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Topics - G M

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2
Politics & Religion / The destruction of America's cities
« on: August 07, 2020, 02:06:15 PM »
http://ace.mu.nu/archives/389520.php

As a hick from flyover country, I guess I just don't understand how smart my urban betters are.

3
Politics & Religion / G M's guide to surviving CW2
« on: September 14, 2019, 07:44:38 PM »
It has already started, though most don't recognize it yet. This is an asymmetrical, 4th generation war. There won't be big military clashes between uniformed troops. This is a full spectrum war that includes old and new media propaganda,  economics and politics. What we have seen take place so far is only the very early stages of something that will get much more violent and strange as it progresses.

Core principles:

1. Be armed and trained to defend yourself and your loved ones. The rule of law is already dead and you are on the menu. Plan accordingly.

2. Anticipate systemic infrastructure failures. Things like the electrical grid going down for short or long term, either deliberately or as a byproduct of violence. Have beans/bullets/bandages.

3. Reduce your "attack surface". Be "off grid" as much as possible. Harder to kill you if they can't find you.

4. Urban areas are death zones. Especially on the coasts. Go rural now, if possible. If not, have a plan and a location to get to if your city plunges into uncontrolled violence.


Much more to follow.


4
Politics & Religion / 9/11/2019
« on: September 11, 2019, 07:52:19 PM »
"CAIR was founded after 9/11 because they recognized that some people did something and that all of us [Muslims in the U.S.] were starting to lose access to our civil liberties."-Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesomalia

Now, the New York Times has decided that some aircraft did something and tweeted this:



They deleted it, but screencaps are forever.

5
Politics & Religion / G M's guide to online privacy
« on: April 24, 2018, 09:31:16 AM »
Due to the growing assaults on privacy, I am working on techniques and methods for the average user to implement that will improve your degree of privacy. KEEP IN MIND THAT NOTHING ONLINE IS SECURE.

6
https://medium.com/incerto/the-intellectual-yet-idiot-13211e2d0577


Nassim Nicholas Taleb
Sep 16, 2016
The Intellectual Yet Idiot

What we have been seeing worldwide, from India to the UK to the US, is the rebellion against the inner circle of no-skin-in-the-game policymaking “clerks” and journalists-insiders, that class of paternalistic semi-intellectual experts with some Ivy league, Oxford-Cambridge, or similar label-driven education who are telling the rest of us 1) what to do, 2) what to eat, 3) how to speak, 4) how to think… and 5) who to vote for.

But the problem is the one-eyed following the blind: these self-described members of the “intelligentsia” can’t find a coconut in Coconut Island, meaning they aren’t intelligent enough to define intelligence hence fall into circularities — but their main skill is capacity to pass exams written by people like them. With psychology papers replicating less than 40%, dietary advice reversing after 30 years of fatphobia, macroeconomic analysis working worse than astrology, the appointment of Bernanke who was less than clueless of the risks, and pharmaceutical trials replicating at best only 1/3 of the time, people are perfectly entitled to rely on their own ancestral instinct and listen to their grandmothers (or Montaigne and such filtered classical knowledge) with a better track record than these policymaking goons.

Indeed one can see that these academico-bureaucrats who feel entitled to run our lives aren’t even rigorous, whether in medical statistics or policymaking. They can’t tell science from scientism — in fact in their image-oriented minds scientism looks more scientific than real science. (For instance it is trivial to show the following: much of what the Cass-Sunstein-Richard Thaler types — those who want to “nudge” us into some behavior — much of what they would classify as “rational” or “irrational” (or some such categories indicating deviation from a desired or prescribed protocol) comes from their misunderstanding of probability theory and cosmetic use of first-order models.) They are also prone to mistake the ensemble for the linear aggregation of its components as we saw in the chapter extending the minority rule.

The Intellectual Yet Idiot is a production of modernity hence has been accelerating since the mid twentieth century, to reach its local supremum today, along with the broad category of people without skin-in-the-game who have been invading many walks of life. Why? Simply, in most countries, the government’s role is between five and ten times what it was a century ago (expressed in percentage of GDP). The IYI seems ubiquitous in our lives but is still a small minority and is rarely seen outside specialized outlets, think tanks, the media, and universities — most people have proper jobs and there are not many openings for the IYI.
Beware the semi-erudite who thinks he is an erudite. He fails to naturally detect sophistry.

The IYI pathologizes others for doing things he doesn’t understand without ever realizing it is his understanding that may be limited. He thinks people should act according to their best interests and he knows their interests, particularly if they are “red necks” or English non-crisp-vowel class who voted for Brexit. When plebeians do something that makes sense to them, but not to him, the IYI uses the term “uneducated”. What we generally call participation in the political process, he calls by two distinct designations: “democracy” when it fits the IYI, and “populism” when the plebeians dare voting in a way that contradicts his preferences. While rich people believe in one tax dollar one vote, more humanistic ones in one man one vote, Monsanto in one lobbyist one vote, the IYI believes in one Ivy League degree one-vote, with some equivalence for foreign elite schools and PhDs as these are needed in the club.

More socially, the IYI subscribes to The New Yorker. He never curses on twitter. He speaks of “equality of races” and “economic equality” but never went out drinking with a minority cab driver (again, no real skin in the game as the concept is foreign to the IYI). Those in the U.K. have been taken for a ride by Tony Blair. The modern IYI has attended more than one TEDx talks in person or watched more than two TED talks on Youtube. Not only did he vote for Hillary Monsanto-Malmaison because she seems electable and some such circular reasoning, but holds that anyone who doesn’t do so is mentally ill.

The IYI has a copy of the first hardback edition of The Black Swan on his shelves, but mistakes absence of evidence for evidence of absence. He believes that GMOs are “science”, that the “technology” is not different from conventional breeding as a result of his readiness to confuse science with scientism.
Typically, the IYI get the first order logic right, but not second-order (or higher) effects making him totally incompetent in complex domains. In the comfort of his suburban home with 2-car garage, he advocated the “removal” of Gadhafi because he was “a dictator”, not realizing that removals have consequences (recall that he has no skin in the game and doesn’t pay for results).
The IYI has been wrong, historically, on Stalinism, Maoism, GMOs, Iraq, Libya, Syria, lobotomies, urban planning, low carbohydrate diets, gym machines, behaviorism, transfats, freudianism, portfolio theory, linear regression, Gaussianism, Salafism, dynamic stochastic equilibrium modeling, housing projects, selfish gene, election forecasting models, Bernie Madoff (pre-blowup) and p-values. But he is convinced that his current position is right.

The IYI is member of a club to get traveling privileges; if social scientist he uses statistics without knowing how they are derived (like Steven Pinker and psycholophasters in general); when in the UK, he goes to literary festivals; he drinks red wine with steak (never white); he used to believe that fat was harmful and has now completely reversed; he takes statins because his doctor told him to do so; he fails to understand ergodicity and when explained to him, he forgets about it soon later; he doesn’t use Yiddish words even when talking business; he studies grammar before speaking a language; he has a cousin who worked with someone who knows the Queen; he has never read Frederic Dard, Libanius Antiochus, Michael Oakeshot, John Gray, Amianus Marcellinus, Ibn Battuta, Saadiah Gaon, or Joseph De Maistre; he has never gotten drunk with Russians; he never drank to the point when one starts breaking glasses (or, preferably, chairs); he doesn’t even know the difference between Hecate and Hecuba (which in Brooklynese is “can’t tell sh**t from shinola”); he doesn’t know that there is no difference between “pseudointellectual” and “intellectual” in the absence of skin in the game; has mentioned quantum mechanics at least twice in the past five years in conversations that had nothing to do with physics.
He knows at any point in time what his words or actions are doing to his reputation.
But a much easier marker: he doesn’t even deadlift.

Not a IYI
The Blind and the Very Blind
Let’s suspend the satirical for a minute.
IYIs fail to distinguish between the letter and the spirit of things. They are so blinded by verbalistic notions such as science, education, democracy, racism, equality, evidence, rationality and similar buzzwords that they can be easily taken for a ride. They can thus cause monstrous iatrogenics[1] without even feeling a shade of a guilt, because they are convinced that they mean well and that they can be thus justified to ignore the deep effect on reality. You would laugh at the doctor who nearly kills his patient yet argues about the effectiveness of his efforts because he lowered the latter’s cholesterol, missing that a metric that correlates to health is not quite health –it took a long time for medicine to convince its practitioners that health was what they needed to work on, not the exercise of what they thought was “science”, hence doing nothing was quite often preferable (via negativa). But yet, in a different domain, say foreign policy, a neo-con who doesn’t realize he has this mental defect would never feel any guilt for blowing up a country such as Libya, Iraq, or Syria, for the sake of “democracy”. I’ve tried to explain via negativa to a neocon: it was like trying to describe colors to someone born blind.
IYIs can be feel satisfied giving their money to a group aimed at “saving the children” who will spend most of it making powerpoint presentation and organizing conferences on how to save the children and completely miss the inconsistency.

Likewise an IYI routinely fails to make a distinction between an institution (say formal university setting and credentialization) and what its true aim is (knowledge, rigor in reasoning) –I’ve even seen a French academic arguing against a mathematician who had great (and useful) contributions because the former “didn’t go to a good school” when he was eighteen or so.
The propensity to this mental disability may be shared by all humans, and it has to be an ingrained defect, except that it disappears under skin in the game.
[1] Harm done by the healer.

Postscript
From the reactions to this piece, I discovered that the IYI has difficulty, when reading, in differentiating between the satirical and the literal.
PostPostcript
The IYI thinks this criticism of IYIs means “everybody is an idiot”, not realizing that their group represents, as we said, a tiny minority — but they don’t like their sense of entitlement to be challenged and although they treat the rest of humans as inferiors, they don’t like it when the waterhose is turned to the opposite direction (what the French call arroseur arrosé). (For instance, Richard Thaler, partner of the dangerous GMO advocate Übernudger Cass Sunstein, interpreted this piece as saying that “there are not many non-idiots not called Taleb”, not realizing that people like him are < 1% or even .1% of the population.)
Post-Post Postscript
(Written after the surprise election of 2016; the chapter above was written several months prior to the event). The election of Trump was so absurd to them and didn’t fit their worldview by such a large margin that they failed to find instructions in their textbook on how to react. It was exactly as on Candid Camera, imagine the characteristic look on someone’s face after they pull a trick on him, and the person is at a loss about how to react.
Or, more interestingly, imagine the looks and reaction of someone who thought he was happily married making an unscheduled return home and hears his wife squealing in bed with a (huge) doorman.
Pretty much everything forecasters, subforecasters, superforecasters, political “scientists”, psychologists, intellectuals, campaigners, “consultants”, big data scientists, everything they know was instantly shown to be a hoax. So my mischievous dream of putting a rat inside someone’s shirt (as expressed in The Black Swan) suddenly came true.
Note: this piece can be reproduced, translated, and published by anyone under the condition that it is in its entirety and mentions that it is extracted from Skin in the Game.
Publications banned from republishing my work without explicit written permission: Huffington Post (all languages).

7
Politics & Religion / Iraq and bin Laden, kept from the memory hole
« on: February 10, 2017, 04:53:39 PM »
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7n3ivH3pCQ

[youtube] https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u7n3ivH3pCQ[/youtube]



______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

http://www.cnn.com/ALLPOLITICS/stories/1998/12/16/transcripts/clinton.html


Transcript: President Clinton explains Iraq strike

CLINTON: Good evening.

Earlier today, I ordered America's armed forces to strike military and security targets in Iraq. They are joined by British forces. Their mission is to attack Iraq's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons programs and its military capacity to threaten its neighbors.

Their purpose is to protect the national interest of the United States, and indeed the interests of people throughout the Middle East and around the world.

Saddam Hussein must not be allowed to threaten his neighbors or the world with nuclear arms, poison gas or biological weapons.

I want to explain why I have decided, with the unanimous recommendation of my national security team, to use force in Iraq; why we have acted now; and what we aim to accomplish.

Six weeks ago, Saddam Hussein announced that he would no longer cooperate with the United Nations weapons inspectors called UNSCOM. They are highly professional experts from dozens of countries. Their job is to oversee the elimination of Iraq's capability to retain, create and use weapons of mass destruction, and to verify that Iraq does not attempt to rebuild that capability.

The inspectors undertook this mission first 7.5 years ago at the end of the Gulf War when Iraq agreed to declare and destroy its arsenal as a condition of the ceasefire.

The international community had good reason to set this requirement. Other countries possess weapons of mass destruction and ballistic missiles. With Saddam, there is one big difference: He has used them. Not once, but repeatedly. Unleashing chemical weapons against Iranian troops during a decade-long war. Not only against soldiers, but against civilians, firing Scud missiles at the citizens of Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Iran. And not only against a foreign enemy, but even against his own people, gassing Kurdish civilians in Northern Iraq.

The international community had little doubt then, and I have no doubt today, that left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will use these terrible weapons again.

The United States has patiently worked to preserve UNSCOM as Iraq has sought to avoid its obligation to cooperate with the inspectors. On occasion, we've had to threaten military force, and Saddam has backed down.

Faced with Saddam's latest act of defiance in late October, we built intensive diplomatic pressure on Iraq backed by overwhelming military force in the region. The UN Security Council voted 15 to zero to condemn Saddam's actions and to demand that he immediately come into compliance.

Eight Arab nations -- Egypt, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, United Arab Emirates and Oman -- warned that Iraq alone would bear responsibility for the consequences of defying the UN.

When Saddam still failed to comply, we prepared to act militarily. It was only then at the last possible moment that Iraq backed down. It pledged to the UN that it had made, and I quote, a clear and unconditional decision to resume cooperation with the weapons inspectors.

I decided then to call off the attack with our airplanes already in the air because Saddam had given in to our demands. I concluded then that the right thing to do was to use restraint and give Saddam one last chance to prove his willingness to cooperate.

I made it very clear at that time what unconditional cooperation meant, based on existing UN resolutions and Iraq's own commitments. And along with Prime Minister Blair of Great Britain, I made it equally clear that if Saddam failed to cooperate fully, we would be prepared to act without delay, diplomacy or warning.

Now over the past three weeks, the UN weapons inspectors have carried out their plan for testing Iraq's cooperation. The testing period ended this weekend, and last night, UNSCOM's chairman, Richard Butler, reported the results to UN Secretary-General Annan.

The conclusions are stark, sobering and profoundly disturbing.

In four out of the five categories set forth, Iraq has failed to cooperate. Indeed, it actually has placed new restrictions on the inspectors. Here are some of the particulars.

Iraq repeatedly blocked UNSCOM from inspecting suspect sites. For example, it shut off access to the headquarters of its ruling party and said it will deny access to the party's other offices, even though UN resolutions make no exception for them and UNSCOM has inspected them in the past.

Iraq repeatedly restricted UNSCOM's ability to obtain necessary evidence. For example, Iraq obstructed UNSCOM's effort to photograph bombs related to its chemical weapons program.

It tried to stop an UNSCOM biological weapons team from videotaping a site and photocopying documents and prevented Iraqi personnel from answering UNSCOM's questions.

Prior to the inspection of another site, Iraq actually emptied out the building, removing not just documents but even the furniture and the equipment.

Iraq has failed to turn over virtually all the documents requested by the inspectors. Indeed, we know that Iraq ordered the destruction of weapons-related documents in anticipation of an UNSCOM inspection.

So Iraq has abused its final chance.

As the UNSCOM reports concludes, and again I quote, "Iraq's conduct ensured that no progress was able to be made in the fields of disarmament.

"In light of this experience, and in the absence of full cooperation by Iraq, it must regrettably be recorded again that the commission is not able to conduct the work mandated to it by the Security Council with respect to Iraq's prohibited weapons program."

In short, the inspectors are saying that even if they could stay in Iraq, their work would be a sham.

Saddam's deception has defeated their effectiveness. Instead of the inspectors disarming Saddam, Saddam has disarmed the inspectors.

This situation presents a clear and present danger to the stability of the Persian Gulf and the safety of people everywhere. The international community gave Saddam one last chance to resume cooperation with the weapons inspectors. Saddam has failed to seize the chance.

And so we had to act and act now.

Let me explain why.

First, without a strong inspection system, Iraq would be free to retain and begin to rebuild its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs in months, not years.

Second, if Saddam can crippled the weapons inspection system and get away with it, he would conclude that the international community -- led by the United States -- has simply lost its will. He will surmise that he has free rein to rebuild his arsenal of destruction, and someday -- make no mistake -- he will use it again as he has in the past.

Third, in halting our air strikes in November, I gave Saddam a chance, not a license. If we turn our backs on his defiance, the credibility of U.S. power as a check against Saddam will be destroyed. We will not only have allowed Saddam to shatter the inspection system that controls his weapons of mass destruction program; we also will have fatally undercut the fear of force that stops Saddam from acting to gain domination in the region.

That is why, on the unanimous recommendation of my national security team -- including the vice president, the secretary of defense, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, the secretary of state and the national security adviser -- I have ordered a strong, sustained series of air strikes against Iraq.

They are designed to degrade Saddam's capacity to develop and deliver weapons of mass destruction, and to degrade his ability to threaten his neighbors.

At the same time, we are delivering a powerful message to Saddam. If you act recklessly, you will pay a heavy price. We acted today because, in the judgment of my military advisers, a swift response would provide the most surprise and the least opportunity for Saddam to prepare.

If we had delayed for even a matter of days from Chairman Butler's report, we would have given Saddam more time to disperse his forces and protect his weapons.

Also, the Muslim holy month of Ramadan begins this weekend. For us to initiate military action during Ramadan would be profoundly offensive to the Muslim world and, therefore, would damage our relations with Arab countries and the progress we have made in the Middle East.

That is something we wanted very much to avoid without giving Iraq's a month's head start to prepare for potential action against it.

Finally, our allies, including Prime Minister Tony Blair of Great Britain, concurred that now is the time to strike. I hope Saddam will come into cooperation with the inspection system now and comply with the relevant UN Security Council resolutions. But we have to be prepared that he will not, and we must deal with the very real danger he poses.

So we will pursue a long-term strategy to contain Iraq and its weapons of mass destruction and work toward the day when Iraq has a government worthy of its people.

First, we must be prepared to use force again if Saddam takes threatening actions, such as trying to reconstitute his weapons of mass destruction or their delivery systems, threatening his neighbors, challenging allied aircraft over Iraq or moving against his own Kurdish citizens.

The credible threat to use force, and when necessary, the actual use of force, is the surest way to contain Saddam's weapons of mass destruction program, curtail his aggression and prevent another Gulf War.

Second, so long as Iraq remains out of compliance, we will work with the international community to maintain and enforce economic sanctions. Sanctions have cost Saddam more than $120 billion -- resources that would have been used to rebuild his military. The sanctions system allows Iraq to sell oil for food, for medicine, for other humanitarian supplies for the Iraqi people.

We have no quarrel with them. But without the sanctions, we would see the oil-for-food program become oil-for-tanks, resulting in a greater threat to Iraq's neighbors and less food for its people.

The hard fact is that so long as Saddam remains in power, he threatens the well-being of his people, the peace of his region, the security of the world.

The best way to end that threat once and for all is with a new Iraqi government -- a government ready to live in peace with its neighbors, a government that respects the rights of its people. Bringing change in Baghdad will take time and effort. We will strengthen our engagement with the full range of Iraqi opposition forces and work with them effectively and prudently.

The decision to use force is never cost-free. Whenever American forces are placed in harm's way, we risk the loss of life. And while our strikes are focused on Iraq's military capabilities, there will be unintended Iraqi casualties.

Indeed, in the past, Saddam has intentionally placed Iraqi civilians in harm's way in a cynical bid to sway international opinion.

We must be prepared for these realities. At the same time, Saddam should have absolutely no doubt if he lashes out at his neighbors, we will respond forcefully.

Heavy as they are, the costs of action must be weighed against the price of inaction. If Saddam defies the world and we fail to respond, we will face a far greater threat in the future. Saddam will strike again at his neighbors. He will make war on his own people.

And mark my words, he will develop weapons of mass destruction. He will deploy them, and he will use them.

Because we're acting today, it is less likely that we will face these dangers in the future.

Let me close by addressing one other issue. Saddam Hussein and the other enemies of peace may have thought that the serious debate currently before the House of Representatives would distract Americans or weaken our resolve to face him down.

But once more, the United States has proven that although we are never eager to use force, when we must act in America's vital interests, we will do so.

In the century we're leaving, America has often made the difference between chaos and community, fear and hope. Now, in the new century, we'll have a remarkable opportunity to shape a future more peaceful than the past, but only if we stand strong against the enemies of peace.

Tonight, the United States is doing just that. May God bless and protect the brave men and women who are carrying out this vital mission and their families. And may God bless America.


______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


https://fas.org/irp/news/1998/11/98110602_nlt.html

 06 November 1998
TEXT: US GRAND JURY INDICTMENT AGAINST USAMA BIN LADEN

United States District Court
Southern District of New York

 

    Press Release (PDF format)
    Usama Bin-Laden Indictment (PDF format)
    Usama Bin-Laden, Muhammad Atef, et al. Indictment
        Introduction and Counts 1 thru 3 (PDF format)
        Counts 4 thru 238 (PDF format)




New York -- A U.S. Federal Grand Jury in New York on Nov. 5 issued an
indictment against Usama Bin Laden alleging that he and others engaged
in a long-term conspiracy to attack U.S. facilities overseas and to
kill American citizens.


The indictment noted that Al Qaeda, Bin Laden's international
terrorist group, forged alliances with the National Islamic Front in
Sudan and with the government of Iran and with its associated group
Hezballah to "work together against their perceived common enemies in
the West, particularly the United States."


Additionally, the indictment states that Al Qaeda reached an agreement
with Iraq not to work against the regime of Saddam Hussein and that
they would work cooperatively with Iraq, particularly in weapons
development.


According to the indictment, Bin Laden's group also tried to recruit
Americans to travel through the United States and the West to deliver
messages and to conduct financial transactions to aid their terrorist
activities. The indictment also states that Al Qaeda used humanitarian
work as a conduit for transmitting funds to affiliate terrorist
groups.


The indictment also claims that Bin Laden's supporters purchased land
for terrorist training camps; bought warehouses where explosives were
stored; transferred bank accounts using various aliases; purchased
sophisticated telecommunications equipment; and transferred money and
weapons to Al Qaeda and affiliated terrorist organizations.


The indictment also states that beginning in 1993, Al Qaeda began
training Somali tribes to oppose the United Nation's humanitarian
effort in Somalia. In October, members of Al Qaeda participated in an
attack on U.S. military personnel where 18 soldiers were killed and 73
others wounded in Mogadishu. In another reference, the indictment
noted that an unnamed "co-conspirator" transported weapons and
explosives from Khartoum to Port Sudan for transshipment to the Saudi
Arabian peninsula.


The Grand Jury document, which usually does not provide a great amount
of details in advance of a prosecution, also stated that Bin Laden and
"others" tried to develop chemical weapons and attempted to obtain
nuclear weapons components in 1993.


The indictment noted that Bin Laden issued his Declaration of Jihad
with the aim of recruiting others to "kill Americans and encouraged
other persons to join the jihad against the American enemy."


Following is the text of the indictment:



(Begin text)



UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT

SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF NEW YORK



UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

- V-

USAMA BIN LADEN,

a/k/a "Usamah Bin-Muhammad Bin-Laden,"

a/k/a "Shaykh Usamah Bin-Laden,"

a/k/a "Mujahid Shaykh,"

a/k/a "Abu Abdallah,"

a/k/a "Qa Qa,"



Defendant



COUNT ONE



Conspiracy to Attack Defense Utilities of the United States



The Grand Jury charges:



Background: Al Qaeda



1. At all relevant times from in or about 1989 until the date of the
filing of this Indictment, an international terrorist group existed
which was dedicated to opposing non-Islamic governments with force and
violence. This organization grew out of the "mekhtab al Khidemat" (the
"Services Office") organization which had maintained (and continues to
maintain) offices in various parts of the world, including
Afghanistan, Pakistan (particularly in Peshawar) and the United
States, particularly at the Alkifah Refugee Center - in Brooklyn. From
in or about 1989 until the present, the group called itself "Al Qaeda"
("the Base"). From 1989 until in or about 1991, the group was
headquartered in Afghanistan and Peshawar, Pakistan. In or about 1992,
the leadership of Al Qaeda, including its "emir" (or prince) USAMA BIN
LADEN the defendant, and its military command relocated to the Sudan.
From in or about 1991 until the present, the group also called itself
the "Islamic Army." The international terrorist group (hereafter
referred to as "Al Qaeda") was headquartered in the Sudan from
approximately 1992 until approximately 1996 but still maintained
offices in various parts of the world. In 1996, USAMA BIN LADEN and Al
Qaeda relocated to Afghanistan. At all relevant times, Al Qaeda was
led by its "emir," USAMA BIN LADEN. Members of Al Qaeda pledged an
oath of allegiance to USAMA BIN LADEN and Al Qaeda.


2. Al Qaeda opposed the United States for several reasons. First, the
United States was regarded as "infidel" because it was not governed in
a manner consistent with the group's extremist interpretation of
Islam. Second, the United States was viewed as providing essential
support for other "infidel" governments and institutions, particularly
the governments of Saudi Arabia and Egypt, the nation of Israel and
the United Nations, which were regarded as enemies of the group.
Third, Al Qaeda opposed the involvement of the United states armed
forces in the Gulf War in 1991 and in Operation Restore Hope in
Somalia in 1992 and 1993. In particular, Al Qaeda opposed the
continued presence of American military forces in Saudi Arabia (and
elsewhere on the Saudi Arabian peninsula) following the Gulf war.
Fourth, Al Qaeda opposed the United States Government because of the
arrest, conviction and imprisonment of persons belonging to Al Qaeda
or its affiliated terrorist groups, including Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman.


3. Al Qaeda has functioned both on its own and through some of the
terrorist organizations that have operated under its umbrella,
including: the Islamic Group (also known as "al Gamaa Islamia" or
simply "Gamaa't"), led by co-conspirator Sheik Oxar Abdal Rahman; the
al Jihad group based in Egypt; the "Talah e Fatah" ("Vanguards of
conquest") faction of al Jibad, which was also based in Egypt, Which
faction was led by co-conspirator Ayman al Zawahiri ("al Jibad");
Palestinian Islamic Jihad and a number of Jihad groups in other
countries, including Egypt, the Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Somalia,
Eritrea, Kenya, Pakistan, Bosnia, Croatia, Algeria, Tunisia, Lebanon,
the Philippines, Tajikistan, Chechnya, Bangladesh, Kashmir and
Azerbaijan. In February 1998, Al Qaeda joined forces with Gamaa't, Al
Jihad, the Jihad Movement in Bangladesh and the "Jamaat ul Ulema e
Pakistan" to issue a fatwah (an Islamic religious ruling) declaring
war against American civilians worldwide under the banner of the
"International Islamic Front for Jibad on the Jews and Crusaders."


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



5. Al Qaeda had a command and control structure which included a
majlis al shura (or consultation council) which discussed and approved
major undertakings, including terrorist operations.


6. Al Qaeda also conducted internal investigations of its members and
their associates in an effort to detect informants and killed those
suspected of collaborating with enemies of Al Qaeda.


7. From at least 1991 until the date of the filing of this Indictment,
in the Sudan, Afghanistan and elsewhere out of the jurisdiction of any
particular state or district, USAMA BIN LADEN, a/k/a "Usamah
Bin-Muhammad Bin-Laden," a/k/a "Shaykh Usamah Bin-Laden," a/k/a
"Mujahid Shaykh," a/k/a "Abu Abdallah," a/k/a "Qa Qa," the defendant,
and a co-conspirator not named as a defendant herein (hereafter
"Co-conspirator") who was first brought to and arrested in the
Southern District of New York, and others known and unknown to the
grand jury, unlawfully, willfully and knowingly combined conspired,
confederated and agreed together and with each other to injure and
destroy, and attempt to injure and destroy, national-defense material,
national-defense premises and national-defense utilities of the United
States with the intent to injure, interfere with and obstruct the
national defense of the United states.


Overt Acts



8. In furtherance of the said conspiracy, and to effect the illegal
object thereof, the following overt acts, among others, were
committed:


a. At various times from at least as early as 1991 until at least in
or about February 1998, USAMA BIN LADEN, the defendant, met with
Co-conspirator and other members of Al Qaeda in the Sudan, Afghanistan
and elsewhere;


b. At various times from at least as early as 1991, USAMA BIN LADEN,
and others known and unknown, made efforts to obtain weapons,
including firearms and explosives, for Al Qaeda and its affiliated
terrorist groups;


c. At various times from at least as early as 1991 USAMA BIN LADEN,
and others known and unknown, provided training camps and guest houses
in various areas, including Afghanistan and the Sudan, for the use of
Al Qaeda and its affiliated terrorist groups;


d. At various times from at least as early as 1991, USAMA BIN LADEN,
and others known and unknown, made efforts to produce counterfeit
passports purporting to be issued by various countries and also
obtained official passports from the Government of the Sudan for use
by Al Qaeda and its affiliated groups;


e. At various times from at least as early as 1991, USAMA BIN LADEN,
and others known and unknown, made efforts to recruit United States
citizens to Al Qaeda in order to utilize the American citizens for
travel throughout the Western world to deliver messages and engage in
financial transactions for the benefit of Al Qaeda and its affiliated
groups;


f. At various times from at least as early as 1991, USAMA BIN LADEN,
and others known and unknown, made efforts to utilize non-Government
organizations which purported to be engaged in humanitarian work as
conduits for transmitting funds for the benefit of Al Qaeda and its
affiliated groups;


g. At various times from at least as early as 1991, Co-conspirator and
others known and unknown to the grand jury engaged in financial and
business transactions on behalf of defendant USAMA BIN LADEN and Al
Qaeda, including, but not limited to: purchasing land for training
camps; purchasing warehouses for storage of items, including
explosives; transferring funds between bank accounts opened in various
names, obtaining various communications equipment, including satellite
telephones and transporting currency and weapons to members of Al
Qaeda and its associated terrorist organizations in various countries
throughout the world;


h. At various times from in or about 1992 until the date of the filing
of this Indictment, USAMA BIN LADEN and other ranking members of Al
Qaeda stated privately to other members of Al Qaeda that Al Qaeda
should put aside its differences with Shiite Muslim terrorist
organizations, including the Government of Iran and its affiliated
terrorist group Hezballah, to cooperate against the perceived common
enemy, the United States and its allies;


i. At various times from in or about 1992 until the date of the filing
of this Indictment, USAMA BIN LADEN and other ranking members of Al
Qaeda stated privately to other members of Al Qaeda that the United
States forces stationed on the Saudi Arabian peninsula, including both
Saudi Arabia and Yemen, should be Attacked;


j. At various times from in or about 1992 until the date of the filing
of this Indictment, USAMA BIN LADEN and other ranking members of Al
Qaeda stated privately to other members of Al Qaeda that the United
States forces stationed in the Horn of Africa, including Somalia,
should be attacked;


k. Beginning in or about early spring 1993, Al Qaeda members began to
provide training and assistance to Somali tribes opposed to the United
Nations intervention in Somalia;


l. On October 3 and 4, 1993, members of Al Qaeda participated with
Somali tribesmen in an attack on United States military personnel
serving in Somalia as part of Operation Restore Hope, which attack
killed a total of 18 United States soldiers and wounded 73 others in
Mogadishu;


m. On two occasions in the period from in or about 1992 until in or
about 1995, Co-conspirator helped transport weapons and explosives
from Khartoum to Port Sudan for transshipment to the Saudi Arabian
peninsula;


n. At various times from at least as early as 1993, USAMA BIN LADEN
and others known and unknown, made efforts to obtain the components of
nuclear weapons;


o. At various times from at least as early as 1993 USAMA BIN LADEN and
others known and unknown, made efforts to produce chemical weapons;


p. On or about August 23, 1996, USAMA BIN LADEN signed and issued a
declaration of Jihad entitled "Message from Usamah Bin-Muhammad
Bin-Laden to His Muslim Brothers in the Whole World and Especially in
the Arabian Peninsula: Declaration of Jihad Against the Americans
Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Mosques; Expel the Heretics from
the Arabian Peninsula" (hereafter the "Declaration of Jihad) from the
Hindu Kush mountains in Afghanistan. The Declaration of Jihad included
statements that efforts should be pooled to kill Americans and
encouraged other persons to join the jihad against the American
enemy";


q. In or about late August 1996, USAMA BIN LADEN read aloud the
Declaration of Jihad and made an audiotape recording of such reading
for worldwide distribution; and


r. In February 1998, USAMA BIN LADEN issued a joint declaration in the
name of Gamaa't, Al Jihad, the Jihad movement in Bangladesh and the
"Jamaat ul Ulema e Pakistan" under the banner of the "International
Islamic Front for Jihad on the Jews and Crusaders," which stated that
Muslims should kill Americans -- including civilians -- anywhere in
the world where they can be found.


(Title 18, United States code, Section 2155(b).)



(End text)

_______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
http://usatoday30.usatoday.com/news/world/iraq/2003-09-17-iraq-wtc_x.htm

U.S.: Iraq sheltered suspect in '93 WTC attack
By John Diamond, USA TODAY

WASHINGTON — U.S. authorities in Iraq say they have new evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime gave money and housing to Abdul Rahman Yasin, a suspect in the World Trade Center bombing in 1993, according to U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials.
The Bush administration is using the evidence to strengthen its disputed prewar assertion that Iraq had ties to terrorists, including the al-Qaeda group responsible for the Sept. 11 attack. But President Bush, in contrast with comments Sunday by Vice President Cheney, said Wednesday, "We've had no evidence that Saddam Hussein was involved."
Cheney had said on NBC's Meet the Press Sunday that "we don't know" if Iraq was involved but said some suggestive evidence had surfaced. He asserted that the campaign in Iraq is striking at terrorists involved in the attacks. Cheney also disclosed the new evidence about the 1993 suspect on the program, but he did not name Yasin.
Military, intelligence and law enforcement officials reported finding a large cache of Arabic-language documents in Tikrit, Saddam's political stronghold. A U.S. intelligence official who spoke on condition of anonymity said translators and analysts are busy "separating the gems from the junk." The official said some of the analysts have concluded that the documents show that Saddam's government provided monthly payments and a home for Yasin.
Yasin is on the FBI's list of 22 most-wanted terrorist fugitives; there is a $25 million reward for his capture. The bureau questioned and released him in New York shortly after the bombing in 1993. After Yasin had fled to Iraq, the FBI said it found evidence that he helped make the bomb, which killed six people and injured 1,000. Yasin is still at large.
Even if the new information holds up — and intelligence and law enforcement officials disagree on its conclusiveness — the links tying Yasin, Saddam and al-Qaeda are tentative.
The World Trade Center bombing was carried out by a group headed by Ramzi Yousef, who is serving a 240-year prison term. Federal authorities say Yousef's group received financial support from al-Qaeda via Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks. But a direct al-Qaeda role in the 1993 attack hasn't been established.

https://www.fbi.gov/wanted/wanted_terrorists/abdul-rahman-yasin

ABDUL RAHMAN YASIN

Damage by Means of Fire or an Explosive; Damage by Means of Fire or an Explosive to United States Property; Transport in Interstate Commerce an Explosive; Destruction of Motor Vehicles or Motor Vehicle Facilities; Conspiracy to Commit Offense or Defraud the United States; Aiding and Abetting; Assault of a Federal Officer in the Line of Duty; Commission of a Crime of Violence Through the Use of a Deadly Weapon or Device


    English

    Photograph taken in 2002

Aliases:

Abdul Rahman Said Yasin, Aboud Yasin, Abdul Rahman S. Taha, Abdul Rahman S. Taher
Date(s) of Birth Used    April 10, 1960
Place of Birth    Bloomington, Indiana
Hair    Black
Eyes    Brown
Height    5'10"
Weight    180 pounds
Build    Unknown
Complexion    Olive
Sex    Male
Citizenship    American
Languages    Unknown
Scars and Marks    Yasin possibly has a chemical burn scar on his right thigh.
Reward:

The Rewards For Justice Program, United States Department of State, is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading directly to the apprehension or conviction of Abdul Rahman Yasin.
Remarks:

Yasin is an epileptic.
Caution:

Abdul Rahman Yasin is wanted for his alleged participation in the terrorist bombing of the World Trade Center, New York City, on February 26, 1993, which resulted in six deaths, the wounding of numerous individuals, and the significant destruction of property and commerce.

________________________________________________________________________________________________________



https://www.un.org/sc/suborg/en/sanctions/1267/aq_sanctions_list/summaries/individual/abdul-rahman-yasin



Security Council Committee pursuant to resolutions 1267 (1999) 1989 (2011) and 2253 (2015) concerning ISIL (Da'esh) Al-Qaida and associated individuals groups undertakings and entities
Home › ISIL (Da'esh) & Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee › Sanctions List Materials › Narrative Summaries › ABDUL RAHMAN YASIN
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NARRATIVE SUMMARIES OF REASONS FOR LISTING

In accordance with paragraph 36 of resolution 2161 (2014) , the Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee makes accessible a narrative summary of reasons for the listing for individuals, groups, undertakings and entities included in the Al-Qaida Sanctions List.
QDi.037
ABDUL RAHMAN YASIN
Date on which the narrative summary became available on the Committee's website:
07 September 2010
Reason for listing:

Abdul Rahman Yasin was listed on 17 October 2001 pursuant to paragraph 8(c) of resolution 1333 (2000) as being associated with Al-Qaida, Usama bin Laden or the Taliban for “participating in the financing, planning, facilitating, preparing or perpetrating of acts or activities by, in conjunction with, under the name of, on behalf, or in support of”, “supplying, selling or transferring arms and related materiel to” or “otherwise supporting acts or activities of” Al-Qaida (QDe.004), Usama bin Laden and the Taliban.
Additional information:

Abdul Rahman Yasin assisted Ramzi Ahmed Yousef to carry out an attack on the World Trade Center in New York City, United States in February 1993. Yousef and Yasin drove a van full of explosives into the basement of the World Trade Center; the explosion killed six and wounded over one thousand people. Yasin fled the United States immediately after the bombing to avoid arrest. After the bombing, law enforcement officials obtained evidence which led to the indictment of several suspected terrorists involved in the bombing, including Yasin.

Yasin was indicted in the United States for his role in the World Trade Center bombing.

Related listed individuals and entities:

Al-Qaida (QDe.004), listed on 6 October 2001




 

8
Politics & Religion / Let them go! Time for the national divorce
« on: November 11, 2016, 10:23:58 AM »
http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/11/after_trump_victory_oregonians.html

Peaceful is better than violent. This is no longer one nation, so let the free states and those who wish to follow the socialist path part ways.

10
Politics & Religion / 9/11/2015
« on: September 11, 2015, 07:03:08 AM »
9/11/2001 Let's roll!

9/11/2015 Let's roll over.

11
Politics & Religion / The war on the rule of law; the Deep State
« on: January 15, 2013, 02:37:32 PM »
Of the damage done to this country by Obama, the destruction of the rule of law is the worst wound inflicted, and will long plague the American people after he leaves office.

12
Politics & Religion / Predictions & Resolutions for 2012
« on: January 02, 2012, 04:12:09 AM »
Ok, time to step up and make your predictions for the new year.

MARC:  I have added the word "Resolutions" to the name of this thread.

13
Politics & Religion / The Oslo-bomber
« on: July 25, 2011, 01:30:26 PM »

http://hotair.com/greenroom/archives/2011/07/25/anders-breivik-post-modern-crusader/

Anders Breivik, post-modern Crusader

 

posted at 3:48 pm on July 25, 2011 by J.E. Dyer


 

Sometimes the life of a blogger is fraught with tedium and annoyance.  It can also be touched simultaneously by profound sadness.  I’ve been steeping in a brew concocted from these ingredients, perusing the 1518-page “2083” manifesto of the Norwegian mass murderer so you don’t have to.
 


As My Pet Jawa reports, parts of “2083” were copied from the Unabomber’s manifesto.  But that gives a very incomplete impression of what makes this guy tick.  The overarching theme of “2083” is that he, and his confreres in the “PCCTS Knights Templar,” are modern-day Crusaders.  They are not what most other Christians would call Christian; Anders is very explicit that having a relationship with Jesus Christ is not his thing.  He’s a “cultural” Christian, and the PCCTS Knights Templar (expansion of PCCTS below) are happy to accept members who are, in Breivik’s words, “Christian agnostics” and “Christian atheists.”  He uses “Christian” as a modifier signifying primarily Western/European cultural identity; he does speak of brotherhood with African and Asian Christians, but the context of the references is clearly cultural.
 


Tellingly, there is not one reference in “2083” to the power of spiritual Christianity deriving from the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  For spiritual Christians, that’s the bottom line.  It’s what you say, what you talk about, your confession of faith.  Breivik doesn’t allude to it at all.  Again, it’s not his thing.  He doesn’t think of Christianity as transforming hearts and lives for the better.  He thinks of it as a positive, unifying symbol-set, one that evokes the energy, reason, and strength of the traditional culture of Europe.
 


Here are his words:
 



3.139 Distinguishing between cultural Christendom and religious Christendom – reforming our suicidal Church
 


A majority of so called agnostics and atheists in Europe are cultural conservative Christians without even knowing it. So what is the difference between cultural Christians and religious Christians?
 


If you have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God then you are a religious Christian. Myself and many more like me do not necessarily have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and God. We do however believe in Christianity as a cultural, social, identity and moral platform. This makes us Christian. (p. 1307)
 


And this:
 



I’m not going to pretend I’m a very religious person as that would be a lie. I’ve always been very pragmatic and influenced by my secular surroundings and environment. In the past, I remember I used to think;
 


“Religion is a crutch for weak people. What is the point in believing in a higher power if you have confidence in yourself!? Pathetic.”
 


Perhaps this is true for many cases. Religion is a crutch for many weak people and many embrace religion for self serving reasons as a source for drawing mental strength (to feed their weak emotional state f example during illness, death, poverty etc.). Since I am not a hypocrite, I’ll say directly that this is my agenda as well. However, I have not yet felt the need to ask God for strength, yet… (p. 1344)
 


And this:
 



If you want to fight for the cross and die under the “cross of the martyrs” it’s required that you are a practising Christian, a Christian agnostic or a Christian atheist (cultural Christian). The cultural factors are more important than your personal relationship with God, Jesus or the holy spirit.
 



 


Choosing to fight under the banner of the cross, does not constitute that you have to reject your Odinistic heritage in any way or form.
 



 


As a cultural Christian, I believe Christendom is essential for cultural reasons.
 



 


As this is a cultural war, our definition of being a Christian does not necessarily constitute that you are required to have a personal relationship with God or Jesus. Being a Christian can mean many things;
 


- That you believe in and want to protect Europe’s Christian cultural heritage.
 


The European cultural heritage, our norms (moral codes and social structures included), our traditions and our modern political systems are based on Christianity – Protestantism, Catholicism, Orthodox Christianity and the legacy of the European enlightenment (reason is the primary source and legitimacy for authority).
 


It is not required that you have a personal relationship with God or Jesus in order to fight for our Christian cultural heritage and the European way. In many ways, our modern societies and European secularism is a result of European Christendom and the enlightenment. It is therefore essential to understand the difference between a “Christian fundamentalist theocracy” (everything we do not want) and a secular European society based on our Christian cultural heritage (what we do want).
 


So no, you don’t need to have a personal relationship with God or Jesus to fight for our Christian cultural heritage. It is enough that you are a Christian-agnostic or a Christian atheist (an atheist who wants to preserve at least the basics of the European Christian cultural legacy (Christian holidays, Christmas and Easter)).
 


The PCCTS, Knights Templar is therefore not a religious organisation but rather a Christian “culturalist” military order.
 


(C)reating a religious order would be counter-productive as a majority of Europe’s armed resistance fighters are agnostics, atheists or relatively secular Christians. The organisation is therefore considered a moderate Christian identity organisation and not a religious order. (p. 1360-on)
 


Predictably, Breivik invokes the Nietzschean complaint that Christianity is too weak and self-effacing for its own good:
 



The Judeo-Christian religions played an important and influential role in building the once mighty West but we also discovered that these religions contained a serious flaw that has sewed the seeds of the suicidal demise of the indigenous peoples of Western Europe and our cultures. This flaw was identified by the brilliant German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche who described it as “an inversion of morality” whereby the weak, the poor, the meek, the oppressed and the wretched are virtuous and blessed by God whereas the strong, the wealthy, the noble and the powerful are the immoral and damned by the vengeful almighty Yahweh for eternity.
 


Nietzsche, with great insight and perception, stated that Christianity would be abandoned en masse in the twentieth century but that Westerners would still cling to this inversion of morality. I then described how Marxists and Liberals exploit this inversion of morality by creating large numbers of “victim groups“, groups who form minorities in Western society but whose “victim status” is used to dictate morality to the majority. In Western – European – societies, the weak now lead the strong, indeed, the game being played in these societies is not to make the weak strong it is to make the strong weak. (p. 391)
 


But he despises National Socialists (referred to by the initials NS throughout the text) and has only negative things to say about Hitler.  In fact, Breivik devotes pages to arguing against the Nazi perspective on cultural unity and power.  Breivik’s unifying idea and symbology are the Crusades and the Knights Templar.  What he wants Christian Europe (and indeed, all Christendom) to get back to is his concept of the church militant in the Crusades era:  a church that forms the cultural core of society and motivates the people to – if you will – defend Christianity forward.  His plan for a revitalized cultural-Christian Europe involves reclaiming Lebanon for Christianity (yes, this figures very large in the manifesto), supporting Christians in Africa and Asia in driving Muslims and cultural relativists out of their lands, and helping Israeli Jews build the Third Temple in Jerusalem.
 


All his concepts are political and militant.  He advocates holding a “Great Christian Congress” (p. 1136) at which the new Knights Templar-based authorities of Europe reorganize the church for its own good.  Protestantism has been an unmitigated disaster, and needs to be winnowed out.  (Breivik was baptized a Protestant but admires the political history, ritual, organization, and aesthetics of the Catholic Church.)  The church will be assigned in his restored cultural order to a number of tasks, and given some important powers, but one thing it will not have is the autonomy to evolve away from his militant ideal for it.
 


The PCCTS Knights Templar are named after the original Knights Templar: the “Pauperes commilitones Christi Templique Solomonici,” or Poor Fellow-Soldiers of Christ and the Temple of Solomon.  An anonymous group of Europeans met in London in 2002 to re-found the order, and Breivik was present at the creation.  Its program for reclaiming Europe and the world is oriented on the year 2083, presumably because that year will mark the 400th anniversary of the Battle of Vienna.
 


And it is a warlike program, to say the least.  Cultural Marxists (e.g., the people he killed in the government offices), along with Muslims, will be given an ultimatum to embrace cultural Christianity by 1 January 2020, or be killed or driven out.  In the aftermath of the ultimatum, WMD will be used on them.  Breivik devotes pages of text to various methods of acquiring chemical, biological, and nuclear weapons:  from the existing governments of Europe, from crime syndicates, directly from Islamist states and terrorist groups (because why not?).
 


He justifies this bloodthirsty program on the basis of the indulgences granted to “all future Crusaders” by Pope Urban II in 1095; on the “duty to crusade” which he reads into the church’s canon law; and on the calls of subsequent popes to mount new crusades. (p. 1324)
 


Have I mentioned that Breivik is an avid player of World of Warcraft?  He reports taking an entire year off from paid employment to play it full time.  In this and other ways he is very much a product of modern Western culture – and that is where the profound sadness comes in.  He has reached the age of 32 with an obvious sense of rootlessness, a set of grievances against society (some of them justified), and no spiritual or emotional defenses against resorting to a kinetic Manichaeism in his approach to politics and life.  Here is part of his account of his teenage years in Oslo:
 



We used to hang out with GSV crew, or B-Gjengen as they are popularly called today, a Muslim Pakistani gang, quite violent even back then. “Gang alliances” was a part of our everyday life at that point and assured that you avoided threats and harassment. Alliances with the right people guaranteed safe passage everywhere without the risk of being subdued and robbed (Jizya), beaten or harassed. We had close ties with B-Gjengen (B-Gang) and A-Gjengen (A-Gang), both Muslim Pakistani gangs through my best friend Arsalan who was also a Pakistani. Even at that time, the Muslim gangs were very dominating in Oslo East and in inner city Oslo. They even arranged “raids” in Oslo West occasionally, subduing the native youths (kuffars) and collecting Jizya from them (in the form of cell phones, cash, sunglasses etc.). I remember they systematically harassed, robbed and beat ethnic Norwegian youngsters who were unfortunate enough to not have the right affiliations. Muslim youths called the ethnic Norwegians “poteter” (potatoes, a derogatory term used by Muslims to describe ethnic Norwegians). These people occasionally raped the so called “potato whores”. In Oslo, as an ethnic Norwegian youth aged 14-18 you were restricted if you didn’t have affiliations to the Muslim gangs. Your travel was restricted to your own neighbourhoods in Oslo West and certain central points in the city. Unless you had Muslim contacts you could easily be subject to harassment, beatings and robbery. Our alliances with the Muslim gangs were strictly seen as a necessity for us, at least for me. We, however, due to our alliances had the freedom of movement. As a result of our alliances we were allowed to have a relaxing and secure position on the West side of Oslo among our age group. Think of it as being local “warlords” for certain “kuffar areas”, which were regulated by the only dominant force, Muslim gangs collaberating with anarcho-Marxist networks.
 


Many of these groups claim to be tolerant and anti-fascist, but yet, I have never met anyone as hypocritical, racist and fascist as the people whom I used to call friends and allies. The media glorifies them while they wreck havoc across the city, rob and plunder. Yet, any attempts their victims do to consolidate are harshly condemned by all aspects of the cultural establishment as racism and Nazism. I have witnessed the double standards and hypocrisy with my own eyes, it is hard to ignore. I was one of the protected “potatoes”, having friends and allies in the Jihadi-racist gangs such as the A and B gang and many other Muslim gangs.
 


I gradually became appalled by the mentality, actions and hypocrisy of what he calls the “Marxist-Jihadi youth” movement of Oslo disguised under more socially acceptable brands such as: “SOS Rasisme”, “Youth against Racism”, Blitz who literally hijacked segments of the hiphop movement and used it as a front for recruitment.
 


I have personally heard of and witnessed hundreds of Jihadi-racist attacks, more than 90% of them aimed at helpless Norwegian youth (who themselves are brought up to be “suicidally” tolerant and therefore are completely unprepared mentally for attacks such as these). This happens while the Marxist networks in the hiphop movement and the cultural establishment silently and indirectly condone it. There is absolutely no political will to ensure that justice is served on behalf of these victims. I remember at one point thinking; “This system makes me sick”.  (p. 1389)
 


Breivik’s complaint is that what he was supposed to believe in – who he was supposed to be, as a member of a culture – offered him no protection, safety, or dignity.  He goes on to recount, one by one, the occasions on which he was directly attacked or threatened in the years after he broke with his “gang alliances” (starting on p. 1393).  He also observes, matter-of-factly, that a natural-selection process kicked in after the mid-teenage years, when students are channeled into academic or technical/trades education.  The Muslim teens almost all went into vocational training (or left school entirely), which meant they and the ethnic Norwegians were no longer in the same schools, and no longer had to meet in the same neighborhoods.
 


The void where the reasons for cultural unity should be is a real source of sorrow here, at least for me.  Breivik blames it, in effect, on “cultural Marxism” (his cultural commentary is all derivative):  the process of tearing down the traditional shibboleths of a culture in order to leave populations mentally defenseless against collectivism.  And this isn’t invalid, as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough.  The problem for Europe isn’t so much what it no longer is, as that there is no compelling vision for what it ought to be.
 


That is most clearly apparent in the video Breivik posted to explain the “2083” concept.  One of the first things that struck me in watching the video was that it seemed curiously American in tone.  Breivik’s imagery for depicting the downfall of Europe includes thematic “traffic signs,” which of course are a universal phenomenon, but also shows the boy “Billy” from the Family Circus cartoon representing Europe – clearly as a fresh-faced, defenseless youth – and depicts the suicide of the West via a caricature of Uncle Sam with a pistol in his mouth.  In the text, at the inflection point of the video when it transitions from lament to a plan for the future, Breivik quotes Thomas Jefferson on the tree of liberty being refreshed with the blood of patriots and tyrants.
 


Yet the “2083” manifesto is very Euro-centric.  It is not about the US, or the distinctly American political idea, and it deals with the Americas as a whole very little.  Breivik clearly sees Europe as having a meaningful identity of its own, but he can’t come up with an identifiably European image to convey that as a modern reality.  As the video crescendos, he harks back to the Middle Ages, lining up one image after another of armored knights in battle (or in heroic stances).  His hall of European fame is a series of military commanders who fought against Muslim armies in centuries past (the most recent being Czar Nicholas I in the 19th century).
 


These images are not compelling to conservatives in the US, and I don’t see any evidence that they are the organizing idea for classical-liberal thinkers or political parties in Europe.  There is literally no mainstream interest in refighting the Crusades or wrestling the church down and making her culturally militant on the model of the Middle Ages.  There is a varying level of political engagement among Christians:  some are very left-leaning, others are conservative (or liberal in the classical European sense), many of both kinds have little interest in politics, and others find politics important and rewarding.  Anders Breivik’s model of a post-modern Knight Templar resonates not at all with the actual beliefs and stances of conservatives, Christians, or conservative Christians.
 


That is partly because Breivik seeks a form of tribal symbology and validation that modern society has grown comparatively comfortable without.  Mainstream classical-liberalism in Europe doesn’t offer the mystical power of either Norse gods or a Latin-speaking church with its own army of knights.  These symbols of cultural connection to the transcendent haven’t been Christianity’s reality for centuries; and in politics, there has been a very long trend toward prosaic bureaucratic consultation, which no one envisions operating outside of.  There’s no way to torture modern Christianity or modern social or political conservatism into the Crusader mold – which is why Breivik had to find his calling elsewhere.
 


We can hope – I certainly do – that the flurry of mistargeted denunciations from the political left will die down quickly.  All you have to do to see that conservatives and Christians are not responsible for Anders Breivik is read 1500 pages of his musings.  Neither Democrats nor Republicans, nor any particular religious denomination, political party, or school of thought in Europe, is “responsible” for Breivik; he did his own research and made his own choices, and he had alternatives.  He is undoubtedly not the only young European who wishes for a more compelling, inspiring, successful, and victorious cultural idea of Europe to give his life meaning.   But he is the only one who decided to blow up a building and go on a shooting rampage.
 


J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at The Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,” Patheos, The Weekly Standard online, and her own blog, The Optimistic Conservative.

14
Politics & Religion / Bin Laden dead
« on: May 01, 2011, 08:03:43 PM »
Fingers crossed!!!!!

15
Politics & Religion / The Cognitive Dissonance of the left
« on: March 19, 2011, 08:20:44 AM »
http://hotair.com/archives/2011/03/19/wanting-and-doing/

Wanting and Doing

posted at 10:55 am on March 19, 2011 by Steven Den Beste


    How many teleologists does it take to change a light bulb?

    None. The teleologist wants the light bulb to make light, so the light bulb never burns out.

Teleology is a world view that says that the world makes sense, and must work in a way which is intellectually and esthetically pleasing to humans. It assumes a mind-body duality and places the mind, the spiritual, above the body and the physical. If an idea is  pleasing then it must be true, for ultimate truth will always be pleasing.

That isn’t really how teleology began, but that’s what it’s become in the modern era. Modern transnational progressivism is, at its core, based on that rather warped and degenerate version of teleology at a deep, a priori level. It may seem strange to talk about the “spiritual” when talking about a movement which prides itself in being secular, but progressivism embraces many contradictions.

To a teleologist, the way you stop war is to put a sticker on your car that says “Imagine world peace”. If enough people just want it enough, it’ll happen. Indeed, anything is possible if you just want it enough. You can power modern industrial civilization exclusively using “green” energy, for instance. If it isn’t happening, it’s the fault of all the people who refuse to get on board to help with the wanting.

To a teleologist, socialism is obviously the way things should be. The ideal socialist utopia is such a pleasing image that it must be the way to go. Never mind that every time socialism has been tried, it has always failed badly; empirical results don’t matter to a teleologist.

As a true man of the left, our president is fundamentally teleological, and this is the explanation for a lot of things about him that people find puzzling. Again and again, Obama makes speeches about how important some thing is, but doesn’t seem to do anything about them. But that’s not puzzling if you realize that to a teleologist, wanting something is doing something.

Or take his behavior regarding Libya. John, at Powerline, writes:

    Despite the urgency, it appears that the Libyan insurrection likely will be over before the Obama administration makes any decision as to what to do about it. It may well be that the best course has always been to do nothing. But if that is the case, what was the point of Obama’s pronouncement that Qaddafi “must” go? If it is important that Qaddafi go, then why is the United States unwilling to lift a finger to bring about the event that “must” happen? And how can a situation simultaneously be urgent, but not worth doing anything about?

For a teleologist, expressing your desire is how you bring about the event. If enough people say that Qaddafi “must go”, he will vanish in a puff of smoke. That’s why you work for a world consensus, for it is that consensus which alters reality.

(A slightly less implausible way to put it is that if there is strong enough international disapproval, Qaddafi will bow to peer pressure and voluntarily go into exile. But clearly that isn’t going to work with him.)

To a teleologist, it isn’t necessary, and it is obviously wrong, to use military force to depose a corrupt and brutal dictator. Soft power is obviously better.

Except for the minor fact that it isn’t very effective. But as mentioned, to teleologists, empirical results are not persuasive.

The Obama administration, combined with two years of strong Democratic majority in Congress, has caused incalculable damage to this country and the world. But we’ve recovered from worse, and it will discredit the left for a generation. The left finally gained control for two years, and now Americans have seen what that truly means. In November of 2010 American voters gave the left a stinging rebuke, and it’s going to keep happening.

16
Politics & Religion / Japan
« on: December 30, 2010, 05:27:32 PM »
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/01/16/world/asia/16iht-16outcasts.19414604.html

Japan's outcasts still wait for society's embrace
By Norimitsu Onishi
Published: Tuesday, January 6, 2009


KYOTO, Japan — For Japan, the crowning of Hiromu Nonaka as its top leader would have been as significant as America's election of its first black president.

Despite being the descendant of a feudal class of outcasts, who are known as buraku and still face social discrimination, Nonaka had dexterously occupied top posts in Japan's governing party and served as the government's No. 2 official. The next logical step, by 2001, was to become prime minister. Allies urged him on.

But not everyone inside the party was ready for a leader of buraku origin. At least one, Taro Aso, Japan's current prime minister, made his views clear to his closest associates in a closed-door meeting in 2001.

"Are we really going to let those people take over the leadership of Japan?" Aso said, according to Hisaoki Kamei, a politician who attended the meeting.

Mr. Kamei said he remembered thinking at the time that "it was inappropriate to say such a thing." But he and the others in the room let the matter drop, he said, adding, "We never imagined that the remark would leak outside."

But it did — spreading rapidly among the nation's political and buraku circles. And more recently, as Aso became prime minister just weeks before President-elect Barack Obama's victory, the comment has become a touchstone for many buraku.

How far have they come since Japan began carrying out affirmative action policies for the buraku four decades ago, mirroring the American civil rights movement? If the United States, the yardstick for Japan, could elect a black president, could there be a buraku prime minister here?

The questions were not raised in the society at large, however. The topic of the buraku remains Japan's biggest taboo, rarely entering private conversations and virtually ignored by the media.

The buraku — ethnically indistinguishable from other Japanese — are descendants of Japanese who, according to Buddhist beliefs, performed tasks considered unclean. Slaughterers, undertakers, executioners and town guards, they were called eta, which means defiled mass, or hinin, nonhuman. Forced to wear telltale clothing, they were segregated into their own neighborhoods.

The oldest buraku neighborhoods are believed to be here in Kyoto, the ancient capital, and date back a millennium. That those neighborhoods survive to this day and that the outcasts' descendants are still subject to prejudice speak to Japan's obsession with its past and its inability to overcome it.

Yet nearly identical groups of outcasts remain in a few other places in Asia, like Tibet and Nepal, with the same Buddhist background; they have disappeared only in South Korea, not because prejudice vanished, but because decades of colonialism, war and division made it impossible to identify the outcasts there.

In Japan, every person has a family register that is kept in local town halls and that, with some extrapolation, reveals ancestral birthplaces. Families and companies widely checked birthplaces to ferret out buraku among potential hires or marriage partners until a generation ago, though the practice has greatly declined, especially among the young.

The buraku were officially liberated in 1871, just a few years after the 13th Amendment abolished slavery in the United States. But as the buraku's living standards and education levels remained far below national averages, the Japanese government, under pressure from buraku liberation groups, passed a special measures law to improve conditions for the buraku in 1969. By the time the law expired in 2002, Japan had reportedly spent about $175 billion on affirmative action programs for the buraku.

**Read it all.

17
Politics & Religion / Al andalus (i.e. Spain)
« on: September 15, 2010, 03:16:43 PM »
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/WORLD/europe/02/17/spain.arrests.videos/

 MADRID, Spain (CNN) -- Spanish police Tuesday arrested a Spanish soldier and his Russian girlfriend for allegedly posting videos on the Internet promoting Islamic extremist views and calling for attacks in Spain, a Ministry of Interior statement said.


The suspects, both 23 years old and practicing Muslims, were arrested in the southern Spanish city of Granada. They were identified as Christian Peso Ruiz Coello, born in Granada, and Maria Choubina, born in Leningrad (now Saint Petersburg) in 1985.



Their videos allegedly aimed to inspire Islamic extremists to carry out attacks, using messages such as a call to liberate "Al Andalus," the vast portion of Spain under Muslim rule for centuries during the Middle Ages until the Catholic monarchs conquered the last bastion of Granada, in 1492.

19
Politics & Religion / The Race-baiting Industrial Complex
« on: September 03, 2010, 12:10:26 PM »
Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, Obama's Rev. Wright. The NAACP and similar groups.

Allegedly advocates for minorities, the are big businesses, and real progress for minorities is the last thing they want.

20
Politics & Religion / Obama to allies: Drop Dead
« on: September 17, 2009, 12:35:38 PM »
East Europe grumbles about downgrade in US ties
By KAREL JANICEK and WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writers Karel Janicek And William J. Kole, Associated Press Writers
58 mins ago
 
PRAGUE – Scuttling a missile defense shield in the Czech Republic and Poland helps smooth relations between the U.S. and Russia. But at what price?

Some of America's staunchest allies are the East Europeans — and on Thursday, they expressed dismay at what many see as a slight after decades of their support for the U.S.

Among them were some famous names, including Lech Walesa, the former Solidarity leader and Polish ex-president. "I can see what kind of policy the Obama administration is pursuing toward this part of Europe," he said ruefully, adding: "The way we are being approached needs to change."

For most of the past decade, cozy relations with Washington were practically a given across the "new Europe." George W. Bush famously courted the region after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and leaned on it for troops to fight alongside U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Barack Obama took office undecided about Bush's plan to base 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and sophisticated radar in the Czech Republic — a system designed to shoot down long-range missiles that might be fired from Iran or elsewhere in the Middle East. Building had not started in either country.

The Czech installation was planned for the Brdy military installation 55 miles (90 kilometers) southwest of Prague. The Polish site was slated for a former military air base near the town of Redzikowo, about 115 miles from Russia's westernmost edge.

Obama has been reaching out to Russia, which had expressed outrage at the notion of missiles being pointed in its direction from a region that was firmly in the Soviet orbit just 20 years ago.

On Thursday, Obama announced he was shifting the plan from Eastern Europe to other locations. He and other administration officials said they have concluded that Iran's medium- and short-range missiles pose a greater threat and require more flexible technology.

Obama's decision got a positive reception in Russia, hailed by President Dmitry Medvedev as a "responsible move."

"Now we can talk about restoration of the strategic partnership between Russia and the United States," said Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia's State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament.

Alexei Arbatov, head of the Russian Academy of Science's Center for International Security, said the U.S. reckons "Russia will be inclined together with the United States to take a harder line on sanctions against Iran."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she viewed the shift as "a hopeful signal for overcoming difficulties with Russia when it comes to a uniform strategy to combat the threat of Iran together."

Officially, Czech leaders said they understood the rationale for abandoning the shield, and they expressed confidence that the country would remain secure.

But some expressed dismay at the reversal.

Former Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose government signed treaties with the Bush administration to build the radar system — and took a lot of heat from Czechs who feared it would make their country a terrorist target — went on Czech radio to vent his frustrations.

"The Americans are not interested in this territory as they were before," he said. "It's bad news for the Czech Republic."

Obama's decision also drew flak in Washington. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called it "shortsighted and harmful to our long-term security interests."

"We must not turn our backs on two loyal allies in the war on terror," he said.

Obama, however, said the United States will continue to work cooperatively with what he called "our close friends and allies." And Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk expressed hope that his country could have a role in the redesigned U.S. system.

"There is a chance for strengthening Europe's security with special attention given to Poland," Tusk told reporters, adding: "I would not describe what is going on today as a defeat for Poland."

Opponents of the shield, such as Jan Tamas — an activist who had organized numerous protests — hailed Obama's decision.

"It is a big victory for the Czech Republic. We are happy that we will be able to continue to live in our beautiful country without the presence of foreign soldiers," he said.

And Mariusz Chmiel, a top official in the northern Poland region where the missiles would have been based, proclaimed himself "the happiest man in Poland" now that the plan has been shelved.

Even so, scrapping missile defense comes as a huge setback to many Polish and Czech leaders, who viewed it as a way to strengthen military ties with the U.S. in a form of defense against a resurgent Russia.

Fears of Moscow run especially deep in Poland, highlighted by a key anniversary Thursday. Exactly 70 years ago — on Sept. 17, 1939 — Poland was invaded by the Soviet Union at the start of World War II.

Aleksander Szczyglo, head of Poland's National Security Office, characterized the change as a "defeat primarily of American long-distance thinking about the situation in this part of Europe."

"It's quite unfair," said Petr Boubin, 36, who owns a cafe in the Czech capital. "I think Obama is making too many concessions to Russia."

___

Kole reported from Vienna. AP Writers Monika Scislowska and Vanessa Gera in Warsaw and Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed to this story.

21
Politics & Religion / 9/11/09
« on: September 11, 2009, 07:27:06 AM »
I mark the day, as I have since 9/11/01.

I mourn after going off duty.

My wife is training in a police academy, preparing to go into harm's way to defend and protect her adopted country.

I know that if I live to 100, this day will always carry the same weight with me.

22
Politics & Religion / Clinton prepares to jump from the SS Obamatanic
« on: July 27, 2009, 12:48:48 PM »

Clinton says Iran's nuclear pursuit is "futile"
Sun Jul 26, 2009 8:43pm EDT
By Sue Pleming

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Sunday that Iran would not be allowed to have a nuclear weapon and reiterated Washington's commitment to protect close ally Israel from any threat posed by Tehran.

"We are going to do everything we can to prevent you (Iran) from getting a nuclear weapon. Your pursuit is futile," she told NBC's "Meet the Press" program, adding that Iran did not have the right to develop a nuclear weapon.

Clinton annoyed ally Israel last week by saying the United States would cope with a nuclear Iran by arming its allies in the Gulf and extending a "defense umbrella" over the region.

A senior Israeli official said the United States should focus on preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon rather than talking as if this may be a fait accompli.

Asked whether she had been referring to a nuclear umbrella, Clinton told NBC: "We are not talking in specifics, because that would come later if at all. My view is you hope for the best, but plan for the worst," said Clinton.

"Clearly, we have a long, durable relationship with Israel. We believe strongly that Israel's security must be protected," she added.

Major powers suspect Iran is seeking to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran maintains its nuclear work is a civilian program to generate much-needed electrical power.

Several senior U.S. officials, including Defense Secretary Robert Gates and national security advisor James Jones, will be in Israel this week, seeking to reassure the Jewish state amid concerns it could strike first against Iran if it believes there is no global resolve to curb Tehran's nuclear plans.

"Our message (to Israel) is as it has been. The United States stands with you and the United States believes that Israel has a right to security. We believe, however, that this (diplomatic) approach we are taking, holds out the promise of realizing our common objective," said Clinton.

The Obama administration fears an Israeli strike against Iran would further destabilize the region and have dramatic consequences.

DIPLOMATIC PUSH

Asked for her views on a preemptive Israeli strike against Iran, Clinton reiterated Israel's right to defend itself and said it would not listen to other nations if it believed its survival were threatened.

But she stressed that pursuing intensive diplomacy with Iran was the best approach, a shift from the Bush administration which avoided engagement with Tehran and insisted that Tehran give up sensitive nuclear work first.

"We will continue to work with all of our allies, and most particularly Israel, to determine the best way forward to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear state," she said.

The Obama administration and several European allies such as France have threatened a new round of financial sanctions against Iran by the end of the year if it does not agree to give up uranium enrichment.

Clinton said major powers would make very clear to Iran what the costs of pursuing their nuclear ambitions would be.

So far, U.S. diplomatic outreach with Tehran has failed to produce any results and Clinton said this month that confusion following Iran's disputed election made the country's intentions even less clear.

Clinton said she had been "moved" by Iranian protesters' actions following the June election.

"Clearly, we would hope better for the Iranian people, we would hope that there is more openness and that peaceful demonstrations are respected," she said, criticizing the Iranian government's quelling of dissent.

(Additional reporting by Alister Bull; editing by Anthony Boadle)

24
Imagine a global entity that facilitates terrorism and gives aid and comfort to tyrants while attempting to undercut human freedom, all while engaging in graft and corruption. Sound like a Bond villain's group, hidden in an underground bunker? No, it's the "United Nations".

25
Politics & Religion / Waiting for the murders and riots.....
« on: December 15, 2008, 01:16:36 PM »
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/12/15/milk-carton-alert-millions-of-rampaging-christians-missing-after-playboy-maria-outrage/

Any predictions as to the death toll and/or riots from the fanatical christians often mentioned by the left here?

26
Politics & Religion / Sharia 101
« on: September 30, 2008, 09:01:55 AM »
Let's discuss sharia and it's impact on humanity as it spreads globally.

28
Politics & Religion / Islam in China
« on: July 09, 2008, 08:11:48 AM »
http://www.washtimes.com/news/2008/jun/20/us-nuke-spotters-sent-to-china-before-games/

U.S. nuke spotters sent to China before games
Secret team acts on attack fears

Bill Gertz
Friday, June 20, 2008

EXCLUSIVE:

The Bush administration has dispatched a secret team of nuclear specialists to China in response to Chinese concerns that terrorists may attempt to set off a radiological bomb during the Beijing Summer Olympics, The Washington Times has learned.

The Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST) was sent on Chinese intelligence indicating that any attack likely would involve a radiological device - a conventional explosive laced with radioactive material to enhance its effect - said Bush administration officials familiar with the security efforts.

The NEST deployment was disclosed as China announced this week that it is conducting a citywide drill in Beijing to test responses for a radiological bomb attack. It could not be learned whether the NEST unit will participate in the drill.

The deployment to China is unusual. NEST units usually deploy to areas in the United States and use highly classified equipment and techniques.

The team is part of the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration and was ordered to Beijing as part of U.S.-China security cooperation, the Bush administration officials said.

Asked about the dispatch of the nuclear detection team, an Energy Department spokesman declined to comment, noting that NEST deployments are not announced.

Other officials familiar with the NEST said the team is made up of nuclear weapons scientists and technicians, many from Energy Department nuclear laboratories, who will provide specialized technical expertise in Beijing before the Aug. 8-24 games.

Team members will be outfitted with special nuclear detection gear and will operate in secret, the officials said.

A fact sheet from the Energy Department states that the NEST deals "with the technical aspects of nuclear or radiological terrorism."

The groups conduct search operations. If radiation is detected, they will perform an identification of nuclear materials, diagnostics and assessments of nuclear devices and bomb dismantling.

"Response teams vary in size from a five-person technical advisory team to a tailored deployment of dozens searchers and scientists who can locate and then conduct or support technical operations on a suspected nuclear device," the fact sheet states.

The exact size of the NEST being sent to Beijing could not be learned, but the officials said it will include about 10 people.

The teams use compact nuclear detection gear hidden in briefcases, knapsacks or portable coolers. They travel in vans searching for radiation sources, often at night to avoid public scrutiny.

Under the Atomic Energy Act, the State Department is the lead federal agency for deploying the team, which will work with FBI agents in Beijing.

Henry Sokolski, director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, said the danger of nuclear terrorism is growing and the NEST teams are limited in dealing with the threat.

"We are entering a brave new world where nuclear energy for peaceful purposes literally is providing the fuel for terror," Mr. Sokolski said. "Against this new security sore, NEST teams should be seen as a Band-Aid."

The International Atomic Energy Agency stated in a staff report May 23 that the agency and China are working behind the scenes to "bolster the country's security and minimize threats."

"We have been working with the Chinese authorities over the last 18 months to add a radiological dimension to their existing security plans so that security for the Olympics is as comprehensive as possible," Anita Nilsson, director of the IAEA's Office of Nuclear Security, was quoted as saying in the report.

The IAEA is working to integrate planning for a radiological attack into existing security efforts for police, intelligence agencies and bomb squads. The IAEA is working with Chinese authorities on radiation detection, physical protection and emergency response.

"To guard and look after the Games and its visitors - as the Chinese are doing - is a responsible way of acting," Ms. Nilsson said.

The agency said no specific radiological terrorist-threat information was issued.

The Beijing city government announced Tuesday that it will conduct its first exercise to test responses to a nuclear attack in preparation for the Olympics.

The drill will involve several Chinese agencies including police, fire and environmental responders, Chinese government official Shan Qingsheng told the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The drill will simulate the effects of a radiological bomb set off inside the Olympic stadium.

The dispatch of the nuclear team to China has raised concerns among some counterintelligence officials because of the past compromise of nuclear weapons secrets to China.

The CIA determined that China obtained through espionage details of every deployed nuclear warhead in the U.S. arsenal, and the FBI has failed to identify the source despite investigating for more than a decade.

Computer hard drives from a NEST laptop computer that contained nuclear weapons secrets used to disarm weapons disappeared from a Los Alamos National Laboratory vault in May 2000.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, countering nuclear terrorism was made a high priority for U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, based on intelligence reports that al Qaeda planned to assemble and use a radiological bomb in an attack in the United States.

In 2002, the FBI and NEST conducted joint monitoring of Muslim sites in Washington and five other cities looking for signs of a nuclear material, according to U.S. News & World Report.

29
- Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com -

The Sean Bell Verdict and Al Sharpton’s Culture of Grievance
April 27, 2008 - by Jack Dunphy

-->
To anyone who knew the facts of the case and understood the law, Friday’s acquittal of the three New York Police Department detectives charged in the November 2006 shooting death of Sean Bell was entirely predictable.

Just as predictable has been the reaction from Al Sharpton, who owes his notoriety - and, one presumes, his income - to the culture of grievance from which he sprang and which he so tirelessly strives to perpetuate. On Saturday, Sharpton presided over a rally at his Harlem headquarters and exhorted his followers to “close down” the city of New York. “This city,” he said, “is going to deal with the blood of Sean Bell.”

And so it may, but perhaps not in the way Mr. Sharpton would wish.

Regardless of a given criminal trial’s underlying social and political issues - and seldom has there been a trial more heavily freighted with such issues than this one - the burden of proof remains unchanged: the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt and to a moral certainty that the defendant is guilty of the crimes alleged against him. All extraneous questions on crime, the police, race, and their respective places in the great social equation have no rightful place in a criminal courtroom.

But these questions do at times creep silently into the courtroom, more particularly into the jury room of a high-profile trial, where some might wish to see cosmic justice produced therefrom. Some jurors have been known to oblige that wish, engaging in jury nullification in the case of some clearly guilty defendants or, even more disturbing, convicting some clearly innocent ones. The three police detectives on trial in the Sean Bell shooting, Gescard Isnora, Marc Cooper, and Michael Oliver, knew this very well when they asked that their case be heard by a judge rather than a jury, placing their fate in the hands of Queens Supreme Court Justice Arthur Cooperman.

Reasonable doubt was to be found everywhere in the case, beginning with the Queens grand jury’s initial indictment handed down in March 2007. Much has been made of the fifty shots fired by the police during the confrontation, twenty of which struck the car Bell was driving, killing him and wounding his two passengers. But of the five officers who fired, only three were indicted and put on trial, suggesting that even the grand jury believed that in the confusion of the encounter on that early morning there was at least some level of justification for the other two to fire their weapons. And if those two had reason to fire, however tragically mistaken it turned out to be, how is it that the defendants’ conduct rose to the level that made it criminal? It didn’t, as Justice Cooperman ruled on Friday.

The prosecution’s efforts were undone by several factors, which Justice Cooperman specified in his verdict. “The court has found,” he said, “that the people’s ability to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt was affected by a combination of the following factors: the prosecution witnesses’ prior inconsistent statements, inconsistencies in testimony among prosecution witnesses, the renunciation of prior statements, criminal convictions, the interest of some witnesses in the outcome of the case, the demeanor on the witness stand of other witnesses and the motive witnesses may have had to lie and the effect it had on the truthfulness of a witness’s testimony. These factors played a significant part in the people’s ability to prove their case beyond a reasonable doubt and had the effect of eviscerating the credibility of those prosecution witnesses. And, at times, the testimony just didn’t make sense.”

The defendants, Justice Cooperman concluded, reasonably, albeit mistakenly, believed that an armed confrontation was about to take place between Sean Bell and his companions and another group of men that had just left a strip club. “The court has found that the incident lasted just seconds,” Cooperman said. “The officers responded to perceived criminal conduct; the unfortunate consequences of their conduct were tragic.”

Here in Los Angeles there is a term used around the courthouse to describe incidents like the Sean Bell shooting: “awful but lawful.”

Fortunately for some Los Angeles Police Department officers, L.A. County District Attorney Steve Cooley, who is unburdened by ambition for higher office, has shown a willingness to stand up to the kind of pressure Al Sharpton and others exerted on prosecutors in Queens after the Sean Bell shooting. When, for example, “community activists” demanded that an LAPD officer be prosecuted in the 2005 shooting death of 13-year-old Devin Brown at the end of an early morning car chase, Cooley’s office declined to do so, thoroughly explaining the decision in a lengthy [1] document posted on the agency’s website.

Surely the prosecutors in the Sean Bell case knew the weaknesses of their case, weaknesses that they might easily have detailed for the public had they chosen not to take the case to a grand jury. But the peculiar politics of New York demanded otherwise, and three police detectives were forced to endure a trial that the prosecutors knew - or should have known - they could not win.

And now Mr. Sharpton and his acolytes are threatening to shut down New York City, hoping to portray the NYPD as the biggest threat facing the residents in Queens, Brooklyn, Harlem, and the other less fashionable neighborhoods that lie north of 96th Street or beyond the East River. In those neighborhoods, Mr. Sharpton would have you believe, the only guns and drugs to be found are those that have been planted on innocent people by corrupt, racist police officers.

Sharpton’s antics, blithely acquiesced to by Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, and the entire New York City political structure, will only inhibit police efforts to improve the quality of life in those neighborhoods most affected by crime. When the next murder victim falls in Queens, Brooklyn, or Harlem, will Al Sharpton be too busy to notice?

Twenty people have been murdered so far this year in the [2] NYPD’s Queens South Patrol Bureau, where the Sean Bell shooting occurred, up from twelve at the same time in 2007. When Mr. Sharpton has finished shutting down the city this week, perhaps he might summon up a similar level of outrage at the fate of even one of those twenty people.

“Jack Dunphy” is the pseudonym of an officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. The opinions expressed are his own and almost certainly do not reflect those of the LAPD management.

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/the-sean-bell-verdict-and-al-sharptons-culture-of-grievance/

URLs in this post:
[1] document: http://da.co.la.ca.us/pdf/garciaois.pdf?zoom_highlight=devin+brown
[2] NYPD’s: http://home2.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/home/home.shtml

30
http://www.ynetnews.com/Ext/Comp/ArticleLayout/CdaArticlePrintPreview/1,2506,L-3523301,00.html

Hizbullah’s indirect war

Hizbullah uses smugglers to flood Israel with drugs, acquire intelligence
Alex Fishman

This is not just an espionage affair. In Hizbullah’s written war doctrine this is referred to as the “indirect war.”
 
Drugs for Info
IDF soldier suspected of disclosing information to Hizbullah / Ahiya Raved
Indictment to be filed against non-commissioned officer suspected of disclosing sensitive information to Hizbullah terrorists in south Lebanon as part of drug-smuggling operation
Full Story
In other words: The way to bring down the State of Israel not through fire and slaughter, but rather, by flooding Israeli society with drugs. This is not paranoia. This Hizbullah strategy is well known in Israel for two decades at least.
 
In the past, the indirect war included another area: Forging foreign currency, and particularly dollars, for the purpose of distributing it in Israel and using it to acquire weapons in the West. The forgeries were of relatively poor quality and therefore they died away. The drugs, on the other hand, are a matter of stable and ancient tradition on this front that has been enabling several clans to make a living for hundreds of years now.
 
Hizbullah took over the smuggling rings and routes and enlisted the drugs for the purpose of its “indirect war” on Israel.
 
It is no coincidence that the person orchestrating this project from Beirut is a former Arab-Israeli, senior Hizbullah figure Kais Obeid. He started his career as a drug dealer in Israel who escaped to Lebanon. He was also the man who managed to lay the trap for former captive Elchanan Tannenbaum through a scheme that involved drug deals.
 
It is for good reason that Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah adopted Obeid’s ideas and turned them into a part of the organization’s operational doctrine. This effort is profitable, it pushes Israel into a black market economy, and it poisons Israelis. In any case, Nasrallah perceives Israel to be a rotten and weak society whose days are numbered. Flood it with drugs, and it will be lost in the drug-induced high.
 
And so, for years now Hizbullah has maintained poppy fields in Lebanon’s Beqaa region and producing opium and heroin in labs. Nasrallah also has business connections with drug cartels in South America, where some of the organization’s funds come from.
 
Hizbullah members themselves do not deal with drug smuggling directly. They take advantage of existing rings. Therefore, anyone who gets close to drugs in Lebanon knows that it is operating under Hizbullah’s patronage. Initially, about 15 years ago, the dealers required passage permits from Hizbullah, which controlled the roads. Today we are talking about operational ties in the full sense of the word. By the way, this is why the IDF fires at drug smugglers as if they were terrorists.
 
Rift is deepening
In order to improve the drug smuggling into Israel, drug dealers from Lebanon recruited Israeli collaborators, mostly non-Jews. Some of them serve in the army and the clans they come from are related to the drug trade; and the road from drugs to treason and espionage is short. For example, before the IDF withdrew from Lebanon, Arab Israelis assisted Hizbullah members in hiding weapons inside Israeli territory. The weapons awaited infiltrators who were supposed to come into Israel in order to carry out terror attacks (as was the case in the Metzuba attack in 2003.)
 
In fact, almost every year we see one kind of such drug-related espionage ring or another being uncovered, along with the involvement of Arab Israelis. This time around the story is apparently more severe than the previous one, because several Arabs are suspected of involvement. The information handed over to Hizbullah is not necessarily strategic, yet Hizbullah doesn’t look for such information. It seeks information that would expose vulnerable points in the system so that it can carry out a terror attack or abduction.
 
To that end, even traitors who are not motivated by fundamentalist ideological zeal, but rather, by greed, are effective enough.
 
In the wake of the latest affair, the IDF Northern Command engaged in a process of self-examination in relation to the non-Jewish career officers operating in this sector. This is apparently not enough. After all, it is impossible for soldiers to be operating on the border without being able to trust their non-commissioned officer and fearing that he will sell them out to the enemy. This rift with Israel’s minority groups is deepening, and goes beyond the confines of the Northern Command and IDF.

32
Politics & Religion / Thanksgiving
« on: November 19, 2007, 07:06:34 PM »
Mark Steyn: World should give thanks for America

MARK STEYN

Speaking as a misfit unassimilated foreigner, I think of Thanksgiving as the most American of holidays.

Christmas is celebrated elsewhere, even if there are significant local variations: In Continental Europe, naughty children get left rods to be flayed with and lumps of coal; in Britain, Christmas lasts from Dec. 22 to mid-January and celebrates the ancient cultural traditions of massive alcohol intake and watching the telly till you pass out in a pool of your own vomit. All part of the rich diversity of our world.

But Thanksgiving (excepting the premature and somewhat undernourished Canadian version) is unique to America. "What's it about?" an Irish visitor asked me a couple of years back. "Everyone sits around giving thanks all day? Thanks for what? George bloody Bush?"

Well, Americans have a lot to be thankful for.

Europeans think of this country as "the New World" in part because it has an eternal newness, which is noisy and distracting. Who would ever have thought you could have ready-to-eat pizza faxed directly to your iPod?

And just when you think you're on top of the general trend of novelty, it veers off in an entirely different direction: Continentals who grew up on Hollywood movies where the guy tells the waitress "Gimme a cuppa joe" and slides over a nickel return to New York a year or two later and find the coffee now costs $5.75, takes 25 minutes and requires an agonizing choice between the cinnamon-gingerbread-persimmon latte with coxcomb sprinkles and the decaf venti pepperoni-Eurasian-milfoil macchiato.

Who would have foreseen that the nation that inflicted fast food and drive-thru restaurants on the planet would then take the fastest menu item of all and turn it into a Kabuki-paced performance art? What mad genius!

But Americans aren't novelty junkies on the important things. The New World is one of the oldest settled constitutional democracies on Earth, to a degree the Old World can barely comprehend. Where it counts, Americans are traditionalists.

We know Eastern Europe was a totalitarian prison until the Nineties, but we forget that Mediterranean Europe (Greece, Spain, Portugal) has democratic roots going all the way back until, oh, the mid-Seventies; France and Germany's constitutions date back barely half a century, Italy's only to the 1940s, and Belgium's goes back about 20 minutes, and currently it's not clear whether even that latest rewrite remains operative. The U.S. Constitution is not only older than France's, Germany's, Italy's or Spain's constitution, it's older than all of them put together.

Americans think of Europe as Goethe and Mozart and 12th century castles and 6th century churches, but the Continent's governing mechanisms are no more ancient than the Partridge Family. Aside from the Anglophone democracies, most of the nation-states in the West have been conspicuous failures at sustaining peaceful political evolution from one generation to the next, which is why they're so susceptible to the siren song of Big Ideas – communism, fascism, European Union.

If you're going to be novelty-crazed, better the zebra-mussel cappuccino than the Third Reich.

Even in a supposedly 50/50 nation, you're struck by the assumed stability underpinning even fundamental disputes. If you go into a bookstore, the display shelves offer a smorgasbord of leftist anti-Bush tracts claiming that he and Cheney have trashed, mangled, gutted, raped and tortured, sliced 'n' diced the Constitution, put it in a cement overcoat and lowered it into the East River. Yet even this argument presupposes a shared veneration for tradition unknown to most Western political cultures: When Tony Blair wanted to abolish, in effect, the upper house of the national legislature, he just got on and did it.
I don't believe the U.S. Constitution includes a right to abortion or gay marriage or a zillion other things the Left claims to detect emanating from the penumbra, but I find it sweetly touching that in America even political radicalism has to be framed as an appeal to constitutional tradition from the powdered-wig era.

In Europe, by contrast, one reason why there's no politically significant pro-life movement is because, in a world where constitutions have the life expectancy of an Oldsmobile, great questions are just seen as part of the general tide, the way things are going, no sense trying to fight it. And, by the time you realize you have to, the tide's usually up to your neck.

So Americans should be thankful they have one of the last functioning nation-states. Europeans, because they've been so inept at exercising it, no longer believe in national sovereignty, whereas it would never occur to Americans not to. This profoundly different attitude to the nation-state underpins, in turn, Euro-American attitudes to transnational institutions such as the United Nations.

But on this Thanksgiving the rest of the world ought to give thanks to American national sovereignty, too. When something terrible and destructive happens – a tsunami hits Indonesia, an earthquake devastates Pakistan – the United States can project itself anywhere on the planet within hours and start saving lives, setting up hospitals and restoring the water supply.

Aside from Britain and France, the Europeans cannot project power in any meaningful way anywhere. When they sign on to an enterprise they claim to believe in – shoring up Afghanistan's fledgling post-Taliban democracy – most of them send token forces under constrained rules of engagement that prevent them doing anything more than manning the photocopier back at the base.

If America were to follow the Europeans and maintain only shriveled attenuated residual military capacity, the world would very quickly be nastier and bloodier, and far more unstable. It's not just Americans and Iraqis and Afghans who owe a debt of thanks to the U.S. soldier but all the Europeans grown plump and prosperous in a globalized economy guaranteed by the most benign hegemon in history.

That said, Thanksgiving isn't about the big geopolitical picture, but about the blessings closer to home. Last week, the state of Oklahoma celebrated its centennial, accompanied by rousing performances of Rodgers and Hammerstein's eponymous anthem:

"We know we belong to the land
And the land we belong to is grand!"
Which isn't a bad theme song for the first Thanksgiving, either.

Three hundred and 14 years ago, the Pilgrims thanked God because there was a place for them in this land, and it was indeed grand. The land is grander today, and that, too, is remarkable: France has lurched from Second Empires to Fifth Republics struggling to devise a lasting constitutional settlement for the same smallish chunk of real estate, but the principles that united a baker's dozen of East Coast colonies were resilient enough to expand across a continent and halfway around the globe to Hawaii.

Americans should, as always, be thankful this Thanksgiving, but they should also understand just how rare in human history their blessings are.

34
DailyKos Endorses Osama   
By Andrew Walden
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, September 21, 2007

ABC News called it “rambling.” Republican presidential aspirant Mitt Romney dismissed it as “deluded.” But Osama bin Laden’s September 8 videotaped message was neither. It was instead a carefully constructed attempt to appeal to Western opponents of the “war on terror,” both on the Left and the isolationist Right.

On the Left, bin Laden’s message is already finding a receptive audience. On September 9, a “diarist” on Daily Kos using the handle FMArouet insisted that the terrorist chieftain should be taken seriously. According to FMArouet, “bin Laden is not a raving religious fanatic.” On the contrary, bin Laden actually had much in common with Daily Kos readers. “He is fundamentally a political revolutionary with a strong sense of suffered injustice,” the blogger explained, adding that these were feelings “shared by much of his audience.” Nor did FMArouet have any sympathy for the idea that bin Laden was a terrorist. Rather, the al-Qaeda leader saw the “conflict from a more global perspective.”

Michael Dickinson, an artist based in Turkey, also applauded bin Laden’s performance. Writing on the far-Left website Counterpunch.org, Dickinson declared himself impressed with bin Laden’s message. “After examining the transcribed text of Osama's address, I found much of what he said made sense to me.” Dickinson added that if others would only give bin Laden a chance, his “speech might make sense to you too.”

Dickinson was not optimistic on this count. He explained that it was “unlikely that many, if any, American TV channels or popular newspapers will present their listeners and readers with the most urgent part of Bin Laden's message. God forbid! It might make sense to them. It might make even them think.” Dickinson’s suspicions of censorship were particularly ironic, since he himself has been the victim of free-speech abuse -- not by the America media, but by Turkish authorities, who sentenced him to a stint in prison for the crime of drawing a cartoon of Turkey’s Islamist prime minister as a dog. Evidently, Dickinson has learned little from the experience.

To understand the antiwar Left’s enthusiastic response to bin Laden, it is useful to go back to the videotape. Although bin Laden has included statements designed to influence Western leftists in other videos, the September 8 statement goes much further. In it, bin Laden refers to “major corporations” ten times, to “capital” five times, and to social classes twice. Echoing Marx, he calls for the West to be “liberated” from the “shackles and attrition of the capitalist system.” In a line lifted almost directly from Noam Chomsky, bin Laden further states that “the capitalist system seeks to turn the entire world into a fiefdom of the major corporations under the label of ‘globalization’ in order to protect democracy.” For good measure, bin Laden even stops to flatter Chomsky by name, calling him “among the most capable of those from your own side….” As if all this weren’t enough to endear him to the average leftist, bin Laden even complains about global warming.

For years, the radical Left has been relegated to the political fringe. Now the most notorious man in the world is taking them seriously.

On the surface, bin Laden’s embrace of the anti-globalization movement would seem to have little to do with Islamic theology. But on closer inspection, bin Laden seems to be applying the Islamic doctrine of al-Taqiyah, which allows Muslims to do or say anything—even to pretend to be Marxists—so long as it advances the power of Islam. Bin Laden appears to have calculated that sounding like leftwing protestors is a small price to pay for recruiting them to al-Qaeda’s side.

To be sure, bin Laden’s useful idiots are not found on the Left alone. In his remarks, the al-Qaeda head also singled out for praise the ex-CIA analyst Michael Scheuer. A darling of the isolationist Right -- Scheuer is a frequent contributor to Pat Buchanan’s American Conservative -- Scheuer is the author of Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror, a polemical assault on the “war on terror,” and Through Our Enemies' Eyes: Osama bin Laden, Radical Islam, and the Future of America, a primer on bin Laden’s life and ideology. Once the head of the CIA’s al-Qaeda desk, Scheuer now makes a living by peddling the theory that Islamist attacks are a logical response to US policy in the Middle East—in particular, to U.S. support for Israel. Small wonder that bin Laden finds much to admire in his work.

But why would bin Laden reach out to the kinds of people who would have no place in his dreamed-of global caliphate? An answer can be found in bin Laden’s pre-2002 letter to Taliban dictator Mullah Omar. “It is obvious that the media war in this century is one of the strongest methods [to accomplish al-Qaeda‘s goals],” bin Laden writes. “In fact, its ratio may reach 90 percent of the total preparation for the battles.” Bin Laden’s calculated appeals should thus be seen as his attempt to win the “media war” by shaping public opinion, starting with the most sympathetic audience: the antiwar and anti-globalization Left.

This is not the first time that some on the Left have taken bin Laden’s bait. In August of 2006, Counterpunch.org published an English translation of a Turkish newspaper’s interview with Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah. Editor Alexander Cockburn explained at the time: “Of interest to us was the very radical timbre of Nasrallah’s language and his remarks about the struggle against imperialism.” As it turned out, the interview was ultimately acknowledged to be a fake by its original publisher, the Turkish Labor Party newspaper Evrensel. Nevertheless, the episode revealed that there were those on the Left willing to suspend all disbelief in the interest of solidarity with Islamic terrorists like Nasrallah. Now, just over a year later, Counterpunch, joined by at least one writer at Daily Kos, has found a friend in Osama bin Laden.

It’s doubtful that Laden’s message will hold any appeal for those outside of the margins of the Left and Right. But the warm reception that his remarks have already received from these quarters suggests that, at minimum, the “Unholy Alliance” is alive, well, and ready to make common cause at the highest levels with the man directly responsible for killing 3,000 innocent civilians.

35
Politics & Religion / Economic crisis over US dollar?
« on: September 20, 2007, 05:49:27 PM »
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/core/Content/displayPrintabl...19.xml&site=1&page=0

Fears of dollar collapse as Saudis take fright

By Ambrose Evans-Pritchard, International Business Editor
Last Updated: 8:39am BST 20/09/2007

Saudi Arabia has refused to cut interest rates in lockstep with the US Federal Reserve for the first time, signalling that the oil-rich Gulf kingdom is preparing to break the dollar currency peg in a move that risks setting off a stampede out of the dollar across the Middle East.

China threatens 'nuclear option' of dollar sales

Ben Bernanke has placed the dollar in a dangerous situation, say analysts

"This is a very dangerous situation for the dollar," said Hans Redeker, currency chief at BNP Paribas.

"Saudi Arabia has $800bn (£400bn) in their future generation fund, and the entire region has $3,500bn under management. They face an inflationary threat and do not want to import an interest rate policy set for the recessionary conditions in the United States," he said.

The Saudi central bank said today that it would take "appropriate measures" to halt huge capital inflows into the country, but analysts say this policy is unsustainable and will inevitably lead to the collapse of the dollar peg.

As a close ally of the US, Riyadh has so far tried to stick to the peg, but the link is now destabilising its own economy.

The Fed's dramatic half point cut to 4.75pc yesterday has already caused a plunge in the world dollar index to a fifteen year low, touching with weakest level ever against the mighty euro at just under $1.40.

There is now a growing danger that global investors will start to shun the US bond markets. The latest US government data on foreign holdings released this week show a collapse in purchases of US bonds from $97bn to just $19bn in July, with outright net sales of US Treasuries.

The danger is that this could now accelerate as the yield gap between the United States and the rest of the world narrows rapidly, leaving America starved of foreign capital flows needed to cover its current account deficit - expected to reach $850bn this year, or 6.5pc of GDP.

Mr Redeker said foreign investors have been gradually pulling out of the long-term US debt markets, leaving the dollar dependent on short-term funding. Foreigners have funded 25pc to 30pc of America's credit and short-term paper markets over the last two years.

"They were willing to provide the money when rates were paying nicely, but why bear the risk in these dramatically changed circumstances? We think that a fall in dollar to $1.50 against the euro is not out of the question at all by the first quarter of 2008," he said.

"This is nothing like the situation in 1998 when the crisis was in Asia, but the US was booming. This time the US itself is the problem," he said.

Mr Redeker said the biggest danger for the dollar is that falling US rates will at some point trigger a reversal yen "carry trade", causing massive flows from the US back to Japan.

Jim Rogers, the commodity king and former partner of George Soros, said the Federal Reserve was playing with fire by cutting rates so aggressively at a time when the dollar was already under pressure.

The risk is that flight from US bonds could push up the long-term yields that form the base price of credit for most mortgages, the driving the property market into even deeper crisis.

"If Ben Bernanke starts running those printing presses even faster than he's already doing, we are going to have a serious recession. The dollar's going to collapse, the bond market's going to collapse. There's going to be a lot of problems," he said.

The Federal Reserve, however, clearly calculates the risk of a sudden downturn is now so great that the it outweighs dangers of a dollar slide.

Former Fed chief Alan Greenspan said this week that house prices may fall by "double digits" as the subprime crisis bites harder, prompting households to cut back sharply on spending.

For Saudi Arabia, the dollar peg has clearly become a liability. Inflation has risen to 4pc and the M3 broad money supply is surging at 22pc.

The pressures are even worse in other parts of the Gulf. The United Arab Emirates now faces inflation of 9.3pc, a 20-year high. In Qatar it has reached 13pc.

Kuwait became the first of the oil sheikhdoms to break its dollar peg in May, a move that has begun to rein in rampant money supply growth.

36
Sunday, September 9, 2007
No terrorism, just war?

MARK STEYN
Syndicated columnist

Oh, it's a long, long while from September to September. This year, the anniversary falls, for the first time, on a Tuesday morning, and perhaps some or other cable network will re-present the events in real time – the first vague breaking news in an otherwise routine morning show, the follow-up item on the second plane, and the realization that something bigger was under way. If you make it vivid enough, the JFK/Princess Di factor will kick in: you'll remember "where you were" when you "heard the news." But it's harder to recreate the peculiar mood at the end of the day, when the citizens of the superpower went to bed not knowing what they'd wake up to the following morning.
Six years on, most Americans are now pretty certain what they'll wake up to in the morning: There'll be a thwarted terrorist plot somewhere or other – last week, it was Germany. Occasionally, one will succeed somewhere or other, on the far horizon – in Bali, Istanbul, Madrid, London. But not many folks expect to switch on the TV this Tuesday morning, as they did that Tuesday morning, and see smoke billowing from Atlanta or Phoenix or Seattle. During the IRA's 30-year campaign, the British grew accustomed (perhaps too easily accustomed) to waking up to the news either of some prominent person's assassination or that a couple of grandmas and some schoolkids had been blown apart in a shopping center. It was a terrorist war in which terrorism was almost routine. But, in the six years since President Bush declared that America was in a "war on terror," there has been in America no terrorism.
In theory, the administration ought to derive a political benefit from this: The president has "kept America safe." But, in practice, the placidity of the domestic front diminishes the chosen rationale of the conflict: if a "war on terror" has no terror, who says there's a war at all? That's the argument of the left – that it's all a racket cooked up by the Bushitlerburton fascists to impose on America a permanent national-security state in which, for dark sinister reasons of his own, Dick Cheney is free to monitor your out-of-state phone calls all day long.
Judging from the blithe expressions of commuters doing the shoeless shuffle through the security line at LAX and O'Hare, most Americans seem relatively content with a permanent national-security state. It's a curious paradox: airports on permanent Orange Alert, and a citizenry on permanent … well, I'm not sure there's a Homeland Security color code for "Gaily Insouciant," but, if there is, it's probably a bland limpid pastel of some kind. Of course, if tomorrow there's a big smoking hole where the Empire State Building used to be, we'll be back to: "The president should have known! This proves the failure of his policies over the last six years! We need another all-star commission filled with retired grandees!"
And that would be the relatively sane reaction. Have you seen that bumper sticker "9/11 WAS AN INSIDE JOB"? If you haven't, go to a college town and cruise Main Street for a couple of minutes. It seems odd that a fascist regime that thinks nothing of killing thousands of people in a big landmark building in the center of the city hasn't quietly offed some of these dissident professors – or at least the guy with the sticker-printing contract. Fearlessly, Robert Fisk of Britain's Independent, the alleged dean of Middle East correspondents, has now crossed over to the truther side and written a piece headlined, "Even I Question The 'Truth' About 9/11." According to a poll in May, 35 percent of Democrats believe that Bush knew about 9/11 in advance. Did Rumsfeld also know? Almost certainly. That's why he went to his office as normal that today, because he knew in advance that the plane would slice through the Pentagon but come to a halt on the far side of the photocopier. That's how well-planned it was, unlike Iraq.
Apparently, 39 percent of Democrats still believe Bush didn'tknow in advance – or, at any rate, so they said in May. But I'm confident half of them will have joined Rosie O'Donnell on the melted steely knoll before the Iowa caucuses. If Iraq is another Vietnam, 9/11 is another Kennedy assassination. Were Bali, Madrid and London also inside jobs by the Bush Gang? It's no wonder federal spending's out of control.
And what of those for whom the events of six years ago were more than just conspiracy fodder? Last week the New York Times carried a story about the current state of the 9/11 lawsuits. Relatives of 42 of the dead are suing various parties for compensation, on the grounds that what happened that Tuesday morning should have been anticipated. The law firm Motley Rice, diversifying from its traditional lucrative class-action hunting grounds of tobacco, asbestos and lead paint, is promising to put on the witness stand everybody who "allowed the events of 9/11 to happen." And they mean everybody – American Airlines, United, Boeing, the airport authorities, the security firms – everybody, that is, except the guys who did it.
According to the Times, many of the bereaved are angry and determined that their loved one's death should have meaning. Yet the meaning they're after surely strikes our enemies not just as extremely odd but as one more reason why they'll win. You launch an act of war, and the victims respond with a lawsuit against their own countrymen.
But that's the American way: Almost every news story boils down to somebody standing in front of a microphone and announcing that he's retained counsel. Last week, it was Larry Craig. Next week, it'll be the survivors of Ahmadinejad's nuclear test in Westchester County. As Andrew McCarthy pointed out, a legalistic culture invariably misses the forest for the trees. Sen. Craig should know that what matters is not whether an artful lawyer can get him off on a technicality but whether the public thinks he trawls for anonymous sex in public bathrooms. Likewise, those 9/11 families should know that, if you want your child's death that morning to have meaning, what matters is not whether you hound Boeing into admitting liability but whether you insist that the movement that murdered your daughter is hunted down and the sustaining ideological virus that led thousands of others to dance up and down in the streets cheering her death is expunged from the earth.
In his pugnacious new book, Norman Podhoretz calls for redesignating this conflict as World War IV. Certainly, it would have been easier politically to frame the Iraq campaign as being a front in a fourth world war than as a necessary measure in an anti-terrorist campaign. Yet who knows? Perhaps we would still have mired ourselves in legalists and conspiracies and the dismal curdled relativism of the Flight 93 memorial's "crescent of embrace." In the end, as Podhoretz says, if the war is to be fought at all, it will "have to be fought by the kind of people Americans now are." On this sixth anniversary, as 9/11 retreats into history, many Americans see no war at all.

37
Second car bomb discovered in London
Explosives-laden vehicles could have killed scores, authorities say
MSNBC and NBC News
Updated: 2:15 p.m. MT June 29, 2007
British authorities were seeking three men Friday after police defused two car bombs that they said could have caused “significant injury or loss of life” in London.

The three men are believed to be from the Birmingham area, a center of radical Islamic unrest in Britain, U.S. officials who had been briefed on the developments told NBC News.

Police said the two cars, a light green and a light blue Mercedes-Benz, were found early Friday morning in London’s theater district. The green Mercedes was defused at the site. The blue Mercedes was not discovered to be a threat until early Friday evening, after it had been issued a parking ticket and towed to an impoundment lot near Hyde Park.

“These vehicles are clearly linked,” said Peter Clarke, chief of Britain’s antiterrorism police. “The discovery of a second bomb is obviously troubling.”

The car bombs were similar to highly destructive explosives used in Iraq and could have killed scores of people, U.S. and British officials told NBC News. British officials warned that the country was facing a “serious and sustained” terrorist threat.

The first car, which was parked under a blue awning near the popular Tiger Tiger nightclub, just 50 yards from Trafalgar Square, was jammed with gasoline and 18 to 20 boxes of roofing nails. Six to eight tanks of propane, intended to mix with the gasoline in a mist to make a fuel-air explosion, were inside and around the car, counterterrorism officials told NBC News.

Clarke told reporters that the second car was similarly laden with explosives and nails.

U.S. officials told NBC that the devices appeared designed to create a highly explosive bomb of the type that had been seen in Iraq but not, until now, in the West.

Islamist terrorist suspects convicted in recent London cases have spoken of moving up to more deadly fuel-air explosives, authorities said. Metropolitan Police Commissioner Ian Blair said earlier this year that “vehicle-borne weaponry is the greatest danger that we can face.”

Authorities fear more devices
The two cars were left at the same place, but their discoveries were very dissimilar.

The first car was immediately recognized as a threat and disarmed at the scene. The second car, however, sat unrecognized for most of the day after it was hitched up to a tow truck and carted down London’s streets to a police impoundment lot.

The historic Fleet Street journalism district was also briefly shut as police examined a third suspicious vehicle before reopening the street.

Jacqui Smith, who was on her second day as Britain’s new home secretary, said the country was confronted with “the most serious and sustained threat to our security from international terrorism.”

Michael Chertoff, secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, said U.S. officials had no evidence of a threat to U.S. security.

With the approach of Independence Day, however, New York officials said they were ramping up security in light of the developments in London, where a New York police official was coordinating with local authorities.

“Some of you will notice, some of you won’t — but we have to be cognizant,” Mayor Michael Bloomberg said on his weekly radio show.

Highly dangerous devices
It was clear that the devices, had they exploded, would have caused great damage and many casualties in the area, which is packed with restaurants, bars and theaters.

“This is a busy area that time of night,” the police official told NBC News. “There could have been a fireball that could have penetrated the club, and with the nails, it could have caused serious casualties.”

The attempted bombing comes just days after Gordon Brown succeeded Tony Blair as prime minister and a week before the second anniversary of the July 7 London bombings that killed 52 people. Brown echoed Smith’s observation that Britain faced a serious terrorist threat.

“I will stress to the Cabinet that the vigilance must be maintained over the next few days,” Brown said.

Security at the Wimbledon tennis tournament was increased in response to the thwarted attack, The Associated Press reported.

“We are a high-profile event, and the championships take security very seriously,” Roger Draper, Lawn Tennis Association chief executive, told Radio Five Live.


By Alex Johnson of MSNBC.com and Stephanie Gosk of NBC News in London. NBC’s Robert Windrem in Washington and WNBC-TV’s Jonathan Dienst in New York contributed to this report.
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/19495826/

38
Politics & Religion / Cut and Run democrats....From Afghanistan
« on: June 27, 2007, 03:47:07 PM »
http://lawhawk.blogspot.com/2007/06/nuanced-cut-and-run.html

Nuanced Cut and Run

The latest area from which Congressional Democrats want to cut and run is Afghanistan. Isn't that where there's widespread support and al Qaeda continues to operate on the border region in concert with the Taliban? So why are the usual suspects among Congressional Democrats calling for the US to get out?

A few congressional Democrats go so far as suggesting that the Pentagon should pull out of Afghanistan now, while others say that troop withdrawal will be addressed after the military is out of Iraq.

Rep. Neil Abercrombie (D-Hawaii), a senior defense authorizer, wants the U.S. out of Afghanistan immediately, calling operations there “futile” in trying to effect political change in a country with a tangled history.

Most other Democrats want to focus on Afghanistan, with the goal of withdrawing the military down the road after the country is stabilized and any new Taliban resurgence quashed.

With a few exceptions, congressional Democrats no longer show any hesitation about withdrawing the military from Iraq. But they are more circumspect about Afghanistan, saying that the Bush administration let the situation worsen by shifting attention onto a protracted conflict in Iraq.

“We should have never gone to Iraq, because we would have been out of Afghanistan [by now],” Rep. John Murtha (D-Pa.) said in a brief interview.

Murtha, the chairman of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee and a vocal opponent of the war in Iraq, said that by September, when he takes up the fiscal 2008 war supplemental funding, he would have a better sense of how to handle Afghanistan.

Yet making the argument that the U.S. needs to get out of Iraq and stay in Afghanistan can be politically challenging. While Democrats regularly note that the war in Iraq has now gone on longer than World War II, the U.S. has been in Afghanistan longer than it has been in Iraq. And arguments that Iraqis need to take control of their own country can be applied to Afghanistan as well.

The Afghanistan effort enjoys much more support among the American public, and Democratic leaders have sought to burnish their homeland security credentials by presenting an unwavering backing of the war there.
It's all about politics and seeking to game the situation to their advantage. It has nothing to do with national security or going after al Qaeda or even what's in the best interests of the troops.

This is a decision that is in the best interests of the partisan Democrats who think that this is going to win them seats in the next election.

39
I'm curious.....

41
Politics & Religion / The party of Hate
« on: April 20, 2007, 06:55:23 AM »

42
Politics & Religion / "Christ Killa"
« on: April 13, 2007, 08:55:03 AM »
http://michellemalkin.com/archives/007300.htm?print=1

As usual, the left targets a safe religion to mock.

43
Politics & Religion / Iran's Hostages
« on: April 01, 2007, 12:30:18 PM »
Taking of hostages by Iran is not Britain's finest hour

April 1, 2007
BY MARK STEYN Sun-Times Columnist
Twenty-seven years ago, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was a student in Tehran and is said (by a former Iranian president, for one) to be among those in the U.S. embassy who seized and held American citizens hostage for more than a year.
Today, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is president of Iran and bears less ambiguous responsibility for Western hostages. This time round, they're British subjects: 15 sailors and Royal Marines. There are a few differences between this kidnapping and the last: Back in 1979, the Iranians seized their hostages by invading a diplomatic mission -- the sovereign territory of the United States. In 2007, they seized them in international waters. In 1979, two weeks after the embassy crisis began, 13 American hostages who happened to be black were released; the remainder were held for another 14 months. In 2007, the one woman among the hostages is being offered by the regime for early release, invitingly dangled in front of the TV cameras, though with her Royal Navy uniform replaced by Islamic dress; it remains to be seen what will become of the others. On Thursday, a new generation of "student demonstrators" called for the "British aggressors" to be executed.

On this 25th anniversary of the Falklands War, Tony Blair is looking less like Margaret Thatcher and alarmingly like Jimmy Carter, the embodiment of the soi-disant "superpower" as a smiling eunuch.

But this is a season of anniversaries. A few days ago, the European Union was celebrating its 50th birthday with the usual lame-o Euro-boosterism. I said up above that the 15 hostages are "British subjects." But, as a point of law, they are also "citizens of the European Union." Even Oxford and Hoover's Timothy Garton Ash, one of the most indefatigable of those Euro-boosters, seemed to recognize the Iranian action was a challenge to Europe's pretensions. "Fifteen Europeans were kidnapped from Iraqi territorial waters by Iranian Revolutionary Guards," he wrote. "Those 14 European men and one European woman have been held at an undisclosed location for nearly a week, interrogated, denied consular access, but shown on Iranian television, with one of them making a staged 'confession,' clearly under duress. So if Europe is as it claims to be, what's it going to do about it?''

Short answer: Nothing.

Slightly longer answer: The 15 "European" hostages aren't making that much news in "Europe." And, insofar as they have, other "Europeans" -- i.e., Belgians, Germans and whatnot -- don't look on the 15 hostages as "Europeans" but as Brits. Europe has more economic leverage on Iran than America has. The European Union is the Islamic Republic's biggest trading partner, accounting for 40 percent of Iranian exports. They are in a position to inflict serious pain on Tehran. But not for 15 British servicemen. There may be "European citizens," but there is no European polity.

OK, well, how about the United Nations? Those student demonstrators want the execution of "British aggressors." In fact, they're U.N. aggressors. HMS Cornwall is the base for multinational marine security patrols in the Gulf: a mission authorized by the United Nations. So what's the U.N. doing about this affront to its authority and (in the public humiliation of the captives) of the Geneva Conventions?

Short answer: Nothing.

Slightly longer answer: The British ambassador to the U.N. had wanted the Security Council to pass a resolution ''deploring'' Iran's conduct. But the Russians objected to all this hotheaded inflammatory lingo about ''deploring,'' and so the Security Council instead expressed its ''grave concern'' about the situation. That and $4.95 will get you a decaf latte. Ask the folks in Darfur what they've got to show for years of the U.N.'s "grave concerns" -- heavy on the graves, less so on the concern.

Yet, like the Americans, the British persist in trying to resolve real crises through pseudo-institutions. A bunch of unelected multinational technocrats can designate an entire continent as "citizens of Europe" but, as Pat Buchanan wrote the other day, "dry documents, no matter how eloquent, abstract ideas, no matter how beautiful, do not a nation make." Similarly, the West's transnational romantics can fantasize about "one-world government," but, given the constituent parts, it's likely to be a lot more like Syria writ large than Sweden. In fact, it already is.

And, at one level, the obstructionists have a point. Russia's interests in Iran are not the same as the United Kingdom's: Why should it subordinate its national policy for a few British sailors? Conversely, why should we subordinate ours to transnational process? If saving Darfur is the right thing to do, it doesn't become the wrong thing to do because the Chinese guy refuses to raise his hand. And Darfur is an internal region of a sovereign state. If the Security Council cannot even "deplore" an act of piracy on the high seas, then what is it for?

The U.N. will do nothing for men seized on a U.N.-sanctioned mission. The European Union will do nothing for its "European citizens." But if liberal transnationalism is a post-modern joke, it's not the only school of transnationalism out there. Iran's Islamic Revolution has been explicitly extraterritorial since the beginning: It has created and funded murderous proxies in Hezbollah, Hamas and both Shia and Sunni factions of the Iraq "insurgency." It has spent a fortune in the stans of Central Asia radicalizing previously somnolent Muslim populations. When Ayatollah Khomeini announced the fatwa against Salman Rushdie, it was not Iranians but British, Indian, Turkish, European, Asian and American Muslims who called for his death, firebombed bookstores, shot his publisher, fatally stabbed his translator and murdered anybody who got in their way.

So we live today in a world of one-way sovereignty: American, British and Iraqi forces in Iraq respect the Syrian and Iranian borders; the Syrians and Iranians do not respect the Iraqi border. Patrolling the Shatt al-Arab at a time of war, the Royal Navy operates under rules of engagement designed by distant fainthearts with an eye to the polite fictions of "international law": If you're in a ''warship,'' you can't wage war. If you're in a ''destroyer,'' don't destroy anything. If you're in a "frigate," you're frigging done for.

On Sept. 11, a New York skyscraper was brought down by the Egyptian leader of a German cell of an Afghan terror group led by a Saudi. Islamism is only the first of many globalized ideological viruses that will seep undetected across national frontiers in the years ahead. Meanwhile, we put our faith in meetings of foreign ministers.

"It is better to be making the news than taking it," wrote Winston Churchill in 1898. But his successors have gotten used to taking it, and the men who make the news well understand that.


47
Politics & Religion / 300
« on: March 09, 2007, 10:55:21 PM »
October 11, 2006
History and the Movie “300”
by Victor Davis Hanson
Private Papers

(Adapted from the introduction to the forthcoming book trailer published by Black Horse Comics, Inc. to accompany Director Zack Snyder’s new film “300”)

The phrase “300 Spartans” evokes not only the ancient battle of Thermopylae, but also the larger idea of fighting for freedom against all odds — a notion subsequently to be enshrined through some 2500 years of Western civilization.

Even today we remember the power of the Spartans’ defiance. “Come and take them,” they tell the Persian emissaries who demand their arms. “Then we will fight in the shade,” the Spartans boast when warned that the horde of Persian arrows will soon blot out the very sunlight. “Go tell the Spartans that here we lie obedient to their commands” the tombstone of their dead reads.

In 480, an enormous force of more than a quarter-million Persians under their King Xerxes invaded Greece, both to enslave the free city-states, and to avenge the Persian defeat a decade earlier at Marathon. The huge force of ships and soldiers proved unstoppable on its way west and southward until it reached the narrow pass at Thermopylae (“The Warm Gates”) in northern Greece. There a collection of 7,000 Greeks had blocked the way. They hoped to stop Xerxes’ horde outright — or at least allow enough time for their fellow countrymen to their rear to mobilize a sufficient defense of the homeland.

Among the many Greek contingents was a special elite force of 300 Spartans under their King Leonidas — a spearhead that offered the other Greeks at Thermopylae some promise that they could still bar the advance of the vastly superior invader. And that hope proved real for two days of hard fighting. The vastly outnumbered, but heavily-armed Greek infantrymen in their phalanx — taking advantage of the narrow terrain and their massed tactics — savagely beat back wave after wave of advancing Persian foot soldiers and cavalry.

But on the third day of battle, Leonidas’s Greeks were betrayed by a local shepherd Ephialtes, who showed the Persians an alternate route over the mountains that led to the rear of the Greek position. When he realized that he was nearly surrounded, Leonidas nevertheless made a critical decision to stay and fight, while ordering most of the other various allies to flee the encirclement to organize the growing Greek resistance to the south.

Meanwhile the King and his doomed 300 Spartans, together with other small groups of surrounded Thespians and Thebans, would indeed battle to buy the Greeks time. They ranged further out from the pass on this third and last day of battle — at first with spears and swords, finally with teeth and nails —killing scores more of Persians. The last few Spartan survivors were buried under a sea of Persian arrows. The body of Leonidas was found among the corpses, his head soon impaled on a stick as a macabre reminder of the wages of resistance to the Great King of Persia.

The Greeks took encouragement from the unprecedented sacrifice of a Spartan King and his royal guard on their behalf. And so a few weeks later at the sea battle of Salamis near Athens — and then again the next year at the great infantry collision on the plains of Plataea — the Greeks defeated, and eventually destroyed, the Persian invaders. The rallying cry of the victors was Thermopylae, the noble sacrifice of the final stand of the outnumbered Greeks, and especially the courage of the fallen Three Hundred Spartans under King Leonidas.

So almost immediately, contemporary Greeks saw Thermopylae as a critical moral and culture lesson. In universal terms, a small, free people had willingly outfought huge numbers of imperial subjects who advanced under the lash. More specifically, the Western idea that soldiers themselves decide where, how, and against whom they will fight was contrasted against the Eastern notion of despotism and monarchy — freedom proving the stronger idea as the more courageous fighting of the Greeks at Thermopylae, and their later victories at Salamis and Plataea attested.

Greek writers and poets such as Simonides and Herodotus were fascinated by the Greek sacrifice against Xerxes, and especially the heroism of Leonidas and his men. And subsequently throughout Western literature poets as diverse as Lord Byron and A.E. Houseman have likewise paid homage to the Spartan last stand — and this universal idea of Western soldiers willing to die as free men rather than to submit to tyranny. Steven Pressfield’s novel Gates of Fire and the earlier Hollywood movie The 300 Spartans both were based on the Greek defense of the pass at Thermopylae.

Recently, a variety of Hollywood films — from Troy to Alexander the Great — has treated a variety of themes from classical Greek literature and theater. But 300 is unique, a sui generis in both spirit and methodology. The script is not an attempt in typical Hollywood fashion to recreate the past as a costume drama. Instead it is based on Frank Miller’s (of Sin City fame) comic book graphics and captions. Miller’s illustrated novelette of the battle adapts themes loosely from the well-known story of the Greek defense, but with deference made to the tastes of contemporary popular culture.

So the film is indeed inspired by the comic book; and in some sense its muscular warriors, virtual reality sets, and computer-generated landscapes recall the look and feel of Robert Rodriquez’s screen version of Sin City. Yet the collaboration of Director Zack Snyder and screenwriters Kurt Johnstad and Michael Gordon is much more of a hybrid, since the script, dialogue, cinematography, and acting all recall scenes of the battle right from Herodotus’s account.

300, of course, makes plenty of allowance for popular tastes, changing and expanding the story to meet the protocols of the comic book genre. The film was not shot on location outdoors, but in a studio using the so-called “digital backlot” technique of sometimes placing the actors against blue screens. The resulting realism is not that of the sun-soaked cliffs above the blue Aegean — Thermopylae remains spectacularly beautiful today — but of the eerie etchings of the comic book.

The Spartans fight bare-chested without armor, in the “heroic nude” manner that ancient Greek vase-painters portrayed Greek hoplites, their muscles bulging as if they were contemporary comic book action heroes. Again, following the Miller comic, artistic license is made with the original story — the traitor Ephialtes is as deformed in body as he is in character; King Xerxes is not bearded and perched on a distant throne, but bald, huge, perhaps sexually ambiguous, and often right on the battlefield. The Persians bring with them exotic beasts like a rhinoceros and elephant, and the leader of the Immortals fights Leonidas in a duel (which the Greeks knew as monomachia). Shields are metal rather than wood with bronze veneers, and swords sometimes look futuristic rather than ancient.

Again, purists must remember that 300 seeks to bring a comic book, not Herodotus, to the screen. Yet, despite the need to adhere to the conventions of Frank Miller’s graphics and plot — every bit as formalized as the protocols of classical Athenian drama or Japanese Kabuki theater — the main story from our ancient Greek historians is still there: Leonidas, against domestic opposition, insists on sending an immediate advance party northward on a suicide mission to rouse the Greeks and allow them time to unite a defense. Once at Thermopylae, he adopts the defenses to the narrow pass between high cliffs and the sea far below. The Greeks fight both en masse in the phalanx and at times range beyond as solo warriors. They are finally betrayed by Ephialtes, forcing Leonidas to dismiss his allies — and leaving his own 300 to the fate of dying under a sea of arrows.

But most importantly, 300 preserves the spirit of the Thermopylae story. The Spartans, quoting lines known from Herodotus and themes from the lyric poets, profess unswerving loyalty to a free Greece. They will never kow-tow to the Persians, preferring to die on their feet than live on their knees.

If critics think that 300 reduces and simplifies the meaning of Thermopylae into freedom versus tyranny, they should reread carefully ancient accounts and then blame Herodotus, Plutarch, and Diodorus — who long ago boasted that Greek freedom was on trial against Persian autocracy, free men in superior fashion dying for their liberty, their enslaved enemies being whipped to enslave others.


48
Politics & Religion / Leave No Congressman Behind!
« on: November 18, 2006, 12:15:22 AM »

**As a whole, the dems don't get it. Sadly the republicans are only slightly better, as a group. Until the US awakens to the war we are in, very little to address the threat will be accomplished.**

http://hughhewitt.townhall.com/g/305a06fd-9024-4fc0-ac05-f9ca707bb100

Thursday, November 16, 2006
Leave No Congressman Behind!
Posted by Dean Barnett  | 6:15 PM

Yesterday the blogosphere?s series of interviews with the leadership candidates for the Republican House Conference came to a close. Mercifully.

The last member to walk into our virtual interrogation center was John Boehner, a candidate for minority leader. Boehner is generally unpopular in the blogosphere because he was a ranking member of the last leadership team whose record was Cleveland Indians-esque. Other pundits don?t like Boehner for more substantive reasons; I?ve received a couple of emails today running down a rather exhaustive list of disastrous legislation Boehner supported ranging from No Child Left Behind to the Prescription Drug Boondoggle.

At the risk of sounding like a semi-apostate, I found Boehner to be an extremely impressive guy. Well spoken and authoritative, he was every bit the alpha-dog. After speaking with him, there was little doubt why he has emerged as a leader amongst his colleagues.

THAT?S THE GOOD NEWS. There?s also some bad news. As was the case with three previous conference call attendees, I asked Boehner the question. To refresh your memory, I had asked three other congress-people the following:

What books have you read about Islamic terrorism against America and the West?
None of the three were able to name a single book. Boehner followed suit, saying that he had read books on the subject but that he couldn?t give me any names.

There was one other noteworthy exchange during the Boehner conference call. One blogger asked Boehner what blogs he reads. Oddly, given the self regard of the blogging community (a phenomenon that I am hardly immune from), this was the first time anyone had asked any of the representatives such a question.

I thought it was a softball. I figured Boehner would say Powerline and Instapundit and of course the blogs represented on the conference call. Instead, Boehner responded that he doesn?t read blogs, but that he does have a member of his staff who reads them and periodically prepares a digest for him on what the blogs are saying.

The questioner then fired off a follow up: From where does the congressman get his news? Boehner told us that he gets his news mostly from the newspapers.

WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT, Boehner?s series of answers regarding his reading habits and the insight we?ve received regarding other members? reading habits (or lack thereof) can help us make sense of a lot of things.

One thing most every reader of conservative blogs comprehends is the existential stakes of the current war. People who read blogs are high end gatherers of news. They?re outliers, but in a very good way. They?re people like my friend, Dr. (of medicine, i.e. a real doctor) Andy Bostom who reacted to 9/11 by learning everything he could about Islam. The product of his research was the thorough and seminal book, ?The Legacy of Jihad.?

I?m always astonished by how well informed the readers of a site like this one are. Since I put out a call for books that might help our congressmen get up to speed, I?ve been deluged by responses. Blog readers are high end news consumers, and by nature intellectually curious.

Now imagine if you didn?t read blogs and didn?t read books. Picture all the things that you know now that you wouldn?t know if you left your news gathering to the tender mercies of the mainstream media?s editorial decisions. You?d probably be unaware of the ghastly fate that awaits 200 French automobiles each evening at the hands of rampaging ?youths.? You?d definitely be unaware of the youths? affiliation with certain religious practices.

If all your news came from newspapers, you wouldn?t understand how numerous, determined and flat-out crazy our enemies are. You wouldn?t know how widespread the phenomenon of Radical Islam is because the New York Times, USA Today and the Wall Street Journal don?t report it. Every now and then you would stumble over an editorial or op-ed piece highlighting a particularly pathological incident, but you would have no concept of how massive the problem is.

AND THIS IS WHERE WE CLOSE THE LOOP. I?ve long wondered how our leaders can be so unserious about the fight we?re in given the existential stakes. Now I get it ? they just don?t understand the stakes. The newspapers haven?t told them that we?re in a fight for our lives. Lord knows the intelligence agencies don?t get it. And now we know the congressmen themselves take either no or precious little initiative to educate themselves.

So on the left you get relentless partisanship because they don?t understand that there are larger issues involved. On the right you get mantra-like chanting of ?We must win in Iraq? but with little understanding of how the battle in Iraq fits in with the greater war. This explains why we haven?t heard a single one of our leaders offer a vision of how we?re going to not only ?win? in Iraq but how we?re also going to ?win? in Iran, Egypt, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria, etc. They do not grasp the size of our challenge.

So what to do? If our congressmen have no interest in educating themselves, we must take it upon ourselves to do it for them. For too long our congressmen have been victims of the soft bigotry of low expectations. We?ve allowed them to skate by kissing babies and appearing on Hannity & Colmes without insisting that they actually bring themselves up to speed on the most pressing issue of our day.

So I?m thinking of creating a Congressional-level version of Oprah?s book club. Think of it as Deano?s Book Club. I would like to get a list of three books that absolutely every congressman must read, or at the very least have a staffer read and then explain it to him.

And we must plan to check how they?re doing on their homework assignments. Shhh - don?t tell anyone, but I have a friend in radio and we might be able to convince him to ask his guests occasionally how their reading project is coming along.

My vital three books are:

?The Looming Tower? by Lawrence Wright

?Future Jihad? by Walid Phares; and

?America Alone? by Mark Steyn

Leave your suggestions in the comments and we?ll arrive at a consensus. Remember our goal here ? leave no congressman behind.



Compliments? Complaints? Contact me at Soxblog@aol.com

49
Politics & Religion / Watch this tonight to learn about the global Jihad
« on: November 15, 2006, 10:49:32 AM »
**The MSM is waking up, slowly....**

http://www.cnn.com/CNN/Programs/beck.extremistagenda/

50
Politics & Religion / Read it all!
« on: November 07, 2006, 03:59:27 AM »

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