedom. It's Mel Gibson reprising Pickett's Charge in the Ia Drang valley — and winning this time!

The well-intentioned drafters of our counterinsurgency doctrine are mining what they've recently read without serious analysis. Do they really believe that a Sunni Arab insurgent in Kirkuk is going to see the light and declare that, from now on, he's a Kurd? Or that a Shiite militiaman in the Mahdi Army is going to wake up and decide, "Twelfth Imam, Shmim-mam! I'm going to become a Sunni and move to Ramadi!"? Does anyone outside the nuthouse political left really believe that friendly persuasion will disarm al-Qaida in Iraq? Isn't a crucial lesson of Guantanamo that irredeemable prisoners are a strategic liability?
Our doctrine writers are in danger of producing a tome on procreation that doesn't mention sex.
We are in the middle of a multilayered, multisided struggle for supremacy between intolerant religious factions and age-old ethnic rivals. And we pretend that it's just another political struggle amenable to a political solution — because it's more pleasant to think so, because we believe we know what to do in such circumstances, because facing reality would force us to drastically change the way we behave in combat, and because acknowledging the truth about the situation in Iraq would demand that we question every goofball cliché about the human preference for peace that we've bought into for the past half-century.
Yet, unless we accept the truth about the kind of wars we're in — and inevitably will face in the future — we're going to continue to make a botch of things.

Blood ties, bloody gods
The political insurgencies of the last century were easy problems compared to this century's renewed struggles of blood and belief. In political insurgencies, some of the actors can, indeed, be converted. A capture may be better than a kill. Compromise may be possible. Dialogue is sometimes a useful tool, although even political insurgencies are best resolved from a position of indisputable military strength. Men who believe, often hazily, in an ideology occasionally can be converted — or bought. The political beliefs of the masses are fickle. Defeats discourage those with mundane goals. And a political struggle within a population otherwise united by its history can end in reconciliation even after horrible bloodshed — as in the American Civil War, the Risorgimento, the gruesome Mexican revolutions of 1910-20 and the civil wars in Vietnam, Greece and many another gore-drenched, relatively homogeneous states.
Violence arising from differences of religious confession, race or ethnicity is profoundly different — and far more difficult to quell. Generally, such struggles are brought to an end only through a great deal of killing. One side — or all — must be bled out. Whether cast as divinely sanctioned liberation struggles or simply about one bloodline getting its own back from another, these conflicts over God's will and ancestral wrongs are never amenable to reason. Self-righteous journalists love to claim that the first casualty of war is truth, but that's a self-serving lie; the first casualty of any form of violence is reason, that weakest and most disappointing of learned human skills.
__________________
Our exclusive focus on recent political insurgencies misleads us, because wars over tribe and God are humankind's oldest legacy, while the conflicts we choose to study all fall within a brief historical interval that stands as an aberration — the twilight decades of the Age of Ideology, which ran from 1775 to 1991, a blink in historical terms. Now we have reverted to the human norm of killing one another over interpretations of the divine will and ancient blood ties. We don't have to like it — and we won't — but we must recognize the reality confronting us. We have returned to the historical mainstream. The tribes want tribute. The gods want blood. And the killers are ready to help.

The road to Srebrenica was paved with pious platitudes, the path to 9/11 with wishful thinking. Presidents and generals may declare endlessly that we're not engaged in a religious war or that ethnic factions can be reconciled, but the first claim is a lie and the second relies for its fulfillment on intrusive military power and a strength of will greater than that of the factions in question. We are, indeed, engaged in religious wars — because our enemies have determined that these are religious wars. Our own refusal to understand them as such is just one more debilitating asymmetry. As for ethnic reconciliation, call me when Kosovo's Muslims and Serb Christians reintegrate their communities, form joint neighborhood-watch committees and vote for each other's political candidates (and check the ingredients of the casserole that Ivo's wife brought to the potluck, nonetheless).

Blood and budget deficits
If we want achievements commensurate with the risks we undergo and the costs we pay in blood and budget deficits, we must overcome our revulsion at the truth. Saying nice things about war to please the media or to placate noisome academics is useless, anyway, because they'll always oppose what the U.S. government does — even when, as with a dictator's overthrow and a war of liberation, our government implements the left's long-standing agenda. We must stop belching out chipper slogans and fleeing to simplistic models for answers. We have to start thinking beyond our moral comfort zones. When generals lack intellectual integrity, privates die for nothing.
Above all, we must regain our perspective on what truly matters. We must get over our impossible dream of being loved as a nation, of winning hearts and minds in Iraq or elsewhere. If we can make ourselves liked through our successes, that's well and good. But the essential requirements for the security of the U.S. are that our nation is respected and our military is feared. Our lack of resolve and mental rigor has brought us close to sacrificing both of these advantages. And a nation that is not respected encourages foreign chicanery, while a military that is not feared invites attack.

The Marine Corps entered Iraq with a motto that captured the essence of what our efforts should have involved: "No better friend, no worse enemy." That restatement of the carrot-and-stick approach to military operations expressed in simple terms how to fight just about any kind of enemy — including insurgents and terrorists. The problem is that no American leader, in uniform or in a $3,000 suit, lived up to the maxim consistently. Instead, we applied it in fits and starts as we tried to make friends with our enemies. In the clinch, we defaulted to the carrot.
Consider how many potential turning points we missed: We failed to enforce the rule of law while all Iraq was terrified of us and anxious for clear orders. We failed to occupy the predictable trouble spots early on and in force. We failed to display sufficient imagination and courage to break up the artificial country we inherited from Saddam Hussein and a pack of Europeans at Versailles. With our typical dread of short-term costs, we passed up repeated and justified chances to kill Muqtada al-Sadr, inflating his image in the process — and paying a far higher price in the long term than we would have paid had we acted resolutely and promptly. We needed Henry V and got Hamlet. Our leaders fled from victory in the First Battle of Fallujah. Now an administration with a flagging will is determined to withdraw our troops prematurely — Mission Accomplished, Act II. And all the while our soldiers and Marines have paid the price — while re-enlisting to pay it again and again.
Our men and women in uniform deserve better. They're dying not only of roadside bombs but of phony morality imposed by those who face no risks themselves. Spare a terrorist, kill a soldier. Spare a terrorist leader, kill our soldiers by the hundreds.

We want to treat a country torn by rival visions of a punitive god and drenched in ethnic bloodshed as if it needs only a bit of political tinkering. We're not looking for exit strategies, just exit excuses.
The longer we wait to study and learn from the relevant conflicts of the past, the more American blood we'll squander. We have to be tough on ourselves, forcing each other to think beyond the deadly platitudes of the campus, the campaign trail and the press briefing. Begin by listing the number of religion-fueled uprisings throughout history that were quenched by reason and compromise — call me collect if you find a single one. Then list the ethnic civil wars that were solved by sensible treaties without significant bloodshed. Next, start asking the really ugly questions, such as: Hasn't ethnic cleansing led to more durable conditions of peace than any more humane approach to settling power relations between bloodlines? Monstrous as it appears, might not the current neighborhood-by-neighborhood ethnic and confessional cleansing in Iraq make that country more, rather than less, likely to survive as a confederation? Shouldn't we be glad when fanatics kill fanatics? Are all successes in the war on terrorism merely provisional? Is this a struggle that unquestionably must be fought by us but that began long before our country existed and will continue for centuries to come? Is there a historical precedent for coping with violent religious fanatics that does not include bloodshed to the point of extermination?

Even beyond these military and strategic issues, deeper questions about humanity — the individual and the mass — await serious minds. The one useful result of the coming generations of fanaticism will be to rid our own cultural bloodstream of the poison of political correctness, white lies that lead to black results. Why does humankind love war? And yes, the word is "love." Does religious competition have biological roots? Is the assertion of ethnic supremacy as natural as the changing of the seasons? Is genocide in our genes? We do not have to celebrate unpleasant answers, but, if humanity is ever to make the least progress in reducing mass violence, we need to face those answers honestly.
The American military knew how to deal with conflicts of blood and faith. But we do not study our own history when the lessons make us uneasy. During the Moro Insurrection, the U.S. Army lived up to the Marine Corps' motto for Operation Iraqi Freedom. For the peaceful inhabitants of the southern Philippines, our soldiers and administrators were benefactors. For the Moro warriors, they were the worst enemies those fanatics had ever faced. Of course, we didn't have CNN filming our Gatling guns at work, but, then, we may need to banish the media from future battlefields, anyway. Our brutal response to the brutality of Muslim fanatics kept the peace until the Japanese invasion four decades later. And no peace lasts forever — four decades qualifies as a big, big win.

The religious movement that fired the Boxer Rebellion could only be put down through massacre. The same need to rip the heart out of violent millenarian movements, enabling societies to regain their balance, applied from 1520s Germany and 1840s China through the 19th-century Yucatan and the Sudan, down to the Islamist counterrevolution today. Only massive killing brought peace. Only extensive killing will bring peace.
We need to grasp the basic truth that the path to winning the hearts and minds of the masses leads over the corpses of the violent minority. As for humanitarianism, the most humane thing we can do is to win our long struggle against fanaticism and terrorism. That means killing terrorists and fanatics.
__________________
26106  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Pathological Science on: November 07, 2007, 10:17:39 AM
“Al Gore seems to have found a home at the peacock network. Both he and the network’s symbol like to strut a lot and frequently have their feathers ruffled. This week the peacock’s feathers are a solid green as NBC, among other activities, sends its ‘Today’ show stars, as the promo puts it, to ‘the ends of the earth’ to promote Gore’s agenda of saving the planet and repealing the Industrial Revolution... NBC began its Green Week with Sunday night’s Dallas Cowboys-Philadelphia Eagles football game. Bob Costas solemnly intoned: ‘As part of NBC Universal’s Green is Universal initiative, we have turned out the lights in the studio to kick off a week that will include more than 150 hours of programming designed to raise awareness about environmental issues.’ Actually, the studio lights were off for about a minute, during which time you could see the giant stadium screen over his right shoulder and glowing video monitors all over the set. At halftime, Costas tossed it to Matt Lauer standing before some sled dogs in the Arctic, bathed in bright lighting flown in for the occasion. The folks at Newsbusters.org have calculated that flying Lauer and two crew to the Arctic Circle in Greenland—from New York to Thule AFB, a 2,487-mile distance—produced six tons of carbon emissions. That’s one ton each way per person. They used the carbon calculator found on Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’ Web site. [Al] Roker’s journey from New York to Quito, Ecuador... produced another six tons of carbon emissions. Ann Curry’s trip to Antarctica—11,686 miles in all—produced a total of 12.9 tons of carbon. That’s a grand total of 24.9 tons of CO2 produced for a momentary photo-op while most people were up getting a beer or making a pit stop. According to Gore’s Web site, the average person produces 7.5 tons of CO2 in a year.” —Investor’s Business Daily
26107  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: November 07, 2007, 10:17:05 AM

“For today’s Democrats, resistance to unilateral presidential war-making reflects not principled constitutionalism but petulance about the current president. Democrats were supine when President Bill Clinton launched a sustained air war against Serbia without congressional authorization. Instead, he cited NATO’s authorization   as though that were an adequate substitute for the collective judgment that the Constitution mandates.” —George Will

26108  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 07, 2007, 10:15:09 AM
“Despite her muddled comments [last] week, there’s no doubt where Mrs. Clinton stands on ballot integrity. She opposes photo ID laws, even though they enjoy over 80% support in the polls. She has also introduced a bill to force every state to offer no-excuse absentee voting as well as Election Day registration—easy avenues for election chicanery. The bill requires that every state restore voting rights to all criminals who have completed their prison terms, parole or probation.” —John Fund

“Senator Clinton is determined not to tell us where she stands on anything. Instead, she has come to believe, probably correctly, that if we knew what she really wants to do as president, we would never vote for her.” —Dick Morris

It’s all about Hillary: “I had a dream that before I died I would see a woman as President of the United States. I think you are the woman and I think this is the time.” —ABC’s Carole Simpson to Hillary Clinton  “When [Hillary] Clinton was asked why she wouldn’t release her White House records from the time she was First Lady, her answer was, ‘Well, that’s not my decision to make.’ Baloney, whose decision is it, the Easter Bunny’s? Come on.” —CNN’s Jack Cafferty  “The notion that there’s stuff that’s being restricted potentially opens the door to asking questions about, well, the travel office where the independent counsel said she had been factually false. How did her brothers get pardons for two felons after being paid hundreds of thousands of dollars? How did she raise $100,000 trading cattle futures? This stuff hasn’t come up in the campaign, but you could almost hear the opponents beginning to chomp at the bit, waiting to ask, ‘What is she hiding?”’ —CBS political correspondent Jeff Greenfield  “[Hillary Clinton] is in a bit of a conundrum, is she not, because she doesn’t want to stake out positions that may haunt her later on if, in fact, she gets the nomination, you know? And at the same time, she risks coming across as if she has no core values or beliefs.” —CBS’s Katie Couric **That’s because she has no core values or beliefs.
26109  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Stock Market on: November 07, 2007, 09:12:39 AM
Silver company PAAS is now a four bagger for me  grin

David Gordon thinks the market is headed for a rougher patch shocked
26110  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: November 07, 2007, 08:29:47 AM
For years health authorities have warned of the growing threat posed by drug-resistant bacteria, but most of us have been half-listening. Not anymore.
A virulent strain of bacteria that resists many antibiotics appears to be killing more people annually than AIDS, emphysema or homicide, taking an estimated 19,000 lives in 2005, according to a study published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The recent death of a 17-year-old high school football player in Virginia is a tragic reminder that methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, or MRSA, can prey on otherwise healthy people.
The best defense against the potentially deadly infection is common sense and cleanliness. “We need to reinvent hygiene for the 21st century,’’ said Dr. Charles Gerba, professor of environmental microbiology at the University of Arizona at Tucson. “You go to a grocery store, and hundreds of thousands of people have touched those surfaces every day. Microorganisms are evolving very rapidly.’’
Here are answers to common questions about community-acquired staph infections, or CA-MRSA.
What does CA-MRSA look like?
CA-MRSA is primarily a skin infection. It often resembles a pimple, boil or spider bite, but it quickly worsens into an abscess or pus-filled blister or sore. Patients who have sores that won’t heal or are filled with pus should see a doctor and ask to be tested for staph infection. They should not squeeze the sore or try to drain it — that can spread the infection to other parts of the skin or deeper into the body.
Who is at risk?
The vast majority of MRSA cases happen in hospital settings, but 10 percent to 15 percent occur in the community at large among otherwise healthy people. Infections often occur among people who are prone to cuts and scrapes, such as children and athletes. MRSA typically spreads by skin-to-skin contact, crowded conditions and the sharing of contaminated personal items. Others who should be watchful: people who have regular contact with health care workers, those who have recently taken such antibiotics as fluoroquinolones or cephalosporin, homosexual men, military recruits and prisoners. Clusters of infections have appeared in certain ethnic groups, including Pacific Islanders, Alaskan Natives and Native Americans.
What can I do to lower my risk of contracting MRSA?
Bathing regularly and washing hands before meals is just a start. Wash your hands often or use an antibacterial sanitizer after you’ve been in public places or have touched handrails and other highly trafficked surfaces. Make sure cuts and scrapes are bandaged until they heal. Wash towels and sheets regularly, preferably in hot water, and leave clothes in the dryer until they are completely dry. “Staph is a pretty hardy organism,’’ said Dr. Gerba.
Remind kids and teenagers that personal items shouldn’t be shared with their friends, he added. This includes brushes, combs, razors, towels, makeup and cell phones. A teenager in Dr. Gerba’s own family once contracted MRSA, he said, and he eventually traced the bacteria to her cell phone. She had shared it with a friend whose mother worked in a nursing home. Dr. Gerba went on to discover MRSA on the friend’s cell phone and makeup compact and on a countertop in her home.

Where does MRSA lurk?
Staph bacteria may be found on the skin and in the noses of nearly 30 percent of the population without causing harm. Experts believe it survives on surfaces in 2 percent to 3 percent of homes, cars and public places.
But the bacteria are evolving, and the statistics may already underestimate the prevalence of MRSA. Be especially vigilant in health clubs and gyms — staph grows rapidly in warm, moist environments. The risks of infection and necessary precautions should be explained to student athletes, particularly those in contact sports who often suffer cuts and spend time in locker rooms. When working out at the gym, make sure you wipe down equipment before you use it. Many people clean just the sweaty benches, but Dr. Gerba notes that MRSA also has been found on the grips of workout machines. And if you have a scrape or sore, keep it clean and bandaged until it heals. Minor cuts and scrapes are the way MRSA takes hold.
What is the single best thing I can do to protect myself from MRSA?
Without question, people need to show far more respect for antibiotics. Misuse of antibiotics allows bacteria to evolve and develop resistance to drugs. But parents often pressure pediatricians to prescribe antibiotics even when they don’t help the vast majority of childhood infections. When you do take an antibiotic, finish the dose. Antibiotic resistance is bad for everyone, but your body can also become particularly vulnerable to resistant bacteria if you are careless with the drugs.
How do I find out more?
One of the most useful Web sites is a MRSA primer from Mayoclinic.com. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers a useful Q&A about MRSA in schools. A patient website called MRSA Resources lists a few stories of patients affected by MSRA. Recent Stanford University grad Nick Yee chronicles his struggle with MRSA on his Web site, which includes graphic videos of his wound and treatment. (I couldn’t get through them.) And if you have the stomach for it, a number of people have — inexplicably — posted videos of their MRSA wounds on YouTube.


NY Times
26111  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Peru on: November 07, 2007, 08:20:02 AM
Pass the Peruvian F.T.A.
               E-Mail
Print
Save
Share
Del.icio.us
Digg
Facebook
Newsvine
Permalink

 
Published: November 7, 2007
Congressional Democrats took their time, but more than a year after it was originally signed, the free trade agreement between the United States and Peru is finally due for a vote in the House of Representatives today.

Democrats should vote for it. While the agreement is expected to pass on the strength of a majority of Republican votes, it would be a pity if Democratic leaders were not able to muster a substantial number of votes in favor of a deal they played such a large role in making — one that is likely to boost American jobs and help relations with an ally in a challenging region of the world.

The Peruvian agreement has had a tortuous journey, entangled in the growing Democratic hostility toward trade. Peru had to amend the original deal to add commitments on labor rights and the environment. Charles Rangel, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, had to work hard to bring some of his colleagues on board.

Despite these efforts, some estimates put Democratic support at less than 100 votes.

Democrats are right to worry about the stagnation of workers’ wages and to be concerned about those who lose their jobs because of increased competition from cheaper labor overseas. But these problems should be addressed through better education and training, a more robust social safety network and more progressive taxation to mitigate the impact of stagnating wages. Throttling trade would hurt more people than it would help.

The Peruvian deal would help expand trade between Peru and the United States, which today stands at about $9 billion. It would give American businesses greater access to Peru’s markets in everything from grains to tractors and other machinery.

Perhaps more important, the agreement would strengthen an essential ally in the combat against illegal narcotics in the Andes and tighten relations with one of the United States’ few remaining friends in South America — where Venezuela’s Hugo Chávez is gaining allies by spreading oil wealth around. In an open letter, all eight living former secretaries of state urged Congress to approve the Peru deal.

There are other trade agreements waiting in the wings with South Korea and Panama, and Congress should approve them. The pending deal with Colombia should also pass once the government of Álvaro Uribe demonstrates progress in bringing to justice the paramilitary leaders guilty of human rights violations and their backers in the Colombian government.

A group of Democratic leaders from the Clinton administration and Congress recently sent a letter to Congressional Democrats pointing out that rejecting the trade agreements signed in Latin America “would set back regional U.S. interests for a generation.”

Their argument also works on a bigger map. It would be a folly for the United States to turn its back on trade. Democrats, who have taken control of Congress and might soon take the White House, should not lose sight of that fact.

NY Times
26112  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 07, 2007, 08:17:17 AM
Joel Hafvenstein returned to Afghanistan in late 2004 armed with nothing but good intentions. Employed by Chemonics, a private company with a contract from the United States Agency for International Development, he was part of a team trying to discourage cultivation of the opium poppy by providing an alternative income for poor farmers.

Skip to next paragraph
OPIUM SEASON

A Year on the Afghan Frontier

By Joel Hafvenstein

The Lyons Press. 337 pages. $24.95.

Within months the mission was in disarray, its American workers huddled in a fortified bunker after eight of its Afghan employees had been murdered. The next year’s poppy harvest would be the largest on record.

The sobering dispatches in “Opium Season,” a wrenching account of lofty hopes and bitter disappointments, shed a dismal light on American efforts to improve the lot of ordinary Afghans. All over the country development projects are under way aimed at winning over the Afghan people, depriving the Taliban of popular support and propping up Hamid Karzai’s government. The obstacles are as steep as the surrounding mountains, as Mr. Hafvenstein discovered and ruefully recounts in this bitter but affectionate book about his three stints in Afghanistan from October 2003 to May 2005.

In Helmand Province, where Mr. Hafvenstein had his final tour of duty, the immediate plan was simple: hire local people for big public-works projects and put money in their pockets before the government started cutting down profitable poppy fields. This stopgap effort would be the prelude to large-scale infrastructure projects that would lift the local economy permanently. Easier said than done.

Getting a multimillion-dollar project up and running plunged Mr. Hafvenstein and his co-workers into a social, political and economic morass that eventually sucked them under. In a country with scant resources, every dollar shifted the local balance of power in unforeseen ways.

The influx of international development companies distorted the Afghan economy, driving up the cost of housing and drawing educated Afghans away from vital but poorly paid jobs in, for example, education. Local power brokers, whether government officials or tribal leaders, eyed the Americans askance, worried that their own influence might be diminished. Big landowners schemed to steer benefits in their direction.

Mr. Hafvenstein arrived eager but unprepared in a region known to the ancient Persians as “the land of the unruly.” Racing to set up a project office, he interviewed a long line of Afghans with spotty qualifications and modest expectations. One stated on his application that he looked forward to working in “a mullet-cultural environment.” Another, hesitant to accept a job that required him to travel with payroll money, said, “I would like a job where I will not be killed.”

The security situation was indeed tenuous. Early on Mr. Hafvenstein got a cold dose of reality when the company’s security officer rattled off a list of must-buy items for the offices. These included blast film for the windows, razor wires for the walls and a windowless safe room lined with sandbags “if things get ugly.” Nevertheless, before safes arrived, Mr. Hafvenstein carried around bricks of American, Afghan and Pakistani currency in the inside pockets of his waistcoat.

The cash-for-work program showed progress. Chemonics hired thousands of laborers to do roadwork or dig out the silt from canals in a huge irrigation system built in the 1940s by Morrison-Knudsen, the engineering company that built the Hoover Dam and the San Francisco Bay Bridge. Spurred on by an energetic, idealistic Afghan-American in the office, the company made every effort to extend its reach to remote valleys badly in need of development aid.

But the hard realities of the poppy economy quickly reasserted themselves. The local government would plow under the poppy fields belonging to poor farmers just enough to mollify the central government, while powerful landlords paid the police to pass them by. After a particularly heavy rain in Lashkargah, the provincial capital, Mr. Hafvenstein noticed a thriving poppy field directly across the street from the American military outpost, its existence revealed by a collapsed section of earthen wall.

Everyone in Helmand, directly or indirectly, depended on poppy income, including top officials. In June 2005 police raided the mansion of Helmand’s governor, Sher Muhammad Akhundzada, and found nine metric tons of opium. Mr. Akhundzada, who enjoys close family ties to Mr. Karzai, explained that he had seized the opium from traffickers and was merely waiting for the appropriate moment to dispose of it.

Mr. Hafvenstein and his team disturbed the status quo, although they were never clear precisely when or how. When several workers were victimized by a carjacking, informants blamed common thieves, but the act might have been retaliation for giving too many jobs to members of the wrong clan. Later, in the same area, two Afghan workers were ambushed and killed. A party that set out the following day to transport the dead bodies to a cemetery in Kabul was also ambushed and its members executed. One man, an ethnic Hazara (member of the Shiite minority) was shot through the eyes.

Local leaders blamed the Taliban. But the killings might have been ordered by poppy growers angry that the American project was depriving them of badly needed labor for the harvest. The police showed little enthusiasm for investigating the matter.

That was it for Mr. Hafvenstein and his American colleagues. They headed home, sadder and wiser. “We had come to Helmand thinking of opium as the local currency, and had tried to replace it with cash,” Mr. Hafvenstein writes. “But security was the real currency of Afghanistan. The traumatized population of Helmand would trade anything for it, follow anyone who could offer it.”

In a country where violence trumps money every time, the United States, Mr. Hafvenstein suggests, will have to work out a different equation.
26113  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / NY Times on Gay Muslims on: November 07, 2007, 08:12:14 AM
By NEIL MACFARQUHAR
Published: November 7, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO — About 15 people marched alongside the Muslim float in this city’s notoriously fleshy Gay Pride Parade earlier this year, with various men carrying the flags of Egypt, Lebanon, Palestine and Turkey and even Iran’s old imperial banner.

While other floats featured men dancing in leather Speedos or women with scant duct tape over their nipples, many Muslims were disguised behind big sunglasses, fezzes or kaffiyehs wrapped around their heads.

Even as they reveled in newfound freedom compared with the Muslim world, they remained closeted, worried about being ostracized at the mosque or at their local falafel stand.

“They’re afraid of the rest of the community here,” said Ayman, a stocky 31-year-old from Jordan, who won asylum in the United States last year on the basis of his sexuality. “It’s such a big wrong in the Koran that it is impossible to be accepted.”

For gay Muslims, change may come via a nascent body of scholarship in minority Muslim communities where the reassessment of sacred texts used to damn homosexuality is gaining momentum.

In traditional seats of Islamic learning, like Egypt and Iran, punishment against blatant homosexual activity, not to mention against trying to establish a gay rights movement, can be severe. These governments are prone to label homosexuality a Western phenomenon, as happened in September when Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, spoke at Columbia University. But far more leeway to dissect the topic exists in places where gay rights are more protected.

As a rule, gay Muslim activists lacked the scholarly grounding needed to scrutinize time-honored teachings. But that is changing, activists say, partly because no rigid clerical hierarchy exists in the West to bar such research.

Nonetheless, gaining acceptance remains such a hurdle that Muslims in the United States hesitate. Imam Daayiee Abdullah, 53, a black convert to Islam, was expelled from a Saudi-financed seminary in Virginia after the school found out he is gay. His effort to organize a gay masjid, or mosque, in Washington failed largely out of fear, he said.

“You have these individuals who say that they would blow up a masjid if it was a gay masjid,” he said. Mr. Abdullah and other scholars argue that there is no uncontested record of the Prophet Muhammad addressing homosexuality and that examples of punishment would surely exist had he been hostile.

Mirroring the feminist school of Islam, gay advocates pursue a holistic interpretation that emphasizes accepting everyone as equally God’s creation.

Most Koranic verses treating same-sex relations are ambiguous, said Omid Safi, an Islamic studies professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “They are talking about an ‘abomination,’” Professor Safi said, “but what an abomination is remains open to interpretation.”

Since the primary Koranic verses used to condemn homosexuality also suggest male rape, the progressive reading is that the verses revile using sex as domination, said Scott Kugle, an American convert and university professor who specializes in the topic. The arguments are not entirely modern; some are drawn from a medieval scholar in Andalusia, once a seat of enlightened Muslim governance, he said.

The classical attitude toward lesbians is even murkier, Mr. Kugle added, because sex was defined as penetration.

Hostility is rooted in the Koranic story of Lot, which parallels the biblical Sodom and Gomorrah. At Al-Tawhid Mosque in San Francisco, the imam, Hassan al-Jalal, a Yemeni with a short beard, printed a sheaf of Koranic verses that he said condemned homosexuals.

“This is the main sin in Islam,” Mr. Jalal said, describing how the town housing Lot’s tribe was lifted high into the sky and then dropped, killing all in the town before they were buried under what is now the Dead Sea. “He sent the flood to clean the earth from AIDS. There were no doctors at that time, but God knew they had a virus.”

All sects mandate capital punishment, he argued, although others differ. “Sunni, Shiite, they all agree that they have to be killed. But who does it? Not me or you, only by law.”

Muslim clerics reject being gay as biologically coded and advise anyone with homosexual stirrings to avoid temptation. They see America as rife with it given practices like open gym showers.

The hostility pushes some gay Muslims to interpret for themselves or to withdraw from the faith. For Rafique, a 56-year-old Southeast Asian Muslim in San Francisco, resolution came through a combination of medieval mystic poetry and individual spiritual efforts endorsed by Sufi Muslim traditions.

Renowned poets wrote odes glorifying handsome boys. Some were interpreted as metaphors about loving God, but some were paeans to gay sex. Rafique and others argue that homosexuality became criminalized only under European colonialism.
=======

“From the 10th to the 14th century, Muslim society used to be a far richer mix of the legal, the rational and the mystic,” said Rafique, an anthropologist. “They looked at sexuality as one aspect of life’s many possibilities, and they saw in it the hope for spiritual insight. I came across this stuff, and it helped me reconcile the two.”

Some mosques with a Sufi orientation extend a rare welcome to gay Muslims.

Ayman, the parade organizer, said his previous life in Jordan was marked by fear. Arrested at 17 after a sexual encounter in a public building, he said the police wrote “manyak,” a homosexual slur, into his file. He denied being gay, but the word resurfaced whenever the police stopped him. He worried that one day it would happen around a relative.

He is convinced that a 22-year-old gay friend who died after a fall from an apartment building was the victim of an “honor” killing meant to clean the family’s reputation. “I still feel like I’m a Muslim; I don’t accept that anyone insults the faith,” said Ayman, who avoids attending mosque. “When I read what it says in the Koran, then I fear Judgment Day.”

A 26-year-old from Saudi Arabia who took the first name Liam after rejecting his faith said that as a teenager he fought his homosexuality by becoming a religious zealot. He eventually accepted his sexuality while at college in Colorado, but moved to the Bay Area because gay life in the kingdom was too depressing.

But a 39-year-old burly, bearded computer consultant who left Saudi Arabia to live in the United States said the cosmopolitan city of Jidda had a thriving gay underground. In other Arab states, he said, it is rare to find men who are both religious and gay, but the high numbers in Jidda made them relax somewhat. “They don’t care about sex and alcohol, but they do avoid pork,” he said.

The consultant, trying to reconcile being gay and Muslim, divides his sins into the redeemable and those warranting hellfire. “Anal sex for either a man or woman is wrong, so when I really think about it, I tell myself not to have sex,” he said, describing a failed four-year experiment with celibacy. “I live with what I am doing, but I don’t want to live in a double standard, I don’t want to go through life unhappy.”
26114  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: on: November 07, 2007, 08:03:51 AM
The Patriot Post
Founders' Quote Daily

"He [King George] has waged cruel war against human nature itself,
violating its most sacred right of life and liberty in the persons
of a distant people who never offended him, captivating & carrying
them into slavery in another hemisphere, or to incur miserable
death in their transportation thither."

-- Thomas Jefferson (deleted portion of a draft of the Declaration
of Independence, June 1776)

Reference: Jefferson: Writings, Peterson ed., Library of America
(22)
26115  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: November 07, 2007, 08:02:16 AM
Lobbyists or Spies?
By GABRIEL SCHOENFELD
November 6, 2007; Page A19

Government insiders who engage in unauthorized leaks of classified information are violating their oaths, breaking the law, damaging national security and deserving of punishment. Sometimes those outside government who receive secrets and pass them to others are also breaking the law and deserve punishment. The latter category includes enemy spies. But what about American lobbyists -- and journalists -- who receive secrets and pass them along?

In an important trial set to begin in January, the Justice Department has irresponsibly confused the distinction between spying and lobbying. Keith Weissman and Steven J. Rosen, two former employees of AIPAC, the pro-Israel lobbying organization, are charged with unlawfully receiving and transmitting classified national-defense information. The stakes are high. The Pentagon official, Lawrence Franklin, who illicitly furnished the two men with secrets, and then participated in an FBI sting operation against them, has pleaded guilty for his part in the affair and was sentenced by federal judge T.S. Ellis III to more than 12 years in federal prison.

This past Friday, the same judge decided a pivotal preliminary issue in the Weissman-Rosen case. The defense has subpoenaed 20 present and former administration officials to appear as witnesses for its side, including Elliott Abrams, Richard Armitage, Douglas Feith, Dennis Ross, Paul Wolfowitz, Stephen Hadley and Condoleezza Rice. The idea is to use their testimony to demonstrate that their clients had every reason to believe that what Mr. Franklin told them in conversation -- no classified documents ever changed hands in this case -- was part and parcel of the normal back-channel method by which the U.S. government sometimes conveys information to the media and/or to allied countries, in this case, to Israel.

Prosecutors have resisted this contention and moved to quash the subpoenas to almost all of the officials. On Friday, Judge Ellis ruled against the prosecutors. The defendants, he wrote in his opinion, "claim that AIPAC played an important role in U.S. foreign-policy development." If true, he continued, the "government's use of AIPAC for 'back channel' purposes may serve to exculpate defendants by negating the criminal states of mind the government must prove to convict defendants of the charged offenses."

Judge Ellis has cut to a core issue, pertinent to the broader issue of secrecy. Back in February 2006, the New York Times published classified information that compromised the NSA's terrorist-surveillance program aimed at intercepting the communications of al-Qaeda suspects around the world. While the Justice Department did not prosecute the paper, it was clear that the Times had run afoul of Section 798 of Title 18, which protects the ultra-sensitive category of communications intelligence. Under it, intent is irrelevant; the willful disclosure of classified information is itself the crime. Even observers sympathetic to the Times acknowledge that it broke black-letter law.

The Times repeated its reckless behavior in the spring of 2006, when it compromised another highly sensitive counterterrorism program aimed at tracking the movement of al-Qaeda funds. Here the Times' disclosure, while damaging and deplorable, was probably not a crime. Because communications intelligence was not involved, the only other applicable statute was the Espionage Act of 1917, the same law under which the two AIPAC men have been charged. That antiquated law, unlike Section 798, contains stringent criminal-intent requirements. However much one might disapprove of what the Times did, it would be nearly impossible to demonstrate that its editors and reporters acted with a criminal state of mind.

In the AIPAC case, an equal or even higher barrier to successful prosecution exists. In order to convict, Judge Ellis has ruled, the prosecutors must prove the defendants had a long laundry list of "mental states," indicative of culpability. They not only had to be acting in bad faith, but had to know that the information they received was classified and closely held.

The high-profile witnesses whom the defense can now bring into the courtroom will make it a tall order to demonstrate any of this. They are almost certain to attest that, at one or another juncture in the course of their careers, they were authorized, as a means of promoting the national interest, to disclose classified information to individuals outside of government, including, on some occasions, to officials at AIPAC itself.

When Lawrence Franklin passed on classified information to the two defendants, he lacked such authorization, which is why he is a felon. But given how routinely classified information is dispensed for legitimate purposes, how were Mr. Weissman and Mr. Rosen to know that Mr. Franklin was telling them things he was not allowed to tell them and involving them in his crime? The answer is: They could not know.

Under the circumstances, this is a case that should never have been brought. No fair-minded jury could conclude that Mr. Weissman and Mr. Rosen acted with criminal intent. Jurors will see only two lobbyists going about their jobs, interacting with government officials in an ordinary fashion as other lobbyists do all the time. Yes, protecting classified information is crucial to our national defense. But the law is narrowly and properly tailored to protect innocent people from becoming ensnared by it.

Mr. Schoenfeld, senior editor of Commentary, blogs for connectingthedots.us.com.

WSJ
26116  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Books on: November 07, 2007, 07:36:56 AM
Blunt Diplomacy
John Bolton's new memoir shows that he's no neocon.

BY BRENDAN SIMMS
Tuesday, November 6, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST
The British conservative Enoch Powell once famously said that all political careers end in failure. John Bolton's career, as we read in the opening pages of "Surrender Is Not an Option," began with the defeat of Barry Goldwater's 1964 presidential campaign, on which he had served as a teenage volunteer. It is a disarming start to the memoir of a man usually caricatured as a bombastic tub-thumper. In any case, history records that John Bolton bounced back from this disappointment, rose through the Republican ranks in the 1980s and, after loyal service interpreting Floridian chads during the 2000 election count, found himself propelled into high office. He tells the rest of the story with a focus, brutality and exasperation that will give pain and pleasure in all the right places.

Among Mr. Bolton's pungent chapter titles ("Sisyphus in the Twilight Zone," "Why Do I Want This Job?"), my favorite may be "Following the Yellow Cake Road on North Korea." Certainly "The Wizard of Oz" would have served as good preparation for Mr. Bolton's two Bush-era portfolios: undersecretary of state for arms control (2001-05) and U.S. permanent representative to the United Nations (2005-06). Mr. Bolton often finds himself in a fantasy-fueled Munchkinland in which all the problems of the Middle East are blamed on Israel and the Iranian quest for a nuclear bomb is either denied or ignored--or justified as a legitimate response to U.S. and Zionist hegemony.

The U.N. in particular, Mr. Bolton makes clear, was a place for Third World ax-grinding and waywardness. To be asked by a Congolese staffer during difficult Iran-related negotiations "Why do we care about nuclear weapons?" was par for the course, and to find many U.N. member states determined to revive the spirit of the long-repealed "Zionism is racism" resolution was almost routine. In that sense, Mr. Bolton's experience matched that of U.S. ambassadors to the U.N. going back to Jeane Kirkpatrick, Daniel Patrick Moynihan and perhaps beyond.
Much more worrying is Mr. Bolton's account of European policy on Tehran's nuclear program. The policy started as a well-meant attempt to avoid military confrontation by persuading the Iranians to abandon their plans peacefully. At almost every stage along the way, however, the French, British and German negotiators were hoodwinked by the Iranians, who later gloated over the deceptions they had been allowed to get away with. Far from holding all this against Iran, the Europeans--or "Euroids," as Mr. Bolton calls them--tended to vent their frustration on Mr. Bolton and America's supposed intransigence.

Thus the British representative to the Security Council is quoted as being "so tired of having to go out in front of those damned cameras and explain why we gave up on this or conceded on that." Far and away the most feeble performance is put in by the envoy from Berlin, who reflexively gives the Iranians the benefit of the doubt, crediting their claims of peaceful intentions. The Germans of all people should care about nuclear weapons in the hands of a maniac such as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for the destruction of Israel. Their diplomats at the U.N. should not be making excuses for an Iranian nuclear program that is plainly intended for military purposes.

Mr. Bolton, it should be said, does not proceed merely by assertion: He supplies dates, names names, cites documents, recounts conversations and gives a blow-by-blow record of his diplomatic dealings. His memoir is entirely without coyness and spares no one, not even George W. Bush himself, whom he accuses of dropping the ball on Iran in recent times.

Mr. Bolton is merciless with the senior and middling State Department officials who he felt tried to sabotage the campaign against Tehran. His criticism will no doubt send them back to their diaries to pen a rebuttal. For the moment, however, "Surrender Is Not an Option" serves as a first draft of history. Even for those who disagree with him, Mr. Bolton's account will be the first port of call for those seeking to understand U.S. policy on nuclear proliferation during President Bush's two administrations.

It will also lay to rest a tenacious misunderstanding about the author. Mr. Bolton has long been described, even by otherwise well-informed commentators, as a "neoconservative." In fact, his political roots in small-government Goldwater Republicanism could not be further removed from the big-government origins of the formerly Democratic neoconservatives. Moreover, Mr. Bolton is innocent--too much so, in my view--of any ambition to put the export of democracy at the center of U.S. foreign policy.

In fact, Mr. Bolton is, in many ways, a member of the same "realist" family as Colin Powell, Richard Armitage and Condoleezza Rice. But unlike them, he sees nothing realistic about appeasing Iran's nuclear ambitions. Mr. Bolton provides a depressing account of how, within the Bush administration itself, initial firmness gave way--in Mr. Powell's case to a concern for his "legacy" and in Ms. Rice's to a penchant for "carrots" over "sticks" in her dealings with Iran. He was so outraged over one of her capitulations that he pointedly ordered carrot soup at his next dinner with her.

In the end, history will record all this as a question of judgment. If Iran is peacefully persuaded to stop short of the final turn of the screwdriver--or even if Tehran uses a nuclear device it develops "responsibly"--then Ms. Rice, Mr. Powell and "the Euroids" will be vindicated. But if--as seems more likely--the Iranians develop a deliverable nuclear device and put it in the hands of the zealots currently running the country, then we shall rue the day that John Bolton stepped down. After all, to adapt Goldwater, restraint in the pursuit of durable solutions is no virtue, and robustness in pursuit of American interests is no vice.
Mr. Simms is the author, most recently, of "Three Victories and a Defeat: The Rise and Fall of the First British Empire, 1714-1789" (Penguin/Allen Lane). You can buy "Surrender Is Not an Option" from the OpinionJournal bookstore.
26117  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: November 18, 2007 Dog Bros Gathering of the Pack on: November 06, 2007, 10:44:25 PM
C-Irish Dog sends his regrets from Japan.
26118  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Thread (nutrition, medical, longevity, etc) on: November 06, 2007, 05:59:25 PM
Out With the Trans Fats,
In With a Whole Lot of Others
By JULIE JARGON
November 6, 2007; Page D1

Food companies are scrambling to replace trans fat in everything from french fries to cookies, but health experts worry that what's good for the nation's heart might be bad for its waistline.

 
Read more about different kinds of fats
Trans fat is created when hydrogen is added to vegetable oil. The resulting ingredient, known as partially hydrogenated vegetable oil, is what makes french fries crispy and croissants flaky. But trans fat's effect on cholesterol -- it raises the bad kind and lowers the good -- has made it a food-industry villain.

Ever since the Food and Drug Administration required food companies to disclose the amount of trans fat in their products last year, the industry has been searching for replacement ingredients. Kraft Foods Inc., the world's second-largest food manufacturer by revenue, has removed trans fat from numerous products, including Oreo cookies, Wheat Thins crackers and Jell-O pudding snacks. PepsiCo's Frito-Lay has eliminated trans fat from all of its chips.

So what's going in food instead of trans fat? Some food makers are going back to ingredients high in cholesterol-raising saturated fat, such as palm oil, palm kernel oil and coconut oil. In Kellogg's Eggo blueberry waffles, for example, trans fats have been replaced with palm oil and palm kernel oil, while Oreos now contain "palm oil and/or canola oil."

Kraft says that while the saturated fat content of Oreos is higher, the overall fat content is the same, at 7 grams per serving. "The effort wasn't just about removing trans fat, but about keeping the nutrition profile the same," says spokeswoman Laurie Guzzinati.

MORE


• A Look at Trans-Fat ReplacementsThuy-An Wilkins, a spokeswoman for Kellogg, says the company has removed the trans fat in most of its products without increasing the amount of saturated fat, but it's still "a work in progress."

Other products are achieving trans-fat-free status through interesterification, a process in which fatty acids are redistributed on a fat molecule to make liquid fats behave more like solid fats. Products made with interesterified fat include Promise Buttery Spread and Enova cooking oil. Unilever, the maker of Promise, conducted its own study 10 years ago that found no adverse effects from food made with interesterified fat, says Doug Balentine, Unilever's director of nutrition sciences for the Americas.

But other nutrition experts say not enough is known about the safety of interesterified fat. There was little interest in researching the ingredient until the recent push for trans-fat alternatives. David Baer, a research physiologist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Beltsville Human Nutrition Research Center, says his own research has studied only blended fats, and offers no insights on interesterified fats specifically. "We're interested in trying to figure out the health effects," he says. "The nutrition community is puzzled by what might be the most healthful alternative to trans fat."

K.C. Hayes, director of the Foster Biomedical Research Lab at Brandeis University, says that while the ingredient is in relatively few products now, its use may grow before the health-care community fully understands its impact. Dr. Hayes, who conducted a small study funded by the palm-oil industry that did find negative health effects from interesterified fats, says, "The point is, we should know more before we go off trans fat and onto something else."

The American Heart Association recommends replacing trans fat with monounsaturated fats, which are found in olive, canola, peanut and sunflower oils, or with the polyunsaturated fats found in soybean, corn and safflower oils. For instance, a lot of the chicken sold at KFC is now fried in a type of soybean oil, and McDonald's in the U.S. is switching to a proprietary blend of canola, soybean and corn oils for its french fries.

The biggest danger of the trans-fat swap-out could be that consumers will eat more junk food because they think it's healthier. For one thing, zero doesn't necessarily mean zero. Products can still have up to half a gram of trans fat and carry a "zero trans fat per serving" label. So if someone eats more than a serving of cookies, they could still be consuming a few grams of trans fat.

• Email: healthjournal@wsj.com
 
26119  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 06, 2007, 05:57:37 PM
Pakistan and its Army
By George Friedman

Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency over the weekend, precipitating a wave of arrests, the suspension of certain media operations and the intermittent disruption of communications in and out of Pakistan. As expected, protests erupted throughout Pakistan by Nov. 5, with clashes between protesting lawyers and police reported in Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad and several other cities. Thus far, however, the army appears to be responding to Musharraf's commands.

The primary issue, as Musharraf framed it, was the Pakistani Supreme Court's decision to release about 60 people the state had charged with terrorism. Musharraf's argument was that the court's action makes the fight against Islamist extremism impossible and that the judiciary overstepped its bounds by urging that the civil rights of the accused be protected.

Musharraf's critics, including the opposition's top leader, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, argued that Musharraf was using the Supreme Court issue to protect his own position in the government, avoid leaving the army as promised and put off elections. In short, he is being accused of staging a personal coup under the guise of a state of emergency.

Whether Musharraf himself survives is not a historically significant issue. What is significant is whether Pakistan will fall into internal chaos or civil war, or fragment into smaller states. We must consider what that would mean, but first we must examine Pakistan's underlying dilemma -- a set of contradictions rooted in Pakistani history.

When the British conquered the Indian subcontinent, they essentially occupied the lowlands and pushed their frontier into the mountains surrounding the subcontinent -- the point from which a relatively small British force, augmented by local recruits, could hold against any external threat. The eastern line ran through the hills that separated Bengal from Burma. The northern line ran through the Himalayas that separate China from the subcontinent. The western line ran along the mountains that separated British India from Afghanistan and Iran.

This lineation -- which represented not a political settlement but rather a defensive position selected for military reasons -- remained vague, driven by shifting tactical decisions designed to secure a physical entity, the subcontinent. The Britons were fairly indifferent to the political realities inside the line. The British Raj, then, was a wild jumble of states, languages, religions and ethnic groups, which the Britons were quite content to play against one another as part of their grand strategy in India. As long as the British could impose an artificial, internal order, the general concept of India worked. But as the British Empire collapsed after World War II, the region had to find its own balance.

Mahatma Gandhi envisioned post-British India as being a multinational, multireligious country within the borders that then existed -- meaning that India's Muslims would live inside a predominantly Hindu country. When they objected, the result was both a partition of the country and a transfer of populations. The Muslim part of India, including the eastern Muslim region, became modern Pakistan. The eastern region gained independence as Bangladesh following a 1971 war between India and Pakistan.

Pakistan, however, was not a historic name for the region. Rather, reflective of the deeply divided Muslims themselves, the name is an acronym that derives, in part, from the five ethnic groups that made up western, Muslim India: Punjabis, Afghans, Kashmiris, Sindhis and Balochis.

The Punjabis are the major ethnic group, making up just under half of the population, though none of these groups is entirely in Pakistan. Balochis also are in Iran, Pashtuns also in Afghanistan and Punjabis also in India. In fact, as a result of the war in Afghanistan more than a quarter century ago, massive numbers of Pashtuns have crossed into Pakistan from Afghanistan -- though many consider themselves to be moving within Pashtun territory rather than crossing a foreign border.

Geographically, it is important to think of Pakistan in two parts. There is the Indus River Valley, where the bulk of the population lives, and then there are the mountainous regions, whose ethnic groups are deeply divided, difficult for the central government to control and generally conservative, preferring tradition to modernization. The relative isolation and the difficult existence in mountainous regions seem to create this kind of culture around the world.

Pakistan, therefore, is a compendium of divisions. The British withdrawal created a state called Pakistan, but no nation by that name. What bound its residents together was the Muslim faith -- albeit one that had many forms. As in India -- indeed, as in the Muslim world at the time of Pakistan's founding -- there existed a strong secularist movement that focused on economic development and cultural modernization more than on traditional Islamic values. This secularist tendency had two roots: one in the British education of many of the Pakistani elite and the second in Turkish founder Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, who pioneered secularism in the Islamic world.

Pakistan, therefore, began as a state in crisis. What remained of British rule was a parliamentary democracy that might have worked in a relatively unified nation -- not one that was split along ethnic lines and also along the great divide of the 20th century: secular versus religious. Hence, the parliamentary system broke down early on -- about four years after Pakistan's creation in 1947. British-trained civilian bureaucrats ran the country with the help of the army until 1958, when the army booted out the bureaucrats and took over.

Therefore, if Pakistan was a state trying to create a nation, then the primary instrument of the state was the army. This is not uniquely Pakistani by any means, nor is it unprincipled. The point that Ataturk made -- one that was championed in the Arab world by Egypt's Gamal Abdul Nasser and in Iran by Reza Pahlavi -- was that the creation of a modern state in a traditional and divided nation required a modern army as the facilitator. An army, in the modern sense, is by definition technocratic and disciplined. The army, rather than simply an instrument of the state, therefore, becomes the guarantor of the state. In this line of thinking, a military coup can preserve a constitution against anti-constitutional traditionalists. If the idea of a military coup as a guarantor of constitutional integrity seems difficult to fathom, then consider the complexities involved in creating a modern constitutional regime in a traditional society.

Although the British tradition of parliamentary government fell apart in Pakistan, one institution the Britons left behind grew stronger: the Pakistani army. The army -- along with India's army -- was forged by the British and modeled on their army. It was perhaps the most modern institution in both countries, and the best organized and effective instrument of the state. As long as the army remained united and loyal to the concept of Pakistan, the centrifugal forces could not tear the country apart.

Musharraf's behavior must be viewed in this context. Pakistan is a country that not only is deeply divided, but also has the real capacity to tear itself apart. It is losing control of the mountainous regions to the indigenous tribes. The army is the only institution that transcends all of these ethnic differences and has the potential to restore order in the mountain regions and maintain state control elsewhere.

Musharraf's coup in 1999, which followed a series of military intrusions, as well as attempts at secular democratic rule, was designed to preserve Pakistan as a united country. That is why Musharraf insisted on continuing to wear the uniform of an army general. To remove the uniform and rule simply as a civilian might make sense to an outsider, but inside of Pakistan that uniform represents the unity of the state and the army -- and in Musharraf's view, that unity is what holds the country together.

Of course the problem is that the army, in the long run, reflects the country. The army has significant pockets of radical Islamist beliefs, while Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the military's intelligence branch, in particular is filled with Taliban sympathizers. (After all, the ISI was assigned to support the mujahideen fighting the Soviets in the 1980s, and the ISI and other parts of the army absorbed the ideology). Musharraf has had to walk a tightrope between U.S. demands that he crack down on his own army and his desire to preserve his regime -- and has never been able to satisfy either side fully.

It is not clear whether he has fallen off the tightrope. Whatever he does, as long as the army remains united and he controls the corps commanders, he will remain in power. Even if the corps commanders -- the real electors of Pakistan -- get tired of him and replace him with another military leader, Pakistan would remain in pretty much the same position it is in now.

In simple terms, the real question is this: Will the army split? Put more broadly, will some generals simply stop taking orders from Pakistan's General Headquarters and side with the Islamists? Will others side with Bhutto? Will ethnic disagreements run so deep that the Indus River Valley becomes the arena for a civil war? That is what instability in Pakistan would look like. It is not a question of civilian institutions, elections or any of the things we associate with civil society. The key question on Pakistan is whether the army stays united.

In our view, the senior commanders will remain united because they have far more to lose if they fracture. Their positions depend on a united army and a unified chain of command -- the one British legacy that continues to function in Pakistan.

There are two signs to look for: severe internal dissent among the senior generals or a series of mutinies by subordinate units. Either of these would raise serious questions as to the future of Pakistan. Whether Musharraf survives or falls and whether he is replaced by a civilian leader are actually secondary questions. In Pakistan, the fundamental issue is the unity of the army.

At some point, there will be a showdown among the various groups. That moment might be now, though we doubt it. As long as the generals are united and the troops remain under control, the existence of the regime is guaranteed -- and in some sense the army will remain the regime. Under these conditions, with or without Musharraf, with or without democracy, Pakistan will survive.

stratfor
26120  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: November 18, 2007 Dog Bros Gathering of the Pack on: November 05, 2007, 10:07:02 PM
Cat Linda Matsumi is looking for some women to fight.

And I am looking to lure Patrick "Choirboy" McNee (you saw him in RCSFg #1 Power fighting "the Juggernaut") out of retirement.  He's a bit stronger and savvier since that fight in 1992 when he was barely old enough to be allowed to fight.

TAC!
26121  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: When you don't feel like fighting... on: November 05, 2007, 10:03:56 PM
Well, he better get his Fighter Registration in then!

Also, Cat Linda Matsumi (who fought at the Swiss Gathering by the way  cool ) is looking for some women to fight and will be posting tomorrow.  I will be digging up tomorrow the contact info of her opponent Gina from the June Gathering.

TAC!
26122  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: November 05, 2007, 07:35:32 PM
Haven't had a chance to look at it closely, but this site tracks illegal acts of , , , illegals:

http://illegal.globalincidentmap.com/home.php
26123  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: November 05, 2007, 07:30:37 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

UK: Children involved in terrorism

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The head of Britain's intelligence services has warned that children as young as 15 are becoming involved in terrorist-related activity.

Jonathan Evans, the chief of MI5, also said that at least 2,000 people are living in Britain who pose a threat to security because of the country's support for al Qaeda-inspired terrorism.

"As I speak, terrorists are methodically and intentionally targeting young people and children in this country. They are radicalising, indoctrinating and grooming young, vulnerable people to carry out acts of terrorism," he told a gathering of newspaper editors in Manchester.

Evans said the figure of 2,000 -- an increase of 400 since November 2006 -- only included those the intelligence services knew about and that the actual number could be double.

He said there had been 200 terrorist convictions in Britain since the September 11 attacks.

The MI5 head added that over recent years much of the command and inspiration for attack planning in the UK had come from al Qaeda's remaining core leadership in the tribal areas of Pakistan.

However, he said in the last 12 months terrorist plots on British soil were increasingly been inspired by al Qaeda cadres in other countries, including in Iraq and East Africa.

"There is no doubt now that al Qaeda in Iraq aspires to promote terrorist attacks outside Iraq. There is no doubt that there is training activity and terrorist planning in East Africa -- particularly in Somalia -- which is focused on the UK," he told the Society of Editors meeting.

According to Evans, there had been "no decrease" in the number of Russian covert intelligence officers operating in Britain since the end of the Cold War.

He said that resources that could be devoted to counter-terrorism were instead being used to protect Britain against spying by Russia, China and others.

"A number of countries continue to devote considerable time and energy trying to steal our sensitive technology on civilian and military projects, and trying to obtain political and economic intelligence at our expense," he said.
26124  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: When you don't feel like fighting... on: November 05, 2007, 05:43:08 PM
This is the spirit!!!  cool
26125  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Mexico on: November 05, 2007, 01:56:20 PM
Guau Mauricio:

?Puedes sugerir algun fuente digna de fe por honestidad y eficiencia y darnos un URL?

Gracias,
CD
26126  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: When you don't feel like fighting... on: November 05, 2007, 10:39:17 AM
 cheesy grin cool
26127  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Cuba on: November 05, 2007, 10:20:19 AM
A Cuban Hero
By MARY ANASTASIA O'GRADY
November 5, 2007; Page A18
WSJ

Cuban physician Oscar Elías Biscet and seven others will be awarded the presidential medal of freedom by George W. Bush in a White House ceremony today. But Dr. Biscet will not be there to accept his honor in person. Today, like most days for the better part of the past eight years, he is locked away in a dungeon on Fidel Castro's island paradise.

 
Americas columnist Mary Anastasia O'Grady discusses the bold radical maneuvers of a Cuban doctor who is now in prison.
Tales of totalitarian gulags may strike some readers as ancient history, something that happened during Europe's 20th-century experiments in fascism, communism and Nazism. Yet in Cuba, the gulag and its suffering have not ended. Dr. Biscet's medal serves to remind us of this fact. By raising the profile of his struggle for a free Cuba, the award also highlights what Castro's regime fears most. It is not the guns and tanks of some imperial invader, but rather the faith, courage and nonconformity of the country's own people.

Dr. Biscet, 46, is a renowned pacifist and devout Christian. He has said that he is inspired by the examples of Martin Luther King, Gandhi and the Dalai Lama. We know this and much more about his life thanks to the Coalition of Cuban-American Women, which says it documents all the facts it publishes about political prisoners through live testimonies from Cuba.

While practicing medicine in Cuban hospitals for more than a decade, Dr. Biscet became increasingly concerned about the government's abortion practices. In 1998, at a Havana hospital, he took the risk of engaging in a clandestine study on the administration of a drug called rivanol to abort advanced pregnancies. The drug was being widely used, particularly on girls as young as 12, who, having been forced to leave their parents and work in rural areas as part of their schooling, found themselves "in trouble."

The study concluded that rivanol resulted in viable fetuses being born alive. What often happened next horrified Dr. Biscet, who later wrote that, "the umbilical cord was cut and they were allowed to bleed to death or they were wrapped in paper and asphyxiated."

 
As a result of his vocal opposition to these abortion practices he lost his job, his family lost their home and Castro's goons were sent to beat him up. But the bullying didn't work. By now he was actively engaged in resistance against the regime and, as he has written, his conscience would not allow him to back down. Those familiar with Dr. Biscet's work say that he was instrumental in building -- at the grassroots level -- on the impact of Pope John Paul II's visit to Cuba in January 1998. The regime took notice. Dr. Biscet became one of the few dissidents that Castro has ever attacked by name in a speech to the nation. As a proponent of Cuban democracy told me, "It proves that Biscet really got under Castro's skin."

From July 1998 until November 1999, Dr. Biscet was jailed 26 times. During those detentions, he was held for days in windowless cells or thrown in with populations of violent criminals and the mentally ill. In February 2000, he was tried and sentenced to three years in prison for holding a press conference to announce a peaceful march during the 1999 Ibero-American Summit in Havana. The backdrop at the press conference was two Cuban flags hung upside down to protest the state's violations of human rights. He was convicted for "dishonoring national symbols, public disorder and inciting delinquent behavior" and sent to a maximum security prison 450 miles east of Havana, making family visits difficult.

Cuba's political prison system is structured not only to punish dissent, but also to force the "rehabilitation" of the prisoner. Captives who give in, admit the error of their political ways and beg forgiveness sometimes can get out of jail. But Dr. Biscet is no such prisoner. While serving his three-year sentence, he increased his resistance, carrying out fasts and pushing for the release of political prisoners. The regime responded by putting him again in a squalid, solitary confinement cell or among dangerous inmates. He was denied visitors and medical treatment, and his Bible was confiscated.

In late October 2002, Dr. Biscet was released from prison only to be arrested 36 days later as he was preparing to meet with fellow Cuban human-rights advocates. In April 2003, he was convicted, as were 75 others who had been rounded up in the now-infamous March 2003 crackdown on dissent. He received a 25-year sentence for "serving as a mercenary to a foreign state." The Coalition of Cuban-American Women reports that, from November 2003-January 2004, he was held in "an underground dungeon with a common criminal and lost 40 pounds."

His time in solitary has been no less inhumane. Dr. Biscet has described his 3-foot-by-6-foot cell as having no windows or running water. It has a hole in the floor for a toilet and is infested with vermin. One of his confinement periods there lasted 42 days. Dr. Biscet says that "the Cuban government has tortured me during eight years, trying to drive me insane." Perhaps most painfully for the prisoner, his wife has been fired from her job as a nurse and is harassed by the state.

Dr. Biscet says that the regime has offered to let him go if he agrees to leave Cuba. He will not. In an April letter to his wife Elsa, he explained why: "My suffering is much, much less since I began to seek after my dream of being free, but not only for me personally. If I thought only of myself, you know that I would have been free a long time ago, and I would have been rid of these unsettling anxieties. But I want to see my friend's son, my adversary's son, or any citizen laughing happily from the satisfaction in their lives and enjoying a wealth of freedom because it is the only way human talent reaches its maximum splendor. . . ."

Reading those words, it is difficult to think of anyone more deserving of a medal honoring those who serve the cause of freedom.

• Write to O'Grady@wsj.com
26128  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Turkey on: November 05, 2007, 10:16:50 AM
WSJ

Storm Clouds Over Northern Iraq
By NORMAN STONE
November 5, 2007; Page A19

ANKARA -- Condoleezza Rice stepped from an aircraft onto Turkish soil last week for a short, and surely uncomfortable, visit. The U.S. secretary of state fielded sharply pointed and well-informed questions about Iraq and the ongoing attacks on Turkish troops just across the border. Many of those questions will no doubt be repeated in Washington during today's scheduled meeting between Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan and President Bush.

Despite assurances from Ms. Rice that Turkey and the U.S. share a "common enemy" in Kurdish militants, the situation boils down to something of a conundrum: What for America is a solution -- the Kurds -- is for Turkey a terrible problem. In the last few months a terrorist organization, the PKK (it stands for Kurdish Workers' Party) has been killing young Turkish soldiers -- reportedly, at times, with American weapons -- and has established safe havens just over the Iraqi border.

 
The PKK is -- along with Sendero Luminoso in Peru, and the Basque terrorists in Spain -- the last of the Mao-inspired "National Liberation Fronts" that caused such mayhem in what we have to call the developing world. The PKK was founded in 1979, by Turkish-educated students, and in the 1980s and 1990s it was responsible for 37,000 deaths, most of them Kurdish.

Now, from its apparent safe haven in Kurdish northern Iraq, and with an office in Armenia -- was the timing of the U.S. Congress resolution anent the "genocide" coincidental? -- the PKK is back, and this time in a much more dangerous form. The attacks in Turkey have been well-organized, and seemingly on the basis of serious intelligence. So it was that Ms. Rice landed in a Turkey in uproar -- and with an increasingly anti-American citizenry.

One must remember that Turkey and the U.S. have long been key allies, if not dear friends. Adnan Menderes, the first Turkish prime minister to be democratically elected (in 1950), said "whatever America does, is right for us." Menderes opened up the economy and joined NATO. Turkey is a relatively new country, established in 1923 in the rubble of the old Ottoman Empire, and foreign models have been very important. The dominant one was once French, but is now American; and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then Americans in Turkey have good reason to be pleased.

Turkey is now in the same league as, say, South Korea or Taiwan or even Japan as a testimony to the incredible positive influence of postwar America. With her geographical location and her demographic problem, she could have been an Egypt. Instead, she is a Spain -- industrialized, literate, and the only place between Athens and Singapore where people actually want to live: Turkey is home to two million refugees, many from Iran.

American hard power is here, in the shape of NATO institutions and the great air base at Incirlik; and the IMF has been called upon to support the Turkish currency. But it is the "soft power" that you cannot miss. The Turks have even set up private universities on the American model, far more of them than in Western Europe, and thousands of Turkish students make for the States each year.

So, will the PKK and the troubles in northern Iraq bring this so positive relationship to an end? Probably not. Mr. Erdogan and the Turkish elite understand the value of their alliance with the U.S. -- and are unlikely to let the mess of Iraq undo it.

The Turks know Iraq historically and very well. In the days of the Ottoman Empire, three disparate provinces had been ruled from Baghdad, which the Turks had taken in 1638. The empire had originally been Balkan-based, looking to Europe. But the long war with Persia sucked the Turks into the Middle East, and the character of the empire changed.

In the 19th century, following French precepts, the Sultans tried to centralize it, but over Iraq they gave up, and simply did deals with the local powers-that-be, whether the Sunni elite in Baghdad, the Shia (and proto-Iranian) groupings in the south, or various Kurdish tribal chiefs in the mountainous north. One way of controlling them was to set up a "tribal school" in Istanbul, where the sons were educated (they often fought).

One result was that, of all the elements in Iraq, it was the Kurds who were in the end closest to Turkey. After World War I, the British took over Iraq, and there were also shadowy ideas of dividing eastern Turkey between Armenian and Kurdish nation-states. The Kurds, on the whole, opted for Turkey, and contributed much to her war of independence. They were good fighters, which the Armenians, mainly traders, were not, and the Turks won in a remarkable comeback.

At the time, they drew up a "National Pact," and the Kurdish areas of northern Iraq were included as a territorial claim. The British, then occupying Iraq, did not intend to let these oil-rich areas fall into Turkish hands, and manipulated the League of Nations into leaving the Kurdish area in the British-dominated Iraqi colony (or "mandate" as it was known). They then faced a war of all against all, and their chief expert, Lawrence of Arabia, sagely wondered why it was that the British, with 100,000 men, tanks, aircraft and poison gas, could not control a region that the Turks had run with a native army of 14,000 men, executing 90 men per annum. Then, as now.

The Turks' National Pact had much to be said for it, and when the first Iraq War occurred, the then Turkish leader, Turgut Özal (himself half-Kurdish) might even just have annexed Kurdish northern Iraq, if the first Bush administration had been in a creative mode.

Iraq in the end is just another of those artificial, post-1918 creations, like Yugoslavia or Czechoslovakia. Kurds, nomadic tribes for the most part, are settled all over the Middle East, even in Afghanistan, but the Kurdish state is really Turkey; and Istanbul, where (after Black Sea migrants) Kurds are the largest group, is the biggest Kurdish city.

These millions of Kurdish migrants are rapidly becoming assimilated, speaking Turkish among themselves, with, in heated moments, some Kurdish words. Some have become very successful indeed; many have intermarried; even Black Sea taxi drivers, fulminating against dirt and thievery, will say that they have several Kurdish friends.

The Istanbul-based Kurds do not vote for a Kurdish nationalist party at all, and just follow the Turkish ones, secularist, religious (they like the present government) or middle-of-the-road. The fact is that most Kurds in Turkey just want their children to go ahead in the national language -- the more so as there is not even a single Kurdish language: there are four, or even seven, depending on how you classify dialects.

However, in the southeast of Turkey there is a huge Kurdish problem. The region is far poorer than anywhere else: Hakkari on the Iraqi border has a tenth of the GDP per head of Istanbul, and there is a terrible demographic problem, of endless raggedy children, little girls of four dragging tiny tots of two across motorways. The tots will in some cases grow up to hate the Turkish state, to join the PKK, and to look at northern Iraq as the future Kurdistan.

And there they will encounter some sympathy. Northern Iraq is uneasily settled as a Kurdish entity, as the result of a compromise between the chiefs of two tribal federations, Massoud Barzani on the border, Jalal Talabani to the east, and now, formally, president of Iraq. They have fought, in the recent past, but made up their differences in a flood of dollars (which, incidentally, flow back to Turkey, where the dollar and even the euro have been plunging as a result).

Mr. Barzani's own family has a long history of fighting for Kurdistan, and all Turks think that he is playing politics. He does not like the PKK: let the Turks deal with them. On the other hand, with the PKK out of the picture, he will be the lion of the Kurds, as his father tried (with Soviet help) to be.

Meanwhile, if American-Turkish relations are soured, then so much the better: The Americans in Iraq cannot do without him. There is also huge money to be made out of oil, and out of the smuggling of heroin and hashish, as 500,000 trucks go back and forth every year through Mr. Barzani's fiefdom.

So he plays his game, allowing the PKK to raid southeastern Turkey, in the expectation that the resulting trouble can only bring him profit. Mr. Bush and Mr. Erodgan, in their meeting today, should make certain he's wrong.

Mr. Stone is a professor of international relations at Bilkent University in Ankara and author of "World War I: A Short History" (Penguin, 2007).
26129  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Our Founding Fathers: on: November 05, 2007, 08:58:17 AM
"If we desire to insult, we must be able to repel it; if we
desire to secure peace, one of the most powerful instruments of
our rising prosperity, it must be known, that we are at all times
ready for War."

-- George Washington (fifth annual address to Congress, 13
December 1793)
26130  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Want to make a knife for the US Army? on: November 05, 2007, 08:57:12 AM
As far as I know, its dead in the water-- a key player is busy doing other things for our country.
26131  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Middle East War on: November 05, 2007, 08:55:08 AM
Its getting really tricky to figure out in which thread to post about the Kurds!
============
1223 GMT -- TURKEY, IRAQ, IRAN -- Turkish Kurdish rebels are leaving Iraqi Kurdistan for Iran to avoid attack from the Turkish army, The Independent newspaper reported Nov. 6, citing Osman Ocalan, a former leader of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and brother of imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan. The move, he said, is a tactic among PKK members. "When they feel pressure in one country, they move to another." Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is to meet U.S. President George W. Bush in Washington on Nov. 6 to discuss ways to deal with the PKK in Iraqi Kurdistan.

stratfor
26132  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 05, 2007, 08:52:33 AM
And now here's the WSJ's take on this-- not quite the same as Stratfor:

========

Pakistan Emergency
Musharraf backs himself into an even tighter corner.

Monday, November 5, 2007 12:01 a.m. EST

In the war on terror, few problems are more difficult for U.S. foreign policy than our alliance with the nuclear-armed Muslim state of Pakistan. President Pervez Musharraf's imposition of emergency rule this weekend is the latest setback. It runs the risk of making Pakistan even less stable than it already is and makes it harder for Mr. Musharraf to restore democratic legitimacy, as he says he still wants to do.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was quick to criticize Mr. Musharraf's move and said yesterday that the U.S. would review its financial aid to Pakistan, which has amounted to more than $10 billion over the past five years (most of it for the military). Senator Joseph Biden, chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, issued a statement urging the Administration to "move from a Musharraf policy to a Pakistan policy." That oversimplifies both current U.S. policy and the options going forward, but it should indicate to General Musharraf how his "second coup," as some are calling it, will be received in Washington.

Mr. Musharraf defends his emergency decree as a response to rising Islamic militancy and political instability caused by an interfering judiciary. But the timing and his sacking of the chief justice of the Supreme Court suggest that the general was mainly interested in pre-empting a ruling on his recent re-election, which the opposition boycotted. The high court was expected to make a decision soon on that October referendum, and the General couldn't be sure of the outcome.





No one can dispute that Islamic violence is on the rise in Pakistan. Three weeks ago 139 people died in a bomb attack on a homecoming parade for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. More than 800 Pakistanis have perished in suicide bombings and militant attacks since July, when Mr. Musharraf ordered troops to storm the Red Mosque in Islamabad to destroy a Taliban-style movement headquartered there.
But the violence is not the product of democratic opponents of Mr. Musharraf's rule. It is the work of the same Islamist extremists who have also tried to kill the General more than once. Thanks to some of Mr. Musharraf's own mistakes, such as a 2006 truce, those forces have been able to build safe havens in the tribal areas along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. Far from targeting those forces, however, the weekend action has included rounding up democratic politicians, lawyers and human rights activists. The General also suspended the constitution and closed down the free media. By attacking these sources of moderate civil society, Mr. Musharraf makes it easier for the Islamists to pose as the main opposition.

A more effective way to defeat the extremists is by respecting the rule of law and introducing a democratic government that reflects the wishes of Pakistan's mostly moderate population. This is the course Pakistan had been on in recent weeks. With encouragement from Washington, Mr. Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup, was working toward a political compromise with democratic opponents. He had pledged to give up his military role by mid-November and become a civilian President. He brokered a tentative power-sharing deal with Ms. Bhutto that would have curtailed religious parties' power in Parliament. Elections, which may now be delayed, were scheduled for January.





It will now be more difficult, though not impossible, to get back on this track. Ms. Bhutto, who condemned the state of emergency as the "blackest day" in Pakistan's history, pointedly did not rule out continuing power-sharing talks with Mr. Musharraf. Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz told a news conference yesterday that "We are committed to making sure that elections are held and that \[the\] democratic process flourishes in Pakistan." But the decree will make it harder for Ms. Bhutto to agree to any deal with the General.
The main U.S. interest here is a stable Pakistan that can help defeat the jihadists. That interest won't be served by precipitously moving to sever ties with Mr. Musharraf, or with the Pakistan military the way the U.S. did in the 1990s. That would only reduce whatever leverage the U.S. continues to have with Islamabad, as well as reduce the prospects for cooperation in pursuing al Qaeda safe havens.

The Bush Administration will have to speak clearly to Pakistanis that its support for its government is not limited to Mr. Musharraf, and to loudly and publicly urge the General to honor his pledge to relinquish his military commission and hold elections as soon as possible. After this weekend, it is clearer than ever that U.S. policy has to prepare for the post-Musharraf era.

26133  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: November 05, 2007, 08:51:11 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Making Sense of Pakistan

Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf finally pulled the trigger Nov. 3 after many weeks of keeping the world guessing. He declared a state of emergency, essentially took control of the judiciary, arrested a group of dissidents and shut down private media outlets (including access to foreign media). The immediate issue was the role of the Supreme Court in freeing 61 individuals charged with terrorism. The deeper issue has to do with the role of the military in Pakistani society.

The Pakistani military has been the guarantor of the state from the beginning -- and therefore has been, in the long run, the arbiter of Pakistani politics. Musharraf's coup in 1999 simply made clear Pakistan's underlying reality. Pakistan is a deeply divided entity (it is not quite reasonable to call it a nation) presided over by a state. Whatever the formal character of the state, be it democratic, military, Islamist or otherwise, the greatest threat to Pakistan's territorial integrity comes from the divisions among the country's various ethnic groups. Pakistan requires a unified military to ensure cohesion.

Whatever demonstrations there are, whatever politicians may say, whether elections are held or not -- so long as military cohesion holds, the military will be the glue of society. Much of the rest that goes on is irrelevant.

Two things are therefore interesting and important. First, there is no visible sign of dissent within the military concerning Musharraf's move; thus far, the corps commanders or their subordinates do not appear to be resisting. Second, there is no indication of any mass resistance to the state of emergency. Nov. 5 will be the test -- so far it has been the weekend -- but by all reports any demonstrations have been scattered, small and quickly suppressed.

The question is why Musharraf made this move. To a great extent it had to do with his own political survival rather than survival of the regime. There was great pressure on Musharraf to take off his uniform -- to leave the military and become a civilian leader. However, Musharraf understands what many others do not: His power and legitimacy come from his role in the military, not in spite of it. By giving up his uniform, he would be leaving the chain of command and thereby turning ultimate power over to his successor in the military. However carefully picked, that successor would command the army, and in due course would hold ultimate political power as well.

Musharraf was not going to allow that to happen. He was not prepared to leave the stage just yet; he planned to stay in uniform and put off the election. The challenge from the Supreme Court was simply the catalyst for Musharraf's deeper decision. His calculation was that, following the immediate shock to the Pakistani polity, things would settle down and he would continue to hold power. There is no indication thus far that he was wrong about this.

The United States scolded Musharraf publicly (and likely privately as well), but in truth Washington has only two interests in Pakistan. First, it wants a state that will fight Islamists along the Afghan border. Second, it wants a government that will hold Pakistan together and prevent internal collapse. In that sense, whatever the moral sentiments expressed by the administration, the United States has only one issue with Musharraf's move: that it had better not fail.

We suspect that the army remains united and will support Musharraf, and therefore we expect the move to work. Musharraf (or someone like him) will continue to govern. But that doesn't bring us closer to answering the fundamental question: what exactly is this entity he is governing?
stratfor
26134  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: November 05, 2007, 08:01:32 AM
Giuliani Judges Lean Left
By: Ben Smith
March 3, 2007 12:23 AM EST

When Rudy Giuliani faces Republicans concerned about his support of gay rights and legal abortion, he reassures them that he is a conservative on the decisions that matter most.

"I would want judges who are strict constructionists because I am," he told South Carolina Republicans last month. "Those are the kinds of justices I would appoint -- Scalia, Alito and Roberts."

But most of Giuliani's judicial appointments during his eight years as mayor of New York were hardly in the model of Chief Justice John Roberts or Samuel Alito -- much less aggressive conservatives in the mold of Antonin Scalia.

A Politico review of the 75 judges Giuliani appointed to three of New York state's lower courts found that Democrats outnumbered Republicans by more than 8 to 1. One of his appointments was an officer of the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Judges. Another ruled that the state law banning liquor sales on Sundays was unconstitutional because it was insufficiently secular.

A third, an abortion-rights supporter, later made it to the federal bench in part because New York Sen. Charles E. Schumer, a liberal Democrat, said he liked her ideology.

Cumulatively, Giuilani's record was enough to win applause from people like Kelli Conlin, the head of NARAL Pro-Choice New York, the state's leading abortion-rights group. "They were decent, moderate people," she said.

"I don't think he was looking for someone who was particularly conservative," added Barry Kamins, a Democrat who chaired the panel of the Bar Association of the City of New York, which reviewed Giuliani's appointments. "He picked a variety from both sides of the spectrum. They were qualified, even-tempered, academically strong."

That is the kind of praise that will amount to damnation (not necessarily faint) among some of the people Giuliani will be trying to impress in Washington on Friday, when he addresses the Conservative Political Action Conference. The group is filled with social conservatives, for whom the effort to recast the ideological orientation of the federal judiciary has been a generation-long project. Giuliani already faced a high threshold of skepticism from many of these activists because of his comparatively liberal record on such hot-button issues as abortion rights, tolerance of gays and gun control.

Giuliani's judicial appointments continue to win good reviews in New York legal circles for being what conservatives sometimes say they want: competent lawyers selected with no regard to "litmus tests" on hot-button social issues. Many of these people were in the mode of Giuliani himself: tough-on-crime former prosecutors with reformist streaks and muted ideologies.

"He took it very seriously -- he spent a lot of time with these candidates," recalled Paul Curran, a Republican and former U.S. attorney who chaired Giuliani's Commission on Judicial Nominations. "He was looking for judges who were willing to enforce the laws."

The mayor of New York appoints judges to three of the state's lowest courts, the Criminal Court and Family Court, which deal with lower-grade crimes than the state's Supreme Court, the main trial court and the Civil Court, which deals in relatively small financial disputes.

When Giuliani took office in 1994, he inherited a system of judicial appointments created by one of his predecessors, Ed Koch, and designed to insulate the courts from political influence. Under the system, the mayor appoints members of an independent panel. Aspiring judges apply to the panel, which recommends three candidates for each vacancy. The mayor chooses among the three.

Giuliani, a former U.S. attorney, and top aides who remain close to him, Dennison Young and Michael Hess, reviewed the applications.

Giuliani cast himself in New York not as a conservative (he had actually run on the Liberal Party line) but as a reformer. Though at least 50 of his 75 appointees were registered Democrats (only six were registered Republicans), Giuliani also won praise for, some say, appointing fewer judges with ties to local Democratic politics than his predecessors.

"It was not people coming out of the clubhouses, which is what I'd seen earlier," said Charles Moerdler, a member of the Commission on Judicial Nominations who had served other mayors in the same capacity. "I did not support Rudy (the first time he ran) because he was too conservative for me, so I was very alert to that, but I didn't see any litmus tests on his part," he said.

Giuliani's judges serve across New York's courts, where they're more likely to encounter misdemeanant celebrities -- Boy George and Naomi Campbell have appeared recently in front of his appointees -- than they are to tangle with the Establishment Clause. Some, like a Family Court judge who ruled that an unmarried couple couldn't adopt, would please national conservatives. But many of their occasional forays into jurisprudence would likely make Scalia wince.

Charles Posner, a Brooklyn judge appointed by Giuliani, made the kind of decision that keeps conservatives up nights when he was asked to levy a fine against a shopkeeper, Abdulsam Yafee, who had illegally sold beer at 3:30 a.m. on a Sunday. In an unusual, lengthy 2004 ruling, Posner found that "there is no secular reason why beer cannot be sold on Sunday morning as opposed to any other morning."

Noting that Sunday is only the Christian Sabbath, Posner continued, "Other than this entanglement with religion, there is no rational basis for mandating Sunday as a day of rest as opposed to any other day."
Giuliani was out of office at the time of the decision and, in any case, had no say over his appointees' rulings. His spokeswoman, Maria Comella, declined to comment on the difference between the judges he appointed and those he promises to appoint.

Another Giuliani appointee reached a socially conservative verdict by a means that might not please strict constructionists. Judge Michael Sonberg denied a motion by two Bronx strip-club owners to dismiss prostitution charges against them that were based on dancers' offering "lap dances" to an undercover officer.

Sonberg ruled that the changing "cultural and sexual practices" of the previous two decades permitted him to alter the definition of prostitution.
"Statutory construction cannot remain static while entrepreneurial creativity brings forth heretofore unimagined sexual 'diversions,' " he wrote in a ruling that would have pleased social conservatives while, perhaps, alarming strict constructionists and strippers alike.

More troubling to some of the social conservatives Giuliani is courting, however, would have been Sonberg's other affiliation: When he was appointed in 1995, he was already an officer of the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Judges, a professional group. After his appointment, he became the group's president.

Laboring in the state's lower courts, few of Giuliani's other appointees show signs of ideological leanings. Two, however, were appointed to federal district courts -- one of them, Richard Berman, by President Bill Clinton. The other, Dora Irizarry, was a Bush nominee considered so liberal that Schumer pushed her nomination through.

Irizarry, appointed by Giuliani to the Bronx Criminal Court in 1996, had disclosed that she considers herself "pro-choice" during her 2002 campaign for New York state attorney general. Her appointment to the federal bench was almost derailed when the American Bar Association ruled her "not qualified" on the grounds that as a state judge, she had been "gratuitously rude and abrasive" and "flew off the handle in a rage."

But to Schumer, who led the fight against Bush's appellate judges, Irizarry was a Republican he could live with.

"Temperament is not at the top of my list," Schumer explained at the time, when asked why he supported the former Giuliani appointee. "Ideology is key." 


http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0207/2957.html
26135  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: "You go to war with the citizens you have, not the citizens you want." on: November 05, 2007, 07:49:42 AM
12 Myths of 21st-Century War
Unaware of the cost of freedom and served by leaders without military expertise, Americans have started to believe whatever's comfortable.
 The American Legion Magazine  November, 2007, By Ralph Peters
Ralph Peters is a retired Army officer, strategist and author of 22 books, including the recent "Wars of Blood and Faith: The Conflicts That Will Shape the 21st Century."

  We're in trouble. We're in danger of losing more wars. Our troops haven't forgotten how to fight. We've never had better men and women in uniform. But our leaders and many of our fellow Americans no longer grasp what war means or what it takes to win.
 Thanks to those who have served in uniform, we've lived in such safety and comfort for so long that for many Americans sacrifice means little more than skipping a second trip to the buffet table.  Two trends over the past four decades contributed to our national ignorance of the cost, and necessity, of victory.
  First, the most privileged Americans used the Vietnam War as an excuse to break their tradition of uniformed service. Ivy League universities once produced heroes. Now they resist Reserve Officer Training Corps representation on their campuses.
  Yet, our leading universities still produce a disproportionate number of U.S. political leaders. The men and women destined to lead us in wartime dismiss military service as a waste of their time and talents. Delighted to pose for campaign photos with our troops, elected officials in private disdain the military. Only one serious presidential aspirant in either party is a veteran, while another presidential hopeful pays as much for a single haircut as I took home in a month as an Army private.
  Second, we've stripped in-depth U.S. history classes out of our schools. Since the 1960s, one history course after another has been cut, while the content of those remaining focuses on social issues and our alleged misdeeds. Dumbed-down textbooks minimize the wars that kept us free. As a result, ignorance of the terrible price our troops had to pay for freedom in the past creates absurd expectations about our present conflicts. When the media offer flawed or biased analyses, the public lacks the knowledge to make informed judgments.
  This combination of national leadership with no military expertise and a population that hasn't been taught the cost of freedom leaves us with a government that does whatever seems expedient and a citizenry that believes whatever's comfortable. Thus, myths about war thrive
.
Myth No. 1: War doesn't change anything.
  This campus slogan contradicts all of human history. Over thousands of years, war has been the last resort - and all too frequently the first resort - of tribes, religions, dynasties, empires, states and demagogues driven by grievance, greed or a heartless quest for glory. No one believes that war is a good thing, but it is sometimes necessary. We need not agree in our politics or on the manner in which a given war is prosecuted, but we can't pretend that if only we laid down our arms all others would do the same.
  Wars, in fact, often change everything. Who would argue that the American Revolution, our Civil War or World War II changed nothing? Would the world be better today if we had been pacifists in the face of Nazi Germany and imperial Japan?
  Certainly, not all of the changes warfare has wrought through the centuries have been positive. Even a just war may generate undesirable results, such as Soviet tyranny over half of Europe after 1945. But of one thing we may be certain: a U.S. defeat in any war is a defeat not only for freedom, but for civilization. Our enemies believe that war can change the world. And they won't be deterred by bumper stickers.

Myth No. 2: Victory is impossible today.
  Victory is always possible, if our nation is willing to do what it takes to win. But victory is, indeed, impossible if U.S. troops are placed under impossible restrictions, if their leaders refuse to act boldly, if every target must be approved by lawyers, and if the American people are disheartened by a constant barrage of negativity from the media. We don't need generals who pop up behind microphones to apologize for every mistake our soldiers make. We need generals who win.
 And you can't win if you won't fight. We're at the start of a violent struggle that will ebb and flow for decades, yet our current generation of leaders, in and out of uniform, worries about hurting the enemy's feelings.
  One of the tragedies of our involvement in Iraq is that while we did a great thing by removing Saddam Hussein, we tried to do it on the cheap. It's an iron law of warfare that those unwilling to pay the butcher's bill up front will pay it with compound interest in the end. We not only didn't want to pay that bill, but our leaders imagined that we could make friends with our enemies even before they were fully defeated. Killing a few hundred violent actors like Moqtada al-Sadr in 2003 would have prevented thousands of subsequent American deaths and tens of thousands of Iraqi deaths. We started something our national leadership lacked the guts to finish.
  Despite our missteps, victory looked a great deal less likely in the early months of 1942 than it does against our enemies today. Should we have surrendered after the fall of the Philippines?
  Today's opinionmakers and elected officials have lost their grip on what it takes to win. In the timeless words of Nathan Bedford Forrest, "War means fighting, and fighting means killing."  And in the words of Gen. Douglas MacArthur, "It is fatal to enter any war without the will to win it."

Myth No. 3: Insurgencies can never be defeated.
  Historically, fewer than one in 20 major insurgencies succeeded. Virtually no minor ones survived. In the mid-20th century, insurgencies scored more wins than previously had been the case, but that was because the European colonial powers against which they rebelled had already decided to rid themselves of their imperial possessions. Even so, more insurgencies were defeated than not, from the Philippines to Kenya to Greece. In the entire 18th century, our war of independence was the only insurgency that defeated a major foreign power and drove it out for good.
  The insurgencies we face today are, in fact, more lethal than the insurrections of the past century. We now face an international terrorist insurgency as well as local rebellions, all motivated by religious passion or ethnicity or a fatal compound of both. The good news is that in over 3,000 years of recorded history, insurgencies motivated by faith and blood overwhelmingly failed. The bad news is that they had to be put down with remorseless bloodshed.

Myth No. 4: There's no military solution; only negotiations can solve our problems.
  In most cases, the reverse is true. Negotiations solve nothing until a military decision has been reached and one side recognizes a peace agreement as its only hope of survival. It would be a welcome development if negotiations fixed the problems we face in Iraq, but we're the only side interested in a negotiated solution. Every other faction – the terrorists, Sunni insurgents, Shia militias, Iran and Syria - is convinced it can win.
  The only negotiations that produce lasting results are those conducted from positions of indisputable strength.

Myth No. 5: When we fight back, we only provoke our enemies.
  When dealing with bullies, either in the schoolyard or in a global war, the opposite is true: if you don't fight back, you encourage your enemy to behave more viciously. Passive resistance only works when directed against rule-of-law states, such as the core English-speaking nations. It doesn't work where silent protest is answered with a bayonet in the belly or a one-way trip to a political prison. We've allowed far too many myths about the "innate goodness of humanity" to creep up on us. Certainly, many humans would rather be good than bad. But if we're unwilling to fight the fraction of humanity that's evil, armed and determined to subjuga te the rest, we'll face even grimmer conflicts.

Myth No. 6: Killing terrorists only turns them into martyrs.
  It's an anomaly of today's Western world that privileged individuals feel more sympathy for dictators, mass murderers and terrorists - consider the irrational protests against Guantanamo - than they do for their victims. We were told, over and over, that killing Osama bin Laden or Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, hanging Saddam Hussein or targeting the Taliban's Mullah Omar would only unite their followers. Well, we haven't yet gotten Osama or Omar, but Zarqawi's dead and forgotten by his own movement, whose members never invoke that butcher's memory. And no one is fighting to avenge Saddam. The harsh truth is that when faced with true fanatics, killing them is the only way to end their influence.
  Imprisoned, they galvanize protests, kidnappings, bombings and attacks that seek to free them. Want to make a terrorist a martyr? Just lock him up. Attempts to try such monsters in a court of law turn into mockeries that only provide public platforms for their hate speech, which the global media is delighted to broadcast. Dead, they're dead.
  And killing them is the ultimate proof that they lack divine protection. Dead terrorists don't kill.

Myth No. 7: If we fight as fiercely as our enemies, we're no better than them.
  Did the bombing campaign against Germany turn us into Nazis? Did dropping atomic bombs on Japan to end the war and save hundreds of thousands of American lives, as well as millions of Japanese lives, turn us into the beasts who conducted the Bataan Death March?
  The greatest immorality is for the United States to lose a war. While we seek to be as humane as the path to victory permits, we cannot shrink from doing what it takes to win. At present, the media and influential elements of our society are obsessed with the small immoralities that are inevitable in wartime.
  Soldiers are human, and no matter how rigorous their training, a miniscule fraction of our troops will do vicious things and must be punished as a consequence. Not everyone in uniform will turn out to be a saint, and not every chain of command will do its job with equal effectiveness.
  But obsessing on tragic incidents - of which there have been remarkably few in Iraq or Afghanistan - obscures the greater moral issue: the need to defeat enemies who revel in butchering the innocent, who celebrate atrocities, and who claim their god wants blood.

Myth No. 8: The United States is more hated today than ever before.
  Those who served in Europe during the Cold War remember enormous, often-violent protests against U.S. policy that dwarfed today's let's-have-fun-on-a-Sunday-afternoon rallies. Older readers recall the huge ban-the-bomb, pro-communist demonstrations of the 1950s and the vast seas of demonstrators filling the streets of Paris, Rome and Berlin to protest our commitment to Vietnam. Imagine if we'd had 24/7 news coverage of those rallies.
  I well remember serving in Germany in the wake of our withdrawal from Saigon, when U.S. soldiers were despised by the locals – who nonetheless were willing to take our money - and terrorists tried to assassinate U.S. generals.
  The fashionable anti-Americanism of the chattering classes hasn't stopped the world from seeking one big green card. As I've traveled around the globe since 9/11, I've found that below the government-spokesman/professional-radical level, the United States remains the great dream for university graduates from Berlin to Bangalore to Bogota.
  On the domestic front, we hear ludicrous claims that our country has never been so divided. Well, that leaves out our Civil War. Our historical amnesia also erases the violent protests of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the mass confrontations, rioting and deaths. Is today's America really more fractured than it was in 1968?

Myth No. 9: Our invasion of Iraq created our terrorist problems.
  This claim rearranges the order of events, as if the attacks of 9/11 happened after Baghdad fell. Our terrorist problems have been created by the catastrophic failure of Middle Eastern civilization to compete on any front and were exacerbated by the determination of successive U.S. administrations, Democrat and Republican, to pretend that Islamist terrorism was a brief aberration. Refusing to respond to attacks, from the bombings in Beirut to Khobar Towers, from the first attack on the Twin Towers to the near-sinking of the USS Cole, we allowed our enemies to believe that we were weak and cowardly. Their unchallenged successes served as a powerful recruiting tool.
  Did our mistakes on the ground in Iraq radicalize some new recruits for terror? Yes. But imagine how many more recruits there might have been and the damage they might have inflicted on our homeland had we not responded militarily in Afghanistan and then carried the fight to Iraq. Now Iraq is al-Qaeda's Vietnam, not ours.

Myth No. 10: If we just leave, the Iraqis will patch up their differences on their own.
  The point may come at which we have to accept that Iraqis are so determined to destroy their own future that there's nothing more we can do. But we're not there yet, and leaving immediately would guarantee not just one massacre but a series of slaughters and the delivery of a massive victory to the forces of terrorism.
  We must be open-minded about practical measures, from changes in strategy to troop reductions, if that's what the developing situation warrants. But it's grossly irresponsible to claim that our presence is the primary cause of the violence in Iraq - an allegation that ignores history.

Myth No. 11: It's all Israel's fault. Or the popular Washington corollary: "The Saudis are our friends."
  Israel is the Muslim world's excuse for failure, not a reason for it. Even if we didn't support Israel, Islamist extremists would blame us for countless other imagined wrongs, since they fear our freedoms and our culture even more than they do our military. All men and women of conscience must recognize the core difference between Israel and its neighbors: Israel genuinely wants to live in peace, while its genocidal neighbors want Israel erased from the map.
  As for the mad belief that the Saudis are our friends, it endures only because the Saudis have spent so much money on both sides of the aisle in Washington. Saudi money continues to subsidize anti-Western extremism, to divide fragile societies, and encourage hatred between Muslims and all others. Saudi extremism has done far more damage to the Middle East than Israel ever did. The Saudis are our enemies.

Myth No. 12: The Middle East's problems are all America's fault.
  Muslim extremists would like everyone to believe this, but it just isn't true. The collapse of once great Middle Eastern civilizations has been under way for more than five centuries, and the region became a backwater before the United States became a country. For the first century and a half of our national existence, our relations with the people of the Middle East were largely beneficent and protective, notwithstanding our conflict with the Barbary Pirates in North Africa.
  But Islamic civilization was on a downward trajectory that could not be arrested. Its social and economic structures, its values, its neglect of education, its lack of scientific curiosity, the indolence of its ruling classes and its inability to produce a single modern state that served its people all guaranteed that, as the West's progress accelerated, the Middle East would fall ever farther behind.
  The Middle East has itself to blame for its problems. None of us knows what our strategic future holds, but we have no excuse for not knowing our own past. We need to challenge inaccurate assertions about our policies, about our past and about war itself. And we need to work within our community and state education systems to return balanced, comprehensive history programs to our schools. The unprecedented wealth and power of the United States allows us to afford many things denied to human beings throughout history. But we, the people, cannot afford ignorance.
26136  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: November 04, 2007, 10:32:30 AM
Holocaust Denial and Tehran
By ROYA HAKAKIAN
November 3, 2007; Page A8

Dictatorships bear paradoxes. I came across a set of them 10 years ago, when I hosted a dinner for two female Iranian medical students who'd come to Yale Medical School on a rare academic exchange program. These impressive women had climbed to the top 10th percentile in a man's profession, in a man's country. But I was stunned to learn that -- despite 16 years of education at some of Iran's premiere schools -- neither had ever heard of the word "Holocaust," or thought of Hitler as anything but the German equivalent of Napoleon.

Tehran's Holocaust denial did not begin with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It began in 1979 with the Islamic Revolution and the subsequent miseducation of the entire post-revolutionary generation. The Holocaust did not exist in the textbooks of my two young guests, and there was hardly any literature about it in Persian.

Now, millions of Iranian youths are hearing about the Holocaust for the first time through the airing of a government-sponsored soap opera called "Zero Degree Turn." In it, the Islamic Republic's handpicked director, Hassan Fatthi, breaks the regime's taboos. Beautiful women appear without the Islamic dress code. Men and women also come together, hold hands, and even fall into a fleeting embrace.

In the end, however, the program offers little more than an aesthetically pleasing venue for the regime's usual diatribes. Its linchpin is a conspiracy theory: Two Israeli agents assassinate the chief rabbi of Tehran to frighten the Iranian Jewish community into leaving Iran for Israel. The noble chief of the Iranian embassy in France, Abdol Hossein Sardari, who facilitated the escape of hundreds of Iranian and French Jews by providing them with Iranian passports, is portrayed as a mere opportunist motivated by bribes.

The good news is that Iran is now home to a highly rebellious young generation that is deeply disenchanted with the status quo and suspicious of government propaganda in all its forms, including misinformation about Jews and Israel. Iranians actually possess a healthy curiosity toward Israel. In the 2006 war between Israel and Lebanon's Hezbollah, for example, young Iranians were reportedly not interested in supporting Hezbollah, and were vehemently against their government's investment in it.

Unfortunately, Mr. Ahmadinejad steals the spotlight. With his threats toward Israel and his dreams of a nuclear Iran he has engendered a fear, however legitimate, that too often blinds Western and Israeli leaders of the broader, more complex realities of the Iranian people. American, European and Israeli media are full of dire warnings about the threat of a nuclear Iran. There is little mention of the plight of the Iranians themselves, or the ripe opportunity presented by a nation disenchanted with 30 years of theocratic rule: A people that has historically been friendly to Jews, can, with some effort, be so once again.

Mr. Ahmadinejad, along with his coterie of fundamentalist radicals, is already a threat to Israel and the region. But they do not represent everyday Iranians. And as much as the regime in Tehran would like to deny it, a more accepting, rational view of Israel was once held by Iranian leaders.

In the early 1960s, several leading Iranian intellectuals traveled to Israel on the invitation of the Israeli foreign ministry and for the most part, the travelogues of their trips amounted to what may be the longest love letter to Israel ever to be penned in Persian. That sentiment, of course, would change dramatically. But for several years at least, it seemed that it would determine the attitude of an entire generation toward Israel.

Iran's Holocaust education could begin in Iran itself. Through the Port of Pahlavi in 1942, tens of thousands of Polish refugees, Jewish and non-Jewish, escaped the Nazis found a safe haven in Iran. Eventually, the majority of them relocated to other parts of the world. Yet, hundreds fell in love with "Persia" and stayed. Iranians could learn of their shared history with the Jewish people by visiting the hundreds of Polish graves in Tehran's Doulab cemetery alone.

Despite the regime's anti-Semitic rhetoric, the people have held fast to the values of their ancient civilization. They pride themselves on the idea that they have accepted members of other religions and ethnicities as equals, and as Iranians.

Ms. Hakakian is the author of "Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran" (Three Rivers Press, 2005), a memoir of growing up Jewish in Iran.
26137  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam the religion on: November 04, 2007, 07:53:01 AM
Most Muslims Reject Terrorism?
By Robert Spencer
FrontPageMagazine.com | 11/2/2007

The controversy over Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week largely centered around the spurious charge that the term “Islamo-Fascism” itself defames all Muslims by suggesting that they are fascists, or support terrorism. Of course, this charge rests on the illogical premise that “Islamo-Fascism” is somehow a different kind of term from “white racism” or “Italian fascism,” which no one has ever taken to suggest that all whites are racists or all Italians fascists. But the real core of the problem is that a discussion of Islamic jihad terrorism and Islamic supremacism in general is supposed to be somehow offensive to the great majority of Muslims who are loyal, patriotic citizens of their respective countries and abhor terrorism. There is no reason why it should be offensive. What’s more, survey after survey reveals that the attachment of these groups to the global jihad is generally stronger than most analysts assume it to be. In January 2007, columnist Michael Freund summed up some disquieting recent survey results: 25% of Muslims in Britain approved of the July 7, 2005 jihad terror bombings in London; 30% said they would rather live under Sharia than in a Western pluralistic society. 44% of Muslims in Nigeria thought suicide attacks were “often” or “sometimes” justified, with only 28% rejecting them in all cases. Roughly 14% of Muslims in France, Britain and Spain approved of suicide attacks against civilian targets, and only 45% of Muslims in Egypt considered terror never justified.
And in an Al-Jazeera survey on September 11, 2006, 49.9% of the respondents avowed that they did indeed support Osama bin Laden. Freund adds: “And the July 2006 global Pew survey found that among Muslims, a quarter of Jordanians, a third of Indonesians, 38% of Pakistanis and 61% of Nigerians all expressed confidence in the mass murderer who founded al-Qaida.”
Freund also notes that “in Israel, the percentages are even more alarming. After Cpl. Gilad Shalit was abducted by Hamas terrorists last summer, a poll conducted by the Jerusalem Media and Communications Center revealed that 77.2% of Palestinians supported the kidnapping, while 66.8% said they would back additional such attacks. More than six out of 10 Palestinians also said they were in favor of firing Kassam rockets at Israeli towns and cities….” And in Lebanon in the summer of 2006, “the Beirut Center for Research and Information found that over 80% of the Lebanese population said they supported Hizbullah.”
Some of the results of the Pew Research Center poll of Muslims in America, released in May 2007, were likewise startling: twenty-six percent of Muslims between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine affirmed that there could be justification in some (unspecified) circumstances for suicide bombing, and five percent of all the Muslims surveyed said that they had a favorable view of Al-Qaeda. Given the Pew Center’s estimate of 2.35 million Muslims in America, and the total of thirteen percent that avowed a belief that suicide bombings could ever be justified, that’s over 180,000 supporters of suicide attacks (subtracting the number of children).
Poll results are no better elsewhere. Much was made in the international media of a July 2007 Pew Research Center of attitudes among Muslims in 47 countries. AP reported that “the percentage of Jordanian Muslims who have confidence in bin Laden as a world leader fell 36 percentage points to 20 percent since 2003 while the proportion who say suicide bombing is sometimes or always justified dropped 20 percent points to 23 percent. Other countries where support for bin Laden declined are Lebanon, Indonesia, Turkey, Pakistan and Kuwait.” Support for suicide attacks dropped sharply in Lebanon, from 79 percent in 2002 to 34 percent in 2007, and in Pakistan from 41 percent in 2004 to only nine percent in 2007. Among Palestinians it remained high, with only six percent affirming that suicide attacks could never be justified.
These declines are encouraging, but the percentages approving of people and practices we have been endlessly told appeal only to a “tiny minority of extremists” are still uncomfortably high. Clearly the Islamic jihad being waged today by Osama bin Laden and his compatriots all over the globe has great appeal among Muslims, and as bin Laden and other jihadists consistently portray themselves as the pure Muslims who are practicing the true Islam, it is clear that that portrayal is convincing to all too many. For these percentages of approval to drop definitively, peaceful Muslims would have to mount comprehensive efforts to counter the jihad ideology of Islamic supremacism within mosques and Islamic schools all over the Muslim world as well as in the West.
But no one has made any effort to do that.
Robert Spencer is a scholar of Islamic history, theology, and law and the director of Jihad Watch. He is the author of seven books, eight monographs, and hundreds of articles about jihad and Islamic terrorism, including the New York Times BestsellersThe Politically Incorrect Guide to Islam (and the Crusades) and The Truth About Muhammad. His latest book is Religion of Peace?.
26138  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Islamic Countries: on: November 03, 2007, 09:07:03 AM

Saudi Marriage 'Expert' Advises Men in 'Right Way' to Beat Their Wives

Friday, November 02, 2007
Move over, Dr. Phil, there's a new relationship expert in town.
He's Saudi author and cleric, "Dr." Muhammad Al-'Arifi, who in a remarkable segment broadcast on Saudi and Kuwaiti television in September, counseled young Muslim men on how to treat their wives.
"Admonish them – once, twice, three times, four times, ten times," he advised. "If this doesn't help, refuse to share their beds."
And if that doesn't work?
"Beat them," one of his three young advisees responded.
"That's right," Al-'Arifi said.
Click here to view the segment at MEMRITV.org
He goes on to calmly explain to the young men that hitting their future wives in the face is a no-no.
"Beating in the face is forbidden, even when it comes to animals," he explained. "Even if you want your camel or donkey to start walking, you are not allowed to beat it in the face. If this is true for animals, it is all the more true when it comes to humans. So beatings should be light and not in the face."
/**/
His final words of wisdom?
"Woman, it has gone too far. I can't bear it anymore," he tells the men to tell their wives. "If he beats her, the beatings must be light and must not make her face ugly.
"He must beat her where it will not leave marks. He should not beat her on the hand... He should beat her in some places where it will not cause any damage. He should not beat her like he would beat an animal or a child -- slapping them right and left.
"Unfortunately, many husbands beat their wives only when they get mad, and when they start beating, it as if they are punching a wall – they beat with their hands, right and left, and sometimes use their feet. Brother, it is a human being you are beating. This is forbidden. He must not do this."
Take that, Match.com!

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,307680,00.html
26139  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal issues on: November 03, 2007, 08:26:01 AM
A Sinkable Treaty
Why America doesn't need the Law of the Sea.

Saturday, November 3, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee voted 17-4 Wednesday to approve the Law of the Sea Treaty, meaning it's now up to 34 Senate Republicans to send this giant octopus of a document back where it belongs. To wit, the bottom of the ocean.

The U.S. last disposed of the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea--LOST to its critics--when Ronald Reagan was President. This May, however, the Bush Administration reversed course and declared that the Gipper's objections had been fixed by a 1994 amendment. We've since had a debate on these pages over that point, with former Secretaries of State George Shultz and James Baker in favor, while Ed Meese and William Clark, Reagan's Attorney General and National Security Adviser, remain opposed.

The best arguments for the treaty come from the U.S. Navy, which likes how it creates a legal framework for navigational rights. The oil and gas industry approves of provisions that create an "exclusive economic zone" for the U.S. out to 200 miles. There's also the potential for development (with clear legal title) of resources in the deep seabed, which would be managed by the International Seabed Authority on which the U.S. would be guaranteed a seat. And, in fact, the 1994 amendment did get rid of some of LOST's most obnoxious provisions, such as mandatory technology transfers and other redistributionist nostrums.





Then again, the Navy has been getting along fine by using the "customary law" that has guaranteed freedom of the seas for three centuries. Treaty proponents have taken to arguing that, unless we ratify, Russia will lay claim to oil rights over the Arctic seabed. But Russia's expansive Arctic claims, possibly including the sea floor under the North Pole, are themselves a product of the treaty. We also hear that the U.S. must have its proverbial "seat at the table" in negotiations over such claims. But the nations with a direct geographic Arctic claim ought to be able to cut a deal without giving Cuba or Zimbabwe a seat. America's historic experience with similar multinational bodies (e.g., the U.N. Human Rights Commission) hardly justifies confidence that having a seat will enhance our influence, rather than constrain it.
The larger problem is the treaty's sheer size, with no fewer than 320 articles and nine annexes. These cover everything from "Criminal jurisdiction on board a foreign ship" (Article 27) to "Anadromous stocks" and "Catadromous Species" (Articles 65 and 66) to the "Jurisdiction of the Seabed Disputes Chamber" (Article 187). Much of this is anodyne, but perhaps the Senators should read the fine print before voting. They might be surprised by what they find.

Consider the treaty's potential effects on military activities. The Administration says these are excluded from the treaty and, further, that the U.S. gets to decide what constitutes such activity. But then how to explain Article 20, which states that "In the territorial sea, submarines and other underwater vehicles are required to navigate on the surface and to show their flag." How will this affect the ability of U.S. submarines to gather intelligence in coastal waters or deploy special forces on hostile shores? Last we checked, a $1 billion submarine called the USS Jimmy Carter had been built precisely for that purpose.

The Navy might also ask how its powerful sonars--which some environmentalists say harm marine life--could run afoul of Article 196. This states that countries "shall take all measures necessary to prevent, reduce and control pollution of the marine environment resulting from the use of technologies under their jurisdiction or control."

Or take concerns that the treaty's requirements on pollution are a back-door mechanism for forcing U.S. compliance with the Kyoto Treaty and other global environmental pacts. Confronted with the argument, an Administration spokesman told the Senate that the treaty did not exercise jurisdiction over land-based pollution. Replied Republican Senator David Vitter: "If it is . . . not covered by the treaty, why is there a section entitled, 'Pollution from Land-Based Sources'?" A good question, considering that Article 213 notes that countries "shall adopt laws and regulations and take other measures necessary to implement applicable international rules and standards established through competent international organizations" to control such pollution. Note our emphasis.





Critics are also right to be concerned about the powers of direct taxation the treaty confers on the International Seabed Authority. The details of this innovation are buried in Article 13 of the treaty's third annex, and contain a mix of "production charges" and annual million-dollar "administrative" fees. Such measures are all but unprecedented for an international organization and have a potential for corruption, especially when the taxes can run as high as 70% of net proceeds.
Some 154 countries have joined the Law of the Sea Treaty, with the U.S. one of the few holdouts. Critics are being labeled isolationists, or worse. But the U.S. has been abiding voluntarily with the terms of the treaty since 1983, with no ill effect. Twenty-some years ago a former President objected to handing sovereignty over two-thirds of the Earth's surface to another unaccountable international body. Ronald Reagan sank the treaty then; now it's up to 34 Senators to show similar courage.

WSJ
26140  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The Dog Brothers Tribe on: November 03, 2007, 12:35:57 AM
Woof All:

It appears that our page of record for the Tribe  http://dogbrothers.com/wrapper.php?file=org.htm has gotten badly out of date  embarassed

Please post here AND send us an email at info@dogbrothers.com to remind of us of your status.

The Adventure continues!
Crafty Dog
Guiding Force
Council of Elders
26141  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: VIDEO CLIPS OF INTEREST on: November 03, 2007, 12:03:16 AM
Clearly, these men walk around in a state of ready:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z6mXfFTOxbM

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whPXDR3xDbA

26142  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Part Three on: November 02, 2007, 11:54:48 PM


Suddenly, that miracle arrived.

Through a hail of bullets from the surrounding buildings, Corriveau bounded over the dividing wall and came sprinting across the north side of the roof and around the stairwell, almost knocking Moser over as he flew around the corner. Upon seeing each other alive, an unspeakable joy flooded the manic Corriveau, and an equal amount of relief flowed through Moser at the suddenly gained knowledge that each was not the only man left alive on this godforsaken rooftop in Samarra.

After the joyous yet indescribably brief reunion, the two Americans resumed the fight together. As Moser suppressed the enemy activity in the stairwell, Corriveau reached down and picked up the team's radio to call for the QRF. But like Moser before him, he found that it had been destroyed by one of the first grenades thrown onto the rooftop. Flinging the useless object across the roof out of frustration, Corriveau next set his sights on the survivors' last hope of a means to call for help: the ICOM on Morley's vest.

As Moser locked down the stairwell with his M4, Corriveau crossed the open rooftop to the northwest corner, where Morley's vest lay, and retrieved the small hand-held radio. Picking it up, he made calls on channel after channel, desperate to get hold of anybody that he could. Finally, as he turned the knob to Channel 13, he made contact with SSG Wheeler on the southern OP.

"Reaper Two is in contact!" Corriveau yelled into the radio. "We have two casualties, need immediate QRF and air support!"

Having made his transmission, Corriveau threw the ICOM aside and moved back to the northeastern corner of the roof, where he and Moser took turns firing at the enemy machine gun position to the east and suppressing the northern stairwell, continuing to protect Morley's body. Sporadic harassing fire was still coming from the southern doorway, but it was not enough to be a concern.
===========
As they held down their quadrant of the apartment building's rooftop, one final grenade came rolling out of the stairwell, exploding harmlessly several feet away from them. Then, the fire from the doorway began to die down. For some unknown reason, the terrorists inside the building, who had been pushing so determinedly up the stairs during the ten-minute gun battle, had abandoned their pursuit, and were quickly evacuating their dead as they left the building. The rooftop battle zone had become much calmer.
 RACING NORTH UP THE STREET toward the apartment building, Red Platoon's four Humvees were heading into the unknown, but were preparing for the worst-case scenario. Wheeler had relayed Corriveau's ICOM message to them, stating that there were friendly casualties and that the OP was in contact. As the column neared the building, Lieutenant Smith could see thick, black smoke rising from the rooftop, while SFC Cisneros saw fire being directed at the OP from several buildings around them.

The streets were completely deserted as the QRF pulled up to the apartment complex, passing on the southwest corner the body of a black fighter holding an AK-47. The four Humvees pulled up to the east, north, west, and southwest sides of the building to establish a security cordon; as his vehicle reached the front, Lieutenant Smith jumped out of his Humvee and sprinted into the building alone, leaving his remaining dismounted soldiers racing to catch up. All he knew was that the young men he had dropped off here only hours ago were in danger, and had already taken casualties. SFC Cisneros, who leaped from his truck the moment he saw Smith take off, caught up to his Platoon Leader at the base of the stairwell, pulling him back so that he could assume the risk of mounting the staircase into the unknown first.

As the dismounted paratroopers -- Smith and Cisneros, as well as Sergeant Tim Curry, Private First Class Tim Durfee, and Specialist Brady Thayer, the platoon's medic -- raced up the stairs, weapons at the ready and hollering "Friendlies coming up!" at the top of their lungs, the sound of gunfire from below came echoing up the stairs. One of Red Platoon's turret gunners had positively identified a gunman in an alley to the southeast, and was engaging him.

The stairwell itself was covered in blood, from top to bottom. Looking around as he climbed toward the roof, Cisneros saw marks in the slick coating that indicated that several bodies had been dragged down from above. Finally, as he reached the last flight of stairs, he encountered a dead body, oriented as though it had been moving up the stairs when it had been killed.

Finally reaching daylight at the top of the staircase, Cisneros made an immediate turn to the right, around the northern wall, and almost ran into Corriveau. Wanting to avoid being shot by the shell-shocked paratrooper, Cisneros grabbed Corriveau by the upper arms and yelled to him, "Hey! It's us! It's us!" Punch-drunk and mentally exhausted, Corriveau went limp for the briefest of moments in Cisneros's arms; behind him, Moser simply stared, wide-eyed.

Staying low to avoid the machine gun fire from the surrounding buildings, and wary of the prospect of walking into another ambush, Cisneros turned and surveyed the scene on the rooftop. What he saw was sickening. The entire roof of the building was covered with well over a dozen blast marks from grenades, with some patches still burning, and shell casings from expended rounds seemed to cover every remaining inch of ground. From the northeastern corner, he could clearly see Willis's body diagonally across the roof, lying on its side directly over a large blast marking; he could also see Morley, lying face down near the stairwell door that he had just charged out of.

Lieutenant Smith, who had followed Cisneros out the door and onto the rooftop, moved to Morley's body to check for a pulse, though knowing it was a futile exercise. He called down to the medic, SPC Thayer, to take his time coming up, as the two casualties were clearly dead. As he knelt over the sniper team leader, he wondered over and over again how in the world this could have happened when he and his men had been so close to the OP the entire time. Lost in thought, he didn't realize that Thayer had come up behind him until Thayer placed a gentle but firm hand on his shoulder and said, "I've got it."

Machine gun fire picked up again from the building to the east, but this time Moser and Corriveau were not alone in facing it. SFC Cisneros and Sgt. Curry joined in returning fire, and the .50 caliber turret guns on the Humvees below engaged the shooters, as well.

Smith, Thayer, and Durfee carried Willis down the stairs to the waiting Humvees, where they gently placed him in a body bag and sat him in the back seat of one of the trucks. A second bag was carried back up to the roof, where Morley was gently wrapped, his head cushioned by Cisneros, and was brought back down to the vehicles, where Moser and Corriveau, alive and physically unharmed but mentally exhausted and emotionally drained, climbed in and sat down. There was no room in the cabs of Red's trucks, so Morley was laid out in the trunk of the rear Humvee, with a gear bag arranged so that it propped up his head like a pillow. Morley and Willis's fellow paratroopers wanted their friends to be comfortable on their last ride back to Patrol Base Olson.


BY THIS TIME, Charlie Company's 2nd ("White") and 3rd Platoons had arrived from Patrol Base Olson, with Captain Buddy Ferris, the Company Commander, riding along. There was work still to be done at the site, from checking the roof for sensitive items to pursuing those involved in the assault, and Blue and White Platoons would spend the next several hours doing just those things. In the ensuing gun battles, several al Qaeda -- both Iraqi and foreign -- would be killed or captured, among them the informant who had initially alerted the foreign fighters to Reaper's presence on the roof of his apartment building. Following a large number of the fighters from the apartment building and the surrounding machine gun positions using surveillance aircraft, Captain Ferris was able to identify the house to which over 20 of the surviving terrorists went after leaving the building. Minutes later, a GPS-guided bomb was dropped on the house.

Within the next hours and days, more information would come to light, both through the interrogation of captured insurgents and through the development of more human intelligence on the situation. According to the available evidence, nearly 40 al Qaeda were directly involved in the assault on Reaper's position (they believed the team on the roof comprised nearly a dozen American soldiers). During the firefight, which lasted less than ten total minutes, Corriveau and Moser had killed at least ten enemy fighters -- possibly as many as fifteen -- and had not only kept themselves alive, but, against all odds, had prevented al Qaeda from succeeding in their real goal: to kidnap the soldiers on the rooftop, and to make a public spectacle of their imprisonment and murder, just two weeks before General Petraeus's internationally viewed testimony on Iraq before the U.S. Congress. The suspicion that kidnapping was the fighters' intent was confirmed by a final piece of intelligence that Charlie Company received just after the incident: an announcement, crafted by the Islamic State of Iraq (al Qaeda's Iraqi front), stating that nine U.S. soldiers had been kidnapped in Samarra, and had been beheaded and had their bodies thrown into Thar-Thar lake (to the southwest of the city).

Thanks to the strength, courage, discipline, and unwillingness to give up in the face of seemingly impossible odds of Chris Corriveau and Eric Moser, the ISI had spoken too soon. There would be no trophy, no public relations victory to thrust in the face of those in America and around the world whose attention would in the next few weeks be focused again on Iraq. Instead, there would only be death or capture, as the ISI members responsible were hunted down, one by one, by Captain Ferris and his company of very motivated, and exceptionally lethal, paratroopers who, as Corriveau and Moser had demonstrated during the fight of their lives on the rooftop that fateful morning, would never, ever give up, whatever the odds.
26143  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Part Two on: November 02, 2007, 11:53:39 PM
Continuing to close on the man, who was now on the ground, Corriveau fired again and again, re-charging the firing handle each time, until he had emptied his remaining rounds into the body. Following up with a swift kick to the fighter's head to make sure that he was dead, he then tossed his empty sniper rifle aside, picked up the man's PKC, and stepped into the stairwell, looking down over the railing. Seeing at least one more armed man charging up from the landing below, Corriveau held the PKC over the ledge and, firing blind, let go with a burst. A scream from below let him know that at least one of his rounds had hit home. He repeated this action three or four more times until he was unable to see any more movement in the stairwell.

Having neutralized the threat at his back (at least temporarily), Corriveau took his newly acquired PKC and sprinted back to the western edge of the roof to check the road again. As he peered over the edge, he saw several men running toward the entrance to the building from the south. Just to Corriveau's right, over the dividing wall, Willis, who had left the northern stairwell to Moser, was looking at the same scene. Looking to his left and catching Corriveau's eye, Willis, who had stepped up and taken charge after Morley had gone down, pointed at the men, pulled a grenade from his vest, and yelled, "We're going to frag them!" Corriveau retrieved a grenade of his own, pulled the firing pin, and let it fly, hitting the last man in the group running toward the building. Seconds behind him Willis pulled the pin from his own grenade, and prepared to throw it down into the street as well.

Suddenly, the morning exploded into gunfire, and bullets began flying at the rooftop from seemingly every direction. Enemy fighters had established supporting machine gun positions in the buildings on three sides (north, east, and west) of the apartment complex, and had begun firing relentlessly at the building top that had become a battleground, sending debris flying up all over the place from the walls and roof. Over the loud chatter of the supporting fire, Corriveau, who was still facing the street, heard a loud burst from his five o'clock. Looking to his right, he saw Willis disappear behind the dividing wall, the prepped grenade still in his hand.

 AT THE NORTHERN STAIRWELL, Moser was holding the high ground, doing his best to lock down the access route to his half of the rooftop -- and to stay alive -- by alternately firing his M4 rifle around the northwest corner of the stairwell and taking cover behind the structure's northern wall. AK-47 and PKC fire, as well, now, as 9-millimeter pistol fire, was being steadily spewed from the doorway, and grenades were still bouncing out onto the roof and exploding around Moser at an alarming rate. Pivoting around the corner to fire another burst with his M4, he was able to see at least eight people in the stairwell, all attempting to make it up to the roof. He did his best to suppress the charge.

As he took cover behind the wall yet again, Moser saw a single enemy fighter reach out of the stairwell and grab the M4 that Morley had dropped when he had been hit. Though he immediately leaped up and began firing into the building again, Moser was too late to prevent the weapon from being taken. He had larger problems to worry about than the rifle, though. The charge up the stairs by close to a dozen men (both black and Arab) was continuing, and grenades were rolling out of the doorway one and two at a time and exploding with thunderous bangs. Shortly after the weapon had been taken, the person at the top of the staircase made a lunge for another prize on the roof -- Morley's body.

Spurred into renewed action, Moser flew around the corner of the stairwell and let loose with a relentless series of bursts at the advancing enemy. He was still in shock at Morley's sudden death, and there was no way that he was going to allow these animals to take his team leader's -- and friend's -- body. Risking his own life to remain within reach of the stairwell -- and thus to be able to impose himself and his M4 as a barrier between the attackers and Morley's body -- Moser fired again and again into the doorway, hitting insurgents inside while miraculously avoiding injury himself. The number of targets never seemed to diminish. As soon as he shot one person attempting to fight his way out of the stairwell to seize Morley's body, another would appear.

As Moser was exchanging fire with the topmost fighters in the northern stairwell, and attempting to remain behind sufficient cover to avoid the repeated grenade detonations on the roof, he heard from across the building top Willis's call to Corriveau to prepare their grenades. Just then, the enemy support-by-fire positions surrounding the building opened fire on the rooftop, sending Moser scrambling for cover again. As he retreated behind the northern wall of the stairwell (crouched down to avoid the withering fire coming from the north, east, and west), he looked out toward Willis just in time to see a PKC burst from the northern stairwell catch him in the back.

Almost in slow motion, Moser saw Willis's body contort, saw him collapse onto the roof, and saw him land on his own grenade, which he had prepped for use but hadn't yet been able to throw.

A split second later Willis's body was rocked by the explosion, and Moser knew instantly that he was dead. The battle had only been raging for five minutes, but it already seemed like a lifetime to Moser -- and it had cost the lives of at least two of his fellow paratroopers. With the machine gun fire pouring in from three sides, the concerted efforts on the part of the fighters in the stairwell to reach the rooftop and Morley's body (and do who knew what from there), and the grenades exploding around him, Moser could do nothing but hold what little ground he had, and keep trying to suppress the fighters in the stairwell. From his position by the stairs, the situation seemed utterly hopeless. He could see Morley and Willis lying on the roof, unmoving, knowing that they would never move again. Further, as he couldn't see or hear a thing from the south side of the building top, due to the dividing wall and the withering gunfire coming from all sides, he had no choice but to assume that Corriveau was gone as well.

He had never felt more alone.
==========

ON THE SOUTHERN HALF OF THE ROOFTOP, across the dividing wall, Corriveau was still very much alive. He absolutely knew this to be the case because, as he sprinted back to the southern stairwell to prevent any more enemy fighters from making it to the rooftop, he was beside himself with emotions the likes of which he had never felt before. If he were dead, there was no way that he would feel the hurt, the loss, the sheer rage that was bottled up within him now, that drove him as he fired his PKC over and over into the stairwell, cutting down armed insurgent after armed insurgent as they ran up the stairs toward him. He had seen Willis go down from the gunfire, had heard the explosion of his friend's own grenade, and knew there was no way that he could have survived such a blast. Further, he had not seen Morley or Moser since the initial shooting had begun over five minutes (that seemed like hours) before and knew -- though his mind could not accept it -- that they, the last of his team, the last of his support, the last of those who were closer to them than his own family, must be dead as well.

Fighting like a man who had nothing to lose, Corriveau moved to the southern end of the roof, staying low to avoid the continuous fire from the surrounding buildings, and, keeping an eye on his own stairwell, began to fire bursts from his PKC across the dividing wall into the northern doorway as he bounded back and forth across the end of the roof, ducking for cover between bursts. As he popped out to fire again and again, he saw one insurgent after another in the northern stairwell, trying to make it out onto the roof, many of whom, it appeared from their long beards and the color of their skin, had come all this way from some foreign land just to kill him, and to kill his friends. His insides contorted with emotion, Corriveau did the only thing that he could do in that situation: keep moving, keep taking cover, and keep fighting off his assailants as long as he had the strength and the ammunition to do so. As the last man standing, there was nobody else to turn to for help -- either he would fight, or he would die, with the two not being mutually exclusive.

But, if he was going to die, he was going to go down fighting -- and he was going to take as many of these animals with him as he could.


AROUND THE FAR SIDE of the northern stairwell, Moser was engaged in a battle with a hand holding a 9mm pistol. Grenades were still being tossed up the stairs onto the roof, and every few seconds a black hand would reach around the wall of the structure and squeeze off a few rounds in his direction. Ducking behind cover when it appeared, then swinging his weapon around the wall and firing a burst when it went back inside, Moser could see no progress being made in his battle to keep his assailants from taking the rooftop -- and no escape in the event that they finally did. Due to the dividing wall and the fact that, entirely by chance, he and Corriveau were both suppressing the same stairwell, from opposite sides of the roof, in an exactly alternating pattern, Moser never saw that he was not alone, that there was another member of his team alive on the rooftop (and neither, on the other side, did Corriveau). However, despite his creeping sense of hopelessness, Moser continued to do all that he was able -- which, at this point, was to protect Morley's body the best that he could, and to keep exchanging rounds with the insurgents behind the door.

And then his weapon jammed.

As if more adversity were needed in a situation that was already an against-all-odds struggle to protect the body of a fallen comrade while also trying to stay alive, against the combined opposition of an assault from foreign fighters in the stairwell and a constant stream of grenades being tossed onto the roof near him -- which prevented his crossing the mere feet separating him from Morley's load carrying vest, which was in the northwestern corner and held a walkie-talkie ("ICOM"), the last undamaged piece of communications equipment on the roof -- as well as nonstop machine gun fire from the buildings on every side, now Moser's M4 was threatening to fail him. In this time of greatest need, Moser's training and experience kicked in. He remained calm, cleared his weapon, and, undeterred by the fact that now, due to a malfunction in his most precious piece of equipment, he had to charge the rifle's firing handle after every single shot, resumed the battle.

For nearly five minutes, he traded shots with the faceless pistolier on the other side of the stairwell door, all the while knowing that, in the end, he would not have enough time or ammunition to hold the rooftop himself. As the minutes crept by like hours, a renewed sense of hopelessness began to take hold. "Please God, help me," he pled time and again, as he alternated firing into the stairwell, ducking for cover from the returning fire, and searching frantically for some way out of what appeared to be a certain-death situation. Looking to the west, he saw the unmistakable form of the 52-meter tall Spiral Minaret, which stood in the northwestern corner of the city, a scant thousand meters from Patrol Base Olson -- and safety. Measuring its distance from the rooftop, Moser wondered for the briefest of moments if he could survive a jump off the building intact enough to be able to run the three kilometers back to Olson.

The situation was desperate, and Moser needed a miracle.

THOUGH HE WAS IN A SIMILARLY desperate situation on the south side of the roof, the idea of leaping off a four-story building never occurred to Corriveau. Instead, as he bounded back and forth across the building's edge, alternately firing into the northern stairwell door and taking cover from whatever return fire came his way, his mass of conflicting emotions was overridden by only one thought: Get to the radio on the other side of the roof.

Finally, running low on ammunition and facing only sporadic harassing fire from the southern stairwell, Corriveau decided it was time to make a break for it. He fired a final suppressive burst into his own doorway, as well as into the one to the north, and made a run for it, dashing across the open rooftop, vaulting the dividing wall, and racing for the semi-protected far side of the northern stairwell.


ON THE NORTH SIDE OF THE ROOF, Moser's situation was looking bleaker by the second. He had gone through five 30-round magazines with his M4 and was still defending the roof from an attempted assault up his own stairwell, while frantically searching -- and hoping -- for a miraculous escape from his present situation.

Suddenly, that miracle arrived.
26144  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Not from the NY or LA Times on: November 02, 2007, 11:51:46 PM
Complex snatch/ambush on a 4 man US sniper team on a rooftop using interlocking suppressive SMG fire from nearby roofs with a sapper team coming up the rooftop stairwell. Enemy were Ethiopian AQI/ISI. Use of movement, cover, and pickup of Hadji weapons allowed US to prevail. Failure of M4 gas system during fight.

http://www.spectator.org/dsp_article.asp?art_id=12233



-----------------------------

THE DAY OF AUGUST 26, 2007, began like any other for the soldiers of Charlie Company, 2-505 Parachute Infantry Regiment (from the 82nd Airborne Division) -- with a mission in the city. Over a year into its deployment to Samarra, Iraq, and now working on the three-month extension announced by Secretary of Defense Gates in the spring, the company knew the city like the back of its collective hands and had its operational routine down to a science, whatever the mission it might be tasked with.

On this morning, that mission was to establish a defensive perimeter around a block in central Samarra, so that Charlie Company's 3rd ("Blue") Platoon, led by Lieutenant Scott Young, could search a shop where it had information that Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) were being manufactured.

Due to the insurgents' penchant for placing IEDs along the routes used by Charlie Company's vehicles in order to ambush them on their way back, two separate rooftop observation points (OPs) would be established, one to the north and one to the south of the shop, to watch for enemy activity on the roads that were serving as Blue Platoon's infiltration and exfiltration routes. The southern OP, led by Staff Sergeant Jason Wheeler, was manned with paratroopers from Charlie Company's 1st ("Red") Platoon. "Reaper Two," one of the sniper teams from 2nd Battalion's scout platoon, would man the second OP, almost a kilometer to the north. Reaper would be overwatching the area from the roof of a large four-story apartment building, which was laid out with the long axis facing north-south, and which was bordered -- across the surrounding streets and alleys -- by several other buildings.

The three-man Reaper team, known as the best in the unit, was led by Sergeant Josh Morley, a 22-year-old paratrooper from North Carolina. Morley was regarded within Charlie Company as a consummate professional, and the men in the unit knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they could always count on him and his team to come through whenever they were needed. Morley was affected even more than most of his fellow soldiers by the additional three months that had been added on to his unit's combat tour, for he was a new father and was counting the days until the end of the deployment, when he would finally get to see his infant daughter for the first time -- something he had already been waiting months to do.

The rest of Morley's team was made up of Specialist Tracy Willis, a 21-year-old from Texas, and Specialist Chris Corriveau, a 23-year-old from Maine. Willis was well known within Charlie Company as a friendly, laid back, permanently smiling young man who was always good for a laugh and for conversation, regardless of the person and the situation. Corriveau was quieter, but had earned the immense respect of his peers at Patrol Base Olson not only for his talent as a sniper but also for his abilities as a natural leader. The team had been together in Iraq for well over a year, and the three young men were as close as soldiers could be. They knew everything about each other, from their backgrounds, to information about their families, to the punchlines of Willis's tiredest jokes. Further, they had worked together so closely, and for so long, that they could read each other's body language and tone of voice, and were able to function as an extraordinarily effective unit.

For this mission, the three-man Reaper Two sniper team was rounded out by a fourth man (and a second Texan), 23-year-old Specialist Eric Moser. The company armorer, Moser was not a member of the Battalion Scout Platoon like Morley, Willis, and Corriveau, but was a competition-caliber shooter, and had gone along on several OPs with Reaper in the past, serving as a "designated marksman." His skill with firearms would end up being critical that day.
========
EARLY IN THE MORNING, after dropping off SSG Wheeler's team, Red Platoon's four Humvees rolled up to the predetermined dismount point for the second OP and came to a stop, allowing Morley, Willis, Corriveau, and Moser to get out. Upon departing the area, the trucks would make their way to Patrol Base Uvanni, an Iraqi National Police outpost in the center of the city (about 1.5 kilometers southwest of Reaper's OP), where they would wait until it was time to pick up the overwatch teams, while also serving as a Quick Reaction Force in the unlikely event that anything should go wrong at either of the overwatch sites.

The four-man sniper team hustled to the northern gate of the apartment building, cut the lock, and quietly moved into the courtyard. Morley instructed Moser and Corriveau to remain behind to close the gate and remove other signs of the team's presence, while he and Willis made their way into the building and up the stairs. Moser pulled security while Corriveau quietly closed the gate and replaced the lock, and then the two followed the others inside, clearing the stairwell as they ascended, but not going into the hallways of the apartment building, as they didn't want to alert the inhabitants of their presence.

The four-man team emerged onto the northern half of the roof and surveyed their surroundings. The building was set up with two staircases, one on the north side and one on the south side, both of which opened up onto the top of the building facing west. Dividing the north and south halves of the roof was a four-foot high, east-west running wall. The entire perimeter of the building's top was lined with a wall of the same height.

Once the area had been secured and the OP established, there was little to do but watch the street around the building. The team took turns keeping watch and sleeping; they had done hundreds of these before, and, while things could get hairy at times, their job involved far more boredom than excitement -- especially if they were careful, as they always were, to keep their heads down and not let anybody below know that they were there.

Unfortunately, unbeknownst to the four men of Reaper Two, one of the building's occupants had seen them enter and had passed the information along.


JUST BEFORE 11 A.M., reaper received word that Blue Platoon had finished its search of the shop (which had yielded no evidence of illegal activity) and was heading back to Patrol Base Olson, three kilometers to the west. With this, the men dispersed across the top of the building, with two -- Moser and Corriveau -- watching the road from corners of the roof, and the other two -- Morley and Willis -- taking up a position by the northern stairwell, where the team's radio had been deposited. Assigned to the southeast corner, Corriveau picked up an M4 rifle to complement his sniper weapon and vaulted the dividing wall, moving onto the southern half of the building and taking up his position, watching the base of the buildings across the road but careful to remain below the roof's perimeter wall and out of sight from the street below. Taking a quick peek over the wall, he saw a white sedan nearing his corner of the building but due to the obstructed view that came along with his rooftop concealment, Corriveau never had a chance to see the situation developing on the street directly below.

On the northwest corner of the apartment complex, Moser was watching the road in front of the building through a cut in the roof wall. As he looked down, he saw a white car speed up to the corner of the building. Four men holding AK-47 assault rifles (at least two of whom had long beards -- a distinctly non-Iraqi trait) emerged from the vehicle and sprinted toward the building's entrance. Seeing this, Moser immediately yelled to the others that enemy fighters were below. Morley, who along with Willis had been positioned next to the stairwell, raced to Moser's corner of the building to assess the situation and if possible to engage, but could not move quickly enough to prevent the men on the ground from making it into the building.

Suddenly, machine gun fire erupted from both of the stairwells behind them.


AT PATROL BASE UVANNI, a kilometer and a half away, the four armored Humvees that made up Charlie Company's internal Quick Reaction Force (QRF) were sitting just inside the gate, its soldiers in their vehicles and ready to move at a moment's notice, when the sound of gunfire echoed through the city streets. The sound of automatic weapons fire is as common in Samarra as traffic noise is in the United States. To Lieutenant Steve Smith, however, Red's Platoon Leader, these shots seemed different for some reason -- like they were coming from the north, instead of from the usual east-west direction. He immediately ordered radio checks to be attempted with both OPs to make sure that they were okay.

The first call went to the southern observation point, where SSG Wheeler's team was positioned. "Do you hear gunfire?" he was asked. He replied, "It sounds like the gunfire is coming from north of me. It sounds like Reaper."

Sergeant First Class Rodolfo Cisneros, Red's Platoon Sergeant (ranking noncommissioned officer), ordered an immediate radio check with Reaper. He had a bad feeling about the gunfire and explosions that sounded like they were coming from the exact direction of the northern OP. The radio call received no answer -- enough reason for Cisneros to call for the QRF to move immediately, as the unit's standard procedure regarding overwatch operations was that, in the event of a lack of communication with an OP, the QRF should assume it had been compromised and move to its location immediately.

Lieutenant Smith ordered another check -- again, nothing. Upon the second failed radio call, he ordered the four-Humvee Quick Reaction Force to roll out of Uvanni and make for Reaper's location as fast as possible. As the Humvees sped out of the Iraqi Patrol Base, Smith continued trying to raise the sniper team on the radio. He did not know that their radio had been destroyed by a grenade, and could only hope that the sounds echoing down the alleyways from the north -- which sounded like a full-blown battle at this point, complete with automatic and single-shot gunfire, as well as frequent explosions -- were not coming from Reaper's location.


ON THE ROOF OF THE APARTMENT BUILDING, Morley and Moser were taking AK-47 and PKC (a 7.62mm Russian-made machine gun) fire from both stairwells. As they spun around to return fire, they saw several small, dark objects flying onto the roof from the stairwell -- hand grenades. Morley recognized that the situation was rapidly deteriorating and knew that, though his team currently occupied the high ground in the emerging battle, they could not hold out for very long due to their vast disadvantage in numbers. Seeing that Willis, who was next to the team's radio, was busy firing into the stairwell through a window on the enclave's north side, and not knowing that one of the first hand grenades tossed onto the roof had disabled it, Morley made a dash across the roof to call for the QRF.

He never made it there.

As Moser fired into the door from his corner in an attempt to suppress the enemy assault, he saw Morley appear to stumble and go down, his weapon skidding across the rooftop toward the stairwell door. His first thought was that the team leader had tripped and fallen; a moment later, his brain registered the truth: Morley had been shot. A burst of gunfire from the southern stairwell across the dividing wall had scored a direct hit, with one round striking Morley directly in the forehead. He was dead before hitting the ground.

Moser didn't have time to dwell on Morley's death. Knowing that what had just become a three-man team could not long withstand the concerted effort by what was clearly a large enemy force to move up the stairs to his location, he took the same chance that Morley had, and crossed the roof to the radio while Willis continued to fire his .240 machine gun into the stairwell, killing at least two enemy fighters with well-placed bursts as grenades continued to be tossed up the stairs and out onto the roof. As he moved to the radio (which he found to have been disabled by a grenade), Moser was able to get a look down into the northern stairwell. Inside, he saw a number of armed men, both black and Arab rushing up the steps toward the roof -- none of whom were the individuals he had seen get out of the car moments before on the street. Apparently there had been fighters stationed in the building before the white car's arrival.


ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE ROOF'S DIVIDING WALL, Corriveau had been watching the area to the southwest when the gunfire began at his back. Spinning around at the edge of the roof, he saw a man with a PKC machine gun emerging from the southern stairwell, and immediately moved toward him, raising his M24 sniper rifle, only to find that it wasn't loaded. Continuing to advance on the man at the top of the stairs, who was firing across the roof, Corriveau quickly loaded a five-round magazine into his rifle and fired a perfectly aimed shot into the assailant's head.
26145  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: When you don't feel like fighting... on: November 02, 2007, 11:47:28 PM
I've been watching some of your fights this week in the Dos Triques DVD-- you look pretty deadly to me smiley
26146  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Citizen-Police interactions on: November 02, 2007, 11:26:47 PM
By TODD RUGER
todd.ruger@heraldtribune.com

SARASOTA -- John Coffin opened the garage door to see his wife on the floor, screaming in pain as two sheriff's deputies tried to handcuff her, Coffin's attorney said in court Monday.

"He grabs his wife and begins to pull her away," defense attorney Brett McIntosh said. One of the deputies then jumped Coffin from behind, "and that's where this case is focused."

Coffin, 56, faces years in prison on felony battery charges that in April 2006 he attacked deputies James Lutz and Stacy Ferris, whose name is now Stacy Brandau.

Monday was the first day in a trial in which prosecutors will use the serious injuries sustained by the deputies to show Coffin is guilty.

Coffin's defense attorney will argue that he was defending his wife, and his home, from deputies who had no right to be there in the first place.

Prosecutors say the fight started when Coffin came into the garage, punched Ferris in the face and threw her against a wall.

When Ferris tried to arrest him for that battery, Coffin fought them and both deputies "were defending themselves and trying to get away," Assistant State Attorney Jessica Zack said. "The pictures will tell you the story as well."

Coffin's attorneys say the two deputies are the ones who broke the law.

"We will find out about the credibility of these officers," McIntosh said Monday in court.

The deputies were at the Coffins' home trying to serve a civil injunction on Coffin, who had been served the same papers five days earlier in Charlotte County.

The deputies entered the garage even though they did not have a search warrant or arrest warrant allowing them to enter the Coffins' house.

And they arrested Cynthia Coffin, 50, on obstruction charges for not following their order to bring her husband outside.

McIntosh said the deputies had no grounds for the arrest.

The charges against her have since been dismissed. A jury had been picked in Cynthia Coffin's case in December when a judge granted a defense attorney's last-minute motion to dismiss the charges because of those facts.

On Monday in court, Zack held up photographs to show the extent of the deputies' injuries and only touched briefly on the issues the defense has raised.

"Whether or not the officers should have entered the house is something I'm sure they would take back if they could," Zack said.

Brandau got the facial bruising in the photos because John Coffin punched her in the face and threw her against a wall when he came into the garage, Zack said.

Lutz got the injuries to his head when he was shocked with a Taser during the fight, then knocked unconscious with three strikes to the head with the butt of that Taser gun, Zack said.

John Coffin's trial is expected to end today.

Last modified: March 13. 2007 3:35AM
__________________
And the final outcome:

Judge acquits John Coffin on 5 felony charges; Coffin gets time served on 6th.
By TODD RUGER

SARASOTA -- John Coffin won't spend any more time in jail for beating up two sheriff's deputies inside his house, striking one in the head with a Taser gun he took from the other.

Circuit Judge Rick De Furia said at Coffin's trial Tuesday that he doesn't condone the violence against the deputies.

But Coffin, 56, had a right to defend his family and property because the deputies had no right to be in Coffin's house in the first place, De Furia said.

"Law enforcement was responsible for the chain of events here," De Furia said. "I think in situations like this, officers become so frustrated they go beyond what the law allows them to do."

The fight started when Coffin heard his wife screaming in pain, went into the garage and saw two deputies arresting her on the floor.

The deputies were trying to serve Coffin with civil papers that had been given five days earlier. They had entered the garage even though they did not have a search warrant or arrest warrant.

And they arrested Coffin's wife, Cynthia, 50, on obstruction charges even though she had no obligation to follow their orders to bring her husband outside.

"The most critical is the fact the officers broke the law by stopping the garage door from going down," and then entering the garage, De Furia said.

A jury was picked for the trial Monday. But the judge granted a motion by Coffin's attorneys, Derek Byrd and Brett McIntosh, and acquitted John Coffin on five of six felony charges Tuesday morning.

Coffin pleaded no contest to the remaining charge of taking a Taser gun from one of the deputies during the fight.

Before handing down the sentence, De Furia asked how long Coffin spent in jail after his initial arrest.

"You spent eight days in the Sarasota County jail," De Furia said. "That's your sentence. No probation."

Relatives applauded, and Coffin walked out of the courthouse with only a $358 bill for court costs. The sentence surprised even defense attorneys, who had suggested De Furia sentence Coffin to probation.

Prosecutors had asked for more than a year of prison time because of "the totality of the case" and the injuries to deputies James Lutz and Stacy Ferris, whose name is now Stacy Brandau.

The two deputies testified about their injuries Tuesday -- three blows to the head with the butt of the Taser gun knocked Lutz unconscious.

"I just ask that he doesn't get away with this," Brandau told the judge.

Assistant State Attorney Jeff Young told the judge the case "could have been over in five seconds" if the Coffins "had simply come out and cooperated."

"That is a man who took it upon himself to beat up two police officers," Young said.

De Furia said that while he believed the deputies' mistakes were not intentional, the Coffins had every right to lock doors, try to close their garage door and not cooperate.

"What took place in the house was unfortunate," De Furia said, "but Mr. Coffin ... had a right to resist."

Last modified: March 14. 2007 5:36AM
__________________
26147  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Venezuela on: November 02, 2007, 12:49:14 PM
Venezuela: Security Takes a Backseat
stratfor
The new Italian ambassador to Venezuela made headlines this week after he put President Hugo Chavez on the spot by expressing concern about the country's poor security situation. The same day, Chavez also met with incoming U.S. Ambassador Patrick Duddy, who urged greater bilateral cooperation on combating drug traffickers operating in the country.

Given that Venezuela has a large Italian expatriate population and that approximately half of the drugs shipped through the country are destined for the United States, both Rome and Washington have a strong interest in Venezuela's security situation. The country's violent trends have little chance of reversing, however, unless the government makes a more serious effort to intervene.

Although Chavez rarely publicly discusses the country's soaring crime rates and official statistics on crime are closely guarded, the Venezuelan capital has become extremely violent. Indeed, recent estimates of its homicide rate -- if accurate -- would place Caracas among the most dangerous cities in the world. These estimates are speculative, however, since the Venezuelan government stopped releasing official homicide rates in 2003 -- after the number of killings reached nearly 12,000 countrywide that year. Unofficial estimates for 2006 put the number of homicides in Caracas alone at 6,000 -- more than 100 slayings per 100,000 inhabitants. (By comparison, in 2006 there were 47.3 slayings per 100,000 inhabitants in Detroit, the U.S. city with the highest homicide rate.)

And the homicide rate is just one of Venezuela's security problems. Since the government curtailed its cooperation with foreign governments on counternarcotics, South American drug traffickers face less police scrutiny in Venezuela than they do in other countries. Venezuela, for example, suspended its cooperation with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) in 2005 after Caracas accused the agency of spying on behalf of the United States. International cooperation is crucial in dealing with issues such as drug trafficking, given that illegal shipments pass through multiple borders on their way from production to market.

Compounding the problems is the country's endemic corruption, which in the law enforcement realm extends from police on the street to the courts. In an October interview, Venezuelan Attorney General Isaias Rodriguez tried to downplay claims that the country's judicial system is incapable of effectively dealing with drug traffickers, though he acknowledged corruption among security forces, prosecutors and judges.

Security is not much better outside the capital, especially along Venezuela's extensive land border with Colombia, where guerrilla groups have been known to move freely between the two countries. The U.S. government, in fact, has warned Americans not to travel within a 50-mile area along the entire Venezuelan-Colombian border. Official corruption is a particular problem in this area as well, considering that one of the most notorious Venezuelan groups linked to Colombian guerrillas -- the Cartel of the Suns -- allegedly is run by Venezuelan National Guard generals. (The group's name comes from the insignia worn on the officers' uniforms.) According to DEA estimates, the group moves up to 5 tons of illegal drugs per month from Colombia into Venezuela. Venezuela has long been used as a transshipment hub for narcotics smuggling and as a gateway in the Americas for illegal aliens attempting to reach the United States from Asia and the Middle East.

In addition to drug trafficking, organized crime groups in Venezuela have found kidnapping to be an increasingly lucrative business. According to the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, more than 1,000 kidnappings were reported from August 2006 to August 2007, and at least 45 foreigners were kidnapped during the first eight months of 2007. This is a particular threat in a country where foreign energy companies have a large presence, though kidnapping gangs do not appear to target one business sector over another. Any company that likely carries kidnapping and recovery insurance on its employees is considered a choice target. Several high-profile kidnapping incidents in recent years have led to demonstrations by citizens demanding greater security. One of the most widely reported cases among Venezuela's Italian community -- and reportedly an incident that the Italian ambassador discussed with Chavez -- was the March 2006 abduction and killing of a prominent Italian businessman. The incident was followed just a few days later by the killing of three Canadian-Venezuelan children who had been kidnapped in February. The children were slain when their family was unable to pay the multimillion-dollar ransom demanded by the kidnappers.

There also is a political aspect to kidnapping cases, as the wealthy victims are often viewed as capitalists -- people considered at odds with the goals and ideals of Chavez's Bolivarian Revolution. Because of this, victims and their families often do not receive sympathetic treatment from the authorities when such crimes are reported.

So far, the Chavez government's efforts to counter the trends of violence throughout the country have been minimal. Investigation of such crimes has been characterized by the U.S. Embassy as "haphazard and ineffective." In the case of high-profile killings, authorities reportedly round up suspects quickly, but rarely produce evidence linking any of the detainees to the crime. Only a small percentage of criminals is ever tried and convicted. Moreover, violent crimes frequently occur during daylight hours and even in public areas such as Caracas' Maiquetía Airport and in popular tourist attractions, such as the Avila National Park.

Further complicating matters are reports that security forces and parts of the judicial system have become increasingly politicized as a result of the government's practice of keeping and promoting officials for their loyalty to Chavez's Bolivarian ideals rather than their interest in, or their ability to fight, crime. These politicized officials also have hesitated to root out police corruption or crack down on criminals in poor areas -- where most of them live and operate -- because such areas are bastions of Chavez supporters. Additionally, the recent crackdowns on student protesters suggest the government is heavily focused on using security forces to quell its opposition rather than to fight crime. In July, Chavez chided student groups protesting constitutional reforms aimed at consolidating his power, calling the students patsies of the United States. On Nov. 1, police dispersed student demonstrators with tear gas and water cannons. Should the protests continue, the government will dedicate even more of its security forces to this area.

Many of Venezuela's security problems are not unique in Latin America. Police corruption, drug trafficking and kidnapping are prevalent elsewhere, particularly in Brazil, Colombia, Guatemala and Mexico. However, the government's weak response to date and its focus on suppressing any opposition suggest the security environment in Venezuela will continue to deteriorate.
26148  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / EB-5 Visas on: November 02, 2007, 12:42:47 PM
WSJ


Got $500,000? The U.S. Awaits
Government's EB-5 Program
Offers Foreign Investors
Green Cards for Job Creation
By MIRIAM JORDAN
November 2, 2007; Page B1

An obscure immigration program is pumping millions of dollars from foreign investors into dilapidated inner cities and employment-starved rural areas across the U.S. These investors aren't focused on financial returns, however: They're in it to get green cards.

In recent years, a growing list of enterprises -- in agriculture, tourism, renewable energy, education and transportation -- have benefited from a little-known federal program known as EB-5, or the immigrant-investor visa. It offers a tantalizing trade-off for foreigners who want to establish residency in the U.S.: For a $500,000 investment in a distressed area, a foreigner and his immediate family become eligible for conditional green cards. They become permanent a few years later upon evidence that the investment has created at least 10 jobs for U.S. workers.

 
Korean investors tour a Kansas ethanol plant they helped fund in an EB-5 program.
The program, administered by U.S. Immigration & Citizenship Services, essentially encourages wealthy foreigners to buy their way into the U.S. Put in place in the early 1990s, it is widely regarded as a response to efforts by Canada and Australia in the late 1980s to attract investors keen to immigrate. But the U.S. program is considered the most stringent because it requires proof that the investment has produced new jobs before permanent residency is granted.

The U.S. program lately has become popular among investors from South Korea, China, Venezuela and Saudi Arabia desperate to bypass the uncertainty and years-long wait to gain residency through traditional means. Helping fuel the new interest are immigration attorneys and others aggressively marketing the program abroad.

"The opportunity is truly beautiful to individuals who want to live and contribute their energy in the United States," says Morrie Berez, chief of the EB-5 program at the immigration agency. "And it creates economic growth and especially jobs for Americans." The job-creation aspect of the program appears to have neutralized criticism from anti-immigration activists.

Under the program, developers sometimes working with local officials apply to the Immigration agency for "regional center" status, typically in a distressed area. Once approved, a regional center markets its program overseas to investors who become equity partners.

The projects promise only modest returns. But that isn't the main concern for investors such as Sungtae Kim, a Korean software entrepreneur who wanted to come to the U.S. to give his daughters better opportunities. After failing to qualify for a U.S. alien-worker program, he heard about EB-5 from a friend in Los Angeles. Soon, he was in touch with the Seoul branch of a U.S. law firm that specializes in the program.

After attending a seminar in Seoul to learn about the regional centers, Mr. Kim decided to put $500,000 that he had saved over 20 years from a software business into a dairy farm in Veblen, S.D. "I wanted to give my two daughters a better life and good education," he says. Two weeks ago, Mr. Kim and his family moved to a Los Angeles suburb known for its strong public schools. Mr. Kim, who has never visited a dairy farm, hopes to once he is settled.

 
Yong Nan Park invested in a South Dakota dairy farm, enabling her to immigrate to California with her family.
South Dakota, one of the first states to tap into the program in 2004, credits the immigrant-investor scheme with reviving its dairy industry and starting a new meat-packing sector. The state had been trying to attract foreign investment in its dairy industry before it discovered the EB-5 program. It got regional-center qualification for a swath of 45 contiguous counties in the eastern part of the state. In two years, the program has helped fund new dairy farms worth $90 million and beef-processing plants valued at $52 million, state officials say.

"Suddenly we have extra capital to accelerate development and help South Dakota farmers who want to go large-scale but lack capital," says Joop Bollen, who oversees the state's program, which has attracted European and Asian investors.

In the financial year that ended Sept. 30, the immigration agency awarded 803 conditional EB-5 green cards to investors and their families, up from 247 in 2004. Mr. Berez hopes by 2011 to be issuing all 10,000 of the green cards available each year under the program -- a potential of nearly $2 billion in annual investments, he estimates.

Around the U.S., 17 regional centers under the EB-5 program have attracted about $500 million in foreign funds. Projects include dairy farms in Iowa, nut farms in California, schools and health-care facilities in Alabama, ethanol plants in Texas, and a film and TV production studio in Pennsylvania. Mr. Berez's team is considering several more areas.

Tom Willis, chief executive of Conestoga Energy Partners LLC in Liberal, Kan., recently guided Korean investors around a new ethanol plant in which they are minority partners. "Their dollars allow us to create jobs, a greater tax base and grow our schools," Mr. Willis says. "You hear about people leaving rural America...This helps us control our destiny."

The program isn't a slam-dunk for applicants. The U.S. government temporarily suspended it in 1998 to tighten up procedures that enabled some investors to disburse less money than agreed. Mr. Berez, a former official at the Government Accountability Office, was charged with overhauling the program in 2002. Now, investors must put up the entire $500,000 before they can file their green-card petition.

To get his family to the U.S., French law professor Eric Canal-Forgues, a consultant to the World Trade Organization, put his life savings into a Philadelphia regional center that involved partially financing Comcast Corp.'s new international headquarters.

"I have gotten from Europe everything I want," says the 45-year-old Paris native. "The United States is a place where you can do many things." He wants to further his career and raise his two young children as fluent English speakers.

It took Mr. Canal-Forgues almost a year to amass the paperwork required, which included showing the origins of the $500,000 he was committing, his tax returns, pay stubs and employment contracts. In May, he received his conditional approval from Immigration, pending an interview at the U.S. embassy in Paris. He hopes to move to the U.S. with his family by mid-2008.

"The EB-5 program is one of the most complex and heavily scrutinized immigration programs," says Stephen Yale-Loehr, Mr. Canal-Forgues's attorney and an expert on EB-5 visas. "Investors must show every cent was earned legally."

The Immigration agency also needs to ensure terrorists aren't buying their way into the U.S. And, given U.S. sanctions, an Iranian EB-5 applicant under consideration must prove that he didn't make money from doing business with that country's government.

In Seattle, critics have complained that revitalization of an area south of downtown has raised rents for industrial tenants. But the program hasn't drawn notable criticism from immigration-restrictionist groups. "If jobs are being created in exchange for visas through a process you can verify, I don't think we can object to it," says Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, which calls for a clampdown on both legal and illegal immigration. But he suggests that the program should "remain small in scope."

Competition for EB-5 dollars is intensifying as more areas win regional-center designations. Venture capitalists William Hungerford and Tim Milbrath have been traveling to the Middle East seeking investors for a fund that will invest in extended-stay hotels, private clinics and other infrastructure in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. South Dakota's Mr. Bollen recently put in calls to Argentina and Brazil, hoping to tap into a new pool of foreigners eager to live in the U.S. "We want to continue to pick as much fruit from the EB-5 tree as we can," he says.

Write to Miriam Jordan at miriam.jordan@wsj.com


Saudi Arabia?  Elsewhere in the Middle East?!? tongue angry
26149  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: November 02, 2007, 11:14:08 AM
How Europe Can Pressure Iran
By PATRICK CLAWSON and MICHAEL JACOBSON
November 2, 2007

The U.S. ratcheted up the financial pressure against Tehran last week, unilaterally slapping sanctions on Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp, three state-owned banks, and a number of key officials for their involvement in the regime's terrorist financing and WMD-related activities. Realizing the leverage that American financial markets give Washington, senior U.S. Treasury officials have been telling global financial institutions in the last couple of years that doing business with Iran could do great harm to their reputation and complicate their access to the U.S. market. As a result, a number of global institutions -- including Switzerland's UBS and Credit Suisse and Germany's Commerzbank and Deutsche Bank -- have either terminated or dramatically reduced business with Iran.

There are limits to this unilateral strategy, though. Companies and financial institutions that do not operate in the U.S. may be willing to ignore Washington's warnings. But being cut off from New York and the world's other leading financial capital, London, is a risk not too many of these firms would be willing to take. Few could afford to relocate to a smaller financial hub and miss out on the opportunities only the City of London or New York could offer just to continue doing business with Iran.

It is therefore encouraging that British Prime Minister Gordon Brown immediately backed Washington, noting that "we endorse the U.S. administration's efforts to apply further pressure on the Iranian regime." But while public support from the U.S.'s closest ally will undoubtedly help bolster the impact of the unilateral actions, the U.K. could do far more.

If the British government were to send a similarly strong warning to banks, it could dramatically increase the financial pressure on Iran. More than 550 international banks and 170 global security houses have a presence in London. Between $50-100 billion of Middle Eastern money will enter London in the next few years, estimates Peter Weinberg, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs International. Coordinated visits by top U.S. and U.K. officials to major financial institutions could be a particularly effective way to get the message across that business with Iran is risky so long as Tehran ignores the U.N. Security Council orders about its nuclear program. A joint U.S.-U.K. effort might carry particular weight coming on the heels of the Financial Action Task Force's Oct. 11 statement on Iran. Founded by the G7, the 34-country body instructed financial institutions to use "enhanced due diligence" when dealing with Iran to avoid inadvertently contributing to terrorist financing and money laundering. As U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said after Washington's latest step against Tehran: "In dealing with Iran, it is nearly impossible to know one's customer and be assured that one is not unwittingly facilitating the regime's reckless conduct."

While the U.K. wields particularly powerful tools, there may also be other European countries now willing and ready to ramp up financial and economic pressure against Iran. Ideally, this would be done at the European Union level -- something that French President Nicolas Sarkozy has been pushing for. But in the absence of a third U.N. Security Council resolution authorizing additional sanctions, many EU countries, primarily Germany, Austria and Spain, appear reluctant. The French have thus suggested that those European countries willing to act need not wait for unanimity. In fact, France has already announced that it is pressing large French companies to refrain from investing in Iran.

A combined initiative by the U.S. and individual European countries to press Iran may strengthen the hand of those in Tehran arguing for accommodation. It would also be a good way to show China, Russia and laggard European governments that with or without them, action will be taken against Iran. If they are dissatisfied with this approach, they should first spell out a realistic alternative that could bring Iran to suspend its enrichment program.

Mr. Clawson is the Washington Institute's deputy director for research and author of several books on Iran. Mr. Jacobson, a senior fellow in the institute's Stein Program on Terrorism, Intelligence, and Policy, previously served as a senior advisor in the U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence.

WSJ
26150  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Immigration issues on: November 02, 2007, 10:54:24 AM
'This Makes Voter Fraud Easier'
By JOHN FUND
November 2, 2007; Page A12

Sen. Hillary Clinton was asked during a debate this week if she supported New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's plan to give driver's licenses to illegal immigrants. At first she seemed to endorse the idea, then claimed, "I did not say that it should be done, but I certainly recognize why Governor Spitzer is trying to do it."

The next day she took a firmer stand (sort of) by offering general support for Gov. Spitzer's approach, but adding that she hadn't studied his specific plan. She should, and so should the rest of us. It stops just short of being an engraved invitation for people to commit voter fraud.

The background here is the National Voter Registration Act, commonly known as "Motor Voter," that President Bill Clinton signed into law in 1993. It required all states to offer voter registration to anyone getting a driver's license. One simply fills out a form and checks a box stating he is a citizen; he is then registered and in most states does not have to show any ID to vote.

But no one checks if the person registering to vote is indeed a citizen. That greatly concerns New York election officials, who processed 245,000 voter registrations at DMV offices last year. "It would be [tough to catch] if someone wanted to . . . get a number of people registered who aren't citizens and went ahead and got them drivers' licenses," says Lee Daghlian, spokesman for New York's Board of Elections. Assemblywoman Ginny Fields, a Long Island Democrat, warns that the state's "Board of Elections has no voter police" and that the state probably has upwards of 500,000 illegal immigrants old enough to drive.

The potential for fraud is not trivial, as federal privacy laws prevent cross-checking voter registration rolls with immigration records. Nevertheless, a 1997 Congressional investigation found that "4,023 illegal voters possibly cast ballots in [a] disputed House election" in California. After 9/11, the Justice Department found that eight of the 19 hijackers were registered to vote.

Under pressure from liberal groups, some states have even abandoned the requirement that people check a citizenship box to be put on the voter rolls. Iowa has told local registrars they should register people even if they leave the citizenship box blank. Maryland officials wave illegal immigrants through the registration process, prompting a Justice Department letter warning they may be helping people violate federal law.

Gov. Spitzer is treading perilously close to that. Despite a tactical retreat this week -- he says he will only give illegal immigrants a license that isn't valid for airplane travel and entering federal buildings -- Mr. Spitzer has taken active steps to obliterate any distinctions between licenses given to citizens and non-citizens.

In a memo last Sept. 24, he ordered county clerks to remove the visa expiration date and "temporary visitor" stamp on licenses issued to non-citizens who are legally in the country. A Spitzer spokeswoman explained the change was made because the "temporary" label was "pejorative," given that some visitors might eventually stay in the U.S. Under fire, Mr. Spitzer backed down this week, delaying the cancellation of the "temporary visitor" stamps through the end of next year.

But he has not retreated from another new bizarre policy. It used to be that county clerks who process driver's licenses were banned from giving out voter registration forms to anyone without a Social Security number. No longer. Lou Dobbs of CNN reported that an Oct. 19 memo from the state DMV informed the clerks they don't "have any statutory discretion to withhold a motor voter form." What's more, the computer block preventing a DMV clerk from transmitting a motor voter registration without a Social Security number was removed.

Gov. Spitzer's office told me the courts have upheld their position on Social Security numbers. Sandy DePerno, the Democratic clerk of Oneida County, says that makes no sense. "This makes voter fraud easier," she told me.

While states such as New York are increasing the risk of such fraud, a half-dozen states have recently adopted laws requiring voters to offer proof of identity or citizenship before casting a ballot. A federal commission, co-chaired by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker, gave such laws a big boost in 2005 when it called for a nationwide policy requiring a photo ID before voting.

Mr. Carter has personal knowledge of why such laws are needed. He recounts in his book "Turning Point" how his 1962 race for Georgia State Senate involved a local sheriff who had cast votes for the dead. It took a recount and court challenge before Mr. Carter was declared the winner.

Measures that curb voter fraud on the one hand and encourage it on the other will be central to the 2008 election. The Supreme Court will rule on the constitutionality of Indiana's photo ID law next spring, while lawsuits challenging Gov. Spitzer's moves will be in New York state courts.

Despite her muddled comments this week, there's no doubt where Mrs. Clinton stands on ballot integrity. She opposes photo ID laws, even though they enjoy over 80% support in the polls. She has also introduced a bill to force every state to offer no-excuse absentee voting as well as Election Day registration -- easy avenues for election chicanery. The bill requires that every state restore voting rights to all criminals who have completed their prison terms, parole or probation.

Pollster Scott Rasmussen notes that Mrs. Clinton is such a polarizing figure that she attracts between 46% and 49% support no matter which Republican candidate she's pitted against -- even libertarian Ron Paul. She knows she may have trouble winning next year. Maybe that's why she's thrown herself in with those who will look the other way as a new electoral majority is formed -- even if that includes non-citizens, felons and those who suddenly cross a state line on Election Day and decide they want to vote someplace new.

Mr. Fund, a columnist for OpinionJournal.com, is author of a forthcoming revised edition of "Stealing Elections: How Voter Fraud Threatens Our Democracy." (Encounter).

WSJ
Pages: 1 ... 521 522 [523] 524 525 ... 626
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!