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27701  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: March 08, 2007, 09:49:51 AM
The Headline should read "Muslims screw us again, just as their book commands".
Ex-Navy sailor charged under espionage law

Man arrested in Arizona, accused of giving details about ships to al-Qaida

A former Navy enlisted man was arrested and charged with violating terrorism and espionage laws by passing along sensitive information about the vulnerability of Navy ships to al-Qaida associates, sources told NBC News on Wednesday.
Officials already knew naval information had been relayed but just recently named a suspect.
Paul R. Hall, now known as Hassan Abujihaad, 31, was arrested Wednesday in Phoenix, Ariz., said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He is accused of sending classified information about the movements of a Navy battle group deployed to the Persian Gulf in the spring of 2001. The document discussed potential vulnerabilities to attack. It was sent to the operators of a London Web site, Assam Publications, who have since been arrested on terrorism charges. Their arrests in 2004 first exposed the contacts.

Federal agents said Abujihaad described the October 2000 attack on the USS Cole in Aden harbor in Yemen as a "martyrdom operation" and said that such tactics were working and taking their toll on the Navy.
He was discharged from the Navy in January 2002, before his contact with the Web site was discovered.
Abujihaad is charged in the same case as Babar Ahmad, a British computer specialist accused of running Web sites to raise money for terrorism. Ahmad is schedule be extradited to the U.S. to face trial.
Investigators discovered computer files containing classified information about the positions of U.S. Navy ships and discussing their susceptibility to attack during Ahmad's investigation.
Abujihaad exchanged e-mails with Ahmad while on active duty on the USS Benfold, a guided-missile destroyer, in 2000 and 2001, according to an affidavit released Wednesday. He allegedly purchased videos promoting violent jihad.
The documents retrieved from Ahmad show drawings of Navy battle groups and discuss upcoming missions. They also say the battle group could be attacked using small weapons such as rocket-propelled grenades. The ships were never attacked.
27702  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Boxing Thread on: March 07, 2007, 11:46:37 PM
Man, 91, challenges Jack LaLanne, 92 Wed Mar 7, 5:53 PM ET

LEWISTON, Maine - All of that Florida sun must be getting to Maine snowbird Roland Fortin. The 91-year-old has laid down a challenge to box fitness guru Jack LaLanne, who's 92. Fortin, former "cut man" for retired boxing champ Joey Gamache, said the idea for the four-round bout was hatched at the Tropical Gym in Pompano Beach, where Fortin works out during the winter in Florida.

The South Florida Sun-Sentinel in Fort Lauderdale ran the challenge in a half-page ad that gym owner Troy Eckonen took out for Super Bowl Sunday. The purpose, he said, was to let seniors know it's not too late to get in great shape like Fortin.

"Florida is like the waiting room to the casket," Ecknonen said.

So far, the publicity stunt is working for the Tropical Gym, where membership is up. But LaLanne hasn't taken Fortin up on the challenge to enter the ring.

LaLanne's spokeswoman learned of the boxing challenge when she was contacted Tuesday by a reporter from the Sun Journal newspaper in Lewiston.

"That's not quite his cup of tea," Liz Cardenas said Wednesday from California. Besides, she said, LaLanne is too busy traveling for public appearances, and he no longer performs athletic feats for which he was known earlier in his career.

Despite the rebuff, Eckonen has not abandoned the idea. He said he plans to deliver the ad to fight promoter Don King to see if he's interested.

"It'd be a gentleman's fight, obviously," Eckonen said.

Fortin, a widower who has wintered in Florida since retiring from the funeral business decades ago, doesn't think either man would get hurt in a brief square-off. "He'd knock me down, I'd knock him down," he said.

27703  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Tippy-tappy drills-- threat or menace? on: March 07, 2007, 11:28:46 PM
All this is very interesting!

By the way, was not Bruce Lee the cha-cha champion of Hong Kong at one point?
27704  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Professor Pino - enough is enough - I've had it. on: March 07, 2007, 06:32:40 PM
Thanks for those URLs SBM.

 I have a heavy reading load at the moment, but resonating from my days in law school oh so long ago is this distinction found in the first of your URLs:

"advocacy (as versus) , , , incitement to imminent lawless action".

Since you have presumably read them, including the lengthy second one, would you be so kind as to give a quick summary?
27705  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: March 07, 2007, 05:54:21 PM

March 5, 2007

A death averted
Passer-by uses gun to halt attack

By Nicklaus Lovelady

As customers watched in horror Sunday afternoon, a man stabbed a woman and attempted to set her on fire in the parking lot of a Jackson store, witnesses said.

The attack was stopped by a passer-by, who held the man at gunpoint until police arrived, witnesses said.

The suspect, Henry Watson, 42, was arrested and is expected to face aggravated assault charges, Jackson Police Department Cmdr. Lee Vance said. Watson's wife, Gracie Watson, 42, was transported to the University of Mississippi Medical center, where she was listed in good condition.

"It wasn't five minutes from when she had left my line when I heard a scream outside," said Theresa Stuckey, a cashier at the Family Dollar at 516 Nakoma Drive in Jackson. "I looked out, and (the attacker) was on top of her stabbing her, and stabbing her and stabbing her.

"She was screaming, 'Help, he's trying to kill me!' She was rolling on the ground, trying to get out of the way, but he kept stabbing her. He stabbed her about 20 times in the neck, back and arms."

As the attack continued, people were yelling at the man to stop and honking their horns, Stuckey said. She said she called 911.

"He was just standing over her hacking away," said Dolly Baker, who had just left the Save-A-Lot store next door when she saw the attack.

Baker said she watched the man pour gasoline on the victim then try to strike a match.

"He was literally trying to kill that lady in broad daylight," she said.

Baker said a passer-by stopped the attack.

"He told the man, 'Stop, or I'm going to shoot. And if you run, I'm going to kill you,' " Baker said.

The man held Watson at bay until police arrived at the scene.

"Right now, all we know is that (Watson) attacked his wife. For what reason, we don't know," Jackson Police Department Sgt. Eric Smith said.

Police said they are looking for the passer-by who stopped the attack and would like to talk to him but don't know who he is or where he went. [NOTE: They have found the rescuer, but didn't release his name. He might have had a "history" with the police, but despite this, he acted.]

The incident occurred about 3:50 p.m.

Smith said he did not know exactly how many times Gracie Watson was stabbed but said it was more than 10 times.
27706  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Native Americans and tribal living around the world on: March 07, 2007, 05:51:14 PM
March 7, 2007

TOHONO O'ODHAM NATION, Ariz. - A fresh footprint in the dirt, fibers in the
mesquite. Harold Thompson reads the signs like a map.
They point to drug smugglers, 10 or 11, crossing from Mexico. The deep
impressions and spacing are a giveaway to the heavy loads on their backs.
With no insect tracks or paw prints of nocturnal creatures marking the
steps, Mr. Thompson determines the smugglers probably crossed a few hours
"These guys are not far ahead; we'll get them," said Mr. Thompson, 50, a
strapping Navajo who follows the trail like a bloodhound.
At a time when all manner of high technology is arriving to help beef up
security at the Mexican border - infrared cameras, sensors, unmanned
drones - there is a growing appreciation among the federal authorities for
the American Indian art of tracking, honed over generations by ancestors
hunting animals.
Mr. Thompson belongs to the Shadow Wolves, a federal law enforcement unit of
Indian officers that has operated since the early 1970s on this vast Indian
nation straddling the Mexican border.
Tracking skills are in such demand that the Departments of State and Defense
have arranged for the Shadow Wolves to train border guards in other
countries, including some central to the fight against terrorism. Several
officers are going to train border police in Tajikistan and Uzbekistan,
which border Afghanistan, and in several other countries.
In the renewed push to secure the border with Mexico, the curbing of
narcotics trafficking often gets less public attention than the capturing of
illegal immigrants.
But the 15-member Shadow Wolves unit, part of Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, is recruiting members to reach the congressionally authorized
complement of 21. And the immigration agency is considering forming a sister
unit to patrol part of the Canadian border at the Blackfeet reservation in
Montana, where concern about drug trafficking is growing.
"Detecting is one thing, and apprehending is something entirely different,"
said Rodney Irby, a special agent in Tucson for the immigration agency who
helps supervise the Shadow Wolves. "I applaud the technology; it will only
make the border more secure. But there are still going to be groups of
people who penetrate the most modern technology, and we need a cadre of
agents and officers to apprehend them."
The Shadow Wolves have seized nearly 30,000 pounds of illegal drugs since
October, putting them on pace to meet or exceed previous annual seizure
amounts. They routinely seize some 100,000 pounds of illegal drugs a year,
Mr. Irby said.
They home in on drug smugglers, who use less-traveled cattle tracks, old
wagon-wheel trails and barely formed footpaths to ferry their loads to roads
and highways about 40 miles from the border.
The Tohono land, which is the size of Connecticut and the third-largest
reservation in area in the country, has long vexed law enforcement. Scores
of people die crossing here every year in the searing, dry heat of summer or
the frigid cold of winter. And its 76-mile-long border with Mexico, marked
in most places with a three- or four-strand barbed-wire fence that is easy
to breach, is a major transshipment point for marijuana, Mexico's largest
illicit crop.
Adding to the challenge is that drug smugglers have enlisted tribal members
or forced them into cooperation, sometimes stashing their loads in the
ramshackle houses dotting the landscape or paying the young to act as
guides. Several tribal members live on the Mexican side, and those on the
American side have long freely crossed the border, which they usually do
through a few informal entry points that drug traffickers, too, have picked
up on.
How much the Shadow Wolves disrupt the criminal organizations is debated.
Officials said they believed the group's work at least complicated drug
smuggling operations - the Shadow Wolves have received death threats over
the years - but they said they could not estimate the amount of drugs making
it through.
Marvin Eleando, a Tohono who retired from the unit in 2004, said he believed
the Shadow Wolves got just a small fraction of the drugs moving through the
Tohono lands. Mr. Eleando estimated it would take about 100 Shadow Wolves to
truly foil the smugglers, who employ spotters on mountaintops who watch for
officers and then shift routes accordingly.
Still, he said, the unit must keep up the effort because the drugs, and the
gun violence often associated with trafficking, imperil tribal members.
"The kids get mixed up in this and then don't want to work anymore," Mr.
Eleando said.
Lately, according to the Border Patrol and Immigration and Customs
Enforcement, drug seizures in Arizona, and especially around the reservation
and the Tucson area, have surged, and the size of the loads found has
Officials said it was too soon to tell whether the uptick signaled a
long-term pattern. But they believed it could be partly explained by the
additional staffing on the border. Law enforcement officials said that there
also appeared to be a bumper crop of marijuana in Mexico and that smugglers
seemed to be trying to ship tons of it ahead of government crackdowns there.
"We never know how much is being pushed in our direction," said David V.
Aguilar, the chief of the Border Patrol, though he added that it seemed the
amount was "higher at this point."
Alonzo Peña, the agent in charge of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in
Arizona, said investigators had many theories but little concrete
information to explain the increase in trafficking.
"Is this marijuana that has been sitting in warehouses, and they are trying
to get rid of it now that there is a strong hand in Mexico?" Mr. Peña said.
"We just don't know other than that we are seeing more loads and bigger
loads in many areas."
The Shadow Wolves, established with a handful of officers in 1972 as part of
what was then the United States Customs Service, were the first federal law
enforcement officers allowed on Tohono land.
The federal government agreed to the Tohono O'odham Nation's demand that the
officers have American Indian ancestry, a requirement still in place.
Members are at least one-quarter Indian, and the current group represents
seven tribes, including the Tohono.
While other law enforcement agencies, including the Border Patrol, use
tracking, the Shadow Wolves believe that their experience and their Indian
ancestry give them an edge, particularly here.
"I speak the language, so when we are dealing with elderly members in
particular I can make them more comfortable," said Gary Ortega, a Tohono who
has been in the Shadow Wolves for nine years. "They are willing to tell us
things they know or see that they may not tell another federal agent or
There is also, of course, the thrill of the hunt.
On a recent day, Mr. Thompson picked up the track around 3 a.m. and, with
Mr. Ortega, stayed on it for nearly 12 hours through thorny thickets and
wide-open desert. As the terrain grew craggy, Mr. Thompson kept a brisk
pace, with Mr. Ortega and other officers leapfrogging ahead to help find the
"Every chase is just a little different," Mr. Ortega said, barely pausing as
he followed the prints in the sand.
It grew easier as the sun rose and the smugglers kept bumping into thorny
bushes and stopping to rest, leaving their food wrappers behind and coat
fibers in the cat-claw brush. By midafternoon, Mr. Ortega and Mr. Thompson
were tiring, too. But the scent of the men's burlap sacks perked up Mr.
Ortega, and he quickened his pace, finally catching sight of the smugglers
and prompting them to bolt from their resting spot.
Left behind were 10 bales of marijuana, 630 pounds in total, a fairly
typical bust, with a street value of more than $315,000.
With the weight off their backs, the smugglers showed new speed dashing to
hiding places and easily outmatched their pursuers. Other Shadow Wolves
drove out to pick up the load, finding their colleagues resting on the bales
and grinning in satisfaction.
"When we get the dope or the guys," Mr. Thompson said, "that's when it
27707  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: March 07, 2007, 02:33:24 PM
Geopolitical Diary: Iranian Secrets on the Loose?

Ali Reza Askari, a former aide to the Iranian defense minister and a retired general with long service in the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has been missing since Feb. 7. He reportedly was last seen in Istanbul. After his disappearance, Arab newspapers quickly fingered Mossad and the CIA for his assassination or kidnapping. Iranian officials made similar claims. On Tuesday, the independent Saudi-owned newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat offered a different explanation: Askari had defected, turning himself over to U.S. agents in Turkey.

After visiting Damascus on official business, Askari reportedly flew to Istanbul on a personal trip. Menashe Amir, an Israeli analyst of Iranian affairs, has said that Askari's family left Iran ahead of him and met up with him in Istanbul. That his disappearance appears to have happened while he was traveling abroad with his family seems a remarkable coincidence. And Istanbul is a particularly convenient location for the U.S. intelligence community: Turkey's intelligence agencies are on good terms with their American counterparts, and U.S. military flights are quite common.

While Asharq Al-Awsat has occasionally been used by Riyadh for disinformation purposes -- and both the Saudis and the Israelis (and essentially everyone else discussing his disappearance) have cause to manipulate perceptions of Iran -- the fact remains that a covert war is raging, and has been. Mossad has likely taken out Ardeshir Hassanpour, a prominent Iranian nuclear scientist. In Iraq, the United States has raided an Iranian consulate and arrested Iranian citizens, including Mohsen Shirazi, a commander of the elite IRGC Quds Brigade.

One thing is clear: Askari is missing and Tehran is at least pretending to be worried. An Iranian delegation arrived in Istanbul last week to investigate, and has reportedly contacted Interpol. Some of the details of Askari's military career have been closely guarded by the Iranian government, but indications are that he has been heavily involved in strategic affairs as well as military purchases and production. Israeli sources claim that he was the commander of the IRGC in Lebanon in the late 1980s, where he served as a liaison with Hezbollah. He could even be privy to information on Tehran's nuclear program.

Iran appears to be operating on the assumption that Askari might have been compromised. While the true scope and pertinence of his knowledge is known only to Tehran (or was, prior to Feb. 7), the damage he could do to Iran is almost certainly significant. Reports that dozens of IRGC members working in cultural centers and embassies in the Arab world and Europe have been called back to Tehran, for fear that their identities will be disclosed, lend credence to the utility of the information Askari might offer. Some sources have characterized his possible defection as a "deathblow."

While a kidnapped Askari would be of deep concern, an Askari who defected willingly would be a nightmare for Tehran. And this situation could be even more dire than just Askari walking in out of the cold and asking for asylum. The U.S. intelligence community could already have been working him for months -- or years.

Brushing aside the loss of someone like Askari simply might not be possible for Tehran. A defense establishment that has gone out of its way to appear threatening and capable could be exposed as a fake. Or even if it truly is dangerous and capable, its best laid battle plans and contingencies might now be in the hands of the Pentagon. From Iranian lines of communication to Hezbollah, to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's evacuation plans in the event of a U.S. attack, the possible revelations are numerous and highly sensitive.

Of course, Askari could be a double agent and Iran's "concern" could be feigned. His high position would certainly suggest a strong loyalty to the clerical regime. But making a double agent out of someone with such a vast array of devastating information seems to place too much directly into the hands of the United States -- an awful gamble for Tehran.

Whatever the case, the stakes in the covert war have almost certainly been raised.
27708  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: March 07, 2007, 02:26:53 PM
In ’05 Investing, Obama Took Same Path as Donors

Published: March 7, 2007
Less than two months after ascending to the United States Senate, Barack Obama bought more than $50,000 worth of stock in two speculative companies whose major investors included some of his biggest political donors.

One of the companies was a biotech concern that was starting to develop a drug to treat avian flu. In March 2005, two weeks after buying about $5,000 of its shares, Mr. Obama took the lead in a legislative push for more federal spending to battle the disease.

The most recent financial disclosure form for Mr. Obama, an Illinois Democrat, also shows that he bought more than $50,000 in stock in a satellite communications business whose principal backers include four friends and donors who had raised more than $150,000 for his political committees.

A spokesman for Mr. Obama, who is seeking his party’s presidential nomination in 2008, said yesterday that the senator did not know that he had invested in either company until fall 2005, when he learned of it and decided to sell the stocks. He sold them at a net loss of $13,000.

The spokesman, Bill Burton, said Mr. Obama’s broker bought the stocks without consulting the senator, under the terms of a blind trust that was being set up for the senator at that time but was not finalized until several months after the investments were made.

“He went about this process to avoid an actual or apparent conflict of interest, and he had no knowledge of the stocks he owned,” Mr. Burton said. “And when he realized that he didn’t have the level of blindness that he expected, he moved to terminate the trust.”

Mr. Obama has made ethics a signature issue, and his quest for the presidency has benefited from the perception that he is unlike politicians who blend public and private interests. There is no evidence that any of his actions ended up benefiting either company during the roughly eight months that he owned the stocks.

Even so, the stock purchases raise questions about how he could unwittingly come to invest in two relatively obscure companies, whose backers happen to include generous contributors to his political committees. Among those donors was Jared Abbruzzese, a New York businessman now at the center of an F.B.I. inquiry into public corruption in Albany, who had also contributed to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group that sought to undermine John Kerry’s Democratic presidential campaign in 2004.

Mr. Obama, who declined to be interviewed about the stock deals, has already had to contend with a controversy that arose out of his reliance on a major campaign contributor in Chicago to help him in a personal financial transaction. In that earlier case, he acknowledged last year that it had been a mistake to involve the contributor, a developer who has since been indicted in an unrelated political scandal, in deals related to the Obamas’ purchase of a home.

Senate ethics rules do not prohibit lawmakers from owning stocks — even in companies that do business with the federal government or could benefit from legislation they advance — and indeed other members of Congress have investments in government contractors. The rules say only that lawmakers should not take legislative actions whose primary purpose is to benefit themselves.

Mr. Obama’s sale of his shares in the two companies ended what appears to have been a brief foray into highly speculative investing that stood out amid an otherwise conservative portfolio of mutual funds and cash accounts, a review of his Senate disclosure statements shows. He earned $2,000 on the biotech company, AVI BioPharma, and lost $15,000 on the satellite communications concern, Skyterra, according to Mr. Burton of the Obama campaign.

Mr. Burton said the trust was different from qualified blind trusts that other senators commonly used, because it was intended to allow him greater flexibility to address any accusations of conflicts that might arise from its assets. He said Mr. Obama had decided to sell the stocks after receiving a communication that made him concerned about how the trust was set up.

The investments came at a time when Mr. Obama was enjoying sudden financial success, following his victory at the polls in November 2004. He had signed a $1.9 million book deal, and his ethics disclosure reports show that he received $1.2 million of book money in 2005.

His wife, Michelle, a hospital vice president in Chicago, received a promotion that March, nearly tripling her salary to $317,000, and they bought a $1.6 million house in June. The house sat on a large property that was subdivided to make it more affordable, and one of Mr. Obama’s political donors bought the adjacent lot.

The disclosure forms show that the Obamas also placed several hundred thousand dollars in a new private-client account at JPMorgan Chase, a bond fund and a checking account at a Chicago bank.

NY Times
27709  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Islamic Countries: on: March 07, 2007, 02:22:27 PM
Saudi Kidnap, Rape Victim Faces Lashing for 'Crime' of Being Alone With Man Not Related to Her
Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A 19-year-old Saudi woman who was kidnapped, beaten and gang raped by seven men who then took photos of their victim and threatened to kill her, was sentenced under the country's Islamic-based law to 90 lashes for the "crime" of being alone with a man not related to her.

The woman is appealing to Saudi King Abdullah to intervene in the controversial case.

"I ask the king to consider me as one of his own daughters and have mercy on me and set me free from the 90 lashes," the woman said in an emotional interview published Monday in the Saudi Gazette.

"I was shocked at the verdict. I couldn't believe my ears. Ninety lashes! Ninety lashes!" the woman, identified only as "G," told the English-language newspaper.

Five months after the harsh judgment, her sentence has yet to be carried out, "G" said she waits in fear every day for the phone call telling her to submit to authorities to carry out her punishment.

Lashes are usually spread over several days. About 50 lashes are given at a time.

The woman's ordeal began a year ago when she was blackmailed into meeting a man who threatened to tell her family they were having a relationship outside wedlock, which is illegal in the desert kingdom, according to a report in The Scotsman newspaper.

She met the man at a shopping mall and, after driving off together, the blackmailer's car was stopped by two other cars bearing men wielding knives and meat cleavers.

During the next three hours, the woman was raped 14 times by her seven captors.

One of the men took pictures of her naked with his mobile phone and threatened to blackmail her with them.

Back at home in a town near the eastern city of Qatif, the young woman did not tell her family of her ordeal. Nor did she inform the authorities, fearing the rapist would circulate the pictures of her naked. She also attempted suicide.

Five of the rapists were arrested and given jail terms ranging from 10 months to five years. The prosecutor had asked for the death penalty for the men.

The Saudi justice ministry, however, said rape could not be proved because there were no witnesses and the men had recanted confessions they made during interrogation.

The judges, basing their decision on Islamic law, also decided to sentence the woman and her original blackmailer to lashes for being alone together in his car.

The Saudi Gazette and The Scotsman contributed to this report.
27710  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Military Science on: March 07, 2007, 01:58:23 PM
The New Logic for Ballistic Missile Defense
By Peter Zeihan

The commander of Russia's strategic bomber force, Lt. Gen. Igor Khvorov, said March 5 that his forces could easily disrupt or destroy any missile defense infrastructure in Poland and the Czech Republic -- where the United States is preparing to set up parts of a ballistic missile defense (BMD) system. Khvorov was hardly the first Russian official to make such a threat: On Feb. 19, statements by Strategic Rocket Forces commander Col. Gen. Nikolai Solovtsov left little doubt that Moscow would target U.S. BMD sites with its nuclear arsenal if Washington pushes ahead with its plans.

Exactly why missile defense -- a technology that has received little publicity since the Cold War -- should be a source of increasingly obvious tension between the United States and Russia is an interesting question. An equally interesting question: Why are the Russians threatening once again to target NATO countries -- a tactic Moscow abandoned 15 years ago?

The answer is rooted not only in the history of BMD, but in the myriad ways the European theater has changed -- from both the U.S. and European points of view -- since the end of the Cold War.

BMD and the Cold War

When Ronald Reagan introduced the Star Wars system in the 1980s, his logic was much more political than military. It was apparent that, even with extremely aggressive funding, the United States was decades away from being able to establish a missile shield capable of deflecting a significant Soviet nuclear strike. Rhetoric aside, the argument for a BMD system was not really about establishing an impregnable bubble around the United States, but rather about shifting the strategic balance away from mutually assured destruction and into a venue that catered to the Americans' economic advantage.

In the minds of Politburo members, the United States not only was moving into a realm in which the Americans already enjoyed substantial technological and economic advantages, but in which the costs of development also threatened to overturn Soviet military doctrine. As of the early 1980s, the United States was spending only 6 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, whereas the Soviets are thought to have been expending more than one-quarter of theirs. The Soviets recognized that they could not win a space race involving defensive weaponry. Reagan's insistence on keeping the BMD issue on the table, therefore, gave him enormous bargaining power against the Soviets and contributed heavily to the subsequent arms-control and disarmament treaties that ultimately heralded the Cold War's end.

European leaders, however, viewed BMD issues in much the same light as the Soviets did. Though few Europeans were comfortable with the idea of the Americans and Soviets being locked into a Mutually Assured Destruction (MAD) structure that would consume their homelands if anything should go awry, it was impossible to ignore the fact that MAD had brought about 50 years of relatively stable Great Power relations. Reagan's BMD was viewed as an extremely aggressive effort to overturn that system and disrupt the stability that went with it. European states were terrified of BMD at both the political and strategic levels.

But the arguments and alignments in favor of BMD have changed drastically in the post-Cold War era.

The New American Logic

As the Russian missile arsenal has declined in quantity and quality, U.S. desires for a BMD protective net have only strengthened. Though most American strategic planners in the 1980s were well aware that the system being envisioned was merely drawing-board material, strategic and technological realities today are starkly different. U.S. strategic thought now is fixating on two ideas.

First and most obvious is that, though it would not be foolproof by any stretch, it is possible that within a few years, an American-installed BMD network in certain parts of the world could protect against secondary threats such as Iran and North Korea. Given that the human and financial costs involved in rebuilding a major U.S. city (should one be hit by a nuclear weapon) are well above even the most aggressive price estimates for a global BMD network, the original vision of BMD as an effective defensive weapon now could be within reach.

The second idea dovetails with long-standing U.S. strategic doctrine -- a philosophy that long predates the Cold War. That doctrine has always aimed to push threats away from the continental United States -- initially by securing U.S. sovereignty over the North American land mass, achieving strategic depth and controlling sea approaches. Ultimately, the doctrine calls for the United States to project power into Eurasia itself, establishing as much stand-off distance as possible. In the early 20th century, naval power allowed the United States to do this just fine. But in the early 21st century, with the proliferation of intercontinental ballistic missile technology, naval power is only one leg of such a strategy.

Having forward-based BMD facilities not only is becoming important for Washington, but is moving to the core of U.S. defense logic.

From Washington's perspective, establishing a BMD system is not about taking advantage of Russia's relative military weakness, but instead about adapting to a new strategic reality. The foes and threats facing the United States have changed. No one is pretending that Russia's decline as a global power has not opened the door to a U.S. BMD system in the first place, or that the system could not be expanded and upgraded in the future as a potential counter to Russia's nuclear arsenal. Rather, it means simply that in the current strategic picture, the Russians really are not at the heart of U.S. defense planning -- and certainly not so far as BMD is concerned.

(click to enlarge)

The technological considerations are not unimportant here. With current technology, any system would be twitchy at best -- so for best results, the United States is seeking a layered network. The first layer of defense -- which most likely would include airborne lasers at some point -- would be sited as close to the launching states as possible, allowing the system to target any missile launches during the boost phase. The second layer would involve missile interceptors or AEGIS systems to strike during the midcourse of the missile's flight, followed by terminal phase engagement with anti-missile systems, such as the PAC-3 (the newest incarnation of the Patriot).

The polar projection of an ICBM is also key to understanding Washington's logic. Any missile launched from Iran and bound for the continental United States would have to fly over Central Europe -- which is why the United States has pending agreements to set up an interceptor base in Poland and a radar station in the Czech Republic. Similarly, any North Korean missile would have to fly over Alaska, the other major BMD interceptor locale. A nuclear strike out of Russia, however, would travel over the North Pole. BMD installations in Europe and Alaska would cover only the peripheries of that attack corridor -- and with vastly insufficient numbers of interceptors.

In short, the U.S. rationale for BMD has evolved. In the 1980s, it was about breaking out of the MAD impasse and wringing concessions out of the Soviets. Today, BMD has the potential to be something that was never seriously considered in the 1980s: a viable defensive weapon. Put another way, BMD once was wielded as a political tool to avoid a future war; now, it is coming to be viewed as a defensive weapon to be used in a future conflict.

The New European Logic

The Czech Republic and Poland are not the only European states to have changed their thinking about BMD either. A number of countries not only are responding warmly to U.S. overtures regarding facilities, but in some cases actually are initiating the siting requests.

For central European states, the benefits of such deals are obvious. Most of the political elites in these states fear a future conflict with the Russians, and anything they can do to solidify a military arrangement with Washington is, to their thinking, a benefit in and of itself. But even in Western Europe, further removed from the Russian periphery, opposition to the United States' BMD programs seems to have relaxed considerably. The United Kingdom has specifically requested inclusion in the system (though Washington so far has declined), and the German government has called for the United States to address the issue of BMD in the context of NATO.

There are several reasons for this change.

First and foremost, BMD technology -- while still unproven -- has advanced considerably since the Reagan era, and thus is now far more likely to work. When BMD was only a political tool and could offer no real protection, the Europeans were understandably squeamish about participating in the system. But if the system is actually functional, the calculus shifts.

Second, a weak BMD system designed to guard against Iran theoretically could evolve into a stronger system that helps to protect Europeans against Russia in the future. Of course, the system is not designed to target Russia at the present time, but if Russia's military capabilities should decay further over time, the technological argument -- that the system might actually work -- weighs heavily in the European mind. And at a time when Moscow is growing more aggressive in economic and political terms, laying the groundwork for a military hedge makes sense.

Third, it is becoming increasingly difficult for Europeans to define their security interests as separate from Washington's. Moscow's new energy strategy is a tool for exerting influence over Europe, making European states more willing to view Russia through American goggles. Moreover, Iran regularly bites its thumb at the United Nations and its nuclear watchdog, inducing the Europeans (little by little) to morph from being apologists for Tehran to quiet, if still primarily unofficial, enforcers of sanctions. BMD fits into the U.S. strategic doctrine, and that logic, by association, is now taking hold in Europe.

Fourth, there is a desire to rope the United States into a multilateral defense stratagem. Many Western Europeans begrudge U.S. efforts to dominate the NATO alliance and regularly try to persuade Washington to more seriously consider European points of view. But the United States' ability to make bilateral defense deals cuts the Europeans out completely. For countries like Germany, which considers itself a key driver of European policy, the only way to counter unilateral American moves is to make it worth Washington's while to discuss issues like BMD within the framework of NATO -- which means taking BMD well beyond committee meetings and talk shops. It means actually deploying assets. To do otherwise would only encourage Washington to impose a security policy upon Europe without consulting the Europeans.

Finally, there is the "If you can't beat 'em, join 'em" logic: Bilateral U.S. security agreements with Central European states are forging BMD into reality. If is going to happen anyway, the logic goes, you might as well jump on the bandwagon and reap some of the benefits.

Russian Repercussions

The Russians, of course, are not blind to the emergence of a potential threat near their borders -- even recognizing the limitations of the BMD system as currently envisioned.

The United States certainly does not want to trigger a war with Moscow, but that does not mean that Washington is oozing with warm feelings toward all things Russian. Throughout American history, only three countries have seriously threatened the United States: Britain, which ultimately was forced into the role of ally; Mexico, which was occupied and half its territory annexed; and Russia/Soviet Union -- the only foe still remaining. Traditionally, the United States does not defeat its enemies so much as crush them until either they switch sides or are incapable of posing more than a negligible threat.

Though the days of Russian-American military parity are long past, the United States is not yet finished with Moscow from a strategic perspective. Washington wants to pressure Russia until its will, as well as its ability, to pose a viable threat completely disintegrates. Therefore, while it is true that Russia is not an explicit target of the BMD system being established in the Czech Republic and Poland, it would be ridiculous to believe that BMD facilities in Europe would not trigger evolutions in Russian policy. Washington realizes that. In fact, the Americans are betting on it.

Establishing a BMD system on Russia's doorstep would indeed pose a potential long-term threat for Moscow -- but more importantly, it creates a political irritant that will generate a steady stream of bellicose Russian rhetoric. And that serves American purposes. The more aggressive Russia sounds, the more willing Europeans will be to see strategic U.S. policy in general -- and BMD policy specifically -- from Washington's point of view.

Which brings us back to the recent statements by the men who manage Russia's warheads. Their direct threats against European targets must have thrilled American strategic planners. With but a few words, the Russian generals not only supplied a fresh rationale for the BMD system, but also tilted the debate in Europe over the entire system toward the Americans' logic.
27711  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: March 07, 2007, 01:54:18 PM
Wired Iraqi man triggers scare at L.A. airport
Tue Mar 6, 2007 6:36 PM ET

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - An Iraqi national wearing wires and concealing a magnet inside his rectum triggered a security scare at Los Angeles International Airport on Tuesday but officials said he posed no apparent threat.
The man, identified by law enforcement officials as Fadhel al-Maliki, 35, set off an alarm during passenger screening at the airport early on Tuesday morning.
A police bomb squad was called to examine what was deemed a suspicious item found during a body cavity search of the man. Local media reports said a magnet was found in his rectum.
"He was secreting these items in a body cavity and that was a great concern because there were also some electric wires associated with that body cavity," Larry Fetters, security director for the Transportation Security Administration at the airport, told reporters.
Maliki, 35, who lives in Atlantic City, New Jersey, was preparing to board a US Airways flight from Los Angeles to Philadelphia.
The flight left without Maliki but with his luggage aboard. It made an unscheduled landing in Las Vegas, where the plane was thoroughly searched but nothing was found, officials said.
Passengers were not evacuated and no flights were disrupted by the incident at Terminal One at Los Angeles airport.
"There never was a threat," Fetter said.
He said police and the FBI were called in from "an abundance of caution" because Maliki was "so bizarre in his behavior."
Maliki, who had a U.S. green card, was being questioned by immigration officials about his immigration status.
27712  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Unorganized Militia on: March 07, 2007, 12:49:39 PM


Shopowner warns others

Determined to help: When Dodds saw the gunman, he ordered people to hide, then prepared to take on the shooter

By Brooke Adams
The Salt Lake Tribune

Article Last Updated: 02/18/2007 03:56:02 AM MST


Barrett "Bear" Dodds doesn't have much tolerance for mean people.
    Never has.
    So when Bear realized a gunman was loose in Trolley Square, his testosterone kicked in.
    Bear is the owner of the Brass Key Antique store, located on the south side of the mall's upper level. His acts helped keep dozens out of harm's way, likely distracted the shooter and aided the off-duty officer who was first on the scene.
    On Monday night, Bear left his store in the hands of his grandpa Wally Dodds while he went across the floor to Haroon's clothing store. He hoped to pick up a Valentine's Day present for his girlfriend.
    As he stood at the counter, he heard a pop, pop.
    "That was gunshots," he said to the clerk.
    Bear, 29, ran out of Haroon's and looked into the atrium below.
    He saw a young man - Sulejman Talovic - standing outside the Cabin Fever gift store, shooting through its window.
    In the same instant, he saw his grandfather, lured out of the Brass Key by the odd sounds, approach the south railing. Wally Dodds was moving into the direct sight of the shooter.
    In the booming voice he used as a bouncer at various Salt Lake City clubs, Bear issued an order: "Grandpa, get back in and lock the door."
    Wally moved back and began shepherding 15 or so people who had amassed in the hallway into the Brass Key. The shoppers took cover among the antiques, some crying, most fearfully quiet.

    Bear's shouted command drew the attention of Talovic, who turned and looked up at him. By now, the commotion had drawn other shopkeepers along the east hallway to their doors.
    Across the way, Bear saw about 20 people running in his direction. He put his hand up and yelled that the gunman was below. "They got the point," he said.
    Bear then moved along the east hallway stores - Vitamin World, John Robert Powers, Ypsilon - telling storeowners to lock their doors. The sounds of Talovic's rampage continued.
    "It was shot after shot after shot the whole time," Bear said.
    He grabbed a tall, black metal stool from the Liken movie kiosk at the end of the east hallway and began making his way back to the atrium. As he reached The Spectacle, the last store on the left, Bear had a clear view of Cabin Fever.
    "I could see the bodies," he said, among them what appeared to be an older man. "That's when you realize this has gone too far. It's for real."
    His thoughts flashed on his grandpa, and "I lost my temper."
    Bear began weaving in and out of sight of Talovic. His mind raced through the options.
    "I could see him reaching in his pocket, reloading and reloading," said Bear, who had no idea how long it might take for police to intervene.
    Bear said he tried to count shots so he could tell when Talovic would need to reload, but the teen never emptied his shotgun. He watched with disbelief as Talovic put the weapon to his shoulder and took aim, shooting victims once, twice or more.
    Bear figured he could throw the stool, but knew it was not heavy enough to do anything but distract the teen. He calculated the odds of landing on him if he jumped.
    From a window in the Brass Key, Wally Dodds could see Bear.
    "I thought, 'Oh no.' I knew he wasn't going to run, wasn't going to hide, he wasn't going anywhere," Wally said. "He was going after the guy with a stool."
    Talovic began backing up toward the Pottery Barn Kids store and Bear moved over to Haroon's to keep him in view. He spotted Ogden police officer Ken Hammond at the atrium's south end, moving toward Talovic.
    "The officer said something like, 'I've only got six bullets, I can't have a long shoot-out,' " Bear said, "which scared me to death because I knew that guy had a whole lot of bullets."
    Bear shouted that he could no longer see Talovic and that he had to be in Pottery Barn Kids store directly below him. About then, Hammond held his badge up and identified himself to arriving Salt Lake City police.
    Bear said he put the stool down, realizing it might be mistaken for a weapon by new cops on the scene. He crouched down and moved closer to Haroon's as an officer shouted, "Police, drop your weapon."
    There was a shotgun blast and then a volley of shots. Police officers swarmed the mall, telling people to "go, go, go."
    "I am so grateful that Ogden police officer came because I might have lost him," Wally said. "It's not in [Bear's] nature to back down. He knew there was a good chance he would get shot but he couldn't stop."
    When the mall reopened on Wednesday, a steady stream of shopowners, mall patrons and customers made their way to the Brass Key to give Bear a hug.
    A woman and her young son came by Thursday to give Bear flowers and a card, which read in part: "You are a hero without a gun."
    So did Randy Kennard, a long-time family friend and owner of Kennard Antiques, who wanted to shake his hand.
    "That's Bear," he said.
27713  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: March 07, 2007, 12:37:03 PM
PAKISTAN: Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said he is willing to hold talks with the nationalist rebels in Balochistan in order to stop the violence in the region, the Press Trust of India reported. Musharraf made the comments during a public meeting in the district of Sibbi, where he also said the Pakistani government is ready to "give [the rebels] everything." Musharraf made it clear, however, that no amount of force would separate Balochistan from Pakistan.


AFGHANISTAN: Afghan troops captured senior Taliban leader Mullah Mahmood on March 6 as he attempted to flee the Panjwaii area, NATO said. Mahmood is believed to be an expert bombmaker who organized suicide attacks.
27714  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: March 07, 2007, 12:35:42 PM
IRAN: Iran has equipped its oil fields in the southern Persian Gulf with air defense systems, the Tehran-based Baztab news agency reported. The action has prompted the militaries of Kuwait, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates to go on full alert. According to Baztab, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said energy flow in the region will be obstructed if the West launches an offensive again Iran.
27715  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Fire Hydrant: Howls from Crafty Dog, Rules of the Road, etc on: March 07, 2007, 12:33:00 PM
Back from a week of checking in on my mom in southern Peru.  Good to be home!
27716  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Professor Pino - enough is enough - I've had it. on: March 07, 2007, 12:13:19 PM
Woof All:

Various points seriatim:

1)  Concerning the ACLU:  Yes they occasionally do act as Rog points out-- indeed I was raised in a home where that was the attitude towards the organization and I actually was a member for one year in the mid 80s.  As I received the literature that a member receives though I saw that the organization is very much of the left and, more importantly, quite lacking in intellectual and moral integrity.  I'm asking that we not confuse this thread with a discussion of the ACLU though, just briefly stating for the record my conclusions about the ACLU.

2)  Concerning SB Mig's hypothetical, I see where is trying to go with it but find it to be qualitatively different in to advocating jihad in the current context is to advocate additional violent attacks by a world-wdie fascist movement on the American homeland with an eye to using violence by enemies both foreign and domestic to establish Sharia.  As the famous Supreme Court dicta goes, The Constitution is not a suicide pact!  Furhtermore, in my opinion Sharia is fundamentally inconsistent with core American Consitutional values such as Freedom of Choice, Freedom of Speech and Separation of Church & State. 

3) I share SB Mig's concerns about the dangers of limiting Speech and again encourage CCP to look into American Constitutional Free Speech doctrine that requires some sort of imminence in conjunction with advocacy of illegal acts for the Speech to become illegal.

4)  I agree with SB Mig's belief that our Free Speech is an important strand in what makes this country great and strong-- and agree with Rog that as stated CCP's position reachese conclusions which are unacceptable to me.


PS:  Thank you SB Mig for your kind words about this Forum and its mission.
27717  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Evolutionary biology/psychology on: March 06, 2007, 04:01:26 AM
A friend brought this website to my attention and I have just begun surfing it a bit and find it to have some distinctive takes on things various matters.  Check it out.
27718  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Re: Peru on: March 05, 2007, 09:54:32 PM
Comenzara' a las 1700 y terminara a las 2100.  Pongase en contacto con Rainer en 937-25-687
27719  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Environmental issues on: March 05, 2007, 09:38:09 PM
Speaking for myself, I moved to LA after a particulary harsh winter in DC in 1982  cheesy

Anyway, here's this from Mark Steyn on Al Gore's carbon credits:


How Gore's massive energy consumption saves the world

By Mark Steyn

Stop me if you've heard this before, but the other day the Rev. Al Gore
declared that "climate change" was "the most important moral, ethical,
spiritual and political issue humankind has ever faced.'' Ever. I believe
that was the same day it was revealed that George W. Bush's ranch in Texas
is more environmentally friendly than the Gore mansion in Tennessee.
According to the Nashville Electric Service, the Eco-Messiah's house uses 20
times more electricity than the average American home. The average household
consumes 10,656 kilowatt-hours. In 2006, the Gores wolfed down nearly
221,000 kilowatt-hours.

Two hundred twenty-one thousand kilowatt-hours? What's he doing in there?
Clamping Tipper to the electrodes and zapping her across the rec room every
night? No, no, don't worry. Al's massive energy consumption is due entirely
to his concern about the way we're depleting the Earth's resources. When I
say "we," I don't mean Al, of course. I mean you -yes, you, Earl Schlub, in
the basement apartment at 29 Elm St. You're irresponsibly depleting the
Earth's resources by using that electric washer when you could be down by
the river with the native women beating your loin cloth dry on the rock
while singing traditional village work chants all morning long. But up at
the Gore mansion -the Nashville Electric Service's own personal gold mine,
the shining Cathedral of St. Al, Tennessee's very own Palace of Versal -the
Reverend Al is being far more environmentally responsible. As his
spokesperson attempted to argue, his high energy usage derives from his
brave calls for low energy usage. He's burning up all that electricity by
sending out faxes every couple of minutes urging you to use less

Also he buys -and if you're a practicing Ecopalyptic please prostrate
yourself before the Recycling Bin and make the sign of the HDPE -Al buys
"carbon offsets," or "carbon credits." Or, as his spokesperson Kalee Kreider
put it (and, incidentally, speaking through a spokesperson is another way Al
dramatically reduces his own emissions), the Gores "also do the carbon
emissions offset."

They do the Carbon Emissions Offset? What is that -a '60s dance craze? No,
it's way hotter. I mean, cooler. All the movie stars are doing it. In fact,
this year's Oscar goodie-bag that all the nominees get included a year's
worth of carbon offsets. Totally free. So even the stars' offsets are
offset. No wonder that, when they're off the set, they all do the offset.
Look at Leonardo DiCaprio: He's loaded with 'em, and the chicks think he's
totally eco-cool. Tall and tan and young and lovely, the boy with carbon
offsets goes walking and when he passes each one he passes goes

How do "carbon offsets" work? Well, let's say you're a former vice president
and you want to reduce your "carbon footprint," but the gorgeous go-go Gore
gals are using the hair dryer every night. So you go to a carbon-credits
firm and pay some money and they'll find a way of getting somebody on the
other side of the planet to reduce his emissions and the net result will be
"carbon neutral." It's like in Henry VIII's day. He'd be planning a big ox
roast and piling on the calories but he'd give a groat to a starving peasant
to carry on starving for another day and the result would be

So in the Reverend Al's case it doesn't matter that he's lit up like Times
Square on V-E Day. Because he's paid for his extravagant emissions. He has a
carbon-offset trader in an environmentally friendly carbon-credits office
suite who buys "carbon offsets" for Al from, say, a terrorist mastermind in
a cave in the Pakistani tribal lands who's dramatically reduced his energy
usage mainly because every time he powers up his cell phone or laptop a
light goes on in Washington and an unmanned drone starts heading his way.
So, aside from a basic cable subscription to cheer himself up watching U.S.
senators talking about "exit strategies" on CNN 24/7, the terrorist
mastermind doesn't deplete a lot of resources. Which means Tipper can watch
Al give a speech on a widescreen plasma TV, where Al looks almost as wide as
in life, and she doesn't have to feel guilty because it all comes out . . .

And, in fact, in the Reverend Al's case it's even better than that. Al buys
his carbon offsets from Generation Investment Management LLP, which is "an
independent, private, owner-managed partnership established in 2004 and with
offices in London and Washington, D.C.," that, for a fee, will invest your
money in "high-quality companies at attractive prices that will deliver
superior long-term investment returns." Generation is a tax-exempt U.S.
501(c)3. And who's the chairman and founding partner? Al Gore.

So Al can buy his carbon offsets from himself. Better yet, he can buy them
with the money he gets from his long-time relationship with Occidental
Petroleum. See how easy it is to be carbon-neutral? All you have do is own a
gazillion stocks in Big Oil, start an eco-stockbroking firm to make
eco-friendly investments, use a small portion of your oil company's profits
to buy some tax-deductible carbon offsets from your own investment firm, and
you too can save the planet while making money and leaving a carbon
footprint roughly the size of Godzilla's at the start of the movie when
they're all standing around in the little toe wondering what the strange
depression in the landscape is.

A couple of days before the Oscars, the Reverend Al gave a sell-out
performance at the University of Toronto. "From my perspective, it is a form
of religion," said Bruce Crofts of the East Toronto Climate Action Group,
who compared the former vice president to Jesus Christ, both men being (as
the Globe And Mail put it) "great leaders who stepped forward when called
upon by circumstance." Unlike Christ, the Eco-Messiah cannot yet walk on
water, but then, neither can the polar bears. However, only Al can survey
the melting ice caps and turn water into whine. One lady unable to land a
ticket frantically begged the university for an audience with His Goriness.
As the National Post reported, "Her daughter hadn't been able to sleep since
seeing ''An Inconvenient Truth.'' She claimed that seeing Mr. Gore in person
might make her daughter feel better." Well, it worked for Leonardo DiCaprio.

Are eco-celebrities buying ridiculousness-emissions credits from exhausted
run-of-the-mill celebrities like Paris, Britney and Anna Nicole? Ah, well.
The Eco-Messiah sternly talks up the old Nazi comparisons: What we're facing
is an "ecological Holocaust, and "the evidence of an ecological
Kristallnacht is as clear as the sound of glass shattering in Berlin." That
221,000 kilowatt-hours might suggest that, if this is the ecological
Holocaust, Gore's pad is Auschwitz. But, as his spokesperson would no doubt
argue, when you're faced with ecological Holocausts and ecological
Kristallnachts, sometimes the only way to bring it to an end is with an
ecological Hiroshima. The Gore electric bill is the eco-atom bomb: You have
to light up the world in order to save it.
27720  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: March 05, 2007, 09:32:21 PM
A 21st Century Contract with America
MARCH 5, 2007 | Vol. 2, No. 10

Printer Friendly Version:



You'll never guess who asked for my autograph last week? The
answer in a bit, but first I want to report on the event that I
hope will help change the political discourse in America for the
2008 campaign.

Lincoln's Inspiration at Cooper Union

Regular readers of Winning the Future will know that last
Wednesday evening, New York's former Democratic Governor Mario
Cuomo and I appeared together at historic Cooper Union in New
York City, the site where Abraham Lincoln delivered the speech
that arguably made him President. Cooper Union is situated on
the edge of Manhattan's East Village. Those familiar with New
York City know that being a conservative in the East Village is
about as lonely as one can be. Hundreds waited in line outside
the Great Hall for hours to get in. By 6:30 p.m, the 900 seats
were full.

(Continued below)

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We came to Cooper Union for one reason -- to demonstrate that it
was possible for leaders from opposing political parties to have
a thoughtful and civilized conversation about the future of
America. We wrote about it in the New York Sun.  You can read it
here. [ ] And that it could be
done without the long list of rules political consultants insist
upon. In fact, there were no rules. We each spoke for 30
minutes. Then, Tim Russert from NBC News posed challenging
questions to each of us which produced a substantive
issue-driven exchange.

Speaking as a conservative, I am happy to report that it is
possible to go into the heart of a liberal stronghold with
conservative solutions and be well received. But, there are also
tremendous benefits in doing so. Here's why.

We have all become used to candidates appearing at events where
the audience is made up of ideologically sympathetic supporters.
Most candidates for president know all too well how to get cheers
of approval from their bases with well delivered poll-tested
partisan talking points. However, it would be a different
situation entirely if candidates had to consistently appear in
front of people who are not inclined to be in agreement with
them. Add to that, someone from the other party who will
challenge their positions, then add to that someone from the
media who knows how to cut through the rhetoric. Now, that is a
much more substantial challenge and one likely to produce a much
better quality of meaningful dialogue about how to meet the many
challenges facing the country.

Such a level of meaningful exchange is critical to our
democratic process. First and most importantly, it requires
candidates to know what they stand for. A candidate must know
more than talking points; he or she must know the substance of
the material. They must be able to draw on historical parallels
to support their arguments. They must know the audience and
understand something about their worldview in order to relate to
them. Candidates must be clear. They must provide real solutions
to our challenges. But even all of that is not nearly enough.
They must persuade.

Persuasion is what counts in a free society. If you cannot
persuade, you cannot succeed in solving America's challenges
because in the end, the American people must support your
solutions or nothing can get done. It's time for a new model.

Governor Cuomo and I set out to demonstrate that two political
leaders with dramatically different political perspectives can
have a constructive, intelligent, free-wheeling dialogue about
America without degenerating into petty partisan political point
scoring where no one is persuaded.

We wanted to contrast our lively exchange with the rule-driven,
consultant-strangled "debates" we've seen in the past few
campaign cycles, in which campaign consultants maximize
candidate choreography while minimizing the possibility of an
informative, challenging debate.

Governor Cuomo and I believe that the Cooper Union model is good
for America. I believe it will produce a much richer dialogue,
more informed and better candidates, will encourage solutions
and substance, and perhaps most significantly, will reengage
millions of Americans to become active participants in America's
future but who are today turned off by the trivial shallowness of
the current political process.

The "Nine Nineties in Nine" Pledge

If you believe, as I do, that there is an opportunity for a
better political dialogue now and in 2008, then I need your
help. I issued a challenge at Cooper Union to those who are
running for president asking them to take a pledge which can be
summarized as follows.

"If I receive my party's nomination for President of the United
States, I pledge to participate in nine, ninety-minute dialogues
in the nine weeks before the general election with my opponent.
In the Lincoln-Douglas style, I will agree to debate my opponent
with only a time-keeper, and to insist upon no rules. I
understand it will be just me and my solutions and my opponent
with theirs."

(Continued below)

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Tim Russert from Meet the Press stated in the Great Hall at
Cooper Union that he would ask every presidential candidate if
they would agree to nine ninety-minute debates in nine weeks. I
am asking you to do the same. When a candidate asks for your
support, ask them if they will take the Nine Nineties in Nine

Americans deserve the chance to see the candidates in an
unfiltered dialogue. They deserve to be persuaded with solutions
that stem from core beliefs. Most of all, they deserve a
presidential election process worthy of choosing the man or
woman who will occupy the Oval Office and assume the mantle of
leader of the free world.

One Candidate Takes the Nine Nineties in Nine Challenge -- Who
Will be Next?

So who asked for my autograph? Let's see if you guessed right.
Before the Cooper Union event I was walking in mid-town
Manhattan near 44th and 6th Ave. on my way to pre-tape an
interview with Dr. Jim Dobson for Focus on the Family. Someone
from behind tapped me on my shoulder and asked me for my
autograph. Reaching for my pen, I turned around and who was
standing there with his famous Big Apple smile but the former
Mayor himself, Rudy Giuliani. In the middle of the sidewalk we
spoke for 10 minutes and them something wonderful happened.
After I told him about the pledge challenge we were about to
issue at Cooper Union that night, without missing a beat, he
readily agreed to the challenge.

So who will be the next to take the Nine Nineties in Nine
Pledge? You can help every candidate to accept by writing their
offices, calling talk radio or asking them personally. If enough
voters insist upon substance and civility in the next eighteen
months, then candidates will have no choice but to tell their
consultants "No" and tell Americans "YES", there is a better

I believe we succeeded in providing one model to improve the
2008 campaign. I think those in attendance on Wednesday night
would agree. But I'll leave it up to you to decide. You can
watch the entire event on the web at
Let me know what you think.

Your friend,
Newt Gingrich

P.S. -- I spoke to a record crowd at the 34th annual CPAC
conference on Saturday. In the speech, I hit a number of points
including asking the candidates to take the Pledge.

(Continued Below)

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27721  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mil-blogs: Michael Yon and others (support our troops) on: March 05, 2007, 09:15:48 PM
Just got this from Michael Yon but there is no URL included, some I'm guessing he has posted something new on his website (see post starting this thread for details)


Greetings from Iraq:
It's been weeks since I have been able to publish anything substantial.  This is
partially due to running nearly constant missions with our troops; I've driven well
over a thousand miles on Iraqi roads since the last dispatch.  The remainder is due
to incessant internet problems.  Simply put, I am choking on information that will
never be published simply due to lack on reliable internet connections.  Sad but
That said, I have been able to write a very short dispatch with photos.  Please
click here.

US Mail Address:
Michael Yon
P O Box 416
Westport Pt MA 02791

To manage your preferences or unsubscribe, please click here.
27722  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Help our troops/our cause: on: March 05, 2007, 09:02:24 PM
I think this piece would have been stronger if Krugman had not sought to tie in the Katrina disaster-- which in my opinion should place most of the blame on the local and state level (Bush's incompetence consisting more in stumbling into being the fall guy for them  rolleyes )-- and his general dislike for the Bush Administration, but from what I have seen so far there is considerable merit in the accusations of shameful budgeting priorities on the part of the Bush Administration.
27723  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Professor Pino - enough is enough - I've had it. on: March 05, 2007, 08:55:54 PM
Those are lucid points Rog, but I confess some lack of clarity as to what the subject of this thread is  cheesy

I think CCP intends to raise the issue of the boundary between free speech and sedition/murder, but I could be wrong.  From reading the URL he posts, the particular case he uses as Exhibit A seems to me one full of potential for lawyerly evasions. 

Anyway, I have asked him to consider the questions raised in response by SB Mig and me (and now by you) and then get back to us.
27724  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WW3 on: March 05, 2007, 08:44:18 PM

I have been posting about this on the DBMA Ass'n forum now, often in interaction with you, since 2001 and extensively on this forum in its previous incarnation as well as its present one.    If you haven't gotten a sense of my thinking by now, I must acknowledge that my communication skills do not have what it takes for you and move on.

27725  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Evolutionary biology/psychology on: March 05, 2007, 10:17:45 AM

UCLA Study on Friendship among Women

By Gale Berkowitz

A landmark UCLA study suggests friendships between women are special. See the following article: Taylor, S. E., Klein, L.C., Lewis, B. P., Gruenewald, T. L., Gurung, R.A.R., & Updegraff, J. A. (2000). "Female Responses to Stress: Tend and Befriend, Not Fight or Flight", Psychological Review, 107(3), 41-429.

They [friendships between women] shape who we are and who we are yet to be. They soothe our tumultuous inner world, fill the emotional gaps in our marriage, and help us remember who we really are. By the way, they may do even more.

Scientists now suspect that hanging out with our friends can actually counteract the kind of stomach-quivering stress most of us experience on a daily basis. A landmark UCLA study suggests that women respond to stress with a cascade of brain chemicals that cause us to make and maintain friendships with other women.

It's a stunning find that has turned five decades of stress research - most of it on men - upside down. "Until this study was published, scientists generally believed that when people experience stress, they trigger a hormonal cascade that revs the body to either stand and fight or flee as fast as possible," explains Laura Cousino Klein, Ph.D., now an Assistant Professor of Bio-behavioural Health at Penn State University and one of the study's authors. "It's an ancient survival mechanism left over from the time we were chased across the planet by sabre-toothed tigers.

Now the researchers suspect that women have a larger behavioural repertoire than just "fight or flight." "In fact," says Dr. Klein, "it seems that when the hormone oxytocin is released as part of the stress responses in a woman, it buffers the "fight or flight" response and encourages her to tend children and gather with other women instead. When she actually engages in this tending or befriending, studies suggest our bodies release more oxytocin, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect. This calming response does not occur in men,” says Dr. Klein, "because testosterone - which men produce in high levels when they're under stress, seems to reduce the effects of oxytocin. Estrogen,” she adds, "seems to enhance it."

The discovery that women respond to stress differently than men was made in a classic "aha!" moment shared by two women scientists who were talking one day in a lab at UCLA. "There was this joke that when the women who worked in the lab were stressed, they came in, cleaned the lab, had coffee, and bonded,” says Dr. Klein. "When the men were stressed, they holed up somewhere on their own. I commented one day to fellow researcher Shelley Taylor that nearly 90% of the stress research is on males. I showed her the data from my lab, and the two of us knew instantly that we were onto something."

The women cleared their schedules and started meeting with one scientist after another from various research specialties. Very quickly, Drs. Klein and Taylor discovered that by not including women in stress research, scientists had made a huge mistake: The fact that women respond to stress differently than men has significant implications for our health.

It may take some time for new studies to reveal all the ways that oxytocin encourages us to care for children and hang out with other women, but the "tend and befriend" notion developed by Drs. Klein and Taylor may explain why women consistently outlive men. Study after study has found that social ties reduce our risk of disease by lowering blood pressure, heart rate, and cholesterol. "There's no doubt," says Dr. Klein, "that friends are helping us live." In one study, for example, researchers found that people who had no friends increased their risk of death over a 6-month period. In another study, those who had the most friends over a 9-year period cut their risk of death by more than 60%. Friends are also helping us live better. The famed Nurses' Health Study from Harvard Medical School found that the more friends women had, the less likely they were to develop physical impairments as they aged, and the more likely they were to be leading a joyful life.

In fact, the results were so significant, the re searchers concluded, that not having close friends or confidantes was as detrimental to your health as smoking or carrying extra weight! Moreover, that is not all! When the researchers looked at how well the women functioned after the death of their spouse, they found that even in the face of this biggest stressor of all, those women who had a close friend confidante were more likely to survive the experience without any new physical impairments or permanent loss of vitality. Those without friends were not always so fortunate.

Yet if friends counter the stress that seems to swallow up so much of our life these days, if they keep us healthy and even add years to our life, why is it so hard to find time to be with them? That is a question that also troubles researcher Ruthellen Josselson, Ph.D., co-author of "Best Friends: The Pleasures and Perils of Girls' and Women's Friendships (Three Rivers Press, 1998).

"Every time we get overly busy with work and family, the first thing we do is let go of friendships with other women," explains Dr. Josselson." We push them right to the back burner. That is really a mistake because women are such a source of strength to each other. We nurture one another. In addition, we need to have unpressured space in which we can do the special kind of talk that women do when they are with other women. It's a very healing experience."
27726  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Tippy-tappy drills-- threat or menace? on: March 05, 2007, 01:48:33 AM
For the record, I've tried cleaning up some of the fractured syntax that was in my previous post.

Anyway, group hug everyone?  grin
27727  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Humor/WTF on: March 05, 2007, 01:11:15 AM

 Rules of the Air 
(from Australian Aviation Magazine)

Every takeoff is optional. Every landing is mandatory.
If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger. If you pull the stick back,
they get smaller. That is, unless you keep pulling the stick all the way back, then
they get bigger again.
Flying isn't dangerous. Crashing is what's dangerous.
It's always better to be down here wishing you were up there than up there wishing
you were down here.
The ONLY time you have too much fuel is when you're on fire.
The propeller is just a big fan in front of the plane used to keep the pilot cool.
When it stops, you can actually watch the pilot start sweating.
When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No one has ever collided with the sky.
A 'good' landing is one from which you can walk away. A 'great' landing is one after
which they can use the plane again.
Learn from the mistakes of others. You won't live long enough to make all of them
You know you've landed with the wheels up if it takes full power to taxi to the ramp.
The probability of survival is inversely proportional to the angle of arrival. Large
angle of arrival, small probability of survival and vice versa.
Never let an aircraft take you somewhere your brain didn't get to five minutes
Stay out of clouds. The silver lining everyone keeps talking about might be another
airplane going in the opposite direction. Reliable sources also report that
mountains have been known to hide out in clouds.
Always try to keep the number of landings you make equal to the number of take offs
you've made.
There are three simple rules for making a smooth landing. Unfortunately no one knows
what they are.
You start with a bag full of luck and an empty bag of experience. The trick is to
fill the bag of experience before you empty the bag of luck.
Helicopters can't fly; they're just so ugly the earth repels them.
If all you can see out of the window is ground that's going round and round and all
you can hear is commotion coming from the passenger compartment, things are not at
all as they should be.
In the ongoing battle between objects made of aluminum going hundreds of miles per
hour and the ground going zero miles per hour, the ground has yet to lose.
Good judgment comes from experience. Unfortunately, the experience usually comes
from bad judgment.
It's always a good idea to keep the pointy end going forward as much as possible.
Keep looking around. There's always something you've missed.
Remember, gravity is not just a good idea. It's the law. And it's not subject to
The three most useless things to a pilot are the altitude above you, the runway
behind you, and a tenth of a second ago.
27728  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Grandfathers Speak Vol. 2: Sonny Umpad on: March 05, 2007, 12:32:12 AM
Please note that the promo clip for this is up on the front page.
27729  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Wali Songo Silat with Pendekar Steve Benitez on: March 05, 2007, 12:30:29 AM
Any reports on the seminar today?
27730  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA Thread on: March 05, 2007, 12:28:53 AM
Just saw the first four rounds.  That opening combo that dropped TS sure looked like Jun Fan Gung Fu to me cool  Looks like it scored in the second round too.

Is there a rules reason why RC did not heel kick TS in the belly once he had back control in the first round?
27731  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: March 05, 2007, 12:09:49 AM
involved in Iranian general's disappearance?

Former Iranian deputy defense minister vanished about a month ago on his way from Damascus to Turkey. Iranian officials say Mossad, CIA may have been involved in his disappearance Dudi Cohen Published: 03.04.07, 22:24 / Israel News

A senior Iranian general, Ali-Raza Asgari, went missing nearly a month ago in Istanbul and Iranian officials claim that Israel and the United States may have had a hand in his disappearance.

Several days ago, Iranian website Baztab, which is affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, reported that during the 1980s Asgari held a senior position in the Revolutionary Guards in Lebanon , and that following his return to Iran he was appointed deputy defense minister.

No official source in Iran has commented on the report about the disappearance, but a top official told Baztab that "some of the claims in the report are unequivocally incorrect."

The general's disappearance was first reported at the end of February in the Saudi newspaper al-Watan. The paper said that at the beginning of February Asgari visited Damascus and later flew o Istanbul in Turkey, where he checked into a hotel.
"Several Turkish citizens reserved a room for Asgari at the Gilan Hotel in Istanbul and paid for it, but haven't heard from him since," the paper stated.

"In a meeting held by the Turkish security officials with an Iranian delegation, the possibility was raised that the Mossad and the CIA were involved in his disappearance," it added.

Security sources in Turkey told a local newspaper that so far, the searches for Asgari have yielded no results.  According to a Turkish official, "The records do not show that a person under this name left Turkey, but given his sensitive job and the important information he possesses regarding the Iranian nuclear program, the possibility that he left Turkey using a fake passport and an alias is being examined." Former Iranian deputy defense minister vanished about a month ago on his way from Damascus to Turkey. Iranian officials say Mossad, CIA may have been involved in his disappearance Dudi Cohen Published: 03.04.07, 22:24 / Israel News

A senior Iranian general, Ali-Raza Asgari, went missing nearly a month ago in Istanbul and Iranian officials claim that Israel and the United States may have had a hand in his disappearance.

Several days ago, Iranian website Baztab, which is affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards, reported that during the 1980s Asgari held a senior position in the Revolutionary Guards in Lebanon , and that following his return to Iran he was appointed deputy defense minister.

No official source in Iran has commented on the report about the disappearance, but a top official told Baztab that "some of the claims in the report are unequivocally incorrect."

The general's disappearance was first reported at the end of February in the Saudi newspaper al-Watan. The paper said that at the beginning of February Asgari visited Damascus and later flew o Istanbul in Turkey, where he checked into a hotel.
"Several Turkish citizens reserved a room for Asgari at the Gilan Hotel in Istanbul and paid for it, but haven't heard from him since," the paper stated.

"In a meeting held by the Turkish security officials with an Iranian delegation, the possibility was raised that the Mossad and the CIA were involved in his disappearance," it added.

Security sources in Turkey told a local newspaper that so far, the searches for Asgari have yielded no results. According to a Turkish official, "The records do not show that a person under this name left Turkey, but given his sensitive job and the important information he possesses regarding the Iranian nuclear program, the possibility that he left Turkey using a fake passport and an alias is being examined."

This is the second Iranian high official to either have come up missing or dead in about the last months time. We can all only hope more will follow.
27732  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Nuestro Sitio en Espanol on: March 04, 2007, 11:38:18 PM
Guau a todos:

!Acabo de informarme de la existencia de nuestro sitio aqui traducido al espanol!

Diganme lo que piensan.

La Adventura continua,
27733  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: March 04, 2007, 11:00:58 PM
One day a fourth-grade teacher asked the children what their fathers did for a living. All the typical answers came up -- fireman, mechanic, businessman, salesman, doctor, lawyer, and so forth.
However, little Justin was being uncharacteristically quiet, so when the teacher prodded him about his father, he replied, "My father's an exotic dancer in a gay cabaret and takes off all his clothes in front of other men and they put money in his underwear.
Sometimes, if the offer is really good, he will go home with some guy and stay with him all night for money."
The teacher, obviously shaken by this statement, hurriedly set the other children to work on some exercises and then took little Justin aside to ask him, "Is that really true about your father?"
"No," the boy said, "He works for the Democratic National Committee and is helping to get Hillary Clinton to be our next President, but I was too embarrassed to say that in front of the other kids."
27734  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Tippy-tappy drills-- threat or menace? on: March 04, 2007, 10:12:03 PM
In case no one noticed, the promo clip for GF2: Maestro Sonny Umpad is up on the front page.

I moved briefly with Maestro Sonny in Dusseldorf, Germany a couple of years before he came down sick and he really was something quite special.  Footwork and range control were of another level altogether-- and if I understand ArmyDoc correctly he has been trying to raise the same question as what a goodly part of Maestro Sonny's curriculum was about-- cultivating the ability to control whether the range was in medio/corto or in largo.  I'm a big believer in the importance of primal forward pressure and that many FMA players (gun players too!) simply don't get it-- indeed this is one of the main points of our DLO material-- but I would be hard pressed to think of someone who could close on Maestro Sonny without dying first.
27735  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: March 04, 2007, 09:57:52 PM
There is an "objective, accurate" word: "homosexual".  "Faggot" is a word for starting fights or being mean for the hell of it.

I used to like AC-- she has written some brilliant, withering and witty rants in the past, but for quite some time now for me she has become a caricature of what she was and has lost my respect. 

27736  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Professor Pino - enough is enough - I've had it. on: March 04, 2007, 09:47:02 PM

Before giving a fuller response, I think I will await your response to SB Migs questions for you.   For the moment I will add:

1) I consider America to have been profoundly blessed by having the Founding Fathers that we did.  I did run for the US Congress 3x for the L. Party but find the Party to have a goodly number of quirky people lacking in basic social skills.  I let my membership in the party lapse when the candidate for Gov. of CA had a major campaign issue around the prohibition to own ferrets. 

 I certainly don't agree with all libertarian positions e.g. open borders.  My views on foreign affairs can be fit under a libertarian roof by how I define national security in the modern context, but my understanding is that my views are very much a minority position for self-described libertarians. 

2)  May I suggest you do a bit of research as to current Constitutional First Amendment Doctrine-- including the concept of "clear and present danger"?  Communism advocated the overthrow of the US government, yet we didn't not outlaw the advocacy of Communisim-- unless such advocacy was about to inspire someone to actually try it.  If you sense some conceptual problems with this you are not alone, but of course the problem is what other standard would you put in its place?

3)  In addition to the questions raised/points by SB Mig,  I would add that when you prevent free speech, you deny yourself and our society from knowing what forces are amongst us-- kind of like price controls distort the flow of information about supply and demand.

Your question about the advocacy of Jihad is a good one and is worthy of serious and measured conversation.  I agree that there is a point at which speech becomes seditious action-- but how do we define that point without losing for what we fight?

27737  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Professor Pino - enough is enough - I've had it. on: March 04, 2007, 12:28:40 PM
Woof CCP:

Thank you for the much more reasoned tone.

We're about to go out for lunch so I will get to this later.

27738  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mil-blogs: Michael Yon and others (support our troops) on: March 04, 2007, 12:23:57 PM
On 2/23/07, < >
Gentlemen, it is w/ great sorrow I report the passing of two of my good friends, SSG
Joshua Hagar, and PFC Rowan Walters.
SSG Hagar and I attended the April 06 CF Cert at Santa Cruz.  At the time, he was
the platoon sergeant for our CF testbed platoon.  He later was assigned as the
platoon sergeant for our battalion scouts.  Josh had a large personality, and a
great leader.  I don't know what the process or criteria there is for having a CF
workout named after a fallen comrade, but I would like to nominate SSG Hagar for
that honor.  Stories of Josh's exploits are numerous.  Most outstanding was his
daily push for excellence in himself and has Soldiers.  He was always quick w/ a
word of encouragement, and tirelessly made time to teach his subordinates.
PFC Walters was one of my medics that was killed enroute to help the group of
Soldiers injured when SSG Hagar was killed.  PFC Walters was the Soldier selected by
his commander to attend the train-the-trainer CrossFit course we implented while in
Kuwait.   PFC Walters fell in love w/ CF and began passing the kool-aid to the
Soldiers in his platoon.  PFC Walters was the complete package:  intelligent,
strong, motivated, and a great attitude.  One quick story about Walters:  an M1 tank
had been disabled by and IED, and Walters was the first medic on the scene.  He
single handedly pulled all four Soldiers from the tank, and had them bandaged up and
ready to go when the evacuation vehicle arrived.  Tanks are very large on the
outside, but cramped and confined on the inside.  What Walters accomplished was no
small task!  Imagine lifting a fully equipped soldier from beneath your feet,
through a hole, and then high enough to clear the hole, 4 rounds, for time, then
applying bandag
es, tourniquets, and starting IV's, 4 rounds, for time.
I attempted to attach pictures of Josh and Rowan, but I am having some IT issues w/
my email.  I will continue trying to send the pictures
This letter is not meant to incite sorry, but rather to firm our resolve.  I quote
my battalion commander:  "We will not let these losses cause us to hesitate.  We
will go back again, again, and again, and kick some motherfucking ass!"  Fairwinds,
Josh and Rowan.

Robert Schoenenberger
1/9 INF Physician Assistant
Some day you will thank me.  Today is not that day.
27739  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: MMA Thread on: March 04, 2007, 09:43:23 AM
I did not see this one coming and am delighted to have been wrong.  Outstanding achievement by Couture!
27740  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Tippy-tappy drills-- threat or menace? on: March 04, 2007, 09:28:06 AM

This tangent on knife range theory has been interesting, but lets see if we can bring things back to the original question about TTD and the criticisms leveled in some circles as to their benefit.  Lets remember that TTD can be knife, stick, empty hand, staff, EH vs. knife, etc.    Does this training method yield results worth the time invested?

Starting with conclusions first  cheesy IMHO well-thought out TTD properly understood and properly trained have considerable merit.

Are some/many TTD poorly thought out?  Yes.

Do many practitioners train their TTD without true understanding?  Yes.

Do many practitioners spend too much time in TTD/accumulating more TTD?  Yes.

These three truths lead many people to throw out TTD altogether.  If someone has never seen or never realized he has seen TTD yield good results, then this thinking makes perfect sense.

Back during the Live/Dead soap opera of a few years ago, one of the points I offered for consideration was that all of the best fighters in the Dog Brothers had this sort of training in their background.  As I have pointed out previously several times, one might watch a fight in which one fighter's superior media skills kick *ss and not realize that the reason he had superior media skills was in part because of substantial sombrada type training.

 In our "Kali Tudo" DVD one of my intentions was to show the next step in the training progression for Kali-Silat EH material that had been learned in DPs and TTDs for application in MMA. 

In our "Die Less Often" DVD the portion of the material I present draws upon skills and knowledge acquired via TTD.  BTW in the context of the knife range theory tangent in this thread, please note one of the most important skills being developed with this material is to open the range again, which IMHO is a skill not widely trained.  DLO-2, in editing now as you read this, the working title is "Bringing a gun to a knife fight"-- the key point is the ability to open the range at an angle so as to depart or access one's own weapon.  Hmmm, , , maybe I need to rethink the title a bit , , ,   

Anyway, in DLO-3 I will show the matrix of positions and techniques of DBMA's Kali Fence & Dog Catcher material.  This is the point at which you will see some TTDs because in DBMA we like to communicate what we perceive of as the primal realities/intensities very early on so that when we get to the TTDs, DPs etc, they are done with the understanding necessary to receive the benefits of which these training methods can be capable.

By the way, one of the positions in the matrix is my expression of something I learned in my training in Sayoc.  It comes from a particular position in the "receiver grip flow" ("flow" here being used as Inosanto Blend uses it in "lock flow").   Indeed this example could serve as a perfect example of how TTD training benefit manifests.  I learned the receiver grip flow and THIS IS WHAT ENABLED MY BODY TO RECOGNIZE THIS PARTICULAR OPPORTUNITY WHEN PRESENTED IN ACTION.   

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
27741  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: March 04, 2007, 08:18:57 AM
Intelligence Specialist's Shooting Stirs Speculation
No Motive Known As Comments on Putin Are Debated

By Candace Rondeaux and Lori Aratani
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, March 4, 2007; C01

In some ways, the shooting of Paul Joyal last week in a quiet, middle-class enclave of Prince George's County would seem like nothing more than a random act of violence.
But for those who know the 53-year-old expert on Russian intelligence and former staff member of the U.S. Senate's intelligence committee, the shooting has raised suspicions that his background might be behind the incident.
Law enforcement sources have said it is unclear whether the gunmen were trying to rob Joyal. He was shot in the driveway of his home shortly after returning from a trip to the International Spy Museum in the District with a friend.
Two men shot Joyal about 7:35 p.m. Thursday, sources said. The shooting occurred four days after Joyal alleged in a television broadcast that the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin was involved in the fatal poisoning of a former KGB agent in London.
Prince George's police officers have released few details about the incident, and several calls requesting comment were not returned yesterday. Joyal remained hospitalized yesterday.
But an FBI official confirmed yesterday that the agency is looking into the shooting. Joseph Persichini Jr., the FBI's assistant director in charge of the Washington field office, said his office is assisting Prince George's and the Baltimore office of the FBI in the investigation.
"We're pursuing this as hard as possible. We're not at all sure of the motive," Persichini said.
Joyal, who has long been an outspoken critic of the Putin regime, appeared in a segment on "Dateline NBC" Feb. 25 about the Alexander Litvinenko case. Litvinenko's death in November from radiation poisoning has caused widespread speculation that Putin and the Russian government were involved, because Litvinenko, a former KGB agent, was looking into the killing of a Russian journalist. Putin and Kremlin officials have repeatedly denied involvement.
In the "Dateline" interview, Joyal pointedly accused the Putin regime of silencing its critics and poisoning Litvinenko with polonium-210, a rare radioactive substance.
"It's clear-cut. It has to be a state-run or a state-managed operation," Joyal said in the interview.
The circumstances of Joyal's shooting seem worthy of a spy novel.
"I would not rule out anything, but it's hard to believe that a few days [after the broadcast] that some guys would shoot him. It could be just a regular criminal assault," said longtime family friend and former business associate Oleg Kalugin.
Kalugin, a former KGB general and Putin's former boss in the agency, met with Joyal for drinks at a restaurant at the Spy Museum a few hours before the shooting. Kalugin, a member of the museum's board, said in a phone interview yesterday that Joyal seemed in good spirits before leaving for home.
Kalugin said he was shocked when he received a panicked phone call from Joyal's wife about an hour after the men had parted, saying that Joyal had been shot in front of his Adelphi area home.
"I could not believe my ears when she said he was shot. She said Paul drove up to the house, and as he opened the door and left [the car], there were two guys, and they shot him," Kalugin said.
A source close to Joyal, who requested anonymity because the investigation is ongoing, said the unidentified assailants shot Joyal in the groin and escaped.
Joyal's wife, who is a nurse, was at home at the time and ran to assist her husband as he lay bleeding in the driveway, the sources said.
Joyal was taken to a hospital, where he was initially in critical condition. A source said yesterday that Joyal had improved and that doctors were "cautiously optimistic" that he will recover.
Yesterday, four cars were parked in the driveway at Joyal's brick ranch on Lackawanna Road. A boy who answered the door declined to speak to a reporter.
Neighbors and friends said Joyal, who is a member of the Prince George's law enforcement task force, is the father of three and coaches youth basketball.
Prince George's State's Attorney Glenn F. Ivey, who befriended Joyal through his work in local law enforcement, said he did not know details about the investigation.
"He's a wonderful man with a strong commitment to the community," Ivey said.
Staff writers Sari Horwitz, Eric Rich and Meg Smith contributed to this report.
27742  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Sleep on: March 04, 2007, 12:56:26 AM
Top 10 Foods for a Good Night's Sleep
Posted Tue, Jan 23, 2007, 6:32 pm PST
What is the secret to getting a solid 7 to 8 hours of sleep? Head for the kitchen and enjoy one or two of these 10 foods. They relax tense muscles, quiet buzzing minds, and/or get calming, sleep-inducing hormones - serotonin and melatonin - flowing. Yawning yet?

Bananas. They're practically a sleeping pill in a peel. In addition to a bit of soothing melatonin and serotonin, bananas contain magnesium, a muscle relaxant.

Chamomile tea. The reason chamomile is such a staple of bedtime tea blends is its mild sedating effect - it's the perfect natural antidote for restless minds/bodies.

Warm milk. It's not a myth. Milk has some tryptophan - an amino acid that has a sedative - like effect - and calcium, which helps the brain use tryptophan. Plus there's the psychological throw-back to infancy, when a warm bottle meant "relax, everything's fine."

Honey. Drizzle a little in your warm milk or herb tea. Lots of sugar is stimulating, but a little glucose tells your brain to turn off orexin, a recently discovered neurotransmitter that's linked to alertness.

Potatoes. A small baked spud won't overwhelm your GI tract, and it clears away acids that can interfere with yawn-inducing tryptophan. To up the soothing effects, mash it with warm milk.

Oatmeal. Oats are a rich source of sleep - inviting melatonin, and a small bowl of warm cereal with a splash of maple syrup is cozy - plus if you've got the munchies, it's filling too.

Almonds. A handful of these heart-healthy nuts can be snooze-inducing, as they contain both tryptophan and a nice dose of muscle-relaxing magnesium.

Flaxseeds. When life goes awry and feeling down is keeping you up, try sprinkling 2 tablespoons of these healthy little seeds on your bedtime oatmeal. They're rich in omega-3 fatty acids, a natural mood lifter.

Whole-wheat bread. A slice of toast with your tea and honey will release insulin, which helps tryptophan get to your brain, where it's converted to serotonin and quietly murmurs "time to sleep."

Turkey. It's the most famous source of tryptophan, credited with all those Thanksgiving naps. But that's actually modern folklore. Tryptophan works when your stomach's basically empty, not overstuffed, and when there are some carbs around, not tons of protein. But put a lean slice or two on some whole-wheat bread mid-evening, and you've got one of the best sleep inducers in your kitchen.

What if none of these foods help you get your zzz's? Check out your sleep habits with this quick RealAge test to find out what?s keeping you up at night.
27743  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / CAIR confesses , , , on: March 04, 2007, 12:16:30 AM
In Defense of the Constitution

News & Analysis
007/07  March 3, 2007

CAIR:  Admits Officials Have Ties to Islamist Terrorism

In a stunning revelation, Corey Saylor, the Council on American-Islamic Relations
(CAIR) government affairs director, on 2 March admitted that convicted Islamic
terrorists were CAIR officials when they committed terrorist acts against the United

In an article carried by, Saylor is responding to questions about
Ghassan Elashi and Ismail Royer and their ties to the leader of Hamas and activities
in support of overseas terrorist organizations.  While Saylor first said that Elashi
and Royer were not working on behalf the group, he was later quoted:

"Some people try to hold us responsible for the actions of people that are
associated with our organization. That’s absolutely ludicrous…you don’t hold all of
Enron responsible for what Ken Lay did."

For those North Americans that ever had any questions about CAIR’s ties to Elashi
and Royer, and, by association, tied directly to Islamist terrorists, those
questions have been answered by CAIR’s own spokesman.

Saylor seems to have forgotten that Enron folded like a cheap tent when the criminal
activities of its leadership were exposed…

Andrew Whitehead

Subscribers are warned that the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) may
contact your employer if CAIR believes you are using a work address to receive any
material that CAIR believes may be offensive.  CAIR has been known to shame
employers into firing employees CAIR finds disagreeable.  For that reason, we
strongly suggest that corporate e-mail users NOT use a corporate e-mail
account/address when communicating with ACAIR or CAIR.  We make every reasonable
effort to protect our mailing list, but we cannot guarantee confidentiality. ACAIR
does not share, loan, sell, rent or otherwise publicize our mailing list.  We
respect your privacy!

All persons are invited to submit tips and leads.  ACAIR will acknowledge receipt of
all tips/leads, but we will NOT acknowledge the source of ANY tip or lead in our
Press Releases or on our web site. Exceptions are made for leading media
personalities at the discretion of ACAIR and only on request of the person(s)
submitting the tip or lead.

27744  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Professor Pino - enough is enough - I've had it. on: March 03, 2007, 11:07:23 PM
1) "Lawyers" don't bring someone up on charges, district attorneys do.

2) Do you know what the legal definition of "assault" is?

3)  "Inciting a riot" requires the imminent possibility of a riot.  Is that present here?

4) Please explain what you mean by this:  "Our brave men and women troops are fighting for the right of free speech including the right to kill all the people they are risking their lives for!"

5) "Let me here (sic) how this freedom is exactly what makes our country great.  IMO it is exactly this that is going to make our country eventually fall apart."

OK, here goes, but you may find it difficult to hear tongue  Freedom IS what makes our country great.  This guy is wrong.  This guy is morally repulsive.  Thanks to free speech, we now know he is amongst us.  Thanks to free speech we see whether other people agree and if so we know what our job is-- to freely speak Truth and cure ignorance and hatred with knowledge and higher consciousness.  The day we are not up to that is the day we fall apart.

27745  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mil-blogs: Michael Yon and others (support our troops) on: March 03, 2007, 10:52:28 PM
Habbaniyah and the 3/3-1 Snake Eaters

27746  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: March 03, 2007, 02:24:04 AM
Second post of the day.  This does not sound good for the Kurds , , ,

Iran: A Strong Stance Against Separatists Spells Trouble for Kurds

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is prepared to pursue its enemies across Iran's borders, IRGC commander-in-chief Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi said Feb. 28. The general's statement that his forces will chase separatist groups into neighboring countries comes at a time of increased internal instability in Iran, in line with the U.S. campaign to destabilize the clerical regime. Kurdish ambitions in Iraq are likely to be affected as Iran and Turkey work together to quell the common threat they face from Kurdish rebel groups.


Commander-in-chief of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi, said Feb. 28 that the United States and Israel are directly funding armed anti-Iranian groups in the Islamic republic, and that the IRGC "is prepared to chase and disband the enemies even beyond Iran's borders in a bid to defend the country."

Safavi's warnings come after several weeks of growing security threats from Iran's ethnic minority groups, which make up nearly half of its population of 80 million. The IRGC is in the midst of a crackdown to contain these groups; in the latest offensive, announced Feb. 28, the IRGC said it killed 17 rebels in the heavily Kurdish-populated West Azerbaijan province. This offensive was prompted by a Feb. 24 Iranian military helicopter crash near the Turkish border, which killed 14 Iranian soldiers. The Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), a group linked to the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Turkey, claimed it shot down the helicopter with an SA-7, a portable surface-to-air missile that has found its way into the hands of several Iraqi insurgent groups.

While the Kurdish groups are keeping the IRGC busy in the northwest, Baloch rebel groups in the southwest province of Sistan-Balochistan, along the Iranian, Pakistani and Afghan border, have staged a number of attacks in recent weeks against Iranian security forces. Iran also faces a threat in the oil-rich southwestern province of Khuzestan, on the Iranian-Iraqi border, where Arab rebel groups have carried out several bombings over the past two years.

Iran says these uprisings are all part of a U.S.-British-Israeli campaign to undermine its clerical regime. Safavi said that Washington is projecting its problems into Iran "now that their policies have ended in failure in Afghanistan and Iraq." To further its claim that a foreign hand is involved in the recent attacks, Tehran recently released a number of photographs of ammunition boxes with large "USA" labels circled. The photographs quite obviously were doctored as part of an Iranian propaganda campaign constructed as a lever to use against the United States and the West in negotiations over Iraq. That said, it is not hard to believe Western intelligence agencies might be supporting these armed rebellions in Iran.

The United States has much to gain by sparking internal frictions in Iran. While Washington is not interested in a direct military confrontation with Tehran, it would very much like to show the Iranian government that it can dish out what it is receiving in Iraq. The larger aim of this covert campaign would be to use Iran's oppressed minorities to destabilize the Islamic republic along its restive borders in order to make it too costly for Iran to remain the primary obstruction to a U.S. exit strategy for Iraq.

In reference to the attacks in Sistan-Balochistan province, in a sermon March 2, Iranian cleric Hojatoleslam Ahmad Khatami accused Pakistan of "losing its neighborly manners" by working with the United States to instigate the Baloch uprisings. Pakistan, which faces its own Baloch rebel threat, is unlikely to be providing direct support to the Baloch minority in Iran. But, given its complex relationship with the United States in combating al Qaeda and Taliban forces in the region, Islamabad likely has worked out a deal in which it receives some slack in exchange for turning a blind eye to U.S. operations against Iran along the border.

Iran has expressed its alarm over the recent rebel activity and has reportedly spent the past month building a 10-foot-high fence along the Iranian-Pakistani border to prevent illegal border crossings. The IRGC has even issued a direct threat to pursue members of PJAK into neighboring Iraq, using the "practical measures that had been taken during Saddam's reign" to contain the Kurdish uprisings.

The U.S. interest in destabilizing Iran gives the PJAK a useful tool to further its resistance campaign against Iran: a relatively unobstructed base of operations in Iraqi Kurdistan. Iraq's Kurdish president, Jalal Talabani, made it clear in a September 2006 interview with National Public Radio that Iraq can "make trouble" for both Iran and Turkey should either country attempt to interfere in the affairs of the Iraqi Kurdish Regional Government (KRG). (His comments followed a Kurdish rebel attack in Maku, Iran, that destroyed nearly 75 yards of an Iranian-Turkish gas pipeline.)

Though the Iraqi Kurds can see the usefulness of highlighting their links to Kurdish separatists in Turkey and Iran to help achieve their goal of annexing the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, a significant uptick in Kurdish rebel attacks in Iraq's neighboring countries could complicate things. Iran and Turkey have cooperated before to counter Kurdish operations through cross-border military operations. The last thing the KRG wants is a direct military confrontation with either Iran or Turkey while the Kirkuk referendum issue is heating up.

During a March 1 phone conversation, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahamdinejad vowed to work together to maintain Iraq's territorial integrity. It does not take much of an imagination to guess what else Ankara and Tehran might be planning in light of these recent attacks.
27747  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Know Thy Enemy on: March 03, 2007, 02:20:07 AM

Mar 2, 2007 
  Page 1 of 2
Ready to take on the world
By Syed Saleem Shahzad

KARACHI - Al-Qaeda will this year significantly step up its global operations after centralizing its leadership and reviving its financial lifelines. Crucially, al-Qaeda has developed missile and rocket technology with the capability of carrying chemical, biological and nuclear warheads, according to an al-Qaeda insider who spoke to Asia Times Online.

While al-Qaeda will continue to operate in Afghanistan and Iraq, it will broaden its global perspective to include Europe and hostile

Muslim states, Asia Times Online has learned. For the first time since its attacks on the US on September 11, 2001, this could be al-Qaeda's year on the offensive.

According to the contact, "The time has come for a message to  be communicated to Europe." Asked what kind of message this would be, the contact simply smiled.

Nevertheless, he stated that with Western forces trapped in Afghanistan and Iraq, it was time to open up new fronts in Somalia, Algeria, Egypt, Palestine and other places.

"In each place, al-Qaeda has its own command and control apparatus, including Palestine, and all those fronts will be opened up very soon," the contact said.

At the same time al-Qaeda is planning this offensive, it has received something of a setback in Afghanistan, where its alliance with the Taliban is under strain. The Taliban have struck a deal with Pakistan over mutual cooperation, which is anathema to al-Qaeda (see Pakistan makes a deal with the Taliban, Asia Times Online, March 1).

Osama in the shadows
Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden has not appeared in a video since October 2004 or on an audio tape since January 2006. He is by no means out of the al-Qaeda picture, although his deputy, Dr Ayman al-Zawahiri, claims the media spotlight.

Reportedly recovered from ill health, bin Laden - possibly even sporting a trimmed beard - is active in al-Qaeda's planning, according to the contact Asia Times Online spoke to. "He could be in Chechnya, Somalia or Iraq," the man said coyly, obviously  not about to divulge bin Laden's whereabouts. Or even in Iran, some insiders hint.

Over the course of many hours of conversation and information exchanges in several locations, the contact - who has a sound track record of being informed of developments within al-Qaeda - explained how bin Laden and Zawahiri had rebuilt al-Qaeda over the past year or so.

Since 2005, the al-Qaeda leadership had been talking to many groups, including Egyptians, Libyans and the takfiri camp (which calls all non-practicing Muslims infidels). Al-Qaeda paid for differences in tactics and ideology among these groups as its structure unraveled and the organization developed into an "ideology" rather than a cohesive group.

As a result, al-Qaeda's global agenda was largely shelved and the international community's financial squeeze definitely hurt. This problem has been overcome, according to the contact, although he would not give any details. Even US intelligence agencies concede that the group's finances have improved, but they have  no idea how. All the same, they have pressured Pakistan to clamp down on some charitable organizations in that country.

The Jamiatul Muqatila (Libyan) led by Sheikh Abu Lais al-Libby, the Jabhatul Birra of Ibn-i-Malik, also Libyan, the Jaishul Mehdi, founded by slain Abdul Rahman Canady, an Egyptian, and now led by Abu Eza, the Jamaatul Jihad, an unnamed Libyan group once led by Sheikh Abu Nasir Qahtani from Kuwaiti, who has now been arrested, and the takfiris under Sheikh Essa, an Egyptian, have once again joined forces with "Jamaat al-Qaeda" under the leadership of bin Laden.

The contact insisted that since two major tasks - regrouping and finances - had been completed, major operations could now be planned. But in addition to this, to ensure that 2007 would be "the year of al-Qaeda", a "great compromise" had to be made.

Deal with the devil
Before the "Mother of all Battles", the Gulf War of 1991, bin Laden offered to help the Saudi monarchy fight Saddam Hussein's forces in Kuwait. The Saudi royalty ignored the offer and opted instead for US military assistance. The presence of these troops in the land of the sacred cities of Mecca and Medina inflamed bin Laden, and he split with the Saudi royalty.

Nevertheless, the growing influence of Shi'ite Iran in the Middle East, especially in Iraq after the US invasion of 2003 and Lebanon, concerned al-Qaeda and the anti-Shi'ite Salafi Saudi 

 2 of 2
Ready to take on the world
By Syed Saleem Shahzad

oligarchs, which included the royal family, scholars, tribes and the state apparatus.

In this environment, a speech by bin Laden was aired on Al-Jazeera television in which he called the Saudi monarchy extremely corrupt, the most contemptuous aspect of which was its alliance with US interests. Having said that, he asked the Saudi monarchy to step aside, saying that the mujahideen did not 

at that stage want to confront it. Rather, the Saudis should leave al-Qaeda alone to fight against Americans in Iraq.

The speech was, in fact, the beginning of dialogue between al-Qaeda and the Saudi royal family through various Muslim  scholars at numerous places in the Middle East. Eventually, the Saudis agreed to turn a blind eye to Maaskar al-Battar (al-Qaeda's training camp) in Saudi Arabia on condition that the fighters would not carry out any operations in Saudi Arabia and go straight to Iraq.

The contact Asia Times Online spoke to said that al-Qaeda is so powerful in Saudi Arabia that the monarchy had no choice but to strike a deal. Similarly, it was al-Qaeda's choice, he said, that it concentrate this year on Iraq.

The way that al-Qaeda sees it, it will consolidate in Iraq to the extent that it and the "coalition of the willing" have their respective and identified occupied areas from which to fight each other.

The Saudi front is thus only deferred until al-Qaeda gains sufficient ground in Iraq.

The "arrangement" between al-Qaeda and the Saudis reveals a diplomatic double-step by Saudi Arabia, which Washington considers an important ally in the "war on terror" and in helping establish a Sunni front against rising Shi'ite power in the region, led by Iran.

Preparing for war
Al-Qaeda uses Maaskar al-Battar in Saudi Arabia to train youths  in guerrilla warfare, including the use of SA-7 surface-to-air missiles. Research is also conducted at the camp, as well as in Afghanistan.

This includes work on "Abeer" rockets to carry nuclear or chemical weapons. Last October, the insurgent group Islamic Army in Iraq claimed to have successfully built and tested a rocket with a range of 120 kilometers. It was named Abeer after the 14-year-old Iraqi girl raped and killed by a US soldier who last month received a jail sentence of 100 years.

In video footage released online, the group said the Abeer rocket could carry a payload of 20 kilograms. Iraqi engineers linked to  resistance groups are now developing Abeer rockets with upgraded accuracy and payload capabilities.

According to the Asia Times Online contact, basic work on nuclear, chemical and biological weapons has now been completed and the main task now is to mount them on suitable missiles - which it is hoped the upgraded Abeer now is.

In the meantime, the Maaskar al-Battar camp is preparing to send an additional 10,000 trained youths into Iraq by the middle of the year.

This coincides with al-Qaeda organizing all segments of the Iraqi resistance under its umbrella. It has already declared an "Emir of  the Islamic Emirates of Iraq" comprising Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Salah al-Din and Ninawa, and in other parts of the governorate of Babel. Abu Omar al-Baghdadi has been declared the emir of the state.

This development signifies that in the coming months, al-Qaeda's epicenter will shift from the Pakistani tribal areas of South Waziristan and North Waziristan to Iraq and its neighborhood, including parts of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Syria.

It also means that the almost-independent "al-Qaeda in Iraq", once headed by Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, killed by the US, will not function as an entity.

Although many Arab fighters left Afghanistan and Pakistan after the US invasion of Iraq in 2003 to join hands with the Iraqi resistance, others are now following. These include al-Qaeda's Abdul Hadi al-Iraqi, who moved from Waziristan.

This will further weaken the link between al-Qaeda and the Taliban after the latter's decision to strike a deal with Pakistan. According to al-Qaeda sources, it is only a matter of time before the entire al-Qaeda leadership abandons its bases in the Pakistani tribal areas and moves to the Middle East.

Something holding them back at present is a logistical matter. Previously, Iran allowed al-Qaeda members to pass through its territory on the way to Iraq or other places. But in the wake of the sectarian troubles in Iraq, Tehran is somewhat hostile toward al-Qaeda.

So it remains unclear whether Iran will facilitate al-Qaeda entering Iraq and destabilizing a Shi'ite government that is pro-American, but certainly also friendly with Iran.

TOMORROW: A new home in Iraq

Syed Saleem Shahzad is Asia Times Online's Pakistan Bureau Chief. He can be reached at

(Copyright 2007 Asia Times Online Ltd. All rights reserved. Please contact us about sales, syndication and republishing.)

27748  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: March 03, 2007, 01:28:18 AM
Iraq: A Delicate and Inevitable Move into Sadr City

The inevitable push by the U.S. military and Iraqi security forces into Sadr City -- the product of negotiations between Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki -- is about to begin. The operation certainly will not bring peace and order to Baghdad, but it can help stabilize the capital in preparation for a more solid resolution mediated by Washington and Tehran.


U.S. and Iraqi security forces will push into Baghdad's Sadr City area in the next few days. Troops will set up checkpoints, conduct large-scale door-to-door searches and establish a permanent presence -- the first in this Shiite and Mehdi Army stronghold since the U.S. invasion in 2003. A delicate political move, the operation is the product of extensive negotiations between Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

The operation has been in the planning stages for some time; there just never have been enough coalition boots on the ground to make it a feasible option. Now, with the U.S. surge strategy and a new Baghdad security plan in place, the operation has become an inevitable step toward stemming sectarian violence in the Iraqi capital. With U.S. military and Iraqi army and police numbers in Baghdad approaching 100,000, a defiant al-Sadr faces devastating losses to his militia, if not defeat.

Al-Maliki's government needs to secure Sadr City now. If the Baghdad security plan cannot restore a semblance of order to the Iraqi capital, his government will continue to crumble. Al-Maliki is under pressure to show that his government has writ in all parts of the capital -- especially areas controlled by fellow Shia in the al-Sadrite Bloc. But he cannot overtly and directly challenge the Mehdi Army; he depends on the al-Sadrites, who hold a majority of the ruling Shiite coalition's seats in parliament, for the continuing existence of his government, and al-Sadr cannot be wiped out militarily without an unacceptable number of casualties.

The al-Sadrites worry that the new security plan is actually an invasion of their turf by rival Shiite factions. The Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq and its Badr Organization have infiltrated the Iraqi security apparatus much more effectively than al-Sadr's Mehdi Army, which has been branded a rogue militia group. So far, the al-Sadrite bloc of the Iraqi parliament has been able to wield its substantial influence over al-Maliki's fragile government and prevent U.S. and Iraqi forces from operating in Sadr City in any meaningful way. While there have certainly been targeted raids, no permanent coalition presence has been established in the area.

Now the al-Sadrites face a choice: a destructive clash with a determined and reinforced U.S. military, or accommodation.

Despite al-Sadr's continued absence from the country, Sheikh Raheem al-Darruji, the mayor of Sadr City's 2 million impoverished Shia, has said he will give the security operation a chance to succeed, although he warned that if effective protection is not provided, his people will defend themselves. The delay in the U.S. push into Sadr City -- it has been weeks since the Baghdad security plan was initiated -- has given al-Sadr more than enough time to secure his assets, in terms both of manpower and materiel. This delay is an important demonstration of cooperation between al-Sadr and the al-Maliki government.

Al-Sadr also has been assured that his organization's interests will be secure so long as it allows Iraqi forces to demonstrate that they have control over Sadr City. That al-Sadr and his commanders are out of sight underscores this understanding. Because al-Sadr's only alternative is destruction, al-Maliki also is operating from a position of power. Al-Sadr and al-Maliki have agreed to allow each other to exist because they need one another.

There will, of course, be clashes; practice is much messier than theory, and in no place is this more true than in Baghdad. Eventually, though, the Sadr City operation will end and the al-Sadrites will have to work out an arrangement with Iraqi security forces. But indications are that al-Sadr has -- for now -- chosen accommodation over destruction. There certainly will be clashes, but by challenging the U.S. military and Iraqi security forces, members of al-Sadr's militia will identify themselves as rogue elements. And if they do not heed his commands and are engaged and destroyed by coalition forces, all the better for al-Sadr as he strives to control his organization.

But the Sadr City operation will not bring true security to Baghdad. Only successful negotiations between the United States and Iran can do that. Iranian assistance is absolutely essential for a lasting solution. What al-Maliki can accomplish with the success of the Baghdad security plan is a consolidated Iraqi capital. The rest hinges on Washington and Tehran.
27749  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Health Care Economics on: March 03, 2007, 01:26:27 AM

IRRESPONSIBLE LAW IN 40 YEARS'; Bill Will Add $8 Trillion to Long-Term
Medicare Obligations
Thu Mar 1 2007 13:41:11 ET

That Could Already Bankrupt the U.S.

The U.S. government's top accountant says the law that added a prescription
drug benefit to Medicare may be the most financially irresponsible
legislation passed since the 1960s. U.S. Comptroller General David Walker
says Medicare -- barring vast reform to the program and the nation's
healthcare system -- is already on course to possibly bankrupt the treasury
and adding the prescription bill just makes the situation worse. Walker
appears in a Steve Kroft report to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, March
4 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.

"The prescription drug bill is probably the most fiscally irresponsible
piece of legislation since the 1960s," says Walker, "because we promise way
more than we can afford to keep." He argues that the federal government
would need to have $8 trillion today, invested at treasury rates, to cover
the gap between what the program is expected to take in and what it is
expected to cost over the next 75 years Ð and that is in addition to more
than $20 trillion that will be needed to pay for other parts of Medicare.
"We can't afford to keep the promises we've already made, much less to be
piling on top of them," he tells Kroft.

The problem is the baby boomers. The 78 million people born between 1946 and
1964 start becoming eligible for Social Security benefits next year.
"They'll be eligible for Medicare just three years later and when those
boomers start retiring en masse, then that will be a tsunami of spending
that could swamp our ship of state if we don't get serious," says Walker.

As life expectancies increase and the cost of health care continues to rise
at twice the rate of inflation, radical reform in health care will be
necessary, Walker says. He says the federal government is also going to have
to find ways to increase revenue and reduce benefits. The alternative is
ugly. Walker shows Kroft General Accounting Office long-term projections
that assume the status quo continues, with the same levels of taxation,
spending, and economic growth. By the year 2040, Walker says, "If nothing
changes, the federal government is not going to be able to do much more than
pay interest on the mounting debt and some entitlement benefits. It won't
have money left for anything else...."

Sen, Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, tells
Kroft that this problem is well known among members of Congress: "Yes, they
know in large measure, Republicans and Democrats, that we are on a course
that doesn't add up." And he acknowledges nobody is addressing the matter.
Why? "Because it's always easier not to," Conrad says, "because it's always
easier to defer, to kick the can down the road to avoid making choicesÉYou
get in trouble in politics when you make choices."

Walker believes the biggest problem may be that everything seems okay now,
so people don't have the sense of urgency that's needed to make tough
choices. But the longer we wait, he argues, the harder it's going to be to
solve the problem. "The fact is that we don't face an immediate crisis and
so people say, ÔWhat's the problem?' The answer is, we suffer from a fiscal
cancer...and if we do not treat it, it could have catastrophic consequences
for our country," he tells Kroft. *
27750  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WW3 on: March 03, 2007, 01:21:49 AM
Though technically this belongs in the Iraq thread, it continues the conversation here.


            By RALPH PETERS

             March 1, 2007 -- WITH all of the mud-sling ing on Capitol Hill,
you could almost forget the gun-slinging in Baghdad.
            As Democrats, Iraqi insurgents and terrorists all struggle to
prevent an American win, it's hard to get an accurate sense of Iraq

            When in doubt, ask a soldier.

            My best source in Baghdad offered a soberly optimistic
assessment at odds with the "Gotcha!" negativity in Washington. He doesn't
claim that success is guaranteed. But he believes in his head, heart and
soul that we've got a fighting chance.

            And I believe him.

            I took the temperature of other officers, as well. They agree
unanimously that the administration made terrible mistakes from which we and
the Iraqis are still recovering. But not one of these soldiers is ready to

            Here are the key points I've heard from those I trust:

            * Of the five additional U.S. brigades headed for Baghdad, only
one is in place, with the second starting to arrive. Yet the city is already
quieter and safer. The terrorists continue to detonate their bombs - with
suicidal fanatics targeting the innocent - but sectarian killings
(death-squad hits) have dropped from over 50 each night down to single

            * The tactic of stationing U.S. units and their Iraqi
counterparts down in the Baghdad 'hoods is already paying off. (It should
have been used from the outset - instead of hunkering down on massive bases.
But better late than never.) The effort has triggered a flood of
intelligence tips: When citizens feel safe, they cooperate. And when they
help us, our success compounds.

            * U.S. commanders now have a lot of experience in Iraq. They're
not wide-eyed kids at the circus anymore. They understand there are no
uniform, easy answers to Iraq's violence and complex allegiances. As a
senior officer put it, "Every neighborhood and city is unique, with their
own challenges."

            I'll leave it to The New York Times to betray our military
secrets, and just say I'm very impressed by the insight shown by our brigade
and battalion commanders these days.

            * We hear the bad news from the rest of Iraq, such as this
week's monstrous car bombing of children at play on a soccer field in
Ramadi, but we don't hear that such attacks by al Qaeda operatives have
infuriated mainstream Sunni sheiks and their tribes - who increasingly make
common cause with us and their government. And winning over the Sunni
"middle" is crucial to Iraq's future.

            * We'll never stop all suicide bombers and car bombers, but our
security crackdown has already taken out two major Vehicle-Borne Improvised
Explosive Device (VBIED) factories. And we took down a huge arms cache late
last week.

            * No one's getting any "Mission Accomplished" banners ready to
go, but front-line leaders in Iraq are convinced the situation just isn't as
hopeless as politicians back home insist. I don't know a single officer
in-country who believes the reporting from Iraq gives an honest, balanced

            Of course, there are serious worries:

            * Above all, senior leaders worry that, thanks to political
shenanigans back home, they won't be given the time it would take to win.
Even with improved tactics, this just isn't easy work.

            Personally, I continue to believe that 2007 is the year of
decision - when the Iraqi government and its security forces have to show
their mettle. But 2007 has barely begun. Let's not declare defeat for April
Fool's Day. The stakes are so high that Iraq merits this last chance.

            * The sectarian violence between Sunni Arabs and the Shia that
gathered strength after last year's Golden Mosque bombing has "damaged trust
between the two sects enormously," as a U.S. official put it. It's possible
that the damage is too deep to be repaired - we just don't know. At best,
reconstructing a shared national identity is going to be hard. But many
gruesome conflicts have ended in national reconciliation.

            * There's one thing we know won't work: The nutty Pelosi-crat
proposal to restrict the mission of U.S. troops to "training Iraqis and
defeating al Qaeda." Would our troops have to wait to return fire until they
checked the ID cards of their attackers? If they saw a massacre of women and
children in progress, would we want them to stand by until they received a
legal opinion as to whether the killers were bona fide foreign terrorists?

            This ain't the NFL, where everybody wears a uniform and plays by
the rules. Proposals to limit the freedom of action of our troops reflect
domestic politics at their shabbiest - and you and I know it. Our troops
need fewer restrictions, not more.

            THERE are no guarantees of success. The president's troop surge
may not be enough to make a decisive difference; in the end, Iraq may
collapse all around us. A sectarian bloodbath could be inevitable.

            But our brave men and women in uniform have new coaches and a
new playbook for Iraq. They believe they've got a reasonable chance to cross
the goal line - and they've got more at risk than a sports celebrity's

            Yes, the Iraqis have to pick up the ball - but it would be an
immoral act of strategic madness to fumble the ball on purpose.

            In the end, we may not win. But you can't win if you walk off
the field while the game's still under way. The clock may run out on hope
for Iraq. But it hasn't yet.

            Ralph Peters' latest book is "Never Quit The Fight."

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