Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 02, 2014, 11:04:16 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
82135 Posts in 2247 Topics by 1047 Members
Latest Member: MikeT
* Home Help Search Login Register
  Show Posts
Pages: 1 ... 607 608 [609] 610 611 ... 620
30401  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines on: August 13, 2004, 10:03:28 PM
Philippines: 17 Sentenced To Die
August 13, 2004
Seventeen members of Abu Sayyaf were sentenced to death in Manila on Aug. 13 for their roles in a series of kidnappings and murders in 2001. Four of the 17 are still at large. The militants were charged in the kidnapping and murder of three U.S. citizens and a group of Filipino resort workers from the Dos Palmas resort on the island of Palawan. The Dos Palmas incident was one of a series of kidnappings the group carried out on the Mindinao islands.

Copyrights 2004 - Strategic Forecasting, Inc.
30402  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DB in the media on: August 12, 2004, 12:45:27 PM
Woof All:

Assisted by Chris Gizzi, yesterday I did a Foto Shoot for Black Belt for an article that will probably be titled something like "Kali Comes to the Cage"

Crafty Dog
30403  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / dog brothers on dvd on: August 12, 2004, 12:40:37 PM
Woof All:

The first series and the second series are in the process of being converted as we speak.  A copy of KK is already available for my inspection.  We anticipate their being ready in time for Xmas.

Also, this coming week we are shooting 3-4 DVDs.

Probable subjects are:

The Snaggletooth Drill
Big Stick: Single Triques
Kali Tudo (R)

Guro Crafty
30404  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: August 12, 2004, 11:49:20 AM
Surveilance cameras:
Privacy Activism:

"The report listed three ways in which government agencies obtain data from the private sector: by purchasing the data, by obtaining a court order or simply by asking for it. Corporations freely share information with government agencies because they don't want to appear to be unpatriotic, they hope to obtain future lucrative Homeland Security contracts with the government or they fear increased government scrutiny of their business practices if they don't share.",2100,64492,00.html?tw=wn_tophead_1

Big Business Becoming Big Brother  
By Kim Zetter
Story location:,2100,64492,00.html

02:00 AM Aug. 09, 2004 PT

The government is increasingly using corporations to do its surveillance work, allowing it to get around restrictions that protect the privacy and civil liberties of Americans, according to a report released Monday by the American Civil Liberties Union, an organization that works to protect civil liberties.

Data aggregators -- companies that aggregate information from numerous private and public databases -- and private companies that collect information about their customers are increasingly giving or selling data to the government to augment its surveillance capabilities and help it track the activities of people.

Because laws that restrict government data collection don't apply to private industry, the government is able to bypass restrictions on domestic surveillance. Congress needs to close such loopholes, the ACLU said, before the exchange of information gets out of hand.

"Americans would really be shocked to discover the extent of the practices that are now common in both industry and government," said the ACLU's Jay Stanley, author of the report. "Industry and government know that, so they have a strong incentive to not publicize a lot of what's going on."

Last year, JetBlue Airways acknowledged that it secretly gave defense contractor Torch Concepts 5 million passenger itineraries for a government project on passenger profiling without the consent of the passengers. The contractor augmented the data with passengers' Social Security numbers, income information and other personal data to test the feasibility of a screening system called CAPPS II. That project was slated to launch later this year until the government scrapped it. Other airlines also contributed data to the project.

Information about the data-sharing project came to light only by accident. Critics like Stanley say there are many other government projects like this that are proceeding in secret.

The ACLU released the Surveillance-Industrial Complex report in conjunction with a new website designed to educate the public about how information collected from them is being used.

The report listed three ways in which government agencies obtain data from the private sector: by purchasing the data, by obtaining a court order or simply by asking for it. Corporations freely share information with government agencies because they don't want to appear to be unpatriotic, they hope to obtain future lucrative Homeland Security contracts with the government or they fear increased government scrutiny of their business practices if they don't share.

But corporations aren't the only ones giving private data to the government. In 2002, the Professional Association of Diving Instructors voluntarily gave the FBI the names and addresses of some 2 million people who had studied scuba diving in previous years. And a 2002 survey found that nearly 200 colleges and universities gave the FBI information about students. Most of these institutions provided the information voluntarily without having received a subpoena.

Collaborative surveillance between government and the private sector is not new. For three decades during the Cold War, for example, telegraph companies like Western Union, RCA Global and International Telephone and Telegraph gave the National Security Agency, or NSA, all cables that went to or from the United States. Operation Shamrock, which ran from 1945 to 1975, helped the NSA compile 75,000 files on individuals and organizations, many of them involved in peace movements and civil disobedience.

These days, the increasing amount of electronic data that is collected and stored, along with developments in software technology, make it easy for the government to sort through mounds of data quickly to profile individuals through their connections and activities.

Although the Privacy Act of 1974 prohibits the government from keeping dossiers on Americans unless they are the specific target of an investigation, the government circumvents the legislation by piggybacking on private-sector data collection.

Corporations are not subject to congressional oversight or Freedom of Information Act requests -- two methods for monitoring government activities and exposing abuses. And no laws prevent companies from voluntarily sharing most data with the government.

"The government is increasingly ... turning to private companies, which are not subject to the law, and buying or compelling the transfer of private data that it could not collect itself," the report states.

A government proposal for a national ID card, for example, was shot down by civil liberties groups and Congress for being too intrusive and prone to abuse. And Congress voted to cancel funding for John Poindexter's Total Information Awareness, a national database that would have tracked citizens' private transactions such as Web surfing, bank deposits and withdrawals, doctor visits, travel itineraries and visa and passport applications.

But this hasn't stopped the government from achieving the same ends by buying similar data from private aggregators like Acxiom, ChoicePoint, Abacus and LexisNexis. According to the ACLU, ChoicePoint's million-dollar contracts with the Justice Department, Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal agencies let authorities tap into its billions of records to track the interests, lifestyles and activities of Americans.

By using corporations, the report said, the government can set up a system of "distributed surveillance" to create a bigger picture than it could create with its own limited resources and at the same time "insulate surveillance and information-handling practices from privacy laws or public scrutiny."

Most of the transactions people make are with the private sector, not the government. So the amount of data available through the private sector is much greater.

Every time people withdraw money from an ATM, buy books or CDs, fill prescriptions or rent cars, someone else, somewhere, is collecting information about them and their transactions. On its own, each bit of information says little about the person being tracked. But combined with health and insurance records, bank loans, divorce records, election contributions and political activities, corporations can create a detailed dossier.

And studies show that Americans trust corporations more than they trust their government, so they're more likely to give companies their information freely. A 2002 phone survey about a proposed national ID plan, conducted by Gartner, found respondents preferred private industry -- such as bank or credit card companies -- to administer a national ID system rather than the government.

Stanley said most people are unaware how information about them is passed on to government agencies and processed.

"People have a right to know just how information about them is being used and combined into a high-resolution picture of (their) life," Stanley said.

Although the Privacy Act attempted to put stops on government surveillance, Stanley said that its authors did not anticipate the explosion in private-sector data collection.

"It didn't anticipate the growth of data aggregators and the tremendous amount of information that they're able to put together on virtually everyone or the fact that the government could become customers of these companies," Stanley said.

Although the report focused primarily on the flow of data from corporations to the government, data flow actually goes both ways. The government has shared its watch lists with the private sector, opening the way for potential discrimination against customers who appear on the lists. Under section 314 of the Patriot Act, the government can submit a suspect list to financial institutions to see whether the institution has conducted transactions with any individuals or organizations on the list. But once the government shares the list, nothing prevents the institution from discriminating against individuals or organizations on the list.

After the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the FBI circulated a watch list to corporations that contained hundreds of names of people the FBI was interested in talking to, although the people were not under investigation or wanted by the FBI. Companies were more than happy to check the list against the names of their customers. And if they used the list for other purposes, it's difficult to know. The report notes that there is no way to determine how many job applicants might have been denied work because their names appeared on the list.

"It turns companies into sheriff's deputies, responsible not just for feeding information to the government, but for actually enforcing the government's wishes, for example by effectively blacklisting anyone who has been labeled as a suspect under the government's less-than-rigorous procedures for identifying risks," the report states.

Last March, the Technology and Privacy Advisory Committee, created by Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld to examine government data mining, issued a report (PDF) stating that "rapid action is necessary" to establish clear guidelines for responsible government data mining.

The ACLU's Stanley said companies are in the initial stages of the Homeland Security gold rush to get government contracts, and that the public and Congress need to do something before policies and practices of private-sector surveillance solidify.

"Government security agencies always have a hunger for more and more information," said Stanley. "It's only natural. It makes it easier for law enforcement if they have access to as much info as they want. But it's crucial that policy makers and political leaders balance the needs of law enforcement and the value of privacy that Americans have always expected and enjoyed."
30405  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines on: August 09, 2004, 11:23:45 PM

Maneuvers by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front on the southern Philippine island of Mindanao could be an attempt to strengthen the group's hand before peace talks restart later in the month -- or they could mark the beginning of the rebels' final fracturing before a peace agreement is reached.


Rebels from the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are massing near a small town on the restive southern Philippine island of Mindanao, ABS-CBN News reports. The maneuvers come a month after the rebels reportedly received a large shipment of weapons -- and as 150 U.S. soldiers are conducting joint exercises with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on the island.

The MILF's maneuvers could be nothing more than a show of force during ongoing peace negotiations with Manila. However, they also could be the harbinger of something more ominous: The rebel group could be fracturing as headway is made toward a peace deal with Manila, and the gathering could be the beginning of an offensive by those who would reject a peace agreement.

An unspecified number of Moro rebels reportedly are massing near the town of Tungawan, in Zamboanga Sibugay province. In response, the AFP's Southern Command is blocking the exit and entry routes to neighboring Zamboanga City and has sent reinforcements to soldiers already stationed there.

The rebel buildup comes after local media, quoting unidentified government and military sources, reported that the MILF received 1,190 automatic rifles and hundreds of thousands of rounds of ammunition in two shipments that arrived in Sultan Kudarat in early July. The AFP has downplayed the report, and the MILF has categorically denied receiving any new weapons.

The AFP is engaged in joint exercises with U.S. troops near the city of Carmen, in North Cotabato province -- in the heart of MILF operational territory. The rebels undoubtedly take the location of the exercises as a warning that should talks fail, the government's next offensive against the rebels will be backed by Washington. The alleged arms shipment and the massing of rebels could be MILF's attempt to bolster its position and negotiate with Manila from a position of strength.

Manila and the rebels have been cooperating and seem to be working toward some middle ground. Government officials and MILF delegates are expected to restart talks this month in Kuala Lumpur. Manila already has met one key rebel demand: redeploying AFP forces from the former MILF stronghold of Buliok Complex. The government also is preparing to drop the charges against nearly 100 MILF leaders and soldiers stemming from bombings in Davao City in 2003.

Although progress is being made, the MILF will want to keep a strong position in order to wrest the best possible terms for a peace deal from Manila. In order to remain strong, it would need to gather its forces and maintain supplies.

However, another scenario is equally plausible. A number of MILF leaders -- especially younger and more ideologically fervent commanders -- likely will reject a peace deal with Manila and will continue to fight for an independent Moro state. These rejectionists might already be preparing for the next phase of the long insurrection in Mindanao by massing strength and securing equipment.

If this is the case, the AFP might decide to nip the problem in the bud and take out those rebel factions before they are well organized. This could even happen with the cooperation of MILF central command. If fighting suddenly erupts near Tungawan, this will probably be the reason.

Copyrights 2004 - Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
30406  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: August 09, 2004, 09:32:46 AM

STARS AND STRIPES -- The U.S. Army is making sweeping changes in its
training program for new recruits, reports the Pacific edition of the
Stars and Stripes.

As front lines become less defined, soldiers who have traditionally been
far from the fighting, such as clerks, cooks, truck drivers and
communications technicians, now frequently find themselves in the middle
of the action.  With the Army being stretched thin by long-term deployments, soldiers are frequently in combat zones within 30 days of being assigned to their unit, leaving little time for additional in-unit training.

The Army's new training includes more live-fire exercises, urban combat
practice and sleeping in the field.
30407  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines on: August 09, 2004, 09:29:58 AM
Item Number:13
Date: 08/09/2004

ABS-CBN -- The Philippines military launched a preemptive strike late
last week against a group of Maoist rebels in the southern province of
Agusan del Norte, reports ABS-CBN (Philippines).

Two platoons from the 4th Infantry Division's 1st and 2nd Reconnaissance
companies overran a camp of the New People's Army. The group was planning a strike on the town of Nasipit, according to intelligence sources.

Twelve rebels and five soldiers died in the fighting, with another 13
troops wounded.
30408  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / blocking the forehand & backhand horizontal slash..? on: August 09, 2004, 09:22:33 AM
Woof Paul:

Not only can sticks move fast and hit hard, but they can be very deceptive.  Perhaps I misinterpret, but the picture I'm getting is of you standing there waiting for the strike to come in.  In training this is a good way to get an idea of just what your block can and cannot deal with, but in fighting this is incomplete and can be a formula for a lot of pain.  

In fighting I think of two categories of blocks-- reactive and proactive.  

A reactive block is just that.  Its a fight and it is entirely possible to have strikes come at you that cannot be evaded or jammed.  In such a moment it is block or get clocked.

The word block has a connotation for most people of force against force, yet the word also is often used for parries, deflections and the like.  Perhaps if you start thinking of your blocks like this it will help you put more body angulation/head zoning and more footwork into your blocks and have better results.  Also, think of your blocks as wind up for strikes.

The matter of proactive blocks, called "attacking blocks" in DBMA (please forgive the commercial, but see our video DBMA#4 "Attacking Blocks") is a separate point.  An attacking block is used when one can read the angle that an opponent will strike on and one enters into his bubble prepared for the strike that he will throw.  Being prepared, one then takes advantage  evil

Does this help?

Guro Crafty
30409  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / staff fighting on: August 09, 2004, 09:00:23 AM
Woof Pampanga:

After a perforated ear drum in one staff fight, we have allowed staff fighters to wear wrestling ear guards under the fencing masks-- but not all staff fighters do this.

Concerning training to protect the head-- GOOD IDEA.   Forgive me the commercial, but in DBMA head protection skills (a.k.a. "protecting your IQ") are considered foundational.  Staffs can be tricky things however-- the drift shots with a staff may be very hard to read and some nasty whacks to the shin can result  shocked  cry  if one is in a blocking state of mind.

Tail wags to Dog Russ for the kind words.  I would say that DBMA staff material is primarily Inosanto Blend, with the core power strike coming from GT Gaje of Pekiti Tirsia.  Krabi Krabong is also a source and there are important elements of Bando as well.

We also regard the staff as an important tool in body health and draw heavily upon Bando's Dhanda Staff (yoga with the staff) in this regard.  

Guro Crafty
30410  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: August 09, 2004, 01:28:02 AM
Woof All:

This aptly titled piece (after the famous Japanese movie about how three different players to one event each had a different version) follows up on the intriguing episode discussed earlier in this thread.

Crafty Dog

Roshomon in the Skies: The Tangled Tale of Flight 327  
by Clinton W. Taylor  
Published 8/5/2004 12:09:20 AM

 No one yet has the full story on the infamous June 29 Northwest Airlines Flight #327 from Detroit to Los Angeles, on which thirteen Syrian musicians acted so suspiciously that passenger and writer Annie Jacobsen feared she was about to be killed by terrorists. The identity of the band remained unknown for a while until I identified them as the backup band for Canaanite crooner Nour Mehana, whom I dubbed the "Syrian Wayne Newton."

Regardless of the behavior of Nour Mehana's band, Ms. Jacobsen's story has focused international attention on the very serious issue of terrorists sizing up our commercial aviation for another strike. She has been getting the full Paula Jones treatment for her trouble.

Critics gleefully hang Ms. Jacobsen's fear on a moral defect: a hidden and unacknowledged racism. She felt fear, you see, because deep down, she is really a bad person. And also because she is "bigoted and paranoid" (per's Patrick Smith), and a "sniveling little twit" (from, and because girls tend to get hysterical and overreact. It's their hormones. It's why they can't be president.

I told my wife that, and she overreacted.

But it's not just the amateurs on left-wing blogs gunning for Ms. Jacobsen. Anonymous "federal officials and sources" told Los Angeles radio station KFI that "[t]he lady was overreacting," More recently she tangled with the Syrian ambassador to the United States, who repeatedly called her a "paranoid racist." It's always reassuring when officials of Syria's government and of our own sing from the same hymn book.

The opposite of paranoia is complacency -- in this case, a refusal to grapple with mounting evidence that hostile forces still stalk our skies. The Washington Post reported that air marshals had observed and filed reports on 192 instances of "potential terrorists" probing and testing aircraft between September 11, 2001 and January 2, 2003. Recent news, such as a Middle Eastern passenger removing a mirror from a plane's bathroom wall in order to break into the cockpit, and the capture of a suspected al Qaeda hotshot trying to fly to New York from Texas, suggests that our airliners and our resolve are still being tested.

For those who assume it's paranoid to suppose that a musical group might practice espionage, here's one better: How about an entire film crew? We know it can be done, because we've done it. During the Iranian hostage crisis, a CIA team infiltrated Iran disguised as a Canadian film company.

But don't take my word for it. You know who else thinks there's a terrorism risk posed by some Middle Eastern bands? Nour Mehana's tour manager. But more about him in a second.

LEFTISH PUNDITS ARE ALSO attacking the notion that political correctness had something to do with the way that Flight 327 unfolded. And it's true that "PC" can be a convenient scapegoat for outcomes conservatives dislike. But that's not the case here.

The funny thing about flight 327 is that something very much like it happened before. When it did, Northwest Airlines reacted very differently. Consider the case of Northwest Airlines Flight 979, traveling from Memphis to Las Vegas on Sept. 11, 2002. The behavior of three passengers on that flight was not that much more suspicious than that of the Swingin' Syrians on Flight 327.

Flight 979 had matching shaving kits; Flight 327 had a McDonald's bag. Flight 979 happened on the anniversary of 9/11; during Flight 327, DHS had issued an "unusually specific internal warning" that mentioned potential terrorist activity in both Detroit and LAX. But on Flight 979, the men were challenged by flight attendants. When they refused to obey, the plane landed in Little Rock and the men were arrested for "interfering with a flight crew in furtherance of their duty."

Had Nour Mehana's band been ordered to sit down but failed to comply, they might be spending the next 20 years serenading the fashion show in Leavenworth. But the confrontation and order never came, and the plane continued to its destination. Whatever you think of the decisions the two flight crews made, it seems clear that they were faced with two similar scenarios, but made very different choices. Why the change in policy? What intervened?

Lawsuits and pressure, especially from the ACLU, and fines from the Department of Transportation.

A few days after the September 11 attacks, Northwest expelled three Middle Eastern men from a flight in Salt Lake City. The Utah Attorney General's office publicly condemned the violation of civil rights and extracted an apology from Northwest, and one of the men sued the airline. On Christmas Day of 2001, Northwest ejected a Pakistani immigrant named Harris Khan from a boarded aircraft in Minneapolis. They had to apologize, pay a monetary settlement, and reeducate the pilot in civil-liberties sensitivity. Another "Flying while Arab" case involved Arshad Chowdury, who also sued Northwest Airlines for discrimination with the help of the ACLU.

Perhaps Northwest's culture has changed in response to these suits, although a former Northwest employee who worked in Customer Relations (and preferred to remain anonymous) also fingered Department of Transportation sanctions as another likely cause: "Northwest was gun-shy of being slapped with a bunch of fines by the DOT if we were too stern with customer complaints -- especially with militant minorities like Middle Eastern folks...So I felt that it was necessary to kowtow to customers of any stripe who would complain to the Dept. of Transportation so as to avoid fines. Once that kind of bad politics seeps into an organization or event, everyone feels that they are on notice to handle certain kinds of passengers with 'kid gloves.'"

Regardless of the merits of these suits and sanctions, it is difficult to imagine that they had no effect on Northwest's corporate culture over time. They were intended to punish and change the peremptory way Northwest dealt with minority passengers. But they may have pushed Northwest too far in the other direction, leaving the flight attendants scared even to enforce the rules and ask unruly Arabs to take a seat.

THANKS IN PART TO MS. JACOBSEN, there is now a reawakened concern over the potential for terrorism on commercial aircraft. The House Judiciary Committee has held emergency sessions to get to the bottom of the law enforcement response to the situation, and federal agencies seem to be actively running down the story of Flight 327.

James Cullen, who booked Nour Mehana's act at Sycuan Casino, declined further comment by e-mail: "Clinton I was asked by homeland sercurity [sic] not to talk to the press...we have to protect nour mehana from any negative stuff...Please do not divulge his number" And Elie Harfouche's former business partner has received three visits from two FBI agents at her home in Connecticut since the story broke.

Wait, who is Elie Harfouche?

Mr. Harfouche was the promoter for Nour Mehana's tour in America. He was on flight 327, and currently is in Lebanon but requested his former partner contact me on his behalf. (Blogger and professor of history H.D. Miller helped me verify some information about Elie Harfouche. Check out Miller's erudite and wide-ranging blog here.)

At his request, his former partner (who asked not to be identified) contacted me and provided the following list of the musicians who were traveling on Flight 327:

Minas Lablbjian
Ammer Sawas
Ziad Mlais
Nabil Anwar
Huuan El Waez
Saad Idlbi
Youssef Alajati
Mohamad Nahhas
Manaf Al Ibrahim
Edmond Derderian
Adbullah Hkwati
Tarek Alfaham

(My speculation in the NRO article that the passenger in seat 1A was Mr. Mehana was incorrect. The band was flying out to join Mehana in Los Angeles for the trip to Sycuan casino.)

Nour Mehana, she added, is a Middle Eastern superstar, equivalent in fame to Frank Sinatra.

"Or Wayne Newton?" I asked. Yes, or Wayne Newton.

I asked about the suspicious behavior of the band and the former partner acknowledged that it was quite likely they were being rowdy and disorderly. They were on tour 24-7, she said, with very little sleep and lots of drinking and partying. She did not think Ms. Jacobsen's account of their actions was at all implausible. She cited cultural differences language barriers as a likely source of the misunderstanding. "In the Middle East they're not disciplined to follow orders, and to stand in line...They're proud of who they are," she explained. "It's an Arab thing."

I asked columnist Michelle Malkin, who has covered this story from the beginning on her blog, to pass along a picture of Elie Harfouche along to Annie Jacobsen, without identifying who it was. I also sent along a ringer: a picture of Al-Jazeera journalist Elias Harfouche (no relation). This way the test was blinded so she couldn't know that one of them definitely was on the plane, and one of them wasn't.

And Ms. Jacobsen declined to comment.

MR. HARFOUCHE WAS ALARMED to learn he was being discussed as a potential terrorist. I telephoned him in Lebanon and he was adamant that he would contact his lawyer as soon as he returned to America, probably at the end of August.

Mr. Harfouche, a singer himself, came to America from Sweden in 1998. He is a dual citizen of Lebanon and Sweden and lives in New Jersey. In 2000 he opened an entertainment business has booked several Middle Eastern acts. Mr. Harfouche is a Maronite Catholic who attends Our Lady of Lebanon Church in Brooklyn.

In his version, not much happened on Flight 327. One of the band went back to the bathroom to discard a McDonald's bag, it was too small to fit in the garbage chute, so he gave it to a flight attendant to get rid of. He didn't remember Ms. Jacobsen from the flight -- in fact he couldn't recall her name -- but he was not aware of anyone being scared in the cabin. "She said we were doing strange stuff? That's bullsh*t. No, we're busy, we were tired and sleeping the whole way. That's it." Why, then, was Ms. Jacobsen so terrified? "Maybe she had something against Middle Eastern people."

I mentioned that some other people had written in to confirm her account, but he was quite firm that the band's demeanor on the flight was not that different from the other passengers'.

He did not remember the man in a suit and sunglasses whom Ms. Jacobsen saw in first class. No one in the band was in first class, he's certain, and they were all traveling comfortably in T-shirts and jeans and sandals, not suits. About the only point of agreement with Ms. Jacobsen's account of the flight was a confirmation of the man with the limp -- one singer is handicapped and wears some sort of brace on his foot.

What about everyone standing up at the end of the flight? According to Mr. Harfouche, it didn't happen. I took a multicultural tack with him and mentioned I'd read in the New York Times that the rules were different on Middle Eastern flights, and that perhaps some of these guys weren't used to our rules. "What? No. When the light is on and the plane lands, you sit in your seat. Everybody knows that."

When the FBI met them, he said, the agents were laughing and one of them admitted to him that "this was ridiculous" and that "one lady got scared." "I said, no, do your job. I'm happy when they do their job." Mr. Harfouche was surprised to hear the reports that he had been traveling on an expired visa. "We had extensions," he told me. "The proof was that the FBI looked at our visas and let us go."

Mr. Harfouche noted that these men had already been through a rigorous visa application process with the U.S. embassy in Syria. Each man was individually interviewed by several different agencies. He has never had an application refused, he says, and wants to keep it that way. So he pre-screens the musicians in-country before even starting the visa process.

Mr. Harfouche's story is so at odds with Ms. Jacobsen's that it will keep people guessing for quite a while, until perhaps more witnesses come forward. While I don't endorse all of the conclusions Ms. Jacobsen drew, or didn't quite draw, there are three witnesses -- her husband, who was writing things down in his journal, plus two anonymous passengers who have spoken up -- that corroborate her account of the events and, also, the mood of Flight 327.

The behavior of the flight attendants she describes indicates they also suspected something bad was up. And if the flight crew really thought the only problem on the flight was Ms. Jacobsen's hysteria, why would they summon the FBI, the TSA, Air Marshals service, and the LAPD to await them at their destination airport? Four agents, not four agencies, would have been sufficient to get her off the plane.

ANOTHER MEMBER OF THE Nour Mehana tour was Atef Kamel, an American citizen who works at the Nile Restaurant in North Bergen, New Jersey. He was born in Egypt and has been in America since 1987; he has worked with many Arabic stars such as Lebanese diva Feyrouz. The Nile confirmed he was recently on tour with Mr. Mehana. I spoke with Mr. Kamel and he confirmed that the band had played in various American cities: San Diego, Chicago, Anaheim, San Francisco, and Detroit, among others. Mr. Kamel was the manager for the tour and also worked as an emcee at the events. He traveled with this band on several occasions and met them at the gate in LAX. Like Mr. Harfouche, Mr. Kamel was insistent that all the trouble on Annie Jacobsen's flight arose from the McDonald's bag the drummer, Alfaham, carried back to the bathroom.

According to Mr. Kamel, the drummer told him the McDonald's bag contained "McDonald's." It was too big to fit in the bathroom trash can, so the drummer brought it back out. Someone noticed this, said Mr. Kamel, and the FBI was waiting for them as they came off the plane. They let them go on after an hour and a half -- "It was nothing." The whole band told the same story to Mr. Kamel as soon as the Feds released them.

It's not surprising the band didn't tell the trip manager anything more incriminating they might have done on the flight that might have alarmed the passengers and crew and had the FBI waiting to meet them. But since the band first arrived in Washington, D.C., on May 30, until the last concert at the Nile on July 4 (after which the band returned to Syria out of JFK), Mr. Kamel was with them constantly and never knew them to go to the bathroom together or "act weird."

Mr. Kamel had planned a month-long tour for Nour Mehana. But when the band arrived in the U.S. they were mistakenly issued visas for only a week, to Mr. Kamel's consternation. So they applied for and received extensions to their visas to finish out their trip. (Homeland Security now affirms that the band's paperwork was in order.)

I asked Mr. Kamel about the lyrics to a song called "Um al Shaheed" -- "Mother of a Martyr" -- that Mr. Mehana has recorded. It is not about suicide bombers, he insisted, but about soldiers who die in battle. Besides, if Mr. Mehana didn't do that old standard, "the people wouldn't like him." Mr. Kamel was raised Muslim but is now Catholic; he stated that suicide bombing bars you from heaven in both religions. "If you kill yourself, you're evil."

And on this subject Mr. Kamel said something I didn't expect him say: there are Middle Eastern bands out there with ties to terror groups. "I am a proud Arab American," he said. "But I don't deny there are some bad people" out there. He then named a couple of singers -- I will demur from repeating their names, but they appear to be quite prominent in Middle Eastern music -- whom he said had tried to enter the United States but were turned down because of alleged connections to [radical] Shi'a or to Hezbollah. One of them played at a party linked to Hezbollah. A rockin' affair that must have been.

Mr. Kamel has no problem with keeping terror-linked bands out of the United States. "That's how I like it!" he said. "Check them out and stop them over there -- if there's a problem, don't even let them in." He also welcomed surveillance of the bands while in the United States: "You have to have some people follow [the bands] around, so you don't leave people behind. You don't want to come over with 14 and leave with 12."

In case you missed that: A successful promoter with intimate knowledge of the Middle Eastern music scene admits that a few connections exist between Islamic terrorists and musicians, and that care is warranted in screening the musicians' visits to the United States. For those of you in the "mere paranoia" camp: Denial isn't just a nightclub in New Jersey.

When I told Mr. Kamel some of the details of Ms. Jacobsen's article, however, he was not impressed. "This reporter wants to make something from nothing," he said. "That's not nice. No, that's not nice." I mentioned to him that ABC's Good Morning America had contacted me to try to book Nour Mehana on their show, and he paused. "As the good guy, or the bad guy?"

He was not on the flight, but his account of the passengers on Flight 327 differs in some important respects from Ms. Jacobsen's and confirms Mr. Harfouche's. Mr. Kamel does not remember anyone in the band with a limp or an orthopedic shoe. And, like Elie Harfouche, he denies the man in the dark suit and sunglasses in seat 1-A was with the band. "No one flies first class except Nour Mehana," who wasn't on the plane.

Who was the dude in 1-A, then? Sharp dresser, stood in front of the cockpit door, fluently chatted up the Arab contingent on the next guess would be this was an Air Marshal. Or maybe he was just a fan.

IN HER FIRST ARTICLE, ANNIE Jacobsen asked why, if terrorists can learn to fly airplanes, they cannot also learn to play musical instruments. This new information doesn't answer that entirely fair question. In fact, given potential ties between certain musical groups and terrorist groups, it makes the question all the more critical.

All of which begs the question of why Nour Mehana's entourage wasn't simply dealt with, firmly but politely, by the flight crew. They were scared enough to call the FBI to meet the plane, but apparently they were not permitted to enforce federal regulations in flight. "I expect that no one came up and asked them to sit down, so how would they know they were creating a problem?" wondered the former business partner.

As New York Times business columnist Joe Sharkey noted, cultural differences are important to understanding this matter. I agree, and should I visit Syria, I would try to learn and accommodate that country's laws and customs as best I could, to avoid giving offense or alarm. Similarly, this country also has laws and customs that govern air travel and, under the real threat of terrorism, following these rules is more than just a matter of civility. It's deadly serious.

Mr. Harfouche's former partner may be right that the band's behavior was just "an Arab thing." But even the Islamic newswire Alt.muslim offers a "note to Arabs flying in groups in the US: don't play out your worst stereotypes."

It's still a free country. But the dry runs are real. And, there's a war on. Look, gentlemen, play your music, and enjoy your time in America. All we ask is that you don't act like terrorists. We don't tolerate that anymore.

It's an American thing.
30411  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / redondo, florete on: August 05, 2004, 12:14:13 AM
Some people prefer to develop these motions by allowing fingers 3-5 to open to the extent necessary to keep the stick in the intended arc.

My preference is to keep the hand closed and accept the arc that results and allow for it to improve over time.

I would also comment that apart from floretes and redondos, there are more shots than the various power forehand and backhands with which to mix up your game.

Crafty Dog
30412  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Historical Escrima Footage Online on: August 05, 2004, 12:10:16 AM

In the mid 90s, Punong Guro Edgar Sulite shared some footage of GM Tatang I.  I showed it to Top Dog who was very impressed.

Also, there is an excerpt of some footage of Surf Dog training with GM I. in Luneta while in Manila for a movie which appears at the end of our "Combining Stick & Footwork"  PG Edgar cleared for us to use the footage in our video.

30413  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Hmmm on: August 04, 2004, 04:19:51 PM
Woof All:

I found this surprising.  Any comments?  

Crafty Dog.

Filipino coach of U.S. arnis team says R.P. needs more tourneys

A Filipino was the man responsible for the U.S. team's emergence as overall champion in the recent eighth World Eskrima Kali Arnis Federation (Wekaf) World Championships held in Cebu City.

Bong Jornales, a globe-trotting practitioner of the art of stick fighting or arnis, trained and coached the Americans, who beat the Philippines by a mile for the world title in the sport that is supposed to be the Filipinos' forte.

A day before leaving for Michigan, where he is currently based, the 55-year old Jornales stressed at the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum at the Manila Pavilion Tuesday the need for more arnis competitions in the country.

"It's rather sad that hardly are there any Filipino arnis tournaments here when, in fact, it's us who are the ones who started it," he said at the program sponsored by Agfa Colors, Red Bull and Pagcor.

"Stick fighting is now popular in the US and other countries. And the Americans and Europeans are already specializing in it."

Jornales said arnis gained prominence in the 1970s when a master, Danny Inosanto, appeared in the Bruce Lee film Game of Death. Inosanto dueled the late martial-arts star in the movie.

He also noted that Filipinos used to reign as world champions in 1998 and 2000.

Jornales, who had been to Sweden, Denmark, Brazil and other Southern American countries propagating stick fighting, said it's not too late for Filipinos to renew their interest in arnis. All they need is more exposure to the sport, both here and abroad.

"I know na maraming magagaling na players dito, kaya kailangan lang talaga is more exposure para tuluy-tuloy ang interest ng mga Filipino," said Jornales, a father to two grown-up boys and husband to a member of the U.S. team.

The country's hosting of the wekaf event is a positive development toward attaining that goal.

"Siguro magandang simula 'yun [wekaf hosting]. Hopefully, arnis officials could pick up from there," he added.
30414  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: August 04, 2004, 01:06:35 PM
Woof All:

My intention for this thread is to focus on our soldiers-- not politics.  That said, this article addresses the question of the military going political.  One of our country's great strengths has been a military that, on the whole, stays out of politics.    

Regardless of where each of us stands in terms of the WW3, the election, etc. this article raises issues that IMHO transcend these other matters.

Crafty Dog

General Malaise

August 4, 2004; Page A12

The Kerry campaign has announced its list of retired generals and admirals endorsing their candidate; the Bush campaign will soon produce its list, and no doubt both will mobilize more retired stars for the coming fight. One need not be paranoid about civil-military relations to think this a bad business, reckless on the part of the politicians and destructive on the part of the former flags. By serving as props for presidential candidates the retired generals put at risk the confidence that citizens and officials alike place in the political neutrality of the armed forces. They have every legal and constitutional right to behave this way, of course, as they have every right to make second careers as pole dancers in Vegas. But in so doing they diminish American politics, and damage the national defense.

Out of a 1.4 million-person military, the U.S. has fewer than a thousand generals and admirals on active duty; it is an elite group of men and women who have risen to the top of a remarkably meritocratic system. Once they retire they deserve, and usually receive, a degree of deference and opportunity unmatched by those in other professions. They may wear civvies but continue to go by their military titles (unlike, say, sergeants and captains, who revert to Mr. or Ms. the day after they doff the uniform), and they find a warm welcome in boardrooms and TV studios. When the country is at war, they get a respectful hearing on strategy and tactics. Informally they exert a great deal of influence on today's military, filled as it is with their former subordinates and prot?g?s. They appear prominently in the web of consultancies, advisory panels, Congressional hearings and defense contractors that makes up the informal defense establishment. They carry weight because of their experience, and the expectation that they speak with the voice of disinterested patriotism.

In a way, then, generals never retire. When they become openly political, endorsing one candidate or denouncing another, they create the notion that the military is a constituency -- the unfortunate word reportedly used by the late Secretary of Defense Les Aspin -- rather than a neutral instrument of policy. In 2000, there was far too much suspicion on one side, and glee on the other, at the likely impact of military votes on the outcome of the election. If the public becomes accustomed to thinking of the military as the uniformed equivalent of the National Education Association, it will be treated as such by politicians -- romanced or paid off, marginalized or denounced as circumstances suggest.

The endorsing generals have an effect on the troops. The captains and sergeants get the impression that although more discretion is allowed retirees than active-duty soldiers, there's nothing wrong with a military person articulating partisan views. And from there the leap is not so long to obstructing policies with which one disagrees, while the distance lengthens to becoming a professional who can be relied upon to give objective advice on sensitive matters.

If recently retired generals get into the endorsing business, it must be assumed that a secretary of defense will have, as one of his considerations in promoting or easing out a general officer, the likelihood that today's four star is tomorrow's political problem. That, in turn, paves the way for a flag officer cadre led either by political sympathizers or colorless bureaucrats, which spells death to the brutal but confidential candor that strategic decisions require.

It makes all the sense in the world for retired general officers to offer public commentary on professional matters, although history suggests that even on military affairs that judgment is far from infallible. But as judges of political horseflesh they have nothing over their fellow citizens. If as a class the retired flags had a keen political sense and a keener appetite one might expect them to run for the House, Senate and governors' mansions, or at the very least seek second careers in political journalism, polling, and the party organizations. They do not, and for a good reason: They are not, by and large, very good at domestic politics, and they recoil at its necessary ambiguities and deceits.

Molded by a hierarchic, orderly, technical culture, they have decidedly mixed records at the open and chaotic business of running for office and governing. Which explains why more than one retired general has evinced an embarrassing buyer's regret at endorsing one candidate or the other. There are exceptions, no doubt, to the rule that generals make poor political activists. Who would want to exclude Eisenhower from American politics? Then again, does anyone really think there is an Eisenhower out there? And are the records of Grant, MacArthur, LeMay and Westmoreland so inspiring that retired flags should be encouraged to plunge into politics?

The politicians will woo the flags: In the contest for office, most scruples mean little. As in so many other cases, the burden falls upon the retired generals themselves to hold the line, to adhere to standards of professional conduct that civilians may not even understand. The vast majority of the retired flag officers remain discreetly silent during political campaigns, because they know that partisanship does no good to the armed services or the country. The U.S. has more than enough real battles for the military to fight, and the political neutrality and discretion of our generals is too valuable at any time -- but during wartime above all -- to jeopardize for passing partisan advantage.

Mr. Cohen, a Johns Hopkins professor, is author of "Supreme Command: Soldiers, Statesmen and Leadership in Wartime" (Free Press, 2002).
30415  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Politically (In)correct on: August 04, 2004, 01:01:16 PM
What Would Rachel Say?

August 4, 2004; Page A12

Free speech "paranoids" have long warned that sexual harassment law is mushrooming out of control. Well, that fear has just been vindicated in an episode that's as bizarre as it is disconcerting. Scriptwriters for the TV series "Friends" are being sued, successfully so far, for -- get this -- engaging in bawdy banter while devising script ideas for the sit-com.

In the 1980s, regulations were enacted outlawing the creation of a "hostile work environment." Narrow at first, they outlawed only "harassment" directed at individuals because of race or gender that was repeated, pervasive, and so severe as to make it impossible for a person to perform a job. First Amendment worrywarts were assured that the regulations would never interfere with constitutionally protected speech.

But the "Friends" lawsuit, Lyle v. Warner Brothers Television Productions, is proof of how "hostile environment" law has spawned a right not to be offended at work if one belongs to a designated list of "protected" groups -- a "right" so absolute that cases like Lyle allow punishment even of workplace discussion that's central to the professional mission of an enterprise.

Amaani Lyle, a black woman, took a job as a scriptwriters' assistant at Warner Brothers, working with the "Friends" crew. A crucial duty was to take notes for writers when they discussed story lines. Her notes were then combed for script material. She was legitimately fired, the court noted, because she couldn't type fast enough. Yet it allowed her, after nixing a racial discrimination claim, to sue for sexual harassment. Why? Because she had to attend sessions at which writers tossed around "lewd, crude, vulgar jokes and comments in the writers' room" as part of the creative process of scripting "a show about the lives of young sexually active adults" (as the court characterized "Friends").

The trial judge had dismissed her claim because the offensive speech was not directed at her personally and was geared to create an atmosphere conducive to producing script ideas. Not so, said the Court of Appeal that reinstated her claim. "A woman may be the victim of sexual harassment if she is forced to work in an atmosphere of hostility or degradation of her gender." If she has to work in an atmosphere that "sufficiently offends" her "so as to disrupt her emotional tranquility in the workplace," that's the equivalent of depriving her of her opportunity to work. Ms. Lyle "was a captive audience." In other words, by performing the very job for which she'd applied, she was unwillingly exposing herself to the offensive atmosphere that constituted gender discrimination.

The California Supreme Court gave civil libertarians hope when, last month, it agreed to review the decision. If it fails to reverse, the workplace will join the college campus as a place where some are entitled to the comfort of not having their sensibilities challenged, while others suffer arbitrary censorship.

The writers pointed out that they shouldn't be penalized where they felt required to tell colorful jokes "as part of the creative process." The court disagreed and ruled that the jurors would decide "whether defendants' conduct was indeed necessary to the performance of their jobs." How is the jury to do this? By deciding whether the writers had "no alternative to these sexual brainstorming sessions." After all, noted the court, the creative necessity defense would not justify writers' assistants being "kissed, fondled or caressed in the interests of developing a 'love scene' between the characters."

So, banter is akin to sexual assault. What's more, the burden is on the writers "to convince a jury the artistic process for producing . . . 'Friends' necessitates conduct which might be unacceptable in other contexts." They'd have to convince jurors that "the recounting of sexual exploits, real and imagined, the making of lewd gestures and the displaying of crude pictures denigrating women was within 'the scope of necessary job performance' and not engaged in for purely personal gratification or out of meanness or bigotry or other personal motives."

It was a frighteningly simple step for harassment law to go from punishing actions to punishing words. Here, we glimpse the next plateau -- punishing bad thoughts. Stay tuned.

Mr. Silverglate is a director of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, which signed an amicus brief in the Lyle case.
30416  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: August 04, 2004, 12:21:22 AM
Geopolitical Intelligence Report: Naming the War


To refer a friend to Stratfor, send this Stratfor Weekly
directly to a friend or colleague by forwarding this email, or
by visiting:

You can also find a link to the referral form on:



Naming the War
August 03, 2004

By George Friedman

Of the many things that were included in the 9/11 Commission's report,
perhaps none was more significant in the long run than its criticism of the
name the Bush administration has given the war that began on Sept. 11, 2001: the war on terrorism. The report argued that the idea of a struggle against an enemy called "terrorism" was too vague to be meaningful. It argued that the administration should shift away from fighting a "generic" evil and more precisely define the threat -- the threat from al Qaeda and a radical ideological movement in the Islamic world that "is gathering and will menace Americans and American interests long after" Osama bin Laden is gone.

The commission made two critical points. First, it asserted there was a war going on. There has been some doubt about this: Some have begun to argue that the Sept. 11 attacks were an isolated incident and that Americans should "get over it." Others have argued that it was primarily a criminal conspiracy and that the legal system should handle it. The commission made the unequivocal argument that it was a war and should be treated as such.

Wars are against enemies, and the commission makes the case that terrorism is not, by itself, a meaningful enemy. Rather, the enemy is -- according to the commission -- al Qaeda, and along with al Qaeda, radical Islam as an ideology. That means that, from the commission's viewpoint, this is a war between the United States and al Qaeda or, alternatively, a war between the United States and radical Islam. Given the gingerly way in which Americans have approached the question of the nature of the enemy, it is striking that the commission honed in on what has been one of the few aspects of delicacy in the Bush administration's approach to war -- completely rejecting the administration's attempt to subsume the war under the general rubric of

Terrorism is a military strategy: It is an attempt to defeat an enemy by
striking directly against its general population and thereby creating a sense of terror which, it is hoped, will lead the population to move against the government and force it to some sort of political acquiescence or accommodation. During World War II, for example, one of the primary uses of air power was to create terror among the population. The German bombardment of London, British nighttime area bombardment of German cities, American firebombing and atomic bombing of Japanese cities -- all were terror attacks. They were explicitly designed to put the population at risk, in efforts to prompt the enemy's capitulation. It did not work at all against the British; there is debate over what role, if any, it played against the Germans; and it certainly had a massive, if not decisive, effect in the case of the Japanese.

Terror, of course, was not confined to World War II. It has been a frequent feature of warfare.

Many countries have used terror attacks. So have individuals and non-state groups. Timothy McVeigh's attack against the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was intended to generate some sort of political change. The attacks by the Baader-Meinhof Gang in Germany during the 1970s or the bombings of the Weather Underground in the United States were similarly intended to generate political change. That McVeigh, Ulriche Meinhoff and Mark Rudd had not the slightest idea of what they were trying to achieve nor of the relationship between their attacks and their strategy -- such as it was -- speaks to their own serious limitations. It says nothing about the potential uses of terror attacks in warfare, nor to the fact that terror attacks can be effective, given a clear strategy, planning and execution. Governments can be forced to change strategy when their populations are placed at risk.

This is the conceptual problem with terrorism: Like any sort of warfare, it
can be successful or not, depending on circumstances. However, terrorism in some form or another is among the most accessible types of warfare. What we mean by this is that while it is difficult for a handful of ideologues to secure a navy and impose a blockade, it is not impossible for a handful of people to carry out some limited attacks against a population, if it is no greater than firing a bullet into someone's kneecap or hijacking a plane. Terrorism provides a unique opportunity for small, non-state groups to wage war.

Historically, most of these non-state groups have consisted either of mental or emotional defectives or of individuals whose cause was so hopeless the act of terrorism could at best be considered a form of bloody theater rather than as a serious threat. It is extremely difficult to take the Basque separatist group ETA seriously in the sense of expecting that their attacks against the population will lead to a desired political evolution. It was certainly impossible to imagine how Rudd, Meinhoff or McVeigh possibly could have thought any strategic goal could have been reached through the use of terror attacks.

The general use of terror attacks by non-state actors has involved people
like this. The concept of terrorism, as it developed since the 1960s, has
focused not on terror as a potentially viable military strategy, but as an
inherently non-state activity. This is a serious historical error. But a more
serious error followed from this: If terrorism is something non-state actors use, and non-state actors tend in general to be imbeciles, posturers or lost causes looking for attention, then terrorism is no longer a serious military tool in the hands of strategists. It is, instead, a form of social and personal dysfunction, and therefore need not be taken seriously.

It was the secular Palestinian movement after 1967 that adopted the use of isolated counterpopulation attacks most effectively. Apart from attacks
against Israel and Israelis, where no significant political shift was
expected, terrorism was directed against allies of Israel, such as the United States. The strategy there -- not unlike the strategy in Iraq today -- was to impose costs for Israeli allies that would surpass the benefits of alliance.  In this case, terror attacks had a definite goal -- to change the
relationship between Israel and its allies. But the movement was hurt in
several ways. First, the Israelis struck back. Second, many Arab countries, including Jordan and Saudi Arabia, worked actively against the Palestinian radicals. Finally, the Palestinians were engaged in an ongoing struggle in which the terrorist attacks became more focused on defining the relations among competing Palestinian factions than on any strategic political goal.

Terrorism, therefore, seemed to be a tool in the hands of the strategically
helpless. Some began and ended in hopeless confusion, succeeding in shedding blood for no purpose. However, the Palestinians who took terrorism as a tactic to the global stage themselves lost their strategic bearings by the 1980s, when it was no longer clear what they were trying to accomplish with some of their operations. Terrorism ceased to be regarded as a military option for nation-states, and it never was quite taken seriously as an effective strategic option for non-state actors. It became a form of moral derangement in the hands of the hopelessly confused and the strategically handicapped. It became a tool of losers.

Al Qaeda uses terrorism. This group pursues counterpopulation operations
designed to generate political evolutions that benefit its goals. By calling
the war against al Qaeda a war on terrorism, the Bush administration
committed two massive mistakes.

First, it lumped al Qaeda in with Mark Rudd and ETA. The latter two are not serious; the former is very serious. Both use the same tactics, but one has a strategic mission. In using this label, it became much more difficult for the administration itself to take al Qaeda seriously. How can you take something seriously that is part of such a collection of dunderheads? The Bush administration underestimated its enemy -- always dangerous in war.

Second, it confused the question of who the enemy was. If the war is against terrorism, then everyone who uses terrorism is the enemy. That's a lot of groups -- including on occasion, the United States. If one is waging a war against terrorism, one is at war against a tactic, not a personifiable enemy. Alternatively, the war must be waged against hundreds or thousands of enemy groups. The concept of terrorism is a wonderful way to get lost.

The most important problem is that if al Qaeda is simply part of a broader
spectrum of groups using terror operations, then the unique strategic
interests of al Qaeda disappear. Al Qaeda has clear strategic goals: It wants to foment a rising in the Islamic world that will topple one or more
governments, and replace them with regimes around which the reborn caliphate can be based. The Sept. 11 attacks were designed to trigger that rising. That has not happened, but al Qaeda is still there.

By ignoring the strategic goals of the attacks -- and this is critically
important -- the Bush administration lost its ability to measure success in
the war. The issue is not merely whether al Qaeda has lost the ability to
carry out terrorist attacks; the more important question is whether al Qaeda has achieved its strategic goals through the use of terrorist attacks. The answer to that is an emphatic no. Al Qaeda not only has not come close to achieving its goal, but has actually moved to a weaker position since 9/11 -- having lost its Afghan base and having had Saudi Arabia turn against it. By focusing on the tactic -- terrorism -- rather than on the strategy, the Bush administration has actually managed to confuse the issue so much that its own successes are invisible. The terror tactics remain, but al Qaeda's strategic goal is as far away as ever.

The administration has confused not only the situation but itself at all
levels by focusing on terrorism in general. It not only lost its ability to
measure strategic progress in the war, but also failed to understand the
unique characteristics of al Qaeda. In fairness, this has been a failure
going back to the Clinton administration, but the hangover remains. The term "terrorism" reminds everyone of hippies running wild and Palestinians attacking Olympic Games. It loses the particular significance of al Qaeda -- its unique intellectual and strategic coherence. It makes al Qaeda appear dumber than it is and causes miscalculation on the part of the United States.

It is interesting to remember why the Bush administration chose the name for the war that it did. Part of it had to do, of course, with the tendency of terrorism experts to treat al Qaeda as part of their domain. But the more important part had to do with not wanting to think in terms of a war against Islam -- radical or otherwise. From the beginning, the administration has not wanted to emphasize the connection between al Qaeda and Islam. Rather, it has tried to treat al Qaeda as an Islamic aberration. It was easier to do so by linking it with terrorism in some generic sense than by linking it with Islam.

The administration needed Islamic countries to participate in its coalition.
It did not want to appear in any way to be at war with any brand or style of Islam. In fighting al Qaeda, it was much easier to be at war with terrorism than with Islam. Stated differently, the administration was afraid that it would lose control of the war's definition if it focused on al Qaeda's Islamic links rather than on its terrorist tactics. It did not want pogroms against Muslims in the United States, and it sought to manage it relations with Islamic states very carefully.

The selection of the term "war on terror" was, therefore, not accidental. It
has been merely very confusing. It is this very confusion that the 9/11
Commission has pointed out. You cannot be at war with a type of military
operation; you have to be at war with a military actor -- and in this case,
the actor has been an organization that is part of a broader element of
radical Islam -- which is, in turn, fighting for dominance in the Islamic
world in general. That makes it a more important war, a more dangerous war and a much more complex one than merely a war against terrorism.

(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
30417  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: August 03, 2004, 12:19:10 PM
Second post of the day:

Personal Journal
Preparing for the Terror Alert
Latest Warning Underscores
How Little Many Have Done;
The Case for Text Messaging

Rod Thomas and his wife Giselle have been talking for nearly three years about what to do in the case of another terrorist attack. But the new alerts on Sunday prompted the 34-year-old financial adviser to finally cement those plans.

"It took me a long time to convince her to let me go to work today," said Mr. Thomas, whose office is barely a block from the New York Stock Exchange, a potential terrorist target cited in the alert. The couple, who both worked on high floors of the World Trade Center on the day of the Sept. 11 attacks, has now agreed to meet at their Staten Island home as soon as possible if there&s another attack. If either one is not there, they will head toward her mother&s house. "If anything happens I run straight home," he says.

Terror Alert
Terrorists Took Time to Get Data

On Alert, but Work as Usual

Bush Calls for Intelligence Chief

Wall Street Seems More Prepared if the Worst Hits
Many Americans have been preparing anew for terrorism during recent weeks, as fears have mounted of another attack pegged to the political conventions and the presidential election. Now, the weekend announcement from the Department of Homeland Security that terrorists may be planning attacks specifically in New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C., has given those concerns more immediacy. Local governments have stepped up security efforts, such as barring commercial traffic on certain routes into Manhattan. And individuals who live and work in and around the named targets -- including the Citigroup building in New York and the World Bank building in Washington -- are growing overtly more cautious.

Business is up 20% to 30% at the Earthquake Supply Center in San Rafael, Calif., during the past couple of weeks, owner Michael Skyler says. People are snapping up 55-gallon water-storage drums and water-purification tablets. Some are buying potassium-iodide tablets that help protect the thyroid in the case of a nuclear attack. The alerts have "definitely raised consciousness across the board," he says.

Safety experts say the latest terror alerts targeting specific financial institutions highlight the need for people to not only have a safety plan for their home, but for their workplace as well. They are renewing calls for people to create disaster-preparedness strategies that encompass their work and commute. The focus on work might surprise people who have spent the past three years worried about creating safe rooms in their houses, but security experts say that in reality, you&re not likely to be at home in an emergency.

"You might be at work, your kids might be at soccer practice," says Lara Shane, a spokeswoman for the Department of Homeland Security. A number of studies show that even after numerous warnings, most Americans still haven&t created an evacuation plan or compiled a disaster kit. The government urges all families to have a communications plan that includes an out-of-state contact.

Home and Office Preparedness:

Safety experts advise people to have disaster preparedness plans and kits for both home and work. Here are some guidelines:

What you need at home:

FOOD AND WATER: Three gallons of water per person and a three-day supply of nonperishable food per person
FIRST-AID: Any needed prescription drugs, extra pair of glasses or contact lenses, aspirin, sunscreen, sterile bandages, soap

OTHER SUPPLIES: Battery-operated radio, flashlight, extra batteries change them every six months), cash, nonelectric can opener, plastic sheeting, one change of clothes per person
What you need at work:

FOOD AND WATER: One gallon of water, three meals of nonperishable food

FIRST-AID: Three-day supply of prescription medications, aspirin, sterile bandages, waterless hand sanitizer, extra pair of glasses/contacts

OTHER SUPPLIES: Flashlight with extra batteries, battery-powered radio, toothbrush, toothpaste, one complete change of clothing, comfortable shoes, emergency mylar "space" blanket
Source: American Red Cross
The American Red Cross recommends that individuals prepare a special disaster-supply kit for their workplace. The organization offers an exhaustive list of items that could make the average cubicle feel pretty crowded, including a flashlight, battery-powered radio, one gallon of water, food for one day, a change of clothing and shoes and a first-aid kit. (The full list is available at Under Disaster Services, click on "Be Prepared," then "Personal Workplace Disaster Supplies Kit.") Stocking up on medications like potassium iodide or the antibiotic Cipro isn&t recommended. Incorrect use of antibiotics could leave someone even more vulnerable to illness. And potassium iodide works only on certain types of radiation.

The Red Cross also sells a pared-down kit designed for one person, called a "Safety Tube." The tube can be attached to the underside of a desk (with Velcro) or fit in a briefcase, and includes a lightstick, a dust mask, a whistle and a water-filled pouch. The kit is available through local Red Cross chapters for around $5 and will be sold online at beginning next month.

Aside from preparing a disaster kit, there&s the challenge of staying in touch with loved ones during an emergency. On the day of the Sept. 11 attacks, millions of people in New York and Washington, D.C., found that their cellphone calls wouldn&t go through. The networks& capacity was hurt by the destruction of lines leading into a Verizon Communications Inc. central office, which affected all carriers. Networks were also overloaded by all the extra telephoning.

Since then, carriers say they have added capacity. Recent agreements with law-enforcement agencies are designed to give priority on the wireless network to calls from police and other emergency personnel. In reality, however, even the extra capacity is unlikely to keep up with a dramatic spike in calling prompted by another attack.

There are a few tips for staying in touch in an emergency. For people on the street with only a cellphone, a text message could have a better chance of getting through than a regular call. If the network is overloaded, a phone call just gets dropped, but a text message essentially waits in a queue until there is room for it go through. It could be delayed for hours, but at least it&s more likely to get there.

If your cellphone provider is Nextel Communications Inc., that carrier&s walkie-talkie-like "push-to-talk" feature could be more likely to make it through, since it doesn&t rely on the public telephone network, and such calls take up less capacity. And the BlackBerry portable e-mail devices sold by most major cellular carriers can also potentially get a message through when the telephone network is clogged. BlackBerry users can also send messages even when the connection to their employer&s e-mail server is lost, by using a function that allows them to bypass the server altogether.

Some people have a simpler strategy to avoid problems: Stay home. The Republican convention in New York City that begins late this month has prompted James A. Pardo, a Manhattan attorney, to spend that week working from his house in Darien, Conn. -- where he has 60 gallons of emergency bottled water stored in his basement -- instead of traveling to his Midtown office. "If I can work from home, why do I want to be here?" he says.

For those who cannot stay home, there was little escaping the heightened concerns in New York and Washington yesterday. On the Washington Metro, special response teams armed with machine guns performed spot checks of the stations and trains, occasionally stopping rail service to check beneath the cars. More than 200,000 people rode the Metro yesterday morning, according to a spokesman, who said ridership was down slightly from the same day last week, but up from the same day a year ago.

The latest terrorism warnings say that plots could target the ventilation systems of businesses. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has been working with security managers in the private sector to encourage them to place physical barriers in front of entrances to ventilation and air-conditioning systems. But terrorism experts say that there is little that can be done if terrorists are successful in releasing a biological agent into a ventilation system. That is because it likely won&t be detected until people start becoming ill.

If there is news of a contagious agent -- such as smallpox or plague -- being released in a building, safety experts do say that those outside the immediate area can protect themselves from becoming infected by "sheltering in place." This means sealing windows and doors with plastic sheeting and -- yes -- duct tape. Avoiding hospitals and large groups of people will also help, as will wearing a protective mask. "If you don&t come into contact with those who have been exposed, you won&t get sick," says Greg Evans, director of the Institute for Biosecurity at St. Louis University.

-- Marlon A. Walker and Kara Scannell contributed to this article.

Write to Andrea Petersen at and Jesse Drucker at
30418  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: August 03, 2004, 06:29:50 AM
Alert Level Raised: Parsing the Threat
Aug 02, 2004 1404 GMT

Pakistani officials revealed Aug. 2 that attack plans targeting the United States had been discovered following the recent arrest of suspected al Qaeda militants, including Ahmed Khalfan Ghailani. The announcement comes a day after the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) raised alert levels for the Washington, D.C., area from yellow (elevated) to orange (high) and issued specific warnings for financial targets in Washington, New York City (which already was on orange alert) and northern New Jersey.

According to U.S. government sources who have spoken with Stratfor, the threat information is based on "very reliable" intelligence, and law enforcement and intelligence agencies are taking a serious view of the threat.

Even prior to DHS Director Tom Ridge's early-afternoon weekend briefing on Aug. 1, U.S. intelligence agencies had been investigating reports of a sleeper cell in northern New Jersey and had received information that eventually was incorporated into the government warning. In fact, a July 14 New York Post article quoted intelligence agents, speaking on condition of anonymity, who warned of another attack against financial targets in New York City. The recent arrests of Ghailani and other militants -- one of whom has been identified as suspected al Qaeda communications officer Muhammad Naeem Noor Khan -- and the subsequent search and seizure of Ghailani's computer led Pakistani intelligence agents to the attack plans announced Aug. 2. Those details apparently were based on surveillance performed by al Qaeda prior to the Sept. 11 attacks, and likely represent 3-year-old plot scenarios.

The age of the plot scenarios, however, does nothing to diminish the significance of the DHS announcement. Surveillance can, and often does, begin years ahead of any planned attacks: for example, five years before the 1999 attacks against U.S. embassies in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, and Nairobi, Kenya. Even more to the point, Ridge called a hasty and poorly coordinated press conference -- on a Sunday -- to alert the public to the threat. It appears that the intelligence picture evolved late last week and was urgent enough that DHS officials felt the need to disseminate information to the public forthwith, allowing those in at-risk areas to decide before Monday morning whether they should report to work. Despite three years of intelligence-gathering and prisoner debriefs, this is unprecedented behavior on the part of DHS -- leading Stratfor to conclude that the agency undoubtedly has received some credible and sensitive intelligence, driving the urgency on this warning.

Police and security agencies in New York, northern New Jersey and Washington, D.C., are now on high alert: increased patrols are on the street, subway platforms are being monitored and some streets and bridges are closed to commercial traffic. Financial institutions in those areas have tightened security -- especially those mentioned specifically in the warning: Citigroup, Prudential, the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the New York Stock Exchange.

Intelligence and law enforcement are taking the DHS warning very seriously: Although the specific targets named qualify as "soft" targets, which would yield fairly limited casualties, their status as well-known financial institutions does put them well within al Qaeda's standard targeting criteria. By simply making the threat information public, the U.S. government likely will have some impact on the security environment -- reducing the likelihood that al Qaeda itself would strike at the named targets, since the group seldom if ever strikes where expected. However, as al Qaeda is well aware, the United States and the American public cannot maintain extremely high levels of alert indefinitely.
30419  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: August 01, 2004, 10:14:43 AM
Thanks for that Buzwardo.

Now, here's this from

Highly recommended


Terrorist Tactics: The Art of Disguise
Jul 29, 2004 1550 GMT
Security sources in southern California have told Stratfor about incidents involving "vehicle-spoofing" -- or the use of falsely marked utility vehicles. The markings -- said to be fairly professionally done -- were identified by investigators looking into drug-smuggling cases.

That said, the potential for vehicle-spoofing and other types of disguises as terrorist tactics is a cause for concern.

The use of vehicles disguised as official or corporate cars, vans or trucks is an old tactic among criminals and militants that still bears review. It has cropped up everywhere -- from Iraq and Saudi Arabia to Maryland and San Diego -- and is even used by U.S. law enforcement agencies during surveillance operations. Such vehicles arouse little suspicion among the public -- and from a mental awareness standpoint, the mind has a tendency to discount the obvious, such as a delivery truck parked in a fire lane.

Stratfor has long argued that observance and vigilance among citizens are the best defenses against terrorism; the difficulty -- particularly during periods of heightened alert -- is knowing what to be on watch for.

Spoofed vehicles are only one example: Sources have told Stratfor that those identified in southern California were reasonable facsimiles of company vehicles -- utility trucks, delivery vehicles or even fleet sedans with corporate markings -- that would not attract notice from casual observers (emphasis on "casual"). In the past, militants also have used taxis as cover for surveillance; this has occurred in New York City and New Orleans, where investigators disrupted a Sikh militant assassination plot against Indian diplomats.

Other tactics include:

Official uniforms that are copied or stolen: This tactic has been used in terrorist attacks in the past, including the May assaults against Westerners at the Oasis housing compound in Khobar, Saudi Arabia. In the United States, theft of official uniforms -- such as those for police, firemen or security guards -- can be difficult to prevent; the most effective countermeasure usually is speedily reporting the theft to authorities.
Theft or copying of identification cards and badges: Requiring employees to display identification badges in order to enter the workplace is an effective security measure for many government agencies and companies, but it also renders the workplace vulnerable: Employees often wear their badges outside the building -- where they inadvertently could reveal important information or be lost or stolen. That said, employers can protect themselves through measures such as proxy card/badge readers, which allow specific numeric identifiers on lost or stolen cards to be deleted in real-time from computer memory banks, keeping any impostors from accessing the facility.
Stolen utility vehicles: These could be used in car- or truck-bombing plots, a tactic al Qaeda has discussed in the past. In 1993, militants in New York City considered using stolen delivery vans to gain access to target venues in several scenarios, such as blowing up the Waldorf-Astoria or U.N. Plaza Hotel. Countermeasures that can help to prevent against such attacks include the use of global positioning systems or similar technology that allows companies to trace lost or stolen vehicles quickly. GPS systems routinely are installed in commercial tractor-trailers, where federal officials say they have been extremely effective in preventing theft of cargo-loads traveling U.S. interstates.


The Vulnerability of the Passenger Rail Systems
Jul 16, 2004 1141 GMT
By Fred Burton

The FBI has ratcheted up its counterterrorism intelligence collection efforts as the U.S. presidential elections draw nearer, and both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security remain highly concerned that an attack could come at anytime.

Nevertheless, the United States still has many "soft targets" that are difficult or impossible to adequately protect against a militant strike -- and the nation's passenger rail system tops the list. In such an environment, a "Madrid-style" attack is entirely possible, whether involving improvised explosive devices hidden in a suitcase or satchel, a suicide bombing or even a biological/chemical attack using agents -- such as sarin gas or anthrax -- released inside a passenger rail car.

The security necessary to prevent such a strike would cause the passenger rail system to all but grind to a halt. Securing the rail lines is much more problematic than securing air travel because of the sheer volume of travelers and stops. The Sept. 11 hijackers exploited weaknesses within the nation's air-passenger screening system to carry out a well-orchestrated attack -- but nothing as elaborate as the Sept. 11 strikes is required for a highly effective, mass-casualty assault against the country's rail systems.

This threat is particularly relevant in the Washington-to-New York City corridor -- which counterterrorism officials refer to as "the X", or target zone. An attack within those cities proper could lead to massive casualties: On average, some 4.5 million passengers use New York City's trains and subways every weekday, as do 550,000 passengers in Washington.

Local officials are not completely blind to this threat, but they are not adequately equipped to defend against it either.

For example, the New York City Police Department -- which has a long history of fighting terrorism and has conducted more planning than any other major metropolitan police department for the possibility of another attack -- currently is on heightened terror alert. The NYPD is putting forth a visible show of manpower on the streets and fielding extra uniformed police around the exterior entrances to subways. Undercover officers also are deployed underground, as a further step to thwart attacks. However, inside New York's Penn Station rail hub, the police presence is smaller, in marked contrast to the show of force of force outside.

Though the NYPD has made a tactical decision about where to deploy its forces -- visibly and otherwise -- this likely does more to combat low-level street crime and provide psychological comfort to travelers and tourists than it would to deter an actual terrorist attack. All of al Qaeda's major attacks, including the African Embassy bombings, the attack against the USS Cole and bombing plots in New York City, have shown that the group factors visible police and security staff into their attack plans -- and into the overall casualty count of a strike. If militants opted for gunfire, a single officer with a pistol likely would be killed without gaining a chance to return fire. If bombs were to be placed on trains, the presence of police would be meaningless.

If an attack were to take place on a train or inside a terminal, likely scenarios include a "spray and pray" strike -- in which a suicide bomber sprays a crowd with gunfire before detonating his own explosives to maximize casualty counts -- placing improvised explosive devices on trains or releasing a deadly gas or chemical inside a passenger car. Any of these would be quite easy to carry out within the current security environment: Nearly three years after the Sept. 11 attacks, no passenger or baggage screening systems are in place at Penn Station, or in Union Station or the subways in Washington. This is a serious concern.

In fact, Stratfor sources within the U.S. counterterrorism community are puzzled why an attack against a passenger rail system has not already occurred, in light of these factors. An attack involving a crowded passenger train could kill scores of people and have economic effects that might rival those of the Sept. 11 strikes -- for example, leading to a rail system shutdown and keeping thousands or millions of commuters from their jobs. Moreover, any strike need not be highly sophisticated or carried out by a large group: A lone militant could carry out such a plan, as seen in a lone Islamist gunman?s attack against the El Al terminal at Los Angeles Airport in 2002 or the killings by Mir Aimal Kansi at the front gate of the CIA in 1993.

Stratfor believes that Washington remains firmly atop al Qaeda's target list. The capital city's Union Station and Metro subways are under heightened threat, but security there is less substantial than on the rail systems of New York City -- something that makes no sense from a threat assessment perspective. In New York, bomb dogs and SWAT teams with submachine guns are deployed at key locations, such as the World Trade Center site. Standoff weapons would allow officer to at least return adequate fire in the event of a commando-style attack, and possibly save lives. However, in Washington there are no visible bomb dogs or police officers with standoff shoulder weapons.

That said, there are a few concrete steps rail travelers can take for protection:

Buy a flashlight and smoke hood for the daily commute.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Remain mentally prepared for an attack and walk through escape plans in your mind.
At the government level, aggressive threat information collection efforts -- coupled with passenger and baggage screening efforts -- are vital to prevent an attack involving the passenger rail systems. Police and Emergency Medical System response plans also play an important role. However, the practical steps involved in screening millions of passengers daily -- in a timely manner -- is simply not doable. Thus, the nation's rail systems remain a serious vulnerability, and are likely to be the next militant target inside the United States.

The Vulnerability of the Passenger Rail Systems
Jul 16, 2004 1141 GMT
By Fred Burton

The FBI has ratcheted up its counterterrorism intelligence collection efforts as the U.S. presidential elections draw nearer, and both the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security remain highly concerned that an attack could come at anytime.

Nevertheless, the United States still has many "soft targets" that are difficult or impossible to adequately protect against a militant strike -- and the nation's passenger rail system tops the list. In such an environment, a "Madrid-style" attack is entirely possible, whether involving improvised explosive devices hidden in a suitcase or satchel, a suicide bombing or even a biological/chemical attack using agents -- such as sarin gas or anthrax -- released inside a passenger rail car.

The security necessary to prevent such a strike would cause the passenger rail system to all but grind to a halt. Securing the rail lines is much more problematic than securing air travel because of the sheer volume of travelers and stops. The Sept. 11 hijackers exploited weaknesses within the nation's air-passenger screening system to carry out a well-orchestrated attack -- but nothing as elaborate as the Sept. 11 strikes is required for a highly effective, mass-casualty assault against the country's rail systems.

This threat is particularly relevant in the Washington-to-New York City corridor -- which counterterrorism officials refer to as "the X", or target zone. An attack within those cities proper could lead to massive casualties: On average, some 4.5 million passengers use New York City's trains and subways every weekday, as do 550,000 passengers in Washington.

Local officials are not completely blind to this threat, but they are not adequately equipped to defend against it either.

For example, the New York City Police Department -- which has a long history of fighting terrorism and has conducted more planning than any other major metropolitan police department for the possibility of another attack -- currently is on heightened terror alert. The NYPD is putting forth a visible show of manpower on the streets and fielding extra uniformed police around the exterior entrances to subways. Undercover officers also are deployed underground, as a further step to thwart attacks. However, inside New York's Penn Station rail hub, the police presence is smaller, in marked contrast to the show of force of force outside.

Though the NYPD has made a tactical decision about where to deploy its forces -- visibly and otherwise -- this likely does more to combat low-level street crime and provide psychological comfort to travelers and tourists than it would to deter an actual terrorist attack. All of al Qaeda's major attacks, including the African Embassy bombings, the attack against the USS Cole and bombing plots in New York City, have shown that the group factors visible police and security staff into their attack plans -- and into the overall casualty count of a strike. If militants opted for gunfire, a single officer with a pistol likely would be killed without gaining a chance to return fire. If bombs were to be placed on trains, the presence of police would be meaningless.

If an attack were to take place on a train or inside a terminal, likely scenarios include a "spray and pray" strike -- in which a suicide bomber sprays a crowd with gunfire before detonating his own explosives to maximize casualty counts -- placing improvised explosive devices on trains or releasing a deadly gas or chemical inside a passenger car. Any of these would be quite easy to carry out within the current security environment: Nearly three years after the Sept. 11 attacks, no passenger or baggage screening systems are in place at Penn Station, or in Union Station or the subways in Washington. This is a serious concern.

In fact, Stratfor sources within the U.S. counterterrorism community are puzzled why an attack against a passenger rail system has not already occurred, in light of these factors. An attack involving a crowded passenger train could kill scores of people and have economic effects that might rival those of the Sept. 11 strikes -- for example, leading to a rail system shutdown and keeping thousands or millions of commuters from their jobs. Moreover, any strike need not be highly sophisticated or carried out by a large group: A lone militant could carry out such a plan, as seen in a lone Islamist gunman?s attack against the El Al terminal at Los Angeles Airport in 2002 or the killings by Mir Aimal Kansi at the front gate of the CIA in 1993.

Stratfor believes that Washington remains firmly atop al Qaeda's target list. The capital city's Union Station and Metro subways are under heightened threat, but security there is less substantial than on the rail systems of New York City -- something that makes no sense from a threat assessment perspective. In New York, bomb dogs and SWAT teams with submachine guns are deployed at key locations, such as the World Trade Center site. Standoff weapons would allow officer to at least return adequate fire in the event of a commando-style attack, and possibly save lives. However, in Washington there are no visible bomb dogs or police officers with standoff shoulder weapons.

That said, there are a few concrete steps rail travelers can take for protection:

Buy a flashlight and smoke hood for the daily commute.
Be aware of your surroundings.
Remain mentally prepared for an attack and walk through escape plans in your mind.
At the government level, aggressive threat information collection efforts -- coupled with passenger and baggage screening efforts -- are vital to prevent an attack involving the passenger rail systems. Police and Emergency Medical System response plans also play an important role. However, the practical steps involved in screening millions of passengers daily -- in a timely manner -- is simply not doable. Thus, the nation's rail systems remain a serious vulnerability, and are likely to be the next militant target inside the United States.


The Sleeper Cell Threat: A Search in Unlikely Places
Jun 18, 2004 1706 GMT

An unfolding case against a man arrested in Tyler, Texas, points to potential threats posed by a combination of the United States' need for workers with specific qualifications, visa processes and the ability of sleeper cells to remain dormant -- and inconspicuous -- for years.


A Pakistani man arrested in May in the small Texas town of Tyler has been accused of plotting to carry out terrorist attacks on the West Coast. FBI agents arrested Osama Haroon Satti after he bought a handgun and silencer from an undercover agent and asked where he would be able to acquire more. Satti allegedly has been linked to a group of men who were arrested in Virginia on suspicion of involvement with terrorist organizations.

There is little in Satti's background to mark him as an aspiring Islamist militant: He first entered the United States on a student visa in 1990, and worked in the computer industry before returning to Pakistan 11 years later. He holds an MBA from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Satti -- like many other foreign workers in the United States -- has been caught up in the nation's counterterrorism dragnet, as federal officials seek out members of dormant sleeper cells. If the allegations against Satti and others are true, authorities could be rooting out militants from some seemingly unlikely places.

Higher Education

Two characteristics that appear repeatedly in the backgrounds of suspected militants arrested by U.S. authorities are high levels of education and an interest in technology. Though millions of foreign workers with similar backgrounds -- and absolutely no connections to terrorism -- have entered the country for years, it is noteworthy that militant organizations easily could infiltrate by exploiting the visa process.

In fact, at least two of the Sept. 11 hijackers -- Mohammed Atta and Marwan al-Shehhi, who entered the country on tourist visas -- were approved for M-1 student visas shortly before carrying out their attacks. Approval forms from the Immigration and Naturalization Service arrived at the al Qaeda members' Florida flight training school exactly six months after Atta and al-Shehhi died at the helms of the planes that plowed into the World Trade Center towers.

Consider also the following cases:

Maher "Mike" Mofeid Hawas: A naturalized U.S. citizen who worked as a lead engineer for Intel Corp. He was arrested in August 2003 after traveling to China and allegedly attempting to enter Afghanistan to fight with the Taliban. Hawas pleaded guilty in August 2003 to aiding terrorist organizations and was sentenced to seven years in prison.

Mohammed Atique: A Pakistani native who arrived in the United States in 1996 to study electrical engineering. Atique worked for a number of wireless communication companies before his arrest May 8, 2003. He is among the group of 11 men who have been dubbed the "Virginia Jihad," accused of colluding with militant organization Lashkar e Taiba (LeT). Atique was sentenced in December 2003 to more than 10 years in prison.

Khwaja Hassan: Another member of the "Virginia Jihad." Hassan is a naturalized U.S. citizen from Pakistan who holds a master's degree in business technology. He was arrested while working as a teacher in Saudi Arabia and extradited to the United States in July 2003 on suspicion of involvement with LeT. A federal court sentenced Hassan to more than 11 years in prison in November 2003.

These are only a few examples of men who have been accused of belonging to militant sleeper cells within the United States. Though the actual proof in many cases is open to question, the security threat posed by sleeper cells is not.

The case of the Virginia Jihad -- nine of whose 11 members ultimately were convicted -- is of interest, in part because it involves an eclectic assortment of suspects that includes native U.S. citizens, a Korean immigrant and a former U.S. Marine. These backgrounds, along with high education and stable employment histories, obviously would help sleeper cell members to blend into the populace while planning any attacks -- unlike those who are involved with document falsification or other crimes that can draw the attention of investigators. Sleeper cells might not be an exclusive club for foreign-born jihadists: Testimony during the trials of the Virginia Jihad suspects showed this group was not planted in the United States for militant purposes, but rather that its members were ideologically sympathetic to Islamist movements and were recruited into the LeT cause after living in the United States for years.

Given the level of sophistication that was evident in the Sept. 11 attacks -- and that likely is required to carry out further strikes within the United States -- it is logical to conclude that the leaders and members of militant sleeper cells are required to have a higher level of education than are the jihadist foot soldiers fighting in Afghanistan, Iraq or the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. It also is conceivable that they maintain stable, legal employment with American companies.

Additionally, it is worth noting that, in light of the current focus on counterterrorism, sleeper cells and locally grown Islamist movements likely are operating with minimal guidance from al Qaeda, and are planning or carrying out operations on their own. This makes it all the more difficult to identify and disrupt the cells.

Focus on Background Checks

The May 1 attacks in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, prompted many Western corporations to re-evaluate their own employees and security procedures. It is possible for dormant militants to remain in place for years before showing any signs of posing a threat: Some of the attackers in Yanbu were longtime employees of the targeted company, ABB Lummus -- they possessed access badges and enjoyed the confidence of their colleagues. Such a scenario is equally plausible within the United States, which places heightened emphasis on solid corporate security measures.

For privately held companies, conducting a thorough background check on workers can be extremely difficult. The required infrastructure in countries such as Pakistan and India, which contribute large numbers of workers to the United States, is practically non-existent -- heightening the potential for militants to exploit the L-1 visa process, which allows U.S.-based companies to import foreign workers with little diplomatic oversight.

Moreover, U.S. corporations do not have access to government-run counterterrorism databases -- making it difficult to know if an employee has been identified by federal officials as having links to militant groups.

Stratfor previously said Yanbu-style attacks -- or small-scale assaults involving well-trained, knowledgeable operatives -- would become more likely. Such attacks depend on militants having intimate knowledge of their target and the trust of coworkers and employers.

Though it is impossible to measure the number of people involved with sleeper cells in the United States or to give a definitive description of their backgrounds, a few facts are worth noting:

Because of a dearth of American workers with qualifications in math, science and engineering, large numbers of foreign workers have entered the United States to pursue careers in those fields -- frequently on student, or F-1/M-1, visas.

The high tech industry, which draws on workers with math, science and engineering degrees, offers an economic and social status that law enforcers tend to view as incompatible with public threats.

The number of visas awarded to foreign workers was reduced following the Sept. 11 attacks, after investigations showed that some of the hijackers entered the country legally with F-1/M-1 status. However, since the sleeper cell cycle is measured in years, it is entirely possible that militants who entered the country some time ago with student visas would only now be entering into an active attack phase.

Members of any new sleeper cells seeking to enter the United States likely would seek other forms of cover -- whether legal or illegal. The lack of a broad base of support for Islamist causes within the United States -- unlike in Europe, where there are large sympathetic populations with pre-existing communication channels and "safe houses" -- makes it less likely that cells would exist entirely of illegal immigrants and unemployed militants.

The Militant Threat: Focus on Britain
Jul 27, 2004 1147 GMT
Elite British intelligence and counterterrorism teams reportedly have been deployed to northern England to investigate potential threats by Islamist militants there. Sources within the British intelligence community have told Stratfor that MI5 and law enforcement agencies have received specific information about groups that might be operating in northern cities such as Manchester, Newcastle, Leeds, Liverpool and Sheffield, as well as smaller cities such as York and Hull.

Operationally, these are logical areas for militants to be located. Most of the well-known radical and jihadist Islamist groups are centered around the London area: If there is a connection between these groups and real threats, it is in the interests of jihadists to maintain operational distance between their cheerleaders, who seek attention, and actual operatives, who do not.

British intelligence sources have told Stratfor they believe Islamist militant groups actively have been raising funds in northern England and perhaps even conducting limited training exercises in national park areas, such as the North York Moors, the Lake District and Yorkshire Dales. The Muslim population in northern English cities has been under observation for quite some time, following ethnic riots in Leeds in the summer of 2001.

Though it is not clear whether any groups that have fallen under the British intelligence eye have al Qaeda connections or are planning attacks, two things are clear: Islamist militants have yet to carry out an attack within the United Kingdom, and -- given al Qaeda's ideology, goals and recent statements -- the country likely ranks high on the list of potential targets.

According to our sources, the British intelligence community is particularly concerned about the possibility of attacks against industrial facilities near Manchester, port facilities in Liverpool and shipyards in Newcastle. Though the potential for such threats should not be discounted, Stratfor finds it far more likely that militants would attempt to mount a strike in London -- where the potential for economic and symbolic damage is far greater.

Recent threats issued by known jihadist groups -- such as the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades and the Islamic Monotheism Group -- have focused specifically on U.S. allies, and there is none more staunch than Britain. The United Kingdom has contributed more troops -- roughly 9,000 -- than any other U.S. partner in Iraq and long has been active in Afghanistan as well. Interestingly, mentions of Britain have been noticeably absent from recent threats against Europe, which tends to focus our attention there all the more.

It should be noted that Islamists view Britain as a longstanding nemesis -- responsible for the collapse of the Turkish caliphate in 1924 and a colonizer of vast tracts of the Muslim world.

Rife with tourist attractions and as the nation's financial epicenter, London is home to any number of sites that would make ideal targets for militants, ranging from Big Ben to Trafalgar Square to Parliament and Buckingham Palace. It also is crisscrossed by a massive public transportation center, more heavily used than even that in Madrid.

Not only do Stratfor sources within numerous international intelligence agencies believe London is overdue for a strike, but the nation's political posture heightens the threat to the city. There is speculation that Parliamentary elections could be called in less than a year; a finely timed terrorist attack -- such as that in Madrid -- could serve as an opportunity to unseat the Labor government, which has stirred domestic controversy over its support for Washington's Iraq policy.

That is not to say that strikes against smaller or "softer" targets elsewhere in the country should be ruled out.

For geographic reasons, the British Isles are more secure than countries within continental Europe -- but they are linked to the continent by ferry and shipping traffic that ingresses and egresses from more than 23 ports and, of course, the Chunnel rail system. Ferry and train passengers are subjected to customs inspections at both ends of their trips, but rail and port security measures are known for being less stringent than those at airports (in fact, that has served as a selling point for Chunnel rail tickets, which can be vastly more expensive than airline tickets).

In Britain, as elsewhere, the security scenario is less than airtight.


Common-Sense Protection: From Tsunamis to Terrorism
Jul 26, 2004 1107 GMT
The British Home Office announced plans July 26 to distribute pamphlets outlining steps that citizens should take in the event of a terrorist attack. The 11-page, pocket-sized pamphlet will be mailed to every British household, and will be followed by a series of radio and television advertisements. Officials said the campaign is being launched as a general safety measure, rather than in response to any imminent or specific terrorist threats -- though the threat posture to the United Kingdom in general is high.

Interestingly, the International Association of the Red Cross said as recently as July 23 the United Kingdom is far more prepared in general than the United States to cope with a terrorist attack -- where other recent polls have shown that few Americans take warnings of an imminent threat seriously. Taking these events together, it is worthwhile to examine the U.S. and British counterterrorism preparation guidelines.

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has published a document, comparable to the British pamphlet, titled "Are You Ready?" The document, which for the most part compromises longstanding guidelines issued by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), was revised in September 2002 to include guidance for civilian responses to a terrorist attack. The American Red Cross also has a publication containing advice and guidance on how to respond in the event of an attack. All of these publications are available for download on the respective agencies' Web sites.

All three documents are similar in that they emphasize common-sense approaches. Because terrorism is inherently unpredictable, government agencies can distribute few other kinds of broad guidelines to the general public.

Moreover, all three rehash advice that governments and non-governmental organizations have distributed for years about general steps to follow in the event of emergencies. For example, the DHS document lists threats ranging from volcanic explosions and tsunamis to cyber-attacks and the detonation of a radiological dispersion device.

In almost all cases, the guidelines are quite clear.

Know evacuation routes for whatever building you are in.
Prepare a household emergency kit that contains, among other items, a flashlight, radio and fresh water.
Learn and know how to use basic first aid techniques.
These examples are sound advice in all situations, but certainly are not ground-breaking -- which might be one reason the British Home Office pamphlet is coming nearly three years after the Sept. 11 attacks. The most useful guidance given -- and it is best put in the Home Office publication -- concerns simple steps the average person might take to assist in preventing a terrorist attack. (Similar information can be found in the DHS document, though it is found on page 83 of the 108-page publication.)
Here again, common sense prevails -- but that is particularly useful and specifically applicable to counterterrorism efforts, which rely on vigilance among the public, as well as from official agencies. These guidelines -- which include items such as reporting "suspicious" people, activities or retail purchases, or calling security to investigate unattended baggage -- likely are familiar to any government employee, but serve as useful reminders for average citizens who might feel powerless to act on the strength of exceedingly vague warnings from the government.

Because successful acts of terrorism are, by nature, unpredictable, government warnings will always be vague and almost always will carry an alarmist tone. Patterns of attack become apparent only after the fact -- leaving government agencies hamstrung in distributing anything but the most general advice to the public. Though common sense will never capture headlines, it remains perhaps the most useful and available weapon to citizens in any emergency -- whether tsunamis or terrorism.


Suggestions of Complacency
Jul 23, 2004 1727 GMT
A Land Rover that police believe was rigged with an improvised explosive device exploded July 22 outside the largest hotel and convention center in Nashville, Tenn. Although officials say they have no reason to suspect terrorism, they are investigating the incident -- in which one person, the vehicle's owner, died -- further.

This explosion came only a few days after a New York City police officer was wounded when a backpack stuffed with fireworks exploded in a subway station -- another incident that triggered fears of terrorism. In this case, officials say the officer who was wounded actually was responsible for the blast: He was to leave the police force on July 20 -- the following day -- on a disability pension related to what officials say were "psychological problems."

Despite the motivational disconnects between these two incidents, it is interesting that both explosions occurred in locations that Stratfor has identified as ideal "soft targets." The vulnerability of passenger rail systems and hotels has been amply backlit by the March 11 bombings in Madrid and the August 2003 attack against a Marriot hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia. Within the United States, such targets remain quite open, despite ongoing warnings of potential terrorist threats.

It obviously is impossible for police and security guards to adequately guard all potential targets against attack. As a result, they rely to some degree on average citizens to act as their eyes and ears -- particularly in public venues such as hotels or subway stations.

However, at least two recent surveys suggest that the American public is less concerned about terrorist threats than is the government. A poll commissioned by the Council for Excellence in Government finds that only 34 percent of Americans believe another terrorist attack on U.S. soil is "very likely." Additionally, a survey conducted by the Red Cross found that only 42 percent of Americans have assembled home emergency kits and only 10 percent have taken the "three steps" outlined by the Red Cross -- creating emergency kits, laying family disaster plans and training in first aid techniques -- for responses to emergencies.

If anything, these surveys suggest that the psychological effects of the Sept. 11 strikes are fading within the domestic United States -- even amid the increasing government warnings, which lose impact with frequency and vague information -- and that many Americans do not incorporate the practical steps that can be taken to protect against another strike to their daily lives.

Coupled with details from the Nashville and New York incidents, it also appears that even those who are on watch may not always know exactly which indicators to look for.

For example, the Land Rover in Nashville exploded in a relatively isolated area of the hotel parking lot, near storage trailers -- an unusual place for a guest to leave his vehicle. Though the explosion likely could not have been prevented, such a detail -- particularly if the vehicle was left parked for any length of time -- might have excited suspicion.

In the New York subway incident, many factors could have provided cover to the policeman accused of planting the explosives -- the hustle and bustle of a busy transportation link; the tendency of passersby to mind their own business; the police uniform worn by the accused. However, none of these factors would make it impossible to suspect an attack if vigilance is applied: For instance, the bag was planted around 8 p.m., which is not exactly a peak rush-hour period. It also should be remembered that militants who carried out several recent attacks against Westerners in Saudi Arabia were wearing the uniforms of police or security guards -- reasonable facsimiles of which could be acquired within the United States also.

Nearly three years after the Sept. 11 attacks, it is logical to expect that Americans would be "returning to normal" and again gaining confidence in the security of their country. The recent polls seem to reflect that this is the case, and that the nation's overall mood is one of ambivalence toward the increasing threat warnings. Among the general public, vigilance does not run high.

And as we have noted on several occasions during the past three years, complacency is a would-be attacker's best friend.


Seeking Cover: The Problem of Western Converts
Jul 22, 2004 1740 GMT
Sources within the European and U.S. intelligence communities have told Stratfor that their agencies are growing increasingly concerned about the potential for Western converts to Islam to be used in carrying out terrorist-style attacks. These concerns are coming to the fore amid heightened tensions over potential terrorist attacks in both regions and a strong counterterrorism focus on young, Middle Eastern males.

Al Qaeda has shown itself to be a dynamic, intelligence and adaptive organization. Using operatives who are Western in appearance would be one way of increasing its chances for pulling off a successful strike in the current high-alert environment. Nor would such a scenario be without precedent -- as the examples of men like Jose Padilla, John Walker Lindh, Richard Reid and Australia's Jack Roche, among others, show.

However, we view such a scenario as only a potential threat to be noted, rather than as an emerging trend.

The vast majority of Western converts to Islam, whether in the United States or Europe, receive the faith at the hands of ?mainstream? Muslims, rather than from radical Wahhabis. There are madrassahs and mosques in the West that teach more radical forms of Islam, and they do wield a degree of influence, partly because of the Saudi wealth that funds them. And it should be noted that radical Islamic literature is available in many Western prisons, where several would-be operatives from the West have spent time. That said, the majority of Muslim schools and mosques in Western countries are run by subscribers to mainstream, non-Wahhabi forms of the religion.

Moreover, al Qaeda has not shown a penchant for proselytizing. Rather than acting as missionaries -- which likely would lead to unwelcome exposure -- the network draws from the conversion work of other radical, but non-militant, Islamist and Wahhabi groups such as al Mujahiroun in Britain, the Islamic Assembly of North America (IANA) and Quran and Sunnah Society (QSS) in the United States.

Al Qaeda likely would not turn away a willing Western militant, but many factors serve to limit the potential pool. Though Islam teaches that there are no racial divisions among its children, Western converts do not embark upon their Muslim lives with a tabula rasa. Instead, they bring a history of cultural tenets and values that often cause other Muslims to question the quality of their faith. Moreover, radical jihadist groups such as al Qaeda reject any Muslims -- born or converted -- who do not subscribe to their own, much narrower, framework of ideology.

Though the vast majority of Western converts to Islam probably do not become radical Islamists, al Qaeda now is operating in an environment in which ethnic diversity would serve its aims. Correctly or otherwise, the ?profile? of a potential Islamist militant is that of a young, Middle Eastern man -- something that has prompted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security warn airport security workers to be on watch for all Pakistani men who recently traveled to that country.

In all likelihood, actual militants are now seeking new forms of cover -- for which there also are several historical precedents. For years, Palestinian militant groups have employed women -- and more recently children -- as suicide bombers when Israeli security forces began to intensify their searches of Palestinian men. Other groups, such as Sri Lanka's Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam, also have histories of deploying female operatives -- in fact, one who officials say may have hidden explosives in her bra, killed herself and four police officers in Colombo on July 7. Reports also have circulated among the security and expatriate communities in Saudi Arabia that Saudi men are donning female garb as a disguise while conducting surveillance of potential targets. Most famously, Yasser Arafat dressed as a woman to escape capture by the Israelis while in Lebanon.

However, given al Qaeda prime's very conservative beliefs about women and the tactical complications of incorporating such a previously unused element into its plans, we view the possibility of female operatives being used in a major strike as extremely unlikely.

Al Qaeda, like any intelligent and successful organization, will do what works best. Within the current climate, it is certainly feasible that there could be a shift toward non-traditional operatives, such as Western converts. However, anxiety over this scenario easily could be overplayed: All factors still point to the emergence of Western Islamist militants as an exception, rather than a trend.


NYPD Taking Initiative in Counterterrorism Fight
Jul 20, 2004 1711 GMT
The subway station at 43rd and 8th Streets in Manhattan was temporarily closed July 19 after a bag placed on the staircase exploded, burning a police officer. Officials have said the bag contained only fireworks, but that it was bundled to look like a bomb.

The blast drew a rapid response from the New York City Police Department -- and though the investigation is continuing, it is plausible that the faux bombing could have been planned as a non-lethal way of testing New York City's emergency response systems. Gauging responses and reaction times by the NYPD, emergency medical services and fire department could make it easier for terrorists to carry out a real operation in the future.

The July 19 incident put the NYPD -- already tense amid preparations for the Aug. 30 through Sept. 2 Republican National Convention -- further on edge. The department already is fielding 1,000 police officers on the streets daily as part of the war on terrorism -- something officials acknowledge is putting pressure on patrol strength and overtime costs, which this year are projected at a city-wide record of $345.9 million.

The threat environment -- with warnings of a possible al Qaeda attack in the domestic United States within the next few months -- has placed additional strains on many, if not most, U.S. law enforcement, intelligence and emergency agencies. The atmosphere has not been aided by their relations with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which -- with its communication process still evolving -- frequently is regarded as more of a hindrance than an ally in the war on terrorism.

In light of these circumstances, Stratfor has learned, many metropolitan police departments -- including those in New York and Los Angeles -- are taking the lead on counterterrorism efforts within their own cities and elsewhere.

Some of the methods employed by the NYPD of which Stratfor has learned include:

Since Sept. 11, NYPD has established close relationships with foreign law enforcement and security personnel. This move stems in part from threat information dissemination problems between federal agencies and their state and local counterparts: Because of security criteria, information cannot flow smoothly and freely from top to bottom.

The NYPD actively is reaching out to state and local police agencies throughout North America. These communication efforts are part of an overall attempt to generate good will and smooth cooperation at the local law enforcement level nationwide -- especially in high-threat cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Houston and Chicago, among others.

The department is taking part in a program to train service personnel in some important locations -- such as doormen, maintenance workers and delivery people -- to recognize threats and take appropriate action.

With better communication, the NYPD also has improved response and contingency planning involving other agencies, such as the New York/New Jersey Port Authority.

The NYPD and possibly other agencies are taking a proactive approach to terrorism. That is not to say that local law enforcement agencies have completely eschewed the aid of the federal government: New York City and Boston still will employ a number of DHS assets, including the Secret Service, during the upcoming Republican and Democratic National conventions.

However, the DHS -- still in the growth and definition process -- has not yet established itself as a reliable administrator. For local law enforcement agencies, necessity has become the mother of invention.


The TSA's Airport Security Conundrum
Jul 09, 2004 1715 GMT
The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) on July 7 launched a test of its registered traveler program in St. Paul, Minn. -- a program that allows frequent fliers to sidestep time-consuming security checks at airports by submitting biometric data and fingerprints and submitting to an extensive background check.

The previous day, however, the TSA had issued security guidance to all U.S. airports, calling for a system in which employees of airport vendors -- such as newsstands and restaurants -- must pass through security checkpoints when entering and leaving secure areas of terminals. Previously, such requirements were left to the discretion of individual airport authorities. A 30-day review period is under way before the guidance can be implemented.

On the surface, the two actions appear to contradict each other -- one apparently decreasing security, the other attempting to increase it. Taken together, however, these situations highlight the difficulties faced by the TSA and its parent organization, the Department of Homeland Security, in balancing post-9/11 security needs with practical measures and convenience for travelers.

The calls for security screening for airport vendor employees is not new: Both branches of Congress have pushed for the measures since the Sept. 11 attacks, but the TSA resisted, saying that background checks conducted by individual vendors were sufficient. The American Association of Airport Executives opposed the measures also. The rationale for the change, three years on, is not clear: TSA spokesman Mark Hatfield Jr. cited security reasons when he declined to explain to the Washington Post the motive or the specific language of the directive; he said only that it was issued as part of an ongoing TSA review of airport security.

In its own way, the TSA's registered traveler program is equally controversial: It has drawn fire from both the corporate security community and politicians, who say it is a loophole in airport security procedures or that it requires passengers to give up too much personal information to authorities.

Initially, the TSA is making the pilot program available only to travelers who fly more than once a week, though it later could be expanded to other applicants. Those who register their personal information will not go through mainstream security checks, but will be screened in a separate line. Secondary checks will not be conducted unless the TSA's Computer Assisted Passenger Prescreening System, or CAPPS, software raises a red flag -- typically if a traveler purchases a ticket with cash or pre-purchases a one-way ticket.

Though these measures likely will be welcomed by frequent fliers, when coupled with its July 7 directive, it is clear that the TSA and the Department of Homeland Security have a fight on their hands: They are attempting simultaneously to maintain their own relevance without crippling the airline industry with cumbersome security processes.

For the TSA, this need has been made all the more urgent by a congressional campaign to re-privatize airport security screeners and the loss of many security check personnel at smaller U.S. airports. And for the DHS, it comes in the wake of revelations about shortcomings in the air defense system: A congressional panel determined July 8 that the DHS was not in a position to interdict the plane of a former Kentucky governor that violated restricted air space while en route to the funeral of former President Ronald Reagan, had those aboard had hostile intent.

Tightening security processes within the airports themselves logically is one way to mitigate this weakness -- but in the face of the competing requirements faced by the agencies, success is not assured.

30420  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: August 01, 2004, 08:45:17 AM
Valor defined
Marines confront, overcome the crucible of Fallujah

By Rick Rogers

July 31, 2004

NELVIN CEPEDA / Union-Tribune
Cpl. Howard Lee Hampton Jr. compared the insurgent assault his Camp Pendleton unit faced in the battle for Fallujah this spring to the violent D-Day landing scene in the movie "Saving Private Ryan." More than 50 Marines from Echo Company were recognized for bravery.
FALLUJAH, Iraq ? The citations for valor read like scenes from a movie, and it's only through cinematic comparisons that Cpl. Howard Lee Hampton Jr. can describe the combat his Camp Pendleton unit saw here in April.

"It was beyond anything in 'Black Hawk Down,' " said Hampton, 21, referring to the movie about the actual downing of two U.S. helicopters in 1993 Somalia and the harrowing rescue operation in which the lives of 18 American soldiers were lost.

"I remember going into the city in the (amphibious assault vehicle) and hearing the bullets hit off the sides.

"When the door opened, I thought about the scene in "Saving Private Ryan" when they were coming up to the beach and that guy got hit right in the head before he ever got to the beach," Hampton said, this time conjuring up the movie account of D-Day during World War II.

"Once we got in the city, we had hundreds and hundreds of people trying to kill us," said the native of El Paso, Tex., recalling how the cascade of enemy shell casings from windows above the Marines sounded like a never-ending slot machine payout.

NELVIN CEPEDA / Union-Tribune
After braving enemy fire four times to evacuate wounded Marines, Petty Officer 3rd Class Jason "Doc" Duty received a medal nomination that reads, "As bullets impacted within inches of his head, Duty remained resolute in his mission."
"We survived in Fallujah because everyone put the Marine next to him ahead of themselves," said Hampton, an infantryman with Echo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Marine Regiment. "Everyone did so much more than they had to."

More than 50 Marines from Echo Company have been recognized for valor between March 18 and April 26, when they went into Fallujah to root out insurgents after four civilian contract workers were murdered and two of the bodies hanged from a bridge.

The battalion's Fox Company has recommended about 20 Marines for medals.

"My boys are superheroes," said Capt. D.A. Zembiec, the Echo company commander who climbed atop a tank while under fire to guide it to where his men were pinned down. "I got guys with two Purple Hearts still out here working."

Echo Company's role in the battle for Fallujah began April 6, when two platoons ? about 80 men ? were ordered into the northwest section of the city, launching a month of street-by-street fighting that would claim the lives of several hundred insurgents and an estimated 600 civilians.

As word of the violence spread, the media gathered for a closer look.

NELVIN CEPEDA / Union-Tribune
When insurgents attacked Marines in a house, Lance Cpl. John Flores, 21, stood outside protecting the left flank. Wounded twice, Flores could have left for treatment, but he said he didn't have the heart to leave his fellow Marines.
"One reporter said, 'It can't be that bad,' " recalled 1st Sgt. William Skiles, Echo Company's top enlisted man.

"Well," Skiles recalled, "the Armored Assault Vehicle had just stopped to let the media off when the first (assault rifle) rounds flew overhead. Then came the (rocket propelled grenades). There weren't a whole lot of stories filed that day because the reporters were face down in the dirt."

During the encounter, journalists often asked Skiles, 43, of San Juan Capistrano, for information for their reports about the fighting, but he thought they were missing something.

"I kept thinking: What about valor? Why weren't any of the reporters interested in the valor of our Marines?

"All anyone wants to write about is our dead and wounded," he said, thumbing through military papers that included nominations for Silver and Bronze stars.

Although only a few of the medal nominations have been approved so far, The San Diego Union-Tribune  was allowed to review the submissions on condition that no detailed information be revealed.

NELVIN CEPEDA / Union-Tribune
Lance Cpl. Craig Bell said he was so angry after an enemy grenade nearly killed him in Fallujah that he grabbed rounds for his grenade launcher and began blowing up insurgent positions. He estimated that he launched 100 rounds in about an hour.
All of the top medal nominations arose from a single day's action April 26.

It was also Echo Company's last day of heavy fighting in Fallujah before the Marines pulled out under a cease-fire that has created the current stalemate: Insurgents control the city, the Marines control the surrounding countryside.

The day started routinely when Marines searched a mosque that gunmen had been using to direct fire on the Americans.

Finding only shell-casings below the minaret windows overlooking their position, the Marines left the mosque and moved deeper into the city and occupied a few houses.

All was quiet until about 11 a.m., when insurgents killed one Marine and wounded 10 others in a coordinated attack that lasted three hours.

"The minaret that we had just cleared suddenly came alive with sniper fire," Skiles said. At the same time, the Marines in the houses were hit by grenades, rocket-propelled grenades and machine-gun fire from the roofs of adjoining houses.

Within minutes, 100 to 150 heavily armed insurgents attacked in waves. At times, the Marines and the enemy were only 25 yards apart.

The hardest hit Marines were on a rooftop where they were swarmed from three directions by insurgents throwing scores of grenades and firing at least 30 RPGs within the first 15 minutes of fighting. Thousands of bullets peppered the area.

Nine of the Marines were wounded almost immediately.

Aaron C. Austin and Carlos Gomez-Perez, both lance corporals, were on that rooftop and have been nominated for high honors, Austin posthumously.

After the initial barrage, Austin, a machine gunner, evacuated the wounded and then rallied the Marines to counter-attack.

"We've got to get back on the roof and get on that gun," Austin, from Sunray, Tex., is reported to have said, referring to a Marine machine gun.

The Marines returned fire, but as Austin started to throw a grenade, he was hit several times in the chest by machine gun fire.

Although morally wounded, Austin threw his grenade, which hit the enemy and halted their attack.

A memorial to him ? a cement bench ? sits outside the Echo Company barracks at Camp Baharia. Austin was 21.

Gomez-Perez was hit in the cheek and shoulder by machine gun fire while dragging a wounded comrade to safety.

"Ignoring his serious injuries . . . Gomez-Perez, in direct exposure to enemy fire, continued to throw grenades and fire four magazines from his M-16 rifle. Still under fire and with his injured arm, he and another Marine gave CPR (to Austin) and continued to fire on the enemy," read his medal nomination.

Gomez-Perez is recuperating stateside. His age and hometown weren't immediately available.

Marines at another house were also under heavy attack, and four were wounded.

Lance Cpl. John Flores, 21, from Temple City, held a key position outside the house protecting the left flank.

"Around 11 a.m., I heard explosions and I remember a Marine scream," he recalled. "It was a scream I'll never forget, and I hope I never hear again. I had heard the scream before. It was the scream that someone was messed up. It scared me."

Flores said he traded fire with insurgents 20 yards away. When a Humvee arrived to get the wounded, Flores laid down hundreds of rounds of protective fire during a deafening exchange.

"As one of the corpsman ran to the house, bullets hit right behind him against a wall. Everyone said Doc Duty was faster than bullets that day," said Flores, who was twice wounded by shrapnel during the action.

"Doc" is Petty Officer 3rd Class Jason Duty, a 20-year-old Navy corpsman from New Concord, Ohio.

"Despite extreme personal danger from small arms fire and exploding ordnance, Flores remained in his tenuous position, delivering devastating fire on enemy forces as they attempted to reinforce their attack," his nomination stated.

When the Marines pulled back to a safer position later that day, Flores could have left the city to get medical treatment, but he didn't have the heart to leave his fellow Marines.

He doesn't like to think about Fallujah, though he is proud of what Echo Company did there.

"I think I did real good that day, but a lot of people did real good. I was scared, but I just did it," Flores said. "I think about what happened in the city and the people wounded and killed. We think about them a lot. No one from this company will ever forget what we did out here."

Lance Cpl. Craig Bell got mad when he was nearly killed by an enemy grenade. And then he got even.

"You know when they say that things slow down?" asked Bell, 20, from Del City, Okla. "That's what happened when I saw the grenade.

"It was a pineapple grenade with a cherry-red tip," Bell said. "I didn't think they even made grenades like that anymore. It was like something from a World War II movie."

Bell ducked behind a pigeon coop for cover.

He "heard explosions and shooting in real time" while he seemed to drift into space. "I watched the grenade for what seemed like forever until it went off . . . but I talked to Marines later and they said it all happened in a split second."

The blast wounded Bell in the right side and jump-started the clock.

"I thought, 'That's it!" said Bell, a grenadier. "I thought about my wife and daughter and not doing anything stupid. But I was just so angry that he had thrown a grenade at me that I didn't care. I was going to take someone out."

He grabbed ammunition for his grenade launcher and started blowing up rooms from which insurgents were firing, estimating he launched 100 rounds in about an hour.

Despite his wounds, Bell "expertly placed high-explosive around through the windows of adjacent buildings," reads his medal recommendation. "Without his brave actions, 2nd platoon would have been hard-pressed to hold their position and evacuate wounded Marines."

"I was proud to be a part of something so brave and so strong," Bell said. "I know what I did. I saved someone's life, and I know that what other people did saved me."

Not all of the heroics focused on the enemy.

The corpsman, Duty, and Sgt. Skiles were recognized for evacuating wounded Marines while exposed to unrelenting fire.

Duty braved enemy fire four times to load Marines into a Humvee driven by Skiles, who coordinated the rescue.

"I do remember thinking I was in trouble about the third trip because that's when the volume of fire increased a lot," Duty said.

"When we were loading the last guy, they chucked a hand grenade at our Humvee and it hit the hood. It rolled off and didn't explode. I think they were trying to throw it in the back where the wounded were being loaded."

Duty's medal nomination reads: "As bullets impacted within inches of his head, Duty remained resolute in his mission."

Skiles was lauded for evacuating the Marines and for his leadership in combat.

Part of his lengthy medal nomination states:

"Without his courage, his company would not have been able to evacuate his wounded in the expeditious manner ? and more Marines would have been exposed to danger longer.

"Skiles' combat leadership is the metal weld that holds his company together during times of adversity."

It will be weeks, perhaps months, before the Marine Corps approves any decorations, especially the higher ones. By then, the Echo Company Marines probably will be back at Camp Pendleton.

And Hampton will be left with only his memories of what Echo Company did because as he'll tell you:

"They honestly cannot make a movie about what we went through. Every Marine did so much more than what they had to do, from the littlest private first class to the commanding officer. Everyone did so much more."
30421  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Knife fight (Acctual/ Real Experiences) Please post! on: July 31, 2004, 07:17:42 PM
The late Brandon Lee spoke of a time he came back to his apartment and found a burglar with a knife.  Although he got cut on the arm, he was able to disarm the crook.
30422  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: July 31, 2004, 01:27:56 AM
A friend forwarded this to me.

2003 Newspaper Photographer of the Year Rick Loomis. Rick has written about his experience in Fallujah which I have received via email and posted in full below. Also check out his exceptional images he took in Iraq here.

I finally tried to wash the Marine's bloodstains from my pants the other day.  It had been nine days since the battle and a daily dose of dirt and dust had all but masked what I knew lay beneath.

>From the relative comfort of "Dreamland", a reasonably secure U.S. base of operations just outside Fallouja, I swirled my pants around in square metal pan containing four inches of precious water. With each spin around the pan, the water turned a deeper brown. And as the stains of Sgt. Josue Magana's blood became more apparent, I thought back to the day he was shot.

At zero five A.M, just before dawn on April 26th, the Marines of Echo Company was ordered to take two homes on the northwestern edge of Fallouja.  For the prior three weeks, since Marines had first moved to cordon off city, there had been constant exchanges of gunfire between U.S. forces and insurgents in the area known as the Jolan Heights. After all, this was Fallouja, heart of the notorious Sunni Triangle, home to the root of U.S. occupation resistance.

The Marines had hoped that theirs would be a 'hearts and minds' mission leading up to the June 30 deadline to hand power over to Iraqis. It turned sour after four American contractors were gruesomely killed on March 31st. Insurgents hung two of their burned and mutilated bodies from a bridge that crosses the Euphrates River.  And now the Marines found themselves in the position of battling Iraqi bodies instead of winning over Iraqi hearts and minds.

In their initial push into Fallouja, Marines fought to gain a toe hold in the city, and for Echo Company this consisted of three homes and a school, all within 300 meters of each other.  This was now Echo Company's base from which to do battle, and the company hoped to engage insurgents known to be operating in this city of 300,000.

Having gained their toehold, they worked to fortify their positions using sandbags, 24-hour a day watch posts, concertina wire and sniper positions. By the time I arrived to be embedded on the 22nd of April, the neighborhood around them was a ghost town. Most residents had fled the fighting, save for one blind Iraqi man next door whom was dutifully being fed by a Kurdish translator working for the Marines.

In the houses and school, Marines had parked themselves and their gear in every room. M-16 rifles delicately perched against the glass doors of a cupboard holding the family's finest dishware. The luckiest Marines claimed the couches; the rest sprawled out on the floors each night.

Walls that once separated neighbors were broken down to allow easy house-to-house access.  Doors were taken off their hinges and laid down to bridge the gaps between the roofs of the houses.

On the roof there were gun positions for M-240 machine guns, a larger .50 caliber machine gun and a Mark 19 grenade launcher.  Shoulder fired rockets were also stored on the roof for times of need.  Small 'mouse holes' were pounded out of the roof retaining wall allowing snipers to cover key positions as well, with the ability to pick off targets at great distances.

Through one such hole is a clear view down 'sniper alley.'  The remnants of battle are apparent.  A bullet-riddled car abandoned in the middle of the street.  Deep craters where parts of the road used to be.  Massive chunks of asphalt strewn everywhere and downed power lines sagging across the roadway.  The homes on either side were broken and battered by gunfire.  The stench of rotting cows and dogs, who met their deaths in a crossfire, could be detected if the breeze was just right. Nothing stirred on this street anymore.

Also in view from the sniper's nests, just across the cemetery, were objectives A and B, the targets of that tragic morning's raid. The two homes, known as A and B, had been in view for weeks, and it was from there that Marine commanders perceived a daily threat.

       *     *     *

One reinforced platoon of Marines crept through the darkened streets, lining both sides.  Only a wail could be heard breaking the silence in the distance - it was time for the Muslim call to prayer. Useless with my camera in the darkness, I fumbled to record the ominous sound with a digital recorder.  It was too dark to see the buttons so I gave up - the sum of me nothing but a complete liability at this point.

Up ahead, two squads of men were breaching the homes, breaking down doors to clear the buildings, which were directly across the street from each other.  Suspected of being used by insurgents, they approached with caution but discovered they were empty.  Marines poured inside objectives A and B, taking up defensive positions and on every floor, a set of eyes on guard from nearly every window. Dawn had come and the cobalt blue sky began to brighten.

It was all starting to seem too easy when an RPG (rocket-propelled grenade) smacked the front of the house with a thunderous crash. The walls trembled. If the Marines had started to relax, it put them on alert that someone knew where they were. The Marines returned fire with their M-16's and then there was silence.

Once they knew their presence had been discovered, the men further prepared their defensive postures. Mattresses were upturned to cover windows, bags of rice stacked on top of one another to slow speeding bullets headed into open doors. Holes were sledge hammered through the walls at strategic points to make sniper positions.  Then, nothing. Sitting. Waiting . Resting. Drinking.  Eating. Nothing.  No shots. No enemy sightings.  Nothing.

Five hours had passed since the start of the mission and Marines were sprawled out on the floor, catching sleep when they could. I visited the roof briefly to eye the sniper positions. Then down to the bottom floor, looking in on sleeping Marines. Returning to the second floor, I spent many minutes trying to perfectly capture on camera the reflection of a Marine in a bullet -riddled mirror.  I too, was bored.

The sleeping Marines stirred a bit as shots rang off in the distance.  I sneaked a peek out the window, looking across the graveyard toward the mosque. Nothing.  There were reports of seven insurgents, scratch that, six insurgents (one was reported over the radio to have been shot by a U.S. sniper) in the area of the mosque. An incoming mortar round hit the house adjacent  to the one we are in and a fire starts to burn from within.

The Marine commanders decided that one squad, about 12 men, should respond to the mosque to the shooting from the mosque area and engage the remaining insurgents. So out of the houses and into the graveyard they flooded, keeping space between them as they slowly moved toward the minaret and the mosque on the other side of the cemetery.  The minaret loomed high above, offering an unobstructed view and perfect firing position for a sniper to shoot down on approaching Marines.  Short bursts of running, two or three men at a time, edged them closer to the mosque. They stopped for a time to take cover behind headstones, their eyes darted between the windows of the mosque and the minaret overlooking them.

There was no movement or firing as they made their approach.  It was bright and hot and quiet.  Marines quickly moved in to secure the mosque and the minaret, searching hopelessly for the reported insurgents. Curious, I looked around myself but found no shell casings left behind;  no blood and no body. There was only a partially damaged mosque, curtains moving in the breeze that was coming through blown out windows. I began to wonder if anyone had ever been there.

Nonetheless, the complex was thoroughly searched and the men trod back through the cemetery and made their way back to the two houses they had taken in the pre-dawn hours.  Things were still quiet at the houses and I felt much less exposed than in the moments prior as I had trailed Marines around and over graves at an accelerated pace. Running thorough a cemetery seems a violation of those lying beneath. I was glad to be back in the house.

It was about the moment I felt the most secure and had the least suspicion that the mission would get any more dangerous when all hell broke loose.  The Marines were under a coordinated, full-scale attack.  Insurgents had crawled and snuck into positions covering about three hundred degrees on all sides. They let loose a continuous barrage on the house.  Marines scrambled to their feet to fight back the ambush. "Roger, we are taking heavy fire. You need to orient to east, over the mosque complex," the confident company commander Capt. Douglas Zembiec barked into the radio without a hint of panic in his voice.

The sound was deafening at times. The rumble of machine guns and the returning loud crack of AK-47 rounds flying toward the building pounded in my eardrums. In the next room a Marine fired his machine gun from the second story window. I was watching the seriousness on his face as he fought the onslaught.  At that moment a flash of fiery orange enveloped the room.  An RPG had scored a direct hit at head level of the Marine I was photographing. So sudden and violent it was, I only have a blurry frame to serve as a reminder.  Only the wall of the home saved him from certain death.  He was shocked however, screaming as he was knocked to the ground, stunned from the concussion and deafening roar of the grenade.

He took only a moment to regain composure and assess his emotions. He was clearly pissed.  He stood back in the window and began firing with more determination than before.  It wasn't long until another RPG crashed into the same position. Insurgent forces were well aware of the Marine's position and were determined to score a kill. The barrels of two M-240 machine guns became so hot from the rapid succession of fire that they melted and seized.

On the roof, another battle was raging. Marines on the roof were in such close contact with the insurgents that the two were lobbing hand grenades back and forth. Shrapnel was shooting all over the roof tearing into Marines fighting there. At least one pickup truck full of 15 to 20 fighters was seen heading into the fight.

At this time, another Marine who had rushed out to a second floor balcony moments earlier yelled, "I'm hit." One of several thousands of rounds fired in the opening 30 minutes of the battle had found its target.  He gave an agonizing scream and yelled again that he was hit, hoping someone would rescue him.

Sgt. Nunez threw open the door and rushed out, returning moments later dragging Sgt. Magana across the floor by the grab handle on the back of his flak jacket.  Confusion ensued.  He was eventually dragged into the room where I was hunkered down. He had been shot through the back and was in severe pain.

While corpsman were concentrating on his injury, I could see that he was beginning to fade.  His eyes were empty and began to close. He was mumbling about a letter from his daughter and I'm sure he began to concede that his life could end right there on the floor.

I was compelled to grab his hand and assured him that he would see his daughter once again.  I looked him straight in his eye, telling him to look back at me, then squeeze my hand so I knew he was still with me. It was all I knew to do.

I felt caught between being an objective journalist and responding as a human being.  I apologized to a news crew that was sharing this horror with , "I have to be a human first,"  I heard myself saying awkwardly. It was a lesson I had learned early on from a photo professor that had a profound effect on my life.

I shot only a few frames to depict the scene; some right as he was being dragged into the room and then some after he began to stabilize. I felt satisfied that I had both done my job and also done what was right in a potentially life and death situation.

Rounds were cracking off all sides of the building and now a second wounded person made his way to the same doorway. Everything seemed to be unraveling.  Here were a group of men, 37 of them in all, that I viewed as courageous warriors, well-trained and well- equipped, and they seemed to be falling one by one right in front of me.  I began to wonder:  is this it? What if, by sheer numbers and the great desire of those opposed to them, these Marines and myself were about to be gunned down, right here.  The stairway to the bottom floor was unguarded from my view. I wondered if all the Marines on the bottom floor were fighting to their last bullets.

For an instant, I imagined the following scenario.  As I peered from the doorway, insurgents with AK's are rushing up the stairs, firing at those working on the wounded Sgt. Magana as he lay there in a lifeless state. Three easy kills for the insurgents. What would I do? Would I cower onto the ground, scream "sahafi, sahafi", meaning "journalist, journalist," and hope that at that instant I could separate myself from the Marines.  Would I find myself, the barrel of a gun pushing into my skin, begging for my life?  Would I be killed instantly, no distinction made, in a hail of gunfire. Or would I pick up a weapon myself and fight for my own life and for the rest of those around me.

These decisions are guttural, instinctive. Every move seems to be analyzed in some split second thought process. When the fight was raging, I was making decisions, based on saving my life and doing my job - in that order.

But at that moment I knew that photographing a gunfight can be like photographing a triple play in baseball.  While it's certainly a dramatic moment - a photograph sometimes can't serve to capture the essence of the drama you are witnessing. The pictures of the men shooting out of the window in the next room conveyed little of the life and death intensity of the moment, the sound of gunfire, the smell, the gulping sense of mortality.  They could have just as well been during a moment when they were shooting at tin cans in the alleyway.

I knew the bullets were aimed at people who were in turn shooting back at them. But my photographs did not depict the intensity that ultimate sense of risk. But was I going to make a target of myself when at least two men were already shot and RPG's were bouncing off the walls as fast as the men shooting them could reload.

The short answer was no, I would not risk it all for one frame. At this moment I thought of my mom, and how shattered she would be getting that phone call that no mother wants.  It would be early morning, in a tiny northern Michigan town, the phone ringing as my mom prepared for work that day.  Someone I don't even know would probably deliver the call.  No one frame was not worth it.

Just being in this country as a journalist is an elevated risk, I thought to myself.  And here I was feeling more exposed to danger than at any point in my career.

A momentary series of thoughts, contemplating the immediate future for myself and those around me, and I was snapped back to the reality of the moment I was already in.

The house was still taking a serious pounding, there were wounded in both the buildings and the insurgents were still bringing a vicious attack. Then I heard a familiar and welcoming sound----two tanks rumbling up the alley. I peered out the only window in that second floor room to photograph them. They were our ride out. But something was terribly wrong.  The main gun on one of the tanks was pointed right toward our window. For a split second I thought, "Oh shit, they think WE are the insurgents and they are going to fire on us!"

Friendly fire is a sad fact of warfare and I never believed it possible until I saw it with my own eyes during the march up from Kuwait just 13 months earlier. I wondered if the tanks had been talked onto the right spot, if they knew that those were 'friendlies' staring at them from the window above. I stepped back into the depth of the room, away from the window. A useless move as a main gun tank round would surely obliterate us all no matter where we were standing.

 "OK, we are punching out of here now, and we are punching out hard! We are getting everybody out of here ASAP!" yelled one of the commanders standing on the second floor. The tanks were giving us the time and firepower needed to run back down the same alley we had crept through in the pre-dawn hours earlier that day.

The call was made to bring everyone and everything from the top floors down to the first floor.  At the same time, the wounded from the building to the north were filtering into our courtyard.  Four Marines carried the limp body of Lance Cpl. Aaron Austin into the courtyard. He would be listed as "killed in action" from the fight that day.  His heroics would earn him official recognition for his actions - albeit posthumously.  Austin, an only son, was shot multiple times in the chest as he attempted to throw a hand grenade from one rooftop to another.  Making that throw was the last effort in his life.

Sgt. Magana was already lying on a broken door in the second floor bedroom. The others used it as a litter to carry him downstairs. It was creaking to the point of breaking but made the trip to the bottom floor. Everyone else cleared the rooms and the roof and began to gather in the foyer.

It was a bloody mess. Magana was lying on the door, a look of fear now appearing in his eyes.  And Lance Cpl. Lucas Sielstad, merely 18, a wiry but tough Marine by all accounts, had bandages on his right arm soaked through with blood. His pants were ripped by medical sheers from the waist down to treat a shrapnel wound on his leg and he was bleeding from his lip.  He looked tired and stunned, but there he was, still standing.

Another Marine came down from the roof with a haphazardly tied rag wrapped around his bleeding head. He was suffering from wounds in at least a couple other places.  Still, he was calm and alert, and oddly a bit saddened by not being able to finish the fight.

The move to evacuate called for us to trace our steps back the same way we came. One by one, we hustled through the door into the courtyard. For a moment, I felt like a skydiver taking his first leap out the door of the plane. I felt so vulnerable out there, wishing for the cover of darkness that had offered some protection earlier that morning.

The courtyard was hemmed in by walls 7 feet-high shrouding us from view to anyone on the streets outside.  But the Marines were an easy target for gunmen on the second story or rooftops of any of the surrounding houses.

Crouching low and near the wall, my instinct was to run for it. To break free and run, not wait behind all the Marines in front of me exiting in some sort of formation. We were all bunched up in the courtyard and it felt like time was of the essence for getting out of this.

What seemed like hours passed before my turn to exit was in reality probably less than two minutes.  One by one we filed out and hustled down the street.  I did not know exactly from what direction the firing was coming from - or how much was incoming or outgoing. I just knew it was heavy and I wanted to get back to a place of relative comfort.

My gear seemed so heavy and awkward as I approached the gate leading to the street.  And in addition, I was also asked to carry several 203-grenade rounds in a blood-soaked pouch that was taken off a wounded Marine. But when the two Marines in front of me finally moved, I bolted out behind them.

Along the wall we ran beside, about halfway down the block there was a 4-foot gap that offered anyone in the houses to the west a clear shot at us. Any sniper would have to anticipate when a Marine might pass this gap but it made me worry. A scene from the movie "Enemy at the Gates" popped into my head, which depicted celebrated WWII Russian sniper Vassili Zaitsev popping off targets at will. Why a movie scene found its way to the front of my head I don't know.

What I do know is that when it was my turn to expose myself for that half second, I hesitated my step so as not to pass with exact same frequency as the Marines ahead of me. The well-trained and well-disciplined sniper waiting for the perfect shot was a figment of my imagination.  But the rest of the gunfire all around was real.

We were almost home free, as we had successfully run the gauntlet down the entire block.  I could see the school in my view, less than two hundred meters away. When I crossed the street there were three Marines struggling to carry a wounded comrade the rest of the way to the school. One of them motioned me over as I approached their position, slowing my run. He asked me to help carry him the wounded man. For a split second I thought, "Are you crazy, my job right now is to run like hell so I can live to do the job another day."

The split second happened about the time I was grabbing the injured Marine by his right shoulder and arm.  Along with three others we ran him to the schoolhouse, a fairly fortified structure.  His legs were inside the door two steps up, and I tried to ease him in but he was being pulled too fast from the other end. He escaped my grasp and the grasp of the Marine carrying his other arm. His limp head hit the concrete step with a thud, the least of his problems at the moment.

Several more Marines piled into the schoolhouse. The machine guns on the roof were already wailing away with everything they had.  With all the Marines piled back inside the building their fields of fire were clear and they were engaging everything in sight. Several more RPG's pounded the school, as did small arms fire from AK-47's.  It felt much safer in the school, with its two-foot thick walls and sandbagged shooting positions covering every corner.

The scene on the bottom floor was that of pandemonium, resembling an ant nest after it's been disturbed.  One Marine was running around barking orders "We need more M-16 rounds on the second floor!" Another was shocked, helmet off and head in his hands. The wounded were piled up until a transport Humvee could get through to get the rest of them out. I took a moment to catch my breath and take stock of everything that had happened up to that point.  Pure adrenaline had been pumping through my veins for two hours, and my body needed a break.

The wounded were hauled a kilometer or so away, fifteen in all, to a field hospital, which was nearly overwhelmed with the volume. Commanders started sorting out the chaos in the school, with their main mission being to keep their gun positions humming. Suppressive fire hammering enemy positions kept any insurgent advance at bay.

When the platoon stationed in a house 300 meters away gathered in the doorway of the school to make their run back, I joined them. One last run to safety.

As we approached our position I noticed something was missing from the scene. It had marked my landscape for the week that I had been in Fallouja. The minaret, the same one that loomed overhead as we ran through the graveyard earlier that morning, had completely vanished.  I was told later on that is was leveled by a tank round after a sniper was reported to be shooting from it.

Inside the house it was not the same optimistic group of people I had been with the day before. All of them looked exhausted. These men had seen battle, and they wore these looks in their eyes. It had silenced them for the moment and I gathered that it had changed some of them forever. They had seen a young man die that day, one of their own, in a brutal death that left his body torn and bloody. They had watched another of their comrades lose an arm from an enemy hand grenade.

It would be awhile before these men would laugh again. I knew these men to be tough and ready, but this shook them at their foundations. The physical and emotional scars would not be quick to heal.

As word of the battle and its damage spread, a Navy chaplain made a visit to the men of Echo Company that afternoon. The solemn faces of over fifty men crowded the room; at its center was simply a mound of dirt.  As the chaplain finished delivering words of encouragement, each Marine pushed a lit candle into place into the mound.  Soon the dank room was filled with candlelight and void of people as they withdrew to collect their thoughts.  I shot just one frame of the last man placing his candle.  He bowed his head in prayer as he did so.

That day I spoke with their Captain, Douglas Zembiec. From a roof overlooking the houses we were in that morning he said, "If is wasn't for the valor of those young Marines we would still be over there. They fought like lions. They kept their cool and evacuated the wounded. I get tears of pride when I think of them fighting like that." I could barely converse with him as two Marine Cobra helicopters fired their 3-barrel 20mm guns into those same houses. The clacking roar of the machine gun and firing of hellfire missiles surely demoralizing as well as demolishing any insurgents who might have been rejoicing about the reclaimed position.. Zembiec later added that,  "I've ordered men to their deaths, and that's a cross I have to bare."

I spoke with the mother of Lance Cpl. Austin several days after he died.  It took awhile to get the courage up to ring her at her home in New Mexico. There was nothing I could do to bring her son home. Would a phone call from someone in the media infuriate her?  All I had to offer her was a photo of her son reading the mail from home that I had shot the day before he died.  I thought she might want that as a memory of her son in a place she had perhaps imagined, but would never see.

She received my call and my unpolished speech about her son. "Hello ma'am," I said, "I was with your son on the day he died." She told me how proud she was of him and I started to break down when she told me how if she were there that day she would have carried his limp body out of the house herself.  She wanted to have any photo I had, to gather any scrap if information, conversations about him, anything she could hold onto. He was her only son.

A few days later I called Sgt. Magana as he lay in a hospital bed in Bethesda, Maryland. He spoke only in a whisper, and sounded very weak.  I was sure he did not remember me holding his hand or talking about his daughter but he seemed appreciative that someone would call him from Iraq.  He asked that I tell his comrades he was keeping them in his prayers while they were still on the battlefield. I told him I would.

Those Marines in battle were not the only ones certain to be changed by that day.  I liken my desires as a journalist to be similar to the way I like to live my life.  I want to get close enough to the edge of the abyss to look in but I don't want to go over. As I knelt over that square pan of water, scrubbing my pants vigorously, the bloodstains of that day did not fade away.  They now serve to remind me just how easy it can be to slip over the edge.
30423  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: July 29, 2004, 09:21:02 PM
Personal Journal
A New Approach
In Terror Readiness
Latest Efforts Address Specifics on How People
Can Respond to Attacks; Where to Find Shelter

In the past three years, a lot of attention has focused on making sure hospitals, corporations and government offices are prepared for a terrorist attack. But a new push is under way to address the possibility that in the first hours after an attack, individuals may have to act on their own.

Much of the first round of preparedness advice focused on basics, such as disaster kits and supplies like duct tape and bottled water. But several groups are now attempting to offer concrete advice about how to respond to a detailed range of possible attacks, from conventional weapons to biological and chemical agents to "dirty bombs" laced with radiological materials. The Bush administration has warned about the possibility of an attack timed to disrupt the upcoming political conventions, though it hasn&t raised the official terrorist threat level.

Much of the recent effort has focused on unconventional weapons such as biological and chemical agents, because it is these sorts of attacks in particular that may require quick action on the part of individuals to minimize risk. The goal is to offer guidance on how people can act in the critical hours after an attack, while the government is preparing its response.

One problem is that many Americans don&t know the difference between types of unconventional weapons, nor the very different responses that would be called for in each circumstance. And despite government recommendations, today only a small proportion of households have even a rudimentary disaster-preparedness kit.

A public symposium being held today in Washington, sponsored by the American Red Cross and the Department of Homeland Security, among others, aims to explore why so many people are not prepared for the possibility of biological, chemical, nuclear or radiological attack, and what steps can be taken by individuals to help themselves survive.

Be Prepared
See how to prepare for and react to different kinds of terror attacks.
Rand Corp., a Santa Monica, Calif.-based think tank, has created a small reference card, designed to fit in a handbag or pocket, that summarizes a recent report it published on steps people can take in response to various types of terrorist attacks. The card is free and can be downloaded from the group&s Web site, The Council for Excellence in Government, a Washington think tank, has issued its own report with advice for individuals.

Some groups have emphasized breaking a terror attack down into only few simple strategies to remember. In the event of a chemical attack, for example, Rand says the overarching goal is to find clean air very quickly: Take shelter in the closest building if the attack is outdoors; open windows if the attack is indoors. Remove clothing and shower once you are protected.

For radiological attack, people should avoid inhaling dust that could be radioactive. A dust mask or even a shirt can be helpful. In the case of nuclear attack, the main goal is to avoid radioactive fallout. Go as far underground as possible -- or high up in a multistory building -- until evacuation is possible.

One problem of course, is how to find out what type of attack is under way. For that, the Rand report suggests adding a battery-operated radio to any emergency-preparedness kit to monitor government announcements. The report, which costs $15, says a terrorism-preparedness kit doesn&t need to be elaborate and requires only a few items over and above the first-aid supplies and canned goods that might already be in someone&s emergency kit. In addition to the radio, the report suggests a dust mask with a N95-rated particulate filter that can be readily purchased to protect against radiological dust or fallout and biological agents, as well as duct tape and plastic sheeting to seal openings in a shelter.

The Duct Tape

Duct tape has been alternatively recommended and ridiculed as a protective measure. But while it can&t completely seal a home from contaminants, it can be helpful, the Rand report says. "What we found is that the most critical steps are simple to do and not hard to understand, but can make a tremendous difference," says Lynn Davis, senior political scientist at Rand Corp. and co-author of the organization&s report.

In general, preparedness experts aren&t counseling people to stock up on medications or gas masks, which have very limited value in an emergency. Cipro and other antibiotics, for instance, have a short shelf life, and indiscriminate or incorrect use of them could leave someone worse off. Gas masks need to be on at the time of an attack, or within a minute, and therefore are impractical since there is rarely sufficient warning of an attack.

Potassium iodide, which has a five-year shelf life, can be beneficial in protecting against the thyroid cancer that can result from a nuclear or radiological exposure. "But it has a very limited use" because it works only if certain types of radiation were used, says Christina Catlett, medical director of the Center for Emergency Preparedness at George Washington University Medical Center in Washington.

Some of the groups examining the issue of individual preparedness have studied the example of Israel, a country which has a long history of experience with terrorism and relies heavily on individuals to be vigilant against threats. Israelis are regularly reminded in public-service announcements to be on the lookout for suspicious objects or people. Most communities have citizen guards that take turns patrolling neighborhoods. Many schools have parent volunteers who help bolster security efforts. And nearly all homes have a designated "sealed room" with supplies and a phone jack where a family could retreat in an attack.

Convincing individuals to prepare for an attack hasn&t been easy. Last year, the Department of Homeland Security launched its Ready campaign, urging individuals to stockpile supplies such as water and canned goods and create a family emergency plan in the event of a terror attack. In a report to be presented at the Washington symposium today, the Red Cross found that only one in 10 people have made a disaster plan, prepared an emergency kit and received some kind of training in CPR or basic first aid.

The Council for Excellence in Government has sponsored town halls in seven cities, including St. Louis, Miami and Seattle, and this year published a "citizens& agenda" of actions individuals can take, such as lobbying for the creation of one telephone number, similar to 911, for citizens to report security threats and learn emergency information. The full report can be obtained at

Preparing Hospitals

Meanwhile, amid concerns about an attack timed to the election, efforts to insure that there is an ample national supply of smallpox vaccinations and antibiotics continue. Last week, the Centers for Disease Control said it had shipped thousands of so-called "ChemPaks" to Boston and New York containing Cipro and other antibiotics, medical supplies and masks, and other supplies and medicines. For use by hospitals, the packs are meant to ensure that hospitals have supplies necessary to deal with biological, chemical or nuclear attacks.

Write to Amy Dockser Marcus at

Be Prepared . . .
Some steps you can take to prepare for a possible terror attack:

Take an emergency-preparedness course:

The American Red Cross and some hospitals and community groups offer emergency-preparedness courses. For a list of courses, contact: American Red Cross at; George Washington University&s Response to Emergencies and Disaster Institute at

Prepare an emergency kit:

Checklists with helpful tips&such as don&t forget an extra set of prescription eyeglasses and medications&can be found at: Department of Homeland Security at; America Prepared Campaign at

Learn in advance about potential chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers fact-sheets with information about illnesses associated with unconventional terror attacks at The sheets include helpful information, such as the fact that anthrax isn&t contagious; that many effects of chemical agents such as sarin can be minimized by removing contaminated clothing and showering with soap and water; and how to recognize symptoms of various exposures.

Identify gaps in public preparedness and lobby for changes:

The Council for Excellence in Government published a report of suggestions of how emergency preparedness can be improved, such as creating one telephone number that people can call for information, available at Trust for America&s Health published a report about gaps in public-health infrastructure in each state and plans to update it later this year, available at

. . .How to Respond
If there is an attack, here are some simple steps individuals can take to improve the odds of survival.

("dirty bomb")  Avoid inhaling dust that could be radioactive by covering nose and mouth with any available cloth&even a shirt.  
Nuclear  Avoid radioactive fallout by evacuating the area quickly or seeking the best available shelter, either as far underground as possible or, if not available, in the upper floors of a multistory building.  
Biological  Go to a medical provider if symptomatic. Follow instructions from public-health officials on when and how to administer medications.  
Chemical  Find clean air quickly. In an indoor attack, open windows for fresh air or evacuate. In outdoor attack, find shelter&seal a room by closing windows and doors and shutting off air flow. Remove clothing and, if possible, shower.  

Source: Rand Corp. A full copy of the report and recommendations are available at

Return to story
30424  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Gathering of the Pack on: July 29, 2004, 07:15:10 AM
Woof JS:

If we didn't let first-timers fight, how would we get any second timers?  

In other words, sure. Just pre-register and all is well. Most people do prefer to witness a Gathering first just to see what they are getting themselves into, or at least watch several of our videos.

Does this answer your question?

Crafty Dog
30425  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Unorganized Militia on: July 26, 2004, 12:40:11 PM
Guardian Angles
By Nikki Usher, Times Staff Writer

They were wearing their trademark red berets, white shirts and combat boots. But on Hollywood Boulevard, amid the throngs of tourists and street performers impersonating Marilyn Monroe, Superman and Batman, they barely stood out.

"I want a picture of you guys!" said Mike Cow, a tourist from San Diego. He turned to a bystander and added: "They're weird. I've never seen them before."

It was perhaps not the most auspicious reintroduction for the Guardian Angels, who this summer returned to the streets of Los Angeles for the first time in a decade.

The volunteer citizens brigade, using martial arts and citizen's arrests, gained national attention in the 1980s by patrolling inner-city neighborhoods that are plagued by crime.

While the Angels made their greatest mark in New York City, the group also had several hundred members in seven branches that patrolled neighborhoods from Venice to the San Gabriel Valley in the 1980s and early '90s. They left amid complaints from police and after several members had been attacked ? one fatally.

Back then, the Los Angeles Police Department "would treat us like we were the Bloods or the Crips. And since the police didn't respect us, the gangs didn't," said Curtis Sliwa, the group's founder.

Now they're hoping for a renaissance. The group has come back to a Los Angeles different from the one it left, where community policing has taken root and crime rates are generally lower. Sliwa said the Angels have changed with the times, working more closely with police and conducting more training for volunteers.

Sliwa said the group decided to come back to Southern California because of LAPD Chief William J. Bratton, who worked with the group when he was chief of the New York Police Department in the early '90s.

Bratton, who became L.A.'s chief two years ago, has offered a conditional welcome to the Guardian Angels. He said his experiences with the group in New York were largely positive.

But he's reluctant to see the Angels in some L.A. neighborhoods. He said patrolling Los Angeles is much more challenging because the city is spread out and there are fewer officers to back up the Angels. Moreover, he said, the group's conspicuous presence and aggressive tactics could backfire in the city's strongest gang enclaves.

"If they wear those red berets in the wrong area, the gangs will shoot them in a second," he said.

So far, about a dozen Guardian Angels have begun regular patrols along Hollywood Boulevard and at MacArthur Park.

Bratton said he's comfortable with the group's presence in Hollywood, a tourist district that already has strong police staffing.

"The visibility and eyes and ears they provide is fine, but just don't do it in areas where they are going to be in great risk and danger," the chief said.

Others aren't so sure.

L.A. City Councilman Bernard C. Parks, the police chief from 1997 to 2002, said that he couldn't support the Angels, and that professional police officers should be the only ones doing law enforcement work.

"It's hard enough to train police and keep them abiding by the law," he said. "These were people we knew nothing about."

Since the Guardian Angels left Los Angeles, the LAPD has tried to work more closely with community leaders to identify and target high-crime areas. Los Angeles also established a network of neighborhood councils that have a voice in law enforcement and other city policies.

But the Angels have yet to establish ties with the councils, according to community leaders in Hollywood and at MacArthur Park, who said they were surprised to hear that the group was back in town.

Sylvia Valle, a MacArthur Park neighborhood activist, said she worries that the patrols might make the situation in her neighborhood west of downtown less stable.

"There are four gangs in the radius of two blocks. This is just going to add fuel to the fire," she said.

Hollywood community activist Ferris Wehbe worked with the Angels when they helped patrol the Yucca Street area in the 1980s. He said that effort was effective because the group worked with neighborhood groups. This time, however, he doesn't see that partnership.

"We don't really need them here," he said. "The reason they worked in Hollywood was that they were connected to what the community was doing and really knew us?. I have had no indication of that happening this time."

In the 1980s, when the group was most active in Los Angeles, it had a decidedly mixed record.

It garnered praise when members patrolled the 1984 Summer Olympics. But a few years later, Sliwa was arrested for allegedly clubbing a man in an area of Hollywood the group had sealed off in an unofficial drug sweep. In 1993, in one of several attacks on group members, Angel Glenn Doser was shot to death when he tried to stop a robbery in Hollywood.

The Guardian Angels of the past, Sliwa and others said, could be aggressive and intimidating. They'd march into high-crime areas and ask tough questions, look for confrontations and try to break up drug deals.

"They were just these young guys and women, many of them ex-gang members, looking to rough someone up, get into a little trouble and feel like they were on the side of the right," said Todd Clear, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York.

The L.A. group has so far been drawn from veteran Southern California Angels and a few new recruits. There's a mix of young and old, and a few women. Sliwa says they're better trained than the Angels of old.

Under new policies, recruits undergo three months of standardized training, during which they learn martial arts and how to make citizen's arrests. They are also subjected to verbal abuse to see how they respond. Guardian Angels are not armed, though many carry handcuffs and cellphones.

Though they've been absent from Los Angeles, the Guardian Angels have remained a force in other cities, mostly on the East Coast. In Washington, D.C., members are working so closely with police, patrolling gang and drug areas, that the department gave them police radios.

Sliwa said the Angels want to pick "mild" targets in Los Angeles, building a record of success, before going into more hostile gang areas. So far, he said, members have encountered little action.

During a recent evening patrol in Hollywood, members didn't make any arrests or break up any drug deals, but they did help an elderly woman and her caretakers push a wheelchair over the curb at Hollywood Boulevard and Ivar Avenue.

An appreciative Vernadette Rebold smiled from her chair and thanked them. "We remember you from 20 years ago, in New York," she said.

Patrol leader Dave Eagle shrugs when asked about the lack of public memory about their Los Angeles days.

"Sure, we're remembered for New York, and maybe people don't remember us here, but we were here and we are here," said Eagle, who was with the group during its Los Angeles heyday. "It's hard to compete with where you started."

If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at
30426  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs on: July 26, 2004, 12:30:11 PM
July 26, 2004   E-mail story  
Mexican Puppy Mills Breed Grief in Southland
 Owners learn too late that their new pets are diseased or too young to survive on their own.

By Richard Marosi, Times Staff Writer

SAN DIEGO ? Smugglers are flooding the Southern California pet market with disease-ridden puppies from Mexico, prompting law enforcement crackdowns, raising public health concerns and breaking the hearts of owners who watch their dogs die, often within hours of buying them.

Animal control officials estimate that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of puppies have died since an underground market, stretching from puppy mills in Mexico to street corners in San Diego and Los Angeles, was uncovered last year.

The puppies ? usually small breeds like poodles, pugs and Chihuahuas ? are typically sold through newspaper ads to bargain-seeking buyers who pay cash. The dogs, bundled in hand crates, appear healthy.

But some suffer from parvovirus, distemper, scabies and other hard-to-detect ailments. Separated from their mothers too early, some die from starvation because they are so young they lack teeth to chew food. Such very young dogs also often fall prey to diseases because their immune systems are not fully developed.

Marietta Ruttan of Oceanside paid $600 to a Moreno Valley woman for a Maltese puppy that died less than one day after the purchase. "I tried to cuddle and cradle it, and be good to it, but it wouldn't eat, move or do anything," Ruttan said. "I was going to name it China but it didn't live long enough," she said.

The "puppy conspiracy," as some call it, first came to authorities' attention last year when complaints started flooding in to local law enforcement agencies. Officials in the tight-knit community of animal control agencies began hearing similar stories.

After answering ads hawking puppies in local newspapers, buyers meet sellers in out-of-the-way public places. The sellers, carrying the puppies in crates, don't take checks. Sometimes they follow people to their ATM machines before handing over a pup for cash.

Excitement often turns to grief as buyers watch their puppies slow with sickness. Telephone calls to the sellers go unanswered. The sellers, who frequently use disposable cellular telephones, disappear.

U.S. Customs agents, responding to requests from local agencies, have added sick puppies to their list of contraband items, like drugs and weapons, for which they search vehicles crossing the border at San Ysidro. Agents have found puppies stuffed in packing crates and hidden away in spare-tire wheel wells. If puppies appear distressed, agents give them to animal welfare agencies. Drug-sniffing dogs sometimes alert agents to their sick canine cousins.

"We're big fans of dogs, and we hate to see sickly, very young pups crammed into little spaces," said Vince Bond, a spokesman for U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

Since April, about 50 people trying to bring in puppies have been stopped. Many are let through if they have a few dogs and carry the proper paperwork, which includes proof of vaccination. But others are turned back.

Last week a young man from Tijuana was caught trying to bring in 11 puppies at 4:30 a.m. They were packed in two crates and covered under clothing. He said he planned to give them to relatives. Instead, the puppies were given to the San Diego Humane Society, where six have died of parvo-related illnesses. The man was cited and fined $2,200.

"It's awful that people do this," said Vanessa Frazier, an animal-care attendant, as she cradled a nearly motionless, brown-haired cocker spaniel in the agency's dog isolation room. In the next cage, four Maltese puppies ? their grimy hair shaved clean ? trotted about and seemed to be recovering. The cocker spaniel's prospects, however, appeared bleak.

"I don't think he's going to make it," Frazier said.

The puppy pipeline from Mexico is apparently filling a tremendous demand in a long-maligned industry. Animal control experts discourage people from buying puppies in pet stores because they say many of the animals come from poorly run puppy mills in the Midwest.

Reputable breeders are recommended, but those puppies often cost more than the Mexican puppies, which cost from $300 to $700. Also, small breeds are sometimes hard to find in animal rescue shelters. For the puppy brokers, showing off a fluffy coat seals the deal.

"There is no such thing as an ugly puppy," said John Carlson, director of San Diego County's North Regional Animal Shelter. "It's almost like drug peddling, except that it's not illegal to possess a young puppy. But it is illegal to be selling young puppies that are sick."

Where exactly in Mexico the dogs are bred is a mystery. Some dogs could be from Tijuana, where many people sell puppies from the backs of vans. But many animal control officials suspect that the animals are bred in puppy mills in the interior of Mexico and then flown in to Tijuana.

State law requires retailers to provide documentation of age and medical history of puppies, but the burgeoning underground market is virtually unregulated. Authorities have launched some animal cruelty investigations, but the puppy peddlers have proven difficult to track down.

One of the few cases to result in charges involved a Moreno Valley woman who was cited last spring on 19 counts of animal cruelty. She sold the animals from her Riverside County home, but purchased them from people suspected of bringing them in from Mexico.

Pet stores in Compton and Huntington Beach also purchased sick puppies from people peddling dogs from Mexico, say animal control officials. Three people, including the Tijuana man, have been cited for trying to smuggle ill dogs through the port of entry at San Ysidro.

The situation raises public health concerns because some animals carry diseases contagious to humans. The Dionese family of Lake Elsinore came down with scabies after taking in Chloe, a Maltese puppy they named for a Cabbage Patch doll.

Fearful of passing the skin mites to others, they stayed indoors for four weeks. Kelly Dionese said she lost her job and that her children couldn't go to school. She said the parasite attack caused severe itching, and that it felt like being "eaten alive."

"My children cried for nights," Dionese said. "That is the devil's bug."

Dionese said she saw no signs of sickness when she paid $400 for her puppy from the Moreno Valley woman who was cited. In an ironic twist shared by others, Dionese said she bought the dog from a private party because she had heard horror stories about pet store puppies.

But Chloe was sick. And she grew rapidly sicker until she had to be euthanized.

"Chloe suffered," Dionese said. "It was traumatic for all of us."
30427  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / the titles of the teachers in the fillipino martial arts on: July 25, 2004, 10:26:20 PM
To get up to speed, please read further back in the thread about Mirafuente's intro to Yambao's book.
30428  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA Membership on: July 23, 2004, 01:54:02 PM
Woof TT:

"Guess what I was wondering about was what kind of resources do you get access to as a member, and how much it's possible to learn from them.  Could you also explain what is meant by "to walk as a warrior for all your days"?"

Our mission is for our members to have genuine growth on their respective missions "To walk as a warrior for all their days".  

To this end, the DBMA Ass'n offers

1) The Members site.
2) Vid-lessons
3) Vehicles for training in DBMA

1)  The Member's site is large, active, and continuously growing.  There is a large library of technique sequences and a huge amount of readings on FMA and related matters of interest-- and as evinced here on the public forum, "related matters of interest" is defined rather broadly!  

And there is the Forum.  The forum is the equivalent of the campfire for the tribe-- where all come together about matters of shared interest.  It might be a question about one of the vid-lessons or about DBMA theory.  It might be the instructors sharing the progressions of their class/training sessions e.g. This week we worked "bilateralism"-- here's the progression we used".  It might be concerning evolutionary pyschology.  And it might be about WW3: political posts are channeled into one of a handful of threads dedicated to these matters and here too the rule is "Friends at the end of the day"!  It might be a thread concerning training tips, or another concerning diet.  There is "the Fire Hydrant" thread where we keep each other informed of what we are up to and hook up with each other.  Etc etc etc.

2) The vid-lessons are usually  wink shot on professional cameras, and usually casually edited.   Because they are vid-lessons and not releases for the general public, we can go into things more deeply than would otherwise be the case.  And note the synergy possible-- if there is something you do not understand or a question you would like to ask, then you can do so via the Forum.  It is not a matter of "Send your money, here's your video, and good luck!"  Rather we look for you and us to have an ongoing relationship.

3)  We look to offer people ways that they can personally train in the system.   For example:

a) The PTP (Personal Training Program) with me are at a 10% discount to the price for the general public.  If a member is attending a seminar and wants to have some private training the day before or after the seminar, I make every effort to adjust my schedule to make that possible.
b) DBMA seminar attendance is also at a 10% discount.
c) DBMA instructors:  In a steady but measured way we are expanding the number of certified DBMA instructors and of DBMA "Training Groups".  These instructors and training groups receive support from us so that they can best serve you.

The idea is that the interaction amongst these three offers a synergy that yields a sum greater than the parts.

Concerning "Walk as a Warrior for all your days" (tm):  

To answer this we delve into a bit of what some have taken to calling "the DB philosophy".   In the DB/DBMA philosphy there is a goodly dose of evolutionary pyschology.  Austrian Nobel Prize winner Konrad Lorenz is the starting point here.

Most martial arts today are about young males doing what young males do-- they compete in some form of hierarchical ritual fighting.  BJJ, Muay Thai, MMA, TWD, Wrestling, etc are all examples of this.

Although we certainly have that in good measure, ours is based more on the tribal energy-- as such the fighting is not so much about hierarchy as it is about strengthening the tribe so that we may stand together to defend our land, women and children.  This is what allows us to fight without keeping score and fighting without keeping score allows to fight the way we do.  In my humble opinion, if one knows where to look, this tribal energy is present to an unusual degree in the FMA and the FMA are the core of DBMA (speaking in shorthand, DBMA can be said to be an "impure FMA" system).

Thus, unlike in hierarchical fighting, wherein the energy is "up or out" i.e. one tends to quit as one's youthful fighting skill peaks, as a member of the tribe one is always relevant.  Given the role and prevalence of weapons in this system, this is IMHO realistically possible-- if in the real world we are cornered into a problem we use weapons as necessary.  See for example the story somewhere on this site of an 80 year old Filipino taking down some 16 year old burglar some 30 pounds bigger than him in his home and capturing him for arrest (!)by using a pipe he kept handy.

When we have this sort of capability as our goal, then as our competitive skills decline we still remain motivated-- for we no longer compare ourselves to others or what we were when we were younger.  

Does this help answer your question?

Crafty Dog

PS:  I see that you are from Norway.  Please note that our European program is becoming very strong under the leadership of my personal friend and close private student, Guro Benjamin "Lonely Dog" Rittiner of Bern, Switzerland.  Not only does he bring me in twice a year (the next time Oct 9-10) but he is authorized to do seminars and PTPs on his own.  

PPS:  A bit of a tangent, but I mention that Top Dog speaks Norwegian.
30429  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Top Dog's Staff? on: July 23, 2004, 12:40:33 PM
My bad-- I forgot to ask.
30430  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Understanding what I see online on: July 23, 2004, 12:39:27 PM
Woof Ziggy Bob:

I suspect that the lack of answers to your questions may be because that people often try to avoid questions that call for assessing the specific merits/drawbacks of a particular style.

That said, I'll take a brief nip at your questions.

"1. Understood this grip to be a "normal block" and not something for drilling only.
2. Don't understand how control of the stick could be maintained while blocking even a mid power strike."

Differences of opinion are common in the martial arts and especially so in the FMA! You are not the only person to have this thought/question.  In my experience it is often a good idea to remember that different styles/systems are intended for different paradigms of fighting.  

"My questions are:
1. Was stickfighting a training tool for later works with blades?"

In some systems, the answer is yes and in others the answer is no.
"2. Is our/my focus on power making me miss something?"

We too tend towards the power-crazed end of the spectrum.  I find it a good idea for me to remember that blades require much less power and that some striking tools are of a nature that require less body mechanics.  For example a short metal bar, (especially if striking surface is shaped like a blade or a triangle) intended for concealment may have considerable striking power with the snapping motion you question.
"3. Are these wrist only strikes such a real threat?
(I do train with very minimal protection and have been on the recieving ends of many types of strikes. In fact, we were actually hitting each other in different places to see the effectiveness of the wrist/flip strikes and was surprised at the ineffectiveness that OUR strikes had on each other.)"

See my answer to the previous question.  I do agree that it is good to test things as you seem to be doing.

"4. Why does this information that is being taught seem so far away from what I think a real fight with sticks would be?"

Perhaps because you have a different paradigm in mind?

"5. Is Stickfighting different than fighting with sticks and is Kali so different from stickfighting? (I realize that Kali is much more than combat with sticks but I hope you understand my meaning."

The FMA are notorious for disputes of near-theological intensity over matters of terminology.  Indeed, I often joke that consistent use of terminology between systems violates the traditions of the FMA.  

HTH a bit-- sorry I cannot be more definitive in my answers.

Crafty Dog
30431  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / purchase a knife on: July 09, 2004, 07:52:01 PM
I have felt some Emerson's that opened very nicely and which had a handle that seemed well-designed to me.
30432  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Q for Crafty Dog Re Practitioner Camp on: July 09, 2004, 05:35:15 PM
Woof WD:

Why yes there is:  Sept 18-19.   Cool

Guro Crafty/Marc/and to my wife "Oh God"
30433  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: July 08, 2004, 01:08:19 AM
By Rowan Scarborough
The Clinton administration talked about firm evidence linking Saddam Hussein's regime to Osama bin Laden's al Qaeda network years before President Bush made the same statements.

    The issue arose again this month after the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States reported there was no "collaborative relationship" between the old Iraqi regime and bin Laden.

    Democrats have cited the staff report to accuse Mr. Bush of making inaccurate statements about a linkage. Commission members, including a Democrat and two Republicans, quickly came to the administration's defense by saying there had been such contacts.

    In fact, during President Clinton's eight years in office, there were at least two official pronouncements of an alarming alliance between Baghdad and al Qaeda. One came from William S. Cohen, Mr. Clinton's defense secretary. He cited an al Qaeda-Baghdad link to justify the bombing of a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan.

    Mr. Bush cited the linkage, in part, to justify invading Iraq and ousting Saddam. He said he could not take the risk of Iraq's weapons falling into bin Laden's hands.

    The other pronouncement is contained in a Justice Department indictment on Nov. 4, 1998, charging bin Laden with murder in the bombings of two U.S. embassies in Africa.

    The indictment disclosed a close relationship between al Qaeda and Saddam's regime, which included specialists on chemical weapons and all types of bombs, including truck bombs, a favorite weapon of terrorists.

    The 1998 indictment said: "Al Qaeda also forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in the Sudan and with the government of Iran and its associated terrorist group Hezbollah for the purpose of working together against their perceived common enemies in the West, particularly the United States. In addition, al Qaeda reached an understanding with the government of Iraq that al Qaeda would not work against that government and that on particular projects, specifically including weapons development, al Qaeda would work cooperatively with the government of Iraq."

    Shortly after the embassy bombings, Mr. Clinton ordered air strikes on al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan and on the Shifa pharmaceutical factory in Sudan.

    To justify the Sudanese plant as a target, Clinton aides said it was involved in the production of deadly VX nerve gas. Officials further determined that bin Laden owned a stake in the operation and that its manager had traveled to Baghdad to learn bomb-making techniques from Saddam's weapons scientists.

    Mr. Cohen elaborated in March in testimony before the September 11 commission.

    He testified that "bin Laden had been living [at the plant], that he had, in fact, money that he had put into this military industrial corporation, that the owner of the plant had traveled to Baghdad to meet with the father of the VX program."

    He said that if the plant had been allowed to produce VX that was used to kill thousands of Americans, people would have asked him, " 'You had a manager that went to Baghdad; you had Osama bin Laden, who had funded, at least the corporation, and you had traces of [VX precursor] and you did what? And you did nothing?' Is that a responsible activity on the part of the secretary of defense?"

This article was mailed from The Washington Times (
For more great articles, visit us at

Copyright (c) 2004 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
30434  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: July 06, 2004, 09:44:45 PM
The IRR: Emptying the Cupboard
July 06, 2004
By George Friedman


The U.S. Department of Defense is now activating the Army's Individual Ready Reserve for combat duty. Given the inherent problems associated with such a move, it is clear that U.S. war planners were caught in a trap: Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's "revolution in warfare" has not evolved as expected.


On July 6, 5,600 members of the U.S. Army's Individual Ready Reserve will start to receive notices that they are being recalled to active duty. Members of the IRR are generally soldiers who have completed their primary active-duty assignments. They are not part of the regular Reserves or the National Guard, but are simply kept on a list as available for recall. In general, this has been simply a formality. IRR members have been called up on only two occasions: Once was in 1968, following the Tet Offensive; the other was in 1991, in the context of Operation Desert Storm. There have already been some smaller call-ups of essential specialties, but this is the first large-scale mobilization. The Army has indicated that there likely will be more.

The recall is neither routine, nor what the Army would like to be doing.

First, the reactivated reservists will have been out of the Army for several years. They might not be in appropriate mental or physical condition for a tour in a combat zone -- where, according to the Army, most are going to be sent. Since the current plan is to keep them on active duty for no more than a year, there is little time for an extensive conditioning program if the troops are to spend much time in-theater. These are not the forces commanders want to lead if they have a choice.

Second, although this call-up might fix the Army's quantitative problem in the short run, it can wreak havoc in the long run. The volunteer army depends, obviously, on the willingness of people to join. That rests on a large number of variables, one of which is the idea that the volunteer can control his term of service, building it into his or her long-term plans. It has always been understood, in the fine print, that calling up the IRR was possible, and soldiers who are being recalled cannot complain that they did not know -- they can complain only that they did not expect it to happen. However, people who have already served and completed their tours -- and are busy with careers, children and mortgages -- are now going to be sent into combat zones. Their younger siblings, cousins and friends are going to be watching the chaos in their lives and could well decide that, while they would be prepared to serve a given term and even have that term extended during war, giving the Army control over their lives -- and those of their families -- for years afterward is simply not worth it.

The Army, the Defense Department and the Office of the President are all acutely aware of this problem. Nevertheless, they have chosen to go this route. Given the inherent defects of the choice and its obvious potential cost, they did not make this move frivolously; this was something that was absolutely necessary. That said, the question now is this: How did the U.S. Army get into the position of having to make this choice?

The call-up of the IRR in 1968 came in the midst of a crisis surrounding Vietnam. The United States had miscalculated troop requirements and found itself short of critical specialties that it could not make up from the pool of available conscripts. No one planned for the circumstances that presented themselves in 1968 -- or for those that prompted Desert Storm either. Iraq's invasion of Kuwait left little time to redesign the Army's force structure, and by 1991 it was dealing with a surprise. The IRR has been utilized twice, both times in the face of the unexpected. Sometimes it was mismanagement, sometimes reality, but always it was an attempt to cope with the unexpected -- and unwanted -- event. The 2004 call-up obviously fits into this category. The issue is what was unanticipated, and why it was not expected.

The Sept. 11 attacks certainly were unanticipated. This cannot be disputed, although whether they should have been is going to be an interminable debate. However, this large-scale activation of the IRR is taking place not six months after Sept. 11, but almost three years later. That indicates a much broader and deeper surprise than the attacks themselves.

The first surprise had to do with the nature of warfare. U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was an advocate of what has been called "the revolution in warfare." This concept is the belief that as technology of all sorts comes online, the need for massed armies will decline. Few would debate that a revolution in warfare is under way. The issue is whether it has matured to a sufficient degree that policymakers can depend on it, or whether it still has several generations to go.

Throughout his tenure, Rumsfeld has been highly critical of the Army. He felt that it was too heavy, in the sense of relying on armor and artillery -- supply hogs that take a long time to get to the theater of operations. Rumsfeld's view of the war against al Qaeda was that it would require very small, very fast and very lethal forces to execute. Rumsfeld was right, but he failed to factor in two things.

The first was that while the deployment of small, fast, lethal forces potentially could take out al Qaeda units and could be used to destabilize nation-states, those units could not be used to take control of those nations. There is a huge difference between shattering a government and governing a country. Indeed, there is little value in destabilizing a nation unless it can be pacified; otherwise, destabilization opens the door to al Qaeda, rather than shutting down the network. Therefore, insufficient thought was given to the problem of pacification -- not only in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan. Denying terrain to al Qaeda means being present on the ground in sufficient numbers to make a difference. Rumsfeld constantly tried to find a way to transfer responsibility for the ground to an indigenous government -- failing to recognize that the high-tech destruction of the state creates a vacuum that either is filled with U.S. forces or left in chaos.

Rumsfeld focused on the first phase of the war: regime change. This phase was certainly amenable to the kind of war he favored. But the second phase -- regime construction -- is not at all influenced by the revolution in warfare. It requires a large security force -- and even that might not be enough. Rumsfeld's hostility toward the Army's cumbersome, traditional ways of doing things caused him to make a massive miscalculation: Rather than building up Army ground forces in 2002 and 2003, he restricted the growth of the Army, thereby leaving it short of troops for the prolonged second phase of the war.

Rumsfeld's second surprise was a persistent underestimation of the enemy. In particular, he seemed to genuinely believe that with the occupation of Baghdad, all organized resistance would cease. The idea that there would be people in Iraq who, out of support for the Baathist regime or simple patriotism, would resist the American occupation in an extended and effective way seems never to have been factored into plans. Indeed, when Army Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki, who was very much concerned about extended resistance, argued before the war that in excess of 200,000 troops would be needed in Iraq for an extended period, Rumsfeld attacked him as being alarmist. Rumsfeld failed to plan for occupying a country of 25 million people or policing a city of 5 million people -- both in the face of resistance, albeit relatively light resistance.

Occupying a country or a city takes manpower. That is a requirement -- though not necessarily the only one -- for success. Rumsfeld's view of warfare did not take into account the complexities of occupation. The tension between Rumsfeld and the Army created a situation in which dramatically pyramiding responsibilities for the Army were not met with equivalent increases in manpower.

This is the first global war the United States has waged in which neither the command structure of the armed forces nor the force structure evolved dramatically in the opening years. The fact that there has not been a doubling or tripling in size of the U.S. Army is startling. In spite of the fact that it is involved in a variety of combat operations in remote areas of the world -- and that the enemy can choose to open new theaters of operation that are unexpected (such as Saudi Arabia or Pakistan) -- the armed forces have not grown substantially in three years.

Rumsfeld apparently thought the war would be easier than it has been, and he believed that technology would be more effective than it possibly could be. The need to occupy, pacify and govern hostile nations was not built into the war plan -- nor is it there now. The fact is that the call-ups from the IRR are Band-Aids on a fundamental issue: The United States is involved in a land war in Asia again, and it is trying to fight that war with a military -- especially an Army -- that was designed for peacetime in the 1990s. It cannot possibly stretch.

The central conceptual problem in Vietnam was that the United States did not want to spend its resources on doing the things that might give it an opportunity to win the war. Having insufficient resources, the United States simply decided that they were sufficient.

In Vietnam, the military had recourse to a draft. It did not work very well. Not only did it create deep social tension between those who served and those who did not, but also a two-year term was not sufficient to master most of the specialties of warfare -- including rifleman skills. Between two years of service and a one-year tour in Vietnam, the military lost its people just when they were learning to do their jobs. The draft -- particularly as it was structured during the Vietnam era -- was the failure point, not the solution.

Two-year conscription is simply too short a period of time to master the specialties the military needs now. Today's military does not consist of cannon fodder, but of highly trained specialists who need two years to begin becoming proficient at their jobs. Moreover, another draft in which half the eligible candidates were exempt would rip the United States apart. Universal conscription creates too large a manpower pool. It creates more problems than it solves. What it needs is an expansion of the volunteer force.

For that, very large sums of money are needed, making it attractive to choose the military as a profession. The problem is that the United States is out of time. The time for this expansion should have been early 2002, when it became clear that al Qaeda would not be easily defeated and that other military campaigns would be coming. Had the Bush administration asked Congress for sufficient money to expand the volunteer Army, large numbers of well-trained troops would be coming out of the chute just about now.

No such request was made. Rumsfeld ignored Army requests for increased manpower, focusing instead on surgical tools for regime change. The force structure did not undergo a quantum expansion. As a result, when the worst-case rather than the best-case scenario came to pass in Iraq -- guerrilla war -- the United States was unprepared for it. It had to reach into the IRR for a few thousand men. The military is, in effect, cannibalizing itself, using up its reserves. Since this war is not likely to end soon, and the IRR is not a bottomless well, it is clear that something will have to be done.

Copyrights 2004 - Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
30435  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Howl of Respect to our Soldiers/Veterans on: July 05, 2004, 12:17:54 PM
Climbing the ropes to ability

Disabled Sports USA is helping injured veterans and others discover the power of an unbroken spirit.
By Tina Daunt, Times Staff Writer

Marine Staff Sgt. Eric Alva survived stepping on a landmine the first day of the ground war in Iraq, but he spent months in the hospital ? wishing he had died.

Flying shrapnel had shredded his right leg, forcing doctors to amputate it above the knee. His right arm and hand were mangled, and his left leg was broken.

Alva wondered whether he would ever be able to walk again.

"In the beginning, the hard part is not accepting your injury," he said. "You hate life. You hate what happened. You're angry, but you're mostly sad. I can remember day after day and countless weeks of nothing but crying."

At first, Alva was alone in the wards at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., and then at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C. But as the war went on, dozens of soldiers were brought in ? almost all of them with similar injuries. Alva decided it was time to pull himself out of bed, learn to stand and then walk, with the help of a prosthetic leg.

By winter, the former marathon runner was in Colorado skiing, with the help of a team of Paralympic instructors. Last week in Long Beach, Alva and 25 other Iraq war veterans learned to rock climb, cycle and sail at the annual SummerFest hosted by Disabled Sports USA, a nonprofit group that helps vets and civilians overcome even the toughest disabilities.

"I realize now that anything is possible," said Alva, 33, who is going back to college in his hometown of San Antonio this fall to study sports medicine. "I never believed it at first, but the saying is true: Time really does heal all wounds."

New recruits

Until the war started in Iraq nearly 16 months ago, Disabled Sports served mostly Vietnam veterans and disabled civilians. That's not the case anymore. Volunteers from the group visit military hospitals weekly, offering sports courses to dozens of permanently disabled soldiers. More than 50 vets injured in Iraq have joined.

"We want to help these guys who are coming back from Iraq with some pretty serious injuries," said Disabled Sports Executive Director Kirk M. Bauer, who joined the group 35 years ago after he lost a leg in Vietnam. "Their bodies are protected by their equipment but not their limbs, and that's what's being blown off by these roadside bombs and other devices.

"We want to show them that they can still lead a full life, and sports is an important tool."

The second annual SummerFest in Long Beach provided a mini-vacation for about 100 civilians and soldiers, their families and friends. For four days, the soldiers had their pick of classes, taught by volunteer instructors. Running, wheeling and scuba seminars were held at Millikan High School. On Mother's Beach, a quiet waterway about half a mile from the shore, people gathered in groups of 20 to learn how to water ski, canoe, cycle and rock climb. In the evenings, they met for dinner and took harbor cruises.

Joe Garrett, a San Diego man who was paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle accident in 1988, said he was surprised to see so many war vets. "It just blows me away that so many of these guys are coming back from Iraq, injured for life," said Garrett, who has been going to events hosted by Disabled Sports events for more than a decade. "It's sad, but I think it's excellent that they're here."

The participants included several recently injured soldiers, such as Army 1st Lt. Lonnie Moore, from Wichita, Kan., who lost a leg when his Bradley fighting vehicle came under heavy fire near Fallouja on April 6. He and his fianc?e, Melanie Disbrow, arrived in Long Beach on June 27 after leaving Walter Reed's outpatient housing facility at dawn.

The following Monday, Moore and Disbrow teamed to learn how to canoe and sail. On Tuesday, they water-skied.

"Look, I'm not going to lie to you and tell you that I'm a big man and this injury wasn't a big deal," said Moore, who walks with a prosthesis. "There are a couple times I've really broken down. It gets challenging. But the great thing about being out here is everyone pushes and supports everyone else. It's nice to have a group of people who are going through the same thing you are."

Alva was determined to conquer the rock-climbing wall set up on a road along Mother's Beach. It was not an easy task. He had a hard time angling his prosthetic leg while pulling himself up with his injured hand. He would climb about 6 feet before he would lose his footing.

After several attempts, Alva had drawn a crowd of a dozen supporters, who chanted, "Go Marine!" At 20 feet up, Alva declared victory, grinning at his cheering fans. Strapped to safety ropes, he then eased himself down.

Next it was Army Sgt. Johnnie Williams' turn. The 21-year-old veteran from Tampa, Fla., was left paralyzed from the waist down when the Humvee he was riding in was run off a narrow road 100 miles northwest of Baghdad 13 months ago. He was thrown from the vehicle, which ran over him as it careened down an embankment.

Volunteer instructors lifted Williams into a harness. He used his arms to pull himself up a rope to the top of the wall. It didn't take him long. Williams' mother, Vicky Harris, taunted him. "Let's see you do it again," she yelled. He smiled at her and climbed to the top twice more, where he posed for pictures.

"I just wanted to get out here and have some fun," said Williams, who uses a wheelchair to get around. "I've gotten to the point where I've accepted what happened. You have a choice ? either you can keep on living or just fall down and die. So I just do my best every day."

Harris said it was nice to see her son happy. She found out a year ago, on Mother's Day, that he had been seriously injured in Iraq. At first, doctors didn't think he would live.

"He's a trooper," Harris said. "Some days we had a hard time adjusting and dealing, but I thank God we all made it through. He's doing OK. I'm doing OK?. It's a good for him to do things like this. It inspires you as a person who is looking on and a person who is participating."

Nationwide organization

Disabled Sports USA was established in 1967 in Northern California by several disabled Vietnam war veterans. Now based in Rockville, Md., it has a nationwide network of more than 80 chapters in 35 states. The group offers sports and rehabilitation programs to anyone with a permanent physical disability, including stroke, multiple sclerosis and visual impairments.

Bauer, the executive director, credits Disabled Sports for helping him deal with his own injury after he returned from Vietnam in 1969.

"I lost my leg from a hand grenade during a firefight," he said. "It took six months in the hospital and seven operations until they put me back together again. I contemplated suicide at one point. I was depressed and wondering what was going on in my life. These guys literally dragged me out of the hospital and taught me how to ski in one day. It turned my life around."

Bauer estimates that the group serves more than 60,000 people annually. The veterans attending last week's SummerFest traveled and participated for free, the tab picked up by United Airlines, Paralyzed Veterans of America and the Challenged Athletes Foundation, among other sponsors.

"We are able to teach these soldiers a sports skill up through the beginner level in one day, whether it's cycling, outrigger canoeing or sailing," Bauer said. "They will return home with real confidence in their ability to get back and active again."

Arriving in Long Beach from Colorado Springs, Colo., Army Capt. David Rozelle, who lost part of his right leg a year ago in a landmine explosion, said he was eager to learn how to water ski and scuba dive. Along with Alva, he had participated in the Disabled Sports ski clinic in Breckenridge, Colo., in December.

"When you become disabled, you become adaptive," said Rozelle, who first skied at age 3. "In the case of snow skiing, I needed some wedges in my boots?. By the end of the week, I was again snowboarding and competing in a Level 2 race. It was the real deal."

Rozelle, who was in charge of 140 soldiers as part of the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment, said he hopes to return to Iraq next year to command a new unit. He was serving as the unofficial "sheriff" of Hit, a city in western Iraq, when he drove over an anti-tank mine in June 2003. The explosion sliced through the middle of his Humvee. Doctors amputated his leg below the knee in a hospital tent.

"Any time you are in combat, you feel powerful," said Rozelle, who attended the event in Long Beach with his wife and 11-month-old son. "You feel no one is going to kill you because you are smarter, you are better trained and you are better equipped. You don't even think about it. Then when you get blown up, you realize how vulnerable you are. What matters the most to me is that I'm still alive."

WWII Soldier's Heroism Sent a Message About Prejudice
Torrance's Ted Tanouye fought and died for a nation that incarcerated his family.

By Cecilia Rasmussen, Times Staff Writer

On "Hill 140" northeast of Cecina, Italy, on July 7, 1944, a young soldier from Torrance single-handedly wiped out six German machine-gun nests that had pinned down his unit for two days.

He was wounded, but recovered to fight in another battle. Wounded again, this time fatally, he shouted encouragement to his men as he was carried away on a stretcher. "Go for broke!" he cried ? invoking the battalion's motto.
The soldier's heroism was all the more remarkable considering that, from the time he began training until the time he died, his family was locked in an internment camp by the same government he was fighting for.

Tech Sgt. Ted Tanouye was a member of the all-Japanese American 442nd Regimental Combat Team, which together with the 100th Infantry Battalion became the most decorated combat unit for its size and length of service in U.S. military history. That's in part because the soldiers had something to prove to the country that had incarcerated many of their families.

Nobody ever questioned Tanouye's courage under fire. His feat in July 1944 earned him the Distinguished Service Cross, the military's second-highest honor.

But, like at least a score of Japanese American soldiers, he did not receive the Medal of Honor, probably because of wartime prejudice. That was rectified four years ago, when Tanouye and 19 other Japanese Americans received the medal, many of them posthumously.

Now Tanouye will be honored by his alma mater, Torrance High School, from which he graduated in 1938. A memorial in his honor will be unveiled Wednesday across the street from the school, and four vintage U.S. Army Bird Dog aircraft will roar overhead in the "missing man" formation.

Until Tanouye came along, Torrance High's most famous graduate was an acquaintance of his, future Olympian Lou Zamperini, who ran the 5,000 meters in the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin. Zamperini became a war hero after his plane crashed in 1943, stranding him on a raft at sea until he was captured and imprisoned by the Japanese.

A stadium and an airfield were named for Zamperini, who earned the Purple Heart, among other medals. But the honors didn't rest easy. "I always felt bad because Tanouye was the real hero and wasn't honored," Zamperini said in an interview.

Tanouye, a second-generation Japanese American, was born in Torrance in 1919, the eldest of six children. While his parents worked on their truck farm, he spent weekends and a few years after graduation working the produce section at the Ideal Ranch Market in Torrance.

He was working Dec. 7, 1941, when news of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor came over the radio. Friends said he cried.

He enlisted in the Army in February 1942, two days after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed an executive order to intern about 120,000 Japanese Americans for the duration of the war.

Tanouye and his best friend, Akira Shimatsu, were inducted at Ft. MacArthur in San Pedro while, a few miles away, their families were being put aboard an internment train, bound for an Arkansas camp.

The best friends also wound up in Arkansas, for infantry training. That proved fortuitous; both visited their families before shipping out to Italy.

Independence Day 1944 found Tanouye on the front lines near Cecina. He led his platoon to attack and captured, with precious little cover, a "strategically important hill," as his medal citation called it.

What he did, according to his citation, was this: For two days, his platoon had been pinned down by machine-gun fire. Tanouye crawled forward alone and machine-gunned all the Germans in the first nest. A second machine-gun nest opened fire. He fired back, silencing it.

His left arm injured by a grenade, he refused first aid. He crawled and dashed from cover to cover as he sprayed an enemy trench with bullets.

At last, out of ammunition, he crawled 20 yards to a comrade to reload. He then slithered forward to a fourth machine-gun installation and hurled a grenade. Under fire as he lay on the hillside, he managed to take out two more machine-gun nests.

"His courageous decision to go ahead in the face of suicidal odds, his skillful deployment of his men to keep losses at a minimum, his consideration for them, and his devotion to duty exemplify and reflect the highest traditions of the Armed Forces of the United States," wrote his platoon leader, Lt. Samuel R. Gay.

When Tanouye recovered, he returned to his comrades farther north in Italy. He was sitting in a foxhole Aug. 27, 1944, when he wrote what may have been his last letter to his parents, who were still in Arkansas. He was busy, he said, "dodging artillery fire and bullets," but asked them not to worry. "I'm OK, yet ? only miss Akira."

His best friend had been killed five weeks before while carrying wounded soldiers to safety. Shimatsu received the Bronze Star posthumously.

A few days later, on Sept. 1, Tanouye was crouching to inspect a German land mine along the Arno River when another soldier accidentally tripped the wire. Tanouye took most of the blast, shielding Sgt. Hideo Kuniyoshi.

"If it weren't for Ted, I wouldn't be alive," Kuniyoshi said in a video tribute to Tanouye. Kuniyoshi is flying here from Hawaii for the unveiling of the memorial to the man who died in his stead.

As Tanouye was carried away on a stretcher, Kuniyoshi remembered, he called to his men, "Go for broke!," the motto of the 442nd. Tanouye died five days later.

Seven months later, his mother was temporarily released from the internment camp and taken by military escort to a ceremony in Little Rock, where she received her son's Distinguished Service Cross. Medal in hand, she was returned to the camp.

In 2000, Tanouye's cross was upgraded to a Medal of Honor. "Rarely has a nation been so well served by a people it had so ill treated," President Clinton said at a White House ceremony honoring Tanouye, 19 other Japanese Americans, a Filipino American and a Chinese American.

A short video about Tanouye's life will be shown at Wednesday's ceremony, which follows last year's renaming of the Torrance National Guard armory after him. Documentarians Craig Yahata and Robert Horsting pieced together photos and interviews with family members, classmates, military friends and current Torrance High students.

"He wasn't like other sergeants," Pvt. Rudy Tokiwa says in the video. "He had patience and tried to explain things to his men, not just give us orders."

Horsting said that Tanouye, 24, was "one of the oldest in his platoon and he felt he had to protect his men, who were mostly only 18 years old."

Tanouye and Shimatsu were buried in Italy. In 1948 they were exhumed and returned to Los Angeles. Their funerals were held simultaneously at the Buddhist Temple in Little Tokyo, and they were buried side by side at Evergreen Cemetery.

Seven years after Tanouye died, his youngest brother, Yukiwo, serving in the Army, was killed in the Korean War. He was buried on the other side of his brother.
30436  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Violence against Women on: July 05, 2004, 09:35:26 AM
Woof All:

Should this happen, it will be very interesting to observe the reactions of various military, political and civilian players.


Female US soldier in Iraq targetted for kidnapping

PTI[ THURSDAY, JULY 01, 2004 08:48:06 PM ]
WASHINGTON: Terrorists in the Abu Musab Zarqawi network in Iraq are specifically trying to kidnap an American female service member to further horrify the US public, senior defence officials were on Thursday quoted as saying.

The word is being passed within the network on the importance of taking one or more women hostages, The Washington Times reported quoting two senior US defence officers.

"We have heard through intelligence channels that several extremist organisations are attempting to capture coalition servicemen and women. We have instituted additional force protection methods to thwart these attempts," a senior military officer in Iraq told the paper.

Another defence source said there is an "edict, either on paper or as an order," within terrorist networks to capture an American female service member."

Of the 140,000 US troops in Iraq, about 11,000 are women.
30437  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Knife Strategies on: July 04, 2004, 08:37:52 AM
Woof Island Dog:

  A pleasure seeing you once again.  

  As for your question, it is a good one-- but I suspect that people may be loathe to share their "secret" tactics/strategies.

Crafty Dog
30438  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: July 04, 2004, 07:14:16 AM
30439  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: July 02, 2004, 12:47:52 PM


And in a separate matter, I move over "Danny Boy's post to here:


Judge suspected of masturbating in court
June 25, 2004

OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - An Oklahoma state judge frequently masturbated and used a device for enhancing erections while his court was in session, charges a petition by the state's attorney general seeking his removal.


Oklahoma Attorney General Drew Edmondson filed the petition on Wednesday with state judicial authorities seeking the ouster of Sapulpa District Judge Donald Thompson, 57, for "conduct constituting an offense involving moral turpitude in violation of the Oklahoma Constitution," Edmondson's spokesman said on Thursday.

The judge flatly denies the charges made in the petition, his lawyer, Clark Brewster, said on Thursday. He said the judge received a penis pump for his 50th birthday as a gag gift, which became a source of a running joke in the courthouse.

"The allegations are bizarre and preposterous," Brewster said. "Recently, some members of local law enforcement that are upset with a number of his rulings, used this situation to embarrass and attack him."

The judge, who was first elected to the bench more than 20 years ago in the state's nonpartisan judicial elections, is based about 80 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.
30440  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Michael Moore's new movie on: July 02, 2004, 07:36:33 AM
I haven't read through this site, but for those researching the accuracy and honesty of Moore's many assertions it may be a good resource.
30441  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Photo of Kris on web site on: July 01, 2004, 07:07:52 PM
Woof Gints et al:

That "Satan-like creature" peering over my shoulder is Pappy Dog, the man that Kris cleverly just headbutted in the teeth.  

Anyway, I'll be glad to get the pictures to Kris-- he'll be training with me on Monday.

Crafty Dog
30442  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines on: July 01, 2004, 03:17:05 AM
Philippines: MILF Peace Talks on Again
June 30, 2004

After President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo's re-election, the Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are ready to restart peace talks. A large portion of the Moro rebels could be ready to end the long-standing insurrection; however, movement toward an accord could spark more violence, while radical members of MILF reject peace.


Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo said June 28 the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) is working with the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) in hunting militant Islamist groups Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) and the Abu Sayyaf. The announcement comes while negotiators from the government and MILF are poised to resume stalled peace talks, and U.S. forces prepare to conduct joint exercises with Philippine troops in Mindanao.

A combination of battle fatigue and U.S. intervention in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao appears to be prompting a large portion of the Moro rebels to cut a peace deal with Manila. Over the next few months, fighting will likely erupt between divergent MILF factions while radical groups that reject peace splinter from the main body of the group.

Now that the presidential elections have passed and Arroyo's government is reasonably secure, political forces in Mindanao are again moving toward a peace deal. The government and MILF are scheduled to meet in Kuala Lumpur in early August to reopen peace talks interrupted by the political contest in Manila.

MILF has sent a series of positive signals in the past week. Rebel spokesman Eid Kabalu congratulated Arroyo on June 24 for winning the election, saying, "We remain optimistic that a peace agreement will be reached under her administration." The Moro rebels are backing up their rhetoric with action, reportedly using intelligence provided by Manila to find JI members among the rebels. Philippine security officials estimate that up to 40 JI members are in Mindanao training members of MILF and Abu Sayyaf.

MILF's cooperation with Manila has won it praise from the government. Arroyo said June 29 that conflict with the Moro rebels "is at an all-time low" following a cease-fire in July 2003.

The statements by Arroyo and the rebels are more than just political niceties before they meet at the negotiating table. MILF appears battle weary and ready to accept an exchange of autonomy for a peace agreement; the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) accepted a similar deal in 1996.

MILF's move to throw in the towel is partially prompted by the U.S. involvement in Mindanao, which has become a front in the U.S. war against Islamist groups. The United States is continuing to support Philippine military operations against the Abu Sayyaf, while using a mixture of economic incentives and military threats -- including U.S. assistance for the AFP if fighting resumes, or development aid once an accord is reached -- to push MILF into a peace deal. By supporting the Philippine military and co-opting MILF, the United States hopes to deny the southern Philippines to militant groups, which use the region as a training ground and base of operations.

There likely will be a dramatic increase in violence in Mindanao when MILF moves to negotiate a peace deal and immediately after any deal is cut.

Small radical factions within MILF probably will reject peace and splinter off into new militant groups or join JI and the Abu Sayyaf. There also will be violent infighting among the rebels as the MILF high command works with Manila to purge its ranks. In addition, some rejectionists within MILF will likely attempt to derail peace talks through numerous small-scale attacks.

Copyrights 2004 - Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
30443  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DB Gathering Fotos are up! on: June 30, 2004, 04:30:45 PM
30444  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Summer Gathering - Mixed Weapons Fights on: June 30, 2004, 04:23:22 PM
I brought a lawn chair and offered it in my opening talk, but no one seemed interested cheesy
30445  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Questions for So Cal people on: June 29, 2004, 09:49:22 PM
Porn Star Dog couldn't get into this thread for some reason and so on his behalf I post his reply for him:


Posted: Tue Jun 29, 2004 9:57 pm    Post subject: SoCal Response    

I can't reply to the other thread for some reason.

LOL! at Tim for not having housing recommendations.  

SoCal pretty much is a different state. I highly recommend a car in L.A. Public transportation can be reliable. The buses go everywhere, but take a long time. A car really makes life easier here. Santa Monica and Westwood are nice areas although a bit pricey. The easiest way to make your rent cheap is to find roommates, or maybe student housing?
30446  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Did Filipino Martial Arts Revolutionize Boxing? on: June 28, 2004, 12:34:32 PM
Woof Tuhon Raf:

Interesting observations.  I also admired Prince Naz' footwork greatly.  Lots of bilaterlism, lots of triangles.


PS:  Going on a bit of a tangent:

I'm a street bum, says broke Tyson
By Anne Campbell, Metro

Boxing legend Mike Tyson has been sleeping in homeless shelters and
living like a 'street bum' since declaring himself bankrupt.

The former heavyweight champion of the world, who once had more than
?165million in the bank and regularly earned ?5million per fight, also
said he has been accepting handouts from drug dealers.

He added: 'For two years I have been a bum, truly a bum in the streets.
'I've got nowhere to live. I've been crashing with friends, literally
sleeping in shelters. Unsavoury characters are giving me money and I'm
taking it. I need it. The drug dealers, they sympathise with me. They
see me as some sort of pathetic character.'

Tyson, who will be 38 on Wednesday, will fight British boxer Danny
Williams on July 30 in an attempt to make some money.

But he is so deeply in debt that even the ?7.6million to be paid to
him by promoter Don King to settle a lawsuit will not lift him out of
the red.

He said: 'When I had money I was an animal. I was so belligerent. I
lost all across the board. My life has been a total waste.'

Tyson, who served three years in jail for rape in the 1990s and who
bit off part of Evander Holyfield's ear during a 1997 fight, still
thinks he can be heavyweight champion again.

He added: 'I know I was a tough, bad-ass talking fighter, but I ain't
no mob figure. I did my time for the rape. I paid my money to Las
Vegas. I paid my dues.  I ain't the same person I was when I bit that guy's ear off.'
30447  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: June 25, 2004, 08:58:46 PM
If true, this is evil, wicked, mean, nasty, fascist and Orwellian.--Crafty

Bush to screen population for mental illness
Sweeping initiative links diagnoses to treatment with specific drugs

Posted: June 21, 2004
5:00 p.m. Eastern

? 2004

President Bush plans to unveil next month a sweeping mental health initiative that recommends screening for every citizen and promotes the use of expensive antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs favored by supporters of the administration.

The New Freedom Initiative, according to a progress report, seeks to integrate mentally ill patients fully into the community by providing "services in the community, rather than institutions," the British Medical Journal reported.

Critics say the plan protects the profits of drug companies at the expense of the public.

The initiative began with Bush's launch in April 2002 of the New Freedom Commission on Mental Health, which conducted a "comprehensive study of the United States mental health service delivery system."

The panel found that "despite their prevalence, mental disorders often go undiagnosed" and recommended comprehensive mental health screening for "consumers of all ages," including preschool children.

The commission said, "Each year, young children are expelled from preschools and childcare facilities for severely disruptive behaviors and emotional disorders."

Schools, the panel concluded, are in a "key position" to screen the 52 million students and 6 million adults who work at the schools.

The commission recommended that the screening be linked with "treatment and supports," including "state-of-the-art treatments" using "specific medications for specific conditions."

The Texas Medication Algorithm Project, or TMAP, was held up by the panel as a "model" medication treatment plan that "illustrates an evidence-based practice that results in better consumer outcomes."

The TMAP -- started in 1995 as an alliance of individuals from the pharmaceutical industry, the University of Texas and the mental health and corrections systems of Texas -- also was praised by the American Psychiatric Association, which called for increased funding to implement the overall plan.

But the Texas project sparked controversy when a Pennsylvania government employee revealed state officials with influence over the plan had received money and perks from drug companies who stand to gain from it.

Allen Jones, an employee of the Pennsylvania Office of the Inspector General says in his whistleblower report the "political/pharmaceutical alliance" that developed the Texas project, which promotes the use of newer, more expensive antidepressants and antipsychotic drugs, was behind the recommendations of the New Freedom Commission, which were "poised to consolidate the TMAP effort into a comprehensive national policy to treat mental illness with expensive, patented medications of questionable benefit and deadly side effects, and to force private insurers to pick up more of the tab."

Jones points out, according to the British Medical Journal, companies that helped start the Texas project are major contributors to Bush's election funds. Also, some members of the New Freedom Commission have served on advisory boards for these same companies, while others have direct ties to TMAP.

Eli Lilly, manufacturer of olanzapine, one of the drugs recommended in the plan, has multiple ties to the Bush administration, BMJ says. The elder President Bush was a member of Lilly's board of directors and President Bush appointed Lilly's chief executive officer, Sidney Taurel, to the Homeland Security Council.

Of Lilly's $1.6 million in political contributions in 2000, 82 percent went to Bush and the Republican Party.

Another critic, Robert Whitaker, journalist and author of "Mad in America," told the British Medical Journal that while increased screening "may seem defensible," it could also be seen as "fishing for customers."

Exorbitant spending on new drugs "robs from other forms of care such as job training and shelter program," he said.

However, a developer of the Texas project, Dr. Graham Emslie, defends screening.

"There are good data showing that if you identify kids at an earlier age who are aggressive, you can intervene ... and change their trajectory."


If you'd like to sound off on this issue, please take part in the WorldNetDaily poll.

30448  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: June 23, 2004, 09:48:05 PM
Stratfor Weekly: U.S. and Iran: Beneath the Roiled Surface


To refer a friend to Stratfor, send this Stratfor Weekly
directly to a friend or colleague by forwarding this email, or
by visiting:

You can also find a link to the referral form on:


23 June 2004

U.S. and Iran: Beneath the Roiled Surface

By George Friedman

We are in a pattern of escalating confrontation between Iran and the United States and its allies. Two issues have surfaced. There is the question of Iran's nuclear program. And there is the more urgent  question of Iran's capture of three British patrol boats along the Iraq-Iran frontier. Neither of these surface issues is trivial, but the underlying issues are far more significant. The fact that they have surfaced indicates how serious the underlying questions are, and points to serious tensions between the Iranians and the United States.

Iran has historically faced two threats. Russia has pressed it from the
north; during and after World War II, the Soviets occupied a substantial part of Iran, as did the British. The other threat has come from the west -- from Iraq, from its predecessor states or from states that have occupied Iraq, including Britain. The collapse of the Soviet Union has gone a long way toward securing Iran's northern frontier. In fact, the instability to Iran's north has created opportunities for it to extend its influence in that direction.

Iraq, however, has remained a threat. Iraq's defeat in Desert Storm decreased the threat, with the weakening of Iraq's armed forces and constant patrolling of Iraqi skies by U.S. and British warplanes. But what Iran wanted most to see -- the collapse of the hated Saddam Hussein regime and its replacement by a government at least neutral toward Iran and preferably under Iranian influence -- did not materialize. One of the primary reasons the United States did not advance to Baghdad in 1991 was the fear that an Iraqi collapse would increase Iran's power and make it the dominant force in the  Persian Gulf.

Iran Develops a Strategy

Subsequently, Iran's goals were simple: First, Iraq should never pose a
threat to Iran; it never wanted to be invaded again by Iraq. Second, Iran
should be in a position to shape Iraqi behavior in order to guarantee that it would not be a threat. Iran was not in a position to act on this goal itself. What it needed was to induce outside powers -- the United States in
particular -- to act in a manner that furthered Iranian national interests.
Put somewhat differently, Iran expected the United States to invade Iraq or topple Hussein by other means. It intended to position itself to achieve its primary national security goals when that happened.

From the end of Desert Storm to the fall of Baghdad, Iran systematically and patiently pursued its goal. Following Desert Storm, Iran began a program designed both to covertly weaken Hussein's regime and to strengthen Iranian influence in Iraq -- focusing on Iraq's Shiite population. If Hussein fell under his own weight, if he were overthrown in a U.S.-sponsored coup or if the United States invaded Iraq, Iran intended to be in a position to neutralize the Iraqi threat.

There were three parts to the Iranian strategy:

1. Do nothing to discourage the United States from taking action against
Iraq. In other words: Mitigate threats from Iran so the United States would not leave Hussein in place again because it feared the consequences of a power vacuum that Iran could fill.

2. Create an information environment that would persuade the United States to topple Hussein. The Iranians understood the analytic methods of U.S. policy makers and the intelligence processes of the Central Intelligence Agency. Iran created a program designed to strengthen the position of those in the United States who believed that Iraq was a primary threat, while providing the United States with intelligence that maximized the perception of Hussein as a threat. This program preceded the 2003 invasion and the Bush administration as well. Desert Fox -- the air campaign launched by the Clinton administration in December 1998 -- was shaped by the same information environment as the 2003 invasion. The Iranians understood the nature of the intelligence channels the United States used, and fed information through those that intensified the American threat perception.

3. Prepare for the fall of Hussein by creating an alternative force in Iraq
whose primary loyalty was to Iran. The Shiite community -- long oppressed by Hussein and sharing religious values with the Iranian government -- had many of the same interests as Iran. Iranian intelligence services had conducted a long, patient program to organize the Iraqi Shiite community and prepare the Shia to be the dominant political force after the fall of Hussein.

As it became increasingly apparent in 2002 that the United States was
searching for a follow-on strategy after Afghanistan, the Iranians recognized their opportunity. They knew they could not manipulate the United States into invading Iraq -- or provide justification for it -- but they also knew they could do two things. The first was to reduce the threat the United States felt from Iran. The second was to increase, to the extent possible, the intelligence available to those in the Bush administration who supported the invasion.

They accomplished the first with formal meetings in Geneva and back-channel discussions around the world. The message they sent was that Iran would do nothing to hinder a U.S. invasion, nor would it seek to take advantage of it on a direct state basis. The second process was facilitated by filling the channels between Iraqi Shiite exiles and the United States with apparently solid information -- much of it true -- about conditions in Iraq. This is where Ahmed Chalabi played a role.

In our opinion, Iranian intelligence knew two things that it left out of the
channels. The first was that Iraq's weapons of mass destruction (WMD)
programs had been abandoned. The United States did not invade Iraq because of WMD, but used them as a justification. The Iranians knew none would be found, but were pleased that the United States would use this as a justification.  The second thing Iran kept from the United States was that Hussein and his key aides did not expect to defeat the United States in a conventional war, but had planned a guerrilla war to follow the fall of Baghdad.

The Iranians had a specific reason for leaving these things out. They knew the Americans would win the conventional war. They did not want the United States to have an easy time occupying Iraq. The failure to find WMD would create a crisis in the United States. The failure to anticipate a Baathist guerrilla war would create a crisis in Iraq. Iran wanted both to happen.

The worse the situation became in Iraq, the less the United States prepared for the real postwar environment -- and the more the credibility of President George W. Bush was questioned, the more eager the United States would be in seeking allies in Iraq. The only ally available -- apart from the marginal Kurds -- was the Shiite majority. As the situation deteriorated in the summer and fall of 2003, the United States urgently needed an accommodation with Iraq's Shia. The idea of a Shiite rising cutting lines of supply to Kuwait while there was a Sunni rising drove all U.S. thinking. It also pushed the United States toward an accommodation with the Shia -- and that meant an accommodation with Iran.

Such an accommodation was reached in the fall of 2003. The United States accepted that the government would be dominated by the Shia, and that the government would have substantial Iranian influence. During the Ramadan offensive, when the lid appeared to be flying off in Iraq, the United States was prepared to accommodate almost any proposal. The Iranians agreed to back-burner -- but not to shut down -- their nuclear proposal, and quiet exchanges of prisoners were carried out. Iran swapped al Qaeda prisoners for anti-Iranian prisoners held by the United States.

Things Fall Apart

Two things happened after the capture of Hussein in mid-December 2003. The first was that the Iranians started to make clear that they -- not the Americans -- were defining the depth of the relationship. When the United States offered to send representatives to Iran after an earthquake later in December, the Iranians rejected the offer, saying it was too early in the relationship. On many levels, the Iranians believed they had the Americans where they wanted them and slowly increased pressure for concessions.

Paradoxically, the United States started to suffer buyer's remorse on the
deal it made. As the guerrilla threat subsided in January and February, the Americans realized that the deal did not make nearly as much sense in January as it had in November. Rather than moving directly toward a Shiite government, the United States began talking to the Sunni sheikhs and thinking of an interim government in which Kurds or Sunnis would have veto power.

Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani -- who is an Iranian -- began to signal the
United States that trouble was brewing in Iraq. He staged major
demonstrations in January, calling for direct elections -- his code words for a Shiite government. The United States, no longer pressured and growing uneasy about the enormous power of the Iranians, did two things: They pressed ahead with plans for the interim government, and started leaking that they knew the game the Iranians were playing. The release of the news that Chalabi was an Iranian agent was part of this process.

The Iranians and al-Sistani -- seeing the situation slipping out of control
-- tried to convince the Americans that they were willing to send Iraq up in flames. During the Sunni rising in Al Fallujah, they permitted Muqtada
al-Sadr to rise as well. The United States went to al-Sistani for help, but
he refused to lift a finger for days. Al-Sistani figured the United States
would reverse its political plans and make concessions to buy Shiite support.

Just the opposite happened. The United States came to the conclusion that the Shia and Iran were completely unreliable -- and that they were no longer necessary. Rather than negotiate with the Shia, the Americans negotiated with the Sunni guerrillas in Al Fallujah and reached an agreement with them. The United States also pressed ahead with a political solution for the interim government that left the Shia on the margins.

The breakdown in U.S.-Iranian relations dates to this moment. The United
States essentially moved to reverse alliances. In addition, it made clear to
al-Sistani and others that they could be included in the coalition -- in a
favored position. In other words, the United States reversed the process by trying to drive a wedge between the Iranians and the Iraqi Shia. And it
appeared to be working, with al-Sistani and al-Sadr seeming to shift
positions so as not to be excluded.

Iran Roils the Surface

It was at that moment that the Iranians saw more than a decade of patient strategy going out the window. They took two steps. First, they created a crisis with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over nuclear weapons that was certain to draw U.S. attention. Second, they seized the British patrol boats. Their point? To let the United States know that it is on the verge of a major crisis with Iran.

The United States knows this, of course. Military planners are updating plans on Iran as we speak. The crisis is avoidable -- and we would expect it to wax and wane. But the fundamental question is this: Are American and Iranian national interests compatible and, if they are not, is either country in a position at this moment to engage in a crisis or a war? Iran is calculating that it can engage in a crisis more effectively than the United States. The United States does not want a crisis with Iran before the elections -- and certainly not over WMD.

But there is another problem. The Americans cannot let Iran get nuclear
weapons, and the Iranians know it. They assume that U.S. intelligence has a clear picture of how far weapons development has gone. But following the U.S. intelligence failure on WMD in Iraq -- ironically aided by Iran -- will any policy maker trust the judgment of U.S. intelligence on how far Iran's development has gone? Is the U.S. level of sensitivity much lower than Iran thinks? And since Israel is in the game -- and it certainly cannot accept an Iranian nuclear capability -- and threatens a pre-emptive strike with its  ownnuclear weapons, will the United States be forced to act when it does not want to?

Like other major crises in history, the situation is not really under
anyone's control. It can rapidly spin out of control and -- even if it is in
control -- it can become a very nasty crisis. This is not a minor
misunderstanding, but a clash of fundamental national interests that will not be easy to reconcile.

(c) 2004 Strategic Forecasting, Inc. All rights reserved.
30449  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Knife Fights at the DB Gathering on: June 23, 2004, 12:00:01 AM
Woof All:

At the previous Gathering all the knife fights were 2x2.  To call the
results sloppy and behaviors unrealistic would be an understatement.
Indeed, as best as I could tell, EVERY SINGLE FIGHTER got killed.

So I put it to the guys on the DBMA Ass'n Forum for their thoughts as to how to do it better this coming Sunday.  In search of additional thoughts and with their permission, I post the most of the thread here.

Crafty Dog


From the Invitation
"At each Gathering there is a different focus. At this one again we will be
encouraging people to fight 2 against 2 or 3 against 3 (or 2 against 3?) in
the knife fighting. This was a bit of a disaster last time with all players
repeatedly getting killed so we will try going about this a bit differently
this time."


I think it was a disaster only because we weren't all on the same page when it came to the "rules" of the knife fights.

What are the options?

A.  You can think of the 1-2 minute knife fights as a bunch of much shorter fights.  If you get killed, you acknowledge it, back off for a second or two, then start again.  Or in a multiple man fight you have to run and touch the wall or drop and do ten push-ups or something before you can continue.

B.  Each fight is one fight, period.  You get killed, the fight's over.  Or
if it's a multiple man fight, you're out.

C.  Same as B, but if you get killed, you can continue fighting as long as
you can hold your breath or maybe you just get a couple of seconds for one last desperation attack as you're bleeding to death...

IMO, B & C, while more realistic, don't offer people enough time to "enjoy" their knife fighting experience if they get killed right away, but I can live with that.

Any other ideas?

Then of course we can debate what constitutes a kill...

In any case, I think it will seem less disastrous if the rules are made
explicitly clear to everyone before we start.


Maybe the multiple opponent knife fights were a disaster because the outcome of a knife fight between four men is disasterous.

IMHO I liked it the way we did it last Gathering.  Jump in, figure out what
works, get hit, watch your back, look for your partner, get hit, think on
the run under attack, go go go.

THE problem was already raised.  If kills matter, then what is a kill?  "I
killed you."  "No, I killed you first."  "No, you didn't hit the artery, so
I killed you first."  I'm sure no one would say it, but I'd be thinking it.
Besides rules require a judge.

I WOULD like to see a couple of really good knife fighters do a one on one
exhibition fight.

Woof All,

why not put ink or painting on the knife to see which is touched and or it
is touched??


I tend to view the knife fighting much like option A, as a bunch of shorter
fights. I think it should be on the fighter to be aware when they've been
killed or have delivered a kill-shot. Also, I think people, i.e. bumrushers,
need to be aware of the simultaneous kill. I liked how Guro Crafty pulled
out a live blade and waved it near people's necks at the beginning of the
last Gathering so people would have a little more awareness in regards to
the fight. It's a warm-up, and I feel that too much emphasis on who killed
whom, who delivered a greater quantity of kill shots, etc. makes it more
like a knife competition.

The multiple man fights were chaotic with repeated killings, but we could
assume that it's another wave of attackers, kind of like a prison-riot, or
the old video game Double Dragon. I like the multiple man fighting because it opens a bucket of tactics, and if people are focusing on doing push-ups or running to touch a wall it might take away from the tactical exercise.

Man, that Double Dragon reference sure brings back a lot of memories!

In the context of a Gathering, I think bum-rushing is the typical response
of a fighter who's been cut several times and feels like he has to do
something to keep from looking like he "lost".  OTOH I think it's a good
idea to have a plan for dealing with the bum-rush, since it is a desperation
tactic all too likely to be used in a real life-or-death knife fight.  I
know of course, since this just happened to me last week!  wink

The group here on Oahu tends to view the knife fighting in the same view as option A, a bunch of shorter fights.  Dogzilla and I "kill" each other
multiple times per fight.  I like to vary my actions during the knife
fights...some days, I play the knife "tag" game, where I'm targeting his
hand or trying to "defang the snake".  Other days, I go only for "kill
shots" (neck, solid thrusts to torso) and couple that with the bum rush.  I
think it's good for Mike (considering he works in a federal the
kitchen!) to be on the receiving end of the "shiv rush".  He usually kills
me, but not always before I'm able to do some serious damage.  It keeps
everyone involved well aware of the lethality of a real time, real life
situation where the bad guy doesn't always play by your rules.

However I'm playing the game though, I always back off to acknowledge a kill shot before continuing with the fight.  In that respect, not only do the
knife fights provide for a fun time because they're longer and you get the
chance to try different tactics, it also serves as a decent warm up period
before the stickfighting begins.  I find it also helps me quell the ongoing
mental chatter of stepping out with Dogzilla when he has a stick in his hand and "that look"  in his eye.  You know, sorta warm up to, "d**n, this is gonna hurt..."


So folks, any thoughts/comments/suggestions as to how to go about this in front of a few hundred people?  I like the idea of working multiple
players-- its a core foundational concept of the FMA-- but am not happy with the results so far.

Crafty Dog
30450  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Tonight (Friday) UFC on: June 19, 2004, 07:16:00 PM
Comments? Predictions?

I rolled my eyes when I heard that the headline fight was K Shamrock and Kimo.  "Oy yey!" I thought-- but then I heard today that Erik Paulsen has been training KS for the past 6 months!  This IS news-- EP is awesome and maybe KS will have his first decent fight.

RAW Gym friend Frank Trigg is on the card and has looked fit, rested and mentally ready.  Go Frank!!!

Crafty Dog
Pages: 1 ... 607 608 [609] 610 611 ... 620
Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!