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30251  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: December 14, 2003, 07:26:07 PM
Indications Saddam Was Not in Hiding But a Captive
Interesting take on things by Debka


DEBKAfile Special Report

December 14, 2003, 6:55 PM (GMT+02:00)

A number of questions are raised by the incredibly bedraggled, tired and
crushed condition of this once savage, dapper and pampered ruler who was discovered in a hole in the ground on Saturday, December 13:

1. The length and state of his hair indicated he had not seen a barber or
even had a shampoo for several weeks.

2. The wild state of his beard indicated he had not shaved for the same
period

3. The hole dug in the floor of a cellar in a farm compound near Tikrit was
primitive indeed - 6ft across and 8ft across with minimal sanitary
arrangements - a far cry from his opulent palaces.

4. Saddam looked beaten and hungry.

5. Detained with him were two unidentified men, two AK-47 assault guns and a pistol, none of which were used.

6. The hole had only one opening. It was not only camouflaged with mud and bricks - it was blocked. He could not have climbed out without someone on the outside removing the covering.

7. And most important, $750,000 in 100-dollar notes were found with him - but no communications equipment of any kind, whether cell phone or even a carrier pigeon for contacting the outside world.

According to DEBKAfile analysts, these seven anomalies point to one
conclusion: Saddam Hussein was not in hiding; he was a prisoner.

After his last audiotaped message was delivered and aired over al Arabiya TV on Sunday November 16, on the occasion of Ramadan, Saddam was seized, possibly with the connivance of his own men, and held in that hole in Adwar for three weeks or more, which would have accounted for his appearance and condition. Meanwhile, his captors bargained for the $25 m prize the Americans promised for information leading to his capture alive or dead. The negotiations were mediated by Jalal Talabani's Kurdish PUK militia.

These circumstances would explain the ex-ruler's docility - described by
Lt.Gen. Ricardo Sanchez as "resignation" - in the face of his capture by US forces. He must have regarded them as his rescuers and would have greeted them with relief.

From Gen. Sanchez's evasive answers to questions on the $25m bounty, it may be inferred that the Americans and Kurds took advantage of the negotiations with Saddam's abductors to move in close and capture him on their own account, for three reasons:

A. His capture had become a matter of national pride for the Americans. No kudos would have been attached to his handover by a local gang of
bounty-seekers or criminals. The country would have been swept anew with rumors that the big hero Saddam was again betrayed by the people he trusted, just as in the war.

B. It was vital to catch his kidnappers unawares so as to make sure Saddam was taken alive. They might well have killed him and demanded the prize for his body. But they made sure he had no means of taking his own life and may have kept him sedated.

C. During the weeks he is presumed to have been in captivity, guerrilla
activity declined markedly - especially in the Sunni Triangle towns of
Falluja, Ramadi and Balad - while surging outside this flashpoint region -
in Mosul in the north and Najef, Nasseriya and Hilla in the south. It was
important for the coalition to lay hands on him before the epicenter of the
violence turned back towards Baghdad and the center of the Sunni Triangle.

The next thing to watch now is not just where and when Saddam is brought to justice for countless crimes against his people and humanity - Sanchez said his interrogation will take "as long as it takes - but what happens to the insurgency. Will it escalate or gradually die down?

An answer to this, according to DEBKAfile's counter-terror sources, was
received in Washington nine days before Saddam reached US custody.

It came in the form of a disturbing piece of intelligence that the notorious
Lebanese terrorist and hostage-taker Imad Mughniyeh, who figures on the most wanted list of 22 men published by the FBI after 9/11, had arrived in southern Iraq and was organizing a new anti-US terror campaign to be launched in March-April 2004, marking the first year of the American invasion.

For the past 21 years, Mughniyeh has waged a war of terror against
Americans, whether on behalf of the Hizballah, the Iranian Shiite
fundamentalists, al Qaeda or for himself. The Lebanese arch-terrorist
represents for the anti-American forces in Iraq an ultimate weapon.

Saddam's capture will not turn this offensive aside; it may even bring it
forward.

For Israel, there are three lessons to be drawn from the dramatic turn of
events in Iraq:

First, An enemy must be pursued to the end and if necessary taken captive.   The Sharon government's conduct of an uncertain, wavering war against the Palestinian terror chief Yasser Arafat stands in stark contrast to the way the Americans have fought Saddam and his cohorts in Iraq and which has brought them impressive gains.

Second, Israel must join the US in bracing for the decisive round of
violence under preparation by Mughniyeh, an old common enemy from the days of Beirut in the 1980s. Only three weeks ago, DEBKAfile's military sources reveal, the terrorist mastermind himself was seen in south Lebanon in surveillance of northern Israel in the company of Iranian military officers. With this peril still to be fought, it is meaningless for Israelis to dicker over the Geneva Accord, unilateral steps around the Middle East road map, or even the defensive barrier.

Certain Israeli pundits and even politicians, influenced by opinion in
Europe, declared frequently in recent weeks that the Americans had no hope of capturing Saddam Hussein and were therefore bogged down irretrievably in Iraq. The inference was that the Americans erred in embarking on an unwinnable war in Iraq.

This was wide of the mark even before Saddam was brought in. The Americans are in firm control - even though they face a tough new adversary - and the whole purpose of the defeatist argument heard in Israel was to persuade the Sharon government that its position in relation to the Palestinians and Yasser Arafat is as hopeless as that of the Americans in Iraq.  Israel's only choice, according to this argument, is to knuckle under to Palestinian demands and give them what they want. Now that the Iraqi ruler is in American custody, they will have to think again.
30252  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: December 13, 2003, 12:57:15 AM
A most reasonable statement of your position.

Just to clarify one point though-- only some users of the term Kali are asserting "lost ancient mother art" and others (I would consider myself in this camp) simply are of the opinion that the term has historic validity.
30253  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: December 12, 2003, 12:15:58 PM
Woof OFS:

ROTFLMAO!

What dialect(s) is this saying from?  And, how does it go that dialect?

Yip!
Crafty Dog
30254  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: December 12, 2003, 07:15:26 AM
When Does Politics Become Treason?
By J. Michael Waller

"Congressmen who willfully take actions during wartime that damage morale and undermine the military are saboteurs and should be arrested, exiled or hanged" - that's what President Abraham Lincoln said during the War Between the States. While none have suggested such extreme measures in the midst of the war on terrorism, Lincoln's approach illustrates the deadly seriousness of political responsibility in wartime and draws a fine line between legitimate political dissent and aiding the enemy. The Supreme Court eventually stopped Lincoln's policy of having treasonous lawmakers arrested and tried before military tribunals, but for decades after the war the late president's Republican Party successfully tagged the Democrats as the "party of treason."

Today's very different Democratic Party is said to be playing with treason - even by outraged leaders within its ranks - to destroy the nation's wartime Republican president. Critics aren't using that word lightly. But with many liberal politicians having cut their teeth in the protest movement against the war in Vietnam - a movement characterized by militant displays of support for the Viet Cong and North Vietnamese enemy - treason is something to be taken lightly. But two important political commentators with large national audiences recently have compiled damning indictments: Mona Charen in her best-selling Useful Idiots: How Liberals Got It Wrong in the Cold War and Still Blame America First (Regnery), and Ann Coulter in her blockbuster Treason: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War to the War on Terrorism (Crown/Forum). The main difference from Lincoln's day is that the president's enemies are attacking him in the name of "supporting our troops."

It started shortly after the liberation of Iraq when Senate Democrats asked the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence to examine whether faulty intelligence might have led President George W. Bush to mislead Congress and the public about the urgency of toppling Saddam Hussein. The committee chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.), agreed to a probe in light of the panel's nonpartisan tradition since its founding in the 1970s. But in a sharp break with tradition, the Democrats on the committee, led by Vice Chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and pushed behind the scenes by Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), decided to turn the probe into a savage and bitterly partisan weapon against the White House.

Proof of the Democrats' intent came in early November when Fox News received a leaked memo authored by a Rockefeller staffer on the committee. According to the memo, the Democrats' strategy was to "pull the majority as far along as we can on issues that may lead to major new disclosures regarding improper or questionable conduct by administration officials. For example, in addition to the president's State of the Union speech, the chairman [Roberts] has agreed to look at the activities of the Office of the Secretary of Defense as well as [Under] Secretary [John] Bolton's office at the State Department. The fact that the chairman supports our investigations into these offices and cosigns our requests for information is helpful and potentially crucial." In other words: exploit the unique bipartisanship of the Intelligence Committee by launching fishing expeditions in the offices of the conservative policymakers at the Pentagon and the State Department, using the Republican committee chairman's signature as a fig leaf.

The plan ordered up by Rockefeller took the partisanship even further: "Assiduously prepare Democratic 'additional views' to attach to any interim or final reports the committee may release. Committee rules provide this opportunity and we intend to take full advantage."

Once the Republicans caught on and stopped cooperating, the plan called for Democrats to "prepare to launch an independent investigation when it becomes clear that we have exhausted the opportunity to usefully collaborate with the majority. We can pull the trigger on an independent investigation at any time - but we can only do so once." The timing, according to the memo, would involve pulling that trigger during the heated campaign season of 2004.

The plan was a gross breach of the committee's practices and, even as Americans were being killed in ambushes, it was aimed at hamstringing, in the words of the memo, "the senior administration officials who made the case for a unilateral, pre-emptive war."

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) was outraged. "For a quarter-century there has been a consensus in the Senate that the committee's nonpartisan tradition must be carefully safeguarded. Nothing else is acceptable. Why? Because this committee deals with information that is unique, that is privileged information, because of the dangerous and sensitive nature of the subject matter for which the Intelligence Committee ... has unique oversight.

"I came to the [Senate] floor because that critical tradition has now been willfully attacked. How can I say that? By this memo," Frist roared. "The Senate Select Committee on Intelligence has been harmed by a blatant partisan attack. I have no earthly idea who wrote the memo. I do know why. I don't know who it was intended for, but I do know why. If you read the memo [available online at http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,102258,00.html], you can look. It is a sequence of steps spelled out. The sequence of steps proposed in this partisan battle plan for the committee itself is without question intended to sow doubt, to abuse the fairness of the committee chairman, Sen. Pat Roberts, to undermine the standing of the commander in chief at a time of war and to launch a partisan investigation through next year into the elections."

Intelligence professionals agree that the plan was a grave breach during time of war, showing reckless disregard for national security and national war aims. Frist, an ex-officio member of the committee, made three demands: that the author or authors of the memo step forward and identify themselves, that "the author or authors and the designated recipient or recipients disavow once and for all this partisan attack in its entirety" and for the perpetrators to make "a personal apology" to the committee chairman.

Almost incredibly to national-security specialists, that was all. No further sanctions. No nothing.

"Frist has emboldened the Democrats," warned a senior administration official at the time. And indeed, he did. For rather than repent, confess and seek forgiveness, Rockefeller openly admitted that his staff had done it with his full support and he accused Republicans of "stealing" the proof of the Democratic scheme to undermine the war effort from his staff computers. He and other Democrats demanded and received an official investigation of the "theft."

It was classical Clintonism. "When [Bill] Clinton got a [sexual favor] in the White House, he unleashed a thousand Lanny Davises and he won," says a senior Bush aide, referring to the former president's extremely aggressive and partisan lawyer. "The handling of the Rockefeller memorandum follows the same strategy."

A top figure in the national-security community fumes, "Some Democrat leaders are flirting with treason while the Republicans are acting like a bunch of sissies." But it isn't just Senate Republicans, the official concedes. "Where's the fight back from the White House?" Senators and congressmen have been reprimanded, censured, expelled, even put on trial for less. In some of Capitol Hill's pubs wags are urging, tongue in cheek, for Republicans to play hardball the way President Lincoln did. Shortly after signing the Emancipation Proclamation in 1863, Lincoln spoke forcefully of the need to arrest, convict and, if necessary, execute congressmen who by word or deed undermined the war effort. At least one congressman was exiled and another awaited the gallows.

"Must I shoot a simple-minded soldier-boy who deserts, while I must not touch a hair of a wily agitator who induces him to desert? This is none the less injurious when effected by getting a father, or brother, or friend, into a public meeting, and there working upon his feelings till he is persuaded to write the soldier-boy that he is fighting in a bad cause, for a wicked Administration of a contemptible Government, too weak to arrest and punish him if he shall desert. I think that in such a case to silence the agitator and save the boy is not only constitutional, but withal a great mercy," Lincoln wrote in June 1863, after the arrest of Rep. Clement L. Vallandigham (D-Ohio).

The congressman's arrest was military, not political, Lincoln insisted: "His arrest was made because he was laboring, with some effect, to prevent the raising of troops; to encourage desertions from the Army; and to leave the rebellion without an adequate military force to suppress it. He was not arrested because he was damaging the political prospects of the Administration, or the personal interests of the commanding general, but because he was damaging the Army, upon the existence and vigor of which the life of the nation depends. He was warring upon the military, and this gave the military constitutional jurisdiction to lay hands on him."

Warring upon the military: Lincoln's words apply to some lawmakers today, but even the most bitter of them insist that they're doing it to "support the troops." The law might allow the U.S. military to arrest lawmakers who undermine military effectiveness or morale while in a theater of war. In considering the Lincoln-era arrests of treasonous congressmen, the Supreme Court ruled the arrests illegal because the politicians in question lived outside the war zone at the time of their actions.

Rhode Island Chief Justice Frank J. Williams, a scholar of the Lincoln era, has been mulling the question of such arrests and their applicability today. He studied the case of Rep. Lambdin P. Milligan (D-Ind.), a Copperhead who had tried, in solidarity with the Confederacy, to discourage enlistments after Lincoln called for raising troops in 1862. The Army arrested Milligan in October 1864. A military commission found him guilty of inciting insurrection and giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war, and sentenced him to be hanged on May 19, 1865.

"Condemned to hang, he invoked the habeas corpus writ," says Williams in a recent essay. "But by then the war was over, and the Court was prepared to act boldly. It ruled that Indiana, where Milligan resided and spoke, was not part of the 'theater of war' and that the civil courts there were 'open' and therefore available to conduct his trial. Under such a combination of circumstances, the writ could not be constitutionally suspended. The Milligan case, needless to say, has become the source of permanent consternation to the friends of presidential power."

Nearly a century later, Chief Justice Earl Warren called the Milligan case a "landmark" that "firmly established the principle that when civil courts are open and operating, resort to military tribunals for the prosecution of civilians is impermissible."

Modern scholars express little doubt about the legitimacy of the Milligan conviction. The issue is the authority of the military to do the arresting and prosecuting. According to Williams, the Milligan case "establishes the principle that the courts shall determine, even to the point of overriding the executive, what is the area of war and public danger, a principle that could well cause havoc with presidential effectiveness in an actual emergency."

Politicians feel freer to use more extreme rhetoric against the war on terrorism now that they have political cover from elders such as Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and left-wing moneybags such as George Soros, who calls Bush more dangerous than the terrorists and has pledged millions to bring him down. As the war debate deteriorates from principle and practicality to partisanship, the once-important intolerance toward uttering words that comfort the enemy also is deteriorating. Combine that with the by-any-means-necessary approach to using the Senate Intelligence Committee as a partisan bludgeon and the question arises as to whether lawmakers can be trusted to police their own behavior.

Public censure long has been a tool that responsible legislators have wielded to punish or deter bad behavior from within their own ranks. The House and Senate have censured and expelled some of their more wayward colleagues, even invalidating their elections, but apart from the Civil War period such measures generally were reserved for financial corruption and sex crimes. In the 20th century, no lawmakers had action taken against them for behavior that may have lent aid and comfort to the enemy, according to Herbert Romerstein, a veteran congressional investigator and a historian of subversion in the United States. "Vietnam is the only time it comes to mind, and though there was widespread support for the enemy nobody was punished." Probably because the war had not formally been declared.

However, there were and are established precedents to punish lawmakers who reveal classified information. The most prominent, though largely forgotten, case is that of Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who was accused repeatedly of revealing sensitive secrets in interviews with reporters, including leaking stories about U.S. intelligence intercepts of conversations of foreign leaders. In 1986, Leahy, then vice chairman of the Intelligence Committee, let an NBC reporter read a secret draft report on the emerging Iran-Contra scandal. The committee spent a half-year investigating and forced Leahy to resign from the panel.

It was perhaps the most serious breach in the committee's decadelong history, and it wasn't Leahy's only offense. He was long a suspected leaker of national-security secrets as part of his effort to discredit the Reagan administration and its policy of rolling back Soviet communism. The problem was the Senate Intelligence Committee leadership had no proof. Insight has learned that staffers on the committee set up a sting operation against Leahy to catch him in the act. In compiling documents for each senator on the committee, staff members made small alterations in the numbered copies reserved for Leahy, marking the text in small ways that would, if leaked, prove the identity of the leaker. The sting worked, hastening Leahy's exposure and resulting in his being forced to leave the committee in disgrace.

Like the United Nations, the current Senate appears unwilling to enforce its own rules and resolutions on security matters. The Republican response to the Intelligence Committee memorandum is proof of that, critics say, even though the committee's Rules of Procedure require immediate action in such cases. According to section 10.8, "The Committee shall immediately consider action to be taken in the case of any member of the Committee staff who fails to conform" to committee rules. "Such disciplinary action may include, but shall not be limited to, immediate dismissal from the Committee staff."

Meanwhile, of course, the Democrats are trying to make a criminal case of the GOP "theft" of the memorandum proving their plot against the war effort.

 

Note on sources: Given the recent controversy about the authenticity of quotations attributed to President Abraham Lincoln, Insight went directly to the primary source for the presidential statements about how to deal with congressmen who sabotage the war effort. This reporter found the quotes in a June 1863 letter that President Lincoln wrote, published that year in pamphlet form as "The Truth from an Honest Man: The Letter of the President," by King & Baird Printers in Philadelphia and distributed by the Union League. Insight thanks Herbert Romerstein for providing the original pamphlet from his collection.
30255  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: December 11, 2003, 03:11:25 PM
" yes, you would like to make government smaller, but your desire to stay in power is larger. "
 
What is the difference between Republicans and Socialists? Socialists confess that the will make Government bigger. wink
Bob
 
 
 
http://www.mises.org/fullstory.asp?control=1391
 
Power Over Principle

by James Ostrowski

[Posted December 11, 2003]

I write this dutifully and joylessly in the manner of someone taking out the garbage or performing some other unpleasant task that's been done before but which must be done once more.

The Republicans have done it again. With their new Medicare bill, they've made government even bigger. This is not new to us here. We've been saying that for years. The Republicans have been expanding the size, scope and power of government ever since they first got their mitts on power in 1861. Their Civil War set the blueprint for modern America, according to liberal historian James McPherson. In modern America, unrestrained democracy?of the greedy people, by the greedy people, and for the greedy people?leads special interest groups to continually expand the size of the state for their own benefit and everyone else's loss. Does any intelligent person not know this by now?

The Rushians and the Republican rank and file apparently do not know it. Why? They confuse talk and action. Republican politicians do speak the language of individual freedom and free markets and limited government. Most regular folks don't have the time or energy or money to hang out in the Republican hacks' palatial digs on Capitol Hill to see if their heroes actually do what they've promised. (They don't.)

This explanation is not enough, however. There are just too many examples of Republican sell-outs and cop-outs and logrolling over liberty. Reagan failed to cut the two useless departments he promised to cut. The 1994 "revolution" of Newt and the Gang was a flop. Yes, but we needed to get control of all three branches of government. Okay, you did that in 2002. What's your excuse now? The federal government is bigger than ever; its debt is colossal; the U.S. is in two wars; and there isn't even talk of abolishing HUD, the textbook example of a corrupt, destructive and unlawful federal agency.

There must be something that keeps the troops anteing up their votes and legwork and contributions to the mendacious Republican machine. There is. Hillary was right. There is a vast, right-wing conspiracy to whip up hatred of liberal Democratic icons like Bill and Hillary primarily for their personal peccadilloes. My response to most of the Clinton scandals? A big yawn. What politicians do in broad daylight is much worse than what they do at night or behind closed doors.

Yet, the Republican hacks can hardly talk about issues. They just did what we were supposed to fear from the Billary?they socialized medicine even further. Talk about scandals and side-issues like burning the flag, is designed to cloud the minds of the Rushians with emotions that blind them to the disingenuousness of the Republican elite. And it works! It looks like the Republicans will retain control of their beloved federal government once more.

Here's the key to the scam. All things being ideal, the Republicans actually would make small cuts in government. Things are never ideal, though. The Republicans always worry that if they cut government, they will lose votes from the special interest groups. That would bring on the worst of all possible worlds: people in charge who, like the Republicans, also support and nurture big government, but are called "Democrats". Horrors. Check out of the Russell palace and go back to Palookaville? No way, no how! If any of the troops disagree, Hammer 'em!  

Now, I know what the hacks will say in response. That fella doesn't know how Washington works. We just need to get a lock on power for another four years, and then we'll lower the boom on big government. But I do understand, fellas. I've been watching you guys for 25 years. As I said previously about George Pataki, you have sold out for the same reason that Republicans usually sell out: yes, you would like to make government smaller, but your desire to stay in power is larger.

Okay. I've taken out the garbage one more time.
30256  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines on: December 09, 2003, 12:42:27 AM
Philippines Strikes Back at Kidnapping Gangs
December 08, 2003   2122 GMT

Summary

Galib Andang, a leading member of Abu Sayyaf, was captured in the southern Philippines on Dec. 7. Since Andang's chief occupation was the commander of a kidnap-for-ransom gang, the arrest is not a significant blow to al Qaeda and affiliated groups in the region, but it will help Manila curb rampant kidnapping in the country.

Analysis

The Philippine military captured Galib Andang, alias Commander Robot, a senior leader of the Abu Sayyaf militant Islamist group, after a firefight in the southern island of Jolo on Dec. 7. Andang's capture is a significant victory in Manila's battle against widespread and frequent kidnappings in the country.

However, the Philippine government and international press are crafting his arrest as something else -- a victory against militant Islamists. The Abu Sayyaf does have loose ties to al Qaeda and its associated Southeast Asian group, the Jemaah Islamiyah. But the primary mission of Andang's group came to be kidnap for ransom, which has little to do with Islamist ideology and goals. His arrest is a victory against kidnappers, not Islamists.

Andang led the Abu Sayyaf faction that conducted the April 2000 kidnapping of 21 tourists from the Malaysian dive resort of Sipadan. However, following that raid, the Abu Sayyaf became embroiled in an ideological dispute between fundamentalists who wanted to use the hostages in negotiations for Islamist goals -- the release of imprisoned group members and the recognition of an Islamist state -- and others who preferred to ransom the hostages for cash. Andang was one of the more entrepreneurial leaders.

Andang's arrest will not decapitate a working al Qaeda or affliated group, but the gang leader could provide a wealth of information under interrogation -- reportedly, he is already cooperating with Philippine authorities.

Commander Robot's downfall follows a renewed crackdown on kidnappings that has plagued the country in recent years -- a problem that businesspeople and diplomats consider a key factor in deterring foreign investment. The Nov. 17 abduction of a Coca-Cola executive, found dead in a trash can the next day, indicates the criminal trend in the country. According to ABS-CBN television, more than 100 people were kidnapped in the first 10 months of 2003.

Last October, Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo appointed former Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes to head the National Anti-Kidnapping Task Force (NAKTAF) that implemented new measures in December to curb kidnappings. Among the measures are new random checkpoints in high-risk areas and an in-depth investigation on reported collusion of police and military personnel with kidnap-for-ransom groups.

Manila has been making progress: The leading kidnap-for-ransom group was taken out of commission Nov. 20 after gang boss Roberto Yap and several core members were killed in a shootout in the northern province of Bataan. Andang's capture shortly after the Yap gang's fall, could put a significant dent in the Philippine kidnapping industry. However this progress should not be confused with inroads into routing Islamist networks.
30257  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines on: December 08, 2003, 02:41:32 PM
Rack 'Em Up:
In Pool, It's Filipinos
Vs. Rest of the World
Warped Tables of Manila Slums
Help Breed Global Pool Stars
By JAMES HOOKWAY
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL


MANILA, Philippines -- Michaela Tabb, a referee for nine-ball pool, had no inkling how much of a celebrity she is before she came to the Philippines.

But when the 35-year-old Scot arrived in Manila recently to officiate a "Philippines vs. the Rest of the World" tournament, she was besieged by fans who had seen her on television and wanted her to sign their pool cues.

"I knew pool was popular here, but I didn't expect anything like this," Ms. Tabb said while taking refuge in the players' lounge.

In the Philippines, the game introduced by U.S. soldiers before World War II has evolved into a national obsession. The sport attracts bigger audiences than boxing and basketball do. World championship games are often projected onto the walls of grimy warehouses so hundreds of people in the slums below can follow the action.

The country's fascination with pool is now creating stars with a global following. The biggest draw is Efren "The Magician" Reyes, a chubby, gaptoothed 49-year-old former world champion who trains on a diet of chicken, rice and beer.

 
"The Filipino players are exceedingly popular. Everybody tunes in when Efren Reyes or Francisco Bustamante are playing," says Luke Riches of Matchroom Sport, the London promoter of the annual nine-ball world championships.

Pool is ideally suited to the Philippines. It doesn't require much space, a significant consideration in a crowded country. It's also a cheap evening's entertainment and perfect for casual gambling, which is widespread here.

The object of nine-ball pool is to sink nine balls in sequence, with the player who pockets the No. 9 ball at the right time winning the rack. Games are fast and unpredictable. Thanks to pool's appeal in Asia, top U.S. pros such as Earl "The Pearl" Strickland are as likely to be found playing in tournaments in Tokyo or Manila as in Las Vegas. ESPN-STAR Sports will hold next year's championship in conjunction with Matchroom in either Taipei or Manila to take advantage of huge TV audiences not just in the Philippines but also in Taiwan, Japan and Singapore.

Filipinos will inevitably be among the winners. Each year the country unleashes more and more professionals on the international circuit. Runner-up in the 2003 world championships: Alex "The Lion" Pagulayan, 25, a skinny Filipino with spiky hair who resides in Canada and also goes by the name "Killer Pixie."

Americans may have introduced the game here, but Filipinos perfected it. Pool tables can be found everywhere from rickety barrio grocery stalls to cavernous pool halls in Manila. In shantytowns lining a railway track bisecting Manila, residents play on flimsy plywood tables, pushing little discs of wood around instead of billiard balls.

Mika Immonen, a former world champion from Finland who played recently on the "Rest of the World" team, believes there are some parallels between pool players in the Philippines and soccer players in the favelas of Brazil. Filipinos often have little choice but to play on uneven, battered tables with warped cues, just as Brazilian slum dwellers play on potholed streets with soccer balls fashioned out of rags.

"If they can play well under those conditions, then imagine how well they can do with the proper equipment," Mr. Immonen says. "Controlling the cue ball becomes easier if you have to play under extreme conditions."

Mr. Reyes, widely recognized as among the best players the sport has ever seen, travels the world with his $10 pool stick, sending home winnings to support his family and friends. He has won as much as $160,000 in one tournament. His overseas following includes hundreds of Filipinos working as nurses, engineers or domestic servants. The current world champion, Thorsten Hohmann of Germany, estimates that more than 90% of the crowd at a recent tournament in Dubai was Filipino.

Mr. Reyes relishes his role as the champion of the Philippine diaspora. Earlier this year, he starred in an action movie, "Pakners," in which he got to beat up gangsters with his pool stick.

What Mr. Reyes likes most of all is the food his fans bring him in Tupperware containers when he plays overseas. "They're Filipino: They cook for me and take care of me until the early morning," he says. "They're not professional chefs, but it's fried fish or chicken, the food I like."

Sid Waddell, an English pool commentator known for his offbeat similes ("He's as twitchy as a frog in a blender"), says Mr. Reyes's fans frequently take their hero out singing after his matches. After Mr. Reyes made a seemingly impossible shot at a recent tournament in Holland, Mr. Waddell remarked on the air: "There'll be karaoke and chicken curry tonight then!"

Mr. Reyes's specialty is banking the cue ball off multiple cushions to hit his target ball, often sinking it. It's a skill he learned as a child in his uncle's Manila pool hall. He used to sleep on the table at night.

He made his first overseas trip, to Japan, in 1979 when it became clear nobody in the Philippines was reckless enough to play him. In 1985, Mr. Reyes went to the U.S. for the first time to play pool for money. He bagged the world championship in 1999.

Write to James Hookway at james.hookway@awsj.com
30258  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: December 08, 2003, 02:36:53 PM
All:

So that no one misses the first, I mention that this is my second post today on this thread.  

Crafty
-----------------------

Leader (U.S.)
For Lt. Withers,
Act of Mercy Has
Unexpected Sequel
U.S. Officer Broke the Rules
To Let His Men Take In
Young Dachau Survivor
By BRYAN GRULEY
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL


The two young men stood trembling before Army Lt. John Withers, dressed in the rags they'd worn at the recently liberated Dachau concentration camp. Sores pocked their bony arms and legs. Decades later, the lieutenant would remember how their sunken eyes sought mercy.

But in 1945, near the end of World War II, they posed a problem. Lt. Withers was a black leader in an all-black supply convoy. In violation of Army orders, his men were hiding the refugees. Lt. Withers planned to have the strangers removed -- until he saw them.

They stayed with his unit for more than a year, two Jewish survivors of the Holocaust hiding among blacks from segregated America. The soldiers nicknamed them "Peewee" and "Salomon." They grew close to Lt. Withers. By the time he bid them farewell, they'd grown healthy again.

Mr. Withers never forgot them. Over the years, he told and retold their tale to his two sons. When one son set out to find them, he discovered that Salomon had died in 1993. But Peewee, he learned, was alive.

 
Unlike Mr. Withers, Peewee had buried his past. His children and grandchildren knew almost nothing about his time in Auschwitz, Buchenwald and Dachau. When his grandson asked about the number tattooed on his left forearm -- A19104 -- all he could say was, "Bad people put that down."

He couldn't bring himself to talk about it.

Then John Withers reappeared -- and changed Peewee's life yet again.

A bright morning sun shone on the cobblestone square in Starachowice, Poland, as the Nazi soldiers separated the strong Jews from the weak. It was Oct. 27, 1942, a scene reported by historians and survivors. The healthy would go to work building bombs for the Germans. The rest would be piled on a train to the extermination camp at Treblinka.

Izaak Wajgenszperg gave his 14-year-old son a brick to stand on. He said it would make the boy look bigger, so the Nazis might not send him away. Mieczyslaw Wajgenszperg obeyed. Across the square, he recalled, his mother and younger sister disappeared into the crowd. He would never see them again.

Mieczyslaw (MEE-shuh-slav) had grown up in a red-brick house in Starachowice, an industrial town. His grandfather was a banker, and his father exported timber.

After the Nazis invaded in 1939, they moved Mieczyslaw's family and other Jews into an unwalled ghetto, where Jews were expected to step off the sidewalk when Germans passed. They lived there until that October morning when the Nazis tore Mieczyslaw's family in two and put him and his father to work in a munitions factory in Starachowice.

In July 1944, with the Russian army approaching, the Germans put the Jews on a southbound train. Mieczyslaw and his father were deposited at Auschwitz and given blue-and-gray-striped uniforms. From there, the Nazis sent the boy to another camp nearby. His father stayed behind, and Mieczyslaw said goodbye to him for the last time.

Late that September, Army Second Lt. John Withers, then 28, boarded a train bound for a boat that would take him to Europe. Black soldiers rode separately from whites. Stopped in New Orleans, Lt. Withers recalled seeing another train carrying German and Italian prisoners of war. Black porters were serving them.


Salomon and Peewee with an Army soldier in Germany, 1945.  
He came from Greensboro, N.C., where segregation ruled, and blacks were expected to step aside when whites passed. Lt. Withers knew he was going to war for freedoms he didn't enjoy. Still, he recalled in an interview this year, "I thought I would be better off if the world subdued Hitler." He had his own dream: leave the South, become a professor and join the American middle class.

He grew up the precocious son of a janitor and a seamstress in a six-room house with three siblings, five cousins and a family friend. His mother bought the children dress shoes instead of work shoes because work shoes announced that you were poor, her son recalled. If neighbors had a Thanksgiving turkey, the Witherses told everyone they did, too, even if their holiday dinner was ham hocks and beans.

As a teenager, John developed a passion for opera, and carried in his pocket index cards he filled with poems, Gospel verse and snatches of literature. He earned a bachelor's degree in social sciences from North Carolina A&T, then a master's degree in economics from the University of Wisconsin in 1941. He hoped to seek a Ph.D., but funds were scant. And the Army called.

Three years later, he was helping to lead one of the quartermaster truck companies ferrying supplies to the front lines in Europe, military records show. Lt. Withers stood apart from the other soldiers. He didn't smoke, drink or curse. He helped illiterate soldiers write home. He spent a leave in London at libraries and the theater.

He never experienced full-fledged combat. He fretted about returning to Greensboro, where he worried he'd have no job, no money to pursue a Ph.D., no way to escape the South. A glimmer of hope appeared: the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, better known as the GI Bill, which was designed to help veterans pay for college. As 1945 dawned, Lt. Withers was determined to take advantage of it. But he had to keep his record clean.

From his labor camp near Auschwitz, where he had been for six months, 16-year-old Mieczyslaw heard the Russian cannons. In late January of 1945, the Nazis marched him and thousands of others northwest. Mieczyslaw wrapped his shoes in paper bags so he wouldn't slip on the snow. Many who faltered were shot, he later recalled.

Note from John Withers II
My search for Peewee and Salomon began with a story my father told me as a child. Even when I was too young fully to understand why, the tale of the two young Jewish boys from Poland clearly held deep meaning for him. Not that he imbued it with any particular moral significance. He never inferred that he or his men had done anything noteworthy in aiding the boys. Still, on occasion, I would catch my father lingering over old photos of the boys and know that he was asking himself: What has become of them? How much he missed his friends!

 
But to me, as I grew old enough to appreciate it, the story became so much more. Why did these soldiers do what they did? They could have gotten into trouble with their superiors and faced serious punishment. Why had these men -- made callous by war and lives of poverty -- taken these boys to heart? Curiosity welled within me until, eventually, perhaps inevitably, there came a day when my father's question -- what had become of them? -- had to be answered, and I had to answer it.

It took many years of searching -- many years of false starts and disappointments -- before the answer came. There was the sad news that Salomon had died of cancer in Israel some years before. But there also was a moment -- an indescribable moment -- when my father, then 84 years old, descended a plane in Hartford, Conn., and walked stiffly down the long corridors of the airport. He had come to meet a friend whom he hadn't seen in five decades. He did not pause or hesitate or even look around. Instead, he moved directly toward an elderly man with a round face and an unmistakable smile approaching from the far end of the hallway. And suddenly, Peewee, wonderful Peewee, was with him again.

Ask questions or share your comments. Join a discussion with John Withers, John Withers II and Wall Street Journal reporter Bryan Gruley.
 
He wound up in the "Little Camp" at Buchenwald. In April, he was loaded onto a snow-filled train that zigzagged through Germany and Czechoslovakia for three weeks. He sat on a man who had frozen to death. When he arrived at Dachau, his ribs poked at his skin. He'd been there two days when U.S. troops liberated the camp on April 29, 1945.

U.S. soldiers moved Mieczyslaw and other inmates to an abandoned SS barracks near Munich, he recalled. One day Mieczyslaw discovered that a bag holding his only belongings -- a few items of clothing -- had been stolen. The theft so infuriated him that he left.

Dressed in his ragged prisoner's uniform, Mieczyslaw walked to another barracks where he'd noticed black U.S. soldiers. He had heard that American blacks were poor and, like him, had faced discrimination.

He found members of Quartermaster Truck Company 3512 washing dishes. Using hand gestures and some German, he made them understand he wanted a job.

The men let Mieczyslaw help. That first night he slept outside on a table, he later recalled. The next morning, the soldiers gave him a room with a bed, a bureau, a desk and a window that looked out on a forest. They fed him goulash and bread, and gave him a nickname, "Peewee," because his name was a mouthful and he was about 5 feet tall.

Then one morning, the soldiers told Mieczyslaw -- now Peewee -- that a lieutenant had learned of his presence, as well as that of another Dachau refugee, 20 years old, whom they'd dubbed "Salomon." John Withers, who'd recently been promoted to first lieutenant, wanted to see them.

Quartermaster units had orders to avoid contact with the Dachau prisoners, Lt. Withers later recalled. His superiors worried that supply convoys would pick up diseases and spread them to other Army units. Researchers at the National Archives couldn't locate specific records of such orders but said other records indicate that Army brass were acutely concerned about health risks posed by Dachau prisoners.

Lt. Withers had learned that it was especially important for blacks to follow orders in the segregated Army. He recalled worrying that sheltering Dachau refugees might get him a dishonorable discharge -- and then there would be no GI Bill for him.

He assumed the two refugees were war-toughened men who were exploiting his soldiers' sympathy. So he was unprepared when the soldiers brought Peewee and Salomon. The refugees seemed shrunken and frightened, really just boys, he recalled thinking.

Peewee would later recall that his knees felt weak as he waited for the lieutenant's verdict. He assumed that his immediate family was dead. He was 16. He had no home, no money and no clothing but what he wore. He wanted no more part of the Allies' displaced-persons camps. In the chaos following the war, he had no idea what to do next.

Lt. Withers assumed that Peewee and Salomon would be returned to Dachau, where thousands of former prisoners were still convalescing, according to Army dispatches from the summer of 1945. He'd been to Dachau on a bread-and-milk delivery shortly after it was liberated. He'd seen bodies decomposing in an open ditch, smelled the rotting flesh. How could he send them back?

"Keep them," he recalled blurting to his men. "We're going to take care of them."

In recent interviews, he struggled to explain why he changed his mind. "I think I identified with them very strongly and instantaneously," he said. He said he also risked losing face with his men. "They were willing to take the chance. If I would have overruled them, I would have been on the wrong side of the decision."

The soldiers dressed the young men in fatigues and boots. Washing dishes, peeling potatoes and hosing down trucks with the GIs, Peewee and Salomon picked up English, including a few curse words. The soldiers initially paid them with candy and cigarettes, later with cash.

When white officers came around, Peewee and Salomon ducked into the mess, a closet or a truck cab. On supply runs, they burrowed under tarpaulins in the backs of trucks. In one close call, Peewee recalled, he hid from a military policeman under a tarp while some GIs sat on it.

By the fall of 1945, many Army units had begun hiring local people so U.S. soldiers could go home. Peewee and Salomon no longer had to hide. They were strong enough by then to live on their own, but they stayed with Lt. Withers even as he transferred to Quartermaster Truck Company 3511 in early 1946, and it moved to the Bavarian village of Staffelstein.

At religious services, the young men sang and clapped to Gospel music. They learned to drive and to shoot. They bartered with farmers for hams, chickens and eggs. Peewee tried baseball, pitched horseshoes, posed in a cowboy hat and botched a batch of biscuits. Lt. Withers bought each a watch. He taught them the English words to "Taps."

Peewee and Salomon spent many evenings talking with the lieutenant. Sometimes he read them tales of Greek, Norse and Roman mythology. But mostly they wanted to hear about the U.S., he recalled later. What kinds of jobs could they find there? Could they get rich?

Though he couldn't answer these questions for himself, Lt. Withers told Peewee and Salomon, "Get to the United States and you'll be all right." He didn't speak of race or anti-Semitism because "they didn't need anything negative," he recalled.

Sometimes Peewee, Salomon and Lt. Withers would sing a German drinking song, "So Sind Wir (Such Are We)." Translated, it went:

Such are we
We laugh off the sorrow
Such are we
We do our best until tomorrow
Such are we
And so we shall always be
So come drink a cup with me
And sing such are we

 
The lieutenant wondered how Peewee and Salomon could remain so happy and gentle after what they'd endured. "They didn't become hateful or hostile in return. They didn't become bitter or apathetic," he would recall. "That was something I've kept with me all my life: that it is possible for someone -- me, anyone -- to overcome the obstacles in his path without losing himself and face prejudice without becoming prejudiced in return."

The day Lt. Withers went home in December 1946, Peewee and Salomon waited near his Jeep in Staffelstein. By then, Peewee had an apartment in nearby Bamberg and a job at a machine and auto-repair shop. He and Salomon presented the lieutenant with a photo album embossed with his name. He gave them each a pen and his mother's Greensboro address. Then they saluted before Lt. Withers rumbled away.

In his footlocker in the back of the Jeep rested a picture-postcard Peewee had given him. It showed Peewee beaming in a U.S. Army uniform, his soft cap at a jaunty angle. On the back he'd written, in English, "To my good friend, Lt. John L. Withers."

Five decades later, the postcard found its way to John Withers's eldest son. John Withers II couldn't get it out of his mind.

He and his brother, Gregory, had been hearing about Peewee and Salomon since they were little. Their father had no stories about ambushing Nazis or shooting Messerschmitts out of the sky. When his sons asked about the war, he talked about Peewee and Salomon.

Mr. Withers told these tales as he, his wife, Daisy, and their sons traveled the globe. After his honorable discharge from the Army, he used the GI Bill and earned a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Chicago. He taught at universities in North Carolina and Michigan before joining the U.S. Agency for International Development, where he spent 21 years on assignments from Laos to Kenya before retiring in 1979 to Silver Spring, Md.

Wherever the Witherses went, they carried photographs of Peewee and Salomon. In John II's eyes, the men became like long-lost uncles. He frequently asked his father why he hadn't tried to find them. Mr. Withers said he wouldn't know where to begin. All he knew was Peewee's real name.

By 2000, that was enough for John II, then 51 and the State Department's deputy chief of mission in Riga, Latvia. On vacation in Germany, he'd detoured to Staffelstein and questioned natives about the black Army unit.

He received a one-year State Department sabbatical and began his hunt. The first Holocaust-survivor registers he checked had no record of a Mieczyslaw Wajgenszperg. But an Israeli search agency revealed that Peewee had emigrated to the U.S. or Canada. Then Yad Vashem, the vast repository of Holocaust records in Israel, supplied a catalog of the camps he'd been in: Starachowice, Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau. It shocked the elder Mr. Withers, who'd known only about Dachau.

Internet searches on Auschwitz and Buchenwald supplied too many leads to sort through, so John II focused on a place he'd never heard of, Starachowice. That led him to Christopher Browning, a University of North Carolina historian who had collected testimonies of 235 Starachowice survivors. Mr. Browning sent John II to Howard Chandler, a Starachowice survivor in Toronto who had compiled a list of other survivors.

John II called the man one evening in March 2001. Mr. Chandler, whose name was once Chaim Wajchendler, said yes, he had a phone number for Mieczyslaw in Connecticut.

"Oh my God," John II recalled thinking as he scribbled the number. After thanking Mr. Chandler, he dialed. There was a ring, then some high-pitched tones. He dialed again and got the same thing. The number was disconnected.

Had Peewee moved? Or died? John II redialed Mr. Chandler, who said he'd try again. Mr. Chandler called a friend in Israel who supplied a slightly different number. The area code had changed. Instead of calling John II to tell him, Mr. Chandler decided to call Mieczyslaw himself.

A few days later, in Hartford, Conn., a businessman named Martin Weigen received an unusual phone call.

Mr. Weigen and his wife, Margareta, had married in Germany in 1948. They moved to Israel, where Mr. Weigen had relatives, then back to Germany, and then to the U.S., where Mr. Weigen hoped to make his fortune.

After they arrived in 1956, Mr. Weigen and Margareta shortened their surname, first to Weisperg, then to Weigen. Mr. Weigen was Jewish, but he'd never been religious, and he worried that his daughter and son might suffer discrimination. They were raised Roman Catholic, like their mother.

Mr. Weigen worked days at a machinery company and at night helped his wife run a residential-care home they had bought. He left the machinery company in 1976 when he and his wife bought a second care home, where they housed and fed people who couldn't take care of themselves.


Martin Weigen and John Withers embrace at the Hartford Airport.  
They lived in a big white colonial on two wooded acres where Mr. Weigen liked to feed the birds. "Isn't the nature beautiful?" he would say in his soft Polish accent.

His daughter, Barbara Bergren, and his son, Edward Weigen, worked with him at his two residential-care homes and at a third that Edward bought. At a cottage the elder Mr. Weigen owned on Long Island Sound, he loved to stand at his bar and brag about his grandchildren.

But he rarely talked about the mother, father and sister he'd lost as a boy in Poland. Questions about his childhood and his wartime experiences were met with halting answers and, sometimes, tears. As he aged, his children worried that his stories might die with him.

Now, on the telephone, Howard Chandler told him someone was looking for him. On an index card, Mr. Weigen jotted a name -- "Wichers" -- and a phone number. He was a little hard of hearing. He wasn't sure who "Wichers" was.

He told his daughter, Ms. Bergren, about the message when she was helping at his office on April 3, 2001. The name "Wichers" meant nothing to her, but her dad seemed eager to call. He listened on one phone while Ms. Bergren dialed another.

John Withers II picked up the phone in his home library in Rockville, Md. Propped on his desk was a framed copy of Peewee's postcard.

"Mr. Wichers?" Ms. Bergren recalled saying.

"Withers," he corrected.

She didn't know that name either. "I believe you're looking for a relative of mine," she said.

John II's heart sank. Was Peewee dead? he recalled thinking. He identified himself, and asked if she was related to Mieczyslaw Wajgenszperg.

"Yes, he's sitting right here," she said, as she and John II recalled the conversation. "But he has a hearing impediment and if it's all right with you, I'll stay on the phone."

Mr. Weigen cut in from the other phone: "You are the son of Lt. John L. Withers of North Carolina?"

"Yes," John II said.

Ms. Bergren turned to see her father. His eyes had filled with tears.

"Dad?"

He whispered: "I know John Withers."

Mr. Weigen wondered if he would recognize John Withers as he waited, three weeks later, at Gate A-1 of Hartford's Bradley International Airport.

They were old men now. Mr. Weigen was 72, with feathery white hair and hearing aids. Mr. Withers, 84, wore a tan cap on his bald head and was shorter now than his old friend. The men embraced.

"Lt. John," Mr. Weigen recalled saying.

"Peewee," said Mr. Withers.

They were inseparable all weekend, holding hands and reminiscing while their families got to know each other. Mr. Weigen had told his children that a black soldier helped him during the war, but he hadn't said much more. His wife had asked more than once why he didn't use the Greensboro address to contact the lieutenant. "He wouldn't even remember who I am," Mr. Weigen said he told her.

Now he showed Mr. Withers yellowed photos from their time together, many of which Mr. Weigen's children and grandchildren had never seen. Nor had they known that Mr. Weigen had been called Peewee. Mr. Withers tried to call him Martin, but Mr. Weigen patted his hand and said, "No, no, John, to you I'm always Peewee."

John II and his wife started asking Mr. Weigen about the Nazi camps. Edward Weigen and Ms. Bergren silently worried that this would be too painful for their father. But with Mr. Withers at his side, Mr. Weigen opened up. Over one dinner that the family captured on videotape, he talked about his childhood and what his father had done for a living. "You ever hear that?" Edward, 43, said to Ms. Bergren. "I didn't."

In the past, their father rarely got beyond generalities before he grew quiet, or his eyes welled. Then his children would back off. "His way of survival was that you can't immerse yourself in that, you have to always move forward," said Ms. Bergren, 53.

With Mr. Withers it was different. Now when Mr. Weigen's emotions got to him, according to Edward, "he'd slow down, take breaths," and then dig deeper into his memories. One day Mr. Weigen told how some food he'd scrounged from an abandoned cellar near Auschwitz made him ill. "Listening to him, you know that this is the first time he has spoken of or thought of it since it happened," Edward said.

He talked about life in the Starachowice ghetto and described his journey to Dachau. He drew a diagram of the first room the soldiers gave him. He pulled out more photos his kids had never seen, including one of him with his sister, Klara, in the ghetto.

With the help of Mr. Weigen and John II, Edward began his own exploration of the past. He obtained the Jan. 26, 1945, list of Auschwitz prisoners transported to Buchenwald, which included his father. He learned that Mr. Weigen had altered his birthdate at Auschwitz to make himself two years older. He confirmed that Mr. Weigen's mother, and probably his sister, had died at Treblinka.


At the 2001 reunion, standing from left, John Withers II and Daisy Withers; sitting from left, Martin Weigen with grandson Christopher Weigen, John Withers and Margareta Weigen.  
In the summer of 2001, the entire Withers family attended the wedding of Mr. Weigen's granddaughter in Connecticut. Mr. Withers sent cards, letters and birthday gifts to the Weigen and Bergren children. In e-mails, Ms. Bergren referred to John II as "my newfound brother." In the summer of 2002, Edward and his family visited the Witherses in Maryland. Health problems kept Mr. Weigen from traveling, but this year the families began planning another Connecticut reunion for the fall.

Five weeks ago, Mr. Withers stepped off another plane in Hartford, not for a reunion, but to bury Peewee.

Mr. Weigen died Oct. 16. He was 75. He'd been diagnosed with colon cancer in September. Near the end, Ms. Bergren told the doctor, "He's a Holocaust survivor. He can't suffer anymore."

About 40 people attended his memorial service at a funeral home near Hartford. Two easels and an album displayed photos: Mieczyslaw with his sister and mother on a summer day; Peewee and Salomon grinning with a black soldier named Dave; Messrs. Weigen and Withers hugging.

The room fell silent as Ms. Bergren stood and told how Mr. Withers gave her father "a new beginning." She asked Mr. Withers to stand. "For what you did that year to bring him back to us, we will be forever grateful," she said. "We love you for it."

Later Mr. Withers, 87, rose to speak. Behind him lay Mr. Weigen in a mahogany casket, wearing his favorite sweater and clutching a dried rose from his seaside house. Mr. Withers felt sad and a little confused. He'd thought that Mr. Weigen, as strong as he was, would hold on for a few years.

He smiled and said, "My name is John Withers, and I have known Martin longer than anyone in this room." He spoke of how Mr. Weigen had cheered his men, and how his gentle manner would endure in the two families who loved him. Finally, he recited the lyrics to a song Mr. Weigen had sung when he was simply Peewee, "Taps":

Day is done,
Gone the sun,
From the lakes,
From the hills,
From the sky.
All is well,
Safely rest,
God is nigh.

Write to Bryan Gruley at bryan.gruley@wsj.com
30259  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the last samurai! on: December 08, 2003, 01:47:49 PM
Trivia:

Much of the development of the Akita took place during the 200 years prior to the Mejii Reformation when the Samurai used Akitas and Tosa Mastiffs dogfights for inspiration in the ways of fighting spirit.

Crafty Dog
30260  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: December 08, 2003, 02:11:45 AM
Woof All:

In the final minutes of the anniversary of the Day of Infamy I share the following:

Crafty Dog
===================

The Thunder Run
 'Are You Kidding, Sir?': Fewer Than 1,000 Soldiers Were Ordered to Capture a City of 5 Million Iraqis. Theirs Is a Story That May Become Military Legend.

 
David Zucchino, David Zucchino is a Times national correspondent based in Philadelphia.

Nine hundred and seventy-five men invading a city of 5 million sounded audacious, or worse, to the U.S. troops assigned the mission outside Baghdad last April 6. Ten years earlier, in Mogadishu, outnumbered American soldiers had been trapped and killed by Somali street fighters. Now some U.S. commanders, convinced the odds were far better in Iraq, scrapped the original plan for taking Baghdad with a steady siege and instead ordered a single bold thrust into the city. The battle that followed became the climax of the war and rewrote American military doctrine on urban warfare.

Back home, Americans learned of the victory in sketchy reports that focused on the outcome?a column of armored vehicles had raced into the city and seized Saddam Hussein's palaces and ministries. What the public didn't know was how close the U.S. forces came to experiencing another Mogadishu. Military units were surrounded, waging desperate fights at three critical interchanges. If any of those fell, the Americans would have been cut off from critical supplies and ammunition.

Embedded journalists reported the battle's broad outlines in April, but a more detailed account has since emerged in interviews with more than 70 of the brigade's officers and men who described the fiercest battle of the war?and one they nearly lost.

Times staff writer David Zucchino, who was embedded with Task Force 4-64 of the 2nd Brigade, 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), returned to the United States recently to report this story.

On the afternoon of April 4, Army Lt. Col. Eric Schwartz was summoned to a command tent pitched in a dusty field 11 miles south of Baghdad. His brigade commander, Col. David Perkins, looked up from a map and told Schwartz he had a mission for him.

"At first light tomorrow," Perkins said, "I want you to attack into Baghdad."

Schwartz felt disoriented. He had just spent several hours in a tank, leading his armored battalion on an operation that had destroyed dozens of Iraqi tanks and armored vehicles 20 miles south. A hot shard of exploding tank had burned a hole in his shoulder.

"Are you kidding, sir?" Schwartz asked, as he waited for the other officers inside the tent to laugh.

There was silence.

"No," Perkins said. "I need you to do this."

Schwartz was stunned. No American troops had yet set foot inside the capital. The original U.S. battle plan called for airborne soldiers, not tanks, to take the city. The tankers had trained for desert warfare, not urban combat. But now Perkins, commander of the 2nd Brigade of the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized), was ordering Schwartz's tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles on a charge into the unknown.

Schwartz's "thunder run" into the city the next morning was a prelude to the fall of Baghdad. It triggered a grinding three-day battle, the bloodiest of the war?and dismissed any public perception of a one-sided slaughter of a passive enemy. Entire Iraqi army units threw down their weapons and fled, but thousands of Iraqi militiamen and Arab guerrillas fought from bunkers and rooftops with grenades, rockets and mortars.

The 2nd Brigade's ultimate seizure of Baghdad has few modern parallels. It was a calculated gamble that will be taught at military academies and training exercises for years to come. It changed the way the military thinks about fighting with tanks in a city. It brought the conflict in Iraq to a decisive climax and shortened the initial combat of the war, perhaps by several weeks.

But when Eric Schwartz got the mission that would prime the battlefield for the decisive strike on Baghdad, he had no idea what he had taken on.

Task Force 1-64, a battalion nicknamed Rogue, rumbled north on Highway 8 toward Baghdad. The column seemed to stretch to the shimmering horizon?30 Abrams tanks and 14 Bradleys, their squat tan forms bathed in pale yellow light. It was dawn on April 5, a bright, hot Saturday.

Schwartz's battalion had been ordered to sprint through 10 1/2 miles of uncharted territory. The column was to conduct "armored reconnaissance," to blow through enemy defenses, testing strengths and tactics. It was to slice through Baghdad's southwestern corner and link up at the airport with the division's 1st Brigade, which had seized the facility the day before.

In the lead tank was 1st Lt. Robert Ball, a slender, soft-spoken North Carolinian. Just 25, Ball had never been in combat until two weeks earlier. He was selected to lead the column not because he had a particularly refined sense of direction but because his tank had a plow. Commanders were expecting obstacles in the highway.

The battalion had been given only a few hours to prepare. Ball studied his military map, but it had no civilian markings?no exit numbers, no neighborhoods. He was worried about missing his exit to the airport at what fellow officers called the "spaghetti junction," a maze of twisting overpasses and offramps on Baghdad's western cusp.

Ball's map was clipped to the top of his tank hatch as the column lumbered up Highway 8. He had been rolling only about 10 minutes when his gunner spotted a dozen Iraqi soldiers leaning against a building several hundred yards away, chatting, drinking tea, their weapons propped against the wall. They had not yet heard the rumble of the approaching tanks.

"Sir, can I shoot at these guys?" the gunner asked.

"Uh, yeah, they're enemy," Ball told him.

Ball had fired at soldiers in southern Iraq, but they had been murky green figures targeted with the tank's thermal imagery system. These soldiers were in living color. Through the tank's sights, Ball could see their eyes, their mustaches, their steaming cups of tea.

The gunner mowed them down methodically, left to right. As each man fell, Ball could see shock cross the face of the next man before he, too, pitched violently to the ground. The last man fled around the corner of the building. But then, inexplicably, he ran back into the open. The gunner dropped him.

The clattering of the tank's rapid-fire medium machine gun seemed to awaken fighters posted along the highway. Gunfire erupted from both sides?AK-47 automatic rifles and rocket-propelled grenades, or RPGs, followed minutes later by recoilless rifles and antiaircraft guns.

Iraqi soldiers and militiamen were firing from a network of trenches and bunkers carved into the highway's shoulders, and from rooftops and alleyways. Some were inside cargo containers buried in the dirt. Others were tucked beneath the overpasses or firing down from bridges.

In the southbound lanes, civilian cars were cruising past, their occupants staring wide-eyed at the fireballs erupting from the tank's main guns and the bright tracer flashes from the rapid-fire medium and .50-caliber machine guns. From onramps and access roads, other cars packed with Iraqi gunmen were attacking. Mixed in were troop trucks, armored personnel carriers, taxis and motorcycles with sidecars.

The crews were under strict orders to identify targets as military before firing. They were to fire warning shots, then shoot into engine blocks if a vehicle continued to approach. Some cars screeched to a halt. Others kept coming, and the gunners ripped into them. The crews could see soldiers or armed civilians in some of the smoking hulks. In others, they weren't sure. Nobody knew how many civilians had been killed. They knew only that any vehicle that kept coming was violently eliminated.

As the column lurched forward, buses and trucks unloaded Iraqi fighters. Some were in uniform, some in jeans and sports shirts. Others wore the baggy black robes of the Fedayeen Saddam, Hussein's loyal militiamen. To the Americans, they seemed to have no training, no discipline, no coordinated tactics. It was all point and shoot. The machine guns sent chunks of their bodies onto the roadside.

The Americans were suffering casualties, too. A Bradley was hit by an RPG and disabled. The driver panicked and leaped out, breaking his leg. A Bradley commander stopped and dragged the driver to safety.

At a highway cloverleaf, a tank was hit in its rear engine housing and burst into flames. The column stopped as the crew tried desperately to put out the fire. But the flames, fed by leaking fuel, spread.

The entire column was now exposed and taking heavy fire. Two suicide vehicles packed with explosives sped down the offramps. They were destroyed by tank cannons. After nearly 30 minutes of fighting, Perkins ordered the tank abandoned. To keep the tank out of Iraqi hands, the crew destroyed it with incendiary grenades.

By now the resistance was organizing. Fighters who appeared to be dead or wounded were suddenly leaping up and firing at the backs of American vehicles. Schwartz ordered his gunners to "double tap," to shoot anybody they saw moving near a weapon. "If it was a confirmed kill, they'd let it go," Schwartz said later. "If it wasn't, they'd tap it again. We were checking our work."

At the head of the column, Ball was approaching the spaghetti junction. His map showed the exit splitting into two ramps. He knew he wanted the ramp to the right. He had been following blue English "Airport" signs, but now smoke from a burning Iraqi personnel carrier obscured the entire cloverleaf.

In the web of overpasses, Ball found the ramp he wanted and stayed right. He was halfway down when he realized he should have taken a different one. Now he was heading east into downtown Baghdad, the opposite direction from the airport. The entire column was following him.

He told his driver to turn left, then roll over the guardrail and turn back onto the westbound lanes. The rail crumbled, the column followed, and everyone rumbled back toward the airport.

Behind Ball, a tank commanded by Lt. Roger Gruneisen had fallen behind. Some equipment from the crippled tank had been dumped onto the top of Gruneisen's tank, obstructing his view from the hatch. With the emergency addition of Staff Sgt. Jason Diaz, commander of the burning tank, and Diaz's gunner, Gruneisen now had five men squeezed into a tank designed for four.

The gunner had swung the main gun right to fire on a bunker. In the loader's hatch, Sgt. Carlos Hernandez saw that the gun tube was headed for a concrete bridge abutment. He screamed, "Traverse left!" But they were moving rapidly. The gun tube smacked the abutment. The entire turret spun like a top. Inside, the crewmen were pinned against the walls, struggling to hold on as the turret turned wildly two dozen times before stopping. It was like an out-of-control carnival ride.

The crew was dizzy. Hernandez looked at the gunner. Blood was spurting from his nose. His head and chest were soaked with greenish-yellow hydraulic fluid. The impact had severed a hydraulic line. Except for the gunner's bloody nose, no one was hurt.

The main gun was bent and smashed. It flopped to the side, useless. The tank continued up Highway 8, Gruneisen on the .50-caliber and Hernandez on a medium machine gun. They rolled up to the spaghetti junction into a curtain of black smoke?and missed the airport turn. They were headed into the city center.

Hernandez saw that they were approaching a traffic circle. As they drew closer, he saw that the circle was clogged with Iraqi military trucks and soldiers. It was a staging area for troops attacking the American column.

From around the circle, just a block away, a yellow pickup truck sped toward the tank. Hernandez tore into it with the machine gun, killing the driver. The tank driver slammed on the brake to avoid the truck, but it was crushed beneath the treads. The impact sent Hernandez's machine gun tumbling off the back of the tank.

The tank reversed to clear itself from the wreckage, crushing the machine gun. A passenger from the truck wandered into the roadway. The tank pitched forward, trying to escape the circle, and crushed him.

The crew was now left with just one medium machine gun and the .50-caliber. Firing both guns to clear the way, the crewmen helped direct the tank driver out of the circle. As they pulled away, they could see a blue "Airport" sign. They were less than five miles from the airport.

They caught up with the column. They passed groves of date palm trees and thick underbrush, and everyone worried about another ambush.

In the lead platoon, Staff Sgt. Stevon Booker was leaning out of his tank commander's hatch, firing his M-4 carbine because his .50-caliber machine gun had jammed. Enemy fire was so intense that Booker had ordered his loader, Pvt. Joseph Gilliam, to get down in the hatch. As Booker leaned down, he told Gilliam: "I don't want to die in this country." As he resumed firing, he shouted down to Gilliam and the gunner, Sgt. David Gibbons: "I'm a baad mother!"

Gilliam, 21, and Gibbons, 22, idolized Booker, who, at 34, was experienced and decisive. He was a loud, aggressive, extroverted lifer. His booming voice was the first thing his men heard in the morning and the last thing at night.

As Gibbons, in the gunner's perch at Booker's feet inside the turret, fired rounds, he felt Booker drop down behind him. He assumed he had come down to get more ammunition. But then he heard the loader, Gilliam, scream and curse. He looked back at Booker and saw that half his jaw was missing. He had been hit by a machine-gun round.

The turret was splattered with blood. As Gibbons crawled up in the commander's hatch, he saw that Booker was trying to breathe. He radioed for help and was ordered to stop and wait for medics. Gibbons and Gilliam tried to perform "buddy aid" to stop the bleeding.

The medics arrived and, under fire, lifted Booker's body into the medical vehicle. The driver sped toward a medevac helicopter at the airport, just as the physician's assistant radioed that Booker was gone. The assistant covered the sergeant's bloodied face and, not knowing what else to do, held his hand. Booker's body arrived just ahead of the rest of the column, which rolled onto the tarmac in a hail of gunfire. Some of the tanks and Bradleys were on fire and leaking oil, but they had survived the gantlet.

At the airport that morning, Col. Perkins spoke on the tarmac with his superior, Maj. Gen. Buford C. Blount III, the 3rd Infantry Division commander. Rogue battalion had lost a tank commander and tank, but they had killed almost 1,000 fighters and torn a hole in Baghdad's defenses.

Blount wanted to keep the pressure on Saddam's forces. He had seen intelligence suggesting that Saddam's elite Republican Guard units were being sent into Baghdad to reinforce the capital. But, in truth, he really didn't have good intelligence. It was too dangerous to send in scouts. Satellite imagery didn't show bunkers or camouflaged armor and artillery. Blount had access to only one unmanned spy drone, and its cameras weren't providing much either.

Prisoners of war had told U.S. interrogators that the Iraqi military was expecting American tanks to surround the city while infantry from the 82nd Airborne and 101st Airborne cleared the capital. And that was the U.S. plan?at least until the thunder run that morning altered the equation.

Blount told Perkins to go back into the city in two days, on Monday the 7th. Blount wanted him to test the city's defenses, destroy as many Iraqi forces as possible and then come out to prepare for the siege of the capital.

Perkins was eager to go back in, but not for another thunder run. He wanted to stay. He had just heard Mohammed Said Sahaf, the bombastic information minister, deliver a taunting news conference, claiming that no American forces had entered Baghdad and that Iraqi troops had slaughtered hundreds of American "scoundrels" at the airport.

When Perkins got back to the brigade operations center south of the city, he told his executive officer, Lt. Col. Eric Wesley: "This just changed from a tactical war to an information war. We need to go in and stay."

The brigade was exhausted. It had been on the move day and night, rolling up from Kuwait and fighting Fedayeen and Republican Guard units?sprinting 435 miles in just over two weeks, the fastest overland march in U.S. military history. Their tanks and Bradleys were beat up. The crews had not slept in days. Now they had just one day to prepare for the pivotal battle of the war.

The charge up Highway 8 on April 7 was similar to the sprint by Rogue Battalion two days earlier. Fedayeen and Arab volunteers and Republican Guards fired from roadside bunkers and from windows and alleys on both sides of the highway. Suicide vehicles tried to ram the column.

Gunners pounded everything that moved, radioing back to trailing vehicles to kill off what they missed. It took only two hours to blow through the spaghetti junction and speed east to Saddam's palace complex. Schwartz's lead battalion, Rogue, rolled to Saddam's parade field, with its massive crossed sabers and tomb of the unknown soldier. Rogue also seized one of Saddam's two main downtown palaces, the convention center and the Rashid Hotel, home to the Baath Party elite.

Lt. Col. Philip deCamp's Task Force 4-64, the Tusker battalion, swung to the east and raced for Saddam's hulking Republican Palace and the 14th of July Bridge, which controlled access to the palace complex from the south.

The targets had been selected not only for their strategic value, but also because they were in open terrain. The palace complex consisted of broad boulevards, gardens and parks?and few tall buildings or narrow alleyways. The battalions could set up defensive positions, with open fields of fire.

The Tusker battalion destroyed bunkers at the western arch of the Republican Palace grounds, blew apart two recoilless rifles teams guarding the arch and smashed through a metal gate. The palace had been evacuated, but there were soldiers in a tree line and along the Tigris River bank. The infantrymen killed some, and others fled, stripping off their uniforms.

At a traffic circle at the base of the 14th of July Bridge, Capt. Steve Barry's Cyclone Company fought off cars and trucks that streaked across the bridge, some packed with explosives. There were three in the first 10 minutes, six more right after that. The tanks and Bradleys destroyed them all.

By midmorning, Perkins was meeting with his two battalion commanders on Saddam's parade grounds. They gave live interviews to an embedded Fox TV crew. Lt. Col. DeCamp and one of his company commanders, Capt. Chris Carter?both University of Georgia graduates?unfurled a Georgia Bulldogs flag. Capt. Jason Conroy toppled a massive Saddam statue with a single tank round.

As his tankers celebrated, Perkins took a satellite phone call from Wesley, his executive officer. Wesley ran the brigade's tactical operations center, a network of radios, computers, satellite maps and communications vehicles set up on the cement courtyard of an abandoned warehouse 11 miles south of the city center.

It was hard for Wesley to hear on his hand-held Iridium phone; a high-pitched whine sounded over his head. He thought it was a low-flying airplane.

Wesley shouted into the phone: "Congratulations, sir, I?" and at that instant an orange fireball blew past him and slammed him to the ground. The whine wasn't an airplane. It was a missile. The entire operations center was engulfed in flames.

Wesley still had the phone. "Sir," he said. "We've been hammered!"

"What?"

"We've been hit. I'll have to call you back. It doesn't look good."

Rows of signal vehicles were on fire and exploding. A line of parked Humvees evaporated, consumed in a brilliant flash. Men were writhing on the ground, their skin seared. A driver and a mechanic were swallowed by the fireball, killed instantly. Another driver, horribly burned, lay dying. Two embedded reporters perished on the concrete, their corpses scorched to gray ash. Seventeen soldiers were wounded, some seriously.

The brigade's nerve center, its communications brain, was gone. The entire mission?the brigade's audacious plan to conquer a city of 5 million with 975 combat soldiers and 88 armored vehicles in a single violent strike?was in jeopardy.

It got worse. As Wesley and his officers tended to the dead and wounded, Perkins was receiving distressing reports from Lt. Col. Stephen Twitty, a battalion commander charged with keeping the brigade's supply lines open along Highway 8. One of Twitty's companies was surrounded. It was "amber" on fuel and ammunition?a level dangerously close to "black," the point at which there is not enough to sustain a fight.

The Baghdad raid, launched at dawn, was now approaching its sixth hour?well past the Hour Four deadline Perkins had set to decide whether to stay for the night. That benchmark was critical because his tanks, which consume 56 gallons of fuel an hour, had eight to 10 hours of fuel. That meant four hours going in and four coming out.

To conserve fuel, Perkins ordered the tanks set up in defensive positions and shut down. They couldn't maneuver, but they could still fire?and each hour they were turned off bought Perkins another hour.

Even so, time was running out for Twitty, whose outnumbered companies were clinging to three crucial interchanges.

"Sir, there's one hell of a fight here," Twitty told Perkins. "I'll be honest with you: I don't know how long I can hold it here."

Even after Twitty received reinforcements, tying up the brigade's only reserve force, his men had to be resupplied. But the resupply convoy was ambushed on Highway 8; two sergeants were killed and five fuel and ammunition trucks were destroyed. The highway was a shooting gallery. If Perkins lost the roadway, he and his men would be trapped in the city without fuel or ammunition.

American combat commanders are trained to develop a "decision support matrix," an analytical breakdown of alternatives based on a rapidly unfolding chain of circumstances. For Perkins, the matrix was telling him: cut your losses, pull back, return another day. His command center was in flames. He had spent his reserve force. And now his fuel and ammunition were burning on the highway.

On the parade grounds, Perkins stood next to his armored personnel carrier, map in hand, flanked by his two tank battalion commanders. The air was heavy with swirling sand and grit. Black plumes of oily smoke rose from burning vehicles and bunkers.

Perkins knew the prudent move was to pull out, but he felt compelled to stay. His men had fought furiously to reach the palace complex. It seemed obscene to make them fight their way back out, and to surrender terrain infused with incalculable psychological and strategic value.

Sahaf, the delusional information minister, was already claiming that no American "infidels" had breached the city's defenses. Perkins had just heard Sahaf's distinctive rant on BBC radio: "The infidels are committing suicide by the hundreds on the gates of Baghdad." A retreat now, Perkins thought, would validate the minister's lies. It would unravel the brigade's singular achievement, which had put American soldiers inside Saddam's two main palaces and American boots on his reviewing stand.

Perkins turned to his tank battalion commanders. "We're staying."

Lt. Col. Stephen Twitty is right-handed, but early that morning he found himself drawing diagrams with his left hand. He was crouched in a Bradley hatch, holding a radio with his right hand while he tried to diagram an emergency battle plan.

Over the radio net, Twitty had heard the tank battalions in the city celebrating and discussing the wine collections at Saddam's palaces. He was only a few miles away, at a Highway 8 interchange code-named Objective Larry, but he was in the fight of his life. Twitty had survived the first Gulf War, but he had never encountered anything like this.

His men were being pounded from all directions?by small arms, mortars, RPGs, gun trucks, recoilless rifles. The two tank battalions had punched through Highway 8, but now the enemy had regrouped and was mounting a relentless counterattack against Twitty's mechanized infantry battalion.

As he scratched out his battle plan, Twitty spotted an orange-and-white taxi speeding toward his Bradley. A man in the back seat was firing an AK-47. Twitty screamed into the radio: "Taxi! Taxi coming!"

He realized how absurd he sounded. So he shouted at his Bradley gunner: "Slew the turret and fire!" The gunner spotted the taxi and fired a blast of 25mm rounds. The taxi blew up. It had been loaded with explosives.

Twitty's China battalion, Task Force 3-15, would destroy dozens of vehicles that day, many of them packed with explosives. They would blow up buses and motorcycles and pickup trucks. They would kill hundreds of fighters, as well as civilians who inadvertently blundered into the fight. Twitty ordered his engineers to tear down highway signs and light poles and pile up charred vehicles to build protective berms. But several suicide cars crashed through, and Twitty's men kept killing them. Twitty was astonished. He hadn't expected much resistance, but the Syrians and Fedayeen were relentless, fanatical, determined to die.

Twitty saw a busload of soldiers pull straight into the kill zone. A tank round obliterated the vehicle?burning alive everyone inside. The driver of a second busload saw the carnage, yet kept coming. The tanks lit up his bus, too.

From Objective Moe, about two miles north, and from Objective Curly, about two miles south, Twitty received urgent calls requesting mortar and artillery fire?"danger close," or within 220 yards of their own positions. Mortars and artillery screamed down, driving the Syrians and Fedayeen back. But at Curly, a stray round wounded two American infantrymen, and the artillery was shut down there.

At Curly, Capt. Zan Hornbuckle had enemy fighters inside his perimeter. He sent infantrymen to clear the ramps and overpasses. It was dangerous, methodical work. The infantrymen crept up behind a series of support walls, tossed grenades into trenches, then gunned down the fighters inside as they rose to return fire.

The Americans were killing fighters by the dozens, but the infantrymen were getting hit, too. Their flak vests protected vital organs, but several men were dragged back with bright red shrapnel wounds ripped into their arms, legs and necks.

Dr. Erik Schobitz, the battalion surgeon, treated the wounded. Capt. Schobitz was a pediatrician with no combat experience. He had never fired an automatic rifle until a month earlier. Schobitz wore a stethoscope with a yellow plastic rabbit attached?his lucky stethoscope. It was hanging there when a sliver of shrapnel hit his face, wounding him slightly.

With Schobitz was Capt. Steve Hommel, the battalion chaplain. He moved from one wounded man to the next, talking softly, squeezing their hands. Hommel had been a combat infantry sergeant in the first Gulf War, but even he was alarmed. He feared being overrun?there were hundreds of enemy fighters bearing down on just 80 combat soldiers, who were backed by Bradleys but no tanks. Hommel tried to appear calm while comforting the wounded.

Enemy fighters were firing on the medics, and some of them fired back. The chaplain grabbed one medic's M-16 and shot at muzzle flashes east of the highway. Hommel didn't know whether he hit anyone, and he didn't want to know. He was a Baptist minister.

Several miles north, at Objective Moe, Capt. Josh Wright was struggling to keep his perimeter intact. Two of Wright's three platoon sergeants were wounded, and two engineers went down with shrapnel wounds. A gunner was hit with a ricochet. An infantryman dragging a wounded enemy soldier to safety was hit in the wrist and stomach. One Bradley's TOW missile launcher was destroyed. Another Bradley had a machine gun go down. One of the tanks lost use of its main gun.

Wright radioed Twitty and asked for permission to fire on a mosque to the north. Through his sights, he could see an RPG team in each minaret and another on the mosque roof. Under the rules of engagement, the mosque was now a hostile, nonprotected site. Twitty granted permission to fire. All three RPG teams were killed, leaving smoking black holes in the minarets.

By now, Wright had managed to get infantrymen and snipers into buildings north of the interchange. They were able to kill advancing fighters while mortar rounds ripped into soldiers hiding in the palm grove.

Then the mortars stopped. The platoon mortar leader at Objective Curly radioed Wright and apologized profusely. He was "black"?completely out of mortar rounds. He couldn't fire again until the resupply convoy was sent north.

Wright's own men were now telling him they were "amber" on all types of ammunition. Wright wasn't certain how much longer he could hold the interchange.

At Objective Curly, Hornbuckle tried to sound positive on the radio but Twitty could hear the stress in his voice. He asked the captain to put on the battalion command sergeant major, Robert Gallagher. A leathery-faced Army Ranger of 40, Gallagher had survived the battle at Mogadishu, where he had been wounded three times. Twitty knew Gallagher would be blunt.

"All right, sergeant major, I want the truth," Twitty said. "Do you need reinforcements?"

"Sir, we need reinforcements," Gallagher said.

Twitty radioed Perkins and told him he could not hold Curly without reinforcements.

"If you need it, you've got it," Perkins assured him.

Twitty called Capt. Ronny Johnson, commander of the reserve company defending the operations center, which was still burning.

"How fast can you get here?" Twitty asked.

"Sir, I can be there in 15 minutes," Johnson said. It was only about two miles from the operations center to Curly.

"That's not fast enough. Get here now."

Johnson and his platoon raced north on Highway 8, fighting through a withering ambush. With 10 Bradleys and 65 infantrymen, the convoy bulked up the combat power at Curly. They plunged into the fight, stabilizing the perimeter.

At the burning operations center, executive officer Wesley was directing casualty evacuation and trying to build a makeshift command center, combining computers and communications equipment that had escaped the fireball with gear salvaged from burning vehicles. Within an hour, they had fashioned a temporary communications network across the highway from the scorched ruins.

Back in radio communication, Wesley resumed helping Perkins direct the battles. He offered to send the rest of Johnson's company to Curly to solidify the interchange. That left the stripped-down operations center virtually unprotected.

At Objective Larry, Twitty's men were beginning to run low on ammunition. He could hear his gunner screaming, "More ammo! Get us more ammo!"

Twitty had to get the supply convoy to the interchanges, a dangerous endeavor. The fuel tankers were 2,500-gallon bombs on wheels. The ammunition trucks were portable fireworks factories. In military argot, they were the ultimate "soft-skin" vehicles. Worse, there were no tanks or Bradleys to escort them; they were all fighting in the city or at the three interchanges.

Twitty called Johnson at Curly and asked for an assessment.

"Sir," Johnson said, "what I can tell you is, it's not as intense a fight as it was an hour ago but we're still in a pretty good fight here."

Twitty asked to hear from Gallagher. "Boss," Gallagher said, "I'm not going to tell you we can get 'em through without risk, but we can get 'em through."

Twitty put the radio down and lowered his head. He had to make a decision. And whatever he decided, American soldiers were going to die. He knew it. They would die at one of the interchanges, where they would be overrun if they weren't resupplied. Or they would die in the convoy.

He picked up the radio. "All right," he said. "We're going to execute."

Just north of the burning operations center, Capt. J.O. Bailey was in a command armored personnel carrier, leading the supply convoy?six fuel tankers and eight ammunition trucks. He felt vulnerable; he had no idea where he was going to park all his combustible vehicles in the middle of a firefight.

The convoy had gone less than a mile when Bailey spotted a mob of about 100 armed men across railroad tracks. He was on the radio, warning everyone, when the convoy was rocked by explosions.

Near the head of the convoy, Sgt. 1st Class John W. Marshall opened up with a grenade launcher in the turret of his soft-skin Humvee. Marshall was 50?one of the oldest men in the brigade?and had volunteered for Iraq. Marshall had just sent grenades crashing toward the gunmen when the top of the Humvee exploded. In the front seat, Spc. Kenneth Krofta was stunned by a flash of light. Black smoke was blowing through the Humvee. Krofta looked up into the turret. Marshall was gone. He had been blown out of the vehicle by a grenade blast.

The driver, Pfc. Angel Cruz, stopped and got out, looking for Marshall. He saw gunmen approaching and squeezed off a burst from his rifle. Bullets ripped into the Humvee.

The radio squawked. Cruz was ordered to move out. Soldiers in another vehicle had seen Marshall's body. He was dead. The convoy was speeding up, trying to escape the kill zone. A week would pass before the battalion was able to retrieve Marshall's corpse.

As the convoy raced through the ambush, an RPG rocketed into a personnel carrier. Staff Sgt. Robert Stever, who had just fired more than 1,000 rounds from his .50-caliber machine gun, was blown back into the vehicle, killed instantly. Shrapnel tore into Chief Warrant Officer Angel Acevedo and Pfc. Jarred Metz, wounding both.

Metz was knocked from the driver's perch. His legs were numb and blood was seeping through his uniform. He dragged himself back into position and kept the vehicle moving. Acevedo was bleeding, too. Screaming instructions to Metz, he directed the vehicle back into the speeding column with Stever's body slumped inside.

Riddled with shrapnel, the convoy limped into the interchange at Curly?and directly into the firefight. Bailey was trying to move his convoy out of harm's way when something slammed into a fuel tanker. The vehicle exploded. Hunks of the tanker flew off, forming super-heated projectiles that tore into other vehicles. Three ammunition trucks and a second fuel tanker exploded. Ammunition started to cook off. Rounds screamed in all directions, ripping off chunks of concrete and slicing through vehicles. The trucks were engulfed in orange fireballs.

Mechanics and drivers sprinted for the vehicles that were intact. They cranked up the engines and drove them to safety beneath the overpass, managing to save five ammunition trucks and four fuel tankers?enough to resupply the combat teams at all three intersections.

Fuel and ammunition were unloaded under fire. The surviving vehicles headed north to Objective Larry, escorted by Bradleys, breaking through the firefight there and arriving safely.

Twitty felt overwhelming relief. He knew he could break the enemy now, and so could the combat team at Objective Curly. But he still had to resupply Capt. Wright at Objective Moe.

Capt. Johnson, whose Bradleys had escorted the convoy to resupply Twitty, headed north toward Moe. By radio, Johnson arranged with Wright to have Highway 8 cleared of obstacles so that the convoy could pull in, stop briefly and let the resupply vehicles designated for Wright peel off. Then Johnson's vehicles were to continue on, obeying a new order from Perkins to secure the mile-long stretch of highway between Objective Moe and Perkins' palace command post in the city center.

The convoy broke through the battle lines and stopped at the cloverleaf at Moe. But there had been a communication breakdown. The full convoy, including the supply vehicles, pulled away under heavy fire, leaving Wright's company still desperate for fuel and ammunition.

Wright's heart sank. He had been forced to tighten his perimeter to save fuel, giving up ground his men had just taken. Now he watched his fuel and ammo disappear up the highway. But the smaller perimeter also meant Wright could afford to send two tanks to a supply point a mile away that Johnson set up near the palace. There the tanks refueled as their crews stuffed the bustle racks with ammunition. A second pair of tanks followed a half-hour later, bringing back more fuel and ammunition. Wright's men were set for the night.

In the city center, the tank battalions led by Schwartz and DeCamp were holding their ground but still desperately low on fuel and ammunition. With the combat teams at all three interchanges able to hold their ground, two supply convoys were now sent up Highway 8 toward the city center. It was a high-speed race. Every vehicle was hit by fire, but the convoys rolled into the palace complex just before dusk, fuel and ammunition intact. Tankers at the 14th of July circle cheered, and there were high-fives and handshakes when the trucks set up an instant gas station and supply point next to the palace rose beds. Perkins was convinced now that Baghdad was his. He didn't need to control the whole city. He just needed the palace complex and a way to get fuel and ammunition in.

Now he had both.

"We had come in, created a lot of chaos, lots of violence and momentum all at once," Perkins said later. "We had speed and audacity. And now with the resupply, we were there for good and there was nothing the other side could do about it."

The next morning, Capt. Phil Wolford's Assassin tank company would repel a fierce counterattack at the Jumhuriya Bridge across the Tigris River. Rogue battalion would engage in running firefights throughout central Baghdad. At the three interchanges on Highway 8, Syrians and Fedayeen mounted more attacks for much of the day, bringing the China battalion's casualties to two dead and 30 wounded. But the American forces now fought from a position of strength. On the third day, April 9, Saddam Hussein's regime collapsed.

On the night of April 7, after a long day of sustained combat, there had been an extended lull at the palace complex and up and down Highway 8. The tankers and the infantrymen sensed a shift in momentum. Some dared to speak of going home soon, for they now believed the war was nearly over. There would be two more days of fierce fighting before Saddam Hussein's regime collapsed. But on the night of April 7, theirs would be a decisive victory, the last one in Iraq for a long time.

If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at latimes.com/archives.
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Sorry for the cheesy last sentence-Crafty
30261  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politically (In)correct on: December 06, 2003, 01:26:10 AM
BRAVE NEW SCHOOLS
Student expelled 1 year for Advil
Over-the-counter pills found in purse violate 'zero-tolerance policy'

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Posted: December 5, 2003
5:00 p.m. Eastern



? 2003 WorldNetDaily.com

A high school student in Louisiana has been expelled from her school for one year because she had Advil pills in her purse.

Sophomore Amanda Stiles was expelled from Parkway High School in Shreveport, La., after a teacher searched her purse because she was suspected of being among a group of students smoking cigarettes on school grounds, the Shreveport Times reported.

"I think a one-year expulsion for an over-the-counter medicine is pretty severe," Stiles' mother, Kelly Herpin, told the paper.

Herpin and Stiles appealed to a school board committee last night, but the panel and the full board voted unanimously to uphold the one-year expulsion.

"I'm not really sure at this point what we'll do," Herpin told he Times. "I'm going to have to talk to my husband, and we're going to have to make some plans. I'm not sure we could afford a private school. We've been looking at moving to another area."

Stiles said she carried the over-the-counter medicine because of frequent headaches, but the Bossier Parish School District maintains it is following a state law barring drugs on campus and its own "zero-tolerance" policy.

"I just never thought about the fact that I could be searched," Stiles said, according to the Shreveport paper. "I think we're old enough to know how many [pills] we can take without overdosing or being in danger."

After the appeals hearing, Superintendent Ken Kruithof said state law mandates a one-year suspension for drugs, but he did not know whether it covered nonprescription drugs as well. Betty McCauley, Bossier schools student services director, said the law includes nonprescription drugs, but she said having medication on campus doesn't automatically lead to a one-year expulsion.

"After an investigation and a hearing then, if necessary, punishment is administered. It could be no punishment," she said.

If Stiles wants to pursue the case further, she must sue the school district. The Times said, so far this school year, officials report18 students were sent to the system's alternative school for possessing "pills."

Herpin said she considers her daughter an "average" student in terms of grade and behavior and had never been expelled, according to the paper. Superintendent Kruithof said Stiles had other disciplinary incidents but did not know if they were serious enough to warrant suspension.
30262  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines on: December 05, 2003, 07:14:54 AM
Philippines: U.S. To Open Base in the Sarangani Bay?
December 01, 2003   1530 GMT

Summary

Unconfirmed intelligence from Stratfor sources on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao say the United States has begun constructing a base near General Santos City.

Analysis

Stratfor sources on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao say the United States has begun constructing a base in Sarangani Bay near General Santos City. The facility would serve as an operations and logistics base and would be a springboard for U.S. military power in Southeast Asia.

Reports of plans for a base in Sarangani Bay are still unconfirmed, but rumors have been circulating for several months in Mindanao that the United States has been eyeing the port and air facilities in the area as replacement for the Subic Bay base that was closed in 1991. Stratfor wrote as early as April 25, 2002, that the United States might be preparing a forward base in the Philippines for future regional counterterrorism strikes. We specifically mentioned General Santos City as a potential site.


The United States re-established sustained military deployments to the Philippines in early 2002 when it sent U.S. personnel to hunt down the Abu Sayyaf -- a militant Islamist kidnapping gang loosely affiliated with al Qaeda -- on the southern island of Basilan and the west coast of Mindanao. It now appears that the United States is preparing to widen its footprint in conflict-torn Mindanao. Washington has pledged funds to help develop conflict-stricken areas if and when a peace settlement is reached between the island's main rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, and the Philippine government. In addition, the U.S. and Philippine militaries are currently discussing holding the next Balikatan joint exercises in North Cotabato province in central Mindanao as part of joint efforts to hunt down Jemaah Islamiyah.

There was wide speculation over the presence of U.S. military personnel in General Santos City in September after a handful of U.S. soldiers were seen there. The sightings prompted city Mayor Pedro Acharon Jr. to confirm the presence of U.S. military advisers, explaining that they were there to evaluate infrastructure projects funded under the U.S. government's Philippine Aid Plan. Acharon gave the dubious explanation that U.S. soldiers were appraising civilian projects because embassy personnel would not risk traveling to the area due to security concerns.

Sarangani Bay is an ideal place for a U.S. base in the southern Philippines. The extensive port and air facilities would provide excellent logistics support, and because the facility would be off the Philippine main island of Luzon it would be a less intrusive presence than the former Subic Bay base. Furthermore, with a base located on the restive island, U.S. forces would be well-positioned to launch and support campaigns against militant Islamist groups on Mindanao or in nearby Indonesia and Malaysia.
30263  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: December 05, 2003, 07:11:39 AM
Thank you.  

Crafty

PS:  For the record, I did not think that the children of Delaware were in immediate danger from Iraq.  Sorry if I gave that impression.
30264  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: December 04, 2003, 02:00:40 PM
Cannibal Confesses in Shocking Trial
Wed Dec 3, 3:06 PM ET  Add World - Reuters to My Yahoo!
 

By David Crossland

KASSEL, Germany (Reuters) - A German confessed on Wednesday to killing and eating a willing victim in a case that could make legal history, telling a shocked courtroom the experience was "like taking communion" in a religious service.


At the start of his murder trial in Kassel, central Germany, Armin Meiwes, 42, offered a full account of the killing that has gained him worldwide notoriety as "The Cannibal of Rotenburg" after the town where he lived.


Meiwes said there were "hundreds, thousands" of people seeking to fulfil their desires to eat humans or be eaten via Internet advertisements in forums called "Cannibal Cafe," "Guy Cannibals" and "Torturenet."


In testimony so frank it drew gasps from the public gallery, Meiwes said he had kept his victim's skull and plastic bags of flesh in his freezer. He ate about 44 pounds of the flesh, defrosting it bit by bit.


"With every piece of flesh I ate I remembered him," Meiwes, a self-assured and well-spoken computer repair man, told the judge. "It was like taking communion."


The killing took place in March 2001. Meiwes was arrested in December 2002 after police received a tip-off from someone who had seen one of his Internet adverts seeking a slaughter victim.


The trial is expected to last until the end of January and some 40 witnesses will be called, including some of Meiwes's Internet contacts.


The gaunt, bespectacled defendant said that during his upbringing alone with a dominant mother he had longed for a little brother he could make "part of me."


He told how he made contact online with a 43-year-old Berlin computer specialist identified only as Bernd-Juergen B.


He invited him to his elegant half-timbered home near Kassel and killed him with a kitchen knife in a "slaughtering room" he had built containing meat hooks, a cage and a butcher's table.


"He told me he had had the desire since he was a child to be slaughtered and eaten," Meiwes said. "He was very intelligent and I didn't see any sign that he was disturbed." Meiwes filmed the killing and the video tape may be shown to the court.


Defense lawyers have said the film shows Meiwes cutting off the victim's penis at the latter's request.


"It was important to him that his member be cut off and that he witness it," Meiwes said.


"He screamed terribly and jumped around the table but after a while he said he was surprised it didn't hurt and was very pleased that the wound bled so strongly," he added.


"It gave him pleasure."


MURDER OR EUTHANASIA?


Eventually the victim lost consciousness and Meiwes killed him with a knife. He hung up the corpse and cut it up, filming the process.

   



Prosecutors, who charged Meiwes with murder after a psychiatrist declared him fit to stand trial, are seeking a life sentence.

They concede the victim wanted to be killed but argue he was incapable of rational thought.

Meiwes's lawyer has pleaded for him to be convicted of "killing on request," a form of illegal euthanasia which carries a maximum five years sentence.

Legal experts say the charge of full murder may not stick given that the video film shows the victim to be willing. The case could reach the Federal Constitutional Court, Arthur Kreuzer of Giessen University's Institute for Criminology said this week.

Meiwes said he became obsessed with wanting a younger brother -- "someone to be part of me."

Using the pseudonym "Franky," he posted Internet ads saying: "If you are 18-25 you are my boy" or "Come to me I'll eat your delicious flesh."

Some 430 people responded to his e-mails within a year.
30265  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: December 04, 2003, 01:57:58 PM
Man Burns Life Savings, Fails Suicide Bid
Tue December 2, 2003 10:31 AM ET

PARIS (Reuters) - A Frenchman who burned his life savings to a cinder before swallowing two bottles of pills is facing life with an empty bank account after neighbors foiled his suicide attempt.

The man, in his 40s, has been recovering in a psychiatric hospital since late October when neighbors in the southwestern town of Bordeaux saw smoke coming from his house and called the emergency services, the daily Liberation reported on Tuesday.

The man, who lived alone, had cleared out his bank balance of 240,000 euros ($288,500) and set fire to the pile of 500 euro notes in his bath before swallowing the pills, hoping to leave nothing behind after his death.

However, he was now eager to start a new life, his lawyer Dominique Remy told the newspaper. "He is not dangerous. It's just that he's destroyed all his worth," he said.
30266  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: December 04, 2003, 12:32:09 PM
The US military: A creeping civilian mission

By David Isenberg

It seems that the United States military coup of 2012 has arrived about 10
years early. Well, okay, not the full-fledged classic coup, led by a general
on horseback. But, as they say, close enough for government work.

First, more about that coup. In 1992, a then little-known deputy staff judge advocate lieutenant-colonel by the name of Charles J Dunlap Jr published an article titled "The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012" (1) in the US Army War College's military journal Parameters. In a plot that was a cross between Arthur Koestler's Darkness at Noon and the movie The Siege, he depicted an America in which a military coup had taken place in the year 2012, and General Thomas E T Brutus, commander-in-chief of the Unified Armed Forces of the United States, occupies the White House as permanent military plenipotentiary. A senior retired officer of the military is one of those arrested, having been convicted by court-martial for opposing the coup. Prior to his execution, he discusses the origins of the coup, arguing that it was the outgrowth of trends visible as far back as 1992. These trends were the massive diversion of military forces to civilian use, the monolithic unification of the armed forces, and the insularity of the military community.

While Dunlap, now a brigadier-general at the Air Combat Command, has not weighed in on this recently, the last two trends have been evident for many years. The Goldwater-Nichols reforms passed by Congress in the 1980s greatly strengthened jointness among the traditionally separate armed forces and the increasingly conservative and republican nature of the armed forces, which is well documented by journalists and academics.

But a report in the November 23 Los Angeles Times by respected military
affairs analyst William Arkin provides the latest evidence that the
supposedly inviolate wall keeping the military out of traditional civilian
activities is eroding, due the diversion of the military to civilian
missions.

That wall is embodied in the US by the 1878 Posse Comitatus Act, enacted to preclude federal troops from doing the bidding of local politicians in the occupied South following the Civil War. It prohibits the military from conducting domestic law enforcement operations. Congress wanted to make it crystal clear, as Richard Nixon might have said, that there is a great difference in a democracy between protecting our nation from foreign attack and policing our neighborhoods. But the law also allows Congress and the president to make exceptions, and over the years they have done so.

They did so notably in the 1980s in the Ronald Reagan era when the US
military was dragged kicking and screaming into counter-drug operations.
Ironically, then defense secretary Caspar Weinberger wrote in 1985,
"Reliance on military forces to accomplish civilian tasks is detrimental to
both military readiness and the democratic process."

On May 20, 1997, a Marine anti-drug squad stalked, shot and allowed to bleed to death Ezequiel Hernandez, an 18-year-old high school sophomore, while he was herding goats near his home in Redford Texas, near the Rio Grande River, the site of heavy military drug interdiction activity. Hernandez's death was the first fatal shooting of a US civilian since the military began anti-drug missions in the 1980s and is the first American killed by soldiers on US soil since the 1970 National Guard killings of four students at Kent State during anti-Vietnam War demonstrations.

In fact, Congress already has passed several laws relaxing the strictures of the act in order to deal with potential attacks on American soil. In 1997,
Congress gave the Pentagon authority to cooperate with the Justice
Department in responding to biological or chemical attacks. Another law
gives the president authority in an emergency to use the armed forces to
perform work "essential for the preservation of life and property". Another allows military personnel to assist the Justice Department in collecting intelligence or conducting searches and seizures if "necessary for the immediate protection of human life". Section 104 of the USA Patriot Act passed last year further authorizes the emergency use of the military in "case of attack with a weapon of mass destruction".

Taken together, all these measures give the president authority to use the
military in most conceivable emergency situations. But after the September 11, 2001 attacks, the Pentagon picked up extra responsibilities focused on preventing future terrorist attacks on US soil. US Air Force pilots were and are now authorized to shoot down commercial airliners, if necessary. The Air National Guard flew thousands of combat air patrols (Operation Noble Eagle)over major American cities

Some US military officials want to put unmanned aerial vehicles in the skies above the continental US to conduct surveillance and intelligence
operations. The North American Aerospace Defense Command wants to use a high-altitude airship to detect cruise missiles and monitor vessels and other potential threats approaching the continent.

Initially, the Pentagon expanded the role of the US Joint Forces Command
(JFCOM), giving it additional authority to coordinate and deploy military
forces to fight terrorism in the continental US. The commander was placed in charge of the land and maritime defense of the continental US, as well as providing military assistance to civil authorities. JFCOM already was responsible for providing support to civilian authorities responding to
attacks or disasters, and for planning the land and maritime defense of the continental US. Now, it would also have the power to deploy military forces domestically to fight terrorism and defend the homeland, an authority previously left to the defense secretary.

But this was deemed unwieldy, and thus led to the creation of the Northern Command, an organization that consolidates all existing military homeland defense and security operations. Concerns about possible violations of the Posse Comitatus Act caused Congress, in the 2002 Defense Authorization Act, to "conduct a study on the appropriate role of the Department of Defense with respect to homeland security".

Last year, however, the Bush administration's Homeland Security strategy
document said: "The threat of catastrophic terrorism requires a thorough
review of the laws permitting the military to act within the United States
in order to determine whether domestic preparedness and response efforts would benefit from greater involvement of military personnel and, if so, how."

Since then the Defense Department also has been inserted into two very
visible new agencies. It transferred about 50 new employees in the new
Department of Homeland Security to the White House's newly formed Terrorist Threat Integration Center, which is designed to make sure the Central Intelligence Agency, the Pentagon, the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Bureau of Investigation share information.

At Homeland Security's United States Northern Command (Northcom)
headquarters at the Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, more than 200 people will be engaged in gathering domestic intelligence, receiving information from local and state police as well as US intelligence agencies.

But as Arkin's article makes clear, Northcom is doing more than mere
coordinating. "Under the banner of 'homeland security', the military and
intelligence communities are implementing far-reaching changes that blur the lines between terrorism and other kinds of crises and will break down
long-established barriers to military action and surveillance within the
US."

According to Arkin, Northcom has defined three levels of operations, each of which triggers a larger set of authorized activities. The levels are
"extraordinary", "emergency" and "temporary". During emergencies, the
military can provide similar support, mostly in response to specific events
such as the attacks on the World Trade Center. It is only in the case of
extraordinary domestic operations that the unique capabilities of the
Defense Department are deployed. These include not just such things as air patrols to shoot down hijacked planes or the defusing of bombs and other explosives, but also bringing in intelligence collectors, special operators and even full combat troops.

Some say this is nothing new. In a speech to the Council on Foreign
Relations in January, former US senator Gary Hart said American founders "created such an army and called it the militia: citizen-soldiers under the immediate command of the various states that can be deployed in times of emergency. Since the late 19th century these militias have been known as the National Guard, and they were created and given constitutional status as the first responders and the first line of defense in the case of an attack on our homeland".

Indeed, on December 2 Paul McHale, former Democratic congressman and now the Defense Department's assistant secretary for homeland defense, said at the Defense Manufacturing Conference in Washington that military studies of potential domestic terrorist attacks have determined that the National Guard should not only protect the defense industrial base but also critical infrastructure that has previously been defended by civilian law enforcement agencies.

In the future, the National Guard will be the lead organization that
coordinates military and civilian responses to terrorist threats and attacks
against some critical infrastructure, such as nuclear power plants, McHale
said.

He also said the Pentagon reviewed the Posse Comitatus Act and determined that it would not be a violation to deploy the National Guard to protect critical infrastructure in some circumstances. He said he expects more presidential directives in the future to expand the military's homeland defense role.

But the same basic concerns about military involvement still remain
relevant. From a civil liberties viewpoint, while members of the armed
forces take an oath to uphold and defend the constitution, they are not
trained, like the police, to uphold Americans' rights to privacy and due
process. Civil libertarians' fears about due process have been heightened
since September 11 by the indefinite detention of citizens and immigrants,
and by proposals to try them before secret military tribunals.

Note:
(1) The Origins of the American Military Coup of 2012
30267  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / South Pacific arts on: December 04, 2003, 11:43:09 AM
Woof Haumana2000:

Perhaps a bit of a tangent to the main subject of the thread, but would you be so kind as to flesh out the following comment of yours?

"Now in the Filipino mindset a method does can either mean an entire stand alone or a "style" which reflects a principle e.e banda y banda or crossada, or the like."

TIA,
Crafty
30268  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politically (In)correct on: December 04, 2003, 10:00:35 AM
This thread is or examples of politicall correctness-- Crafty Dog
===============

Worker fired for insulting bin Laden
Prison officials said Muslims could have heard 'insensitive' remarks

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted: December 4, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern



? 2003 WorldNetDaily.com

A British prison fired an officer who allegedly insulted terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden two months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

Colin Rose, 53, is appealing to an employment tribunal in Norwich, England, to get his job back, reports the London Telegraph.

Officials at Blundeston Prison in Lowestoft, England, told Rose he had to go because, although he was unaware of it, three Muslims visiting the prison at the time might have heard his remarks about the al-Qaida leader, the paper said.

A six-month investigation that led to his dismissal never established whether the visitors heard the comment.

At the tribunal hearing Rose's appeal, the prison's assistant governor, Andrew Rogers, said, "I am not sure whether Mr. Rose saw the visitors," the Telegraph reported.

Rose reportedly had a perfect record over 21 years of service.

His troubles began Nov. 15, 2001, when he threw a set of keys into a metal chute at the prison gatehouse, the London paper reported. Someone said it sounded as if he had thrown them so hard they were going to break through the tray at the bottom of the chute.

Rose replied: "There's a photo of Osama bin Laden there."

Another prison officer, Peter McKinnon, told Rose to be quiet because three Asian people were at the window of the gatehouse.

Andrew Rogers, the assistant governor, said he "took offense at the comment."

"If the visitors had heard the comment, they might have taken offense, too." Rogers said.

When confronted the next day, Rose dismissed it as a throwaway remark, but an investigation was ordered a few days later. He was fired last May following a disciplinary hearing.

The prison's staff, which has a large Asian population with many Muslims, was sent a notice Sept. 25, 2001, asking for continued sensitivity in the wake of the 9-11 attacks.

"I asked them to avoid inflaming the situation," Jerry Knight, the prison governor, told the tribunal.

The Telegraph said the officer who conducted the probe, Mark Ewels, did not track down the Asians to find out if they had heard the remark.

Ewels said he thought the issue was too sensitive to bring up with them.
30269  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / South Pacific arts on: December 03, 2003, 02:23:29 PM
Tangential Response to "Guest":

Guest wrote:

"there are some groups of scholars who are now considering the link of the Philippines to polynesia. the theory is that the wave of migration did not all come from malaysia and indonesia into the Philippines. but instead, it is hypothesized that most Filipinos are descendants of migrating polynesians."

As always I begin by underlining my lack of scholarly inclination and aptitude in these matters.  That said, I never understood the wave theory to posit that ALL of the migration came from Malaysia and Indonesia.  Fair enough to disagree with the wave theory, but it should be described accurately.

As for the hypothesis of "some groupls of scholars" that "most Filipinos are descendents of migrating polynesians"-- this is a new one to me.  I confess the idea that people the size of Filipinos descended from Samoans strikes me as a bit implausible, so perhaps there is something I am missing and would be glad to know what it is.

"I have checked a website showing the close similarities of Filipino dialect words to polynesian dialects. henceforth, the "majapahit martial arts" theory which is based on the story of migration of datus and sultans from indonesia and malaysia could be soon debunked."

Lacking utterly in any foundation in any of the multitude of Filipino languages/dialects, let alone Polynesian I cannot comment on this theory, but perhaps 'Guest' can share the URL for the website he mentions so that the scholarly who come to play here on our Forum may expand their knowledge.

That said, once again I find the idea of Majapahit Martial Arts being presented differently from my understanding of it.  I understood the story about the datus migrating to the Philippines being given to explain the root of certain martial arts, NOT as THE explanation of the origins of the peoples of the Philippines.   That said, May I assume that we all agree that the Majapahit Empire did exist?  And if it existed, it is hard to imagine that it did so in the complete absence of mingling within its territories.

Returning to the martial art notion of the Majapahit Empire, as I understand it is that even today the martial arts from those parts of the world which were once part of the Majapahit Empire have common thread with each other which makes them propitious for fruitful blendings-- a JKDC notion which, by the way, leads to the DBMA self-descriptive phrase of "Smuggling Concepts across the Frontiers of Style"
(c)

"this is good news as it gives Filipinos a better sense of national identity rather being "grouped" by some martial artists into a "majapahit" society."

Guest, I think in part you misapprehend the notion of the Majapahit Empire as used by Guro Inosanto, GT Gaje and others-- or perhaps I misinterpret what you mean by "a better sense of national identity"-- is it still a migratory matter for you?

Guest, you read like one of the anonymous participants in other threads nearby.  If you wish to make your case, by all means do so.  But perhaps it is time for you to share your sources and put your name to your claims and thoughts?

Woof,
Crafty Dog

PS: Sorry to interrupt the flow on Fijian matters.   Please carry on.
30270  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: December 02, 2003, 02:31:43 AM
The Chant Not Heard
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN

Published: November 30, 2003

I stood on the sidewalk in London the other day and watched thousands of antiwar, anti-George Bush, anti-Tony Blair protesters pass by. They chanted every antiwar slogan you could imagine and many you couldn't print. It was entertaining ? but also depressing, because it was so disconnected from the day's other news.
Just a few hours earlier, terrorists in Istanbul had blown up a British-owned bank and the British consulate, killing or wounding scores of British and Turkish civilians. Yet nowhere could I find a single sign in London reading, "Osama, How Many Innocents Did You Kill Today?" or "Baathists ? Hands Off the U.N. and the Red Cross in Iraq." Hey, I would have settled for "Bush and Blair Equal Bin Laden and Saddam" ? something, anything, that acknowledged that the threats to global peace today weren't just coming from the White House and Downing Street.

Sorry, but there is something morally obtuse about holding an antiwar rally on a day when your own people have been murdered ? and not even mentioning it or those who perpetrated it. Watching this scene, I couldn't help but wonder whether George Bush had made the liberal left crazy. It can't see anything else in the world today, other than the Bush-Blair original sin of launching the Iraq war, without U.N. approval or proof of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction.

Believe me, being a liberal on every issue other than this war, I have great sympathy for where the left is coming from. And if I didn't, my wife would remind me. It would be a lot easier for the left to engage in a little postwar reconsideration if it saw even an ounce of reflection, contrition or self-criticism coming from the conservatives, such as Dick Cheney and Don Rumsfeld, who drove this war, yet so bungled its aftermath and so misjudged the complexity of postwar Iraq. Moreover, the Bush team is such a partisan, ideological, nonhealing administration that many liberals just want to punch its lights out ? which is what the Howard Dean phenomenon is all about.

But here's why the left needs to get beyond its opposition to the war and start pitching in with its own ideas and moral support to try to make lemons into lemonade in Baghdad:

First, even though the Bush team came to this theme late in the day, this war is the most important liberal, revolutionary U.S. democracy-building project since the Marshall Plan. The primary focus of U.S. forces in Iraq today is erecting a decent, legitimate, tolerant, pluralistic representative government from the ground up. I don't know if we can pull this off. We got off to an unnecessarily bad start. But it is one of the noblest things this country has ever attempted abroad and it is a moral and strategic imperative that we give it our best shot.

Unless we begin the long process of partnering with the Arab world to dig it out of the developmental hole it's in, this angry, frustrated region is going to spew out threats to world peace forever. The next six months in Iraq ? which will determine the prospects for democracy-building there ? are the most important six months in U.S. foreign policy in a long, long time. And it is way too important to leave it to the Bush team alone.

On Iraq, there has to be more to the left than anti-Bushism. The senior Democrat who understands that best is the one not running for president ? Senator Joe Biden. He understands that the liberal opposition to the Bush team should be from the right ? to demand that we send more troops to Iraq, and more committed democracy builders, to do the job better and smarter than the Bush team has.

Second, we are seeing ? from Bali to Istanbul ? the birth of a virulent, nihilistic form of terrorism that seeks to kill any advocates of modernism and pluralism, be they Muslims, Christians or Jews. This terrorism started even before 9/11, and is growing in the darkest corners of the Muslim world. It is the most serious threat to open societies, because one more 9/11 and we'll really see an erosion of our civil liberties. Ultimately, only Arabs and Muslims can root out this threat, but they will do that only when they have ownership over their own lives and societies. Nurturing that is our real goal in Iraq.

"In general," says Robert Wright, author of "Nonzero," "too few who opposed the war understand the gravity of the terrorism problem, and too few who favored it understand the subtlety of the problem."

For my money, the right liberal approach to Iraq is to say: We can do it better. Which is why the sign I most hungered to see in London was, "Thanks, Mr. Bush. We'll take it from here."
30271  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: December 02, 2003, 02:29:23 AM
Global Eye -- Naked Gun

By Chris Floyd  

 
 
Don't kid yourself -- and don't let them kid you. When they come at you with that pious sugar, telling you how they're going to protect you, secure you, keep you free, you better run and check the back door ? because that's where their goons will be breaking in.

Last week, the U.S. Congress approved an expansion of FBI powers that will allow Attorney General John Ashcroft's federal police to arbitrarily seize records from a range of private businesses without bothering a judge or grand jury with any silly-billy nonsense about evidence or even suspicion of criminal intent. All Ashcroft's boys have to do is say, "Boo! Terrorism!" and they can take whatever they want.

This expansion of Patriot (sic) Act powers was smuggled into the funding bill for the Bush Regime's security organs. Although the FBI is technically under the supervision of the Judiciary committees, Bushist bagmen in Congress routed the measure through the secret sessions of the intelligence committees to avoid any public debate, Wired Magazine reports.

As usual, the power grab was accompanied by earnest pledges that it would only be used in the most extreme cases of genuine terrorist danger. This was also the line given out when the Patriot (sic) Act was first passed in 2001. Ashcroft -- who is so holy that he had his daddy pour cooking oil over his head after his 1994 election to the Senate to signify that he, like King David, had been anointed with the Lord's "dominion over men" -- solemnly swore that the draconian measures would never be applied to anything but dire threats to the national security.

This was, of course, the usual load of mule manure we've come to expect from the incontinently mendacious Regime. Witness the scene in Las Vegas this month, where Ashcroft's agents invoked the Patriot (sic) Act's anti-terrorism powers to run roughshod over due process in a local probe of a lap-dancing joint. The club owner was suspected of offering bribes to Vegas officials to win approval of a law allowing a more hands-on approach between dancers and customers, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reports. While the case had nothing to do with terrorism, obviously the very thought of naked flesh being fondled constituted a dire threat to the national security in Ashcroft's oily mind. And obviously, nothing will prevent Ashcroft and his minions from using the Act to pursue any other personal bee that's buzzing in their fully armed federal bonnets.

While Ashcroft's sexual anxieties are mildly amusing (last year he installed an $8,000 curtain to hide the wantonly bare breast of a statue at his Washington headquarters), there's a far more sinister side to this corrosion of America's few remaining liberties. For the very day after the Congressional rubberstamps gave their Viagra-like boost to the FBI's reach, another legislative committee released its report on "one of the greatest failures in the history of federal law enforcement" -- the FBI's eager participation in Mob murders, carried out with the full knowledge and approval of the highest levels of government, The New York Times reports

It began in the heyday of J. Edgar Hoover, the cross-dressing martinet who reigned supreme in Washington for decades, blackmailing presidents, wiretapping dissidents (his sex tapes of Martin Luther King Jr. were said to be a particular favorite) and generally playing merry hell with American liberties all across the board. In the 1960s, the FBI formed a partnership with a Boston gangland outfit, using its hitmen as informants to finger other gangs. It was a sweet deal for both parties: the Bureau got high-profile collars for its PR mill, and the gangsters got to knock off their enemies with the blessing -- and cover -- of the biggest "roof" around: the U.S. government.

Not only did the FBI cover for its pet killers; agents actually allowed four men to be convicted (two of them sentenced to execution) for a murder that Hoover knew had been committed by one of his "informants." Two of the innocent men died in prison; the others were freed after serving 30 years of hard time. In all, the FBI's informants murdered more than 20 people in Boston -- "often with the help of FBI agents," noted the Congressional report. And lest you think this blood work was just something from the "bad old days," consider this: the FBI-Mob death squad was still operative at least as late as 1995, when a helpful fed tipped off Boston's top mobster, Whitey Bulger, before he could be arrested by some nonmobbed cops. Whitey is still at large -- and presumably still enjoying the shelter of his trusty "roof."

And by the way, not a single FBI agent has ever been arrested -- or even disciplined -- for their part in this murderous enterprise.

So don't kid yourself that these new powers won't be abused. They will. Power -- the armed power of the state, the power over life, death and the liberty of the individual -- will always go just as far as you let it. It will trample every ethical and moral boundary, pour itself into every nook and cranny of life, public and private, seeking dominance at every level -- unless you maintain a rigorous system of checks and balances to balk the flow of power, frustrate it, channel it, disperse it, subject it to reason, humanize it.

But in the militarized, one-party state of Bushist America, where law is scorned and reason has fled, those restraints are being swept aside. The back door is wide open.



Annotations


FBI Let Innocents Get Death Sentences
New York Times, Nov. 22, 2003


Congress Expands FBI Spying Power
Wired, Nov. 24, 2003


Corruption Investigation: FBI Used Anti-Terrorism Law
Las Vegas Review-Journal, Nov. 4, 2003


FBI Hoover's Long Shadow Looms
Pacific News Service, Nov. 25, 2003


Mission Creep Hits Home
Los Angeles Times, Nov. 23, 2003


Lawmakers Approve Extension of FBI Powers
New York Times, Nov. 19, 2003


Patriot Act Said Misued in Vegas
Washington Times, Nov. 11, 2003


Terrorism Law Used on Vegas Vice Lord
The Guardian, Nov. 7, 2003


Patriot Act Expansion Moves Through Congress
Common Dreams, Nov. 21, 2003


FBI Eye on the Antiwar Guy
Antiwar.com, Nov. 24, 2003


The Miami Model: Paramilitaries, Embedded Journalists and Illegal Protests
Democracy Now, Nov. 24, 2003


The War on Dissent
Common Dreams, Nov. 25, 2003


Unraveling the Constitution
TomDispatch, Nov. 25, 2003


Gulag Americana
CounterPunch, Nov. 24, 2003


Gen. Franks Doubts Constitution Will Survive WMD Attack
Newsmax, Nov. 20, 2003


The Coalition of the Shilling
Progressive Review, November 2003
30272  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Battle of grand masters on: December 01, 2003, 04:54:51 PM
Woof Mr. Guest:

With regard to Silat my principal source is Guro Inosanto.  As you may or may not know, Guro I. is well trained in several Silat systems.  Some are Indonesian, some Malaysian and some Filipino (e.g. the LaCoste system includes Silat).  I also was a member of Pendekar Paul de Thouars Bukti Negara Pentjak Silat class (an Indonesian silat) in the late 1980s at the Inosanto Academy on Glencoe Avenue.

My understanding of Guro I's teaching in this regard  huh is that due to the island archipelago geography of the region national boundaries tend to exist more on the map than in reality and that the frontiers of style are similarly murky-- especially by the time that they get to the US.

What I am getting around to saying is that I am the wrong man to ask for delineating lineage despite my teacher's best and ongoing efforts.  What I know is that I am Inosanto Blend.  Whether the particular ideas and techniques I draw upon are specifically Filipino or Indonesian or Malaysian I cannot say with any degree of confidence in my accuracy, unless it is the Indonesian system of Bukti Negara because that class did not blend with other systems.

With those timid caveats in place  huh  I would say that principally my silat is Inosanto Blend (which certainly includes LaCoste, which certainly is Filipino) with a goodly dose of Bukti Negara subsequently modified by Serak.  Occasionally bits of Mande Muda (Indonesian) make their appearance too.

I hope this helps even though I am not sure why you would ask-- unless it is for the pleasure of watching me squirm trying to chart these dangerous waters  wink

Woof,
Crafty Dog
30273  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: November 30, 2003, 08:01:38 PM
TXAbrn:

  Thank you for your comments.  You may wish to note that I took your comments on Jessica Lynch and quoted them in my newest post on "Army of one and one in the Oven" thread.

  I would be glad if you or any other of our troops over there would share what you can (are their military censors on top of your internet use?) concerning the situation.  It is hard for many of us back home to know whether the situation is as bad as the media and the President's detractors paint.  On the other hand, it is more than a little unfortunate that the President, and we, have gotten painted with honesty problems.  

Speaking only as a chickenhawk who has done his best to read thoroughly on the subject (including some non-obvious sources) I begin to grow concerned that things begin to spin out of control.

My understanding is that our true reason to go in was to boldly cut the Gordian Knot of the mid-east.  The potential benefits and the risks were great and as we moved forward I supported the President.

If our play in Iraq succeeds, we are out of the Muslim holy land of Saudi Arabia, we can stop Iran from going nuke and fomenting Palestinean suicide killers (we have already stopped Saddam from paying $25k to the families of the killers) and similarly we can stop Syria and then work for peace in Israel-Palestine -- and Iraq can serve as a forward looking example for the Arab world

If we fail-- and many in the region and around the world wish for our failure-- I fear our power will never be respected again when challenged by asynchronous threats.  If Saddam flips us the bird as we ride the last tank out of town, methinks things are going to get very hairy around the world.

This certainly has occurred to the Iranians, who arguably can foment the Shiite south to add to the Saddamite Returnists and free-lance Al Qs running loose.  Thus at the same time we seek to stop them from going nuke, we need them else the situation spin out of hand.

Thus, as best as I can tell, the key will be the relations between us and the Iraqi people in the Sunni triangle.  So far, things seem to be getting worse-- they were the beneficiaries of Saddam, and given our lack of language skills and knowledge of the people and culture, we seem to be reliant on locals who are probably well-compromised by the Saddamites--and now we read things are expanding into previously secure areas and Iraqi cooperation with our efforts is receding in the face of Saddamite assasinations of those who work with us.

Which brings me to your post, mentioning as it does our relations with the Iraqi people.  What can you, or anyone else tells us here back home?  Are people afraid to back us for fear we will leave too soon?  Or do we need to accelerate the pace as the Powell faction of the Bush team seems to favor?  Does some of the dissent here at home aid and abet the enemy?

Or?

Woof,
Crafty Dog
30274  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / An Army of 1 --and 1 in the oven on: November 30, 2003, 07:37:17 PM
Woof All:

The other day in the nearby thread "Profound Howl of Respect" one of our fighting men (TXAbrn) commented the following:

BEGIN
As a paratrooper deployed currently in Iraq I can say that myself and all of my comrades with whom I have discussed this find the whole Jessica L$ynch situation obscene. She behaved in a cowardly manner during the fight and was captured. What happened to her was unfortunate and I empathize with her. However after her very publicized rescue and following book and movie deals as well as bronze star and medical discharge she expressed anger at the filming of her rescue. We find this hypocritical as she is more than willing to reap the benefits of that publicity. Were it not for the filiming of her rescue she would be just another soldier with a POW medal.
END


Coincidentally enough, I happened to be reading a bit of Carl Jung's "Man and his Symbols" (1959?) today (a section titled "Beauty and the Beast) and ran across the following passage which struck me as perhaps relevant:

Woof,
Crafty Dog
----------------------------
BEGIN
"Beauty and the Beast" from "Man and his Symbols" by Carl Jung (1959?)

Girls in our society share in the masculine hero myths because, like boys, they must also develop a reliable ego-identity and acquire an education.  But there is an older layer of the mind that seems to come to the surface in their feelings, with the aim of making them into women, not into imitation men.  When this ancient content of the psyche begins to make its appearance, the modern young woman may repress it because it threatens to cut off her from the emancipated quality of friendship and opportunity to compete with men that have become her modern privileges.

  This repression may be so successful that for a time she will maintain an indentification with the masculine intellectuual goals she learned at school or college.  Even when she marries, whe will preserve some illusion of freedom, despite her ostenisible act of sumission to the archetype of marriage-- with its implicit injuction to become a mother.  And so there may occur, as we very frequently see today, that conflict which the in the end forces the woman to rediscover her buried womanhood in a painful (but ulitmately rewarding) manner.
END
30275  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: November 28, 2003, 02:17:49 AM
Waiting for Allah
(some new additions and corrections)

< Bush's war has been the greatest thing that ever happened to Al Qaeda. If Bush were making progress in the war on terror, we wouldn't be seeing vastly more Al Qaeda attacks now than we saw before the Iraq war..Carl>

Conspiracy theories, as in the 1001 Arabian Nights stories, abound in the 21st century for the aged logic that the crackdown on the war on terror had increased as a result of crack down on terror. This wearied argument from the Arab street further stresses that because of the new crusade by the Bush administration there is a new holy war! These mushrooming sleepers cells and wide spread convoluted sympathies on the fringes of Islamic world exists because they need to heap the reasons of their failures on some one else, in the recent century it happened to be US, and last century it was colonialism.

Islam today is faced with new questions that need to be answered by the main body politic of Islam not Bush; that is how Muslim blood became the collateral damage in the jihad against infidels. For when guns are turned on one?s own as a result of an inability to act in the west, it has led to the failure of AlQaeda sympathizers and led to their implosion within their own confines, the fallout of which is now affecting Muslims at large. In an effort to bring total chaos they have waged war against their own people, in the month of Ramadan where even in times before the Prophet, the spilling of blood was prohibited. The blood orgies of AlQaeda have opened a lot of unopened eyes; the questions that were missed post 911 (as most of the blood was those of ?infidels?) are now being asked such why and what for. When Western blood is spilled, there is a gleeful silence, when Western interests are hurt, there is a universal sense of accomplishment in the fringe Islamic communities. This perverse pleasure taken in the miseries of the West is not what Islam preaches as its very message is peace and creation of the abode.

Wasted excess of squabble against US imperialism cannot be more exemplified by the life of a fringe youth within the Islamic world. He, who wakes up with a Proctor & Gamble mouthwash, a breakfast of Kellogg?s frosted wheats, wears Gap jeans, works on a Cisco-Intel-Microsoft based technology to connect to the internet whilst sipping Starbucks coffee lashes out at American way of life. The envy towards America, for it?s accomplishment through hard won freedoms, is nothing more than passive-aggressive aggression egged on by the sense of abject failure and underachievement of the leadership that failed them. A madrassa product can not be compared to an Oxbridge grad and this is the result of centuries of accumulated failure where ?innovation of thought? was denounced by Imam Al-Ghazali as heresy. Khuldoon, Sina, Ibn Ishaq, Khayyam, Biruni or Farabi you name it, for one or other reasons were declared heretics or were condemned as revisionaries by the clergy of the time, the efforts to arrest Islamic free thought in cocoon of time have been always triumphant as clergy took the front seat in championship of Islam. The silent majority spirit has always been trampled by determination and ?insight? of clergy to keep the masses in check, the inability to move with times and be a part of change left Islamic world directionless.

Clerical leadership has been the cause of decay, had it not been for the foresight of leaders like Sir Syed, the South Asian region would be as backward as those north in Asia. It is not an accident that Afghanistan does not have institutions like King Edward Medical College or the rail and canal systems. The continuous battles to refuse supremacy and struggle for false sovereignty have resulted into a country that has limbless thousands and still unable to connect to the world. Connect tribalism with a virulent form of extremist ideology and an explosive combination will lead to a self destruction of the societies, AlQaeda today is in on the forefront to achieve this ?failure? of a society like Afghanistan for places that are connecting to the world. Turkey is the target since it represents the ability of Islam to co-exist with democracy and freedom. In the Islamic world, the concept of pre-destination and born with the will of Allah overtook struggle for betterment, the idea of pre-destination became the vial of the Islamic world.

Palestinians feel aggrieved by Israeli aggression but their leadership have failed them during the course of this century by aligning themselves with losers. The issue of Palestine would not have risen had the Ottomans not aligned itself with the Germans in the First World War. The break up of the Ottoman Empire was the result of realignments within the world and the mufti Al Hussieni went to Hitler in World War 2 to produce Muslim recruits for the German army. Why should Islam become aligned with losers, why can?t we have the vision to connect with the winners? The Palestinian issue is at the core of the Islamic world but defeatism has become a currency and self-inflicted pain has become pleasure.

The war against civilized world was hatched by the loonies of the world when the icons of 'Democrats' were busy having flings in the sacred office of the White House; the appeasers after Cole incident had fired some misguided missiles on a Sudanese factories and some mud rubble in Afghanistan was destroyed but no consistent policy was followed since the hornets nest was considered to be far too sensitive. These vandals on the doors need men with resolve; the left with its self serving agenda does not have what it takes to face the criminals.

The ??lan? of global jihad against US and her citizens was carried out by the likes of Osama under an administration who never took it seriously. If taking the battle from streets of US to far flung areas of the world is not success what else should succeed! These extremists are and will be in constant hibernation and the challenge was to deny them sanctuaries in hinterlands of terror production factories that existed under Global Jihad Inc under the tutelage of countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and others. Even Iran?s recent cooperation with IAEA represents how the threat of big sticks works across the board so comprehensively. Iran is ready today to open up its facilities of enrichment and that is one other success of areas that are benefiting from global containment of terror regimes.

US has today exactly done that, freedom of action that allows us to speak and differ is now a new coinage in the Arab world which is of historic magnitude. The very reason that an ?Iraqi can call Bush a usurper? is a success of war on terror, war on terror is a freedom from the shackles of primitiveness, and that is the big picture post 911 strategy that I understand it is not neoconism or a new crusade it is for the collective good of the world freeing Islam from people who want to hijack it in the name of blood orgies, from Bali to Istanbul the fight remains single minded resolve to free our world from influence of cave man who want to rob us our freedoms. The challenge to bring the Arab world out from the cave age and from the cradle of conspiracy theories to a giant step to incorporate a free press where ?expression of dissent? is guaranteed is an era of new self-determination for the medieval world; we the free people of the world are all united and the previous weak administration postponed reckoning with the ground realities that existed in our part of the world.

This administration sees it and hence its ability to convert the most hardened on its side, the likes of Musharraf, Prince Abdullah and Erdogan are ex-hardliners within the context of Islamic freedom movements however they are now the staunchest of the US allies. US needed the pivotal countries in Muslim world to carry its fight to the enemy, how strange that the left in US is unable to appreciate the alliance of the most unwilling that this administration have been able to sew. If this is not success of diplomacy, the carrying of a big stick and dangling of big carrots, what else is success? The fight against Al Qaeda mercenaries in the northern most lands of Pakistan and in the hinterland of Qasim province could have not been possible. The sleeper cells of Turks would have one day created havoc in the west as part of the EU and freedom of movement that would have come, now all this coming on surface is helping the cause in two ways. One is that the cancer is clear and presents itself as a defined target that can be confronted. Every suicide bombers leaves a trail that closes door for other 100 possible bombers. Turks in Istanbul or Saudis in Jeddah blowing themselves up are not in retaliation to US actions but as a result and inability of Al Qaeda to destroy western homes.

In a last ditch attempt, they are now on the path of self destruction. The streets that had gleefully expressed smiling adulations to the suicide bombers in Israel today find how horrendous these bombers can be. Saudis who complained that Israel should take no action against Palestinians even if they keep blowing the Israelis with these bombs are now on a crack down, the realization that this is ferocious beast out to take anyone who opposes their brand of medievalism. The Bush doctrine has set a whole region freed from the chains of the past. Yes, it will be upheaval and a mounting task to face but the street in the Arab lands fails to see how come Muslims is killing Muslims in a vendetta that is directed against west. The concept of collateral damages of the Islamic blood is now too difficult to handle for appeasers and naysayers in our part of the world. The reasoning that all this would have passed if no action would have been taken is the biggest fallacy. There is and was no sympathy to the western philosophy, according to the extremists. Islam promised the 1 billion faithful the rule of the world and what they have discovered is that they are at the bottom most wrung of the ladder as a result of their own failure. The rage of impotence combined with the blind craving to manage the human race through the 'will of Allah? is what propels hatred within the fringe elements.

It is dreams of rediscovering history of the golden age and the re-conquest of the world, like old Spain, propels many a lunatics to impose the will of 'Allah' on the unwilling. This is not about terror, rather this is about imposing a way of life through a 'regime of terror'. Appeasment only makes their work easier. Throwing a gauntlet like what Bush did makes it harder but it takes a very big man to do it. History has put this burden on a Texan who looked quite ordinary and for the left even stupid but he has taken this burden better than many a Sagittarius.

========
Just to be clear, I am not the author of this. I merely found it floating on the seas of the Internet.-- Crafty Dog
30276  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Has anyone here studied kendo? on: November 26, 2003, 02:35:55 PM
Woof David:

  Tail wags for the kind words, but may I request a slight change in terminology?  "That band of sweaty, smelly psychopaths with sticks" known as "The Dog Brothers" is not the same thing as that "system of many styles dedicated to smuggling concepts across the frontiers of style" which is known as "Dog Brothers Martial Arts".  

The concepts to which you refer are part of DBMA.  

TIA,
Guro Crafty
30277  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines on: November 24, 2003, 10:40:27 AM
1255 GMT - MALAYSIA - Seven Malaysian military officers are expected to
travel to Mindanao in order to assess the circumstances surrounding the
separatist rebellion. Malaysian leaders want to determine the outcome of
peace talks between the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic
Liberation Front (MILF) before deciding whether to send peacekeepers to the region. The defense officials are due to visit following the Eid al-Fitr
festival - which marks the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan -
which is expected to fall on Nov. 25.
30278  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: November 22, 2003, 01:23:40 PM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Bio-chip implant arrives
for cashless transactions
Announcement at global security confab unveils syringe-injectable ID microchip

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted: November 21, 2003
7:42 p.m. Eastern


By Sherrie Gossett
? 2003 WorldNetDaily.com


At a global security conference held today in Paris, an American company announced a new syringe-injectable microchip implant for humans, designed to be used as a fraud-proof payment method for cash and credit-card transactions.

The chip implant is being presented as an advance over credit cards and smart cards, which, absent biometrics and appropriate safeguard technologies, are subject to theft, resulting in identity fraud.

Identity fraud costs the banking and financial industry some $48 billion a year, and consumers $5 billion, according to 2002 Federal Trade Commission estimates.


Verichip portable reader

In his speech today at the ID World 2003 conference in Paris, France, Scott R. Silverman, CEO of Applied Digital Solutions, called the chip a "loss-proof solution" and said that the chip's "unique under-the-skin format" could be used for a variety of identification applications in the security and financial worlds.

The company will have to compete, though, with organizations using just a fingerprint scan for similar applications.

The ID World Conference, held yesterday and today at the Charles de Gaulle Hilton, focused on current and future applications of radio frequency identification (RFID) technologies, biometrics, smart cards and data collection.

The company's various "VeriChips" are RFID chips, which contain a unique identification number and can carry other personal data about the implantee. When radio-frequency energy passes from a scanner, it energizes the chip, which is passive (not independently powered), and which then emits a radio-frequency signal transmitting the chip's information to the reader, which in turn links with a database.

ADS has previously touted its radio frequency identification (RFID) chips for secure building access, computer access, storage of medical records, anti-kidnapping initiatives and a variety of law-enforcement applications. The company has also developed proprietary hand-held readers and portal readers that can scan data when an implantee enters a building or room.


Verichip pocket reader

The "cashless society" application is not new ? it has been discussed previously by Applied Digital. Today's speech, however, represented the first formal public announcement by the company of such a program.

In announcing VeriPay to ID World delegates, Silverman stated the implant has "enormous marketplace potential" and invited banking and credit companies to partner with VeriChip Corporation (a subsidiary of ADS) in developing specific commercial applications beginning with pilot programs and market tests.

Applied Digital's announcement in Paris suggested wireless technologies, RFID development, new software solutions, smart-card applications and subdermal implants might one day merge as the ultimate solution for a world fraught with identity theft, threatened by terrorism, buffeted by cash-strapped governments and law-enforcement agencies looking for easy data-collection, and corporations interested in the marketing bonanza that cutting-edge identification, payment, and location-based technologies can afford.


Verichip

Cashless payment systems are now part of a larger technology development subset: government identification experiments that seek to combine cashless payment applications with national ID information on media (such as a "smart" card), which contain a whole host of government, personal, employment and commercial data and applications on a single, contactless RFID chip.

In some scenarios, government-corporate coalitions are advocating such a chip be used by employees also to access entry to their workplace and the company computer network, reducing the cost outlay of the corporations for individual ID cards.

Malaysia's "MyKad" national ID "smart" card is the foremost example.

Meanwhile, privacy advocates have expressed concern over RFID technology rollouts, citing database concerns and the specter of individuals' RFID chips being read without permission by people who have their own hand-held readers.

Several privacy and civil liberties groups have recently called for a voluntary moratorium on RFID tagging "until a formal technology assessment process involving all stakeholders, including consumers, can take place." Signatories to the petition include the American Civil Liberties Union, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Electronic Privacy Information Center, Privacy International and the Foundation for Information Policy Research, a British think tank.

Commenting on today's announcement, Richard Smith, a computer industry consultant, referred to what some "netizens" are already calling "chipectomies": "VeriChips can still be stolen. It's just a bit gruesome when to think how the crooks will do these kinds of robberies."

Citing MasterCard's PayPass, Smith pointed out that most of the major credit-card companies are looking at RFID chips to make credit cards quicker, easier, and safer to use.

"The big problem is money," said Smith. "It will take billions of dollars to upgrade the credit-card networks from magstripe readers to RFID readers. During the transition, a credit card is going to need both a magstripe and an RFID chip so that it is universally accepted."

Some industry professionals advocate having citizens pay for combined national ID/cashless pay chips, which would be embedded in a chosen medium.

Identification technologies using RFID can take a wide variety of physical forms and show no sign yet of coalescing into a single worldwide standard.

Prior to today's announcement, Art Kranzley, senior vice president at MasterCard, commented on the Pay Pass system in a USA Today interview: "We're certainly looking at designs like key fobs. It could be in a pen or a pair of earrings. Ultimately, it could be embedded in anything ? someday, maybe even under the skin."

Related stories:
30279  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 60 Years Ago: The Battle of Tarawa on: November 22, 2003, 09:30:48 AM
Woof Mr.D:

Absolutely nothing.  I just thought it interesting.

Crafty Dog
30280  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 60 Years Ago: The Battle of Tarawa on: November 22, 2003, 12:29:23 AM
....The Battle of Tarawa begins


http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/tarawa.htm
=============================================
Operation Galvanic


The Navy launches its Central Pacific drive, in effect reviving the prewar War Plan Orange for a conflict with Japan, with landings on Betio, Makin, and Apamama islands of the Tarawa Atoll in the Gilbert Islands.

The operation is executed by Vice Admiral Raymond A. Spruance's Fifth Fleet. Rear Admiral Richmond Kelly Turner commands the assault force, while Major General Holland M ("Howlin' Mad") Smith commands the landing force.

Makin and Apamama are taken against relatively light resistance. Betio, garrisoned by 4,836 naval troops (including 2,619 men of the elite Special Naval Landing Force, the Japanese equivalent of the Marines) under Rear Admiral Keiji Sibasaki, is the linchpin of the Japanese defense. It is assaulted by Major General Julian C. Smith's 2nd Marine Division and secured after 76 hours of bitter fighting in which 990 Marines are killed, 2,391 wounded, and only 17 defenders are taken prisoner.

The landing demonstrates the basic soundness of the amphibious doctrines that the Marine Corps developed between the world wars. It also reveals the need for more intensive pre-landing bombardment, improvements in communications and air support, and the increased use of amphibian tractors (Landing Vehicles, Tracked also called LVTs or Amphtrack).


Tarawa is located approximately 2,500 miles southwest of Hawaii. It isn't an island but a series of barren islets formed by the exposed tips of a submerged mountain sticking above the waters of the blue sea. The military importance of Tarawa lay in its strategic location at the gateway of the US drive through the central Pacific towards the Philippines.

The largest of Tarawa's islets is Betio measuring less than 3 miles in length and ? mile in width. Here, the Japanese built an airstrip defended by 4,700 troops dug into a labyrinth of pillboxes and bunkers interconnected by tunnels and defended by wire and mines. The task of dislodging this force fell to the Marines of the 2nd Division. The resulting struggle produced one of the fiercest and bloodiest battles in Marine history

The landings began on November 20 and immediately ran into trouble. Coming in at low tide, the assault boats were forced to disgorge their men far from shore. Wading through waist-deep water over piercing, razor-sharp coral, many were cut down by merciless enemy gunfire yards from the beach. Those who made it ashore huddled in the sand, hemmed in by the sea to one side and the Japanese to the other.

The next morning, reinforcements made the same perilous journey bringing with them tanks and artillery. By the end of the day the Marines were able to break out from the beach to the inland. The fierce combat continued for another two days.

The cost of victory was high for the Marines who suffered nearly 3,000 casualties. The toll was even higher for the Japanese. Of the 4,700 defenders, only 17 survived. Their willingness to fight to the last man foretold the fierceness of the battles to come.

Bombardment Before Landing - "Surely...they would all be dead by now."

Robert Sherrod was a seasoned war correspondent having covered the Army campaign in the Aleutian Islands and the Navy raid on Wake Island. However, nothing from these experiences prepared him for the brutal terror of Tarawa. His observations of one of the most costly battles in US Marine history were published as a book in early 1944.

In the early hours of November 20, Sherrod was among a contingent of Marines aboard a Navy transport - the Blue Fox, - waiting for the order to board a landing craft for the beach. We join his story as the bombardment of the island begins:

"Now, at 0505, we heard a great thud in the southwest. We knew what that meant. The first battleship had fired the first shot. We all rushed out on deck. The show had begun?

Within three minutes the sky was filled again with the orange-red flash of the big gun, and Olympus boomed again. The red ball of fire that was the high-explosive shell was again dropping toward the horizon. But this time there was a tremendous burst on the land that was Betio. A wall of flame shot five hundred feet into the air, and there was another terrifying explosion as the shell found its mark. Hundreds of awestruck Marines on the deck of the Blue Fox cheered in uncontrollable joy?

The next flash was four times as great, and the sky turned a brighter, redder orange, greater than any flash of lightning the Marines had ever seen. Now four shells, weighing more than a ton each, peppered the island. Now Betio began to glow brightly from the fires the bombardment pattern had started.

That was only the beginning. Another battleship took up the firing - four mighty shells poured from its big guns onto another part of the island. Then another battleship breathed its brilliant breath of death. Now a heavy cruiser let go with its eight-inch guns, and several lightcruisers opened with their fast-firing six- inch guns. They were followed by the destroyers, many destroyers with many five-inch guns on each, firing almost as fast as machine guns. The sky at times was brighter than noontime on the equator. The arching, glowing cinders that were high-explosive shells sailed through the air as though buckshot were being fired out of many shotguns from all sides of the island. The Marines aboard the Blue Fox exulted with each blast on the island?

The first streaks of dawn crept through the sky. The warships continued to fire. All of a sudden they stopped. But here came the planes-not just a few planes: a dozen, a score, a hundred. The first torpedo bombers raced across the smoking conflagration and loosed their big bombs on an island that must have been dead a half hour ago! They were followed by the dive bombers, the old workhorse SBD's and the new Helldivers, the fast SB2C's that had been more than two years a-borning. The dive bombers lined up, many of thousands of feet over Betio, then they pointed their noses down and dived singly, or in pairs or in threes. Near the end of their dives they hatched the bombs from beneath their bellies; they pulled out gracefully and sailed back to their carriers to get more bombs. Now came the fighter planes, the fast, new Grumman Hellcats, the best planes ever to squat on a carrier. They made their runs just above the awful, gushing pall of smoke, their machine guns spitting hundreds of fifty-caliber bullets a mi
nute.

Surely, we all thought, no mortal men could live through such destroying power.

Surely, I thought, if there were actually any Japs left on the island (which I doubted strongly), they would all be dead by now."

To the Beach - Wading Through Hell

At 0635, Sherrod and a 30-man, Marine assault force board a Higgins landing craft and head for the enemy beach. It takes an hour and a half for the landing craft to reach its rendezvous point off the beach where it joins other assault boats for the landing

It is here that Sherrod gets his first warning that something is going terribly wrong with the attack. He can see no landing craft on the beach - four assault waves should have previously gone ashore. At this point, the commander of the landing craft announces that he can go no further as the water is too shallow. The assault team will have to transfer to a tank-like amphtrack for the rest of the journey. We rejoin Sherrod's account as the Marines scramble aboard the amphtrack under intense enemy machinegun fire:

"We jumped into the little tractor boat and quickly settled on the deck. 'Oh, God, I'm scared,' said the little Marine, a telephone operator, who sat next to me forward in the boat. I gritted my teeth and tried to force a smile that would not come and tried to stop quivering all over (now I was shaking from fear). I said, in an effort to be reassuring, 'I'm scared, too.' I never made a more truthful statement in all my life.

Now I knew, positively, that there were Japs, and evidently plenty of them, on the island. They were not dead. The bursts of shellfire all around us evidenced the fact that there was plenty of life in them!... After the first wave there apparently had not been any organized waves, those organized waves which hit the beach so beautifully in the last rehearsal. There had been only an occasional amphtrack which hit the beach, then turned around (if it wasn't knocked out) and went back for more men. There we were: a single boat, a little wavelet of our own, and we were already getting the hell shot out of us, with a thousand yards to go. I peered over the side of the amphtrack and saw another amphtrack three hundred yards to the left get a direct hit from what looked like a mortar shell.

'It's hell in there,' said the amphtrack boss, who was pretty wild-eyed himself. 'They've already knocked out a lot of amphtracks and there are a lot of wounded men lying on the beach. See that old hulk of a Jap freighter over there? I'll let you out about there, then go back to get some more men. You can wade in from there.' I looked. The rusty old ship was about two hundred yards beyond the pier. That meant some seven hundred yards of wading through the fire of machine guns whose bullets already were whistling over our heads.

The fifteen of us - I think it was fifteen - scurried over the side of the amphtrack into the water that was neck-deep. We started wading.

No sooner had we hit the water than the Jap machine guns really opened up on us. There must have been five or six of these machine guns concentrating their fire on us... It was painfully slow, wading in such deep water. And we had seven hundred yards to walk slowly into that machinegun fire, looming into larger targets as we rose onto higher ground. I was scared, as I had never been scared before. But my head was clear. I was extremely alert, as though my brain were dictating that I live these last minutes for all they were worth. I recalled that psychologists say fear in battle is a good thing; it stimulates the adrenalin glands and heavily loads the blood supply with oxygen.

I do not know when it was that I realized I wasn't frightened any longer. I suppose it was when I looked around and saw the amphtrack scooting back for more Marines. Perhaps it was when I noticed that bullets were hitting six inches to the left or six inches to the right. I could have sworn that I could have reached out and touched a hundred bullets. I remember chuckling inside and saying aloud, 'You bastards, you certainly are lousy shots.'

After wading through several centuries and some two hundred yards of shallowing water and deepening machinegun fire, I looked to the left and saw that we had passed the end of the pier. I didn't know whether any Jap snipers were still under the pier or not, but I knew we couldn't do any worse. I waved to the Marines on my immediate right and shouted, 'Let's head for the pier!' Seven of them came. The other seven Marines were far to the right. They followed a naval ensign straight into the beach - there was no Marine officer in our amphtrack. The ensign said later that he thought three of the seven had been killed in the water."

References:
Potter, E.B. and Nimitz, C.W., Triumph in the Pacific (1963); Sherrod, Robert, Tarawa: the Story of a Battle (1944).
30281  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Did Filipino Martial Arts Revolutionize Boxing? on: November 20, 2003, 05:39:45 PM
Woof David/Spad/TFS et al:

  With the Gathering coming up in a few days I have no time for a proper reply at this point.

  Krishna Godhania emailed me to say that he found the thread interesting but family matters and his upcoming hosting of Tuhon Chris Sayoc distract him at present from replying but that he will do so when the dust settles.  I look forward to seeing what he has to say.

Crafty
30282  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / UFC Friday night on: November 20, 2003, 03:55:49 PM
Woof All:

  Frank Trigg of RAW Gym goes for the belt tomorrow night against Matt Hughes.  MH is very well regarded, but FT brings a lot to the party too.  Go Frank!

 Any comments/predictions on any of the fights?

yip,
Crafty Dog
30283  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Complete Invite: DB Gathering Of The Pack - Nov 23, 2003: on: November 20, 2003, 03:53:02 PM
John Brown Jr
Steven Feng
30284  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Best online store for escrimas? on: November 20, 2003, 11:24:06 AM
A gift from Grand Tuhon Gaje when I stayed with him in Bacolod.
30285  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Battle of grand masters on: November 19, 2003, 10:36:20 PM
Woof Cypher:

You are right, many do feel as you say-- many, but not all.

A story:  Grandmaster Atillo of Balintawak tells the story of his famous match with Grandmaster Cacoy Canete of Doce Pares.   He will show the letter signed by both of them agreeing to the rules-- one of which was "No Grappling".  

If grappling does not/can not happen in the absence of headgear, why was this rule necessary?  Why was it insisted upon by GM Atillo?  Could it be that GM CC, whose system "Eskrido" is a blend of ESKRIma and JuDO?

Then, in telling the story he will show you the picture from the paper the next day showing CC holding him in a headlock and say "You see! He cheated!"

If the particular traditionalists you reference are right, how can this be?

I'm not going to use terms like Arnis, Eskrima, Kali, Silat, or Kali-silat  evil  but what of all the various FMA systems with grappling, both in the presence of weapons and not?

If grappling does not happen in the presence of weapons, what about the clinch material in the MILITARY system of old Thailand?  Or in Burma's Bando?  What about the various Silats? -- are none of these from the Philippines, or is the argument that the FMA lack what these systems have?  evil

Speaking from my own experience against many opponents I can pretty consistently enter with my head untouched-- and so can many of the people I have taught.  This can be seen in DBMA #4 Attacking Blocks and more in the to-be-released "Stickgrappling-Clinch"

Yes, this skill was developed in part by surviving mistakes thanks to headgear.  And yes, many of the people who fight at our Gatherings exploit headgear to create grappling-- often because they lack adequate stick skills.  And yes, shooting low is pretty unsound as a general rule in a stick fight.

But still the assertion based upon experience remains:  Grappling can be consistently created in a way that does not rely upon protective gear.  

In DMBA our clinch material is a blend principally of Inosanto Blend (FMA) Krabi Krabong (Thai) Bando (Burma) Silat (various, including Philippines) BJJ (Brazil) and wrestling (America).

On the ground it is a blend of Inosanto, Bando, and BJJ.

Just because emotions behind the printed word can readily be misunderstood, please allow to plainly state that all the forgoing is said in cheery, friendly spirit.

Woof,
Crafty Dog
30286  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: November 19, 2003, 07:46:59 PM
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

THE STRATFOR WEEKLY
19 November 2003

by Dr. George Friedman

The Unnoticed Alignment: Iran and the United States in Iraq

Summary

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami has quietly announced his recognition of the Iraqi Governing Council and acceptance of the U.S. timeline on the transfer of power in Iraq. The announcement speaks to a partnership that will direct the future course of Iraq. The alliance is of direct short-term benefit to both countries: The United States gains a partner to help combat Sunni insurgents, and Iran will be able to mitigate the long-standing threat on its western border. What is most notable is that, though there has been no secrecy involved, the partnership has emerged completely below the global media's radar.

Analysis

Iranian President Mohammad Khatami did something very interesting
Nov. 17: He announced that Iran recognized the Iraqi Governing Council in Baghdad. He said specifically, "We recognize the Iraqi Governing Council and we believe it is capable, with the Iraqi people, of managing the affairs of the country and taking measures leading toward independence." Khatami also commented on the agreement made by U.S. Administrator Paul Bremer and the IGC to transfer power to an Iraqi government by June: "The consecration of this accord will help with the reconstruction and security in Iraq,"

This is pretty extraordinary stuff. The IGC is an invention of
the United States. The president of Iran has now recognized the IGC as the legitimate government of Iraq, and he has also declared Iran's support for the timetable for transferring power to the IGC. In effect, the U.S. and Iranian positions on Iraq have now converged. The alignment is reminiscent of the Sino-U.S. relationship in the early 1970s: Despite absolute ideological differences on which neither side is prepared to compromise, common geopolitical interests have forced both sides to collaborate with one another. As with Sino-U.S. relations, alignment is a better word than alliance. These two countries are not friends, but history and geography have made them partners.

We would say that this is unexpected, save that Stratfor expected it. On Sept. 2, 2003, we published a weekly analysis titled An Unlikely Alliance, in which we argued that a U.S.-Iranian alignment was the only real solution for the United States in Iraq -- and would represent the fulfillment of an historical dream for Iran. What is interesting from our point of view (having suitably congratulated ourselves) is the exceptionally quiet response of the global media to what is, after all, a fairly extraordinary evolution of events.

The media focus on -- well, media events. When Nixon went to China, the visit was deliberately framed as a massive media event. Both China and the United States wanted to emphasize the shift in alignment, to both the Soviet Union and their own publics. In this case, neither the United States nor Iran wants attention focused on this event. For Washington, aligning with a charter member of the "axis of evil" poses significant political problems; for Tehran, aligning with the "Great Satan" poses similar problems. Both want alignment, but neither wants to make it formal at this time, and neither wants to draw significant attention to it. For the media, the lack of a photo op means that nothing has happened. Therefore, except for low-key reporting by
some wire services, Khatami's statement has been generally
ignored, which is fine by Washington and Tehran. In fact, on the same day that Khatami made the statement, the news about Iran focused on the country's nuclear weapons program. We christen thee, stealth geopolitics.

Let's review the bidding here. When the United States invaded Iraq, the expectation was that the destruction of Iraq's conventional forces and the fall of Baghdad would end resistance.  It was expected that there would be random violence, some resistance and so forth, but there was no expectation that there would be an organized, sustained guerrilla war, pre-planned by the regime and launched almost immediately after the fall of Baghdad.

The United States felt that it had a free hand to shape and
govern Iraq as it saw fit. The great debate was over whether the Department of State or Defense would be in charge of Baghdad's water works. Washington was filled with all sorts of plans and planners who were going to redesign Iraq. The dream did not die easily or quickly: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was denying the existence of a guerrilla war in Iraq as late as early July, more than two months after it had begun. Essentially, Washington and reality diverged in May and June.

Fantasy was followed by a summer of paralysis. The United States had not prepared for a guerrilla war in Iraq, and it had no plan for fighting such a war. Search-and-destroy operations were attempted, but these never had a chance of working, since tactical intelligence against the guerrillas was virtually non-existent. All it did was stir up even more anti-American feeling than was already there. The fact was that the United States was not going to be in a position to put down a guerrilla war without allies: It had neither the manpower nor the intimate knowledge of the country and society needed to defeat even a small guerrilla
movement that was operating in its own, well-known terrain.

At the same time, for all its problems, the situation in Iraq was not nearly as desperate as it would appear. Most of the country was not involved in the guerrilla war. It was essentially confined to the Sunni Triangle -- a fraction of Iraq's territory -- and to the minority Sunni group. The majority of Iraqis, Shiites and Kurds, not only were not involved in the guerrilla movement but inherently opposed to it. Both communities had suffered greatly under the Baathist government, which was heavily Sunni. The last thing they wanted to see was a return of Saddam Hussein's rule.

However, being opposed to the guerrillas did not make the
Shiites, in particular, pro-American. They had their own
interests: The Shiites in Iraq wanted to control the post-Hussein government. Another era of Sunni control would have been disastrous for them. For the Shiites -- virtually regardless of faction -- taking control of Iraq was a priority.

It is not fair to say that Iran simply controlled the Iraqi
Shiites; there are historical tensions between the two groups. It is fair to say, however, that Iranian intelligence systematically penetrated and organized the Shiites during Hussein's rule and that Iran provided safe haven for many of Iraq's Shiite leaders. That means, obviously, that Tehran has tremendous and decisive influence in Iraq at this point - which means that the goals of Iraqi Shiites must coincide with Iranian national interests.

In this case, they do. Iran has a fundamental interest in a pro-
Iranian, or at least genuinely neutral, Iraq. The only way to
begin creating that is with a Shiite-controlled government. With a Shiite-controlled government, the traditional Iraqi threat disappears and Iran's national security is tremendously enhanced. But the logic goes further: Iraq is the natural balance to Iran -- and if Iraq is neutralized, Iran becomes the pre-eminent power in the Persian Gulf. Once the United States leaves the region -- and in due course, the United States will leave -- Iran will be in a position to dominate the region. No other power or combination of powers could block it without Iraqi support. Iran, therefore, has every reason to want to see an evolution that leads to a Shiite government in Iraq.

Washington now has an identical interest. The United States does not have the ability or appetite to suppress the Sunni rising in perpetuity, nor does it have an interest in doing so. The U.S. interest is in destroying al Qaeda. Washington therefore needs an ally that has an intrinsic interest in fighting the guerrilla war and the manpower to do it. That means the Iraqi Shiites -- and that means alignment with Iran.

Bremer's assignment is to speed the transfer of power to the IGC. In a formal sense, this is a genuine task, but in a practical sense, transferring power to the IGC means transferring it to the Shiites. Not only do they represent a majority within the IGC, but when it comes time to raise an Iraqi army to fight the guerrillas, that army is going to be predominantly Shiite. That is not only a demographic reality but a political one as well -- the Shiites will insist on dominating the new army. They are not going to permit a repeat of the Sunni domination. Therefore, Bremer's mission is to transfer sovereignty to the IGC, which means the transfer of sovereignty to the Shiites.

From this, the United States ultimately gets a force in Iraq to
fight the insurrection, the Iraqi Shiites get to run Iraq and the
Iranians secure their Western frontier. On a broader, strategic scale, the United States splits the Islamic world -- not down the middle, since Shiites are a minority -- but still splits it. Moreover, under these circumstances, the Iranians are motivated to fight al Qaeda (a movement they have never really liked anyway) and can lend their not-insignificant intelligence capabilities to the mix.

The last real outstanding issue is Iran's nuclear capability.
Iran obviously would love to be a nuclear power in addition to being a regional hegemon. That would be sweet. However, it isn't going to happen, and the Iranians know that. It won't happen because Israel cannot permit it to happen. Any country's politics are volatile, and Iran in ten years could wind up with a new government and with values that, from Israel's point of view, are dangerous. Combine that with nuclear weapons, and it could mean the annihilation of Israel. Therefore, Israel would destroy Iran's nuclear capabilities -- with nuclear strikes if necessary -- before they become operational.

To be more precise, Israel would threaten to destroy Iran's
capabilities, which would put the United States in a tough
position. An Israeli nuclear strike on Iran would be the last
thing Washington needs. Therefore, the United States would be forced to take out Iran's facilities with American assets in the region -- better a non-nuclear U.S. attack than an Israeli
nuclear attack. Thus, the United States is telling Iran that it
does not actually have the nuclear option it thinks it has. The
Iranians, for their part, are telling the United States that they
know Washington doesn't want a strike by either Israel or the U.S. forces.

That means that the Iranians are using their nuclear option to
extract maximum political concessions from the United States. It is in Tehran's interest to maximize the credibility of the country's nuclear program without crossing a line that would force an Israeli response and a pre-emptive move by the United States. The Iranians are doing that extremely skillfully. The United States, for its part, is managing the situation effectively as well. The nuclear issue is not the pivot.

The alignment represents a solution to both U.S. and Iranian
needs. However, in the long run, the Iranians are the major
winners. When it is all over, they get to dominate the Persian
Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula. That upsets the regional balance of power completely and is sending Saudi leaders into a panic.  The worst-case scenario for Saudi Arabia is, of course, an Iranian-dominated region. It is also not a great outcome for the United States, since it has no interest in any one power dominating the region either.

But the future is the future, and now is now. "Now" means the existence of a guerrilla war that the United States cannot fight on its own. This alignment solves that dilemma. We should remember that the United States has a history of improbable alliances that caused problems later. Consider the alliance with the Soviet Union in World War II that laid the groundwork for the Cold War: It solved one problem, then created another. The United States historically has worked that way.

Thus, Washington is not going to worry about the long run until later. But in the short run, the U.S.-Iranian alignment is the most important news since the Sept. 11 attacks. It represents a triumph of geopolitics over principle on both sides, which is what makes it work: Since both sides are betraying fundamental principles, neither side is about to call the other on it. They are partners in this from beginning to end.

What is fascinating is that this is unfolding without any secrecy whatsoever, yet is not being noticed by anyone. Since neither country is particularly proud of the deal, neither country is advertising it. And since it is not being advertised, the media are taking no notice. Quite impressive.
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30287  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Complete Invite: DB Gathering Of The Pack - Nov 23, 2003: on: November 19, 2003, 09:58:57 AM
True Dog
Pappy Dog
Island Dog
Iron Dog
C-Porn Star
C-War Dog
C-Junkyard Dog
"Dog Russ" Iger
"Dog Bryan" Lorentzen
"Dog Carlo" Arellano
"Dog Milt" Tinkoff
"Dog Rich" Raphael
"Dog Dennis" Hall
Alex Gonzalez
Corey Davis
Meynard Ancheta
Miguel Decoste
William Cannon
Jeff Frater
Derek Walker
Joseph Gan
Chris Sangalang
Marc Scott
30288  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / injurys on: November 18, 2003, 06:57:33 PM
Woof Bobi:

(with an assist on the English)

"but I don't know..... I have plenty of respect for fights like at the
Gatherings. I think now at the moment I have too little guts
for that, but I'm surprised that at the Gatherings serious injuries don't occur more than they seem to-- .... broken arms -for example. or even bigger bones being broken? or bunios (?) to the head? Is the head hard enough to absorb blows like this?

"I know most of the fighters hit not in all situations with full
intention. Surely if they are more advanced (or not?  ??!!)"

This is an inherently grey area.  You are right-- it IS surprising that we do not have serious injuries more often than we do.  This can be due to the skill of the fighters or the lack of skill of the fighters  Cheesy  

That said the intention to hit hard and well is there-- until someone cannot defend themselves.  

And we do have serious injuries.  For example, as I mentioned in my report on the last Gathering, we estimate out of 24 fighters, 6 had concussions.  In my opinion this is too many by far and there is a need for certain people to clean up their head defense.  

In my opinion, with the newer fencing HELMETS, as versus the older fencing MASKS, some people tend to get reckless with their heads and then pay a price when struck where the helmet does not protect well whereas we of the first wave came up in masks and ALWAYS feared the head shot and hence tended to have good head protection skills.

So what serious injuries have we had?

In addition to broken hands, wrists, stick bruises and the like, we have had the concussions, a perforated ear drum, joint damage from grappling holds, dislocated shoulders, a split knee cap, broken ribs, a split ear, a cracked skull (discussed by its recipient in the opening of one of the DBMA videos) and so forth.  

Given the number of fights that we have had over the years, I think our track record in this regard is excellent and a testament to the integrity with which people respect the code of "friends at the end of the day".  That said, it is a fight.  Stickfighting is dangerous and injuries will happen.

Does this help?

Woof,
Crafty Dog

PS:  With your training with Guro Lonely Dog you should be very well prepared should you decide to give it a go.
30289  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Old Thai Arts on: November 18, 2003, 06:32:04 PM
Woof Vinnie:

Great post!  We are always glad to hear from you.

Marc/Crafty
===================

Marco comments:

BEGIN QUOTE

"On the other matter, of course you can use parts of our letters to put them in your site, I will be honored to appear in it. , , , I read with great interest the topics on your site and I am very happy to know that interest is growing for traditional Thai fighting, both with and without weapons.

The good thing is the forthcoming establishment  of the official thai websites of both AITMA and  the Kru Muay Thai Association so that all the information about teachers and techniques can be checked and verified.

, , , luckily I checked with Pimu's wife and  he is alive and well in London at the moment. Bad info , , ,

By the way, I saw in the long article appearing in the topic, that Dr. Songhai was mentioned; it is good because he was one of the members of the ad hoc technical committee created by the Office of Culture Commission that gave birth to what we practise today with the name of Muay Boran.

The 7 members of the committee actually collected the best fighting principles and techniques from various "regional styles" (Muay Korat, Muay Lopburi, Muay Chaya, Muay Pranakorn, Muay Luang etc.) and "thematic styles" (such as Hanuman techniques) of which everyone of them was an expert and they organised all the information according to the theory and system of the head of the above mentioned Commission, Prof. Phaosawat Saengsawan (that by the way is one of my teachers and technical supervisor of IMBA, our Muay Boran Academy).

All those info have then been furtherly actualised by the joint work of
Arjan Chinawooth Sirisompan (my teacher since 1991) and myself, to finally obtain the "product" we today call Muay Boran: ancient techniques and strategies actualised through modern professional Muay Thai training
methodology, the one we used (together with my first master, Pimu, a famous trainer of Muay Thai campions) to forge ring warriors (among them 7 world champions).

As you know well, theories and techniques must be always put to the "contact" test to prove valid.

I hope you will find the above information of any interest.

END QUOTE
30290  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Complete Invite: DB Gathering Of The Pack - Nov 23, 2003: on: November 18, 2003, 01:04:07 AM
Woof All:

"Is everybody in? The ceremony is about to begin." Jim Morrison

Registered fighters so far:

True Dog
Pappy Dog
Island Dog
Iron Dog
C-Porn Star
C-War Dog
C-Junkyard Dog
"Dog Russ" Iger
"Dog Bryan" Lorentzen
"Dog Carlo" Arellano
"Dog Milt" Tinkoff
"Dog Rich" Raphael
Alex Gonzalez
Corey Davis
Meynard Ancheta
Miguel Decoste
William Cannon
Jeff Frater
Derek Walker

"Higher Consciousness through Harder Contact!"(c)
Crafty Dog
30291  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Did Filipino Martial Arts Revolutionize Boxing? on: November 17, 2003, 12:06:02 PM
Woof Spad et al:

  Thanks for the rejoinder and fleshing out the English structure.

  That said, I'd like to contribute a few points for consideration:

  As a preliminary matter, I note that this article is several years old.  Not only is Lucky Lucay dead, so is his son Ted far too soon.  Ted was the first man to become Full Instructor under Guro Inosanto (I may not be stating this exactly right, anyone who can clean it up please feel free to do so)

  I trained occasionally in Ted's class in the 1980s at the Inosanto Academy at Glencoe Avenue and in that context occasionally met his father Lucky, (who was one of the higher people in Villabrille Kali system BTW) who at that point was already substantially debilitated from the diabetes that would eventually take his life.  With that said, occasionally he would sometimes briefly demonstrate ideas and movement and his boxing movement was of a different nature.  Quite impressive nevertheless!  No doubt there are some treasured home videos somewhere of it, but his son Ted also had this movement.  I know he did at least one video for Unique on "stick boxing" where this idiom of movement is recorded (no dig at Guro Ted, but the vid is a bit of a snorer as a video I must confess-- he like to explain things thoroughly.)

My impression of the article was that the bit about Ali may have been a stretch, possibly for what the editor might have seen as a catchy hook for the cover of the magazine (Did Ali get his footwork from FMA? Buy this issue and find out! blah blah) but the rest of the article's premise strikes me as probably pretty sound.

I understand your point that the article may, as many do, have underappreciated English boxing, but I read the point about "no blocking" a bit differently than you.  I understood it to me that the mentality of a weapons fighter, a knife fighter, is much more exchange averse than someone who approaches things only from an empty hand perspective and that the nature of the movement that descends from it has a different quality.   I think this point IS valid and the Lucays manifested it.

Yes, Lucky said "no blocking" in the English boxing but please consider that a) his English wasn't very good and b) his statement is in the context of training method-- but this is all really a tangent from the larger point, yes?

As I often so ably demonstrate, historian is not my forte, so I proffer for you, or anyone, to answer:  How, when, where, and why did boxing shift from the Sullivan structure?  Is it enough to simply say "boxing gloves"?
Why to this day do Euro fighters tend to lack head movement compared to North and South American fighters?  Less rythmic music?  cheesy

Apart from my years with Guro I, whose Panantukan still blows me away, I have trained with a manong in Negros who had wonderful panantukan, I have met Cebuanos with superb boxing mechanics (as a result of their trainin interplay with sticks and knives) I have seen footage from the interior of the Philippines (I will see if I can get Krishna Godhania to comment on his experiences in the Philippines in this regard).  What I have seen leads me to feel that the hypothesis that interaction with the Philippines and Filipinos led to the changes from the Sullivan structure to the modern structure, either through the crossroads of Hawaii and/or the US soldiers coming back from the Philippines at turn of the century after introducing boxing gloves there and having some hard lessons in matches in the Filipinos, seems to me to be the most plausible.

If it helps, we can compare this the influence of the Brazilians (Gracie-Machado et al) on grappling.  Yes there was good grappling before, but somehow it is different now.

Woof,
Crafty Dog
30292  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: November 15, 2003, 07:20:45 AM
There's only to be more and more of reports like this one people-- Crafty
---------------------------------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
LIFE WITH BIG BROTHER
Wal-Mart used microchip to track customers
High-tech devices monitor product from manufacturer's headquarters

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted: November 15, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern



? 2003 WorldNetDaily.com

Wal-Mart customers who picked up lipstick off the shelf at a Broken-Arrow, Okla., store were part of a little-mentioned experiment earlier this year that tracked consumer habits using Radio Frequency Identification technology, or RFID.

Proctor & Gamble teamed with the retail giant in the test over a four month-period which allowed researchers to view the Wal-Mart shelves from company headquarters some 750 miles away in Cincinnati, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.

Also, the Max Factor Lipfinity lipstick had RFID tags hidden inside that allowed the inventory to be tracked leaving the shelves.

The Chicago paper said it was informed of the study by a disgruntled P&G employee.

Wal-Mart first denied the test, but then admitted it had allowed customers to be watched.

A P&G spokeswoman said a sign at the Lipfinity display "alerted customers that closed-circuit televisions and electronic merchandise security systems are in place in the store," the Sun-Times reported.

She insisted the system could only track lipstick leaving the shelves. Once the product was taken away, it would be out of range.

A privacy rights group, however, has called for mandatory labeling of the products with RFID chips.

"On the surface, the Broken Arrow trial may seem harmless," Katherine Albrecht, founder and director of Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, or CASPIAN, told the Sun-Times. "But the truth is that the businesses involved pushed forward with this technology in secret, knowing full well that consumers are overwhelmingly opposed to it."

As WorldNetDaily reported, Gillette, the nation's largest shaving-products manufacturer, planned to conduct a trial of RFID last summer at a Brockton, Mass., Wal-Mart store.

The plan called for Gillette to embed a tiny microchip in each of its products so store managers could track Gillette store stock and alert them if products were running low. Eventually, say critics, the technology could be used to literally track products from store shelves to homes.

However, according to the Washington Times, Wal-Mart abandoned its "smart shelf" experiment for the time being. Instead, the paper said, the retailer would incorporate RFID technology at each of its 103 distribution centers around the country to monitor inventory.

The decision, said the Times, came after Albrecht and CASPIAN called for a letter-writing campaign against Wal-Mart. But retailer spokesman Tom Williams denied that was the motivation for Wal-Mart changing its "smart shelf" plans.

"We didn't cancel anything. We just didn't follow through with this particular idea," he told the paper.

But the Times report said other large retailers, such as Target and Home Depot, were testing the RFID technology to monitor inventory in their storerooms and distribution centers.

Wal-Mart and the U.S. Department of Defense have been the biggest boosters of the technology.
30293  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Battle of grand masters on: November 14, 2003, 10:18:39 AM
Well, there's one in 9 days , , , , Cheesy
30294  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homemade machine guns legal on: November 14, 2003, 01:56:59 AM
http://volokh.com/2003_11_09_volokh_archive.html#106875771986904670

Big News on the Commerce Clause: United States v. Stewart

(Decision written by Kozinski-- Crafty)

The new Commerce Clause jurisprudence (Lopez and Morrison) comes home to roost in the Ninth Circuit's pathbreaking decision today that holds that the federal government may not ban a homemade machine gun. Here is a link to the PDF file. (Via Volokh.) Here are the two key paragraphs of the opinion:

We start by considering the first and fourth prongs of the Morrison test, as we have deemed them the most important. See McCoy, 323 F.3d at 1119. The first prong is not satisfied here. Possession of a machinegun is not, without more, economic in nature. Just like the statute struck down in Lopez, section 922(o) ?is a criminal statute that by its terms has nothing to do with ?commerce? or any sort of economic enterprise, however broadly one might define those terms.? Lopez, 514 U.S at 561. Unlike in Wickard v. Filburn, 317 U.S. 111 (1942), where growing wheat in one?s backyard could be seen as a means of saving money that would otherwise have been spent in the open market, a homemade machinegun may be part of a gun collection or may be crafted as a hobby. Or it may be used for illegal purposes. Whatever its intended use, without some evidence that it will be sold or transferred?and there is none here?its relationship to interstate commerce is highly attenuated.

Moreover, the regulation itself does not have an economic purpose: whereas the statute in Wickard was enacted primarily to control the market price of wheat, id. at 115, there is no evidence that section 922(o) was enacted to regulate commercial aspects of the machinegun business. More likely, section 922(o) was intended to keep machineguns out of the hands of criminals?an admirable goal, but not a commercial one.



And one more important paragraph from later in the opinion:



This case fails Morrison?s other requirements as well.

As we stated earlier, section 922(o) contains no jurisdictional element anchoring the prohibited activity to interstate commerce. Congress also failed to make any legislative findings when it enacted the statute. While neither Lopez nor Morrison requires Congress to make findings every time it passes a law under its Commerce Clause power, the Supreme Court did note the importance of findings where?as here?such findings would ?enable [a court] to evaluate the legislative judgment that the activity in question substantially affected interstate commerce, even though no such substantial effect was visible to the naked eye.? Lopez, 514 U.S. at 563.

The implications are staggering. Here is one: Homegrown marijuana would seem directly analagous to hommade machineguns. And in fact, the Ninth Circuit has a homegrown medical marijuana case pending now.

Wow!

posted by Lawrence at 11/13/2003 02:05:20 PM
30295  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Old Thai Arts on: November 13, 2003, 02:49:13 PM
Woof All:

I'm reposting the following from the "Escape from Rome" thread because the subject heading has nothing to do with the subject of Old Thai Arts.

Anyone who can contribute please do so.

Thanks and Woof,
Crafty Dog
================

Guro Crafty,

Ajarn Marco de Cesaris teaches that ancient style of Thai boxing, does he not (the kind with the cord-wrapped fists)?

I'd like to know more about it.

Peace,

Dave/TFS
-----------

, , ,

-----------

Woof Spadaccino:

Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, but what with the terminology wars nearby and catching up with training and business after a heavy traveling schedule this is my first chance.

It was a pleasure meeting Ajarn Marco who turned out to be a most gracious host as well. He calls what he does "Muay Boran". He is well recognized by the organizations in Thailand in this endeavor, has a fighting background, at 41 is still supremely fit and has a large, active network of schools.

Given the Krabi Krabong component of the recent evolution in DBMA that I've taken to calling "Los Triques", I was most curious to see what
Muay Boran was like and I think Marco too was curious to see the what the KK influence on us looked like.

Speaking only from a base of initial impressions (more knowledgeable people should feel free to jump in) I would say the Muay Boran allows the fight to continue striking on the ground. Examples of this can be seen in Ajarn Marco's video with Budo titled "Kon Muay Kee, Muay Boran" (Marco was kind enough to give me a copy) -- reaping kicks followed by flying drop knees to the prostrate spine, dropping shin kicks to the back of the head as lays on the ground, zoning around the man on the ground that seeks finishing shots even as it looks to avoid entanglement-- a highly important principle for the real world!

During our weekend together we compared notes on footwork concepts. I think Marco enjoyed that we too had come to similar ideas about bilateralism and sought to cultivate the "stepping through step" through our KK training. Marco shared with me some of his thinking on the clinch and elbowing the body. I also enjoyed his historical perspective on the reasons underlying the older deep stance.

All in all it was very enjoyable and we are staying in touch.

If anyone can add any comments on older Thai systems (an area of great interest to Marco) such as KK, Muay Boran, Lerd Rit etc it would be much appreciated.

Woof,
Crafty Dog
30296  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Escape from Rome on: November 13, 2003, 02:31:44 PM
Woof Spadaccino:

  Sorry for the delay in getting back to you, but what with the terminology wars nearby and catching up with training and business after a heavy traveling schedule this is my first chance.

  It was a pleasure meeting Ajarn Marco who turned out to be a supremely gracious host as well.  He calls what he does "Muay Boran".  He is well recognized by the organizations in Thailand in this endeavor, has a fighting background, at 41 is still supremely fit and has a large, active network of schools.  

  Given the Krabi Krabong component of the recent evolution in DBMA that I've taken to calling "Los Triques", I was most curious to see what
Muay Boran was like and I think Marco too was curious to see the what the KK influence on us looked like.

 Speaking only from a base of initial impressions (more knowledgeable people should feel free to jump in) I would say the Muay Boran allows the fight to continue striking on the ground.  Examples of this can be seen in Ajarn Marco's video with Budo titled "Kon Muay Kee, Muay Boran" (Marco was kind enough to give me a copy) -- reaping kicks followed by flying drop knees to the prostrate spine, dropping shin kicks to the back of the head as lays on the ground, zoning around the man on the ground that seeks finishing shots even as it looks to avoid entanglement.
 
During our weekend together we compared notes on footwork concepts.  I think Marco enjoyed that we too had come to similar ideas about bilateralism and sought to cultivate the "stepping through step" through our KK training.  Marco shared with me some of his thinking on the clinch and elbowing the body.  I also enjoyed his historical perspective on the reasons underlying the older deep stance.  

All in all it was very enjoyable and we are staying in touch.  

If anyone can add any comments on older Thai systems (an area of great interest to Marco) such as KK, Muay Boran, Lerd Rit etc it would be much appreciated.

I post this here, and will momentarily repost it as a separate thread.

Woof,
Crafty Dog
30297  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: November 13, 2003, 08:16:47 AM
A friend forwarded me the following:
--------------------------------

Amir Taheri wrote a great little article about a book recently published by
one of al Qaeda's "deep thinkers".  If this is representative of how the
extremist Islamists think (which I think it is), it puts to rest all the
theories claiming that if we "change" our Foreign policy in some way or
another, and learn to become somehow more "accomodating", we would no longer be hated and attacked.

It would certainly appear that we are being hated and attacked NOT for what we DID, but for what we ARE.

A.


AL QAEDA'S AGENDA FOR IRAQ
by Amir Taheri

NEW YORK POST

September 4, 2003

'IT is not the American war machine that should be of the utmost concern to Muslims. What threatens the future of Islam, in fact its very survival, is
American democracy." This is the message of a new book, just published by al Qaeda in several Arab countries.

The author of "The Future of Iraq and The Arabian Peninsula After The Fall of Baghdad" is Yussuf al-Ayyeri, one of Osama bin Laden's closest associates since the early '90s. A Saudi citizen also known by the nom de guerre Abu Muhammad, he was killed in a gun battle with security forces in Riyadh last June.

The book is published by The Centre for Islamic Research and Studies, a
company set up by bin Laden in 1995 with branches in New York and London (now closed). Over the past eight years, it has published more than 40 books by al Qaeda "thinkers and researchers" including militants such as Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden's No. 2.

Al-Ayyeri first made his name in the mid '90s as a commander of the Farouq camp in eastern Afghanistan, where al Qaeda and the Taliban trained thousands of "volunteers for martyrdom."

Al-Ayyeri argues that the history of mankind is the story of "perpetual war between belief and unbelief." Over the millennia, both have appeared in different guises. As far as belief is concerned, the absolutely final version is represented by Islam, which "annuls all other religions and creeds." Thus, Muslims can have only one goal: converting all humanity to Islam and "effacing the final traces of all other religions, creeds and ideologies."

Unbelief (kufr) has come in numerous forms and shapes, but with a single objective: to destroy faith in God. In the West, unbelief has succeeded in making a majority of people forget God and worship the world. Islam, however, is resisting the trend because Allah means to give it final victory.

Al-Ayyeri then shows how various forms of unbelief attacked the world of
Islam in the past century or so, to be defeated in one way or another.

The first form of unbelief to attack was "modernism" (hidatha), which led to the caliphate's destruction and the emergence in the lands of Islam of
states based on ethnic identities and territorial dimensions rather than
religious faith.

The second was nationalism, which, imported from Europe, divided Muslims into Arabs, Persians, Turks and others. Al-Ayyeri claims that nationalism has now been crushed in almost all Muslim lands. He claims that a true Muslim is not loyal to any particular nation-state.

The third form of unbelief is socialism, which includes communism. That,
too, has been defeated and eliminated from the Muslim world, Al-Ayyeri
asserts. He presents Ba'athism, the Iraqi ruling party's ideology under
Saddam Hussein, as the fourth form of unbelief to afflict Muslims,
especially Arabs. Ba'athism (also the official ideology of the Syrian
regime) offers Arabs a mixture of pan-Arabism and socialism as an
alternative to Islam. Al-Ayyeri says Muslims "should welcome the destruction of Ba'athism in Iraq."

"The end of Ba'ath rule in Iraq is good for Islam and Muslims," he writes.
"Where the banner of Ba'ath has fallen, shall rise the banner of Islam."

The author notes as "a paradox" the fact that all the various forms of
unbelief that threatened Islam were defeated with the help of the Western powers, and more specifically the United States.

The "modernizing" movement in the Muslim world was ultimately discredited when European imperial powers forced their domination on Muslim lands, turning the Westernized elite into their "hired lackeys." The nationalists were defeated and discredited in wars led against them by various Western powers or, in the case of Nasserism in Egypt, by Israel.

The West also gave a hand in defeating socialism and communism in the Muslim world. The most dramatic example of this came when America helped the Afghan mujaheeden destroy the Soviet-backed communist regime in Kabul. And now the United States and its British allies have destroyed Ba'athism in Iraq and may have fatally undermined it in Syria as well.

What Al-Ayyeri sees now is a "clean battlefield" in which Islam faces a new form of unbelief. This, he labels "secularist democracy." This threat is "far more dangerous to Islam" than all its predecessors combined. The
reasons, he explains in a whole chapter, must be sought in democracy's
"seductive capacities."

This form of "unbelief" persuades the people that they are in charge of
their destiny and that, using their collective reasoning, they can shape
policies and pass laws as they see fit. That leads them into ignoring the
"unalterable laws" promulgated by God for the whole of mankind, and codified in the Islamic shariah (jurisprudence) until the end of time.

The goal of democracy, according to Al-Ayyeri, is to "make Muslims love this world, forget the next world and abandon jihad." If established in any
Muslim country for a reasonably long time, democracy could lead to economic prosperity, which, in turn, would make Muslims "reluctant to die in martyrdom" in defense of their faith.

He says that it is vital to prevent any normalization and stabilization in
Iraq. Muslim militants should make sure that the United States does not
succeed in holding elections in Iraq and creating a democratic government. "If democracy comes to Iraq, the next target [for democratization] would be the whole of the Muslim world," Al-Ayyeri writes.

The al Qaeda ideologist claims that the only Muslim country already affected by "the beginning of democratization" and thus in "mortal danger" is Turkey.

"Do we want what happened in Turkey to happen to all Muslim countries?" he asks. "Do we want Muslims to refuse taking part in jihad and submit to secularism, which is a Zionist-Crusader concoction?"

Al-Ayyeri says Iraq would become the graveyard of secular democracy, just as Afghanistan became the graveyard of communism. The idea is that the Americans, faced with mounting casualties in Iraq, will "just run away," as did the Soviets in Afghanistan. This is because the Americans love this world and are concerned about nothing but their own comfort, while Muslims dream of the pleasures that martyrdom offers in paradise.

"In Iraq today, there are only two sides," Al-Ayyeri asserts. "Here we have a clash of two visions of the world and the future of mankind. The side prepared to accept more sacrifices will win."

Al-Ayyeri's analysis may sound naive; he also gets most of his facts wrong. But he is right in reminding the world that what happens in Iraq could affect other Arab countries - in fact, the whole of the Muslim world.

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

The Philosopher of Islamic Terror (Part I)
By PAUL BERMAN
March 23, 2003

In the days after Sept. 11, 2001, many people anticipated a quick and satisfying American victory over Al Qaeda. The terrorist army was thought to be no bigger than a pirate ship, and the newly vigilant police forces of the entire world were going to sink the ship with swift arrests and dark maneuvers. Al Qaeda was driven from its bases in Afghanistan. Arrests and maneuvers duly occurred and are still occurring. Just this month, one of Osama bin Laden's top lieutenants was nabbed in Pakistan. Police agents, as I write, seem to be hot on the trail of bin Laden himself, or so reports suggest.

Yet Al Qaeda has seemed unfazed. Its popularity, which was hard to imagine at first, has turned out to be large and genuine in more than a few countries. Al Qaeda upholds a paranoid and apocalyptic worldview, according to which ''Crusaders and Zionists'' have been conspiring for centuries to destroy Islam. And this worldview turns out to be widely accepted in many places -- a worldview that allowed many millions of people to regard the Sept. 11 attacks as an Israeli conspiracy, or perhaps a C.I.A. conspiracy, to undo Islam. Bin Laden's soulful, bearded face peers out from T-shirts and posters in a number of countries, quite as if he were the new Che Guevara, the mythic righter of cosmic wrongs.

The vigilant police in many countries, applying themselves at last, have raided a number of Muslim charities and Islamic banks, which stand accused of subsidizing the terrorists. These raids have advanced the war on still another front, which has been good to see. But the raids have also shown that Al Qaeda is not only popular; it is also institutionally solid, with a worldwide network of clandestine resources. This is not the Symbionese Liberation Army. This is an organization with ties to the ruling elites in a number of countries; an organization that, were it given the chance to strike up an alliance with Saddam Hussein's Baath movement, would be doubly terrifying; an organization that, in any case, will surely survive the outcome in Iraq.

To anyone who has looked closely enough, Al Qaeda and its sister organizations plainly enjoy yet another strength, arguably the greatest strength of all, something truly imposing -- though in the Western press this final strength has received very little attention. Bin Laden is a Saudi plutocrat with Yemeni ancestors, and most of the suicide warriors of Sept. 11 were likewise Saudis, and the provenance of those people has focused everyone's attention on the Arabian peninsula. But Al Qaeda has broader roots. The organization was created in the late 1980's by an affiliation of three armed factions -- bin Laden's circle of ''Afghan'' Arabs, together with two factions from Egypt, the Islamic Group and Egyptian Islamic Jihad, the latter led by Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri, Al Qaeda's top theoretician. The Egyptian factions emerged from an older current, a school of thought from within Egypt's fundamentalist movement, the Muslim Brotherhood, in the 1950's and 60's. And at the heart of that single school of thought stood, until his execution in 1966, a philosopher named Sayyid Qutb -- the intellectual hero of every one of the groups that eventually went into Al Qaeda, their Karl Marx (to put it that way), their guide.

Qutb (pronounced KUH-tahb) wrote a book called ''Milestones,'' and that book was cited at his trial, which gave it immense publicity, especially after its author was hanged. ''Milestones'' became a classic manifesto of the terrorist wing of Islamic fundamentalism. A number of journalists have dutifully turned the pages of ''Milestones,'' trying to decipher the otherwise inscrutable terrorist point of view.

I have been reading some of Qutb's other books, and I think that ''Milestones'' may have misled the journalists. ''Milestones'' is a fairly shallow book, judged in isolation. But ''Milestones'' was drawn from his vast commentary on the Koran called ''In the Shade of the Qur'an.'' One of the many volumes of this giant work was translated into English in the 1970's and published by the World Assembly of Muslim Youth, an organization later widely suspected of participation in terrorist attacks -- and an organization whose Washington office was run by a brother of bin Laden's. In the last four years a big effort has been mounted by another organization, the Islamic Foundation in England, to bring out the rest, in what will eventually be an edition of 15 fat English-language volumes, handsomely ornamented with Arabic script from the Koran. Just in these past few weeks a number of new volumes in this edition have made their way into the Arab bookshops of Brooklyn, and I have gobbled them up. By now I have made my way through a little less than half of ''In the Shade of the Qur'an,'' which I think is all that exists so far in English, together with three other books by Qutb. And I have something to report.

Qutb is not shallow. Qutb is deep. ''In the Shade of the Qur'an'' is, in its fashion, a masterwork. Al Qaeda and its sister organizations are not merely popular, wealthy, global, well connected and institutionally sophisticated. These groups stand on a set of ideas too, and some of those ideas may be pathological, which is an old story in modern politics; yet even so, the ideas are powerful. We should have known that, of course. But we should have known many things.

Qutb's special ability as a writer came from the fact that, as a young boy, he received a traditional Muslim education -- he committed the Koran to memory by the age of 10 -- yet he went on, at a college in Cairo, to receive a modern, secular education. He was born in 1906, and in the 1920's and 30's he took up socialism and literature. He wrote novels, poems and a book that is still said to be well regarded called ''Literary Criticism: Its Principles and Methodology.'' His writings reflected -- here I quote one of his admirers and translators, Hamid Algar of the University of California at Berkeley -- a ''Western-tinged outlook on cultural and literary questions.'' Qutb displayed ''traces of individualism and existentialism.'' He even traveled to the United States in the late 1940's, enrolled at the Colorado State College of Education and earned a master's degree. In some of the accounts of Qutb's life, this trip to America is pictured as a ghastly trauma, mostly because of America's sexual freedoms, which sent him reeling back to Egypt in a mood of hatred and fear.

I am skeptical of that interpretation, though. His book from the 1940's, ''Social Justice and Islam,'' shows that, even before his voyage to America, he was pretty well set in his Islamic fundamentalism. It is true that, after his return to Egypt, he veered into ever more radical directions. But in the early 1950's, everyone in Egypt was veering in radical directions. Gamal Abdel Nasser and a group of nationalist army officers overthrew the old king in 1952 and launched a nationalist revolution on Pan-Arabist grounds. And, as the Pan-Arabists went about promoting their revolution, Sayyid Qutb went about promoting his own, somewhat different revolution. His idea was ''Islamist.'' He wanted to turn Islam into a political movement to create a new society, to be based on ancient Koranic principles. Qutb joined the Muslim Brotherhood, became the editor of its journal and established himself right away as Islamism's principal theoretician in the Arab world.

The Islamists and the Pan-Arabists tried to cooperate with one another in Egypt in those days, and there was some basis for doing so. Both movements dreamed of rescuing the Arab world from the legacies of European imperialism. Both groups dreamed of crushing Zionism and the brand-new Jewish state. Both groups dreamed of fashioning a new kind of modernity, which was not going to be liberal and freethinking in the Western style but, even so, was going to be up-to-date on economic and scientific issues. And both movements dreamed of doing all this by returning in some fashion to the glories of the Arab past. Both movements wanted to resurrect, in a modern version, the ancient Islamic caliphate of the seventh century, when the Arabs were conquering the world.

The Islamists and the Pan-Arabists could be compared, in these ambitions, with the Italian Fascists of Mussolini's time, who wanted to resurrect the Roman Empire, and to the Nazis, who likewise wanted to resurrect ancient Rome, except in a German version. The most radical of the Pan-Arabists openly admired the Nazis and pictured their proposed new caliphate as a racial victory of the Arabs over all other ethnic groups. Qutb and the Islamists, by way of contrast, pictured the resurrected caliphate as a theocracy, strictly enforcing shariah, the legal code of the Koran. The Islamists and the Pan-Arabists had their similarities then, and their differences. (And today those two movements still have their similarities and differences -- as shown by bin Laden's Qaeda, which represents the most violent wing of Islamism, and Saddam Hussein's Baath Party, which represents the most violent wing of Pan-Arabism.)

In 1952, in the days before staging his coup d'etat, Colonel Nasser is said to have paid a visit to Qutb at his home, presumably to get his backing. Some people expected that, after taking power, Nasser would appoint Qutb to be the new revolutionary minister of education. But once the Pan-Arabists had thrown out the old king, the differences between the two movements began to overwhelm the similarities, and Qutb was not appointed. Instead, Nasser cracked down on the Muslim Brotherhood, and after someone tried to assassinate him, he blamed the Brotherhood and cracked down even harder. Some of the Muslim Brotherhood's most distinguished intellectuals and theologians escaped into exile. Sayyid Qutb's brother, Muhammad Qutb, was one of those people. He fled to Saudi Arabia and ended up as a distinguished Saudi professor of Islamic Studies. Many years later, Osama bin Laden would be one of Muhammad Qutb's students.

But Sayyid Qutb stayed put and paid dearly for his stubbornness. Nasser jailed him in 1954, briefly released him, jailed him again for 10 years, released him for a few months and finally hanged him in 1966. Conditions during the first years of prison were especially bad. Qutb was tortured. Even in better times, according to his followers, he was locked in a ward with 40 people, most of them criminals, with a tape recorder broadcasting the speeches of Nasser 20 hours a day. Still, by smuggling papers in and out of jail, he managed to continue with his writings, no longer in the ''Western tinged'' vein of his early, literary days but now as a full-fledged Islamist revolutionary. And somehow, he produced his ''In the Shade of the Qur'an,'' this gigantic study, which must surely count as one of the most remarkable works of prison literature ever produced.

Readers without a Muslim education who try to make their way unaided through the Koran tend to find it, as I have, a little dry and forbidding. But Qutb's commentaries are not at all like that. He quotes passages from the chapters, or suras, of the Koran, and he pores over the quoted passages, observing the prosodic qualities of the text, the rhythm, tone and musicality of the words, sometimes the images. The suras lead him to discuss dietary regulations, the proper direction to pray, the rules of divorce, the question of when a man may propose marriage to a widow (four months and 10 days after the death of her husband, unless she is pregnant, in which case after delivery), the rules concerning a Muslim man who wishes to marry a Christian or a Jew (very complicated), the obligations of charity, the punishment for crimes and for breaking your word, the prohibition on liquor and intoxicants, the proper clothing to wear, the rules on usury, moneylending and a thousand other themes.

The Koran tells stories, and Qutb recounts some of these and remarks on their wisdom and significance. His tone is always lucid and plain. Yet the total effect of his writing is almost sensual in its measured pace. The very title ''In the Shade of the Qur'an'' conveys a vivid desert image, as if the Koran were a leafy palm tree, and we have only to open Qutb's pages to escape the hot sun and refresh ourselves in the shade. As he makes his way through the suras and proposes his other commentaries, he slowly constructs an enormous theological criticism of modern life, and not just in Egypt.

Qutb wrote that, all over the world, humans had reached a moment of unbearable crisis. The human race had lost touch with human nature. Man's inspiration, intelligence and morality were degenerating. Sexual relations were deteriorating ''to a level lower than the beasts.'' Man was miserable, anxious and skeptical, sinking into idiocy, insanity and crime. People were turning, in their unhappiness, to drugs, alcohol and existentialism. Qutb admired economic productivity and scientific knowledge. But he did not think that wealth and science were rescuing the human race. He figured that, on the contrary, the richest countries were the unhappiest of all. And what was the cause of this unhappiness -- this wretched split between man's truest nature and modern life?

A great many cultural critics in Europe and America asked this question in the middle years of the 20th century, and a great many of them, following Nietzsche and other philosophers, pointed to the origins of Western civilization in ancient Greece, where man was said to have made his fatal error. This error was philosophical. It consisted of placing an arrogant and deluded faith in the power of human reason -- an arrogant faith that, after many centuries, had created in modern times a tyranny of technology over life.

Qutb shared that analysis, somewhat. Only instead of locating the error in ancient Greece, he located it in ancient Jerusalem. In the Muslim fashion, Qutb looked on the teachings of Judaism as being divinely revealed by God to Moses and the other prophets. Judaism instructed man to worship one God and to forswear all others. Judaism instructed man on how to behave in every sphere of life -- how to live a worldly existence that was also a life at one with God. This could be done by obeying a system of divinely mandated laws, the code of Moses. In Qutb's view, however, Judaism withered into what he called ''a system of rigid and lifeless ritual.''

God sent another prophet, though. That prophet, in Qutb's Muslim way of thinking, was Jesus, who proposed a few useful reforms -- lifting some no-longer necessary restrictions in the Jewish dietary code, for example -- and also an admirable new spirituality. But something terrible occurred. The relation between Jesus' followers and the Jews took, in Qutb's view, ''a deplorable course.'' Jesus' followers squabbled with the old-line Jews, and amid the mutual recriminations, Jesus' message ended up being diluted and even perverted. Jesus' disciples and followers were persecuted, which meant that, in their sufferings, the disciples were never able to provide an adequate or systematic exposition of Jesus' message.

Who but Sayyid Qutb, from his miserable prison in Nasser's Egypt, could have zeroed in so plausibly on the difficulties encountered by Jesus' disciples in getting out the word? Qutb figured that, as a result, the Christian Gospels were badly garbled, and should not be regarded as accurate or reliable. The Gospels declared Jesus to be divine, but in Qutb's Muslim account, Jesus was a mere human -- a prophet of God, not a messiah. The larger catastrophe, however, was this: Jesus' disciples, owing to what Qutb called ''this unpleasant separation of the two parties,'' went too far in rejecting the Jewish teachings.

Jesus' disciples and followers, the Christians, emphasized Jesus' divine message of spirituality and love. But they rejected Judaism's legal system, the code of Moses, which regulated every jot and tittle of daily life. Instead, the early Christians imported into Christianity the philosophy of the Greeks -- the belief in a spiritual existence completely separate from physical life, a zone of pure spirit.





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

The Philosopher of Islamic Terror (Part II)
By PAUL BERMAN

In the fourth century of the Christian era, Emperor Constantine converted the Roman Empire to Christianity. But Constantine, in Qutb's interpretation, did this in a spirit of pagan hypocrisy, dominated by scenes of wantonness, half-naked girls, gems and precious metals. Christianity, having abandoned the Mosaic code, could put up no defense. And so, in their horror at Roman morals, the Christians did as best they could and countered the imperial debaucheries with a cult of monastic asceticism.

But this was no good at all. Monastic asceticism stands at odds with the physical quality of human nature. In this manner, in Qutb's view, Christianity lost touch with the physical world. The old code of Moses, with its laws for diet, dress, marriage, sex and everything else, had enfolded the divine and the worldly into a single concept, which was the worship of God. But Christianity divided these things into two, the sacred and the secular. Christianity said, ''Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's and unto God what is God's.'' Christianity put the physical world in one corner and the spiritual world in another corner: Constantine's debauches over here, monastic renunciation over there. In Qutb's view there was a ''hideous schizophrenia'' in this approach to life. And things got worse.

A series of Christian religious councils adopted what Qutb thought to be irrational principles on Christianity's behalf -- principles regarding the nature of Jesus, the Eucharist, transubstantiation and other questions, all of which were, in Qutb's view, ''absolutely incomprehensible, inconceivable and incredible.'' Church teachings froze the irrational principles into dogma. And then the ultimate crisis struck.

Qutb's story now shifts to Arabia. In the seventh century, God delivered a new revelation to his prophet Muhammad, who established the correct, nondistorted relation to human nature that had always eluded the Christians. Muhammad dictated a strict new legal code, which put religion once more at ease in the physical world, except in a better way than ever before. Muhammad's prophecies, in the Koran, instructed man to be God's ''vice regent'' on earth -- to take charge of the physical world, and not simply to see it as something alien to spirituality or as a way station on the road to a Christian afterlife. Muslim scientists in the Middle Ages took this instruction seriously and went about inquiring into the nature of physical reality. And, in the Islamic universities of Andalusia and the East, the Muslim scientists, deepening their inquiry, hit upon the inductive or scientific method -- which opened the door to all further scientific and technological progress. In this and many other ways, Islam seized the leadership of mankind. Unfortunately, the Muslims came under attack from Crusaders, Mongols and other enemies. And, because the Muslims proved not faithful enough to Muhammad's revelations, they were unable to fend off these attacks. They were unable to capitalize on their brilliant discovery of the scientific method.

The Muslim discoveries were exported instead into Christian Europe. And there, in Europe in the 16th century, Islam's scientific method began to generate results, and modern science emerged. But Christianity, with its insistence on putting the physical world and the spiritual world in different corners, could not cope with scientific progress. And so Christianity's inability to acknowledge or respect the physical quality of daily life spread into the realm of culture and shaped society's attitude toward science.

As Qutb saw it, Europeans, under Christianity's influence, began to picture God on one side and science on the other. Religion over here; intellectual inquiry over there. On one side, the natural human yearning for God and for a divinely ordered life; on the other side, the natural human desire for knowledge of the physical universe. The church against science; the scientists against the church. Everything that Islam knew to be one, the Christian Church divided into two. And, under these terrible pressures, the European mind split finally asunder. The break became total. Christianity, over here; atheism, over there. It was the fateful divorce between the sacred and the secular.

Europe's scientific and technical achievements allowed the Europeans to dominate the world. And the Europeans inflicted their ''hideous schizophrenia'' on peoples and cultures in every corner of the globe. That was the origin of modern misery -- the anxiety in contemporary society, the sense of drift, the purposelessness, the craving for false pleasures. The crisis of modern life was felt by every thinking person in the Christian West. But then again, Europe's leadership of mankind inflicted that crisis on every thinking person in the Muslim world as well. Here Qutb was on to something original. The Christians of the West underwent the crisis of modern life as a consequence, he thought, of their own theological tradition -- a result of nearly 2,000 years of ecclesiastical error. But in Qutb's account, the Muslims had to undergo that same experience because it had been imposed on them by Christians from abroad, which could only make the experience doubly painful -- an alienation that was also a humiliation.

That was Qutb's analysis. In writing about modern life, he put his finger on something that every thinking person can recognize, if only vaguely -- the feeling that human nature and modern life are somehow at odds. But Qutb evoked this feeling in a specifically Muslim fashion. It is easy to imagine that, in expounding on these themes back in the 1950's and 60's, Qutb had already identified the kind of personal agony that Mohamed Atta and the suicide warriors of Sept. 11 must have experienced in our own time. It was the agony of inhabiting a modern world of liberal ideas and achievements while feeling that true life exists somewhere else. It was the agony of walking down a modern sidewalk while dreaming of a different universe altogether, located in the Koranic past -- the agony of being pulled this way and that. The present, the past. The secular, the sacred. The freely chosen, the religiously mandated -- a life of confusion unto madness brought on, Qutb ventured, by Christian error.

Sitting in a wretched Egyptian prison, surrounded by criminals and composing his Koranic commentaries with Nasser's speeches blaring in the background on the infuriating tape recorder, Qutb knew whom to blame. He blamed the early Christians. He blamed Christianity's modern legacy, which was the liberal idea that religion should stay in one corner and secular life in another corner. He blamed the Jews. In his interpretation, the Jews had shown themselves to be eternally ungrateful to God. Early in their history, during their Egyptian captivity (Qutb thought he knew a thing or two about Egyptian captivity), the Jews acquired a slavish character, he believed. As a result they became craven and unprincipled when powerless, and vicious and arrogant when powerful. And these traits were eternal. The Jews occupy huge portions of Qutb's Koranic commentary -- their perfidy, greed, hatefulness, diabolical impulses, never-ending conspiracies and plots against Muhammad and Islam. Qutb was relentless on these themes. He looked on Zionism as part of the eternal campaign by the Jews to destroy Islam.

And Qutb blamed one other party. He blamed the Muslims who had gone along with Christianity's errors -- the treacherous Muslims who had inflicted Christianity's ''schizophrenia'' on the world of Islam. And, because he was willing to blame, Qutb was able to recommend a course of action too -- a revolutionary program that was going to relieve the psychological pressure of modern life and was going to put man at ease with the natural world and with God.

Qutb's analysis was soulful and heartfelt. It was a theological analysis, but in its cultural emphases, it reflected the style of 20th-century philosophy. The analysis asked some genuinely perplexing questions -- about the division between mind and body in Western thought; about the difficulties in striking a balance between sensual experience and spiritual elevation; about the steely impersonality of modern power and technological innovation; about social injustice. But, though Qutb plainly followed some main trends of 20th-century Western social criticism and philosophy, he poured his ideas through a filter of Koranic commentary, and the filter gave his commentary a grainy new texture, authentically Muslim, which allowed him to make a series of points that no Western thinker was likely to propose.

One of those points had to do with women's role in society -- and these passages in his writings have been misinterpreted, I think, in some of the Western commentaries on Qutb. His attitude was prudish in the extreme, judged from a Western perspective of today. But prudishness was not his motivation. He understood quite clearly that, in a liberal society, women were free to consult their own hearts and to pursue careers in quest of material wealth. But from his point of view, this could only mean that women had shucked their responsibility to shape the human character, through child-rearing. The Western notion of women's freedom could only mean that God and the natural order of life had been set aside in favor of a belief in other sources of authority, like one's own heart.

But what did it mean to recognize the existence of more than one source of authority? It meant paganism -- a backward step, into the heathen primitivism of the past. It meant life without reference to God -- a life with no prospect of being satisfactory or fulfilling. And why had the liberal societies of the West lost sight of the natural harmony of gender roles and of women's place in the family and the home? This was because of the ''hideous schizophrenia'' of modern life -- the Western outlook that led people to picture God's domain in one place and the ordinary business of daily life in some other place.

Qutb wrote bitterly about European imperialism, which he regarded as nothing more than a continuation of the medieval Crusades against Islam. He denounced American foreign policy. He complained about America's decision in the time of Harry Truman to support the Zionists, a strange decision that he attributed, in part, to America's loss of moral values. But I must point out that, in Qutb's writings, at least in the many volumes that I have read, the complaints about American policy are relatively few and fleeting. International politics was simply not his main concern. Sometimes he complained about the hypocrisy in America's endless boasts about freedom and democracy. He mentioned America's extermination of its Indian population. He noted the racial prejudice against blacks. But those were not Qutb's themes, finally. American hypocrisy exercised him, but only slightly. His deepest quarrel was not with America's failure to uphold its principles. His quarrel was with the principles. He opposed the United States because it was a liberal society, not because the United States failed to be a liberal society.

The truly dangerous element in American life, in his estimation, was not capitalism or foreign policy or racism or the unfortunate cult of women's independence. The truly dangerous element lay in America's separation of church and state -- the modern political legacy of Christianity's ancient division between the sacred and the secular. This was not a political criticism. This was theological -- though Qutb, or perhaps his translators, preferred the word ''ideological.''

The conflict between the Western liberal countries and the world of Islam, he explained, ''remains in essence one of ideology, although over the years it has appeared in various guises and has grown more sophisticated and, at times, more insidious.'' The sophisticated and insidious disguises tended to be worldly -- a camouflage that was intended to make the conflict appear to be economic, political or military, and that was intended to make Muslims like himself who insisted on speaking about religion appear to be, in his words, ''fanatics'' and ''backward people.''

''But in reality,'' he explained, ''the confrontation is not over control of territory or economic resources, or for military domination. If we believed that, we would play into our enemies' hands and would have no one but ourselves to blame for the consequences.''

The true confrontation, the deepest confrontation of all, was over Islam and nothing but Islam. Religion was the issue. Qutb could hardly be clearer on this topic. The confrontation arose from the effort by Crusaders and world Zionism to annihilate Islam. The Crusaders and Zionists knew that Christianity and Judaism were inferior to Islam and had led to lives of misery. They needed to annihilate Islam in order to rescue their own doctrines from extinction. And so the Crusaders and Zionists went on the attack.

But this attack was not, at bottom, military. At least Qutb did not devote his energies to warning against such a danger. Nor did he spend much time worrying about the ins and outs of Israel's struggle with the Palestinians. Border disputes did not concern him. He was focused on something cosmically larger. He worried, instead, that people with liberal ideas were mounting a gigantic campaign against Islam -- ''an effort to confine Islam to the emotional and ritual circles, and to bar it from participating in the activity of life, and to check its complete predominance over every human secular activity, a pre-eminence it earns by virtue of its nature and function.''

He trembled with rage at that effort. And he cited good historical evidence for his trembling rage. Turkey, an authentic Muslim country, had embraced secular ideas back in 1924. Turkey's revolutionary leader at that time, Kemal Ataturk, abolished the institutional remnants of the ancient caliphate -- the caliphate that Qutb so fervently wanted to resurrect. The Turks in this fashion had tried to abolish the very idea and memory of an Islamic state. Qutb worried that, if secular reformers in other Muslim countries had any success, Islam was going to be pushed into a corner, separate from the state. True Islam was going to end up as partial Islam. But partial Islam, in his view, did not exist.

The secular reformers were already at work, throughout the Muslim world. They were mounting their offensive -- ''a final offensive which is actually taking place now in all the Muslim countries. . . . It is an effort to exterminate this religion as even a basic creed and to replace it with secular conceptions having their own implications, values, institutions and organizations.''

''To exterminate'' -- that was Qutb's phrase. Hysteria cried out from every syllable. But he did not want to be hysterical. He wanted to respond. How?

That one question dominated Qutb's life. It was a theological question, and he answered it with his volumes on the Koran. But he intended his theology to be practical too -- to offer a revolutionary program to save mankind. The first step was to open people's eyes. He wanted Muslims to recognize the nature of the danger -- to recognize that Islam had come under assault from outside the Muslim world and also from inside the Muslim world. The assault from outside was led by Crusaders and world Zionism (though sometimes he also mentioned Communism).

But the assault from inside was conducted by Muslims themselves -- that is, by people who called themselves Muslims but who polluted the Muslim world with incompatible ideas derived from elsewhere. These several enemies, internal and external, the false Muslims together with the Crusaders and Zionists, ruled the earth. But Qutb considered that Islam's strength was, even so, huger yet. ''We are certain,'' he wrote, ''that this religion of Islam is so intrinsically genuine, so colossal and deeply rooted that all such efforts and brutal concussions will avail nothing.''

Islam's apparent weakness was mere appearance. Islam's true champions seemed to be few, but numbers meant nothing. The few had to gather themselves together into what Qutb in ''Milestones'' called a vanguard -- a term that he must have borrowed from Lenin, though Qutb had in mind a tiny group animated by the spirit of Muhammad and his Companions from the dawn of Islam. This vanguard of true Muslims was going to undertake the renovation of Islam and of civilization all over the world. The vanguard was going to turn against the false Muslims and ''hypocrites'' and do as Muhammad had done, which was to found a new state, based on the Koran. And from there, the vanguard was going to resurrect the caliphate and take Islam to all the world, just as Muhammad had done.

Qutb's vanguard was going to reinstate shariah, the Muslim code, as the legal code for all of society. Shariah implied some fairly severe rules. Qutb cited the Koran on the punishments for killing or wounding: ''a life for a life, an eye for an eye, a nose for a nose, an ear for an ear.'' Fornication, too, was a serious crime because, in his words, ''it involves an attack on honor and a contempt for sanctity and an encouragement of profligacy in society.'' Shariah specified the punishments here as well. ''The penalty for this must be severe; for married men and women it is stoning to death; for unmarried men and women it is flogging, a hundred lashes, which in cases is fatal.'' False accusations were likewise serious. ''A punishment of 80 lashes is fixed for those who falsely accuse chaste women.'' As for those who threaten the general security of society, their punishment is to be put to death, to be crucified, to have their hands and feet cut off, or to be banished from the country.''

But Qutb refused to regard these punishments as barbarous or primitive. Shariah, in his view, meant liberation. Other societies, drawing on non-Koranic principles, forced people to obey haughty masters and man-made law. Those other societies forced people to worship their own rulers and to do as the rulers said -- even if the rulers were democratically chosen. Under shariah, no one was going to be forced to obey mere humans. Shariah, in Qutb's view, meant ''the abolition of man-made laws.'' In the resurrected caliphate, every person was going to be ''free from servitude to others.'' The true Islamic system meant ''the complete and true freedom of every person and the full dignity of every individual of the society. On the other hand, in a society in which some people are lords who legislate and some others are slaves who obey, then there is no freedom in the real sense, nor dignity for each and every individual.''

He insisted that shariah meant freedom of conscience -- though freedom of conscience, in his interpretation, meant freedom from false doctrines that failed to recognize God, freedom from the modern schizophrenia. Shariah, in a word, was utopia for Sayyid Qutb. It was perfection. It was the natural order in the universal. It was freedom, justice, humanity and divinity in a single system. It was a vision as grand or grander than Communism or any of the other totalitarian doctrines of the 20th century. It was, in his words, ''the total liberation of man from enslavement by others.'' It was an impossible vision -- a vision that was plainly going to require a total dictatorship in order to enforce: a vision that, by claiming not to rely on man-made laws, was going to have to rely, instead, on theocrats, who would interpret God's laws to the masses. The most extreme despotism was all too visible in Qutb's revolutionary program. That much should have been obvious to anyone who knew the history of the other grand totalitarian revolutionary projects of the 20th century, the projects of the Nazis, the Fascists and the Communists.

Still, for Qutb, utopia was not the main thing. Utopia was for the future, and Qutb was not a dreamer. Islam, in his interpretation, was a way of life. He wanted his Muslim vanguard to live according to pious Islamic principles in the here and now. He wanted the vanguard to observe the rules of Muslim charity and all the other rules of daily life. He wanted the true Muslims to engage in a lifelong study of the Koran -- the lifelong study that his own gigantic commentary was designed to enhance. But most of all, he wanted his vanguard to accept the obligations of ''jihad,'' which is to say, the struggle for Islam. And what would that mean, to engage in jihad in the present and not just in the sci-fi utopian future?

Qutb began Volume 1 of ''In the Shade of the Qur'an'' by saying: ''To live 'in the shade of the Qur'an' is a great blessing which can only be fully appreciated by those who experience it. It is a rich experience that gives meaning to life and makes it worth living. I am deeply thankful to God Almighty for blessing me with this uplifting experience for a considerable time, which was the happiest and most fruitful period of my life -- a privilege for which I am eternally grateful.''

He does not identify that happy and fruitful period of his life -- a period that lasted, as he says, a considerable time. Perhaps his brother and other intimates would have known exactly what he had in mind -- some very pleasant period, conceivably the childhood years when he was memorizing the Koran. But an ordinary reader who picks up Qutb's books can only imagine that he was writing about his years of torture and prison.

One of his Indian publishers has highlighted this point in a remarkably gruesome manner by attaching an unsigned preface to a 1998 edition of ''Milestones.'' The preface declares: ''The ultimate price for working to please God Almighty and to propagate his ways in this world is often one's own life. The author'' -- Qutb, that is -- ''tried to do it; he paid for it with his life. If you and I try to do it, there is every likelihood we will be called upon to do the same. But for those who truly believe in God, what other choice is there?''

You are meant to suppose that a true reader of Sayyid Qutb is someone who, in the degree that he properly digests Qutb's message, will act on what has been digested. And action may well bring on a martyr's death. To read is to glide forward toward death; and gliding toward death means you have understood what you are reading. Qutb's writings do vibrate to that morbid tone -- not always, but sometimes. The work that he left behind, his Koranic commentary, is vast, vividly written, wise, broad, indignant, sometimes demented, bristly with hatred, medieval, modern, tolerant, intolerant, paranoid, cruel, urgent, cranky, tranquil, grave, poetic, learned and analytic. Sometimes it is moving. It is a work large and solid enough to create its own shade, where Qutb's vanguard and other readers could repose and turn his pages, as he advised the students of the Koran to do, in the earnest spirit of loyal soldiers reading their daily bulletin. But there is, in this commentary, something otherworldly too -- an atmosphere of death. At the very least, it is impossible to read the work without remembering that, in 1966, Qutb, in the phrase of one of his biographers, ''kissed the gallows.''

Martyrdom was among his themes. He discusses passages in the Koran's sura ''The Cow,'' and he explains that death as a martyr is nothing to fear. Yes, some people will have to be sacrificed. ''Those who risk their lives and go out to fight, and who are prepared to lay down their lives for the cause of God are honorable people, pure of heart and blessed of soul. But the great surprise is that those among them who are killed in the struggle must not be considered or described as dead. They continue to live, as God Himself clearly states.''

Qutb wrote: ''To all intents and purposes, those people may very well appear lifeless, but life and death are not judged by superficial physical means alone. Life is chiefly characterized by activity, growth and persistence, while death is a state of total loss of function, of complete inertia and lifelessness. But the death of those who are killed for the cause of God gives more impetus to the cause, which continues to thrive on their blood. Their influence on those they leave behind also grows and spreads. Thus after their death they remain an active force in shaping the life of their community and giving it direction. It is in this sense that such people, having sacrificed their lives for the sake of God, retain their active existence in everyday life. . . .

''There is no real sense of loss in their death, since they continue to live.''

And so it was with Sayyid Qutb. In the period before his final arrest and execution, diplomats from Iraq and Libya offered him the chance to flee to safety in their countries. But he declined to go, on the ground that 3,000 young men and women in Egypt were his followers, and he did not want to undo a lifetime of teaching by refusing to give those 3,000 people an example of true martyrdom. And, in fact, some of those followers went on to form the Egyptian terrorist movement in the next decade, the 1970's -- the groups that massacred tourists and Coptic Christians and that assassinated Egypt's president, Anwar Sadat, after he made peace with Israel; the groups that, in still later years, ended up merging with bin Laden's group and supplying Al Qaeda with its fundamental doctrines. The people in those groups were not stupid or lacking in education.

On the contrary, we keep learning how well educated these people are, how many of them come from the upper class, how wealthy they are. And there is no reason for us to be surprised. These people are in possession of a powerful philosophy, which is Sayyid Qutb's. They are in possession of a gigantic work of literature, which is his ''In the Shade of the Qur'an.'' These people feel that, by consulting their own doctrines, they can explain the unhappiness of the world. They feel that, with an intense study of the Koran, as directed by Qutb and his fellow thinkers, they can make sense of thousands of years of theological error. They feel that, in Qutb's notion of shariah, they command the principles of a perfect society.

These people believe that, in the entire world, they alone are preserving Islam from extinction. They feel they are benefiting the world, even if they are committing random massacres. They are certainly not worried about death. Qutb gave these people a reason to yearn for death. Wisdom, piety, death and immortality are, in his vision of the world, the same. For a pious life is a life of struggle or jihad for Islam, and struggle means martyrdom. We may think: those are creepy ideas. And yes, the ideas are creepy. But there is, in Qutb's presentation, a weird allure in those ideas.

It would be nice to think that, in the war against terror, our side, too, speaks of deep philosophical ideas -- it would be nice to think that someone is arguing with the terrorists and with the readers of Sayyid Qutb. But here I have my worries. The followers of Qutb speak, in their wild fashion, of enormous human problems, and they urge one another to death and to murder. But the enemies of these people speak of what? The political leaders speak of United Nations resolutions, of unilateralism, of multilateralism, of weapons inspectors, of coercion and noncoercion. This is no answer to the terrorists. The terrorists speak insanely of deep things. The antiterrorists had better speak sanely of equally deep things. Presidents will not do this. Presidents will dispatch armies, or decline to dispatch armies, for better and for worse.

But who will speak of the sacred and the secular, of the physical world and the spiritual world? Who will defend liberal ideas against the enemies of liberal ideas? Who will defend liberal principles in spite of liberal society's every failure? President George W. Bush, in his speech to Congress a few days after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, announced that he was going to wage a war of ideas. He has done no such thing. He is not the man for that.

Philosophers and religious leaders will have to do this on their own. Are they doing so? Armies are in motion, but are the philosophers and religious leaders, the liberal thinkers, likewise in motion? There is something to worry about here, an aspect of the war that liberal society seems to have trouble understanding -- one more worry, on top of all the others, and possibly the greatest worry of all.

Paul Berman has written for the magazine about Vaclav Havel, Vicente Fox and other subjects. He is the author of the coming ''Terror and Liberalism'' (W.W. Norton), from which this essay is adapted.

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30298  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: November 13, 2003, 06:39:07 AM
YOUR PAPERS, PLEASE
U.S. foreign travelers
to be fingerprinted
Critics assail plan as ineffective,
serious threat to civil liberties

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Posted: November 13, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern


By Sherrie Gossett
? 2003 WorldNetDaily.com


Some 25 foreign nations are planning to require visiting Americans to be fingerprinted, according to a prominent biometrics expert and president of the company that produces the computerized desktop booking stations used by many law enforcement authorities.

The plans to screen American travelers represent a form of retaliation against new U.S. Department of Homeland Security requirements for foreign travelers entering the country, said Joseph J. Atick, president and chief executive officer of Identix, Inc., a biometrics company that won a five-year blanket purchase agreement for its TouchPrint 3000 line fingerprint biometric live scan booking stations and desktop systems, which will be provided to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Atick made the statement at a recent Biometrics Consortium Conference in Virginia.

The CIS anticipates expanding the Application Support Centers Program in 2004 to worldwide operations on up to five continents. The overseas ASC Program will allow biometrics capture for background checks prior to an applicant entering the United States.

WND asked Identix spokesperson Meir Kahtan for a transcript of the address, which reportedly referenced the ?25 countries.? Kahtan responded that there was no transcript or audio record available. Dr. Atick?s powerpoint presentation foresees entry/exit systems throughout the world as an significant opportunity for identification management development.

Kahtan did not respond to other WND inquiries about Atick?s comments, including the time frame for implementation of the program and whether Identix was to be the lead provider of equipment for foreign efforts to fingerprint American travelers.

WND asked Nuala O?Connor Kelly, chief privacy officer for Homeland Security, to verify the report. Kelly deferred comment to the DHS press office, adding, ?The questions you're asking call for conjecture about activities that are beyond the scope of DHS's purview, but that are rather the activities of other countries, and so beyond the scope of my ability to answer.?

Nuala O?Connor Kelly was a moderator at the Biometrics 2003 convention.

On October 29, Homeland Security director Tom Ridge told a Berlin news conference that an agreement between America and Europe on ways to combine fingerprints and facial recognition in travel documents could lead to a global standard.

When asked whether DHS was aware of the plan, spokesman Dennis Murphy told WND, "I?m not personally aware of that," but added, "I?m not surprised. There's an ICAO standard for machine-readable passports that need to be linked to biometrics by October 2004. Optical finger scans will be linked to a database."

When asked whether data collected abroad, including Americans? travel itineraries and fingerprints, would be shared with U.S. agencies, Murphy deferred to the U.S. State Department, saying, "All that would have to go through State Department protocol and agreements as to which information comes back ? if so."

Atick?s PowerPoint slides from Biometrics 2003 reference "Building and linking databases to uncover identities that could pose a threat," and include a graphic of a smart-card information being routed through FBI and Interpol databases.

State Department spokesperson Joann Moore would not comment on whether her department or other federal agencies would be able to obtain the data from foreign countries.

About the plan to fingerprint American travelers abroad, Moore said, "Each country has its own regulations on how it processes travelers. That would be up to the countries," adding, "Maybe we'll know more when it happens."

When pressed for more details, Moore said the Bureau of Consular Affairs could give out no more information at this time, "about countries that are considering doing this."

Lee Tien, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, isn?t surprised Americans will be fingerprinted ? a procedure traditionally reserved for criminals ? and warns that employing biometric systems without sufficient attention to their dangers makes them likely to be used in a way that threatens civil liberties.

?When it comes to terrorism versus ordinary crime we have extremely sparse information on terrorism,? Tien said, ?There isn?t anything even remotely resembling a solid biometric list of known or suspected terrorists.?

Tien argues that such a system can facilitate the positive identification of someone who is not a terrorist, but adds, ?It?s no help with threat identification, where we have all the problems.?

That conclusion was also reached by the General Accounting Office.

Homeland Security's Murphy contends that biometrics ?back up the integrity? of travel documents and prevent alteration of machine-readable passports.

But the EFF argues that a terrorist with a fake passport would be issued a U.S. visa with his own biometric attached to the name on the phony passport.

?Unless the terrorist has already entered his biometrics into the database, and has garnered enough suspicion at the border to merit a full database search, biometrics won't stop him at the border,? said Tien.

Tien?s organization contends that biometrics do not represent a substitute for quality data about potential risks. No matter how accurately a person is identified, EFF argues, identification alone reveals nothing about whether a person is a terrorist. Such information is completely external to any biometric ID system.

The lack of a well-considered threat model has been a focus of the Electronic Frontier Foundation?s opposition to certain uses of biometrics.

Before deploying any such system on the national stage, EFF emphasizes that a realistic threat model must be obtained, specifying the categories of people such systems are supposed to target, and the threat they pose in light of their abilities, resources, motivations and goals.

?What if the terrorists don?t come in through the checkpoints?? asks Tien. ?How hard is it for a dedicated terrorist to get on shore if they want to??

He adds, that the notoriously porous Mexican border and the exemption of Canada from the program ?makes a mockery of the notion that this is for security.?

Although the excuse for exempting Canada was one of practicality vs. commerce concerns arising from feared traffic snarls, Tien chastised the government for failing to conduct adequate cost-benefit analyses.

Even Homeland Security's Murphy calls the press reports of potential traffic snarls and disrupted commerce along the Canadian border ?folklore.?

?It only adds about 4 seconds to processing time, since the document would be swiped as the border guard is asking questions they routinely ask anyway,? explained Murphy.

Ironically, Rep. John M. McHugh, R-NY, recently met with Delegate General Michel Robitaille of Quebec to discuss rising concerns about traffic snarls arising from the Canadian government?s apparent understaffing of New York border crossings, such as crossings at Champlain-Lacolle and Landsdowne.

At Champlain-Lacolle, a recent backlog of cars at the Canadian checkpoint can apparently be attributed to the availability of only one open inspection lane and the low number of Canadian inspection agents stationed at the border. The Canadian government is said to be planning significant upgrades at its border crossings, specifically in Lacolle

In addition to being ineffective and the Canadian-Mexican border leaks, Tien warns of the privacy threats of such a system.

?It becomes very easy to track innocent people,? he said. ?The government?s fragmented attempts to address physical security issues are resulting in ?solutions? that will be heavily sucking in data about people.?

Political pressure for increasing use of biometrics appears to be informed and driven more by marketing from the biometrics industry than by scientists, EFF asserts.

David Ray, spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, supports the program and the fingerprinting of Americans overseas.

?Visiting a country is a privilege, not a right,? Ray said, contending that such checks are a reasonable ?cost? of international travel.

Ray is also highly critical of the Canadian exemption though, calling it ?very risky.?

?Canada is known as a place where it?s easy to make asylum claims, and where persons with terrorist affiliations reside,? he said.

Asian smuggling rings operating in the Vancouver area, and the possibility of obtaining fake Canadian drivers? licenses were also cited as concerns.

?We?ve got 9 to 11 million illegal immigrants in the country that we know nothing about,? Ray said, ?There?s been no criminal background check of them, no running of their identities against a terrorist database. US officials are not very interested in detecting and deporting these people.?

?Iraq has more secure borders,? said Ray, ?That $87 billion should?ve gone to securing our borders before we spent a dime in Iraq.?

?We don?t seem to be able to lock our own back door. We?ll just be tracking people who want to play by the rules.?

At the Biometrics 2003 conference, Atick noted that the ?privacy pendulum? has shifted ?over the last two years,? and, that after Sept. 11, 80 percent of people polled supported biometrics and ID cards. He also noted the majority of privacy complaints were with the USA Patriot Act and its alteration of wire-tapping, subpoena and disclosure law.

Looking forward, Atick noted that building certain testing databases ?may require changes in law,? and he predicts that identity management with biometrics will keep the industry and government busy for the next decade.

Illustrating the close relationship between the biometrics industry and the U.S. government, Atick pointed out, ?Without NSA, DARPA, DOJ, NIST, etc. the biometric industry today would be a decade or two behind.?

So what does the biometrics industry expect from its relationship to government in the future?

According to Atick: ?Unwavering commitment to programs despite election-year politics.?
30299  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: November 12, 2003, 08:15:33 PM
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
or colleague.

THE STRATFOR WEEKLY
12 November 2003

by Dr. George Friedman

The Iraq Dilemma: Frying Pan or Fire?

Summary

U.S. President George. W. Bush has hastily convened his war
council to decide strategies for the next phase of operations in Iraq. What first must be assessed are the nature, intent and capabilities of the Iraqi guerrilla forces. Imperfect
intelligence about this might force the Bush administration to
implement strategies based on worst-case-scenario assumptions.

Analysis

A war council convened in Washington on Nov. 11, appropriately the same day as the U.S. Veteran's Day holiday. The war council clearly was not planned -- the U.S. administrator in Iraq Paul Bremer was hurriedly recalled to Washington. The White House meeting included all the major decision makers concerning U.S. strategic policy, including Colin Powell, Donald Rumsfeld and Condoleezza Rice. All the players were at the table; President Bush was dealing the cards.

Clearly, the strategic situation in Iraq was the driving issue.
Major guerrilla activity remains concentrated in the Sunni
triangle, north and west of Baghdad. In that sense, the
guerrilla's position has not improved. However, coinciding with the advent of Ramadan, the Iraqi guerrillas intensified their tempo of operations substantially, but not decisively. That is to say, the guerrilla activity increased, but its strategic
significance did not. The guerrillas are far from capable of
compelling a U.S. retreat from Iraq by force of arms. Indeed,
they are incapable of seizing and holding any territory, as their allies in Afghanistan are capable.

The military situation is relatively stable and, from a strictly
military standpoint, tolerable. However, the political situation
of the United States is not. There, the inability of the Bush
administration to either forecast the guerrilla war or
demonstrate a war-termination strategy has weakened the
administration, although far from decisively.

The most severe political damage the guerrillas have done has been in the Islamic world. In Iraq, the United States wanted to demonstrate its enormous and decisive military power to impose a sense of hopelessness on radical Islamists who were arguing that American power and will were vastly overrated. Whatever the reality of the guerrilla campaign, the perception that has been created in the Islamic world is precisely the opposite of the one the United States desired. Rather than imposing "shock and awe,"
the inability to suppress the guerrillas has confirmed to
Islamists their core perception -- that the United States can
defeat conventional forces but cannot deal with paramilitary and guerrilla forces. Therefore, the United States can be defeated over time if Islamists are prepared to be patient and absorb casualties.

This is not the message that the administration wants to send either to the Islamists or to Iowa. The administration's
assumption going into the war was that the collapse of Iraq's
conventional forces coupled with the fall of Baghdad would
terminate organized resistance. There was a core failure in U.S. intelligence that seemed not to realize that former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had a follow-on strategy that he apparently learned from the Taliban.

Contrary to U.S. perception (more the media's than the
military's), the United States did not defeat the Taliban in the
winter of 2001-2002. The Taliban declined conventional combat in front of Afghanistan's cities and instead withdrew, dispersed and shifted to guerrilla operations. Hussein, realizing that he did not have the ability to defeat or even engage the United States with conventional forces, prepared a follow-on strategy. He prepared the ground in the Sunni triangle for extended guerrilla war. He hid supplies, created a command structure and detailed forces for extended resistance. Joined by foreign Islamists early in the campaign and reinforced later, this organization has managed to maintain operations against U.S. occupation forces,
increasing the tempo of operations in late October.

Intelligence failures are inevitable in war, but this failure has
created a serious dilemma for Bush's war council. The Ramadan offensive and its political consequences force the administration to craft a response. Standing pat is no longer an option. But there is a range of responses that might be made and choosing among them requires a clear intelligence estimate. At this point, no single, clear intelligence estimate is available. What is more, given the intelligence failure concerning the guerrillas, it isn't clear if the president can choose his course based on the intelligence given him.

The intelligence failure had its roots in a fundamental weakness in U.S. Iraqi intelligence that goes back to 1990s failures. Those weaknesses could not have been corrected in the past six months or so. Therefore, the president cannot regard the best estimate available as authoritative. Indeed, past record aside, the U.S. intelligence community has not clearly understood the guerrillas' command structure, their size and composition or the resources they have available. This is not to say that tactical intelligence improvements have not been made. It seems to us that piecemeal insights have been achieved concerning the operations of individual guerrilla units. But the fact is, on the broadest level, that U.S. intelligence seemingly lacks a clear, strategic sense of the enemy.

As best as we can tell, the guerrillas appear to consist of a
main body of Iraqi military trained for this mission and uniquely loyal. Its size is uncertain, but it doesn't seem to be
recruiting volunteers into the main group, although it is using
volunteers and paying others to carry out specific tasks. If the main force were recruiting, then matters would be simplified for the U.S. -- recruitment would provide opportunities for planting agents inside the guerrilla force.

The guerrillas understand this, which increases their opacity.
What augmentation they receive is coming from Islamists from outside Iraq. These Islamists cannot simply operate independently because they do not know the terrain sufficiently, but many are experienced fighters from other Islamist wars. Therefore, they seem to serve as a sort of special force, training and carrying out special operations like suicide attacks. If we assume 30 organized attacks a day, that each group can carry out one attack every three days, and that each unit contains about 20 men (based on the size of U.S. unit captures), then there would appear to be a main force of roughly 1,800 people and a few hundred foreign
operatives.

President Bush is now facing the classic problem of political
leaders in war. He must make military and political decisions
about Iraq based on his estimate of the situation, yet he cannot completely rely on the best estimate of his intelligence people. In general, there are three possible views of the Iraq situation.

1. The guerrillas have increased their operations on a permanent basis and this is a steady upward curve.

2. The guerrillas have temporarily surged their operations during Ramadan and it will return to lower levels in December.

3. The guerrillas are facing disaster and have launched a
desperation attack during Ramadan in a last ditch attempt to
unbalance the United States into a foolish action.

It's difficult to believe that the guerillas can continue to
increase the operational tempo indefinitely. This would require a substantial reserve force available in the villages -- already trained and recruited -- that could dramatically increase the size of the present force. This isn't really possible unless the guerrillas are willing to accept potential intelligence penetration by the United States. A large reserve cannot be discounted, but given the presence of U.S. forces throughout the region, some intelligence would have indicated this before now, unless the community were entirely sealed shut. We assume that primarily foreign recruits would augment the guerrilla force -- not an insignificant pool but not a quantum leap either, given
infiltration constraints.

We also tend to disbelieve that the guerrillas are facing
disaster and are engaged in an Islamic Hail Mary. There haven't been enough contacts between U.S. forces and guerrillas to significantly thin their ranks, nor have there been the mass defections that one would see if a force were in the process of disintegrating. Therefore, in our view, scenario three is unlikely.

That leaves scenario two -- a temporary surge. Unless our numbers are widely off base --and that is certainly a possibility -- it is difficult for us to imagine the guerrillas maintaining this operational tempo indefinitely. The campaign began with Ramadan. It has been more intense than what went before, but the intensity indicates a force working overtime, not a surprisingly larger force. Given the politics and symbolism, the surge in operations is certainly understandable. It would also indicate the probability of an explosive culmination at the end of Ramadan. But if we were to bet, we would bet that this is a temporary surge.

But we aren't the president -- it's easy for us to make bets. He is playing the game for real, while we have the luxury of no responsibility for the decision. If he cannot rely on U.S.
intelligence, he cannot rely on us. Under those circumstances, he is obligated to assume the worst-case scenario -- scenario one. That is, the Iraqi guerrillas have permanently increased their operational tempo and may well increase it more down the road.

If we are right, then his best course is to wait until early
December, and then, while the guerrillas regroup and rest, hit
them hard with an offensive. Then, turn to the Iraqi Governance Council and dictate the terms of a transfer of power to them. If we are wrong, and the guerrillas are gaining in strength, then waiting would be disastrous. The U.S. will never be given a clear shot at a counteroffensive; the guerrilla attacks would intensify and the U.S. political situation inside of Iraq would deteriorate. Under that scenario, the longer the U.S. waits, the harder it will be to get the IGC to cut a political deal.

Under any circumstance, the United States needs an indigenous force to bear the brunt of the fighting. The IGC has little real legitimacy in Iraq as an institution and less appetite for serving the U.S. cause -- particularly if military events appear to be moving against the United States. Therefore, the IGC seems unlikely to be prepared to solve the U.S. problem, even if it could, which is dubious in the extreme.

Hence, the war council. Bush must make a decision about what to believe is going on. Having been poorly served by intelligence, particularly the optimistic briefs he was given in April and May, it will be enormously difficult for him to go with scenario two and wait things out. However, he is also unlikely to gain the cooperation he is hoping for from the IGC, unless scenario two is the case. Therefore, the war council must consider the abysmal possibility that scenario one is in play and that the IGC will not be helpful.

If true, then there are components of the IGC that might be
valuable on their own -- namely, the Shiites. The Shiites are as opposed to the Sunni guerrillas as the United States. The last thing they want is Hussein's return or a Wahabi-influenced government in Baghdad. On the other hand, they are certainly not prepared to create an Iraqi army out of the Shiite community and hand it over to U.S. command. They are seeking a Shiite-dominated Iraq -- meaning one that excludes the U.S. from long-term presence as well. On the whole, their goal is an Islamic republic generally based on the Iranian Shiite model. It is the last thing the U.S. wanted in May, but, this is November and what the U.S. wants and what it can have are very different things.

It would seem to us that there are two strategies on the table:

1. Assume that scenario two is at work, wait until December and then deal with the IGC from a position of relative strength.

2. Assume that scenario one is at work and lock in a deal with the Shiites before the situation gets any worse and the Shiite -- and Iranian -- price gets any higher.

Each scenario carries substantial risks and no intelligence
guidance available is sufficiently authoritative. The temptation
to wait and hope for the best is strong, but a miscalculation
could lead to an impossible situation in which the Shiites have
the Americans by the throat while the guerrillas are hitting
other parts of the body. Paying the Shiite price now, if
unnecessary, creates a long-term problem -- the Shiites will be charging a high price for their services.

The administration has toyed with this Shiite-Iranian alignment for months now without coming to a definitive decision, constantly hoping that things would get better. Now, the choice is only between things remaining the same or getting worse. Given the intelligence problems, we suspect that Bush needs to work from the worst-case scenario. That means he will bypass the IGC and work directly with Shiite leaders to lock in a deal quickly.

And now it becomes a question of whether the Shiites are feeling lucky.
30300  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / staying cutting edge on: November 12, 2003, 02:57:23 PM
Woof All:

  El J, nice quote from PG Edgar!

  G, although I thank you for your kind description of us as "on top", I prefer to see it simply as a matter of continuing to grow.  As we say in DBMA "If you ain't the lead sled dog, the view is all the same.  No one beats everyone.  Everyone looks at someone's ass sometimes-- so be not humble, be not proud.  Do if for yourself and not in reference to others."

That said, putting oneself on the line on a regular basis seems to be very useful to continued growth.  Dilemas -- which is written in Chinese by combining the characters for "danger" and "opportunity" I am told-- present themselves all the time and the search for answers is perennial Cool

One of the great advantages of being a student of Guro Inosanto is the vast network of superb people and systems with which he is connected-- for example my connection with Tuhon Chris and Sayoc Kali began due to his introduction.

That said, that is not necessarily enough-- it greatly helps if there is common thread.  For example the Sayoc system's understanding of what in DBMA is called "Snake Range" is very high.

Sometimes random luck and curiosity play a role.  I had briefly met GM Ramiro Estalilla of Kabaroan Eskrima in 1988 and in the late 90s attended a seminar of his that led to fruitful learning with common thread-- he too had a sense of snake range, as well as good material with large weapons which was a weak area.

Sometimes its just an itch (often provoked by Guro I.  wink ) in search of a scratch.  The awareness of the need for scientific grappling was provoked by Guro I around 1989 when he brought in Shootfighting, but it was through other channels that I found the Machado Brothers and brought the BJJ in to our fighting.  In this case I am very proud to have been able for once to return a favor to Guro Inosanto-- I am the one who introduced him to the Machados and persuaded him to start with them.

Mostly though it is a matter of always being on the lookout combined with honestly assessing oneself, one's students, and others for strengths and weaknesses.  Juan Matus spoke of hunting with intent-- something like that , , ,

Does this help?
Crafty Dog
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