Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes
on: September 11, 2003, 12:10:18 PM
RFID blocker may ease privacy fears
August 28, 2003, 11:05 BST
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RSA Security will develop technology that jams the signals emitted by radio frequency identification tags
Researchers at a major security firm have developed a blocking technique to ease privacy concerns surrounding controversial radio frequency identification technology.
The labs at RSA Security on Wednesday outlined plans for a technology they call blocker tags, which are similar in size and cost to radio frequency identification (RFID) tags but disrupt the transmission of information to scanning devices and thwart the collection of data.
The technique, one of few RFID-blocking technologies being worked on by researchers, is still a concept in the labs. But the next step is to develop prototype chips and see if manufacturers are interested in making the processors, according to Ari Juels, a principal research scientist with RSA Laboratories. Blocker and RFID tags are about the size of a grain of sand and cost around 10 cents.
RFID technology uses microchips to wirelessly transmit product serial numbers to a scanner without the need for human intervention. While the technology is potentially useful in improving supply chain management and preventing theft in stores, consumer privacy groups have voiced concerns about possible abuses of the technology if product-tracking tags are allowed to follow people from stores into their homes. Many retailers view RFID as an eventual successor to the barcode inventory tracking system, because it promises to cut distribution costs for manufacturers and improve retailing margins.
RSA's technique would address the needs of all parties involved, according to Juels. Other options, such as a kill feature embedded in RFID tags, also are available, but with blocker tags, consumers and companies would still be able to use the RFID tags without sacrificing privacy.
"This is not meant to be a hostile tool," Juels said. "It balances consumer privacy and retail use in a profitable way... Tags are too useful to completely disable them."
Retailers have been testing how to use RFID technology in their warehouses to improve inventory management and have dipped their toes into product-level tracking.
Juels said that he foresees a day when tags in clothes can tell washing machines the proper way they need to be washed.
The idea isn't to disable RFID tags, but instead to disrupt the transmission of certain information to scanning devices when consumers want privacy. Blocker tags could be embedded in watches or bags.
Juels said the issue of privacy with regards to RFID technology has been overblown but that there is a need to establish how to best address those concerns before the technology becomes more prevalent.
"If we don't think of it now, it will be more difficult in the future," he said.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: September 11, 2003, 06:14:20 AM
A different point of view , , ,
The fourth world war
For two years, the U.S. has pursued the culprits behind the 9/11
atrocities with a vengeance that has shocked and awed ally and enemy
alike. But even the devastating attacks on the Afghan and Iraqi regimes
don`t illustrate the true scope of the campaign, DOUG SAUNDERS reports.
While everyone was preoccupied with the fireworks, Washington has
quietly deployed thousands of agents in a secretive struggle that may
last a lifetime
By DOUG SAUNDERS
If you happen to find yourself in Nouakchott, a dusty and rarely
visited city of three million on the far western edge of the Sahara, you
may be surprised to find an unlikely sort of character hanging around
government buildings and better hotels. These new strangers, whose ranks
have been growing steadily in recent months, are a species of
serious-looking American men who bear little resemblance to the oil
explorers and motorcycle adventurers who until recently were this city`s
only foreign visitors.
These men, the first Americans in decades to pay any attention to this
poor region, began to appear only in the past two years. With their grim
and purposeful presence, they bring a Graham Greene sort of mood to this
very remote outpost, but instead of seersucker suits and Panama hats,
they tend to wear floppy safari hats and sunglasses, the unofficial
uniform of the Central Intelligence Agency and U.S. Special Forces.
What are these quiet Americans doing in the capital of Mauritania, a
nation that has never made the front pages and sits a continent and a
half removed from the immediate interests of the United States? And what
are their colleagues in a dozen other far-flung regions doing, handing
out money and guns and hard-won secrets to governments and warlords and
military men in the southern islands of the Philippines, on the steppes
of Uzbekistan, in the dense jungle between Venezuela and Brazil?
The guys in the sunglasses have a name for this not-so-secret campaign.
They call it World War Four, an unofficial title that is now used
routinely by top officials and ground-level operatives in the U.S.
military and the CIA. It is a global war, one of the most expensive and
complex in world history. And it will mark its second anniversary this
week, on Sept. 11.
The White House would rather it be known as the war on terrorism. But in
its strategies, political risk and secrecy, it is more like the Cold
War, which the CIA types like to consider World War Three. Its central
battles, in Afghanistan and Iraq, have been traditional conflicts. But
while the public`s attention was focused on those big, controversial and
expensive campaigns, the United States was busy launching a broader war
whose battlefields have spread quietly to two dozen countries.
Iraq also was a distraction in another way: It was a shocking and
awesome display of conventional military might that is not at all
typical of the stealth, spy craft, diplomacy and dirty tricks being
employed in the wider war on terrorism. Likewise, "although Operation
Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan understandably captured the imagination
and attention of the press and public," said William Rosenau, a former
senior policy adviser in the State Department, "large-scale military
operations are arguably the smallest aspect of the counterterrorism
campaign. That campaign resembles an iceberg, with the military
component at the top, visible above the water."
Below the surface are dozens of operations, some secret and some simply
unnoticed, conducted by the CIA, the FBI, the diplomatic corps and
small, elite military squads. They have been aided by changes to U.S.
laws after Sept. 11 that allow Americans to do things once forbidden --
such as assassinating foreign figures.
And much of the war is being fought by foreign governments that are
willing and able to do things Americans wouldn`t or couldn`t. "We simply
don`t have the resources, or the inclination, to be everywhere the
terrorists and their supporters are, so we have no choice but to
co-operate with other countries and their security services," Mr.
Rosenau said during a panel discussion in Washington last week.
In some cases, that co-operation has led the United States to endorse
and enable activities that are deeply unsavoury, all in the name of
stomping out terrorism. "Counterterrorism is now 90 per cent law
enforcement and intelligence," said Jonathan Stevenson, a senior
strategist with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in
London. "Since Sept. 11, the only overt military actions have been the
Predator [missile] strike in Yemen, and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq
-- and I don`t think there will be many more. I think there`s a much
higher priority placed on law enforcement and intelligence now. It`s not
a traditional war."
Whether this is actually a world war, or a large-scale police action, or
(as both critics and some supporters say) the gestation of a new
American imperialism, there is no question that it has come to span the
globe. It has caused mammoth shifts in global allegiances, in the
positioning of U.S. military bases and CIA stations, in the flow of aid
dollars, soldiers and arms across distant borders, on a scale not seen
since the Cold War began.
Over the summer, while the world`s attention was focused on Iraq, the
Pentagon was busily preparing to shift hundreds of thousands of soldiers
to new real estate, in places most Westerners known little about, in
preparation for a world war that could last decades. "Everything is
going to move everywhere," Pentagon undersecretary Douglas Feith said.
"There is not going to be a place in the world where it`s going to be
the same as it used to be."
On Sept. 11, 2001, the world looked much as it had in the 1950s, even
though the Cold War had been over for a decade. Huge concentrations of
American soldiers were based in Germany, in Japan`s outlying islands,
and in South Korea.
It was around this time that Eliot Cohen, a military strategist and
historian, referred to "World War Four" in a Wall Street Journal article
that caught the eye of many Washington officials. James Woolsey, the
former CIA director, began to use the phrase last year in speeches
calling for a far wider sphere of covert activity.
The White House officially objected to the phrase as senseless, even
offensive: The first two world wars had real enemies and real victories,
and together killed 60 million soldiers and civilians. The Cold War
wasn`t a world war at all, but the avoidance of one. And this new
operation is a "war" against an improper noun, whose enemy was not a
nation nor even an ideology but a strategy, and its death toll,
including both its actual wars, remains in the thousands.
Still, it has caught on, both among the stern-faced guys on the ground
and in Washington`s hawkish policy circles. General Tommy Franks, head
of the U.S. Central Command, was in Addis Ababa this summer to announce
that Africa`s east coast had become a region of great strategic
importance. "We are in the midst of World War Four," he told his
audience, before imploring them to arrest local Islamist leaders in
exchange for $100-million in aid, "with an insidious web of
As well, the general and his colleagues are acting as though it`s a
world war, or at least a global operation on the scale of the Cold War.
They are building a new kind of military, one that will be based in
lonely places we`ve never heard of, and doing things we won`t often hear
"As we pursue the global war on terrorism, we`re going to have to go
where the terrorists are," explained Gen. James Jones, head of the U.S.
military`s European Command. "And we`re seeing some evidence, at least
preliminary, that more and more of these large uncontrolled, ungoverned
areas are going to be potential havens for that kind of activity."
So American soldiers and spooks are moving out of Germany and into
Africa -- the east now, and soon into the western Sahara and the
northern Mediterranean coast as well. They are moving out of Japan and
Korea and into Southeast Asia, which has the world`s largest Muslim
population and is believed to be the area at highest risk of al-Qaeda
outbreaks. This fall, large numbers of U.S. soldiers are expected to
land in the southern Philippines, whose Muslim terrorists are accused of
having links to al-Qaeda.
And the soldiers are also manning bases created in such central Asian
republics as Uzbekistan for the Afghan war, and on the Black Sea in
Bulgaria and Romania for the Iraq conflict, but now expected to become
And even farther afield will be hundreds of new outposts that Gen. Jones
refers to as "warm bases," "lily pads" and "virtual bases" -- temporary,
stealthy or secret operations mounted with the help of local regimes.
This has led the United States into some highly unlikely allegiances,
which may or may not be directly related to the immediate threat of
Osama bin Laden`s circle. For example, it is conducting stealth
operations in South America -- in the "tri-border" jungle region between
Brazil, Paraguay and Argentina, and on Venezuela`s exotic Margarita
Island, both of which are home to large populations of Saudi Arabian
expatriates. It is not clear whether there are actual terrorists here,
or simply people who have sent money to terrorists, or if accusations of
terrorism are being used to support local conflicts and to attract U.S.
"The downside," said Herman Cohen, former U.S. secretary of state for
Africa, "is that you can take on the agenda of local leaders."
To understand the astonishing scope and morally swampy ground of this
ever-expanding war, it is worth visiting three of its lesser-known
The unlikely winner: Djibouti
Even American generals have to search for it on a map. It is a tiny,
barren speck of sand and lava rock on Africa`s upper right-hand corner,
a country with no tangible economy, no arable land, no tourism, no
reason to matter to anyone other than its 640,000 inhabitants.
That is, until the war on terrorism came along. During the two Iraq
wars, the United States used Djibouti`s conveniently empty desert for
training and war simulations. The generals were impressed with what they
found: a nearly vacant stretch of land right across the Red Sea from the
Persian Gulf nations, and right next to the eastern African nations
believed to be the "next Afghanistan" for their burgeoning community of
Even better, the government of Djibouti was a lot more amenable to
American soldiers than was Saudi Arabia, the traditional U.S. base in
the region. For only a few million dollars, the Americans could do
virtually anything they wanted -- and Djibouti would do almost anything
the Americans want.
In August, the United States turned its temporary station at Djibouti`s
Camp Lemonier into permanent headquarters for the war on terrorism,
setting up elaborate electronic listening posts and erecting a small
city of concrete buildings. More than 2,000 troops are now stationed
there, with more expected to arrive as the United States vacates Saudi
Arabia. They will spend years, maybe decades, keeping a close watch on
the unstable territories of Ethiopia, Somalia, Yemen and Sudan.
"If I was a terrorist, I`d be going to places like Africa," Sergeant Jim
Lewis of the U.S. Army said recently at the Djibouti headquarters.
"That`s why we`re here. To seek them out, do whatever we can to find and
But Djibouti is typical of the strange new alliances the United States
is willing to enter -- and of the abuses it is willing to tolerate in
order to achieve its goals. This year, it wrote cheques for $31-million
to the tiny country, making it one of the larger recipients of U.S. aid.
The cheques go to the government of President Ismael Omar Guelleh, whose
party won all the seats in January`s general election. Opposition leader
Daher Ahed Farah complained that his Democratic Renewal Party received
37 per cent of the vote but failed to win a seat. For his criticisms, he
was arrested in March and thrown into Djibouti`s notorious Gabode
prison. Other opposition leaders are forced to live in exile in France.
The State Department officially says Djibouti`s human-rights record has
"serious problems," but the Bush administration seems to see this as a
potential asset. Last week, Djibouti expelled 100,000 residents, or 15
per cent of its population, to neighbouring countries. One government
official explained that these foreign-born residents are "a threat to
the peace and security of the country . . . How do we know whether an
individual is a terrorist biding his time to cause harm, or not?" The
official denied reports that the United States had requested the
The poor human-rights record has not hurt Mr. Guelleh`s relations with
his allies. In late January, shortly after the questionable election, he
visited Washington and was personally f?ted by President George W. Bush,
National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and Secretary of Defence
Donald Rumsfeld -- a level of access beyond the reach of leaders such as
Prime Minister Jean Chr?tien.
When a powerful truck bomb destroyed the Marriott Hotel in Jakarta and
killed six people a month ago today, local police and military were
quick to spring into action. Within a week, they had arrested top
officials in Jemaah Islamiyah, the Indonesian branch of al-Qaeda.
And no wonder: They not only had the direct help of U.S. Special Forces
soldiers and CIA agents who had flooded into the region after Sept. 11;
they had just received a special $50-million U.S. war on terrorism
assistance package, half of which went to the police force.
But the bomb`s aftermath reminded many people of another explosive event
a dozen years earlier. In 1991, Indonesian soldiers had opened fire on
protesters demanding independence for East Timor. More than 200 were
slaughtered in an event that shocked the world. The Cold War had created
endless horrors in Indonesia, where the Americans supported both the
army and Islamist separatists, whom it saw as useful opponents to
Soviet-backed Communist independence movements.
After the slaughter, the United States began to back away, throwing
support to democracy movements throughout Southeast Asia. The one in
Indonesia flourished after the 1998 departure of strongman Suharto, and
a year later, the United States actually helped East Timor gain
independence, using its aid muscle to keep the Indonesian army on the
So now, the people of the world`s most populous Islamic nation are not
exactly happy to see themselves becoming pawns in yet another global
war. While the U.S. aid and attention are welcomed by many, they
threaten to set back the democracy movement, turn the military back into
lawless and dangerous forces, and bring back the old Cold War dynamics.
In exchange for participating in the war on terrorism, the Indonesian
government has said it wants U.S. help in fighting what it defines as
"terrorist" groups. Chief among these is the Free Aceh Movement,
generally recognized as a legitimate party calling for the independence
of a former archipelago nation now part of Indonesia. So far, Washington
has refused to co-operate, saying its list of terrorist groups includes
only those that threaten U.S. interests.
All across Southeast Asia, this pattern is being repeated: fragile
democracy movements, enjoying U.S. support after years of Cold War
suppression, are being menaced by armies and governments emboldened by
the war on terrorism. In Thailand, in Malaysia and in the Philippines,
the threat of Islamic terrorism is real -- but so is the threat created
by the war against it.
The paradox: Mauritania
To appreciate the strange new ecology of this war fully, it`s worth
visiting its most distant front, and taking a closer look at those
mysterious Americans hanging around that dusty capital on the western
edge of the Sahara.
For 19 years, the former French colony of Mauritania has been ruled by a
military strongman named Maaouyah Ould Sid Ahmed Taya, in what his
partisans describe as a democracy, one that opposition parties accuse of
bloodily repressing political dissent.
Until 2001, this was of no interest at all to the United States or any
other English-speaking country. The war on terrorism has changed
everything. In a nation with a per-capita income of a dollar a day, the
prospect of becoming a foreign client is hard to resist. When the United
States and its allies drove al-Qaeda and its supporters out of such
northern African nations as Algeria, Morocco and Tunisia shortly after
Sept. 11 (with the help of foreign-aid dollars, secret military
campaigns and a new willingness to overlook the countries` abuses), the
Mauritanians saw an opportunity.
"We acted because it was obvious to us that this was the thing to do,"
Mohamedou Ould Michel, the Mauritanian ambassador to the United States,
told the Washington Times recently. "In a world situation in which one
nation is dominant, it serves the interest of other nations to take this
The United States suspected al-Qaeda cells had moved south into the
ancient trade routes that span the Sahara from Sudan to Mauritania. This
isn`t at all certain -- even senior Pentagon and CIA officials have said
they don`t really know. But Mr. Taya, whose military regime faces a
popular Saudi-backed opposition in elections scheduled this fall, was
quick to claim that his country was under threat.
Mauritania has certainly benefited. It received a large share of a
$100-million (U.S.) military aid package for friendly West African
nations this summer. Starting this month, it will become the prime
beneficiary of the Pan-Sahelian Initiative, in which U.S. military
advisers provide weapons, vehicles and extensive military training to
special terror-fighting squads in Mali, Niger, Chad and Mauritania.
In exchange for this largesse, it has embraced the Americans,
acknowledged Israel`s existence, and cracked down hard on its Islamist
opposition parties, often with U.S. help. Those parties, whose leaders
have been driven into exile in Europe, argue that there never was any
al-Qaeda link; rather, they say, Mr. Taya has used the imprimatur of
terrorism to ban the opposition and has even tortured some leaders to
death in prison -- with full U.S. support.
His co-operation with Washington has yielded the Mauritanian leader even
greater fruit. In the predawn hours of June 8, a group of Islamists in
the military staged a violent coup d`?tat, driving tanks into the
capital and mounting a two-day gun battle. But in the end the uprising
was put down, reportedly with help from the leader`s new Western allies.
The Americans tend to view this as a victory. Most observers are frankly
amazed at how much support a few million dollars bought. "A little bit
of money sure goes a long way out there," laughs Steven Simon, a former
senior director of the U.S. National Security Council who now provides
private consulting to the Pentagon with the RAND Corporation.
Beyond the possibility of a vaporous enemy, these dubious new
allegiances pose another threat, Mr. Simon noted. What if the United
States, in its zeal to eliminate the tens of thousands of people trained
by al-Qaeda around the world, winds up providing aid and encouragement
to unpopular regimes that are doing things almost as bad?
"The risk here is one of the big paradoxes of the war on terrorism," he
said. "One of the main grievances these terrorist groups are trying to
draw attention to is that the United States is consorting with evil
regimes that repress their people. But if the United States is going to
try to eliminate these groups, it will need the help and co-operation of
these regimes and therefore could give credence to those complaints."
Mr. Simon is among a growing group of Washington hawks who worry that
the war on terrorism may indeed have become a little too much like World
War Four -- or, worse, too much like the Cold War.
"Look at the similarities: Here we have a globalized organization that
was competing for hearts and minds with the rest of the world -- like
the Cold War, the battle is being fought all over the place. And one
mistake of the Cold War was that the U.S. came to think that you have to
fight the enemy everywhere. That`s how we wound up in Vietnam, which was
a terrible mistake in every sense. We seem to be having a very similar
situation here, and making the same mistake, where you end up stuck in
one place. I`m concerned that that`s happened in Iraq, and that it could
The Cold War at least had a tangible enemy to negotiate with. "The
difference is that here, the enemy cannot be deterred in the same way,"
Mr. Simon said. Unlike the spectre of a nuclear conflict, "there`s no
mutually assured destruction."
World War Four, if that is going to be its name, had a firm and definite
beginning, when the jetliner attacks shocked the United States back into
an international role two years ago. But there is no chance that it will
have a firm and definite end. There will be no V-T day.
"Since al-Qaeda is not an army, but an ideological, transnational
movement, there is no enemy military force physically to defeat," said
Bruce Hoffman, a Washington-based terrorism expert and military
consultant. "In fact, our enemies have defined this conflict, from their
perspective, as a war of attrition designed eventually to wear down our
resolve and will to resist."
We have become used to a "war" being something that lasts a few months
at most, possibly only days. This one could last a lifetime -- and there
is no question, given the enormous shifts in manpower and geographic
focus, that the United States is preparing for just that. "Our enemies
see this conflict as an epic struggle that will last years, if not
decades," Mr. Hoffman said. "The challenge therefore for the U.S. and
other countries enmeshed in this conflict is to maintain focus, and not
to become complacent about security or our prowess."
For the harried commanders in Washington, that will indeed be the
challenge. For the rest of the world, the far more difficult challenge
will be understanding what is really going on in this lifelong,
worldwide conflict -- what is right and what is wrong in this morally
and strategically fraught new world.
Doug Saunders writes on international affairs for The Globe and Mail.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes
on: September 11, 2003, 05:34:02 AM
LIFE WITH BIG BROTHER
Group to protest 'spy chips'
Inventory technology also can be used to track consumers
Posted: September 11, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Jon Dougherty
? 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
A consumer-protection group is planning to lead a demonstration against the introduction of electronic identification technology critics say violates basic privacy rights.
According to a statement issued by Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, or CASPIAN, opponents will protest the launch of the Electronic Product Code, or EPC, network during a Sept. 16 symposium at Chicago's McCormick Place Convention Center.
Enlarged graphic of RFID tag.
Currently, all products are identified by a series of lines and numbers via the Universal Product Code, or UPC ? which is commonly referred to as "bar coding." But industry and manufacturing leaders want to adopt the EPC network, which involves embedding computer chips that emit radio signals inside products. The signals, which can be picked up by "readers" at varied distances, will alert in-store and warehouse managers to current stock levels, streamlining product management while aiding in the prevention of theft.
But opponents of the technology say the so-called "spy chips" could also be misused by industry and government to not only identify products but also consumers who buy them. By incorporating Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, technology within the EPC network, corporations can identify shoppers as well as products.
"We have serious privacy and civil-liberties concerns about this technology. Corporations and governments could use it to register products to individuals and secretly track them after purchase," says Katherine Albrecht, founder and director of CASPIAN.
Peter Fox, a spokesman for shaving supply giant Gillette ? one of the first companies planning to use EPC technology ? downplayed concerns about civil-liberties violations.
"There seems to be a level of misunderstanding" about the use of the technology, Fox told WorldNetDaily.
Back in 1999, Fox said Gillette was "a founding sponsor" of the AutoID Center, a corporation helping to develop both barcode and EPC technology, because "our goal is ? to have our products on retail shelves where consumers can buy them."
"That may be a simple goal, but the truth of the matter is, that doesn't happen," he said. "Each year billions of dollars are lost by manufacturers and retailers because products get lost in the supply chain, and for lots of different reasons."
Data error, mistakes in inventory and outright theft are some ways products can get "lost" in the system. As the cost of covering those losses rises, so too does the cost of the product, he explained.
But Albrecht says RFID technology is much more than an "improved bar code," and she believes industry is dismissing "consumer concerns."
"These RFID spy chips can be read silently from a distance, right through your clothes, wallet, backpack or purse by anyone with the right reader device," she said. "For example, the chips can be secretly embedded in credit cards or sewn into the seams of pants where they can be used to observe people's movements without their knowledge or consent."
As WorldNetDaily reported, CASPIAN led a boycott against Gillette for the company's decision to use the technology.
Days later, Gillette renounced some uses of the technology.
LIFE WITH BIG BROTHER
Controversial plan called for tracking merchandise, photographing customers
Posted: August 15, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Jon Dougherty
? 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
The Gillette Company ? the world's leading shaving-supplies manufacturer ? says it is scrapping plans to deploy its controversial "smart-shelf" product-tracking technology, which would have involved planting tiny computer chips in its product packaging and surreptitiously photographing customers.
As WorldNetDaily reported, the tracking technology, called Radio Frequency Identification, or RFID, centered on small tracking chips being affixed to Gillette products. The chips can track items at a distance, even through personal items such as a purse, backpack or wallet, and have been anticipated to replace eventually the bar codes now used to track all retail items.
Close-up of RFID tag.
Gillette, a leading backer of RFID, wanted to go a step further. The company was also planning to install tiny cameras on shelves containing its products in stores, which would then photograph customers as they removed items from the shelf, consumer advocate Katherine Albrecht told WorldNetDaily last month.
However, Gillette has now decided to shelve its "smart-shelf" plans, perhaps for as long as a decade, reports the Financial Times.
The shaving supplier had ordered some 500 million of the RFID tag chips from a small California tech company, Alien Technologies. The chips were to be delivered this year, according to the Times.
"Gillette denied it had abandoned an earlier plan to use the technology in individual products on store shelves. But a spokesman said the company did not now expect RFID tags to be used to monitor individual products in stores for at least 10 years," the report said.
Rather, Gillette has now decided to place the chips on pallets of merchandise, so it can track them from warehouse to warehouse and from warehouse to store, said the Times.
In January, Gillette announced plans to use the RFID tags. "If successful, up to half a billion tags could be placed on Gillette products over the next few years," according to a company statement.
News of Gillette's plan to cancel its "smart-shelf" trials comes a day after WorldNetDaily reported a group founded by Albrecht had begun a boycott of Gillette products as a protest against RFID.
The boycott, sponsored by Albrecht's parent group, Consumers Against Supermarket Privacy Invasion and Numbering, or CASPIAN, sought to punish Gillette for utilizing in-store and in-product technology capable of tracking buyers.
Although it's unclear to what degree, if any, Gillette's decision to abandon in-store RFID was based on the boycott, Albrecht told WorldNetDaily she "absolutely" believes it impacted the company's announcement.
"We've gotten quite a few letters and quite a few phone calls," she said. "It's been hectic."
An e-mail forwarded to WorldNetDaily by Albrecht contains a customer reply from Paul Fox, a spokesman for Gillette. In it, Fox claims the corporation is interested only in using RFID technology to monitor its "supply chain."
"We have not and have no intentions to use this technology to track, videotape or photograph consumers," Fox said in the e-mail.
Fox did not respond to inquiries by WorldNetDaily before publication of this report.
Despite Gillette's denial, Albrecht said the boycott would continue until the company completely and publicly renounces the use of the RFID tags in its individual products.
"What I'd really like to see is Gillette say they're not putting these tags in individual products because when they do, it invites abuse," said Albrecht. "If Gillette claims they have no control over [the abuse], I say sure they do ? stop putting the tags in the packages."
Auto-ID: Tracking everything, everywhere
Katherine Albrecht, CASPIAN
[The following is an excerpt from the article, "Supermarket Cards: Tip of the Retail Surveillance Iceberg," accepted for Publication in the Denver University Law Review, June 2002]
"In 5-10 years, whole new ways of doing things will emerge and gradually become commonplace. Expect big changes."
- MIT's Auto-ID Center
Supermarket cards and other retail surveillance devices are merely the opening volley of the marketers' war against consumers. If consumers fail to oppose these practices now, our long term prospects may look like something from a dystopian science fiction novel.
A new consumer goods tracking system called Auto-ID is poised to enter all of our lives, with profound implications for consumer privacy. Auto-ID couples radio frequency (RF) identification technology with highly miniaturized computers that enable products to be identified and tracked at any point along the supply chain.
The system could be applied to almost any physical item, from ballpoint pens to toothpaste, which would carry their own unique information in the form of an embedded chip. The chip sends out an identification signal allowing it to communicate with reader devices and other products embedded with similar chips.
Analysts envision a time when the system will be used to identify and track every item produced on the planet.
A number for every Item on the planet
Auto-ID employs a numbering scheme called ePC (for "electronic product code") which can provide a unique ID for any physical object in the world. The ePC is intended to replace the UPC bar code used on products today.
Unlike the bar code, however, the ePC goes beyond identifying product categories -- it actually assigns a unique number to every single item that rolls off a manufacturing line. For example, each pack of cigarettes, individual can of soda, light bulb or package of razor blades produced would be uniquely identifiable through its own ePC number.
Once assigned, this number is transmitted by a radio frequency ID tag (RFID) in or on the product. These tiny tags, predicted by some to cost less than 1 cent each by 2004, are "somewhere between the size of a grain of sand and a speck of dust." They are to be built directly into food, clothes, drugs, or auto-parts during the manufacturing process.
Receiver or reader devices are used to pick up the signal transmitted by the RFID tag. Proponents envision a pervasive global network of millions of receivers along the entire supply chain -- in airports, seaports, highways, distribution centers, warehouses, retail stores, and in the home. This would allow for seamless, continuous identification and tracking of physical items as they move from one place to another, enabling companies to determine the whereabouts of all their products at all times.
Steven Van Fleet, an executive at International Paper, looks forward to the prospect. "We'll put a radio frequency ID tag on everything that moves in the North American supply chain," he enthused recently.
The ultimate goal is for Auto-ID to create a "physically linked world" in which every item on the planet is numbered, identified, catalogued, and tracked. And the technology exists to make this a reality. Described as "a political rather than a technological problem," creating a global system ?would . . . involve negotiation between, and consensus among, different countries.? Supporters are aiming for worldwide acceptance of the technologies needed to build the infrastructure within the next few years.
The implications of Auto-ID
"Theft will be drastically reduced because items will report when they are stolen, their smart tags also serving as a homing device toward their exact location." - MIT's Auto-ID Center
Since the Auto-ID Center's founding at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 1999, it has moved forward at remarkable speed. The center has attracted funding from some of the largest consumer goods manufacturers in the world, and even counts the Department of Defense among its sponsors. In a mid-2001 pilot test with Gillette, Philip Morris, Procter & Gamble, and Wal-Mart, the center wired the entire city of Tulsa, Oklahoma with radio-frequency equipment to verify its ability to track Auto-ID equipped packages.
Though many Auto-ID proponents appear focused on inventory and supply chain efficiency, others are developing financial and consumer applications that, if adopted, will have chilling effects on consumers' ability to escape the oppressive surveillance of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers. Of course, government and law enforcement will be quick to use the technology to keep tabs on citizens, as well.
The European Central Bank is quietly working to embed RFID tags in the fibers of Euro bank notes by 2005. The tag would allow money to carry its own history by recording information about where it has been, thus giving governments and law enforcement agencies a means to literally "follow the money" in every transaction. If and when RFID devices are embedded in banknotes, the anonymity that cash affords in consumer transactions will be eliminated.
Hitachi Europe wants to supply the tags. The company has developed a smart tag chip that -- at just 0.3mm square and as thin as a human hair -- can easily fit inside of a banknote. Mass-production of the new chip will start within a year.
Consumer marketing applications will decimate privacy
"Radio frequency is another technology that supermarkets are already using in a number of places throughout the store. We now envision a day where consumers will walk into a store, select products whose packages are embedded with small radio frequency UPC codes, and exit the store without ever going through a checkout line or signing their name on a dotted line."
Jacki Snyder, Manager of Electronic Payments for Supervalu (Supermarkets), Inc., and Chair, Food Marketing Institute Electronic Payments Committee
Auto-ID would expand marketers' ability to monitor individuals' behavior to undreamt of extremes. With corporate sponsors like Wal-Mart, Target, the Food Marketing Institute, Home Depot, and British supermarket chain Tesco, as well as some of the world's largest consumer goods manufacturers including Proctor and Gamble, Phillip Morris, and Coca Cola it may not be long before Auto-ID-based surveillance tags begin appearing in every store-bought item in a consumer's home.
According to a video tour of the "Home of the Future" and "Store of the Future" sponsored by Proctor and Gamble, applications could include shopping carts that automatically bill consumer's accounts (cards would no longer be needed to link purchases to individuals), refrigerators that report their contents to the supermarket for re-ordering, and interactive televisions that select commercials based on the contents of a home's refrigerator.
Now that shopper cards have whetted their appetite for data, marketers are no longer content to know who buys what, when, where, and how. As incredible as it may seem, they are now planning ways to monitor consumers' use of products within their very homes. Auto-ID tags coupled with indoor receivers installed in shelves, floors, and doorways, could provide a degree of omniscience about consumer behavior that staggers the imagination.
Consider the following statements by John Stermer, Senior Vice President of eBusiness Market Development at ACNielsen:
"[After bar codes] [t]he next 'big thing' [was] [f]requent shopper cards. While these did a better job of linking consumers and their purchases, loyalty cards were severely limited...consider the usage, consumer demographic, psychographic and economic blind spots of tracking data....
omething more integrated and holistic was needed to provide a ubiquitous understanding of on- and off-line consumer purchase behavior, attitudes and product usage. The answer: RFID (radio frequency identification) technology.... In an industry first, RFID enables the linking of all this product information with a specific consumer identified by key demographic and psychographic markers....Where once we collected purchase information, now we can correlate multiple points of consumer product purchase with consumption specifics such as the how, when and who of product use."
Marketers aren't the only ones who want to watch what you do in your home. Enter again the health surveillance connection. Some have suggested that pill bottles in medicine cabinets be tagged with Auto-ID devices to allow doctors to remotely monitor patient compliance with prescriptions.
While developers claim that Auto-ID technology will create "order and balance" in a chaotic world, even the center's executive director, Kevin Ashton, acknowledges there's a "Brave New World" feel to the technology. He admits, for example, that people might balk at the thought of police using Auto-ID to scan the contents of a car's trunk without needing to open it. The Center's co-director, Sanjay E. Sarma, has already begun planning strategies to counter the public backlash he expects the system will encounter.
This passage has 27 footnoted references associated with it. I will be happy to send a copy of the entire article, including footnotes and references, as an email attachment on request.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly
on: September 10, 2003, 05:35:24 PM
Exclusive: Saudi Govt Bans "Jewish" Barbie Dolls
by SIA News
(Washington) September 8, 2003 - SIA News The Saudi government has announced that Barbie dolls are Jewish tools promoting the lewd behavior of what it calls the perverted Western world, according to a government poster distributed to Saudi schools, mosques and hospitals which has been obtained and translated by SIA news.
The poster, titled "The Jewish Doll", is printed and distributed by the powerful Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, otherwise known as the religious police. This is a government agency headed by a Wahhabi cleric with ministerial rank appointed by King Fahd.
The poster includes photos of Barbie dolls that have been confiscated by religious police from local retail outlets, displayed in a special exhibition of goods which are deemed to have violated official religious teachings.
The Permanent Exhibition for Religious Contraventions is located at the headquarters of the religious police in Madina. It displays confiscated goods such as photographs, perfumes, and dolls among other confiscated items.
Saudi spokesman in Washington, Adel Al-Jubeir, refused to comment when SIA news asked him about the poster and the official propagation of religious hatred against Jews, Christians, Hindus and non-Wahhabi Muslims by government agencies and officials.
The power of the religious police emanates from the support of King Fahd and the powerful Interior Minister Prince Naif, who fund it generously.
In addition to their large annual budget, the religious police receive millions of dollars from the king in form of cash infusions, and new SUV?s, on annual bases.
On June 30, 2002 Al-Riyadh newspaper reported that King Fahd donated $1.25 million from his private covers to support the religious police?s work.
On May 18, Naif reiterated his support for the religious police in a press conference attended by western reporters. ?The religious police are part of the government and are here to stay,? said Naif, who was angered by a Saudi journalist?s question regarding the possibility of it being dismantled.
The Barbie doll and similar posters are distributed to school children, worshipers at mosques, and hospital patients.
The agency's official website uses 'gov' net extension displays the government seal also found on the poster. To access the poster from the government website: http://www.hesbah.gov.sa/images/wrongdone/m04.jpg
Other confiscated items can be seen at: http://www.hesbah.gov.sa/contravention.asp
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / 1 stick vs. 2 sticks
on: September 10, 2003, 03:00:16 PM
A couple of points:
1) What Mookie refers to as the DBMA videos are properly called either "The Dog Brothers videos" or "Real Contact Stickfighting". They comprise our first series. The DBMA videos are our second series.\
2) Many people prefer to develop their dominant side first and many of them have good results. My concern with this approach is that, unlike boxing/kickboxing where both hands/feet are active, it tends to increase the disparity between dominant and complementary hands/sides and, for many people, to develop only linear footwork.
Some systems, e.g. LaCoste, solve this by teaching long and short first.
3) In DBMA we teach double from the beginning. Apart from the fighting benefits of this, it develops the body evenly (and if you train with gusto imbalance is a risk in training only one side IMHO) and opens the door to footwork that changes lead. Not to say that the off-lead in single does not have its place, but if it does not matter which side is forward then all triangles become possible.
4) The skills developed by this approach we feel have importance in 360 degree situations.
and when working single stick usually teach the complementary hand first. This transposes readily to the dominant side (vice versa not doing so in our experience) and yields a natural comfort with the motion(s) in question on either side.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / New kali &Krabi Krabong video
on: September 10, 2003, 02:44:50 PM
Woof Kam, Mike, Tomek et al:
Actually I have not yet received my copies of the video-- although I have seen the raw footage. The plan was for me to edit it, but due to a glitch in communication they went ahead without me so I confess to a bit of concern at the moment. Although the advertising promises fight footage, I have supplied none. Does the video have any?
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: September 09, 2003, 05:44:40 PM
Two Years of War
Sep 09, 2003
Two years into the war that began on Sept. 11, 2001, the primary pressure is on al Qaeda to demonstrate its ability to achieve its goals. The events of Sept. 11 were primarily intended to change the internal dynamics of the Islamic world, but not a single regime fell as a result of the Sept. 11 attacks. However, the United States -- unable to decline action -- has taken a huge risk in its response. The outcome of the battle is now in doubt: Washington still holds the resources card and can militarily outman al Qaeda, but the militant network's ability to pull off massive and unpleasant surprises should not be dismissed.
Old military communiqu?s used to read, "The battle has been joined but the outcome is in doubt." From Stratfor's viewpoint, that seems to be the best way to sum up the status of the war that began on Sept. 11, 2001, when al Qaeda operatives attacked U.S. political, military and economic targets.
Though the militants were devastatingly successful in destroying the World Trade Center and shutting down U.S. financial markets, al Qaeda did not achieve its primary goal: a massive uprising in the Islamic world. Its attack was a means toward an end and not an end in itself. Al Qaeda's primary goal was the radical transformation of the Islamic world as a preface for re-establishing the Caliphate -- a multinational Islamic empire that, at its height, stretched from the Atlantic to the Pacific oceans.
To achieve this end, al Qaeda knew that it had to first overthrow existing regimes in the Islamic world. These regimes were divided into two classes. One was made up of secular, socialist and military regimes, inspired by Gamel Abdul Nasser. This class included countries such as Egypt, Syria, Iraq and Libya. The second class comprised the formally Islamic states of the Arabian Peninsula, which Osama bin Laden referred to as "hypocrites" for policies that appeared Islamic but actually undermined the construction of the Caliphate. Finally, bin Laden had to deal with the problem of Shiite Iran, which had taken the lead in revolutionizing Islam but in which the Wahhabi and Sunni al Qaeda had little confidence.
Al Qaeda's political objective was to set into motion the process that would replace these governments with Islamist regimes. To achieve this, al Qaeda needed a popular uprising in at least some of these countries. But it reasoned that there could be no rising until the Islamic masses recognized that these governments were simply collaborators and puppets of the Christians, Jews and Hindus. Even more important, al Qaeda had to demonstrate that the United States was both militarily impotent and an active enemy of the Islamic world. The attacks would serve to convince the masses that the United States could be defeated. An ongoing war between the United States and the Islamic world would serve to convince the masses that the United States had to be defeated.
Al Qaeda had to stage an operation that would achieve these ends:
1. It had to show that the United States was vulnerable.
2. Its action had to be sufficiently severe that the United States could not avoid a counterattack.
3. The counterattack had to be, in turn, countered by al Qaeda, reinforcing the perception of U.S. weakness.
The events of Sept. 11 were intended primarily to change the internal dynamics of the Islamic world. The attacks were designed so that their significance could not be minimized in the Islamic world or in the United States -- as had been the case with prior al Qaeda strikes against U.S. interests. Al Qaeda also had to strike symbols of American power -- symbols so obvious that their significance would be understandable to the simplest Muslim. Thus, operatives struck at the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and -- in a failed attack -- Congress.
As expected, the attacks riveted global attention and forced the United States to strike back, first in Afghanistan and then in Iraq. The United States could not decline combat: If it did so, al Qaeda's representation of the United States as an essentially weak power would have been emphatically confirmed. That was not an option. At the same time, optimal military targets were unavailable, so the United States was forced into suboptimal attacks.
The invasion of Afghanistan was the first of these. But the United States did not defeat the Taliban; Knowing it could not defeat U.S. troops in conventional combat -- the Taliban withdrew, dispersed and reorganized as a guerrilla force in the Afghan countryside. It is now carrying out counterattacks against entrenched U.S. and allied forces.
In Iraq, the Islamist forces appear to have followed a similar strategy within a much tighter time frame. Rather than continuing conventional resistance, the Iraqis essentially dispersed a small core of dedicated fighters -- joined by an international cadre of Islamists -- and transitioned into guerrilla warfare in a few short weeks after the cessation of major conventional combat operations.
However, al Qaeda did not achieve its primary mission -- Sept. 11 did not generate a mass uprising in the Islamic world. Not a single regime fell. To the contrary, the Taliban lost control of Afghanistan, and the regime of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein fell. Nevertheless, given its goals, al Qaeda was the net winner in this initial phase. First, the U.S. obsession about being attacked by al Qaeda constantly validated the militant network's power in the Islamic world and emphasized the vulnerability of the United States. Second, the United States threw itself into the Islamic world, adding credence to al Qaeda's claim that the country is the enemy of Islam. Finally, Washington drew a range of Islamic regimes into collaboration with its own war effort, demonstrating that these regimes -- from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan -- were in fact collaborating with the Christians rather than representing Islamic interests. Finally, by drawing the United States into the kind of war it is the least competent in waging --guerrilla war -- al Qaeda created the framework for a prolonged conflict that would work against the United States in the Islamic world and at home.
Therefore, on first reading it would appear that the war has thus far gone pretty much as al Qaeda hoped it would. That is true, except for the fact that al Qaeda has not achieved the goal toward which all of this was directed. It achieved the things that it saw as the means toward the end, and yet the end is nowhere in sight.
This is the most important fact of the war. Al Qaeda wins if the Islamic world transforms itself at least in part by establishing Islamist regimes. That simply hasn't happened, and there is no sign of it happening. Thus far, at least, whatever the stresses might have been in the Islamic world, existing regimes working in concert with the United States have managed to contain the threat quite effectively.
This might be simply a matter of time. However, after two years, the suspicion has to be raised that al Qaeda calculated everything perfectly -- except for the response. Given what has been said about the Islamic world's anger at the United States and its contempt for the corruption of many governments, the failure of a revolutionary movement to take hold anywhere raises the question of whether al Qaeda's core analysis of the Islamic world had any truth, or whether other factors are at play.
Now turn the question to the United States for a moment. The United States clearly understood al Qaeda's strategy. The government understood that al Qaeda was hoping for a massive counterattack in multiple countries and deep intrusions into other countries. Washington understood that it was playing into al Qaeda's plans; it nevertheless did so.
The U.S. analysis paralleled al Qaeda's analysis. Washington agreed that the issue was the Islamic perception of U.S. weakness. It understood, as President George W. Bush said in his Sept. 7 speech, that Beirut and Somalia -- as well as other events -- had persuaded the Islamic world that the country was indeed weak. Therefore, U.S. officials concluded that inaction would simply reinforce this perception and would hasten the unraveling of the region. Therefore, they realized that even if it played directly into al Qaeda's plan, the United States could not refuse to act.
Taking action carried with it a huge risk -- that of playing out al Qaeda's scenario. However, U.S. leaders made another bet: If an attack on the Islamic world could force or entice regimes in the area to act against al Qaeda inside their borders, then the threat could be turned around. Instead of al Qaeda trapping the United States, the United States could be trap al Qaeda. The central U.S. bet was that Washington could move the regimes in question in a suitable direction -- without their disintegration. If it succeeded, the tables could be turned.
The invasion of Iraq was intended to achieve this, and to a great extent it did. The Saudis moved against al Qaeda domestically. Syria changed its behavior. Most importantly, the Iranians shifted their view and actions. None of these regimes fell in the process. None of these actions were as thorough as the United States wanted, either -- and certainly none were definitive. Nevertheless, collaboration increased, and no regime fell.
But at this point, the battle is in doubt:
1. The United States must craft strategies for keeping both the Afghan and Iraqi campaigns at manageable levels. In particular, it must contain guerrilla activities at a level that will not be perceived by the Islamic world as a significant victory.
2. The United States must continue to force or induce nations to collaborate without bringing down any governments.
3. Al Qaeda must, at some point, bring down a government to maintain its own credibility. At this point, merely surviving is not enough.
Both sides now are caught in a battle. The United States holds the resource card: Despite insufficient planning for manpower requirements over the course of the war, the United States is still in a position to bring substantial power to bear in multiple theaters of operation. For al Qaeda, the card is another massive attack on the United States. In the short run, the network cannot do more than sustain the level of combat currently achieved. This level is insufficient to trigger the political events for which it hopes. Therefore, it has to up the ante.
The next months will give some indication of the direction the war is going. Logic tells us that the United States will contain the war in Iraq and, to a lesser extent, in Afghanistan. Logic also tells us that al Qaeda will attempt another massive attack in the United States to try to break the logjam in the Islamic world. What al Qaeda needs is a series of uprisings from the Pacific to the Atlantic that would topple existing regimes. What the United States needs is to demonstrate that it has the will and ability to contain the forces al Qaeda has unleashed.
At this moment, two years into the war, the primary pressure is on al Qaeda. It has not yet demonstrated its ability to achieve its goals; it has only achieved an ability to mobilize the means of doing so. That is not going to be enough. On the other hand, its ability to pull off massive and unpleasant surprises should not be underestimated.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: September 08, 2003, 08:43:55 AM
1137 GMT - PHILIPPINES: The Philippine government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) are expected to resume peace talks in October, Norberto Gonzales, presidential adviser on special concerns, said Sept. 8. The talks, which will be held in Malaysia, will be the first in two years between Philippine officials and the militant group. President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo has said she is confident that a peace deal will be reached before U.S. President George W. Bush visits the area in late October.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes
on: September 07, 2003, 09:17:28 AM
YOUR PAPERS, PLEASE ...
Group sues feds over medical privacy
Doctors, patients, advocates claim new rules 'threaten essential liberties'
Posted: September 6, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Jon Dougherty
? 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
A group consisting of patients, doctors and privacy advocates has filed suit in federal court charging a new government rule actually "eliminates the right to privacy" of past and future communications between doctor and patient.
In papers filed in U.S. district court in Philadelphia, the group ? Citizens for Health, represented by Washington, D.C. lawyer James Pyles ? accuses "the federal government of ignoring overwhelming public opinion to prevent the widespread use of medical records and instead implemented new regulations that threaten essential liberties guaranteed by the Constitution."
Specifically, the group alleges the new rule, which was implemented under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, or HIPAA, of 1996, eliminates medical privacy and "jeopardizes the privacy of past and future communications between patients and their physicians."
President George W. Bush embraces Secretary of Health and Human Services and former Wisconsin Governor Tommy Thompson after speaking about healthcare reform issues at the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, Wis., February 11, 2002.
Under the rule, which was implemented by Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson April 14, "virtually all personal health information about every aspect of an individual's life can be used and disclosed routinely without notice, without the individual's consent and against his or her will," the group said in a statement.
Some of the allegations mirror findings by the General Accounting Office, Congress' watchdog agency, which reported in July the federal government could not guarantee patients' medical privacy.
The GAO report found that of 25 federal agencies, compliance with Privacy Act requirements and those of the Office of Management and Budget ? which oversees implementation of the act ? was "uneven."
"As a result of this uneven compliance, the government cannot adequately assure the public that all legislated individual privacy rights are being protected," said the agency.
The privacy rule, which was under consideration during the Clinton administration, has been routinely criticized by health advocates as being too revealing of privacy, not protective of it. But that's a charge the government has just as regularly denied.
"From the time of Hippocrates, privacy in medical care has been of prime importance to patients and to the medical profession," Thompson said.
As electronic data transmission is becoming ingrained in our health-care system, we have new challenges to insure that medical privacy is secured. While many states have enacted laws giving differing degrees of protection, there has never before been a federal standard defining and ensuring medical privacy," he continued. "Now new federal standards are coming into force to protect the personal health information of every American patient."
But critics say the government's standards aren't the problem. Rather, they say the problem is medical records are now much too easy to access by a multitude of third parties.
Indeed, says the group, Health and Human Services' "own findings show that the rules affect the medical privacy rights of 'virtually every American,' and allows more than '600,000 entities' access to their records ?" That list includes insurance companies, banks, employers, and law enforcement agencies.
Pyles initially filed suit in April, but Thursday's filing is for summary judgment. In court documents he alleged "that HHS changed the privacy requirement, even though the agency officials had received thousands of comments from citizens urging them to preserve their rights."
"Further," he argued, "the amended privacy rule provides no opportunity or mechanism for individuals to object or refuse to have their personal health information used and disclosed for routine purposes repeatedly."
Kathyrn Serkes, public affairs counsel for the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, said the new rules are so invasive patients will need "Miranda warnings" before answering medical questions.
"While masquerading as patient protection, the rules would actually eliminate any last shred of confidentiality and risk lives," Serkes said. "The frontline defense for medical privacy always has been the patient's right to give or withhold consent to how his records are used and who sees them. These rules throw that out the window."
Pyles represents 10 national and state associations, seven individuals and two "interveners," as well as 750,000 members of the associations.
Among them, Dr. Deborah Peel ? an Austin, Texas psychiatrist who has testified before Congress on the issue of medical privacy ? says Americans should be concerned about the manner in which their rights were disregarded and their opinions discounted.
"The 'HIPAA privacy rule' was turned into a massive 'disclosure rule,'" she said.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly
on: September 05, 2003, 03:40:18 PM
Jackass warning after horrific firecracker accident
Doctors in Australia have urged people to not to attempt Jackass style stunts after a man burnt his genitals in a firecracker accident.
The 26-year-old Australian man suffered a fractured pelvis and severe burns when a firecracker exploded between the cheeks of his buttocks.
The incident has left the man, from Illawarra, New South Wales, incontinent and unable to have sex and he is expected to remain in hospital for several months.
Dr Robert McCurdie, who operated on the man when he was taken to Wollongong Hospital, likened the man's condition to "a war injury".
Dr McCurdie said he believed the man had stumbled while the firecracker was in his buttocks, and fell down on it.
"By virtue of the fact that the explosion was confined in an upward direction, it went up into his pelvis, blasted a great hole in the pelvis, ruptured the urethra, injured muscles in the floor of the pelvis which rendered him incontinent. His pelvis was also fractured."
It is not known whether the man was imitating the cult prankster film Jackass in which men place firecrackers in their buttocks and shoot them into the air.
Acting Senior Sergeant John Klepczarek said the danger with movies like Jackass was that some people were tempted to try the stunts at home.
"They're putting themselves at risk, and other people. We do caution people strongly against following these acts," he said.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Violence against Women
on: September 05, 2003, 01:37:52 AM
This thread started concering violence against women, but it seems pertinent to me to touch here upon the matter of sexual violence against men. If the cited datum of 20% of men in prison being sexually assaulted is correct and there being many millions of men in prison, the numbers of men raped etc is quite large.
The following article is not particularly deep-- but it does report on new legislation regarding rapes in prison as well as present a fair question to society.
Nation Cherishes Rule of Law, Yet Unmoved by Prison Justice
BY DELIA M. RIOS
c.2003 Newhouse News Service
More stories by Delia M. Rios
What was perhaps most surprising about the sudden, brutal prison killing of the defrocked priest John Geoghan was the utter lack of surprise.
Convicted of molesting one child, accused of preying on as many as 130, he was the emblem of the child molestation scandal roiling the American Catholic church. The conclusions drawn about his slaying were certain if hasty, and the word "predictable" was bandied around to describe the target he must have presented to other inmates.
The commentary in news coverage was almost blase, as if this were not only expected, but accepted.
Geoghan's slaying once again exposed a parallel justice system inside the nation's prisons, administered by inmates according to their own codes of conduct and mores. Child molesters, among the most reviled members of prison society, are likely to face jailhouse retribution.
How can this be, in a nation that prides itself on the rule of law?
Criminal justice professionals say the reason has everything to do with the management and culture of prisons, a sense of inevitability about violence within prison walls, and public attitudes.
"It's beyond acknowledgment -- it's a tacit acceptance," said Paula C. Johnson, professor at Syracuse University's College of Law and a former prosecutor and defense attorney.
But to accept this dual system is to concede a failing of American justice. "The fact of being a prisoner does not mean that you have forfeited those rights that the legal system has not taken away from you," said William Galston, director of the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy at the University of Maryland.
Philosophers, Galston explained, would say it's a duty of care; lawyers that it's a requirement of due diligence.
So how has it come to this?
"You have to start with the reality that prisons are to some degree run by the inmates -- they're not a zoo with everybody behind bars 24 hours a day, seven days a week," said Frank Hartmann, executive director of the Program in Criminal Justice Policy at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.
Prison officials are most concerned with the perimeter -- or outside walls. Inside, there is greater freedom of movement and inmate control than the public supposes, Hartmann said -- especially in prisons that are ill-managed, understaffed and overcrowded.
"There's a kind of balance of terror," Galston said. "Guards have tools at their disposal, but prisoners have tools at theirs."
Prison society, like any other, has a pecking order and a set of norms. That's true whether inmates are men or women. In women's prisons there is special scorn for mothers who have abused their children.
"There are sanctions ranging from shunning people to hurting them," Hartmann said. "It's always been immensely interesting to me that for people who don't abide by the law outside, there's a very strict set of norms on the inside."
He cites a New York case in which an inmate serving time for robbery and rape was exonerated, based on new DNA evidence, of the rape charge: "He was very proud of this; he said, `Look, I'm a robber, but I'm no rapist.' Both are against the law, but that's not the issue."
The most extreme inmate sanction, of course, is death. It doesn't happen as often as it once did. There were 56 homicides in prisons in 1999, compared with 124 in a much smaller 1973 prison population. There were five homicides for every 10,000 inmates in 1999, but 61 for every 10,000 inmates in 1973, according to Steven Barkan, a University of Maine sociologist and co-author of the new textbook "Fundamentals of Criminal Justice."
Assaults are a different story. A survey of inmates in three Ohio prisons, published in 1998, reported that 10 percent had been physically assaulted in the previous six months.
From his reading of surveys conducted from 1996 to 2000, Barkan concluded that one-fifth of prison inmates had been sexually assaulted.
The Rape Elimination Act of 2003 recently approved by Congress would require a comprehensive accounting of prison rape, which is now lacking. Said Sen. Jeff Sessions, the Alabama Republican who sponsored the legislation, "We all agree that punishment for a criminal defendant should be set by a judge and should not include sexual assault."
But all this begs an unanswered question.
"What do you do," asked Bill Pooler of Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, "when you lock up that many people prone to violence?"
The problems are daunting. For one, Pooler said, it's not possible to completely control every prisoner, all the time -- the thriving prison economy, whether for drugs or cigarettes, is proof.
As Hartmann points out, there are always places where inmates can hide from guards, and prisoners have nothing but time to study guard movements.
Syracuse's Johnson says a key limitation is the need to maintain order and security in an institution where prisoners outnumber prison staff. However counterintuitive that may sound, keeping order depends to some degree on the inmates. It's one reason the inmate hierarchies are tolerated, though there is an effort to keep them in check.
Those in the criminal justice field suspect that the general public, rather than being outraged by all of this, is quietly content to let things go on as they are.
"A lot of people feel they get what they deserve," said sociologist Barkan, who studies public attitudes toward crime and criminals.
The problem with that argument, he said, is twofold: Many prisoners are in for non-violent crimes and suffer worse fates than the courts intended; and most inmates eventually leave prison to live again among their fellow Americans. If nothing else, Barkan said, people on the "outside" should consider the long-term public safety issue.
Maryland's Galston says these issues should be morally troubling.
"Our society, like any society, wants certain unpleasant jobs done in a way that the majority doesn't have to pay attention to," he said. "That's true of garbage collection and it's true of prisons -- we don't want to know where it goes or what happens to it when it's gone, we just want it to be done."
But from time to time, something penetrates the physical and psychological isolation of prisons from society at large. In Galston's words, the "seal is breached." That happened with the news of Geoghan's death.
It remains to be seen whether Geoghan was singled out because he was a child molester or for some other reason. But whatever the killer's motivation, Johnson is struck by an ambivalence in the reactions of the ex-priest's accusers.
"That is not the justice they had in mind," she said. "The tragedy is now compounded by the way his life ended. They can't exactly be satisfied that this is the way the system should have worked."
Sept. 1, 2003
(Delia M. Rios can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: September 04, 2003, 02:44:26 PM
The immorality of the Ten Commandments.
By Christopher Hitchens
Posted Wednesday, August 27, 2003, at 2:04 PM PT
The row over the boulder-sized version of the so-called "Ten Commandments," and as to whether they should be exhibited in such massive shape on public property, misses the opportunity to consider these top-10 divine ordinances and their relationship to original intent. Judge Roy Moore is clearly, as well as a fool and a publicity-hound, a man who identifies the Mount Sinai orders to Moses with a certain interpretation of Protestantism. But we may ask ourselves why any sect, however primitive, would want to base itself on such vague pre-Christian desert morality (assuming Moses to be pre-Christian).
The first four of the commandments have little to do with either law or morality, and the first three suggest a terrific insecurity on the part of the person supposedly issuing them. I am the lord thy god and thou shalt have no other ... no graven images ... no taking of my name in vain: surely these could have been compressed into a more general injunction to show respect. The ensuing order to set aside a holy day is scarcely a moral or ethical one, unless you assume that other days are somehow profane. (The Rev. Ian Paisley, I remember, used to refuse interviewers for Sunday newspapers even after it was pointed out to him that it's the Monday edition that is prepared on Sunday.) Whereas a day of rest, as prefigured in the opening passages of Genesis, is no more than organized labor might have demanded, perhaps during the arduous days of unpaid pyramid erection.
So the first four commandments have almost nothing to do with moral conduct and cannot in any case be enforced by law unless the state forbids certain sorts of art all week, including religious and iconographic art?and all activity on the Sabbath (which the words of the fourth commandment do not actually require). The next instruction is to honor one's parents: a harmless enough idea, but again unenforceable in law and inapplicable to the many orphans that nature or god sees fit to create. That there should be no itemized utterance enjoining the protection of children seems odd, given that the commandments are addressed in the first instance to adults. But then, the same god frequently urged his followers to exterminate various forgotten enemy tribes down to the last infant, sparing only the virgins, so this may be a case where hand-tying or absolute prohibitions were best avoided.
There has never yet been any society, Confucian or Buddhist or Islamic, where the legal codes did not frown upon murder and theft. These offenses were certainly crimes in the Pharaonic Egypt from which the children of Israel had, if the story is to be believed, just escaped. So the middle-ranking commandments, of which the chief one has long been confusingly rendered "thou shalt not kill," leave us none the wiser as to whether the almighty considers warfare to be murder, or taxation and confiscation to be theft. Tautology hovers over the whole enterprise.
In much the same way, few if any courts in any recorded society have approved the idea of perjury, so the idea that witnesses should tell the truth can scarcely have required a divine spark in order to take root. To how many of its original audience, I mean to say, can this have come with the force of revelation? Then it's a swift wrap-up with a condemnation of adultery (from which humans actually can refrain) and a prohibition upon covetousness (from which they cannot). To insist that people not annex their neighbor's cattle or wife "or anything that is his" might be reasonable, even if it does place the wife in the same category as the cattle, and presumably to that extent diminishes the offense of adultery. But to demand "don't even think about it" is absurd and totalitarian, and furthermore inhibiting to the Protestant spirit of entrepreneurship and competition.
One is presuming (is one not?) that this is the same god who actually created the audience he was addressing. This leaves us with the insoluble mystery of why he would have molded ("in his own image," yet) a covetous, murderous, disrespectful, lying, and adulterous species. Create them sick, and then command them to be well? What a mad despot this is, and how fortunate we are that he exists only in the minds of his worshippers.
It's obviously too much to expect that a Bronze Age demagogue should have remembered to condemn drug abuse, drunken driving, or offenses against gender equality, or to demand prayer in the schools. Still, to have left rape and child abuse and genocide and slavery out of the account is to have been negligent to some degree, even by the lax standards of the time. I wonder what would happen if secularists were now to insist that the verses of the Bible that actually recommend enslavement, mutilation, stoning, and mass murder of civilians be incised on the walls of, say, public libraries? There are many more than 10 commandments in the Old Testament, and I live for the day when Americans are obliged to observe all of them, including the ox-goring and witch-burning ones. (Who is Judge Moore to pick and choose?) Too many editorialists have described the recent flap as a silly confrontation with exhibitionist fundamentalism, when the true problem is our failure to recognize that religion is not just incongruent with
morality but in essential ways incompatible with it.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / An inspiring story
on: September 03, 2003, 01:34:36 PM
This was forwarded to me and I share it here.
As many of you know, I won the World Juijitsu Championship in my division and placed third in the open. Juijitsu is a full-contact grappling martial art exceedingly popular in Brazil where the World Championships are held. The style of juijitsu that I have studied is called Gracie Method, made famous by the Gracie brothers who won the Ultimate Fighting competitions several times. Before this, few in the US were familiar with juijitsu. The Gracies proved that juijitsu could trample karate, judo, boxing and any other form of fighting.
The road to victory is never short and in my case credit must be shared with many people who helped along the way. This is a little report on my preparation and last week's tournament in Rio.
To prepare, I trained three days each week with three different black belts. The first was Steve Maxwell, he and his wife D.C. are the owners of Maxercise in Philadelphia. Steve not only taught me juijitsu but made it his personal project to transform my body into a lean, strong, limber fighting tool. Hagis, another black belt from Brazil, reinforced many of the moves that I have learned over these past five years. With him I would repeat moves again and again and again until they became second nature. I also flew to California twice to train with Jean-Jacques Machado, a multi-champion black belt who also fights one-handed. As I was discovering, my blindness was less of an hindrance than the limitations of my left hand. For those of you that may have forgotten, my left hand has only two fingers attached to a fused wrist. Machado taught me many ways to overcome my limitations and use more of my legwork. So after six months of high-intensity training, I flew to Brazil for the competition.
D.C. Maxwell, Natalia Davis, Jamie and I flew to Rio together. All of us practice juijitsu. Once in Rio, we were met by Saulo Ribiera, a six time world champion who would continue my preparation for the match. He would also prove instrumental in coaching me through my fights. I worked out with Greg, a fellow blue belt juijitsu student who flew in from Ohio. After four days of training, the competition was at hand. I had only to focus on my state of mind. My body was ready, now to prepare my head.
It would all come down to five minutes on the mat. At the tournament I was joined by four more friends from the US: Marco, Anray, Nick and Noah. They along with other Americans, whose names we never got, joined in the cheering. My first hesitations came when I shook my opponent's hand and realized how large they were. My next apprehension arrived when his young 46-year-old body hit my 58-year old body on the mat. He was so strong and serious. This wasn't friendly sparring in the gym. But I performed technically better than I have ever performed. I even managed to get out of a triangle, a move where the competitor wraps his legs around your neck in an attempt to choke you out. I managed to stand up, stack his body, and produce enough pressure that he finally let go of his grip. Thanks to Saulo, I never gave up even though I was afraid that I might pass out. When I broke his triangle, it broke his spirit. After that I passed his guard, or for those who don't know juijitsu, I escaped his legs coiled around my waist. In the end, I won six points to nothing. The gold metal! The crowd roared and I got a standing ovation along with many hugs from friends. Even my competitor was gracious with his compliments. He declared that the better man had indeed won.
Next was the absolute or open, or the competition where size and weight is irrelevant. There were eight competitors. I had resolved previously that I would not fight these if I had won my division. I was still nursing a dislocated rib and feared further injury. But I found myself far less winded than expected, and I was spurred on by the cheers of my son. This match was very different. I had no sense of my opponent. We did not shake hands ahead of time. My first sense of him was when we hit the mat and I discovered that he must be at least 200 pounds. 30 pounds more than me! I lost that 5 minute round but managed to make him work for it. The winner, who had stormed through his division, now moved on to collect the gold medal in the absolutes. I collected a bronze. When I lost, the crowd cheered so loudly it was deafening. Unfortunate for the winner, the crowd neglected to cheer him as well.
After I collected my medals, many of the competitors and coaches came to shake my hand. They were shocked to see that my hands were also disabled. They looked at me with reverence. Some of the local young people also came up to have their picture taken with me. I was interviewed by a Brazilian magazine where I hope I inspired others to try harder. This is one of the achievements I am most proud of in my life.
I was not athletic until middle age. I didn't start training for juijitsu until I was fifty. I had always believed that I was not an athlete. I proved myself wrong. "I have found that whether you believe you can, or believe you can't. You are usually right."-Tony Robbins.
Again thanks to all of you who supported me both directly and indirectly. I will remember this forever.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Summer 2003 Gathering Report
on: September 03, 2003, 12:58:52 PM
Summer Gathering 2003 Report
A Howl of Greeting to All:
On Sunday July 13th, the ?Dog Brothers? Summer Gathering of the Pack? was held once again at the RAW Gym in El Segundo, CA--- on the heels of the ?Dog Brothers Martial Arts Training Camp? held July 10-12.
Each Gathering has its own unique rhythm, part of which is each fighter?s preparations. To know that you have given your word to yourself that at time certain and place certain you will be , , , .
In the months prior to this Gathering, Top Dog announced that this would be his ?last time?. The summer Gathering last year there was an exciting fight between TD and Tom Kier. With the word that Tom was returning to fight again (advertisement: in conjunction with his appearance as Tuhon of Sayoc Kali covering ?Medical Management? at our DBMA Training Camp the day before) there was considerable anticipation amongst the cognoscenti of the return engagement?which poetically enough would take place on TD?s last day.
Curious glances were cast from around the room as Eric and Tom greeted each other when Tom arrived at the Camp. Alas, due to back and knee problems the fight was not to be. After Tuhon Tom?s morning presentation (a fascinating and highly practical presentation on the near totally neglected area of Medical Management?we thank TT for his help) the afternoon session was one of GM Gyi?s famous get-ready-to fight Dhanda yoga sessions. The ever-playful GM Gyi paired the two Eric and Tom together for the session. During one position (think Child?s Pose facing Down Dog with Down Dog?s front paws on his back) TT had to walk his hands down the length of TD?s back, deep massaging the spinal erectors as he went. TD is a long body type and Tom had to really reach. ?God, you?re long? he commented.
TD, reciprocating, complimented Tom?s hand strength as Tom worked on his back muscles. ?You?re very strong.?
Hot Dog, never one to miss a beat, continued with ?And you?re very pretty.?
GM Gyi cracked up.
But I digress , , ,
The fighters were:
Gerald ?C-Heretic? Dog Boggs
Dog Brian ?Porn Star? Jungwiwattanattaporn, a.k.a. ?Jung?
Dog Mike Barredo
R. Kalani Grimm
Amal Jasen , , , ,
and Linda Matsumi (knife)
After several years of lapsing in this regard, we will once again be listing all fighters on the Fire Hydrant page of our website. If I have missed anyone, please email me so that your name can be included.
Yours truly and Salty Dog served as Ringmaster; GM Gyi was available for injury management; as usual James Stacey was Timekeeper and Master of Arms; Underdog?s son James Salter was on Camera; and we were once again fortunate to have Mark Mikita on Djembe drum. In attendance also were Original DBs Sled Dog and Surf Dog, and Hot Dog.
As always, my Pretty Kitty was In Charge of Reality.
The crowd/tribe was in full strength. We were honored by the attendance of Grandmaster Atillo of Atillo Balintawak and introduced him to the crowd. The number of the fighters was a bit less than usual?(approximately 25) but when the dust cleared, the time spent fighting was longer than usual. Also greater than usual were the number of injuries-- more on this below.
For the opening talk I had intended to underline my words about realistic behavior in the knife fights by waving a real knife around in front of people?s faces, but, well, I forgot the knife and had to use only words to make my point. Whatever the cause, I would say that the level of realism in the knife fights on the whole was good.
A few Gatherings ago we introduced using aluminum training blades. The first time we did this, nearly everyone used them. However the percent of people using them has declined substantially since then. This is understandable?a good whack with an aluminum blade on the hand carries with it a substantial chance of breaking bones?not to mention how much it hurts wherever it hits or the chance of a power thrust doing damage. I should mention that the trend towards ultra-light hand gear continues?with several fighters using ski gloves, moto-cross gloves and such both against knife and against stick.
There were many exciting and skillful knife fights demonstrating good technique as well as athleticism. A disarm by kick was seen, as were traps, and kills from both long range and close. Linda Matsumi, our efforts at helping her find women opponents for stick having come up empty this time, faced her opponent?s hard plastic knife with aluminum. She showed excellent ambidexterity switching from left to right for a kill slash to the neck, and later made another kill after a disarm.
Top Dog?s son Matt (14 years old and already taller than me L ) made his Gathering debut facing his father?and gave a very good account of himself.
Bryan Lorentzen and C-Heretic Dog opened the Stick fights with a fight that went to clinch and grapple in fairly short order. Once there, both men showed well on several levels including skillful headbutts and headbutt defense.
Dog Brian Porn Star went sinwali against his opponent?s single and showed good array of outer-range-in-to-media-range-and-out-again techniques.
Pinoy Maynard Ancheta came in with an interesting and different structure that allowed for good range control via chamber and footwork shifts. When I asked him in class the next week what he had been using he told me it was his interpretation of Hsing Yi empty hand
James Wilks and his opponent were up next with some large sticks. James showed a varied game including a KK kicking close and sound vale tudo kissakatami (sp?) on the ground to submission.
Lonely Dog and his opponent fought Staff. Lonely is pretty formidable on staff and looked good as he drove the fight went to Vale Tudo clinch in the corner.
True Dog and Dog Greg had a hardcore KK siniwali fight going that was cut short as the fight clinched and Greg?s shoulder dislocated. When I called him a few days afterwards he told me that the doc says it was relatively minor and all should be well.
In a single stick fight that included both Right against Left and Right against Right, Kalani Grimm of the Hawaii clan of the Dog Brothers dropped his opponent. Blood flowed freely during the post-fight commentary.
Top Dog dropped his first opponent of the day with a kidney shot.
Dog Mike Barredo adapted his usual structure to fight with a sprained ankle and showed well. Achieving the close and takedown, his mount dominated his opponent?s stick to submission.
Pinoy Dog Carlo Arellano had a sweet KK roof teep combo but had to stop soon thereafter as a knee injury reactivated.
Dog Brian Jung and C-Heretic, who have been working on their clinch games, had an interesting clinch and ground based fight for those with the eye to see it.
Dog Bryan showed some quality stickgrappling in his next fight.
Top Dog continued to lift his leg in his next fight with several strong shots to the head and elsewhere.
C-Heretic, after being driven in the crowd while having half guard, reversed and submitted with a shoulder lock
As part of a well-varied attack James Wilks scored an excellent knee shot in his next fight, a technical takedown and another kissakatami finish.
The knee shot theme continued as True Dog got in a couple in his next fight?not to mention a groin shot. Throwing in kick on the close and some strong vale tudo striking pressure, True got the submission.
Top Dog and Lonely Dog were next. These two always have a fine fight. Lonely is one of the very few people who can threaten Top?s knee or foot, but this time Top closed as he did so. A surprisingly long clinch (after all, Top has 80 pounds on Lonely) staggered into the pads that were stacked up against some weightlifting equipment and his movement muffled by the pads Lonely had to submit to the Fang.
Matt Knaus had his first stickfight and showed very well. The glow of the altered state was obvious in his post-fight interview. We?ll be seeing more of Matt I think.
Dog Bryan scored a clean hand shot and a pair of knee shots before a wild close put him on his back. Again showing good stickgrappling, he reversed and calmly finished with a nutcracker variation.
Dog Brian?s teacher had promised him that if he used the new ?Los Triques Siniwali? material that it would appear in the next DBMA Siniwali video and apparently he took it to heart.
Against a worthy opponent (who scored well too) he displayed a nice mix of attacks?until he lost one stick. Closing with a shout after taking a good hit, he was able to achieve arm bar position from which he pummeled his opponent into submission with both stick and empty-handed strikes.
After taking one to the head, James Wilks and his opponent clinched. Although he was swept on his effort to sweep out of clinch, he kept his focus and went for an arm-bar that flowed very nicely into a leg/inside heel hock that was applied both skillfully and with excellent safety awareness.
Top Dog continued on his rampage against in a siniwali fight with True Dog, dropping him with a fluid attack reminiscent of the famous one that dropped Salty Dog at the beginning of the first video in the first series (RCSF #1 www.dogbrothers.com
J ) True?s post-fight commentary was priceless?he?s a medical technician and his description of the symptoms of his concussion was hysterical.
Dog Bryan siniwali caught Lonely Dog?s staff thinking too much about the snake and his explosive charge got him inside the range of Lonely?s justly feared staff. It cost Lonely some work, but eventually he reversed and passed guard and stunned Dog Bryan with a kick to the occipetal (sp?) that brought matters to a close. Although the kick was substantially pulled, timing and placement were superb.
The closing fight of the day was Top Dog with his son Matt?a very special moment for both. The fight went to clinch and the crowd roared as Matt pulled off a hanging arm throw! TD was able to reverse and take side control, which Matt (who wrestles for his high school team) momentarily reversed.
There were many more fights than these and all in all it was a fine day of warrior spirit. The tribe (and that includes those there to witness) is strong.
That said, over the years in my role as Guiding Force I have had occasion to offer some thoughts for consideration and would like to do so now.
When I give the Magic Words at the beginning of a day?s fighting to the Fighters I will say ?The idea is that we are members of the same tribe, helping prepare each other to stand together to defend our land, women and children. Thus if you go too hard on a man and break him or whether you go too easy on him and leave him inadequately tested and seasoned, it will not serve you well when you stand together in battle.?
No doubt people who think the fencing masks to be helmets will not note the point, but the number of probable concussions in this Gathering (GM Gyi, who assisted injured fighters, estimates at least 6) was too high. An occasional concussion is to be expected at this level? and certainly Top, Salty and I all have been concussed but my sense of things is that this level of concussions is too much. At this rate, the tribe will weaken, not strengthen, from the experience.
Stickfighting IS dangerous and injuries WILL happen, but there is a difference between someone who genuinely understands the risks and takes them anyway, and a young male in a testosterone frenzy thinking he is invulnerable. One may be crazy, but the other is foolish. It may be crazy to do this while genuinely appreciating the consequences risked, but that understanding informs the training and gives it power. What one then brings to a day of fighting allows for an extraordinary experience. But if one simply comes sailing in without the awareness of what a shot to the head can mean and lacking the training to minimize its likelihood, then one is not brave, but foolish.
Why is this happening now at this time?
It is not because some fighters are taking shots that should not be taken. I am proud of the character, composure and awareness shown by the fighters in not taking shots that should not be taken. There is no problem on this front.
The problem, in my opinion has two basic causes. First, with the trend of manufacture of the fencing masks tending towards ever heavier, many of the current masks have large zones of substantial protection, thus leading to unsound habits. Thus it may come as a surprise to a fighter when he gets hit in a zone that offers little protection.
Second, in my opinion is that there is a tendency at the moment to bypass the rigorous training methods that yield sound defensive skills.
What to do?
When it comes to a Dog Brothers Gathering, only you are responsible for you. If you wish to fight, it is up to you what to do about this. I do suggest you think about it and train well.
The adventure continues,
Guiding Force of the Dog Brothers
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: September 02, 2003, 07:43:07 PM
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
THE STRATFOR WEEKLY
02 September 2003
by Dr. George Friedman
An Unlikely Alliance
Though the recent death of SCIRI leader Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim would appear to be raising the level of turmoil within Iraq, it might in fact help to push the United States and Iran toward a powerful -- if seemingly unlikely -- alignment.
The death of Shiite Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al-Hakim, the leader of the Supreme Council for Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), appears to have exacerbated the turmoil in Iraq. In fact, it opens the door to some dramatic shifts that might help stabilize the U.S. position in Iran. Indeed, it might even lead to a fundamental redrawing of the geopolitical maps of the region -- as dramatic as the U.S.-Chinese alignment against the Soviet Union in the 1970s.
To understand what is happening, we must note two important aspects of the al-Hakim affair. First, though far from being pro-American, al-Hakim was engaged in limited cooperation with the United States, including -- through SCIRI -- participating in the U.S.-sponsored Iraq Governing Council. Second, upon his death, Iran announced a three-day mourning period in his honor. Al-Hakim, who had lived in exile in Iran during much of Saddam Hussein's rule in Baghdad, was an integral part of the Shiite governing apparatus -- admired and loved in Iran.
We therefore have two facts. First, al-Hakim was engaged in
limited but meaningful collaboration with the United States,
which appears to be why he was killed. Second, he was intimately connected to Iranian ruling circles, and not just to those circles that Americans like to call "reformers." If we stop and think about it, these two facts would appear incompatible, but in reality they reveal a growing movement toward alignment between the United States and Iran.
The United States has realized that it cannot pacify Iraq on its own. One proposal, floated by the State Department, calls for a United Nations force -- under U.S. command -- to take control of Iraq. This raises three questions. First, why would any sane country put its forces at risk -- under U.S. command, no less -- to solve America's problems if it doesn't have to? Second, what would additional outside forces, as unfamiliar with Iraq as U.S. forces are, add to the mix, save more confusion? Finally, what price would the United States have to pay for U.N. cooperation; for instance, would the U.N. presence place restrictions on U.S. operations against al Qaeda?
Another proposal, floated by Defense Advisory Board Chairman Richard Perle, suggests that the way out is to turn Iraq over to Iraqis as quickly as possible rather than prolonging a U.S. occupation. The problem with Perle's proposal is that it assumes a generic Iraq, unattached to any subgrouping -- religious, ethnic or ideological -- that not only is ready to take the reins, but is capable of governing. In other words, Perle's proposal would turn Iraq over to whom?
Putting the Kurdish issue aside, the fundamental fault line
running through Iraqi society is the division between Sunni and Shiite. The Shiite majority dominates the area south of Baghdad. The Sunni minority, which very much includes Hussein and most of the Baath Party's national apparatus, spent the past generation brutalizing the Shiites, and Hussein's group also spent that time making certain that Sunnis who were not part of their tribe were marginalized. Today, Iraq is a fragmented entity where the center of gravity, the Baath Party, has been shattered and there is no
substitute for it.
However, embedded in Perle's proposal is a simple fact. If there is a cohesive group in Iraq -- indeed a majority group -- it is the Shiites. Although ideologically and tribally fragmented, the Shiites of Iraq are far better organized than U.S. intelligence reports estimated before the war. This is due to the creation of a clandestine infrastructure, sponsored by Iranian intelligence, following the failure of U.S.-encouraged Shiite uprisings in the 1990s. While Washington was worried about the disintegration of Iraq and the growth of Iranian power, Tehran was preparing for the day that Hussein's regime would either collapse or be destroyed by the United States.
As a result, and somewhat to the surprise of U.S. intelligence, organizations were in place in Iraq's Shiite regions that were able to maintain order and exercise control after the war. British authorities realized this early on and tried to transfer power from British forces in Basra to local control, much to U.S. displeasure.
Initially, Washington viewed the Iranian-sponsored organization of the Shiite regions as a threat to its control of Iraq. The initial U.S. perception was that the Shiites, being bitterly anti-Hussein, would respond enthusiastically to their liberation by U.S. forces. In fact, the response was cautious and sullen. Officials in Washington also assumed that the collapse of the Iraqi army would mean the collapse of Sunni resistance. Under this theory, the United States would have an easy time in the Sunni regions -- it already had excellent relations in the Kurdish regions -- but would face a challenge from Iran in the south.
The game actually played out very differently. The United States did not have an easy time in the Sunni triangle. To the contrary: A clearly planned guerrilla war kicked off weeks after the conquest of Baghdad and has continued since. Had the rising spread to the Sunni regions, or had the Sunnis launched an intifada with massed demonstrations, the U.S. position in Iraq would have become enormously more difficult, if not untenable.
The Sunnis staged some protests to demonstrate their capabilities to the United States, but they did not rise en masse. In general, they have contented themselves with playing a waiting game -- intensifying their organization in the region, carrying out some internal factional struggles, but watching and waiting. Most interesting, rather than simply rejecting the U.S. occupation, they simultaneously called for its end while participating in it.
The key goes back to Iran and to the Sunni-Shiite split within
the Islamic world. Iran has a geopolitical problem, one it has
had for centuries: It faces a threat from the north, through the Caucasus, and a threat from the west, from whatever entity occupies the Tigris and Euphrates basin. When both threats are active, as they were for much of the Cold War, Iran must have outside support, and that support frequently turns into domination. Iran's dream is that it might be secure on both fronts. That rarely happens.
The end of the Cold War has created an unstable area in the
Caucasus that actually helps secure Iran's interests. The
Caucasus might be in chaos, but there is no great imperial power about to push down into Iran. Moreover, at about the same time, the threat posed by Iraq abated after the United States defeated it and neutralized its armed forces during Desert Storm. This created a period of unprecedented security for Iran that Tehran exploited by working to reconstruct its military and moving forward on nuclear weapons.
However, Iran's real interest is not simply Iraq's neutralization; that could easily change. Its real interest is in dominating Iraq. An Iranian-dominated Iraq would mean two things: First, the only threat to Iran would come from the north and Iran could concentrate on blocking that threat; second, it would make Iran the major native regional power in the Persian Gulf. Therefore, were Iranian-sponsored and sympathetic Shiite groups to come to power in Iraq, it would represent a massive geopolitical coup for the United States.
Initially, this was the opposite of anything the United States
wanted. One of the reasons for invading Iraq was to be able to control Iran and its nuclear capability. But the guerrilla war in the north has created a new strategic reality for Washington. The issue at the moment is not how to project power throughout the region, but how to simply pacify Iraq. The ambitions of April have given way to the realities of September.
The United States needs a native force in Iraq to carry the brunt of the pacification program. The Shiites, unlike the United Nations, already would deliver a fairly pacified south and probably would enjoy giving some payback to the Sunnis in the north. Certainly, they are both more likely to achieve success and more willing to bear the burden of pacification than is the United States, let alone any U.N. member willing to send troops. It is not, at the moment, a question of what the United States wants; it is a question of what it can have.
The initial idea was that the United States would sponsor a massive rising of disaffected youth in Iran. In fact, U.S. intelligence supported dissident university students in a plan to do just that. However, Iranian security forces crushed the rebellion effortlessly -- and with it any U.S. hopes of forcing regime change in Iran through internal means. If this were to
happen, it would not happen in a time frame relative to Washington's problems in Iraq or problems with al Qaeda. Therefore, the Iranian regime, such as it is, is the regime the United States must deal with. And that regime holds the key to the Iraqi Shiites.
The United States has been negotiating both overtly and covertly with Iran on a range of issues. There has been enough progress to keep southern Iraq quiet, but not enough to reach a definitive breakthrough. The issue has not been Iranian nuclear power. Certainly, the Iranians have been producing a nuclear weapon. They made certain that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency saw weapons-grade uranium during an inspection in recent days. It is an important bargaining chip.
But as with North Korea, Iranian leaders know that nuclear
weapons are more valuable as a bargaining chip than as a reality. Asymmetry leads to eradication of nuclear threats. Put less pretentiously, Tehran must assume that the United States -- or Israel -- will destroy any nuclear capability before it becomes a threat. Moreover, if it has nuclear capability, what would it do with it? Even as a deterrent, retaliation would lead to national annihilation. The value of nuclear weapons in this context is less real than apparent -- and therefore more valuable in negotiations than deployment.
Tehran has hinted several times that its nuclear program is
negotiable regarding weapons. Officials also have indicated by word and deed to the United States that they are prepared to encourage Iraqi Shiites to cooperate with the U.S. occupation. The issue on the table now is whether the Shiites will raise the level of cooperation from passive to active -- whether they will move from not doing harm to actively helping to suppress the Sunni rising.
This is the line that they are considering crossing -- and the
issue is not only whether they cross, but whether the United
States wants them to cross. Obviously, the United States needs help. On the other hand, the Iranian price is enormous.
Domination of Iraq means enormous power in the Gulf region. In the past, Saudi Arabia's sensibilities would have mattered; today, the Saudis matter less.
U.S. leaders understand that making such an agreement means problems down the road. On the other hand, the United States has some pretty major problems right now anyway. Moreover -- and this is critical -- the Sunni-Shiite fault line defines the Islamic world. Splitting Islam along those lines, fomenting conflict within that world, certainly would divert attention from the United States: Iran working against al Qaeda would have more than marginal value, but not, however, as much as Saudi Arabia pulling out the stops.
Against the background of the U.S.-Iranian negotiation is the
idea that the Saudis, terrified of a triumphant Iran, will panic
and begin crushing the extreme Wahhabis in the kingdom. This has delayed a U.S. decision, as has the legitimate fear that a deal with Iran would unleash the genie. But of course, the other fear is that if Iran loses patience, it will call the Shiite masses into the streets and there will be hell to pay in Iraq.
The death of SCIRI leader al-Hakim, therefore, represents a break point. Whether it was Shiite dissidents or Sunnis that killed him, his death costs the Iranians a key ally and drives home the risks they are running with delay. They are vulnerable in Iraq. This opens the door for Tehran to move forward in a deal with the United States. Washington needs to make something happen soon.
This deal might never be formalized. Neither Iranian nor American politics would easily swallow an overt alliance. On the other hand, there is plenty of precedent for U.S.-Iranian cooperation on a covert level. Of course, this would be fairly open and obvious cooperation -- a major mobilization of Shiite strength in Iraq on behalf of the United States -- regardless of the rhetoric.
Currently, this seems to be the most likely evolution of events: Washington gets Tehran's help in putting down the Sunnis. The United States gets a civil war in the Muslim world. The United States gets Iran to dial back its nuclear program. Iran gets to dominate Iraq. The United States gets all the benefits in the near term. Iran gets its historical dream. If Roosevelt could side with Stalin against Hitler, and Nixon with Mao against Brezhnev, this collaboration certainly is not without precedence in U.S. history. But boy, would it be a campaign issue -- in both countries.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Myth of the streetfighter?
on: September 01, 2003, 06:45:31 AM
My question WAS carefully worded precisely for the reasons that you note.
And I do reflect upon this case precisely because in various flying fickle finger of fate moments in my life I too have done the equivalent of chasing the car. I suspect its exactly why the case has such resonance for us.
The question arises as to what one does if one catches it.
What do you do? Is the mission reparations (e.g. take the license plate number) or punishment (reach into the car and drag him out and kick his ass)? A blend of the two?
Some versions of this incident had him reaching/punching? into the car.
Is this confident behavior based upon his success in ritual hierarchical contexts? Did it blind him to be on the lookout for motions related to drawing weapons?
We may never know in this case, and I certainly intend no glibness or disrespect to AG, but may we not use the case to reflect upon our personal "rules of engagement"?
In my case my review of my own rules of engagement has led me to underline the importance of assuming weapons.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: August 30, 2003, 06:09:02 PM
PHILIPPINES - DEFENSE SECRETARY RESIGNS (AUG 29/BBC)
BRITISH BROADCASTING CORP. -- Philippine President Gloria Arroyo has
accepted the resignation of Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes and will
assume the defense portfolio herself, the BBC reports.
Reyes said he resigned primarily to give Arroyo a "free hand" in
dealing with continued threats to the government, including
suspected elements of the military.
The resignation comes just weeks after an attempted coup by
disgruntled military officers and troops, who seized a downtown
Manila shopping complex for several hours before giving up.
PHILIPPINES - SOLDIERS DEPLOYED TO PROTECT HISTORIC SITE (AUG 29/PHNO)
PHILIPPINE HEADLINE NEWS ONLINE -- The Philippine military deployed
a large contingent of soldiers and policeman to guard the Edsa
Shrine on Thursday, following reports that rebel groups were
planning to gather nearby, reports Philippine Headline News Online.
Gen. Narciso Abaya, chief of the Armed Forces of the Philippines
(AFP) said that groups were planning to seize the shrine in an
attempt to destabilize the government.
Defense Secretary Angelo Reyes played down the threat, saying,
"These are mere precautionary measures undertaken to anticipate any
The shrine is a monument to the revolution that ousted President
Ferdinand Marcos, and also marks the site of an uprising that
brought down President Joseph Estrada.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Myth of the streetfighter?
on: August 30, 2003, 01:07:19 AM
"I would hate to fight a guy like Rampage Jackson, much less if he were using "illeagal" moves. A Profighter with a paradigm shift makes a devastating streetfighter."
Would you expand upon this Carlo? Who is RJ? And what do you mean by a profighter with a paradigm shift?
As for the question presented in this thread, some thoughts:
There are three types of Aggression: Territorial, Hierarchical and Sexual (e.g. two males over a female/female in defense of her young). Often closely related, but different in important respects, is Hunting.
There are 5 responses to Aggression: Fight, posture, flight, submit, freeze.
Thus, in "streetfighter versus profighter" it may well depend upon which intersection of the matrix about which we are talking.
Often the "Streetfighter" (often a.k.a. a "Criminal") is operating in hunting modality. A hunter is not willing to be injured for a meal because it makes scoring his next meals much more difficult. The Streetfighter will often have substantially less pyschic hindrance in launching the first blow and/or attacking by ambush. If things do not go according to plan, this may well rattle his composure.
The profighter may be locked into hierarchical patterns of thought and action far more than he realizes. Was the recent tragic death of Alex Gong an example of this? The articles we have seen seem to be open to this interpretation.
Just some thoughts,
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: August 28, 2003, 08:56:29 AM
STRATFOR'S MORNING INTELLIGENCE BRIEF
SITUATION REPORTS - Aug. 28, 2003
, , , ,
Geopolitical Diary: Thursday, Aug. 28, 2003
Richard Perle, ex-chairman of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, announced today that mistakes were made in Iraq. Perle no longer holds an official position in the U.S. administration, but he still has clout with the likes of U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz. Perle's admission, unofficial and deniable though it is, indicates that the Defense Department has not completely lost touched with reality -- although the statement reveals no more than the merely self-evident.
Perle's description of the error is interesting: "Our principal mistake, in
my opinion, was that we didn't manage to work closely with the Iraqis before the war, so that there was an Iraqi opposition capable of taking charge immediately. Today, the answer is to hand over power to the Iraqis as soon as possible." Turning over Iraq to the Iraqis is an excellent idea, save that he does not specify which Iraqis he has in mind. Obviously it isn't Saddam Hussein or the Baath Party. So the question is -- who, exactly?
Iraq is divided along many lines. There are distinctions between Kurdish,
Sunni and Shiite Iraq. Other groups have tribal distinctions; still others
have political ones. These differences are not trivial, at least not to the
people of Iraq. There are deep and serious divisions that have, over the
centuries, deepened into profound distrust. Under Hussein, a generation of brutality drove deep wedges between Sunni and Shiite and other groups. Referring to them as "the Iraqi people" creates a fiction. Their loyalty does not go to the nation-state so much as to other institutions --
religious, tribal and ethnic.
Therefore, admitting to the mistake of not turning Iraq over to the Iraqis
completely misses the point. Since Perle is a very smart man, he knows that. He isn't suggesting turning Iraq over to the Iraqis. That would lead to
partition, chaos and civil war, or the reinstitution of dictatorship. What
Perle means is that the United States should have turned Iraq over to the
administrative council it created, one containing representatives of some
groups but not others.
The problem with the administrative council is that it has no inherent
power -- no army, no police force, no ability to tax, no budget. The council is in no sense representative. The most that it can do is serve as cover for the United States -- and not very plausible cover at that. To the extent that this board can act, it must do so through the United States, which does have an army, controls the police and holds the purse strings. The administrative council presides over nothing.
Institutions do exist to which the United States can transfer power. For
example, among the Shiites in the south, divided though they are, dwell
leaders with legitimacy among the public. They could rule in their own
regions, at the very least. The problem with this, though, is that they
don't want what the United States wants them to want, namely, a secular
democratic society. What they do want is an Islamic society modeled to some extent on Iran. They're also interested in dominating all of Iraq.
So the problem with the desire to democratize Iraq is that the Iraqis, were they to vote, would neither come to a consensus on who should lead them, nor, more importantly, choose the kind of regime the United States prefers. Turning Iraq over to the Iraqis won't rectify mistakes unless the United States is prepared to make deals allowing people whom the United States fears -- like the Shiites -- to govern in a way Washington detests.
Accepting that U.S. interest in Iraq is not nation-building, but prosecuting
the war on al Qaeda, means that we can look at Perle's statement and
acknowledge this: If he meant by his statement that the United States should make deals with traditional leaders to let them govern in their own way, then turning Iraq over to the Iraqis might work. But if he believes that the current administrative structure can govern Iraq, then mistakes will continue.
This is the problem the Bush administration faces. Understanding that the
United States cannot simply rule Iraq, but must allow the Iraqis to do so,
means grasping the fact that Iraq is not Wisconsin. There's not an American inside of every Iraqi struggling to get out. The military mission in Iraq -- to pressure the surrounding states -- still can be carried out. Iraqi factions can even be co-opted. But until the U.S. administration accepts the fact that Iraq will not be remade into anything resembling the kind of regime it wants, progress is difficult to imagine.
This does not mean that the war cannot be prosecuted. It does mean that the prosecution requires subtlety.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Myanmar (Burma):
on: August 27, 2003, 11:17:49 PM
Myanmar: The Coming of a New Guard?
Aug 27, 2003
A significant shuffle has taken place within Myanmar's Cabinet: Secretary 1 Khin Nyunt has been named prime minister, several older generals have retired and two new executive posts have been created. The changes, which reflect deep divisions within Myanmar's government, may eventually bring younger officers on board and lead to a Cabinet that appears at least on the surface to follow a more civilian structure.
The Myanmar government is undergoing major restructuring that has moved Secretary 1 Khin Nyunt into the prime minister's position. State Peace and Development Council (SPDC) Chairman Than Shwe, who previously held the post, is reportedly taking what likely will be a more ceremonial role in the newly created position of president. SPDC Vice Chairman Maung Aye, one of Khin Nyunt's key rivals, is slated for the new vice president position. It is unclear whether Khin Nyunt will continue to serve as director of defense services intelligence and Maung Aye as commander-in-chief of the army.
The leadership changes follow increasing pressure from the United States, England and the west, as well as members of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN). Though ASEAN traditionally refrains from criticism, the group issued some commentary following the May 30 arrest of opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi during a clash between National League for Democracy (NLD) and SPDC supporters in northern Myanmar.
The arrest -- which occurred during a time when there appeared to be a government consensus on the need to negotiate with the opposition -- revealed a renewed rift among top leaders. That rift has now come to a head, and the current restructuring may reflect a coordinated drive to limit the ageing Than Shwe's power and experiment with a MORE civilian-style government.
Suu Kyi's detention triggered a crisis within the SPDC, leading Khin Nyunt and Maung Aye to set aside their diffences for the moment. Past disagreements between the two over Myanmar's internal policies and relations with outside powers reflect cultural differences that pervade the government: Khin Nyunt, the intelligence chief, graduated from the Officers Training School and is not entirely trusted by Maung Aye -- a graduate of the Defense Services Academy -- and his fellow army officers. Khin Nyunt, the more pragmatic of the two, has long recognized Myanmar's need to moderate its image and negotiate with Suu Kyi, while Maung Aye has preferred a more forceful approach. Khin Nyunt wants closer ties to China; Maung Aye leans toward India.
Both seemed to agree, however, that Myanmar's government should make the appearance of dialogue with Suu Kyi, and her arrest -- a decision that many attribute to Than Shwe -- apparently came as a shock. Despite the dearth of unbiased and reliable information from Myanmar, the recent restructuring seems to back this up: Than Shwe is being relegated to a more ceremonial role as president, Maung Aye will take a more active internal role as vice president, and Khin Nyunt will lead foreign policy as prime minister.
The replacement of several older generals with younger colleagues punctuates Myanmar's shifting power base and the division of labor between its two erstwhile rivals. The moves create the impression of a government in transition: Fresh (or at least fresher) blood is being brought in and more traditional civilian offices are being created to downplay the military aspect of Myanmar's government. The stratocracy will remain, but Than Shwe's autocracy will be tempered by power sharing between Maung Aye, Khin Nyunt and their supporters.
Myanmar's new approach to government is entirely untested, and the first few months are likely to be characterized by rapid and radical shifts in rhetoric and policy as the leadership fleshes out the new roles and relationships among the officials. The attempts of powerful figures to undermine each other as they climb to power could very well undermine the entire experiment. On the other hand, a successful transition from the Than Shwe era to a more communal power-sharing arrangement could lead to a more moderate foreign policy. It could also lead to Suu Kyi's release and renewed efforts to co-opt her -- or at least encourage her to scale back opposition -- as leaders seek to redefine Myanmar and its foreign relations.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: August 27, 2003, 04:52:42 PM
1754 GMT - Philippine opposition Sen. Gregorio Honasan -- accused of
participating in a failed military coup against President Gloria Arroyo
on July 27 -- came out of hiding on Aug. 27. Honasan said he went into
hiding two days after the coup attempt because the government was
threatening to arrest him. Honasan said he is prepared to prove his
innocence in court.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA Practitioner & Instructor Candidate Weekend
on: August 27, 2003, 01:56:13 PM
You are invited to come train at our second "Dog Brothers Martial Arts Practitioner & Instructor Candidate Camp".
When: Saturday and Sunday, September 20 -21, 2003
Where: Hermosa Beach, (Los Angeles) CA
Dog Brothers Martial Arts has as its mission to help its people "Walk as a Warrior for all their days". In this system, a warrior is one for the length of his Life and each day is not only a celebration of the present, it is also a building block for the future.
In the Art of this, there are three basic stages: the Young Man, the Family Man, and...well let's call it the Free Man. Be clear that the system is very specifically for ALL: The Practitioner who stands ready without fail to step forward to Protect without notice is the greatest Warrior of all,whereas the Fighter may be but a young man on the path towards this
further level. To be able to step forward without notice without fail for the length of one's life in the real world requires thought as to the substance, order and organization of one's training over time. DBMA is this.
In no order and leaving out for now their specific elaboration, the basic fighting areas of the system are:
1) Unarmed: "Kali Tudo"(tm) for 'The Cage' as well as 'The Street.'
2) Knife: Offense and defense
3) Stick: For street as well as Real Contact Stick Fighting.
4) Double stick: For street as well as RCSF
5) Staff/ Dos Manos: For street as well as RCSF
Note that there are "non-fighting" areas of the system as well.
The fighting of the system is tested principally in "Real Contact Stickfighting" at a "Dog Brothers' Gathering of the Pack". This fighting, which takes place in the Ritual Space, must then be understood in terms of the requirements of the Real World. For example, one of the reasons the double stick is cultivated in the ritual space is for its development of
bilateralism-the ability to move in any direction with either side forward and to fluidly shift between the two-a skill needed for the realities of a multiple player world. Another example is that staff is emphasized so that one may improvise with all items in the environment requiring two hands.
This point is an important one in understanding the system: The skills that we choose to develop and test in the ritual space are chosen with the real world in mind. Furthermore, the extraordinary array of skills that can be brought to, tested and seasoned at a DB Gathering make it an ideal
laboratory for cultivating not only these skills but the teaching and training methodology of the system itself as well.
The DBMA path is about more than fighting skill in a larger context. In no particular order, there are:
1) Hurting, Healing, Harmonizing.
2) Fit, Fun, and Functional.
3) Mind, Heart, and Balls
4) Territory, Hierarchy, Reproduction
5) Contact and Consciousness, Dichotomy and Transformation
Q: Who should come to the Practitioner & Instructor Candidate Camp?
A: Practitioners and those interested in becoming instructors in our system. In contrast to the summer camp, there will be much greater emphasis on the inner logic of the system and how to teach the material.
A "practitioner" should have the basic skills in place, be able to pick up new movements, and most importantly, know how to be a good training partner. If you are "into it" enough to think about coming, your skills are probably up to it.
We understand that many good, humble people worry that by the very fact of expressing an interest in certification that they are presenting themselves as ready to be certified. Not to worry! As long you entertain no sense of expectation or right of certification that by attending you will be certified, you are welcome. If your feeling is simply that you wish to learn and grow in the system, you and we will be happy.
Concerning certification: There are two basic philosophies to
certification. In one, certification is very business-like. One pays the money, undergoes the training, shows the knowledge and skills, gets the certificate, and goes out into the world. This is good and there is nothing wrong with it.
This is not what we do.
In the other approach, certification is simply a part of a larger relationship in which there is a genuine sense of friendship, loyalty, and continuing responsibility in both directions. The money simply enables all this to take place. This is the approach we follow.
Q: Tell me more please about the specific levels in the certification program.
A: My teacher, Dan Inosanto, who is qualified as few people are to use big titles, uses nothing more than "Guro". I, who am far less worthy than him, think this is a good example. Thus the levels in the system are very simple:
a) Group Leader
c) Apprentice Instructor/Lakan Guro,
d) Senior Apprentice Instructor/Senior Lakan Guro,
Members of the Dog Brother tribe gets their titles in Tagolog, everyone else gets theirs in English. We are proud of our good name and what it represents, thus all certifications are revocable at any time.
Within each level there is first year, second year, etc. Standards are high. This is not a paper mill! So far I have made only two people "Guro"-Benjamin "Lonely Dog" Rittiner of Switzerland and Guro Chris "True Dog" Clifton of Palm Springs, CA. Please note that Guro Lonely was able to achieve this by making use of Personal Training Programs,
seminars, Videos, the DBMA Association and its Vid-lessons, so please do not allow your dreams to be hindered by the fact that we may live it different places.
"Group Leader" is just that, someone who leads a training group.
"Trainer" is a title that allows us to give someone a
chance to get started, see what they can do as an instructor, and get to know them a bit without putting our credibility at risk too much.
Q: What will we do at the Camp?
A: Guro Crafty will do the bulk of the teaching. Top Dog will be there at some point. In addition to what arises spontaneously, our plan is to cover the following:
1) Review: The Seven Ranges theory, "the triangle from the third dimension", the footwork matrix and their role in the logic of the system.
2) Review:The Snaggletooth Drill:
3) "Los Triques Siniwali": A substantial block of the weekend will be dedicated to the new block of material we call "Los Triques Siniwali". I confess to being rather tickled with myself about LT. "Los Triques" stands for "The Three Ks" of Kali and Krabi Krabong. It is our blend of the two. Not only is it of ruthless efficiency in fighting, it is ideal for developing skills that are important in many areas of the system such as footwork, combining striking with the footwork, tactics & strategy, bilateralism, unarmed fighting and more.
4) "DBMA Kali Tudo": Many of us for years have heard that empty hand is just like the weapons-- yet when it comes for unarmed fighting, this does not seem to manifest. "DBMA Kali Tudo" is about manifesting Kali-Silat skills in the context of Vale Tudo fighting.
For practical details please contact Cindy Denny at Prettykitty@dogbrothers.com
Guro Marc "Crafty Dog" Denny
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes
on: August 26, 2003, 11:02:16 AM
Civil Liberties After 9/11
Alarmism puts Americans' safety at risk.
BY ROBERT H. BORK
Monday, August 25, 2003 12:01 a.m. EDT
When a nation faces deadly attacks on its citizens at home and abroad, it is only reasonable to expect that its leaders will take appropriate measures to increase security. And since security inevitably means restrictions, it is likewise only reasonable to expect a public debate over the question of how much individual liberty should be sacrificed for how much individual and national safety.
That, however, is not the way our national debate has shaped up. From the public outcry over the Bush administration's measures to combat terrorism, one might suppose that America is well on the way to becoming a police state. A full-page newspaper ad by the American Civil Liberties Union, for instance, informs us that the Patriot Act, the administration's major security initiative, goes "far beyond fighting terrorism" and has "allowed government agents to violate our civil liberties--tapping deep into the private lives of innocent Americans."
According to Laura W. Murphy, director of the ACLU's Washington office, Attorney General John Ashcroft has "clearly abused his power," "systematically erod[ing] free-speech rights, privacy rights, and due-process rights." From the libertarian left, Anthony Lewis in the New York Times Magazine has charged President Bush with undermining safeguards for the accused in a way that Lewis "did not believe was possible in our country," while from the libertarian right, William Safire has protested the administration's effort to realize "the supersnoop's dream" of spying on all Americans.
The charge that our civil liberties are being systematically dismantled must be taken seriously. America has, in the past, overreacted to perceived security threats; the Palmer raids after World War I and the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II are the most notorious examples. Are we once again jeopardizing the liberties of all Americans while also inflicting particular harm on Muslims in our midst?
Civil libertarians insist that we are. They condemn the indignities of security checks at airports, the tracking of Muslim visitors to the U.S., detentions of suspects for indefinite periods without access to the courts, and, when criminal charges are brought, the government's attempt to limit the accused's access to important evidence. Still worse in their view is the administration's evident intention of using military tribunals to try suspected terrorists. Finally, and most frightening of all to critics, the government has proposed the Terrorism Information Awareness program--initially and even more ominously known as the Total Information Awareness program--which would employ computers to gather and assess vast amounts of data relating to the transactions of, among others, unknowing American citizens.
There is no denying the rhetorical force of these accusations, or the success with which they have been used by the left as a rallying cry against President Bush. What is less clear is their validity, not just on their own terms but in relation to the radically altered domestic security situation we have faced since the attacks of 9/11. There may be a case to be made concerning the measures we have taken so far; but it is not the one presented by the critics.
Security and Ethnic Profiling
According to Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American Islamic Relations, American Muslims have already lost many of their civil rights. "All Muslims are now suspects," Mr. Hooper has protested bitterly. The most salient outward sign of this is said to be the ethnic profiling that now occurs routinely in this country, particularly at airports but elsewhere as well--a form of discrimination widely considered to be self-evidently evil.
For most of us, airport security checks are the only firsthand experience we have with countermeasures to terrorism, and their intrusiveness and often seeming pointlessness have, not surprisingly, led many people to question such measures in general. But minor vexations are not the same as an assault on fundamental liberties. As for ethnic profiling, that is another matter, and a serious one. It is serious, however, not because it is rampant but because it does not exist.
That profiling is wicked per se is an idea that seems to have originated in connection with police work, when black civil-rights spokesmen began to allege that officers were relying on race as the sole criterion for suspecting someone of criminal activity. Profiling, in other words, equaled racism by definition. Yet, as Heather Mac Donald has demonstrated in "Are Cops Racist?," the idea rests on a false assumption--namely, that crime rates are constant across every racial and ethnic component of our society. Thus, if blacks, who make up 11% of the population, are subject to 20% of all police stops on a particular highway, racial bias must be at fault.
But the truth is that (to stick to this particular example) blacks do speed more than whites, a fact that in itself justifies a heightened awareness of skin color as one of several criteria in police work. Of course, there is no excuse for blatant racism; but, as Ms. Mac Donald meticulously documents in case after case around the country, there is by and large no evidence that police have relied excessively on ethnic or racial profiling in conducting their normal investigations.
The stigma attached to profiling where it hardly exists has perversely carried over to an area where it should exist but does not: the war against terrorism. This war, let us remember, pre-dates 9/11. According to Ms. Mac Donald, when a commission on aviation security headed by then-Vice President Al Gore was considering a system that would take into account a passenger's national origin and ethnicity--by far the best predictors of terrorism--both the Arab lobby and civil libertarians exploded in indignation. The commission duly capitulated--which is why the final Computer-Assisted Passenger Prescreening System specified that such criteria as national origin, religion, ethnicity and even sex were not to be taken into consideration.
This emasculated system did manage, even so, to pinpoint two of the September 11 terrorists on the day of their gruesome flight, but prevented any action beyond searching their luggage. As Ms. Mac Donald points out, had the system been allowed to use all relevant criteria, followed up by personal searches, the massacres might well have been averted.
Ironically, it is the very randomness of the new security checks that has generated so much skepticism about their efficacy. Old ladies, children, Catholic priests--all have been subject to searches of San Quentin-like thoroughness despite being beyond rational suspicion. According to the authorities, this randomness is itself a virtue, preventing would-be terrorists from easily predicting who or what will draw attention. But it is far more probable that frisking unlikely persons has nothing to do with security and everything to do with political correctness. Frightening as the prospect of terrorism may be, it pales, in the minds of many officials, in comparison with the prospect of being charged with racism.
Registration, Tracking and Detention of Visitors
Ethnic profiling, it is charged, is also responsible for the unjustified harassment and occasional detention of Arab and Muslim visitors to the United States. This is said to be an egregious violation not only of the rights of such persons but of America's traditional hospitality toward foreign visitors.
An irony here is that the procedures being deplored are hardly new, although they are being imposed with greater rigor. The current system has its roots in the 1950s in the first of a series of statutes ordering the Immigration and Naturalization Service to require aliens from countries listed as state sponsors of terrorism, as well as from countries with a history of breeding terrorists, to register and be fingerprinted, to state where they will be while in the U.S., and to notify the INS when they change address or leave the country.
Historically, however, the INS has been absurdly lax about fulfilling its mandate. When a visitor with illegal status--someone, for example, thought to have overstayed a student visa or committed a crime--is apprehended, the usual practice of immigration judges has been to release him upon the posting of a bond, unless he is designated a "person of interest." In the latter case, he is held for deportation or criminal prosecution and given a handbook detailing his rights, which include access to an attorney. It is a matter of dispute whether the proceedings before an immigration judge can be closed, as authorities prefer, or whether they must be open; the Supreme Court has so far declined to review the practice.
The procedures are now being adhered to more strictly, and this is what has given rise to accusations of ethnic or religious profiling. But such charges are as beside the point as in the case of domestic police work, if not more so. There is indeed a correlation between detention and ethnicity or religion, but that is because most of the countries identified as state sponsors or breeders of terrorism are, in fact, populated by Muslims and Arabs.
Stricter enforcement has also led to backlogs, as the Justice Department has proved unable to deal expeditiously with the hundreds of illegal immigrants rounded up in the aftermath of September 11. A report by the department's inspector general, released in early June, found "significant problems" with the processing of these cases. There is no question that in an ideal world, many of them would have been handled with greater dispatch, but it is also hardly surprising that problems that have long plagued our criminal justice system should reappear in the context of the fight against terrorism. In any case, the department has already taken steps to ameliorate matters. The only way for the problems to vanish would be for the authorities to cease doing their proper job; we have tried that route, and lived to regret it.
Discovery, Detention and Prosecution of Suspected Terrorists
According to civil libertarians, the constitutional safeguards that normally protect individuals suspected of criminal activity have been destroyed in the case of persons suspected of links with terrorism. This accusation reflects an ignorance both of the Constitution and of long-established limits on the criminal-justice system.
Prior to 1978, and dating back at least to World War II, attorneys general of the United States routinely authorized warrantless FBI surveillance, wire taps, and break-ins for national-security purposes. Such actions were taken pursuant to authority delegated by the president as commander-in-chief of the armed forces and as the officer principally responsible for the conduct of foreign affairs. The practice was justified because obtaining a warrant in each disparate case resulted in inconsistent standards and also posed unacceptable risks. (In one notorious instance, a judge had read aloud in his courtroom from highly classified material submitted to him by the government; even under more conscientious judges, clerks, secretaries and others were becoming privy to secret materials.)
Attorneys general were never entirely comfortable with these warrantless searches, whose legality had never been confirmed by the Supreme Court. The solution in 1978 was the enactment of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. Henceforth, sitting district court judges would conduct secret hearings to approve or disapprove government applications for surveillance.
A further complication arose in the 1980s, however, when, by consensus of the Department of Justice and the FISA court, it was decided that the act authorized the gathering of foreign intelligence only for its own sake ("primary purpose"), and not for the possible criminal prosecution of any foreign agent. The effect was to erect a "wall" between the gathering of intelligence and the enforcement of criminal laws. But last year, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court of Review held that the act did not, in fact, preclude or limit the government's use of that information in such prosecutions. In the opinion of the court, arresting and prosecuting terrorist agents or spies might well be the best way to inhibit their activities, as the threat of prosecution might persuade an agent to cooperate with the government, or enable the government to "turn" him.
When the wall came down, Justice Department prosecutors were able to learn what FBI intelligence officials already knew. This contributed to the arrest of Sami al-Arian, a professor at the University of South Florida, on charges that he raised funds for Palestinian Islamic Jihad and its suicide bombers. Once the evidence could be put at the disposition of prosecutors, al-Arian's longstanding claim that he was being persecuted by the authorities as an innocent victim of anti-Muslim prejudice was shattered.
Treatment of Captured Terrorists
According to critics, by depriving certain captured individuals of access to lawyers, and by holding them without filing charges, the government is violating the Geneva Convention's protections of lawful combatants or prisoners of war. This is nonsense.
Four criteria must be met to qualify a person as a lawful combatant. He must be under the command of a person responsible for his subordinates, wear a fixed distinctive emblem recognizable at a distance, carry arms openly, and conduct operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war. The men the United States has captured and detained so far do not meet these criteria.
The government's policy is as follows: If a captured unlawful enemy combatant is believed to have further information about terrorism, he can be held without access to legal counsel and without charges being filed. Once the government is satisfied that it has all the relevant information it can obtain, the captive can be held until the end of hostilities, or be released, or be brought up on charges before a criminal court.
The government chose one of these options when it charged John Lindh, an American citizen who fought with the Taliban in Afghanistan, and Zacarias Moussaoui, who is thought to have been involved in the planning for September 11, with crimes. Lindh entered into a plea agreement under which he was sentenced to 20 years in prison. Moussaoui's case has proved more complicated. The government proposes to use only unclassified materials in its prosecution, but Moussaoui, a French citizen of Moroccan heritage who has admitted in open court to belonging to al Qaeda and swearing allegiance to Osama bin Laden, has demanded to see classified materials and to have access to other captured terrorists for the preparation of his defense.
For obvious reasons, Moussaoui's demands are unacceptable to the government, which does not want to divulge classified information or allow terrorists to communicate with each other. But the prosecutors' offer of an alternative procedure was rejected by the presiding judge. If the government continues to be unsuccessful in its determination to protect classified information, it may decide to prosecute Moussaoui in special military tribunals created for trying terrorists. That would surely trigger the outrage of civil libertarians, even though it is plainly arguable that Moussaoui could and perhaps should have been prosecuted there in the first place. I will return to this issue below.
In a somewhat separate category from Lindh and Moussaoui, both of whom have been charged with actual crimes, are the cases of two American citizens who have been detained rather than brought to trial because the government believes they possess undivulged valuable information. Yaser Esam Hamdi remains confined to the Norfolk, Va., Naval Brig, and Jose Padilla is confined at the Consolidated Naval Brig in Charleston, S.C.. Neither man has yet been charged.
Hamdi filed a petition for habeas corpus challenging the legality of his detention. Although he was captured in Afghanistan, where he was carrying an AK-47 during a time of active military hostilities, and although he was classified by the executive branch as an unlawful enemy combatant, Hamdi claimed the full protections of the Constitution as an American citizen. He argued that his detention without charge and without access to a judicial tribunal or the right to counsel was in violation of the Fifth and 14th amendments.
The Fourth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals held otherwise. Although the detention of U.S. citizens is subject to judicial review, that review must be "deferential." The Constitution explicitly confers war powers on the political branches; in going to war in Afghanistan, the president had relied both on those powers and on Congress's authorization of "all necessary and appropriate force" against nations, organizations, or persons he determined to be involved in terrorist attacks. Hamdi, the court said, was indeed an enemy combatant subject to detention. It elaborated its rationale:
The detention of enemy combatants serves at least two vital purposes. First, detention prevents enemy combatants from rejoining the enemy and continuing to fight against America and its allies. . . . In this respect, "captivity is neither a punishment nor an act of vengeance," but rather "a simple war measure."
Second, detention in lieu of prosecution may relieve the burden on military commanders of litigating the circumstances of a capture halfway around the globe. . . . As the Supreme Court has recognized [in Johnson v. Eisentrager (1950)], "it would be difficult to devise more effective fettering of a field commander than to allow the very enemies he is ordered to reduce to submission to call him to account in his own civil courts and divert his efforts and attention from the military offensive abroad to the legal defense at home."
Hamdi's petition was denied, as was his right of access to an attorney or to seeing government documents.
Padilla was arrested upon his arrival at Chicago's O'Hare airport from Pakistan. The government indicted him, claiming he planned acts of terrorism, including the explosion of a radioactive "dirty bomb." When, like Hamdi, he petitioned for habeas corpus, the court held similarly that "the President is authorized under the Constitution and by law to direct the military to detain enemy combatants." Nevertheless, and over the government's objection, the court said it would allow Padilla the assistance of counsel to litigate the facts surrounding his capture and detention. (The government is now appealing this.) At the same time, the court disallowed the presence of counsel at Padilla's interrogations, and averred that the government need only show "some evidence" to prevail.
Anthony Lewis went ballistic. It is, he wrote, a "fundamental truth" that an individual cannot get justice against the state without the effective help of a lawyer, and this truth was "being challenged in a way that I did not believe was possible in our country." But Mr. Lewis was completely wrong. Despite his attempt to conflate the two categories, detention is not punishment; its purpose, rather, is to prevent members of enemy forces from causing harm while hostilities are in progress. Nor is Padilla the subject of a criminal proceeding; criminal-law rules do not apply when detention of an enemy is ordered by the President under his war powers. Hundreds of thousands of lawful prisoners of war have been held by the United States without the right to a lawyer, and unlawful enemy combatants are entitled to even fewer rights.
This makes perfect sense. A judicial system with rights of due process is crucial to a free society, but it is not designed for the protection of enemies engaged in armed conflict against us. Nor can we divert resources from the conduct of a war to the trial of every POW or unlawful combatant who wants to litigate. Besides, giving someone like Padilla a lawyer would frustrate the very purpose of his detention, and place American lives in danger. A lawyer's duty, acting within the bounds of ethical behavior, is to create delay and confusion, keeping alive his client's hopes of going free. Armed with such hopes, Padilla would be all the less likely to divulge what he knew, and plans for future terrorist attacks might thereby go undetected.
It might be argued that Padilla is not like other unlawful enemy combatants because he is a U.S. citizen taken on American soil. But the Supreme Court disposed of that distinction as long ago as 1942 in Ex parte Quirin. In that case, German would-be saboteurs had entered the U.S. illegally with the intention of attacking war industries and facilities. Upon capture, they sought habeas corpus, claiming a right to trial before a regular court rather than a military tribunal. In denying the petition, the court deemed it irrelevant that one of the captives claimed U.S. citizenship and was on U.S. soil when apprehended.
This is where there is a role for military tribunals, an institution that has played an important and honorable part in American jurisprudence throughout our history. In Quirin, the court made clear that such tribunals rightly enjoy a separate constitutional track from grand juries and trial by jury, which "at the time of the adoption of the Constitution [were] familiar parts of the machinery for criminal trials in the civil courts." Quite properly, however, the procedures followed by these civil institutions were, and had to be, "unknown to military tribunals[,] which are not courts in the sense of the judiciary articles" of the Constitution.
Consistent with this understanding, military tribunals have been used by several presidents in time of war. In the Revolutionary War, before there even was a Constitution, George Washington employed them freely. So did Abraham Lincoln in the Civil War and Franklin D. Roosevelt in World War II. Although we remember the Nuremberg trial, with its many trappings of a civilian court, the victorious Allies did not always regard such open trials as the only or preferred method of proceeding. As the legal scholar Mark Martins reminds us, "German regular army soldiers were also defendants in many of the thousands of military courts and commissions convened by the Allies after the war in different zones of occupation."
In any event, the image of military tribunals as drumhead courts manned by stony-faced officers ready to convict regardless of the evidence is a fantasy. In reality, military courts may achieve just and equitable results more frequently than the run of civilian juries. Military judges tend to be more scrupulous in weighing evidence, in resisting emotional appeals, and in respecting the plain import of the laws. There are no Lance Itos or Johnnie Cochrans in military trials. If, as the war against the terrorists drags on, we are forced to have recourse to military tribunals, there may well be clear gains for both justice and security.
There are, to be sure, costs to be paid for going the route of military courts. It was no doubt partly out of a desire to placate critics, both at home and abroad, that President Bush first announced that U.S. citizens would be tried in our regular courts, and that the decision was made to try even Moussaoui in a federal district court. In the future, moreover, some of our allies may refuse to extradite captured terrorists if it is known they are likely to land before a military tribunal.
But the critics show every sign of being implacable, and in any case the cost of staying with the civil route is likely to be higher. In a district court a defense attorney will almost inevitably demand access to classified information; continued disclosure of such information in court would inform not only Muslim terrorists but all the world's intelligence services of the information we have and our methods of gathering it. If compromising national security is one alternative that may be forced on government by the demand for access to classified material, the other is to drop charges. Neither alternative is acceptable.
The Terrorism Information Awareness Program
Among menaces to American liberty, this has been widely held to be the most sinister of all. Here is William Safire:
Every purchase you make with a credit card, every magazine subscription you buy and medical prescription you fill, every website you visit and e-mail you send or receive, every academic grade you receive, every bank deposit you make, every trip you book and every event you attend--all these transactions and communications will go into what the Defense Department describes as "a virtual, centralized grand database."
To this computerized dossier on your private life from commercial sources, add every piece of information that government has about you--passport application, driver's license and bridge toll records, judicial and divorce records, complaints from nosy neighbors to the F.B.I., your lifetime paper trail plus the latest hidden camera surveillance--and you have the supersnoop's dream.
What is the reality? The Terrorism Information Awareness program, or TIA, is still only in a developmental stage; we do not know whether it can even be made to work. If it can, it might turn out to be one of the most valuable weapons in America's war with terrorists.
In brief, the program would seek to identify patterns of conduct that indicate terrorist activity. This entails separating small sets of transactions from a vast universe of similar transactions. Since terrorists use the same avenues of communication, commerce, and transportation that everybody else uses, the objective is to build a prototype of an intelligence system whose purpose would be to find terrorists' signals in a "sea of noise." Taking advantage of the integrative power of computer technology, the system would allow the government to develop hypotheses about possible terrorist activity, basing itself entirely on data that are already legally available.
But we may never find out whether the program's objective can be achieved, since TIA has been effectively gutted in advance. Impressed, no doubt, by the ideological breadth of the opposition to TIA, Congress was led to adopt a vague prohibition, sponsored by Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, draining TIA of much of its value. The amendment specifies that the program's technology may be used for military operations outside the U.S. and for "lawful foreign intelligence activities conducted wholly against non-United States persons." By inference, TIA may therefore not be used to gather information about U.S. citizens or resident aliens--despite the clear fact that significant number of persons in these categories have ties to terrorist groups.
Writing in National Journal, Stuart Taylor Jr. has offered a hypothetical instance of how the Wyden amendment can cripple intelligence gathering. Suppose the government learns that elements of a deadly gas have been smuggled into the U.S. on flights from Germany by unidentified al Qaeda operatives during a particular time frame. A TIA-based query of foreign databases might generate a list of possible terrorists. The Wyden amendment, however, would prohibit a search for the names of any who might be Americans, and might even put beyond reach any mixed databases that happened to include Americans. It would similarly bar looking in U.S. databases for passengers on the relevant flights whose names are also on government databases of known or suspected terrorists. Likewise out of bounds would be queries directed at legally accessible commercial databases--asking, for example, about purchases of canisters suitable for the deployment of the deadly gas.
Are there techniques that could be devised to prevent TIA from becoming the playground of Mr. Safire's hypothetical supersnoop without disabling it altogether? In domestic criminal investigations, courts require warrants for electronic surveillances. As we have seen, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act also requires judicial approval of surveillances for intelligence and counterintelligence purposes. While there would be no need for a warrant-like requirement in initiating a computer search, other safeguards can be imagined for TIA. Among them, according to Mr. Taylor, might be "software designs and legal rules that would block human agents from learning the identities of people whose transactions are being 'data-mined' by TIA computers unless the agents can obtain judicial warrants by showing something analogous to the 'probable cause' that the law requires to justify a wiretap."
Critics of TIA have made much of another circumstance--that the technology is being developed by a Defense Department agency known as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, until recently headed by John Poindexter. A former Navy admiral, Mr. Poindexter was convicted of lying to Congress in the 1980's in connection with the Iran-contra affair. It is hardly clear, however, what relevance this has to the development of software for TIA, and in any case, if and when the development succeeds, TIA will be operated by another agency.
Still another line of criticism zeroes in on constitutional issues that may arise under the First and Fourth amendments. The Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act has already dealt with the former--protecting the free-speech rights of Americans--by providing that "no United States person may be considered a foreign power or an agent of a foreign power solely upon the basis of activities protected by the First Amendment to the Constitution"; a similar provision could be made to apply to TIA. As for the Fourth Amendment, which guarantees freedom from unreasonable searches and seizures, TIA is designed to acquire information not from individuals or other entities but only from other government agencies and third parties (such as credit agencies) to which the information has already been divulged or that have themselves conducted a search. As the Supreme Court held in Smith v. Maryland (1979), an individual "has no legitimate expectation of privacy in information he voluntarily turns over to third parties." We limit or waive our rights to privacy all the time, by, for example, giving financial records to a bank, filling out a public questionnaire, or dialing a phone number.
The benefits of the TIA program are palpable, and potentially invaluable; the hazards are either hyped or imaginary. There is nothing to prevent Congress from replacing the Wyden amendment with oversight provisions, or from requiring reasonable safeguards that would preserve the program's efficacy.
What Remains to Be Done
That opponents of the Bush administration's efforts to protect American security have resorted to often shameless misrepresentation and outright scaremongering does not mean those efforts are invulnerable to criticism. They are indeed vulnerable--for not going far enough.
In addition to the lack of properly targeted security procedures at airports, and the failure to resist the gutting of TIA, a truly gaping deficiency in our arrangements is the openness of our northern and southern borders to illegal entrants. In the south, reportedly, as many as 1,000 illegal aliens a day enter through Arizona's Organ Pipe National Monument, where they have become so brazen that they have cleared their own private roads. In the north, there are plenty of easily accessible and unmanned entry points from Canada. So far, Washington has not adequately responded to calls for more park-ranger staffing and military assistance, let alone addressed the lamentable condition of our immigration procedures in general.
There is, in short, plenty of work to go around. The war we are in, like no other we have ever faced, may last for decades rather than years. The enemy blends into our population and those of other nations around the world, attacks without warning, and consists of men who are quite willing to die in order to kill us and destroy our civilization. Never before has it been possible to imagine one suicidal individual, inspired by the promise of paradise and armed with a nuclear device, able to murder tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of Americans in a single attack. Those facts justify what the administration has already done, and urgently require more.
Of course, to say this, or to question the arguments of critics, is to risk being accused of censorship, actual or pre-emptive, or even McCarthyism. Here is an article in the New York Times raising the alarm about statements by Attorney General John Ashcroft:
In the past, Mr. Ashcroft has gone so far as to question the loyalty of those who challenge the constitutionality of his tactics. In a defining moment in December 2001 at a Senate hearing, Mr. Ashcroft declared: "To those who scare peace-loving people with phantoms of lost liberty, my message is this: your tactics only aid terrorists, for they erode our national unity and diminish our resolve. They give ammunition to America's enemies, and pause to America's friends."
As it happens, "phantoms of lost liberty" is a perfectly apt description for much of the commentary that has been offered on the administration's initiatives. It is demonstrably true, moreover, that people who recklessly exaggerate the threat to our liberties in the fight against terrorism do give ammunition, moral and otherwise, to our enemies. Asserting as much does not impugn the loyalty of such people. They are perfectly free to say what they think, and as loudly as they please. But neither should they themselves be immune from criticism, even by a government official.
Mr. Bork is a senior fellow at the American Enterprise Institute and Tad and Dianne Taube distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution. This article appears in the July/August issue of Commentary.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / The Toughman Contest
on: August 25, 2003, 03:36:46 PM
Fancy Footwork: How Impresario
Of Fight Events Evades Regulation
Toughman's Dore Shuffles Formats
To Keep State Officials Off-Balance
By JOSEPH T. HALLINAN
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
On what turned out to be the last night of her life, Stacy Young thought she would do something fun. The 30-year-old mother of four drove to the Sarasota, Fla., fairgrounds, laced on a pair of boxing gloves and entered a Toughman fighting contest.
"She really surprised me," Chuck Young says of his wife, who stood 5-foot-6 and weighed 235 pounds. He watched from the stands as she lasted one round, then another. But in the third, a punch from her female opponent dropped her to the canvas, ending the bout and leaving her woozy.
"All of a sudden, she just fell back and started having seizures," says Mr. Young. "And that was it." His wife lapsed into a coma and never recovered.
Some 1,500 people paid $15 each to watch the fight that killed Mrs. Young, even though Florida has been trying since 1988 to ban Toughman tournaments. But the impresario of this popular form of combat entertainment, Arthur P. Dore, has built a business, now called AdoreAble Promotions Inc., by deftly evading state regulation.
Twenty-four years ago, Mr. Dore founded the boxing equivalent of karaoke: Toughman contestants -- often out of shape and in poor medical condition -- climb into the ring and slug it out. Mr. Dore's skill in ducking oversight has been critical to the success of his brutal fight shows, which take place in cities and towns around the country and can gross $20,000 or more in an evening.
States, rather than the federal government, are the main regulators of professional boxing. But Mr. Dore says that avoiding state supervision is sometimes as simple as labeling Toughman contests "amateur" events. "Then we don't have the jurisdiction of the boxing commission," he says.
Amateur boxing is governed by USA Boxing, based in Colorado Springs, Colo. But that private organization takes no responsibility for Toughman, either. In fact, USA Boxing bans Toughman participants from its sanctioned amateur bouts.
Florida bans fighting matches involving "a combination of skills." So Toughman events in that state, including the one in which Mrs. Young fought, allow only standard boxing punches -- no kicking or karate chops. That is enough to dodge the ban, says Florida's boxing commissioner, Chris Meffert. His agency oversees conventional professional fights in the state but doesn't regulate Toughman.
In other states, including Illinois, Toughman contestants are specifically told to kick their opponents. This transforms the event into "kick-boxing," which most state boxing commissions consider outside their purview.
In some states, Toughman simply holds bouts without informing the boxing commission. Idaho Athletic Commissioner Jon Vestal says he knows this, but lacks the resources to go after Mr. Dore. "We're run by a group of volunteers," says Mr. Vestal. "Myself, I'm a full-time Realtor and appraiser." Other states report similar manpower problems.
Mr. Dore's latest strategy in Michigan and elsewhere is to hold fights at Indian casinos, where states typically have no authority to regulate fights. At least eight states, including Florida, have tried to outlaw Toughman and its imitators, without much effect.
Mr. Dore, 67, has gone from running a struggling contracting company in his home town of Bay City, Mich., to presiding over a nationwide entertainment empire he says has generated more than $50 million in revenue since its start. During an interview at his office in Bay City, he leans back in his chair, black cowboy boots propped up on his desk. He doesn't deny that he tries to sidestep state regulation, because he believes the rules are wrong.
He argues that Toughman, which puts on about 100 fighting contests a year, leads to fewer deaths than professional boxing. Mr. Dore won't say exactly how many fighters have died from Toughman-related injuries since he founded the event. But eight are known to have died since 1981. During the same period, at least 14 professional boxers have died after competition in the U.S. The comparison is of dubious value, however, because there isn't a reliable count of how many individual bouts there have been in either category of fighting.
State regulators say that professional boxers better appreciate the risks they are taking and that conventional professional fight promoters make a greater effort to monitor the health of their boxers and provide high-quality treatment for injuries. Moreover, Toughman deaths appear to be escalating, with four of the eight known deaths, including Mrs. Young's, having come in the last year.
Mr. Dore says his events are as safe as they can be and that many of his detractors are simply jealous of his success. He says he feels bad for participants who have been injured or killed. But he makes no apologies. "If they want to get their ass kicked," he says, "it's their right."
The first Toughman event was held at Mr. Dore's former high school in Bay City in 1979. Two years later, Dore & Associates Contracting Inc. filed for bankruptcy-court protection. But by then, Mr. Dore was traveling the country, promoting Toughman bouts. He often went to small, economically depressed towns -- "wherever we feel we can make a buck," he said in a 1983 deposition. People want to see bloody combat, he says in an interview. "It sells tickets, and that's what we do."
Toughman events typically involve 40 fighters, weighing up to 400 pounds apiece. They square off in a two-day elimination match, usually held on Friday and Saturday nights. Each fight consists of three one-minute rounds. The winner of a local match often gets $1,000. If a fighter advances to the Toughman "world championship," which is usually carried on pay-per-view television, he stands to win $50,000.
Unlike sanctioned amateur and professional bouts, where opponents' weights are rarely separated by more than 10 pounds, Toughman competitors can be outweighed by 100 pounds or more. Weight disparities increase the odds of a knockout, and that, say fans, is what they pay to see. "I like sitting up close and watching guys beat the crap out of each other," said Kevin Close, 36, while watching a Toughman bout recently at a county fairground in Kalamazoo, Mich.
Boxing officials generally agree that Toughman fights pose extraordinary dangers to competitors. "I believe that the Toughman bouts are probably the most dangerous that we have had here in Nevada," says Dr. Margaret Goodman, a neurologist and ringside physician who heads the Nevada Athletic Commission's medical-advisory board. She has served as a doctor for both Toughman and mainstream professional boxing in her state. But Toughman hasn't been permitted to hold a fight in Nevada since at least January, when the state's athletic commission asked Mr. Dore to withdraw his application for a promoter's license.
Many Toughman contestants, Dr. Goodman says, are novices who unknowingly face vastly more experienced fighters, sometimes with devastating results. The contestants are afforded almost none of the protections normally accorded amateur and professional boxers. They are seldom insured, there sometimes aren't physicians on hand at events and prefight medical certificates are sometimes left incomplete.
The Detroit News and Free Press in May reported on deaths and injuries related to Toughman and the inadequacy of medical care.
Toughman's popularity has gained steadily, especially since 1992, when Mr. Dore signed a deal with Viacom Inc.'s Showtime Entertainment Television to carry fights nationwide on a pay-per-view basis. That deal was followed by the emergence of Toughman's first real superstar, a 330-pound bald-headed sensation from Alabama named Eric "Butterbean" Esch.
"It didn't take him long to become a household name," says Tim Lueckenhoff, administrator of the Missouri Office of Athletics and president of the Association of Boxing Commissions, a national group. "Everybody in boxing was talking about Butterbean."
Showtime dropped Toughman in 1996, citing unfavorable news reports about the competitions. At different times since then, News Corp.'s FX cable channel and In Demand, a pay-per-view joint venture majority-owned by an arm of Comcast Corp., have televised Toughman bouts. Currently, Toughman doesn't have a national television contract.
As Toughman's fame grew, imitators appeared, and Mr. Dore has gone to court to protect his franchise. One suit filed in 2000 in federal court in Fayetteville, Ark., resulted in a judicial order permanently blocking rival promoters from putting on an event called Rough Neck. In an affidavit in that case, Mr. Dore's daughter, Wendy, who helps run the business, said that advertising expenses for Toughman over the years had topped $8 million. Today, the Toughman trademark is owned by AdoreAble Promotions, which Mr. Dore says is owned by his eight children.
The lack of state oversight allows Toughman to dispense with the most basic safety precautions. At Mrs. Young's bout in Sarasota, there was no physician ringside, even though at least one is required by Florida law at all professional boxing matches.
Mr. Dore, in an interview, said there was a physician's assistant on duty at the Young fight. A paramedic team was elsewhere in the arena. In an interview before Mrs. Young's death, Mr. Dore said a physician isn't necessary at a fight. "Really, an EMT [emergency medical technician] is a hell of a lot better to have in case anybody gets hurt anyway," he said. "You know, doctors don't know what they're doing." At another time, though, he said there is always a doctor on duty at Toughman fights.
In February, without informing the Illinois boxing commission, Toughman held a bout in Peoria. After Illinois Boxing Commissioner Sean Curtin learned of the event, he sent two investigators to Toughman's next venue, in Rockford, Ill. But when the pair arrived, they learned that the fighters had been told they could kick their opponents. The occasional kick that night put the event outside the jurisdiction of the state's boxing commission, which doesn't regulate kick-boxing. The inspectors had no choice but to let the show go on, Mr. Curtin says, adding, "That was a real tricker."
By avoiding regulation, Toughman has been able to slash costs and boost profits. Professional boxing promoters generally must post bonds to assure fighters get paid and that fans will get their money back if events are cancelled. The promoters also have to buy various insurance policies and obtain state licenses that can cost $1,000 or more per fight. Mr. Dore pays for none of these. He also doesn't have to pay taxes to state boxing commissions that typically run about 5% of gross ticket sales.
Mr. Vestal, the Idaho athletic commissioner, figures Mr. Dore saved about $5,000 at an unregulated Toughman event in Boise last year. That tournament resulted in the death of Art Liggins, a 44-year-old train conductor and father of four.
Like Idaho, the state of Louisiana has conceded that at times, Toughman has operated without any oversight. During the early- and mid-1990s, the Louisiana boxing commission was nearly insolvent. "We let them do their own thing," Leonard Miller Jr., then the commission's chairman said of Toughman in 1995. He made his statement in a deposition that was part of a lawsuit brought in Lafayette Parish state court by Sonya DePue, the widow of BobbyTroy DePue, a Toughman contestant who died after a bout in 1994.
Mr. DePue's opponent was Terry Vermaelen, then a Baton Rouge, La., locksmith. At the time of the fight, Mr. Vermaelen said in a 1996 deposition, he had competed in 56 amateur fights and had won three Louisiana Golden Gloves titles. He said he had discovered in previous Toughman competitions that referees allowed fighters to use a variety of techniques that would be illegal in sanctioned boxing. One was holding the back of an opponent's head with one hand while hitting him with the other.
As soon as he entered the ring, Mr. Vermaelen said, he could tell Mr. DePue was in over his head. "You could just see it in his eyes," he said. By the second round, Mr. Vermaelen said he was able to punch at will, holding the back of Mr. DePue's head with his right hand and pummeling him with his left. Finally, he testified, Mr. DePue turned to the referee and said, "I've had enough."
The referee stopped the match, and Mr. DePue's brother helped him from the ring. They made it just a few feet before the fighter collapsed, Sonya DePue says in an interview.
The following day, Mr. Vermaelen said in his deposition, he got a call at home from a Toughman promoter. "I wanted to tell you before anybody else had a chance to tell you," the caller said. "The kid died last night."
In January, Toughman held an event at the Soaring Eagle Casino in Mt. Pleasant, Mich., which is owned by the Saginaw Chippewa tribe. At the time, Toughman was under a cease-and-desist order issued by the state of Michigan. But Mr. Dore, who worked as ringside announcer at the event, says that order didn't apply on Indian land. "That's a sovereign nation," he says.
For that event, which In Demand televised nationwide on pay-per-view, Toughman invited fighters from across the country. Scott Wood, 31, divorced and shampooing carpets for a living, rented a compact car and drove 1,400 miles to the casino from San Antonio, Texas.
But Mr. Wood was in no condition to fight. His systolic blood pressure, according to a copy of his incomplete prefight physician's certificate, was a sky-high 170. Anything above 150 disqualifies a fighter from sanctioned amateur boxing.
Soon after Mr. Wood's final bout, he began to lose control of his body, says his opponent, Jason Pyles. Mr. Wood was shaking and stuttering, and his eyes were bulging out of their sockets, Mr. Pyles says. After 16 days in a coma, he died.
After Mrs. Young's death in Florida in June, AdoreAble issued a new set of guidelines for Toughman contests, saying it would more closely hew to the rules of the states in which its events are held.
But just within the last year, Mr. Dore has resisted statehouse efforts to tighten those rules. After the Toughman-related death last September of 26-year-old Michael Kuhn in Texas, state Rep. Jim Pitts introduced legislation that would have banned Toughman in Texas. But the legislation was defeated, Mr. Pitts says, after an influential lobbyist and former speaker of the house, Gibson Lewis, intervened on Toughman's behalf.
Messrs. Dore and Lewis confirm the latter's lobbying mission for Toughman. "That's the American way, isn't it?" Mr. Dore says.
Write to Joseph T. Hallinan at email@example.com
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / lest we take ourselves too seriously
on: August 23, 2003, 05:20:46 PM
... i say let the people decide which martial art they want if they want to practice to knock people on horses .. even if moderm age its unlikely to knock a man off a horse ... let them see there is more than just practice high kicking to survive thats what i think .. see ya all
see ya next post
my best regards
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: August 22, 2003, 03:19:27 PM
Iran: Could Cooperation With U.S. Put Tehran in Al Qaeda's
Iran's national security chief claims that country, like the
United States, has been a target of al Qaeda plots. Tehran may be
manipulating the facts, but if it steps up cooperation with the
United States against al Qaeda, it could in fact become a target
in the future.
The secretary-general of Iran's Supreme National Security
Council, Hassan Rowhani, says Iran has foiled several al Qaeda
attacks, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported late
Aug. 17. The agency quoted Hassan as saying that Iran had been
battling al Qaeda for some time, and that Tehran had arrested
hundreds of suspected militants.
Rowhani's statements are a direct signal to the United States
that Iran is cooperating in the U.S. war against al Qaeda. Tehran
and Washington are currently in talks focused on two issues: the
situation in Iraq and Iran's harboring of al Qaeda members. In
reality, it is unclear if Tehran has ever been targeted by al
Qaeda, or if it will aid Washington's efforts to dismantle the
organization. The risk for Iran, however, is that its cooperation
with the United States could prompt al Qaeda to retaliate against
the country itself.
Iran's relationship with al Qaeda is of prime importance to the
United States. Washington believes one key to pre-empting further
attacks is to deny the group sanctuary, especially in countries
hostile to the United States. Washington also believes this will
be vital in preventing al Qaeda from regrouping.
Iran -- an Islamic state that is adjacent to Iraq, Afghanistan
and Pakistan, and shares some of al Qaeda's goals -- makes an
attractive host country for the group. Like Osama bin Laden's
network, Tehran wants to see the United States withdraw from the
Arabian Peninsula. Iran aspires to become the regional hegemon,
but it cannot do so as long as the U.S. military dominates the
area. Second, Iran sees instability stirred by al Qaeda in
countries like Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Yemen as advantageous
to its influence over these states.
There are, however, reasons for discord between Iran and al
Qaeda. For one thing, the militant group hopes to establish a
Sunni Islamic caliphate, but Iran is predominantly Shia.
Moreover, an al Qaeda-inspired regime in Riyadh ultimately would
rival Tehran's influence in the region. These issues are real,
though can perhaps be glossed over in the short term. In
addition, Iranian diplomats tell Stratfor that al Qaeda has long
plotted and carried out attacks against Iranian assets --
including its airliners -- inside the country.
Iranian officials are now in senior-level talks with the United
States, and recent events point to progress on the terms of
cooperation. On Aug. 17, IRNA reported that Iraq would reopen its
embassy in Tehran on Sept. 1, 2003 -- a move that suggests Iran
is willing to expand diplomatic ties with U.S.-occupied Iraq. It
also indicates an indirect acceptance of the U.S. rule in
Baghdad, as well as perhaps a new avenue for talks and
Two days earlier, the U.S. State Department announced that it
would close two of the Washington offices of the Mujahideen e-
Khalq (MKO), an Iranian opposition group. Tehran has been angered
by the U.S.-MKO alliance since U.S. military troops seized
Baghdad. Washington's attempts to distance itself from the group,
which is based in Iraq and has fought a decades-long war against
the clerical regime in Tehran, signal a concession to Tehran.
The U.S.-Iranian talks are intended to prevent a clash between
the two countries and to reduce U.S. anxiety about Tehran's
relationship with al Qaeda. During a meeting with Australian
Foreign Minister Alexander Downer in late May, Rowhani claimed
that Iran had been battling al Qaeda even before Sept. 11 --
arresting more than 500 members and deporting scores to other
countries. Australia is a close U.S. ally, and Rowhani's
statements were meant for Washington's ears as well as
Rowhani's statement now that al Qaeda had planned to attack
inside Iran emerges at an interesting time -- at a point when the
U.S.-Iranian talks seem to be making progress. The claim might be
meant to demonstrate a shared concern with Washington, though the
plots themselves -- if they did in fact exist -- likely predated
the detente between Washington and Tehran.
In Rowhani's words, "Their [Al Qaeda's] plans for a wide range of
terrorist acts inside Iran were neutralized by our intelligence
organizations." This comment suggests a time frame that likely
would span the last several months, at the very least.
Intelligence agencies aren't known to operate with lightning
speed, and uncovering such plots can take weeks, months or even
years. In addition, Rowhani claimed in May -- when Tehran and
Washington were still doing more shadowboxing than secret talking
-- that his government had started the crackdown on al Qaeda
Iran has reason to worry. Al Qaeda is no doubt unhappy with the
Khamanei-Khatami government's cooperation with the Bush
administration, nor will it appreciate Tehran's willingness to
extradite its members to other countries like Egypt, Kuwait or
Saudi Arabia, where members of the network would be tortured and
jailed, if not executed.
Various reports, rumors and flies on the wall have claimed that
several senior-level al Qaeda members are hiding out in Iran,
including Egyptians Ayman al Zawahiri and Seif al Adel, Kuwaiti
Sulaiman Abu Ghaith and Osama bin Laden's son, Saad. If Tehran
were to extradite these men, it would deal a crippling blow to al
Qaeda. A few small-scale attacks aimed at destabilizing Tehran
would not be an unexpected response.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: August 22, 2003, 02:51:36 PM
Philippines: Fugitive Becomes Bargaining Chip in MILF Peace Talks
Aug 19, 2003
The Philippine military is focusing on an area controlled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in western Mindanao in its efforts to recapture fugitive Jemaah Islamiyah member Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi. Either side would be happy to use the fugitive bomber as a bargaining chip during upcoming peace talks in Malaysia.
The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) said Aug. 18 that efforts to recapture fugitive Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) member Fathur Rohman al-Ghozi have zeroed in on an area controlled by the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) in western Mindanao. Al-Ghozi escaped July 14 from the Philippine Intelligence Command building at Camp Crame in Quezon City, and since has been the subject of a nationwide manhunt that threatens to undermine upcoming peace talks between Manila and the MILF.
Officials in Manila say that Moro rebels are aiding and abetting al-Ghozi and demand that the MILF hand him over immediately. MILF spokesmen deny assisting the fugitive and maintain that the group is willing to help the military in its manhunt. Al-Ghozi has become a prized bargaining chip between Manila and the rebels as the two sides prepare to enter peace talks in Malaysia. The government will use the MILF's possible collusion with al-Ghozi and the JI to pressure the MILF and divide the rebels between those willing to cut a peace deal and the more extremist members. But if the MILF leaders know where al-Ghozi is or, better yet, have him in custody, then they will hand him over before the peace talks begin to show that they are not cooperating with the al Qaeda-linked JI.
The last reported sighting of al-Ghozi was in the town of Kabuntalan, in Maguindanao province near the southwestern coast of Mindanao. The area is part of the Liguasan Marsh -- a MILF-controlled region -- where members of the Philippine Army's 6th Infantry Division clashed Aug. 13 with suspected MILF rebels near Kabuntalan while in pursuit of the fugitive.
Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo flew to Kabuntalan on Aug. 16 to rally soldiers and implore them to "win in our terrorism fight in the southern Philippines." Arroyo also urged the MILF to cooperate with the army's search for al-Ghozi. On Aug. 18, Lt. Col. Fredesvindo Covarrubias, chief of the 4th Civil Relations Group (CRG), asked MILF leaders to order their field commanders to stop providing refuge to al-Ghozi.
The MILF denies it has been "coddling" al-Ghozi and insists it is willing to track the fugitive down. In addition, the rebels have asserted that there has been a case of mistaken identity -- that a man looking like al-Ghozi (a man who also escaped from prison in Manila but was charged with drug trafficking) was the one seen in Kabuntalan. MILF spokesman Eid Kabalu said that al-Ghozi already is in military custody and the government is waiting for the appropriate time to publicize his capture. Moreover, the rebels claim that the AFP was using the search for al-Ghozi as an excuse to undertake operations in MILF territory during the current cease-fire, which was implemented in anticipation of the expected peace talks.
The fugitive JI bomber has become a coveted trophy for both the government and the rebels: Each could use his capture as leverage against the other during the peace talks. If the rebels hand over al-Ghozi, it will dispel allegations that they are cooperating with the fugitive and help diminish Manila's efforts to portray the rebels as being in league with the JI and al Qaeda. Because of increasing U.S. cooperation with Manila and its presence in upcoming negotiations, the MILF likely is growing sensitive to allegations of al Qaeda ties.
Manila, for its part, would sorely like to capture al-Ghozi in the heart of MILF territory, preferably in the company of rebels. It would strengthen government charges that the MILF cooperates with the JI and would help drive a wedge between war-weary rebels and hard-line members opposed to a settlement. There potentially are many members in the MILF who might be amenable to a peace deal similar to the 1996 accord between Manila and the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF), when the rebels traded their independence bid for limited self-rule in the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM).
That deal was the impetus for the creation of the 12,500-strong splinter group that became the MILF. It's possible that another faction might like to come in from the jungle and give up fighting -- 241 members of the MILF, including nine commanders, abandoned their struggle for a separate Muslim state in Mindanao and pledged allegiance to the government on Aug. 14.
Militant Link to Philippines Bombing Sign of Wider Campaign?
Apr 07, 2003
MILF Founder's Death Poses Hurdle For Peace Talks
Aug 05, 2003
Mixed Opinions Disrupt Resumption of MILF-Philippine Talks
Jul 10, 2003
Widespread Repercussions of Philippine Prison Break
Jul 16, 2003
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: August 22, 2003, 02:31:27 PM
Thank you for that contribution Black Grass.
PHILIPPINES - REBELS ATTACK NAVAL BASE (AUG 20/ABS)
ABS-CBN TODAY -- A group of 60 New People's Army rebels raided the
Philippine naval headquarters in the town of Barangay Ungos in
Quezon province, reports ABC-CBN Today. The rebels killed two naval personnel and wounded five others. The sea was used to stage the attack and pull back, said a local police chief.
PHILIPPINES - ABU SAYYAF PIRATES KILLED (AUG 19/MANILA)
MANILA TIMES -- A clash between Philippine units escorting a
commercial trawler and Abu Sayyaf militants in a gunboat left four
guerrillas dead, the Manila Times reports. Maj. Gen. Roy Kyamco said the Islamist guerrillas attacked the trawler on Friday off the coast of Zamboanga. The general said reports that Abu Sayyaf and other pirates were planning attacks on vessels in the area had led to increased patrols.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly
on: August 22, 2003, 02:21:34 PM
Bacon mask is a concept too far for thief
Tuesday August 19, 2003
Morrison: 'It's obviously a very macabre piece of work, but I never expected it to get this reaction.' Photo: PA
If only an artist with a video camera had been labouring in Liverpool at the time, the result could have turned up in Tate Modern as a conceptual work about a conceptual work inspired by conceptual work.
The video might have been hailed as a biting comment on the attitude of authority to art.
Or, more likely, as one of the dottiest records of police activity since the Keystone Kops.
It would have shown a posse of Merseyside's finest officers armed with a warrant and bursting into the Wavertree flat of local artist Richard Morrison, who is a fan of Tracey Emin and Damien Hirst and describes himself as a naive conceptualist.
They had been alerted by a public-spirited burglar who, after breaking into Mr Morrison's flat and stealing hundreds of pounds' worth of electronic items, had fled in terror when he stumbled on what he thought was a human head floating in a large jar.
He was so frightened that he ran home to confess all his crimes to his mother.
When later picked up on another matter, the burglar confided his fears to detectives, who sent the boys round to kick Mr Morrison's front door down. Again.
There they found the evidence that had sent shivers down the spine of the intruder: a large jar with a head in it.
But not a human head; more of a mask - a wire frame moulded on Mr Morrison's own face.
And covered in bacon. And dunked in formaldehyde.
"It's obviously a very macabre piece of work, but I never expected it to get this reaction," said Mr Morrison yesterday.
"I made the mask when I was on an art foundation course two years ago. It just seemed like an interesting concept. I was quite proud of the result, although it's sagging a bit now."
The piece was intended to be a comment on the folly of consumerism.
Merseyside police said they had to act on what was clearly "a very serious allegation" but have now apologised to Mr Morrison and arranged to give him a new front door.
"It would have been a dereliction of duty if we had not followed up this allegation," said Chief Inspector Stephen Naylor. "It was vitally important that we investigated."
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / what equipment needed for classes
on: August 15, 2003, 02:50:41 AM
A pair of sticks will get you started. You will find that generic toothpick demo sticks will not cut it in this class though -- they should be more substantial. 30" is typical.
Regardless, don't worry, just show up ("90% of life is just showing up") and it will all work out.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: August 14, 2003, 12:52:45 AM
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
THE STRATFOR WEEKLY
13 August 2003
by Dr. George Friedman
Military Doctrine, Guerrilla Warfare and Counter-Insurgency
The current situation in Iraq requires revisiting the basic
concepts behind counter-insurgency. Iraq now is an arena in which
counter-insurgency doctrine is being implemented. Historically,
counter-insurgency operations by large external powers have not
concluded positively. Vietnam and Afghanistan are the obvious
outcomes, although there have been cases where small-scale
insurgencies have been contained. The actual scale of the Iraqi
insurgency is not yet clear. What is clear is that it is a
problem in counter-insurgency, which is itself a doctrine with
The current situations in Iraq, Chechnya and Afghanistan
demonstrates the central problem of modern warfare. Contemporary
warfare was forged during World War II, when the three dominant
elements of the modern battlefield reached maturity: the aircraft
carrier-submarine combination in naval warfare, the fighter and
bomber combination in aerial warfare and the armored fighting
vehicle/self-propelled artillery combination on land. Tied
together with electromagnetic communications and sensors, this
complex of systems has continued to dominate modern military
It was not the weapons systems themselves that defined warfare.
Rather, it was the deeper concept -- the idea that technology was
decisive in war. The armed forces of all major combatants in the
20th century were organized to optimize the use of massed
technology. The neatly structured echelons in each sphere of
warfare were designed not only to manage and maintain the
equipment, but also to facilitate their orderly deployment on the
battlefield. Even the emergence of nuclear weapons did not change
the basic structure of warfare. It remained technically focused,
with the military organization built around the needs of the
The modern armored division, carrier battle group and fighter or
bomber wing represent the optimized organization built around a
technology designed to assault industrialized armies and
societies. They remain the basic structure of modern warfare, and
they carry out that function well. However, as the United States
discovered in Vietnam and the Soviet Union discovered in
Afghanistan, this force structure is not particularly effective
against guerrilla forces.
The essential problem is that the basic unit of guerrilla warfare
is the individual and the squad. They are frequently unarmed --
having hidden their weapons -- and when armed, they carry man-
portable weapons such as rifles, rocket-propelled grenades or
mortars. When unarmed, they cannot be easily distinguished from
the surrounding population. And they arm themselves at a time and
place of their choosing -- selected to minimize the probability
of detection and interception.
Guerrilla war, particularly in its early stages, is extremely
resistant to conventional military force because the massed
systems that dominate mainstream operations cannot engage the
guerrilla force. Indeed, even if collateral damage were not an
issue -- and it almost always is -- the mass annihilation or
deportation of a population does not, in itself, guarantee the
elimination of the guerilla force. So long as a single survivor
knows the location of the weapons caches, the guerrilla movement
can readily revive itself.
Therefore, in modern military thinking, a second, parallel
military structure has emerged: counter-insurgency forces.
Operating under various names, counter-insurgency troops try to
overcome the lack of surgical precision of conventional forces.
They carry out a number of functions:
1. Engage guerrilla forces on a symmetrical level, while having
access to technologically superior force as needed.
2. Collect intelligence on guerrilla concentrations for use by
3. Recruit and train indigenous forces to engage guerrilla
4. Organize operations designed to drive a wedge between the
guerrillas and population.
The basic units carrying out these counter-insurgency missions
have two components. First, there are Special Forces -- highly
trained and motivated light infantry -- intended to carry out the
primary missions. Second, there are more conventional forces,
either directly attached to the primary group or available on
request, designed to multiply the force when it becomes engaged.
During the first stages of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, counter-
insurgency units -- designated Special Forces or Green Berets --
carried out these operations.
Two fundamental and unavoidable weaknesses were built into the
The number of trained counter-insurgency troops available was
insufficient. The measure to be used for sufficiency is not the
number of guerrillas operating. Rather, the question is the size
of the population -- regardless of political inclination -- that
must be sorted through and managed to get through to the
guerrillas. This means there is a massive imbalance between the
guerrilla force and the counter-insurgency force that is
intensified by the need for security. Guerrillas operate in a
target-rich environment. The need to provide static security
against attacks on critical targets generates an even greater
requirement for forces, although not necessarily of counter-
The huge commitment of forces needed to begin the suppression of
a guerrilla force cannot be managed by an external power. Unless
the target country is extremely small both in terms of population
and geography, the logistical costs of force projection for a
purely external force are prohibitive. That means that a
successful force must recruit and utilize an indigenous force
that serves two purposes. First, they serve as the backbone of
the main infantry force, both defending key targets and serving
as follow-on forces in major engagements.
Second, since the counter-insurgency force normally needs intense
cultural and political guidance to separate guerrillas from the
population, these forces provide essential support -- from
interpreters to intelligence -- for the counter-insurgency team.
This leads directly to the second problem. The guerrillas can
easily penetrate an indigenous force, particularly if that force
is being established after the guerrilla operation has commenced.
Recruiting a police and military force after the guerrillas are
established guarantees that guerrilla agents will be well
represented among the ranks. Since it is impossible to
distinguish between political views using technical means of
intelligence, there is no effective way to screen these out --
particularly if the first round of recruitment and organization
is being carried out by the external power.
This means that from the beginning of operations, the guerrillas
have a built-in advantage. Having penetrated the indigenous
military force, the guerrillas will have a great deal of
information on the tactical and operational level. At that point,
the very sparseness of the guerrilla movement starts to work to
its advantage. Hidden in terrain or population, armed with
information on operations, guerrillas can either decline combat
and disperse, or seize the element of surprise.
The reverse always has been the intention for counter-insurgency
forces, the idea being that they would mirror the guerrillas'
capability. This sometimes happened on a tactical level. However,
the ability of foreign forces to penetrate guerrilla movements on
the operational level was severely limited for obvious reasons.
It was tough for an American to masquerade as a Vietnamese. It
potentially could be done, but not on a decisive scale. That
means that penetration on the operational level -- knowing plans
and implementation -- depended on indigenous allies whose
reliability was often questionable. Therefore, the ability of the
counter-insurgency forces to mimic the guerrillas was
constrained. In neither Vietnam nor Afghanistan was the
operational intelligence of the counter-insurgency forces equal
to that of the guerrillas.
The normal counter to this was to use imprecise intelligence and
compensate for it with large-scale operations. So, one counter
for not having precise knowledge of the location of guerrillas
was to use large, mobile formations to move in and occupy a
region, in an attempt to identify, engage and destroy guerrilla
formations. This had two consequences. First, it meant a
violation of the rules of the economy of forces as battalions
were used to search for squads. In this case, massive superiority
in forces did not necessarily translate to strategic success. The
guerrillas, disaggregated in the smallest practicable unit, could
not be strategically crushed.
Second, the nature of the operation created inevitable political
problems. Operations of this sort were not dominated by
specialized counter-insurgency units, which were at least trained
in discriminatory warfare -- trying to distinguish guerrillas
from neutral or friendly population. By the nature of the
operation, regular troops were used to seize an area and search
for the guerrillas. Since the area was frequently populated and
since the attacking troops had little ability to discriminate, it
resulted frequently in the mishandling of civilian populations,
hostility against the attackers and sympathy for the guerrillas.
Then, counter-insurgency troops, already handicapped in their own
way, were brought in to pacify the region. The result was
unsatisfactory, to say the least.
This points to the essential problem of guerrilla war. At its
lowest level -- before it evolves into a stage where it has
complex logistical requirements supplied from secure areas in and
out of the country -- guerrilla war is political rather than
military in nature. The paradox of guerrilla war is that it is
easier to defeat militarily once the guerrilla force has matured
into a more advanced, and therefore more vulnerable, entity.
However, by the time it has evolved, the likelihood is that the
political situation has deteriorated sufficiently that even heavy
attrition will be overcome through massive recruitment within the
The loss of the political war makes a war of attrition extremely
difficult. As both the Soviets and Americans discovered, the
ability of the outside force to absorb casualties is inferior to
that of the indigenous force, if the indigenous force is
politically motivated. Since the process of suppressing early-
stage guerrilla movements almost guarantees the generation of
massive political hostility, the later war -- which should be
favorable to the counter-insurgency forces -- turns out to be
impossible to win. Even extreme attrition ratios are overcome by
The dilemma facing the United States in Iraq is to surgically
remove the guerrilla force from the population without generating
a political backlash that will fuel a long-term insurgency
regardless of levels of attrition. This is much easier to say
than to do. The heart of the matter is intelligence -- to deny
the guerrillas intelligence about U.S. operations while gathering
massive intelligence about the guerrillas. The only way to win
the war is to reverse, at the earliest possible phase, the
intelligence equation. The guerrillas must be confused and
blinded; the Americans must maintain transparency of the
That is clearly what the United States now is attempting to do.
It is limiting its search-and-seize operations while massively
increasing its intelligence capabilities. This is happening both
in terms of human intelligence and technical means of
intelligence. It is unclear whether this will work. Human
intelligence is political in nature and requires extreme
expertise with the culture, without dependency on indigenous
elements that might be unreliable. It is very difficult for
someone from Kansas, however gifted in the craft of intelligence,
to make sense of a tactical situation -- and at this point, the
guerrillas present only a tactical face.
It is nevertheless the key to any hope for success. It also is an
operation that will take an extended period of time. Washington's
hope obviously is that by curtailing the United States' own
large-scale operations and moving into an intense intelligence
phase, the guerrilla operations will alienate the population. It
is possible but difficult. It also will take time. But it is
clear that the United States is in the process of rewriting parts
of the counter-insurgency book and, therefore, is beginning to
write a new -- and as yet uncertain -- chapter in military
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: August 13, 2003, 03:15:21 PM
As They Were Saying . . .
By VIN WEBER
Critics of the war are back in business. The Bush administration, they say, decided to go to war regardless of the facts. Having made that decision, it then amassed as much evidence to support its case as it could, to the point of intentionally exaggerating (or worse) the threat posed by Saddam Hussein's regime. The charge is false -- demonstrably so.
The Bush case for going into Iraq was based largely on findings of U.N. and International Atomic Energy Agency weapons inspectors, as well as those of other governments. The case for war was nearly identical to the one made by Democrats like President Clinton and Sens. Daschle and Kerry. In case the critics suffer from amnesia, here are just a few of their judgments that pre-date the Bush administration:
? When President Clinton addressed the nation on Dec. 16, 1998 -- after ordering a strike on military and security targets in Iraq -- he said: "[The] mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors. [The] purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world. Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons."
? On the same day, Vice President Gore made this statement: "If you allow someone like Saddam Hussein to get nuclear weapons, ballistic missiles, chemical weapons, biological weapons, how many people is he going to kill with such weapons? He's already demonstrated a willingness to use these weapons. He poison-gassed his own people. He used poison gas and other weapons of mass destruction against his neighbors. This man has no compunction about killing lots and lots of people. So this is a way to save lives and to save the stability and peace of a region of the world that is important to the peace and security of the entire world."
? Sen. Tom Daschle said a 1998 use-of-force resolution would "send as clear a message as possible that we are going to force, one way or another, diplomatically or militarily, Iraq to comply with international law." And he vigorously defended President Clinton's inclination to use military force in Iraq. Summing up the Clinton administration's argument, Mr. Daschle said, "We have exhausted virtually our diplomatic effort to get the Iraqis to comply with their own agreements and with international law. Given that, what other option is there but to force them to do so? That's what they're saying. This is the key question. And the answer is we don't have another option. We have got to force them to comply, and we are doing so militarily."
? On Feb. 23, 1998, Sen. John Kerry agreed. "If there is not unfettered, unrestricted, unlimited access per the U.N. resolution for inspections, and Unscom cannot in our judgment appropriately perform its functions, then we obviously reserve the rights to press that case internationally and to do what we need to do as a nation in order to be able to enforce those rights. . . . Saddam Hussein has already used these weapons and has made it clear that he has the intent to continue to try, by virtue of his duplicity and secrecy, to continue to do so. That is a threat to the stability of the Middle East. It is a threat with respect to the potential of terrorist activities on a global basis. It is a threat even to regions near but not exactly in the Middle East."
? Richard Butler, who headed the U.N. team investigating Iraq's weapons programs, said: "The fundamental problem with Iraq remains the nature of the regime itself: Saddam Hussein is a homicidal dictator who is addicted to weapons of mass destruction." Mr. Butler also wrote in his book, "The Greatest Threat," "t would be foolish in the extreme not to assume that [Saddam] is developing long-range missile capabilities, at work again on building nuclear weapons; and adding to the chemical and biological warfare weapons he concealed during the UNSCOM inspection period."
? According to the New Yorker, in March 2002 August Hanning, the chief of German intelligence, said this: "It is our estimate that Iraq will have an atomic bomb in three years."
? Salman Yassin Zweir, a design engineer employed by the Iraqi Atomic Energy Commission for 13 years, said that in August 1998 -- four months before U.N. weapons inspectors were expelled from Iraq -- Saddam ordered his scientists to resume work on a program aimed at making a nuclear bomb. When Mr. Zweir refused to rejoin the nuclear-weapons program, he was beaten with iron bars for three weeks. He fled to Jordan in October 1998. Saddam "is very proud of his nuclear team," according to Mr. Zweir. "He will never give up the dream of being the first Arab leader to have a nuclear bomb."
? In August 1995, Saddam's son-in-law, Hussein Kamel -- who had been in charge of Iraq's chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons program -- defected to Jordan. (He was later killed on Saddam's orders.) He provided information to Unscom, IAEA, and foreign intelligence agencies about Iraq's chemical, biological, and nuclear capabilities. These revelations badly damaged Iraq's credibility and Iraqi officials eventually admitted to Unscom officials that their previously hidden arsenal included (according to the Center for Strategic and International Studies) more than 100,000 gallons of botulinum toxin; more than 22,000 gallons of anthrax; more than 900 gallons of gas gangrene; more than 500 gallons of aflatoxin; four metric tons of VX nerve gas; and 2.7 gallons of ricin.
? Last October the director of Central Intelligence issued a National Intelligence Estimate of Iraq's continuing programs of weapons of mass destruction. That document contained the consensus judgments of the intelligence community, based upon the best information available about the Iraqi threat. The NIE reported, "We judge that Iraq has continued its weapons of mass destruction program, in defiance of UN Resolutions and restrictions. Baghdad has chemical and biological weapons, as well as missiles with ranges in excess of UN restrictions. If left unchecked, it probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade."
The media has focused enormous attention on the State Department's dissent on whether Iraq pursued natural uranium in Africa. The department also said that "the Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research believes that Saddam continues to want nuclear weapons and that available evidence indicates that Baghdad is pursuing at least a limited effort to maintain and acquire nuclear weapon-related capabilities."
That Iraq posed a threat to America's security and world peace was a view shared by Democrats as well as Republicans; by the U.N. as well as the U.S.; by American intelligence agencies and by intelligence agencies of almost every nation that looked into this matter. Facts are stubborn things. Even the passage of time doesn't erode them.
Mr. Weber is a former Republican congressman from Minnesota.
Updated August 13, 2003
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: August 13, 2003, 01:41:24 PM
August 11, 2003
Philippine Police Allege Mistress
Of Estrada Backed Failed Coup
By JAMES HOOKWAY
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
MANILA, Philippines -- Philippine police filed a criminal complaint charging one of Joseph Estrada's mistresses with rebellion, bringing the investigation into last month's coup attempt closer to the former president.
Interior Secretary Jose Lina said at a news conference Saturday that after filing the complaint against former actress Laarni Enriquez Friday, his department is preparing a case against Mr. Estrada.
Besides filing a complaint with the Justice Department against Ms. Enriquez, 40 years old, police earlier arrested one of Mr. Estrada's senior aides, Ramon Cardenas, on a criminal complaint of rebellion. Last week, police also filed a complaint against a senator with a long history of plotting coups, Gregorio "Gringo" Honasan, saying he planned a coup d'etat to overthrow the government of President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo.
The Justice Department will decide whether to prosecute the three, all of whom deny the allegations.
Mr. Lina and military-intelligence officials believe that Mr. Estrada, 66, also may have played a part in planning the coup attempt. Government officials say they thwarted the rebellion, in which nearly 300 soldiers seized a shopping complex in Manila's financial district on July 27 and held it for 20 hours before surrendering.
The mutiny revived fears about political instability in the Philippines, which endured a series of coup attempts in the late 1980s. Some government officials say the rebellion appears to reflect a simmering feud between Mr. Estrada and Ms. Arroyo.
Mr. Estrada was forced from office in 2001 after the armed forces threw their weight behind mass demonstrations against his presidency. Ms. Arroyo, who was vice president at the time and supported the uprising, was sworn in as his replacement. Mr. Estrada is currently detained in a military hospital and charged with corruption.
Former military-intelligence chief, Brig. Gen. Victor Corpus, who resigned shortly after the mutiny, says interrogations and documents found in the shopping complex show that if the coup succeeded, Mr. Estrada would have been reinstalled as president. After a few days, he would have been replaced by a 15-person military junta. Gen. Corpus also told a local radio station Friday that the plotters planned to kill Ms. Arroyo after storming the Manila presidential palace from the nearby Pasig river.
Ms. Enriquez, who has three children with Mr. Estrada, allegedly aided the renegade soldiers by providing them a safe house where they prepared their takeover of the Manila shopping complex. Police found ammunition, banners, backpacks and other equipment belonging to the mutineers at a condominium building Ms. Enriquez allegedly owns. Police also charged several other people in their complaint against Ms. Enriquez.
Ms. Enriquez's lawyer, Rufus Rodriguez, told a local radio station Friday that the charges brought against his client were "political harassment." Mr. Estrada has also repeatedly denied any involvement in the July 27 mutiny.
So far, 321 young officers and soldiers have been charged in the mutiny. Military officials say 45 officers and 108 soldiers have been recommended for separate courts-martial.
Mr. Estrada, a former movie star in the Philippines, though married has openly spoken in interviews about his large extended family comprising several mistresses and 11 children that he recognizes as his own.
Write to James Hookway at firstname.lastname@example.org
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes
on: August 12, 2003, 02:57:28 AM
YOUR PAPERS, PLEASE ?
Feds slammed for not protecting privacy
Government findings support charge of medical-records vulnerability
Posted: August 12, 2003
1:00 a.m. Eastern
By Jon Dougherty
? 2003 WorldNetDaily.com
Health-care advocates say a General Accounting Office report that found the federal government could not guarantee patients' medical privacy is not only accurate, but provides a glimpse of how helpless health-care consumers are when their privacy is breached.
The GAO report, released late last month, found of 25 federal agencies, compliance with Privacy Act requirements and those of the Office of Management and Budget ? which oversees implementation of the act ? was "uneven."
President George W. Bush embraces Secretary of Health and Human Services Tommy Thompson after speaking about health-care reform issues.
"As a result of this uneven compliance, the government cannot adequately assure the public that all legislated individual privacy rights are being protected.
The GAO said while it found 100 percent compliance among the agencies in issuing a rule "explaining to the public why personal information is exempt from certain provisions of the act," the congressional watchdog estimated "71 percent compliance with the requirement that personal information should be complete, accurate, relevant and timely before it is disclosed to a nonfederal organization."
The agency also said OMB leadership was needed to improve overall federal-government compliance.
Sue Blevins, spokeswoman for the Institute for Health Freedom, said the government's inability to protect medical records and privacy was obvious.
"I don't even need to read [the GAO report] to know the government can't guarantee privacy," she told WorldNetDaily. "How can the government guarantee medical privacy when under the new massive federal privacy rules, when [a consumer] goes to complain about a breach, there is no guarantee that it will even be investigated?"
"That is such a major loophole in the law," Blevins added.
Worse, Blevins said, patients whose privacy has been abused "get nothing, even if the government fines the guilty party." She said firms or health-care facilities that release private patient information inadvertently may have to pay a fine to the government, but the patient "is left empty-handed," with privacy information out in the public domain.
There is "almost an incentive for [the government] to allow the privacy breaches," she said, said the feds collect the fines.
As WorldNetDaily reported, critics of the government's medical-privacy rule never had much faith in it to begin with. They have said the rules, first developed during the Clinton administration, actually strip patients of protections rather than strengthen them.
"The ? rule eliminates patient consent and gives the federal government access to each and every citizen's personal medical records ? without patients' permission," Blevins said in an interview in April.
The government has defended the rule, which took effect April 14.
"From the time of Hippocrates, privacy in medical care has been of prime importance to patients and to the medical profession," Health and Human Services Secretary Tommy Thompson said in announcing the rule's implementation.
"? As electronic data transmission is becoming ingrained in our health-care system, we have new challenges to insure that medical privacy is secured. While many states have enacted laws giving differing degrees of protection, there has never before been a federal standard defining and ensuring medical privacy," he said. "Now new federal standards are coming into force to protect the personal health information of every American patient."
But Twila Brase, RN, a spokeswoman for Citizen's Council on Health Care, said the GAO report spells out a different story.
"This report should give Congress a good reason to reconsider building yet another database of citizen information," she said, referring to the proposed National Patient Safety Database under consideration in Congress.
"One system of records holds data on 290 million people. If that system happens to be one of the system that's out of compliance, the privacy rights of every citizen have already been violated, perhaps many times," said Brase.
Dr. Jane Orient, executive director of the American Association of Physicians and Surgeons, says government bureaucracy can't guarantee privacy.
"Demanding lots of mandatory reports will compromise patients' privacy and overload the system with trivia, hampering its ability to respond to what is really important," she told USA Today.
And Kathyrn Serkes, public affairs counsel for AAPS, added the new rules are so invasive patients will need "Miranda warnings" before answering medical questions.
AAPS has developed a standard privacy form patients can download, sign and give to their physicians.
"While masquerading as patient protection, the rules would actually eliminate any last shred of confidentiality and risk lives," she said. "The frontline defense for medical privacy always has been the patient's right to give or withhold consent to how his records are used and who sees them. These rules throw that out the window."
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: August 11, 2003, 05:10:45 PM
Geopolitical Diary: Monday, Aug. 11, 2003
Over the weekend, major rioting broke out in the southern Iraqi city of
Basra. Basra is a Shiite city near the Iranian border and heavily influenced by Iran. If the rioting in Basra is not contained or -- more important -- if it spreads to the rest of Iran's Shiite regions, then the occupation of Iraq will have taken a dramatic turn, one that could define the future of the Anglo-American occupation. The events in Basra are of fundamental strategic importance.
To this point, the United States has faced a guerrilla war concentrated in
the Sunni regions of the country. The first assumption about this rising was that it represented a follow-on war plan of the Iraqi military, and that
militants reported to former President Saddam Hussein through his sons. His sons are dead, and if we are to believe the U.S. Defense Department, Hussein is on the run. That means that the first assumption about the guerrillas is wrong: Their operations are continuing, even with their supposed command structure shattered.
It follows that the Sunni insurrection is more deeply embedded and more
difficult to defeat than first surmised. The guerrillas appear to be the
remnants of parts of the Iraqi army -- more Islamist than Baathist, joined
with foreign Islamic operatives. They are increasing their operations and,
according to the U.S. military, becoming more effective. They have targeted not only U.S. troops but also Iraqis who are collaborating against the regime. They have proven a tough enemy so far.
Last week, the U.S. command in Iraq announced a shift in strategy, in which the number of intrusive sweeps into the Sunni community would be curtailed. Part of the reason for this decision is that these sweeps were proving ineffective. Another part is that the operations were fostering hostility against the United States and therefore increasing guerrilla capabilities. Essentially, this has left the United States searching for an effective strategy for dealing with the guerrillas.
Washington has two strategic options at this moment. The first is an enclave strategy, such as we have seen in Afghanistan; the second is to find an ally inside Iraq who is willing to share the burden. We have argued over the past weeks that the only force in Iraq that can take the burden away from the United States is the Iraqi Shiites. We have made two points about this: First, that their price will be the establishment of a Shiite-dominated government in Iraq, and second, that the path to an agreement with the Iraqi Shiites ultimately runs through Tehran, because the Iranians ultimately have the ability either to destabilize Shiite Iraq or to lead the Shiites into a coalition.
We have argued that intense, secret discussions in fact are taking place
between the United States and Iran in several venues, dealing with a range of issues that separate the two countries. Over the weekend, the U.S. Defense Department disclosed that an old figure in covert U.S.-Iranian relations who helped -- if that's the word -- organize parts of the
Iran-Contra relationship in the 1980s, Manucher Ghorbanifar, has been in
discussions with U.S. officials for about two years. Ghorbanifar undoubtedly is one of the lesser channels being used for these discussions. Newsday broke the story, and it is, in our opinion, merely the tip of the iceberg. The issue is not whether Ghorbanifar is a nice man -- which seemed the media's concern. The issue is what is being discussed between U.S. and Iranian officials.
Obviously, the topic of discussion is whether the United States will be able
to reach an accommodation with Tehran in particular and Shiites specifically to split the Islamic world and help put down the guerrilla war using Shiite forces. There are a host of subsidiary issues, such as exchanges of al Qaeda prisoners for Mujahideen e-Khalq militants, the structure of the Iraqi government, Iranian-U.S. intelligence-sharing, who will dominate Iraq's economy and how, and so on. The heart of the matter is whether Iran will deliver the Iraqi Shiites and, most important, if it will restrain them, keeping them both from joining the guerrillas or staging a massed uprising -- an intifada -- that will make the British position in the south untenable.
This brings us back to the urgent question of riots in Basra this weekend.
This is absolutely the worst thing that could happen to the United States in
Iraq: If the Shiites move to a general uprising and there is an unmanageable guerrilla war in the north, the entire purpose of the Iraqi invasion will be lost and the April victory will give way to defeat. The United States does not have the ability to govern Iraq if the Shiites rise up. If Pentagon officials assert otherwise, then it's time they take jobs in the food service industry. Containing a massed Shiite rising -- even including shooting protesters down in the streets -- is not going to happen.
Therefore, the burning question is, what happened in Basra? If this was a
spontaneous rising in response to an incident, then it's one thing. We are
not really big on coincidence. Thousands of demonstrators could be out there spontaneously protesting poor electrical service, but we strongly suspect that there was planned organization behind it. Anything more than a couple of hundred demonstrators don't just happen.
That brings us to the more significant question: Is this a move by Iranians
and Iraqi Shiite leaders to create a massive rising in the south, or is this
a reminder from Tehran, at a strategic moment in the negotiations with
Washington, that the Iranians are holding some very high cards in this poker game? We do not believe that Iran is ready to walk from the table quite yet. On the other hand, events within Iran indicate some sort of power struggle is under way, probably over relations with the United States, and an entity other than the government might be organizing demonstrations. Yet our best guess is that the negotiations are at a critical juncture and the Iranians decided to raise the ante.
There are, of course, a variety of Shiite factions in Iraq that don't draw
their inspiration from Iran. But in the past 20 years, it has been Iranian
intelligence that has worked with the Shiites in Iraq, and Iran that
provided refuge for many of their leaders. The Iranians might not hold all
the cards in Iraq, but they hold enough to be able to create chaos. Iran
seems to have signaled its willingness to create chaos to the United States; Washington is not going to be able to ignore it. At some point soon, U.S. officials either will have to decide on an effective military strategy in Iran and go it alone, or cut a deal. The Iranians are letting the United States know that they don't have all day -- and that the price will be high.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Violence against Women
on: August 11, 2003, 03:04:47 PM
Earlier in this thread there was discussion about rape during war. This from today's LA Times
Rape a Weapon in Liberian War
Act that terrorizes and humiliates women and girls has become more common. 'Abnormality has become normal,' says one observer.
By Ann M. Simmons, Times Staff Writer
MONROVIA, Liberia ? The mother could only watch, hysterical and helpless, as a gunman raped and murdered her daughter. It was the little girl's 10th birthday.
"I just wanted to commit suicide," said the 42-year-old woman weeks later, shaking with sobs as she recalled the scene. "I just wanted to die."
The story told by the woman, who out of fear identified herself only by her first name, Rita, illustrates one of the most brutal aspects of Liberia's 14-year war. Aid workers and Liberian medical experts say rape has become a weapon of choice.
Rape victims accuse government soldiers as well as rebels fighting to oust President Charles Taylor.
"Rape is seen as a weapon of this civil war ? as a tool to humiliate, bring fear and terrify the society," said Edward Grant, thought to be Liberia's only psychiatrist. "Before 1990, you could hardly hear about rape. Now things have gone [through] the roof."
Abuses often escalate during times of conflict, but human rights groups say the scale of the atrocities in Liberia is almost unfathomable.
Figures are impossible to track. Many victims feel ashamed and choose to stay silent. Others are trapped behind rebel lines, where aid workers say no counseling services are available.
Amnesty International said in a 2001 report that "women and girls have been raped ? often by gangs of soldiers ? after fleeing the fighting and being arrested at checkpoints."
Sometimes women are accused of backing the opposing faction or having relatives on the other side.
But often, women are attacked indiscriminately by drunk or drugged fighters intent on taking advantage of easy prey.
"When an attack takes place and an area has been captured, whoever captures the place, commits the crime," said Miatta Roberts, a counselor with the Liberian-run Concerned Christian Community, the only remaining group in the country that counsels rape victims.
A shaky truce is now in place after the arrival in Monrovia last week of the first contingent of West African peacekeepers. Taylor has said he will cede power to his vice president today and has promised to leave the country, which was founded in the 19th century by freed American slaves.
In a farewell address broadcast Sunday, Taylor said he was stepping down to end the bloodshed. He didn't say anything about his pledge to go into exile in Nigeria but declared: "God willing, I will be back."
The situation in Liberia remains volatile, and despite the presence of the peacekeeping force, women in particular feel vulnerable.
Roberts' group is caring for 626 rape victims who have taken refuge at a Monrovia soccer stadium crammed with displaced families. The women are given individual trauma counseling, and every morning scores of them gather to play games, sing traditional songs and chat.
But because of the stigma, few are willing to share their stories.
"The rape victim feels hopeless," said Roberts. "They feel embarrassed."
Rita, the mother of the 10-year-old, still is numb with anguish.
Seated on a bench in the tented headquarters of the Concerned Christian Community, she related how government soldiers broke into her house on July 20. One hit her in the head with a hammer and tore off her clothes but found out that she was menstruating.
Another fighter who called himself Black Dog dragged the screaming child, Nanu, from her mother's side and threw her to the ground.
"They raped her to death in front of my eyes," said Rita, who has not been able to make contact with the girl's father in Belgium. "Can you imagine for a mother to see that?"
One fighter slashed Rita's 16-year-old son on the hand. Another grabbed her 14-year-old daughter, who also was raped.
Once a well-established businesswoman who owned a boutique and several cars, Rita said most of her belongings, including her photo album, were looted. Her one cherished possession is a single picture of her deceased daughter, taken when she was 11 months old.
Specialists say that years of war in Liberia have destroyed the ethical standards of much of society.
"All the morals, the cultural norms, everything has broken down that used to keep society together," said Grant, the British-trained psychiatrist. "Before, you were not the son of one person, you belonged to the whole village. People could beat you if you misbehaved. But now, all that is gone. Abnormality has become normal."
Under Liberia's penal code, rape is punishable by a prison term of up to 10 years. But there is no functioning court system, and violators act with impunity.
In the absence of justice, victims would like revenge.
"If I had a brother who had a gun, I would recommend that he shoot them," said Komasa Jallah, 31, who was raped three times in one day when rebel soldiers captured her hometown in the country's northern Voinjama district.
She managed to flee to the outskirts of Monrovia, where she was seized by another rebel commander and held as his concubine. She escaped after two weeks and made her way to the soccer stadium with the other rape victims.
Being repeatedly raped often crushes the women's dreams of marriage and children. Many men shun rape victims, and complications of venereal disease often leave the women sterile, Roberts said.
Raped three times by government and rebel fighters in 2001, 20-year-old Cecelia Nyumah said she now suffers from abdominal cramps and genital pain. The young woman has had three miscarriages. "What happened to me," she said, "I can't forget."
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: August 11, 2003, 03:00:12 PM
Philippine Troops Hunting for Escapee Kill 3 Gunmen
From Associated Press
MANILA ? Army troops searching for a suspected Islamic militant clashed with unidentified men in the southern Philippines on Sunday, killing three gunmen, the military said. Six soldiers were wounded.
The separatist Moro Islamic Liberation Front has warned that the massive hunt for Fathur Rohman Al Ghozi could threaten peace talks. Troops have deployed near the group's strongholds in two southern provinces to hunt for him.
The fighting broke out in the southern town of Sultan Naga Dimaporo, military spokesman Lt. Col. Daniel Lucero said. The military and the rebels said they were trying to figure out who the gunmen were.
Al Ghozi is an Indonesian suspected in deadly bombing attacks in the Philippines. He escaped last month from a prison where he was serving a 12-year term for illegally possessing explosives, and is a confessed member of the Jemaah Islamiah extremist group, which authorities say has links to Al Qaeda.
Government representatives who met with rebels over the weekend said military operations were aimed at capturing Al Ghozi and were not an attack against the Moro Islamic Liberation Front, said the front's spokesman, Eid Kabalu.
Kabalu said the front feared that some military officials want to undermine planned peace talks by accusing the guerrillas of giving refuge to Al Ghozi.
1119 GMT - PHILIPPINES: Philippine President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo lifted the state of rebellion decree on Aug. 11 due to the easing threat of another coup attempt. Under the decree, police had the authority to arrest
individuals without warrants. The details of the plot remain classified
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / "strange" knifebook
on: August 11, 2003, 06:04:31 AM
Many people react to this book as Mike does-- and certainly, in a sense, he is correct in his description of it. I too "don't like" it. It IS very ugly. That is exactly why IMHO this is a very valuable book-- its accurate portrayal of a mindset that may well be the one holding the knife that attacks you and its description of the tactics and "techniques" that this mindset tends to use.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Violence against Women
on: August 09, 2003, 06:25:05 PM
Earlier in this thread there was some speculation as to how this case might turn out.
Assault Charges Against Air Force Officer Dismissed
From Associated Press
PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. ? The Air Force has dropped sexual assault charges against an officer accused of raping an Air Force Academy cadet last year, but he still faces administrative punishment for less serious offenses, his lawyer said Friday.
"We're pleased that the commander followed the advice of the investigating officer. We believe this is a fair outcome," said lawyer Frank Spinner.
The charges against 2nd Lt. Ronen Segal were dropped after the investigating officer said the woman had been capable of giving or withholding consent and "did not in any way object to or resist" Segal performing a sexual act on her earlier, the Air Force said Friday.
The woman ? a freshman at the academy when Segal was a senior ? testified she went to his home after he sent her an e-mail asking to get together. She said she didn't remember what happened after they drank wine and began kissing, but that she was being raped when she came to.
If you want other stories on this topic, search the Archives at latimes.com/archiv