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30401  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: November 15, 2005, 10:57:04 AM
Local Knowledge
In Iraq, One Officer
Uses Cultural Skills
To Fight Insurgents

While Talking Like a Bedouin
He Sees Smuggling Routes;
Spotting a Phony Kurd
Army Has Recalled His Unit
November 15, 2005; Page A1

MOSUL, Iraq -- Last summer, two dozen U.S. Army Rangers headed for the Iraq-Syria border to figure out how foreign fighters were slipping through western Iraq's barren deserts.

As they had done in the past, the Rangers took positions around each village and Bedouin encampment. At one village, an officer named David, accompanied by a small security team, strode into the center looking for someone who would talk. Unlike the clean-shaven, camouflage-clad Rangers, David wore a thick goatee and civilian clothes. The Rangers carried long, black M-4 carbine rifles. David walked with a small 9mm pistol strapped to his leg. The Rangers spoke English. He spoke Arabic tinged with a Yemeni accent.

As he recounts the day, David met a woman with facial tattoos that marked her as her husband's property. As they chatted, the pale-skinned, sandy-haired North Carolina native imitated her dry, throaty way of speaking. "You are Bedu, too," she exclaimed with delight, he recalls.

From her and the other Bedouins, the 37-year-old officer learned that most of the cross-border smuggling was carried out by Shamar tribesmen who peddle cigarettes, sheep and gasoline. Radical Islamists were using the same routes to move people, guns and money. Many of the paths were marked with small piles of bleached rocks that were identical to those David had seen a year earlier while serving in Yemen.

Col. H.R. McMaster, who oversees troops in northwestern Iraq, says David's reports allowed his regiment to "focus our reconnaissance assets upon arrival" in Iraq's vast western desert last summer and immediately begin to intercept smugglers.

David is part of a small cadre of cultural experts in the Army known as foreign-area officers. The military would only allow him to be interviewed on the grounds that his last name and rank be withheld. U.S. officials say he'll be spending the rest of his career in the Middle East, often operating alone in potentially hostile territory. Naming him, they say, would make him more vulnerable to attack.

His colleagues in Iraq say his presence has been invaluable. "We ought to have one of these guys assigned to every [regional] commander in Iraq," says Col. John Bayer, chief of staff for Maj. Gen. David Rodriguez, the commander of U.S. forces in the northern third of the country. "I'd love to say 'assign me 100 of these guys.' "

That's not happening. Instead, the military is pulling David out of Iraq later this month along with seven other officers who make up his unit. Before the end of the year, David will resume his previous post in Yemen.

The decision to disband the Iraq unit is part of a continuing debate within the Pentagon about how best to fight unconventional wars that don't lend themselves to the Army's traditional reliance on firepower and technology. The issue: How should the Army use officers who specialize in accumulating historical, political and cultural knowledge.

Earlier this fall, the U.S. embassy and the military's main headquarters in Baghdad concluded that the work of David and his colleagues was duplicating the efforts of other personnel. David's team is part of the Pentagon's Defense Intelligence Agency. It was sent to Iraq to advise U.S. military and State Department officials.

"While it's regrettable to lose experienced people, overall there are many more Arabic speakers working for us [in Iraq] than you might think," says one U.S. embassy official in Mosul.

To some in the Defense Department, the foreign-area teams offer a model for how all types of future officers should be trained. A report approved by then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz in January, specifically ordered the military to beef up its linguistic and cultural capabilities.

"Language skill and regional expertise have not been regarded as warfighting skills and are not sufficiently incorporated" into war plans, the report concluded.

In Iraq, cultural misunderstandings have contributed to mistakes. The decision to disband the Iraqi Army, which the U.S. saw as a tool of Saddam Hussein and a symbol of oppressions, created ill-will among Iraqi soldiers, who saw it as a source of national pride and pensions. As they battled an insurgency, U.S. commanders also struggled to understand Iraq's deep tribal and sectarian divisions. American officers working with Iraq's fledgling security forces frequently complain that police officers and soldiers sometimes put tribal allegiances ahead of their duty as officers.

'A Cold War Mindset'

Col. John D'Agostino, who oversees David and his colleagues and has also been recalled, says he disagrees with the decision to close the Iraq foreign-area officer unit. He says these officers are often overlooked, for which he blames "a Cold War mindset in which we are still fighting the hordes in Eastern Europe." When David leaves, the U.S. embassy's regional office in Mosul won't have a single Arabic speaker or Middle East expert on its staff.

In total, there are currently about 1,000 foreign-area officers in the Army. Currently, 145 of them specialize in the Middle East, the fourth-largest number devoted to a single region. The biggest concentration is in Europe. Typically, they spend big chunks of their careers working as the military's eyes and ears in remote and dangerous outposts. They coordinate military exercises and gather intelligence about the forces in their region. "They operate at the ends of the earth," says retired Col. Jack Dees, a longtime foreign area officer. "Often they are the one military guy out there representing their nation."

David decided he wanted to be a foreign-area officer even before he graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point because he wanted to live overseas. He grew up in rural North Carolina, shuttling between an orphanage and several foster homes after he was taken away from his parents by the state. He chose West Point because it was free. "I was also looking for a sense of family and know, all that psycho-babble stuff," David says today.

After commissioning as an officer, he flew Apache attack helicopters for a decade, in Iraq and along the border between North and South Korea. He then spent six months in Bosnia as the American liaison officer on a French division staff. In 1999, as soon as he was eligible, David applied to become a foreign-area officer.

The military dispatched him to Morocco where he spent part of his time coordinating U.S.-Moroccan military exercises. His main job was to travel the region and learn about its culture and people.

On returning to the U.S. in 2001, David spent 18 months learning Arabic at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, Calif. He then earned a master's degree in Arabic studies from Georgetown University, focusing on the co-existence of Yemen's tribal culture with its fledgling democratic institutions.

In preparation for a position at the U.S. embassy in Yemen, he learned all he could about qat, a narcotic leaf that's chewed in the region. He says he's never actually chewed it -- an act that would get him bounced from the Army -- but he quickly developed an ability to talk about it.

"The three books you have to read are: 'The Flowers of Paradise: The Institutional Uses of Qat in North Yemen'; 'Qat in Yemen: Consumption and Social Change'; and 'Eating the Flower of Paradise: One Man's Journey Through Ethiopia and Yemen,' " he says.

This knowledge allowed him to initiate conversations when nothing else worked. By the end of his two-year tour in the country, he could talk fervently about qat's cultivation, its aphrodisiac qualities and its price fluctuations.

David's mission was to keep senior U.S. military officials abreast of what was going on in Yemen, Osama bin Laden's ancestral home, specifically within its military. He traveled extensively, building a network of contacts with tribal leaders who would ensure safe passage through their areas. He became legendary for hosting elite receptions at his home in the capital Sana where he gathered gossip and information. Yemenis worth talking to won't set foot in the U.S. embassy for fear of being labeled imperialist lackeys. David's house had a lower profile.

When Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, visited Yemen in January 2004, David set up a dinner with its political elites as well as military attach?s from Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Jordan. They discussed elections in Iraq and smoked cigars on David's back porch. Gen. Abizaid's staff confirms the event took place.

David's biggest coup was convincing Sana's most-important sheik to attend one of his receptions. "He brought his wife and daughter, which was huge because they never take their women anywhere," David says. The sheik, Abdullah Mohammed Abdullah Al-Thor, says in an interview he attended several events at David's house and that the officer is a "very, very good friend."

Posted to Iraq

In May, after two years in Yemen, David was dispatched to Mosul. His role was to help senior commanders build relationships with Iraqis the U.S. would be able to trust in advance of any reduction in the U.S. military presence. "If things are going bad, it is my responsibility to know who we should call," he says.

In Iraq, he prepped Gen. Rodriguez, the chief of staff for northern Iraq, for meetings with senior Iraqi leaders. He also gave State Department employees extensive tutorials. The current State Department staffers in the Mosul office, who cover most of northern Iraq, are South America and Asia experts. A key lesson involved the proper etiquette of arguing with Arabs. David goaded the diplomats to be less diplomatic. When Arabs yelled, David told them to yell back.

One recent day, David sat down with a Foreign Service civilian who had arrived from Santiago, Chile. He started by explaining how one became a sheik and that not all sheiks are equal. He briefed him on the major ethnic groups and political parties in the region.

After two hours the State Department official seemed lost. "How do you keep all this stuff straight in your head?" he asked.

David discovered that many of the U.S. interpreters, including that of Gen. Rodriguez, spoke poor Arabic because the people doing the hiring didn't speak the language. "When Gen. Rodriguez spoke he was articulate. His interpreter made him sound like an eighth grader," David says.

The general's interpreter was re-assigned and David began screening new hires. A few weeks later, he figured out that one interpreter -- who had access to intelligence about U.S. operations -- had lied about his background. The tip-off: The interpreter said he was from Suleimaniya in northern Iraq. Based on the Kurdish dialect he spoke, David could tell he was from a village outside Mosul. "We don't know his agenda; we just know he was deceitful," says an intelligence officer who works with David. The interpreter was fired.

David made his biggest impact supporting the 8,000 U.S. and Iraqi troops who assaulted Tal Afar, a city in northwestern Iraq that had become a major insurgent haven. In 2004, the U.S. tried to drive insurgents from the city. The operation was a disaster. Two days into the assault, Turkey, which has historic ties to the Sunnis in the city, complained publicly to U.S. authorities in Ankara and Washington that the attack was too heavy-handed. Turkey threatened to close a border crossing with Iraq through which more than 30% of Iraq's gasoline moves. The U.S. abruptly halted the attack after two days.

Before a renewed attack this September, David, working with officials at the U.S. embassy in Ankara, hatched a plan to placate the Turks. Each night, after traveling through the area, he emailed photos with a time, date and GPS stamp to the U.S. embassy in Ankara. He also sent along the U.S. military's major-incident reports. That allowed the embassy to give Turkish military officials meticulous daily briefings.

Turkey's foreign minister complained about the attack in a meeting with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, but didn't ask the U.S. to call it off, says a U.S. official in Ankara.

David's biggest contribution in Tal Afar drew on virtually all of the skills he had amassed in five years as a foreign-area officer and a close friendship he'd forged with the city's mayor.

Three months before the attack on Tal Afar, U.S. and Iraq officials had installed Najem Abdullah, a senior official from nearby Mosul, to run the city. During his brief tenure, the Sunni mayor earned the grudging support of Tal Afar's warring Sunnis and Shiites. Without him, U.S. commanders feared Tal Afar would slip into all-out war.

Helping the Mayor

David and Mayor Najem had become close in the weeks leading up to the invasion. David teased him about his purple-tinted, rhinestone-encrusted sunglasses. He stood with him in tougher times as well. When Shiite sheiks, through their allies in the police, physically blocked key Sunni sheiks from attending a meeting, David stormed out, earning the mayor's respect.

"I consider David like an Iraqi in the city," Mayor Najem says today. "When he discusses things with the tribal leaders he does it like an Iraqi. He raises his voice. He is passionate just like the Iraqis."

In early September, as U.S. and Iraqi forces readied their second assault on Tal Afar, the mayor began to doubt whether he could continue in the job. The pressure of running the divided city had become unbearable. Death threats from Sunni extremists forced the mayor's family to flee their home. The Sunni mayor worried that Tal Afar's Shiite-led police would use the invasion to settle scores with Sunnis.

Midway through rancorous meetings in the mayor's office, the two men stepped out into a dimly lit side room. "Why should I stay here? What is the point?" Mayor Najem recalls asking David.

In this moment of doubt, David and the 49-year-old Iraqi held hands -- a common sign of affection among Arab men. David promised to move the mayor's wife and children to a new city. (They're currently in hiding.) He also pledged to make sure that U.S. commanders acted on the mayor's concerns about the city's Shiite security forces.

"David talked to me as a friend and a brother and convinced me to stay," the mayor says. "He is like Lawrence of Arabia."

Write to Greg Jaffe at
30402  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: November 15, 2005, 08:06:35 AM
30403  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering Of The Pack on: November 14, 2005, 10:29:09 PM
As of right now we are up to 34 fighters  Cool   This looks to be one rip-snorting Gathering!
30404  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: November 14, 2005, 06:34:26 PM
To reach the Department of Homeland Security headquarters please write to or

Mailing Address:
U.S. Department of Homeland Security
Washington, D.C. 20528
Citizen Line:
Operator Number: 202-282-8000
Comment Line: 202-282-8495
Or, if you would like to send a message using our online form, select the
appropriate category from the drop-down menu below.
30405  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Como agarrar el palo on: November 13, 2005, 02:06:11 PM
Guau a todos:

Devul preguntaba:

- He visto que se puede agarrar el stick de dos formas diferentes. Una es cogiendolo por el extremo inferior, quedando entero en la mano, y otra forma, es coger el stick un poco mas hacia arriba, con lo que por debajo de la mano, sale el stick.

Ejemplo,por si no se entiende bien:

m -------> Hand
==== ----> Stick

a) m=====

b) ==m===

Cual de las dos formas de agarrar el stick (a,b) es mas pr?ctica y efectiva?


!Muy inteligente la manera de "dibujar" la posicion de la mano el el palo!

La respuesta es que se depende en quien lo hace y a veces segun el palo.
Unas personas prefieren maximazar (?) el alcance del palo y minimizar la posibilidad de ser desarmado usando "A". ( osea en ingles "flush with the bottom of the the hand"  ?Como se dice eso en espanol?)  Otros, incluyendo yo, prefieren tener una proyeccion (en filipino, "el punyo" del palo) porque sirve como una arma muy potente-- osea opcion "B".  Claro, eso solo se importa en distancia corta.

Otra aventaja es que si el palo se resbala aun un poco,  (?Como se dice "slippage"?) uno ya no podra' controlar bien el palo, pero los quienes comienzan con punyo todavia tendria una manga completa para agarrar el palo aun cuando se resbale un poco el palo-- una buenisima idea cuando uno se sufre un golpe en la mano.

Tambien se puede contemplar una cosa mas:  cuando los palos son mas pesados o mas largos, puede haber una aventaja en tener un punyo grande para ayudar el dominio del balance del palo.  El Krabi Krabong se hace eso mucho; la manga del palo/espada llega casi al codo y funciona no solo como contrapesa sino tambien come escudo para proteger el antebrazo y como un "hook" (enganche?) para controlar al otro (por ejemplo el cuello) en distancia corta.

?Se ayuda eso?
Crafty Dog
30406  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Hi, new member :) from Catalonia on: November 13, 2005, 01:44:45 PM
Thanks-- and nice way of "drawing" the hand/stick position, very ingenious!

Folks, what he is asking is about the relative merits of gripping the stick so that the butt/punyo is flush with the bottom of the fist or holding it so that it projects.

The answer Devul is that it depends on the practitioner and perhaps upon the weapon.  Some people prefer to maximize reach and minimize risk of being disarmed by using the flush position.  Others, me amongst them, find the projection of the punyo to provide a VERY formidable tool.  Of course, this is only relevant for those in corto and clinch (a.k.a. FUT) range.  

Another advantage is that even slight slippage during a fight provides serious grip problems for a fighter who starts in the flush position, whereas those who fight with the punyo projecting have a margin of error-- a good thing if you get whacked in the hand.

An additional point to consider is that as the weapons get longer/heavier there can be merit to having the projection as a counter weight.  Krabi Krabong carries this further than most; the handle of the sword/punyo projection of the stick carries almost all the way to the elbow and serves as a shield to the forearm and for hook-type controls in corto/FUT range as well.

Does this help?

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog

PD:  Contestare' en espanol a esa pregunta en el foro espanol.
30407  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / BALL DE BASTONS ;) A little of Culture & History of my T on: November 13, 2005, 01:29:59 PM
Thanks for sharing this.

By the way, for those wondering how long 40-50 cm is, if I have it right 100 cm is 39.13 inches.  Can someone confirm/deny?
30408  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: November 13, 2005, 11:06:19 AM
By Matthias Doepfner* | Davids Medienkritik
04.04.05 | A few days ago Henry Broder wrote in Welt am Sonntag, "Europe - your family name is appeasement." It's a phrase you can't get out of your head because it's so terribly true.

Appeasement cost millions of Jews and non-Jews their lives as England and France, allies at the time, negotiated and hesitated too long before they noticed that Hitler had to be fought, not bound to toothless agreements.

Appeasement legitimized and stabilized Communism in the Soviet Union, then East Germany, then all the rest of Eastern Europe where for decades, inhuman, suppressive, murderous governments were glorified as the ideologically correct alternative to all other possibilities.

Appeasement crippled Europe when genocide ran rampant in Kosovo, and even though we had absolute proof of ongoing mass-murder, we Europeans debated and debated and debated, and were still debating when finally the Americans had to come from halfway around the world, into Europe yet again, and do our work for us.

Rather than protecting democracy in the Middle East, European appeasement, camouflaged behind the fuzzy word "equidistance," now countenances suicide bombings in Israel by fundamentalist Palestinians.

Appeasement generates a mentality that allows Europe to ignore nearly 500,000 victims of Saddam's torture and murder machinery and, motivated by the self-righteousness of the peace-movement, has the gall to issue bad grades to George Bush... Even as it is uncovered that the loudest critics of the American action in Iraq made illicit billions, no, TENS of billions, in the corrupt U. N. Oil-for-Food program.

And now we are faced with a particularly grotesque form of appeasement... How is Germany reacting to the escalating violence by Islamic fundamentalists in Holland and elsewhere? By suggesting that we really should have a "Muslim Holiday" in Germany.

I wish I were joking, but I am not. A substantial fraction of our (German) Government, and if the polls are to be believed, the German people, actually believe that creating an Official State "Muslim Holiday" will somehow spare us from the wrath of the fanatical Islamists.

One cannot help but recall Britain's Neville Chamberlain waving the laughable treaty signed by Adolf Hitler, and declaring European "Peace in our time".

What else has to happen before the European public and its political leadership get it? There is a sort of crusade underway, an especially perfidious crusade consisting of systematic attacks by fanatic Muslims, focused on civilians, directed against our free, open Western societies, and intent upon Western Civilization's utter destruction.

It is a conflict that will most likely last longer than any of the great military conflicts of the last century - a conflict conducted by an enemy that cannot be tamed by "tolerance" and "accommodation" but is actually spurred on by such gestures, which have proven to be, and will always be taken by the Islamists for signs of weakness.

Only two recent American Presidents had the courage needed for anti- appeasement: Reagan and Bush.

His American critics may quibble over the details, but we Europeans know the truth. We saw it first hand: Ronald Reagan ended the Cold War, freeing half of the German people from nearly 50 years of terror and virtual slavery. And Bush, supported only by the Social Democrat Blair, acting on moral conviction, recognized the danger in the Islamic War against democracy. His place in history will have to be evaluated after a number of years have passed.

In the meantime, Europe sits back with charismatic self-confidence in the multicultural corner, instead of defending liberal society's values and being an attractive center of power on the same playing field as the true great powers, America and China.

On the contrary - we Europeans present ourselves, in contrast to those "arrogant Americans", as the World Champions of "tolerance", which even (Germany's Interior Minister) Otto Schily justifiably criticizes. Why? Because we're so moral? I fear it's more because we're so materialistic, so devoid of a moral compass.

For his policies, Bush risks the fall of the dollar, huge amounts of additional national debt, and a massive and persistent burden on the American economy - because unlike almost all of Europe, Bush realizes what is at stake - literally everything.

While we criticize the "capitalistic robber barons" of America because they seem too sure of their priorities, we timidly defend our Social Welfare systems. Stay out of it! It could get expensive! We'd rather discuss reducing our 35-hour workweek or our dental coverage, or our 4 weeks of paid vacation... Or listen to TV pastors preach about the need to "reach out to terrorists. To understand and forgive".

These days, Europe reminds me of an old woman who, with shaking hands, frantically hides her last pieces of jewelry when she notices a robber breaking into a neighbor's house.

Appeasement? Europe, thy name is Cowardice.
30409  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Politica on: November 13, 2005, 07:05:34 AM
Guau a todos:

  Como saben muchas personas, me interesa la politica.  Este hilo se ofrece para platicar juntos asuntos de politica.  Se permite toda expresion que sea de buena fe y sin enojo personal contra otra expresion de opinion.

Para ponernos en marcha, ofrezco lo siquiente, que me mando' un amigo venezolano.

Marc (firmo mi nombre asi, y no "Crafty Dog" porque ahora no se trata de arte marcial).


Francia estornuda porque Europa tiene la gripe
Traducci?n del catal?n, texto de  Pilar Rahola

OPINI?N: Una rep?blica isl?mica de Francia- Pilar Rahola
Fecha Thursday, 10 November a las 11:30:36

Cuando el periodista del Chicago Sun Times Mark Steyn escribi?: "es  
m?s f?cil ser optimista con respecto al futuro de Pakist?n o Irak  
que respecto a Holanda o Dinamarca", recibi? el pertinente alud de  
cr?ticas por su incorrecci?n de pensamiento.

Sin embargo pon?a el dedo en la llaga de lo que despu?s seria el  
riguroso estudio de la historiadora Bat Ye 'or, titulado

"Eurabia. El eje Euro-?rabe", d?nde se pon?a al descubierto la pol?tica europea de  "apaciguamiento " con respecto a la cuesti?n isl?mica, pol?tica que  la misma Europa hab?a perpetrado, d?cadas anteriores, con la  cuesti?n nazi.

 Si Chamberlain fue a visitar al F?rher con el prop?sito de pactar  
aquello tan bonito de "yo no me meto en tus cosas, y t? no me  
atacas a m?", la Europa que se enfrenta al reto del integrismo  
isl?mico hace exactamente el mismo: mostrar la debilidad de sus  
valores morales y, al mismo tiempo, fortalecer los valores que nos  

Est?n perfectamente documentados los m?ltiples acuerdos entre la  
Uni?n Europea y la Liga ?rabe con el prop?sito de garantizar que  
los inmigrantes musulmanes de Europa no est?n obligados a adaptarse  
a las costumbres occidentales, y durante d?cadas hemos alimentado,  
subvencionado y mimado toda clase de organizaciones y ong?s varias  
cuya finalidad era mantener "la identidad musulmana" por encima de  
cualquier otra identidad.

El paternalismo de la izquierda europea, en este sentido, ha sido  
fundamental y, desgraciadamente, muy activo.

Durante d?cadas Europa ha ido creando "Londostans" en los suburbios  
de sus ciudades, y en ellos, convertidos en Estados dentro el  
Estado, lentamente ha dejado de ejercer su soberan?a. Imanes  
integristas, agitadores sociales y gur?s intelectuales que  
justificaban, por la v?a de la multiculturalidad, la imposici?n  
isl?mica, han ido convirti?ndose en los verdaderos propietarios de  
barrios y calles.

As?, han catalizado, por la v?a integrista, el l?gico malestar de  
los sectores discriminados. Lejos de combatir esta din?mica perversa, la mala conciencia  europea, o tal vez la falta total de conciencia, lo han permitido y  lo han potenciado.

  Posteriormente, cuando ha descubierto que los asesinos de Londres  
hab?an nacido en Inglaterra o que Mohammed Bouyeri, el asesino de  
Theo van Gogh, era holand?s de pleno derecho, ha puesto la misma  
cara que Chamberlain cuando los nazis bombardearon Londres: la del  
idiota que no entiende nada.

Todo lo que empez? en el barrio parisiense de Clichy-sous- Bois y  
se ha extendido a toda Francia tiene que ver con la cuesti?n isl?mica.

  Obviamente hablamos de marginaci?n social, pero no es la  
marginaci?n la que est? quemando coches y violentando a los  
ciudadanos. Hablamos de exclusi?n social, pero los primeros perpetradores de  exclusi?n son los que llevan d?cadas predicando contra Occidente  desde las propias mezquitas que Occidente les ha construido.

Y podr?amos hablar de emigraci?n, pero sorprendentemente (o no) se  
trata espec?ficamente de los hijos y nietos de la emigraci?n  
musulmana. La cuesti?n, por tanto, tiene m?ltiples facetas, pero  
una de ellas es clave:
 ?qu? ocurre con el reto que el Islam nos ha lanzado a trav?s de  
los millones de personas de esta religi?n que viven en Europa?

Con toda la convicci?n y preocupaci?n, soy de las que creen que  
Francia estornuda porque Europa tiene la gripe.

Durante a?os hemos potenciado la bonita idea de la  
multiculturalidad, concepto que solamente ha servido como coartada  
para que los que hablaban en favor del Islam consolidaran la visi?n  
m?s paranoica de dicha cultura.

Lejos de democratizar el Islam, hemos permitido que las ideas  
totalitarias impregnaran territorios enteros del Estado de Derecho.

 Es decir, en lugar de potenciar los Bourgiba y los Attaturk del  
Islam democr?tico, hemos tendido la mano a los ayatol?s y a los  
mul?s, creyendo que esto era cultura. Les hemos permitido aquello que no permitir?amos a ninguna otra  ideolog?a. ?El ?ltimo ejemplo?

  La decisi?n holandesa de aceptar la publicaci?n del libro El  
camino del musulm?n, ampar?ndose en la libertad de expresi?n.

  Entre otras maravillas, el libro pide que los homosexuales sea  
arrojados desde edificios altos. ?Y esto en el pa?s donde han  
asesinado, en nombre del Islam, a un cineasta! Estamos realmente  

 Francia arde.

 Ciertamente tiene problemas estructurales, entre otros el elevado  
paro que llega, en su caso, al 16%. Pero ahora no se enfrenta a un  
renovado Mayo del 68.

Probablemente se enfrenta a la primera revuelta musulmana de las  
muchas que se suceder?n en el futuro europeo.  Y no porque hayamos sido tolerantes con una religi?n, lo cual es una obligaci?n democr?tica, sino porque hemos sido tolerantes con  una ideolog?a totalitaria.

 Hemos mimado los Tariq Ramad?n, hemos obviado a las escuelas del  
odio que herv?an en algunas mezquitas de nuestros propios barrios,  
hemos abandonado a las mujeres a su suerte de opresi?n y  
esclavitud, y todo lo hemos hecho en nombre de la diversidad y el  

  Tarde o temprano ten?amos que empezar a pagar tanta  
irresponsabilidad acumulada. Por tanto, ?de qu? nos sorprendemos?
Trad. del catal
30410  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: November 13, 2005, 06:42:26 AM
I don't know how much impulse there is behind this , , ,


RED FRIDAYS ----- Very soon, you will see a great many people wearing
Red every Friday. The reason? Americans who support our troops used to
be called the "silent majority". We are no longer silent, and are
voicing our love for God, country and home in record breaking numbers.
We are not organized, boisterous or over-bearing.  

Many Americans, like you, me and all our friends, simply want to
recognize that the vast majority of America supports our troops. Our
idea of showing solidarity and support for our troops with dignity and
respect starts this Friday -and continues each and every Friday until
the troops all come home, sending a deafening message that.. Every
red-blooded American who supports our men and women afar, will wear
something red.

By word of mouth, press, TV -- let's make the United States on every
Friday a sea of red much like a homecoming football game in the
bleachers. If every one of us who loves this country will share this
with acquaintances, co-workers, friends, and family. It will not be long
before the USA is covered in RED and it will let our troops know the
once "silent" majority is on their side more than ever, certainly  more
than the media lets on.

The first thing a soldier says when asked "What can we do to make things
better for you?" is...We need your support and your prayers. Let's get
the word out and lead with class and dignity, by example; and wear some
thing red every Friday.

30411  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Krabi Krabong in the Movies on: November 13, 2005, 05:54:56 AM
You still in Bangladesh?
30412  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Hi, new member :) from Catalonia on: November 11, 2005, 08:09:29 PM
Disculpeme pero no entiendo el ingles de su duda-- por favor preguntame en espanol.

He escrito a Ildefonso de Barcelona que se ponga en contacto con Ud.
30413  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Help our troops/our cause: on: November 11, 2005, 05:36:54 PM
30414  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Count Dante? on: November 11, 2005, 08:58:22 AM
A documentary maker has asked for my assistance:  Has anyone heard of "Count Dante" and if so, what can you tell me?

30415  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering! - Possible Matches on: November 10, 2005, 01:55:52 PM
Good picture.  

For those seeing mai sowks for the first time, note:

1) that there are two posts-- one is gripped, the other is in front of the hand;

2) the loop that runs around the forearm.  

Both 1) and 2) eliminate spinning as an option, but 1) protects the hand and 2) allows for extending the MS into short and nasty clubs.
30416  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: November 10, 2005, 01:38:23 PM
How to lose friends and alienate people

Nov 10th 2005
From The Economist print edition





The Bush administration's approach to torture beggars belief

THERE are many difficult trade-offs for any president when it comes to diplomacy and the fight against terrorism. Should you, for instance, support an ugly foreign regime because it is the enemy of a still uglier one? Should a superpower submit to the United Nations when it is not in its interests to do so? Amid this fog, you would imagine that George Bush would welcome an issue where America's position should be luminously clear?namely an amendment passed by Congress to ban American soldiers and spies from torturing prisoners. Indeed, after the disastrous stories of prisoner abuse in Abu Ghraib, Guant?namo Bay and Afghanistan, you might imagine that a shrewd president would have sponsored such a law himself to set the record straight.


But you would be wrong. This week saw the sad spectacle of an American president lamely trying to explain to the citizens of Panama that, yes, he would veto any such bill but, no, ?We do not torture.? Meanwhile, Mr Bush's increasingly error-prone vice-president, Dick Cheney, has been across on Capitol Hill trying to bully senators to exclude America's spies from any torture ban. To add a note of farce to the tragedy, the administration has had to explain that the CIA is not torturing prisoners at its secret prisons in Asia and Eastern Europe?though of course it cannot confirm that such prisons exist.


The nub of the torture debate is an amendment sponsored by John McCain, a Republican senator who was himself tortured by the Vietnamese. The amendment, based on the American army's own field manual and passed in the Senate by 90 votes to nine, states that ?no individual in the custody or under the physical control of the United States government, regardless of nationality or physical location, shall be subject to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.? Mr McCain's aim was simple enough: to clear up any doubt that could possibly exist about America's standards.


That doubt does, alas, exist?and has been amplified by the administration's heavy-handed efforts to stifle the McCain amendment. This, after all, is a White House that has steadfastly tried to keep ?enemy combatants? beyond the purview of American courts, whose defence secretary has publicly declared that the Geneva Conventions do not apply to the battle against al-Qaeda and whose Justice Department once produced an infamous memorandum explaining how torture was part of the president's war powers. The revelation in the Washington Post that the CIA maintains a string of jails, where it can keep people indefinitely and in secret, only heightens the suspicion that Mr Cheney wants the agency to keep using ?enhanced interrogation techniques?. These include ?waterboarding?, or making a man think he is drowning.


Although Mr Cheney has not had the guts to make his case in public, the argument that torture is sometimes justified is not a negligible one. Khalid Sheik Mohammed, presumed to be in one of the CIA's ?black prisons?, is thought to have information about al-Qaeda's future plans. Surely it is vital to extract that information, no matter how? Some people think there should be a system of ?torture warrants? for special cases. But where exactly should the line be drawn? And are the gains really so dramatic that it is worth breaking the taboo against civilised democracies condoning torture? For instance, Mr McCain argues that torture is nearly always useless as an interrogation technique, since under it people will say anything to their tormentors.


If the pragmatic gains in terms of information yielded are dubious, the loss to America in terms of public opinion are clear and horrifically large. Abu Ghraib was a gift to the insurgency in Iraq; Guant?namo Bay and its dubious military commissions, now being examined by the Supreme Court, have acted as recruiting sergeants for al-Qaeda around the world. In the cold war, America championed the Helsinki human-rights accords. This time, the world's most magnificent democracy is struggling against vile terrorists who thought nothing of slaughtering thousands of innocent civilians?and yet the administration has somehow contrived to turn America's own human-rights record into a subject of legitimate debate.

Mr Bush would rightly point out that anti-Americanism is to blame for some of the opprobrium heaped on his country. But why encourage it so cavalierly and in such an unAmerican way? Nearly two years after Abu Ghraib, the world is still waiting for a clear statement of America's principles on the treatment of detainees. Mr McCain says he will keep on adding his amendment to different bills until Mr Bush signs one of them. Every enemy of terrorism should hope he does so soon.
30417  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Hi, new member :) from Catalonia on: November 10, 2005, 12:21:05 PM
Woof Devnul:

Welcome!  Although not perfect, your English is fine and we look forward to having you with us.

Veo que ya esta's en nuestro foro en espanol  Smiley   Cabe mencionar que tenemos un "Training Group" (Grupo de entrenamiento) en Barcelona, donde yo he presentado dos seminarios en anos recientes.  Dare' tu nombre a nuestra gente alli para que se pongan en contacto contigo.

La Aventura continua.

Crafty Dog
30418  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering! - Possible Matches on: November 10, 2005, 12:15:06 PM
I'm getting "Not authorized to view".
30419  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: November 09, 2005, 07:08:40 PM
By Joseph Farah
? 2005

OK, enough is enough.

It's clear France is no longer in control of its population.

It's clear millions within its borders are struggling for freedom and independence.

It's clear that these people are not rioting for the sake of rioting, they are responding to oppression from French authorities.

It's clear that their uprising cannot be met with state violence, because that would only lead to a cycle of violence.

It's clear that these freedom-fighters ? whom I have dubbed "Paristinians" ? want a state of their own.

It's clear that the international community must force France to the negotiating table with these freedom fighters to begin the peace process that will inevitably lead to the creation of an autonomous, independent state of "Paristine."

If it's good enough for Israel, it's good enough for the French surrender monkeys who have been leaders of the global movement to force the Jewish state into appeasement of terrorists.

We've got to stop referring to this "intifada" in France as "riots." This is a movement for self-determination. This is a movement for independence. This is a movement for freedom from imperialism.

The analogy is apt.

That's not "Fr?re Jacques" they're singing in France. It's "Fire Jacques."

The president of France can see the cinder in the eye of others, but is missing the beam in his own.

What's good for the goose liver is good for the gander liver.

The chicken cordon bleu has come home to roost.

It's time for France to stop the hypocrisy.

It's time for the French to take a dose of the medicine they have been handing out to the Jews of Israel.

It's time to end the apartheid within its population. It's time for France to stop treating those poor, Muslim immigrants as second-class citizens. It's time to accept the only permanent solution that can address the root problem in French society ? the recognition of the Paristinians as a legitimate negotiating partner.

Enough rubber bullets!

Enough police repression!

Enough calls for restraint!

Enough with the threats!

Before this cycle of violence spreads throughout all of Europe, France needs to do the right thing.

The French have been speaking out of both sides of their mouths for too long. They've been speaking out of both of their nostrils for too long, too. If appeasement was the solution in Iraq, it's the solution for the "Paristinian" revolt. If appeasement was the solution for Hitler, it's the solution for the "Paristinian" revolt. If appeasement was the solution for Israel in dealing with its "Palestinian" problem, it's the solution for France's "Paristinian" uprising.

As I mentioned yesterday in my column, if France has these kinds of systemic problems with its Muslim population, then it is time to partition France. It's time for an independent Muslim state to be created. After all, isn't that what France and other European nations have determined is the proper solution for Israel?

These are not just riots. This is an intifada ? just like the one begun in 2000 within and around Israel.

France and other countries, including the United States, have demanded that Israel meet those attacks with land concessions to the rioters and suicide bombers. That is the only viable, long-term solution, they say. They claim this violence will never cease until those oppressed by Israel are granted an independent, autonomous state of their own.

Why should the solution be any different in France?

Stop the violence! Now ? not at a snail's pace. The time has come to begin talks with the "Paristinians" about their own future homeland of "Paristine."  
30420  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering Of The Pack on: November 08, 2005, 11:21:39 PM
Because we had a perforated eardrum a few years back and because of my sense of this slightly raising the mask off the temple-- in good hands the staff is a weapon of formidable power and we have several people who handle a staff pretty well.

Make sense?
30421  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering! - Possible Matches on: November 08, 2005, 02:17:39 PM
Just a quick kibbitz here-- the mai sowks (spellings vary  cheesy ) are a formidable weapon.  Salty Dog once asked me to fight him with him using the MS and I turned him down-- so anyone who takes up Marc's offer has bragging rights on me  Tongue and a very good shot at this fight appearing in one of our DVDs.

PS:  Make extra sure that your health insurance is paid up and that you have someone to drive you to medical care  shocked
30422  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering Of The Pack on: November 07, 2005, 10:19:30 PM

It is perfectly within my sense of things that two seasoned fighters could go with a non-cutting replica of what is actually carried on the street.  It would not be the first time that ribs were at stake around here  Cheesy BTW, note the advantages that the man with ultralight gloves would have over a standard light hockey gloves fighter with regard to not only dexterity, but weapon selection and also note the role of clothing.  Do clipits work with sweats?

Certainly many/most? fighters will go with hard plastic-- and this is worthy!!!-- but some will be exploring aluminum.  Dog Gints speaks from an above average amount of experience in these things and we do not need to shoot for the moon this time around.

Crafty Dog
30423  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: November 07, 2005, 08:14:11 AM
The Suicide Bombers Among Us
Theodore Dalrymple

All terrorists, presumably, know the dangers that they run, accepting them as an occupational hazard; given Man?s psychological makeup?or at least the psychological makeup of certain young men?these dangers may act as an attraction, not a deterrent. But only a few terrorists use their own deaths as an integral means of terrorizing others. They seem to be a breed apart, with whom the rest of humanity can have little or nothing in common.

Certainly they sow panic more effectively than other terrorists. Those who leave bombs in public places and then depart, despicable as they are, presumably still have attachments to their own lives, and therefore may be open to dissuasion or negotiation. By contrast, no threat (at first sight) might deter someone who is prepared to extinguish himself to advance his cause, and who considers such self-annihilation while killing as many strangers as possible a duty, an honor, and a merit that will win ample rewards in the hereafter. And Britain has suddenly been forced to acknowledge that it has an unknown number of such people in its midst, some of them home-grown.

The mere contemplation of a suicide bomber?s state of mind is deeply unsettling, even without considering its practical consequences. I have met a would-be suicide bomber who had not yet had the chance to put his thanatological daydream into practice. What could possibly have produced as embittered a mentality as his?what experience of life, what thoughts, what doctrines? What fathomless depths of self-pity led him to the conclusion that only by killing himself and others could he give a noble and transcendent meaning to his existence?

As is by now well known (for the last few years have made us more attentive to Islamic concepts and ways of thinking, irrespective of their intrinsic worth), the term ?jihad? has two meanings: inner struggle and holy war. While the political meaning connotes violence, though with such supposed justifications as the defense of Islam and the spread of the faith among the heathen, the personal meaning generally suggests something peaceful and inward-looking. The struggle this kind of jihad entails is spiritual; it is the effort to overcome the internal obstacles?above all, forbidden desires?that prevent the good Muslim from achieving complete submission to God?s will. Commentators have tended to see this type of jihad as harmless or even as beneficial?a kind of self-improvement that leads to decency, respectability, good behavior, and material success.

In Britain, however, these two forms of jihad have coalesced in a most murderous fashion. Those who died in the London bombings were sacrificial victims to the need of four young men to resolve a conflict deep within themselves (and within many young Muslims), and they imagined they could do so only by the most extreme possible interpretation of their ancestral religion.

Young Muslim men in Britain?as in France and elsewhere in the West?have a problem of personal, cultural, and national identity. They are deeply secularized, with little religious faith, even if most will admit to a belief in God. Their interest in Islam is slight. They do not pray or keep Ramadan (except if it brings them some practical advantage, such as the postponement of a court appearance). Their tastes are for the most part those of non-Muslim lower-class young men. They dress indistinguishably from their white and black contemporaries, and affect the same hairstyles and mannerisms, including the vulpine lope of the slums. Gold chains, the heavier the better, and gold front teeth, without dental justification, are symbols of their success in the streets, which is to say of illicit enrichment.

Many young Muslims, unlike the sons of Hindus and Sikhs who immigrated into Britain at the same time as their parents, take drugs, including heroin. They drink, indulge in casual sex, and make nightclubs the focus of their lives. Work and careers are at best a painful necessity, a slow and inferior means of obtaining the money for their distractions.

But if in many respects their tastes and behavior are indistinguishable from those of underclass white males, there are nevertheless clear and important differences. Most obviously, whatever the similarity between them and their white counterparts in their taste for sex, drugs, and rock and roll, they nevertheless do not mix with young white men, even in the neighborhoods devoted to the satisfaction of their tastes. They are in parallel with the whites, rather than intersecting with them.

Another obvious difference is the absence of young Muslim women from the resorts of mass distraction. However similar young Muslim men might be in their tastes to young white men, they would be horrified, and indeed turn extremely violent, if their sisters comported themselves as young white women do. They satisfy their sexual needs with prostitutes and those whom they quite openly call ?white sluts.? (Many a young white female patient of mine has described being taunted in this fashion as she walked through a street inhabited by Muslims.) And, of course, they do not have to suffer much sexual frustration in an environment where people decide on sexual liaisons within seconds of acquaintance.

However secular the tastes of the young Muslim men, they strongly wish to maintain the male dominance they have inherited from their parents. A sister who has the temerity to choose a boyfriend for herself, or who even expresses a desire for an independent social life, is likely to suffer a beating, followed by surveillance of Stasi-like thoroughness. The young men instinctively understand that their inherited system of male domination?which provides them, by means of forced marriage, with sexual gratification at home while simultaneously freeing them from domestic chores and allowing them to live completely Westernized lives outside the home, including further sexual adventures into which their wives cannot inquire?is strong but brittle, rather as communism was: it is an all or nothing phenomenon, and every breach must meet swift punishment.

Even if for no other reason, then (and there are in fact other reasons), young Muslim males have a strong motive for maintaining an identity apart. And since people rarely like to admit low motives for their behavior, such as the wish to maintain a self-gratifying dominance, these young Muslims need a more elevated justification for their conduct toward women. They find it, of course, in a residual Islam: not the Islam of onerous duties, rituals, and prohibitions, which interferes so insistently in day-to-day life, but in an Islam of residual feeling, which allows them a sense of moral superiority to everything around them, including women, without in any way cramping their style.

This Islam contains little that is theological, spiritual, or even religious, but it nevertheless exists in the mental economy as what anatomists call a ?potential space.? A potential space occurs where two tissues or organs are separated by smooth membranes that are normally close together, but that can be separated by an accumulation of fluid such as pus if infection or inflammation occurs. And, of course, such inflammation readily occurs in the minds of young men who easily believe themselves to be ill-used, and who have been raised on the thin gruel of popular Western culture without an awareness that any other kind of Western culture exists.

The dissatisfactions of young Muslim men in Britain are manifold. Most will experience at some time slighting or downright insulting remarks about them or their group?the word ?Paki? is a term of disdainful abuse?and these experiences tend to grow in severity and significance with constant rehearsal in the mind as it seeks an external explanation for its woes. Minor tribulations thus swell into major injustices, which in turn explain the evident failure of Muslims to rise in their adopted land. The French-Iranian researcher Farhad Khosrokhavar, who interviewed 15 French Muslim prisoners convicted of planning terrorist acts, relates in his book, Suicide Bombers: Allah?s New Martyrs, how some of his interviewees had been converted to the terrorist outlook by a single insulting remark?for example, when one of their sisters was called a ?dirty Arab? when she explained how she couldn?t leave home on her own as other girls could. Such is the fragility of the modern ego?not of Muslims alone, but of countless people brought up in our modern culture of ineffable self-importance, in which an insult is understood not as an inevitable human annoyance, but as a wound that outweighs all the rest of one?s experience.

The evidence of Muslims? own eyes and of their own lives, as well as that of statistics, is quite clear: Muslim immigrants and their descendants are more likely to be poor, to live in overcrowded conditions, to be unemployed, to have low levels of educational achievement, and above all to be imprisoned, than other South Asian immigrants and their descendants. The refusal to educate females to their full capacity is a terrible handicap in a society in which, perhaps regrettably, prosperity requires two household incomes. The idea that one is already in possession of the final revealed truth, leading to an inherently superior way of life, inhibits adaptation to a technically more advanced society. Even so, some British Muslims do succeed (the father of one of the London bombers owned two shops, two houses, and drove a new Mercedes)?a fact which their compatriots interpret exactly backward: not that Muslims can succeed, but that generally they can?t, because British society is inimical to Muslims.

In coming to this conclusion, young Muslims would only be adopting the logic that has driven Western social policy for so long: that any difference in economic and social outcome between groups is the result of social injustice and adverse discrimination. The premises of multiculturalism don?t even permit asking whether reasons internal to the groups themselves might account for differences in outcomes.

The BBC peddles this sociological view consistently. In 1997, for example, it stated that Muslims ?continue to face discrimination,? as witness the fact that they were three times as likely to be unemployed long-term as West Indians; and this has been its line ever since. If more Muslims than any other group possess no educational qualifications whatsoever, even though the hurdles for winning such qualifications have constantly fallen, it can only be because of discrimination?though a quarter of all medical students in Britain are now of Indian subcontinental descent. It can have nothing whatever to do with the widespread?and illegal?practice of refusing to allow girls to continue at school, which the press scarcely ever mentions, and which the educational authorities rarely if ever investigate. If youth unemployment among Muslims is two and a half times the rate among whites, it can be only because of discrimination?though youth unemployment among Hindus is actually lower than among whites (and this even though many young Hindus complain of being mistaken for Muslims). And so on and so on.

A constant and almost unchallenged emphasis on ?social justice,? the negation of which is, of course, ?discrimination,? can breed only festering embitterment. Where the definition of justice is entitlement by virtue of group existence rather than reward for individual effort, a radical overhaul of society will appear necessary to achieve such justice. Islamism in Britain is thus not the product of Islam alone: it is the product of the meeting of Islam with a now deeply entrenched native mode of thinking about social problems.

And it is here that the ?potential space? of Islamism, with its ready-made diagnosis and prescriptions, opens up and fills with the pus of implacable hatred for many in search of a reason for and a solution to their discontents. According to Islamism, the West can never meet the demands of justice, because it is decadent, materialistic, individualistic, heathen, and democratic rather than theocratic. Only a return to the principles and practices of seventh-century Arabia will resolve all personal and political problems at the same time. This notion is fundamentally no more (and no less) bizarre or stupid than the Marxist notion that captivated so many Western intellectuals throughout the 20th century: that the abolition of private property would lead to final and lasting harmony among men. Both conceptions offer a formula that, rigidly followed, would resolve all human problems.

Of course, the Islamic formula holds no attraction for young women in the West. A recent survey for the French interior ministry found that 83 percent of Muslim converts and reconverts (that is, secularized Muslims who adopted Salafism) in France were men; and from my clinical experience I would bet that the 17 percent of converts who were women converted in the course of a love affair rather than on account of what Edward Gibbon, in another context, called ?the evident truth of the doctrine itself.?

The West is a formidable enemy, however, difficult to defeat, for it exists not only in the cities, the infrastructure, and the institutions of Europe and America but in the hearts and minds even of those who oppose it and wish to destroy it. The London bombers were as much products of the West as of Islam; their tastes and their desires were largely Westernized. The bombers dressed no differently from other young men from the slums; and in every culture, appearance is part, at least, of identity. In British inner cities in particular, what you wear is nine-tenths of what you are.

But the Western identity goes far deeper. One of the bombers was a young man of West Indian descent, whose half-sister (in his milieu, full siblings are almost unknown) reports that he was a ?normal? boy, impassioned by rap music until the age of 15, when he converted to Islam. It need hardly be pointed out that rap music?full of inchoate rage, hatred, and intemperance?does not instill a balanced or subtle understanding of the world in its listeners. It fills and empties the mind at the same time: fills it with debased notions and empties it of critical faculties. The qualities of mind and character that are attracted to it, and that consider it an art form worthy of time and attention, are not so easily overcome or replaced. Jermaine Lindsay was only 19, four years into his conversion from rap to Islam, when he died?an age at which impulsivity is generally at its greatest, requiring the kind of struggle for self-mastery that rap music is dedicated to undermining. Islam would have taught him to hate and despise what he had been, but he must have been aware that he still was what he had been. To a hatred of the world, his conversion added a self-hatred.

The other bombers had passions for soccer, cricket, and pop music. They gave no indication before their dreadful deeds of religious fanaticism, and their journeys to Pakistan, in retrospect indications of a growing indoctrination by fundamentalism, could have seemed at the time merely family visits. In the meantime, they led highly Westernized lives, availing themselves of all the products of Western ingenuity to which Muslims have contributed nothing for centuries. It is, in fact, literally impossible for modern Muslims to expunge the West from their lives: it enters the fabric of their existence at every turn. Usama bin Ladin himself is utterly dependent upon the West for his weaponry, his communications, his travel, and his funds. He speaks of the West?s having stolen Arabian oil, but of what use would oil have been to the Arabs if it had remained under their sands, as it would have done without the intervention of the West? Without the West, what fortune would bin Ladin?s family have made from what construction in Saudi Arabia?

Muslims who reject the West are therefore engaged in a losing and impossible inner jihad, or struggle, to expunge everything that is not Muslim from their breasts. It can?t be done: for their technological and scientific dependence is necessarily also a cultural one. You can?t believe in a return to seventh-century Arabia as being all-sufficient for human requirements, and at the same time drive around in a brand-new red Mercedes, as one of the London bombers did shortly before his murderous suicide. An awareness of the contradiction must gnaw in even the dullest fundamentalist brain.

Furthermore, fundamentalists must be sufficiently self-aware to know that they will never be willing to forgo the appurtenances of Western life: the taste for them is too deeply implanted in their souls, too deeply a part of what they are as human beings, ever to be eradicated. It is possible to reject isolated aspects of modernity but not modernity itself. Whether they like it or not, Muslim fundamentalists are modern men?modern men trying, impossibly, to be something else.

They therefore have at least a nagging intimation that their chosen utopia is not really a utopia at all: that deep within themselves there exists something that makes it unachievable and even undesirable. How to persuade themselves and others that their lack of faith, their vacillation, is really the strongest possible faith? What more convincing evidence of faith could there be than to die for its sake? How can a person be really attached or attracted to rap music and cricket and Mercedes cars if he is prepared to blow himself up as a means of destroying the society that produces them? Death will be the end of the illicit attachment that he cannot entirely eliminate from his heart.

The two forms of jihad, the inner and the outer, the greater and the lesser, thus coalesce in one apocalyptic action. By means of suicide bombing, the bombers overcome moral impurities and religious doubts within themselves and, supposedly, strike an external blow for the propagation of the faith.

Of course, hatred is the underlying emotion. A man in prison who told me that he wanted to be a suicide bomber was more hate-filled than any man I have ever met. The offspring of a broken marriage between a Muslim man and a female convert, he had followed the trajectory of many young men in his area: sex and drugs and rock and roll, untainted by anything resembling higher culture. Violent and aggressive by nature, intolerant of the slightest frustration to his will and frequently suicidal, he had experienced taunting during his childhood because of his mixed parentage. After a vicious rape for which he went to prison, he converted to a Salafist form of Islam and became convinced that any system of justice that could take the word of a mere woman over his own was irredeemably corrupt.

I noticed one day that his mood had greatly improved; he was communicative and almost jovial, which he had never been before. I asked him what had changed in his life for the better. He had made his decision, he said. Everything was resolved. He was not going to kill himself in an isolated way, as he had previously intended. Suicide was a mortal sin, according to the tenets of the Islamic faith. No, when he got out of prison he would not kill himself; he would make himself a martyr, and be rewarded eternally, by making himself into a bomb and taking as many enemies with him as he could.

Enemies, I asked; what enemies? How could he know that the people he killed at random would be enemies? They were enemies, he said, because they lived happily in our rotten and unjust society. Therefore, by definition, they were enemies?enemies in the objective sense, as Stalin might have put it?and hence were legitimate targets.

I asked him whether he thought that, in order to deter him from his course of action, it would be right for the state to threaten to kill his mother and his brothers and sisters?and to carry out this threat if he carried out his, in order to deter others like him.

The idea appalled him, not because it was yet another example of the wickedness of a Western democratic state, but because he could not conceive of such a state acting in this unprincipled way. In other words, he assumed a high degree of moral restraint on the part of the very organism that he wanted to attack and destroy.

Of course, one of the objects of the bombers, instinctive rather than articulated, might be to undermine this very restraint, both of the state and of the population itself, in order to reveal to the majority of Muslims the true evil nature of the society in which they live, and force them into the camp of the extremists. If so, there is some hope of success: physical attacks on Muslims (or on Hindus and Sikhs ignorantly taken to be Muslims) increased in Britain by six times in the immediate aftermath of the bombings, according to the police. It wouldn?t take many more such bombings, perhaps, to provoke real and serious intercommunal violence on the Indian subcontinental model. Britain teems with aggressive, violent subgroups who would be only too delighted to make pogroms a reality.

Even if there is no such dire an eventuality, the outlook is sufficiently grim and without obvious solution. A highly secularized Muslim population whose men nevertheless wish to maintain their dominance over women and need a justification for doing so; the hurtful experience of disdain or rejection from the surrounding society; the bitter disappointment of a frustrated materialism and a seemingly perpetual inferior status in the economic hierarchy; the extreme insufficiency and unattractiveness of modern popular culture that is without value; the readiness to hand of an ideological and religious solution that is flattering to self-esteem and allegedly all- sufficient, and yet in unavoidable conflict with a large element of each individual?s identity; an oscillation between feelings of inferiority and superiority, between humiliation about that which is Western and that which is non-Western in the self; and the grotesque inflation of the importance of personal existential problems that is typical of modern individualism?all ensure fertile ground for the recruitment of further ?martyrs? for years to come.

Surveys suggest that between 6 and 13 percent of British Muslims?that is, between 98,000 and 208,000 people?are sympathetic toward Islamic terrorists and their efforts. Theoretical sympathy expressed in a survey is not the same thing as active support or a wish to emulate the ?martyrs? in person, of course. But it is nevertheless a sufficient proportion and absolute number of sympathizers to make suspicion and hostility toward Muslims by the rest of society not entirely irrational, though such suspicion and hostility could easily increase support for extremism. This is the tightrope that the British state and population will now have to walk for the foreseeable future; and the sweet dream of universal cultural compatibility has been replaced, in a single day, by the nightmare of permanent conflict.
30424  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Caminar como guerrero por todos nuestros dias on: November 07, 2005, 07:39:44 AM
Hola Omar:

Mucho de las artes marciales se trata de "competencia de herarquia de jovenes" (young male hericarchical competition).  Es muy comun que despues de subir al nivel mas alto en la herarquia que va a cumplir, el joven deja de entrenar, y despues de pocos anos el habla de esa experiencia que hacia cuand "era mas joven".

Pues, la logica de Kali, y de esta Arte, es diferente.  Claro hay el aspecto de "CHJ", pero buscamos ofrecer capacidad verdadera para poder funcionar por toda la vida en Proteccion de la vida y del bueno-- no buscamos competer en peleas iguales o, perdon la palabrote, en peleas de "quien tenga la berga mas grande"), sino preparnos para sitaciones malas en las que pueda haber armas-- incluyendo las nuestras.  

La actitud de verse en ese camino es la actitud de un Guererro.  

?Me explico?

La Aventura continua , , ,
Crafty Dog

PD:  Los libros de Carlos Castaneda tambien hablan del actitud del guererro.
30425  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: November 07, 2005, 12:16:50 AM
FBI Patriot Act Plan Concerns Lawmakers

WASHINGTON - Lawmakers expressed concern Sunday that the FBI was aggressively pushing the powers of the anti-terrorist USA Patriot Act to access private phone and financial records of ordinary people.

"We should be looking at that very closely," said Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., who is a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee. "It appears to me that this is, if not abused, being close to abused."

Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, agreed, saying the government's expanded power highlights the risks of balancing national security against individual rights.

"It does point up how dangerous this can be," said Hagel, who appeared with Biden on ABC's "This Week."

Under the Patriot Act, the FBI issues more than 30,000 national security letters allowing the investigations each year, a hundred-fold increase over historic norms, The Washington Post reported Sunday, quoting unnamed government sources.

The security letters, which were first used in the 1970s, allow access to people's phone and e-mail records, as well as financial data and the Internet sites they surf. The 2001 Patriot Act removed the requirement that the records sought be those of someone under suspicion.

As a result, FBI agents can review the digital records of a citizen as long as the bureau can certify that the person's records are "relevant" to a terrorist investigation.

Calling the recent growth in the number of letters a "stunner," Biden said, "Thirty thousand seems like an awful, awful stretch to me."

Justice Department spokesman Brian Roehrkasse said Sunday that he could not immediately confirm or dispute the 30,000 figure, but he said the power to use the security letters was justified.

"The Department of Justice inspector general in August 2005 found no civil rights violations with respect to the Patriot Act," he said.

Issued by the FBI without review by a judge, the letters are used to obtain electronic records from "electronic communications service providers." Such providers include Internet service companies but also universities, public interest organizations and almost all libraries, because most provide access to the Internet.

Last September in an ACLU lawsuit, a federal judge in New York struck down this provision as unconstitutional on grounds that it restrains free speech and bars or deters judicial challenges to government searches.

That ruling has been suspended pending an appeal to the New York-based 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. In a hearing last week the court suggested it might require the government to permit libraries, major corporations and other groups to challenge FBI demands for records.

The Patriot Act provision involving national security letters was enacted permanently in 2001, so it was not part of Congress' debate last summer over extending some Patriot Act provisions.

As the Dec. 31 deadline has approached for Congress to renew provisions of the act, the House and Senate have voted to make noncompliance with a national security letter a criminal offense.

Sens. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., and Tom Coburn, R-Okla., both members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said the expanded use of security letters was a "clear concern" and that information gathered on citizens should be destroyed if it does not lead to a criminal charge.

Coburn said on NBC's "Meet the Press" that he "certainly will" take steps to ensure that the documents are destroyed immediately.

A message left with the ACLU was not immediately returned on Sunday.
30426  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants on: November 06, 2005, 03:35:34 PM
November 04, 2005, 8:40 a.m.
The Real Global Virus
The plague of Islamism keeps on spreading.

Either the jihadists really are crazy or they apparently think that they
have a shot at destabilizing, or at least winning concessions from, the
United States, Europe, India, and Russia all at once.

Apart from the continual attacks on civilians by terrorists in Iraq,
Afghanistan, and the West Bank, there have now been recent horrific assaults in New Dehli (blowing up civilians in a busy shopping season on the eve of a Hindu festival), Russia (attacking police and security facilities), London (suicide murdering of civilians on the subway), and Indonesia (more bombing, and the beheading of Christian schoolgirls). The loci of recent atrocities could be widely expanded (e.g., Malaysia, North Africa, Turkey, Spain) ? and, of course, do not forget the several terrorist plots that have been broken up in Europe and the United States.

The commonalities? There are at least three.

First, despite the various professed grievances (e.g., India should get out
of Kashmir; Russia should get out of Chechnya; England should get out of
Iraq; Christians should get out of Indonesia; or Westerners should get out
of Bali), the perpetrators were all self-proclaimed Islamic radicals.
Westerners who embrace moral equivalence still like to talk of abortion
bombings and Timothy McVeigh, but those are isolated and distant memories.  No, the old generalization since 9/11 remains valid: The majority of Muslims are not global terrorists, but almost all such terrorists, and the majority of their sympathizers, are Muslims.

Second, the jihadists characteristically feel that dialogue or negotiations
are beneath them. So like true fascists, they don?t talk; they kill. Their
opponents ? whether Christians, Hindus, Jews, or Westerners in general ? are, as infidels, de facto guilty for what they are rather than what they supposedly do. Talking to a Dr. Zawahiri is like talking to Hitler: You can?t ? and it?s suicidal to try.

Third, there is an emboldened sense that the jihadists can get away with
their crimes based on three perceptions:

(1) Squabbling and politically correct Westerners are decadent and outnumber the U.S. Marines, and ascendant Islamicism resonates among millions of Muslims who feel sorely how far they have fallen behind in the new globalized world community ? and how terrorism and blackmail, especially if energized by nuclear weapons or biological assets, might leapfrog them into a new caliphate.

(2) Sympathetic Muslim-dominated governments like Malaysia or Indonesia will not really make a comprehensive effort to eradicate radical Islamicist breeding grounds of terror, but will perhaps instead serve as ministries of propaganda for shock troops in the field.

(3) Autocratic states such as Pakistan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, and Iran share outright similar political objectives and will offer either stealthy
sanctuary or financial support to terrorists, confident that either denial,
oil, or nuclear bombs give them security .

Meanwhile, Westerners far too rarely publicly denounce radical Islam for its sick, anti-Semitic, anti-female, anti-American, and anti-modernist rhetoric. Just imagine the liberal response if across the globe Christians had beheaded schoolgirls, taken over schoolhouses to kill students, and shot school teachers as we have witnessed radical Muslims doing these past few months.

Instead, Western parlor elites are still arguing over whether there were al
Qaedists in Iraq before the removal of Saddam Hussein, whether the suspicion of WMDs was the real reason for war against the Baathists, whether Muslim minorities should be pressured to assimilate into European democratic culture, and whether constitutional governments risk becoming intolerant in their new efforts to infiltrate and disrupt radical Muslim groups in Europe and the United States. Some of this acrimony is understandable, but such in-fighting is still secondary to defeating enemies who have pledged to destroy Western liberal society. At some point this Western cannibalism becomes not so much counterproductive as serving the purposes of those who wish America to call off its struggle against radical Islam.

Most Americans think that our present conflict is not comparable with World War II, in either its nature or magnitude. Perhaps ? but they should at least recall the eerie resemblance of our dilemma to the spread of global fascism in the late 1930s.

At first few saw any real connection between the ruthless annexation of
Manchuria by Japanese militarists, or Mussolini?s brutal invasion of
Ethiopia, or the systematic aggrandizement of Eastern-European territory by Hitler. China was a long way from Abyssinia, itself far from Poland. How could a white-supremacist Nazi have anything in common with a
racially-chauvinist Japanese or an Italian fascist proclaiming himself the
new imperial Roman?

In response, the League of Nations dithered and imploded (sound familiar?). Rightist American isolationists (they?re back) assured us that fascism abroad was none of our business or that there were conspiracies afoot by Jews to have us do their dirty work. Leftists were only galvanized when Hitler finally turned on Stalin (perhaps we have to wait for Osama to attack Venezuela or Cuba to get the Left involved). Abroad even members of the British royal family were openly sympathetic to German grievances (cf. Prince Charles?s silence about Iran?s promise to wipe out Israel, but his puerile Edward VIII-like lectures to Americans about a misunderstood Islam). French appeasement was such that even the most humiliating concession was deemed preferable to the horrors of World War I (no comment needed).

We can, of course, learn from this. It?s past time that we quit worrying
whether a killer who blows himself up on the West Bank, or a terrorist who shouts the accustomed jihadist gibberish as he crashes a jumbo jet into the World Trade Center, or a driver who rams his explosives-laden car into an Iraqi polling station, or a Chechnyan rebel who blows the heads off schoolchildren, is in daily e-mail contact with Osama bin Laden. Our present lax attitude toward jihadism is akin to deeming local outbreaks of avian flu as regional maladies without much connection to a new strain of a deadly ? and global ? virus.

Instead, the world?if it is to save its present liberal system of free
trade, safe travel, easy and unfettered communications, and growing
commitment to constitutional government?must begin seeing radical Islamism as a universal pathology rather than reactions to regional grievances, if it is ever to destroy it materially and refute it ideologically.

Yet the antidote for radical Islam, aside from the promotion of
democratization and open economies, is simple. It must be militarily
defeated when it emerges to wage organized violence, as in the cases of the Taliban and al Qaeda in Afghanistan, Zarqawi?s terrorists in Iraq, and the various killer cliques in Palestine.

Second, any who tolerate radical Islam should be ostracized. Muslims living in the West must be condemned when they assert that the Jews caused 9/11, or that suicide bombing is a legitimate response to Israel, or that Islamic immigrants? own unique culture gives them a pass from accustomed assimilation, or that racial and religious affinity should allow tolerance for the hatred that spews forth from madrassas and mosques ? before the patience of Western liberalism is exhausted and ?the rules of the game? in Tony Blair?s words ?change? quite radically and we begin to see mass invitations to leave.

Third, nations that intrigue with jihadists must be identified as the
enemies of civilization. We often forget that there are now left only four
major nation-states in the world that either by intent or indifference allow
radical Islamists to find sanctuary.

If Pakistan were seriously to disavow terrorism and not see it as an asset
in its rivalry with India and as a means to vent anti-Western angst, then
Osama bin Laden, Dr. Zawahiri, and their lieutenants would be hunted down tomorrow.

If the petrolopolis of Saudi Arabia would cease its financial support of
Wahhabi radicals, most terrorists could scarcely travel or organize

If there were sane governments in Syria and Iran, then there would be little refuge left for al Qaeda, and the money and shelter that now protects the beleaguered and motley collection of ex-Saddamites, Hezbollah, and al Qaedists would cease.

So in large part four nations stand in the way of eradicating much of the
global spread of jihadism ? and it is no accident that either oil or nuclear
weapons have won a global free pass for three of them. And it is no accident that we don?t have a means to wean ourselves off Middle East oil or as yet stop Iran from becoming the second Islamic nuclear nation.

But just as importantly, our leaders must explain far more cogently and in
some detail ? rather than merely assert ? to the Western public the nature of the threat we face, and how our strategy will prevail.

In contrast, when the American public is still bickering over WMDs rather
than relieved that the culprit for the first World Trade Center bombing can
no longer find official welcome in Baghdad; or when our pundits seem more worried about Halliburton than the changes in nuclear attitudes in Libya and Pakistan; or when the media mostly ignores a greater percentage of voters turning out for a free national election in the heart of the ancient caliphate than during most election years in the United States ? something has gone terribly, tragically wrong here at home.

? Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution. His
latest book is A War Like No Other. How the Athenians and Spartans Fought the Peloponnesian War.
30427  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering Of The Pack on: November 06, 2005, 08:03:23 AM
Rules?   cheesy

As always the weapons are up to the fighters-- so protect yourself at all times!

Do note that the lighter the gloves that a fighter wears, the better his accessing skill should be.

Dog Gints, who runs a fight club up in the Bay Area, offers the following comments:

Crafty Dog

Hello Marc,

I read your note on proximal knife fights on Eskrima Digest.  Have you
considered shorter blade lengths ?  I've tried and have witnessed probably 200 such fights in my garage, both matched short knives
and unarmed vs. short knife.  The shorter blades keep the fighters in
slapping/palm butt range and make for a rougher fight as there is less give to the thrust.  So, more torso scrapes are sustained, requiring some blade maintenance with sand paper after each round.  The blades
typically burred when they scrape the metal helmet mesh, although in my
garage, many points are burred when the blade is dropped.

I cover my longer aluminum blades with clear car door protectors, as recommended by Bob Burgee.  These are available at Kragen auto parts,
but only one of their two varieties holds up. There are various models of short knife. Too many have a point and make for painful/dangerous thrusts that can crack ribs - not good for starting an event.  One of Bob Burgee's models , the Chisel tip, it pretty good when ground down a bit more.  I have a pair of mirror-polished short blades with circular tips, custom-made by Burgee.  These look great and reduce the skin punctures.  If you like, I can bring the pair to the Gathering.

Just trying to help out,

30428  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering Of The Pack on: November 04, 2005, 07:13:29 AM
This time the knife fights will be started with the knives hidden on the fighters and the fighters in extreme close range to each other.
30429  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / November Gathering Of The Pack on: November 03, 2005, 06:23:57 PM
Woof All:

It now appears that Original Productions (Monster Garage, Monster House, many others) will be shooting this "Dog Brothers Gathering" for the opening episode of an intended series for Spike TV. Cool  Cool  Cool

The Adventure continues,
Crafty Dog
30430  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly on: November 03, 2005, 06:09:12 PM
Man Sues After Using Glue-Covered Toilet Thu Nov 3,12:32 PM ET

BOULDER, Colo. - Home Depot was sued by a shopper who claims he got stuck to a restroom toilet seat because a prankster had smeared it with glue.

Bob Dougherty, 57, accused employees of ignoring his cries for help for about 15 minutes because they thought he was kidding.

"They left me there, going through all that stress," Dougherty told The (Boulder) Daily Camera. "They just let me rot."

The lawsuit, filed Friday, said Dougherty was recovering from heart bypass surgery and thought he was having a heart attack when he got stuck at the Louisville store on the day before Halloween 2003. A store employee who heard him calling for help informed the head clerk by radio, but the head clerk "believed it to be a hoax," the lawsuit said.

Home Depot spokeswoman Kathryn Gallagher said she could not comment on pending litigation.

The lawsuit said store officials called for an ambulance after about 15 minutes. Paramedics unbolted the toilet seat, and as they wheeled the "frightened and humiliated" Dougherty out of the store, he passed out.

The lawsuit said the toilet seat separated from his skin, leaving abrasions.

"This is not Home Depot's fault," he said. "But I am blaming them for letting me hang in there and just ignoring me."
30431  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People on: October 30, 2005, 10:53:32 PM
"Our main agenda is to have all guns banned. We must use whatever means possible. It doesn't matter if you have to distort the facts or even lie. Our task of creating a socialist America can only succeed when those who would resist us have been totally disarmed."
-Sara Brady, Chairman, Handgun Control Inc, to Senator Howard Metzenbaum. The National Educator, January 1994, Page 3.

"We can't be so fixed on our desire to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans."
-President William Jefferson Clinton, March 1, 1993 during a press conference in Piscataway, NJ. Source: Boston Globe, 3/2/93, page 3.

"My general counsel tells me that while firearms are exempted from our jurisdiction under the Consumer Product Safety Act, we could possibly ban bullets under the Hazardous Substances Act."
-Richard O. Simpson, Chairman, U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission. 1973

"We must do whatever we can to regulate how guns are used. I've been the victim of a stabbing."
-Al Sharpton, May 3, 2003

"Waiting periods are only a step. Registration is only a step. The prohibition of private firearms is the goal."
-Janet Reno

"Gun violence won't be cured by one set of laws. It will require years of partial measures that will gradually tighten the requirements for gun ownership, and incrementally change expectations about the firepower that should be available to ordinary citizens."
-New York Times, December 21, 1993
30432  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Geo Political matters on: October 29, 2005, 08:40:44 AM
SCO: A New Power Center Developing
October 28, 2005 21 47  GMT


The Shanghai Cooperation Organization's (SCO) summit in Moscow ended Oct. 27. Talk at the summit indicates that the organization is growing; soon, the SCO will deal with more than security-related matters, and its geographic scope will expand. As it grows, the SCO will become a more authoritative figure in Eurasian -- and global -- matters.


The prime minister-level Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit -- at which participants met with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines -- concluded in Moscow on Oct. 27. The organization which Washington at first dismissed as a talk shop is now raising concerns for the Bush administration, especially after SCO member Uzbekistan heeded the organization's call and evicted a U.S. military base in July.

Some media outlets already call the SCO "NATO of the East." In reality, the organization is neither a talk shop nor a NATO equivalent, in the sense that it is not a military bloc. Extensive talks with officials from the SCO's full members (China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan) and observer-members (India, Pakistan, Iran and Mongolia) -- along with observations of the SCO summit -- give insight into where this key Eurasian organization is going.

The summit showed that the SCO is developing in two strategic directions. First, it is growing from a security-only organization into a multi-functional group that includes political and economic collaboration; second, the SCO is expanding from a Central Asia-based organization to include Eurasia. The more the SCO expands in these directions, the more authority it will gain in Eurasian and global affairs. If the SCO continues developing in terms of joint economic projects and security initiatives, it could become a new collective power center.

The SCO was founded by Moscow and Beijing on June 15, 2001, with the ultimate vision of gradually developing a new world power-center that would tend to Eurasian affairs without interference from outside powers. This goal runs contrary to the Bush administration's agenda for Eurasia; Washington considers Eurasia to be of paramount importance in the pursuit of U.S. geopolitical interests, and it is a cornerstone of the U.S. geopolitical strategy that Washington has a decisive role in Eurasian geopolitics. Thus, it is against Washington's interest for major Eurasian states to form alliances, because if those states join together they could successfully challenge the United States, the world's only superpower.

If the SCO matures according to its founders' vision, the organization could become an alliance capable of taking care of Eurasian matters and, thus, capable of challenging Washington's interests there. However, this would take years. SCO leaders fully understand this and strive to keep Washington from seeing the organization as anti-U.S. The SCO is not explicitly anti-U.S., though butting heads with Washington is inevitable as the United States fights to maintain a presence in Eurasia. Rather, its members are focused on getting their neighbors' and their own houses in order while trying to develop them internally. China is about to launch a major internal social and economic redistribution campaign and does not want to be seen as forming any bloc to counter U.S. security interests. Russia is busy trying to revive its economy and find friends abroad who are willing to help it regain some of its former prominence and unwilling to follow U.S. policies. Furthermore, Putin still wants to Westernize the country, which implies at least some cooperation with the United States. India is building itself up as a future global power and wants to benefit from U.S. nuclear technology know-how. The list goes on.

The SCO's growth and strength potential come from a key geopolitical fact: Its members -- current and potential -- have many common problems, and many of these problems can be resolved only if the countries work together. In practice, this involves forming Eurasian transportation corridors, shaping energy routes to benefit the countries' growing and energy-hungry economies, making sure the countries' economies complement each other to remain or become competitive in a global economy, and so on. SCO members' shared and important agenda of making themselves stronger by working together will give the organization an internal strength that is necessary if it is to thrive and become geopolitically significant.

Realizing this, the SCO has worked to complement its security cooperation with major joint economic development plans. At the summit in Moscow, SCO members agreed to fulfill a program of multilateral trade and economic cooperation by 2020. The program includes jointly constructing hydroelectric plants, upgrading highways, laying out fiber-optic communications networks, hydrocarbons exploration and pipeline construction -- a total of 127 joint projects. To finance the first projects, China offered to issue Central Asian nations a low-interest line of credit for $900 million, to be paid off in 20 years. China will also train 1,500 Central Asian engineers and other specialists. Trying to make sure its role in the SCO is not minor compared to Beijing's, Moscow proposed that investments in SCO projects should be joint ventures. This will amount to almost all investment coming from stronger nations, such as Russia and China -- both of which are willing and apparently able to do it.

Another important outcome of the SCO summit is that its leaders, including the observer-members' heads of state, agreed that the organization will deal only with major issues and on a strategic level, leaving it to member nations to sort out details. This could help the SCO move forward with Eurasian security and economic affairs without getting bogged down in the details of local issues and differences. For instance, the SCO joint security drive likely will have a negative impact on Islamist militancy, an issue which all SCO nations have to tackle.

It is telling that current SCO members have had to put a damper on observer-members' enthusiasm to join immediately, in order to keep the SCO from getting overwhelmed by its own rapid growth. Beijing and Moscow first want to make sure the SCO's shop is in order before expanding, ensuring that the first economic projects and security initiatives work for the full member states. They also want to make sure that including countries with diverse agendas will not turn the SCO into a useless group. However, expansion seems to be inevitable, given that both Moscow and Beijing are eager to see more countries join.

The SCO is an organization intended to bear fruit for years to come, though its members will start seeing progress as each year passes. If the current trend -- eagerness to cooperate and a desire to put aside differences -- continues among member nations through the next few years, the SCO could take shape as a new power center in Eurasia -- something for other powers, including Washington, to reckon with.
30433  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / STICK FIGHTING FROM THE CANARY ISLANDS on: October 28, 2005, 08:36:57 AM
I could have sworn that we have a thread somewhere in the back pages on Palo Canario and if it is in the first 10 pages, well, I missed it-- but I did find these which may be of interest:
30434  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Homeland Security on: October 27, 2005, 11:09:29 PM
The charts in this Stratfor piece probably will not print here, but worth the read anyway IMHO.

U.S. Intelligence: Fixing the System, or Fighting It?
October 27, 2005 22 19  GMT

By Fred Burton

It has been nearly a year since we first noted the churn taking place within the CIA under then-new Director Porter Goss. In the life of any organization -- let alone a political one -- there is bound to be some shakeout within the ranks whenever there is a change of leadership, and doubly so when the outgoing leader has been in place as long as George Tenet was. But rather than reaching a crescendo early on and then dissipating, the turnover at Langley has intensified over the past year, and many of the departures have involved seasoned officials from the Directorate of Operations (DO).

Considering that the value of an intelligence officer is realized over the course of decades and entire careers, any churn in the secretive DO that is sufficiently high-level or widespread to attract the notice of mainstream news media is cause for concern. Neither intelligence agents nor senior managers -- such as deputy DO chief Robert Richer, who resigned in September -- are easily replaced; all require cultivation and heavy up-front investment.

The causes behind the problem are numerous, and most have been amply discussed in public venues: personality clashes with Goss or dissatisfaction over his management style; purges that were deemed necessary to induce a cultural shift following Tenet's business-oriented approach to intelligence collection and analysis; an overall intelligence community restructuring that created a new director of national intelligence (DNI) position, now held by John Negroponte. Though this last issue affects no one but Goss personally -- it shifts to the new DNI the daily responsibility for briefing the president -- it contributes to low morale at the Agency, where one of the perks for those who usually toil in anonymity has been the reflected glory of having your work reported directly each day to the president of the United States.

Add to that the castigation to which all of the nation's intelligence organizations were subjected -- though perhaps none so heavily as the CIA -- for the failures leading to Sept. 11 and unreliable intelligence about WMD in Iraq, and it is clear that there is a deep and systemic problem to be solved at Langley.

Goss is now fighting back, with at least some public attempts to restore the perceived glamour of intelligence work while driving toward a 50 percent increase in the size of the clandestine service and analyst staffs. One of the strategies he is pursuing is a campaign of unilateralism -- an attempt to wean the Agency from any dependencies on foreign intelligence services, rendering the CIA increasingly independent while also expanding and dispersing its agents' presence around the globe. "We are going to be in places people can't even imagine," he told employees in an all-hands meeting in late September.

The approach is intriguing on several levels. In terms of resolving Langley's immediate problems -- first, halting the churn -- it may indeed be just what is needed. Whether the intelligence such efforts produce, and the analysis thereof, ultimately helps mend the Agency's tattered image is a question for the longer term; success on both fronts is needed if Goss is to succeed in his mission.

That said, the intelligence world is riddled with interdependencies. National security, particularly on the counterterrorism front, requires a high level of coordination between the CIA (tasked with gathering human intelligence overseas), the FBI (tasked with gathering intelligence within the United States), and the State Department (which helps in protecting U.S. citizens and assets abroad, as well as with collecting intelligence), along with foreign intelligence services and liaisons and the National Security Administration. It is a complex system, unwieldy under the best of circumstances, and we would be hard-pressed to frame it as an ideal. Workable alternatives, however, are difficult to find.

In the post-Sept. 11 era, all of these systems (which have existed for decades) now come together under the aegis of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), which -- on paper, anyway -- is designed to vet any information about potential terrorist threats and then disperse credible and timely intelligence to the appropriate state and local authorities and the public. Now, there are still many kinks in this system, four years after the Bush administration created the DHS, but this is how it is intended to work.

The problem with a campaign of unilateralism, by the CIA or any other intelligence organization, is that unless it scores a resounding success -- and quite rapidly at that (which is unlikely, given the nature of the work) -- it is more likely to add to national security problems than resolve them in the near term.

Fragmentation has been a feature of the U.S. intelligence system for some time, and for numerous reasons. For example, we noted intelligence from sources in February that John Negroponte -- then the U.S. ambassador to Iraq -- was setting up his own intelligence apparatus within Iraq because he reportedly did not view intelligence from the CIA as reliable. The Department of Defense and other branches of government likewise have established their own intelligence channels, which are not subject to congressional oversight -- and which also make holistic intelligence analysis difficult, if not impossible. This is not a new problem.

Where we are now seeing it play out -- often with incredible inconvenience for everyday Americans (and follow-on credibility problems for all the intelligence agencies involved) -- is in terrorism scares, such as the recent "threat" to Baltimore's Harbor Tunnel or to the New York subway system, that turn out to be based on bogus intel. The difficulty in these cases was not that someone uncovered rumors of a threat, or that those rumors were passed down the chain to local authorities who took action, or even that the daily commutes of thousands of people were interrupted, with resulting costs to the community -- all of these are preferable to failing to report a real threat that is ultimately carried out. Rather, the problem lies in the inability to supply timely and relevant intelligence all the way through the chain, consistently. There are simply too many potential points of failure.

The threat to the Harbor Tunnel is a perfect example of the system's increasing fragmentation, and bears close examination.

We have noted that it is the responsibility of the CIA to gather intelligence overseas, but the Agency is hardly alone in that endeavor. Either the FBI or the Department of State, through its embassies, might also be present in any given country, and quite often all three can be found together -- collecting and transmitting intelligence, jointly or independently, back to their home offices at Langley, Foggy Bottom or the Hoover Building in Washington.

This system appears to have been fully in play with the Harbor Tunnel scare, which originated with a foreign source who was questioned by Dutch intelligence, which then passed the information on to its U.S. counterparts. (This, by the way, is the sort of liaison dependency that Goss envisions weaning the CIA from.) The "in-country" teams would huddle and send the information back to headquarters in D.C., launching a flurry of back-and-forth communications: Do you think the source is credible? Can you get more information? What about specific targets? This part of the process is not necessarily always smooth, but it does work fairly well and is common sense.

The difficulties -- at least for homeland security purposes -- usually begin in Washington, where dozens of agencies by now have been made aware of the intelligence and are individually assessing what, if anything, to do with it. The State Department alone has a system that allows it to transmit intelligence to more than 50 government agencies simultaneously, so that all the pertinent officials are reading from the same page. In the Harbor Tunnel example, this might be a quite detailed report in some respects -- explaining how Dutch intelligence picked up the human source, who he is believed to be, what specifics he gave during interrogation, and so forth. This report might conclude with what is called a "tear line" -- literally, a point at which the page could be torn and a slip of paper with a homogenized message passed on by the DHS to state or local authorities and the general public. It would look something like this:


Begin Tear Line

On Nov. 1, 2005, a source of unknown reliability in a foreign country advised a foreign intelligence service that a terrorist attack will take place inside the United States before Thanksgiving.


At that point, local officials would face the decision on whether or not to act in the face of what, for all they know, might be an imminent attack in their city. In the Harbor Tunnel case, roads in and out of Baltimore were shut down for about two hours before someone relayed the latest information, which had been known to intelligence agencies in the Netherlands for some time amid all the flurry: The human source was telling tales, and there was no threat to the tunnels.

There are several take-aways from this discussion. First, as we have just noted, tear-line information often is so watered down as to be nearly useless by local authorities. This is a complicated issue in itself. On the one hand, it is a symptom of all intelligence organizations' need and desire to protect their sources and methods and, at times, to compartmentalize sensitive information. On the other hand, it can be almost impossible to interpret and act upon such vagueness -- and all of this is assuming that the original source in Foreign Country A was providing bona fide threat information to begin with, which frequently is not the case. The entire system is rooted in the reliability of the sourcing -- a problem that Stratfor faces as well.

All of these practical difficulties have added to the cacophony of questions about the reliability of the U.S. intelligence system and fueled impulses by some agencies and local police departments to, like Goss, go it alone and collect their own intel. Increasingly, metropolitan police departments and other security agencies have taken to deploying their own agents abroad -- without the diplomatic cover afforded to official intelligence agents -- due to perceived need and distrust of the existing system.

We are not unsympathetic to the problem. It is human nature to prefer one's own sources to another agency's intelligence -- which is often second-hand by the time it is translated into English. Acting on information from their own human sources, the NYPD, State Department, FBI or other agencies are better able to judge its reliability: They would at least have an idea of the source's identity, something about his possible connections to terrorist groups, whether he was coerced during interrogation or developed a nervous tic when discussing the reported "threat." Everyone feels more comfortable assessing and acting on the intelligence when they've had a hand in collecting it.

But, ultimately, this "pile-on" effect stands only to increase the level of kludge in the existing intelligence system -- and it is questionable whether it actually serves the public, as opposed to the intelligence agencies. Because they bypass what ideally should be the firewall imposed by the DHS to shield the public from questionable intelligence, these outriders can lead to more, rather than fewer, needless panics if the local groups' threat information is not well-vetted or protected. And such scares, in turn, tend to reinforce questions and concerns about the reliability of the entire intelligence community -- not just the CIA -- in the minds of the public.

Identifying the problems in a system with so many moving parts is, while not easy, still much easier than proposing solutions -- and, as we noted above, finding viable alternatives to the existing system, imperfect though it may be, is challenging. The missing ingredient is trust, which is not endemic to the intelligence community. The task has now fallen to Goss to find ways of generating that trust in the still-tumultuous CIA, and to Negroponte -- who, we note, was only months ago contributing to the fragmentation in the system -- to streamline it instead.
30435  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Caminar como guerrero por todos nuestros dias on: October 27, 2005, 05:58:45 PM
Hola Omar:

"Conciencia mas alta" refiere al proceso interno que buscamos a traves de las peleas Dog Brothers y "Camino como guerrero" es la meta, el proposito del sistema DBMA.  Por supuesto, los dos son ramas del mismo arbol y se comunican entre si.

Espero que mi espanol sea suficiente para comunicar aqui.

Crafty Dog
30436  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Unorganized Militia on: October 26, 2005, 11:45:12 PM
Not inside baseball at all!  A sound post on a matter of great importance.  In times of war, it is easy to let freedom slip away.
30437  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: October 25, 2005, 07:41:31 PM
Syria, Iran and the Power Plays over Iraq
By George Friedman

In assessing the current phase of events in the Middle East, it is essential to link events in Syria with events in Iran. These, in turn, must be linked to the state of the war in Iraq and conditions in the Arabian Peninsula. The region is of one fabric, to say the least, and it is impossible to understand unfolding events -- the pressure against Syria involving the murder of a former Lebanese prime minister; feints and thrusts with Iran and talk of direct political engagement with the United States; the emergence of a new government in Baghdad, or obstacles to one -- without viewing them as one package.

Let's begin with two facts. Since the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Tehran has had close collaborative ties with Damascus. These have not been constant, nor have they been without strains and duplicity. Nevertheless, the entente between Iran and Syria has been a key element. Second, one of the many goals behind the U.S. invasion of Iraq was to position U.S. forces in such a way as to change a series of relationships between Islamic countries, not the least of which was the Iranian-Syrian relationship. Therefore, to understand what is going on, we must look at this as a "key player" game (Syria, Iran and the United States), with a serious of interested onlookers (Europe, China, Russia, Israel), and a series of extremely anxious onlookers (the states on the Arabian peninsula in particular).

The Roots of Alliance

Let's begin with the issue of what bound the Iranians and Syrians together. One part was ideological: Syria is ruled by a minority of Alawites, a Shiite offshoot that is at odds with Sunni Islam. Iran, a Shiite state, also confronts the Sunnis. Therefore, in religious terms, Syria under the Assads had a common interest with Iran. Second, both states were anti-Zionists. Syria, as a front-line state, confronted Israel alone after Egypt's Anwar Sadat signed the accords at Camp David. Iran, ideologically, saw itself as a committed enemy of Israel. Syria looked to Iran for support against Israel, and Iran used that support to validate its credential among other states -- Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia -- that were either collaborationist or merely symbolic in their opposition to Israel's existence. Syria and Iran could help each other, in other words, to position themselves both against Israel and within the Islamic world.

But ideology was not the glue that held them together: that was Saddam Hussein. Syria's Assad and Iraq's Saddam grew out of the same ideological soil -- that of Baath socialism, a doctrine that drew together pan-Arabism with economies dominated by the state. But rather than forming a solid front stretching from the Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf, the Iraqi and Syrian brands of Baathism split into two bitterly opposed movements. That difference had less to do with interest than with distrust between two dynastic presidents. Syria and Iraq had few common interests and were competing with each other economically. The relationship was, to say the least, murderous -- if not on a national level, then on a personal one. It never broke into open war because neither side had much to gain from a war. It was hatred short of war.

Not so between Iraq and Iran. When Iraq invaded Iran following the Islamic Revolution, a war lasting nearly a decade ensued. It was a war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives -- making it, for the size of the nations involved, one of the most brutal wars of the 20th century, and that is saying something. The issue here was fundamental. Iran and Iraq historically were rivals for domination of the Persian Gulf. The other countries of the Arabian Peninsula could not match either in military strength. Thus, each had an interest in becoming the dominant Persian Gulf power -- not only to control the oil, but to check the political power that Saudi Arabia had as a result of oil. So long as both were viable, the balance of power prevented domination by either. Should either win the war, there would be no native power to resist them. Thus, each side not only feared the other, but also had a great deal to gain through victory.

The Iranians badly wanted the Syrians to join in the war, creating a two-front conflict. Syria didn't. It was confronted by Israel on the one side and Turkey, another tense rival, on the other. Should its forces get bogged down fighting the Iraqis, the results could be catastrophic. Besides, while the Syrians had serious issues with Iraq, their true interests rested in Lebanon. The Syrians have always argued, with some justification, that Lebanon was torn from Syrian territory by the Sykes-Picot agreements between France and Britain following World War II. Nationalism aside, the Syrian leadership had close -- indeed, intimate -- economic relationships in Lebanon. It is important to recall that when Syria invaded Lebanon in 1975, it was in opposition to the Palestinians and in favor of Maronite Christian families, with whom the Alawites had critical business and political relations. It was -- and is -- impossible to think of Lebanon except in the context of Syria.

A Delicate Web of Relations

It was Damascus' fundamental interest for Lebanon to be informally absorbed into a greater Syria. Damascus used many tools, many relationships, many threats, many opportunities to weave a relationship with Lebanon and extend Syrian influence throughout the state. One of those tools was Hezbollah, an Islamist Shiite militia heavily funded and supported by Iran. From the Syrian point of view, Hezbollah had many uses. For one thing, it put a more secular Shiite group, the Amal movement under Nabih Berri, on the defensive. For another, it helped to put the Bekaa Valley, a major smuggling route for drugs and other commodities, under Syrian domination. Finally, it allowed Syria to pose a surrogate threat to Israel, retaining its anti-Zionist credentials without directly confronting Israel and incurring the risk of retaliation.

For Iran, Hezbollah was a means for asserting its claim on leadership of radical Islam while putting orthodox Sunnis, like the Saudis, in an uncomfortable position. Iran was fighting Israel via Hezbollah and building structures for a revolutionary Islam, while the dominant Sunnis were collaborating with the supporters of Israel, the United States. Hezbollah was, for the Iranians, a low-risk, high-payoff investment. In addition, it opened the door for financial benefits in the Wild West of Lebanon.

Both Iran and Syria maintained complex relations with both the United States and Israel. For example, Syria and Israel -- formally at war -- developed during the 1980s and 1990s complex protocols for preventing confrontation. Neither wanted a war with the other. The Syrians helped keep Hezbollah operations within limits and maintained security structures in such a way that Israel did not have to wage a major conventional war against Syria after 1982. There was far more intelligence-sharing and business deal-making than either Jerusalem or Damascus would want to admit. Lebanon recovered from its civil war and prospered -- as did Syrian and Israeli businessmen.

Iran also had complex relations with Washington. During the Iran-Iraq war, the United States found it in its interests to maintain a balance of power between Baghdad and Tehran. It did not want either to win. Toward this end, as Iran weakened, the United States arranged to provide military aid to Tehran -- not surprisingly, through Israel. Israel had maintained close relations with the Iranian military during the Shah's rule, and not really surprisingly, those endured under the Ayatollah Khomeini as well. Khomeini wanted to defeat Saddam Hussein more than anything. His military needed everything from missiles to spare parts, and the United States was prepared to use Israeli channels to supply them. It must always be remembered that the Iran-contra affair was not only about Central America. It was also -- and far more significantly -- about selling weapons to Iran via the Israelis.

Intersection: Iraq

Now, if we go back up to 50,000 feet, we will see the connecting tissue in all these relationships: Iraq. There were plenty of side issues. But the central issue was that everyone hated Iraq. No one wanted Iraq to get nuclear weapons. We have always wondered about Iran's role in Israel's destruction of the Osirak reactor in 1981; but no matter here. The point is that the containment of Iraq was in everyone's interest. Indeed, the United States merely wanted to contain Iraq, whereas Iran, Syria and Israel all had an interest in destroying it.

The U.S. invasion of Iraq was in the direct interest of two countries, in addition to the United States: Iran and Israel. Other countries had a more ambiguous response. The Saudis, for example, were as terrified of Iran as of Iraq. They, more than anyone, wanted to see the balance of power maintained and viewed the American invasion as threatening to their interests.

Syria's position was the most complex.

Syria had joined the coalition fighting Saddam Hussein during Desert Storm -- at least symbolically. The Syrians had complex motives, but they did not want the United States interfering with their interests in Lebanon and saw throwing in with the coalition as a means of assuring a benign U.S. policy. At the same time, Syria was in the most precarious strategic position of any country in the region. Sandwiched between Israel, Turkey and Iraq, it lived on the lip of a volcano. The outcome of Desert Storm was perfect for the Syrians: It castrated Iraq without destroying it. Thus, Damascus needed to deal with only two threats: Israel, which had grown comfortable with its position in Lebanon, and Turkey, which was busy worrying about its Kurdish problem. In general, with some exceptions, the 1990s were as good as it got for Syria.

The U.S. invasion in 2003 upset the equation. Now Syria was surrounded by enemies on all sides again, but this time one of the enemies was the United States -- and immediately at the end of conventional military operations, the United States rushed forces to the Iraq-Syria border, threatening hot pursuit of the fleeing Baathists. The Syrians had not calculated the American intervention, having believed claims by Saudi Arabia and France that the United States would not invade without their approval. Now Syria was in trouble.

Syria and Iran: A Parallel Play

For the Iranians, this was the golden moment. Their dream was of a pro-Iranian Iraq -- or, alternatively, for Iraq's Shiite region to be independent and pro-Iranian, or at least to have a neutral Iraq. The Sunni rising put the Iranians in a perfect position: Using their influence among the Shia, they held the cards that the Americans had dealt them. They adopted a strategy of waiting and spinning complex webs.

The Syrians saw themselves in a much less advantageous position. They were in their worst-case scenario. They could not engage the United States directly, of course. But the only satisfactory outcome to their dilemma was to divert U.S. attention from them or, barring that, so complicate the Americans' position that they would be prevented from making any aggressive moves toward Syria. What Damascus needed was a strong guerrilla war to tie the Americans down.

The Syrians hated the Iraqi Baathists, but they now had two interests in common: First, a guerrilla war in Iraq would help to protect Syria as well as the Baathists' interests; and second, the Iraqis were paying cash for Syrian support -- and the Syrians like cash. They had been selling services to the Iraqis during the run-up to the war, and once the war was over, they continued to do so. The strategy proved rational: Syrian support for the Sunni guerrillas and jihadists was important in bogging the Americans down.

The Iranians liked it too. The more bogged down the Americans were in the Sunni region, the more dependent they were on the Shia. At the very least, they urgently needed Iraq's Shia not to rise up. At most, they wanted the Shia to form the core of a new government. From the Iranian point of view, the Sunni guerrillas were despicable as the enemies of Shiite Iran and yet were the perfect tool to increase their control over the Americans.

Thus, as before, Syria and Iran were engaged in parallel play. They shared a natural interest in a weak Iraq. If the United States was the dominant power in Iraq, then they wanted the United States to be the weak power. For a very long time, the United States was unable to get out of the way of the complexities it had created. It used the Iranian Shia and then, when trying to pull away from them, would stumble and return to dependence. And while Iraqi and Iranian Shia are not the same by any means, in this particular case, both had the same interest: increased leverage over the Americans.

The United States had two possible strategies. The key to controlling Iraq lay in ending the guerrilla war. One part of the guerrilla war -- not all -- was in Syria. The United States could invade Syria -- not a good idea, given available forces. It could ask Israel to do it -- which would be a bad move politically, nor was it clear that Israel wanted to do this. Or, it could use a strategy of indirection.

The Situation at Hand

The thing that Syria wants more than anything is Lebanon. The United States has set in motion policies designed to force Syria out of Lebanon. It is not that the United States really cares who dominates Lebanon -- in fact, its Israeli allies rather like the control that Syria has introduced there. Nevertheless, by threatening its core interests, the United States could, leaders thought, begin to leverage Syria.

The Syrians were obviously not going to go quietly into that good night -- not with billions at stake. The assassination of Rafik al-Hariri was the answer. Even when Syria drew its overt military forces out of Lebanon, covert force remained there perpetually. The result of the assassination, however, was overwhelming pressure on Syria -- coupled with a not-too-convincing threat of the use of force by the United States.

For Iran, the fate of Syria is not a major national interest. The future of Iraq is. Iran's view of events in Iraq is divided into three parts: First, a belief that Syria is an important but not decisive source of support for the Sunni guerillas; second, the view that the United States has already maneuvered itself into a de facto alliance with a faction of Iraq's Sunnis; and finally, the belief that Iran's interests in Iraq were not endangered by evolving politics in Lebanon.

The most important feature of the landscape at this moment is the decision by Iran that it is time to move toward direct discussions with the United States. To be sure, the United States and Iran have been talking informally for years about a variety of things, including Iraq. But this week, the Iranian foreign minister did two things. First, he stated that the time was not yet right for talks with the United States -- while acknowledging that talks through intermediaries had taken place. And second, he described the conditions under which discussions might occur. In short, he set the stage for talks between Washington and Tehran to move into the public eye.

It appears at this point that Iran has taken note of the U.S. pressure against Syria and is adjusting for it. However, what is holding up progress on public talks between the United States and Iran are not the reasons stated by the foreign minister -- doubts about Washington's integrity and unclarity about its goals -- but rather, the status of the presidency in Washington. Support for President George W. Bush is running at 39 percent in the polls. He still hasn't bounced upward, and he still hasn't collapsed. He is balanced on the thin edge of the knife. Indictments in the Plame investigation might come this week, which would be pivotal. If Bush collapses, there is no point in talks for Tehran.

Thus, the Iranians are waiting to see two things: Does the United States really have the weight to back the Syrians into a corner? And can Bush survive the greatest crisis of his presidency?

The Middle East is not a simple place, but it is a predictable one. Power talks, and you-know-what walks.
30438  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: October 24, 2005, 12:49:46 AM

At some point in Washington the most important decision will have
to be taken. The question is who will get the upper hand: those who believe in regime change or those who favor negotiations? But let me make one important point: I was involved in decision-making processes when there were two superpowers. At that time one could be pretty sure that both sides would exert the same amount of restraint before starting an atomic war. And on top of that just imagine what complicated thought processes both went through trying to work out the opponent's possible behavior. The whole system of international relations is going to have to change. We have to bear this in mind when looking at Iran. The democratic countries have to keep an eye on the consequences of the spread of nuclear weapons and ask themselves what they would have done if the Madrid bombs had been nuclear. Or if the attackers in New York had used nuclear weapons, or if 50,000 people had died in New Orleans in a nuclear attack. The world would look very different than
it does today. So we have to ask ourselves how much energy we want to put into fighting the problem of further proliferation of nuclear weapons.
30439  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Gender issues thread on: October 23, 2005, 10:45:05 PM
Special Forces Commander Transitions from Man to Woman

Retired Officer Now Embroiled in Employment Bias Suit
In 25 years of military service, David Schroer reached the rank of colonel and commanded a Special Forces unit in the U.S. Army. (ABC News)

Oct. 21, 2005 ? For more than 25 years, David Schroer was a star in the U.S. Army, rising through the ranks to become a Special Forces Commander while leading a classified anti-terrorism unit involved in covert operations. Fellow soldiers described him as a classic military man.

That all changed two years ago when he abruptly retired from the military and made a shocking announcement that stunned his colleagues and family alike. He would no longer be Col. David Schroer, because he is now Diane Schroer, a transsexual.

In her first television interview, Schroer explains to "20/20" correspondent Deborah Roberts why, after decades of service in one of the most dangerous and macho lines of work, she became a woman.

"Does seem a bit of a disconnect," Schroer acknowledges. But, she says, she has struggled with her gender identity ? privately ? since childhood.

"Something was different since even before I can remember. I was always enthralled with things the girls were doing. ? Whenever my parents were gone, I would experiment with my mother's makeup. And wondered why I enjoyed doing that? Wondered why I couldn't carry a purse," Schroer tells Roberts.

Schroer's family has come to accept her decision, but she is now embroiled in a gender discrimination lawsuit against the Library of Congress, which, she claims, withdrew its offer of employment based on her sex.

A Painful Internal Battle

Her lawsuit may be precedent-setting, but Dr. George Brown, a military psychiatrist, said Schroer's story is not unique. He said he's treated hundreds of soldiers who are transsexuals. Brown described transsexualism as "a sense that there's been a biological mistake ? that the body doesn't match who you are as a person inside."

Schroer says it was apparent to her from the time she was a child, growing up in Oak Lawn, Ill., just outside Chicago. Her brothers Gary and Bill only remember a happy childhood with their little brother, however.

"I think it was probably very much?the typical American family, three boys growing up. We played baseball. We played in the neighborhood. We rode bikes. We pretty much did what other kids did in the 50s," said Bill Schroer.

Schroer's siblings Bill and Gary never knew their little brother was suffering quietly, never daring to mention the anguish inside.

Schroer says growing up as a boy left her feeling uneasy and deeply conflicted about who she really was. "When I hit adolescence, it was at times consuming. ? So I did everything I could to push that out of my mind," she tells Roberts.

When David Schroer entered Northern Illinois University, he was in full denial of his gender crisis. He worked as an auto mechanic, an electrician and joined ROTC. After graduation, he entered Special Forces and somehow thrived in the most dangerous of military careers. He even fell in love with a woman and got married.

"We had a normal sexual relationship," Schroer tells Roberts. "Although I would say that I would often think of myself being on the other side of the relationship."

Ending Years of Denial

Schroer managed to keep up the act, rising through the ranks of the military. By his mid-40s, he was a Special Forces commander leading a classified anti-terrorism unit and managing an $8 billion budget. He even briefed Vice President Cheney on secret missions.

Then, two years ago, he grew tired of denying what he believed was his true sexual identity.

"I think when I learned enough to understand what it was that I was really feeling ? I could either hide that, or I could acknowledge to the world that I was in fact a woman. And receive their acknowledgement back," Schroer says.

Schroer told his wife first, even hoping there might be a possibility they could stay together. But the couple decided to separate.

Schroer's marriage was over, but he was finding fulfillment for the first time. He began openly dressing as a woman and calling himself Diane. Schroer was retired at the time, and didn't have to break the news to Washington's top brass. But Schroer did begin telling his Special Forces buddies, including retired Lt. Colonel Dan Bernard.

"The way she explained it to me was by showing me some photos that had been taken of her as a woman in a business kind of setting, wearing makeup and with a big wig and women's clothes. ?And I didn't get mad and I didn't storm out," Bernard said.

"I explained to him about being transgendered and what that meant, and he sat back for a moment and said, 'You really had me scared. Wow, I thought you were going to tell me something bad.' ? It was a tremendous relief," Schroer recalls.

Now Schroer was confident enough to tell family, nervously breaking the news to brothers Bill and Gary ? still dressed as David.

Even though the news was, and continues to be, difficult to accept, Gary Schroer said there was never a question in his mind about being supportive to his younger brother. "It's still tough. But support and acceptance are two different things," he said.

Schroer then began the long and painful process of becoming a woman, undergoing intense therapy and taking female hormones under medical supervision. He also started wearing makeup, and underwent extensive cosmetic surgery.

In 12 hours of surgery, Schroer said, doctors gave him "a scalp advance, a forehead revision, nose reconstruction, upper lip revision, jaw and chin reshaping, and a tracheal shave." In a tracheal shave, the surgeon reduces the cartilage in the throat to get rid of a masculine-looking Adam's apple.

The genital reassignment surgery would come later. But in the meantime Schroer was already looking more feminine and beginning to envision a new relationship.

But Schroer wasn't envisioning a sexual relationship with any men. Schroer is interested in dating women. "I would say I am in fact a lesbian," she said.

Schroer's desire to be with women is not uncommon for transsexuals. Dr. Brown says gender identity and sexual preference are two entirely different things.

"If sex and gender were the same, then that would make no sense at all. Sexuality is who you're attracted to. Gender is who you are as a person, male or female. So, the surgery and the transition is all about matching the mind with the body. It has nothing to do with sexuality," Brown said.

While Schroer is grateful to have the acceptance of her family, she has encountered challenges in her public life. While still transitioning to become female, Schroer applied for, and was offered, a job as a terrorism analyst at the Library of Congress late last year.

Because she was still legally David Schroer, she did not reveal her plans to her prospective employer during the interview.

She decided to tell the woman who hired her that she would begin work as a woman, not a man. Schroer said it seemed as though the woman took the information in stride and that the hiring was going forward as planned.

But the following day, Schroer said she was told that she was no longer "a good fit" for the position. Schroer and her brothers were furious.

With her brothers' encouragement, she filed what many say will become a landmark law suit against the Library of Congress, charging gender discrimination.

She says she's protected under Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. "She is the same exact person that the Library of Congress knew that they wanted when they first encountered the application. And so there's nothing about that that's changed, except her physical appearance," said American Civil Liberties Union attorney Sharon McGowan, who is representing Schroer.

The Library of Congress first agreed to an interview with "20/20," but then declined, citing Diane's lawsuit. In an e-mail, they wrote that they "acted appropriately and complied with the law" and that "claims such as those raised by Ms. Schroer ? are not covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act" or the U.S. Constitution.

While waiting for her day in court and looking for a full time job, Schroer's deepest fears concerned her family who had yet to see her as a woman. In July, Schroer allowed "20/20" cameras to film her first visit as a sister with her family in suburban Chicago.

The family was understandably surprised by the dramatic change in her appearance, but before long the brothers were reminiscing about their childhood. For Gary and Bill Schroer, the memories are bittersweet as they feel in a sense they've lost a brother while gaining a new sister.

For Schroer, the childhood memories have a far different meaning. She's always known that inside that little boy lived a little girl who longed to grow up and become a woman. "What's great about my life now is that it's unified, it's focused and this huge distraction that was in my life is now gone."
30440  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes on: October 23, 2005, 10:20:45 PM

A Weapon Prone To Abuse

--Brenda Grantland, Esq., F.E.A.R. Chronicles, Vol. 1 No. 2,
(June, 1992)

For years the Justice Department has been lobbying Congress
for expansion of its forfeiture powers, for broader definitions of
property subject to forfeiture, and for procedures which give the
government greater and greater advantages over claimants. Their
lobbying has produced the current statutes, which put the burden of
proof on the claimant, make claimants pay in advance the
government's costs of forfeiture proceedings, and in all other
ways imaginable put a heavy thumb on the scales of justice in favor
of the government and to the detriment of the claimant.

The feds have used their powers to the fullest, declaring
"ZERO TOLERANCE" to be their policy. Zero Tolerance means no
sympathy for innocent owners of ships -- such as the Monkey
Business (of Gary Hart fame) or Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institute's floating lab that surveyed the ruins of the Titanic --
when a crew member is found by raiding customs agents to be in
possession of personal use quantities of drugs.

Zero tolerance also means parents, grandparents, spouses,
friends, business partners, finance companies, landlords and all
manner of unsuspecting people get caught up in forfeiture
proceedings because of something someone else did which is beyond
their control.

Although the statutes are supposed to protect innocent third
parties -- according to the hype the Justice department is feeding
us -- in reality innocent people are losing property as often as

These overbroad powers give law enforcement the unlimited
discretion to destroy the financial lives of innocent citizens, to
take away from them their status achieved over a lifetime of hard
work and "upward mobility."

These overbroad powers are often used to discriminate between
the powerful and the powerless. As a prime example of this,
consider the case of Assistant U.S. Attorney Leslie Ohta of
Hartford, Connecticut -- the Iron Matron of forfeiture. As head of
her office's asset forfeiture unit she was ruthless and extremely
successful, with her unit netting more than $26 million since 1986.
According to the Hartford Courant, "Ohta's aggressive pursuit of
these asset forfeiture cases has won her national recognition in
the ranks of federal prosecutors, and she frequently lectures them
on how to apply the law." (3-22-92).

As head of her unit, Ohta mercilessly pursued Zero Tolerance,
making innocent parents and grandparents pay for the wrongdoings of
their offspring. The Hartford Courant reported that on several
occasions Ms. Ohta argued that "people should know what goes on in
their own homes." (3-22-92).

Presumably Ohta knew what was going on in her own home when
her son Miki began using and selling drugs.

The Hartford Courant reported that the first incident happened
in 1989 when Miki allegedly sold marijuana to an undercover
informant from his parents' home. Miki had another scrape with the
law in December 1991, when he was arrested for allegedly selling 50
"hits" of LSD from his parents' car on September 3, 1991, and for
possession of marijuana when stopped by police, again in his
parents' car, on September 29, 1991. In the September 29 incident,
his companion was allegedly in possession of two "hits" of LSD.

Was Mrs. Ohta's property forfeited? No.

As a result of relentless pursuit of this issue by the
Hartford Courant, and an article by the Connecticut Law Tribune,
the ironies of this situation did not escape public notice. The
U.S. Attorney's Office transferred Leslie Ohta to another unit, at
least temporarily.

In the end, however, the U.S. Attorney's Office decided that
forfeiture of Ohta's property would be "inappropriate".

Most of the forfeiture defense attorneys interviewed by the
Hartford Courant agreed that Ohta's assets should not be forfeited
-- not because she was a well-connected flag-waving forfeiture-
winning Assistant U.S. Attorney, but because, in principle, neither
she nor any of the innocent people she so hypocritically forfeited
property from should be punished for the actions of their children,
grandchildren or acquaintances.

I agree except for the double standard. If the people
prosecuting these forfeiture laws are held to the same standard as
the people they have prosecuted, either Leslie Ohta's house and car
should be forfeited or the government should be forced to give back
the property it took from other innocent parents, grandparents and
third parties. This should include all the innocent victims in the
country since the main Justice Department gave the blessing to
excuse Ohta for her son's crimes.

We want to follow up on this and make sure justice is done.
Please write us if you have any information about Ohta cases or
other Zero Tolerance victims. Send us your opinion (or share it
through the computer bulletin board) on whether Mrs. Ohta's
treatment should also be the standard for forfeiture victims not
employed by the Justice Department. If you want to share your
thoughts with the Connecticut U.S. Attorney's Office, write U.S.
Attorney Albert Dabrowski, Esq., 450 Main Street, Room 328,
Hartford, CT 06103, or you can write Leslie Ohta herself at 2273
Hebron Ave., Glastonbury, CT.


Source articles:

The Hartford Courant and Connecticut Law Tribune news
clippings relied upon for this editorial are available for computer
download through ICSBBS under the filename OHTAW.ZIP OR OHTAA.ZIP.
They are: Rule Lawyer Upholds Might Focus On Her, Lynne Tuohy,
Hartford Courant staff writer, 3-22-92; Feds Reorder House As
Forfeitures Hit Home, Andrew Houlding, Connecticut Law Tribune, 3-
23-92; Let Innocent People Keep Assets; Toss Out Unjust Rules,
Denis Horgan, Hartford Courant Columnist, 3-25-92; Haunted By the
Law She Enforced, editorial Hartford Courant, 4-29-92; Prosecutor
Won't Lose Property in Son's Drug Arrest, Lynne Tuohy, Hartford
Courant staff writer, 4-23-92.
30441  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Transcription help please on: October 21, 2005, 01:26:48 PM
Woof All:

We have been told that the best way for us to make our DVDs/videos availabe in other languages is to have subtitles.  Thus we are in need of transcribing our videos/DVDs i.e. converting the spoken words to writing so that our translators can begin their work.

Can anyone help or direct us to someone who can?

Please answer here or at or 310-540-7521.

Thank you,
Crafty Dog
30442  DBMA Espanol / Espanol Discussion / Palo Canario on: October 21, 2005, 12:14:16 PM
Para los de Uds quienes leen ingles, lo siguiente puede ser de interes:
30443  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: October 20, 2005, 05:00:29 PM
The Al-Zawahiri Letter and the Coming Jihadist Fracture
Editor's Note: This is the final report in a three-part analysis of the controversial Ayman al-Zawahiri letter.

The controversial letter from Ayman al-Zawahiri to Abu Musab al-Zarqawi -- which we believe is authentic despite certain apparent discrepancies -- not only provides insights into the inner workings of the global jihadist movement, but also suggests that it is fast reaching an impasse. As a result, the bulk of the movement will either continue to seek guidance and leadership from Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri or it will attempt to assume a more political face. Should politics prevail, al-Zarqawi's proven ability to lead successful attacks will catapult him into a leadership role -- and make him a rival to his current brothers-in-arms. It is too early to say which way the pendulum will swing, but one is thing is certain: The jihadist ranks have begun to fracture.

The U.S. war against jihadism, both its military and political components, is responsible for the jihadists' current situation -- they realize that they cannot continue much longer on the path they have taken since before Sept. 11, 2001. Until the attacks, Western governments, especially the United States, viewed the jihadists as a low-intensity regional terrorist phenomenon that could be handled by law enforcement. Meanwhile, even as some governments in the Muslim world were colluding with jihadists because of their own foreign and domestic policy needs, the Muslim masses were ignoring them or, in some cases, flirting with them -- not realizing that these transnational Islamist militants posed a security threat for Muslims as well.

All of this allowed al Qaeda and its jihadist allies to flourish, while no outside factor required them to re-evaluate their course of action. Furthermore, their clear objectives and ability to move ahead with their plans created a general harmony within the ranks as regards their ideology, objectives and policies.

That situation no longer exists. Not only have the jihadists suffered physical losses in terms of men, money and infrastructure, but they also have been challenged at the intellectual and ideological level -- even from within. Like any political actor faced with both external and internal threats, they are being forced to deal with issues of credibility, relevance and the survivability of their organization and its cause.

Subjected to a rude awakening, the Muslim world also is taking stock -- albeit gradually -- of the problems the jihadists have created. The Muslim masses, which never supported the jihadists even before Sept. 11, are now less and less willing to ignore them or try to use them to their advantage. Meanwhile, moderate Muslims have started coming to the fore, shrinking the jihadists' potential pool of support. This has caused al Qaeda to take a hard look at its ideology as well as its methods -- and to realize that it is way behind the curve when it comes to politics.

In other words, the leadership understands that the network's military accomplishments have not translated into political support from the masses -- even though they are desperately trying to pull Muslim public opinion toward their cause. The mainstream Muslim world, however, has become far too nuanced to accept their manifesto.

This is why we see al-Zawahiri, in his letter, trying to convince al-Zarqawi of the need for a more savvy political approach rather than the sole reliance on attacks. He is saying that, if al Qaeda is to become a competitive player, it needs to gain popular support, tolerate the Shia, use the ideology card judiciously and understand that the bulk of Muslims (especially the ulema) do not share the Wahhabi ideology.

Al-Zawahiri also urges al-Zarqawi to moderate his Wahhabi views in order to placate the non-Wahhabi Sunni majority in Iraq and the larger Muslim world. In this regard, he urges al-Zarqawi against alienating the religious scholars who may not share al Qaeda's doctrinal and juristic positions.

Al-Zawahiri points to the example of Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar, saying that he has been a steadfast supporter of the cause despite his "Hanafi adherence, Matridi doctrine." He also reminds al-Zarqawi of the fate of the lone Wahhabi/Salafi Afghan group that fought the Soviets in the late 1980s, and its leader, Jamil-ur-Rehman, who sought to establish his emirate based on strict Wahhabi ideas in Afghanistan's Kunar province. In the end, stronger non-Wahhabi Afghan Islamist forces killed Jamil-ur-Rehman -- and his organization crumbled.

He also urges al-Zarqawi against appearing the cruel terrorist by carrying out and broadcasting hostage executions. "Among the things which the feelings of the Muslim populace who love and support you will never find palatable . . . are the scenes of slaughtering the hostages," he writes. "You shouldn't be deceived by the praise of some of the zealous young men and their description of you as the sheikh of the slaughterers, etc. They do not express the general view of the admirer and the supporter of the resistance in Iraq, and of you in particular."

Al-Zawahiri also tries to dissuade al-Zarqawi from interpreting too literally the Koran verses that ask Muslims to strike terror in the hearts of non-Muslims. He then refers to the death of his wife and daughter in the battle of Tora Bora as "American brutality." This is an attempt to pre-empt any misconception on al-Zarqawi's part that the jihadist leadership has gone soft, and also to point out that he has suffered personally.

Quickly he turns to a discussion of the importance of good public relations, reminding al-Zarqawi that "more than half of this battle is taking place in the battlefield of the media . . . we are in a media battle in a race for the hearts and minds of our ummah" (global Muslim nation). He also acknowledges the asymmetry in public relations capabilities between the jihadists and those they battle. Al-Zawahiri says, ". . . however far our capabilities reach, they will never be equal to one-thousandth of the capabilities of the kingdom of Satan that is waging war on us."

And realizing that Muslims primarily identify with a nation-state -- as opposed to the notion of an Islamic ummah -- al-Zawahiri carefully tries to get the Jordanian-born al-Zarqawi to accept that it would be better for an Iraqi to serve as a figurehead and for al-Zarqawi to control his movement from behind the scenes. He warns that "the assumption of leadership for the mujahideen ? by non-Iraqis" could "stir up sensitivity for some people," and he asks al-Zarqawi to consider how that sensitivity might be overcome "while preserving the commitment of the jihadist work and without exposing it to any shocks."

The letter suggests that al-Zawahiri wishes for continued U.S. actions against Muslims -- which would sustain the anti-American sentiment within the Muslim world and thus allow the jihadists to be seen as the only force "defending" the Muslims. In this way, he believes, the jihadists can try to regain lost ground. He also expresses surprise that secular nationalist forces have begun to view the occupation of Iraq as troublesome and are beginning to feel the need for action against the U.S. military.

Above all, the al-Zawahiri letter is an acknowledgement of significant internal stress within the jihadist movement and the need to re-evaluate the gravity of the situation with an eye toward taking a more rational approach to ideology, objectives and policies. The movement, then, is set to splinter -- and some within it could even take more moderate stances (as many of the Gamaa al-Islamiyah jihadists of Egypt did in the late 1990s and early 2000s). Depending on how the United States executes its war on terrorism, the changes to come eventually could take the sting out of the jihadist threat.
30444  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Amateur MMA at R1 (formerly RAW) 10/23 on: October 20, 2005, 04:53:03 PM
Sunday October 23, starting promptly at noon

Fighters wanted, contact or 310-322-5552
Provide following info: Age, weight, school, Instructor, time training

Limited seating, door charge.

By the way, there is a rumor that Chris Gizzi may be fighting!!!
30445  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: October 19, 2005, 08:02:38 PM
Nalchik: The 9/11 That Wasn't
October 19, 2005 22 59  GMT

By Fred Burton

Russian military forces are continuing mop-up operations in Nalchik, a city in the Caucasus region where Islamist militants last week staged a series of coordinated attacks -- signaling attempts to widen the Chechen conflict to other parts of Russia. The incident, which burst into the international news Oct. 13, is significant on several levels -- not least of which was the much-improved counterterrorism response by Russian forces, without which the raids conceivably might have expanded into something approaching the Sept. 11 attacks in terms of geopolitical impact.

As it happens, the events that took place involved some 100 to 150 armed militants, who attempted to seize control of the airport at Nalchik while also assaulting police stations, government offices and the regional headquarters of the Russian prison system, among other targets. All told, about 100 people were killed -- more than 60 of them militants, and roughly equal numbers of security forces and civilians. That's hardly what anyone would term a "minor incident," but compared to other attacks by Chechen militants -- such as the school hostage crisis in Beslan in 2004 or a similar event at a Moscow theater in 2002 -- the Russian response was swifter and the outcome much better.

This is not due to dumb luck: The response logically stems from drastically improved intelligence-gathering and targeting priorities in Russian counterterrorism strategies, which underwent a sea change following the Beslan incident. In fact, there is reason to believe that the militants who planned the attacks in Nalchik (an operation that has been claimed by Moscow's arch-enemy, Shamil Basayev) actually were forced into carrying out their operation prematurely, after Russian intelligence got wind of a much larger and more chilling plot -- one combining all the most deadly tactics of both Sept. 11 and Beslan.

Russian military contacts and other sources have told us that the events in Nalchik apparently were supposed to be only the first phase of a plan that ultimately was to include flying explosives-laden aircraft into high-profile targets elsewhere in Russia. Though the exact targets have not been confirmed, sources say possible targets included the Kremlin, a military district headquarters and railway hub in Rostov-on-Don, a nuclear plant in the vicinity of Saratov, and a hydroelectric plant or dam on the Volga. Sources also say the militants had a back-up plan that would have involved mining important government buildings and taking hostages -- tactics the Chechens have used in other headline-grabbing attacks.

Intelligence from human sources is rarely golden: Analysts always must play the skeptic and filter out the sources' own motives for providing the information -- and in this case, the Russian military certainly has reason to want to appear to have pre-empted a catastrophe. In this case, the list of possible targets reads like a laundry list of nightmare scenarios that have been widely discussed, in the U.S. context, since Sept. 11 -- so, admittedly, it is not much of a stretch to assume such assets also could be targeted in Russia. That said, the Nalchik incident fits into wider trend that we have been following in the Chechen/Islamist insurgency for more than a year, and the target sets make sense for what is becoming an increasingly Wahhabist-dominated campaign in Russian territory.

The events on the ground also seem to bear out the sourced intelligence: The militants opened their attack with attempts to seize the airport in Nalchik, where -- had they not been beaten back by Russian forces already guarding the target -- they would have been able to commandeer the aircraft needed for follow-on operations. The incidents in other parts of the city, which were closely time-coordinated but appear to have involved poorly trained recruits, are believed to have been intended as distractions -- drawing attention and Russian security forces away from the strategically crucial airport.

The fact that the follow-on attacks were more or less quickly put down, with (relatively) small loss of life, also fits the notion of a busted operation. Reportedly, the grand plot was to have been carried out on Oct. 17, with a force of about 700 militants -- most of whom had not yet moved into Nalchik when the Russians began taking action. The entire plan apparently started to unravel nearly 10 days in advance: Acting on tips from local residents, Russian forces arrested two suspected militants -- who reportedly confessed to planning attacks -- as early as Oct. 8.

Accepting, then, that the intelligence concerning the shape of the plot is credible, we have an operation that, if carried to fruition, would have mirrored Sept. 11 in many respects -- opening up a new front in the global jihadist war and, conceivably, could have reinvigorated the organized Islamist militancy in other parts of the world.

Considering Basayev's claims of responsibility for the Nalchik plot, that clearly seems to have been the intent. Basayev, it must be remembered, is the Chechen commander who has authored many of the most horrific terrorist incidents in Russia. Attacks like those at Beslan and the Moscow theater, and hostage-takings at hospitals and other soft targets typically have resulted in hundreds of deaths at a time -- both before and during the bloody responses by Russian security forces. To say that Basayev has a penchant for grand, showy schemes would be something of an understatement.

Operationally speaking, that trait seems to undermine his effectiveness as a militant leader -- and, in fact, eventually could be his undoing. The fact that that has not yet happened points more toward particular aspects of the political conflict between the Chechen/Islamist insurgents and Moscow than to best practices taught in Terrorism 101.

Under those principles, the most effective forms of attack are those that are simple yet ruthless: They require few resources, and operatives practice airtight "need-to-know" communications. The fewer people who know about a plan -- or have access to more details than they need in order to carry out their own part -- the less likely the plan is to leak out and be pre-empted. Except for the fact that Basayev has, for the most part, operated in territory where locals have supported at least some aspects of the militant campaign against Russian rule, it is nothing short of amazing that he and his cast of thousands have succeeded to the degree that they have.

But the amount of local support Basayev still is able to command has become something of a question mark, as Chechens themselves have grown weary of the death and destruction in their war. It is said that, partly because of this, Basayev increasingly has surrounded himself with Wahhabi militants -- including some Saudi commanders -- and is seeking ways to export the campaign from the Muslim-dominated Caucasus republics into Russia proper.

All of this seems logical: Judging from details of the Nalchik plot and others within the past year, Basayev appears intent on mimicking elements of the Sept. 11 attacks -- indicating that he at least is studying and learning from al Qaeda, even if he is not intimately linked to it. At the very least, his emerging fixation with air assets is reminiscent of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed -- another tactical genius with a penchant for spectacular strikes.

Both the Nalchik operation and the wider plot, had it been carried out, would have mirrored Sept. 11 in other ways as well: Multiple targets, representing a mix of both hard (government installations) and soft (civilian infrastructure) nodes, might have been struck -- maximizing the political, economic and sheer terror value of the strikes. The plot shows high degrees of strategic planning and, as a result, could have been designed to inspire audiences in the Muslim world -- whether that world is defined to include Russia's Muslim-majority provinces or other regions.

It is important to note here that, though Sept. 11 has become the gold standard for "effective" terrorist attacks, we and others believe that even al Qaeda likely was stunned by its success. The plot was redundant in most aspects: two economic facilities (the World Trade Center towers) and two government facilities (the Pentagon and, it is believed, the Capitol) were targeted, building in a margin of error for planners who likely never expected three of the four aircraft to strike their targets. Similarly, Basayev appears to be hatching redundant plots, so that operations can still be politically and economically effective even if some aspects of the mission fail.

But at Nalchik, almost the entire operation failed before it could get off the ground. The points of failure appear to rest in two areas.

First, there is evidence that Basayev used some and ill-prepared operatives in Nalchik -- rather than highly trained and ruthlessly efficient cells, like those that carried out the 9/11 attacks. The assailants acted in groups of five men. Typical al Qaeda operations use four-man cells, in which each member plays a specific and crucial role. Larger cells appear to be the norm in Chechen operations -- partly because this allows commanders to play a greater role on the ground, but also perhaps because strikes often include local militants who have been poorly trained. This can be a mixed blessing. For instance, we saw in Beslan would-be suicide bombers who ran away; in Nalchik, some of the fighters -- many of whom were well-equipped -- fired their weapons while running toward their targets (a tactic very likely to draw return fire and get them killed). The use of larger cells allows for this kind of attrition without endangering the mission, but it also brings into the mix local operatives who have supreme area knowledge -- and thus are able to identify launching points and escape routes with lower operational overhead.

Second, and crucially, there was poor operational security in Nalchik. In short, someone snitched, and the op was blown. The snitch could have been someone motivated by the bounties Moscow now is offering for intelligence targeting Chechen commanders, or a mole who has infiltrated the militants' ranks, or perhaps a local parent who overhead a conversation between teenagers -- or all of the above. Given the hundreds of people who, according to sources, ultimately would have taken part in the plot, anything is possible. The point is, a lot of people were in the know, and COMSEC -- communications security -- was next to impossible.

At this point, the Russians have to be feeling both relieved and shaken, asking the inevitable "What if?" Basayev certainly has the means and ability to hatch grandiose plots that, if effectively executed, would have serious geopolitical implications -- and, of course, he is alive and free to fight another day. On the other hand, his soaring ambition -- combined with the obviously improved intelligence capabilities and response strategies of the Russian forces -- could be his undoing.
30446  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / New on DVD! on: October 17, 2005, 08:33:20 PM
The DVD "Cycle Drills" featuring Guro Benjamin "Lonely Dog" Rittiner is over 90% done.
30447  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / KALI TUDO (tm) Article on: October 17, 2005, 07:17:59 PM
Woof All:

Jeff "the Angry Dwarf" Brown, who was prominently featured in KT was in town this week for Guro Inosanto's Instructor camp and we paired up for the training.  As always an awe inspiring experience with Guro I.

Jeff told me he was ready to fight in King of the Cage and we knew that the next one is sometime in December.  So we called Surf Dog who is a regular judge there as well as a teacher/trainer of fighters there -- of course he doesn't judge his own students though!  Anyway, SD said that the date is Friday December 2-- which is the weekend that Jeff is hosting Guro Inosanto at his school in Dayton OH so Jeff's appearance in KOTC will have to wait until the March show.

The Adventure continues,
Guro Crafty
30448  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: October 13, 2005, 10:56:54 PM

Iraq, the Constitution and the Fate of a President
By George Friedman

The elections scheduled in Iraq for Dec. 15 have generated what is becoming a permanent feature of Iraqi politics. The process of establishing a constitution has become the battleground among the three major ethnic factions over the nature of political arrangements in Iraq, the distribution of power, the character of the regime and, of course, how oil revenues will be shared. Each milestone on the road to a constitution has become an occasion for intensifying both the negotiating and military process, with no milestone becoming definitive. Thus, the Oct. 15 referendum will give way to December's general elections, and today's negotiations set the stage for the next round of negotiations.

All of this can be taken two ways. One way to view it is that the Iraqi situation is fundamentally insoluble, that the various parties cannot achieve a permanent resolution to the problem. Another way of looking at it is that this process is the permanent solution: Iraq will be an endless reshuffling of a finite political deck, with no end in sight. There are other countries that live this way, and the solution is that they muddle through: politics and the state are devalued, while the rest of society -- clans, families, corporations, organized crime -- are emphasized. An Iraq with eternally shifting politics is not incompatible with the notion of a functioning society.

This assessment, of course, ignores a number of things. First, Iraq is occupied by U.S. troops. Second, there is a war going on in which the Sunnis are fighting the occupation. The Iranians are in the wings -- actually, on the stage -- trying to dominate Iraq as much as possible. A border war is raging along the Syrian frontier. A broader war involving the United States and jihadists is still sputtering along. Therefore, any hope has to be viewed through the prism of this violence, and the question is simple: can the emerging political process ultimately reduce -- "eliminate" is too much to ask -- the level of violence? Put another way, from the U.S. side, can the present political process solve the problems of occupation while yielding the political goals Washington wanted? From the jihadist side, can the uncertainty of the political process be exploited to create the conditions for what Ayman al-Zawahiri described in a recent letter: the jihadist domination of Iraq? Or, will the conflict between political goals undermine the process and create permanent war instead of permanent instability?

The core difference between this milestone and the last -- the generation of a proposed constitution for consideration by the legislature and, through this referendum, the public -- is that, whereas the last round of negotiations ended in an inability of the Shia and Kurds to reach an agreement with the Sunnis, this one has ended in an agreement of sorts. That agreement frames the situation, inasmuch as it is less an agreement than a framework for ongoing negotiations.

Some Sunni leaders have opposed any agreement or participation in the constitutional referendum; others have supported participation with a "no" vote. What appears to have been crafted between the Shia and negotiating Sunni groups is this:

If the constitution is approved, it will be a temporary, not permanent, constitution.

After a general election on Dec. 15 that would be based on this constitution, a committee of the National Assembly would review the document once again.

The new parliament would have four months to complete changes to the document.

A new vote would be held to ratify that final constitution.

In other words, the agreement that has been reached here between the Sunnis, Shia and Kurds is simply that all sides will focus on the constitutional negotiations.

That's not a bad deal, if the negotiations can encompass a large enough spectrum of each group's leadership and if everyone agrees to put other issues on hold. You can spend a lot of time debating the rules under which you will debate the issues, and you can defuse other issues if that is what everyone wants to do. The problem here is that it is not clear that this is what everyone wants.

A major Sunni organization -- the Iraqi Islamic Party -- has agreed to these rules. Other groups, at least as or more important than the Iraqi Islamic Party, have not. Neither the Association of Muslim Scholars nor the Iraqi General Conference appear at this moment to have changed their position, which is that Sunni voters should reject the new constitution. That in itself is not as alarming as it appears. The Sunnis, and other factions, are represented by several groups, and these groups sometimes play "good cop, bad cop" very effectively. The signal the Sunnis are giving is that they are not rejecting the constitutional process out of hand, but that they will need serious coaxing before the vote comes about. They are taking it down to the wire, which is the rational thing to do under the circumstances.

Three serious pressures are converging on the Sunnis. First, simply refraining from participating in the Oct. 15 referendum could free the Shia and Kurds to set up a regional federal system that would leave the Sunnis as the weakest player -- and the one with least access to future oil revenues. At the same time, the traditional Sunni leadership, deeply complicit in the Baath dictatorship, has substantial reason to fear the jihadists. The jihadists are not part of the traditional leadership and are, in fact, ideological enemies of Baathism. If the jihadists grow in strength, the traditional leadership might find itself displaced by them over time. On the other hand, agreeing to participate in the country's political process would open the Sunni leadership up to charges of being, not only lackeys of the United States, but also stooges to the hated Shia. More than any other group in Iraq, the Sunnis need for the jihadists to be defeated. On the other hand, they know they can't count on the Americans to deliver this defeat. They are under pressure to find a political solution, but also under powerful pressure not to find one. So, they churn around, generally heading toward a solution but never quite getting there.

The position of the Shia is simpler, and they have more ways of winning. If the constitution leads to a simple federalist government, the Shia will dominate southern Iraq and can deal with the Sunnis at their leisure. If a centralized government is created, the Shia will be -- with the Kurds -- the majority. The only thing the Shia can't live with is the one thing the Sunnis want: a constitution so contrived that the Sunnis can block major initiatives by the Shia.

The Kurds can live with a lot of solutions and can create informal realities based on geography and their own military strength and American backing. Their interest is less institutional than geopolitical -- they want Mosul and Kirkuk. More precisely, they want to dominate the northern oil fields and trade, and to exclude the Sunnis as far as possible from these interests. Whether that is accomplished through constitutional or business means is of less interest to them than that it be done.

The form of the constitution, therefore, matters most to the Sunnis. They need it to be written a certain way, and then to have guarantees that its provisions will be respected. At the moment, this coincides with the American interest. A radical federalism that creates a de facto Shiite state in the south is not at all in the American interest: It would have the potential to expand Iranian power in ways far more significant that a nuclear weapons program, by bringing a Shiite force -- perhaps Iraqi, or perhaps Iraqi and Iranian -- to the borders of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. The specter of a Shiite force inciting Shiite populations in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia has always been a fear, but the possibility of the Iranian army taking up positions on the frontier would change the balance of power in the region decisively.

The countries in the Saudi peninsula are no match for the Iranians. Add in the Syrians, who long have been allies of sorts to Iran, and you get a situation in which the United States would have to retain a presence in order to protect the regional balance of power. The Saudis do not want U.S. forces in the kingdom, to say the least, and the United States does not want to be there -- it would generate even more jihadist threats. Therefore, Washington does not want to see the federal solutions favoring the Shia come into being, nor does it want to see a centralized government dominated by the Shia. Having used the Shia to contain the insurrection in the Sunni regions, the United States now finds itself aligned with the Sunnis and with the former Baath Party.

These things happen in war and geopolitics. But there are two problems here. First, the United States has made it very clear that it will be withdrawing its forces -- at least some of them -- from Iraq in 2006. Second, everyone reads U.S. polls. President George W. Bush is in political trouble in the United States and, now, within the Republican Party itself. As with Nixon and Ford found in Vietnam, following Watergate, the threat posed by the United States declines as the president's political weakness grows. And with the decline of the U.S. military threat, there is a decline of U.S. influence. Last week's discussion of air strikes inside Syria -- and the leak that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice opposed such strikes -- is an example of the problem. Where the administration had had credibility for action before, that credibility has now decreased.

The administration's political weakness does not seem to be reversing. Should Karl Rove be indicted in the Valerie Plame affair -- and at the moment, the rumors in Washington say that he will be -- the president will have lost his chief aide, and the administration will have been struck another blow.

At this moment, it is possible to make the constitutional process into a container for diverse Iraqi interests. It is also possible to see a point where the Sunni Baathists would turn on the jihadists in order to protect their political position. But all of this hinges on the guarantees that are provided by each side, and the ability and willingness of the United States to compel compliance with those guarantees. The paradox is that the most likely path to a successful withdrawal from Iraq is the perception that the United States is going to stay there forever -- and can do it. But as Bush weakens in Washington, the ability of various Iraqi factions to rely on U.S. guarantees declines.

Geopolitics teaches the interconnectedness of events. The current American strategy requires sufficient stability to be generated in Iraq to permit a U.S. military withdrawal. That requires that the United States must be taken seriously as a military force. But the weaker Bush is -- for whatever reason, fair or not -- the less credible becomes his pledge to stay the course. There are few parallels between Iraq and Vietnam save this: the political climate in Washington determines the seriousness with which American power is taken on the battlefield.

It would seem, then, that Bush has two problems. The first is whether he can stabilize and increase his power in the United States. The second is whether he can extract a clear strategy from the complexity of Iraq. The answer to the second question rests in the answer to the first. At the moment, the Iraqi constitutional talks seem to be saying, "Bush is not broken, but we aren't committing to anything until we see the polls in December."
30449  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DATE CHANGE DBMA seminar in Tulsa OK on: October 11, 2005, 10:31:18 PM
Woof All:

Myke and I have just realized that Guro Inosanto is in town that weekend and so we have rescheduled for February 11-12.

Guro Crafty
30450  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3 on: October 11, 2005, 04:06:19 PM
October 17, 2005

Exploit Rifts in The Insurgency
The next two weeks are crucial. Washington and the Iraqi government should put forward a bold program of "national reconciliation"
By Fareed Zakaria

Amid all the problems in Iraq, I see one encouraging sign. Sunnis are organizing to defeat the referendum on Iraq's draft constitution. This is good news because it places the Sunnis in direct opposition to the jihadi insurgents in Iraq. The latter, headed by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, have been threatening to kill anyone who votes. The vast majority of Sunni organizations in Iraq?including several insurgent groups-have called on Sunnis to mobilize and vote to defeat the constitution, which they view as anti-Sunni. This is the most important positive development in Iraq?a growing split between the radical jihadists and the other insurgents, who are mostly Baathists. It provides the United States with an opportunity, even at this late date, for some success. Drive this split wider and isolate the jihadis. Or as the British motto goes, divide and conquer.

Rifts are emerging on other issues. Recently Zarqawi urged a "total war" against the Shiites in Iraq. But five Sunni insurgent groups rejected the argument and emphasized that they do not target civilians, whether Sunni or Shia. The Association of Muslim Scholars, a Sunni group that supports the insurgency, issued a more elaborate denunciation. Days later, Zarqawi issued a correction, explaining that "not all Shiites are targets," and exempting those who opposed the occupation, such as the followers of the rebel cleric Muqtada al Sadr. This led Sadr's group to issue a statement rejecting Zarqawi's embrace and making clear that "for our movement Zarqawi is nothing but an enemy and if he falls into the hands of our militia he will be torn apart."

Most recently comes news that Ayman al-Zawahiri sent a letter to Zarqawi telling him his goals and means were causing a loss of support for Al Qaeda. For months now there have been signs that the Baathist insurgency wants to end its uprising. Last week, there was one more such signal. Saleh al Mutlak, a prominent Sunni politician whom many believe has ties to the insurgency, publicly proposed a ceasefire. "The fighting should stop," Mutlak told Reuters. "We have fought for two and a half years and the problem is, it doesn't work."

Within the next week, several Sunni groups will gather to put together a formal set of proposals for the United States to consider. "We must find a political solution," he said. A ceasefire during Ramadan, which began last week, "should be a start for direct negotiations between the two sides."

Until recently, the United States has been opposed to negotiating with the insurgents, but that line is weakening. The new U.S. ambassador in Baghdad, Zalmay Khalilzad, has begun meeting with people who are close to the insurgents. But, according to a senior diplomat who spoke on background so as not to interfere with the negotiations, Khalil-zad has not yet met the people with power, who are actually running the insurgency.

From the start, the United States has misunderstood how to handle Iraq's Sunnis, sending the signal that it viewed them all as Baathists. In fact, Saddam's regime was run by a small group of tribal Sunnis, mostly from Tikrit and adjoining areas. He displaced the secular, urban Sunnis, who were Iraq's traditional elite. Some of the latter were left in government bureaucracies and educational establishments, but with little power. Then came de-Baathification and the disbanding of the Army. All of a sudden, tens of thousands of people, nominally members of the Baath Party, lost jobs as engineers, schoolteachers and officials. The result was chaos and an embittered Sunni population.

For the last year, Washington has been trying to reverse these errors. But the Shiite-dominated government has been unwilling to make many compromises. This is understandable. The Shiites suffered greatly under Saddam and the Baath Party. But that perspective might blind them to what is in Iraq's long-term interest. Only a balance of power between the Shia, the Sunni and the Kurds will keep Iraq stable.

The next two weeks are crucial. In all likelihood, the Sunnis will not be able to defeat the constitution, which means they will be further embittered. Washington and the Iraqi government should then put forward a bold program of "national reconciliation" that includes talks with some of the insurgent groups to draw the Sunnis into the political mainstream. Otherwise the dangers grow for Iraq, and for others as well. Iraq's Interior minister, Bayan Jabr, said last week that while Zarqawi had been weakened in recent months, other smaller jihadi groups were getting stronger. And, he added, they were beginning to move men and arms outside of Iraq. "You will see insurgencies in other countries," he warned. There's a dark cloud forming in the Middle East, and it may burst if we don't act soon.
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