Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Libertarian themes
on: March 28, 2004, 10:02:22 AM
Court Opens Door To Searches Without Warrants
POSTED: 3:55 pm CST March 26, 2004
UPDATED: 4:36 pm CST March 26, 2004
NEW ORLEANS -- It's a groundbreaking court decision that legal experts say will affect everyone: Police officers in Louisiana no longer need a search or arrest warrant to conduct a brief search of your home or business.
Leaders in law enforcement say it will provide safety to officers, but others argue it's a privilege that could be abused.
The decision was made by the New Orleans-based 5th Circuit Court of Appeals. Two dissenting judges called it the "road to Hell."
The ruiling stems from a lawsuit filed in Denham Springs in 2000.
New Orleans Police Department spokesman Capt. Marlon Defillo said the new power will go into effect immediately and won't be abused.
"We have to have a legitimate problem to be there in the first place, and if we don't, we can't conduct the search," Defillo said.
But former U.S. Attorney Julian Murray has big problems with the ruling.
"I think it goes way too far," Murray said, noting that the searches can be performed if an officer fears for his safety -- a subjective condition.
Defillo said he doesn't envision any problems in New Orleans, but if there are, they will be handled.
"There are checks and balances to make sure the criminal justce system works in an effective manor," Defillo said.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs
on: March 25, 2004, 06:52:38 AM
For More Information, Contact:
Anne Robertson(602) 664-1218
VPL LAUNCHES CANINE PHEROMONE IN A SPRAY:
Portable D.A.P.? Now Available to Ease Travel Stress and More
Portable D.A.P.? Now Available to Ease Travel Stress and More
PHOENIX, Ariz. ? (Jan. 12, 2004) Veterinary Products Laboratories (VPL) will introduce the newest addition to its revolutionary canine behavior modification line, D.A.P.? (Dog Appeasing Pheromone) Spray at the North American Veterinary Conference January 17 - 21 in Orlando. VPL debuted its D.A.P.? diffuser and Feliway? cat pheromone spray and diffuser last year.
Owners seeking ways to calm their dogs during travel can look to this spray version of the anti-anxiety pheromone. Now, D.A.P. can be sprayed in the car, in the carrier, in the crate, on bedding and in kennels, or even on a bandana adorning the dog?s neck.
?Now there?s a pheromone for every occasion,? said Audra Boyd, marketing manager for VPL?s pheromone products. ?Dog owners who dread the trip to the vet because their pets become agitated, or who wonder whether their animal will stay calm during visits to friends and relatives, now have a spray that can come along for the ride. And today, with so many pet-friendly hotels and resorts offering options for travelers, more people are opting to bring their dogs along on vacation. The spray version of D.A.P. provides a versatile solution for pet owners.?
The pheromone therapy reduces or stops symptoms of stress that include: barking, house soiling, whining, whimpering, and chewing. It also helps comfort dogs that are newly adopted, moving to new homes, adjusting to new pets, visitors and environments, or those frightened of thunderstorms and fireworks.
Veterinarian-developed D.A.P is a synthetic pheromone that mimics the natural appeasing pheromone released by the lactating female to calm and reassure her puppies. D.A.P. has the same effect on adult dogs, providing a means for managing canine anxiety, fear, stress or phobias. Owners should spray D.A.P at least 20 minutes prior to loading the dog into the car or crate. Once owners arrive at their destination, they should spray D.A.P. twice a day in the area occupied by their pet. In addition to the spray, the D.A.P. diffuser plugs into an electrical outlet, delivering the pheromones 24 hours a day for approximately 30 days.
For more information about Veterinary Products Laboratories - Innovative Products in Veterinary Medicine?, call toll free at (888) 241-9545 or direct at (602) 207-2158 or go to vpl.com on the Internet.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: March 24, 2004, 06:07:11 AM
Somewhere along the way, the Federal Courts and the Supreme Court have misinterpreted the U. S. Constitution. How could fifty States be wrong?
THIS IS VERY INTERESTING! Be sure to read the last two paragraphs.
America's founders did not intend for there to be a separation of God and state, as shown by the fact that all 50 states acknowledge God in their state constitutions:
Alabama 1901, Preamble. We the people of the State of Alabama, invoking the favor and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish the following Constitution ...
Alaska 1956, Preamble. We, the people of Alaska, grateful to God and to those who founded our nation and pioneered this great land ....
Arizona 1911, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arizona, grateful to Almighty God for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution...
Arkansas 1874, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Arkansas, grateful to Almighty God for the privilege of choosing our own form of government...
California 1879, Preamble. We, the People of the State of California, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom .....
Colorado 1876, Preamble. We, the people of Colorado, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of Universe.
Connecticut 1818, Preamble. The People of Connecticut, acknowledging with gratitude the good Providence of God in permitting them to enjoy ...
Delaware 1897, Preamble. Through Divine Goodness all men have, by nature, the rights of worshipping and serving their Creator according to the dictates of their consciences ...
Florida 1885, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Florida, grateful to Almighty God for our constitutional liberty establish this Constitution...
Georgia 1777, Preamble. We, the people of Georgia, relying upon protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution...
Hawaii 1959, Preamble. We, the people of Hawaii, Grateful for Divine Guidance .. establish this Constitution.
Idaho 1889, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Idaho, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings ...
Illinois 1870, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Illinois, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy and looking to Him for a blessing on our endeavors.
Indiana 1851, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Indiana, grateful to Almighty God for the free exercise of the right to chose our form of government.
Iowa 1857, Preamble. We, the People of the State of Iowa, grateful to the Supreme Being for the blessings hitherto enjoyed, and feeling our dependence on Him for a continuation of these blessings . establish this
Kansas 1859, Preamble. We, the people of Kansas, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious privileges . establish this Constitution.
Kentucky 1891, Preamble. We, the people of the Commonwealth of Kentucky grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties...
Louisiana 1921, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Louisiana, grateful to Almighty God for the civil, political and religious liberties we enjoy.
Maine 1820, Preamble. We the People of Maine .. acknowledging with grateful hearts the goodness of the Sovereign Ruler of the Universe in affording us an opportunity ... and imploring His aid and direction.
Maryland 1776, Preamble. We, the people of the state of Maryland, grateful to Almighty God or our civil and religious liberty...
Massachusetts 1780, Preamble. We...the people of Massachusetts, acknowledging with grateful hearts, the goodness of the Great Legislator of the Universe ... in the course of His Providence, an opportunity ..and devoutly imploring His direction ..
Michigan 1908, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Michigan, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of freedom ... establish this Constitution.
Minnesota 1857, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Minnesota, grateful to God for our civil and religious liberty, and desiring to perpetuate its blessings.
Mississippi 1890, Preamble. We, the people of Mississippi in convention assembled, grateful to Almighty God, and invoking His blessing on our work.
Missouri 1845, Preamble. We, the people of Missouri, with profound reverence for the Supreme Ruler of the Universe, and grateful for His goodness ... establish this Constitution .
Montana 1889, Preamble. We, the people of Montana, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty. establish this Constitution ...
Nebraska 1875, Preamble. We, the people, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom .. establish this Constitution ..
Nevada 1864, Preamble. We the people of the State of Nevada, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom establish this Constitution...
New Hampshire 1792, Part I. Art. I. Sec. V. Every individual has a natural and unalienable right to worship God according to the dictates of his own
New Jersey 1844, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New Jersey, grateful to Almighty God for civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing on our
New Mexico 1911, Preamble. We, the People of New Mexico, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of liberty .
New York 1846, Preamble. We, the people of the State of New York, grateful to Almighty God for
our freedom, in order to secure its blessings.
North Carolina 1868, Preamble. We the people of the State of North Carolina, grateful to Almighty God, the Sovereign Ruler of Nations, for our civil, political, and religious liberties, and acknowledging our dependence upon Him for the continuance of those ...
North Dakota 1889, Preamble. We, the people of North Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, do ordain...
Ohio 1852, Preamble. We the people of the state of Ohio, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, to secure its blessings and to promote our common ....
Oklahoma 1907, Preamble. Invoking the guidance of Almighty God, in order to secure and perpetuate the blessings of liberty ... establish this ..
Oregon 1857, Bill of Rights, Article I. Section 2. All men shall be secure in the Natural right, to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their consciences..
Pennsylvania 1776, Preamble. We, the people of Pennsylvania, grateful to Almighty God for the blessings of civil and religious liberty, and humbly
invoking His guidance.
Rhode Island 1842, Preamble. We the People of the State of Rhode Island grateful to Almighty God for the civil and religious liberty which He hath so long permitted us to enjoy, and looking to Him for a blessing...
South Carolina, 1778, Preamble. We, the people of he State of South Carolina, grateful to God for our liberties, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
South Dakota 1889, Preamble. We, the people of South Dakota, grateful to Almighty God for our civil and religious liberties ... establish this
Tennessee 1796, Art. XI. III. That all men have a natural and indefeasible right to worship Almighty God according to the dictates of their conscience...
Texas 1845, Preamble. We the People of the Republic of Texas, acknowledging, with gratitude, the grace and beneficence of God.
Utah 1896, Preamble. Grateful to Almighty God for life and liberty, we establish this Constitution ....
Vermont 1777, Preamble. Whereas all government ought to ... enable the individuals who compose it to enjoy their natural rights, and other blessings which the Author of Existence has bestowed on man...
Virginia 1776, Bill of Rights, XVI ... Religion, or the Duty which we owe our Creator ... can be directed only by Reason ... and that it is the mutual duty of all to practice Christian Forbearance, Love and Charity
towards each other ..
Washington 1889, Preamble. We the People of the State of Washington, grateful! to the Supreme Ruler of the Universe for our liberties, do ordain this Constitution .....
West Virginia 1872, Preamble. Since through Divine Providence we enjoy the blessings of civil, political and religious liberty, we, the people of West Virginia .. reaffirm our faith in and constant reliance upon God...
Wisconsin 1848, Preamble. We, the people of Wisconsin, grateful to Almighty God for our freedom, domestic tranquility ..
Wyoming 1890, Preamble. We, the people of the State of Wyoming, grateful to God for our civil, political, and religious liberties ... establish this Constitution...
After reviewing acknowledgments of God from all 50 state constitutions, one is faced with the prospect that maybe, just maybe, the ACLU and the out-of-control Federal Courts are wrong!
"Those people who will not be governed by God will be ruled by tyrants."
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: March 24, 2004, 05:35:34 AM
Philippines: ID Cards For Muslims
March 23, 2004 2003 GMT
The Philippine government is supporting 30 leaders of Muslim communities in Manila who volunteered to distribute identification cards in Muslim areas of the city, the Philippine Inquirer News Service reported March 23. Of the city's 12 million people, nearly 800,000 are Muslim, most living in poor and crowded neighborhoods that draw criminals and militants fleeing fighting in the southern islands. In recent years, the Abu Sayyaf and Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) Islamist groups have targeted Manila. The proposed ID card system would reportedly be modeled on an ID card system already in place at Manila's Golden Mosque -- the largest mosque in the city -- which issues cards to residents and visitors in order to screen for potential troublemakers. The new ID system is expected to be implemented by the end of March.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DB in Mexico City
on: March 16, 2004, 12:40:57 PM
What a great idea! Years ago (1974? Ohmygod its been 30 years!) starting in Philadelphia my friend Bill and I wandered down to Mexico in his van. As a C- high school Spanish student, I was the "interpreter" of the expedition and 5 minutes after we crossed into Mexico from Laredo Bill made an illegal turn and the police stopped us. Uh oh. A couple of minutes later I had paid my first bribe (?No podemso pagar la propina
aqui?) and my fascination with Spanish and Mexico was born.
We continued on down to Cuernavaca (see, there was a point to the story) which is about an hour past Mexico City (a.k.a. "el DF/Distrito Federal") where we enrolled in one of the local language schools wherein pretty Mexican girls taught classes of 4 or less in the morning and in the afternoon we would go out and practice on the natives. What great fun!
I imagine Cuernavaca has grown in the 30 years since then, but it was a very pleasant small city at an altitude that gave it a very agreeable climate year round. About 4 hours futher south down a very winding road is Acapulco.
The DF, and DBMA Apprentice Mauricio of "Sistemas Integrados de Combate" is about an hour north of Cuernavaca. I was just with Mauricio for the second time a couple of weeks ago. He is doing good work getting DBMA off the ground in the DF and is working on developing a sparring/fighting group. I think you would add to your good times by checking him out.
Kalani es miembro del grupo de Dogzilla en Hawaii, buen peleador y amigo nuestro.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: March 15, 2004, 07:33:05 PM
Abu Sayyaf: How Fading Militant Groups Fight To Stay Alive
March 15, 2004 1502 GMT
Abu Sayyaf militants claimed responsibility for a fatal ferry attack Feb. 26. The failing militant Islamist group appears to be taking desperate measures to restore its image as a formidable adversary. The organization is dying: Its leaders are taken out one by one, leaving the group's continued existence and strength in question. The remaining members want to rally support -- and claiming an attack could attract recruits and financial sponsorship from other militant organizations. Abu Sayyaf's pattern of behavior can be seen as a case study of how other militant organizations might react over time as their leaders are removed.
Abu Sayyaf militants claimed responsibility for a fatal Philippine ferry attack Feb. 26, but the Philippine government disputes the claim. Whether Abu Sayyaf bombed the ferry -- or simply claimed to be behind the explosion -- the much-diminished militant group appears to be taking desperate measures to restore its image as a formidable adversary.
Recent interrogation of captured Abu Sayyaf leader Galib Andang, also known as "Commander Robot," revealed splintering within the group caused by power struggles between the leaders of various factions. Andang also mentioned an exchange between several of the Islamist group's leaders and foreigners offering them training in "demolition tactics." If Andang's statements are true, they confirm prior statements by Stratfor and the Philippine government that Abu Sayyaf is disintegrating, but trying to revitalize itself by carrying out attacks -- or claiming attacks. The group might serve as a model for what could happen to other militant organizations as they begin to deteriorate when their upper echelons are crippled or eradicated.
Abu Sayyaf has been in steady decline almost from its inception in the early 1990s, when the group was formed by members who split from the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF) -- then involved in peace negotiations. The group was led by Abdurajak Janjalani, the first of many Abu Sayyaf chiefs. The group sought to establish an Islamic state in the southern region of the Philippines and employed tactics that included bombings, assassinations and extortion. The group's primary funding source was sympathizers. Abu Sayyaf has claimed affiliation with other groups such as al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah, which might have provided financial support. It employed kidnap-for-ransom tactics to raise more money as well, but the profitability of such abductions lured some members away from the original ideological goal of establishing an Islamic regime.
Abu Sayyaf has suffered a series of setbacks as its numerous leaders have been killed or captured in the past several years. Janjalani was killed in December 1998 in a fight with Philippine police. To prove the group was still a powerful force after the loss of its leader, members carried out an attack less than a month later, throwing grenades into a crowd gathered at a shopping center, killing 10 and wounding 74. Janjalani's death, however, resulted in a division between the ideologically motivated and the monetarily motivated members of the group.
The group made another attempt to demonstrate its capabilities in April 2000 by taking 21 hostages from a scuba diving resort on Sipadan Island in Malaysia. The ensuing hostage negotiations further splintered the group: Some members wanted only ransom money; others believed the desire for cash contradicted Abu Sayyaf's Islamist ideology. The kidnapping also drew the attention of the Philippine government and eventually led to intervention by the U.S. military in an effort to eradicate Abu Sayyaf.
Attempts to rejuvenate the group have continued -- even as its leaders are on the run. Andang, who was captured in December 2003 in a government raid, provided details about splinter groups and the deterioration of Abu Sayyaf's leadership. He indicated that the Sulu-based segment of Abu Sayyaf is headed by Jumdail Gumbahali, or "Dr. Abu," and does not acknowledge any leadership by Khaddafi Janjalani, the brother of the organization's founding leader. Another division appeared between Janjalani and Hamsiraji Sali in a dispute over ransom money. In addition, military forces continue to kill and capture Abu Sayyaf members. Five militants were killed and several injured in a clash with soldiers on the island of Jolo on March 2. Andang said that only 300 members remain in the Sulu-based group. Other Abu Sayyaf members have fled with Janjalani out of fear of a U.S. offensive. Without clear leadership and mission, the shrinking organization appears to be in disarray.
The remaining members must develop a more unified and ideologically driven nucleus if they are going to regroup successfully. Abu Sayyaf must consider operations that offer a high return for a small investment, along with high-impact attack plans that can be carried out with few members. With the training in explosives and combat reported by Andang, such an attack could include a suicide bomber on a crowded ferry.
A spectacular attack -- or even claiming a spectacular attack -- would reaffirm the group's existence and indicate that they remain a force to be dealt with. Claiming responsibility for the February ferry attack is indicative of the group's attempt to portray itself as "not dead yet." Although the Philippine government originally downplayed the claim, such an attack is feasible. The alleged suicide bomber was listed on the passenger manifest.
Regardless, Abu Sayyaf has sent the message that it is alive and well to its enemies and potential friends. The March 5 arrest of an Abu Sayyaf member in the northern Philippines could give further credence to the group's efforts to resurface. In a search of the suspect's van, police found more than 20 rifle grenades, a number of firearms, mine parts and a couple of pounds of C4 explosive.
Because of Abu Sayyaf's ties to al Qaeda, the ferry attack claim might advertise to potential sponsors that the group is worth a financial investment in order to achieve the jihadist goals of Islamist extremist groups. Money trickling in to Abu Sayyaf could help finance further operations, perhaps even in tandem with other organizations. This also could engender further cooperative training operations.
Abu Sayyaf wants to attract new recruits to boost its numbers and bring in younger members. Also it might be able to draw on dissidents from the MILF, which is negotiating with the government; Abu Sayyaf splintered off during similar talks with the Moro National Liberation Front (MNLF).
Abu Sayyaf is under pressure to prove it is not extinct. Claiming responsibility for events that could be perceived as attacks and structuring attacks for greater impact with fewer resources are the only ways to prove the group is still breathing. Abu Sayyaf's attempts at self-resuscitation could provide a case study for similar militant organizations -- such as al Qaeda -- that likely will follow as leaders are captured or killed, leaving the groups without direction.
Al Qaeda is under similar pressure to show it is still alive and well, especially in light of recent statements by the Bush administration that the capture of Osama bin Laden might be close at hand. Al Qaeda's patterns of attack have been to carry out significant strikes every few years with smaller attacks in the interim. Al Qaeda also might claim an attack that it did not perpetrate -- or one that was carried out by another group with only marginal al Qaeda affiliation. The recent claims of responsibility for the train bombings in Madrid by at least two Islamist militant groups reinforce this idea. Watching the slow deaths of groups like Abu Sayyaf might be the only way we will understand when other groups such as al Qaeda finally have been silenced for good -- and what we might expect from them as they fight to stay alive.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs
on: March 15, 2004, 01:11:14 PM
Persevering After a Bloody Attack
An Orange woman, 91, lost her arms, but not her independent spirit, in a rampage by a family pit bull.
By Jean-Paul Renaud, Times Staff Writer
Her garden has wilted. The flowers Ruby Sharum tended so zealously outside her manila-colored stucco house in Orange have withered away.
And she will never again know the prick of a thorn or feel dirt through her fingers.
A month ago, Sharum, 91, was attacked by her great-grandson's pit bull while she put away groceries. She not only lost both arms, but also much of the independence that her friends and family say she has shown her entire life.
Sharum now lies in a hospital bed at St. Jude Medical Center in Fullerton, flanked by carnations in florists' vases. The great-grandmother of 13 ? who until recently not only took care of her garden but still drove a car ? now needs help for the most basic activities: walking, eating, drinking.
"It's the most terrible thing that can ever happen to a person that has so much independence," said her son Ken Sharum, 71. "I can't imagine ever existing that way."
Still, friends and family say they are amazed at how much she has improved. Her doctors credit her strong religious faith for her ability to cope and move on.
"She's the model for all the rehab patients we have, with the will and the strength that she has," said Sharum's doctor, Michelle Thai.
Sharum said she has accepted her new disability and is eager to learn how to adapt.
"Whatever comes, I feel you have to make the best of it," she said. "I kind of look forward to the therapy because I know it's necessary to help me."
But the memories of that cold night Feb. 13 still haunt her, no matter how much she tries to hide it from her family and friends. Thai said Sharum suffers post-traumatic stress, experiencing flashbacks to the day the pit bull, Zion, lunged at her.
"If I could forget, I would be better off," she said, with only the smallest tremor in her voice. "All I remember is that we were putting away groceries. The next thing I knew, he was tearing into me."
The attack was witnessed by Sharum's granddaughter, who ran to neighbors to summon help. Eventually, family members and neighbors were able to pull the dog away, but by the time police arrived, Sharum was badly hurt.
Sharum was rushed to UCI Medical Center in Orange, where her arms were amputated above the elbow. She remained there for three weeks before being transferred to St. Jude for rehabilitation. Pain medication kept her from understanding much of what had occurred, she said.
And when she regained consciousness and realized her injuries, "it was a terrible shock ? thinking that if I recover, what am I going to do without arms, hands," she said.
Her longtime friends say the stoic response is just like Sharum. They say she never indulges in self-pity and may be going through more pain than she will ever admit.
"Sometimes you visit people and they go on and on about their history, but with Ruby you don't know much," said June Watanabe, who has known Sharum through church for 14 years. "The quieter, the stronger. She'll sit there, grin and bear it."
And it is that reticence that kept friends and family from understanding the danger Sharum faced at home every day. She shared the house with her granddaughter. At times her great-grandson, who kept Zion and a Rottweiler at the address, also was there.
The week after the attack, Orange County Animal Care Services officials said it was not the first time Zion had caused trouble. Neighbors felt constantly threatened by the pit bull, and authorities said it had attacked other dogs in Sharum's house on several occasions. Zion was euthanized the day after the attack on Sharum.
Sharum doesn't acknowledge seeing any of that. Zion had "just been the perfect pet," she said. "We never thought that he'd wind up doing anything like that."
The Orange County district attorney's office has asked Orange police to investigate whether Sharum's great-grandson Ian Buckhard, who owned the dog, should be held criminally responsible. Buckhard could not be reached for comment.
Although Sharum doesn't blame anyone other than the dog for the attack, her son feels very differently.
"I was upset at the great-grandson for having the dogs," said Ken Sharum. He said the family holds Buckhard responsible.
"Maybe this is something I could've prevented, had I been more insistent," he said.
Doctors said they expect Sharum to recover. The family is already looking into getting her prosthetic arms. Doctors believe such devices will restore much of her beloved independence.
Sharum has agreed to move in with her son in southwest Riverside County and is already setting tasks for herself. "I think that carpet needs to be cleaned," she said.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Spain's terrorist attack
on: March 12, 2004, 09:51:27 PM
Madrid Bombing: Evidence Points Away From ETA
March 12, 2004 2106 GMT
Spanish explosives experts have found an unexploded bomb they say leads them to conclude the Basque separatist group ETA did not build the device. This makes it more likely that a militant Islamist group is behind the multiple, nearly simultaneous attacks in Madrid on March 11.
Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar continued to insist March 12 that ETA is to blame for the most devastating attacks in his country's history. However, Spanish explosives experts examined an unexploded bomb found inside a backpack late March 11 and concluded the device was not manufactured by ETA bombers.
Within hours of the attack, European and Russian diplomatic and security sources told Stratfor that Islamist militants were the likeliest suspects. Those suspicions now have hardened. A highly placed U.S. source told Stratfor on March 12 that U.S. intelligence believes the attacks were carried out either by groups associated with al Qaeda or by al Qaeda sympathizers. The source confirmed that U.S. intelligence agencies are actively helping the Spanish government search for the guilty party.
The technical and design characteristics of the unexploded bomb significantly increase the likelihood that the attacks, which killed 199 and wounded nearly 1,500, are the work of al Qaeda or another militant group associated with Osama bin Laden's network. The unexploded bomb had a copper detonator; ETA habitually uses aluminum. The dynamite was not French-made Titadine, which ETA operatives frequently steal from French quarries; it likely was made in Spain by Explosivos Rio Tinto, Spanish government sources say.
Investigators are trying to determine whether the dynamite was stolen or an individual or company bought it legally. The unexploded dynamite has markers that will allow investigators to determine who manufactured it and the date it was made. Sales of explosives are tightly regulated in Spain, and the paper trail should help investigators more or less pinpoint where they came from and where they wound up. If the bombers are as sophisticated as Stratfor believes, however, Spanish investigators could identify the origin of the dynamite but still be unable to pin down the actual bombers.
If an al Qaeda cell or an associated outrider group attacked Madrid, it would have major implications for Western Europe. Al Qaeda and associated groups have struck targets in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and the United States. The Madrid attack would be the first strike inside the European Union. More attacks of this nature should be expected in other EU countries, especially Britain, France and Italy -- and possibly also in Germany.
Britain is replete with zealous young unemployed Muslims who have dropped out of school, and there might be some among them willing to launch attacks in retaliation for Prime Minister Tony Blair's support of the war on Iraq. There also are groups that are "cheerleaders" of sorts for jihadists. These represent a potential pool of recruits. Some Muslims also could harbor longstanding grievances against Britain for perceived wrongs committed against Islam dating from the British colonial era.
France has a large Muslim population, and many are enraged by the government's ban on religious symbols that includes headscarves. Although the Chirac government bitterly opposed the U.S. invasion of Iraq, some militant Islamist groups could choose more forceful ways to express their repudiation of a ban many see as an insult to Muslim women and an offense to Islam.
The Italian people overwhelmingly opposed the Iraq war, more so perhaps than any EU population save that of Spain, but Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's support for the Bush administration also makes Italy a legitimate target. Germany also could be targeted for prosecuting Muslims charged with crimes related to Sept. 11.
The choice to target trains has horrifying implications for EU countries in which everyone travels by rail. Suicide bombers have attacked U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, a nightclub packed with foreigners in Bali and a U.S. warship anchored in a Yemen port. The bombers in Madrid chose a congested public transport system, and no suicide bombers appear to have been involved -- although this will not be confirmed beyond a doubt until forensics experts complete the autopsies, which could take weeks or even months.
Europe has a wealth of targets like Madrid's rail system; it is one of the world's most densely populated regions. Besides urban passenger rail systems, future attacks in Europe could target football stadiums, pedestrian promenades like the area near the Spanish Steps in Rome, shopping malls and other venues that tend to be heavily congested but do not have the security found in airports and near government buildings. The implications are that federal and local governments will have to ratchet up security significantly in the future, which will hinder broader efforts to contain the fiscal red ink in countries like France.
The Madrid bombers appear to be a highly autonomous group, which means they will be very difficult to locate. With U.S. and other anti-terrorism forces aggressively pursuing al Qaeda leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, it is not likely the group had any contact with the chieftains. The bombers might have known they had bin Laden's blessing, but they most likely planned and executed the Madrid attacks autonomously without receiving orders from the top. If we are correct in this assumption, the group that carried out the Madrid attacks has already dispersed and gone deep undercover. It is even possible they have left Spain and are hiding elsewhere in the European Union.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: March 12, 2004, 12:19:00 PM
* (no subject) wontondon 3/12/04 09:52
Thicker than Oil
Putting to rest the Left's Iraq deceptions.
By Victor David Hanson
It has now been almost a year since the liberation of Iraq, the fury
of the antiwar rallies, and the publicized hectoring of Michael Moore,
Noam Chomsky, Sean Penn, and other assorted conspiracy freaks ? and we have enough evidence to lay some of their myths to rest.
I just filled up and paid $2.19 a gallon. How can that be, when the
war was undertaken to help us get our hands on "cheap" oil? Where is
the mythical Afghan pipeline when we need it?
"No Blood for Oil" (never mind the people who drove upscale
gas-guzzlers to the rallies at which they chanted such slogans) was
supposed to respond to one of two possibilities: American oil
companies were either simply going to steal the Iraqi fields, or
indirectly prime the pumps to such an extent that the world would be
awash with petroleum and the price for profligate Western consumers
Neither came true. Iraqis themselves control their natural resources;
the price of gasoline, despite heroic restoration of much of Iraqi
prewar petroleum output, is at an all-time high.
So did Shell and Exxon want too much ? or too little ? pumping? Was
the Iraq conspiracy a messy crisis to disrupt production as an excuse
to jack up prices, or a surgical strike to garner Third-World
resources on the cheap to power wasteful American SUVs?
The truth is, as usual, far more simple. The United States never did
intend to steal or manipulate the oil market ? not necessarily because
we are always above such chicanery, but because it is nearly
impossible in a fungible market under constant global scrutiny, and
suicidal in the Byzantine politics of the Middle East.
Instead we have pledged $87 billion to secure and rebuild Iraq ? one
of the largest direct-aid programs since the Marshall Plan. Tens of
thousands of brave Americans risked their lives ? and hundreds have
died ? to end the genocide of Saddam Hussein, alter the pathological
calculus of the Middle East, and cease the three-decade support of
terrorism by Arab dictators.
The only credible critics on the left are those who make the argument
that Iraq never made any sense economically and "took away" money from health care, education, aid to poor, transportation, etc. (the litany
is familiar) at home ? although even this is a hard argument when
domestic spending has increased 8 percent per annum under the Bush
A year ago, almost no one claimed that we were far too na?ve,
idealistic, or stupid. No, Americans were forever conniving and
larcenous. Remember the invective about perpetual American
intervention? Tens of thousands of our troops poured into the Middle
East after the "excuse" of September 11. Right-wingers alleged that we
had turned from republic to a garrison empire in a new global ego
trip. Leftists assured us that we were greedy colonialists replicating
the British raj ? perhaps keen to corner the Iraqi date market or
exploit at slave wages the skilled workforce around Tikrit. Arab
fundamentalists prattled on about the American Crusaders and Zionists
out to steal holy lands and desecrate shrines ? no doubt convinced
that Billy Grahamites, if not blowing up ancient Buddhist statuary,
would soon be attaching crosses to minarets.
Yet since the very day the war started, the reality has been just the
opposite ? a constant desire for the bare-minimum amount of troops
abroad in as brief a deployment as possible. More sober military
observers have always fathomed that the dangers of the American
campaign were never that we were overrunning the Middle East in hope
of perennial occupation. Instead we ? as amateur interventionists who
have always had a very short attention span ? had too few troops to
fight the war, and fewer still to rebuild the country.
Even the chief, albeit private, worry of most Iraqis was mostly that
there were not enough American infidels to provide them security and
that we would leave too soon ? hardly the response one would expect to
old-style, foreign, pith-helmeted imperialists who had stayed too long.
Then there was the third-world exploited-peoples angle. At least, I
think that was one of the favorite themes of the peace rallies where
various groups ? from supporters of cop-killers to Puerto Rican
independence zealots ? spouted off about their shared racism,
victimhood, and oppression.
Surely one of the most astounding intellectual trends in our lifetime
has been this transmogrification of religious fascists and Middle East
autocrats ? the minions of Saddam, Arafat, Khaddafi, or the Iranian
mullahs ? into some sort of exploited peoples worthy of Western
forbearance for quite horrific dictatorships, theocracies, and all the
assorted pathologies that we have to come to associate with the modern
Middle East. The way things were going, belonging to Hamas or
Hezbollah soon might have earned one affirmative-action status on an
Let's examine, instead, what really happened. While fellow Arabs did
little or nothing to free the Iraqi people ? but apparently both
cheated on and profited from the U.N. embargoes ? Americans set up a
consensual government. And for our part, American casualties so far
mirror roughly the racial make-up of our general population. So much
for the old Vietnam-era myth that people of color always die in
disproportionate numbers fighting rich people's wars. Our three top
officers most visible the last year in Iraq ? Generals Abizaid,
Sanchez, and Brooks ? are an Arab American, Mexican American, and
African American. The national-security adviser and the secretary of
state are minorities as well. And so on. This was a war about values ?
not race, class, or ethnicity.
Another myth was that of the "noble European" ? promulgated here at
home by American shysters like Michael Moore, who cashed in overseas,
fawning over the likes of Jacques Chirac (the guy who sealed the
French nuclear-reactor deal with Saddam) and Dominique de Villepin
(who wept over the Christ-like Napoleon's demise at Waterloo).
The truth again is very different; and John Kerry should be wary about
bragging that unnamed European leaders ? if true ? tell him that they
favor his election. Each week we learn how European companies were
knee-deep in the foul stream of forbidden supplies that flowed to
Saddam in violation of their hallowed U.N. statutes. And the most
recent European tired chorus ? "We support the needed Afghan
multilateral operation, but not the Iraq aggression" ? is proven false
by the fact that there are about ten times more American troops right
now in Europe than there are NATO soldiers in Afghanistan.
Sorry, a few thousand troops in Afghanistan doesn't cut it from a
continent with a larger population than that of the United States,
which in turn does the dirty work to ensure Europe's security.
Unilateral, multilateral, U.N., no U.N., Balkans, Iraq ? it doesn't
matter: The Europeans are never going to risk lives and treasure for
much of anything. The predictable NATO rule: The stationing of troops
is to be determined in direct proportion to the absence of both need
But what about WMDs? Wasn't that a Bush fable? Forget that most ? from
Bill Clinton to John Kerry ? believed that they were there, and that
all the evidence about Saddam's arsenal is not yet in.
The truth is that almost everybody in the world believes that the war
had something to do with WMDs and nothing to do with Halliburton ?
except Western leftists. By going into Iraq we probably will find more
dangerous weapons in Libya than were stockpiled in Baghdad. The
president argued that we must depose Saddam Hussein to prevent scary
weapons from being used by rogue regimes. He did so, and suddenly Dr.
Khan, Khaddafi, and even a few mullahs seemed to wish to come clean.
The danger of promulgating the old mistruths about sacrificing blood
for oil, reviving colonialism, and suggesting the operation in Iraq
has led to disaster are manifold. First, ever-so-steadily, such
invective wears away support for an action that, by any historical
yardstick, was as successful as it was noble. The only peril to the
United States in Iraq would be a unilateral withdrawal before
stability and constitutional government are achieved. And the only
chance of that disaster happening would arise from our own continual
harping that wears down the will of the American people ? and those
asked to fight for us in the field.
The other worry is that there were, in fact, real concerns about the
entire campaign that have scarcely been addressed. While the media
hold conferences on university campuses about the morality of using
embedded reporters, they have simply refused to discuss the real
ethical crisis of the reporting of the war: that dozens of Western
journalists sent censored news accounts from Baghdad in the months
preceding the conflict and in fact during the actual fighting.
Unbeknownst to us, their dispatches always were monitored carefully by
"minders" and transmitted only through pay-offs and blackmail. None of
this was known at the time ? leading to the absurdity that on the day
Baghdad fell journalists suddenly came clean over uncensored mikes, as
if to say, "Oh, by the way, everything I sent out to you the last two
months was sort of censored by the Iraqi Ministry of Information."
So here we are a year later. We fuss about the WMD "myth"; enemies
scramble over its reality. We talk of our theft of third-world
resources ? and pay more for gas than ever before while the price of
Iraq's national treasure soars. We worry that we are too involved
abroad; those in Europe, Afghanistan, and Iraq claim there are not
enough of us over there. And we scream at each other that we are not
liked, even as those overseas express new respect for us.
No wonder, when asked for specific follow-ups about his general
criticisms of the Iraqi war in a recent Time magazine interview, a
resolute Kerry variously prevaricated, "I didn't say that," "I can't
tell you," "It's possible," "It's not a certainty," "If I had known,"
"No, I think you can still ? wait, no. You can't ? that's not a fair
question and I'll tell you why," ? employing the entire idiom and
vocabulary of those who are angry about Bush's removal of Saddam, but
neither know quite why nor what they would do differently.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: March 12, 2004, 09:47:32 AM
PHILIPPINES - COMMUNIST REBELS KILLED (MAR 12/DPA)
DEUTSCHE PRESSE-AGENTUR -- Government troops killed three communist rebels in a clash in the southern Philippines, reports Deutsche
Presse-Agentur. The fighting began when soldiers encountered about 30 militants in the town of Alegria, located in Surigao del Norte province.
The rebels were killed in the ensuing gunfight, reportedly including the
death of a local commander.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Spain's terrorist attack
on: March 11, 2004, 09:18:20 PM
From the highly recommended www.stratfor.com
Guau Mi Amigo Alfredo:
Yo quisiera ofrecerle todo la simpatia de mi corazon por lo que se le paso' hoy a tu pais.
The Spanish government has been quick to blame ETA for the March
11 train bombings in Madrid, but the glove doesn't quite fit. If
it was ETA, it would indicate a shift in leadership and/or
operational methodology. It is possible, however, that another
group is behind the attacks.
Spanish Interior Minister Angel Acebes has blamed the March 11
Madrid train bombings on Basque separatist group ETA. ETA's
outlawed political wing, Batasuna, has denied the group was
responsible, blaming the "Arab resistance" reacting to Spain's
military participation in the Iraq war and occupation. Many
aspects of the attack do not fit with ETA's modus operandi, and
the attack could be counterproductive to the group's objective of
greater Basque autonomy or independence.
Although ETA -- or perhaps an offshoot -- certainly cannot be
ruled out as a prime suspect, it is far from clear that Basque
separatists staged the attack. In fact, a growing case can be
made that militant Islamists could be behind it.
But first for ETA: The Basque separatist group clearly has had
its eye on Madrid in recent months. In December 2003, Spanish
police foiled an ETA plot to detonate two bombs aboard two trains
in the Madrid railway station on Christmas Eve -- a plot eerily
similar to the March 11 attack. Two suspected ETA members were
arrested, and the bombs were defused before the trains reached
the station. In late February 2004, Spanish police intercepted a
van driven by an alleged ETA member bound for Madrid, carrying a
cargo of more than 1,100 pounds of explosives that authorities
said was part of a plan to detonate a bomb in the capital before
the March 14 national elections.
These interdictions could have had several results. They could
have demonstrated to ETA that the long-running crackdown by the
Aznar government resulted in critical operational leaks. ETA
might have identified those leaks and plugged them. The group
also might have decided to keep a much tighter grip on planning
for this operation and change its habit of offering advance
warning of attacks, which it might now consider too risky. ETA's
nonhierarchical structure -- with a diffuse collection of largely
self-sufficient cells -- could have prompted a certain cell to
launch the operation without the knowledge of the central
leadership to lessen the chance of interdiction.
Second, the interdictions and wider roundup of ETA operatives and
leadership over the past several years might have generated a new
group of younger, bolder and more radicalized Basque
nationalists, a new generation of ETA leadership or a new, more
radical cell working apart from the more traditional leadership.
More than 400 ETA members are in Spanish prisons, and more than
200 suspected ETA members have been arrested in the past two
years. However, ETA has continued to gain new recruits through
Batasuna. That could help explain the change of MO toward larger-
scale attacks that cause indiscriminate casualties.
ETA cells are not known to carry out attacks independently of
orders from above; the group has always been disciplined in this
regard. Cells haven't worked freelance in the past, but recent
victories by Spanish and French security forces might have forced
them to change tactics. Frustration with the interdictions and
perceptions among Basque extremists of a wider ETA failure in
recent years also could have broken down organizational
discipline, leading to splinter groups similar to the IRA and
Real IRA in Ireland.
Still, there is something not quite right about the ETA
explanation. If it is ETA, the Madrid attacks will fundamentally
damage the cause of Basque nationalists/separatists. In fact, the
attack could be so counterproductive as to ultimately undermine,
weaken and isolate ETA. If the attack can be pinned on the
Basques, it will give the current and future Spanish government
all the leeway it needs to crack down even more harshly on ETA.
Meanwhile, anyone who speaks out on behalf of the Basques or
their dream of greater autonomy likely would be labeled a
The nationalists want greater political autonomy, and Basque
leaders have been moving in that direction, absorbing Basques who
might support ETA politically into the Basque mainstream. They
were pushing among other things for a Basque referendum on
whether they should have more political autonomy or full
independence. Rather than galvanizing the Basque country around
those independence ambitions, the attacks will horrify most
Basques and will make the nationalist divisions in the region
even worse. This could bleed support away from radical
nationalist Basque groups and strengthen the Basque center, which
is pushing for full autonomy bordering on -- but not quite
reaching -- full independence. This also could cut into the
group's local financial support.
Finally, it could undermine any sympathies for Basque ambitions
among other mildly separatist regions in Spain, including
Catalonia and Galicia.
In its 45-year history, hundreds of ETA attacks have resulted in
only about 800 deaths. With the death toll from March 11 up to
186 (with more than 1,000 confirmed injured), that number has
jumped by 25 percent in one day. In short, these attacks went
much too far to support ETA's goals, undermining a historical
pattern designed to keep pressure on Madrid without completely
alienating itself from the rest of Spain, or at least the
nationalists in the Basque country. This attack will completely
undermine that pattern.
There are other suspects. The Islamist Web site Jihadunspun.com,
or JUS, reported March 11 that a previously unknown Islamist
group calling itself Lions of al-Mufridoon claimed responsibility
for blasts. The group is said to consist of Moroccan, Algerian
and Tunisian operatives linked to al Qaeda.
We should note that there is a discrepancy in the JUS report: The
name used in the body of the text is "Lions of al-Mufridoon," but
it was spelled "Lions of al-Muwahidoun" in the headline on the
JUS homepage. "Al-Muwahidoun" means "the Unitarians" (a typical
Wahhabi/Neo-Salafist term); it is a known group that was blamed
for the May 17, 2003, bombings in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Stratfor
has not confirmed this report and is looking into the
discrepancy, and the involvement of Islamists remains
Still, there is reason to believe Islamists could be behind the
attack. A Russian military intelligence source told Stratfor that
foreign Islamist fighters caught in Chechnya and interrogated by
Russian forces over the past three months have said repeatedly
that Islamists of North African origin who have received combat
and explosives experience in Chechnya were planning attacks in
Europe against Spanish and Italian targets. Among those captured
in Chechnya were a Moroccan and two Algerians -- similar to the
description of the Lions of al-Mufridoon.
Although Russian intelligence is known for seeing Chechen
connections in any number of places, the Morocco-Algeria-Tunisia
link makes sense on several levels. Spain's large ethnic Arab
population -- which originates from these three countries --
would make it easier for Islamist extremists to operate there.
Apart from the United Kingdom, Spain was the staunchest supporter
of the war against Iraq, raising its profile among Islamists
looking to strike back at the United States and its allies. On
Nov. 29, seven Spanish intelligence agents traveling in a convoy
near Baghdad were shot and beaten to death, and a Spanish
diplomat -- who was also an intelligence officer -- was
assassinated Oct. 9 near his residence in the Iraqi capital.
Spain also has been mentioned explicitly in the most recent
statements by Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.
There are similarities between the Chechen attacks and the Madrid
bombing as well, suggesting a conceivable tactical/training
connection. Chechens often target trains, most recently in the
Moscow metro bombing Feb. 6. In addition to that attack, there
have been several regular and suburban trains bombed in Russia's
If trains become a target of choice for Islamists looking to
wreak havoc on Europe, it would spell real trouble for a
continent that depends on its rail network for travel and
commercial transport. The Spanish rail system will be disrupted
for weeks as Spain initiates new security procedures. Next door,
France also has a dark cloud hanging over its rail system as a
shadowy group calling itself AZF claims to have planted
underground bombs on French rail lines. Down the road, Europe has
the Greek Olympics to worry about: All trains to Athens run
through the less-than-secure Balkans.
New Claim for Train Bombings a Clue to Al Qaeda's Capabilities?
March 11, 2004 2359 GMT
The Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades has claimed responsibility for the March 11 bomb attacks on trains in Madrid, which left nearly 200 dead and almost 1,500 wounded. The jury is still out on who is actually responsible, but if this group was behind them, it would mean al Qaeda retains the capability to launch attacks in the West. The letter claiming responsibility also mentions that an impending attack on the United States is "90 percent ready" for launch.
Kataib Abu Hafs al-Masri (the Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades), a prominent group with known links to al Qaeda, sent a five-page e-mail and fax to the London-based newspaper al-Quds al-Arabi on March 11, claiming responsibility for the Madrid train bombings.
The claim is unverified, but if true it indicates that al Qaeda retains operational assets in the West -- of which the Brigades are a critical element. Perhaps coincidentally, the attack occurred exactly six months after Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri included Spain on their list of targets in separate statements.
Part of the al-Masri statement read, "We announce the good news for the Muslims in the world that the strike of the black wind of death, the expected strike against America, is now at its final stage -- 90 percent ready -- and it is coming soon, by God's will." The group threatened other U.S. allies and taunted Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar, saying, "Aznar, where is America? Who will protect you, Britain, Japan, Italy and the others from us?"
Al-Masra claimed its "death squad" had infiltrated "one of the pillars of the crusade alliance, Spain," and successfully executed "Operation Death Trains" in Madrid. The reason given was to settle "old accounts" with Spain -- a reference to the Spanish inquisition and Spain's contemporary alliance with the United States.
The group is named after al Qaeda military chief Mohammed Atef (also known as Abu Hafs), who was killed when a predator drone fired a Hellfire missile at a building in Jalalabad in November 2001. Abu Hafs was a former Egyptian police officer and a member of the group of Egyptians who joined al Qaeda in the mid-1990s under the leadership of al-Zawahiri. His daughter is married to one of bin Laden's sons. The group signs its statements as "Kataib Abu Hafs al-Masri (Tandheem al Qaeda)," meaning Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigades (al Qaeda Organization).
Stratfor predicted in summer 2003 that al Qaeda's management in the West remained intact, and that the group could still attack Western targets. Al-Masri has been either directly responsible for or affiliated with groups behind a string of attacks in Tunisia, Morocco, Iraq, Turkey and now possibly in Spain. It would appear to have an extended intercontinental reach and is perhaps the operational arm of al Qaeda, due to current circumstances -- namely the necessity for al Qaeda's leadership to remain hidden.
Spain: Jihadist Group Lays Claim to Train Attacks
March 11, 2004 2116 GMT
The Spanish government appears to be convinced that the Basque separatist group ETA is behind the train bombings in Madrid that left 193 dead and 1,430 injured. However, jihadunspun.com, a Web site sympathetic to militant Islamist causes, reported that a jihadist group has claimed responsibility for the attacks. The Web site is the only source of information about the group -- whose name appears to contain a discrepancy.
Jihadunspun.com's (JUS) news desk reported March 11 that a hitherto unknown group, "the Lions of al-Mufridoon," has claimed responsibility for the bomb attacks on trains in Madrid on March 11. JUS added that the militant Islamist group is said to be composed of operatives from three North African countries -- Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia -- and is suspected to have links to al Qaeda.
While Madrid seems determined to place the blame on the Basque separatist movement ETA, it cannot be ruled out that the deadly explosions could be the work of a European-based jihadist cell tied to al Qaeda. However, Stratfor has not detected the normal "chatter" on jihadist Internet chat sites that normally follows a militant Islamist attack.
JUS's report is important because it contains two separate names for the group claiming responsibility for the bombings.
On the JUS homepage, the name of the militant group is "Lions of al-Muwahidoun," but the name used in the body of the report on the bombings is "Lions of al-Mufridoon." This might be nothing more than a typographical error, but the fact that "al-Muwahidoun" is the name of a known al Qaeda linked group makes that unlikely.
The implications of the two names are interesting. The word "al-Mufridoon" is from the root word "f-r-d" and is a derivative of the word "fard," which means "obligation." This would indicate that "al-Mufridoon" are those who do their best to fulfill their (religious) obligations. There is no additional information available on this group.
"Al-Muwahidoun," on the other hand, means "The Unitarians" (a typical Wahhabi/Neo-Salafist term) and is the name of a group with a prior record of militant activity. It has been blamed for the May 17, 2003, blasts in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The group consists of militants who fought at Tora Bora, the cave complex in Afghanistan, in December 2001, and later made their way to Saudi Arabia. Based on its record of activity, al-Muwahidoun is a Saudi-specific group.
Despite the discrepancy in names, it remains possible that a militant Islamist group could be responsible for the train attacks. If this is the case, then it signals a shift of focus for al Qaeda-inspired jihadists. More attacks elsewhere in Europe could follow.
Spain Attacks Tied to Upcoming Elections?
March 11, 2004 2359 GMT
If Islamic militants perpetrated the March 11 attacks in Madrid -- the responsible party or parties have not been identified -- they might have been seeking to influence the outcome of the country's national elections set for March 14. If so, they miscalculated. If Spain's populace becomes convinced that the attackers were Muslims, whoever is elected likely will align Spain even more with the United States in the global war on terrorism.
Spain's main political parties suspended campaigning for the March 14 general elections after at least 10 bombs exploded on four Madrid commuter trains during the morning rush hour. They gave no indication the elections would be postponed, although Spain's central and regional governments likely will redouble security for weeks to come.
Leaders of the ruling conservative Popular Party (PP) and the Spanish Workers Socialist Party (PSOE) condemned the perpetrators of the worst attack since the end of Gen. Francisco Franco's dictatorship in 1975 as "scum and criminals." Leaders in both main parties also agreed the attacks likely were carried out by the Basque separatist group ETA, although two Islamist militant groups also have claimed responsibility and no official determination has yet been made.
If ETA was behind the attacks, it might have assured the re-election of the incumbent PP, which under departing Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar implemented a tough security policy against the Basque separatist group. If ETA's goal was to weaken the PP at the polls or uphold the separatist cause, it likely achieved the opposite results. PP -- and even the PSOE if it wins -- would adopt even harsher measures against ETA, and the cause of Basque independence would be buried for years.
While ETA is the Spanish government's principal suspect, a previously unknown group that calls itself the Lions of al-Mufridoon, or Lions of al-Muwahidoun, reportedly has claimed credit for the multiple bomb attacks. A second group, Abu Hafs al-Masri Brigade, also has claimed responsibility.
If Islamist militants were responsible, was the timing of the attack only three days before Spain's national elections a coincidence?
Islamic militant groups like al Qaeda and Jemaah Islamiyah have not shown any particular preference for attacking on symbolic dates. Instead, attacks have been launched based on expediency -- when everything came together at the right time for the attackers, who then immolated themselves with their victims. It is also possible that if Islamists carried out the bombings, one of their goals was to influence the elections.
Voter surveys conducted as recently as last week show the ruling PP headed for a third consecutive victory in national elections with Aznar's handpicked successor, Mariano Rajoy. PSOE candidate Jose Luis Rodriguez Zapatero is in second place. The PP is expected to capture approximately 44 percent of the vote and win between 162 and 172 seats in the 350-member National Assembly, compared to the 183 seats it won in the 2000 elections. It would not have an absolute majority and would have to negotiate coalitions, most likely with nationalist groups in Catalunia and Galicia. The PSOE is expected to capture about 38 percent of the vote and about 141 seats, up 16 seats from the 125 it won in 2000.
The PP and PSOE are not that far apart in terms of the programs they are offering Spanish voters. Rajoy has pledged to maintain Aznar's policies, except "slightly better." Rodriguez Zapatero also has promised more economic reforms and policies to attract foreign investment, create jobs and improve living standards. Both candidates have promised to give Spain a stronger voice in the European Union and continue the Spanish economic "reconquista" of Latin America.
The only issue on which Rajoy and Rodriguez Zapatero differ radically is Spain's alignment with the United States in the global war on terrorism. Rodriguez Zapatero has pledged to bring Spanish troops in Iraq home immediately if he is elected. Most Spaniards, even longtime PP supporters, bitterly opposed Aznar's support for the United States in the Iraq war. One of the reasons Aznar retired from Spanish politics was to prevent that bitterness from tainting the electoral prospects of Rajoy and the incumbant PP.
If Rajoy wins, Spain would remain aligned with the United States against Islamist militant groups. If Rodriguez Zapatero won, Spain would disengage from the U.S.-led war. If Islamists attacked Madrid deliberately only hours before national elections, perhaps they hoped it would collapse support for the PP and boost the PSOE's chances. If so, they committed a gross miscalculation.
The countries of the Arab Islamic world tend to be riven with fractures easily exploited by outsiders. This is not to belittle Arab societies, merely to point out that the West -- comprised of nation-states that have more social glue -- usually reacts to outside threats by closing ranks, not shattering into groups guided by ethnic or sectarian interests. The exceptions are states on the fringe of the West, such as in the Balkans, where the ideas of nation (ethnic identification) and state (political entity) do not coincide.
The popular response in Spain to the tragedy likely will be an intense -- and sustained -- burst of nationalism and unity. The PP's chances likely have improved following these attacks. However, even if the PSOE were to win, Rodriguez Zapatero likely would not disengage Madrid from the U.S.-led war on terrorism if the Madrid attacks were carried out by Islamists.
If the Spanish populace concludes they were attacked by external Islamist forces, the result will be a Spain even more committed to fighting global terrorism. Islamist groups in Spain will come under intense police and judicial scrutiny, with the National Assembly likely approving even tougher anti-terrorism laws. Anti-terrorism resources focused mainly on the Basque problem likely would be expanded to include covert intelligence operations aimed at ferreting out individuals or organizations that support or sympathize with Islamist militants.
It is also likely, if Islamists were responsible, that Spain's government would lead a forceful charge to compel the European Union to adopt a much tougher approach to battling terrorism. This could bring Madrid into more serious discussion with larger EU powers like France and Germany over the extent to which the EU should align with Washington. Madrid's position, likely to be embraced by the cCntral European countries about to join the union, will be that Brussels must cooperate more broadly with the United States.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Spain's terrorist attack
on: March 11, 2004, 09:51:21 AM
Our hearts go out to our Spanish friends.
May the perps be nailed.
Carnage on morning commute: Terrorists bomb Madrid trains, kill 173
Scenes of carnage followed bomb attacks on at least three Madrid commuter trains, leaving at least 173 dead and more than up to 1,000 injured.
It is the worst terrorist incident in the history of Spain.
The government is blaming Eta, the Basque separatist movement designated as a terrorist organisation by the EU, for the bombings, although no one has yet claimed the attacks.
Two bombs exploded on one commuter train at the Atocha station in the heart of Madrid, blowing at least one carriage nearly in two. At least one other bomb on that train did not explode.
Several other bombs designed to explode as emergency workers arrived have been disarmed by police.
Very early reports said at least 18 died in a blast at El Pozo station in the city's southern suburbs and 15 at Santa Eugenia, but the death toll has been rising quickly as emergency crews work on the wreckage in all three sites.
In all, reports suggest that four trains were hit by explosions in the three train stations, all on trains heading into the city's main train terminal. All the trains were packed with commuters.
The bombs detonated without warning and nearly simultaneously at 7.35am local time.
According to the security minister for Madrid's regional government, at least 173 people were killed and more than 600, possibly up to 1,000, were injured in the attacks. Earlier estimates from various Spanish authorities had said numbers were much lower, but the toll keeps mounting as bodies are discovered in the wreckage.
Click here for a video report on the scene by the BBC (RealPlayer required)
"This is a massacre," government spokesman Eduardo Zaplana told the BBC.
He condemned what he called "an attack on Spanish democracy", calling Eta "a criminal gang of killers."
Ten days ago Spanish police seized a van carrying more than 1,100lbs -- 500 kilos -- of explosives, believed bound for an attack in Madrid by Eta.
The terrorist attack comes only three days before a hotly contested general election and the nation is now in a three day period of mourning. So far, the elections are said to be on track.
The country's political parties have suspended campaigning in the wake of the blasts.
Basque regional president, Juan Jose Ibarretxe, stressed that Eta does not represent the Basque people.
"When Eta attacks, the Basque heart breaks into a thousand pieces," he said.
Some early speculation by the Eta political arm that Islamic factions might have been responsible have been discounted by Spanish authorities.
Spanish authorities say that Eta operatives had been trying to stage a massive attack on the rail network.
According to the BBC, Spanish authorities foiled a Basque separatist plot to blow up a train at a Madrid rail station last September.
In that attack, a 25-kilo bomb had been placed on a train travelling from San Sebastian to Madrid, Interior Minister Angel Acebes said.
Eta has killed more than 800 people in its campaign since the late 1960s. In 1980, its bloodiest year, Eta killed 118 people.
In the wake of the bombings this morning, both the BBC and CNN have come under heavy criticism from Spanish authorities for continuing to call the Eta a "separatist" movement, rather than a terrorist operation.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: March 10, 2004, 01:23:49 AM
The Threat of Global Terrorism
Why Sept. 11 made Iraq's liberation necessary.
BY TONY BLAIR
Saturday, March 6, 2004 12:01 a.m. EST
(Editor's note: Mr. Blair delivered this speech in his constituency yesterday morning.)
No decision I have ever made in politics has been as divisive as the decision to go to war to in Iraq. It remains deeply divisive today. I know a large part of the public want to move on. Rightly they say the government should concentrate on the issues that elected us in 1997: the economy, jobs, living standards, health, education, crime. I share that view, and we are.
But I know too that the nature of this issue over Iraq, stirring such bitter emotions as it does, can't just be swept away as ill-fitting the preoccupations of the man and woman on the street. This is not simply because of the gravity of war; or the continued engagement of British troops and civilians in Iraq; or even because of reflections made on the integrity of the Prime Minister. It is because it was in March 2003 and remains my fervent view that the nature of the global threat we face in Britain and round the world is real and existential, and it is the task of leadership to expose it and fight it, whatever the political cost; and that the true danger is not to any single politician's reputation, but to our country if we now ignore this threat or erase it from the agenda in embarrassment at the difficulties it causes.
In truth, the fundamental source of division over Iraq is not over issues of trust or integrity, though some insist on trying to translate it into that. Each week brings a fresh attempt to get a new angle that can prove it was all a gigantic conspiracy. We have had three inquiries, including the one by Lord Hutton conducted over six months, with more openness by government than any such inquiry in history, that have affirmed there was no attempt to falsify intelligence in the dossier of September 2002, but rather that it was indeed an accurate summary of that intelligence.
We have seen one element--intelligence about some WMD being ready for use in 45 minutes--elevated into virtually the one fact that persuaded the nation into war. This intelligence was mentioned by me once in my statement to the House of Commons on 24 September and not mentioned by me again in any debate. It was mentioned by no one in the crucial debate on 18 March 2003. In the period from 24 September to 29 May, the date of the BBC broadcast on it, it was raised twice in almost 40,000 written parliamentary questions in the House of Commons; and not once in almost 5,000 oral questions. Neither was it remotely the basis for the claim that Saddam had strategic as well as battlefield WMD. That was dealt with in a different part of the dossier; and though the Iraq Survey Group have indeed not found stockpiles of weapons, they have uncovered much evidence about Saddam's program to develop long-range strategic missiles in breach of U.N. rules.
It is said we claimed Iraq was an imminent threat to Britain and was preparing to attack us. In fact this is what I said prior to the war on 24 September 2002: "Why now? People ask. I agree I cannot say that this month or next, even this year or next he will use his weapons."
Then, for example, in January 2003 in my press conference I said: "And I tell you honestly what my fear is, my fear is that we wake up one day and we find either that one of these dictatorial states has used weapons of mass destruction--and Iraq has done so in the past--and we get sucked into a conflict, with all the devastation that would cause; or alternatively these weapons, which are being traded right round the world at the moment, fall into the hands of these terrorist groups, these fanatics who will stop at absolutely nothing to cause death and destruction on a mass scale. Now that is what I have to worry about. And I understand of course why people think it is a very remote threat and it is far away and why does it bother us. Now I simply say to you, it is a matter of time unless we act and take a stand before terrorism and weapons of mass destruction come together, and I regard them as two sides of the same coin."
The truth is, as was abundantly plain in the motion before the House of Commons on 18 March, we went to war to enforce compliance with U.N. resolutions. Had we believed Iraq was an imminent direct threat to Britain, we would have taken action in September 2002; we would not have gone to the U.N. Instead, we spent October and November in the U.N. negotiating U.N. Resolution 1441. We then spent almost four months trying to implement it.
Actually, it is now apparent from the Survey Group that Iraq was indeed in breach of U.N. Resolution 1441. It did not disclose laboratories and facilities it should have; nor the teams of scientists kept together to retain their WMD, including nuclear expertise; nor its continuing research relevant to CW and BW [chemical and biological weapons]. As Dr Kay, the former head of the ISG [International Survey Group] who is now quoted as a critic of the war, has said: "Iraq was in clear violation of the terms of Resolution 1441". And "I actually think this [Iraq] may be one of those cases where it was even more dangerous than we thought."
Then, most recently is the attempt to cast doubt on the attorney general's legal opinion. He said the war was lawful. He published a statement on the legal advice. It is said this opinion is disputed. Of course it is. It was disputed in March 2003. It is today. The lawyers continue to divide over it--with their legal opinions bearing a remarkable similarity to their political view of the war.
But let's be clear. Once this row dies down, another will take its place and then another and then another.
All of it in the end is an elaborate smokescreen to prevent us seeing the real issue: which is not a matter of trust but of judgment.
The real point is that those who disagree with the war, disagree fundamentally with the judgment that led to war. What is more, their alternative judgment is both entirely rational and arguable. Kosovo, with ethnic cleansing of ethnic Albanians, was not a hard decision for most people; nor was Afghanistan after the shock of September 11; nor was Sierra Leone.
Iraq in March 2003 was an immensely difficult judgment. It was divisive because it was difficult. I have never disrespected those who disagreed with the decision. Sure, some were anti-American; some against all wars. But there was a core of sensible people who faced with this decision would have gone the other way, for sensible reasons. Their argument is one I understand totally. It is that Iraq posed no direct, immediate threat to Britain; and that Iraq's WMD, even on our own case, was not serious enough to warrant war, certainly without a specific U.N. resolution mandating military action. And they argue: Saddam could, in any event, be contained.
In other words, they disagreed then and disagree now fundamentally with the characterization of the threat. We were saying this is urgent; we have to act; the opponents of war thought it wasn't. And I accept, incidentally, that however abhorrent and foul the regime and however relevant that was for the reasons I set out before the war, for example in Glasgow in February 2003, regime change alone could not be and was not our justification for war. Our primary purpose was to enforce U.N. resolutions over Iraq and WMD.
Of course the opponents are boosted by the fact that though we know Saddam had WMD, we haven't found the physical evidence of them in the 11 months since the war. But in fact, everyone thought he had them. That was the basis of U.N. Resolution 1441.
It's just worth pointing out that the search is being conducted in a country twice the land mass of the U.K., which David Kay's interim report in October 2003 noted, contains 130 ammunition storage areas, some covering an area of 50 square miles, including some 600,000 tons of artillery shells, rockets and other ordnance, of which only a small proportion have as yet been searched in the difficult security environment that exists.
But the key point is that it is the threat that is the issue.
The characterization of the threat is where the difference lies. Here is where I feel so passionately that we are in mortal danger of mistaking the nature of the new world in which we live. Everything about our world is changing: its economy, its technology, its culture, its way of living. If the 20th century scripted our conventional way of thinking, the 21st century is unconventional in almost every respect.
This is true also of our security.
The threat we face is not conventional. It is a challenge of a different nature from anything the world has faced before. It is to the world's security, what globalization is to the world's economy.
It was defined not by Iraq but by September 11th. September 11th did not create the threat Saddam posed. But it altered crucially the balance of risk as to whether to deal with it or simply carry on, however imperfectly, trying to contain it.
Let me attempt an explanation of how my own thinking, as a political leader, has evolved during these past few years. Already, before September 11th the world's view of the justification of military action had been changing. The only clear case in international relations for armed intervention had been self-defense, response to aggression. But the notion of intervening on humanitarian grounds had been gaining currency. I set this out, following the Kosovo war, in a speech in Chicago in 1999, where I called for a doctrine of international community, where in certain clear circumstances we do intervene, even though we are not directly threatened. I said this was not just to correct injustice, but also because in an increasingly interdependent world, our self-interest was allied to the interests of others; and seldom did conflict in one region of the world not contaminate another. We acted in Sierra Leone for similar reasons, though frankly even if that country had become run by gangsters and murderers and its democracy crushed, it would have been a long time before it impacted on us. But we were able to act to help them and we did.
So, for me, before September 11th, I was already reaching for a different philosophy in international relations from a traditional one that has held sway since the treaty of Westphalia in 1648; namely that a country's internal affairs are for it and you don't interfere unless it threatens you, or breaches a treaty, or triggers an obligation of alliance. I did not consider Iraq fitted into this philosophy, though I could see the horrible injustice done to its people by Saddam.
However, I had started to become concerned about two other phenomena.
The first was the increasing amount of information about Islamic extremism and terrorism that was crossing my desk. Chechnya was blighted by it. So was Kashmir. Afghanistan was its training ground. Some 300 people had been killed in the attacks on the U.S.S Cole and U.S. embassies in East Africa. The extremism seemed remarkably well financed. It was very active. And it was driven not by a set of negotiable political demands, but by religious fanaticism.
The second was the attempts by states--some of them highly unstable and repressive--to develop nuclear weapons programs, CW and BW materiel and long-range missiles. What is more, it was obvious that there was a considerable network of individuals and companies with expertise in this area, prepared to sell it.
All this was before September 11th. I discussed the issue of WMD with President Bush at our first meeting in Camp David in February 2001. But it's in the nature of things that other issues intervene--I was about to fight for re-election--and though it was raised, it was a troubling specter in the background, not something to arrest our whole attention.
President Bush told me that on September 9th, 2001, he had a meeting about Iraq in the White House when he discussed "smart" sanctions, changes to the sanctions regime. There was no talk of military action.
September 11th was for me a revelation. What had seemed inchoate came together. The point about September 11th was not its detailed planning; not its devilish execution; not even, simply, that it happened in America, on the streets of New York. All of this made it an astonishing, terrible and wicked tragedy, a barbaric murder of innocent people. But what galvanized me was that it was a declaration of war by religious fanatics who were prepared to wage that war without limit. They killed 3,000. But if they could have killed 30,000 or 300,000, they would have rejoiced in it. The purpose was to cause such hatred between Muslims and the West that a religious jihad became reality; and the world engulfed by it.
When I spoke to the House of Commons on 14 September 2001 I said: "We know, that they [the terrorists] would, if they could, go further and use chemical, biological, or even nuclear weapons of mass destruction. We know, also, that there are groups of people, occasionally states, who will trade the technology and capability of such weapons. It is time that this trade was exposed, disrupted, and stamped out. We have been warned by the events of 11 September, and we should act on the warning."
From September 11th on, I could see the threat plainly. Here were terrorists prepared to bring about Armageddon. Here were states whose leadership cared for no one but themselves; were often cruel and tyrannical towards their own people; and who saw WMD as a means of defending themselves against any attempt external or internal to remove them and who, in their chaotic and corrupt state, were in any event porous and irresponsible with neither the will nor capability to prevent terrorists who also hated the West, from exploiting their chaos and corruption.
I became aware of the activities of A.Q, Khan, former Pakistani nuclear scientist, and of an organization developing nuclear weapons technology to sell secretly to states wanting to acquire it. I started to hear of plants to manufacture nuclear weapons equipment in Malaysia, in the Near East and Africa, companies in the Gulf and Europe to finance it; training and know-how provided--all without any or much international action to stop it. It was a murky, dangerous trade, done with much sophistication and it was rapidly shortening the timeframe of countries like North Korea and Iran in acquiring serviceable nuclear weapons capability.
I asked for more intelligence on the issue not just of terrorism but also of WMD. The scale of it became clear. It didn't matter that the Islamic extremists often hated some of these regimes. Their mutual enmity toward the West would in the end triumph over any scruples of that nature, as we see graphically in Iraq today.
We knew that al Qaeda sought the capability to use WMD in their attacks. Bin Laden has called it a "duty" to obtain nuclear weapons. His networks have experimented with chemicals and toxins for use in attacks. He received advice from at least two Pakistani scientists on the design of nuclear weapons. In Afghanistan al Qaeda trained its recruits in the use of poisons and chemicals. An al Qaeda terrorist ran a training camp developing these techniques. Terrorist training manuals giving step-by-step instructions for the manufacture of deadly substances such as botulinum and ricin were widely distributed in Afghanistan and elsewhere and via the internet. Terrorists in Russia have actually deployed radiological material. The sarin attack on the Tokyo Metro showed how serious an impact even a relatively small attack can have.
The global threat to our security was clear. So was our duty: to act to eliminate it.
First we dealt with al Qaeda in Afghanistan, removing the Taliban that succored them.
But then we had to confront the states with WMD. We had to take a stand. We had to force conformity with international obligations that for years had been breached with the world turning a blind eye. For 12 years Saddam had defied calls to disarm. In 1998, he had effectively driven out the U.N. inspectors and we had bombed his military infrastructure; but we had only weakened him, not removed the threat. Saddam alone had used CW against Iran and against his own people.
We had had an international coalition blessed by the U.N. in Afghanistan. I wanted the same now. President Bush agreed to go the U.N. route. We secured U.N. Resolution 1441. Saddam had one final chance to comply fully. Compliance had to start with a full and honest declaration of WMD programs and activities.
The truth is disarming a country, other than with its consent, is a perilous exercise. On 8 December 2002, Saddam sent his declaration. It was obviously false. The U.N. inspectors were in Iraq, but progress was slow and the vital cooperation of Iraqi scientists withheld. In March we went back to the U.N. to make a final ultimatum. We strove hard for agreement. We very nearly achieved it.
So we came to the point of decision. Prime ministers don't have the luxury of maintaining both sides of the argument. They can see both sides. But ultimately, leadership is about deciding. My view was and is that if the U.N. had come together and delivered a tough ultimatum to Saddam, listing clearly what he had to do, benchmarking it, he may have folded and events set in train that might just and eventually have led to his departure from power.
But the Security Council didn't agree.
Suppose at that point we had backed away. Inspectors would have stayed but only the utterly naive would believe that following such a public climb-down by the U.S. and its partners, Saddam would have cooperated more. He would have strung the inspectors out and returned emboldened to his plans. The will to act on the issue of rogue states and WMD would have been shown to be hollow. The terrorists, watching and analyzing every move in our psychology as they do, would have taken heart. All this without counting the fact that the appalling brutalization of the Iraqi people would have continued unabated and reinforced.
Here is the crux. It is possible that even with all of this, nothing would have happened. Possible that Saddam would change his ambitions; possible he would develop the WMD but never use it; possible that the terrorists would never get their hands on WMD, whether from Iraq or elsewhere. We cannot be certain. Perhaps we would have found different ways of reducing it. Perhaps this Islamic terrorism would ebb of its own accord.
But do we want to take the risk? That is the judgment. And my judgment then and now is that the risk of this new global terrorism and its interaction with states or organizations or individuals proliferating WMD, is one I simply am not prepared to run.
This is not a time to err on the side of caution; not a time to weigh the risks to an infinite balance; not a time for the cynicism of the worldly wise who favor playing it long. Their worldly wise cynicism is actually at best naivet? and at worst dereliction. When they talk, as they do now, of diplomacy coming back into fashion in respect of Iran or North Korea or Libya, do they seriously think that diplomacy alone has brought about this change? Since the war in Iraq, Libya has taken the courageous step of owning up not just to a nuclear weapons program but to having chemical weapons, which are now being destroyed. Iran is back in the reach of the IAEA. North Korea in talks with China over its WMD. The A.Q. Khan network is being shut down, its trade slowly but surely being eliminated.
Yet it is monstrously premature to think the threat has passed. The risk remains in the balance here and abroad.
These days decisions about it come thick and fast, and while they are not always of the same magnitude they are hardly trivial. Let me give you an example. A short while ago, during the war, we received specific intelligence warning of a major attack on Heathrow. To this day, we don't know if it was correct and we foiled it or if it was wrong. But we received the intelligence. We immediately heightened the police presence. At the time it was much criticized as political hype or an attempt to frighten the public. Actually at each stage we followed rigidly the advice of the police and Security Service.
But sit in my seat. Here is the intelligence. Here is the advice. Do you ignore it? But, of course intelligence is precisely that: intelligence. It is not hard fact. It has its limitations. On each occasion the most careful judgment has to be made taking account of everything we know and the best assessment and advice available. But in making that judgment, would you prefer us to act, even if it turns out to be wrong? Or not to act and hope it's OK? And suppose we don't act and the intelligence turns out to be right, how forgiving will people be?
And to those who think that these things are all disconnected, random acts, disparate threats with no common thread to bind them, look at what is happening in Iraq today. The terrorists pouring into Iraq, know full well the importance of destroying not just the nascent progress of Iraq toward stability, prosperity and democracy, but of destroying our confidence, of defeating our will to persevere.
I have no doubt Iraq is better without Saddam; but no doubt either, that as a result of his removal, the dangers of the threat we face will be diminished. That is not to say the terrorists won't redouble their efforts. They will. This war is not ended. It may only be at the end of its first phase. They are in Iraq, murdering innocent Iraqis who want to worship or join a police force that upholds the law not a brutal dictatorship; they carry on killing in Afghanistan. They do it for a reason. The terrorists know that if Iraq and Afghanistan survive their assault, come through their travails, seize the opportunity the future offers, then those countries will stand not just as nations liberated from oppression, but as a lesson to humankind everywhere and a profound antidote to the poison of religious extremism. That is precisely why the terrorists are trying to foment hatred and division in Iraq. They know full well, a stable democratic Iraq, under the sovereign rule of the Iraqi people, is a mortal blow to their fanaticism.
That is why our duty is to rebuild Iraq and Afghanistan as stable and democratic nations.
Here is the irony. For all the fighting, this threat cannot be defeated by security means alone. Taking strong action is a necessary but insufficient condition for defeating. Its final defeat is only assured by the triumph of the values of the human spirit.
Which brings me to the final point. It may well be that under international law as presently constituted, a regime can systematically brutalize and oppress its people and there is nothing anyone can do, when dialogue, diplomacy and even sanctions fail, unless it comes within the definition of a humanitarian catastrophe (though the 300,000 remains in mass graves already found in Iraq might be thought by some to be something of a catastrophe). This may be the law, but should it be?
We know now, if we didn't before, that our own self-interest is ultimately bound up with the fate of other nations. The doctrine of international community is no longer a vision of idealism. It is a practical recognition that just as within a country, citizens who are free, well educated and prosperous tend to be responsible, to feel solidarity with a society in which they have a stake; so do nations that are free, democratic and benefiting from economic progress, tend to be stable and solid partners in the advance of humankind. The best defense of our security lies in the spread of our values.
But we cannot advance these values except within a framework that recognizes their universality. If it is a global threat, it needs a global response, based on global rules.
The essence of a community is common rights and responsibilities. We have obligations in relation to each other. If we are threatened, we have a right to act. And we do not accept in a community that others have a right to oppress and brutalize their people. We value the freedom and dignity of the human race and each individual in it.
Containment will not work in the face of the global threat that confronts us. The terrorists have no intention of being contained. The states that proliferate or acquire WMD illegally are doing so precisely to avoid containment. Emphatically I am not saying that every situation leads to military action. But we surely have a duty and a right to prevent the threat materializing; and we surely have a responsibility to act when a nation's people are subjected to a regime such as Saddam's. Otherwise, we are powerless to fight the aggression and injustice which over time puts at risk our security and way of life.
Which brings us to how you make the rules and how you decide what is right or wrong in enforcing them. The U.N. Universal Declaration on Human Rights is a fine document. But it is strange the United Nations is so reluctant to enforce them.
I understand the worry the international community has over Iraq. It worries that the U.S. and its allies will by sheer force of their military might, do whatever they want, unilaterally and without recourse to any rule-based code or doctrine. But our worry is that if the U.N.--because of a political disagreement in its Councils--is paralyzed, then a threat we believe is real will go unchallenged.
This dilemma is at the heart of many people's anguished indecision over the wisdom of our action in Iraq. It explains the confusion of normal politics that has part of the right liberating a people from oppression and a part of the left disdaining the action that led to it. It is partly why the conspiracy theories or claims of deceit have such purchase. How much simpler to debate those than to analyze and resolve the conundrum of our world's present state.
Britain's role is try to find a way through this: to construct a consensus behind a broad agenda of justice and security and means of enforcing it.
This agenda must be robust in tackling the security threat that this Islamic extremism poses; and fair to all peoples by promoting their human rights, wherever they are. It means tackling poverty in Africa and justice in Palestine as well as being utterly resolute in opposition to terrorism as a way of achieving political goals. It means an entirely different, more just and more modern view of self-interest.
It means reforming the United Nations so its Security Council represents 21st century reality; and giving the U.N. the capability to act effectively as well as debate. It means getting the U.N. to understand that faced with the threats we have, we should do all we can to spread the values of freedom, democracy, the rule of law, religious tolerance and justice for the oppressed, however painful for some nations that may be; but that at the same time, we wage war relentlessly on those who would exploit racial and religious division to bring catastrophe to the world.
But in the meantime, the threat is there and demands our attention.
That is the struggle which engages us. It is a new type of war. It will rest on intelligence to a greater degree than ever before. It demands a difference attitude to our own interests. It forces us to act even when so many comforts seem unaffected, and the threat so far off, if not illusory. In the end, believe your political leaders or not, as you will. But do so, at least having understood their minds.
Mr. Blair is the British prime minister.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Phases of combat
on: March 03, 2004, 01:03:35 PM
In Dog Brothers Martial Arts we have 7 ranges:
1) Snake Range: our name for what you apparently call "free movement". Our use of the term has nothing to do with the "snake disarms" of the FMA.
2) Weapon Range: Where the weapons strike each other.
3) Largo Range: Where one can strike the limb of the opponent with the weapon
4) Medio: Where one can strike the head/body of the opponent with the weapon
5) Corto: Where one can strike the head/body of the opponent with one's rear hand.
These ranges are conceived of as being like links of a chain-- overlapping.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / street combat
on: March 02, 2004, 12:37:45 PM
Para nosotros que no hablen aleman, nos puede explicar un poco mas el fenomeno "futbal huligan" (soccer hooliganism)? No hablo aleman, pero si entendi' bien, se vende video de peleas entre 'hooligans'? ?Que es lo que quieres que entendamos viendo este sitio?
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / DBMA Los Angeles Class Notes
on: February 29, 2004, 09:29:17 PM
Based upon an idea from one of this week's privates, there is now "Single Triques Loop #2".
Whereas Single Triques Loop #1 is based principally upon where the opponent meets a "Salty Strike" and sets himself up for the rear thigh kick and follow ups, STL 2 is based more upon Bolo game countering the 4 basic lines leading into a crashing power backhand and follow ups.
I'm so tickled by this material that if I were ever to come out of retirement I would be tempted to use it.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Getting caught with a blade: conversations with a cop
on: February 28, 2004, 01:12:37 PM
My status as an attorney is quite "de minimis"-- it was over 20 years ago in Washington DC and since that time I have been "inactive status". That said, as a CA resident I have tried to keep an eye on my legal environment.
The last time I looked was quite a while ago, but the way I remember it, the poorly written and internally inconsistent statute made the INTENT to carry the knife as a weapon illegal with no specification made as to the purpose of the intent (e.g. self-defense or criminal.) Similarly an intent to carry a baseball bat for self-defense is/can be illegal even though the bat is normally presumptively legal.
"For example, I have friends who have a concealed weapon permit. Obviously, when asked why they carry a .45 they will say "for self defense". Why can't they say the truth?"
Amongst the sundry inanities of CA law, illegal carry of a gun is a misdemeanor and illegal carry of a knife is a felony. Your example of the gun concerns something for which a permit has been granted for its natural purpose, whereas in the case of a knife that is not so.
I would interpret your experience at the courthouse thusly:
As a practical matter, your preemptive declaration of the knife puts you on the side of the angels. The question asked as to your purpose may not have had to have been answered, but you gave a "wrong answer" as did the sheriff in his justification. The Sgt. stated the law as I understand it properly-- a LEO may not simply walk up to citizens and start asking such questions-- but the right to question a citizen (and the obligation of the citizen to answer) varies according to the circumstances.
The fact that you gave the "wrong" answer was not enough to outweigh the practicalities of the situation-- in their eyes you clearly were respectful towards the law (e.g. the preemptive declaration, dressed nicely, line of work consistent with theirs etc etc) so there was absolutely no reason for fornicate with you for your slip of the lip. This, IMHO is really how the law works in this area.
For the future, if asked why you carry and you don't want to say "I don't have to answer that" just say "pocket knife" and if pressed further point out the uses of a pocket knife. In my case it includes: cutting articles out of magazines and newspapers; opening CD cases, opening cardboard boxes (which I often have to do wrt to boxes of videos, etc) etc. If the LEO cleverly asks "And it would serve for self-defense too?" I would inquire "What good would a knife be against a gun?"
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Violence against Women
on: February 26, 2004, 01:11:53 PM
Question: An example of the "same old thing" or an example of why its a poor idea to put women into certain environments?
Pentagon Faulted for Sex Attacks on Female GIs
Senators call for more action to stem assaults and improve treatment for victims.
WASHINGTON ? Alarmed by reports of sexual assaults on female service members in the Persian Gulf region, senators admonished the Pentagon on Wednesday to do more to halt the attacks and to improve treatment for the victims.
Appearing before a panel of the Senate Armed Services Committee, a group of senior Pentagon officials acknowledged that significant shortcomings remained in the handling of sexual assault cases but insisted progress had been made.
"No war comes without costs, but the costs should be borne out of conflict with the enemy, not by egregious violations by some of our own troops," said Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine).
David Chu, undersecretary of Defense for personnel, said new figures show the rate of sexual assaults against women in the military fell from 6% to 3% between 1995 and 2002.
The Pentagon officials said there have been 106 reports of sexual assault of troops deployed in the region ? including Iraq and Afghanistan ? over the past 14 months.
But the senators made it clear they were not satisfied either with the level of misconduct that persists or existing measures for treating victims of assault.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.), chairman of the personnel subcommittee, called the percentage of sexual assaults suffered by women in uniform "shocking" and labeled some of the recent allegations "very frightening."
"I'm concerned because I don't feel a sense of outrage by military leadership, not at this point at least," added Sen. Ben Nelson (D-Neb.).
"This committee is prepared to back the U.S. military to achieve zero tolerance" of sexual abuse incidents, said Sen. John W. Warner (R-Va.), who chairs the full committee. But, he warned, "if you don't carry it out, we're going to take over."
Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld has ordered a high-level review of the handling of reports of sexual assaults and the care provided victims, particularly in cases arising from overseas deployments to combat zones. The review's findings are is due in May.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs
on: February 26, 2004, 01:05:32 PM
IN BRIEF / ALASKA
A Month After Boat Sinks, Dog Found Alive
From Times Wire Reports
A Labrador retriever was found alive on an isolated cove of a southeast Alaska island more than a month after its owner was given up for dead when his boat sank in rough seas.
Two local fishermen found the dog named Brick on Heceta Island several miles from the accident. The men had known the dog's owner who went down with his boat in late January.
The dog swam to the men's boat and was hauled aboard ? underweight, with an injured leg and matted fur, but wiggling with joy, friends of the fishermen said.
Greg Clark was lost after his 32-foot boat broke apart Jan. 22 on rocks near the west side of the island, within the 17-million-acre Tongass National Forest.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Letha/Dhanda Yoga
on: February 26, 2004, 01:02:26 PM
I meant to answer this when first posted, but somehow it slipped off my radar screen and I only spotted it just now when I went back to Page Two in search of the gun thread.
Letha and Dhanda, which we receive from GM Gyi, are indeed cool stuff and we absorb them into our system as best we can. Recently I was teaching US military and the Letha two man stick stretches were very well received. When our men are on the trail keeping tuned up is vital and a rifle serves nicely in lieu of a stick.
That said, I'm not sure if I have any specific answers to your question. We do have a vid-lesson of Letha Yoga featuring GM Gyi, but that is only for members of the DBMA Association (he says cleverly seeking to set a hook
I've been playing phone tag with GM recently but when next we speak will ask him about this.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / We the Well-armed People
on: February 26, 2004, 12:53:14 PM
Gun-Shy Democrats Are Giving the NRA Room to Maneuver
Some of the politicians who helped toughen weapons laws are now helping to soften regulations. Fear is called the motivator.
By Richard Simon and Mary Curtius, Times Staff Writers
WASHINGTON ? These are tough times for the gun control crowd.
After 13 people were shot to death in 1999 at Columbine High School in Colorado, Democrats led a stampede in Congress to pass tougher gun laws. Now some of those same politicians are lining up with the National Rifle Assn. to soften gun regulations.
Congress has voted this year to require speedier destruction of gun purchase records; the renewal of a 1994 law banning assault weapons faces an uphill battle; and on Wednesday, the Senate debated a measure shielding gun makers and sellers from lawsuits by gunshot victims.
Why the shift?
"Fear," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), lead author of the assault weapons ban. "When I came to Washington, everybody said: 'You've got to watch out for Big Business and Big Oil. They're the big lobbies.' Wrong. It's Big Guns."
Sens. John F. Kerry of Massachusetts and John Edwards of North Carolina, the leading contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, have supported gun control in the past. But they are not raising the issue on the campaign trail this year.
Many Democrats think Al Gore, the Democratic nominee in 2000, lost support in some pivotal rural states because he supported tough gun control. After the 2000 election, "common wisdom in the Democratic Party was that you had better not talk about guns," said Deborah Barron, spokeswoman for Americans for Gun Safety.
So Kerry, to connect with the gun lobby, frequently talks about his experience as a hunter. Edwards, when asked about gun issues, always begins his answer by saying that he supports the 2nd Amendment and that he believes in the right to bear arms.
Meanwhile, the NRA has moved from defense to offense.
It is supporting the gun liability bill ? which already has passed the House and is backed not only by President Bush and most Senate Republicans, but also by at least 10 Democrats, including Democratic Leader Tom Daschle of South Dakota.
"You can't deny that there has been a shift" by Democrats, said Kristen Rand, legislative director for the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit organization that advocates gun control. "We can't deny the fact that a lot of [lawmakers] don't think being out front on gun issues is helpful to them. The NRA is very effective at their grass-roots organizing."
Wayne LaPierre, the NRA's executive vice president, said Daschle's support of the gun liability measure reflected his party's new stance. The Democratic leadership, LaPierre said, "decided the gun control issue was a dead end."
Daschle is also facing a potentially tough reelection race in his home state, where gun control could become an issue.
Sarah Brady ? whose husband, James, was disabled in the 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan ? said she thought that Democrats were "misguided" in taking a more moderate approach on guns. The issue, in her opinion, did not hurt the party in 2000.
But a shift by Democrats may not be a bad thing for gun control advocates, said Robert Ricker, a former NRA official who now consults with gun control groups.
"Some of the tactics that have been used in the past by the gun control groups have come back to hurt them in areas like the South," Ricker said. "The idea of really seizing that middle ground, of not going to the extremes on the issue," is being followed by the party now.
Opponents of the gun liability measure hope to attach amendments that would strengthen gun laws. One would extend the nearly decade-old federal ban on assault weapons, due to expire in September; another would require background checks for purchases at gun shows.
The bill, dubbed the "Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act," has drawn opposition from the families of gunshot victims, as well as police chiefs and the mayors of Los Angeles, Chicago, New York and other big cities. Feinstein said the bill would "essentially give the gun industry blanket immunity from civil liability cases ? an immunity that no other industry has."
"We find ourselves today on the cusp of yet another NRA victory," Feinstein added. "And let me be clear ? not a victory for NRA members, most of whom are law-abiding gun owners who might someday benefit from the ability to sue a manufacturer that sold them a defective or dangerous gun. No, this will be a victory only for the cynical leaders of the NRA that have steadfastly turned their organization into a political powerhouse, unconcerned with the true needs of its members."
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: February 25, 2004, 02:15:57 AM
Some charts accompanying this piece did not print-- Crafty
Philippines: Popular Politics and Instability in Manila
February 24, 2004 1715 GMT
The specter of another popular coup is in the air in Manila in the run-up to the May 10 elections, but another government predicated upon anything less than elections could prove disastrous for the Philippines.
The Philippine Stock Exchange composite index (PSI) closed down 0.37 percent Feb. 23, and the peso sank to a record low of 56.35 to the U.S. dollar the previous week. Both pieces of bad economic news are a response to fears of political instability in the run-up to elections.
As political forces in Manila jockey for position ahead of May 10 presidential elections, widespread concern is sweeping the Philippines that the next administration will maintain -- or seize -- power outside the electoral process. If upcoming national polls are canceled or overturned, the state risks losing substantial credibility in global markets and the confidence of world powers -- boosting the problem-status of the Philippines in the international arena.
A failed July 2003 mutiny and the tense political atmosphere in Manila are the most recent examples of Philippine woes. Rebel insurgencies by the communist New People's Army (NPA) and various groups in the restive Muslim-populated southern islands long have undermined domestic security. The rebels threaten the security of Philippine citizens and visiting investors, but the country's political leadership and their popular supporters are a much more frequent and powerful destabilizing force confronting the government.
The "People Power," or EDSA, movements that brought down Ferdinand Marcos's authoritarian regime in 1986 and swept current President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo into power after hounding Joseph Estrada out of office with corruption allegations in 2001 have become a liability for the Philippines. Regime change through extraconstitutional means is now institutionalized between rival factions and in the public consciousness. Three months before the polls, with the nation fixated on Ferdinand Poe's pedigree as a presidential candidate, Philippine editorials are forecasting the likelihood of another EDSA.
Analysts have good reason to suspect that another upheaval could be on its way. Poe supporters say they will not accept a Supreme Court ruling that disqualifies their candidate. Estrada, a staunch Poe ally, even has gone so far as to caution that a "civil war" would erupt if his fellow movie star were banned from contesting the polls.
Former Defense Secretary Fortunato Abat, a spokesman for the No Elections (No-el) campaign, has called on Arroyo to step down and for Vice President Teofisto Guingona Jr. to head a caretaker government until the political system is overhauled. Another group, the Citizens Committee on National Crisis, has called on the armed forces to temporarily take over the government.
A massive political disturbance of any kind will mean both opportunity and danger for political forces trying to gain or maintain control of the Philippines' highest office. Opposition candidates could hope to ride into office in the aftermath of mass demonstrations. Arroyo's critics fear that the president, who is trailing in the polls, will declare martial law and/or forestall elections in the face of an emergency.
If for any reason elections do not go forward, the Philippines's reputation as a democracy -- much less a functioning political system -- will take a devastating hit. It already is trailing behind its neighbors, who have risen from the ashes of the 1997 Asian financial crisis. Thai, Indonesian and South Korean currencies are all trending upward since bottoming out in 1998, but the peso continues to decline. The same three countries' stock markets also have recouped their losses and continue to rise; the PSI, however, is still just more than half of its 1997 level.
The Philippines' poor economic performance is due to its political instability, putting the country's citizens in the unenviable position of longingly looking at Indonesia's political cohesion and sound economic policies. The Indonesian archipelago is rife with ethnic and religious tensions that test its national unity, and after the fall of President Suharto, Indonesia rapidly devolved into a political and economic morass. The Philippines could find itself in the same situation.
One more major political disturbance will push the Philippines over the edge, sending investors scurrying as Manila's ability to implement policies at home and abroad is questioned.
Manila is in the nascent stages of free trade talks with Japan and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and is rebuilding a strategic alliance with the United States. It is unlikely that these goals will be realized as long as the government is under the constant threat of collapse.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / guro crafty's seminar (jan 31-feb1)
on: February 25, 2004, 01:13:18 AM
I too had a great time and want to thank Joey and you and the rest of the crew for the warm reception amidst the Canadian cold.
The experience of having a small fixed group was a very positive one and is one I'm looking to explore further. For example, I was just in Mexico City where more than half the people were repeats and many of these and some of the newbies were students of my host. Several of these people are seriously interested in flying to Hermosa Beach for further training with me, but given the economics of Mexico the numbers were daunting for them. I mentioned what we did in Mississagua and they found the idea very appealing. They are now looking into a session with attendance being limited to 16.
Sorry for the delay in getting your info up on the DBMA Instructors page, (congrats again on the well deserved promotions btw) but with the server being changed/down/etc and all my travels, it fell by the wayside for a bit. I will get the info to Cindy in the next day or so. If there is any additional info or changes to the info you gave me, now would be the time to let me know.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: February 24, 2004, 03:00:42 AM
1719 GMT - Philippine and American troops will begin war games at various locations in the Philippines on Feb. 23. Designed to improve the armies' joint operation capabilities, Exercise Balikatan 2004 will last until March 7. The war games will include beach landings, night-flying, close-quarter fighting and discussions.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Boxing Thread
on: February 16, 2004, 01:07:50 PM
This thread is for matters related to boxing.
Lenox Lewis Retires
Who'll be the new heavyweight champion(s)?
BY GORDON D. MARINO
Saturday, February 14, 2004 12:01 a.m. EST
Norman Mailer once quipped that the heavyweight champion is the toe of God. Although Mr. Mailer's remark rings a mite hyperbolic, there can be no doubt that the fate of public interest in boxing is largely decided by the heavyweights. After all, it is the battles between the big guys that bring in the crossover fans otherwise disinterested in seeing two people pummel one another. But there is tumult in the heavyweight kingdom today.
A week ago, champion Lennox Lewis, age 38, announced his retirement. There are bookmakers already taking odds that Mr. Lewis, like Muhammad Ali in 1979, will soon retire from this retirement and be back in the ring. If, however, he abides by his plans, Mr. Lewis will become only the third heavyweight champion in history to walk away with the title. Rocky Marciano and Gene Tunney were the others.
Since he conquered Mike Tyson in 2002, Mr. Lewis has fought only once. As a result of his inactivity, the heavyweight division has been in the doldrums. All the money is at the top in boxing, and with one loss a fighter's market value can crash through the canvas. And so a number of heavyweights in the championship mix have been biding their time hoping for a bonanza bout with either Mr. Lewis or Mr. Tyson. Now that Mr. Lewis has withdrawn and Mr. Tyson seems inclined to do the same, heavyweight business should again bustle. But there is no college of cardinals in boxing, so how does the sport go about selecting its new heavyweight king?
When Mr. Marciano abruptly retired in 1956, the IBC (International Boxing Club) organized an elimination tournament between Archie Moore, Floyd Patterson and Tommy Jackson. In the end, Mr. Patterson knocked out Mr. Moore to capture the vacated title. In the wake of Mr. Lewis's exit, however, it appears as though the championship, or at least a major portion of it, will be decided by a single contest.
The World Boxing Council is planning a championship box-off between Vitali Klitschko and Corrie Sanders. In a thrilling contest last June, Mr. Lewis was declared the winner by TKO after six rounds, because the referee deemed Mr. Klitschko's face too cut up for the fight to continue. But at the time the bout was halted, the Ukrainian-born Mr. Klitschko was ahead on points and there was enormous demand for a rematch. Mr. Klitschko's claim as the heavyweight prince-in-waiting was further legitimized by his recent knockout of Kirk Johnson, a top contender.
As for Corrie Sanders, Mr. Klitschko's possible opponent for the WBC title, the South African power-puncher's credentials were sealed last winter when he knocked Vitali's younger brother Wladimir senseless in two rounds. At the time, Wladimir was widely regarded as the heir apparent to Mr. Lewis's title.
The victor of the (Vitali) Klitschko-Sanders struggle may not have quite the same imprimatur as Patterson did when he succeeded Marciano. Although Mr. Lewis was the linear champion--that is, the man who beat Holyfield, who beat Douglass, who beat Tyson and so on back to John L. Sullivan--he was not the only card-carrying heavyweight king.
In contrast to the mid-'50s and the Marciano era, there is now an alphabet soup of sanctioning bodies in boxing: e.g., the IBF, WBA, WBC and WBO. These organizations--which many believe are driven by the ticket-selling interests of promoters--sanction bouts, establish rankings, and crown their own champions.
Chris Byrd is the International Boxing Federation heavyweight champ. A slightly built and diabolically crafty southpaw, Mr. Byrd claims a freakish victory over Vitali Klitschko. When they fought in 2000, Mr. Klitschko was far ahead on points but injured his shoulder and could not come out for the 10th round.
Then there is the World Boxing Association champ, Roy Jones Jr. Quicksilver fast and technically brilliant, Mr. Jones is widely considered the best pound-for-pound pugilist in the world today; however, his natural weight hovers at about 195 pounds, and he is about six inches shorter and 50 pounds lighter than both the Klitschko brothers and Mr. Sanders. In an era in which the heavyweight elite have the proportions of NBA centers, it is not surprising that Mr. Jones is strongly considering abandoning his heavyweight claims to defend his WBC light heavyweight title.
While most boxing aficionados pine for the days of one weight class, one champion, the Klitschkos are quite content to think of the title as divisible. The brothers, both of whom hold doctorates and speak four languages, have vowed never to fight one another. The only way that they can both realize their life's ambition of being heavyweight kings is to divide up the kingdom, with the WBC belt going to Vitali and the rest to Wladimir. Should Mr. Sanders win, however, he would probably seek to unify the title--unless, of course, Mike Tyson were again to feel the call of the arena, in which case all other bouts would be off. For there is no one who is better than Mr. Tyson at putting fans in seats and adding zeros to contract figures.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Wolves & Dogs
on: February 16, 2004, 09:24:29 AM
February 15, 2004 E-mail story Print
Breeders Hope Court Will Defang New Shepherd's Critic
Germany's traditional working dog has been made weak by show standards, one expert says. Others call his argument all bark.
By Jeffrey Fleishman
BERLIN ? Helmut Raiser wants the German shepherd to be plebeian and muscular, not a lithe, curvy creature preening and prancing for blue ribbons at dog shows.
This aesthetic desire sparked a dog war when Raiser ? the beleaguered breed warden for the national German Shepherd Assn. ? criticized some kennels for turning out generations of shepherds that looked less like working dogs and more like weak-backed wimps with no calluses on their paws and no grit to their personalities.
This new shepherd, he said, "is a dog in the front and a frog in the back, walking around with a retracted backside as if a brick-stone is hanging from its testicles?. The worst is the emptiness in the heads of these dogs, and the boring and stupid expressions on their faces."
The ensuing growls have yet to quiet.
"Raiser's acting like a dictator," said Clemens Lux, manager of the German Shepherd Assn. based in Augsburg. "We are very sad about it."
In a sense, this dust-up of ego, politics and science reflects the stoicism and spirit with which many Germans define national identity. Like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Richard Wagner and Martin Luther, the shepherd has a cherished meaning in the wider German culture. The dog ? used by police, rescue teams and the blind ? epitomizes a strict work ethic and shows how perseverance leads to excellence.
The debate has turned into a symbolic struggle of sorts between the working and the well-heeled classes. Wealthier shepherd owners, Raiser says, have flocked to the show dog market, even enticing east German breeders, who before the fall of the Berlin Wall bred utilitarian working dogs for border guards and armies. The result, he says, is a delicate, more urbane shepherd with a slanting back and bad hips that mocks the ideals of Max von Stephanitz, who first organized breeders in the late 1890s.
The most recent storm around the shepherd ? the dog's appearance has been argued over for years ? has veered in and out of court since December 2002, when Raiser was elected breed warden, a post that influences canine guidelines across Germany. Raiser's detractors ? whom he calls "that old show dog mafia" ? have twice attempted to unseat him. A court ruling on Raiser's fate is expected in May.
One of Raiser's critics is show dog breeder Juergen Wicht.
"My shepherds are obedient," said Wicht, manager of Team Fiemereck kennels in Bamberg. "They are good workers. They train hard for their titles. Raiser has no idea about breeding. He likes controversy, and he's hurting the image of the German shepherd around the world. If you have a product, you don't talk badly about it."
"There's a lot of money in show dogs," he said. "The show people want part of this big cake. They've destroyed a lot in the last 30 years. They're producing a lot of German shepherds not worthy of being called working dogs. These dogs have lost their drive and intellectual capacity."
He added: "The anatomy of this new dog has no function. It's handicapped?. It's like if your name was Mitsubishi or DaimlerChrysler. You can't ruin your product. We had the name of the best working dog in the world, then suddenly we had fashion."
Wicht bristles at the suggestion. "Raiser and his followers are envious. My dogs have no problems with their hips."
Lux said Raiser was exaggerating the problems and draping himself in canine righteousness. The German Shepherd Assn., Lux said, has 80,000 members and recognized in the late 1990s that breeding practices by some kennels had to be curbed because their methods were producing "unnatural" dogs. He said only 5% of breeders fit this category.
A top shepherd show dog can sell for about $250,000, compared with about $5,500 for a pedigree working dog.
"We are working against it," said Lux, adding that show dogs with exaggerated features no longer consistently win honors, which will in turn reduce their stud fees and eventually diminish the breed.
"We saw that these dogs can't go a long time with the severe angulations. In the hind section, they are very weak," he said.
The slanting dogs were a sensation years ago when pictures of them arrived from the U.S. and Britain.
"Germans like things from the outside," Lux said. "Germans said, 'That's wonderful. They're so good-looking.' Many didn't think that the shepherd is a working dog?. It's a question now of [how] to reverse the trend. Mr. Raiser's way is ridiculous and very radical. He wants to put dogs he doesn't like immediately out of breeding. But you have to go slowly with breeding cycles."
Raiser, who says the dog community considers him either the "messiah, or the devil," wants to purify the bloodlines and restore the pedigree in the 20,000 shepherd pups born each year in Germany.
"The danger is the health of the dog," he said. "Today's dogs are old by the time they're 4 or 5 years old. They have problems with their spines, skin and fitness. Ask a policeman. They'll tell you these new shepherds can't walk more than four hours. Blind people won't use them because they're unstable."
Seldom at a loss for words, Raiser summed up: "The old show dog camp hope they make me frustrated so I quit. This is war."
and from India one wonders about the offspring of the following alliance:
A five-year-old tribal boy gets married to a female puppy to ward off an evil spell in Kuluptanga Basti in Sarikela-Rajkharsawa district of Jamshedpur. The tribals believe that the ceremony will get rid of evil spell which is supposed to be plaguing the boy. The marriage was solemnised as per tribal-rituals by a female priest. (PTI)
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / WW3
on: February 15, 2004, 01:51:08 PM
Please feel free to send the Stratfor Weekly to a friend
THE STRATFOR WEEKLY
13 February 2004www.stratfor.com
Pakistan Braces for the American Storm
Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf has begun warning his
country that if it does not root out al Qaeda, the United States
As part of its self-declared "war on terrorism," the United
States has been involved in the Afghan theater of operations for
more than two years, since it succeeded in overthrowing the
Taliban government in late 2001 by employing a strategy heavily
dependent upon local allies. Since then, U.S. efforts have
followed a bifurcated path: maintaining some semblance of order
in Kabul -- where the "national" government resides -- and
bombing any concentrated pockets of resistance.
The strategy makes sense. Unlike the Soviet occupation of 1979-
1989, the United States is not attempting to control the entire
territory of Afghanistan. Split as it is by the Hindu Kush
mountains -- and a plethora of ethnic groups with little to no
sense of a shared history -- the country probably is not capable
of forming a unified state in the traditional sense. The least
violent existence that Afghanistan can hope for is probably to
have a very weak central government in which the various regional
capitals -- Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif -- exercise de facto
The U.S. strategy, then, is geared toward maintaining the fiction
of a "united" Afghanistan, without providing any troops to
enforce central rule. The NATO-led International Security
Assistance Force (ISAF) patrols only Kabul and the immediate
surrounding area, while various regional militias rule their
The strategy is not exactly brilliant, but -- considering
Afghanistan's history and geography -- it is probably one of the
few that could work. As a side effect, it leaves al Qaeda and its
sympathizers free to prowl largely where they will and conduct
hit-and-run nuisance attacks.
For al Qaeda, this is far from a happy state of affairs.
Afghanistan can no longer be used as a major training facility,
and the network has been funneling most of its fighters into
Iraq. A smaller presence in Afghanistan is a more vulnerable one,
so al Qaeda has done what any business would do under similar
The mountainous border region of the Afghan-Pakistani border
region is porous, relatively unguarded and home to the Pushtun
ethnic group that straddles national boundaries. Al Qaeda,
unhobbled by state loyalties, has most likely moved its core
personnel into this region, where it is more complicated for U.S.
forces to operate.
But more complicated does not mean impossible.
The Bush administration is looking for the end game. Al Qaeda has
proven unable to mount a major strike on U.S. targets since Sept.
11, 2001. The attacks that have occurred -- Casablanca, Bali, An
Najaf, Riyadh, etc. -- have been far less ambitious in scope,
carried out by affiliate groups and, most importantly, have not
touched the U.S. mainland. The next major push from the United
States will be an attempt to roll up al Qaeda's prime senior
As with all other major policy pushes in 2004, the White House
has its eye on domestic politics as well. Melting down al Qaeda
into a commemorative coin set to present to the American voter
just in time for Nov. 4 would, of course, be a nice touch from a
White House perspective. Doing that, however, means rolling into
Pakistan with a lot more than a disposable State Department
officer with snazzy shoes and a sharply worded demarche. Unlike
Afghanistan, Pakistan is a real country with a real army -- and
real nuclear weapons. Hence, at the highest levels, Washington
has been tightening the screws on Islamabad -- most recently
regarding the indiscretions of its nuclear development team.
Musharraf has received the none-too-subtle message, and this week
began preparing his country for the inevitable onslaught -- and
spurring it into action so that the United States might not need
to come calling with a whole division of troops when it comes.
In a Feb. 10 interview with the New York Times, Musharraf made it
clear that the onus of responsibility for the nuclear technology
leaks was on the CIA, which he said had not provided any proof
about the nuclear proliferation until quite recently. While the
primary message of "don't blame me or push me around" came
through loud and clear, there was also a secondary, more subtle,
message: "Show me proof and I'll act."
The buzz in Pakistan this week, at least according to the Daily
Times, is that CIA Director George Tenet paid Islamabad a secret
visit on Feb. 11. In short, Musharraf was preparing the public
for what sort of terms would be necessary for him to cater to
Washington's wishes, and Washington just might have provided the
appropriate information about al Qaeda's new digs in Pakistan.
That brings us to a more recent statement by Musharraf concerning
militant activity. Speaking at Pakistan's National Defense
College in Rawalpindi on Feb. 12, Musharraf said, "Certainly
everything [within Afghanistan] is not happening from Pakistan,
but certainly something is happening from Pakistan. Let us not
bluff ourselves. Now, whatever is happening from Pakistan must be
stopped and that is what we are trying to do."
On Feb. 10, Musharraf outlined what Washington would need to do
to get him to move. On Feb. 12, he made it clear to other power
brokers within Pakistan what needed to be done. Stratfor expects
a third, more direct, statement to tumble from Musharraf's lips
in the near future.
The issue now is simply one of timing. The Afghan-Pakistani
border currently is difficult to navigate: Mountains plus winter
equals no tanks. Once spring arrives, however, the United States
can roll in and -- in theory -- nab all the appropriate
personalities, just in time for the Democratic National
Convention in July. If the Bush administration can pull it off,
more Democrats than Howard Dean will be screaming.
The plan is not quite as neat as it seems. Northern Pakistan is
rugged territory, but people actually live there and like it.
Most are none too pleased with what the United States has been
doing across the border in Afghanistan of late. This region,
dubbed the Northwest Frontier Territories, is heavily Pushtun and
is rife with al Qaeda supporters. Rolling into it would not be
In the hopes of heading off what would likely be a bloody U.S.
intervention in Pakistan, Musharraf is trying to make the case
for a major Pakistani military offensive against al Qaeda and its
supporters in these tribal areas.
The Pakistani president is in quite an uncomfortable position,
attempting to balance his role as a trusted U.S. ally in the war
against militant Islamism, while leading a country where anti-
Americanism is at a fever pitch. Despite Musharraf's attempts to
proceed with caution, decisions resulting from the U.S. pressure
are critically injuring his domestic image.
Musharraf has long stressed that his government furnished the
United States with only minimal assistance in terms of logistical
support, intelligence-sharing and so forth, and that Pakistani
troops are not committed to campaigns outside the country. Both
Interior Minister Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat and Information
Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed routinely deny that U.S.
intelligence and military forces are engaged in any operations in
Pakistan against al Qaeda/Taliban suspects, particularly when
arrests are made or suspected militants are killed in shoot-outs.
Hayat and Ahmed have gone to lengths to underscore that Pakistani
forces are doing the actual work, while the United States is
merely providing intelligence and logistical support in the
U.S. troops conducting a large-scale operation inside Pakistan
would take away the Pakistanis' we're-doing-it-ourselves factor
and could well fracture the Pakistani military, not to mention
prompt a backlash from the public.
But Musharraf has no illusions about where he falls on the U.S.
priority list. If destroying al Qaeda once and for all means
losing the Pakistani president, well, the United States has
survived Pakistani regime changes before. Therefore, Musharraf
issued an oblique warning to his country that it needs to do a
housecleaning -- before the rat-a-tat of U.S. M16s is heard
across the Northwest Frontier.
It is unclear just how Musharraf will be able to muster the
support necessary for this latest step his government has had to
make in the wake of Sept. 11. Initial signs are promising. So far
jirgas (councils) of the Utmanzai and North Waziristani tribes
have decided to set up militias to hunt down foreign militants.
It is far too early to evaluate the tribes' seriousness -- much
less their success -- in the matter, but it is obvious that the
political dialogue has been sparked.
Islamabad does not have much time to get results. Warmer weather
soon will set in, and the ISAF already is taking over policing
duties in Afghanistan from U.S. forces, which will free up even
more U.S. forces for a counterinsurgency offensive, should
Islamabad fail to get the job done.
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DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / mexico seminar
on: February 15, 2004, 09:44:02 AM
Guau Ed, Pau y todos:
Acabo de regresar de una semana de ensen~anza. Estoy esperando con ganas mi viaje al DF. Lamento que el proyecto del DVD esta' retrocediendo-- pero debo tener una copia cruda para solicitar comentarios y sugeriencias. Les veo en seis dias.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / santa monica kali?
on: February 05, 2004, 07:49:56 PM
I confess to being impressed with the Insanto Academy 310-348-9944, just north of LAX airport. The landlord is redoing the property and it appears that the IA will be moving soon.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Next Gathering
on: February 03, 2004, 12:07:56 AM
It should have been posted already, but yes the date is set on the last Sunday of June (the 29th I think that is.) We anticipate that the last Sunday of June will become the tradition, as the Sunday before Thanksgiving is the tradition for the Fall Gathering. Hope you can make it!
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Current Events: Philippines
on: January 29, 2004, 12:21:23 PM
1241 GMT -- PHILIPPINES -- Five junior military officers were arrested in
the Philippines for fomenting rebellion against the government, the BBC
reported Jan 29. Earlier, a group of officers appeared on television
accusing the government of President Gloria Arroyo of trying to use the
military to spy on political opponents ahead of May's presidential elections
and demanding the resignation of Defense Minister Eduardo Ermita, who has denied the allegations.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Political Rants
on: January 29, 2004, 12:15:15 PM
A Friendly Drink in a Time of War
by Paul Berman
A friend leaned across a bar and said, "You call the war in Iraq an antifascist war. You even call it a left-wing war-a war of liberation. That language of yours! And yet, on the left, not too many people agree with you."
"Not true!" I said. "Apart from X, Y, and Z, whose left-wing names you know very well, what do you think of Adam Michnik in Poland? And doesn't Vaclav Havel count for something in your eyes? These are among the heroes of our time. Anyway, who is fighting in Iraq right now? The coalition is led by a Texas right-winger, which is a pity; but, in the second rank, by the prime minister of Britain, who is a socialist, sort of; and, in the third rank, by the president of Poland-a Communist! An ex-Communist, anyway. One Texas right-winger and two Europeans who are more or less on the left. Anyway, these categories, right and left, are disintegrating by the minute. And who do you regard as the leader of the worldwide left? Jacques Chirac?-a conservative, I hate to tell you."
My friend persisted.
"Still, most people don't seem to agree with you. You do have to see that. And why do you suppose that is?"
That was an aggressive question. And I answered in kind.
"Why don't people on the left see it my way? Except for the ones who do? I'll give you six reasons. People on the left have been unable to see the antifascist nature of the war because . . . "-and my hand hovered over the bar, ready to thump six times, demonstrating the powerful force of my argument.
"The left doesn't see because -" thump!-"George W. Bush is an unusually repulsive politician, except to his own followers, and people are blinded by the revulsion they feel. And, in their blindness, they cannot identify the main contours of reality right now. They peer at Iraq and see the smirking face of George W. Bush. They even feel a kind of schadenfreude or satisfaction at his errors and failures. This is a modern, television-age example of what used to be called 'false consciousness.'"
Thump! "The left doesn't see because a lot of otherwise intelligent people have decided, a priori, that all the big problems around the world stem from America. Even the problems that don't. This is an attitude that, sixty years ago, would have prevented those same people from making sense of the fascists of Europe, too."
Thump! "Another reason: a lot of people suppose that any sort of anticolonial movement must be admirable or, at least, acceptable. Or they think that, at minimum, we shouldn't do more than tut-tut-even in the case of a movement that, like the Baath Party, was founded under a Nazi influence. In 1943, no less!"
Thump! "The left doesn't see because a lot of people, in their good-hearted effort to respect cultural differences, have concluded that Arabs must for inscrutable reasons of their own like to live under grotesque dictatorships and are not really capable of anything else, or won't be ready to do so for another five hundred years, and Arab liberals should be regarded as somehow inauthentic. Which is to say, a lot of people, swept along by their own high-minded principles of cultural tolerance, have ended up clinging to attitudes that can only be regarded as racist against Arabs.
"The old-fashioned left used to be universalist-used to think that everyone, all over the world, would some day want to live according to the same fundamental values, and ought to be helped to do so. They thought this was especially true for people in reasonably modern societies with universities, industries, and a sophisticated bureaucracy-societies like the one in Iraq. But no more! Today, people say, out of a spirit of egalitarian tolerance: Social democracy for Swedes! Tyranny for Arabs! And this is supposed to be a left-wing attitude? By the way, you don't hear much from the left about the non-Arabs in countries like Iraq, do you? The left, the real left, used to be the champion of minority populations-of people like the Kurds. No more! The left, my friend, has abandoned the values of the left-except for a few of us, of course."
Thump! "Another reason: A lot of people honestly believe that Israel's problems with the Palestinians represent something more than a miserable dispute over borders and recognition-that Israel's problems represent something huger, a uniquely diabolical aspect of Zionism, which explains the rage and humiliation felt by Muslims from Morocco to Indonesia. Which is to say, a lot of people have succumbed to anti-Semitic fantasies about the cosmic quality of Jewish crime and cannot get their minds to think about anything else.
"I mean, look at the discussions that go on even among people who call themselves the democratic left, the good left-a relentless harping on the sins of Israel, an obsessive harping, with very little said about the fascist-influenced movements that have caused hundreds of thousands and even millions of deaths in other parts of the Muslim world. The distortions are wild, if you stop to think about them. Look at some of our big, influential liberal magazines-one article after another about Israeli crimes and stupidities, and even a few statements in favor of abolishing Israel, and hardly anything about the sufferings of the Arabs in the rest of the world. And even less is said about the Arab liberals-our own comrades, who have been pretty much abandoned. What do you make of that, my friend? There's a name for that, a systematic distortion-what we Marxists, when we were Marxists, used to call ideology."
Thump! "The left doesn't see because a lot of people are, in any case, willfully blind to anti-Semitism in other cultures. They cannot get themselves to recognize the degree to which Nazi-like doctrines about the supernatural quality of Jewish evil have influenced mass political movements across large swaths of the world. It is 1943 right now in huge portions of the world-and people don't see it. And so, people simply cannot detect the fascist nature of all kinds of mass movements and political parties. In the Muslim world, especially."
Six thumps. I was done. My friend looked incredulous. His incredulity drove me to continue.
"And yet," I insisted, "if good-hearted people like you would only open your left-wing eyes, you would see clearly enough that the Baath Party is very nearly a classic fascist movement, and so is the radical Islamist movement, in a somewhat different fashion-two strands of a single impulse, which happens to be Europe's fascist and totalitarian legacy to the modern Muslim world. If only people like you would wake up, you would see that war against the radical Islamist and Baathist movements, in Afghanistan exactly as in Iraq, is war against fascism."
I grew still more heated.
"What a tragedy that you don't see this! It's a tragedy for the Afghanis and the Iraqis, who need more help than they are receiving. A tragedy for the genuine liberals all over the Muslim world! A tragedy for the American soldiers, the British, the Poles and every one else who has gone to Iraq lately, the nongovernmental organization volunteers and the occupying forces from abroad, who have to struggle on bitterly against the worst kind of nihilists, and have been getting damn little support or even moral solidarity from people who describe themselves as antifascists in the world's richest and fattest neighborhoods.
"What a tragedy for the left-the worldwide left, this left of ours which, in failing to play much of a role in the antifascism of our own era, is right now committing a gigantic historic error. Not for the first time, my friend! And yet, if the left all over the world took up this particular struggle as its own, the whole nature of events in Iraq and throughout the region could be influenced in a very useful way, and Bush's many blunders could be rectified, and the struggle could be advanced."
My friend's eyes widened, maybe in astonishment, maybe in pity.
He said, "And so, the United Nations and international law mean nothing to you, not a thing? You think it's all right for America to go do whatever it wants, and ignore the rest of the world?"
I answered, "The United Nations and international law are fine by me, and more than fine. I am their supporter. Or, rather, would like to support them. It would be better to fight an antifascist war with more than a begrudging UN approval. It would be better to fight with the approving sanction of international law-better in a million ways. Better politically, therefore militarily. Better for the precedents that would be set. Better for the purpose of expressing the liberal principles at stake. If I had my druthers, that is how we would have gone about fighting the war. But my druthers don't count for much. We have had to choose between supporting the war, or opposing it-supporting the war in the name of antifascism, or opposing it in the name of some kind of concept of international law. Antifascism without international law; or international law without antifascism. A miserable choice-but one does have to choose, unfortunately."
My friend said, "I'm for the UN and international law, and I think you've become a traitor to the left. A neocon!"
I said, "I'm for overthrowing tyrants, and since when did overthrowing fascism become treason to the left?"
"But isn't George Bush himself a fascist, more or less? I mean-admit it!"
My own eyes widened. "You haven't the foggiest idea what fascism is," I said. "I always figured that a keen awareness of extreme oppression was the deepest trait of a left-wing heart. Mass graves, three hundred thousand missing Iraqis, a population crushed by thirty-five years of Baathist boots stomping on their faces-that is what fascism means! And you think that a few corrupt insider contracts with Bush's cronies at Halliburton and a bit of retrograde Bible-thumping and Bush's ridiculous tax cuts and his bonanzas for the super-rich are indistinguishable from that?-indistinguishable from fascism? From a politics of slaughter? Leftism is supposed to be a reality principle. Leftism is supposed to embody an ability to take in the big picture. The traitor to the left is you, my friend . . ."
But this made not the slightest sense to him, and there was nothing left to do but to hit each other over the head with our respective drinks.
Paul Berman is the author of Terror and Liberalism. His book The Passion of Joschka Fischer will come out in the spring.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / UFC/MMA Thread
on: January 29, 2004, 09:46:25 AM
Like it says, this thread is for discussing the UFC and similar events.
I just saw last night an advertisment for the UFC on Saturday night: Coutoure versus Belfort, sponsored by Miller Lite-- certainly a fight I want to see. I hope my hosts this weekend in Toronto will be getting the fight. (BTW I see that I will be missing, and competing with, the Superbowl on Sunday
Like most people I have high regard for Coutoure (unappreciatedly smart in his training methods) but suspect that Belfort may not be as overloaded with steroids this time as he appeared to be at their first meeting. Could be a very good fight.
PS: The sponsorship by a big name like Miller Lite is a promising sign for this sport becoming a bigger thing.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Weird and/or silly
on: January 29, 2004, 01:10:43 AM
The challenge of the 'cannibal consensus'
By Clare Murphy
Armin Meiwes is, on the surface of things, an attractive, well-dressed, and seemingly amiable 42-year-old German.
He is also, by his own admission, a cannibal, who three years ago ate an engineer he had found through the internet. On Friday, a court will decide whether Mr Meiwes should spend just a couple of months behind bars or much of the rest of his life for this.
At stake is whether a person can be tried and imprisoned for murder when his victim had consented to be slaughtered.
'No death wish'
In March 2001, Bernd-Jurgen Brandes, 43, answered an advert Mr Meiwes had posted on the internet for a well-built male who was prepared to be slaughtered and then consumed. They met, and Mr Meiwes allegedly took Mr Brandes back to his home in Rotenburg, where the victim agreed to the removal of his penis, which Mr Meiwes then flamb?ed and served up to eat together.
Mr Brandes was then killed, cut up, and put in the freezer.
The act of cannibalism is not in itself a crime in Germany, meaning that particular legal avenue was closed to prosecutors. Instead they opted for a charge of sexually-driven murder, combined with a charge of "disturbing the peace of the dead" - despite the apparently consensual nature of the act. They are seeking a life sentence for the cannibal, whom they argue poses a danger to society.
The defence, for its part, says Mr Meiwes is guilty of nothing more than "killing by request" - an offence which carries a maximum sentence of five years incarceration. The defence team has sought to prove to the court that not one of the men who met the cannibal was made to go through with anything they were uncertain about.
London-based hotel worker Dirk Moller - one of dozens who allegedly replied to Mr Meiwes' adverts - was called to testify that he had even got as far as being chained to the bed and marked out for butchery before changing his mind and being released. The prosecution has conceded that Mr Brandes was an apparently willing victim. But they insist he was not of a sound mind when he accepted the offer, and moreover, they allege, Mr Meiwes was aware of this.
Mr Brandes' boyfriend has told the court that Mr Brandes, with whom he said he enjoyed a normal sex life, had no apparent desire to die.
Time for contracts
German experts say that while there may be hundreds of people with "cannibalistic tendencies" in Germany, only a tiny proportion of those would be willing to see their fantasies through to their fatal conclusion as Mr Brandes apparently did.
The kind of internet message boards where Mr Meiwes placed his own request still exist, but the real cannibals on these sites appear to be hard to find. Messages which request people for slaughter are often written off as jokes by other participants, many of whom are keen to stress that their interest in cannibalism is only a fantasy.
While Mr Meiwes received dozens of responses to his postings, he is believed to have only met four other men beside Mr Brandes, none of whom went through with the act. There are fears that should the court punish Mr Meiwes lightly in Friday's ruling, they will unwittingly encourage real cannibals. Yet if Mr Meiwes is put away for life after Friday's ruling, his defence lawyer has argued, the true horror of murder will be belittled.
Harald Ermel has said that murder "always happens against somebody's will". Should his client be convicted of little more than killing on request, Mr Ermel advises those planning similar forays into the world of cannibalism to ensure both parties draw up a contract before the act takes place.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / UK: Ultimate Warriors
on: January 28, 2004, 02:05:59 PM
About 15-18 months ago I spent a day with Granada TV of the UK for a program scheduled to appear April 2003. A couple of weeks ago I remembered about it and emailed them "WTF?" and they kindly sent me a copy of what they aired.
Apparently it was part of a series titled "Ultimate Warriors" and we were in the episode on Weapons.
Although (surprise!) the selection of fight footage tended to the brawling over the technical, overall I was happy with the piece-- I was pleasantly surprised at the extent that they allowed me to make some of the deeper points and the effort in the editing to bring variety to the material selected.
Anyone in the UK/Europe who saw this and can comment?
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Dog Brothers on Australia TV
on: January 28, 2004, 01:54:11 PM
Gracias Alfonso por habernos notificado de eso. Espero con ganas verte muy pronto.
A real chuckle to see this working its way around the world. After its airing in the US, we've been informed of sightings in Chile in Spanish and now this one in Australia with the presenter an Austrlian cutie.
As is often the case when dealing with media, a couple of details are wrong (e.g. I started Kali well before BJJ not vice versa) but overall good fun.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Humor
on: January 25, 2004, 09:13:31 AM
No cheating, answers below:
World's EASIEST QUIZ (Passing only requires 4 correct answers)
1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?
2) Which country makes Panama hats?
3) From which animal do we get catgut?
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October Revolution?
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI's first name?
What colour is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10) What is the colour of the black box in a commercial airplane?
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ANSWERS TO THE QUIZ
1) How long did the Hundred Years War last?
2) Which country makes Panama hats?
3) From which animal do we get cat gut?
Sheep and Horses
4) In which month do Russians celebrate the October
5) What is a camel's hair brush made of?
6) The Canary Islands in the Pacific are named after what animal?
7) What was King George VI's first name?
What color is a purple finch?
9) Where are Chinese gooseberries from?
10) What is the color of the black box in a commercial airplane?
Orange, of course.
What do you mean, you failed?