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29801  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / London hit by multiple explosions on: July 09, 2005, 01:06:30 PM

The London Bombings: A Local Cell at Work?
Four bombs exploded in London's transportation system during the morning rush hour July 7, three striking the Underground commuter rail system and another tearing the top off of a double-decker bus. Scotland Yard has confirmed that 37 people died as a result of the blasts and that hundreds are injured, although estimates of the death toll reach higher than 50.

According to Scotland Yard, the first explosion occurred at 8:51 a.m. local time, 100 yards into the Underground tunnel from the Liverpool Street station, killing seven people. The second explosion occurred five minutes later on the Piccadilly Line heading north from Russell Square Station to King's Cross Station, killing 21 people. The third explosion took place at 9:17 a.m. as the train arrived at the Edgeware Road Station. That bomb exploded as two trains passed each other, blowing holes in both trains and at least one other train in the station. A total of five people died in that explosion. Half an hour later, a bomb detonated on the upper deck of the No. 205 bus near Upper Logan Square, killing perhaps 20 people.

Reports also circulated that several unexploded devices, or "duds," were found, including one at the Baker Street Station and another at Stockwell Square. Law enforcement sources said all but one of these were, in fact, only "suspicious items" that will be destroyed, though law enforcement personnel believe one is a real improvised explosive device.

The presence of decontamination tents and personnel wearing HazMat clothing at the bomb sites raised concerns that the attackers might have attempted to detonate a "dirty bomb," although these steps are taken as a precaution and are part of standard response procedures.

Given the number of devices involved in these attacks, British forensic investigators should be able to get to the bottom of the blasts, because each bomb -- exploded or not -- leaves valuable pieces of evidence. Forensic examination will also be important in this case to determine if there is any relation to the March 2004 Madrid train bombings. The sophistication of the bombmaker and the method of deployment also will come to light.

As of now, the kind of bombs used in the attacks is unclear, although the possibilities include command-detonated suicide bombers, command-detonated improvised explosive devices or timed explosive devices. We can assume, however, that we are dealing with devises -- and detonators -- rigged out of ingredients available on the open market, because the sale of bomb-making ingredients such as dynamite and gunpowder is tightly controlled in Britain, due to the country's history with the Irish Republican Army. The use of improvised detonators, which are not as reliable as industrially manufactured hardware, would explain the reports of multiple failures. Most improvised or homemade explosive mixtures would not be as powerful as the commercial-grade material used in the Madrid attacks.

Investigators will study the timing of the Underground blasts -- and reports that the explosions occurred as the trains pulled into stations -- as one method of determining the type of bombs used. The fact that the bombings appear to have been coordinated suggests that multiple perpetrators are involved -- mainly because it would have been impossible for one person to have planted all of the devices. It is possible that someone planted timed explosives on the trains, knowing the general time needed to travel between stations, though they risked having the bombs go off at the wrong time if a train was delayed.

The attackers could have used command-detonated bombs in order to guarantee a more precise detonation time and increase the number of casualties in the stations. If the devices were command-detonated, they probably did not use a cellular telephone as a trigger, because cellular phones typically do not work inside the London Underground system. Another possibility is that suicide bombers exploded their devices at predetermined times.

The attack likely was carried out by a cell of locals living in London and working with an operational planner and/or bombmaker from outside the country. The planner and/or bombmaker (one person often performs both jobs) probably arrived in Britain several weeks or a few months before the attack in order to plan the operation and manufacture the devices. After the attacks, this person most likely boarded a plane and left the country, ultimately to return to a location in the Middle East or South Asia. It is a practice of many jihadist organizations, al Qaeda in particular, to use mid-level operatives to set up cells throughout the world for the purpose of conducting attacks.

Within the context of the London Underground attacks, the bombing of the bus near Upper Logan Square is an anomaly, suggesting the bus was not originally a target. Compared to the other bombs, which detonated within a few minutes of one other, the device on the bus went off a half hour after the last explosion. One possible explanation for this is that it was a secondary bomb meant to cause casualties among people evacuating the Underground stations following the earlier explosions. Another possibility is that the bomber assigned to carry out one of the attacks got cold feet at the last minute or for some reason felt that his mission was compromised. Rather than risk capture, the bomber might have left the device on the bus that was taking him to his intended target. Left unattended, a failsafe timer on the device could have caused the detonation. It also is possible that a last-minute change of plans left the terrorists with an extra bomb, and it was decided just to leave it where it would cause casualties.

A group calling itself the Secret Organization of al Qaeda in Europe claimed responsibly for these attacks on a jihadist Web site July 7, although this claim obviously has not been verified. Because al Qaeda's ability to conduct major operations has been called into question in recent months, the leadership might have felt the need to conduct a large-scale attack in order to prove the network still is capable of causing harm to the West.

Following the attacks, U.S. authorities tightened security in the New York and Washington, D.C., subway systems, while the Department of Homeland Security raised the threat level for transportation from Yellow to Orange. If al Qaeda carried out the London attacks, the network is probably incapable of conducting similar operations in the near future, given its diminished capability. By the time the terrorists are ready to strike again, security will likely have relaxed.


The London Bombings: Who, Why, and What Happens Next

The July 7 bombings in London were likely carried out by an al Qaeda cell hoping to draw attention and credibility back to the jihadist organization. British Prime Minister Tony Blair will face increasing pressure after the attacks, particularly regarding his Iraq policy, and relations between U.K. internal security and "Londonistan" are likely to change in coming days.


A series of bomb attacks severely disrupted the London and southeast England transport network during midmorning rush hour July 7. At least 37 people died and hundreds were injured during the attacks. A previously unheard-of group calling itself "Secret Organization of al Qaeda in Europe" claimed responsibility for the bombings on its Web site, but Stratfor and Western intelligence agencies consider that claim to be dubious at best. However, the scale and nature of the attacks -- targeting crowded trains and the bus system -- indicates that a group with significant preparations is responsible, and Stratfor believes al Qaeda itself, and not the previously unknown group, carried out the bombings. The attacks are similar to the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which al Qaeda was found to be behind.

If al Qaeda did in fact carry out the London attacks, it adds to the organization's credibility as a still-functioning force able to make its presence known in the major capitals of the world. Striking London while the Group of Eight (G-8) summit has the world focused on the United Kingdom takes not only operational security and organization but also a fair amount of impudence. The relationship between U.K. internal security services and London's often-radical Muslim community is likely to change, and British Prime Minister Tony Blair can expect to face intensifying public pressure.

Four confirmed attacks took place in London. The first explosion occurred at 8:51 a.m. London time on a Circle Line train traveling westbound from Aldgate Station, when the train was 100 yards away from its destination at Liverpool Street Station. Liverpool Street is a major local transport hub that contains a National Rail station serving southeast England. The Circle Line is a shallow "cut-and-cover" line, on which it could be possible to receive a cellular phone signal -- a common method of detonating improvised explosive devices (IEDs) -- since the top part of the tunnel is above ground level. However, it is unclear whether mobile communication signal reception is reliable anywhere in the train system.

The second explosion took place five minutes later on a Piccadilly Line train heading north from Russell Square to King's Cross Station. King's Cross is a vital National Rail hub for trains going to northern and eastern Britain and is also a major Underground and local transport interchange. The Piccadilly Line is a deep-tunnel subway route, where it would be more difficult to send or receive mobile communications -- indicating that the bomb on this train was detonated by a timer.

The third blast, at 9:17 a.m. London time, occurred on the Hammersmith and City Line coming from Edgware Road toward Paddington Station. The bomb exploded as trains passed, blasting a hole in a wall and damaging at least one and possibly two other trains. Paddington is a major National Rail station serving southwestern England and Wales, and the Edgware Road station area contains London's high-security Paddington Green police station and a large Muslim population. The Hammersmith and City Line is another shallow "cut-and-cover" line, where mobile communications could be possible.

The upper deck of a double-decker bus running Route No. 205 near Tavistock Square, near the Russell Street underground station, was hit in the fourth explosion, which took place at 9:47 a.m. London time. Scotland Yard initially reported an unknown number of fatalities in this blast.

Following the blasts, U.K. mobile network operators reported problems related to high call volume but denied that the government had asked them to discontinue service; such a request would have indicated that authorities thought command-detonated devices were used. Some calls placed to London mobile numbers were successful by 3:30 p.m. London time. Bus services in the London area were set to resume by 4 p.m., though the Underground is scheduled to remain closed until the morning of July 8. National Rail services, excepting King's Cross, resumed.

Security alerts went out in other countries shortly after the bombings. Germany's Deutsche Bahn AG upped security on all its trains and stations, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security raised the national security threat level to orange for all mass transit facilities in the country. Both of these alerts were meant to give a sense of action, but were equivalent to closing the barn door after the horses have escaped. There was no credible intelligence that follow-on attacks were imminent, but the alerts went out to make people feel that something had been done to ensure their safety. Meanwhile, in the world markets, crude oil prices dropped because of the prospect of an economic slowdown brought about by the attacks.

Several unexploded or non-functional IEDs reportedly were found in the London Underground shortly after the blasts, but authorities said later that the suspected IEDs were only suspicious objects that would be detonated. One suspicious item was reportedly found at Baker Street, and another at Stockwell Square. Authorities are treating suspicious packages with extreme caution, and it is unclear how many -- if any -- were actually explosive. Though reports of undetonated IEDs could be false alarms, the discovery of unexploded devices would be a boon to understanding the anatomy of the attacks. Analysts could see what type of explosives were used -- and possibly figure out where the explosives might have been acquired -- and see what kind of detonator was used. Tracing the elements of an unexploded IED would take much less time than sifting through the remains of an exploded device. After the Madrid 2004 train bombings, Spanish authorities were able to identify the terrorists based on the cell phone they found attached to an unexploded bomb.

Multiple people would have to have been involved in planting bombs on the Underground lines, if indeed the bombs were either timer- or remote-detonated. Based on the bombs' locations and the directions in which they were traveling, it is unlikely that all of the attackers entered the Underground system from a central location near Russell Square or King's Cross. The attackers instead likely coordinated their bombings from different points in the city. If the attacks follow the Madrid model, the perpetrators planted the bombs on the trains and fled the scene. However, U.K. authorities have not yet ruled out the possibility that the attacks were suicide bombings, though this seems less likely.

It seems that only a well-prepared group with significant operational security would be able to carry out citywide attacks in short succession on infrastructure that could have a serious economic impact and a high casualty rate. Because London has been the recent hub of al Qaeda cell operations in Europe, Stratfor believes that the strikes were likely perpetrated by an al Qaeda cell, using either recruits from the local Islamist community or recent immigrants taking advantage of central London's large Muslim population. There have been recent reports of internal debates among London's Muslim clerics about whether or not U.K. residents should be allowed to stage attacks in the country. That the methods used in the attacks are similar to standard al Qaeda methods suggests that a ringleader or bomb maker -- perhaps one person serving in both capacities -- was brought in to coordinate the attacks.

Al Qaeda would have sufficient motive to carry out such an attack. As U.S. and coalition forces continue battling jihadist insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan, al Qaeda appears to have become less effective. Periodic major attacks -- such as the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks in New York City and the March 11, 2004, train bombings in Madrid -- help the jihadist network reassert itself and lend it a certain measure of credibility. Such credibility is necessary for its continued survival and for its recruiting operations. Ultimately, al Qaeda seeks to show the power of the Islamic world and the vulnerability of the United States and its allies. The audacious timing of the attacks -- during the G-8 summit -- brings this point home. Furthermore, the timing of the London bombings matches the 18- to 24-month operational cycle for major al Qaeda attacks.

Attacking during the G-8 summit will certainly draw attention to al Qaeda, if the organization did indeed carry out the London bombings. Still, the scale of the attacks represents a diminished power, and it could indicate that al Qaeda is in decline.

But whatever the implications for al Qaeda, the political timing for the attacks puts pressure on both the British government and its security infrastructure. Security attention had been focused well north of London this week in coordination with the G-8 summit, where Blair was pushing debt relief and climate-change action. Blair has faced ferocious domestic opposition, especially from the left and from Muslim communities, over his support for the Iraq war. This opposition is likely to increase after the London bombings, especially because of one piece of information: Unconfirmed rumors in intelligence circles indicate that Israel had warned the U.K. government several days prior to the bombings that such an attack was imminent. Not wishing to disrupt the G-8 summit or spoil celebrations over London's successful bid for the 2012 Olympics, the British government sat on the information and hoped it was a false alarm.

The short-term U.K. response to the attacks will almost certainly involve a shift in relations between British internal security services and London's sizeable -- and often radical -- Muslim population, which was subject to intense racial tensions during the last U.K. election cycle. MI5 has taken a light hand with "Londonistan," believing for the most part that local clerics had no significantly threatening connections with international terrorist organizations. That approach is likely to change. The response in the United Kingdom in coming days could set the tone for the larger European debate over Muslim immigration as both a security and cultural threat. Possibly hoping to head off the worst of a backlash, the Muslim Council of Great Britain has already issued a statement condemning the "evil" London attacks.

In the meantime, Blair will face continuing and intensifying questions about the future of his tenure, with Labor backbenchers increasingly willing to demand that he hand over power to popular Chancellor of the Exchequer Gordon Brown. Blair will have to make some visible change to his Iraq policy in response to these events -- though that does not necessarily mean an actual weakening of the British presence in Iraq. It is unclear whether or not the British public will offer an anti-government, anti-war backlash such as that in Spain after the Madrid attacks; it is not out of the question that the London attacks could simply strengthen the U.K. government's resolve on the Iraq issue.
29802  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Movies of interest on: July 08, 2005, 02:46:39 AM
Woof All:

Assured by by a friend of its suitability, I took Conrad to see Batman Begins today.? As my son Conrad has had more exposure to and more conceptual tools for matters concerning aggression than most 5 year old boys (he's 6 August 29).? That said, this movie required all my fathering skills as we watched it together and we will be continuing to discuss it on the long drive home from the Bay area tomorrow. (Friday).

Putting that aside, I would like to say that I thought this was an excellent movie-- and quite unlike the other Batmans-- none of which resonated for me.

In contrast this movie's script operated on several levels including an interesting three way dynamic instead of the usual good versus bad wherein two concepts of justice war with each other as well as with bad.

Crafty Dog
29803  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA in Prescott AZ August 13-14 on: July 08, 2005, 02:15:25 AM
Woof All:

I will be doing my second seminar for noted close quarter gun instructor Gabe Suarez in Prescott on August 13-14.  We will be convering Short Impact Weapons.

The seminar will be kept small deliberately-- attendance is limited.  In addition to Gabe's people, preference will be given to members of the DBMA Association.

If interested, contact me directly.

Guro Crafty
29804  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: July 07, 2005, 06:28:06 PM
Un "amigo de internet" se ha escrito:

Hi Guys

I've been asked to prepare a risk/threat assessment for a visit to Mexico by a client. Not the capital or any of the major cities, just the tourist spots (Cancun,Xcaret, Tulum, Riviera regions, etc).
I am working on the major details, but just wondered if anyone here had "hard" information/experiences regarding crime levels (both organised gangs and street attacks) as well as no-go areas at these destinations.

Also what is the status regarding personal weapons carry (knife, asp, etc) in Mexico - any ideas.

Any information would be greatly appreciated and a real big help. Thanks in advance.

?Alguien aqui se le puede ayudar?
29805  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / London hit by multiple explosions on: July 07, 2005, 06:22:51 PM
Let the Howl for forth:

I'm on the road and am unable to write at length, but in such moments words tend to be inaedquate to the task-- so for now I will simply say that Britain is family to us, and those who mess with it, mess with us. evil

Crafty Dog
29806  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / post-Gathering/thank you... on: July 03, 2005, 08:46:36 PM
Woof All:

I share this post by Pappy Dog from the DBMA Association (DBMAA) forum:

Crafty Dog

Hola Everyone,

It was the Saturday class after the Gathering. I had taken 3 new guys for their first Gathering fights; a loose band of artist, miscreants, and city workers. You never know how they will react to such an adrenaline dowsed event. Well.... Success. They took to it like a model to an abusive relationship. They kept going back for more. I make no boasts about their skills (although I think they did well). But, they had the lust for fights. So much so I started to feel a little lame for only fighting 2 fights. As I watched one of my guys flying backwards being suplexed: I almost covered my eyes. Like a parent watching his kid climb a tree to the top. I was relieved to see him without hesitation, spin into his oponents guard and begin to throw headbutts. Wow, one grappling lesson paid off. Although, that fire is within each person before even they take a martial arts class. You can't help but feel responsible or proud for their success.

Back to class- The class after the Gathering is usually reserved for boasting, showing scars, and training the more esoterics parts of the art. However, what did these guys want to do? Spar!

29807  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / KALI TUDO (tm) Article on: July 03, 2005, 01:04:29 AM
Woof All:

Island Dog wrote:

"Fascinating stuff. I applaud your efforts in this area."

Tail wags for the kind words.  Coming from you, they mean something to me.  

For those of you who don't know, when ID is not fighting at a DB Gathering he is often to be found in local cagefighting events which he usually wins.  I went up into LA one night to watch him fight and was impressed.  One easily forgets that he was doing this in his mid 40s.

"Some personal opinions as I was reading through:

"I believe open guard (with or without a cup) has some very real applications for the street- possibly even more so than closed guard. However, I believe it must be used much more aggressively than is seen by many BJJ players."

The higher the level of the guard, the more I agree.  Story:  When I was part of a group that Rigan Machado took down to Rio in 1992, I had a private lesson with Renzo Gracie.   At first he was giving me a typical lesson for a visiting student, but I managed (respectfully!) to steer things to the question of open guard for the street.  He gladly obliged-- and promptly chased me around the room with his open guard.  He showed me the kicks from this position-- one of which he was soon to use to drop Oleg Taktaorv.

Also, a bit of trivia, I gave him Paul Vunak's "Headbutt, Elbow and Knees" video.  He liked it and used it in a subsequent Vale Tudo fight in Brazil.  I have amateur footage of the fight, including him warming up his boxing hands on the focus mitts before the fight-- nice, loosy goosey quality to it.

But I digress , , , If the other man is standing, as was the case in my lesson with Renzo, this can be a very risky range for the standing man.   But when he is inside of the thrusting kicks, I think the calculus changes-- especially when the open guard is installed with cup/MMA reflexes.

"My opinion is that the multiple hits per shift of body weight will usually lose out to the single hit concept as seen in boxing or MT. I will be interested to see how it actually plays out."

Here we have different thoughts.  This is where I have some of my best success in sparring.

"While I agree with the validity of using the foot work to force the opponent to overextend or to keep him from engaging, I can see it leading to stalling-related penalties in the MMA realm."

I appreciate your point, but 1) most MMA fighters are pretty aggressive and are impatient to engage  2) there most certainly are ways of initiating.

"I definitely like the idea of the triangulation/crashing to close into the clinch/takedown range.
Question: Do you feel that this could also be applied to the wrestling/submission grappling competitive arena?"

In the absence of striking I think it is much harder.  For example, good double leg TDs already have two of the three angles of silat, but in the absence of striking I do not see how to get the third angle.

"Another question: Can we expect to see Trigg using any of this stuff in future fights?"

Frank is busy getting ready for his upcoming UFC fight and only got around to watching the pre-release copy I gave him a couple of days ago.  There was a twinkle in his eye as he said "Not bad, Marc Denny, not bad at all."  I took this as a genuine compliment Cool   I doublt with a fight coming up so soon (especially with this opponent!) he will look to integrate new and freaky material into his game right now.  After, who knows?

"I?m looking forward to hearing more of your work in this area and to see it?s application in the realm of MMA competitions. "

Thank you.  It is a lot of fun doing the research.  Also I am noticing some feedback in my stickfighting.  Although I am "retired", I still engage in active sparring with my students to help them get ready.  

When I was fighting, from '95 forward, except for my three staff fights with you, I was all double stick.  Now I find myself returning to single stick with my KT ideas informing my footwork and my live hand-- I'm scoring some pretty nice shots with it now, whereas before it tended to simply serve as part of muffling things as a step to stickgrappling, which was always a range where I felt confident.

The Adventure continues, , ,
Crafty Dog
29808  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DB in the media on: July 02, 2005, 08:32:50 PM
Chris Gizzi and I appear in a foto on page 96 in the August issue of of Black Belt.
29809  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: July 01, 2005, 10:09:28 AM
A Police Perspective On Gun Control & Political Correctness


Jim Mortellaro
Source: New York State Fraternal Order Of Police 6-29-00

It's amazing what one has to believe to believe in gun control:
That the more helpless you are the safer you are from criminals.

That Washington DC's low murder rate of 69 per 100,000 is due to gun
control, and Indianapolis' high murder rate of 9 per 100,000 is due to
the lack of gun control.

That "NYPD Blue" and "Miami Vice" are documentaries.

That an intruder will be incapacitated by tear gas or oven spray, but if
shot with a .44 Magnum will get angry and kill you.

That firearms in the hands of private citizens are the gravest threat to
world peace, and China, Pakistan and Korea can be trusted with nuclear

That Charlton Heston as president of the NRA is a shill who should be
ignored, but Michael Douglas as a representative of Handgun Control,
Inc. is an ambassador for peace who is entitled to an audience at the UN
arms control summit.

That ordinary people, in the presence of guns, turn into slaughtering
butchers, and revert to normal when the weapon is removed.

That the New England Journal of Medicine is filled with expert advice
about guns, just like Guns and Ammo has some excellent treatises on
heart surgery.

That one should consult an automotive engineer for safer seatbelts, a
civil engineer for a better bridge, a surgeon for spinal paralysis, a
computer programmer for Y2K problems, and Sarah Brady for firearms

That the "right of the people peaceably to assemble," the "right of the
people to be secure in their homes," "enumeration's herein of certain
rights shall not be construed to disparage others retained by the
people," "The powers not delegated herein are reserved to the states
respectively, and to the people," refer to individuals, but "the right
of the people to keep and bear arms" refers to the states.

That the 2nd Amendment, ratified in 1787, allows the states to have a
National Guard, created by act of Congress in 1917.

That the National Guard, paid by the federal government, occupying
property leased to the federal government, using weapons owned by the
federal government, punishing trespassers under federal law, is a state

That private citizens can't have handguns, because they serve no militia
purpose, even though the military has hundreds of thousands of them, and
private citizens can't have assault rifles, because they are military

That it is reasonable for California to have a minimum 2 year sentence
for possessing but not using an assault rifle, and reasonable for
California to have a 6 month minimum sentence for raping a female police

That it is reasonable to jail people for carrying but not using guns,
but outrageous to jail people for possessing marijuana.

That minimum sentences violate civil rights, unless it's for possessing
a gun.

That door-to-door searches for drugs are a gross violation of civil
rights and a sign of fascism, but door-to-door searches for guns are a
reasonable solution to the "gun problem."

That the first amendment absolutely allows child pornography and threats
to kill cops, but doesn't apply to manuals on gun repair.

That Illinois' law that allows any government official from Governor to
dogcatcher to carry a gun is reasonable, and the law that prohibits any
private citizen, even one with 50 death threats on file and a
million-dollar jewelry business, is reasonable. And it isn't a sign of
police statism.

That free speech entitles one to own newspapers, transmitters,
computers, and typewriters, but self-defense only justifies bare hands.

That gun safety courses in school only encourage kids to commit
violence, but sex education in school doesn't encourage kids to have

That the ready availability of guns today, with only a few government
forms, waiting periods, checks, infringements, ID, and fingerprinting,
is responsible for all the school shootings, compared to the lack of
school shootings in the 1950's and 1960's, which was caused by the
awkward availability of guns at any hardware store, gas station, and by
mail order.

That we must get rid of guns because a deranged lunatic may go on a
shooting spree at any time and anyone who owns a gun out of fear of such
a lunatic is paranoid.

That there is too much explicit violence featuring guns on TV, and that
cities can sue gun manufacturers because people aren't aware of the
dangers involved with guns.

That the gun lobby's attempt to run a "don't touch" campaign about kids
handling guns is propaganda, and the anti-gun lobby's attempt to run a
"don't touch" campaign is responsible social activity.

That the crime rate in America is decreasing because of gun control and
the increase in crime requires more gun control.

That 100 years after its founding, the NRA got into the politics of guns
from purely selfish motives, and 100 years after the Emancipation
Proclamation, the black civil rights movement was founded from purely
noble motives.

That statistics showing high murder rates justify gun control, and
statistics that show increasing murder rates after gun control are "just

That we don't need guns against an oppressive government, because the
Constitution has internal safeguards, and we should ban and seize all
guns, therefore violating the 2nd, 4th, and 5th Amendments of that
Constitution, thereby becoming an oppressive government.

That guns are an ineffective means of self defense for rational adults,
but in the hands of an ignorant criminal become a threat to the fabric
of society.

That guns are so complex to use that special training is necessary to
use them properly, and so simple to use that they make murder easy.

That guns cause crime, which is why there are so many mass slayings at
gun shows.

That guns aren't necessary to national defense, which is why the army
only has 3 million of them.

That banning guns works, which is why New York, DC, and Chicago cops
need guns.

That the Constitution protects us, so we don't need guns, and can
confiscate them, thereby violating the 5th amendment of that

That women are just as intelligent and capable as men and a woman with a
gun is "an accident waiting to happen".

That women are just as intelligent and capable as men, and gun makers'
advertisements aimed at women are "preying on their fears."

That a handgun, with up to 4 controls, is far too complex for the
typical adult to learn to use, as opposed to an automobile that only has

That a majority of the population supports gun control, just like a
majority of the population used to support owning slaves.

That one should ignore as idiots politicians who confuse Wicca with
Satanism and exaggerate the gay community as a threat to society, but
listen sagely to politicians who can refer to a self-loading small arm
as a "weapon of mass destruction" and an "assault weapon."

That Massachusetts is safer with bans on guns, which is why Teddy
Kennedy has machinegun toting guards.

That most people can't be trusted, so we should have laws against guns,
which most people will abide by, because they can be trusted.

That a woman raped and strangled with her panties is morally superior to
a woman with a smoking gun and a dead rapist at her feet.

That guns should be banned because of the danger involved, and live
reporting from the battlefield, which can keep the enemy informed of
troop deployments, getting thousands of troops killed and perhaps losing
a war, is a protected act that CANNOT be compromised on.

That the right of online child pornographers to exist cannot be
questioned because it is a constitutionally protected extension of the
Bill of Rights, and the claim that handguns are for self defense is
merely an excuse, and not really protected by the Bill of Rights.

That the ACLU is good because it uncompromisingly defends certain parts
of the Constitution, and the NRA is bad, because it defends other parts
of the Constitution.

That police operate in groups with backup, which is why they need larger
capacity magazines than civilians, who must face criminals alone, and
therefore need less ammunition.

That we should ban "Saturday Night Specials" and other inexpensive guns
because it's not fair that poor people have access to guns too.

That guns have no legitimate use, but alcohol does, which is why we
issue cops beer instead of guns.

That police and soldiers are the dregs of society who were unfit to get
any real job, which perfectly qualifies them with the high moral
standards and keen intellects to handle these complicated tools and be
our guardians.

The article and other similar articles may be found at
29810  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs on: June 30, 2005, 07:08:25 PM
Following up on the PETA dog killing story:


PETA at a Crossroads
Coming soon -- Stratfor will introduce a weekly article on topical public policy issues that we believe you will find timely and relevant to your interests. Following is a sneak preview of what you can expect from this column, written by Bart Mongoven, Stratfor's Vice President, Public Policy. Please watch for more details in the coming weeks. In the meantime, we look forward to hearing your feedback.

By Bart Mongoven

Two staff members of the Norfolk, Virginia-based People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) were arrested in late June, accused of improperly disposing carcasses of animals the organization had euthanized. The incident has generated a swirl of controversy around PETA that carries significant implications for the organization and its cause.

As an animal-rights group, the mere suspicion that PETA might be killing animals is cause enough for attention: One of the group's tenets is that animals enjoy the same right to life as humans do. This position was best summed up by PETA President Ingrid Newkirk, who famously stated: "A rat is a pig is a dog is a boy." Like militant opponents of abortion, animal rights activists take an absolutist position and view themselves as warriors in a fight against murder.

But despite its unceasing promotion of animal rights, PETA has now admitted to euthanizing animals -- saying it was the most humane course of action possible in an area where unwanted shelter animals frequently are gassed or shot with rifles.

In contrast to the animal-rights position, euthanasia for animals taken from shelters is a common and accepted practice among animal-welfare activists -- who argue that animals should be treated with dignity, compassion and respect, but do not share the animal-rights groups' position on an animal's "right to life." The United States is home to many large animal-welfare groups that are dedicated to numerous concerns, ranging from the treatment of farm animals, to shelters for unwanted animals, to advocating laws against animal cruelty. Many animal-welfare organizations take pride in the fact that they euthanize some animals when they have determined that methods used by a shelter are less humane than other available options. This approach, however, is offensive to orthodox animal rights activists, who view it as "playing God."

The situation PETA faces is serious. It represents a difficult setback for the group, which is struggling to retain its credibility and relevance amid the growing popularity of more radical -- and sometimes violent -- activist groups. PETA's reaction therefore will ripple throughout the animal-rights activist community and affect the public's view of animal-rights groups and issues.

In styling itself as the country's leading animal-rights organization, PETA has brought animal rights from the farthest fringe of American culture to a place of such prominence that most people know, at least generally, what animal-rights activists believe. PETA achieved this through an array of creative media stunts and by recruiting high-profile celebrities to speak on the organization's behalf. The group hoped that its publicity stunts and occasionally outrageous statements would bring attention to PETA and its message. And its message has always been clear: It is neither moral nor necessary to kill animals for research purposes or to raise them for food, fur or any other form of human consumption -- and society needs to change fundamentally to reflect this truth.

This message has spurred thousands of Americans to embrace animal rights, and for a long time, PETA was the focal organization for these activists. Some fringe groups also were active, but their memberships paled in comparison with PETA's. Most notable among the fringe groups has been the Animal Liberation Front (ALF), which maintains a number of small cells that specialize in breaking into laboratories and freeing the animals used in scientific experiments. Despite repeated investigations by the FBI and other law enforcement agencies, PETA has never been tied to illegal ALF activities. More to the point, PETA has been careful to avoid endorsing ALF activities or those of other radical groups, choosing instead to steer a difficult middle course.

The recent arrests in North Carolina bring into focus the hazards of this middle course. PETA's traditional message -- "killing is wrong" -- was effective in its simplicity and at the same time neither advocated nor condemned any particular tactical approaches. However, in the immediate wake of the euthanasia discovery, PETA's message (at least for now) is far more nuanced: "Killing animals for human use, food, research or sport is wrong, and killing is acceptable only if it is in the interest of the animal, not convenience." Though this is still a strong message, it lacks the simplicity and clarity that has made PETA so successful -- and it concedes the main point that divides animal-rights groups from the animal-welfare movement.

And here is the crux of the issue for the animal-rights movement as a whole. Even though the euthanasia solution adopted by PETA is characteristic of animal-welfare organizations -- and contrary to animal-rights orthodoxy -- PETA is not an animal-welfare organization and does not want to become one. There are hundreds of animal-welfare organizations vying for a limited pool of donors and members. Each of these groups benefits from the intense light that PETA shines on issues relating to animal cruelty -- but PETA is able to focus this light only by its advocacy of animal rights, not animal welfare.

Even if its work at times reflects animal-welfare values, PETA has carved out a space separate from animal-welfare groups. This delicate position remained tenable so long as PETA's claims to be the nation's foremost animal-rights group went unchallenged. But today, activists who claim they are taking their beliefs in animal rights to a logical extension by using violent tactics are mounting a bid for leadership of the broader movement.

This new style of activism was brought to the United States by a British group, Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty. SHAC focuses its efforts solely on the animal testing firm Huntingdon Life Sciences and employs a campaigning style that is a hybrid between ALF's vandalism-and-violence strategy and the very sophisticated, peaceful market campaigns that have worked well for labor unions, timber activists and others. For instance, SHAC -- whose members compare their work to that of Civil War abolitionist John Brown -- intimidates, and occasionally physically accosts, executives from Huntingdon and companies that do business with it. The group forced Huntingdon to leave the United Kingdom, single-handedly got the company's stock de-listed from the London Stock Exchange and has cost Huntingdon millions of dollars in cancelled contracts.

SHAC makes PETA uneasy. The group certainly is acting out a philosophy consistent with animal-rights beliefs. PETA advocates the same philosophy, but its most visible tactics -- typified by having models strip naked on New York's Fifth Avenue to protest fashion designers' use of fur -- offer a light alternative. PETA, therefore, has been facing a bit of an identity crisis.

Rather than join the crowded field of animal-welfare groups or cede the crown of animal-rights activism, PETA has responded to the rise of SHAC by initiating a campaign using a SHAC-like market approach to the chicken industry. Thus, a more strident PETA campaign now is focusing on the KFC restaurant chain, with activists harassing executives at their homes and launching protests at events meant to improve KFC's brand and image or to introduce new products. In short, it bears all the hallmarks of a SHAC campaign, but without the physical violence or threats of violence.

At the same time, however, PETA remains attached to the controversial media stunts on which it made its name. Animal-welfare organizations view these stunts as counterproductive and silly, and SHAC-style activists see them as as affronts because they trivialize important issues. These criticisms notwithstanding, the media ploys are mother's milk for PETA because they bring attention to the animal rights cause, anger or amuse the mainstream public, and encourage donations.

Now, into PETA's difficult re-branding effort, comes the discovery that the group is euthanizing animals. While the full impact of this controversy is difficult to predict, it cannot help the organization on any front. PETA does not want to join the long list of animal-welfare organizations: It is unlikely to find many new donors among the animal-welfare crowd, and in any case PETA is not built to act as an animal-welfare organization. The more likely response would be for the group to differentiated itself from animal-welfare organizations by appearing every bit the angry, motivated animal rights group that SHAC is. This change will not take place overnight -- but if it was important for PETA to react to SHAC's rise with the KFC campaign several months ago, it is critical now that it re-establish its animal-rights credentials.

Whatever direction PETA takes, SHAC will be the chief beneficiary of this controversy. If PETA comes to be viewed by the movement as a "soft" animal-rights group, the core of the movement will turn to SHAC and similar organizations. And if PETA tries to compete with SHAC, it will pull the entire movement toward the tactics for which SHAC is known -- and which the more radical group long has argued are the only coherent response to animal abuses.

Should SHAC emerge at the fore of the movement, the public's impression of animal-rights activism will change markedly: It will come to be seen as a threat to the status quo, as encouraging home-grown terrorism and as extremely radical. The public's perception of animal rights would shift from a view of the movement as a quixotic stage through which many young people go, to a dangerous, alluring ideology that must be addressed.

Whether this would be good or bad for the movement itself is difficult to predict.
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29811  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: June 29, 2005, 10:37:45 PM
A friend writes:

In 2002, after 9/11 and the fear engendered by the anthrax-in-the-mail
letters, this administration decided to overthrow the Saddam Hussein regime
because the risk of permitting him to continue in power outweighed the risk
of expelling him.

What was that risk?

-- SH gives secretly to Islamist terrorists chemical, biological or dirty
nuclear weapons for use against the US and other countries in the West.

Why was that risk real?

-- SH had them in the past and had used them.

-- SH expelled UNSCOM inspectors in 1998 before they could verify the
absence of ALL of those weapons.

-- After Gulf War I, SH falsely denied that he did not have biological
weapons. This deception was discovered only after the defection of his
sons-in-law to Jordan in 1995.

-- The consensus analysis of all major intelligence agencies was that SH
still was concealing large quantities of the components of chem-bio weapons
and that he was attempting to restart his nuclear program.

-- Iraqi intelligence had regular contacts with members of al Qaida and
other Islamist terror groups.

What were our options?

-- Do nothing and trust that Iraqi intelligence operatives will not assist
al Qaida and other terror groups in the construction and use of small WMD's.

-- Eliminate the risk by overthrowing SH and severing the connections
between the terrorists and Iraqi intelligence controlled by SH.

What did we discover about WMD's after we overthrew SH?

-- That SH did not have any large stockpiles of militarized WMD's in Iraq
when he was overthrown.

-- That Iraqi intelligence had maintained a small, covert biological weapons
program up to the overthrow.

-- That SH had not reconstituted his chemical weapons program after 1998,
but had planned to do so after lifting of the UN sanctions.

-- That SH had not reconstituted his nuclear weapons program, but intended
to do so after the lifting of the UN sanctions.

-- That Iraqi intelligence under SH maintained regular liason and contact
with al Qaida and other Islamist terror groups including sponsoring and
funding Ansar al Islam, now known as "Al Qaida in Iraq."

Were there other probable benefits to overthrowing SH?

-- Geopolitically, a pro-US Iraq would occupy the center of the Middle East
from which the US could inlfuence and contain Iran and Syria. Also, the US
could exercise more direct influence over Saudi Arabia.

-- Geographically, the US could induce many Islamist terrorists to fight the
US armed forces in Iraq istead of committing terrorist acts on US soil.

Has the US made mistakes in the conduct of this war?

-- Yes. What President has presided over a mistake-free war? FDR? Truman?
JFK? LBJ? Wilson? Lincoln? Madison? Jefferson? Polk? Cleveland?

Was it worth it?

29812  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: June 29, 2005, 05:44:53 PM
Mexico Nabs 2 Iraqis Near U.S. Border

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

MEXICO CITY ? Mexican agents in Tecate captured two Iraqis who had hoped to sneak into U.S. territory without proper documents.

Federal authorities say Samir and Munir Yousif Shana (search) told investigators they were contacted by a person in their hometown of Baghdad, who said he could smuggle them into San Diego.

The two have relatives in San Diego.

Federal agents yesterday arrested the pair, along with two accused Mexican immigrant smugglers and a youngster, in the Paso de Aguila district of Tecate.

The Iraqis said they met the accused smugglers in Tijuana, then accompanied them by bus to Tecate. The group was walking toward the U.S. border when they were apprehended.
29813  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / No. Hollywood training group? on: June 29, 2005, 02:41:38 PM
Pappy Dog ain't shy.  The San Fernando Valley's deadliest stickfighting guitarist may be reached at 818-618-0525.
29814  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: June 29, 2005, 12:31:30 AM
My second post today.

This strikes me as a deep, serious, sober and fair assessment of the current situation.
Signing up recommended in the highest terms!


Reading Iraq
By George Friedman

U.S. President George W. Bush made a prime-time, nationally televised speech June 28, maintaining the position he has taken from the beginning: The invasion of Iraq was essential to U.S. interests. Though the publicly stated rationale has shifted, the commitment has remained constant. Bush's speech -- and Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's revelation earlier this week that the United States has been negotiating with insurgents -- represent an important milestone in the history of the war and require a consideration of the strategic situation.

The issue of why the United States got into Iraq is not trivial by any means. The reasons for its involvement are an indicator of the end-state the United States wishes to achieve. Understanding the goal, in turn, allows us to measure whether the United States is succeeding and how the various forces in Iraq might want to accommodate to that policy or act to thwart it. In other words, if you don't understand why the United States decided to go into Iraq, you cannot figure out how it is faring there at any given stage.

Last week, this column addressed the "Downing Street memo" from the standpoint of what it reveals about U.S. motivations. The memorandum confirms that the United States was not interested in WMD and was using the argument that Saddam Hussein was developing WMD as a covering justification for invasion. It does not address the question of why the United States did invade -- an omission that opens the door to speculation, ranging from the belief that George W. Bush was just being mean, to others involving complex strategies.

Readers familiar with our analysis know that we tend toward the strategic view. The United States invaded Iraq for two reasons, in our view:

1. Seize the single most strategic country in the region in order to pressure neighboring countries to provide intelligence on al Qaeda.
2. Demonstrate American military might -- and will -- for a region that held the latter in particularly low regard.

From our point of view, given the options at the time, the strategy was understandable and defensible. Washington, however, committed a series of fundamental mistakes, which we discussed at the time:

1. The Bush administration failed to provide a coherent explanation for the war.
2. The administration planned for virtually no opposition from Iraqi forces, either during the conventional war or afterward.
3. Given the failure of planning, the United States did not create a force in Iraq appropriate to the mission. The force was not only too small, but inappropriately configured for counterinsurgency operations.
4. The United States did not restructure its military force as a whole to take into account the need for a long-term occupation in the face of resistance. As a result, the U.S. Army in particular not only is being strained, but has limited operational flexibility should other theaters of operation become active.

Because of these failures, the United States has not decisively achieved its strategic goals in invading Iraq. We say "decisively" because some of these goals, such as shifts in Saudi Arabia's policy, have occurred. But because of the inconclusive situation in Iraq, the full value of occupying Iraq and the full psychological effect have evaded the United States. This, combined with consistent inability to provide clear explanations for the administration's goals, has raised the price of establishing a U.S. presence in Iraq while diminishing the value.

The Current Situation

In December 2004, Stratfor argued that the United States had lost the war against the guerrillas in the Sunni Triangle -- that it would be impossible to defeat the guerrillas with the force the United States could bring to bear. At the same time, we have argued that the situation is evolving toward a satisfactory outcome for the United States.

These appear to be contradictory statements. They are not. But they do point out the central difficulty of understanding the war.

The guerrillas have failed in their two strategic goals:

1. They have not been able to spread the rising beyond the Sunni population and area. That means that more than three-quarters of the Iraqi population are not engaged in the rising. Indeed, they are actively hostile to it.
2. The guerrillas have not been able to prevent the initiation of a political process leading to the establishment of an Iraqi government. Forces representing the Shia and the Kurds -- together, about 80 percent of the Iraqi population -- have engaged in regime-building within the general boundaries created by the U.S. occupying forces. At least, for now.

At the same time, the United States has failed to suppress militarily the guerrilla rising within the Sunni region. Within that region, the guerrilla forces have cyclically maintained their tempo of operations. They have occasionally slowed the operational tempo, but consistently returned to levels equal to or higher than before. In spite of the fact that the United States has thrown two excellent divisions at a time against the guerrillas, the insurrection has continued unabated. The involvement of jihadists, who do not share the political goals of Sunni guerrillas, has only added to the noise, the violence and the perceptions of U.S. failure.

Neither side has achieved its goals. The United States has not defeated the guerrillas. The guerrillas have not triggered a general rising. But the situation is not equal, because this is not simply a war that pits the Sunni guerrillas against the United States. Rather, it pits the Sunni guerrillas against the United States and against the Shiite and Kurdish majority. It is this political reality that continues to give the United States a massive advantage in the war.

It must be remembered that the guerrillas' primary target has not been American forces, but the forces and leaders of the Iraqi government. The primary strategy has been to attack the emerging government and infrastructure -- both to intimidate participants and to disrupt the process. However, what many observers systematically ignore is that it is a misnomer to speak of an "Iraqi" government or army. Both of those represent a coalition of Shia and Kurds. Therefore, the guerrillas are engaged in a strategy of attacks against the Shiite and Kurdish communities.

This is what puts the guerrillas at a massive disadvantage, and what makes their strategic failure so much more serious than that of the Americans. Were the guerrillas to defeat the United States, in the sense that the United States chose to withdraw from Iraq, it would create an historic catastrophe for the Iraqi Sunnis, whom the guerrillas represent. Iraq's Shiite and Kurdish communities were the historical victims of the Sunni-dominated Baathist regime, particularly when Saddam Hussein was in control of it. If the United States were to withdraw, the Sunnis, Shia and Kurds would have to make their own peace without outside arbitration. One of the very real outcomes of this would be a bloodbath within the Sunni community -- with Shia and Kurds both repaying the Sunnis for their own previous bloodbaths and protecting themselves from the re-emergence of Sunni power.

There is, therefore, a fundamental ambivalence within the Sunni community. Certainly, the Sunnis are overwhelmingly anti-American -- as indeed are the Shia. The jihadist fighters -- who, after all, celebrate suicide tactics -- are also indifferent to the potential catastrophes. In some ways, they would find a bloodbath by Shia and Kurds helpful in clarifying the situation. But the jihadist fighters -- many of them Sunnis from outside of Iraq -- do not represent the Iraqi Sunnis. The Iraqi Sunnis are represented by the elders from towns and villages, who are certainly not indifferent to a blood bath.

This is the key group, the real battleground in Iraq.

The Political Calculus

The Sunni leadership is aware that the current course is not in their interest. If U.S. forces remain in Iraq, the Sunnis will be excluded from the government and marginalized. If the United States leaves, they will be the victims of repression by the Shia and Kurds. The failure of the guerrillas to disrupt the political process in Iraq puts the Sunni leadership in a difficult position. They supported the insurrection based on expectations that have not borne fruit -- the political process was not aborted. They now must adjust to a reality they did not anticipate. In effect, they bet on the guerrillas, and they lost. The guerrillas have not been defeated, but they have not won. More to the point, there is no scenario now under which the guerrillas can do more than hold in the Sunni regions. The rising cannot turn into a national rising, because there is no Kurdish or Shiite force even flirting with that possibility anymore. The guerrillas' failure to win has forced a choice on the Sunnis.

That choice is whether to pull the insurgents' base of support out from underneath them. The guerrillas are able to operate because the Sunni elders have permitted them to do so. Guerrillas do not float in the air. As Mao and Giap taught, a guerrilla force must have a base among the people. In the Sunni regions of Iraq, the key to the people are the elders. If the elders decide to withhold support, the guerrillas cannot operate. They can operate by intimidation, but that is not a sufficient basis for guerrilla operations.

The United States is trying now to exploit this potential breach. The elders find the guerrillas useful: They are the Sunnis' only bargaining chip. But they are a dangerous chip. The guerrillas are not fighting and dying simply to be a bargaining chip in the hands of the Sunni leaders.

For their part, neither the Shia nor the Kurds have wanted to give the Sunnis guarantees of any sort. They distrust the Sunnis and want to keep them weak and on the defensive. The United States, therefore, has had to play a two-sided game. On the one hand, the Americans have had to assure the Sunnis that they would have a significant place in any Iraqi government. To achieve this, the United States must convince the Shia of two things: First, that an Iraqi regime including the Sunnis is a better alternative to an ongoing civil war, and second, that the United States is, in the final analysis, prepared to abandon Iraq -- leaving it to the Shia and Kurds to deal with Iranian demands and Sunni violence.

Thus, Washington has a very complicated negotiating position. On the one hand, it is negotiating and making promises to the Sunnis and some guerrillas. On the other hand, U.S. officials are projecting a sense of weariness to the Shia, increasing the pressure on them to make concessions. Donald Rumsfeld's statements on Sunday -- confirming meetings between U.S. and Iraqi Shiite leaders with insurgent groups -- were designed to try to hit the right notes, a difficult task. So too were recent offers of amnesty for the insurgents.

But in fact, it is not negotiations but the reality on the ground that drives these moves. The Shia have shown no appetite for a civil war with the Sunnis. That might change, which is a concern for the Sunnis, but they are in a bargaining mode. The Sunnis understand that even were the United States defeated, they would have to deal with the Shia, who outnumber them and are not likely to knuckle under. Simply defeating the United States is in the interests of the jihadists -- particularly the foreigners -- but those who live in Iraq face a more complex reality: An American withdrawal would open the door to disaster, not pave the way for victory. This is not Saigon in 1975. Defeating the United States is not the same thing as winning the war -- not by a long shot. The Sunni leaders know that they can defeat the United States and still be massacred by their real enemies.

Therefore, an American departure is not in the interest of any of the combatants -- except for the jihadists -- at this moment. This is an odd thing to assert, since the insurgents have placed U.S. withdrawal from Iraq as a primary agenda item. Nevertheless, the internal political configuration makes the United States useful, for the moment, to most players. The non-jihadist insurgents want the United States as not only a target, but also as a buffer. The Iraqi Shia, concerned about domination by the Iranians, use the Americans as a counterweight. The Kurds are dependent on U.S. patronage on a more permanent basis. The paradox is this: Everyone in Iraq hates the Americans. Everybody wants the Americans to leave, but not until they achieve their own political goals. This should not be considered support for U.S. domination of Iraq; it is simply the calculus of the moment. But it opens a window of opportunity for the United States to pursue a new strategy.

The United States cannot defeat the guerrillas in combat. It could, however, potentially split the guerrilla movement, dividing the guerrillas controlled by the Sunni leadership from the hard-core jihadists -- whom Bush designated in his June 28 speech as the true enemy in Iraq. If that were to happen, the insurrection would not disappear, but it would decline. Even if the Sunnis were not prepared to engage the jihadists directly, the simple withdrawal of a degree of sanctuary would undermine their operations. The violence would continue, but not at its current level.

From the jihadists' standpoint, this would be an intolerable outcome. They must do everything possible to keep this from happening. Therefore, they must make a maximum effort to deflect the Sunni leadership from its course, harden the position of the Shia, and deny the United States both room to maneuver in Iraq and credibility at home. An increase of violence is, in fact, built into this scenario, and the United States cannot defeat it. Violence frequently increases as a war moves into its political phase.

For this reason, then, our view is that (a) the United States has lost control of the military situation and (b) that the political situation in Iraq remains promising. That would appear to be a paradoxical statement, but in fact, it points to the reality of this war: Massive failures by the administration have led it into a situation where there is no military solution; nevertheless, the configuration of forces in Iraq provide the United States with a very real political solution. All evidence is that the United States is in the process of attempting to move on this political plan. It will not eliminate violence in Iraq. It can, however, reduce the scope.

But before that is possible, the violence will continue to rise.
29815  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Unorganized Militia on: June 28, 2005, 02:55:37 PM
Cop Stabbed During Dunkin' Donuts Heist

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

By Jamie Schram, John Mazor and Andy Geller
New York Post

BROOKLYN, New York ? A heroic off-duty cop was slashed yesterday in a fierce struggle with a vicious punk who was holding up a Brooklyn Dunkin' Donuts (search), cops said.

Officer Vincent Schiavelli, 24, who has made 64 collars in his two years in the NYPD, walked into the shop just as the heist was going down, cops said.

Dramatic surveillance photos show the robber ? who wore a Yankee cap and was later identified by cops as 22-year-old Shron Killings ? jumped on top of the counter and lunged at the clerk, trying to slash him with a folding knife.

The robber was reaching into the cash register when Schiavelli ? wearing a white T-shirt ? grabbed him from behind and the two began struggling. The punk, a suspect in two other Dunkin' Donuts robberies with two prior arrests, lunged at the hero cop with his knife but missed.

Schiavelli then got the thug in a bear hug and tried to subdue him. That's when Killings slashed the hero cop in the left side and ran outside, police said. He drove off in a red Kia SUV and was being sought yesterday.

Schiavelli, unaware of his wounds, ran outside and gave chase, but collapsed in pain. He rushed back into the store and called for help.

Schiavelli, who suffered a cut about an inch long where the chest meets the abdomen, was taken to Kings County Hospital, where he was in stable condition. He was kept overnight for observation.

Schiavelli was visited by his parents, Paul and Kathy, and by a steady stream of fellow officers.

"I've been proud of my son since the day he was born," said Kathy as she left the hospital.

Police Commissioner Ray Kelly was effusive in his praise of the brave officer. Schiavelli "did a terrific job. We're proud of him. He took immediate action without concern for his own safety," Kelly said.

His actions "represent the finest traditions of the NYPD. If he wasn't there, the clerk may very well have been wounded."

Mayor Bloomberg said, "Although we have come to expect this kind of heroism from our police officers, what makes Officer Schiavelli's actions so exceptional is that he was off duty at the time.

"This young officer, out of uniform and without a partner, didn't hesitate to put himself in harm's way to protect a fellow New Yorker."

The drama at the store at 40 Empire Blvd. in the Prospect Lefferts Gardens (search) section unfolded at 6:40 a.m. as Schiavelli was heading to work at the nearby 71st Precinct in Crown Heights (search).

The surveillance video showed the robber walking into the shop carrying a dollar in his left hand and ordering a French cruller. No one else was there.

When the clerk turned to get the doughnut, Killings took the folding knife out of his right pocket but held it under the counter.

He gave the dollar to the clerk, who opened the register. At that point, he lunged at the clerk and Schiavelli grabbed him.

As the suspect fled, a witness copied the license plate of the SUV and cops traced it to Killings' mother, who said she lent it to her son.

Cops said Killings was a suspect in a $300 stickup at the same store on May 17 and a $400 holdup at a Dunkin' Donuts on Utica Avenue on May 25.

An accomplice, Jims Medy, 18, was arrested on June 11 in connection with the first robbery.

Killings' prior arrests are for criminal possession of a weapon and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Shalha Khairkhah, the manager of the Prospect Lefferts Gardens shop, said: "We were very lucky the officer was there. Otherwise I don't know what would have happened."

Demetrius Hinson, 23, who works at a Wendy's next door to the doughnut shop, said he moved to Brooklyn two weeks ago from Charlotte, N.C.

"This is all shocking to me," he said. "This doesn't make me want to stay in New York City. It makes me want to grab my things and get out."
29816  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: June 28, 2005, 07:14:53 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Tuesday, June 28, 2005

On June 26, Donald Rumsfeld said two important things. The first was that the war in Iraq could last another 12 years. The second was that the United States had engaged in negotiations with Iraqi insurgents. Of the two announcements, the one concerning negotiations was by far the most important, although the two were linked in certain ways.

We have asserted for a while that the United States was engaged in discussions with the Sunni leadership in Iraq. By the end of last year, the United States had faced the reality that it was not going to defeat the guerrillas in the Sunni Triangle. The guerrillas had to face the fact that their insurrection was not going to spread into the Shiite community. A stalemate had materialized. Neither side could knock out the other.

This was a classic situation for negotiations. Both logic and intelligence led us to conclude that discussions were under way. The discussions were fueled by another factor: The failure of the guerrillas to disrupt the elections and the government had left the Sunnis in a position where they were in danger of being permanently marginalized. Having boycotted the elections, the Sunnis had virtually no presence in the new government. Unless they made a deal with the Shiite-dominated government, the Sunni's historical enemies would dominate in controlling the levers of government.

The Sunni elders, who were the enablers of much of the insurrection, were trapped between two forces. On the one side, the Shia -- and the Americans -- were pressing them. On the other side, the jihadists, many of them from outside Iraq, were pressing them. They were in a trap from which they had to extricate themselves. On the one hand, they supported the insurrection. On the other hand, they opened lines of communication to the Americans, whom they paradoxically regarded as an honest broker with the mistrusted Shia.

The American reason for the negotiation was simple. It could not indefinitely fight a counterinsurgency among the Sunnis without some allies. The Shia could keep the lid on the majority of the country, but within the Sunni Triangle, they needed Sunnis. The insurrection had two major strands. One was jihadist, taking its bearings from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. The other was more nationalist and Baathist. The United States started talking to the second strand.

The problem then became the Shia. The Sunni price was not merely a time line of American withdrawal. It was a constitution that would give the Sunnis veto power over Shiite decisions. The Sunnis could live with the Americans more easily than they could with majority rule. The Americans were prepared to give the Sunnis that sort of power. In the end, the government of Iraq is not a pressing concern for the United States. In fact, they liked a veto because it would limit Shiite power, creating an internal balance of power and limiting the Iranian influence in Iraq.

It was the Shia who would be the big losers in this deal. That is why Iraqi Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari was in Washington last week. The Bush administration was leaning heavily on them with two choices: Either reach an accommodation with the Sunnis or take responsibility for the counterinsurgency. In effect, make the peace or fight a civil war. In either case, leave the United States out of it. The key was to convince the Shia that the Americans meant it when they privately threatened to abandon providing security in Iraq.

That is why Rumsfeld said that the war might last 12 years, but not for the United States. He was driving home the fact that the war was the Shia's war, not the Americans'. He was also pointing out that peace with the dominant strand in the Sunni community would reduce the level of violence dramatically. Better to face foreign jihadists than the entire Sunni Triangle.

The issue is now in the hands of the Shia and to a lesser extent the Kurds. The Shia want to dominate the new Iraq. They can have that if they are prepared to carry the burden of security in the Sunni Triangle. If they don't want that burden, they will have to make a political arrangement that the United States is prepared to broker. The fighting might last 12 years -- although where Rumsfeld got that exact number is not clear to us -- but the level of fighting is variable.

In any case, the United States is negotiating, if not an exit strategy, at least a mitigation strategy.
29817  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: June 27, 2005, 06:05:30 PM
For the record, post WW2 Germans should be judged in their own right and not have the sins of their fathers visited upon them.

Sent: Monday, June 27, 2005 2:27 PM
Subject: Ralph "The Heckler" Peters


IN the bitter winter of 1077, Kaiser Heinrich IV, a vicious German politico, pursued the pope to a mountain castle to beg him to lift his excommunication. The pope let the emperor wait barefoot in the courtyard for three days before granting an audience.

When Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder visits the White House today, our president should at least keep him waiting three hours. Extend that morning meeting with the Deputy Plumber's Guild of Peoria. Presidents have to prioritize.

Bush won't be rude, of course. Besides, he's got more on his schedule than a burnt-out German hack ? he's got to get the chancellor in and out. It'll be enough to watch Schroeder squirm as he crawls to the Oval Office, begging to be taken seriously again.

Schroeder's so pathetic these days that it's almost ? almost ? tempting to pity him. He was never a man of substance, just a populist slimeball who told more lies in public than Bill Clinton did in private. But the Herr Kanzler figured he could coast on the legacy better men had left behind in Germany. He never had a program, just ambition.

And Schroeder blew it on every single front. With his penchant for grandstanding and an appetite for licking Jacques Chirac's boots, he made a great show of "standing up to Bush" while defending Saddam Hussein. In doing so, he wrecked an alliance of a half-century's standing that had allowed Germany a voice in world affairs it never deserved.

Think Germany's been forgiven? Talk to any American general or diplomat off the record.

At home, Schroeder lacked the vision or courage to undertake anything beyond cosmetic reforms of Germany's gasping economy. The result: the highest level of unemployment since the end of World War II, with developing-world joblessness in his country's industrial heartland.

The children of the Auschwitz guards love to lecture us about human rights. But they won't even give their youth hope for the future. How can a society claim to be humane when it condemns its citizens to lifelong unemployment and the humiliation of the dole?

Under Schroeder, Germany's educational system continued to deteriorate, the country's brain-drain accelerated, industry shifted jobs abroad and the Teutonic reputation for quality craftsmanship went into free-fall (pretty grim when the reliability rating of Mercedes is below that of Hyundai . . . ).

Now Schroeder's lies have caught up with him. Germans want him out. And he's desperate to end his dying chancellorship on any faintly positive note he can. So the Windbeutel invited himself to Washington and our president graciously offered to buy him lunch.

What does Schroeder want? Besides a free meal?

First, he wants a photo op that lets him pretend he's still taken seriously by the most powerful man in the world.

Second, he'll get down on his knees and promise to be good, good, good as gold if only Bush will back Germany's bid for a permanent seat on the U.N. Security Council.

Bush would be as nutty as Howard Dean to agree. There are, indeed, a few countries deserving of a new reserved seat at the Security Council's Theater of the Absurd ? Brazil and India head the list ? but Germany's claim to a permanent chair falls somewhere between the aspirations of Liberia and Myanmar.

Why should a decaying, neurotic country with a recent history of massive genocide be granted a seat at the world's most exclusive table? Russia already fills that bill.

But Gerhard, having stabbed the American people in the back with a dull knife two years ago, is hoping against hope that our short historical memory will kick in and we'll forget that one of his favored parliamentarians compared Bush to Hitler ? and the chancellor didn't offer one word of apology.

Schroeder will blabber on about the long tradition of friendship between our two nations. Come again? We had to force democracy on the Germans at gunpoint. They sucked our strategic blood for 50 years and then chose Saddam Hussein over Uncle Sam.

Yeah, we're pals, Fritz. Here comes the big bratwurst.

Our president can afford to be gracious to the beggar on the South Lawn. Bush doesn't have to land any haymakers on the punch-drunk pol: Tony Blair, the British lion incarnate, is ripping off the chancellor's limbs in a diplomatic Monty Python skit.

Blair has given Chirac and Schroeder such a hammering over their refusal to reform the European Union's antiquated system of subsidies that even German newspapers have accepted that the Brit is right: The European Union can't heal itself without serious, painful changes.

Blair wants money moved from giveaway programs to research and development. Schroeder and Chirac want to keep rewarding Europe's unproductive and inefficient farmers and vintners for being unproductive and inefficient.

A week ago, Schroeder thought he saw an opening when Blair torpedoed the business-as-usual E.U. budget. Now he finds that even his longtime allies believe that Blair nailed it.

Justice doesn't always prevail in this complex, tormented world. But sometimes it does. It's lovely to see Chirac in the merde in France and Schroeder begging for mercy in D.C.

All we can hope is that President Bush doesn't succumb to one iota of pity: Don't forgive, don't forget. Schroeder's perfidy aided America's enemies. The chancellor should go home without so much as a souvenir fountain pen.

Bush should smile, listen, shake hands ? then let the "tin chancellor" suffer the consequences his duplicity brought down upon him.

Ralph Peters' is a retired Colonel.
29818  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: June 27, 2005, 05:29:30 PM
Folks, note that Buz posted today immediately prior to this post.

The following case I think makes a powerful argument for looking to yourself for self-defense.  Crafty

Witnesses said yesterday that two men who killed each other in a gun battle in Fairmount Heights on Saturday afternoon had been feuding since their pit bull dogs got in a fight several weeks ago.

Prince George's County police are investigating the killings, which took place around 4:15 p.m. in the 1300 block of Early Oaks Lane, the Chapel Oaks area. Police have not identified the men.

Neither of the men lived in the neighborhood, but they had close ties to it, according to three residents who knew them and witnessed portions of the gun fight. The residents spoke on the condition of anonymity.

According to the witnesses, the shooting began shortly after one of the men arrived in the neighborhood and traded words with the other. Neighbors who knew them said the two had had several exchanges over the past three months after their pit bulls fought. This time, though, tempers escalated and each went after guns, according to the witnesses.
29819  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs on: June 27, 2005, 05:23:18 PM
Washington Post

Witnesses said yesterday that two men who killed each other in a gun battle in Fairmount Heights on Saturday afternoon had been feuding since their pit bull dogs got in a fight several weeks ago.

Prince George's County police are investigating the killings, which took place around 4:15 p.m. in the 1300 block of Early Oaks Lane, the Chapel Oaks area. Police have not identified the men.

Neither of the men lived in the neighborhood, but they had close ties to it, according to three residents who knew them and witnessed portions of the gun fight. The residents spoke on the condition of anonymity.

According to the witnesses, the shooting began shortly after one of the men arrived in the neighborhood and traded words with the other. Neighbors who knew them said the two had had several exchanges over the past three months after their pit bulls fought. This time, though, tempers escalated and each went after guns, according to the witnesses.

Some questions occur to me:

1) Are the dogs OK

2) How can this be?  DC has some of the strictest anti-gun laws in the country!
29820  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / post-Gathering/thank you... on: June 27, 2005, 12:00:42 PM
Well, there's a reason we call them "masks" and not "helments"  cheesy

Are you talking about the sidekick in the 2x2 knife fight that knocked over both men in the team fighting back to back?  If so, I thought that was Alan B who threw it ?
29821  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: June 27, 2005, 04:08:34 AM
Ben Stein's Last Column...

For many years Ben Stein has written a biweekly column called "Monday Night At Morton's." (Morton's is a famous chain of Steakhouses known to be frequented by movie stars and famous people from around the globe.) Now, Ben is terminating the column to move on to other things in his life. Reading his final column is worth a few minutes of your time.

Ben Stein's Last Column...
How Can Someone Who Lives in Insane Luxury Be a Star in Today's World?

As I begin to write this, I "slug" it, as we writers say, which means I put a heading on top of the document to identify it. This heading is "eonlineFINAL," and it gives me a shiver to write it. I have been doing this column for so long that I cannot even recall when I started. I loved writing this column so much for so long I came to believe it would never end.

It worked well for a long time, but gradually, my changing as a person and the world's change have overtaken it. On a small scale, Morton's, while better than ever, no longer attracts! as many stars as it used to. It still brings in the rich people in droves and definitely some stars. I saw Samuel L. Jackson there a few days ago, and we had a nice visit, and right before that, I saw and had a splendid talk with Warren Beatty in an elevator, in which we agreed that Splendor in the Grass was a super movie. But Morton's is not the star galaxy it once was, though it probably will be again.

Beyond that, a bigger change has happened. I no longer think Hollywood stars are terribly important. They are uniformly pleasant, friendly people, and they treat me better than I deserve to be treated. But a man or woman who makes a huge wage for memorizing lines and reciting them in front of a camera i! s no longer my idea of a shining star we should all look up to.

How can a man or woman who makes an eight-figure wage and lives in insane luxury really be a star in today's world, if by a "star" we mean someone bright and powerful and attractive as a role model? Real stars are not riding around in the backs of limousines or in Porsches or getting trained in yoga or Pilates and eating only raw fruit while they have Vietna mese girls do their nails.

They can be interesting, nice people, but they are not heroes to me any longer. A real star is the soldier of the 4th Infantry Division who poked his head into a hole on a farm near Tikrit, Iraq. He could have been met by a bomb or a hail of AK-47 bullets. Instead, he faced an abject Saddam Hussein and the gratitude of all of the decent people of the world.

A real star is the U.S. soldier who was sent to disarm a bomb next to a road north of Baghdad. He approached it, and the bomb went off and killed him.

A real star, the kind who haunts my memory night and day, is the U.S. soldier in Baghdad who saw a little girl playing with a piece of unexploded ordnance on a street near where he was guarding a station. He pushed her aside and threw himself on it just as it exploded. He left a family desolate in California and a little girl alive in Baghdad.

The stars who deserve m! edia attention are not the ones who have lavish weddings on TV but the ones who patrol the streets of Mosul even after two of their buddies were murdered and their bodies battered and stripped for the sin of trying to protect Iraqis from terrorists.

We put couples with incomes of $100 million a year on the covers of our magazines. The noncoms and officers who barely scrape by on military pay but stand on guard in Afghanistan and Iraq and on ships and in submarines and near the Arctic Circle are anonymous as they live and die.

I am no longer comfortable being a part of the system that has such poor values, and I do not want to perpetuate those values by pretending that who is eating at Morton's is a big subject.

There are plenty of other stars in the American firmament...the policemen and women who go off on patrol in South Central and have no idea if they will return alive; the orderlies and paramedics who bring in people who have been in terrible accidents and prepare them for surgery; the teachers and nurses who throw their whole spirits into caring for autistic children; the kind men and women who work in hospices and in cancer wards.

Think of each and every fireman who was running up the stairs at the World Trade Center as the towers began to collapse. Now you have my idea of a real hero.

I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters. This is my highest and best use as a human. I can put it another way. Years ago, I realized I could never be as great an actor as Olivier or as good a comic as Steve Martin...or Martin Mull or Fred Willard--or as good an economist as Samuelson or Friedman or as good a writer as Fitzgerald. Or even remotely close to any of them.

But I could be a devoted father to my son, husband to my wife and, above all, a good son to the parents who had done so much for me. This came to be my main task in life. I did it moderately well with my son, pretty well with my wife and well indeed with my parents (with my sister's help). I cared for and paid attention to them in their declining years. I stayed with my father as he got sick, went into extremis and then into a coma and then entered immortality with my sister and me reading him the Psalms.

This was the only point at which my life touched the lives of the soldiers in Iraq or the firefighters in New York. I came to realize that life lived to help others is the only one that matters and that it is my duty, in return for the lavish life God has d! evolved upon me, to help others He has placed in my path. This is my highest and best use as a human.

Faith is not believing that God can. It is knowing that God will.
By Ben Stein
29822  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / post-Gathering/thank you... on: June 27, 2005, 01:17:32 AM
Porn Star Dog!  

How goes it in Bangladesh?  Of course there will be a report but first I will want to review the video so of course it will take me a number of days to get to it.  

Looking forward to everyone's comments here.

Crafty Dog
29823  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA in Peru July 23-24 on: June 26, 2005, 12:02:25 AM

El seminario se presentara' en espanol.

The seminar will be presented in Spanish.
29824  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Voy a Peru 18 de Julio. on: June 23, 2005, 11:57:00 PM
Si' esta' confirmado.  Carlos estara' escribiendo los detalles aqui.
29825  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Guau on: June 22, 2005, 04:57:38 PM
Guau a todos:

Usare' este hilo para dar noticias.

Nuestro "Dog Brothers Gathering of the Pack" tendra' lugar este domingo.  Por lo cual, no tendre' mucho tiempo para participar aqui hasta la proxima semana.

Crafty Dog
29826  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: June 22, 2005, 04:55:00 PM

Grandfather kills leopard with his hands
Wed Jun 22,11:42 AM ET

NAIROBI (Reuters) - A 73-year-old Kenyan grandfather reached into the mouth of an attacking leopard and tore out its tongue to kill it, authorities said Wednesday.


Peasant farmer Daniel M'Mburugu was tending to his potato and bean crops in a rural area near Mount Kenya when the leopard charged out of the long grass and leapt on him.

M'Mburugu had a machete in one hand but dropped that to thrust his fist down the leopard's mouth. He gradually managed to pull out the animal's tongue, leaving it in its death-throes.

"It let out a blood-curdling snarl that made the birds stop chirping," he told the daily Standard newspaper of how the leopard came at him and knocked him over.

The leopard sank its teeth into the farmer's wrist and mauled him with its claws. "A voice, which must have come from God, whispered to me to drop the panga (machete) and thrust my hand in its wide open mouth. I obeyed," M'Mburugu said.

As the leopard was dying, a neighbor heard the screams and arrived to finish it off with a machete.

M'Mburugu was toasted as a hero in his village Kihato after the incident earlier this month. He was also given free hospital treatment by astonished local authorities.

"This guy is very lucky to be alive," Kenya Wildlife Service official Connie Maina told Reuters, confirming details of the incident.
29827  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: June 22, 2005, 12:30:20 AM
The Downing Street Memo
By George Friedman

The "Downing Street Memo" of July 23, 2002, has become the controversy du jour in Washington and London. The memo clearly shows that the White House, in July 2002, was considering an invasion of Iraq. Given that many members of the Bush administration were discussing such an invasion publicly by the summer, we find the shock over the memorandum interesting but hardly enlightening. We recall that in August, only a month after the memo was issued, senior administration members -- including Vice President Dick Cheney -- were very publicly discussing the need for the invasion and were being publicly attacked by opponents of the war. What this memo shows was that London was privy to the thinking in Washington about a month before the Bush administration launched an intense public campaign.

The memorandum is not startling. It is extremely interesting, but far more for what it does not contain than what it does. Consider the following two, separate excerpts:

C reported on his recent talks in Washington. There was a perceptible shift in attitude. Military action was now seen as inevitable. Bush wanted to remove Saddam, through military action, justified by the conjunction of terrorism and WMD. But the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy. The NSC had no patience with the UN route, and no enthusiasm for publishing material on the Iraqi regime's record. There was little discussion in Washington of the aftermath after military action.

The Foreign Secretary said he would discuss this with Colin Powell this week. It seemed clear that Bush had made up his mind to take military action, even if the timing was not yet decided. But the case was thin. Saddam was not threatening his neighbours, and his WMD capability was less than that of Libya, North Korea or Iran. We should work up a plan for an ultimatum to Saddam to allow back in the UN weapons inspectors. This would also help with the legal justification for the use of force.

Two points are present in both excerpts: first, that U.S. President George W. Bush had made up his mind to invade Iraq by the time the memo was written, and second, that links to terrorism and -- far more important -- the existence of a program to develop weapons of mass destruction would be the justification for the invasion. It is clear that British intelligence did not believe that the Iraqi program was as advanced as those of other countries; nevertheless, this was to be the justification for the war.

What is missing from this memo, the glaring omission, is why Bush was so eager to invade Iraq. Matthew Rycroft, the foreign policy aide who wrote this memo, demonstrates a remarkable lack of curiosity about this. C, the moniker hung on the head of British foreign intelligence, had visited the United States for routine consultations. It is extremely important to note that C is asserting that this -- invading Iraq -- is Bush's policy. Indeed, the second paragraph above quotes the British foreign minister as saying that it is Bush's policy. There is no mention here of Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz or any of the others who analysts had thought were the real drivers behind the policy. So much for the belief that a cabal of neo-cons had taken control of the president's brain.

To the contrary, British intelligence is clearly reporting to the prime minister that it is George W. Bush who is making the decisions. The only other name mentioned in this memo is that of Colin Powell. Rumsfeld is mentioned only in the context of being briefed on the war plan, not on instigating it. That appears to us the single most important revelation in the document. Bush was president all along, and all the Washington gossips were wrong. The only other explanation is that C didn't know what he was talking about, or that he gave a superficial report. We doubt that either was the case.

If the document makes it clear that Bush was in control of U.S. decision-making, there is a glaring omission: Why did Bush want to invade Iraq? Our readers know that Stratfor began arguing by the summer of 2002 that an invasion of Iraq was inevitable, and I analyzed it in America's Secret War. Those arguments can be reviewed at the links below; we will summarize here simply by saying that there were no other options.

War Diary: Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2002
War Diary: Wednesday, Oct. 9, 2002
Smoke and Mirrors: The United States, Iraq and Deception
Bush's Crisis: Articulating a Strategy in Iraq and the Wider War
The Edge of the Razor
September 11: Three Years Later
Facing Realities in Iraq

U.S. officials believed at the time that al Qaeda was planning another strike, larger than the 9/11 strikes. The United States could not stop al Qaeda on the strength of its own intelligence; it needed the cooperation of intelligence services in the Muslim world. These services were reluctant to cooperate because their view of the United States -- after having watched 20 years of weak responses in warfare --was that it was unable to absorb the risks and casualties of war. Leaders in crucial parts of the Muslim world feared al Qaeda more than the United States. Since a covert strike against al Qaeda was not possible, the United States had no good options. Bush chose the best of a bad lot. He hoped for a change in Arab perception of the United States, from hatred and contempt to hatred and fear. He also wanted to occupy the most strategic territory in the Middle East, bringing pressure to bear on the Saudis.

The decision to justify the war by recourse to the weapons of mass destruction argument was conditioned by three things:

1. It was a persuasive justification. If Saddam Hussein was developing serious WMD, there would be support for a war.

2. The British clearly wanted a legal justification for the war, and the United States wanted the British in. One way to get that justification was a U.N. resolution, and one way to get that resolution was to convince the U.N. that the Iraqis had WMD.

3. The United States and Britain believed Hussein had these weapons. They knew Iraq's was an undeveloped program, but the United States believed that it was sufficiently developed to serve as casus belli for the war.

It was a bad decision. This was not because it was simply a lie -- it wasn't. The memo makes it clear that the British thought Iraq had a WMD program, less developed than those of other countries, but a program nonetheless. Indeed, in the section on military plans, the memo raises the concern about the Iraqis using WMD during the first phase of the war:

For instance, what were the consequences, if Saddam used WMD on day one, or if Baghdad did not collapse and urban warfighting began? You said that Saddam could also use his WMD on Kuwait. Or on Israel, added the Defence Secretary.

Contrary to what others have said after the memo, what it shows was that British intelligence -- and therefore U.S. intelligence -- really did believe the Iraqis might have had some serious capabilities.

Obviously, the fact that there were no WMD in Iraq -- theories that the weapons had been spirited away to Syria notwithstanding -- show retrospectively that this was a bad justification. But even if there had been WMD in Iraq, it was a bad justification even at that time. There was a sound, but complex, justification for the war that could have been provided, consisting of the following pieces:

1. Saddam Hussein might not have aided al Qaeda prior to 9/11, but given his attitude toward the United States, given his past record and given the risks involved, disposing of Hussein is a prudent and necessary action.

2. The Muslim world does not take American military power seriously. It does not think the United States has the will to fight. The United States cannot win the war unless that myth is destroyed by decisive action. If, in the course of that action, Saddam Hussein is destroyed, so much the better. It should be noted here that the United States' decision to fight in Korea, for example, was explicitly based on the theory that the Communists were testing American will - and that unless the United States demonstrated its will to fight, the Communists would take it as a sign of weakness and increase their pressure. There are worse reasons for fighting, and this one has precedent.

3. Iraq is a strategic country whose occupation would permit the United States to place pressure on regimes like Iran or Syria directly.

The mystery in the document, and the mystery since the summer of 2002, is why Bush almost never used these justifications but clung instead to the weapons of mass destruction rationale. Since it is clear that WMD was not his primary motivator, why did he not come forward with a clear explanation?

The obvious answer is that he did not have a better explanation. That would mean that he had no good reason for invading Iraq -- he simply wanted to do so and did. You can pile onto this theories that he wanted to avenge the attempted murder of his father by Iraqi agents, that he is a stupid man who doesn't think much, or that black helicopters took control of his brain. All of this may be possible. But in looking at Bush and reading this memo, there nowhere emerges an image of a man who thinks like this. There is a willful, unbending man. There is a decisive man who can make substantial mistakes and refuse to concede error. But it is hard to locate the stupid man of myth.

So why doesn't Bush come plain with his reasoning? Better still, why doesn't this memo -- which cries out for a paragraph in which C explains Bush's reasoning -- contain a word on that? Why isn't there even a mention that it is not clear what Bush is up to? Everyone in the room knows that WMD is a pretext for war, but the obvious next paragraph -- an analysis of Bush's real reasoning -- simply isn't there.

And not only isn't that discussion there, but no one in the room seemed to be even curious about it. Either they had the least curiosity of any group of men on earth, or they knew the answer.

We continue to believe the answer is Saudi Arabia. It was the elephant in the room. It was the world's largest oil producer, a close ally of both the United States and Britain, willfully uncooperative in the war against al Qaeda. We understand why the United States or Britain would not want to make this a public matter. Humiliating the Saudis was not in anyone's interest. But in the end, Bush and Tony Blair continue to pay the price of the great mistake of the war. They still haven't come up with a good justification for the invasion of Iraq, despite the fact that even we can think of several.

Here is a referenced prior piece from Strat:

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In any war, deception is a strategic necessity. However, the "bodyguard of lies" surrounding plans for a U.S. attack on Iraq -- vital to building an international coalition of support -- could be confusing the American public and endangering political support for the war effort. The operational and tactical levels of the war now appear to be clearer than the ultimate goal. That is because baldly stating the strategic necessity for an attack on Iraq -- the ability to station U.S. forces in the heart of the Middle East -- undoubtedly would endanger the fragile war coalition.


Surprise is essential to war, and deception is the foundation of surprise. During World War II, Allied planning was protected by what Winston Churchill referred to as "a bodyguard of lies."

Those lies, it could be persuasively argued, were what made Operation Overlord, the invasion of Normandy, successful. That bodyguard of lies hid the basic operational plan from German eyes. The strategy was known to everyone: At some point, the Allies would carry out an amphibious assault on the French coast. The Germans also knew that an invasion could be expected at any time. What they did not know -- due to a plan called Operation Fortitude -- was that plans for a U.S. 3rd army attack at Pas de Calais were fictional. The real invasion was to take place at Normandy, involving other forces. Because of Operation Fortitude, the Germans knew that an invasion was coming and roughly when the invasion would occur -- but they were so wrong about where it would take place that they held their armor in reserve to protect the Pas de Calais, rather than hurl it at the attackers in Normandy.

Operation Fortitude offers two lessons. The first is to use all means necessary to confuse your enemy. The second, not nearly as frequently discussed, is that commanders must never allow themselves to become confused as to what the real plan is and -- just as important -- that the deception not extend so deeply and broadly that neither the troops nor the home audience is genuinely confused as to what is going on. At the broadest level, there was no confusion among the Allied troops and public as to the goal: unconditional surrender of the Axis powers. Many have criticized this goal, and others have said it was an unfortunate necessity designed to ensure Allied unity. It is frequently forgotten that the simplicity and the elegance of the goal kept Allied troops and the public from falling into cynical doubts about their leaders' true intentions. It was understood that the goal was unconditional surrender; the means were an invasion of France, an alliance with the Soviet Union and a strategic bombing campaign, and that the rest was best not discussed.

In Iraq, a very different "bodyguard of lies" has taken control of war planning. The operational and tactical levels of the war appear to be clearer than the war's strategic shape or even its purpose. It is unclear precisely why the war is being fought and what outcome is desired. There are two possible reasons for this confusion. The first is that the leaders might in fact be confused, but that is difficult to believe. The team around U.S. President George W. Bush not only is seasoned and skilled, but is haunted by Vietnam -- a war in which the strategic goal never was clearly defined. It is hard to believe that the Bush team would commit the error of the Johnson administration -- lack of clarity on strategic goals and, thus, inability to create operational congruence.

The second reason is more persuasive. The United States always has operated in the context of coalition warfare. In World War II, the coalition was strengthened by strategic clarity and the simplification of goals. At root, the one thing the Allies could agree on was the destruction of the Nazi regime and the occupation of Germany. U.S. grand strategy still is built on the idea of coalition warfare -- of burden sharing -- but the coalition the United States would like to construct for the upcoming war, something like what existed during Desert Storm, has such diverse and contradictory interests that there is no simple declaration of strategic goals that would unite the alliance. Quite the contrary, any such statement of goals would divide the allies dramatically -- indeed, it would make alliance impossible. Therefore, the United States is searching for a justification that is persuasive, not true. In the process, Washington is neither building the coalition nor maintaining popular and political support for the war at home.

In a strategic sense, there is a very good and clear explanation for the war: Al Qaeda attacked the United States on Sept. 11, 2001. There is no reason to believe there will not be additional and more intense attacks in the future. Fighting al Qaeda on a tactical level -- hunting down the network on its own turf, team by team -- is not only inefficient, it is probably ineffective. Certainly, given the geography of the Islamic world, even reaching in to the militants' networks has been impossible.

However, attacking and occupying Iraq achieves three things:

1. It takes out of the picture a potential ally for al Qaeda, one with sufficient resources to multiply the militant group's threat. Whether Iraq has been an ally in the past is immaterial -- it is the future that counts.

2. It places U.S. forces in the strategic heart of the Middle East, capable of striking al Qaeda forces whenever U.S. intelligence identifies them.

3. Most important, it allows the United States to bring its strength --conventional forces -- to bear on nation-states that are enablers or potential enablers of al Qaeda. This would undermine strategically one of the pillars of al Qaeda's capabilities: the willingness of established regimes to ignore al Qaeda operations within their borders.

From a U.S. standpoint, this is the strategic rationale for a war with Iraq. Or, to be more precise, if this is not the rationale, the purpose is the one thing a war's strategic goals should never be -- a baffling secret.

This is not the explanation that has been given for the war's strategy. The Bush administration's central problem has been that it has not been able to tie its Iraq strategy in with its al Qaeda strategy. At first, the United States tried to make the case that there had been collaboration between al Qaeda and Iraq in the past, as if trying to prove that a crime had been committed that justified war. The justification, of course, was strategic -- not what might have happened, but to prevent what might happen in the future. The administration then settled into a justification concerning weapons of mass destruction, creating the current uproar over whether an empty rocket could be construed as a justification for war.

From the beginning, the administration fell into the trap of treating a war as a criminal investigation. Imagine that after Pearl Harbor, President Franklin D. Roosevelt had made a speech declaring that he would hunt down every pilot who had attacked Pearl Harbor without warning and bring him to justice. In the ensuing insanity, the emphasis would have been on avoiding harm to innocent Japanese and others and implementing judicial procedures to make sure that only those directly involved in the attack were punished. When the United States made plans to land on Guadalcanal, it would be pointed out that the innocent people on Guadalcanal had done nothing to deserve the death and destruction that would rain down on them. Washington, rather than explaining the strategic rationale for the Guadalcanal operation, would charge the islanders with aiding the Japanese and then photograph a meeting between an islander and a Japanese agent in Prague. Officials then would claim that Guadalcanal possessed weapons that threatened the United States, and an inspection regime would be put in place.

The Guadalcanal islanders were infinitely less deserving of punishment than Saddam Hussein or the country he rules, but that completely misses the point. Wars are not about punishment; they are not legal proceedings. They are actions by nations against other nations designed to achieve national goals. The virtue of the Guadalcanal islanders was not the issue, nor the guilt of individual pilots at Pearl Harbor. Nor, indeed, was the war about whether the Japanese were the aggressors or, as they claimed, the victims of aggression. War is war, and is carried out by its own logic.

The Bush administration knows this, and it has excellent strategic reasons for wanting to conquer Iraq. The government has chosen not to enunciate those motives for a simple reason: If it did, many of the United States' allies would oppose the war. Washington's goal -- the occupation of Iraq -- would strengthen the United States enormously, and this is something that many inside Washington's coalition don't want to see happen. Therefore, rather than crisply stating the strategic goal, the government has tried to ensnare its allies in a web of pseudo-legalism. Rather than simply stating that Iraq, like Guadalcanal, is a strategic prize whose occupation will facilitate the war, it has tried to demonstrate that Hussein has violated some resolution or another. Hussein, no fool, has succeeded in confusing the issue endlessly. The point -- that invading Iraq is in the U.S. national interest regardless of whether Hussein has a single weapon of mass destruction, is lost. This is about strategy, not guilt or innocence.

This has led the United States to deal with the current problem: What if Hussein leaves under his own steam? As Washington has allowed the issue to be defined, that should go a long way toward satisfying U.S. goals. From a strategic standpoint, of course, it would achieve nothing unless the United States was allowed to enter Iraq and base substantial forces there under its own control, to be used as it wishes.

The downside of all of this for the United States is that American public opinion, rather than buying into a strategic vision that has not been expressed, has accepted the public justification offered by the Bush administration. As recent polls have shown, the overwhelming majority of the public opposes a war if weapons of mass destruction are not found in Iraq. That, obviously, can change, but the price of building a coalition on a legal foundation is that it makes public support conditional as well.

There is an upside as well: The confusion over motives and intentions must baffle Iraq, too. Consider one example: The United States has indicated some interest in a settlement based on Hussein's resignation -- what else could Washington say? This also would indicate something that Hussein fundamentally believes -- that the United States is not eager for war. The more interest Washington shows in a deal, the less interested Baghdad will be, although he certainly will play it out for as long as possible.

Consider other examples from the operational level. U.S. officials said last week that they wanted five carriers in the Persian Gulf before beginning the war, yet only two are there now and it will take up to a month for the rest to arrive. British officials said recently that that the British 7 Brigade -- the Desert Rats -- would not be ready to participate in the war on time, although Defense Secretary Geoff Hoon later announced that nearly 30,000 troops, including the Desert Rats, would be deployed "over the days and weeks ahead." The United States is trying to survey Turkish air bases with which it already is familiar. From where we sit, the United States appears to be nowhere near ready to go to war. In fact, the entire buildup seems completely uncoordinated.

From Baghdad, Hussein sees all of this and might conclude that he has time -- time to delay, time to move forces back into Baghdad, time to launch pre-emptive chemical attacks. From where he sits, it might look as if U.S. strategy is not genuinely committed to war and U.S. operational capabilities are so out of kilter that a war cannot be launched before summer.

The deception campaign at the operational level well could be working perfectly. Hitler thought he knew where the attack was coming from but was utterly wrong. Hussein might think that he knows where the attack is coming, but it might be that he thinks he has more time than he has. Deception on the operational level is a vital weapon.

However, deception on the strategic level is a double-edged sword. Particularly in a democracy, where the von Metternichs must consult the public as well as the emperor, strategic deception can confuse the public as much as it confuses the enemy. Moreover, in coalition warfare, the inability to clearly state war goals because coalition partners don't share them might mean that the coalition is the problem, not the solution. Indeed, in creating illusory justification, the Bush administration might be denying the fundamental reality -- that the U.S. goal and those of the allies are incompatible, and that decisions need to be made.

If Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, the only rational solution is the one the Israelis used in 1981 -- destroy them. To allow officials in Baghdad time during an inspection crisis to possibly complete their fabrication makes no sense. To have allowed the WMD issue to supplant U.S. strategic interests as the justification for war has created a crisis in U.S. strategy. Deception campaigns are designed to protect strategies, not to trap them. Ultimately, the foundation of U.S. grand strategy, coalitions and the need for clarity in military strategy have collided.

The discovery of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq will not solve the problem, nor will a coup in Baghdad. In a war that will last for years, maintaining one's conceptual footing is critical. If that footing cannot be maintained -- if the requirements of the war and the requirements of strategic clarity are incompatible -- there are more serious issues involved than the future of Iraq.


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29828  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: June 21, 2005, 09:54:18 PM
Women bare all to save their men

Surf 'N' Earn -Sign innow
RANCHI: It is common knowledge that eunuchs strip to extract money from frightened passersby.

But the reason behind the "striptease" of the women living in and around the forests of Chakulia in west Singbhum is different?they perform the act to save their menfolk from being punished after being caught felling trees.

Embarrassed forest guards often allow the illegal fellers to leave when the village women gather around them and start shedding their clothes.

That the women come fully prepared for the act is clear, for, they organise themselves in groups and start stripping, giving time for the offenders to escape.

"As the women start stripping, the foresters beat a hasty retreat fearing that the villagers may accuse them of rape and assault," said K K Chatterjee, conservator, Kolhan south circle.

Remarking that they had not come across such escape routes in any forest area, he said, "We fear that others may follow suit."

Last week, a group of villagers had...

... entered the Sunsuniya forest in Chakulia block when forest guards found out and tried to nab them.

But their efforts went in vain as the women members of the group began undressing , forcing the guards to run while the offenders stood.

Chatterjee said although the modus operandi was common in the forest areas of Rajabasa, Chatradobha and Jorisa, the divisional forest officer (DFO) concerned was still to submit a report in this regard.

According to forest officials, villagers living in the area have always been dependent on the woods for a livelihood?sometimes taking to rampant felling of trees.

However, they are not connected with the timber mafia but sell the timber in the open market at throwaway prices.

Although the forest management committees comprising villagers have launched several initiatives to ensure the protection of the forests, the latest tactic by the village women have left even them stunned.  
Surf 'N' Earn -Sign innow
?Bennett, Coleman and Co., Ltd. All rights reserved.
29829  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs on: June 20, 2005, 09:50:59 PM

PETA Employees Face 31 Felony Animal-Cruelty Charges for Killing, Dumping Dogs

Ahoskie, NC ? Last night, one month after the launch of, two employees of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) were arrested on 31 felony animal-cruelty charges for killing and disposing of dogs and puppies in a dumpster. Today the Center for Consumer Freedom is calling on Americans to stop making donations to support PETA and its grim-reaper program.

When Ahoskie police arrested PETA employees Andrew Cook and Adria Hinkle last night, they found 18 dead dogs in a nearby shopping-center dumpster (including a bag containing seven dead puppies), and 13 more dead dogs in the PETA-owned van the two were driving. Police observed them throwing several dark-colored bags into the dumpster before the arrests were made.

This is not the first public mention of PETA?s large-scale euthanasia program. In May 2005 the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF) unveiled a giant Times Square billboard and a new website ( CCF had obtained official records from the state of Virginia showing the militant animal-rights group had put over 10,000 dogs and cats to death since 1998.

In 2003 PETA euthanized over 85 percent of the animals it took in, finding adoptive homes for just 14 percent. By comparison, the Norfolk SPCA found adoptive homes for 73 percent of its animals and the Virginia Beach SPCA adopted out 66 percent. PETA?s required report documenting its 2004 record is currently over 4 weeks late.

A Bertie County (NC) Deputy Sheriff told The Roanoke-Chowan News-Herald that Cook and Hinkle assured the Bertie Animal Shelter ?they were picking up the dogs to take them back to Norfolk where they would find them good homes.? Pittman added that persons identifying themselves as PETA representatives have picked up live dogs from that shelter during the last two months.

?This is disturbing behavior on the part of self-professed animal lovers, and I hope the public takes notice,? said Center for Consumer Freedom Director of Research David Martosko. ?PETA raked in nearly $29 million last year alone, but apparently it couldn?t spare any money to care for the flesh-and-blood animals entrusted to its employees. It?s ironic -- If anyone else were caught red-handed with 31 dead dogs, PETA would be holding a press conference to denounce them.?

Martosko added: ?Last month when we launched, we warned the public that PETA was not the warm and kind group it claimed to be. Now it?s clearer than ever that Americans who truly want to help animals should donate to their local animal shelter, not to PETA
29830  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: June 18, 2005, 09:12:28 AM have all the good spines gone? To Sea.
Mary Katharine Ham (archive)

June 17, 2005
Well, the crab season is officially over. And I will never look at an all-you-can-eat crab leg buffet the same again.

I've been watching 'Deadliest Catch' a Discovery Channel mini-series about the world's most dangerous profession: Alaskan crab fishing. The show follows a handful of fishing boats through the crests and troughs of a five-day crab season. Five days. Sounds easy, right? Not when there is a quota for the fleet and you're competing against hundreds of other boats to haul in your share before Fish and Game calls the end of the season over a crackling radio.

Not when there's 37-degree water, freak 45-foot waves, and nothing but an ice-slicked deck and railing standing between you and the Bering Sea.

The men work days-long shifts, grabbing two hours' pillow time here and there, maximizing the number of 800-lb. crab pots they can throw and reel in during the abbreviated fishery. The pots, made of what looks like rusty chain link, crash into the sea and settle heavily on the green, muddy bottom, zipping 300 feet of rope over the railing behind them. Get a foot caught in that rope and you're gone; hit that water without a survival suit and you're gone; find your ship sitting under a squall and you're quite possibly gone.

As you would imagine, the fishermen are gruff, nary a one without dirty facial hair and dirtier language.

And I like them. Sure, there's a glint of crazy in some of their eyes and more than a hint of a barfight in many of their smiles, but they're all men who do hard work at great risk, hoping to hit it big, and go home better off. They understand the risks they take, they know the reward that?s possible, they weigh the costs and benefits, and they cast off.

These days, it?s helpful to watch a show like 'Deadliest Catch' to remind you of what Americans can be: responsible, grimly determined, and just plain tough. Sometimes it's easy to forget, especially so in the past couple of weeks.

First came the preeners of the Great Compromise:

"Thank God for this moment and for these colleagues of mine," said Sen. Robert Byrd.

"We have reached an agreement to try to avert a crisis in the United States Senate," said Sen. John McCain.

In the Bering Sea, on a ship called the Maverick, men expend far fewer words on far braver acts than bucking one's party leadership.

After that, the Senate let me down again when a red-blooded red-stater indulged in some public parliamentary blubbering'over President Bush?s nominee for ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton. As James Taranto put it in Tuesday's Best of the Web:

Voinovich was blubbering because John Bolton, a man who is purported to be socially rough-edged, is about to become America's ambassador to the U.N. This is not something that would make a normal person weep.
Back on the Fierce Allegiance and the Lady Alaska, men honor a friend who slipped overboard and out of their lives with a stiff upper lip and a moment of silence.

So, what does the State Department have to offer? A pamphlet that reminds us that 'Real Men Moisturize,' with several different lotions, even. It?s a good thing I know plenty of real American men who counter the image of this product-centric creature. Unfortunately, the people this pamphlet is aimed at Arab youth don't know a lot of real American men. And the cause of building bridges with that community is probably not well-served by flaunting our pliable gender constructs.

But these are just pockets of prissiness, right? No, I'm informed that this really is the new man, and I better get ready for him:

"The masculine ideal is being completely modified. All the traditional male values of authority, infallibility, virility and strength are being completely overturned," said Pierre Francois Le Louet, the agency's managing director.

According to this article- dateline, Paris- the new man also has the 'guts' to trade in a traditional wife for something more along the lines of wife swapping. Luckily, father/blogger/columnist and regular American guy with guts, James Lileks, takes some time to explain the term for the new man.

I hate to break it to these theorists, but it does not take guts for a young man to want to have multiple sex partners. It takes guts to settle down and have a family and rein in the roaming libido.  Back in the Bering Sea, Capt. Pete Liske calls home to discipline one of his nine adopted kids over the radio.

But perhaps the most emasculating whining in the past couple weeks has come from folks who actually believe Gitmo is a 'gulag.' When dealing with the would-be 20th hijacker of 9/11, these folks believe that loud Christina Aguilera music, dripping water, exposure to females, proximity to dogs, and thorough medical care constitute ?torture.? Democrat leaders and weak-kneed Republicans are mewling about closing Gitmo altogether.

On the Bering Sea, water that drips instead of gushes from the heavens would be a luxury, sleep deprivation is a perpetual state, and exposure to women would most assuredly not be considered torture.

Luckily, there's another man with guts who will inject some sense into the debate:

"The important thing here to understand is that the people that are at Guantanamo are bad people," Vice President Dick Cheney said.

By 'bad people,' he means enemy combatants who scorn military uniforms to gain strategic advantage by blending in with civilians. He means enemy combatants who are not technically entitled to Geneva Convention protections, but who get them at Gitmo, along with their fried chicken dinners. Closing Gitmo as a response to this kind of criticism would be an admission that we are the pedicuring, Kleenex-carrying society we?ve looked like lately.

We can't afford such an admission. Many seem to forget that we are engaged in a fight with an enemy that wants us all dead. All of us?civilian and military alike?because we are a many-hued, many-faithed nation and we like it that way; because our citizens can treat flags and holy texts in any way they wish without being killed; and because we let the womenfolk write columns, among many other transgressions.

It is not mere understanding that will win this fight and keep us alive. It is most certainly not preening or crying, or moisturizing, or shutting down prisons that will do the trick either.

Thank goodness we have folks like this, and this, and this, and many more who are willing to show some spine in this fight. There is a deadly storm at sea. To get through it, we need grizzly fishermen at the helm, not scuttling invertebrates.
29831  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: June 18, 2005, 07:39:29 AM
29832  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor on: June 17, 2005, 11:32:10 PM
One day many years ago, a fisherman's wife blessed her husband with twin sons. They loved the children very much, but couldn't think of what to name them. Finally after several days, the fisherman said, "Let's not decide on names right now. If we wait a little while, the names will simply occur to us."

After several weeks had passed, the fisherman and his wife noticed a peculiar fact. When left alone, one of the boys would also turn towards the sea, while the other boy would face inland. It didn't matter which way the parents positioned the children, the same child always faced the same direction. "Let's call the boys Towards and Away," suggested the fisherman. His wife agreed, and from that point on, the boys were simply known as TOWARDS and AWAY.

The years passed and the lads grew tall and strong. The day came when the aging fisherman said to his sons, "Boys, it is time that you learned how to make a living from the sea." They set in provisions on their ship, said their good-byes and set sail for a three-month voyage.

The three months passed, yet the ship had not returned. Another three months passed, and still no ship.

A whole year passed before the grieving wife saw a lone man walking toward her house. She recognized him as her husband. "My goodness! What has happened to my darling boys?" she cried.

The ragged fisherman began to tell his story:

"We were just barely one whole day out to sea, when Towards hooked into a great fish. Towards fought long and hard, but the fish was more than his equal. For a whole week, they wrestled upon the waves without either of them letting up. Yet eventually the great fish won the battle, and Towards was pulled over the side of our ship. He was swallowed whole, and we never saw him again."

"Oh husband, how terrible! What a huge fish that must have been! What a horrible, horrible fish to have taken my Towards. What a horrible fish..."

"Yes, it was, he replied. But you should have seen the one that got Away...."
29833  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: June 16, 2005, 07:22:21 AM
Morning Intelligence Brief
Stratfor Morning Intelligence Brief - June 16, 2005

, , ,

Geopolitical Diary: Thursday, June 16, 2005

Media have been filled with stories that the United States is seriously considering an amnesty offer to Iraqi guerrillas. The media reports appear to have originated in Baghdad with Iraqi government officials and have not been denied by Washington, although there has been ample time for the White House to do so. The Iraqis have floated the idea of an amnesty in the past, stretching back to former Prime Minister Iyad Allawi in August 2004. However, in each case, the United States moved quickly to squelch the idea -- indicating that Washington now is seriously considering the move and is floating the idea to see how it plays politically in the United States and Iraq. The likely venue for the offer -- if one is made at all -- will be a conference on Iraq slated for June 22 in Brussels.

The origin of this particular offer appears to have been a Sunni politician, Ayham al-Samarie, who was previously Iraq's electricity minister. He said on June 7 that he had been in contact with the political leaders of major insurgent groups like the Mujahideen Army and Islamic Army, and had been told that they were ready to begin political talks with the Iraqi government.

Al-Samarie's claim is not outrageous. Sunni and government leaders have had public discussions over Sunni representation in the constitutional process. It has to be assumed, since the Sunni leaders have not been killed, that their actions are welcomed at least to some extent by the guerrillas. Al-Samarie's claim raises interesting questions as to whether some of the Sunni leaders involved in public negotiations might not also be covert leaders of the insurrection. If so, that would actually be good news for Washington -- or at least not the worst news heard out of Iraq in the past couple of years.

The insurgency will not end until the Sunnis reach a political accommodation with the government. What the Sunnis want is either a disproportionate voice in Iraqi politics or a constitution that gives them some sort of veto power. The insurgency gives the Sunni leaders leverage. Without it, they have nothing with which to bargain.

The insurgency is divided into two main strands. There are those who are fighting as a matter of principle, be it religious, patriotic or ornery. And there are those fighting for more immediate political reasons: They do not want to be a helpless minority in the new Iraq, subject to the power of their enemies -- the Shia and Kurds. They feel that if they don't fight, they face generations of oppression, which is what they dealt out when they had the chance.

The politicians are negotiating. But the key -- as in any civil war -- is amnesty. If the fighting forces are not given guarantees of safety, they will not stop fighting. That means that the agreements signed by the politicians are worthless, both because the agreements can't deliver the guerrillas and because the politicians who signed them are likely to be killed by the guerrillas.

Therefore, any serious political discussion must include an amnesty offer. This will stick in the craw of a lot of people on both sides, but there is no possibility of the situation ameliorating without one. That's why the proposal is now being floated seriously. It is a sign that the political negotiations have matured to such a degree that the blowback on the idea -- in the United States, among the guerrillas, among non-Sunni Iraqis -- has to be risked and endured. The administration would clearly rather endure the blowback now, and measure resistance, than to make a formal proposal only to have it explode. Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and foreign jihadists were carefully excluded from the plan -- both to make it more palatable and to split the insurgents -- but the deal that is being explored still involves political co ncessions to the Sunnis in return for peace. That is how wars end.

Obviously, this will not end the war under the best of circumstances. Even if major groups accept the plan, there will be die-hards who will resist until the end, and that goes beyond al-Zarqawi's forces. But there will be a qualitative decline in the level of violence if the main forces make a deal. That is what appears to be the bet. There is, if one considers it, little to be lost with the offer. Even if it is accepted and most guerrillas fight on, the situation doesn't really get much worse.
29834  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Ojala se recupere la informaci?n on: June 15, 2005, 01:05:50 AM
Parece que los hilos estan perdidos para siempre. evil  evil  evil  evil  evil  evil  evil  evil  evil  evil  evil  evil  evil  evil  evil  evil  evil  evil  evil  evil  evil
29835  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: June 14, 2005, 09:22:17 PM
Geopolitics, Strategy and Military Recruitment: The American Dilemma
By George Friedman

The United States Army has failed once again to reach its recruitment goals. The media, which have noted the problem in maintaining force levels in a desultory fashion over the past few years, have now rotated the story of this month's shortfall into a major story. In other words, the problem has now been noticed, and it is now important. Of course, the problem has been important for quite some time, as Stratfor noted in late December.

There are, therefore, several dimensions to this problem: One is military, the other is political. But the most important is geopolitica l and strategic, having to do with the manner in which the United States fights wars and the way in which the U.S. military is organized. The issue is not recruitment. The issue is the incongruence between U.S. geopolitics, strategy and the force.

The United States dominates North America militarily against all but two threats. First, it cannot defend the homeland against nuclear attacks launched by missile. Second, it cannot defend the United States against special operations teams carrying out attacks such as those of Sept. 11, 2001. The American solution in both of these cases has been offensive. In the case of nuclear missiles, the counter has always been either the pre-emptive strike or the devastating counter-strike, coupled with political arrangements designed to reduce the threat. The counter to special-operations strikes has been covert and overt attacks against nation-states that launch or facilitate these attacks, or harbor the attackers. Contrary to popula r opinion, launching small teams into the United States without detection is not easy and requires sophisticated support, normally traceable in some way to nation-states. The U.S. strategy has been to focus on putting those nation-states at risk, directly or indirectly, if attacks take place.

Apart from these two types of attack, the United States is fairly invulnerable to military action. The foundation of this invulnerability falls into three parts:
The United States is overwhelmingly powerful in North America, and Latin America is divided, inward-looking, and poor. A land invasion of the United States from the south would be impossible.

The United States controls the oceans absolutely. It is militarily impossible that an Eastern Hemispheric power could mount a sustained threat to sea lanes, let alone mount an amphibious operation against the United States.

The primary U.S. interest is in maintaining a multi-level balance of power in Eurasia, so that no single power can dominate Eurasia and utilize its resources.

In terms of preventing nuclear strikes and special operations against the United States and in terms of managing the geopolitical system in Eurasia, the United States has a tremendous strategic advantage that grows out of its geopolitical position -- U.S. wars, regardless of level, are fought on the territory of other countries. With the crucial exception of Sept. 11, foreign attacks on U.S. soil do not happen. When they do happen, the United States responds by redefining the war into a battle for other homelands.

This spares the American population from the rigors of war while imposing wars on foreign countries. But for the American civilian population to escape war, the U.S. armed forces must be prepared to go to war on a global basis. Herein begins the dilemma. The American strategic goal is to spare the general population from war. This is done by creating a small class of military who must bear the burden. It also is accomplished through a volunteer force -- men and women choose to bear the burden. During extended war, as the experiences of the civilian population and the military population diverge dramatically, the inevitable tendency is for the military to abandon the rigors of war and join the protected majority. In a strategy that tries to impose no cost on civilians while increasing the cost on the military, the inevitable outcome is that growing numbers of the military class will become civilians.

This is the heart of the problem, but it is not all of the problem. The American strategy in Eurasia is to maintain a balance of power. The basic role of the United States is as blocker -- blocking Eurasian powers from adding to their power, and increasing insecurity among major powers so as to curb their ambitions.

Thus, a strategic dilemma for the United States is born. On a grand strategic scale, the United States contr ols the international system -- but at the strategic level, it does not choose the time or place of its own military interventions. Put very simply, the United States controls the global system, but its enemies determine when it goes to war and where, and the nature of these wars tends to put U.S. forces on the tactical defensive.

During the 1990s, for example, the United States was constantly responding to actions by others that passed a threshold, beyond which ignoring the action was impossible. From 1989 onward, the United States intervened in Panama, Kuwait, Somalia, Haiti, Bosnia and Kosovo, not counting lesser interventions in places like Liberia or Colombia. Nor does it count the interventions and deployments throughout the Muslim world and contiguous areas since 2001.

The grand strategic configuration means that the United States does not hold the strategic initiative. The time and place of U.S. intervention is very much in the hands of regional forces . In some cases, the intervention is the result of miscalculation on the side of regional forces. In other cases, U.S. intervention is shaped by some regional player. For example, Iraq did not expect a U.S. response to its invasion of Kuwait in 1990; Saddam Hussein miscalculated. In the case of Kosovo, a regional actor, Albania, shaped U.S. intervention. In both events, however, given the operating principles of grand strategy, American military involvement is overwhelmingly responsive and therefore, from the U.S. point of view, unpredictable.

Though others determine the general time and place of U.S. intervention, the operational level remains in the hands of the United States. But here too, there are severe constraints. U.S. interventions suffer from a core paradox: The political cycle of an intervention frequently runs in days or weeks, but the time it takes to bring major force to bear is measured in months. That means that the United States must always bring insu fficient force to bear in the relevant time period -- in a kind of holding action -- and contain the situation until sufficient force for a resolution becomes available. Thus, U.S. interventions begin with CIA paramilitaries and U.S. Special Operations Command. At times, these forces can complete the mission. But sometimes, all they can do is prepare the ground and hold until relieved by major force.

Very rapidly, the United States finds itself on the tactical defensive -- lacking decisive force, at a massive demographic disadvantage, and frequently suffering from an intelligence deficit. Even after the main force arrives, the United States can remain in a defensive tactical situation for an extended period. This places U.S. troops in a difficult position.

The entire structure creates another strategic problem. The United States does not control its interventions. It is constantly at risk of being overwhelmed by multiple theaters of operation that outstrip the size of its military force or of its logistical base. Between the tactical defensive and the strategic defensive, U.S. forces must scale themselves to events that are beyond their control or prediction.

The unexpected is built into U.S. grand strategy, which dictates that the U.S. armed forces will not know their next mission. U.S. strategy is reflexive. U.S. operational principles do provide an advantage, but that can bleed off at the tactical level. In the end, the U.S. force is, almost by definition, stretched beyond what it can reasonably be expected to do. This situation is hardwired into the U.S. geopolitical system.

The U.S. force was never configured for this reality. It was designed first to cope with a general war with the Soviet Union, focused on central Europe. After the collapse of the Soviets, the technological base remained relatively stable: It remained a combined arms force including armor, carrier battle groups and fighter planes. All of thes e take a long time to get to the theater, are excellent at destroying conventional forces, and are weak at pacification.

Donald Rumsfeld has identified the problem: The force is too slow to get to the theater in a politically consequential period of time. Getting there too late, it immediately finds itself on the defensive, while the brunt of the early battle focuses on Special Operations forces and air power. The problem that Rumsfeld has not effectively addressed is that occupation warfare -- which is what we have seen in Iraq for the past few years -- requires a multi-level approach, ranging from special operations to very large occupation forces.

Put this differently: The U.S. invasion of Iraq required everything from an armored thrust to strategic bombing to special operations to civil affairs. It required every type of warfare imaginable. That is indeed the reality of American strategy. Not only is the time and place of military intervention unpredictabl e, but so is the force structure. Any attempt to predict the nature of the next war is doomed to fail. The United States does not control the time or place of the next war; it has no idea what that war will look like or where it will be.

The United States has always built its force around expectations of both where the next war would be fought and how it would be fought. From "Air-Land Battle" to "Military operations other than war," U.S. military doctrine has always been marked by two things: Military planners were always certain they had a handle on what the next war would be like, and they were always dead wrong.

The military structure that was squeezed out of the Cold War force after 1989 assumed that wars would be infrequent, that they would be short, that they would be manageable. Building on these assumptions, U.S. military planners loaded key capabilities into reserve and National Guard units, cut back on forces that didn't fit into this paradigm and t hen -- even when reality showed they were wrong -- they tried to compensate with technology rather than with restructuring the force.

Wars have been more frequent since the fall of the Soviet Union than they were before. They occur in less predictable places. They tend not to be brief, but to be of long duration and to pile up on each other -- and they frequently are unmanageable for an extended period of time. The United States does not have tactical advantages with the forces provided.

As a result, the force is deployed far more than planned, troops are forced to rotate too rapidly through assignments in combat zones, and they operate in environments where operational requirements force them too often into tactically defensive situations. That all of this is managed with a force that is drawn heavily from reserves is simply the icing on the cake. The force does not match the reality.

We began by pointing out the goal is -- and should be -- to protect t he American public from war, with volunteers placing themselves between home and war's desolation. This strategic goal, while appropriate, creates a class of warriors and a broader class of indifferent civilians. Given the situation, it will follow that sensible warriors, having done their duty in their own minds, will choose to join the ranks of civilians, while civilians will avoid service.

There has been talk of a draft. That is a bad idea for technical reasons: It takes too long to train a soldier for a draft to solve the problems, and today's soldiers need to be too skilled and motivated for a reluctant civilian to master their craft. Moreover, this is not a force that would benefit from the service of 19-year-olds. Many of the jobs in the military could be done by people in their 40s and 50s, who would bring useful skills into the military. We would support a draft only if it included all ages of men and women who had not previously served. There is no reason th at an accountant in civilian life could not provide valuable military service in Afghanistan, maintaining logistics inventory. The United States does not need to draft children.

Since that isn't going to happen, and since the United States does not have the option of abandoning its strategy, the United States must reshape the force to meet the single most important reality: The United States will be at war a lot of the time, and no one really knows where or when it will go to war. The challenges in military retention or inability to meet recruiting goals mean that the United States continues to recruit children, as if this were the 19th century.
29836  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / La experiencia del combate real con palos on: June 14, 2005, 12:19:46 AM
!Muy bien Omar!

Cabe mencionar que el paragua/umbrella se explica y se muestra en plena pelea muy bien en #4 de "Real Contact Stickfighting".
29837  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Seeking opinion on P Greg Alland on: June 13, 2005, 09:06:13 PM
Woof All:

May I suggest that anyone so inclined to offer their opinion avoid hearsay and innuendo and limit themselves to what his/her personal experience?

Play fair now , , ,

Crafty Dog
29838  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Unorganized Militia on: June 11, 2005, 05:11:43 AM
Well, we the Unorganized Militia did NOT come through on this one , , ,
29839  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: June 10, 2005, 09:42:00 AM
Abro este hilo para platicar temas de interes sobre Mexico.  

Veo en el periodico hoy que se mataron el nuevo jefe de policia de Nuevo Lardeo en su primer dia de trabajo , , ,
29840  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: June 10, 2005, 07:29:57 AM
I hadn't run into the Odin argument before , , , Smiley

What would Odin say about GUN CONTROL?

Stephen A. McNallen

The right to keep and bear arms is one of the most passionately debated issues on the American political stage. Patriots, gun owners, liberals, the media, hunters - a dozen different factions are wrangling back and forth to determine what the role of firearms will be in the future of this country.

We who follow the way of the warrior have an interest in this debate. Guns represent the weapons technology of our era, and, however much we might hearken back to the gleaming blades of an earlier century, we owe it to ourselves to follow the back-and-forth of this controversy.

The Second Amendment to the Constitution is the main line of defense against gun-grabbers, of course. But our involvement with weapons, and their essential role in preserving freedom and honor, goes back far into the dim mists of history - to a time when the Constitution and the nation it came to represent was undreamed of.

In ancient Europe, weapons had a religious character. Odin, father of the Gods in the Norse myths, carried a great spear named Gungnir. He wandered around the world, disguised in his floppy hat and long cloak, giving magical swords to his favored heroes. With these, they were expected to perform great deeds on the battlefield and, when their lives were done, to join Odin in Valhalla. There, with other great souls, the hero would prepare for the ultimate conflict of Ragnarok.

There is some evidence that the fallen warrior's weapon would accompany him into the afterlife. He was buried with it, of course, but that's not all - in some graves, the sword has been heated and twisted out of shape, as though it was being "killed" so that its spirit could accompany that of its owner into the Otherworld. Besides, he would no doubt need it as he walked the dangerous, ordeal-ridden "Hel-road" that leads to the realm of the Gods.

In Germanic society, however, weapons weren't just present at the end of life. They played a role in its beginning, as well. A new-born infant would be offered a taste of salt from the tip of a sword as its welcome into the world. Later, when he grew into manhood, the youth would be given his first shield and blade (whether sword, or axe, or spear) on the day he was initiated into the tribal assembly. This panoply represented his duty to defend his kin, as well as his rights as a freeman - even then, the link between weapons and freedom was understood. This folkway carried over into the Middle Ages, when a man about to be knighted stood prayerful vigil over his arms and armor throughout the night.

Oaths were sworn on weapons, and the steel might be called upon to turn against its owner if the words which were spoken over it were not true.

In the lore of the Vikings, Odin himself tells his followers to be armed. As the poem called the Havamal warns us,

A wayfarer should not walk unarmed,

But have his weapons to hand:

He never knows when he may need a spear,

Or what menace meet on the road.

But it wasn't just the Norsemen who idolized their weaponry; the ancient Celts shared this sentiment. The Iceni, as a typical British tribe, possessed certain weapons which were held to be particularly sacred. The Romans decided to confiscate them to prevent an uprising - thereby bringing about the very thing they were hoping to avert. Under their fiery queen, the red-haired Boudicca, the Iceni rose in revolt and almost ended the Roman occupation of the British Isles.

Such a preoccupation with instruments of destruction, some might say, is now out of date. After all, we live in a kinder, gentler world than that of the ancient Teutonic and Celtic tribes. We're civilized now. Death doesn't threaten our daily lives, and if danger does appear, we call the police.

One problem with this viewpoint is that the police often don't come, or they don't come in time to do any good. You could get killed many times over, with a gratuitous rape thrown in for good measure, between the time your fingers dial 911 and the time a squad car pulls up in front of your house. The cops are outnumbered, outgunned, and generally out of the scenario. In real life, you're on your own.

While we're at it, let's look at the idea that our world is less violent than that of, say, the Vikings. According to M.I. Steblin-Kamenskij in his book The Saga Mind, we have a record of acts of violence in Iceland over a period of several centuries. At the height of the heroic age in that Viking colony, when every freeman carried a sword or axe or spear, the per capita murder rate was a lot less than in most urban areas in America today! We live in an extremely violent time, and the prognosis is for more of the same.

Advocates of gun control might argue reluctantly that even if times haven't changed, technology has. Guns are not swords. Any religious or cultural arguments made for edged weapons are irrelevant in an age of semi-automatic rifles and pistols. In putting forth this idea, however, they forget several facts.

For one thing, the role of the individual weapon has remained unchanged. It ultimately does not matter if the device that deters attack on an innocent person is a knife, a battle-axe, a 9mm Browning pistol, or one of the dreaded "assault rifles." The goal is to keep the would-be mugger, rapist, or murderer at bay. Since the assailant may be equipped with modern arms, the potential victim must be likewise prepared. Secondly, from the days of King Olaf to the present, weapons in the hands of individuals have been a safeguard against tyrannical rulers. This is just as true for us as it was for the farmers who defended freedom in old Norway. However, the sharpest sword is no match for the guns of even a very third-rate army at the close of the twentieth century; logic and common sense compels free citizens to have firearms - and not muzzle loaders, either! Finally, there is precedent for declaring guns to be the spiritual equivalent of ancient blades; the Japanese acknowledged rifles as the successors to the samurai swords of old, during the Second World War.

When you take a good look at history, you see that the right to possess arms is not something that appeared miraculously in colonial America. This is a folkway with its roots lost in European prehistory, and those roots are as much spiritual as they are governmental. Ultimately, bearing arms is a religious right, and thus cannot be abrogated by any state.

To make this really clear, think back to that old movie, The Vikings. In this epic, Ragnar (Ernest Borgnine) is about to be fed to the wolves. He asks for the right to die "like a Viking," with a sword in his hand, lest he not be admitted to Valhalla. Now, there's a bit of modern myth-making here; the rules for entrance to Odin's hall are not laid out nearly so exactly in any of the sources that scholars know. But the spirit of Ragnar's request remains valid. We do know that Valhalla was not for the lowly or common. The early Danish hero Biarki, speaking of Odin, says that

War springs from the nobly born; famous pedigrees are the makers of war. For the perilous deeds which chiefs attempt are not to be done by the ventures of common men...No dim and lowly race, no low-born dead, no base souls are Pluto's [Read: Odin's] prey, but he weaves the dooms of the mighty, and fills Phlegethon [Valhalla] with noble shapes.

Slaves shall never sit at Odin's table, or quaff the mead poured by valkyrie's hands. And throughout history, one trait more than any other has been the hallmark of slaves: They are forbidden weapons.

The conceit of the twentieth century is that we have done away with slavery. But make no mistake, anyone disarmed by the state is a slave, no matter how free he is to frequent the shopping malls, or how new the car that sits in his garage. I cannot speak for Odin, but I believe that no man or woman who turns in his or her gun to the government will ever look on the faces of the blest in Valhalla. Surrender your "assault rifle," and be doomed to the cold and murk of Hel's home; you have no place among heroes.

Outmoded philosophy? I think not. The nature of tyranny has not changed in a thousand years, nor has the liberty-loving heart that resists it. And I am confident that admittance standards for Valhalla have not been "dumbed down."

All of this would be theoretical if the heroic religion of the Vikings and their European cousins was extinct. But that religion, called Asatru, survives today and still speaks uncompromisingly for the spirit of our ancestors. Would-be dictators will meet the opposition of dedicated men and women who will not give up their rights in the face of either fashion or force.

As this article shows, the right to arms is far older than the American Constitution. It is planted deep in the bedrock of ancient European culture and religion. Will we let today's slave masters hew down the Teutonic oak of freedom with an axe stolen from a freeman's hands? Will we allow them to shoot it in half with guns pried from the fingers of dead heroes? Never! For we of Asatru, the bearing of arms is not just custom, not just a legal right, but a matter of the troth that binds us to our Gods. Tyrants, beware!
29841  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geo Political matters on: June 10, 2005, 07:20:40 AM
Geopolitical Diary: Friday, June 10, 2005

The European crisis rolls on. The focus has shifted away from France to
Germany, where rumors abounded earlier in the week that Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder would resign prior to the September elections. His personal popularity, which had been the mainstay of his government, has now slumped, and he appears to be a political liability. Members of the left wing of the Social Democratic Party (SPD) would like him to move on so they could take control of the party. In their view, if they are to lose the election, they will be in a far stronger position in opposition if they abandon the market reforms that Schroeder introduced under Agenda 2010, his blueprint for economic and social change in Germany.

Schroeder said Thursday that he would not resign, repeating his intentions
to move for a confidence vote on his government July 1. The vote would not be tied to any particular piece of legislation, but would be a general vote on the government itself. This would prevent the SPD left from voting against him on the pretext of simply opposing a piece of legislation. To vote against him, the left would now have to confront him directly.
Schroeder calculates that that would be much tougher to do. In other words, he is giving every indication that he intends to lead the SPD in the next election. That means that he will be caught between opposition from his own left and the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) toward his policies. Schroeder is in a tough spot, and it is hard to see how he will survive.

The CDU is led by Angela Merkel. The way things currently shape up, she is likely to be the next chancellor of Germany. Merkel, who comes from the former East Germany, differs with Schroeder and the SPD in one critical respect: She is probably the most pro-American major politician in Germany. Shaped by her experiences under the communists, her perspective on the United States is more like that of Central European countries than with the German left. She viewed the United States as the main counter to the Soviet Union and continues to view Washington through that lens rather than through the lens of the Schroeder-Chirac axis. To the contrary, she has serious doubts about the wisdom of Gaullism. Merkel does not believe that Germany's primary relationship must be with France, but rather in having a broader set of relationships in which the United States constitutes a main pillar, deeply involved in Europe.

In other words, Merkel does not want to play Chirac's game of unifying
Europe with a Paris-Berlin axis at the center, and using that unified Europe as a vehicle for challenging the United States. If the vote in France
represented a blow against the concept of a European federation, the
election of Merkel would be a blow against the idea that Europe should
counterbalance the United States. Or, put simply, if Merkel wins, the
geopolitics of Gaullism will be smashed.

A Merkel victory would preserve a Europe in which the EU is primarily an
economic framework, foreign policy is carried out by individual states, and defense policy is formulated in the context of a NATO led by the United States. This would be precisely the outcome the United States would want. Washington does not want to see European economic integration halt, but does not want to see it lead to political integration either. It is comfortable in bilateral relations with Europe but wants to see NATO as a means of dominating European defense policy. Merkel is Washington's candidate.

It's a long way to the election, but unless someone finds a serious skeleton in Merkel's closet -- and everyone has already looked -- or Schroeder pulls out a miracle, by October Europe will look exactly like Jacques Chirac didn't want it to look and exactly like George W. Bush did. Bush did little to achieve this, of course. It was mostly Chirac's hard work that led to this situation. But ironies aside, it is time to think about a world in which there is no talk of "Europe" but lots of talk about European economics and NATO defense policies -- and lots of bilateral visits between Berlin and Washington.

It is interesting to wonder what Beijing and Moscow are thinking right now. The United States keeps improving its position. It really isn't that Chirac is dumb -- he isn't. It is that he played the best hand he could and, in the end, because of Europe's economy and history, it simply wasn't good enough. The center of gravity of the idea of Europe -- the Paris-Berlin axis -- is collapsing because of the weakness of its own foundations.

And if this happens, the United States -- once again -- scoops up the
geopolitical chips.
29842  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: June 09, 2005, 11:23:41 PM
"MARCH 25--Richard Simmons was arrested yesterday and charged with assaulting a Harley Davidson salesman during a confrontation at a Phoenix airport. No, that is not a joke. The 54-year-old fitness guru (5' 7", 155 pounds) laid the smackdown on one Chris Farney, a 23-year-old Mesa man (6' 1" and 255 pounds) who happens to cage wrestle in his spare time. According to the below Phoenix Police Department report, when Farney spotted Simmons (whose real first name is Milton) walking through the Sky Harbor International Airport, he said, "Look, Richard Simmons. Drop your bags, let's rock to the 50's." Farney told cops he was referring to an old Simmons workout tape. The diminutive star responded by walking over to the strapping Farney and saying, "It's not nice to make fun of people with issues." He then slapped Farney's face. The motorcycle salesman, who was not injured, called cops, who cited an "emotional" and repentant Simmons for assault. "
29843  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: June 09, 2005, 04:07:52 PM

Airports, will be using a new machine for checking people boarding the
aircraft. Because of many complaints from Passengers that they are being
fondled.  This NEW DEVICE WILL BE USED......This should start on/about
JULY 2005. Click on URL below and drag your mouse over picture to see an example of how the device functions.
29844  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: June 07, 2005, 09:59:53 PM

The Motives of Deep Throat
June 07, 2005 17 56  GMT

By George Friedman

The United States (or at least its Baby Boomers) has been gripped by the
revelation that the fabled Deep Throat, the person who provided the
legendary Woodward and Bernstein the guidance needed to cover the Watergate scandal, was Mark Felt, a senior official in the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In spite of the claims of some, Felt was never high on the
list of suspects. The assumption was always that Deep Throat was a member of the White House staff, simply because he knew so much about the details of the workings of the Nixon White House. A secondary theory that floated around was that Deep Throat was someone from the CIA -- that the CIA, for some unclear reason, wanted to bring Nixon down.

The revelation that Deep Throat was a senior FBI official -- in fact, so
senior that he was effectively J. Edgar Hoover's heir at the FBI -- is full
of historical significance. Even more, it has significant implications
today, when U.S. intelligence and security forces are playing a dramatically enhanced role in American life, and when the question of the relationship between the constitutional life of the republic and the requirements of national security is at a cyclical pitch. If Felt is Deep Throat, then the history and implications of this revelation need to be considered.

This has absolutely nothing to do with the question of Nixon's guilt. It has
been proven beyond doubt that Nixon was guilty of covering up the Watergate burglary, a felony that required impeachment, even if presidents before him had committed comparable crimes. It is not proven, but we are morally certain, that Nixon knew about and possibly demanded the break-in both at the Democratic National Committee headquarters and in Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office. There are too many hints of this in the famous Nixon White House tapes -- and in the existence of an 18-minute gap inserted into one tape -- to doubt that. Nixon was guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors.

None of this, however, has anything to do with Mark Felt's motives in
leading Woodward and Bernstein to water and teaching them the fundamentals of drinking. Felt's motives are important regardless of whether Nixon was guilty because they tell us something about what was going on in the FBI at the time and how the FBI operated. That is what has to be thought through now.

Felt's position has been simply presented. He is portrayed as a patriot who was appalled by the activities of the Nixon White House. Having had Patrick Gray slipped in above him for the top Bureau job, Felt believed that resorting to the normal procedures of law enforcement was not an option. Gray, a Nixon appointee and loyalist, would have isolated or fired Felt if he tried that route, keeping Felt away from grand juries and the normal process of the legal system. The only course of action for Felt was, according to this theory, to leak information to the press. His selection of Woodward and Bernstein for the prize was happenstance. Felt needed national coverage, and that was provided by the Washington Post. Felt claimed a passing acquaintanceship with Bob Woodward, a very young and inexperienced reporter, and this became a convenient channel. In short, Felt was protecting the republic by the only means possible.

Let's consider who Felt was for a moment. He rose in the ranks of the FBI to serve as the No. 3 official, ranking behind only J. Edgar Hoover and
Hoover's significant other, Clyde Tolson. He reached that position for two
reasons: He was competent and, of greater significance, he was absolutely loyal to Hoover. Hoover was obsessed with loyalty and conformity. He expected his agents, even in the junior ranks, to conform to the standards of the FBI in matters ranging from dress to demeanor. Felt did not rise to be the No. 2 of the Hoover-Tolson team by being either a free-thinker or a gadfly. The most important thing to understand about Felt was that he was Hoover's man.

As Hoover's man, he had a front row seat to Hoover's operational principles.  He had to have known of Hoover's wire taps and the uses to which they were put. Hoover collected information on everyone, including presidents. It is well known at this point that Hoover collected information on John F. Kennedy's sexual activities before and during his tenure as president -- as he had with Martin Luther King -- and had used that information to retain his job.

Hoover stayed as head of the FBI for decades because he played a brutal and unprincipled game in Washington. He systematically collected derogatory information on Washington officials, tracking their careers for years. He used that information to control the behavior of officials and influential private citizens. Sometimes it was simply to protect his own position, sometimes it was to promote policies that he supported. At times, particularly later in his life, Hoover appeared to be exercising power for the sheer pleasure of its exercise.

One of Hoover's favorite tactics was the careful and devastating leak.
Hoover knew how to work the press better than just about anyone in
Washington. He used the press to build up his reputation as a crime fighter and to burnish the FBI's reputation. Reporters knew that maintaining good lines of communication with the FBI could make careers, while challenging the FBI could break them. In one famous case, Hoover leaked information to Life magazine that claimed that bodies were buried in the basement of a congressman who had angered Hoover. The rumor was that the congressman got Hoover to force Life to retract the story when the congressman threatened to go public about Hoover's homosexual relationship with Clyde Tolson. That part may or may not be true, but we know that the story was retracted.

In most Washington insider cases, Hoover was not interested in the grand
jury route. The information he collected frequently was less concerned with criminal behavior than embarrassing revelations. What Hoover wanted to do was shape the behavior of people to suit him. It was the threat of revelation -- coupled with judicious leaks to the press, proving that Hoover was prepared to go all the way with it -- that did the trick. Hoover perfected the devastating leak -- and Mark Felt did not rise to power in the FBI by failing to learn that lesson or by following ethical codes other than J. Edgar Hoover's.

The first point that is obvious is that Felt wanted to be director of the
FBI. When Hoover died and Tolson resigned, he expected to replace Hoover. When Nixon appointed Gray, it is clear from his book that Felt felt betrayed and angry. Gray was an outsider who, in his view, was loyal to the president and not to the Bureau. Now, forgetting for the moment that the president was Nixon, this raises the interesting question of whether the primary loyalty of a director of the FBI -- or any other security or intelligence organization -- ought to be to the organization he serves or to the president who appoints him. There are arguments on both sides, but when you take Nixon out of the equation, the elected president would seem to have prima facie status in the equation. Loyalty to an institution, not superseded by loyalty to democratic institutions, would appear to be
dangerous for a security force and a republic. On the other hand, insulation from politics might protect the organization, keeping it from being used as a political instrument. The question is complex. Felt chose to side with the institution.

One can debate the nature of the FBI. Felt himself admitted he was a
disgruntled employee. We can infer his loyalty to Hoover. What we have,
therefore, is a disgruntled FBI employee -- bitter at being passed over for
promotion, angry at having the legacy of his patron dismantled and running a covert operation against the White House. Within days of the Watergate Hotel break-in, Deep Throat -- Felt -- was telling Woodward of the role of E. Howard Hunt. That meant that Felt knew what had happened. He could not have known what had happened had he not inherited Hoover's mechanisms for monitoring the White House. It is clear that Gray was not given that mechanism, and it is clear that Gray didn't know about it -- since Nixon didn't know about it. But Felt did know about it. What the mechanism was, whether electronic eavesdropping or informants in the White House or some other means, is unclear, so we will refer to it as "the mechanism." What is clear is that Felt, without the knowledge of his director, was running an operation that had to precede the break-in. Hoover died in May 1972; the Watergate break-in occurred in August 1972. Felt did not have time to set up his own operation in the White House. He had clearly taken over Hoover's.

Felt could not admit that he had penetrated the White House. The No. 2 man at the FBI could have forced a grand jury investigation, but he did not force one because to do so, he would have had to reveal his covert mechanism in the White House. Felt didn't go to a grand jury not because he was boxed in, but because he could not reveal the means whereby he knew precisely what Nixon and his henchmen were up to. It is fascinating that in all the discussion of Felt as Deep Throat, so little attention has been paid to how Felt would have acquired -- and continued to acquire -- such precise intelligence. It has been pointed out that Felt could not have been the only Deep Throat because he could not personally have known all the things he revealed. That is true, unless we assume that Felt was the beneficiary of an intelligence operation run by Hoover for years deep into successive White Houses. If that is the case, then it makes perfect sense that Felt was the one and only Deep Throat.

Woodward and Bernstein, along with Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee,
didn't care, since they were being fed the goods. Nixon did care, and the
leaks further damaged him by triggering wild-goose chases in search of the source. In fact, one of the most important consequences of Felt's leaks was that the White House spasmed and started looking for the leak. It compounded Nixon's paranoia -- he really did have enemies. Indeed, the entire plumbers unit built to stop leaks in the White House has to be re-evaluated from the standpoint of the FBI operation and its leakages. It would be interesting to determine how many of the leaks Nixon was looking for originated with his suspects (people like Henry Kissinger) and how many were the results of Hoover's covert penetration. If we think of Hoover in his last days less as an ideologue and more as a megalomaniac, the notion that he was trying to cripple Nixon is not absurd.

However, what is clear is that the White House was deeply penetrated, and Felt was operating the mechanism of intelligence. It is also clear that Felt decided not to proceed with the legal route but instead to continue Hoover's tradition of controlling his environment by leaking information. For the leak, he chose a major newspaper with a great deal of credibility and two junior reporters sufficiently ambitious not to ask the obvious questions. That they were on the city desk and not the national desk was an added benefit, since they would lack the experience to understand what Felt was up to. Finally, Bradlee -- a close ally of the Kennedys and someone who despised Richard Nixon -- would be expected to fly top cover for the two minor reporters.

What is critical is how Felt managed Woodward and Bernstein. He did not
provide them with the complete story. Rather, he guided them toward the
story. He minimized what he revealed, focusing instead on two things. First, he made certain that they did not miss the main path -- that the scandal involved the senior staff of the White House and possibly the president himself. Second and more important, Felt made certain that the White House could not contain the scandal. Whenever the story began to wane, it was Felt who fed more information to Woodward and Bernstein, keeping the story alive and guiding them toward the heart of the White House -- yet usually without providing explicit information.

One consequence of this was John Dean. Felt, the veteran of many
investigations, knew that the best way to destroy a conspiracy was to
increase the pressure on it. At some point, one of the conspirators would
bolt to save himself. Felt couldn't know which one would bolt, but that
hardly mattered. As the revelations piled up, the pressure grew. At some
point, someone would break. It didn't have to be John Dean -- it could have been any of perhaps a dozen people. But Felt made certain that the pressure was there, treating the White House the way he would treat any criminal conspiracy.

What is most interesting in all of this is what Felt did not provide but had
to have known: Why did the White House order the break-in to Larry O'Brien's office? Why was the break-in carried out with such glaring incompetence? Consider the famous part in which a security guard removes a piece of tape blocking a door lock that had been placed horizontally rather than vertically, only to have it replaced by one of the burglars, leading to their discovery. If Felt had penetrated the White House and Committee to Re-elect the President deeply enough to be Deep Throat, then he had to know the reason for the break-in. And what else did he control in the White House? Were G. Gordon Liddy's people as stupid as they appeared, getting caught with revealing phone numbers on them? Could anyone be that stupid? Why was the break-in ordered, and why did professionals bungle it so badly?

This is the thing that Felt never gave to Woodward and Bernstein and which, therefore, Woodward and Bernstein never were able to explain. Yet Felt had to know it. The event wasn't random, and whatever else could be said about Nixon and his staff, they weren't stupid. They had their reasons, and it is hard to believe that Felt, who seemed to know everything about the conspiracy, didn't know this. We note -- in pure speculation -- that a covert operation not only uncover what is going on, but also can plant information that will trigger an action.

Richard Nixon was a criminal by the simplest definition of the term -- he
broke the law and tried to hide it. His best defense is that other
presidents were also criminals. Possibly, but that doesn't change Nixon's
status. His closest aides were also, in many cases, criminals. Woodward and Bernstein were lottery winners, selected by Felt precisely because they were easy to lead and asked few questions. Felt, the dispossessed heir of J. Edgar Hoover, played out the hand of his master. He used his position to bring down the president. That the president needed to be brought down is true. That he could have been brought down only by Felt's counterconspiracy is dubious.

There are three issues that must be raised here. One, does a senior FBI
official have the right to leak the fruits of a clandestine operation in the
White House to favored reporters in order to bring about a good outcome?
Two, does the press have a responsibility to report not only what is leaked to them but also to inquire about the motive of the leaker? Didn't the public need to know that Deep Throat was a senior FBI official -- and, at the very least, a disgruntled employee? Doesn't the manner in which the truth is known reasonably affect the public perception? Finally, and most  important, who will guard the guardians when all have agendas?
29845  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: June 06, 2005, 03:55:52 PM

United States: The Jamaat al-Fuqra Threat
Jun 03, 2005 1738 GMT

Consider, if you will, a group whose members live "free from the decadence of a godless society" in guarded and insular communities in the rural United States. Additionally, consider that some members of this group have been convicted on a variety of weapons, fraud and terrorism charges. Those who assume we are once again addressing right-wing extremists such as the Aryan Nations would be wrong.

Although we do believe that right-wing extremists pose a threat to the
security of the United States, the group we describe does not give its
compounds names like Elohim City, the infamous compound of white
supremacists in Adair County, Okla. Instead they call them Islamburg (N.Y.), Ahmadabad (Va.) and Holy Islamville (S.C.).

The group is Jamaat al-Fuqra -- Arabic for "community of the impoverished" -- founded in the 1980s by Sheikh Mubarak Ali Gilani, a religious figure from Pakistan who incorporated the group as a tax-exempt organization under the name Muslims of the Americas. Its educational arm, the Quranic Open University, takes American Muslims to Pakistan for training, expecting them to return and instruct others.

Residents of Muslims of the Americas communities keep a low profile, display a benign image and most of all deny the existence of Jamaat al-Fuqra. They claim to be peaceful people who simply are attempting to escape the decadence of American society. Actions by some of the residents, however, belie that claim.

Many of the original al-Fuqra members were converts to Islam, and most were African Americans. However, one of its first members -- and its first
bombmaker -- was Stephen Paul Paster, who converted from Judaism to Islam.  Paster was convicted for his role in the 1983 bombing of a Portland, Ore., hotel owned by the Hindu Bhagwan Rajneesh cult from India. He also was tried and acquitted on charges stemming from two other West Coast bombings. Upon his release from prison, Paster moved to Lahore, Pakistan, to join Gilani and other instructors at the Quranic Open University, where he allegedly helps to teach what Gilani calls "advanced training courses in Islamic Military Warfare."

The U.S. government claims that al-Fuqra members were involved in 13
bombings and arsons during the 1980s and 1990s and were responsible for at least 17 homicides. Many of these attacks targeted Indian groups such as the Hare Krishnas, or heterodox Muslim groups such as the Ahmadiyya sect. In 1991, five al-Fuqra members were arrested at a border crossing in Niagara Falls, N.Y., after authorities found their plans to attack an Indian cinema and a Hindu temple in Toronto, Canada. Three of the five later were convicted on charges stemming from the plot.

According to sources, many al-Fuqra members have fought in Afghanistan,
Kashmir, Lebanon, Bosnia and Chechnya. Several members also have been affiliated with the al-Kifah Refugee Center -- popularly known as the
Brooklyn Jihad Office. Group member Clement Hampton-el, for example,
provided weapons training to several people associated with the Brooklyn
Jihad Office. One of those men, El Sayyid Nosair later would use that
training to assassinate the Rabbi Meir Kahane in Manhattan. Hampton-el was convicted along with several other men, including Nosair's cousin, Ibrahim Elgabrowny and Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, also known as The Blind Sheikh, in the 1993 New York Bomb Plot Case, and sentenced to serve 35 years.

More recently, police investigators working on the D.C. sniper case tied
convicted killer John Allen Muhammed to al-Fuqra. Rumors also surfaced that "Shoe Bomber" Richard Reid was connected to the group. Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, in fact, was investigating the Reid/al-Fuqra
connection and was in the process of attempting to interview Gilani when he was abducted and killed.

In addition to Hampton-el, several other members of al-Fuqra are in federal and state prisons on a variety of weapons charges and convictions stemming from worker's compensation, credit card, welfare and driver's license fraud. The group allegedly uses its imprisoned members to recruit other prisoners. Furthermore, it was revealed during Hampton-el's trial that one of the organization's tasks was to recruit American veterans to fight in Afghanistan.

Al-Fuqra members own several security companies, which provide a source of income and security for the group and its compounds, but also offer a plausible explanation for the presence of firing ranges on the properties -- a cover for the paramilitary training that allegedly is conducted at the compounds.

Perhaps most disconcerting is that al-Fuqra's cadre of battle tested
jihadist warriors -- men who refer to themselves as "Soldiers of Allah" and
"Mohammed's Commandos" -- are mostly Americans who legally can obtain U.S. passports and operate in the United States without raising suspicion.

As the United States advances its war on terrorism abroad and takes measures to tighten immigration procedures in order to protect U.S. citizens from foreign militants, it is important that authorities not overlook America's homegrown jihadists.
29846  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Bienvenidos! on: June 06, 2005, 03:06:14 PM

!Bienvenidos a todos al nuevo sitio de nuestro foro en Espanol!

Nuestro Webmaster esta' trabajando para llevar las contribuciones del sitio anterior para aqui.

La Aventura continua , , ,

Crafty Dog
29847  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Crafty Dog at Budo International Expo: NYC TOMORROW (Sat) on: June 06, 2005, 10:37:37 AM
A fine time. C-DB Russ Iger assisted me in my demo and in my mini-seminar and in stepping above and beyond the call of duty, procurred his grandfather's tux for me (white jacket, black pants in a very James Bond style). Somehow it was a perfect fit in every respect and, , , drum roll please , , , I am now a proud member of the Budo International Hall of Fame.  Not too much should be made of this-- truly!!!-- but tis fun none the less.

Unexpected pleasure was running into Carlos Machado who also was inducted into the BI Hall of Fame.
29848  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Crafty Dog at Budo International Expo: NYC TOMORROW (Sat) on: June 03, 2005, 09:31:27 AM

I will be doing a mini-seminar during the day, mingling and meeting people and at the dinner that evening.
29849  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Evolutionary Biology and Psychology on: June 02, 2005, 11:52:49 PM
As an Ashkenazi Jew  wink  I note the theory that the Ashkenazi are the descendents of the semitic tribes of Israel has been intriguingly challenged by historian Arthur Koestler in his hard-to-find book "The Thirteenth Tribe" which hypothesizes that we came principally from the Khazar Empire.  Between the Black and Caspian Seas, it was the Khazar Empire that stopped the northern expansion of Islam at the same time that Charles Martel was stopping it in France.  At some point, the rulers of the Khazars converted to Judaism and suggested their people do so as well.  AK thinks as the Empire broke down several hundred years later, these Jews, the 13th tribe if you will, are the one who moved into eastern Europe.  

A very interesting book.  Stating the matter plainly, he is saying that Ashkenazi Jews are Aryans, not Semites.
29850  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Conan the Barbarian on: June 02, 2005, 11:39:04 PM
Please don't make us pull your canine teeth.  What is the site?
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