Night Flashes

Fidel Castro cedes power to brother: 'Fidel Castro, 79, would never give up power, even temporarily and to his own brother, if he weren't facing a serious medical crisis.' ... shots fired across Korean border - the Norks fired two rounds and the good guys shot back with six, I guess that's "disproportionate response" - anyway, not a peep out of the commies since then ...

The world's favorite disproportionate responder continues to send lots of rounds downrange, and Olmert says don't hold your breath waiting for that cease-fire: 'Olmert said bluntly that military operations would not end until Hizbullah had been pushed back from the northern border and its ability to harm Israel’s citizens neutralized' ... while 'Military sources said Monday night that the IDF now would make a concerted effort to achieve ground success through operations that the army has avoided until now' ... and Assad is focusing on 'regional challenges' ...

Meanwhile, that guy in the green helmet sure gets around ...

Military Equity Alliance Calls for an End to "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

Winds of Change: Military Equity Alliance calls for an end to military anti-gay discrimination.
What I will say is that the US military has lost many good people to this policy already - and it isn't the military's fault. It's Congress who sets the rules, and that's where change must happen.

I've said this before and I'll say it again: gays should be allowed to serve openly. If we're at war, and we're serious about it, we should be serious enough to get the obstacles out of their way.

Here's the article cited by Joe Katzman:
Roxie Hoven considers herself a patriot, a preserver of freedom who was willing to work - and die - for her country. All the while, she felt oppressed.

During her nine years in the Navy, Hoven hid the fact that she is a lesbian. She made no hint of her sexual orientation but, she said, she endured harassment that eventually led her to leave the Navy. The military interviewed her co-workers and friends, interrogated her three times and threatened to search her home, she said.

Hoven was honorably discharged in 1995 after nine years of service.

No one else should experience that, Hoven told more than 50 people Saturday during a two-hour town hall meeting at the Fred Heutte Center. She and three other gay veterans from Virginia spoke out against the military's 13-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy. ...

News Roundup

Muslim attacker shoots six Jewish women in Seattle, killing one. Via Pajamas Media, the Seattle Times: 'All around Seattle on Saturday, people were grieving for Pamela Waechter, a woman they said was a mediator, a major contributor to the Jewish community, a force for bringing so many cultures together. ... Ms. Waechter was working at the Jewish Federation downtown Friday afternoon when a man walked into the building with a gun, announced that he was Muslim, said he was angry at Israel and shot six women, one after another. Ms. Waechter, annual-campaign director for the federation, died there. She was 58.' Gay Patriot weighs in on hate crimes and terrorism. Some details on that shooting:
SEATTLE — The man suspected in a fatal shooting rampage hid behind a potted plant in a Jewish charity's foyer and forced his way through a security door by holding a gun to a 13-year-old girl's head, the police chief said Saturday.

Once inside, police say, Naveed Afzal Haq opened fire with two semiautomatic pistols. One woman, Pam Waechter, 58, of Seattle was killed at the scene. Five more women were wounded.

Haq, 30, was ordered held on $50 million bail Saturday pending formal charges of murder and attempted murder.

Haq, a Muslim, told authorities he was angered by the war in Iraq and U.S. military cooperation with Israel.

Qana: Civilian deaths follow IDF attack, but connection unclear. Arlene Kushner, thru Israpundit: 'It appears that in the course of Israeli bombing in the Lebanese village of Qana, a building collapsed and some 60 civilians, including women and children, were killed. (See below as to why I say “it appears.”) It is exceedingly likely that you will have heard about this from various media sources and, at the same time, heard about what heartless and vicious people we Israelis are. ... Then there is this significant information: There was a roughly eight hour time lapse from when Israel targeted the building (about midnight) and when it collapsed (8 am). The IDF is now saying they cannot account for this. It is conceivable that the building was weakened and took time to buckle. But there is another possibility: That it was an explosion of Hezbollah stored weaponry that brought the building down and not the Israeli bombing.' And speaking of timing, Power Line showcases some mighty fast work by Arab graphics people.

LGF takes a look at Hezbollah weapons. Little Green Footballs posts photos - a veritable international arms bazaar - of weapons seized from Hezbollah. The little item pictured in the third, fourth, and fifth photos looks mighty familiar to this blogger.

Sydney synagogue vandalized. LGF: 'The Mufti of Australia, Sheikh Taj el-Din al Hilaly, last seen at LGF marching in a demonstration with thousands of Hizballah supporters, now acts surprised that a synagogue was attacked in Sydney.'

Mel Gibson's epiphany: Alcoholism, not Jews, the cause of his troubles. Mel Gibson has apologized for a string of anti-Semitic statements uttered after his arrest for drunk driving Friday night: "I disgraced myself and my family with my behavior and for that I am truly sorry. I have battled with the disease of alcoholism for all of my adult life and profoundly regret my horrific relapse."

Atlas Posts from Israel

If you haven't already, go read Atlas Shrugs. Some of us are reading and writing about Israel ... but people like Atlas go there. Check out her coverage of the mysterious seven-hour gap, the Cedar Revolution's condemnation of Hezbollah (if I read another NYT puff piece calling a pro-Hezbollah demonstration "pro-Lebanese", I'm gonna puke), and Syria's chemical missiles.

Stay safe, Pamela.


Venus, Mars, an Australian Passport, and Belgian Chocolate

Congratulations to Zoe, the brains behind A. E. Brain, on the first anniversary of her transition. You go, girl!

Go check out Zoe's blog. Liberal, pro-Bush, and a space geek ... what's not to like?



Light posting to follow. I'm finding it necessary to focus on wrapping up a number of loose ends in my personal life - mostly unfinished pet projects and the like - so I will not attempt to post here on a daily basis until, probably, after mid-August. Morning Report will be going on leave.

In addition to those minor pet projects, there's one major project I want to devote some energy to - fiction writing. There's a space-based SF story I've been writing in serial form (meaning I have no idea where it's going) and I want to make some progress on this, and possibly finish it up. With that done, I should then be free to develop some ideas in a more serious way. And then ... ? Maybe try for print publication? Who knows?

Pacific Memories is finished. One project that I worked on sporadically for almost two years, I finally completed in a big burst of energy earlier this week. Pacific Memories is my father's unfinished memoir from World War II, which I've transcribed from his typewritten manuscript and posted on Blogger.

The manuscript was among my father's personal papers, which I retrieved from the basement of the family house at the time of my mother's death in 2003. I don't know when it was written.

I wish I could tell you that it's a tale of non-stop, thrilling combat action, but that's not what my Dad wrote. In fact, it appears he abandoned the project just before the real excitement started: the unwritten sixteenth chapter is titled "Marching Through New Georgia", but that's all he wrote, a title page with nothing after it. (Thanks, Dad! Grrrr.) Perhaps the fighting on New Georgia was so fierce that he trembled at the very thought of setting it down on paper? I'll never know.

But what he did write remains a detailed, down-to-earth, entertaining and witty account of the 37th Infantry Division's progress through the Pacific towards an ever-closer Japanese threat. Read it for the interest of a first-hand account of the Second World War, written by an intelligent and sensitive man who had quite a way with words.

Wilderness Vision. Another posthumous collection I've posted to the web is Wilderness Vision, a collection of my sister's poetry. (Stephanie died in 1992, at the age of 28.) If you haven't yet, pay a visit. She was extraordinarily gifted. The site represents nearly all of her extant poetry - over 50 poems - and includes pieces written when she was as young as 12. The poems are not arranged in any particular order. Some of these works earned her prizes in the Scholastic competitions from 1977 to 1981. I'm in possession of a box full of her manuscripts and letters, which I'm continuing to organize with an eye to producing a coherent narrative of her life and work - agan, maybe for print publication some day. But I don't plan any further updates to the website.

You can read her fiction at the site Iridescence. Some of the works are unfinished or fragmentary. Also, my father's creative writing is posted at Urban Renewal.

One more important site. This hasn't been my favorite site to work on, but I consider it one of the most important: The Iraqi Holocaust. I am no longer actively updating this, although I may add new material at a later date, perhaps in connection with the trial of Saddam Hussein. If you know somebody who believes that "the Iraq war war wrong", please consider sending them a link to The Iraqi Holocaust. Thanks.

Finally, one thing I've been feeling the need to do is to take some time off to just read and study about the Middle East - and about history and culture in general. Lately I've been feeling as if I'm just scratching the surface - there's so much going on, and I'm struggling to keep up with it, but I'd like to be able to write with a little more depth. I've got several books lined up on the shelf, plus I may set aside some time to read through the old Iraq the Model archives. Hopefully cutting back on quantity will allow me to improve the quality.

So, stay tuned. Posting will continue here, but at a more deliberate pace until I feel like I'm caught up on other stuff. Don't go away.

(Besides, where else could you read an epic-length post explaining why posting is going to be light?)

Lavender Alert

Washington State Supreme Court upholds marriage ban. Basic Rights Oregon:
This morning, the Washington Supreme Court issued a decision in Andersen v. King County, a consolidated case regarding Washington's ban on same-sex marriage.

The Court's lead opinion was authored by Justice Barbara Madsen, holding the Washington "Defense of Marriage Act" does not violate the Washington State Constitution. This decision overturns trial court decisions in King and Thurston Superior Courts in this case.

Signing Justice Madsen's opinion are Chief Justice Gerry Alexander and Associate Chief Justice Charles W. Johnson. Two members of the Court, Justices James M. Johnson and Richard B. Sanders agreed with the majority in result only, using a separate legal rationale in a concurring opinion authored by Justice James M. Johnson. Chief Justice Gerry Alexander also issued a separate concurrence in this case.

The Court had three dissenting opinions, one authored by Justice Mary E. Fairhurst which was signed by Justices Bobbe J. Bridge, Tom Chambers and Susan J. Owens. Justices Bridge and Chambers also issued separate dissents in this case.

Charges filed in Maine vandalism case. A lesbian couple in Poland, Maine were the victims of an appalling, homophobia-driven property crime. Now, charges have been filed against two juveniles as citizens rally in support of the victims. PlanetOut: 'More than 200 people, including the governor of Maine, gathered Saturday in Portland, Me., to support a lesbian couple whose home was rendered uninhabitable in what prosecutors are calling a hate crime. On Friday, the state attorney general's office filed a complaint against two boys, 12 and 14, under Maine's hate crimes law, one of the few such laws in the United States to recognize sexual orientation. Anti-gay bias motivated the boys to vandalize the Poland, Me., home of Linda Boutaugh and Keri Fuchs on July 1, according to police. The boys broke into the couple's mobile home late June 30, destroying furniture and appliances, breaking windows and spraying pesticides. Valuables, including a box that contained Fuch's father's ashes, were stolen. A car was severely damaged, and feces and urine were left in the car and the home.' 247Gay.com: 'More than 150 people braved the threat of rain and showed up at the rally in Monument Square, which was organized by Equality Maine. The crowd heard from a procession of speakers, including officials such as Gov. John Baldacci and Attorney General Steven Rowe, who denounced the incident and voiced support for Boutaugh and Fuchs. "I find that what happened in Poland was reprehensible," Gov. John Baldacci said, reports The Globe. "I came to the rally today to show my support on this issue. What happened here is not indicative of Maine people or Maine values." The couple, who drove to the rally from where they are now staying in East Millinocket, received long rounds of applause, even as they sometimes struggled to speak. "This is so very overwhelming," Fuchs told the audience, reports the Morning Sentinel.'

Marriage advocates launch ad campaign. AP via Gay.com: 'Three major gay rights groups are taking out full-page advertisements starting Tuesday in 50 newspapers nationwide declaring their determination to keep fighting for same-sex marriage rights despite recent court setbacks. The media campaign will cost $250,000; its organizers said it was the largest-ever purchase of print ad space by gay rights supporters. Roberta Sklar of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force said the ads would run in papers around the country, from the New York Times to The Gazette of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to gay weeklies in Houston, Atlanta and San Diego.'

Advances and setbacks in eastern Europe. Slovenia has legalized lesbian and gay civil unions with some ceremonial restrictions to make sure those people don't get the idea that they're, like, actually getting married or anything:
The Balkan republic of Slovenia has legalized same-sex unions but put restrictions on the ceremony, United Press International reported Monday. The measure allowing gay and lesbian couples to register their partnership went into effect Sunday, according to Belgrade's B92 radio station. Slovenia's gay and lesbian organizations, while welcoming the move as a concrete step, criticized the law as "insufficient," noting that it limits those attending the ceremonies to two partners and a local community registration official. Friends, relatives or any third person are barred from attending the ceremonies, which can be held only in a state office.

Meanwhile, more than two dozen people have been detained in Latvia for anti-gay attacks during a recent Pride celebration in Riga:
The charges stem from attacks on people who attended a Pride-themed service at the Anglican Church in Riga as part of the weekend festival, officially dubbed "Friendship Days." Anti-gay protesters threw tomatoes, eggs and bags of liquid excrement at people entering the church service, including European Parliament member Sophie Int'veld of the Netherlands, and riding buses to other Pride events. "Unhappily for the fascists, a number of the victims then went to a press conference for the foreign media. Thus, this hate crime was not only disseminated worldwide, but the journalists were able to experience first-hand the stench," a representative of Mozaika, one of the groups that organized Riga's Pride, wrote in a letter published Monday by UK Gay News.

Survey tracks healthcare experiences for lesbians, gay men. A recent survey finds something astonishing: gender bias in health care. 365Gay.com: 'A new study on LGBT health care shows that doctors react more negatively to women than to men who reveal they are gay. The study was conducted in New Zealand and forms part of the "Lavender Island" project - the first major study to be undertaken in the country about access to health care by members of the LGBT community. The results are reported in the latest issue of the Journal of Advanced Nursing. Researchers at Massey University surveyed 2,269 lesbian, gay and bisexual people to discover how they felt about revealing their sexuality and the reaction of primary healthcare providers, such as family doctors and practice nurses, when they did.'

Commentary. One of the problems of today's world is that the political landscape casts activists into two camps. On the one side, the "left-wingers" who see oppression everywhere except where it is most severe, that is, in the fascist regimes of the Middle East. And on the other side, "right-wingers", who are invested in emphasizing the virtues of Western society and so overlook its shortcomings, or worse, who tell activists that they should be grateful that they live in a society are not being stoned to death and should therefore shut up and stop complaining.

I refuse to join either of these groups. The search for justice isn't confined to one society, and addressing one set of issues does not - or should not - prejudice the importance of other issues. I expect that my regular readers understand this.

Where We Are Now

I just finished an evening of phone banking with Basic Rights Oregon. The woman I worked with was fired from her last three jobs because she is a lesbian.

Now, I'm glad I live in America. I'm glad I don't live in a fascist theocratic state where I have to live in fear of being tortured or executed by the government because I'm lesbian, or gay, or don't fit my socially-ordained gender role. That's great.

But we've still got a long way to go.

Condi: "We will prevail. They will not."

Via Arutz Sheva:
Visiting US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Tuesday called for a new Middle East, the same phrase former US President Bill Clinton used when promoting the Oslo peace plans in the 1990s.

"It is time for a new Middle East," she said. "It is time to say to those that don't want a different kind of Middle East that we will prevail. They will not." She spoke with leaders of the Israeli government and the Palestinian Authority (PA). Whereas President Clinton's plan was based on proposed agreements between Israel and the Palestine Liberation Organization headed by Yasser Arafat, Secretary Rice said an end to violence must be conditional. American officials are not interested in returning to the Middle East to repeat current efforts to stop terrorists from disrupting a cease fire, she explained.

Shazia Khalid Awaits Justice

The Muslim Woman:
The Sui rape incident dates back to January 2005, when Dr. Shazia Khalid, the 30-year-old doctor was blindfolded and raped in a dark room. This rape case triggered off a gory conflict among the Pakistan Army the tribal community. The Bugti tribesmen accused Captain Imaad (Officer Defence Security Guards} of committing the heinous crime.

TOI report:

“‘If you scream, I’ll take it and burn you alive…”

Read the rest at the link.

Self-Hating Queers Defend Mideast Fascists

Jeremayakovka documents one of the worst cases of internalized homophobia in the queer community: the love affair with the anti-Israel, pro-jihadi cause.
For several years, the misfit outfits "Queers for Palestine" and "Queers Undermining Israeli Terrorism" (QUIT) have militated for the destruction of Israel under the banner of agitating for Palestinian rights. They have done so since the 2000 resumption of the Arab war-by-Palestinian-proxy against the Jews (also known as "the al-Aqsa Intifada"), and maybe from before. If you live in the real world you probably have never heard of "Queers for Palestine" and "QUIT," but the sad fact is that they are a freak-show fixture of the lib/rad "scene" in and around the San Francisco intergalactic zip code and beyond.

"Queers for Palestine" and "QUIT" consistently:

* oppose Israeli anti-terrorist operations in the Palestinian territories;
* endorse divestment from the region's most thriving economy (and most thriving democracy); and, most notoriously . . .
* endorse the Arab demographic atom bomb aimed at the heart of Israeli civil society, the so-called "right of return" ...

Go to the link for the rest.


War Bulletin: The Fall of Two Capitals

Hezbollah strikes Egyptian, Israeli ships with UAVs. CTB:
The conflict between Israel and Hezbollah has escalated, as Hezbollah has conducted two sea strikes against an Israeli warship and an Egyptian civilian ship, possibly a cruise liner. While initial reports are stating an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) was used to ram the ships, an anonymous intelligence official indicates the Egyptian ship was struck by a UAV launched antitank missile. According to the intelligence official, the Egyptian ship was hit with a Raad anti-tank missile (this is a different weapon than the Raad rockets fired against the city of Haifa.)

The two attacks occurred earlier today, as Hezbollah struck an Israeli Saar 5 navy gunship off the coast of Lebanon. Four Israeli seamen are missing and the ship has been damaged badly enough the Israeli Defense Force pulled it out of service. "It's the first time the terrorist group -- any terrorist group -- has used a drone in combat, as far as I know," said DefenseTech's Noah Schachtman. The current reports states an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle laden with explosives hit the Israeli warship.

The Egyptian civilian ship was hit during the same attack on the Israeli warship. "At the same time as the incident took place in which an Israeli ship was hit, a merchant ship was also hit," an Israeli spokeswoman stated, according to Reuters. Initial reports, which as of yet are unconfirmed, indicate the Egyptian vessel may have been a cruise ship.

The fact that two separate ships were struck at the same time, very likely with UAV fired antitank missiles, indicates a level of sophistication far beyond that of Hezbollah. The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps and Imad Mugniyah clearly have a hand in these operations. ...

Freedom for Egyptians on the future. FFE: 'Syria’s regime has always played its cards under the table while maintaining other players on the stage to act on its behalf. The sole defender, protector and creator of the failure that’s called pan-Arabism is Syria. The project that has brought despotism, dictatorship and failed regimes to rule in the Middle East was created by this fascist regime. Time for a confrontation… ... Along the history, it is well known that the Middle East was not handed from one empire to another except at least with the fall of two capitals; Baghdad was one and Damascus is coming!' Freedom for Egyptians is one of my favorite bloggers worldwide; I strongly recommend reading her entire post. It's excellent.

The lesser players. Amarji:
Well, Nasrallah is definitely far more charismatic and eloquent than Saddam has ever been, but no less foolish. He will get the entire Arab street on his side, just like Saddam had done before, but most Arab governments will stand against it. True, Syria and Iran and Hamas will try to support it, that and its arsenal of missile and rockets, is its trump card, but one that can be rendered useless, if the Israelis decide that it is all worth it, and if they act in coordination with the US, which is more likely than people think.

No one shies from war anymore, so long as the only real existentialist threat they could pose is a pospect that, in the final analysis, only “lesser players” would have to deal with. We are those players.

Syria to aid Hezbollah. JPost: 'Syria stated that it will come to the defense of Hizbullah and Lebanon, Fox News reported early Saturday.' Ha'Aretz: '"The Syrian people are ready to extend full support to the Lebanese people and their heroic resistance to remain steadfast and confront the barbaric Israeli aggression and its crimes," said a communique from the party's national command issued after a meeting. It said Israel and the United States "are trying to wipe out Arab resistance in every land under occupation" and that President Bashar Assad was aware of the seriousness of the situation in the region.'

Latest Stratfor bulletins.
0451 GMT - An Israeli raid targeting a gas station in Sidon, Lebanon, early July 15 reportedly wounded three civilians. Israel has also bombed more roads in the south, Hezbollah's Al Manar television reports.

0202 GMT - Syrian officials said July 14 that the United States and Israel are trying to eliminate Arab resistance in every occupied land, Reuters reported.

0136 GMT - A runway at the airport in Beirut, Lebanon, was repaired July 14 to allow six planes to leave, CNN reported. The United States reportedly helped arrange a deal to evacuate the planes, one of which carried former Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati. The runway was later bombed again by Israel.

Katyushas land in Galil. JPost: 'A barrage of Katyusha rockets landed near Shlomi in the western Galile early Saturday. There were no reports of casualties or damage.'

IDF strikes bridge. JPost: 'IAF attacked a bridge in southern Lebanon that connects the region to Beirut, Lebanese media reported early Saturday. 20 people were reportedly wounded. This was the second time that the IAF struck the same bridge during the current operation in Lebanon.'

Bush won't pressure Israel for cease-fire. AP/Yahoo:
Bush and Putin were meeting Saturday to discuss the many crises shaking the world, after a more relaxed barbecue dinner Friday night with their wives at a government-owned villa. The two leaders planned a joint news conference Saturday.

The U.S. and Russian presidents — along with the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan — are gathering for the annual Group of Eight economic summit, which begins Saturday night and continues through Monday. This is Russia's first year as host.

The recent violence between Israel and Hezbollah militants in Lebanon is a late but unavoidable addition to the agenda.

Bush refused Friday to pressure Israel for a cease-fire. He called on the leaders of Egypt and Jordan to explore ways to end three days of furious fighting.

Michael Totten weighs in. A much-anticipated post from Michael J. Totten: 'Israel and Lebanon are the two freest countries in the Middle East. They are the only countries, aside from tortured Iraq, that hold unrigged elections for parliaments and heads of state. The tyrants to their east have pulled quite a coup, haven't they? The two countries friendliest to America and to liberal Western values are now shooting each other. (The Lebanese army, which has cooperated with Israel in the past behind the scenes, is now firing anti-aircraft guns at Israeli planes.)'

Wretchard's roundup. The Belmont Club has the latest on Castro death rumors, Tongsun Park's conviction, and Colonel MacFarland, who would rather be sociable but can be formidable if pressed.

From the Archives: Mirsad-1 Hezbollah UAV

From the Dreams Into Lightning archives:
Morning Report: April 12, 2005 (Hezbollah drone penetrates Israeli airspace.)

Hezbollah drone penetrates Israeli airspace. Hezbollah flew another drone over Israel on Monday - the second such mission in five months. Debka reports: 'Israel confirms Hizballah drone penetrated Israeli airspace but reports it turned tail in seconds after air force fighters scrambled. According to Hizballah TV, unmanned spy vehicle photographed N. Israeli towns of Acre and Nahariya and returned to Lebanon undetected. DEBKAfile: Lebanese terrorist group timed action for Bush-Sharon talks in Texas Monday.' Ha'Aretz elaborates: 'The IDF said Hezbollah is resorting to gimmicks, because the political situation in the region does not permit it to carry out actual terror attacks. Hezbollah's television station Al-Manar reported last night that a drone had entered Israeli skies at 5:15 P.M. and had flown over the Nahariya, Acre and "18 other settlements in the territory of the Zionist enemy." Citizens in the Nahariya area detected the drone and reported it to police. The Air Force's anti-aircraft systems picked up the drone but did not fire rockets at it, and the F-16 planes did not hit it either. The Air Force admits an operational failure, which will be investigated. After the last incursion, in November 2004, the anti-aircraft systems were upgraded in the north. Yesterday's drone was apparently of the same make - Iranian - as the one flown in November. [Known as 'Mirsad-1' - aa.] Although capable of carrying explosives, Hezbollah has refrained from putting it to this use. IDF sources said the intelligence value of such a brief flight was limited. According to IDF officers, Hezbollah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah wants to prove capable of action against Israel, yet escalation in the north would not serve the interests of his patron, Syria, which is under international pressure to withdraw from Lebanon. Nasrallah is therefore opting for provocative acts with propaganda value.' (Debka, Ha'Aretz)

Hezbollah Drone Update - November 19, 2004
On November 12, a Hezbollah-operated reconnaissance drone called the Mirsad-1 penetrated Israeli airspace and flew over the northern town of Nahariya for fifteen minutes. The incident raises serious questions about Israel's air security, according to this Debka report. Debka notes that a Patriot air-defense system normally posted in the area was absent on the day of the intrusion, leaving the area guarded only by the less advanced Hawk missiles - which, unlike the Patriots usually on duty, lacked the ability to detect small objects like the drone. Debka points out another curious aspect of the incident: the footage broadcast after the overflight, purportedly shot by the drone, "shows a Patriot battery present". Either these photographs were taken by a previous, undetected mission over Israel, or they were illicitly obtained from another source such as a private satellite company. The report also weighs in on an unidentified submarine spotted of Israel's coast at the time of the incident; read the article at the link for full details.

Eagle/Heron, and Another UAV - November 7, 2004
The Times of India reports:
Israel is likely to sign a deal to supply spy drones worth $230 million to India soon, officials said Sunday.

State-owned Israeli Aircraft Industries will also supply military surveillance hardware for the unmanned aircraft which will be jointly produced in India, defence ministry officials said.

"We are quite close to signing a deal," a highly-placed official said. They said the offer includes 50 Eagle-Heron Israeli drones which have a range of 1,000 kilometres (620 miles), can stay airborne for more than 24 hours and cruise at an altitude of 25,000 feet (7,575 metres).

India, which treated Israel like a pariah for decades, has forged close military links in recent years. It is acquiring two Phalcon Airborne Early Warning Systems worth a billion dollars and will jointly produce a long-range missile from the Jewish state.'

Also on the subject of drones, an Iranian-produced drone operated by Hezbollah made an incursion into Israeli airspace. According to Ha'Aretz:
Hezbollah announced Sunday that it had sent an unmanned reconnaissance drone on sorties over northern Israel earlier in the day, saying that the plane - known as the Mirsad-1 - flew as far as Nahariya before returning safely to its base in southern Lebanon.

The Israel Defense Forces confirmed Sunday evening that a drone did indeed enter Israeli airspace, and flew over the northern city of Nahariya. The IDF said that the drone crashed into the sea when it returned to Lebanon. Reports from Lebanese fishermen of an object slamming into the sea apparently confirms the IDF's report.

"The new qualitative achievement comes as part of the natural response to Israel's violation of Lebanese air space," the militant organization said in a report on its television channel, Al-Manar.

The Jerusalem Post elaborates:
The penetration of an unmanned spy plane into northern Israel Sunday has gravely concerned the IDF command, which is bracing for a flare up on the northern border as the disengagement approaches.

The IDF confirmed Sunday night Hizbullah's claim that it had succeeded in sending a drone over the skies of the western Galilee.

It was the first time an enemy unmanned aerial vehicle had succeeded in entering Israel and represented a bold and provocative step by the Iranian-backed Shiite group.

Hizbullah said the UAV, dubbed "Mirsad 1" or Ambush, had reached all the way to the northern Israeli costal town of Nahariya at 10:30 a.m. and "returned safely to base," mimicking the old IDF statements usually put out after bombing raids in Lebanon.

But reports from Lebanon said the UAV crashed at sea on its return trip from it sojourn over the tiny corner of Israel. An IDF statement said Hizbullah was aided in the endeavor by Iran and Syria "with the aim of targeting Israeli civilians."

It was a propaganda coup for Hizbullah, showing it could succeed in doing what no Arab state has. Only Egypt among the Arab nations has a serious UAV program. Iraq had attempted to develop one but it was not a success.

The Iranians, however, have been developing UAVs for over a decade and it is one of theirs that is believed to have been used Sunday by Hizbullah. The Mirsad 1 is a small remote-controlled drone with one engine and a small camera.

Hezbollah Drone Mirsad-1 - November 9, 2004
The Iranian/Hezbollah "Mirsad-1" UAV that recently accomplished an incursion into Israeli airspace had a payload capacity of 40kg, according to this bulletin from Debka:
Hizballah unmanned aerial craft that penetrated Israel two days ago is capable of carrying 40 kilos - and therefore a bomb, according to Israeli chief of staff Gen. Yaalon’s report to Knesset committee Tuesday. Craft spent 7-12 minutes over northern town of Nahariya.

Ha'Aretz writes that
Apparently, the drone carried a camera capable of transmitting images while the plane is in motion. On Monday, Hezbollah's television channel, Al-Manar, aired footage of what it said was the drone it had sent into Israel.

and adds:
The drone was Iranian made. It was developed and built in Iranian plants in the 1990s. The aircraft is considered technologically very simple, with a pre-programmed route that is installed before launch. During the flight, a camera sends images back to a ground station, which was supposedly manned by Iranians, and the plane is apparently supposed to land by parachute.

The Iranians supplied several such planes to the Hezbollah, just as they supplied rockets. One of the Iranian conditions for the supply of the drones was that Hezbollah get clearance from Tehran before any launch.

The Hezbollah operatives were trained in the use of the plane by experts from the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Some analysts believe the drone is primarily a psychological tactic, and that the actual military value of the Mirsad-1 is limited. It may serve as a signal of Iran's determination to defend itself and its nuclear program against strikes by Israel or the US; Syria may also be using the incident to strengthen its negotiating position with regard to the Golan Heights.

In other news, Iran announced it has acquired the capability to mass-produce medium-range ballistic missiles. Iranian Defense Minister Rear Adm. Ali Shamkhani told journalists in Tehran that the IRI is able to manufacture in bulk the Shahab-3 missile, whose range was recently upgraded to 1,250 miles.

The Belmont Club has a new post on the Mirsad-1 UAV.


TheTammuz War

Up the escalator. New developments in the war suggest that long-dormant forces are now gathering momentum.

Belmont Club: Three developments. Wretchard discerns three key developments in recent hours: 'The first is that the US has vetoed a UN Security Council Resolution condemning Israel's incursions into Gaza. Note: Gaza, not Lebanon, which is suggestive. Second, Ynet reports that "Israeli aircraft struck the main highway linking Beirut to the Syrian capital Damascus early on Friday, a Lebanese security source said." Third, but not last, is the official speculation that the missiles which landed in Haifa were Iranian-manufactured Fajers, with a range of 70 km.' There are also indications that Iranian personnel are already involved in the fighting.

Melanie Phillips: Israel is at war with Iran and Syria. Melanie Phillips writes: 'Israel is now at war with Iran and Syria, which are waging war against Israel through their proxies Hezbollah and Hamas in pursuit of their declared aim to exterminate it. The 1000-plus rocket attacks from Gaza, the incursions into Israel and murder and kidnap of its soldiers, the murder and kindap of more of its soldiers in northern Israel and the shelling of Israel’s northern towns from Lebanon, with two killed in Nahariya and Safed and more injured, and now the rocket attacks on Haifa, all are acts of war — in the latest of which which Lebanon itself is complicit — to which Israel has no option but to respond with force.' She goes on to note the "sickening role" the BBC has played in the enemy's propaganda. She concludes: 'The world will not be safe unless and until Iran and Syria are stopped. And there is only one country that can do that, and it is not Israel.' Read it all at the link.

Tammy Bruce on India. Tammy: 'Every day there is more and more evidence that the evil visited upon us on September 11th is indeed part of a worldwide jihad. Ours is indeed a world war against Radical Islam, which views everyone who does not subscribe to the Wahhabist doctrine as infidel. As the people of India are well aware, they have been targets of Islamist terrorists since before 2001, and remain a high priority for death by the al-Qaida death cult and its agents.' Go to the post for a link to Walid Phares.

US kills UN resolution on Gaza. As Wretchard says: Gaza, not Lebanon. Vital Perspective: 'The U.S. has rejected a Security Council resolution put forward by Qatar on behalf of Arab states that would have condemned Israel's two-week military incursion into Gaza. The vote on the draft resolution was 10-1, with the U.S. voting no and four countries abstaining: Britain, Denmark, Peru and Slovakia. A resolution requires at least nine votes and no vetos from any of the P-5 members. It was John Bolton's first veto since arriving at the UN.' Bolton, quoted in the article, spoke of the need to "focus our attention not just on Hamas, but on the state sponsors of terror who back them -- particularly Syria and Iran."

Peretz has plans for Hezbollah. JPost: 'Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Thursday night that, "We expected Hizbullah to break the rules, and now we intend to break them." '

Saudis blame Hezbollah. JPost: 'In an official statement, the Saudi government said that a distinction must be drawn between "legitimate resistance" and "adventurous, irresponsible acts" committed by groups in Lebanon who don't recognize the government and don't coordinate with other Arab nations.'

Commentary. Robert Avrech at Seraphic Secret writes: 'Karen just stepped into my office and said to me: "This war has no name. It needs a name, Robert." As always, Karen is right. My gut instinct was: The War of Tammuz. ... As we all know, names contain souls. By naming this war, we give it a specific historical and Jewish identity.' You might wonder: Can a war have a soul? But I believe Avrech's point is this: By giving the war an identity, we also give it meaning. This is the key. A war without meaning is simply a lot of dead bodies. With a name comes meaning, and with meaning comes the possiblity of redemption.

Captured Israelis headed for Iran?

Although Meepas (cited at Regime Change Iran) regarded it as unlikely, it's now being reported that Hezbollah may be attempting to move the captured Israeli soldiers from Beirut, Lebanon to Iran:
Israeli foreign ministry officials said Thursday evening it has information that Hizbullah guerrillas are trying to transfer captured soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev to Iran.

It is very unlikely that the soldiers will be sent to Iran immediately.

According to Yossi Melman , Ha'aretz expert on intelligence matters “there is no need to send the soldiers to Iran. The Iranian intelligence organisation can easily send interrogators to Lebanon, who can sit in during the interrogation sessions, or actively participate in them. This has been done before, and can easily be done again”.

Furthermore, if Hezbollah hands the soldiers to Iran, it will look like a complete Iranian puppet to the Lebanese people. This will damage Hezbollah's on going efforts to portray itself as a genuine Lebanese organisation. ...

Updates on this as it develops.

UPDATE. A commenter at Dreams Into Lightning says that CNN is now reporting this.

UPDATE II. Fox News: 'Israel's foreign ministry said Thursday that Lebanese guerillas holding the two soldiers captive are trying to transfer them to Iran. Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev did not disclose the source of his information.'

UPDATE III. CNN: 'Hezbollah chief Nasrallah told reporters that seizing the soldiers was "our natural, only and logical right" to win freedom for Hezbollah prisoners held by Israel. Nasrallah said the two soldiers had been taken to a place "far, far away" and that an Israeli military campaign would not win their release.'

UPDATE IV. Amos Harel at Ha'Aretz:
Israel has concrete evidence that Hezbollah plans to transfer the two Israel Defense Forces soldiers abducted Wednesday to Iran, Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev said Thursday.

"We have concrete evidence that Hezbollah plans to transfer the kidnapped soldiers to Iran. As a result, Israel views Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran as the main players in the axis of terror and hate that endangers not only Israel, but the entire world," AFP quoted Deputy Director General of the Foreign Ministry Gideon Meir as saying.

An Al-Jazeera correspondent said Thursday that he had evidence that the two soldiers - identified Thursday as Ehud Goldwasser, 31, of Nahariya, and Eldad Regev, 26, of Kiryat Motzkin - were alive during the abduction. He said they were transferred to a Shi'ite mosque in a nearby town, where the abductors changed clothes. According to the report, one of the soldiers was transferred in a cab, to make it difficult for Israeli intelligence to locate him. The Al-Jazeera correspondent stressed that he had received the information from a source close to Hezbollah, and that members of the organization refuse to disclose more information with nothing in return.

British Foreign Office Betrayal Exposed: "When Progressives Treat with Reactionaries"

This document by Martin Bright (h/t The Corner) reveals the contents of a large number of leaked documents from the UK Government.

PDF link: When Progressives Treat with Reactionaries - Martin Bright (Policy Exchange).

From the preface by Jason Burke:
I am writing these words in a small guesthouse in the old city of Kabul. In the last two weeks I have spoken to moderate and hardline clerics, to the Taliban, to the Afghan authorities, to warlords (armed and disarmed), to taxi drivers, kebab salesmen, farmers (of poppy and other crops) and even to journalists. Yet the Western media often privileges those who shout loudest, have the most guns, hold the most animated demonstrations or are responsible for the most violence at the expense of the vast silent majority who merely want a quiet life that assures them a modest degree of prosperity, security and dignity.Martin Bright shows that the British government makes the very same mistake -- in listening hardest to those who force themselves to the front of the crowd. In so doing, the British government risks missing the critical truth -- that neither bin Laden and his jihadis, nor political Islamists like those of the Muslim Brotherhood, have a monopoly on the representation of the views and aspirations of the world's Muslims....


TypePad is up ...

and so is Dreams Into Lightning - TypePad. This is why I maintain two sites. For you devoted readers, there's always a backup.

Time for Beirut to Take Sides

Whither Lebanon? Israel is fighting Hezbollah in Lebanon again, and once again the Lebanese government is caught in the middle.

Israel's action; Lebanon's reaction? The Belmont Club expressed concern that 'If Israel strikes at the Lebanese government it will be very damaging, I think, to all the efforts made to kick Syria out.' But the Lebanese government is taking charge, at least as far as Hezbollah is concerned:
Lebanon's Ambassador to the US Farid Abboud was summoned back to Beirut on Wednesday night after expressing his support for Hizbullah in the US media.

Abboud was reported as saying that Israel was the only one who could bring about the release of the kidnapped IDF soldiers by agreeing to negotiate with the movement via mediators.

Officials in Beirut stressed that Abboud's view did not represent that of Lebanon, which is vehemently opposed to Hizbullah's actions on Israel's northern border.

Now, smacking down an ambassador for supporting Hezbollah does not equal kicking Syria out of Lebanon; but I'd like to think that this may be an indication that the Lebanese government is ready to take a stand with the good guys.

Nasrallah "ready for war with Israel". Lebanese blogger Abu Kais at From Beirut to the Beltway has this update: 'Hizbullah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah said today he was ready for a full confrontation with Israel adding that no military operation will succeed in setting the kidnapped soldiers free. "If Israel wants escalation, we are ready for full confrontation. I advise the new Israeli political and military leadership to ask the former leaders about Lebanon," Nasrallah said in a press conference in Beirut's southern suburb.' Thanks to the absent Michael Totten for bringing Abu Kais to our attention.

Commentary. There's some exciting discussion going on in the comments section of Abu Kais' previous post. Here are some excerpts:
You guys are a bunch of wimps. Do you understand this logic is dangerous? "Israel attacked us because our government failed to secure Israel's border." The same wimpish thinking that got us tied up with Israel in the first place and what did we get for it? Lebanese running falafel stands in Tel Aviv, hope you all are happy with no respect for yourselves.

Posted by: George Nehme | Wednesday, July 12, 2006 at 09:58 AM

No my dear George,

Israel DID attack us because we failed to secure our borders! I don't (and I hope a lot of lebanese too) want to be at war on behalf of the entire arab world.
Call me a whimp, but I want to be a whimp living in a peaceful and prosperous country. Sorry for all you beligerous and angry proud self-respecting patriots, but I'm really fed up with being in a useless state of war.

PS. Where is the self respect in igniting a war front to kidnapp a couple of soldiers?

And what's with the falafels ?

Posted by: Immed | Wednesday, July 12, 2006 at 10:13 AM

A Lebanese blogger taking Israel's side. Bravo. I'm sure Zionists will now hit your "tip jar", you fucking traitor

Posted by: ali | Wednesday, July 12, 2006 at 10:59 AM


Go to hell. Or yet, let Hizbullah "protect" your ass by starting a war. I don't support Israel (never have) and their overzealous and violent retaliation but no way in hell will I not blame Hizbullah for starting another war.

Posted by: Anon girl | Wednesday, July 12, 2006 at 11:36 AM

It is so unfortunate that Lebanon and many of the Arab countries are populated by so many Alis (note his post at 10:59 pm). Rational;ity and reason are alien to that kind of a mind. He will settle for nothing less than the total destruction of the state of Israel and the glory of his kind of Islam. It is af if one kind is imperial while the other is not. But what is most distressing is the logic, or rather the lack of it, with which he pursues his goal. To predict the Israeli reaction to the kiddnapping of its soldiers is a no brainer. Let us assume that ultimately Israel does release say 50 HA prisoners after having killed or maimed a 100 Lebanese destroyed $ 2 billion worth of infrasctructure, killed the livelyhood of 100's of thousands of Lebanese and in the process put an end to any hope of an economic recovery then by what calculus does one justify that these HA prisoners, if released, are so much more valuable than the rest of us? A logic based on hatred and religious zealotry does not offer any grounds for dialogue , peace or negotiations. If we do not exorcise the body politic in the Arab world of the Alis of the world then we would have failed our historical responsibility to the future generations to prosper and live in peace. Make no mistake about it, cancerous cells left ubchecked will grow , dominate and destro the vehicle within which they reside.

Posted by: Ghassan Karam | Wednesday, July 12, 2006 at 12:32 PM

And there are more posts in support of Ghassan. This is a good thing. Meanwhile, Tammy Bruce links to Herb Keinon's analysis in the Jerusalem Post explaining "the pressures on Israel and why they are safe to directly attack Lebanon but not Syria."

What's happening here is this: It is no longer the Israelis who are isolated, nor the freedom activists in the Arab world. It's the fascist regimes that are increasingly isolated and panicking. I'm guessing the nationalism and independence we've seen emerging in Lebanon will gather momentum, with the will of the freedom-loving people of the world behind it.

Michael Totten on Hezbollah's Image Problem

April 2006: Michael J. Totten offers some friendly advice to his Hezbollah buddy.
Let me give you some personal advice, Hussein. Maybe we can be on the same page for a change. Get out of the “suburbs” and go hang out in Beirut once in a while. Don’t tell people who you work for. Just strike up conversations in restaurants, coffeeshops, and bars. Lebanese are friendly, so that’s easy. Ask Sunni, Christians, and Druze what they think of Hezbollah. Listen to what they have to say. Remember that you have to live with these people. I suppose you could turn your guns on them. We all know you can beat the Lebanese military in a one-on-one fight. Who knows, though? There's always a chance the Israeli Defense Forces might intervene against you on Lebanon’s behalf. How much would that suck?

About this much.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah revealed that he did not know of this morning's attack prior to its occurrence. According to a mid-level Hezbollah party member, the Hezbollah leadership was not expecting the attack to come right now, not expecting such a harsh Israeli response, and is currently scrambling to come to a plan.

In January, the party leadership decided that they would capture Israeli soldiers in exchange for Lebanese prisoners. They would attack at the earliest possible time, and today happened to be that day. The Hezbollah leadership was entirely caught off guard. ...


Middle East Memo

Amarji, Syrian heretic:
Beyond the usual reaction of regime apologists and diehard Bush-baiters, who continue to dominate Arab and European media and continue to be busy finding excuses for the Syrian regime to work mischief in the region, one thing is clear: the Assads have just revealed to one and all that they are the main instrument that Iran will deploy to blackmail the world. ...

The Israelis, who up until recently have been under the illusion that it is possible to weaken and isolate the Assads regime indefinitely and at no cost to themselves, are finally beginning to see, I think, that the Assads are born inherently starved for attention and cannot accept being isolated and asked to behave and be quiet. This could only mean that things are bound to heat up between the two countries.

But if this could initially serve the interests of the Assads by helping them to rally the people around them, and not only in Syria but across the region as well, on the long run, this confrontational policy is bound to backfire, especially if Israel insisted on targeting Syria and not Lebanon in retaliation for whatever provocation that takes place against it. Why? Because such confrontation will only expose the inability of the Assads to defend the country and the sorry state of Syria’s army, despite the massive expenditures in this regard. ...

Syria's situation, then, is the converse of Israel's: tactical strength but strategic weakness. Amarji's post title may be a reference to this now-famous Cox & Forkum cartoon. Amarji's conclusion: 'Regimes like the Assads with their inability to comprehend the ever-changing global and regional dynamics in the aftermath of the collapse of the Soviet Union, followed by the collapse of the peace process itself, are helping to facilitate the break up of the region and its ultimate dissolution into ethnic ghettoes whose only role in the global economy will be to fill some very small and particularistic niche both as producers and consumers, regardless of whether there are designs to this effect or not.'

Big Pharaoh: Many Lebanese blame Hezbollah.
I just visited the Free Patriotic Movement forum and I read a lot of angry or at least disapproving comments towards what Hezbollah did.

I will copy and paste some of the comments as they were on the forum

this is totally wrong … HA shouldnt done it . its not the good time , its the tourists season in Lebanon and HA ruined evthg , im sure that Israel will take it to red alert situation .

now the israelees destroyed 3 or 4 bridges. mabrouk. i think that iran should build them for us ...

Read the whole thing, and scroll down for updates.

Sandmonkey: "It has begun." Go to the post for updates. Sandmonkey knows the Israeli blogs better than I do.

Harvey, and Rumors of Harvey

Via the aforementioned Belmont Club post, here's Israel Matzav:
One of my sources, Harvey in Efrat, claims to have it from 'reliable sources' that Israel is going to declare war tonight. Here's what Harvey is telling me (for the record, I have known Harvey for 35 years - we were roommates at a youth group convention in 1971, and his sources are generally from within the IDF and are usually reliable):




TZAV 8 [Order for general call up of reservists. CiJ] CALL UP OF RESERVES JUST ISSUED BY DEFENSE MINISTRY,


Keep an eye on Carl for latest updates on the "matzav" (situation) in Israel.

Belmont Club on Lebanon

A new post at The Belmont Club cites this article at the Washington Post (and if Wretchard says it's worth reading, who am I to argue?) which provides a useful timeline of Lebanese/Israeli events from 1978 to the present. Belmont Club adds:
What is remarkable about this incident is that tensions in Lebanon were presumably on the wane -- until now. The Lebanese government, which has been trying to remove foreign influences, including Syria and Israel, from its national life, has limited control over Hezbollah. This new incident threatens to drag Lebanon back into the line of fire. But perhaps the point was precisely to do that. Turn Lebanon into a cauldron once again.

Read the rest here. And hey, what the heck, pay the Post a visit while you're at it.

What Zalmay Khalilzad Actually Said

The full text of US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad's speech begins with the following words:
Thank you, Zbig, for this very, very kind introduction. Many of you know that the Twelver Shia speak of certain individuals whom believers should seek to imitate, calling them the marjaiyya. To many of us who are playing policy roles but who have academic backgrounds, Zbig, you are a source for imitation. I also want to thank CSIS for giving me this opportunity to share my assessment of the situation in Iraq and my view on the way ahead, as well as to engage in some questions and answers.

I will give my bottom line up front. I believe Americans, while remaining tactically patient about Iraq, should be strategically optimistic. Most important, a major change - a tectonic shift - has taken place in the political orientation of the Sunni Arab community. A year ago, Sunni Arabs were outside of the political process and hostile to the United States. They boycotted the January 2005 election and were underrepresented in the transitional national assembly. Today, Sunni Arabs are full participants in the political process, with their representation in the national assembly now proportional to their share of the population. Also, they have largely come to see the United States as an honest broker in helping Iraq's communities come together around a process and a plan to stabilize the country.

Moreover, al Qaeda in Iraq has been significantly weakened during the past year. ...

Now compare the opening words of this worthless piece of tripe from the Washington Post:
America's top envoy in Baghdad yesterday denied that Iraq is now embroiled in a civil war but acknowledged growing concern that sectarian clashes could derail the new government if violence is not brought under control. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad also said the new security crackdown in Baghdad has been a disappointment and is being reviewed to make "adjustments."

Hat tip to Mudville Gazette for passing this on - the Washington Post article, I mean, which I wouldn't have known about otherwise because I don't usually bother with the Post. This is why. I read The Belmont Club every day; this is why. As Greyhawk says, "The Post story is a complete waste of time."

Wonder when the editors and readers of the Post are going to get a clue.

Bush Approval Up to 44 Percent

... says Rasmussen.
Forty-four percent (44%) of Americans Approve of the way that George W. Bush is performing his role as President. That matches the highest reading of the past three months. His support among Republicans is up to 78%.
Twenty-two percent (22%) Strongly Approve. That’s also a three month high water mark. ...

Via Gateway Pundit.


Syd Barrett

The bad news comes via Mizalaina on the LJ side of the house.

Bloomberg UK:
July 11 (Bloomberg) -- Roger Keith ``Syd'' Barrett, a founding member of British rock band Pink Floyd, has died from symptoms related to diabetes, a spokesman for the band said today.

Barrett, who was 60, died on July 7 at his home in Cambridgeshire, England, Doug Wright said in a phone interview. ``The other members of the band will be giving their own statements shortly,'' he added.

Barrett, better know by his nickname ``Syd,'' left Pink Floyd in 1968 just before the band achieved worldwide success. Having founded the band with friend Roger Waters in 1965, Barrett embarked on a solo career instead.

Pink Floyd's former lead singer released two albums ``The Madcap Laughs'' and ``Barrett'' but retreated to his home where he lived as a recluse until his death after suffering a well- publicized breakdown that had been triggered by his usage of the psychedelic drug LSD. ...

Pink Floyd legend Syd Barrett has died at his Cambridgeshire home.

The singer, 60, who suffered from an LSD-induced breakdown while at the peak of his career in the Sixties, died last Friday (July 7). It has been reported that he died from complications related to diabetes, however, other reports suggest the cause of death was cancer.

A statement from Pink Floyd said: "The band are naturally very upset and sad to learn of Syd Barrett's death.

"Syd was the guiding light of the early band line-up and leaves a legacy which continues to inspire."

His brother Alan confirmed his death earlier today (July 11), saying: "He died peacefully at home. There will be a private family funeral in the next few days."

'Syd' Barrett was born Roger Keith Barrett in Cambridge on January 6, 1946, the youngest of five children. A keen musician from an early age, he acquired the nickname which became his most prominent moniker aged 15, a reference to another Cambridge-based musician, also named Sid Barrett. ...

Syd Barrett archives.

Dolly Rocker: Syd Barrett fanpage.

Remarks. Count me among the legions of fans who'll miss Syd Barrett, even though he retired from the music scene long ago. I was a huge Pink Floyd fan, although my enthusiasm for Floyd started to decline around the time of "The Wall". (Is their music getting really lame, I wondered, or is it just me getting old? I mean, I'm already out of high school ...)

Barrett's eccentric solo work was, of course, entirely sui generis. I got a kick out of "Octopus" but was moved to tears by his setting of James Joyce's "Goldenhair". The story of his mental breakdown had a certain romantic, adolescent appeal, I suppose, but I would have preferred that he kept his marbles and stayed in the studio.

Is it better to burn out, or to fade away? Personally, I don't recommend either. Life is hard, but we need each other.

When I woke up today
and you weren't there to play
then I wanted to be with you
when you showed me your eyes
whispered love at the skies
then I wanted to stay with you
inside me I feel alone and unreal ...


Headline News

For your viewing entertainment, Rotating Headlines are back.


Happy Independence Day

Freedom for Egyptians (Egyptian-American):
I had never seen such a great love. There were two young girls next me cheering the bands as if they were in a staduim according to my Egyptian standards. They did not look as if they were celebrating a major national occasion. It is a country that gave a lot to its citizens. They take pride in being U.S. citizens and being part of this nation. One of the things that I have noticed in U.S. parades that some nationalities who became Americans take the chance to celebrate. I saw the Taiwanese and filipino Americans in the parades with the both flags saying Happy Birthday to the U.S. The last thing I can say it about American parades that it is about the love; the love of the crowds and the paraders. It is so in the air and no one can miss it. The last real parade in Egypt took the life of our late President Anwar Sadat on October 6,1981. Sometimes the Egyptian government pretent to do parades during spring time but nobody cares. So really I cannot compare the American parades to anything I have ever experienced in my life in Egypt. ...

Lebanon.profile (Lebanese):
Too often, Lebanese desire uniformity in education. The assumption is that the same national curriculum will breed a similar nationalism. This model is restrictive and oppressive, and it has not been proved to work in any environment.

Americans took a different tack in educating children. Instead of pushing a national syllabus, schools must come to their own educational solutions with very general guidelines from the state. To this end, the intellectuals and writers of textbooks become more powerful than the teachers themselves. From year to year, course to course, children are bombarded with different ideas that give them the opportunity to come to the best conclusion themselves.

Neither the teacher nor the state has hegemony over the children’s minds. ...

ActivistChat (Iranian):
Happy Birthday America.

Happy 4th of July to all.

Happy 4th of July to the people of America.
Happy 4th of July to the oppressed nations
and the freedom loving people of the world.

We honour the 4th of July, 1776,
and solute Thomas Jefferson, Benjamin Franklin,
John Adams, Roger Sherman and Robert R. Livingston,
the members of the committee which drafted the
Declaration of Independence on that memorable day.

We salute the great people of America in their courageous move to kick the greedy British out of their great country
and we solute the people of America

for their contribution to end that filthy tyrannical empire.


4th of July was officially declared as public holiday by the US congress in 1941,

but in reality it is truly an international event that should be honoured by all. ...

On December 25, 1776, General George Washington led his troops in a surprise attack against the British, who had settled into winter quarters in New Jersey. The American forces crossed the Delaware River at night and defeated the British troops first at Trenton and then at Princeton. These victories, although minor, dramatically improved the morale of the American forces.
Iranian people should be prepared for final battle of freeing their homeland ....

Nadz (Palestinian-American)
I grew up hearing more bad things about America than good, and even though I have always been an American citizen, I used to join in on the blame-America-first rhetoric in order to avoid ugly arguments. Not anymore.

I'm proud to say that I'm a citizen of the greatest country on earth. It is a country of ideas, and universal ones at that. Whether it is a monarchy, a communist state or a democracy, China will always be China, Germany will always be Germany and so on. In the case of the United States, it started with principles and ideas on which the nation was then founded. America is unique in that regard - our democracy is what makes America.

No matter how many American flags people burn from Karachi to Mardrid, people know this and are itching to benefit from the opportunities they create. We are not always perfect. We make mistakes. But we should not apologize for being the greatest country on earth and I'll drink an extra beer to that. ...

Happy Fourth of July!