News Archives
Home Weather In the News What's for dinner? Lovely Family

Saturday May 15, 2004 has been all over the duping of the Boston Globe for publishing photos of alleged abused Iraqi prisoner which were actually from a porn site.

Ombudsman Chinlund's explanation focused almost exclusively on the problem of the graphic nature of the content, and she still apparently refuses to admit the photos came from a porn site. In this way, the statement seemed to function partly as a distraction from the core issue: that the Globe was duped into running porn images despite their mighty investigative resources. (emphasis added)

While the paper does run under tight deadlines, there's no excuse for having failed to discover this ruse before the article and images went to press. If they had done so, they would have had a hot article: "Councilman distributes porn shots at press conference. Alleged they were of U.S. crimes in Iraq."

Those with predeterminded beliefs and agendas are only too willing to believe. Of course, no one at the Globe will be fired. Meanwhile, across the pond, things are a little different:

The front page of the Saturday May 15, 2004, edition of the Daily Mirror, made available Friday evening, May 14, 2004, featuring an apology to the Queen's Lancashire Regiment, following the publication of pictures in the Daily Mirror claiming to show British soldiers abusing an Iraqi prisoner. The newspaper's publication of the pictures, since shown to be fakes, has led to Piers Morgan stepping down as editor of the paper.

It seems as though a lot of people have discovered the blogosphere as a result of searching for the Nick Berg decapitation video (the sickos). Rich Marotti has some advice for first timers:

If you are here for other reasons I need to point something out to you. The blogosphere (the community of those who write weB LOGS) broke this story, not Big Media. The blogosphere continues to cover it while Big Media continues to largely ignore it. The blogosphere has the courage and integrity to show this video (or images from it) while Big Media cries "Offensive!" as they continue to show pictures of naked Iraqui prisoners piled on top of one another.

THIS IS NOT AN ISOLATED OCCURENCE! If you are unfamiliar with the blogosphere, get familiar with it now. We break and cover stories like this all of the time. We are largely honest in our coverage, if not always objective. We cover the stories that Big Media does not, because of their agendas, because of their connections, or for any other reasons. Don't make your search for this one tragic story your last stop in the blogosphere. We offer honesty and (most of the time) truth on a regular basis. Try finding that in the New York Times.

The U.N. may stonewall on the Oil-for-food scandal, but fortunately, there are a large number of documents in Iraq which the U.S. has been gathering:

The U.S.-backed investigation into alleged abuses of the United Nations' Oil for Food program in Iraq has already collected more than 20,000 files from Saddam Hussein's old regime and hired an American accounting firm to conduct the review. Documents obtained by The Associated Press show the U.S.-backed, Iraqi-run Board of Supreme Audit selected the Ernst & Young firm this week to oversee the audit of the documents gathered from at least 16 former ministries of Saddam's government.

Robert Mugabe is planning on retiring as president of Zimbabwe when his term expires in four years:

"I'm getting very tired of killing and terrorizing people. I think I've bagged my limit. I'm getting way too old to murder and torture. I think I'll concentrate on writing", said Mugabe, who turned 80 in February. There are, however, concerns about being able to find a successor. "I'm reducing my options by the thousands every week", Mugabe said. "There are currently 30 million people in Zimbabwe. By the end of four years time, I'll have significantly reduced the number of candidates".

Thursday May 13, 2004

The Sacred Muslim Practice of Beheading:

Recent jihad-inspired decapitations of infidels by Muslims have occurred across the globe- Christians in Indonesia, the Philippines, and Nigeria; Hindu priests and "unveiled" Hindu women in Kashmir; Wall Street Journal reporter, and Jew, Daniel Pearl. We should not be surprised that these contemporary paroxysms of jihad violence are accompanied by ritualized beheadings. Such gruesome acts are in fact sanctioned by core Islamic sacred texts, and classical Muslim jurisprudence. Empty claims that jihad decapitations are somehow "alien to true Islam," however well-intentioned, undermine serious efforts to reform and desacralize Islamic doctrine. This process will only begin with frank discussion, both between non-Muslims and Muslims, and within the Muslim community.

Maureen Dowd:

The administration's demented quest to conquer Arab hearts and minds has dissolved in a torrent of pornography denigrating other parts of the Arab anatomy. George Bush, who swept into office on a cloud of moral umbrage, now has his own sex scandal — one with far greater implications than titillating cigar jokes.

Stephen Schwartz is worried about Our Internal Islamist Enemies. And for good reason. Also read about this guy:

In the 58-minute recording made inside a vehicle, with about a minute censored for security reasons, Anderson, 26, of Lynnwood is shown volunteering ideas on how to defeat U.S. military vehicles and kill soldiers, sharing military documents, making plans to desert and join al-Qaida, and his reasons for it all.

NBC headline: Avoiding attacking suspected terrorist mastermind. My headline: Intelligence reveals clear ties between al-Qaida and Iraq.

In June 2002, U.S. officials say intelligence had revealed that Zarqawi and members of al-Qaida had set up a weapons lab at Kirma, in northern Iraq, producing deadly ricin and cyanide.

The leftists are lining up against MD governor Robert Ehrlich for defaming their religion:

It was no tongue slip, no mindless gaffe. Known for his comfort behind microphones and finely tuned political instincts, Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. has refused to apologize or retreat from remarks on a radio show last week in which he called multiculturalism "bunk" and "crap."

Of course they're claiming that he's opposed to diversity. What they don't understand is that "multiculturalism" is not equivalent to diversity. True diversity, important diversity, is diversity of thought and ideas. This is anathema to many on the left.

Meanwhile, multiculturalism is still worshipped on the left coast.

Only the perspicacious (hey, look it up. I did) Peggy Noonan could logically link Tony Soprano, cloning, terrorists and cats:

Whenever I think of cloning, I think of Sam Ervin during the Watergate hearings. He quoted the Bible to Richard Nixon's malefactors: "God is not mocked." Indeed he is not. Once we can have cloning, we will have cloning. Once we can have cloning we'll be cloning replacement-part humans to make new hearts for aging baby boomers. We'll throw the rest away, or mine these beings for other organs and elixirs. Once we have cloning, we'll start growing cloned armies. Why shouldn't they fight for us? Once we have cloning, a lot of things will happen, including that we'll be opening the mouth of hell.

Wednesday May 12, 2004

Incredibly Typically, the New York Times claims that the Bush Administration is spinning the prisoner abuse story:

The administration and its Republican allies appear to have settled on a way to deflect attention from the torture of prisoners at Abu Ghraib: accuse Democrats and the news media of overreacting, then pile all of the remaining responsibility onto officers in the battlefield, far away from President Bush and his political team.

After nearly three weeks of relentless, non-stop coverage, the assertion that the administration has deflected attention from the story is simply not credible. Did President Bush deflect attention when he addressed the Iraqi people? Did the DoD deflect attention when they immediately began an investigation into the charges of abuse? This story has not been deflected, it's been reflected, bouncing continously from print media, to the internet, to talk radio, to cable and TV news broadcasts, to Senate hearings, to incessant worldwide media coverage.

And, not to quibble, but torture? My dictionary defines torture as: "the act of inflicting excruciating pain, as punishment or revenge, as a means of getting a confession or information, or for sheer cruelty". This clearly has not been the case at Abu Ghraib. Abuse? Yes. Degradation? Yes. Humiliation? Yes. Torture? No. I'm sure that this one just slipped by the editors and a correction will be forthcoming.

Lastly, the final paragraph of the Times article displays simply and plainly why the editors are so enthralled with this story: it opens the door to criticise and denigrate the Iraq war, which they have opposed from the start:

General Sanchez did give some misguided orders involving the Abu Ghraib prison and prisoners in general. But the deeply flawed mission in which he participates is the responsibility of the Bush administration. It was Mr. Bush and Mr. Rumsfeld, not General Sanchez, who failed to anticipate the violence and chaos that followed the invasion of Iraq, and sent American soldiers out to handle it without the necessary resources, manpower and training.

Meanwhile, for a more objective, thoughtful and balanced view of the abuses at Abu Ghraib, lets go to the Iraqi people:

Every time I see these pictures that show some American soldiers and officers abusing and humiliating Iraqi prisoners I feel very upset and disgusted. Many of you wanted to know how we feel about those crimes and the people responsible for them and my opinion is simply this: those soldiers must be brought to justice and punished.

There are tens of thousands of coalition soldiers in Iraq, and of course not all of them are pure angels; they’re tough warriors among whom we can find the good and the evil, and the evil are always less but unfortunately, they draw more attention just like a small black point on a white paper and this applies to any group of human beings anywhere on this planet. That’s why we should not generalize this to the whole coalition soldiers. I’m not trying to defend the coalition here; I just want to show my point of view in an objective way.

The way the Arabic media handled this incident reminds me of the way they handled the barbaric crime in Fallujah a month ago, they tried to show that all the people in Fallujah supported that crime which they called “resistance” and now they’re trying to make Iraqis believe that all the soldiers of the “occupation forces” are involved in this atrocity and that every single soldier in the coalition can’t wait to seize the chance to humiliate Iraqis.

The media seems to be always trying to exaggerate things and to describe any violent action from Iraqis (or Arabs) as “resistance” and any violent action from the coalition as “crimes of the occupiers” to make a good story that sells or that serves their masters' objectives. Anyway, this is not the subject I want to talk about today.

I want to tell you that I felt great relief when I saw and heard the highest-ranking officials in the coalition apologize to the Iraqi people for what a small group of their soldiers did and assuring us that there will be serious investigations to expose those who committed the atrocities and to punish them the way they deserve.

What happened was awful, that’s true but I feel comfortable with the good intentions of the coalition leaders and people who rejected the crimes against the detainees.

Let me tell you this, under the past regime Iraqis were the victims of worse atrocities (by the hands of Iraqis) everyday but no one could say a word about that, now, nothing can be hidden from the people and no one can get away with his crimes. For the first time, law is starting to govern our country and this will force anyone to think twice before he plans to harm someone or break the law in any way.

The crime was a step backwards but the way it’s being dealt with is-in my opinion-a step forwards on the way to strengthen the trust between the coalition and the Iraqis because this will help putting an end to many of the conspiracy theories that many Iraqis still belive in and this will tell Iraqis that the Americans are not hiding facts about their soldiers behavior here and once they feel that something wrong is happening they will move to correct it.

Read letter from an American soldier in Iraq describing the tactics and strategy for defeating Muqtada Al-Sadr. It's really not as bad as you think:

It has been subtle and very well done by our leaders. You should be proud. It would have seemed impossible to have achieved our four main goals against Sadr even just a few months ago. Now today, despite the message of the pessimists who are misleading you into despair, we are have scored all the victories needed to bring this battle to a close. First goal was to isolate Sadr. Second was to exile him from his power-base in Baghdad. Third was to contain his uprising from spreading beyond his militias. And the last goal was to get both his hard-line supporters to abandon him, and to do encourage moderates to break from him. This has been done brilliantly, and now we are on the march in a way that just months ago seemed impossible to do. Sadr is losing everything.

...What you need to do is be strong and persistent in your faith with us. Sadr's militia is in panic and desperate, so they are dangerous, but you need to keep this all in perspective. The pessimists would have you believe this is a disaster. Don't listen to them. I think some of them feel that their reputations require our failure because they have been so negative all along, so they are jumping at every opportunity to sensationalize what is happening here as a disaster.

This tracks fairly well with this post on RightWingNews:

"May 9, 2004: Gunmen loyal to Muqtada al Sadr are getting nervous, as public support, which was never very strong to begin with, turns to public hate. American troops have been arresting leaders of al Sadr’s militia throughout the Shia areas of Iraq in the last few days. In most cases, the al Sadr gunmen flee rather than fight to protect their leaders. Some al Sadr men in Basra tried to seize more government buildings, but were driven off by British troops and chased back to residential areas where gunfire could be heard for hours. The strategy appears to be that the Shia leadership (civil and religious) will continue negotiating with al Sadr for his surrender, while coalition troops dismantle the al Sadr militias that have sprang up in many Shia neighborhoods. One good thing that has come out of the al Sadr experience is to convince many Iraqis that the independent militias are a bad thing. While it can be thrilling, at first, to march through the streets behind a bunch of young guys with guns, it soon turns ugly when the guys with guns start to throw their weight around and turn into capricious bullies.

Fallujah, which had become a refuge for all manner of Baath Party and anti-government gunmen and terrorists, is still blockaded by American marines. Patrols by the security forces recruited locally have gone on without much fuss. But the various gangs are still in and around the city. The Iraqi “Fallujah Brigade” apparently will not go looking for gunmen, but will just confront those who openly disturb the peace. Meanwhile, the gangs will use Fallujah as a base for attacks on coalition convoys and bases. The marines feel they may still have to go in and deal with the gangs. Eventually, someone, either from the coalition or Iraq, will have to kill or disarm the various Sunni, terrorist and criminal gangs in the Fallujah region. While the coalition would prefer that the Iraqis do it, there is a real fear that an Iraqi army, ordered in by an elected (by the majority Shia and Kurd) government, would simply level the city, with great loss of civilian life.

The violence by Sunni and Shia gangs has caused about 30 percent of non-Iraqi aid workers to leave since April. They have been replaced by Iraqis. This is very popular with Iraqis, who see unemployment as a major problem and were dismayed at the number of foreigners who were brought in to do jobs that most Iraqis thought Iraqis could handle. There have been few, practically none, losses among the 6,000 Iraqis already working on reconstruction. This is despite the threats, and sometimes physical violence, by Baath Party thugs. Despite the headlines by the foreign press, most of Iraq has been quiet for the past few months. The Sunni Arabs were hostile to the coalition from the beginning, and foreign reporters could always get a colorful anti-coalition quote or demonstration by just going to a Sunni neighborhood and looking for Saddam supporters. There was, and is, real fear in these neighborhoods. But not fear of coalition troops, but of the Shia and Kurd troops that will appear with the coalition soldiers leave. This story angle is rarely pursued by the media. But the troops in Iraq know all about it, as it's a matter of life and death to know which neighborhoods are pro-Baath Party, and which ones are not."

How appropriate:

Hundreds of people waited outside the Lied Center at Kansas University for tickets to hear Bill Clinton speak, but not everyone received passes to the May 21 event. Tickets ran out in less than two hours. Bill Clinton's visit to Kansas University next week was met with the same sort of passion usually reserved for Jayhawk basketball: People started camping out for tickets to see the former president last night.(emphasis added)

Update: Bill Clinton won't be speaking Friday at the Lied Center, after all. He'll be at Allen Fieldhouse.

Too bad I'll miss this here in fly-over country:

On May 13th, weather permitting, sky watchers up and down the US east coast can see the International Space Station (ISS) glide by the planet Jupiter. The ISS looks like a slow-moving meteor, as bright as Jupiter itself. When the two converge ... it's going to be beautiful.

The encounter will be widely visible from Alabama, Georgia, parts of North Carolina and Tennessee, Washington D.C., West Virginia, Pennsylvania, and all the states of New England. Most people in those areas will see the ISS pass mere degrees from Jupiter. A few observers are going to see the station actually eclipse the giant planet.

Monday May 10, 2004

All Abu Ghraib. All the time. Is there anything else happening in the whole wide world? You wouldn't think so if you listened to the radio, or watched TV, or read the papers, or surfed the Internet. Is it a bit of overkill? Ok,ok...I won't excerpt. If you're interested, just read here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here and here.

Of course, this is not all-inclusive. You may want to do some more research to get the "full picture".

If you're interested, and why would you be since it's not really news, here's the Human Rights Watch World Report 2002 for the Middle East and North Africa.

Fat kills:

Research into the biology of fat is turning up some surprising new insights about how obesity kills. The weight of the evidence: It's the toxic mischief of the flesh itself. Experts have realized for decades that large people die young, and the explanation long seemed obvious. Carrying around all those extra pounds must put a deadly strain on the heart and other organs.

Obvious but wrong, it turns out. While the physical burden contributes to arthritis and sleep apnea, among other things, it is a minor hazard compared to the complex and insidious damage wrought by the oily, yellowish globs of fat that cover human bodies like never before. A series of recent discoveries suggests that all fat-storage cells churn out a stew of hormones and other chemical messengers that fine-tune the body's energy balance. But when spewed in vast amounts by cells swollen to capacity with fat, they assault many organs in ways that are bad for health.

Saturday May 8, 2004

Once again Sudan is on the U.N. Human Rights Commission. Another indication (as if we needed any more) of what a farce the U.N. really is.

"First, there is a reign of terror in this area; second, there is a scorched-earth policy; third there is repeated war crimes and crimes against humanity; and fourth, this is taking place before our very eyes," said Ramcharan, the acting U.N. high commissioner for human rights.

"The government clearly has supported the militias, organized the militias, and this is taking place with the knowledge and support, and active complicity of the government," he added.

But when asked if he held the government of Sudan responsible for the atrocities, Ramcharan said: "I condemn the government of Sudan and I do not think it was responsible."

To sum up, the government of Sudan organized and supported the militias that have been responsible for a reign of terror; a scorched-earth policy and war crimes. But the U.N. deems Sudan not responsible for the atrocities.

It's interesting to see how other cultures perceive reality:

“We are in a state of war and it will end only with the extermination of this deviant group,” he said, but acknowledged that there were contacts with extremists. “It helped correct the extremist views of many deceived young Saudis who were prepared to carry out terrorist attacks.”

A number of committees whose members include Islamic scholars have been set up to study the reasons for the spread of terrorism and find out who are financing it and inciting youth to carry out terrorist attacks, he said.

He said Saudi security forces were now ahead of the terrorists’ game. “We have paralyzed the movement of terrorists,” Yemen’s September 26 weekly quoted the minister as saying. When asked about the bombing of a security building in Riyadh that killed six people and wounded 145 others, he said the Kingdom was “well prepared to confront such terrorist attacks.” Prince Naif denied a conflict between his account of who was behind the Yanbu killing spree and that of Crown Prince Abdullah, deputy premier and commander of the National Guard.

Speaking to top military and civilian officials in Jeddah last Saturday when four terrorists went on a shooting spree in Yanbu killing five Westerners and a National Guard officer, the crown prince said he believed Zionists were behind most terrorist attacks in the Kingdom. But in a press statement after the attack, Prince Naif blamed Al-Qaeda.

“I don’t see any contradiction in the two statements, because Al-Qaeda is backed by Israel and Zionism,” he said.(emphasis added)