2007-10-31

Rudy '08!

So, I'm making it official today: Dreams Into Lightning endorses Rudy Giuliani for President of the United States in 2008. In fact, I've even made a modest campaign donation just now.

I'd tell you why I like Rudy, but I don't think I can improve on the endorsement given by Linda S. Heard in Gulfnews:
In short, Giuliani is no benign patriotic do-gooder. He's a hawkish, sabre-rattling, pro-Israel, nationalistic neocon.

Ms. Heard reminds us of Giuliani's record:
A clue to Giuliani's leanings emerged during the visit of Prince Al Walid Bin Talal to Ground Zero in October 2001. Bearing a $10 million donation for disaster relief, the Saudi prince suggested the US reexamine its Middle East policies and adopt a balanced stance towards Palestinian aspirations. Giuliani's response was to hand back the cheque.

But that's in the past. What about the future?
Giuliani makes no bones about the fact he would use military force to set-back Iran's nuclear programme. In September, he promised to use America's military might to prevent Iran pursuing its nuclear ambitions should he be elected president.

His senior foreign policy adviser Norman Podhoretz has spelled out this message, advising that Iran be bombed with cruise missiles and bunker busters. "None of the alternatives to military action - negotiations, sanctions, provoking an internal insurrection - can possibly work," he told The Daily Telegraph.

Giuliani is talking tough when it comes to Pakistan, too. He recently urged the president to be more aggressive in the hunt for Osama Bin Laden within Pakistan even if such a move would result in alienating the Pakistani government.

On Iraq, Giuliani has been consistently gung ho. He supported the war from the outset, backed the so-called surge and believes American troops should stay in Iraq for the foreseeable future.

But what about the Palestinian issue - which, as we all know, is central to everything in the Middle East?
He has declared in no uncertain terms his antipathy towards a two-state solution because a Palestinian entity would "support terrorism" and threaten US security.

That's great. But what about Israel's security? Is Giuliani really as "pro-Israel" as Ms. Heard asserts? Well, there's this:
It's also worth recalling that in 1995, he banned the former Palestinian president Yasser Arafat from attending events held in New York to celebrate the UN's 50th anniversary and ordered his removal from a concert held at the Lincoln Centre. It's not surprising that a panel of eight Israeli experts assembled by the daily Ha'aretz determined Giuliani is the best presidential candidate for Israel.

So far, so good: Ms. Heard has substantiated "hawkish", "sabre-rattling", "nationalistic", and "pro-Israel". But is Giuliani really a neocon?
A recent article on the front page of the New York Times titled "Mid-east hawks help to develop Giuliani's policy" enlightens us as to the former mayor's new best friends. "Mr Giuliani is consulting with, among others, a particularly hawkish group of advisers and neoconservative thinkers," the article reads.

Go read the rest at the link. On the subject of "the civil liberties of Americans", I will defer to Ms. Hurd's superior expertise on the subject, as she is a British journalist based in Cairo who has written in defense of certain mores:
The fact is when it comes to certain mores and core values East is still East and West is West and that's surely as it should be.

Well, there you are then. And I'm going to go with my mores and core values, and suport Rudy in '08.

A grateful hat tip to a member of the 911 Neocons e-list.

Morning Report: October 31, 2007

Madrid bombers sentenced. Fox News reports: 'MADRID, Spain — Twenty-one of 28 defendants were found guilty on Wednesday in the 2004 Madrid train bombings, but another accused ringleader was acquitted in connection with Europe's worst Islamic terror attack. Judge Javier Gomez Bermudez read the verdicts in a quiet courtroom, with heavy security, including bomb-sniffing dogs and police helicopters, outside. The backpack bomb attacks killed 191 people and wounded more than 1,800 on March 11, 2004.' The Telegraph: 'The men received symbolic sentences of more than 39,000 years each but under Spanish law they will only serve a maximum of 40 years in jail. Two Moroccan men Jamal Zougam, 33, and Abdel Majid Bouchar, 23, were both found guilty of planning and carrying out the attacks on four commuter trains on March 11, 2004 which killed 191 people and injured more than 1,800. A Spanish miner, Jose Emilio Suarez Trashorras, 30, was found guilty of supplying the explosives used in the blasts and was also sentenced to almost 40,000 years. ... But seven defendants were cleared of all charges including one of the alleged key masterminds, the Egyptian Rabei Osman Sayed Ahmed, 35, who is serving a prison sentence in Italy after he was convicted of belonging to an international terrorist group.' Finally, you might be surprised to learn which British newspaper used the I-word in its headline and called the bombing The worst Islamist attack in European history :
On the morning of March 11 2004, as thousands of commuters made their way to work, 10 bombs packed with nails and dynamite exploded on four trains heading into central Madrid. The blasts killed 191 people and injured nearly 1,800. It was the worst Islamist terrorist attack in European history. ...

The events of 11-M, as the attacks are known in Spain, initially divided the country along political lines. The bombings were carried out just three days before a general election, which saw the incumbent conservative Popular party (PP) of José María Aznar defeated by the Socialist PSOE led by José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero.
From the moment the attacks took place, the PP argued that they were the work of the Basque separatist group Eta; Mr Aznar went so far as to phone national newspaper editors, assuring them this was the case. Despite evidence soon emerging of a van containing detonators linked to the attacks and a recording of verses from the Qur'an, the PP stuck to its line.

The police investigation and subsequent trial uncovered no evidence of a link to Eta. The bombings were carried out by a group of young men, mostly from north Africa, who were, according to prosecutors, inspired by a tract on an al-Qaida-affiliated website that called for attacks on Spain. The tract called for "two or three attacks ... to exploit the coming general elections in Spain in March 2004", saying that they would ensure the "victory of the Socialist party and the withdrawal of Spanish forces [from Iraq]".

Read the rest at the link.

Azarmehr on the worst option. Azarmehr:
Ever since Ahmadi-Nejad became the president, we have feared a military attack on Iran as the worst option. Instead we have presented the pro-democracy movement in Iran as the most viable option to bring peace and stability to Iran, the region and to the world.

Sadly the Islamic Republic apologists, individuals like Ray Takyeh, Fareed Zakaria, Hossein Nasr, Laura Rozen etc. and organisations like CASMII, Iran Action, SWP etc. have consistently tried to diminish the strength of desire for change from the current theocracy to a secular democracy amongst the young dominant Iranian population and have tried to present the Islamic Republic as an acceptable form of government and even a 'shining beacon of democracy'. Their efforts with the help of funding they receive from the Islamic Republic petro-dollars and the misguided support of 'useful idiots' has meant that the pro-democracy movement in Iran has not been able to enjoy the support and the recognition it deserves and hence not count as a credible alternative to the ever increasing menace of the clerics ruling Iran.

Yet there now seems to be an even worse option on the table. Limited strikes on military and nuclear targets which will destroy much of Iran's infrastructure but keep the clerics in power!

In fact the Ayatollahs in Iran seem to be welcoming the limited strikes, and as always their biggest fear has been regime change from within.

Go to the link for the rest - and for photos.

In case you missed it, October 29 was Cyrus the Great Day. Via The Spirit of Man, here's Aryamehr:
October 29, the “Cyrus the Great Day” And the anniversary of his issuing the first declaration of human rights

Twenty five centuries ago, when savagery was the dominant factor in human societies, a civilized and compassionate declaration was written on clay and issued to the “four corners of the world” that dealt with important issues relevant to the rights of humans, the same issues that not only in those days but even today can inspire those who believe in human dignity and rights.

This document, known as “The Declaration of Cyrus the Great,” emphasized on the removal of all racial, national discrimination and slavery, bestowing to the people, freedom to choose their places of residence, faith and religion and giving prominence to the perpetual peace amongst the nations. This Declaration could actually be considered as a present from the Iranian people, expressed through the words of Cyrus, their political leader and the founder of the first empire in the world, to the whole humanity. In 1971, the general assembly of the United Nations recognized it as the first Declaration of Human Rights, thus, registering such an honor to the name of Iran as the cradle of this first historical attempt to establish the recognition of human rights.

Unfortunately, today, Iran is considered a country whose people are deprived of the very rights that were discovered, articulated and expressed by themselves. ...

That's from the Committee to Save Pasargad. Winston at TSOM adds the following in Persian:

دیروز سالروز گرامیداشت کوروش کبیر و یادبود این پادشاه بزرگ ایرانی بود. یادش را گرامی میداریم و به خاطر میسپاریم که اعلامیه حقوق بشر کوروش هخامنشی اولین اعلامیه رسمی جهانی حمایت از حقوق اولیه انسانی مثل ازادی و عدالت بوده و خواهد بود


Iraqi forces capture suspected terrorists in Khadra raid. MNF-Iraq: 'Iraqi Special Operations Forces conducted a raid Oct. 29 in Khadra detaining a suspected al Qaeda in Iraq terrorist network leader and three others. The AQI leader is believed to lead four insurgent groups who are suspected of conducting attacks on Iraqi Security Forces and terrorizing local civilians. Coalition Forces believe he and his network are involved in attacks on Iraqi infrastructure and medical facilities, including the burning of Iraq’s main drug storehouse which provided medicine to sick citizens.'

Iraqi police learn the basics. CENTCOM: 'The Military Police Platoon from Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment developed a 10-day preparatory class to implement the basics for Iraqi Police recruits prior to attending the Baghdad Police Academy which initiates them as official police officers. “This course is designed to give … IPs a basic understanding on what their job will consist of,” said Sgt. 1st Class Anthony Brinson, the MP Platoon’s top sergeant for HHC, 1st Squadron, 7th Cav. Regt. The trainees, waiting to attend the academy, come from various stations in the surrounding area to learn basic policeman skills, he added. It’s an orientation, ensuring all baby IPs go into the academy on the same level of general knowledge. “The training covers basics on ethics, principles, Iraqi law, first aid, basic rifle marksmanship, responding to a crime scene and search techniques in various scenarios. The recruits follow a structured daily schedule emphasizing teamwork and discipline,” said Brinson, a Fort Lauderdale, Fla., native.'

Lawlessness and murder in Yemen. Jane Novak at Armies of Liberation:
This kind of anarchy results from the fact that the entire leadership structure of Yemen’s security forces and military is in the hands of the president’s relatives who operate with impunity, and so do their associates, and their associates’ associates. And so it goes until things deteriorate to the point that a college security guard can walk into a police station, shoot a prisoner in the head, and then go dancing home to threaten the dead guy’s kid.


Iraqpundit on Blackwater immunity. IraqPundit is livid:
I had hoped the days of American disastrous decisions in Iraq were behind us. You know, disbanding the Iraqi military, etc. Well, my hopes were dashed by this report in the NYT:

"State Department investigators offered Blackwater USA security guards immunity during an inquiry into last month’s deadly shooting of 17 Iraqis in Baghdad — a potentially serious investigative misstep that could complicate efforts to prosecute the company’s employees involved in the episode, government officials said Monday."

Why is this a stupid move on the part of the U.S.?

"Blackwater employees and other civilian contractors cannot be tried in military courts, and it is unclear what American criminal laws might cover criminal acts committed in a war zone. Americans are immune from Iraqi law under a directive signed by the United States occupation authority in 2003 that has not been repealed by the Iraqi Parliament."


Commentary. Here's an analysis from Family Security Matters. Bill Siegel asks: Has Bush stopped being Bush?
The latest sign came last week when Bush referred to the possible start of World War III. First, by doing so, he has distanced himself from the wisdom of Norman Podhoretz’s World War IV narrative which traces the current war back through the true third world war—the Cold War.

More importantly, however, Bush has undermined himself by stating that WWIII has not yet started. This flies in the face of the Bush Doctrine which postulated that the threat posed by our Islamic enemy (however one wishes to describe it) has been aimed at us for decades and seeks not only our destruction but world domination. It is precisely this enemy which has developed or can access the tools, weapons, and strategies to actualize its goals, and which can marshal the support of billions worldwide, that places us in a new kind of “imminent danger.” The reality of this imminence is exactly what most of America learned, if only temporarily, on 9/11- that we already are involved in a global war.

Bush used to operate out of this perspective. ...

I'm going to come back to this particular point (about the WWIII comment), but this passage gives you the sense of what a lot of us are feeling about Bush these days. Next part ditto, and even more interesting:
Still worse is Condi Rice’s conversion once she became Secretary of State. Because the Secretary of State has no power to fire Foreign Service Officers in the State Department, the Department winds up running the Secretary rather than the converse. Accordingly, one of Bush’s most trusted advisors has become a megaphone for the Department’s long held malignant strategies. Accepting the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, for instance, as the cause of all other Middle East problems and the barrier to true peace is a long-standing State Department worldview which has repeatedly failed to achieve what the Department says it intends.

Bush fought this distorted vision in his first term, only to have Rice embark on her current disastrous road trip to help Prime Minister Ehud Olmert give up more of Israel. Bush is re-enabling the extortion process (which has for decades been mislabeled the “peace process”) as it repeatedly fulfills the Islamic goal of using diplomacy to reduce Israel step by step until it is easy to annihilate—by Iran, Syria, Palestinians, take your pick. [Emphasis added - aa.]

Now I have to admit I didn't know that about the State Department, but in any case it's a sad fate for Condi and those of us who had high hopes for her. But the FSM article concludes on an optimistic note:
All appearances aside, however, Bush should never be underestimated. The hallmark of his presidency has been and will continue to be that he says what he means and does what he says. So far, he has made major strides in changing the course of our history and has kept an unflinching focus on the challenge at hand. While he recently looks as if he is deviating, it would be as foolish to count him out as it would to gamble that Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is simply bluffing when he states his intentions to wipe Israel off of the map or to bring America to her knees.

President Bush has granted Rice and Hughes great leeway. They will at least diffuse liberal charges that he did not exhaust diplomatic and politically correct options.

And I tend to agree with this. It ain't over till it's over, and the Chief has got a lot invested in his Middle East policy and legacy. He's got a year left. A lot can happen in a year.

Now about the World War III business - here's my unscientific opinion. First, I don't think that a person's willingness to adopt Podhoretz' "World War Four" terminology is necessarily a good indicator of their seriousness about the current conflict. And a United States President does not throw around the phrase "World War Three" (or Four) lightly.

I think Bush wanted to send a signal to the Russian government here. Moscow might be betting that it can get the Bush administration to back down on Iran by raising the specter of regional conflict. Bush, by invoking everyone's worst nightmare with the deliberately loaded phrase "World War Three", shows that he's having none of it. He is making the point that in the mind of George W. Bush, "nuclear Iran = World War Three", and in effect telling the Russian President: "Listen, Boris, you're not scaring me with your worries about regional conflict. You know what really scares me? A nuclear Iran. Because a nuclear Iran equals World War Three. And I'm gonna do whatever it takes to prevent that."

2007-10-25

"Master Strike" Against Iran Regime

Walid Phares at Counterterrorism Blog:
After Andy Cochran's posting, here is a quick comment on the Designation of Iranian Entities and Individuals for Proliferation Activities and Support for Terrorism Today's documents revealing the US financial measures taken against Iran's military power hits the heart of the regime. The US official document can only be described as a master strategic strike into the financial web of the major power centers of the Iranian regime. See the full document. Following are three points:

The first organization, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), according to the document is "considered the military vanguard of Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is composed of five branches (Ground Forces, Air Force, Navy, Basij militia, and Qods Force special operations) in addition to a counterintelligence directorate and representatives of the Supreme Leader. It runs prisons, and has numerous economic interests involving defense production, construction, and the oil industry. Several of the IRGC's leaders have been sanctioned under UN Security Council Resolution 1747."

Point One: The Pasdaran is indeed the backbone of the regime. Compare it to a combined Communist Party, Militia and KGB during the peak of the Stalinist regime in the Soviet Union.

The second organization, the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL): According to the report, "the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) controls the Defense Industries Organization, an Iranian entity identified in the Annex to UN Security Council Resolution 1737 and designated by the United States under E.O. 13382 on March 30, 2007. MODAFL also was sanctioned, pursuant to the Arms Export Control Act and the Export Administration Act, in November 2000 for its involvement in missile technology proliferation activities."

Point Two: This is Iran's Defense apparatus. ...


HP-644 - October 25, 2007:
October 25, 2007
HP-644

Fact Sheet: Designation of Iranian Entities and Individuals for Proliferation Activities and Support for Terrorism

The U.S. Government is taking several major actions today to counter Iran's bid for nuclear capabilities and support for terrorism by exposing Iranian banks, companies and individuals that have been involved in these dangerous activities and by cutting them off from the U.S. financial system.

Today, the Department of State designated under Executive Order 13382 two key Iranian entities of proliferation concern: the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL). Additionally, the Department of the Treasury designated for proliferation activities under E.O. 13382 nine IRGC-affiliated entities and five IRGC-affiliated individuals as derivatives of the IRGC, Iran's state-owned Banks Melli and Mellat, and three individuals affiliated with Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO).

The Treasury Department also designated the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) under E.O. 13224 for providing material support to the Taliban and other terrorist organizations, and Iran's state-owned Bank Saderat as a terrorist financier.

Elements of the IRGC and MODAFL were listed in the Annexes to UN Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747. All UN Member States are required to freeze the assets of entities and individuals listed in the Annexes of those resolutions, as well as assets of entities owned or controlled by them, and to prevent funds or economic resources from being made available to them.

...

Effect of Today's Actions

As a result of our actions today, all transactions involving any of the designees and any U.S. person will be prohibited and any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction will be frozen. Noting the UN Security Council's grave concern over Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile program activities, the United States also encourages all jurisdictions to take similar actions to ensure full and effective implementation of UN Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747.

Today's designations also notify the international private sector of the dangers of doing business with three of Iran's largest banks, as well as the many IRGC- affiliated companies that pervade several basic Iranian industries.

Proliferation Finance – Executive Order 13382 Designations

E.O. 13382, signed by the President on June 29, 2005, is an authority aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction and their supporters, and at isolating them from the U.S. financial and commercial systems. Designations under the Order prohibit all transactions between the designees and any U.S. person, and freeze any assets the designees may have under U.S. jurisdiction.

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC): Considered the military vanguard of Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is composed of five branches (Ground Forces, Air Force, Navy, Basij militia, and Qods Force special operations) in addition to a counterintelligence directorate and representatives of the Supreme Leader. It runs prisons, and has numerous economic interests involving defense production, construction, and the oil industry. Several of the IRGC's leaders have been sanctioned under UN Security Council Resolution 1747.

The IRGC has been outspoken about its willingness to proliferate ballistic missiles ...

Morning Report: October 25, 2007

Tough talk - and action - from Washington against an arch-enemy; the tension along a Middle Eastern border continues; and a liberal magazine digs itself in deeper. All in another day of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week.

Rice: Iran may be single greatest threat. AFP: 'Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice singled out Iran Wednesday as "perhaps the single greatest challenge" to US security but stressed that diplomacy was the preferred way to end its nuclear drive. ... In testimony to Congress, Rice said "serious consequences" would include a third round of sanctions from the United Nations Security Council to punish Iran's refusal to renounce uranium enrichment. "We are of course very concerned that the policies of Iran constitute perhaps the single greatest challenge for American security interests in the Middle East and possibly around the world," she said. "The combination of Iranian terrorism, Iranian repression at home and the pursuit of nuclear weapons technology... is a very dangerous mix."'

US urges Iraq to crack down on Kurdish rebels. VOA: 'U.S. officials are calling on Turkey and Iraq to exercise restraint, amid Turkish shelling of rebel bases inside Iraq. Turkish officials say the attacks are retaliation for a rebel ambush on Sunday that killed 12 Turkish soldiers. VOA's Cindy Saine reports from Washington, the U.S. is also calling on Iraq's Kurdish leaders to crack down on the rebels hiding in northern Iraq. Turkish military and civilian leaders met Wednesday to discuss possible further action against rebels of the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.'

Documents show TNR's Beauchamp stories were fabrications - and Foer knew. The once-repubable liberal magazine The New Republic saw the last vestiges of its credibility crumble with the appearance of some damning documents on the internet. Here's The Standard:
The Drudge Report has posted a a series of documents [now available here - aa] that reveal the lengths to which the New Republic’s editors, specifically Frank Foer and Peter Scoblic, went to cover up the truth about the Scott Beauchamp stories. This is the end of the road, and a long road it's been.

When we started looking into Beauchamp's stories back in July, we believed that the New Republic had simply been taken in by a huckster--that despite being over-eager to publish a story that cast our troops in a negative light, TNR's editors had done so good faith, believing the stories to be true. So we emailed Frank Foer, who agreed to provide us with some of the corroborating details in order to demonstrate his author's credibility.

Foer told us that the incident with the disfigured woman had taken place at FOB Falcon and that the "Saddam-era dumping ground" was located a few miles south of Baghdad International Airport. With that information, we asked our milblogger friends to help us confirm the details of the story. It quickly became clear that no one at Falcon had ever seen this woman, that no "Saddam-era dumping ground" had ever been discovered, and that the Bradley Fighting Vehicle was not capable of dissecting stray dogs with the precision described by Beauchamp.

Nevertheless, the editors at TNR insisted in their first official statement that they had "much to corroborate" the soldiers account. ...

The documents posted by Drudge reveal that the New Republic’s editors have known for several weeks that the central anecdote of the story was untrue, that the other anecdotes were deeply suspect, and that the author was no longer standing by his work. And yet they remained publicly silent even though they had long ago promised to be open and forthcoming on the matter. Worse still, they asked Beauchamp to cancel pending interviews with the Washington Post and Newsweek, lest their complicity in Beauchamp's slanders come to light.

Michelle Malkin has what may be the definitive roundup on this - go to her post for all the latest.

"Pictures of Syrian nuke reactor bombed by Israel." That's the post title at Israel Matzav, and it just goes to show how dangerous a few pictures can be. Those Israelis don't mess around. Anyway, I'm going out on a limb here and linking to the pictures, but if you hear Israeli planes overhead, please close your browser window immediately. More to the point, here's a clip from Carl's analysis:
Israel's assessment from the outset was that Syria would not respond. Syria has no air force of which to speak (recall that last summer, Israel's air force buzzed Assad's summer palace with impunity). Israel knew going in that it could neutralize the Pantsyr missile system. Even if it was wrong in its assessment that it could neutralize the Pantsyr, Israel believed that Syria would shoot down the bombers and be done at that. Iran is not ready to go to war now; it does not want to give Israel or the US an excuse to attack its uncompleted nuclear plants. In sum, the risk of war with Syria and Iran as a result of the Israeli action was judged to be tolerable.

Go read the whole thing at the link.

Leftists raise awareness about Islamo-fascism at Emory. David Horowitz was scheduled to give a talk on islamo-fascism at Emory University, but was upstaged by leftists and islamists who preferred to provide a first-hand demonstration of islamo-fascism in action. Here's Incorrect University:
... the real rage was inside the auditorium. It was amazing to watch. The crowd of Leftists, and Muslims and Students were determined not to let David Horowitz speak. Afterwards, many, many of the students said they were ashamed of the way the mob acted. But, they certainly didn’t try to stop it.

The Left’s favorite chant- “Racist, Sexist, Antigay, David Horowitz go away!” Is David Horowitz antigay? Is that why he asked Tammy Bruce to speak at Pepperdine? The Leftists and Muslims both joined to harass David Horowitz. Both Leftists and Muslims were standing with their backs to Horowitz until the talk was cancelled. This is Emory University.

The Emory College Republicans issued a statement published at FrontPage:
On Wednesday evening, the Emory University Chapter of the College Republicans hosted acclaimed author and activist David Horowitz for a lecture on radical Islam as part of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. From the beginning of Horowitz's speech, rowdy protesters continually interrupted him and less than half an hour into the event, the crowd became so disruptive that police were called in and Horowitz had to be escorted off stage.

Over 300 people – a cross-section of students, professors, and Atlanta community members – packed into White Hall where the event was held. The audience included a wide range of Leftists from Amnesty International, Veterans for Peace, and Students for Justice in Palestine, as well as Muslim groups such as the Muslim Student Association. In addition, members of "National Project to Defend Dissent & Critical Thinking in Academia," an organization dedicated to opposing Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week events throughout the country, participated in the protests dressed in orange attire as a reference to Guantanamo Bay. There was also a sizable group of men and women dressed in traditional Muslim garb as well as students wearing Kafiyehs, a symbol of Arab solidarity.

"I've spoken at Emory University several times and I've never seen it this bad," said Horowitz responding to the crowd as they shouted and jeered. "This is exactly what the fascists did in Germany in the 1930s." Protesters began their efforts as soon as Horowitz was introduced with boos and chants of "Heil Hitler." Despite the people who stood with their backs to Horowitz and the shouting of obscenities and other remarks from audience members, Horowitz attempted to deliver his speech that covered academic freedom and radical Islam. The loud chants, sign-waving, and disruptive gestures continued to escalate from audience members until the atmosphere was so chaotic that even the police present were unable to subdue the crowd. Horowitz was led off stage and left the campus under tight security, and the event came to an abrupt end. ...

Go to the link for the rest, and be sure to follow IFAW-related developments at Incorrect U.

New Iran sanctions from US. The Telegraph: 'The US has announced sweeping sanctions against Iran designed to punish the regime for its nuclear programme and support for terrorists. The measures are the harshest imposed on Teheran since 1979, and mark a new phase in the international campaign against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's regime. The British Government immediately gave its backing to the US action, and pledged to lead the campaign for new EU and UN sanctions.' Counterterrorism Blog:
Today, the State Department designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics (MODAFL) for their proliferation activities. The Treasury Department also designated numerous Iranian parties for proliferation concerns: nine IRGC-affiliated entities and five IRGC-affiliated individuals; two state-owned banks, Bank Melli (its biggest) and Bank Mellat; and three individuals affiliated with Iran's Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO). The Treasury Department also designated the IRGC-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) under for providing material support to the Taliban in Afghanistan and other terrorist organizations, and also designated Iran's state-owned Bank Saderat as a terrorist financier. Moreover, elements of the IRGC and MODAFL were listed in the Annexes to U.N. Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747, which leads to a freeze on their assets by all member nations.'

Go to the post to find out why Cochran considers this a "decisive" move.

More on Syria. CTB covers Syria's nuclear program. ThreatsWatch discusses Israsl's new Syria strategy.

Commentary. At the risk of being tedious, I'll just note again that the Emory students who "were ashamed of how the mob acted" probably learned more about islamo-fascism than Horowitz could have taught them. Let's hope they study this lesson.

Lots more I'd like to post, but I'm out of time this morning.

2007-10-24

Morning Report: October 24, 2007

This morning's roundup focuses on the battle for free speech - in places that should be synonymous with "free speech".

Nonie Darwish harassed at Berkeley. But she went there to speak, and speak she did. For a compilation of photographs and video from the event - edited by none other than the famous Zombie - go to this link: Nonie Darwish at Berkeley. Take a look and a listen, and see what happens when brainwashed leftists have their worldview challenged by someone who actually knows what they're talking about. It's part of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week, facilitated by the great folks at Incorrect University.

YouTube yields to islamist pressure. Judith at Kesher Talk: 'The Jihadist Formerly Known as Cat Stevens asked YouTube to remove a video wherein he expresses the wish that Salman Rushdie be burned to death, claiming copyright infringement. YouTube complied, although the video was not a pirated song or music video, but an interview on British TV in 1989. Presumably the copyright would be held by the network which produced it.' Where have we seen this tactic before? Go to the post to find out. Meanwhile, a comment from Muslims Against Sharia informs me that YouTube has removed the video on islamist treatment of women. Disgusting and disgraceful.

Sharp drop in Iraqi, US deaths in Iraq. MNF-Iraq links to the AP story:
BAGHDAD (AP) — October is on course to record the second consecutive decline in U.S. military and Iraqi civilian deaths and Americans commanders say they know why: the U.S. troop increase and an Iraqi groundswell against al-Qaida and Shiite militia extremists.

Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch points to what the military calls "Concerned Citizens" — both Shiites and Sunnis who have joined the American fight. He says he's signed up 20,000 of them in the past four months.

"I've never been more optimistic than I am right now with the progress we've made in Iraq. The only people who are going to win this counterinsurgency project are the people of Iraq. We've said that all along. And now they're coming forward in masses," Lynch said in a recent interview at a U.S. base deep in hostile territory south of Baghdad. Outgoing artillery thundered as he spoke. ...

Go to the link for the rest. Big Pharaoh is knocking wood.

Commentary. The irony is lost on them, of course, but no one could be doing more to advance the cause of Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week than the islamo-fascists and left-wing sympathizers themselves. Need a demonstration of an ideological movement that fears open debate and criticism? Look no further.

Since YouTube is so diligently enforcing its precious and elusive "terms of use", I'll give you a link to the article at FrontPage instead.
The new video from the David Horowitz Freedom Center, The Violent Oppression of Women in Islam, is a graphic, nightmarish, and profoundly unsettling glance into the darkest recesses of our fellow man. Narrated by Nonie Darwish, this film accurately depicts the dehumanizing theology, brutal abuse, and degredation that comprise the daily lives of millions of women in the fascist portions of the Islamic world -- arcing like a crescent from sub-Saharan Africa, through Iran, to north-central Asia and reaching into hidden pockets of the United States. These acts include the honor killing of a seven-year-old girl, beheaded for having been the victim of sexual abuse; gang-rapes, occasionally perpetrated by family members, to punish women who refuse to wear the hijab; the regular marriage of grown men to nine-year-old girls, in imitation of Islam's founder, Muhammad; genital mutilation of infant girls to destroy their sexual pleasure and objectify them as outlets for the gratification of man's lust; the widespread, often public practice of wife-battery, a practice justified by the Koran; public stonings for violations of Shari'a law; and sadly, much, much more.Taken together, the images of this video are a grotesque and disturbing assault on the integrity of women. Under no circumstances should they be viewed by children.

However realistic the film, it is immeasurably less grotesque and disturbing than the daily lives of millions of women subject to Islamo-Fascist regimes. ...


Meanwhile, Phyllis Chesler, author of the definitive book on female-female conflict "Woman's Inhumanity to Woman", weighs in on "mean girl" behavior of the kind she observed in Nonie Darwish's Wellesley appearance.
Let me say that a) it may be partially hard-wired since some female primates display deadly and heartbreaking aggression towards and competition with other female primates. This includes killing a rival’s infant and indenturing her servics on behalf of one’s own infant; b) while male-male aggression is so much more dramatic and homicidal than is whatever females do to each other, this does not mean that female “indirect” aggression is without serious and life-long conseqence.

Research, including my own, has shown that female-female slander, gossip, ostracism, and competition all play a significant role in bullying and in socializing western girls into conformity, as well as in global phenomenon such as female honor killings, dowry burnings, acid-attacks, and female genital mutilation practices, etc. “Indirect” female aggression often has serious and life-long psychological consequences for girls and women.


Finally ... you may have to hit the zoom button on your pdf viewer, but The Times' quiz "Are You a Phoney Liberal?" is a must-read.

2007-10-23

Morning Report: October 23, 2007

A look at the Kurdish regions, and views of a new audio from a pop star in decline.

Turkey rejects Kurdish truce offer. MSNBC: 'BAGHDAD - Turkey's foreign minister rejected any cease-fire by Kurdish rebels Tuesday as he met with Iraqi leaders in Baghdad to press them to crack down on the guerrillas. Turkish forces massed on the border and tensions rose over a threatened military incursion. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said there are several ways to fight terrorism and Ankara would use them when appropriate as the buildup of troops along Turkey's border with Iraq continued with military helicopters airlifting commando units into the area overnight.' Strategy Page: 'October 23, 2007: Turkish threats to invade have produced a new round of diplomatic activity. Iraq's government stated that it will work with Turkey to prevent PKK guerrillas from using base areas in Iraq and from using Iraqi territory to attack Turkey. The US government promised Turkey that it would "urge" Iraq to carry thorough on promises made in August and September to "act" against the PKK. The new diplomatic buzz phrase is an attempt to "prevent wider action" in northern Iraq. Turkish special forces and a small contingent of conventional troops routinely operate in northern Iraq. In response to Iraqi and American diplomatic statements, the Turkish government said that it would continue to pursue a political solution, and would only launch a major attack into northern Iraq if "diplomacy is exhausted."' Economist (dated October 22):
A large-scale invasion in any case looked unlikely, as even Turkey's hawkish generals fear getting bogged down across the border and seeing their army's prestige suffer. But a clamour for some sort of intervention—perhaps aerial bombardment of PKK targets—had been growing along with the number of attacks on Turkish soldiers. News that the rebels had taken eight soldiers hostage during Sunday's clashes has worsened a sense of impotence in Turkey. “There are tanks, cannons, soldiers, but no political will,” screamed the headlines of Yeni Cag, an ultra-nationalist daily. Thousands of Turks waving Turkish flags and chanting patriotic slogans took to the streets in towns and cities across the country for a second day, on Monday, to protest against the PKK.


Osama Bin Laden audio tape. Walid Phares at Counterterrorism Blog: 'Yes, Bin Laden’s latest audiotape aired on al Jazeera is somewhat unique. Not in its ideological party line or in the Salafi doctrinal roots. That hasn’t changed nor is it expected to. Surely, in a previous speech he inserted some neo Marxist and Trotskyite stuff; but that was part of his “American” rhetoric, and possibly at the request of his Gringo advisers. Today’s audio wasn’t concerned about Berkeley’s approval but was dedicated to whip the chaotic commanders of Jihad in Iraq. Usama’s message was more so the expression of a frustrated (self appointed) “Caliph” trying to reign in on his emirs gone wild in the deserts of Middle Earth. The “Lord” is upset with how al Qaeda Iraq has administered the struggle, the people and the image. Incredibly, the number one of al Qaeda said the المجاهدين “Mujahidins” in Iraq committed أخطاء “mistakes.” I purposely quoted the words in Arabic because this was indeed the first time the man used them in this context: self criticism. In fact he criticized the “emirs” for the recklessness of their Jihad in the land of the two rivers. If one reviews the public statements of Bin Laden, at least since 1996, this would be the first time he would talk about the Jihadists’ mistakes, not the errors by Muslim rulers in general: Now these are his own fighters who are at fault. The last time an al Qaeda leader came close to this attitude was the shy warning by Ayman Zawahiri to Zarqawi demanding that the killing of Shiia stops in Iraq. But the top leader at the time wasn’t addressing the mistakes of the emirs. He dealt with “higher geopolitical matters” per the comments of Abdel Bari Atwan on al Jazeera tonight. “Sheikh Bin Laden, said Atwan deals with high level issues, such as the confrontation with the United States, India etc, but this time the Sheikh is dealing with issues on the ground.” Maybe not so comparable in context, but see it as a summoning by the “Fuhrer” to his Generals after losing Libya, Stalingrad or Normandy. ...' Bill Roggio at Long War Journal:
After almost a year of silence, Osama bin Laden has issued his third tape in less than two months. Based on excerpts from bin Laden's latest audiotape, titled "Message to the people of Iraq," he views the situation in Iraq as dire. Bin Laden is clearly concerned with the defection of Sunni insurgents to the Awakening movements and local security forces, the possibility of the Sunnis reconciling with the government, and the failure of al Qaeda leaders to unite the Sunni fighters under al Qaeda's banner.

Bin Laden takes on the failure of al Qaeda leaders to recruit Sunni insurgent groups into the fold of the Islamic State of Iraq, and the defection of previous allies to the Iraqi government and Coalition forces. "Some of you have been lax in one duty, which is to unite your ranks," bin Laden said. "Beware of division ... Muslims are waiting for you to gather under a single banner to champion righteousness. Be keen to oblige with this duty." According to the Associated Press, bin Laden said leaders should not build themselves up as the sole authority, and instead mujahedeen should follow "what God and his prophet have said."

Bin Laden also acknowledges the grave errors made by the leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq and warned that the violators of al Qaeda's laws should be punished. ...


SecDef Gates at JINSA. JINSA:
Where extremists have seized and controlled territory - in western Iraq or eastern Afghanistan, for example - the result has been misery, and poverty, and fear. The future they promise is a joyless existence - personified not by piety or virtue, but by the executioner and the suicide bomber. Symbolized by men kneeling not in prayer before their god, but kneeling and waiting for the executioner’s sword.

The United States and many of our allies, the prospect of terrorism on a large or prolonged scale is a relatively new concept, one that we are just beginning to appreciate. For Israel, however, it is something that dates back many years.


Sryia, Iran, Turkey, Iraq. Walid Phares again:
PKK is the Kurdish Worker’s Party that adopted violence in its struggle against Turkey. As the Turkish Parliament recently voted to authorize a limited invasion into Northern Iraq to fight the PKK militias, one can see the rising shadows of two hostile regimes in the region, eager to see a NATO member, Turkey, eventually clashing with the United States through their local allies in Iraq. Indeed, the Iranian and Syrian regimes have been pushing the precarious mechanisms of a Turkish military intervention into Northern Iraq for a while now. Logically, a collapse of security in the most secure part of Iraq would lead to a crumbling of the military stabilization of the country, a chief objective of US plans in Iraq.

But the Iran plans for Iraq, which I have analyzed in a previous article, consist of three types of destabilization: An Iranian push in the south, a Syrian opening for the Jihadists in the center, and dragging Turkey to a dogfight in the mountains of the north.

In order to launch the third leg preemptively into Iraqi Kurdistan, Tehran and Damascus have been pushing all the right buttons for the confrontation. Iran's shelling of villages in the northern part of Iraqi Kurdistan over the past months aimed at encouraging Turkey to do the same. ...

Phares recommends 'that the Kurdish leaders of Iraq be the ones to reign in the PKK to avoid having the Turkish Army crossing the borders. The US can - and should - broker arrangements between the Iraqi Kurds and the Turkish military to avoid the rise of an anti-Kurdish Triangle in the region.'

Iraq SpecOps troops detain terrorists, kill one. MNF-Iraq: 'BAGHDAD – Iraqi Special Operation Forces, advised by U.S. Special Forces, detained two officials of Jaysh al-Mahdi’s al Habibiyah Office, who are accused of conducting criminal activity despite Muqtada al-Sadr’s request to cease such activity. The individuals were detained during an intelligence-driven raid Oct. 21 in New Baghdad. One of the detained terrorists, the al Habibiyah’s office director is believed to be the commander of three extremist companies and leads a group of 50 terrorist cell members. His group is allegedly responsible for terrorizing local Iraqi citizens in al Habibiyah, al-Baladiyat and Baghdad al-Jadida. He is also suspected of supplying weapons, including a truckload of Katyusha rockets, to terrorists and conducting multiple mortar and improvised explosive device attacks against Iraqi and Coalition Forces. ...'

C-17 crew makes record airdrop in Afghanistan. CENTCOM: 'BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan, Oct. 17, 2007 — Two U.S. Air Force C-17 crews recently completed a mission for the history books with one of the largest single airdrops in Afghanistan since Operation Enduring Freedom began.'

Lieutenant Michael P. Murphy, U.S. Navy. Michael Yon: 'or his courage, on October 22, 2007, President Bush awarded Lieutenant Michael Murphy the first Medal of Honor for combat in Afghanistan. This is the highest military decoration that a President can bestow, for gallantry above and beyond the call of duty in the face of an enemy attack. The Medal of Honor was presented to Lieutenant Michael Murphy’s parents, Maureen and Dan Murphy.' Go to the link for the text of the citation.

Briefly noted. "I call on all mainstream media outlets everywhere to join Newsweek's efforts to expose this massive coverup!"

Commentary. As promised, I'm posting ongoing developments in the Turkey/Kurdistan situation. As for Bin Laden, well, it looks like Iraq has become a quagmire for him, doesn't it?

Well, the battle's not over yet, and although I neglected to mention it yesterday, I am joining Neocon Express in marking Islamo-Fascism Awareness Week. Go to Muslims Against Sharia to view a nine-minute video on islamist atrocities against women. (Warning: It's horrifying.) Be sure to bookmark Muslims Against Sharia and their blog.

2007-10-22

Morning Report: October 22, 2007

Morning Report returns from a posting break.

Richard Fernandez on the Manila mall explosion. The Belmont Club:
"A spokesperon from the group Rajah Solaiman said that the group was behind the explosion at Glorietta 2 in Makati City that killed nine people yesterday. In a text message that was sent to ABS CBN, a certain Sheik Oman said the group was responsible for the blast and that they have scattered bombs in various public places if one of their members Amad Santos is not released within the next 24 hours." [The Philippine Star]

If Rajah Soliman Group is behind the attacks, that would indicate that the Islamic insurgency in the Philippines has become qualitatively different. It means the existence of a strike force based on Christian converts, some recruited while working as contract workers in Saudi Arabia, and with links to the Communist New People's Army. Such a force could move essentially undetected on Luzon. These dangers have long been understood by Filipino cops but denial and an addiction to shambolic solutions has blinded the Philippine political leadership to them.

More information as it becomes available.

Neo on Pakistan attack. Neo-Neocon:
There’s no dearth of conspiracy theories to explain the audacious attack on Bhutto’s convoy, and Bhutto herself has hinted that the government may have been involved.

Has she just been watching too many Oliver Stone movies? No. The sad fact is that there are so many possibile suspects that the culprits may never be known, although the complexity of the mode of attack has al Qaeda written all over it. But it’s also possible that copycats are involved.

One fact that seems relatively new in the field of political assassinations is that the perpetrators of this one didn’t care how many Pakistani citizens they killed in reaching their target.


Ledeen on Larijani resignation. Michael Ledeen at NRO:
Whatever Larijani’s job change may mean, it doesn’t represent a change in policy. The differences between Larijani and Ahmadinejad were only tactical. On the basic question — should Iran suspend its enrichment program — you couldn’t get the tip of a scimitar between the two. Both said repeatedly — as they had to, since the Supreme Leader had laid down the law — that Iran would never abandon enrichment. Theirs was a debate over style. Ahmadinejad wanted to tell the West to go to hell, while Larijani charmed them. Indeed, Larijani was the West’s favorite interlocutor. From EU Solana to a parade of foreign ministers and secret back channels (including Secretary of State Rice’s personal emissary, former Spanish President Felipe Gonzales), Larijani was universally liked. To be sure, he never gave a centimeter, but he was popular. I suppose President Bush would consider him “a good guy,” in the mold of, say, Vladimir Putin.

No doubt Larijani and Ahmadinejad don’t love one another, and their more or less public spat has been going on for quite a while. The ruling class of the Islamic Republic is in the throes of a succession struggle, as Khamenei continues to defy the prediction of his doctors that he would die several months ago, and Larijani and Ahmadinejad, along with other celebrities such as former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, are major players in that battle, as John Bolton observed on Sunday.

The personnel shift may also be related to the mysterious meeting between Khamenei and Putin a few days ago, about which very little has become public. I am told, in fact, that the Russian president memorized his key message in Farsi, and delivered it in a private meeting with the Supreme Leader, with not even an interpreter present. If you think that is a foolish way to conduct diplomacy, I’m inclined to agree, but then I’m not a former high official of the KGB. Perhaps Putin made some interesting proposal that requires the talents of a Larijani. In that case, Larijani would need more time to devote to the Putin project. It’s not as if his successor at the Supreme National Security Council is a dominant figure in the Iranian political world. Indeed the new guy is generally considered a nobody, which further reinforces the view that we are not witnessing a fundamental political shift in Tehran.


Two views on Turkey. William F. Buckley isn't keen on the idea of provoking the Turkish government with the proposed Armenian genocide resolution: 'On the moral point, there is no way in which Turkey can advance its credentials by trivializing what in fact was done to the Armenians, more than 1 million of them having been killed, allowed to starve, or exiled. But this ought not to be a quarrel that affects contemporary points of contention in Iraq. Those who linger with the muse of Clio are giving no aid whatever to the dead Armenians, but are jeopardizing our Iraq enterprise by provoking Turkish hubris. ... We are constantly being told about the high-octane pride of Turks, Kurds, Iraqis, whomever. Is the congressional resolution simply an exercise in American pride?' But Jonathan Foreman thinks the US should re-evaluate its relationship with Ankara:
For the sad fact is that Ankara no longer seems to be an ally worthy of the name — indeed its threatened invasion of Iraq would be the act of an outright enemy. Nor has Turkey behaved like a genuine ally for more than four years.

It’s not merely that Turkey refused at the last minute to let Coalition forces invade from the north in March 2003 — though that did affect the war and its aftermath in unfortunate ways. There have been other equally serious derelictions, ranging from the refusal to allow a damaged U.S. warplane to make an emergency landing in March 2003, to active subversion of the Coalition and the post-Saddam Iraqi authorities. Unfortunately, the Bush administration has consistently played these incidents down or ignored them, thereby encouraging Turkish bullishness and contempt for American neediness. ...

In any case it is inimical to the interests of the United States to tolerate a foreign military invasion of Iraq by any foreign power. Far too much blood and treasure has been expended in the Coalition effort to bring stability to post-Saddam Iraq to justify any but the toughest response to Turkey’s saber rattling. This is why the Bush administration should stop being so mealy-mouthed and immediately shift U.S. troops North — nominally to assist the KRG in efforts to expel the PKK, but mostly to make it clear to the Turkish military that invasion will come at a heavy cost — namely the destruction of any trace of friendship with Washington.

The United States should then initiate a policy that will have a powerful and salutary effect on the region: It should start to construct a massive military airbase in Iraqi Kurdistan itself. ...


CTB on Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani. Counterterrorism Blog:
It's a sure bet that you'll hear a lot this election season about Al Qaeda founder Osama Bin Laden still being on the loose and thumbing his nose at America from his hideout in Pakistan's tribal areas bordering Afghanistan. But I think eventually you'll also hear about a couple of other evildoers, to use President Bush's term, who are responsible for killing hundreds of American troops in Afghanistan since 2001.

Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son SiraJuddin Haqqani, who goes by Siraj, are often labeled by the catch-all term "Taliban," though it's not entirely clear these warlords behind the failed Al Qaeda and Taliban spring offensive would call themselves anything other than Pashtun, the tribe they belong to that dominates the Afghan-Pakistan border.

Incredibly, during the Soviet resistance Jalaluddin Haqqani was an ally of the Central Intelligence Agency, as was another warlord killing G.I.s today, ex-Afghan premier Gulbuddin Hekmatyar ...


ThreatsWatch on Special Forces in Iran. ThreatsWatch: 'Britain’s Sunday Times reports that British SAS and American and Australian Special Forces have been engaged in operations inside the Iranian border to interdict weapons shipments. ... That this is happening is less surprising than its reporting. Of course the US and allied forces would want to keep this quiet. But, considering the apparently nasty engagements, Iran’s silence on it is more telling than might otherwise meet the eye.' From The Times:
BRITISH special forces have crossed into Iran several times in recent months as part of a secret border war against the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Al-Quds special forces, defence sources have disclosed.

There have been at least half a dozen intense firefights between the SAS and arms smugglers, a mixture of Iranians and Shi’ite militiamen.

The unreported fighting straddles the border between Iran and Iraq and has also involved the Iranian military firing mortars into Iraq. UK commanders are concerned that Iran is using a militia ceasefire to step up arms supplies in preparation for an offensive against their base at Basra airport.

An SAS squadron is carrying out operations along the Iranian border in Maysan and Basra provinces with other special forces, the Australian SAS and American special-operations troops.


Commentary. No commentary today, but regular posting resumes - stay tuned for new developments.

2007-10-16

Burying the Good News

As violence falls in Iraq, cemetery workers feel the pinch

If Yahoo News keeps this up, they may just put Iowahawk and The Onion out of a job. Anyway, here's the bad news from Jay Price and Qasim Zein:

NAJAF, Iraq — At what's believed to be the world's largest cemetery, where Shiite Muslims aspire to be buried and millions already have been, business isn't good.

A drop in violence around Iraq has cut burials in the huge Wadi al Salam cemetery here by at least one-third in the past six months, and that's cut the pay of thousands of workers who make their living digging graves, washing corpses or selling burial shrouds.

Few people have a better sense of the death rate in Iraq .

"I always think of the increasing and decreasing of the dead," said Sameer Shaaban, 23, one of more than 100 workers who specialize in ceremonially washing the corpses. "People want more and more money, and I am one of them, but most of the workers in this field don't talk frankly, because they wish for more coffins, to earn more and more." ...

Now it would be unfair to hold this piece to the standards of serious journalism; it's more of a human-interest story - a slice-of-death piece, as it were. In any event, this article was the product of a number of high-calibre journalistic minds, as the footnote informs us:
Price reports for The (Raleigh) News & Observer . Zein is a McClatchy special correspondent. McClatchy special correspondents Janab Hussein , Hussein Kadhim and Sahar Issa contributed to this story.


I'm guessing that Price, Zein, and their illustrious colleagues at McClatchy detected a kindred spirit here: "People want more and more money, and I am one of them, but most of the workers in this field don't talk frankly, because they wish for more coffins, to earn more and more."

Yes indeedy. Or as another source puts it:
"Certainly, when the number of dead increases I feel happy, like all workers in the graveyard," said Basim Hameed , 30, a body washer. "This happiness comes from the increase in the amount of money we have."

Zein and Price must have felt right at home.

2007-10-09

Morning Report: October 9, 2007

A quick roundup for a Tuesday morning, with news on SITE, comments on women's studies and the media, and analysis on Pakistan and al-Qaeda.

Women's studies programs ignore Islamic oppression. Sara Dogan at FrontPage: 'Despite their vigilance in behalf of women’s rights in America and other Western nations, Women’s Studies Departments across the nation have been strangely passive in the face of the barbaric treatment of women in Islamic regimes. Numerous hours are spent in the classroom, dissecting the reasons for the ‘wage gap’ in America, violence against women and the ‘privileges’ accorded Caucasian males. But courses on the plight of women in Islamic regimes are strangely absent. Where there are a few courses that touch on Islamic women in Women’s Studies programs, the focus is often cultural and literary, while the abuses go unmentioned.' Via Gay Patriot and Lesbian Neocon.

Random Jottings on Kurtz/Wright/Starr interview. Random Jottings: 'It would be hopeless to try to argue with such people. We can only be thankful that the Internet routes around them.'

Michael Goldfarb on SITE incident. Michael Goldfarb at The Standard:
The Washington Post reported today:

A small private intelligence company [SITE] that monitors Islamic terrorist groups obtained a new Osama bin Laden video ahead of its official release last month, and around 10 a.m. on Sept. 7, it notified the Bush administration of its secret acquisition. It gave two senior officials access on the condition that the officials not reveal they had it until the al-Qaeda release.

Within 20 minutes, a range of intelligence agencies had begun downloading it from the company's Web site. By midafternoon that day, the video and a transcript of its audio track had been leaked from within the Bush administration to cable television news and broadcast worldwide.

The founder of the company, the SITE Intelligence Group, says this premature disclosure tipped al-Qaeda to a security breach and destroyed a years-long surveillance operation that the company has used to intercept and pass along secret messages, videos and advance warnings of suicide bombings from the terrorist group's communications network.


As a result, "al-Qaeda supporters, now alerted to the intrusion into their secret network, put up new obstacles that prevented SITE from gaining the kind of access it had obtained in the past."

Goldfarb continues: 'Bloggers are all over this story. On the surface, it's fishy--if not a serious security breach. Liberal bloggers are running with it, claiming that the Bush administration is responsible for the leak and leaked it for political gain prior to General Petraeus's testimony. ... Right-wing bloggers are more circumspect.' Read the full post at the link.

CTB on Khawaarij and Jihad. Counterterrorism Blog:
Over the past six months, there has been a remarkable twist in the larger war on terrorism that has received only middling public attention. For arguably the first time since the contemporary "war on terrorism" began in 2001, the tension between and among various armed jihadist factions and their supporters has begun to erupt into ugly public disputes, awkward confrontations--and even murder. The tendency towards quarreling has reached the most senior levels of Al-Qaida, with Dr. Ayman al-Zawahiri himself firing off blistering public accusations against the Palestinian Hamas movement, charging it with cowardly abandoning the cause. But of all places, and against all odds, it is the conflict in Iraq which has resulted in the most serious clashes between opposing ranks of mujahideen. Unlike Dr. al-Zawahiri's dressing-down of Hamas, the infighting in Iraq has not merely been limited to fractures between the Muslim Brotherhood and the more extreme Salafi-jihadists of Al-Qaida. Indeed, native Iraqi Salafists (i.e. the Islamic Army of Iraq, IAI) with a long history of brutality, and who remain vocal supporters of Usama Bin Laden, were among the first of their kind to publicly accuse Al-Qaida's network in Iraq of serious transgressions that were harming the greater cause of jihad.

To better understand the present situation in Iraq, it is helpful to turn to a rather unusual source: an English-language book written by former Finsbury Park Mosque cleric Abu Hamza al-Masri titled "Khawaarij and Jihad." Though the book is divided into various sections, it is largely focused on explaining the reasons behind the disastrous collapse of the Armed Islamic Group (GIA) in Algeria during the mid-1990s, as understood through the Islamic concept of "Khawaarij." This term literally refers to those who issue extreme religious verdicts declaring other Sunni Muslims to be "infidels" because they have allegedly committed "major sins" against Islam--and who further consider it legitimate and desirable to shed their blood. According to Abu Hamza, “If we look carefully at the general characteristics [of the Khawaarij], we are able to notice a pattern that occurs with all groups like this one. In the beginning, those involved mean well, but in the process the objective becomes blurred, and as disillusionment sets in, incongruent ideas with Islam become common place… the Khawaarij exaggerate matters in the religion and obligations.” As a result of these over-indulgences, “mistrust” is created “between the simple hearted mujaahid and the arrogant leaders of some groups.”

In the case of the GIA in Algeria, the turn towards becoming Khawaarij began when a new, more junior set of commanders took over the organization in the mid-1990s. ...


ThreatsWatch on Musharraf. Steve Schippert at ThreatsWatch:
Amid significant protest, Musharraf won Parliamentary re-election on October 6 to a new 5-year term as Pakistan’s president. Only 252 votes were cast among the National Parliament and the four provincial assemblies in the provinces of Punjab (Lahore), Balochistan (Quetta), Sindh (Kirachi), and the North West Frontier Province (Peshawar). Most of the missing votes were due to opposition mass resignations. These resignations were symbolic, as they would not have had enough votes to defeat a Musharraf candidacy. Also missing were the votes from former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto’s Pakistani Peoples Party Parliamentarians (PPPP) after they abstained from voting rather than resign along with other opposition parties. ...

Regardless of unforeseen events unfolding between now and January, Musharraf’s decision to disengage his most professional forces from increasingly more dangerous and capable al-Qaeda and Taliban within their FATA havens looks to accelerate direct US action against them in one form or another - be it via airstrikes, covert actions including the use of potential proxies, or (not at all likely in the near to mid-term) overt US military ground operations.

In a nutshell, even with Musharraf remaining Pakistan’s president, the al-Qaeda problem inside Pakistan grows and must be dealt with one way or the other. One of the only things that remains clear is that the defeat of al-Qaeda inside Pakistan will not come at the hands of the Pakistani military. It certainly will not come at the hands of paramilitary Interior Ministry forces who are out-manned, out-gunned and out-classed by a fighting force of terrorists who maintain superior motivation.


Briefly noted. Big Pharaoh reports that 'After years of being tarnished, justice is being done to King Farouk. A splendid television series that started to air at the beginning of Ramadan almost accurately portrays the life of Egypt’s last monarch with its positives and its downfalls. The series has received very positive feedback especially the performance of the Syrian actor Taym Hasan who plays Farouk.'

Commentary. I'll keep an eye on the SITE story and post more when I can.

2007-10-08

Voices of Dissent

Overheard today in downtown San Francisco.

Young woman at the office: Hey, did ya catch the Blue Angels this weekend?
Mailroom guy: Aaah, I think it's just a waste of the Government's money.
Young woman: Well, I think it's pretty cool.

***

Guy at Starbucks: It sucks we gotta work on Columbus Day. Hey, did you know Columbus had an Nigerian navigator?

216-0455

... or 216-373-1461 (according to my caller ID) wants me to call them back and (presumably) give them a whole bunch of money or else some really bad things might start happening. Someone identifying herself as Special Investigator Jennifer Waters left a message on my voice mail saying something unintelligible about a legal complaint (apparently in Lazarus County, wherever that is) and that if I didn't respond within 48 hours they'd do all kinds of scary stuff like maybe even put out a warrant for my arrest. Ooooh scary! And when I call back I need to give that magic case number OBJ6770, that's OBJ-6770, write it down!

I wonder if Special Investigator Jennifer Waters knows that she sounds a lot less credible with the noise of a "boiler room" call center in the background?


Actually (and this is probably more information than you, dear reader, really needed to know), there've been times in my life when I found myself falling a wee bit behind in my financial obligations; or when, for some other reason, some other party felt that they had grounds to file some sort of legal action against me. (This isn't one of those times.) Anyway, none of them left detailed messages on my voice mail (the most they'll do is say "This is [name of agency] with an important call for [name of debtor]"), none of them left a seven-digit phone number (is 216 an area code or a local prefix), and none of them was a "Special Investigator" so special they sat at a cubicle in a room full of other "special investigators".

Anyway, I'm not losing too much sleep over this ... and it looks like I'm in good company. Here are some other folks' experiences with 216-363-1641:
tired - 28 Jul 2007
Left message threatening civil suit litigation if no response in 48 hours. Name of company indistinct -- Worldwide something locators-- and phone number to call back indistinct--216 393-9240?
Caller ID: 216-393-9240
Caller: Worldwide something Locators
Reply
Rating: 0
BTDT - 2 Aug 2007
These people are scam artists. DO NOT GIVE THEM ANY INFORMATION. THey will do and say what they can to let you think they are legit, but obviously they are not. This scum buys OLD OLD collections and then decides to call to see who they find is stupid enough to fall for it. They use an address that is also used by at least 15 other company names. If you answer and talk to them, tell them to SERVE YOU!!
Reply
Rating: 0
mad - 9 Aug 2007
got a phone call from 216-373-1461 he said he was a lead investigator and I needed to call 216-393-0456 and give them a case # he provided. Nicole Morgan stated I was being charged with a class E felony and something else for failure to pay a c.c. that I have NEVER owned, I contacted the c.c. company and they have no record of me, and no record of an account # that Nicole gave to me. My research with the Ohio BBB is Robery (Robert) Goldstein is too new for complaints, but NAAIB with same address and phone # has numerous compliants that they have not responded too.

Caller ID: 216-373-1461
Caller: Robert Goldstein
Caller Type: Collection Agency
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Rating: 0
sciencegal - 19 Aug 2007
I also received a call from these people. Their tactics so intimidated me that I agreed to a settlement and gave my banking information to them. After I settled down, I decided to cancel that check. I am glad I decided to research this number.
Caller ID: unkown name
Caller: worldwide
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Rating: 0
mad - 22 Aug 2007
check out the postings from the number 216-393-0456 from the same company
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Tennessee - 6 Sep 2007
I did the same thing because they were talking about a warrant for my arrest would be filed. That very same day I gave my banking info was the same day I switched my account. These people will try to milk you dry. Do not give them any money!!!!

Morning Report: October 8, 2007

Iraq: the good, the bad, and the ugly. Plus: What is a "defining atrocity"?

The best police force in Iraq. Michael Totten wasn't impressed with the state of the Iraqi police force in Mashadah, but Kirkuk is another story:
“We see Iraqis smile now,” Sergeant Kitts said to me on our way out. “And seeing Iraqis smile…that’s a big deal. These people haven’t had anything to smile about for a very long time. This is where we are finally earning our money.”

“I agree,” First Sergeant Rodriguez said. “It’s a lot less volatile now, so we can actually move this place forward.”

I walked among the tidy rows of grapes, figs, dates, and olives with Lieutenant Colonel Rahman and an Iraqi interpreter named Jack.

“Now that the fighting is over,” I said, “what kind of work do you focus on?”

“Mainly on gathering intelligence on sleeper cells and support networks,” the colonel said. “It is much easier now. People here are very appreciative and cooperative with what happened and with what is happening now. If Iraqi Police officers or coalition soldiers go to people's houses they are welcomed with open arms for food and for tea. Before the people here were not allowed to even look at coalition forces or they would be murdered by Al Qaeda.”

“What do you think about the possibility of Americans withdrawing their forces?” I said. He had already said please don't leave us to Captain Dennison, but I wanted at least a little elaboration.

“That is not in the best interests of Iraq right now,” he said. “We need some more time. If they pull out there will be a real possibility of serious sectarian warfare. Anbar is secure. Only Baghdad and the surrounding area remains to be secured. As soon as that happens, the fight will be over.” He is right to suggest that most of the violence is in the Baghdad area and its surroundings. But it’s still game-on in Mosul and in parts of Diyala Province. Southern Iraq suffers a lot less violence than the center, but Shia militias still control parts of it.

“Are you optimistic?” I said.

“Yes,” he said.

“Why?” I said.

“I’ll tell you why,” he said. ...

Go to the link for the rest. And please help support citizen journalism, so consider hitting Michael's tip jar while you're there.

MSM's own words: rising Iraq casualties news, falling Iraq casualties not. Here is a shining example of why we need people like Michael Totten - because we can't trust the mainstream media to give us the straight scoop. On CNN's show "Reliable Sources", Howard Kurtz, to his credit, tried to get a straight answer to a simple question: Why aren't the media paying attention to the falling casualty rates in Iraq? Newsbusters reports Kurtz's exchange with the Washington Post's Robin Wright and CNN's Barbara Starr. Kurtz asks Wright: "Robin Wright, should that decline in Iraq casualties have gotten more media attention?" Wright's answer:
Not necessarily. The fact is we're at the beginning of a trend -- and it's not even sure that it is a trend yet. There is also an enormous dispute over how to count the numbers. There are different kinds of deaths in Iraq. ...

So the numbers themselves are tricky.

And Barbara Starr weighs in:
But that's the problem, we don't know whether it is a trend about specifically the decline in the number of U.S. troops being killed in Iraq. This is not enduring progress. This is a very positive step on that potential road to progress.

OK, so the numbers are tricky and we want to be cautious about reporting a "trend" that might just turn out to be a blip. Well and good. But what if the situation were reversed:
KURTZ: But let's say that the figures had shown that casualties were going up for U.S. soldiers and going up for Iraqi civilians. I think that would have made some front pages.

STARR: Oh, I think inevitably it would have. I mean, that's certainly -- that, by any definition, is news. Look, nobody more than a Pentagon correspondent would like to stop reporting the number of deaths, interviewing grieving families, talking to soldiers who have lost their arms and their legs in the war. But, is this really enduring progress?

We've had five years of the Pentagon telling us there is progress, there is progress. Forgive me for being skeptical, I need to see a little bit more than one month before I get too excited about all of this.

Actually, Barbara, you've had four months now to work up a little enthusiasm, but I guess those little numbers are tricky things, right? Anyway, dear reader, if you were looking for the media's "smoking gun", there it is right there. If you've got falling body counts among Americans and Iraqi civilians, well, there's "enormous dispute" over how to count those "tricky" numbers - because "there are different kinds of deaths in Iraq". But if those same tricky numbers are going up, "that, by any definition, is news".

Student protests in Iran. Jerusalem Post: 'An estimated 100 students staged a rare demonstration Monday against Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, calling him a "dictator," which prompted scuffles with hardline students at Teheran University. Ahmadinejad, who was giving a speech to a select group at the university to mark the beginning of the academic year, ignored the chants of "death to the dictator" and continued with his speech on the merits of science and the pitfalls of Western-style democracy, witnesses said.' AFP: 'Riot police barred the group of about 100 chanting students from leaving the Tehran University campus, where Ahmadinejad was giving a speech marking the start of the new academic year, a witness told AFP. "Ahmadinejad is Pinochet! Iran will not become Chile," the students shouted, the witness said. The demonstrators at Tehran University, Iran's top academic institution, were calling for the release of students detained since May for publishing writings considered insulting to Islam, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. ... Monday's protest came just two weeks after Ahmadinejad addressed New York's prestigious Columbia University during a highly controversial visit to the United States for the UN General Assembly. "Why only Columbia? We have questions too," read banners brandished by the students at Tehran University.' Swissinfo: 'Liberal-minded students and academics have criticised the president for clamping down on dissent on Iranian campuses, although the president and his government insist they support free speech and welcome constructive opposition. ... One of the pro-reform students said those allowed inside to listen were handpicked because they supported the president. "We were not invited," said the student, asking not to be named.' HT: The Spirit of Man.

Commentary. I don't think you could ask for a clearer demonstration of the media's agenda than the one afforded by the words of Robin Wright and Barbara Starr. But just to help round out the picture - and because we don't want the good folks at the New York Times to feel left out - here's Gateway Pundit's roundup of the NYT - in its own words - reporting on the "defining atrocity" of Haditha.
The New York Times
May 26, 2006:

A military investigation into the deaths of two dozen Iraqis last November is expected to find that a small number of marines in western Iraq carried out extensive, unprovoked killings of civilians, Congressional, military and Pentagon officials said Thursday...

That evidence, described by Congressional, Pentagon and military officials briefed on the inquiry, suggested to one Congressional official that the killings were "methodical in nature."
The New York Times
June 4, 2006:

The apparent cold-blooded killing last November of 24 Iraqi civilians by United States marines at Haditha will be hard to dispose of with another Washington damage control operation. The Iraqi government has made clear that it will not sit still for one, and neither should the American people. This affair cannot simply be dismissed as the spontaneous cruelty of a few bad men. ...

The New York Times
October 6, 2007:

Last year, when accounts of the killing of 24 Iraqis in Haditha by a group of marines came to light, it seemed that the Iraq war had produced its defining atrocity, just as the conflict in Vietnam had spawned the My Lai massacre a generation ago.

But on Thursday, a senior military investigator recommended dropping murder charges against the ranking enlisted marine accused in the 2005 killings, just as he had done earlier in the cases of two other marines charged in the case. The recommendation may well have ended prosecutors’ chances of winning any murder convictions in the killings of the apparently unarmed men, women and children.

Go to Gateway Pundit for the whole thing.

Now, how do you define "defining atrocity"? Neo-Neocon takes a look at the My Lai connection - or lack of one:
My Lai was the template. A bona fide atrocity (see this for the complete My Lai story), it not only made the name of journalist Seymour Hersh and won him his coveted Pulitzer, but it profoundly shocked the American public and helped turn them against the Vietnam War.

And ever since the Iraq War began, the media has been searching for its My Lai. Abu Ghraib was an attempt to find one, but although it garnered enormous publicity and shamed the military, it wasn’t a good enough parallel. No one was killed, for example. A comparison of My Lai to Abu Ghraib illustrates the old Marxian adage the history repeats itself the first time as tragedy and the second as farce.

And so the media had to keep looking. They thought they had found what they were looking for in Haditha. ...

And so ... on to Haditha:
Time correspondent Tim McGirk broke the story in March of 2006, having received information and a videotape from Iraqi sources. However:

McGirk received his video “evidence” and contacts from two known Iraqi insurgent operatives already under observation by Marine Corps counter intelligence teams. One of the Iraqi witnesses McGirk relied on had just been released from almost six months captivity for insurgent activities and the other witness was considered a useful intelligence tool by Marines listening to him talk on his cell phone. McGirk never interviewed the Marines…

Go to the link for the rest. Neo concludes:
Before My Lai it was considered inconceivable that American soldiers could commit such atrocities. The pendulum then swung so far in the other direction that now it is considered inevitable that they will do so. So reporters have abandoned the healthy skepticism they require in order to ferret out the truth. Instead, all they feel they need to do is find the atrocity stories, write about them, and then sit back and garner their own Pulitzers.

Fortunately, this time I don’t think there’ll be a Pulitzer in it for Tim McGirk.

2007-10-07

Morning Report: October 7, 2007

The islamist regime spreads its influence far and wide. When and how will they be stopped?

Palestinian Christian found dead in Gaza. Jerusalem Post: 'The body of a Christian official who was kidnapped over the weekend was discovered in Gaza City early Sunday, Palestinian sources said. The man was identified as Rami Ayyad, 31, director of The Teacher's Bookshop, which is operated by the Palestinian Bible Society. Although no group claimed responsibility for the murder, a number of Christians in Gaza City told The Jerusalem Post that Ayyad had received several death threats in the past from radical Muslims who accused him of conducting missionary activities. His bookshop and the Palestinian Bible Society had been the target of repeated attacks over the past two years. They noted that attacks on members of the 2,500-strong Christian community in the Gaza Strip had increased in recent months, especially since Hamas took full control over the area.'

Britain's Gordon Brown will back air strikes on Iran. Telegraph: 'Gordon Brown has agreed to support US air strikes against Iran if the Islamic republic orchestrates large-scale attacks by militants against British or American forces in Iraq, according to senior Pentagon officials. Washington sources say the Prime Minister has been informed of US plans to launch limited air and special forces raids against Revolutionary Guard bases. After talks with President George W Bush in July, Mr Brown left US officials with the belief that Britain was "on board" for a military response — but only if Iran was proved to be behind a big militant attack or another stunt similar to the kidnapping in March of British sailors.'

Objective: Regime change in Iran. America and its allies have every right to act in legitimate self-defense. But what about the bigger picture - strategically and morally? The Spirit of Man cites fellow Iranian blogger Sagg-e Zard:
To attack Iran without targeting and destroying the Islamic Regime is as mindless as begging the regime to change its behavior. Domestically in Iran, an incalculable human toll mounts as the days of the regime pass the world by. The influence of the Ayatollahs has grown internationally by their direct and covert forces fueled by petro-wealth. For years they have aided violent acts of terror and now openly fund militias in Lebanon. They have conducted operations assassinating Iranian opposition members in Austria, Germany, UK, France, USA, Italy, Turkey and the Philippines... Currently with an unprecedented savage crackdown of the population, the Ayatollahs are also laying their bets that any military action against them may be harmful to them but survivable. The Ayatollahs running the Islamic Republic would care less if the country was attacked and all the nuclear facilities and IRGC leveled, as long as there will be enough infrastructure to savagely destroy any popular uprising. The SAVAMA is capable of this. The Ayatollahs have calculated and do not mind if their objective is set back ten years, better yet, twenty years, as long as they remain in power. It is a better deal to be guaranteed survival and authority than being removed permanently.

TSOM adds the following in Farsi:

هدف اصلی و نهایی تمام ایرانیان وطن دوست، امروزه، بایستی تغییررژیم اخوندی و جایگزینی آن با یک حکومت دموکراتیک ، مسئول و کاملا غیر مذهبی باشد. تنها راه نجات مردم دربند، محروم و گرسنه ایران تغییر این حکومت ضد ایرانی و ضد انسانیست


Iraq Shi'a leaders sign truce. 'The low level "civil war within a civil war" that has been simmering between the two largest Shia militias in Iraq may be over.' Rick Moran at American Thinker cites the BBC: 'Two of Iraq's most influential Shia leaders have signed a deal to try to end violence between their groups. Radical cleric Moqtada Sadr and Abdul Aziz al-Hakim, head of the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq, have been locked in a bitter dispute for months. The leaders have agreed to try to end further bloodshed, foster a spirit of goodwill and form joint committees throughout the country. ...' Moran adds: 'Indeed, if the scenario in the truce plays out, it should relieve Prime Minister Maliki of a gigantic headache. The Badr Organization is the most powerful Shia militia in Iraq and was headed for open warfare with the Mahdi Army. In effect, the agreement solidifies Maliki's back as he tries to affect reconciliation with the Sunnis. At the moment, he doesn't have to worry about the Shia militias making trouble while he tries to heal the wounds in Iraqi society.'

"Condoleezza Rice was opposed." That's the sentence that stands out for me in this article at Ha'Aretz via Big Pharaoh.
The Israel Air Force strike on an alleged Syrian nuclear installation on September 6 was supposed to take place on July 14, but was delayed due to hesitance on the part of the Americans, ABC News reported.

The report says that Israel presented the United States with intelligence attesting to the existence of the facility and its connection to North Korea.

Foreign media reports have said that North Korea delivered nuclear material to Syria three days before the attack was carried out.

The United States, embroiled in a war in Iraq partially due to faulty intelligence, was nervous about the accuracy of the information and the implications on the region an attack would have.

ABC also said that U.S. officials held high level meetings to discuss Israel's plans, and that while some officials did support the attack, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice was opposed.


MNF Iraq: Mayor's assassin held, weapons cache found. MNFI reports: 'Iraqi Police in Iskandariyah detained a fellow policeman Oct. 5 who assisted terrorists in killing the mayor of Iskandariyah. An initial report indicates that Mayor Abbas Hassan Hamza and four guards were killed by an explosively formed penetrator in the city the day prior.' Also: 'Iraqi Army Soldiers and Coalition Forces, acting on tips provided by local citizens, discovered a large weapons cache in the village cemetery and detained two men during Operation Rock Drill in Muradiyah, south of Baqouba Oct. 5. “The IA was definitely in control; they had the larger force and cleared all the culturally sensitive sites such as the mosque and the cemetery, finding the cache in the cemetery,” said Capt. Duane L. Bailey, commander, Bayonet Company, 1st Battalion, 38th Infantry Regiment, attached to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division.'

Burial ground memorial in New York. Benjamin Sarlin at the New York Sun: 'Sixteen years after the surprise discovery of the African burial ground on Duane Street, city and federal officials will formally dedicate a memorial Friday in Lower Manhattan. Discovered in 1991 while digging the foundation for the Foley Square Federal Building, the burial ground contains some 15,000 African Americans 25 feet below street level who are believed to have been buried in the 17th and 18th centuries. The seven-acre site's discovery prompted a major archaeological effort to learn more about the early history of the city's African population, as well as a movement to memorialize the dead. It also began a long series of controversies ...' Read the rest at the link.


Commentary. A couple of years ago I had the honor of being invited by the moderator of the Free Iran forum to help draft this petition:
As House Resolution 398 (May 06, 2004) has rightly recognized, the illegitimate government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has engaged, and continues to engage, in efforts to acquire nuclear weapons. Such weapons would pose an immediate threat not only to Iran's neigbors, but ultimately to the entire world.
The cruelty of the IRI regime is well known and abundantly documented. The regime has been implicated in assassinations throughout the Middle East, Europe, and the United States; the murder of more than 100,000 Iranians; continuing policies of rape, torture, and arbitrary imprisonment as political tools; and the kidnapping of thousands of women and girls for sale into prostitution and slavery.

According to the Department of State report released by the Department of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor on February 25, 2004: “The Government's poor human rights record worsened, and it continued to commit numerous, serious abuses. The right of citizens to change their government was restricted significantly. Continuing serious abuses included: summary executions; disappearances; torture and other degrading treatment, reportedly including severe punishments such as beheading and flogging; poor prison conditions; arbitrary arrest and detention; lack of habeas corpus or access to counsel and prolonged and incommunicado detention. Citizens often did not receive due process or fair trials. The Government infringed on citizens' privacy rights, and restricted freedom of speech, press, assembly, association and religion.” These and other abuses clearly indicate that the regime constitutes a grave threat to the people of Iran and to free people everywhere.

It has come to our attention that Israel and/or the United States may be contemplating a pre-emptive military strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. If the United States follows a policy based exclusively on the nuclear issue, however, the results will be catastrophic both for the Iranian people and, ultimately, for the Middle East and the world. Merely striking at Iranian nuclear facilities would at best delay the regime's nuclear program, driving it deeper underground; would certainly provoke even harsher measures against the Iranian people; and would likely lure the West into a false sense of security with the mullahs of the IRI regime plotting their ultimate retribution against America, Israel, and all others who have stood in their way.
The Islamist regime continues to actively undermine American efforts to rebuild Afghanistan and Iraq. Regime-backed agents and mercenaries are killing American soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines every week. To wait until Iraq and Afghanistan are “secure” before confronting the Iranian mullahs is folly; rather, the United States must take the battle to the enemy in Tehran.

The IRI regime's staunchest defenders in the West are the leftists and so-called "liberals" who are driven by their own infantile issues with "authority" and their hatred of America. These leftists claim to be for "peace" but you'll notice they aren't interested in a non-military regime change either. They care only for defending Middle Eastern dictatorships against American power. They are fascist stooges, pure and simple.

Without a doubt, the preferable course of action - and the one Michael Ledeen advocates - would be to empower the Iranian people to overthrow the mullahs in Tehran and build a free and secular democracy. If this option is available, we should take it; but if it is not, we need to take the second-best course of action and use the full force of our arms against the Iranian regime; to overthrow, dismantle, and destroy the islamist dictatorship; and to assist the Iranians in building a better future.