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29801  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 25, 2006, 09:15:01 AM
Woof All

Stratfor continuously blows me away with the level of its analysis and intel.  I'm really glad that my price for my premium subscription is grandfathered, but even at the current price I would pay it (Shhh! Don't tell them!)  An awesome product which I recommend in the highest terms possible.

Crafty Dog
29802  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Cuchillos on: March 25, 2006, 06:17:16 AM
Todos:

Muy interesante este hilo.

Crafty Dog
29803  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 24, 2006, 10:15:08 PM
Putting Cards on the Table in Iraq
By George Friedman

The clouds couldn't have been darker last week. Everyone was talking about civil war in Iraq. Smart and informed people were talking about the real possibility of an American airstrike against Iran's nuclear capabilities. The Iranians were hurling defiance in every direction on the compass. U.S. President George W. Bush seemed to be politically on the ropes, unable to control his own party. And then seemingly out of nowhere, the Iranians offered to hold talks with the Americans on Iraq, and only Iraq. With the kind of lightning speed not seen from the White House for a while, the United States accepted. Suddenly, the two countries with the greatest stake in Iraq -- and the deepest hostility toward each other -- had agreed publicly to negotiate on Iraq.

To understand this development, we must understand that Iran and the United States have been holding quiet, secret, back-channel and off-the-record discussions for years -- but the discussions were no less important for all of that. The Iran-Contra affair, for example, could not have taken place had the Reagan administration not been talking to the Ayatollah Ruholla Khomeini's representatives. There is nothing new about Americans and Iranians talking; they have been doing it for years. Each side, for their own domestic reasons, has tried to hide the talks from public view, even when they were quite public, such as the Geneva discussions over Afghanistan prior to the Sept. 11 attacks.

What is dramatically new is the public nature of these talks now, and the subject matter: Iraq.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the real players in Iraq are now going to sit down and see if they can reach some decisions about the country's future. They are going to do this over the heads of their various clients. Obviously, the needs of those clients will have to be satisfied, but in the end, the Iraq war is at least partly about U.S.-Iranian relations, and it is clear that both sides have now decided that it is time to explore a deal -- not in a quiet Georgetown restaurant, but in full view of the world. In other words, it is time to get serious.

The offer of public talks actually was not made by Iran. The first public proposal for talks came from U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad, who several months ago reported that he had been authorized by Bush to open two lines of discussion: One was with the non-jihadist Sunni leadership in Iraq; the other was with Iran. Interestingly, Khalilzad had emphasized that he was authorized to speak with the Iranians only about Iraq and not about other subjects. In other words, discussion of Iran's nuclear program was not going to take place. What happened last week was that the Iranians finally gave Khalilzad an answer: yes.

Iran's Slow Play

As we have discussed many times, Iraq has been Iran's obsession. It is an obsession rooted in ancient history; the Bible speaks of the struggle between Babylon and Persia for regional hegemony. It has some of its roots in more recent history as well: Iran lost about 300,000 people, with about 1 million more wounded and captured, in its 1980-88 war with Iraq. That would be the equivalent of more than 1 million dead Americans and an additional 4 million wounded and captured. It is a staggering number. Nothing can be understood about Iran until the impact of this war is understood. The Iranians, then, came out of the war with two things: an utter hatred of Saddam Hussein and his regime, and determination that this sort of devastation should never happen again.

After the United States decided, in Desert Storm, not to move on to Baghdad and overthrow the Hussein regime -- and after the catastrophic failure of the Shiite rising in southern Iraq -- the Iranians established a program of covert operations that was designed to increase their control of the Shiite population in the south. The Iranians were unable to wage war against Hussein but were content, after Desert Storm, that he could not attack Iran. So they focused on increasing their influence in the south and bided their time. They could not take out Hussein, but they still wanted someone to do so. That someone was the Americans.

Iran responded to the 9/11 attacks in a predictable manner. First, Iran was as concerned by al Qaeda as the United States was. The Iranians saw themselves as the vanguard of revolutionary Islam, and they did not want to see their place usurped by Wahhabis, whom they viewed as the tool of another regional rival, Saudi Arabia. Thus, Tehran immediately offered U.S. forces the right to land, at Iranian airbases, aircraft that were damaged during operations in Afghanistan. Far more important, the Iranians used their substantial influence in western and northern Afghanistan to secure allies for the United States. They wanted the Taliban gone. This is not to say that some al Qaeda operatives, having paid or otherwise induced regional Iranian commanders, didn't receive some sanctuary in Iran; the Iranians would have given sanctuary to Osama bin Laden if that would have neutralized him. But Tehran's policy was to oppose al Qaeda and the Taliban, and to quietly support the United States in its war against them. This was no stranger, really, than the Americans giving anti-tank missiles to Khomeini in the 1980s.

But the main chance that Iran saw was getting the Americans to invade Iraq and depose their true enemy, Saddam Hussein. The United States was not led to invade Iraq by the Iranians -- that would be too simple a model. However, the Iranians, with their excellent intelligence network in Iraq, helped to smooth the way for the American decision. Apart from providing useful tactical information, the Iranians led the Americans to believe three things:

1. That Iraq did have weapons of mass destruction programs.

2. That the Iraqis would not resist U.S. operations and would greet the Americans as liberators.

3. By omission, that there would be no post-war resistance in Iraq.

Again, this was not decisive, but it formed an important part of the analytical framework through which the Americans viewed Iraq.

The Iranians wanted the United States to defeat Hussein. They wanted the United States to bear the burden of pacifying the Sunni regions of Iraq. They wanted U.S. forces to bog down in Iraq so that, in due course, the Americans would withdraw -- but only after the Sunnis were broken -- leaving behind a Shiite government that would be heavily influenced by Iran. The Iranians did everything they could to encourage the initial engagement and then stood by as the United States fought the Sunnis. They were getting what they wanted.

Counterplays and Timing

What they did not count on was American flexibility. From the first battle of Al Fallujah onward, the United States engaged in negotiations with the Sunni leadership. The United States had two goals: one, to use the Sunni presence in a new Iraqi government to block Iranian ambitions; and two, to split the Sunnis from the jihadists. It was the very success of this strategy, evident in the December 2005 elections, that caused Iraqi Shia to move away from the Iranians a bit, and, more important, caused the jihadists to launch an anti-Shiite rampage. The jihadists' goal was to force a civil war in Iraq and drive the Sunnis back into an unbreakable alliance with them.

In other words, the war was not going in favor of either the United States or Iran. The Americans were bogged down in a war that could not be won with available manpower, if by "victory" we mean breaking the Sunni-jihadist will to resist. The Iranians envisioned the re-emergence of their former Baathist enemies. Not altogether certain of the political commitments or even the political savvy of their Shiite allies in Iraq, they could now picture their worst nightmare: a coalition government in which the Sunnis, maneuvering with the Kurds and Americans, would dominate an Iraqi government. They saw Tehran's own years of maneuvering as being in jeopardy. Neither side could any longer be certain of the outcome.

In response, each side attempted, first, to rattle the other. Iran's nuclear maneuver was designed to render the Americans more forthcoming; the assumption was that a nuclear Iran would be more frightening, from the American point of view, than a Shiite Iraq. The Americans held off responding and then, a few weeks ago, began letting it be known that not only were airstrikes against Iran possible, but that in fact they were being seriously considered and that deadlines were being drawn up.

This wasn't about nuclear weapons but about Iraq, as both sides made clear when the talks were announced. Both players now have all their cards on the table. Iran bluffed nukes, the United States called the bluff and seemed about to raise. Khalilzad's request for talks was still on the table. The Iranians took it. This was not really done in order to forestall airstrikes -- the Iranians were worried about that only on the margins. What Iran had was a deep concern and an interesting opportunity.

The concern was that the situation in Iraq was spinning out of its control. The United States was no longer predictable, the Sunnis were no longer predictable, and even the Iranians' Shiite allies were not playing their proper role. The Iranians were playing for huge stakes in Iraq and there were suddenly too many moving pieces, too many things that could go wrong.

The Iranians also saw an opportunity. Bush's political position in the United States had deteriorated dramatically. As it deteriorated, his room for maneuver declined. The British had made it clear that they were planning to leave Iraq. Bush had really not been isolated before, as his critics always charged, but now he was becoming isolated -- domestically as well as internationally. Bush needed badly to break out of the political bind he was in. The administration had resisted pressure to withdraw troops under a timetable, but it no longer was clear whether Congress would permit Bush to continue to resist. The president did not want his hands tied by Congress, but it seemed to the Iranians that was exactly what was happening.

From the Iranian point of view, if ever a man has needed a deal, it is Bush. If there are going to be any negotiations, they are to happen now. From Bush's point of view, he does need a deal, but so do the Iranians -- things are ratcheting out of control from Tehran's point of view as well. For domestic Iraqi players, the room to maneuver is increasing, while the room to maneuver for foreign players is decreasing. In other words, the United States and Iran have, for the moment, the unified interest of managing Iraq, rather than seeing a civil war or a purely domestic solution.

The Next Phase of the Game

The Iranians want at least to Finlandize Iraq. During the Cold War, the Soviets did not turn Finland into a satellite, but they did have the right to veto members of its government, to influence the size and composition of its military and to require a neutral foreign policy. The Iranians wanted more, but they will settle for keeping the worst of the Baathists out of the government and for controls over Iraq's international behavior. The Americans want a coalition government within the limits of a Finlandic solution. They do not want a purely Shiite government; they want the Sunnis to deal with the jihadists, in return for guaranteed Sunni rights in Iraq. Finally, the United States wants the right to place a force in Iraq -- aircraft and perhaps 40,000 troops -- outside the urban areas, in the west. The Iranians do not really want U.S. troops so close, so they will probably argue about the number and the type. They do not want to see heavy armored units but can live with lighter units stationed to the west.

Now obviously, in this negotiation, each side will express distrust and indifference. The White House won the raise by expressing doubts as to Tehran's seriousness; the implication was that the Iranians were buying time to work on their nukes. Perhaps. But the fact is that Tehran will work on nukes as and when it wants, and Washington will destroy the nukes as and when it wants. The nukes are non-issues in the real negotiations.

There are three problems now with negotiations. One is Bush's ability to keep his coalition intact while he negotiates with a member of the "axis of evil." Another is Iran's ability to keep its coalition together while it negotiates with the "Great Satan." And third is the ability of either to impose their collective will on an increasingly self-reliant Iraqi polity. The two major powers are now ready to talk. What is not clear is whether, even together, they will be in a position to impose their will on the Iraqis. The coalitions will probably hold, and the Iraqis will probably submit. But those are three "probablies." Not good.

All wars end in negotiations. Clearly, the United States and Iran have been talking quietly for a long time. They now have decided it is time to make their talks public. That decision by itself indicates how seriously they both take these conversations now.

3/21/06
www.stratfor.com
29804  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: March 22, 2006, 10:40:24 AM
By DAN HERBECK, Buffalo News
News Staff Reporter
3/21/2006     Click to view larger picture
 
Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News
Injured in Iraq, Army Sgt. Jason R. Lyon, a National Guardsman from Hamburg, has been declared eligible for return to combat but not qualified to deliver the mail stateside.
 
  Click to view larger picture
 

 
While Sgt. Jason R. Lyon was serving with the Army in Iraq, he suffered a sprained ankle when he jumped off a Humvee. He also nearly had his head blown off by a roadside bomb that killed three of his friends.
After extensive medical treatment and physical therapy, military doctors have certified the Hamburg serviceman physically fit to return to combat duty in Iraq.

But the U.S. Postal Service says he is physically unfit to deliver mail.

"To me, it really seems unfair," said the National Guardsman, who was recently turned down for a postal carrier job because of the ankle injury he suffered in Baghdad in July 2004.

"The military says I can go to combat. I can march, run, fight in a war and do anything else a soldier can do. But the Postal Service says I'm not fit to deliver letters."

A frustrated Lyon, 28, spoke about his dilemma in his home Monday, showing a Buffalo News reporter his Purple Heart for wounds suffered later and a thick stack of medical reports from the Army, declaring him fully fit for military duty.

"Currently no limitations of military or civilian activity," a National Guard medical officer wrote in a report on Lyon last month.

A doctor for the Postal Service saw it differently, ruling that Lyon's ankle injury makes him unfit to be hired as a mail carrier. A physician for the Postal Service called the injury a "physical impairment" that would make it difficult for Lyon to walk or stand for long periods of time.

The decision is not meant as a personal slap at Lyon, said Karen L. Mazurkiewicz, a spokeswoman for the Western New York district of the Postal Service.

Mazurkiewicz said Lyon, who is currently unemployed, still could pursue a position as a mail clerk or custodian, and she noted that veterans do receive hiring preference.

"We have a rich history of hiring veterans, but we have to look at each candidate and make an assessment of how they would handle the physical requirements of the job," Mazurkiewicz said. "There is a lot of bending, twisting, lifting and walking on uneven surfaces for a mail carrier. . . . It is a very strenuous job."

Perhaps so, said Lyon, but no more strenuous than anything he has dealt with in 10 years with the military.

He noted that he has also worked part time for United Parcel Service, on and off, for the last five years, performing similar duties to those of a mail carrier.

Lyon, a graduate of Frontier Central High School, joined the Army in 1996. After three years on active duty, he joined the New York National Guard. He now is a member of the 101st Cavalry Reconnaissance Unit, based at the Masten Avenue Armory. He was called to duty in Iraq from December 2003 until January 2005 with the Army's 108th Infantry.

In Iraq, he suffered a minor injury that is now hurting his employment chances and a major injury that he never expects to forget.

"I twisted my ankle in Baghdad, when I jumped off a Humvee in the dark and landed in a tire rut," he said. "The Army put my ankle in a cast, and two weeks later, I was back on combat patrols. I never left the war theater. I went back to all my duties as an infantryman."

That was in July 2004. Six months later, tragedy struck the squad Lyon was leading as it drove back to its base after a long night on combat patrol in northern Baghdad.

"It had been a long night. I was just telling the guys they could put a CD in the CD player," Lyon recalled. "Then the explosion hit."

A roadside bomb tore through the heavily armored Humvee that Lyon and four other soldiers were riding in. Three of the soldiers - good friends of Lyon - were killed instantly.

"It was a professionally made explosive. It tore through the Humvee like it was a tin can," Lyon said. "I heard the explosion. The next thing I knew, I was on fire and I had blood all over me. My right ear was almost torn off. I felt terror and helplessness, but I was the sergeant, and I had to take control of the situation."

Lyon was shipped out of Iraq to Germany, and then to the United States, for months of treatment for his burns and wounds. He is now back with his National Guard unit in Buffalo. He has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, but that was not a factor cited by the Postal Service for turning down his application for postal carrier.

"Sometimes, when I am alone, I'm looking over my shoulder and feeling hyper alert," Lyon said. "But when I'm with other people, I'm fine."

The office of Rep. Brian M. Higgins, D-Buffalo, has been trying to help Lyon in his dispute but without results. On March 11, Lyon got a letter from the Postal Service, saying a doctor for the service had refused to change her medical assessment.

"It's ridiculous," said the sergeant's wife, Sarah Lyon. "He's served his country in Iraq. He's worked for UPS for years, and he's been certified to go to Iraq again, if they need him. I have absolutely no doubt he can do the job of a mail carrier."

Lyon said he wants to work as a mail carrier, rather than a clerk or custodian. He said that a mail carrier earns higher pay - about $17.80 an hour for the job he was seeking - and gets to be out in the community, working with the public.

"This is Buffalo, and there are not a lot of good jobs like that one available," Lyon said. "I'm willing to work hard, and I want a good job."
29805  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 21, 2006, 08:25:08 PM
Second post of the day:

Appalling?But Not Hopeless
You see lots of rough politics and jockeying for power in Baghdad. But when facing the abyss, you also see glimpses of leadership.
By Fareed Zakaria

Three years ago this week, I watched the invasion of Iraq apprehensively. I had supported military intervention to rid the country of Saddam's tyranny, but I had also been appalled by the crude and unilateral manner in which the Bush administration handled the issue. In the first weeks after the invasion, I was very critical of several of the administration's decisions?crucially, invading with a light force and dismantling the governing structures of Iraq (including the bureaucracy and Army). My criticisms grew over the first 18 months of the invasion, a period that offered a truly depressing display of American weakness and incompetence. And yet, for all my misgivings about the way the administration has handled this policy, I've never been able to join the antiwar crowd. Nor am I convinced that Iraq is a hopeless cause that should be abandoned.

Let's remember that in 2002 and early 2003, U.S. policy toward Iraq was collapsing. The sanctions regime was becoming completely ineffective against Saddam?he had gotten quite good at cheating and smuggling?and it was simultaneously impoverishing the Iraqi people. Regular reconnaissance and bombing missions over Iraq were done through no-flight zones, which required a large U.S. and British presence in Saudi Arabia and Turkey. These circumstances were fueling a poisonous anti-Americanism throughout the Muslim world.

In his fatwa of 1998, Osama bin Laden's first two charges against the United States were that it was "occupying" Saudi Arabia and starving Iraqi women and children. The Palestinian cause was a distant third. Meanwhile Saddam had a 30-year history of attempting to build nuclear, chemical and biological weapons.

The other reality by 2003 was that the United States and the international community had developed a reasonably effective process for military interventions like Iraq. The RAND Corporation released a thorough study just before the invasion pointing out that the central lesson of the 1990s was that if you went in with few troops (Haiti, Somalia), chaos prevailed, but if you went in with robust forces (Bosnia, Kosovo, East Timor), it was possible to succeed.

Consider what the administration itself did in Afghanistan. It allied with local forces on the ground so that order would be maintained. It upheld the traditional structure of power and governance in the country?that is, it accepted the reality of the warlords?while working very slowly and quietly to weaken them. To deflect anti-Americanism, the military turned over the political process to the United Nations right after Kabul fell. (Most people forget that it was the U.N. that created the assembly that picked Hamid Karzai as president.) The United States gave NATO and the European Union starring roles in the country?and real power?which led them to accept real burden-sharing. The European Union actually spends more in Afghanistan than the United States does.

But Iraq turned out to be a playground for all kinds of ideological theories that the Bush administration had about the Middle East, democracy, the United Nations and the Clinton administration. It also became a playground for a series of all-consuming turf wars and policy battles between various departments and policymakers in the administration. A good part of the chaos and confusion in Washington has abated, but the chaos in Iraq has proved much harder to reverse. It is much easier to undo a longstanding social and political order than it is to put it back together again.

So why have I not given up hope? Partly it's because I have been to Iraq, met the people who are engaged in the struggle to build their country and cannot bring myself to abandon them. Iraq has no Nelson Mandelas, but many of its leaders have shown remarkable patience, courage and statesmanship. Consider the wisdom and authority of Ayatollah Sistani, or the fair-minded and effective role of the Kurds, or the persistent pleas for secularism and tolerance from men like Ayad Allawi. You see lots of rough politics and jockeying for power in Baghdad. But when the stakes get high, when the violence escalates, when facing the abyss, you also see glimpses of leadership.

There is no doubt today that the costs of the invasion have far outweighed the benefits. But in the long view of history, will that always be true? If, after all this chaos, a new and different kind of Iraqi politics emerges, it will make a difference in the region. Even now, amid the violence, one can see that. The old order in Iraq was built on fear and terror. One group dominated the land, oppressing the others. Now representatives of all three communities?Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds?are sitting down at the table, trying to construct a workable bargain they can all live with.

These sectarian power struggles can get extremely messy, and violent parties have taken advantage of every crack and cleavage. But this might be inevitable in a country coming to terms with very real divisions and disagreements. Iraq might be stumbling toward nation-building by consent, not brutality. And that is a model for the Middle East.
29806  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 21, 2006, 11:36:51 AM
The Stone Face of Zarqawi
Iraq is no "distraction" from al Qaeda.

BY CHRISTOPHER HITCHENS
Tuesday, March 21, 2006 12:01 a.m.

In February 2004, our Kurdish comrades in northern Iraq intercepted a courier who was bearing a long message from Abu Musab al-Zarqawi to his religious guru Osama bin Laden. The letter contained a deranged analysis of the motives of the coalition intervention ("to create the State of Greater Israel from the Nile to the Euphrates" and "accelerate the emergence of the Messiah"), but also a lethally ingenious scheme to combat it. After a lengthy and hate-filled diatribe against what he considers the vile heresy of Shiism, Zarqawi wrote of Iraq's largest confessional group that: "These in our opinion are the key to change. I mean that targeting and hitting them in their religious, political and military depth will provoke them to show the Sunnis their rabies . . . and bare the teeth of the hidden rancor working in their breasts. If we succeed in dragging them into the arena of sectarian war, it will become possible to awaken the inattentive Sunnis as they feel imminent danger."

Some of us wrote about this at the time, to warn of the sheer evil that was about to be unleashed. Knowing that their own position was a tenuous one (a fact fully admitted by Zarqawi in his report) the cadres of "al Qaeda in Mesopotamia" understood that their main chance was the deliberate stoking of a civil war. And, now that this threat has become more imminent and menacing, it is somehow blamed on the Bush administration. "Civil war" has replaced "the insurgency" as the proof that the war is "unwinnable." But in plain truth, the "civil war" is and always was the chief tactic of the "insurgency."

 
Since February 2004, there have been numberless attacks on Shiite religious processions and precincts. Somewhat more insulting to Islam (one might think) than a caricature in Copenhagen, these desecrations did not immediately produce the desired effect. Grand Ayatollah Sistani even stated that, if he himself fell victim, he forgave his murderers in advance and forbade retaliation in his name. This extraordinary forbearance meant that many Shiites--and Sunnis, too--refused to play Zarqawi's game. But the grim fact is, as we know from Cyprus and Bosnia and Lebanon and India, that a handful of determined psychopaths can erode in a year the sort of intercommunal fraternity that has taken centuries to evolve. If you keep pressing on the nerve of tribalism and sectarianism, you will eventually get a response. And then came the near-incredible barbarism in Samarra, and the laying waste of the golden dome.

It is not merely civil strife that is partly innate in the very make-up of Iraq. There could be an even worse war, of the sort that Thomas Hobbes pictured: a "war of all against all" in which localized gangs and mafias would become rulers of their own stretch of turf. This is what happened in Lebanon after the American withdrawal: The distinctions between Maronite and Druze and Palestinian and Shiite became blurred by a descent into minor warlordism. In Iraq, things are even more fissile. Even the "insurgents" are fighting among themselves, with local elements taking aim at imported riffraff and vice-versa. Saddam's vicious tactic, of emptying the jails on the eve of the intervention and freeing his natural constituency of thugs and bandits and rapists, was exactly designed to exacerbate an already unstable situation and make the implicit case for one-man "law and order." There is strong disagreement among and between the Shiites and the Sunnis, and between them and the Kurds, only the latter having taken steps to resolve their own internal party and regional quarrels.
America's mistake in Lebanon was first to intervene in a way that placed us on one minority side--that of the Maronites and their Israeli patrons--and then to scuttle and give Hobbes his mandate for the next 10 years. At least it can be said for the present mission in Iraq that it proposes the only alternative to civil war, dictatorship, partition or some toxic combination of all three. Absent federal democracy and power-sharing, there will not just be anarchy and fragmentation and thus a moral victory for jihadism, but opportunist interventions from Iran, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. (That vortex, by the way, is what was waiting to engulf Iraq if the coalition had not intervened, and would have necessitated an intervention later but under even worse conditions.) There are signs that many Iraqi factions do appreciate the danger of this, even if some of them have come to the realization somewhat late. The willingness of the Kurdish leadership in particular, to sacrifice for a country that was gassing its people until quite recently, is beyond praise.

 
Everybody now has their own scenario for the war that should have been fought three years ago. The important revelations in "Cobra II," by Michael Gordon and Bernard Trainor, about the underestimated reserve strength of the Fedayeen Saddam, give us an excellent picture of what the successor regime to the Baath Party was shaping up to be: an Islamized para-state militia ruling by means of vicious divide-and-rule as between the country's peoples. No responsible American government could possibly have allowed such a contingency to become more likely. We would then have had to intervene in a ruined rogue jihadist-hosting state that was already in a Beirut-like nightmare.

I could not help noticing, when the secret prisons of the Shiite-run "Interior Ministry" were exposed a few weeks ago, that all those wishing to complain ran straight to the nearest American base, from which help was available. For the moment, the coalition forces act as the militia for the majority of Iraqis--the inked-fingered Iraqis--who have no militia of their own. Honorable as this role may be, it is not enough in the long run. In Iraq we have made some good friends and some very, very bad enemies. (How can anyone, looking down the gun-barrel into the stone face of Zarqawi, say that fighting him is a "distraction" from fighting al Qaeda?) Over the medium term, if our apparent domestic demoralization continues, the options could come down to two. First, we might use our latent power and threaten to withdraw, implicitly asking Iraqis and their neighbors if that is really what they want, and concentrating their minds. This still runs the risk of allowing the diseased spokesmen of al Qaeda to claim victory. Second, we can demand to know, of the wider international community, if it could afford to view an imploded Iraq as a spectator. Three years ago, the smug answer to that, from most U.N. members, was "yes." This is not an irresponsibility that we can afford, either morally or practically, and even if our intervention was much too little and way too late, it has kindled in many Arab and Kurdish minds an idea of a different future. There is a war within the war, as there always is when a serious struggle is under way, but justice and necessity still combine to say that the task cannot be given up.
Mr. Hitchens, a columnist for Vanity Fair, is the author of "A Long Short War: The Postponed Liberation of Iraq" (Penguin, 2003).
29807  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Chris Poznik on: March 21, 2006, 07:59:36 AM
Interesting idea!!!  I'll mention it to him (our nickname for him is "the tree that walks" btw) the next time I see him over at Rigan's place.  My boy has started taking BJJ there and I run into him semi-regularly.
29808  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: March 20, 2006, 05:27:38 PM
By Rush Limbaugh:

I think the vast differences in compensation between victims of the September 11 casualty and those who die serving our country in Uniform are profound. No one is really talking about it either, because you just don't criticize anything having to do with September 11. Well, I can't let the numbers pass by because it says something really disturbing about the
entitlement mentality of this country. If you lost a family member in the September 11 attack, you're going to get an average of $1,185,000. The range is a minimum guarantee of $250,000, all the way up to $4.7 million.


If you are a surviving family member of an American soldier killed in action, the first check you get is a $6,000 direct death benefit, half of which is taxable.

Next, you get $1,750 for burial costs. If you are the surviving spouse, you get $833 a month until you remarry. And there's a payment of $211 per month for each child under 18. When the child hits 18, those payments come to a screeching halt.

Keep in mind that some of the people who are getting an average of $1.185 million up to $4.7 million are complaining that it's not enough. Their deaths were tragic, but for most, they were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Soldiers put themselves in harms way FOR ALL OF US, and they and their families know the dangers.

We also learned over the weekend that some of the victims from the Oklahoma City bombing have started an organization asking for the same deal that the September 11 families are getting. In addition to that, some of the families of those bombed in the embassies are now asking for compensation as well.

You see where this is going, don't you? Folks, this is part and parcel of over 50 years of entitlement politics in this country. It's just really sad. Every time a pay raise comes up for the military, they usually receive next to nothing of a raise. Now the green machine is in combat in the Middle East while their families have to survive on food stamps and live in low-rent housing. Make sense?

However, our own U.S. Congress voted themselves a raise. Many of you don't know that they only have to be in Congress one time to receive a pension that is more than $15,000 per month. And most are now equal to being millionaires plus. They do not receive Social Security on retirement because they didn't have to pay into the system.
If some of the military people stay in for 20 years and get out as an E-7, they may receive a pension of $1,000 per month, and the very people who placed them in harm's way receives a pension of $15,000 per month.

I would like to see our elected officials pick up a weapon and join ranks before they start cutting out benefits and lowering pay for our sons and daughters who are now fighting.
"When do we finally do something about this?" If this doesn't seem fair to you, it is time to forward this to as many people as you can.
==========================================
How many people CAN YOU send this to?  

How many WILL YOU send this to?

How many WILL write your congressman?
29809  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / FMA Footwork for Context-Based Gunfighting on: March 18, 2006, 11:56:24 PM
Woof Mike:

Your work with SN with his PT Kali and Silat background, I suspect already offers you many clues here.  My work with G. explores this area as well and I look forward to getting together with you in Tulsa.  BTW it now looks like second or third week of August will be when Myke is bringing me out there-- I have some things to tighten up on my end before we can finalize.

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog.

PS:  I did a one day pistol course today where we shot 1200 rounds, including about 250 at night Cool  My accuracy, while still quite mediocre, is distinctly better than it was thanks to my one session with you.  Thanks for the help.
29810  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 17, 2006, 07:10:50 AM
Geopolitical Diary: The Beginning of the End Game

It appears that the United States and Iran are now going to begin public talks on Iraq. The Iranian News Agency reported Thursday that Ali Larijani, secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, told a closed session of the Majlis that Iran had agreed to a request by the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq to negotiate with Washington on Iraq. Also on Thursday, White House spokesman Scott McClellan said the United States is open to holding talks with Iran about Iraq. He emphasized that such talks must be confined to Iraq and not involve nuclear issues.

Barring one tremendous coincidence, the near-simultaneous announcements from Washington and Tehran clearly mean that there have been prior consultations. We long have felt that such back-channel conversations were under way. Indeed, it would be incredible if they weren't. The United States and Iran both have deep interests in Iraq, some of which coincide and some of which collide. The two countries have a history of secret diplomacy dating back to the birth of the Islamic Republic. Clearly, they have been talking and now have decided to make the talks public.

The White House emphasized that nuclear weapons would not be discussed, making it appear that it was Washington that was taking this off the table. The nuclear issue, however, is off the table because it is not the point. Iraq is and always was the key issue between the United States and Iran; nuclear weapons have been an Iranian lever to get Washington to take it more seriously. That has clearly happened.

If there is ever going to be an end game in Iraq, we are now in it. Operation Swarmer, launched Thursday, seemed designed to attack jihadists in the Sunni regions. The key to the U.S.-Sunni conversation has been getting the Sunnis into the political process and, as a result, getting the Sunnis to help liquidate the jihadists. If Swarmer was launched on the basis of Sunni intelligence, and if that intelligence turns out to be accurate, it will be a key event in recent Iraqi history. Those are big "ifs," of course. At the same time, if the Sunnis are joining the political process, then it is time for Iran to negotiate its final price on Iraq, and that appears now to be happening. Taken together, this is not the end, but the beginning of the end game, and success is not guaranteed.

The Iranians want a pro-Tehran government in Iraq. If the Sunnis are in the mix, that is not going to happen. The fallback, and essential position of Iran, is that Iraq should be completely neutral. This will hinge not only on the shape of the Baghdad government, but on certain guarantees concerning the size and armament of the Iraqi military. The last thing Tehran wants is the resurrection of a massive Iraqi military force that could threaten Iran, under a government in which Shiite domination is not permanently guaranteed.

The United States wants to build an Iraqi army to fight the jihadists. That's fine with the Iranians, but in their view that military force must be calibrated so that it is sufficient for internal missions and insufficient to threaten Iran. Whatever the structure of Iraq's new government, no on can guarantee its future. But there can be controls over the types of equipment the Iraqis can acquire. So the United States will want enough for counterinsurgency operations and will happily accept limitations on the military's size so that it cannot threaten Iran.

On the other hand, the United States -- prodded by Saudi Arabia -- does want the force to be large enough to limit Iran's ability to invade and dominate Iraq. Washington wants the balance of power in the region to re-establish itself. At the same time, the United States wants to make certain that the Iraqi government is not simply and unilaterally in the hands of the Shia, and that Sunni and Kurdish interests are protected.

If those things are achieved, then the nuclear issue will be mooted on both sides. But what is easy to write is more difficult to negotiate. Can and will the Sunnis turn on the jihadists? Can there be agreement on the size of the Iraqi military that will satisfy both Iranian concerns and America needs? How can these agreements be enforced over the long haul? Will the Iranians see President George W. Bush's political weakness as too great for credibility? Will the Americans trust that the Iranian negotiators are not setting them up? Endless questions arise.

Whether agreement can be reached is not clear. Only the basic issue is now clear. Nuclear weapons, democracy in Iraq and all the other peripheral issues will now take a backseat to the core issue: The future of Iraq being negotiated by Washington and Tehran, with the Iraqi parties arraying themselves around these discussions.
29811  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs on: March 17, 2006, 06:32:23 AM
FOB McHenry Gets Dogged
Army News Service | Barbara Ospina | March 15, 2006
Kirkuk, Iraq - With a modified ballistic vest, a Screaming Eagle combat patch and a Combat Action Badge, Zeko still may not look like the average Soldier, but he has become a valuable asset to the troops of Forward Operating Base McHenry.

The explosive detection dog has found improvised bombs buried several feet in the hard desert ground.

Zeko has brought new meaning to the phrase ?man?s best friend,? said Bastogne Soldiers of 1st Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division, stationed at FOB McHenry.

?He?s got a good rapport with the Soldiers,? said Staff Sgt. David Silberman, Zeko?s kennel master and partner for nearly two and a half years now.

?Our missions are really broad; we support everything,? Silberman reflected. ?Every day we are learning something different for us to do.?

When it comes to his job, Zeko may be at the top of his game, but Silberman says he trains on a regular basis, just like Soldiers.

Silberman said it takes on average two and a half years to get an explosive dog certified, but it does not end there; each dog must also go through an annual certification. Each dog must have a minimum 95-percent success rate on explosive detection or the dog is decertified.

?Explosive dogs are trained in nine different explosive odors,? Silberman stated confidently, while petting his partner. ?He?s got to find every single one; he can?t miss them.?

Although Zeko is currently tested at 98.7 percent, and trained in desert warfare, Silberman takes it upon himself to keep their team up to the task by training everyday.

Using a newly built training course, Zeko practices many different obstacles.

Zeko warms up, walking through a small jump, followed by stairs and tunnels.

The real workout starts when shouts echo through the air, followed by yelping. Silberman holds Zeko tightly, while a volunteer Soldier wearing a protective sleeve runs. Then, at the right moment, Silberman releases the now vicious dog. Zeko sprints after the man, leaping into the air and locking his jaw on the Soldier?s protected arm.

Attempts to shake him off fail as Zeko just bites harder. Then with a single command from his handler, Zeko releases the Soldier and returns to sit next to Silberman. A few seconds later, Zeko is rewarded with playful hugs and praises.

Not only does this furry four-legged Soldier pull his weight in the fight against improvised explosive devices, he has become very protective of his new Bastogne comrades.

?We get to spend a lot of time with [Soldiers], he?s really close, and really protective of them,? Silberman said. ?When we are taking rounds, he?s watching and really alert of his Soldiers, so he?s got a pretty good rapport with those guys.?
29812  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: March 16, 2006, 03:30:55 PM
Mexico: Too Late for New Oil to Help?
March 15, 2006 22 42  GMT



Summary

Mexican President Vicente Fox recently said a new oil field has been discovered off the coast of southern Veracruz in the Gulf of Mexico. The field, which could hold reserves of up to 10 billion barrels of crude, would significantly increase Mexico's total oil reserves, which currently stand at 46.4 billion barrels. However oil production at this site will take several years for technical reasons alone, not to mention the current legal and financial restrictions that Petroleos Mexicanos faces in developing this and other fields.

Analysis

Mexican President Vicente Fox on March 14 officially announced the discovery of a new offshore oil field in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. The "Deep Coatzacoalcos" oil field, located around 60 miles from the coast of southern Veracruz, could hold 10 billion barrels of crude, which amounts to more than 20 percent of Mexico's current total reserves of 46.4 billion barrels.

This discovery is important in the context of declining proven reserves. Mexico's main oil field, Cantarell, which is located off the coast of Campeche and accounts for nearly 75 percent of the country's daily production of 3.4 million barrels, has reached its production peak this year. Mexico has started developing other fields, but none of them is large enough to substitute for Cantarell. If the reserves in the Deep Coatzacoalcos field turn out to be as large as announced, Mexico could continue being a relatively important player in the oil market (it is currently the fifth-largest producer and ninth-largest exporter) and secure a stable domestic supply for years. However, it will be several years before production begins because of technical, financial and legal restrictions.

Mexico, which once based most of its exports on oil, has been able to transform and diversify its economy in the past two decades. However, the Mexican government continues to depend heavily on oil revenues to finance public expenditures; more than a third of the government's total revenues come from oil. By taking most of the profits away from state oil monopoly Petroleos Mexicanos (Pemex), the government has left Pemex in a state of chronic underinvestment. This has hampered Pemex's ability to explore for new fields, exploit current fields and process and refine the extracted crude.




The Mexican government also has not used oil revenues to finance a tax reform that would help the government rely less on oil profits over the long run. Moreover, Mexico has not taken advantage of the high oil prices during the past couple of years, since it has been unable to increase production. And when Mexico finally starts producing in the currently underdeveloped oil fields, the high prices might not be there anymore.

Pemex officials admit it will take at least eight years to start producing from the Deep Coatzacoalcos field. With the most modern technology, it would take at least five years to be able to start any kind of production using deep-sea deposits such as those in the new field -- and that is without the financial constraints Pemex faces. Currently, production costs are around $4 per barrel at Cantarell and $5 per barrel at the Ku Maloop Zaap field, which is next in line for exploitation. Pemex estimates that production costs on the new deep-sea fields could reach between $11 and $12 per barrel -- before taxes charged by the Mexican government, which in 2005 equaled around 60 percent of the total sales. Additionally, Pemex faces a total debt of $50 billion. This puts significant financial limitations on the exploitation of Deep Coatzacoalcos.

Mexico not only faces technical problems -- it is clear that Pemex does not have the latest technology to minimize development time -- and high production costs, but the government also restricts private and foreign investment, which could be the only way to sensibly exploit its oil deposits. The Mexican Constitution prohibits foreign and private investment, so the government has been forced to resort to limited subcontracting and even joint investments to build refining plants outside the country. This, along with the aforementioned financial and technical restrictions, could mean that Mexico will see its role as a leading oil exporter diminish while the country faces internal bottlenecks that affect its economic competitiveness.

All the candidates running in Mexico's presidential election, which will be held July 2, have named energy as one of their main concerns. Felipe Calderon, from Fox's National Action Party, and Roberto Madrazo, from the previously long-ruling Institutional Revolutionary Party, favor changing the law to allow private investment in exploration. However, the current front-runner, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of the leftist Democratic Revolution Party, has made maintaining the current restrictions one of his campaign tenets. Lopez Obrador has promised heavy investments into Pemex's modernization, but it is not clear how he would get the money without private investment.

Fox's administration decided to concentrate most of Pemex's scarce investment resources into oil exploration. During the past five years, Pemex has invested more than an estimated $6 billion in finding reserves. The discovery of Deep Coatzacoalcos makes it look like some of that investment will pay off. However, while the discovery of the new oil reserves is good news for Mexico, it will not affect global markets in the short or medium term. Moreover, the economic significance of these reserves for the country could be very low if Mexico arrives late again by refusing to change the status quo so it can develop and take advantage of its oil riches. The discovery of the new reserves is a good opportunity to rethink Mexico's long-term oil strategy.
29813  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: March 16, 2006, 04:18:45 AM
http://hotzone.yahoo.com/b/hotzone/blogs2949
Commanding Officer
Posted by Kevin Sites
on Wed, Mar 15 2006, 5:39 PM ET Video Audio Photo Essay


At 29, Army Capt. Chris Nunn commands hundreds of men, millions in equipment ? and a piece of America's foreign policy objective in     Afghanistan.

PAKTIKA PROVINCE, Eastern Afghanistan - Capt. Chris Nunn was bitten by a rattlesnake while enrolled in one of the U.S. military's toughest training programs: the Army's elite Ranger School.


Yet instead of washing out, he sucked it up, and was back within 48 hours, limping through the perilous "mountains" phase of the training. He eventually passed the course to earn the coveted Ranger tab.


Adopted as an infant, Nunn grew up on a cattle ranch in Panhandle, Texas, located, of course, in the Texas panhandle. He graduated from the University of Mississippi with a degree in history and entered the army as an officer through the university's ROTC program. He served in Korea as a member of the 2nd Infantry Division and during the invasion of     Iraq as a member of the 101st Airborne Division.


He is a self-described "quintessential overachiever," a man who doesn't like to fail. His men even nicknamed him "the Hurricane," for those flashes of anger when people aren't measuring up to his standards.

 

Capt. Chris Nunn leads a reconnaissance mission in eastern Afghanistan
 

Now he faces what could be one of the greatest challenges of his life: command of Alpha Company, for the 10th Mountain Division's 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry. Alpha Company currently is posted in the U.S. military's easternmost outpost in Afghanistan, Forward Operating Base Tillman.


I sat down with him in the company's TOC (Tactical Operations Center) to discuss the challenges of commanding hundreds of men, millions of dollars of equipment and a piece of America's foreign policy objective in Central Asia ? all at the age of 29.


KEVIN SITES: 10th Mountain trained very hard before coming here. In fact some people say it was difficult because there was so much time away from home before this deployment. What kind of training were you doing and did it pay off?


CAPT. CHRIS NUNN: We did a lot of shooting. The battalion as a whole shot at least two million rounds. My company did a lot of movement-to-contact training, where you're out actually looking for the enemy. We did a lot of live fire, squad, platoon, company exercises.


We did engagement training, civil affairs stuff, training to meet with tribal elders. [Afghan President Hamid] Karzai's cousin even came over and talked to us. We deployed to Camp Blanding, Florida to do more exercises: situation exercises in reacting to IEDs [improvised explosive devices, or roadside bombs], giving out humanitarian assistance. I think you learn from the successes and failures of previous units that were here and we tailored our training to that.


There's still people that all they want to do is hunt down and kill people and others who understand the insurgent battlefield better. I think for the next 20 years it's going to be a counterinsurgency battlefield.


SITES: Now that you're here, how is the real life mission different from the one you trained for?


NUNN: It's really not all that different. When we showed up here we really knew where we wanted to go. Six months before I came to Afghanistan I was already e-mailing the company commander that was here [from the 82nd Airborne]. I knew when they had contact [hostile action], I knew when they hit an IED, I knew when they got new hot water heaters. We would talk once a week and e-mail several times a week. He sent me a lot of after-action reports, situation reports, etc. It went very smoothly.


SITES: What surprised you most when you first arrived here?


NUNN: Seeing a Dairy Queen at Bag [Bagram Air Force Base-north of Kabul] (laughs). I guess I was really surprised at the amount of improvement made in four years. I haven't been here before, but when I drove through Kabul, there was a used car lot, cell phones everywhere ? all the improvements that have been made that the Afghans took on themselves. Of course as you go further and further out, there's less of that.

"The first four days we were here we had a significant event every day: the IED, the contact, a rocket attack, and then two more IEDs. At that point I was thinking it was going to be a long deployment."
? Capt. Chris Nunn


It wasn't really anything militarily that surprised me. I think the things that are happening here is because the Afghans are tired of war. They got kicked around for 30 years. They want something different. All we're just doing is keeping the bad guys at bay. Let them build their country.


SITES: You were in Iraq with the 101st Airborne, and now you're here in Afghanistan. Can you compare the conflicts both in terms of what's at stake and how they're being played out?


NUNN: From my perspective, in the initial push into Iraq, we were really awed by the gratefulness of the Shiites in the south. That's what I remember from the initial push to topple Saddam. But once that initial push was over, it became just like Afghanistan. Whatever people believe the reasons were for the war ? the search for weapons of mass destruction, or those who thought     President Bush was trying to avenge his dad ? what I remember is this Shiite woman crying and saying 'thank you for toppling Saddam.'

Coming into Afghanistan, it seems to me, from everyone I talk to, they want us here. They want to be recognized as an international country. They don't want to be seen as a safe haven for terrorists. The people that I talk to feel that these guys causing the problems are defaming Islam as well.

There are a lot of similarities but the cultures are different. The Afghans seem more willing to work with us. The impression I had is that the Iraqis looked down their nose at us; they wanted everything right now. Maybe that's just a product of having more infrastructure; they could see more of the world.

I think I prefer this deployment more than Iraq. Maybe because I'm a commander. I just like it better, I like the country better, I like the people better, I'm here with a great unit.

SITES: You're 29 years old and in charge of hundreds of men, millions of dollars of equipment and carrying out a U.S. foreign policy objective. Are there days you feel overwhelmed? How do you keep yourself mentally and physically where you need to be to do this job?

 

Nunn liaises with Afghan counterparts
 
NUNN: This is what I wanted to do my whole life. I love it. I'm Southern Baptist ? preachers from that faith feel like they're called to their profession. I feel like I'm called to do this job. There are days you're frustrated you want to pull out your hair, or scared for your boys because they're in contact [hostile action]. But for me it's the best job I can imagine.

The first contact we had was when one of my platoons encountered an IED. Whoever planted it planted it in a sweet spot, we couldn't get eyes on it, we had to get pretty close to see it. I'm in the TOC [Tactical Operations Center] and we heard over the radio ? the IED just detonated.

I thought, "Oh no, it's day one and I just lost some of my soldiers and one of my platoon sergeants." But 15 to 20 seconds later I heard, "We're all OK, we're all OK."

Then the next day we had an attack on Observation Post 4: small arms fire, RPGs [rocket-propelled grenades], and 107mm rockets. In fact, the first four days we were here we had a significant event every day: the IED, the contact, a rocket attack, and then two more IEDs. At that point I was thinking it was going to be a long deployment.

There was something else. We had an incident where two children were playing with unexploded ordinance. A girl and her brother were tossing back and forth a 40mm grenade, when it exploded. They brought her here and our medics worked on her nonstop, but she died here on the base. She had an abdominal wound and she was bleeding out ? we couldn't get an aircraft here in time. The boy was taken to Bagram and survived.

We've all seen dead people, but seeing that little girl that was tough ? that was a rough one. There was a lot of frustration and a lot of us felt like failures because ? well, we're the U.S. Army and we couldn't do anything. It had a big impact on all of us.

SITES: A big part of your mission is helping to train and stand up Afghan forces. How is that going?

NUNN: They're better than I expected. I didn't think they'd be that far along. They're doing independent patrols ? they've got a lot of heart. They want to be as good as we are and they're grateful for what we can teach them. They want the respect of being professionals. For example, their mortar team had never even fired a mortar, but we trained them up and now they're integrated into the fire plan.

The biggest challenge is the lack of a professional base. They spent the last 20 years fighting as warriors, not as an organized army. They don't have the institutional base that professional armies have. The NCOs [non-commissioned officers] really want that. They get fired up about learning to use a map to navigate. Whenever someone wants to learn and you give them some knowledge, they just want more. That's the case with these guys.

For complex operations I keep them under my control, but they can do independent patrols, they can do cordon searches. I've seen them doing cache [weapons] recovery. When we got into contact a while ago, one of the commanders took his guys into the field and tried to hunt the attackers down, but he didn't tell me what he was doing ? he just went. I applaud his initiative but I couldn't clear the fields of fire, and those are the kinds of mixed successes we're looking at.

SITES: Another part of the mission is to bring in lawless villages like Guyan, where you were the other day meeting with elders and military and police officials as well as handing out humanitarian aid. But when you left, one of your vehicles struck an IED. What does that say about the challenges here?

NUNN: Honestly, I didn't feel it was a slap in the face. I didn't take it personally. With any size population there will always be people for you and people against you, and some people that are just bad. You just have to expect that when you go into these places.

 

Harsh terrain in Afghanistan
 
SITES: You are in command of the most eastern outpost of the U.S. military in Afghanistan. It's an isolated place, in a war in which many people, including soldiers here, feel is forgotten or at least off the radar for most Americans. How do you operate in an environment like that?

NUNN: I look at my job like a doctor looks at his job. It's what I am; it's who I am. I was in the army before 9/11, and it was those heady days of peace when everyone loved everyone and there was no need for an army. We kind of felt forgotten then. But then 9/11 happened and we were needed again.

There's frustration and I guess there's disappointment, because for some reason Afghanistan doesn't seem as important to some as the conflict in Iraq ? and you want the recognition for your soldiers.

I wish that people could see what we're doing ? not just the shooting at bad guys, but also the distribution of humanitarian aid, having tea at endless meetings with elders, or trying to save a six-year-old girl.

If we were in this for the money we'd all quit. And we're not in it for the recognition either, but I wish people could look through my eyes and see my soldiers the same way, and have the pride in them that I do.
29814  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Seminar in Tulsa? on: March 16, 2006, 04:16:50 AM
Myke and I are playing phone tag on this.

I am delighted to know that you (and your crew?) will be there.

BTW, the way you showed me to grip with the support hand allowed me to shoot some really nice groups at a recent Gabe Suarez seminar in LA evil   Thank you.
29815  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: March 14, 2006, 01:55:58 PM
Thugs, Drugs and Coyotes on the U.S.-Mexican Border
In response to testimony that violence along the U.S.-Mexican border is at an all-time high -- and getting worse -- the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee has voted to recommend that the United States increase the number of Border Patrol agents on the job from Texas to California. Even if Congress were to approve the biggest and fastest increase discussed -- as many as 12,000 more agents over two years -- the move is unlikely to stem the wave of humanity and associated violence surging into the United States.

U.S. Border Patrol Chief David Aguilar told the committee that assaults on his agents increased 108 percent between 2004 and 2005, mainly because drug smugglers and "coyotes," those who help illegal immigrants enter the United States for a fee, are more willing than ever to fight agents when confronted, rather than run. The increase in assaults indicates not only that the stakes are getting higher in the smuggling business on both sides of the border, but that a new, more violent group of coyotes is vying for control of the human-smuggling operations in northern Mexico: Central American street gangs known as Mara Salvatruchas, or MS-13.




Meanwhile, violence is raging along the Mexican border -- and in other parts of Mexico -- between rival drug cartels that are competing for control of drug-smuggling operations into the United States as well as for control of the overall illegal drug market within Mexico. In 2005, Mexican President Vicente Fox sent the army to increasingly lawless Nuevo Laredo after two of the last three local police chiefs died at the hands of the cartels, which have started using heavy weapons to fight their wars. Across the Rio Grande in Laredo, Texas, crime rates increased as the fighting spilled over from Mexico. In Arizona, which includes the porous Tucson border sector, meanwhile, federal prosecutors handled 32 cases of kidnapping involving cartel members in 2005, compared to only two cases in 2001.

Although the insecurity along the border has increased concerns in the United States that jihadists and other militants will attempt to enter from Mexico, violence associated with the cartels, the gangs and the coyotes likely will remain the biggest threat. Terrorist infiltration across the Mexican border is possible, but risky. Rather than risk sending a valuable attack team through the violent and unstable border area, jihadists determined to commit terrorist acts in the United States are more likely to enter the country through international airports on valid passports, as did every one of the Sept. 11 hijackers.

Even if Congress were to approve nearly doubling the size of the Border Patrol from its current 11,300 agents, the agency still would be vastly outnumbered. According to the Department of Homeland Security, U.S. agents apprehended 1.1 million people along the border in 2005, although the Border Patrol's catch-and-release policy can force agents to apprehend the same person over and over. Of the total apprehensions, 139,000 of them were criminals, including many from MS-13 and other gangs. For example, of the 2,388 gang members arrested in Operation Community Shield, a two-week law enforcement round-up of illegal immigrants that began Feb. 24, 922 belonged to MS-13 gangs. The criminal element coming over the border has spread throughout the United States, to cities such as Dallas, San Diego, Washington, Miami and Raleigh, N.C. An estimated 500,000 illegal immigrants succeed in making it across the border each year.

Although the vast majority of illegal immigrants continue to be Mexicans and Central Americans lured to the United States by the hope of finding jobs, the new reality on the border, and beyond, is an ever-stronger criminal presence. Congressional debate on immigration reform, which could begin as soon as March 27, will address this new reality -- though fixing the problem will be close to impossible.
29816  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: March 14, 2006, 10:43:53 AM
Soldiers' Angels needs you to adopt a soldier.....(or airman, Marine, etc)!
 
Every year after the holidays we have a shortage of angels and an abundance of soldiers. Here is proof of what your help does for our service members:
 
 
To All That Have Supported Us,
     My name is SGT A. and I am currently deployed to Kuwait and have been receiving packages and letters from many of your volunteers.  I want to take this time to say Thank You from the bottom of my heart.  Your support is unparalleled and means so much to us soldiers in our toughest times.  You have been there through it all with us.  You are in our thoughts and prayers as well as our loved ones.  Your group is what keeps us going through rain, cold nights, hot days and everything in between.  You have been a shining light to help guide many a soldier.  Once again I would like to say Thank you for your unwavering support.  Sincerely, SGT A
 
 
What angels do:
 
1) Send two packages a month. These do not have to be expensive. The key to sending support is that they will know someone cares and they get their name called at mail call, or come home to mail on their bunk. If you can send some toiletries and some snacks each month, that's great. Once you sign up, you will get a mentor who can walk you through customs forms and flat rate packages. It's addictive, actually! You'll find you won't be able to go into a store without remembering Dave, who likes Old Spice aftershave, etcetera!
 
2) Send two letters a week. This seems like a lot but if you sit down to write a quick note to say hi, how are you, and talk a little about things at home, you would be amazed how quickly a letter gets written. Another thing you can do is buy postcards wherever you visit and send one of those each week. Again, it's about getting the names called and letting them know that while they are "over there," those of us "back home" are thinking of them.
 
If you can do this, please go to soldiersangels.org and click on "Adopt a Soldier." You will receive a soldier's name and address within a couple of days, as well as an orientation letter.
 
IT MAKES A BIG DIFFERENCE!
 
We hope everyone who reads this can adopt one soldier!!
29817  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Dos preguntas on: March 12, 2006, 12:31:31 PM
Guau Rainer (y Sniper y todos de Peru):

Bienvenidos aqui.  Se puede encontrar el foro para miembros de la Asociacion en http://dogbrothers.com/dbmaa/

Les veo alli.
Guro Crafty
29818  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Albuquerque stick fighting on: March 12, 2006, 12:06:04 PM
What can I say?  He's like that , , ,
29819  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: March 12, 2006, 08:07:25 AM
Wafa Sultan's website!

http://www.annaqed.com/english.html
29820  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: March 11, 2006, 12:10:28 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

March 11, 2006
The Saturday Profile
For Muslim Who Says Violence Destroys Islam, Violent Threats
By JOHN M. BRODER
LOS ANGELES, March 10 ? Three weeks ago, Dr. Wafa Sultan was a largely unknown Syrian-American psychiatrist living outside Los Angeles, nursing a deep anger and despair about her fellow Muslims.

Today, thanks to an unusually blunt and provocative interview on Al Jazeera television on Feb. 21, she is an international sensation, hailed as a fresh voice of reason by some, and by others as a heretic and infidel who deserves to die.

In the interview, which has been viewed on the Internet more than a million times and has reached the e-mail of hundreds of thousands around the world, Dr. Sultan bitterly criticized the Muslim clerics, holy warriors and political leaders who she believes have distorted the teachings of Muhammad and the Koran for 14 centuries.

She said the world's Muslims, whom she compares unfavorably with the Jews, have descended into a vortex of self-pity and violence.

Dr. Sultan said the world was not witnessing a clash of religions or cultures, but a battle between modernity and barbarism, a battle that the forces of violent, reactionary Islam are destined to lose.

In response, clerics throughout the Muslim world have condemned her, and her telephone answering machine has filled with dark threats. But Islamic reformers have praised her for saying out loud, in Arabic and on the most widely seen television network in the Arab world, what few Muslims dare to say even in private.

"I believe our people are hostages to our own beliefs and teachings," she said in an interview this week in her home in a Los Angeles suburb.

Dr. Sultan, who is 47, wears a prim sweater and skirt, with fleece-lined slippers and heavy stockings. Her eyes and hair are jet black and her modest manner belies her intense words: "Knowledge has released me from this backward thinking. Somebody has to help free the Muslim people from these wrong beliefs."

Perhaps her most provocative words on Al Jazeera were those comparing how the Jews and Muslims have reacted to adversity. Speaking of the Holocaust, she said, "The Jews have come from the tragedy and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror; with their work, not with their crying and yelling."

She went on, "We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people."

She concluded, "Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them."

Her views caught the ear of the American Jewish Congress, which has invited her to speak in May at a conference in Israel. "We have been discussing with her the importance of her message and trying to devise the right venue for her to address Jewish leaders," said Neil B. Goldstein, executive director of the organization.

She is probably more welcome in Tel Aviv than she would be in Damascus. Shortly after the broadcast, clerics in Syria denounced her as an infidel. One said she had done Islam more damage than the Danish cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad, a wire service reported.


DR. SULTAN is "working on a book that ? if it is published ? it's going to turn the Islamic world upside down."

"I have reached the point that doesn't allow any U-turn. I have no choice. I am questioning every single teaching of our holy book."

The working title is, "The Escaped Prisoner: When God Is a Monster."

Dr. Sultan grew up in a large traditional Muslim family in Banias, Syria, a small city on the Mediterranean about a two-hour drive north of Beirut. Her father was a grain trader and a devout Muslim, and she followed the faith's strictures into adulthood.

But, she said, her life changed in 1979 when she was a medical student at the University of Aleppo, in northern Syria. At that time, the radical Muslim Brotherhood was using terrorism to try to undermine the government of President Hafez al-Assad. Gunmen of the Muslim Brotherhood burst into a classroom at the university and killed her professor as she watched, she said.

"They shot hundreds of bullets into him, shouting, 'God is great!' " she said. "At that point, I lost my trust in their god and began to question all our teachings. It was the turning point of my life, and it has led me to this present point. I had to leave. I had to look for another god."

She and her husband, who now goes by the Americanized name of David, laid plans to leave for the United States. Their visas finally came in 1989, and the Sultans and their two children (they have since had a third) settled in with friends in Cerritos, Calif., a prosperous bedroom community on the edge of Los Angeles County.

After a succession of jobs and struggles with language, Dr. Sultan has completed her American medical licensing, with the exception of a hospital residency program, which she hopes to do within a year. David operates an automotive-smog-check station. They bought a home in the Los Angeles area and put their children through local public schools. All are now American citizens.


BUT even as she settled into a comfortable middle-class American life, Dr. Sultan's anger burned within. She took to writing, first for herself, then for an Islamic reform Web site called Annaqed (The Critic), run by a Syrian expatriate in Phoenix.

An angry essay on that site by Dr. Sultan about the Muslim Brotherhood caught the attention of Al Jazeera, which invited her to debate an Algerian cleric on the air last July.

In the debate, she questioned the religious teachings that prompt young people to commit suicide in the name of God. "Why does a young Muslim man, in the prime of life, with a full life ahead, go and blow himself up?" she asked. "In our countries, religion is the sole source of education and is the only spring from which that terrorist drank until his thirst was quenched."

Her remarks set off debates around the globe and her name began appearing in Arabic newspapers and Web sites. But her fame grew exponentially when she appeared on Al Jazeera again on Feb. 21, an appearance that was translated and widely distributed by the Middle East Media Research Institute, known as Memri.

Memri said the clip of her February appearance had been viewed more than a million times.

"The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions or a clash of civilizations," Dr. Sultan said. "It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality."

She said she no longer practiced Islam. "I am a secular human being," she said.

The other guest on the program, identified as an Egyptian professor of religious studies, Dr. Ibrahim al-Khouli, asked, "Are you a heretic?" He then said there was no point in rebuking or debating her, because she had blasphemed against Islam, the Prophet Muhammad and the Koran.

Dr. Sultan said she took those words as a formal fatwa, a religious condemnation. Since then, she said, she has received numerous death threats on her answering machine and by e-mail.

One message said: "Oh, you are still alive? Wait and see." She received an e-mail message the other day, in Arabic, that said, "If someone were to kill you, it would be me."

Dr. Sultan said her mother, who still lives in Syria, is afraid to contact her directly, speaking only through a sister who lives in Qatar. She said she worried more about the safety of family members here and in Syria than she did for her own.

"I have no fear," she said. "I believe in my message. It is like a million-mile journey, and I believe I have walked the first and hardest 10 miles."
29821  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Enlaces de interes on: March 10, 2006, 08:44:07 AM
Este hilo es para compartir las direcciones de enlaces que puedan ser de interes.  Si alguien quier comentar sobre los contenidos, favor de comenzar un hilo dedicado al tema.

http://usacac.leavenworth.army.mil/C...nish/index.asp
29822  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 09, 2006, 07:43:57 AM
The United States and Iran: Intelligence Wars
March 08, 2006 23 59  GMT



By Fred Burton

There has been a clear uptick in tensions between the United States and Iran recently. The most obvious aspect of this -- but the least interesting, in our view -- has been the escalation of rhetoric concerning Iran's nuclear program. Much more intriguing, from an intelligence perspective, is a series of lower-level events -- including the continuation of a spate of bombings in Khuzestan province, some creative blame-throwing by Iranian leaders over those bombings and over the recent explosion at the Golden Mosque in As Samarra, and the creation of a new Iran office at the U.S. State Department that will place special emphasis on a democratic transition in Tehran.

The public rhetoric is only one part of a much larger game that is always being played, and in which much of the action occurs in the shadows. It long has been our view that the nuclear program is not an end in itself for Iran; if Tehran really wanted to develop nuclear weapons, it would do so with utter secrecy. Rather, it is a mechanism that can be used as political leverage as Tehran pursues other goals. Like North Korea, Iran has found discussion of its nuclear program useful for cranking up or turning down tensions with West, and, in this case, for managing the way it is perceived within the Muslim world. To the extent that the matter is publicly discussed, the nuclear issue is basically a sideshow.

But Iran, like all nation-states, has other tools as well -- and its intelligence apparatus is an important one. Whether friends or enemies, states are constantly collecting intelligence against each other. Given certain geopolitical realities -- including the situation in Baghdad, where Iranian influence is strong but certainly not as strong as Tehran has dreamed it might become, and Iran's support for Hezbollah -- there is every reason to believe at this juncture that intelligence collection is being stepped up on both sides. What is intriguing about Tehran's reactions to the mosque bombing in Iraq, the attacks in Khuzestan and other events is that its statements on these events convey the mindset of the regime -- both its fears and what it sees as its options -- more clearly than the highly public and carefully orchestrated exchanges over the nuclear program.

In short, it appears the stage is being set on the tactical side for a covert intelligence war. If history serves as any guide, the implications of such a shift could be far-reaching: Following the 1979 revolution, Iran engaged in an assassination campaign that targeted Iranian dissidents around the world as well as Western and Jewish diplomats and businessmen, sometimes in retaliation for what it viewed as strikes against Iranian interests by Western intelligence agents. Certainly the rules of the game have changed significantly for the post-9/11 world, but a covert campaign, particularly of the sort that has been successful in the past, well could remain a viable option if an embattled Tehran feels the need to start pushing back at the West.

A History of Covert Campaigns

Western intelligence agencies first became aware of Tehran's covert campaign against its enemies soon after the revolution. The first targets were Iranian monarchists in exile, who were trying to foment a counterrevolution in Iran. Later, after many of these opponents had been eliminated and the threat brought under control, the Ministry of Information and Security (MOIS) shifted its sights to target exiled dissidents and other opponents of the regime. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, influential leaders of these groups were targeted and assassinated in a sophisticated campaign that spanned the globe.

It is interesting to note the tactics that were used in these strikes. Although Hezbollah pioneered the use of suicide bombings during the 1980s, and certainly was acting for Iran's interests at that time, there was a very different signature to MOIS assassinations. These frequently employed stealth and deception to get the assassins within close range of their targets -- close enough to kill them with pistols or knives, often in the target's home. Though many Iranian agents were caught in time, most escaped serious consequences. Meanwhile, dozens of the ayatollahs' political opponents were killed or injured in France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and other places.

Iranian agents also engaged in more overt attacks, including kidnappings, highly public shootings and grenade attacks in public places, and bombings. Hezbollah was quite active on this front; notable actions included the abductions of CIA station chief William F. Buckley in 1984 and U.S. Marine Lt. Col. William R. Higgins in 1988 (both men died in captivity) and the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. That strike was in retaliation for the death of a Hezbollah leader, Abbas Musawi, who was killed by Israeli forces in an ambush.

Another significant action, never publicly linked to the Iranians, was a well-planned strike in 1995 against U.S. consulate employees in Karachi, Pakistan. A van shuttling the employees to the consulate was ambushed and blockaded by three vehicles: a "blocking car" that cut the van off in traffic, another that boxed it in from behind, and a command-and-control vehicle from which observers never emerged. Gunmen from the first two cars slowly and methodically paced the sides of the consulate van, taking careful aim at the passengers before opening fire with their assault rifles. Two consulate employees were killed, and a third was wounded. It is believed that the MOIS staged the Karachi attack in response to the killing of an Iranian agent, for which the United States was blamed.

Covert campaigns of this sort are an important tool for a country like Iran, which has a sophisticated and highly disciplined intelligence service but which could not afford to risk an overwhelming military strike by the United States. Kidnappings and assassinations, carried out with sufficient deniability, have proved an effective way of eliminating enemies and leveraging the country's geopolitical position without incurring unacceptable risk.

Intelligence Tactics

This history of operations has had significant implications for intelligence missions on both sides of the fence.

For the United States, intelligence efforts would include maintaining databases on every known Iranian diplomat around the world, seeking to identify which ones are also MOIS agents. These files would be continually updated with information about the officials' personal lives, travel patterns and meeting partners. The nuclear program and potential links between Iran and militant groups in other countries also would be areas of focus. The United States could expect assistance with collections from Israel's Mossad, which has always had a robust collection operation on Iran, and from friendly Arab services such as the Jordanians and Egyptians.

Technical means of collection also would be brought to bear: satellites, unmanned aerial vehicles and communication intercepts. All U.S. national assets, including signals intelligence (sigint), imagery intelligence (imint) and human intelligence sources (humint), would be used to correlate information flowing in, in order to form as complete a picture as possible of what the Iranians are doing and what they are likely to do next.

Given its connections to militant groups like Hezbollah, Iran has shaped its collection efforts in the past toward gathering information on potential targets and planning possible retaliatory attacks. In today's setting, collections likely would be conducted by MOIS as well as by Hezbollah agents and Iranian proxies active in Iraq. If strikes were to be carried out, they likely would consist of easily deniable one-off hits and possibly attacks against the assets of governments allied with Washington or American proxies in the region. Strikes against U.S. and British troops in Iraq also would be a possibility. Target selection would be tied to what types of attacks would send the most appropriate signal to the West. It would be imperative that Iran's involvement in the action was not immediately obvious, but could be revealed to or discovered by Western intelligence after the fact.

The Game Today

All of which brings us back to recent developments and what it is that Iran seems to be thinking.

First, there was the Feb. 22 bombing of the Golden Mosque in As Samarra, a highly significant Shiite shrine. One of the interesting things about the attack was that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei very quickly, and very publicly, blamed the United States and Israel for the bombing, while urging Iraqi Shia not to retaliate against their Sunni countrymen. The statement was attention-getting, considering the degree to which the United States and Iran were cooperating on Iraqi matters prior to the Iraqi elections in December 2005. Khamenei clearly was reiterating to Washington something that has been said before: Iran, with its influence over the Shiite majority, has the means to create considerable problems for the United States in Iraq if that should become necessary. The fact that others have said this as well -- notably senior diplomat and former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani -- signals the level of unease that Tehran has in its dealings with Washington.

Iran also has continued to blame "foreigners" for a continuing string of bombings in Khuzestan province, in the oil-producing southwestern region just across the Shatt al Arab from Iraq. The attacks began last summer, around the time of Iran's presidential elections, and ethnic Arab separatists -- the majority group in the province -- have claimed responsibility for some of the bombings. Given Khuzestan's economic significance to Iran, Tehran is particularly sensitive to any instability there. And at least partly because of Khuzestan's proximity to the part of Iraq occupied by British forces, Tehran suspects that dissidents in the province are receiving covert support from MI6 -- which, from an intelligence perspective, is virtually synonymous with the CIA.






In recent weeks, Tehran has shown itself capable of some truly spectacular contortions in its claims about the activities of Western intelligence units. Among other statements, Iran's interior minister recently claimed that Tehran had "specific intelligence" proving that U.S. agents have infiltrated al Qaeda and now are ordering terrorist attacks as part of their attempts to prove their bona fides. During the same speech, the minister -- Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, who had a long career with Iran's secret police and intelligence agencies -- said that large amounts of explosives found in one of Khuzestan's cities indicated that "there was an extensive plan to deal a blow to the Islamic Republic." Though he did not supply details, the statement itself would seem to indicate that Tehran fears -- or wants to generate fears of -- an escalation in what has been a relatively low-level bombing campaign up to this point.

Iranian media also have carried several claims during the past year that Western agents have been caught spying inside Iran, that U.S. reconnaissance unmanned aerial vehicles and manned aircraft have overflown its airspace, and even that the British have erected towers on the Fao Peninsula to collect sigint from Khuzestan province.

The claims, or at least the fears behind them, are not illogical. Certainly, Tehran is not deriving any comfort from the fact that the U.S. State Department is now creating an Office of Iran Affairs and publicly has stated that one of its purposes will be to promote a democratic transition in Tehran. Up to this point, the State Department has treated Iran as part of a larger bloc of Persian Gulf states; there are only a small number -- less than a dozen -- countries that have their own regional "office" in this sense. The move reflects the importance the Bush administration is placing on Iran as a long-term priority. Or, from Tehran's viewpoint, Washington is stepping up the pressure as well.

With this in mind, it is noteworthy that there have been reports of more executions in Iran of late. According to Amnesty International, Tehran carried out 29 executions in January and February -- nearly one-third of the total (94) in the entirety of 2005. By itself, of course, this statistic means little; Amnesty's reporting could be wrong, or the rate of executions might drop off later in the year, and so forth. And, of course, executions in Iran can be carried out for a wide variety of crimes, and the number of political dissidents among the total is not known.

Nonetheless, this is an indicator worth monitoring. As history has shown, political dissidents are among the first to be targeted when the Iranian regime feels threatened. That is no accident, as it is members of dissident groups who are most likely in Tehran's eyes to be working with foreign intelligence agents seeking to destabilize the regime.

Should Iran's true level of tensions with the West continue to escalate, it is possible that Tehran might return to tactics it has used successfully in the past to safeguard its interests. The movement, then, would not come in the public sphere of nuclear discussions and rhetoric, but in other, much quieter ways around the globe.
29823  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / looking for people to train with in Honolulu on: March 09, 2006, 07:13:05 AM
I've just emailed Dogzilla about this thread.
29824  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: March 08, 2006, 09:44:40 AM
A Call to the Muslims of the World
from a Group of Freethinkers and
Humanists of Muslim Origin


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

www.annaqed.com
Dear Friends,

The tragic incidents of September 11 have shocked the world. It is unthinkable that anyone could be so full of hate as to commit such heinous acts and kill so many innocent people. We people of Muslim origin are as much shaken as the rest of the world and yet we find ourselves looked upon with suspicion and distrust by our neighbours and fellow citizens. We want to cry out and tell the world that we are not terrorists, and that those who perpetrate such despicable acts are murderers and not part of us. But, in reality, because of our Muslim origins we just cannot erase the "stigma of Islamic Terrorism" from our identity!

What most Muslims will say:

"Islam would never support the killing of innocent people. Allah of the Holy Qur'an never advocated killings. This is all the work of a few misguided individuals at the fringes of society. The real Islam is sanctified from violence. We denounce all violence. Islam means peace. Islam means tolerance."

What knowledgeable Muslims should say:

That is what most Muslims think, but is it true? Does Islam really preach peace, tolerance and non-violence? The Muslims who perpetrate these crimes think differently. They believe that what they do is Jihad (holy war). They say that killing unbelievers is mandatory for every Muslim. They do not kill because they wish to break the laws of Islam but because they think this is what true Muslims should do. Those who blow-up their own bodies to kill more innocent people do so because they think they will be rewarded in Paradise. They hope to be blessed by Allah, eat celestial food, drink pure wine and enjoy the company of divine consorts. Are they completely misguided? Where did they get this distorted idea? How did they come to believe that killing innocent people pleases God? Or is it that we are misguided? Does really Islam preach violence? Does it call upon its believers to kill non-believers? We denounce those who commit acts of violence and call them extremists. But are they really extremists or are they following what the holy book, the Qur'an tells them to do? What does the Qur'an teach? Have we read the Qur'an? Do we know what kind of teachings are there? Let us go through some of them and take a closer look at what Allah says.

What the Qur'an Teaches Us:

We have used the most widely available English text of the Qur'an and readers are welcome to verify our quotes from the holy book. Please have an open mind and read through these verses again and again. The following quotes are taken from the most trusted Yusufali's translation of the Qur'an.

The Qur'an tells us: "not to make friendship with Jews and Christians" (5:51), "kill the disbelievers wherever we find them" (2:191), "murder them and treat them harshly" (9:123), "fight and slay the Pagans, seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem" (9:5). The Qur'an demands that we fight the unbelievers, and promises "If there are twenty amongst you, you will vanquish two hundred: if a hundred, you will vanquish a thousand of them" (8:65).

Allah and his messenger want us to fight the Christians and the Jews "until they pay the Jizya [a penalty tax for the non-Muslims living under Islamic rules] with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued" (9:29). Allah and his messenger announce that it is acceptable to go back on our promises (treaties) and obligations with Pagans and make war on them whenever we find ourselves strong enough to do so (9:3). Our God tells us to "fight the unbelievers" and "He will punish them by our hands, cover them with shame and help us (to victory) over them" (9:14).

The Qur'an takes away the freedom of belief from all humanity and relegates those who disbelieve in Islam to hell (5:10), calls them najis (filthy, untouchable, impure) (9:28), and orders its followers to fight the unbelievers until no other religion except Islam is left (2:193). It says that the "non-believers will go to hell and will drink boiling water" (14:17). It asks the Muslims to "slay or crucify or cut the hands and feet of the unbelievers, that they be expelled from the land with disgrace and that they shall have a great punishment in world hereafter" (5:34). And tells us that "for them (the unbelievers) garments of fire shall be cut and there shall be poured over their heads boiling water whereby whatever is in their bowels and skin shall be dissolved and they will be punished with hooked iron rods" (22:19-22) and that they not only will have "disgrace in this life, but on the Day of Judgment He shall make them taste the Penalty of burning (Fire)" (22:9). The Qur'an says that "those who invoke a god other than Allah not only should meet punishment in this world but the Penalty on the Day of Judgment will be doubled to them, and they will dwell therein in ignominy" (25:68). For those who "believe not in Allah and His Messenger, He has prepared, for those who reject Allah, a Blazing Fire!" (48:13). Although we are asked to be compassionate amongst each other, we have to be "harsh with unbelievers", our Christian, Jewish and Atheist neighbours and colleagues (48:29). As for him who does not believe in Islam, the Prophet announces with a "stern command": "Seize ye him, and bind ye him, And burn ye him in the Blazing Fire. Further, make him march in a chain, whereof the length is seventy cubits! This was he that would not believe in Allah Most High. And would not encourage the feeding of the indigent! So no friend hath he here this Day. Nor hath he any food except the corruption from the washing of wounds, Which none do eat but those in sin." (69:30-37) The Qur'an prohibits a Muslim from befriending a non-believer even if that non-believer is the father or the brother of that Muslim (9:23), (3:28). Our holy book asks us to be disobedient towards the disbelievers and their governments and strive against the unbelievers with great endeavour" (25:52) and be stern with them because they belong to Hell (66:9). The holy Prophet prescribes fighting for us and tells us that "it is good for us even if we dislike it" (2:216). Then he advises us to "strike off the heads of the disbelievers"; and after making a "wide slaughter among them, carefully tie up the remaining captives" (47:4). Our God has promised to "instill terror into the hearts of the unbelievers" and has ordered us to "smite above their necks and smite all their finger-tips off them" (8:12). He also assures us that when we kill in his name "it is not us who slay them but Allah, in order that He might test the Believers by a gracious trial from Himself" (8:17). He orders us "to strike terror into the hearts of the enemies" (8:60). He has made the Jihad mandatory and warns us that "Unless we go forth, (for Jihad) He will punish us with a grievous penalty, and put others in our place" (9:39). Allah speaks to our Holy Prophet and says "O Prophet! strive hard against the unbelievers and the hypocrites, and be stern against them. Their abode is Hell - an evil refuge indeed" (9:73).

He promises us that in the fight for His cause whether we slay or are slain we return to the garden of Paradise (9:111). In Paradise he will "wed us with Houris (celestial virgins) pure beautiful ones" (56:54), and unite us with large-eyed beautiful ones while we recline on our thrones set in lines (56:20). There we are promised to eat and drink pleasantly for what we did (56:19). He also promises "boys like hidden pearls" (56:24) and "youth never altering in age like scattered pearls" (for those who have paedophiliac inclinations) (76:19). As you see, Allah has promised all sorts or rewards, gluttony and unlimited sex to Muslim men who kill unbelievers in his name. We will be admitted to Paradise where we shall find "goodly things, beautiful ones, pure ones confined to the pavilions that man has not touched them before nor jinni" (56:67-71). In the West we enjoy freedom of belief but we are not supposed to give such freedom to anyone else because it is written "If anyone desires a religion other than Islam (submission to Allah), never will it be accepted of him; and in the Hereafter He will be in the ranks of those who have lost (All spiritual good) (3:85). And He orders us to fight them on until there is no more tumult and faith in Allah is practiced everywhere (8:39).

As for women the book of Allah says that they are inferior to men and their husbands have the right to scourge them if they are found disobedient (4:34). It advises to "take a green branch and beat your wife", because a green branch is more flexible and hurts more. (38:44). It teaches that women will go to hell if they are disobedient to their husbands (66:10). It maintains that men have an advantage over the women (2:228). It not only denies the women's equal right to their inheritance (4:11-12), it also regards them as imbeciles and decrees that their witness is not admissible in the courts of law (2:282). This means that a woman who is raped cannot accuse her rapist unless she can produce a male witness. Our Holy Prophet allows us to marry up to four wives and he licensed us to sleep with our slave maids and as many 'captive' women as we may have (4:3) even if those women are already married. He himself did just that. This is why anytime a Muslim army subdues another nation, they call them kafir and allow themselves to rape their women. Pakistani soldiers allegedly raped up to 250,000 Bengali women in 1971 after they massacred 3,000,000 unarmed civilians when their religious leader decreed that Bangladeshis are un-Islamic. This is why the prison guards in Islamic regime of Iran rape the women that in their opinion are apostates prior to killing them, as they believe a virgin will not go to Hell.

Dear fellow Muslims:

Is this the Islam you believe in? Is this your Most Merciful, Most Compassionate Allah whom you worship daily? Could Allah incite you to kill other peoples? Please understand that there is no terrorist gene - but there could be a terrorist mindset. That mindset finds its most fertile ground in the tenets of Islam. Denying it, and presenting Islam to the lay public as a religion of peace similar to Buddhism, is to suppress the truth. The history of Islam between the 7th and 14th centuries is riddled with violence, fratricide and wars of aggression, starting right from the death of the Prophet and during the so-called 'pure' or orthodox caliphate. And Muhammad himself hoisted the standard of killing, looting, massacres and bloodshed. How can we deny the entire history? The behaviour of our Holy Prophet as recorded in authentic Islamic sources is quite questionable from a modern viewpoint. The Prophet was a charismatic man but he had few virtues. Imitating him in all aspects of life (following the Sunnah) is both impossible and dangerous in the 21st century. Why are we so helplessly in denial over this simple issue?

When the Prophet was in Mecca and he was still not powerful enough he called for tolerance. He said "To you be your religion, and to me my religion" (109:6). This famous quote is often misused to prove that the general principle of Qur'an is tolerance. He advised his follower to speak good to their enemies (2: 83), exhorted them to be patient (20:103) and said that "there is no compulsion in religion" (2:256). But that all changed drastically when he came to power. Then killing and slaying unbelievers with harshness and without mercy was justified in innumerable verses. The verses quoted to prove Islam's tolerance ignore many other verses that bear no trace of tolerance or forgiveness. Where is tolerance in this well-known verse "Alarzu Lillah, Walhukmu Lillah." (The Earth belongs to Allah and thus only Allah's rule should prevail all over the earth.).

Is it normal that a book revealed by God should have so many serious contradictions? The Prophet himself set the example of unleashing violence by invading the Jewish settlements, breaking treaties he had signed with them and banishing some of them after confiscating their belongings, massacring others and taking their wives and children as slaves. He inspected the youngsters and massacred all those who had pubic hair along with the men. Those who were younger he kept as slaves. He distributed the women captured in his raids among his soldiers keeping the prettiest for himself (33:50). He made sexual advances on Safiyah, a Jewish girl on the same day he captured her town Kheibar and killed her father, her husband and many of her relatives. Reyhana was another Jewish girl of Bani Quriza whom he used as a sex slave after killing all her male relatives. In the last ten years of his life he accumulated two scores of wives, concubines and sex slaves including the 9 year old Ayesha. These are not stories but records from authentic Islamic history and the Hadiths. It can be argued that this kind of behaviour was not unknown or unusual for the conquerors and leaders of the mediaeval world but these are not the activities befitting of a peaceful saint and certainly not someone who claimed to be the Mercy of God for all creation. There were known assassinations of adversaries during the Prophet's time, which he had knowledge of and had supported. Among them there was a 120 year old man, Abu 'Afak whose only crime was to compose a lyric satirical of the Prophet. (by Ibn Sa'd Kitab al Tabaqat al Kabir, Volume 2, page 32) Then when a poetess, a mother of 5 small children 'Asma' Bint Marwan wrote a poetry cursing the Arabs for letting Muhammad assassinate an old man, our Holy Prophet ordered her to be assassinated too in the middle of the night while her youngest child was suckling from her breast. (Sirat Rasul Allah (A. Guillaume's translation "The Life of Muhammad") page 675, 676).

The Prophet did develop a 'Robin Hood' image that justified raiding merchant caravans attacking cities and towns, killing people and looting their belongings in the name of social justice. Usama Bin Laden is also trying to create the same image. But Robin Hood didn't claim to be a prophet or a pacifist nor did he care for apologist arguments. He did not massacre innocent people indiscriminately nor did he profit by reducing free people to slaves and then trading them.

With the known and documented violent legacy of Islam, how can we suddenly rediscover it as a religion of peace in the free world in the 21st century? Isn't this the perpetuation of a lie by a few ambitious leaders in order to gain political control of the huge and ignorant Muslim population? They are creating a polished version of Islam by completely ignoring history. They are propagating the same old dogma for simple believing people in a crisp new modern package. Their aim: to gain political power in today's high-tension world. They want to use the confrontational power of the original Islam to catalyse new conflicts and control new circles of power.

Dear conscientious Muslims, please question yourselves. Isn't this compulsive following of a man who lived 1400 years ago leading us to doom in a changing world? Do the followers of any other religion follow one man in such an all-encompassing way? Who are we deceiving, them or ourselves? Dear brothers and sisters, see how our Umma (people) has sunk into poverty and how it lags behind the rest of the world. Isn't it because we are following a religion that is outdated and impractical? In this crucial moment of history, when a great catastrophe has befallen us and a much bigger one is lying ahead, should not we wake up from our 1400 years of slumber and see where things have gone wrong?

Hatred has filled the air and the world is bracing itself for its doomsday. Should we not ask ourselves whether we have contributed, wittingly or unwittingly, to this tragedy and whether we can stop the great disaster from happening?

Unfortunately the answer to the first question is yes. Yes we have contributed to the rise of fundamentalism by merely claiming Islam is a religion of peace, by simply being a Muslim and by saying our shahada (testimony that Allah is the only God and Muhammad is his messenger). By our shahada we have recognized Muhammad as a true messenger of God and his book as the words of God. But as you saw above those words are anything but from God. They call for killing, they are prescriptions for hate and they foment intolerance. And when the ignorant among us read those hate-laden verses, they act on them and the result is the infamous September 11, human bombs in Israel, massacres in East Timor and Bangladesh, kidnappings and killings in the Philippines, slavery in the Sudan, honour killings in Pakistan and Jordan, torture in Iran, stoning and maiming in Afghanistan and Iran, violence in Algeria, terrorism in Palestine and misery and death in every Islamic country. We are responsible because we endorse Islam and hail it as a religion of God. And we are as guilty as those who put into practice what the Qur'an preaches - and ironically we are the main victims too. If we are not terrorists, if we love peace, if we cried with the rest of the word for what happened in New York, then why are we supporting the Qur'an that preaches killing, that advocates holy war, that calls for the murder of non-Muslims? It is not the extremists who have misunderstood Islam. They do literally what the Qur'an asks them to do. It is we who misunderstand Islam. We are the ones who are confused. We are the ones who wrongly assume that Islam is the religion of peace. Islam is not a religion of peace. In its so-called "pure" form it can very well be interpreted as a doctrine of hate. Terrorists are doing just that and we the intellectual apologists of Islam are justifying it. We can stop this madness. Yes, we can avert the disaster that is hovering over our heads. Yes, we can denounce the doctrines that promote hate. Yes, we can embrace the rest of humanity with love. Yes, we can become part of a united world, members of one human family, flowers of one garden. We can dump the claim of infallibility of our Book, and the questionable legacy of our Prophet.

Dear friends, there is no time to waste. Let us put an end to this lie. Let us not fool ourselves. Islam is not a religion of peace, of tolerance, of equality or of unity of humankind. Let us read the Qur'an. Let us face the truth even if it is painful. As long as we keep this lie alive, as long as we hide our head in the sands of Arabia we are feeding terrorism. As long as you and I keep calling Qur'an the unchangeable book of God, we cannot blame those who follow the teachings therein. As long as we pay our Khums and Zakat our money goes to promote Islamic expansionism and that means terrorism, Jihad and war. Islam divides the world in two. Darul Harb (land of war) and Darul Islam (land of Islam). Darul Harb is the land of the infidels, Muslims are required to infiltrate those lands, proselytize and procreate until their numbers increase and then start the war and fight and kill the people and impose the religion of Islam on them and convert that land into Darul Islam. In all fairness we denounce this betrayal. This is abuse of the trust. How can we make war in the countries that have sheltered us? How can we kill those who have befriended us? Yet willingly or unwillingly we have become pawns in this Islamic Imperialism. Let us see what great Islamic scholars have had to say in this respect.

Dr. M. Khan the translator of Sahih Bukhari and the Qur'an into English wrote: "Allah revealed in Sura Bara'at (Repentance, IX) the order to discard (all) obligations (covenants, etc), and commanded the Muslims to fight against all the Pagans as well as against the people of the Scriptures (Jews and Christians) if they do not embrace Islam, till they pay the Jizia (a tax levied on the Jews and Christians) with willing submission and feel themselves subdued (as it is revealed in 9:29). So the Muslims were not permitted to abandon "the fighting" against them (Pagans, Jews and Christians) and to reconcile with them and to suspend hostilities against them for an unlimited period while they are strong and have the ability to fight against them. So at first "the fighting" was forbidden, then it was permitted, and after that it was made obligatory" [Introduction to English translation of Sahih Bukhari, p.xxiv.]

Dr. Sobhy as-Saleh, a contemporary Islamic academician quoted Imam Suyuti the author of Itqan Fi 'Ulum al- Qur'an who wrote: "The command to fight the infidels was delayed until the Muslims become strong, but when they were weak they were commanded to endure and be patient". [ Sobhy as_Saleh, Mabaheth Fi 'Ulum al- Qur'an, Dar al-'Ilm Lel-Malayeen, Beirut, 1983, p. 269.]

Dr. Sobhy, in a footnote, commends the opinion of a scholar named Zarkashi who said: "Allah the most high and wise revealed to Mohammad in his weak condition what suited the situation, because of his mercy to him and his followers. For if He gave them the command to fight while they were weak it would have been embarrassing and most difficult, but when the most high made Islam victorious He commanded him with what suited the situation, that is asking the people of the Book to become Muslims or to pay the levied tax, and the infidels to become Muslims or face death. These two options, to fight or to have peace return according to the strength or the weakness of the Muslims." [ibid p. 270]

Other Islamic scholars (Ibn Hazm al-Andalusi, Ga'far ar-Razi, Rabi' Ibn 'Ons, 'Abil-'Aliyah, Abd ar-Rahman Ibn Zayd Ibn 'Aslam, etc.) agree that the verse "Slay the idolaters wherever you find them" (9:5) cancelled those few earlier verses that called for tolerance in the Qur'an and were revealed when Islam was weak. Can you still say that Islam is the religion of peace?

We propose a solution.

We know too well that it is not easy to denounce our faith because it means denouncing a part of ourselves. We are a group of freethinkers and humanists with Islamic roots. Discovering the truth and leaving the religion of our fathers and forefathers was a painful experience. But after learning what Islam stands for we had no choice but to leave it. After becoming familiar with the Qur'an the choice became clear: It is either Islam or humanity. If Islam thrives, then humanity will die. We decided to side with humanity. Culturally we are still Muslims but we no longer believe in Islam as the true religion of God. We are humanists. We love humanity. We work for the unity of humankind. We work for equality between men and women. We strive for the secularization of Islamic countries, for democracy and freedom of thought, belief and expression. We decided to live no longer in self-deception but to embrace humanity, and to enter into the new millennium hand in hand with people of other cultures and beliefs in amity and in peace.

We denounce the violence that is eulogized in the Qur'an as holy war (Jihad). We condemn killing in the name of God. We believe in the sanctity of human life, not in the inviolability of beliefs and religions. We invite you to join us and the rest of humanity and become part of the family of humankind - in love, camaraderie and peace.

End

www.annaqed.com
29825  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: March 08, 2006, 01:01:39 AM
!Hijole!  !Otra vez in ingles!
==========================

Illegal Immigration and Tax Rates

Mar 7 2006

Memo To: Lou Dobbs
From: Patricia Koyce Wanniski
Re: Your Tenacity on the Immigration Issue

Until the recent Dubai Ports World uproar, you have been vociferous in covering the story of illegal immigration. While I agree with you the borders ought to be made more secure, I`ve come to believe you are spinning your wheels with the way you have pursued the issue.

One way to end the problem of illegal immigration is, of course, the way you have espoused: tougher border controls, tougher penalties for illegals caught in the U.S., and no amnesty for anybody. Nothing intrinsically wrong with any of those ideas, except that they are expensive and don`t work so well, as we`ve seen. The other way, which you have ignored, is for the Mexican government to make the country`s capital tax structure so attractive to its people that not only do they not want to leave, those who have left will return.

I came across an essay Jude wrote to President Vicente Fox that outlines a way in which this might be accomplished. Of course, some of the tax rates have changed: in 2005, the top marginal rate was lowered to 30 percent; unfortunately, the threshold was lowered as well, and kicks in around US$8,500. Even oil revenues can`t offset the tremendous burden. The tax structure is almost as heavy a millstone as it is in Africa: it`s no wonder Mexicans flee the country in droves for a life here. Solving the problem in Mexico would provide a template for other Latin American countries to follow, alleviating the burden of illegal immigration for the U.S. overall. Perhaps a journalist of your stature bringing the idea to light might encourage the government to consider some of these changes.

Anyway, having doggedly reported on the story for the last several years, I thought you might enjoy a fresh perspective. Here it is, with our compliments.

January 14, 2004

The Mexico Summit

Memo To: Vicente Fox, President of Mexico
From: Jude Wanniski
Re: Exporting Your Citizens

Having had such high hopes for your tenure when you were elected in 1999, Mr. President, I am sorely dismayed that your economy remains in such sad shape that you have to negotiate with our President to send your unemployed to work here illegally. Nothing I saw in your meeting with President Bush indicates you are getting any closer to figuring out that as long as your tax system is so out of line with the US tax system, you will continue to export your people into the American Southwest and California. They are not leaving in search of lower tax rates, mind you. It is just that Mexico?s business class cannot form the capital necessary to sustain broader employment of your people at living wages.

As far as I can tell, your top income tax rate of 33% now applies at an income of about $20,000. In the U.S., the top rate is 38.6%, but that is not encountered until taxable income reaches $312,000. Your 25% rate is reached at $7230 and the closest U.S. tax bracket for a head of household of 27% is reached at $98,000. Your 10% rate is reached at $4114. The U.S. 10% rate is encountered at $10,000. Do you see what I mean?

Then there is your 15% Value Added Tax, which adds to the burdens of enterprise, a tax that the United States does not have at all.

If you check with your finance minister, Francisco Gil Diaz, he will tell you that I have been pestering him for the last four years to cut or eliminate your capital gains tax. There is a zero capital gains tax on shares traded on your stock exchange, I know, but you have to be a big company to trade on the Bolsa. If you are not big enough to be admitted to the Bolsa, you must pay capital gains at the ordinary rates. In other words, the system favors the elites and punishes the pool out of which you would expect to find entrepreneurs who someday might become big enough to compete with the elites. If you would eliminate the capgains tax, which I?m sure you will find brings in very little revenue to your government. This is because it encourages businesses to remain small or to find ways to avoid the tax. You would immediately find the Mexico stock market surging ahead, not because the elites would get a more favorable treatment than zero, but because the economy underneath them would be pushing up the value of all assets. Revenues would then increase dramatically on your income tax and your VAT tax, and you could then easily make provision to lower the burden of the VAT and income tax. I?d recommend you leave the top rate in place at 33% and increase the threshold to at least $100,000.

There are a great many other things you can do to catch up with the United States in the way you originally envisioned, President Fox. But this would be a good start. What you would find, even if you presented such a program to the legislature, that there would immediately be a hesitation of your citizens to leave the U.S., and in a short time there would be a reflow of Mexican nationals who are now struggling to make ends meet in California and the other Southwestern states.

Monetary policy is also something to consider, although here Minister gil Diaz has done a better job in stabilizing the value of the peso. You are always at risk, though, because of the floating U.S. dollar. Here is a memo I wrote to Paco Gil on July 23, 2001, ?Those Unhappy Mexican Farmers.? It was written when your economy was suffering terribly from the monetary deflation caused by the Federal Reserve?s management of the floating dollar.

http://www.wanniski.com/showarticle.asp?articleid=1538

With best wishes for the remainder of your six-year term,

Jude Wanniski
29826  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: March 08, 2006, 12:53:47 AM
This looks pretty good to me , , ,

===============





INDIA: Court nod sought for case against Yaqoob



Lawyer files case against minister who announced bounty on head of Danish cartoonist

Times of India

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Lucknow --- A Ghaziabad lawyer on Tuesday filed an application before a district court to get a case registered against Uttar Pradesh minister Haji Yaqoob for announcing a bounty of Rs 51 crore for the head of the Danish cartoonist who sketched a caricature of the Prophet. The court will take up the case on February 24.

In another development the Lucknow police "sought" some more time to dispose of a similar complaint lodged by a local resident against Yaqoob. Meanwhile, clerics in Deoband have supported fatwa by a Sharia court in Lucknow on the grounds that Koran provides for stringent punishment against anyone who dares to challenge the Prophet.

The clerics were addressing a night-long congregation held at Deoband on Monday to discuss the cartoon issue. "We will hold a massive protest at Ram Lila grounds in Delhi on March 1 against Denmark and the US," Maulana Masood Nadwi of Darul-Uloom Deoband told TOI.

In Ghaziabad, lawyer Chowdhary Ajay Veer Singh on Tuesday approached the court of additional chief judicial magistrate (ACJM) VIII Narendra Kumar seeking directives to the police to lodge an FIR against Yaqoob.

"I used the provisions of Section 156/103 of the CrPC which provides for court's intervention for registration of a complaint related to a crime in case the police refuse to entertain such an application," Ajay told TOI.

"I have requested the court to order for an FIR against sections 115/120 (B), 153 and 108 (A) of IPC," the lawyer said.

"These provisions cover charges of criminal conspiracy to instigate a crime which may be committed outside the country but where the conspiracy to such instigation is hatched in India," he argued.

'UP minister should be sacked'

New Delhi --- A group of eminent Muslim scholars and intellectuals on Tuesday demanded the immediate sacking and prosecution of Haji Yaqoob Qureshi, the UP minister who announced a Rs 51 crore bounty for the murder of the Danish cartoonist who sketched Prophet Mohammed.

"UP's chief minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, who is constitutionally obliged to uphold the law of the land, must immediately sack Yaqoob Qureshi," said a statement by the group Muslims for Secular Democracy, which includes noted lyricist Javed Akhtar.

The statement said Qureshi's remarks, made at a rally on Friday in Meerut to protest the publication of the cartoons by a Danish newspaper, "openly incited Muslims to violence."

Such calls, made by politicians with an eye on the Muslim vote, "have done more damage to Islam and Muslims than the original offenders against whom they protest," it said.

The UP government has rejected calls for action against Qureshi despite there being a clear violation of laws on incitement to murder and call to violence.

No Muslim support for fatwas against cartoonist

Lucknow --- Two little known Shariat courts have joined an Uttar Pradesh minister in prescribing death for the Danish cartoonist who sketched a cartoon of Prophet Mohammed but have found little endorsement from prominent Muslim groups.

While one fatwa was issued by the Irada-e-Sharia Darul Qaza on Monday, another was issued by the equally unknown Ifta Firangimahli Taksal on Tuesday.

Both have interestingly been signed by Maulana Naimul Haleem Qadri, a member of both institutions. However, he has found little support in Uttar Pradesh, which has a considerable number of Muslims.

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) said the fatwa had no meaning.

AIMPLB legal adviser Zararyab Jilani said: "The board has nothing to do with these fatwas; but even if we consider that the Shariat does prescribe death penalty for anyone committing blasphemy with the name of the Prophet, such a fatwa would have legal sanctity only in a country governed by Islamic law."

Northern India's widely respected 300-year-old Firangi Mahal has also dissociated itself in no uncertain terms from the fatwas.

Firangi Mahal head Maulana Khalid Rasheed said categorically: "Let me make it clear that Firangi Mahal, which is among the country's oldest institutions authorised to issue fatwas, has nothing to do with the fatwas issued by some organisation which has given itself a name similar to ours."

"A fatwa can be issued only when a formal reference is made by someone before the authorised institution; and a 'darul qaza' (Islamic court) can issue a verdict only after hearing both parties involved in a dispute."

In a move that has attracted widespread condemnation, state Minister for Haj and Minority Welfare Haji Yaqoob Qureshi had declared a reward of Rs 510 million for the head of the Danish cartoonist.

Date Posted: 2/21/2006



http://www.asiamedia.ucla.edu/article-southasia.asp?parentid=39537
29827  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: March 07, 2006, 07:50:22 AM
The Sunday Times February 26, 2006


We should fear Holland?s silence
Islamists are stifling debate in what was Europe?s freest country, says Douglas Murray


?Would you write the name you?d like to use here, and your real name there?? asked the girl at reception. I had just been driven to a hotel in the Hague. An hour earlier I?d been greeted at Amsterdam airport by a man holding a sign with a pre-agreed cipher. I hadn?t known where I would be staying, or where I would be speaking. The secrecy was necessary: I had come to Holland to talk about Islam.
Last weekend, four years after his murder, Pim Fortuyn?s political party, Lijst Pim Fortuyn, held a conference in his memory on Islam and Europe. The organisers had assembled nearly all the writers most critical of Islam?s current manifestation in the West. The American scholars Daniel Pipes and Robert Spencer were present, as were the Egyptian-Jewish exile and scholar of dhimmitude, Bat Ye?or, and the great Muslim apostate Ibn Warraq.



Both Ye?or and Warraq write and speak under pseudonyms. Standing at the hotel desk I confessed to the girl that I didn?t have any other name, couldn?t think of a good one fast. I was given my key and made aware that the other person in the lobby, a tall figure in a dark suit, was my security detail. I was taken up to my room where I changed, unpacked and headed back out ? the security guard now positioned outside my bedroom door.

I had been invited to deliver the closing speech to the memorial conference on what would have been Fortuyn?s 58th birthday. I said I would talk on the effects of Europe?s increasingly Islamicised population and advocate a tougher European counterterror strategy. There was no overriding political agenda to the occasion, simply a desire for frank discussion.

The event was scholarly, incisive and wide-ranging. There were no ranters or rabble-rousers, just an invited audience of academics, writers, politicians and sombre party members. As yet another example of Islam?s violent confrontation with the West (this time caused by cartoons) swept across the globe, we tried to discuss Islam as openly as we could. The Dutch security service in the Hague was among those who considered the threat to us for doing this as particularly high. The security status of the event was put at just one level below ?national emergency?.

This may seem fantastic to people in Britain. But the story of Holland ? which I have been charting for some years ? should be noted by her allies. Where Holland has gone, Britain and the rest of Europe are following. The silencing happens bit by bit. A student paper in Britain that ran the Danish cartoons got pulped. A London magazine withdrew the cartoons from its website after the British police informed the editor they could not protect him, his staff, or his offices from attack. This happened only days before the police provided 500 officers to protect a ?peaceful? Muslim protest in Trafalgar Square.

It seems the British police ? who regularly provide protection for mosques (as they did after the 7/7 bombs) ? were unable to send even one policeman to protect an organ of free speech. At the notorious London protests, Islamists were allowed to incite murder and bloodshed on the streets, but a passer-by objecting to these displays was threatened with detention for making trouble.

Holland ? with its disproportionately high Muslim population ? is the canary in the mine. Its once open society is closing, and Europe is closing slowly behind it. It looks, from Holland, like the twilight of liberalism ? not the ?liberalism? that is actually libertarianism, but the liberalism that is freedom. Not least freedom of expression.

All across Europe, debate on Islam is being stopped. Italy?s greatest living writer, Oriana Fallaci, soon comes up for trial in her home country, and in Britain the government seems intent on pushing through laws that would make truths about Islam and the conduct of its followers impossible to voice.

Those of us who write and talk on Islam thus get caught between those on our own side who are increasingly keen to prosecute and increasing numbers of militants threatening murder. In this situation, not only is free speech being shut down, but our nation?s security is being compromised.

Since the assassinations of Fortuyn and, in 2004, the film maker Theo van Gogh, numerous public figures in Holland have received death threats and routine intimidation. The heroic Somali-born Dutch MP Ayaan Hirsi Ali and her equally outspoken colleague Geert Wilders live under constant police protection, often forced to sleep on army bases. Even university professors are under protection.

Europe is shuffling into darkness. It is proving incapable of standing up to its enemies, and in an effort to accommodate the peripheral rights of a minority is failing to protect the most basic rights of its own people.

The governments of Europe have been tricked into believing that criticism of a belief is the same thing as criticism of a race. And so it is becoming increasingly difficult and dangerous to criticise a growing and powerful ideology within our midst. It may soon, in addition, be made illegal.

I had planned ? the morning after my speech ? to see Geert Wilders, but instead spent the time catching up with his staff. Their leader had been called in by the police to discuss more than 40 new death threats he had received over the previous days.

As I left the Netherlands I once again felt terrible sorrow for a country that is slowly being lost. A society which should be carefree and inspiring has become dark and worried. The jihad in Europe is winning. And Holland, and our continent, takes one step further into a dark and menacing future.

Douglas Murray is the author of Neoconservatism: Why We Need It
29828  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 07, 2006, 06:57:29 AM
Special Dispatch Series - No. 1107
March 7, 2006 No.1107

Attacks on Arab-American Psychologist Wafa Sultan: Islamist Sheikh on Al-Jazeera Calls Her Heretic; Syrian Sermon Calls Her Infidel

On February 21, 2006, MEMRITV released a clip featuring an interview with Arab-American psychologist Wafa Sultan on Al-Jazeera TV. During the interview, Dr.Ibrahim Al-Khouli accused Sultan of being a "heretic" for attacking current aspects of Islamic society.

THE CLIP HAS NOW BEEN VIEWED OVER ONE MILLION TIMES ON MEMRITV.ORG.

Following the release of this clip, Bassam Darwish, editor of the reformist website www.annaqed.com, posted a February 28, 2006 report by AFP stating that a Friday sermon in Damascus had harshly criticized her appearance on Al-Jazeera: "[Syrian human rights activist Anwar] Al-Bouni reports that one of the sheikhs described Wafa Sultan as 'an infidel,' accusing her of 'harming Islam more than it was harmed by the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, recently published in European newspapers.'

"According to Al-Bouni, 'the Syrian authorities began to use the weapon of the official religion as a new tool to oppress society... It is no longer enough for them to arrest activists, to terrorize them, and to prevent them from traveling, but now they recruit against them the pulpits of takfir [accusing other Muslims of heresy] and takhwin [accusing Muslims of treachery].' He described this policy as dangerous and destructive." [1]


The following are excerpts from an interview with Wafa Sultan that aired on Al-Jazeera TV on February 21, 2006. It is followed by excerpts from a debate in which she participated, in a talk show that aired on Al-Jazeera TV on July 26, 2005.

In the past, MEMRI has reported on Islamist threats to reformists, see for example:

Saudi Doctorate Encourages the Murder of Arab Intellectuals, January 12, 2006, Special Dispatch Series - No. 1070, http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=subjects&Area=reform&ID=SP107006 .

Arab Intellectuals: Under Threat by Islamists, November, 23, 2005, Inquiry and Analysis Series - No. 254,

http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=subjects&Area=reform&ID=IA25405.

Accusing Muslim Intellectuals of Apostasy, February 18, 2005, Inquiry and Analysis - No. 208,

http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=ia&ID=IA20805.



February 21, 2006

TO VIEW THIS CLIP, VISIT: http://www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=1050 .

Wafa Sultan: "The clash we are witnessing around the world is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings. What we see today is not a clash of civilizations. Civilizations do not clash, but compete."

[...]

Host: "I understand from your words that what is happening today is a clash between the culture of the West, and the backwardness and ignorance of the Muslims?"

Wafa Sultan: "Yes, that is what I mean."

[...]

Host: "Who came up with the concept of a clash of civilizations? Was it not Samuel Huntington? It was not bin Laden. I would like to discuss this issue, if you don't mind..."

Wafa Sultan: "The Muslims are the ones who began using this expression. The Muslims are the ones who began the clash of civilizations. The Prophet of Islam said: 'I was ordered to fight the people until they believe in Allah and His Messenger.' When the Muslims divided the people into Muslims and non-Muslims, and called to fight the others until they believe in what they themselves believe, they started this clash, and began this war. In order to start this war, they must reexamine their Islamic books and curricula, which are full of calls for takfir and fighting the infidels.

"My colleague has said that he never offends other people's beliefs. What civilization on the face of this earth allows him to call other people by names that they did not choose for themselves? Once, he calls them Ahl Al-Dhimma; another time he calls them the 'People of the Book'; and yet another time he compares them to apes and pigs, or he calls the Christians 'those who incur Allah's wrath.' Who told you that they are 'People of the Book?' They are not the People of the Book, they are people of many books. All the useful scientific books that you have today are theirs, the fruit of their free and creative thinking. What gives you the right to call them 'those who incur Allah's wrath,' or 'those who have gone astray,' and then come here and say that your religion commands you to refrain from offending the beliefs of others?"

[?]

"I am not a Christian, a Muslim, or a Jew. I am a secular human being. I do not believe in the supernatural, but I respect others' right to believe in it."

Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli: "Are you a heretic?"

Wafa Sultan: "You can say whatever you like. I am a secular human being who does not believe in the supernatural..."

Dr. Ibrahim Al-Khouli: "If you are a heretic, there is no point in rebuking you, since you have blasphemed against Islam, the Prophet, and the Koran..."

Wafa Sultan: "These are personal matters that do not concern you."

[...]

"Brother, you can believe in stones, as long as you don't throw them at me. You are free to worship whoever you want, but other people's beliefs are not your concern, whether they believe that the Messiah is God, son of Mary, or that Satan is God, son of Mary. Let people have their beliefs."

[...]

"The Jews have come from the tragedy [of the Holocaust], and forced the world to respect them, with their knowledge, not with their terror; with their work, not with their crying and yelling. Humanity owes most of the discoveries and science of the 19th and 20th centuries to Jewish scientists. Fifteen million people, scattered throughout the world, united and won their rights through work and knowledge. We have not seen a single Jew blow himself up in a German restaurant. We have not seen a single Jew destroy a church. We have not seen a single Jew protest by killing people. The Muslims turned three Buddha statues into rubble. We have not seen a single Buddhist burn down a mosque, kill a Muslim, or burn down an embassy. Only the Muslims defend their beliefs by burning down churches, killing people, and destroying embassies. This path will not yield any results. The Muslims must ask themselves what they can do for humankind, before they demand that humankind respect them."


July 26, 2005

TO VIEW THIS CLIP, VISIT: http://www.memritv.org/search.asp?ACT=S9&P1=783 .

Wafa Sultan: "Why does a young Muslim man, in the prime of life, with a full life ahead, go and blow himself up? How and why does he blow himself up in a bus full of innocent passengers?

"In our countries, religion is the sole source of education, and is the only spring from which that terrorist drank until his thirst was quenched. He was not born a terrorist, and did not become a terrorist overnight. Islamic teachings played a role in weaving his ideological fabric, thread by thread, and did not allow other sources - I am referring to scientific sources - to play a role. It was these teachings that distorted this terrorist and killed his humanity. It was not [the terrorist] who distorted the religious teachings and misunderstood them, as some ignorant people claim.

"When you recite to a child still in his early years the verse 'They will be killed or crucified, or have their hands and feet on alternate sides cut off,' - regardless of this verse's interpretation, and regardless of the reasons it was conveyed or its time - you have made the first step towards creating a great terrorist..."

[?]

Bin Muhammad: "The guest from America asked how a young man could blow up a bus. If only she had asked how a president could blow up a peaceful nation in Iraq. How does a president help the arch-killer of occupied Palestine? Why doesn't she ask where Hitler was brought up - Hitler, who murdered 50 million innocent people? Why doesn't she ask where the people who dropped two atom bombs on Japan were educated? Who killed three million innocent Vietnamese? Who annihilated the Indians? Who has maintained imperialism to this day? Who waged the Spanish civil war, which exacted a toll of 600,000 in 36 months? Why don't we ask these questions? Who has over 15,000 nuclear warheads - Muslims or the non-Muslims? The Muslims or the Americans? The Muslims or the Europeans? We want an answer. Where was Bush educated - if education is really what makes a person a criminal?..."

[?]

Wafa Sultan: "Murder is terrorism regardless of time or place, but when it is committed as a decree from Allah, this is another matter..."

[?]

"The Crusader wars about which the professor is talking - these wars came after the Islamic religious teachings, and as a response to these teachings. This is the law of action and reaction. The Islamic religious teachings have incited to the rejection of the other, to the denial of the other, and to the killing of the other. Have they not incited to the killing of Jews and Christians? If we had heard that a tribe in a distant corner of China has a holy book and religious teachings calling to kill Muslims - would the Muslims stand idly by in the face of such teachings?

"The Crusader wars came after these Islamic religious teachings. When these Islamic teachings were delivered, America did not exist on the face of the earth, nor was Israel in Palestine...

"Why doesn't he talk about the Muslim conquests that preceded all the wars he is talking about? Why doesn't he mention that when Tariq bin Ziyyad entered Andalusia with his armies, he said to his people: 'The sea is behind you, and the enemy is in front?' How can you storm a peaceful country, and consider all its peaceful inhabitants to be your enemies, merely because you have the right to spread your religion? Should the religion be spread by the sword and through fighting?..."

[?]

Bin Muhammad: "Who invented slavery in recent centuries? Who colonized the other - us or them? Did Algeria colonize France, or vice versa? Did Egypt colonize England, or vice versa? We are the victims..."

[?]

"I am not saying that killing innocent people is nice. I say that all innocent people should be protected. But at the same time, we must start with the innocent among the Muslims. There are millions of innocent people among us, while the innocent among you - and innocent they are - number only dozens, hundreds, or thousands, at the most..."

[?]

Wafa Sultan: "Can you explain to me the killing of 100,000 children, women, and men in Algeria, using the most abominable killing methods? Can you explain to me the killing of 15,000 Syrian civilians? Can you explain to me the abominable crime in the military artillery school in Aleppo? Can you explain the crime in Al-Asbaqiya neighborhood of Damascus, Syria? Can you explain the attack of the terrorists on the peaceful village of Al-Kisheh in Upper Egypt, and the massacre of 21 Coptic peasants? Can you explain to me what is going on in Indonesia, Turkey, and Egypt, even though these are Islamic countries which opposed the American intervention in Iraq, and which don't have armies in Iraq, yet were not spared by the terrorists? Can you explain these phenomena, which took place in Arab countries? Was all this revenge on America or Israel? Or were they merely to satisfy bestial wild instincts aroused in them by religious teachings, which incite to rejection of the other, to the killing of the other, and to the denial of the other. When Saddam Hussein buried 300,000 Shi'ites and Kurds alive, we did not hear a single Muslim protesting. Your silence served to acknowledge the legitimacy of these killings, didn't it?..."

[?]

"What do you want from me? To speak evil of American society? I've never said that America is the eternal city of Plato, but I did say it was the eternal city of Wafa Sultan. The idealism of American society was enough to allow me to realize my humanity. I came to this country with fear."

Bin Muhammad: "Along with the Indians? Along with the Indians? What was left of the Indians? What do you have to say about the Indians?"

Wafa Sultan: "Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492. America was founded in 1776, approximately 300 years later. You cannot blame America - as a constitution, a regime, and a state - for killing the Indians."
29829  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geo Political matters on: March 06, 2006, 04:17:53 PM
Babies Win Wars

By GUNNAR HEINSOHN
March 6, 2006

Dying nations are usually defined as those with fertility rates of 1.5 or lower. By that measure, 30 European countries are either dying today or -- like France -- seeing their cultures and populations transformed by growing ethnic and religious minorities.

Europe is shrinking just as the population in Islamic, African and Asian countries is exploding. In 2020, there will be one billion "fighting-age" men (ages 15-29) world-wide; only 65 million will be Europeans. At the same time, the Muslim world will have 300 million males, often with limited opportunities at home.

Little can be done to reverse Europe's demographic fate. Germany's 80 million inhabitants would need 750,000 skilled immigrants every year up to 2050 to offset the declining fertility rate that started in 1975. Even if such an unrealistic immigration level could somehow be achieved (only 10,000 skilled immigrants a year are arriving now), Germany's median age would still jump to 52 from 42 while ethnic Germans would become a minority in their own country.

This isn't the first time Europe has found itself tottering on the edge of extinction. Throughout the 1400s, outbreaks of bubonic plague and pressure from conquering Muslim armies reduced Europe's population to 40 million from 70 million. In 1484 Pope Innocent VIII responded to the crisis by decreeing the death penalty for "persons of both sexes who by accursed charms and crafts, enormities and horrid offenses, slay infants yet in the mother's womb (or who) hinder women from conceiving." Midwives, who were also experts in birth control and abortion, were prosecuted and killed.

The results were immediate, producing fertility rates as high as in Gaza or Niger today. By 1510, the number of male births in England had almost doubled. After 1500 and right up to 1914, West European women raised on average about six children, twice as many as during the Middle Ages.

The European economy couldn't keep up. Because a father's land went to his oldest son, the younger brothers were often left to fend for themselves. They quickly found an outlet. In the 16th century, Spain called its young conquistadors "Secundones," second sons, those who don't inherit. Starting with Columbus' second voyage (1493), Europe's surplus males (representing about 10% of the world's fighting-age males at the time) began the conquest of the world. And despite their wars around the globe and the 80 million who died in Europe's domestic wars and genocides, their population rose tenfold to 400 million. The original population bomb was a weapon made in Europe. Over the next few centuries, Europeans took control of 90% of the globe.

Who was to be master in Europe? In the early 1800s, France, West Europe's most populous nation for 800 years, made its last bid. At the time of Waterloo, France was able to draw on 5% of the world's males of fighting age. It took an alliance of Great Britain (10 million people) and Prussia (also 10 million) to prevail over France's 27 million. After 1861, Germany passed France's population and shortly afterwards defeated its neighbor across the Rhine. At the beginning of the 20th century, Europe's share of fighting age males had grown to 35%, with 10% belonging to the empires of Berlin and Vienna alone. In 1914 these two behemoths used their population advantage to make a bid for world supremacy. But their campaign to capture Eurasia's land mass failed to take account of a newcomer to the world stage. Though separated by an ocean, the U.S. commanded about the same demographic and industrial potential.

Japan, Italy and Germany became the last great powers that tried -- and failed -- to take territories away from other leading powers. After 1945 Europe lost every war it fought, from Indochina, to Algeria to Timor. Euphemisms such as "emancipation of the colonies" hide the true causes behind this chain of defeats. If Europeans had continued to multiply like in its imperialistic prime, the world would still tremble before their armies. In just 100 years, Muslim countries have duplicated the tenfold growth that Europe experienced between 1500-1900. In the last century, the Muslim population skyrocketed to 1.4 billion from 140 million.

If Europe had merely matched the fourfold increase of the United States (to 300 million from 75 million between 1900-2006), the continent's 1.6 billion would still dwarf China (1.3 billion) and India (1.1 billion). Yet, Europe's share of the world's fighting-age males, which stood at 27% in 1914, is lower today (9%) than it was in 1500 (11%). Thus, the new clothes of European "pacifism" and "soft power" conceal its naked weakness.

With a fertility rate at the 2.1 replacement level, the U.S. is still defendable. But how many times can America send out their only sons to prevent all those second, third or fourth sons from engaging in acts of violence abroad? In some ways, the faster Europe collapses the better it will be for the U.S., whose chances of defeating global terrorism would improve by a panic-driven influx of the Old World's best, brightest and bravest ready to strengthen it economically and militarily.

The alternative to the terrorism of the Islamist secundones will not be peace but -- as it was for their "Christianist" predecessors in Peru, Mexico and India -- conquest. Terror is merely conquest's little brother.

Mr. Heinsohn is professor of sociology at Bremen University and founder and president of the Raphael-Lemkin-Institut.
29830  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 06, 2006, 09:37:03 AM
Must see photos at this Arabic website to appreciate the size of this demonstration against terrorism in Bahrain. -

http://www.montadayat.org/modules.php?name=News&file=article&sid=11035

comments (in English) from:

http://gatewaypundit.blogspot.com/2006/03/massive-muslim-protest-in-bahrain.html
29831  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: March 05, 2006, 11:47:46 AM
http://www.danishmuhammedcartoons.com/Home.html
29832  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: March 05, 2006, 09:23:40 AM
I don't remember the Pope issuing any fatwas in response to this one, nor any killings or riots , , ,


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Piss_Christ
29833  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Nuevo clip en el sitio en ingles on: March 04, 2006, 11:18:38 PM
Guau a todos:

En www.dogbrothers.com se puede ver un "clip" de mi visita a una carcel Mexicana organizado por mi amigo Mauricio.  Ojala que les guste.

Crafty Dog
29834  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: March 03, 2006, 09:33:50 AM
Syriana feeds our enemies hatred



Mar 3, 2006
by Charles Krauthammer ( bio | archive | contact )


WASHINGTON -- Nothing tells you more about Hollywood than what it chooses to honor. Nominated for best foreign film is "Paradise Now,'' a sympathetic portrayal of two suicide bombers. Nominated for best picture is "Munich,'' a sympathetic portrayal of yesterday's fashion in barbarism: homicide terrorism.

But until you see "Syriana,'' nominated for best screenplay (and George Clooney, for best supporting actor) you have no idea how self-flagellation and self-loathing pass for complexity and moral seriousness in Hollywood.
"Syriana's'' script has, of course, the classic liberal tropes such as this stage direction: "The Deputy National Security Advisor, MARILYN RICHARDS, 40's, sculpted hair, with the soul of a seventy year-old white, Republican male, is in charge'' (Page 21). Or this piece of over-the-top, Gordon Gekko Republican-speak, placed in the mouth of a Texas oilman: "Corruption is our protection. Corruption is what keeps us safe and warm. ... Corruption ... is how we win'' (Page 93).
But that's run-of-the-mill Hollywood. The true distinction of "Syriana's'' script is the near-incomprehensible plot -- a muddled mix of story lines about a corrupt Kazakhstan oil deal, a succession struggle in an oil-rich Arab kingdom and a giant Texas oil company that pulls the strings at the CIA and, naturally, everywhere else -- amid which, only two things are absolutely clear and coherent: the movie's one political hero and one pure soul.

The political hero is the Arab prince who wants to end corruption, inequality and oppression in his country. As he tells his tribal elders, he intends to modernize his country by bringing the rule of law, market efficiency, women's rights and democracy.
What do you think happens to him? He, his beautiful wife and beautiful children are murdered, incinerated, by a remote-controlled missile, fired from CIA headquarters in Langley, no less -- at the very moment that (this passes for subtle cross-cutting film editing) his evil younger brother, the corrupt rival to the throne and puppet of the oil company, is being hailed at a suitably garish ``oilman of the year'' celebration populated by fat and ugly Americans.
What is grotesque about this moment of plot clarity is that the overwhelmingly obvious critique of actual U.S. policy in the real Middle East today is its excess of Wilsonian idealism in trying to find and promote -- against a tide of tyranny, intolerance and fanaticism -- local leaders like the Good Prince. Who in the greater Middle East is closest to "Syriana's'' modernizing, democratizing paragon? Without a doubt, President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan, a man of exemplary -- and quite nonfictional -- personal integrity, physical courage and democratic temperament. Hundreds of brave American (and allied NATO) soldiers have died protecting him and the democratic system they established to allow him to govern. On the very night the Oscars will be honoring "Syriana,'' American soldiers will be fighting, some perhaps dying, in defense of precisely the kind of tolerant, modernizing Muslim leader that "Syriana'' shows America slaughtering.
It gets worse. The most pernicious element in the movie is the character who is at the moral heart of the film: the physically beautiful, modest, caring, generous Pakistani who becomes a beautiful, modest, caring, generous ... suicide bomber. In his final act, the Pure One, dressed in the purest white robes, takes his explosives-laden little motorboat head first into his target. It is a replay of the real-life boat that plunged into the USS Cole in 2000, killing 17 American sailors, except that in ``Syriana's'' version, the target is another symbol of American imperialism in the Persian Gulf -- a newly opened liquefied natural gas terminal.
The explosion, which would have the force of a nuclear bomb, constitutes the moral high point of the movie, the moment of climactic cleansing, as the Pure One clad in white merges with the great white mass of the huge terminal wall, at which point the screen goes pure white. And reverently silent.
In my naivete, I used to think that Hollywood had achieved its nadir with Oliver Stone's "JFK,'' a film that taught a generation of Americans that President Kennedy was assassinated by the CIA and the FBI in collaboration with Lyndon Johnson. But at least it was for domestic consumption, an internal affair of only marginal interest to other countries. "Syriana,'' however, is meant for export, carrying the most vicious and pernicious mendacities about America to a receptive world.
Most liberalism is angst- and guilt-ridden, seeing moral equivalence everywhere. "Syriana'' is of a different species entirely -- a pathological variety that burns with the certainty of its malign anti-Americanism. Osama bin Laden could not have scripted this film with more conviction.

Charles Krauthammer is a 1987 Pulitzer Prize winner, 1984 National Magazine Award winner, and a columnist for The Washington Post since 1985.
__________________
29835  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: March 03, 2006, 09:30:28 AM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Caricaturist's daughter sought
(Aftenposten English Web Desk/NTB/Ritzau)

The daughter of one of the artists behind one of the controversial newspaper caricatures of the prophet Mohammed was sought out at her school by twelve Muslim men, a leading Danish politician claims. Jens Rohde, political chairman of the prime minister's Liberal Party, made this claim during a debate program on Danish television on Thursday evening.
The twelve cartoonists are now in hiding after receiving death threats.
"And a daughter of one of the artists was sought out by twelve Muslim men at a school, they wanted to get hold of this daughter. Luckily she was not at school," Rohde said.
Rohde told Danish news agency Ritzau that he received this information from a meeting with the artists.
http://www.aftenposten.no/english/wo...cle1239506.ece
29836  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor on: March 02, 2006, 04:17:10 PM
I walked into a public toilet where I found two cubicles, one of which was already occupied. So I entered the vacant one, as you do, and dropped my trousers and sat down.

 

A voice from the next cubicle said "Hello mate, how are you doing?" I thought it a bit strange, but not wanting to be rude replied, "Yeah, not too bad, Thanks".

 

After a pause I heard the voice again: "So, what are you up to mate?" Again, I answered somewhat reluctantly it must be said. Unsure what to say now, I replied "Umm, just having a quick poo.... how about yourself?"

 

I then heard the voice for the third time...."Sorry mate, I'll have to call you back... I've got some d*ckhead in the next cubicle answering everything I say!"
29837  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 02, 2006, 01:16:57 AM
http://switch3.castup.net/cunet/gm.asp?ai=214&ar=1050wmv&ak=null

This is pretty special.
29838  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: March 01, 2006, 10:26:17 PM
Buz:

Its OK here, but best would be the Homeland Security thread.

Anyway, here's this:
=====================

Iran: The Regime's Strategic Moderation
Summary

Former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami criticized his successor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for his remarks regarding the Holocaust, while a centrist daily said Ahmadinejad's statements toward Israel only have added to Iran's problems. That Khatami and a newspaper were allowed to criticize Ahmadinejad publicly means Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei probably approved out of a desire to tame the ultraconservatives. These moderating statements will prove helpful to Tehran in the negotiations over the nuclear crisis, and come at a time when Iran is at crossroads both internationally and domestically.

Analysis

Without naming him, former Iranian President Mohammed Khatami criticized his successor, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, on March 1 by contradicting the latter's claims denying the Holocaust. In remarks published in the Iranian press, Khatami referred to the Holocaust as a "historical reality." The moderate cleric also said, "We should speak out if even a single Jew is killed. Don't forget that one of the crimes of Hitler, Nazism and German national socialism was the massacre of innocent people, among them many Jews."

The same day, the well-known centrist newspaper Shargh also criticized the president for his anti-Jewish and anti-Israeli comments. The paper wrote, "The Holocaust has, as wished for by the president, become a topic of our foreign policy." The publication then posed the question: "Don't we have enough with the nuclear question, human rights, free elections and political in-fighting, so do we need to add another problem?" Shargh added that Tehran should focus its energies on the creation of a Palestinian state rather than on Israel's destruction.

Neither criticism could have been published without prior approval from the highest echelons of power. Khatami's remarks and Shargh's commentary against the maverick Iranian president likely were sanctioned by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. They serve two purposes, one at the international level and the other at the domestic level.

On the foreign policy front, these remarks are part of the regime's efforts to project alternating images of the Islamic republic to extract concessions in back-channel talks with Washington on Iraq. These moderating comments also allow Khamenei to strike a balance between the two main factions within the conservative clerical establishment, the ultraconservatives and the pragmatic conservatives.

By allowing different voices to air their opinions at different times, or at least by giving that impression, Khamenei and his top associates are able to manipulate the international situation depending on Tehran's needs. When it wants to gain U.S. attention, Tehran has Ahmadinejad make provocative comments against Israel to increase tensions. And when Tehran needs to contain a crisis, it has figures like Khatami contradict the president. By giving the sense of having radicals like the current president and moderates like the former president, Iran can portray itself as unpredictable, and therefore dangerous, not unlike North Korea. This creates the impression that if negotiations proceed just a little longer, something could be resolved. In other words, the presence of voices of reason inside Iran makes the Islamic republic seem like a less desirable target to attack. Hence, the West and Iran have remained locked in an almost perpetual state of negotiations.

Tehran has successfully employed this technique on the foreign policy front because the various factions of the Iranian regime, despite differences in their preferred approaches, maintain a consensus on the state's core objectives. The drawback of this approach, however, is that it allows each faction to seek an advantage on the domestic front over its competitors.

Such a tussle has an unsettling effect on the movers and shakers' position in the political system given their ties to the various factions. Furthermore, Khamenei has long sided with the pragmatists within the regime. With the resurgence of the ultraconservatives after Ahmadinejad's election, this balancing act has become more cumbersome.

What has Khamenei and the Iranian power brokers worried are the upcoming elections to the Assembly of Experts, scheduled for late summer or early fall. One of many organs of Iran's complex political system, the Assembly of Experts has the authority to appoint and remove the supreme leader. The ideologues behind Ahmadinejad -- such as those around his key ideological mentor, Ayatollah Mohammed Taqi Misbah Yazdi -- are trying to gain entry into the assembly to extend their leverage beyond the regime's elected figurehead, Ahmadinejad, to Iran's unelected apex position.

By allowing criticism of Ahmadinejad by a leading voice of the rival faction, Khamenei is trying to contain the ultraconservatives' advance. Ironically, it was Khamenei who came out a year ago to Ahmadinejad's rescue, calling for patience with the new president, which allowed Ahmadinejad the time and space to better run his administration.

The situation in Iran is far more nuanced than the prevailing discourse on Iranian politics, which simplifies Iran's domestic situation as a tussle between reformists and hard-liners. This misperception increases the regime's freedom to navigate on the international scene.
29839  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Free Speech vs. Islamic Fascism (formerly Buy DANISH!!!) on: March 01, 2006, 08:33:24 AM
Tehran, Iran, Feb. 28 ? A senior Iranian cleric has approved attacks on foreign embassies in Tehran over the publication of insulting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in European dailies, a website belonging to the office of hard-line Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reported.

?Muslims must take the most ferocious stance against insults to Islamic sanctities?, the senior cleric told Ayatollah Dorri Najaf-Abadi, the country?s Chief State Prosecutor, according to the Persian-language website Khedmat.

?If setting fire to embassies of countries that insult the Prophet aims to show that these countries no longer have any place in Islamic countries then this act is permissible?, the senior ayatollah was quoted as saying.

?Anyone who dies in this path [of protests against the insults] is a martyr?, he said.

Khedmat did not name the senior Shiite religious leader, but Najaf-Abadi met and held talks separately with five senior ayatollahs in Qom on February 20. The ayatollahs, Moussavi Ardebili, Makarem Shirazi, Fazel Lankarani, Safi Golpayegani and Nouri Hamedani, unanimously condemned the cartoons depicting Islam?s Prophet Mohammad and described it as a ?Zionist and Western conspiracy against Islam?.

?The support shown for the [cartoons] by the European Union and some European governments showed that this was not just an issue of journalism. But Muslims? reaction was beyond expectation and it showed that Muslims have woken up and this is a great asset?, Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi told the prosecutor, according to the government-owned ISNA news agency.
http://www.iranfocus.com/modules/new...p?storyid=5970
29840  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Knife vs. Gun on: March 01, 2006, 06:47:47 AM
Folks, I had a wonderful gun lesson with Michael while I was in Tulsa recently.  He's really good with a gun!

BTW Michael, with that shift in the grip you showed me, Glock 26s now make sense.  Thank you.

PS:  I just posted on the humor thread-- were any of those you?  cheesy
29841  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor on: March 01, 2006, 06:42:09 AM
The following 15 Police comments were taken off of actual cop car videos
around the country.

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

14. "Take your hands off the car and I'll make your birth certificate a
     worthless document."

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

12. "Can you run faster than 1200 feet per second? In case you didn't
     know, that is the average speed of a 9mm bullet."

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

10. "Yes, Sir, you can talk to the shift supervisor, but I don't think
     it will help. Oh, did I mention that I am the shift supervisor?"

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

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

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

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

5. "In God we trust, all others we run through the computer."

4. "Just how big were those two beers?"

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

2. "I'm glad to hear the Chief of Police is a good personal friend of
    yours. At least you know someone who can post your bail."

And...

1. "You didn't think we give pretty women tickets?
    You're right, we don't...  Sign here.
29842  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Mexico on: March 01, 2006, 06:14:21 AM
Mexican heroes, not Chavez or Lula, inspire leftist By Alistair Bell
Mon Feb 27, 2:43 PM ET
 


MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The man favored to win Mexico's presidential election is often compared to the new breed of Latin American left-wing leaders but he prefers to delve deep into Mexican history to find his role models.

ADVERTISEMENT
 
Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, the leftist front-runner for the July election, denies he is a populist in the mold of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and he rejects similarities to Bolivia's new leader, Evo Morales, or Brazil's more moderate president, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.

Instead, Lopez Obrador is a keen admirer of Benito Juarez, a poor Zapotec Indian who became Mexico's first indigenous president and a modernizer in the mid-19th century.

At campaign rallies, amateur history buff Lopez Obrador lauds Mexico's independence heroes in the fight against Spain, and famous revolutionaries like Emiliano Zapata and Francisco "Pancho" Villa.

But he reserves most praise for the liberal Juarez, offering a glimpse into the kind of president he might try to be if he wins the July 2 vote.

"We are inspired by Benito Juarez's sobriety, austerity and the firmness of his republican principles," Lopez Obrador told a rally of up to 100,000 people in Mexico City on Sunday.

Lopez Obrador, the capital's former mayor, has topped opinion polls for the last three years, although his lead has faded a bit since campaigning began in January.

Wall Street investors and Washington policy-makers are anxious to know where he fits into Latin America's recent swing to the left. They worry Lopez Obrador will wreck Mexico's financial stability by spending heavily to create jobs, and that he might also take a firm anti-U.S. stance.

Lopez Obrador says he would take Juarez, who expanded civil rights and curbed Roman Catholic Church powers, as an example.

Juarez, a steel-willed man whose face adorns Mexico's 20-peso note, is a national icon for defeating French invaders, drawing up a federalist constitution and bringing a country torn by political and religious chaos under the rule of law.

TOUGH TASK

Lopez Obrador sees in himself a similar willingness to shake up Mexico, blighted by drug gang violence, mass emigration to the United States and grinding poverty, said left-wing historian Lorenzo Meyer.

"What is it that Andres Manuel sees in Juarez? He sees a political leader with a task that is almost impossible," said Meyer.

Lopez Obrador's reluctance to identify himself with other modern leftists might be an effort not to antagonize next-door neighbor the United States, Mexico's key trading partner.

"In their own ways, Lula, Chavez and Kirchner have conflicts with the United States," said Meyer. "Anything Lopez Obrador might say on foreign policy could turn into a problem for him."

But aides say Lopez Obrador, a widower and former Indian rights activist, is driven by a need to leave his own mark on history, in his case by raising millions of Mexicans out of poverty and fighting corruption.

"It is not just about putting the presidential sash on and sitting in the presidential seat," Lopez Obrador said on Sunday. "It's about a real renovation, a true purification of public life."

Lopez Obrador will make history of his own if he wins the election. No candidate from a left-wing party has ever become president in Mexico.

Lopez Obrador called former President Lazaro Cardenas the best Mexican president of last century on Sunday. Cardenas is remembered for nationalizing the oil industry in 1938 and the reference underlined Lopez Obrador's commitment to keep private investment away from state oil monopoly Pemex.

Lopez Obrador speaks little about foreign policy and other regional leaders, which is no loss for some Mexicans.

"We don't know much about them," said florist Estela Ramos, a Lopez Obrador backer. "We have enough problems in Mexico."
29843  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor on: February 28, 2006, 11:41:34 PM
Kitty UFC

http://www.johnheffron.com/html/av/av.html
29844  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Albuquerque stick fighting on: February 28, 2006, 03:49:05 PM
Amen to that!

Kalani, please give me a call at your earliest convenience. TIA
29845  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Venezuela Pol?tica on: February 28, 2006, 10:56:23 AM
Muy interesante DS, gracias por compartirlo.
29846  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: February 27, 2006, 11:56:39 PM
Jihadi Turns Bulldog
The Taliban's former spokesman is now a Yale student. Anyone see a problem with that?

Monday, February 27, 2006 12:01 a.m. EST

Never has an article made me blink with astonishment as much as when I read in yesterday's New York Times magazine that Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi, former ambassador-at-large for the Taliban, is now studying at Yale on a U.S. student visa. This is taking the obsession that U.S. universities have with promoting diversity a bit too far.

Something is very wrong at our elite universities. Last week Larry Summers resigned as president of Harvard when it became clear he would lose a no-confidence vote held by politically correct faculty members furious at his efforts to allow ROTC on campus, his opposition to a drive to have Harvard divest itself of corporate investments in Israel, and his efforts to make professors work harder. Now Yale is giving a first-class education to an erstwhile high official in one of the most evil regimes of the latter half of the 20th century--the government that harbored the terrorists who attacked America on Sept. 11, 2001.

"In some ways," Mr. Rahmatullah told the New York Times. "I'm the luckiest person in the world. I could have ended up in Guantanamo Bay. Instead I ended up at Yale." One of the courses he has taken is called Terrorism-Past, Present and Future.

Many foreign readers of the Times will no doubt snicker at the revelation that naive Yale administrators scrambled to admit Mr. Rahmatullah. The Times reported that Yale "had another foreigner of Rahmatullah's caliber apply for special-student status." Richard Shaw, Yale's dean of undergraduate admissions, told the Times that "we lost him to Harvard," and "I didn't want that to happen again."





In the spring of 2001, I was one of several writers at The Wall Street Journal who interviewed Mr. Rahmatullah at our offices across the street from the World Trade Center. His official title was second foreign secretary; his mission was to explain the regime's decision to rid the country of two 1,000-year-old towering statues of Buddha carved out of rock 90 miles from the Afghan capital, Kabul. The archeological treasures were considered the greatest remaining examples of third- and fifth-century Greco-Indian art in the world. But Taliban leader Mullah Omar had ordered all statues in the country destroyed, calling them idols of infidels and repugnant to Islam.
Even Muslim nations like Pakistan denounced the move. Mr. Rahmatullah, who at the time claimed to be 24 but now says he was lying about his age and was actually two years younger, cut a curious figure in our office. He wore a traditional Afghan turban and white baggy pants and sported a full beard. His English, while sometimes elliptical, was smooth and colloquial. He made himself very clear when he said the West had no business worrying about the statues, because it had cut off trade and foreign aid to the Taliban. "When the world destroys the future of our children with economic sanctions, they have no right to worry about our past," he told us, according to my notes from the meeting.

He smiled as he informed us that the statues had been blown up with explosive charges only after people living nearby had been removed. He had no comment on reports that Mullah Omar had ordered 100 cows be sacrificed as atonement for the Taliban government's failure to destroy the Buddhas earlier.

As for Osama bin Laden, Mr. Rahmatullah called the Saudi fugitive a "guest" of his government and said it hadn't been proved that bin Laden was linked to any terrorist acts, despite his indictment in the U.S. for planning the 1998 bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania. He said that if the embassy bombings were terrorist acts, then so was the Clinton administration's firing cruise missiles into his country in an attempt to kill bin Laden. "You killed 19 innocent people," he told us.

After the meeting I walked him out. I vividly recall our stopping at a window as he stared up at the World Trade Center. We stood there for a minute chatting, but I don't recall what he said. He then left. I next thought about him a few months later, on Sept. 11, as I stood outside our office building covered in dust and debris staring at the remains of the towers that had just collapsed. I occasionally wondered what had happened to Mr. Rahmatullah. I assumed he either had died in the collapse of the Taliban regime, had been jailed, or was living quietly in the new, democratic Afghanistan.

From newspaper clips I knew that his visit to the Journal's offices was part of a PR tour. He visited other newspapers and spoke at universities, and the State Department had granted him a meeting with midlevel officials. None of the meetings went particularly well. At the University of Southern California, Mr. Rahmatullah expressed irritation with a question about statues that at that point hadn't yet been blown up. "You know, really, I am asked so much about these statues that I have a headache now," he moaned. "If I go back to Afghanistan, I will blow them."

Carina Chocano, a writer for Salon.com who attended several of his speeches in the U.S., noted the hostility of many of his audiences. "A lesser publicist might have melted down," she wrote. "But the cool, unruffled and media-smart Hashemi instead spun his story into a contemporary parable of ironic iconoclasm," peppering his lectures with "statue jokes."

But sometimes his humor really backfired. At a speech for the Atlantic Council, Mr. Rahmatullah was confronted by a woman in the audience who lifted the burkha she was wearing and chastised him for the Taliban's infamous treatment of women. "You have imprisoned the women--it's a horror, let me tell you," she cried. Mr. Rahmatullah responded with a sneer: "I'm really sorry to your husband. He might have a very difficult time with you."

A videotape of his cutting remark became part of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," and infuriated the likes of Mavis Leno, wife of "Tonight Show" host Jay Leno. Mrs. Leno helped found the Feminist Majority's Campaign to Stop Gender Apartheid in Afghanistan and devoted countless hours to focusing public attention on the plight of Afghanistan's women and girls. "I will never, ever abandon these women," she often said before the Taliban's overthrow. Here's hoping she has saved some of her outrage for Yale's decision to welcome Mr. Rahmatullah with open arms.

In his interview with the New York Times, Mr. Rahmatullah, said that if he had to do it all over, he would have been less "antagonistic" in his remarks during his U.S. road tour. "I regret the way I spoke sometimes. Now I would try to be softer. A little bit." Just a little?

Today, when he is asked if Afghanistan would be better off if the Taliban were still in charge, Mr. Rahmatullah, has a mixed answer: "Economically, no. In terms of security, yes. In terms of general happiness, no. In the long-term interests of the country? I don't think so. I think the radicals were taking over and doing crazy stuff. I regret when people think of the Taliban and then think of me--that feeling people have after they know I was affiliated with them is painful to me." Note that the government official who represented the Taliban abroad now claims to have been only "affiliated" with them.

Even though he evinces only semiregret for his actions in service to the Taliban, there is evidence that he has become quite a charmer. After the fall of the Taliban, he resumed a friendship he had developed with Mike Hoover, a CBS News cameraman who, according to a 2001 Associated Press story, had visited Afghanistan three times as a guest of the Taliban. Mr. Hoover inspired Mr. Rahmatullah to think about going to the U.S. to finish his studies. "I thought he could do a lot as a student/teacher," said Mr. Hoover. He persuaded Bob Schuster, an attorney friend of his from Wyoming who had gone to Yale, to help out. As the Times reported, "Schuster called the provost's office to ask how an ex-Taliban envoy with a fourth-grade education and a high-school equivalency degree might go about applying to one of the world's top universities."

Intrigued by Mr. Rahmatullah, Dean Shaw arranged for his admission into a nondegree program for special students. He apparently has done well, so far pulling down a 3.33 grade-point average.





There is something to be said for the instinct to reach out to one's former enemies. America's postwar reconciliation with the Japanese and Germans has paid great dividends. But there are limits.
During a trip to Germany I once ran into a relative of Hans Fritsche, the top deputy to Josef Goebbels, whom the Guardian, a British newspaper, once described as "the Nazi Propaganda Minister's leading radio spokesman [whose] commentaries were among the main items of German home and foreign broadcasting." After the war he was tried as a war criminal at Nuremberg, but because he had only given hate-filled speeches, he was acquitted of all charges in 1946. In the early 1950s, he applied for a visa to visit the U.S. and explain his regret at having served an evil regime. He was turned down, to the everlasting regret of the relative with whom I spoke. She noted that Albert Speer, Hitler's former architect, was also turned down for a U.S. visa even after he had completed a 20-year prison sentence and had written a best-selling book detailing Hitler's madness.

I don't believe Mr. Rahmatullah had direct knowledge of the 9/11 plot, and I don't think he has ever killed anyone. I can appreciate that he is trying to rebuild his life. But he willingly and cheerfully served an evil regime in a manner that would have made Goebbels proud. That he was 22 at the time is little of an excuse. There are many poor, bright students--American and foreign alike--who would jump at the opportunity to attend Yale. Why should Mr. Rahmatullah go to the line ahead of all of them? That's a question Yale alumni should ask when their alma mater comes looking for contributions.

President Bush, who already has a well-known disdain for Yale elitism from his student days there, may also have some questions. In the wake of his being blindsided by his own administration over the Dubai port deal, he should be interested in finding out exactly who at the State Department approved Mr. Rahmatullah's application for a student visa.
29847  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: February 27, 2006, 07:01:03 PM
SUPPORT NATIONAL RIGHT-TO-CARRY RECIPROCITY BILL
 
U.S. Representative Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) recently introduced H.R. 4547-a national Right-to-Carry (RTC) reciprocity bill that would honor state carry licensees nationwide.  The bill would allow any person with a valid carry permit or license issued by a state to carry a concealed firearm in any other state if they meet certain criteria.  The bill would not create a federal licensing system; it would simply require the states to recognize each other's carry permits, just as they recognize drivers' licenses.
 
For more information on the bill, please visit www.nraila.org/Issues/FactSheets/Read.aspx?ID=189.
 
Please be sure to contact your U.S. Representative at (202) 225-3121, and urge him or her to cosponsor and support H.R. 4547!
29848  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / New on DVD! on: February 27, 2006, 05:38:00 PM
Bruno and I spoke last week.  He has graciously offered to help transcribe the first series into several languages which we do not have covered already.



DBMA Cycle Drills featuring Guro Lonely Dog is due to arrive Thursday!
29849  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: February 25, 2006, 09:10:51 AM
http://www.sun-sentinel.com/business...tory?track=rss Jax firm to produce flexible armor for GIs, marines

By ALEX DOMINGUEZ
Associated Press



February 24, 2006, 10:15 AM EST


BALTIMORE -- A Florida firm has been chosen to produce flexible body armor and other products based on technology developed at the University of Delaware and the U.S. Army's Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Fabric used in the armor is treated with a solution that stiffens when force is applied, but remains fluid otherwise.

The first products, which will initially focus on protection for law enforcement and corrections officers, are expected to be introduced later this year by Armor Holdings, Inc., a Jacksonville company best known for providing armored Humvees for the military. Body armor vests, helmets, gloves and extremity protection are among the products planned, the company announced Friday.

Body armor fabric treated with the fluid, for example, can resist an ice pick that would normally penetrate the fabric. Tests have also shown the treated fabric is better able to spread the force of an impact over a wider area, said Dr. Tony Russell, chief technology officer for Armor Holdings.

When force is applied, the fluid, which contains nano-sized particles, acts ``more like a solid. It locks the fibers in place and makes them more resistant to penetration,'' Russell said.

``If you take a normal ballistic fabric that's pretty good at stopping bullets and you hit it with an ice pick, the fibers will move out of the way. So what you normally have to do is put more layers to stop that ice pick,'' reducing flexibility that can inhibit motion.

The new technology allows the vest to stop penetration with fewer layers. The treated fabric, meanwhile, has virtually the same look, feel, texture, weight and flexibility, Russell said.

``You may get a little residue on your fingers but it doesn't feel wet to the touch,'' Russell said.

The company hopes the technology will eventually lead to lighter, more comfortable body armor that will cover more of the body.

The technology takes advantage of a property known as shear-thickening, in which fluids become solid when a force is applied. A common example is a paste of corn starch and water. A spoon rested on the surface will slowly sick to the bottom, but if force is suddenly applied the paste can't move to the sides quickly enough.

The technology Armor Holdings will use was developed by the University of Delaware's Center for Composite Materials and the Weapons and Materials Research Directorate of the U.S. Army Research Laboratory at the Aberdeen Proving Ground.

University of Delaware professor Norman Wagner said the technology has the potential for new products that will ``provide better protection to those who need it.''

In addition to body armor, potential applications include vehicle armor, bomb blankets, industrial environments and transportation _ ``anywhere you want to protect people against sharp flying objects,'' Wagner said.

On the Net:

Armor Holdings Inc.: www.armorholdings.com

Weapons and Material Research Directorate: www.arl.army.mil/main/main/default.cfm?Action35&Page35

University of Delaware Shear Thickening Fluid site: www.ccm.udel.edu/STF/ Copyright ? 2006, South Florida Sun-Sentinel
29850  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Knife vs. Gun on: February 24, 2006, 10:24:32 PM
I think the point of the Tueller drill was to see what a typical officer needed to gun solve a knife attack without HTH skills.  Yes?
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