Friday, April 26, 2002

Kathy on blind spots, me on hatred...
Kathy Kinsley does some Thinking Out Loud on the subject of blind spots.
"It's pretty obvious to me that they are a warrior culture, and simply cannot conceive that a culture which prefers peace could possibly counterattack the way we did. That's one blind spot I see in them. That warrior mindset is also what makes them believe that the US rules Israel (or vice-versa). Someone must always rule... Can we use that? Make them worry about each other more than us?

They may be evil, they may be perpetual victims. They may be evil victims. But, whatever they are, they are damned good at finding our blind spots. We need to find theirs."
Funny Kathy should bring that up. I was thinking along the same lines yesterday, on the subject of hatred, which is one of the things we have a hard time conceiving. We in the Land of the Free have actual legislation against "hate crimes" and we have innumerable talking heads on the terriblevision decrying "hate." What we don't have is a conception of what real hatred is. When we do get that conception, we do our best to shake it off as quickly as possible. We do have our loons - assorted Nazis, Klansmen, and such, who try to fall into the Timothy McVeigh/Matthew Shephard category. Most of us "hate" the thugs who perpetrated 9-11. But with the exception of some (not even all) of the Nazis/Klansmen/such we don't approach the hatred our enemies are capable of perpetrating. It's a cultural thing, one that's always been there but which has grown more pronounced since the end of WWII. We've taken the concept of chivalry to heart and extended it to all of the earth. All men are America's brothers. This has been a good thing, as we've absorbed a larger than usual number of immigrants, some of whose cultures have been disturbingly different, and we've made them our own with more apparent success than Europe has done.

The Other Side makes me think there's a defect in the English language, one that should be fixed. Our concept of hatred is different from theirs. We may "hate" injustice, for instance, but we don't think in terms of ripping its guts out. They do. We simply aren't very good at dehumanizing our enemies to the point we regard them as vermin to be exterminated. They are.

Consider, today Muslim-Muslim hatred led to a Shiite mosque being bombed and a dozen or so women were killed, and more were maimed. The Palestinians took revenge for the killing of one of their al-Aqsa heroes by killing three collaborators. The festivities included putting cigarettes out in the bullet holes and fathers bringing their kiddies to watch the show. When Israeli soldiers were trapped and killed by Palestinians last year their killers and their friends lined up to smear themselves with the blood of the dead, a badge of "honor.". These degrees of depravity are beyond the understanding of most of us; the "hatred" is of an entirely different caliber.

Will the grandchildren of today's Islamothugs inherit the ability to dehumanize that way? Not once we've beaten them. The grandparents of the Japanese raped Nanking, yet today Japan is a decent and civilized nation. The grandparents of the Germans perpetrated the most horrific campaign of extermination against a people since the Mongols were building pyramids of skulls. Today Germany, too, is a decent and civilized nation. But the grandchildren of today's Islamists won't have the chance to be decent and civilized if we can't keep our level of hatred high enough to destroy what the Other Side is trying to build. More to the point, if we let them succeed, our own grandchildren will feel perfectly free to regard those they don't agree with as subhuman and to treat them accordingly.

Wednesday, April 24, 2002

Would-be bomb boy squeals like a pig, lies like a rug
A Muslim militant on trial admitted in court he took part in a plot to blow up a synagogue in the French city of Strasbourg early in 2001, but denied that he aimed to hurt anyone and insisted he was not acting on the orders of al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden.
I mean, who expects anybody to be hurt when you blow up a building or two?
In the second day of the high-profile, high-security trial, 26-year-old Aeurobi Beandali told the Frankfurt high court that "it was never my intention to hurt anyone." Rather, he wanted to protest against France's policy in Algeria and Israel's policy in Palestine, he said. "I wanted relations between Israel and France to be destabilized," Beandali said.
Well, that part's prob'ly true. 'Course, we're talking about France, so you coulda just asked and they'd have called Israel a few names.
The defendant admitted that Beandali was not his real name, but he asked for that name to be used in order to help protect his family.
Ummm... That means he's lying about what his name is, right? And we should believe anything else he says because...?
Beandali was answering charges that he and three other defendants -- Salim Boukhari, Fouhad Sabour and Lamine Maroni -- plotted to bomb "a lively public square" in Strasbourg in December 2000, possibly the Christmas market near to Strasbourg cathedral.
Like for maximum carnage?
German prosecutors also believe the four men and another defendant -- Samir Karimou -- were members of a terrorist organization and that they trained at bin Laden's al-Qaeda camps in Afghanistan between 1998 and 2000. Beandali admitted he had spent a year "in the border region between Pakistan and Afghanistan" up until August 2000.
Yep. Sounds like they trained there...
During the first three months, he had attended a "school of faith" run by the Taliban. For the other nine months, he trained in a military camp.
First the madrassah, then three times as much military training.
But he had had to finance the whole undertaking himself and his training "had nothing to do with al-Qaeda or Osama bin Laden" Beandali insisted.
What a suckah! Signed him up and made him pay his own wages. Uh... Wonder where he got the money for a year's vacation? From Mom?
Beandali said that the bomb plot, apparently foiled by joint efforts on the part of German, British, Italian and Spanish intelligence services, was to blow up the synagogue "at the end of January or the beginning of February 2001." The explosion was to have been detonated via a remote device, filmed and then distributed for broadcast by international television stations, he said.
Y'mean, like al-Jazeera broadcasts Binny's home movies? But you don't have anything to do with Binny? Are you affiliated with al-Jazeera, by chance?
And the bomb was to have gone off after the end of Saturday prayers, thereby ensuring that no-one was in the building where they could be hurt.
Oh, certainly not!
Beandali insisted he had not been acting as a member of a terrorist organisation, but in retrospect his scheme should be seen more as the work of "a small group of criminals".
There's a difference?
"I have never been dependent on orders from Osama bin Laden and have never identified myself with his goals," he said.
Another of those guys that says Binny's a wimp.
He told the court that the Strasbourg Christmas market and the cathedral had never been the target of the attack as the prosecutors claimed. Beandali explained that his accomplice, Boukhari, had been sent to Strasbourg to make a videotape of the area had mistakenly filmed the cathedral and market instead of the synagogue.
Well, that's certainly possible. They're both buildings...
When police searched the suspects' apartment in late December 2000, they found a 20-minute tape, on which comments are heard in Arabic such as "That is the cathedral of God's enemies" and "You are going to hell, as God wants it."
Hmmm... Didn't say "that this is the synagogue of God's enemies," huh? That would appear to weaken his story just a tad. Maybe 1.5 tads.
Answering charges that a large quantity of explosives were found in the two Frankfurt apartments where four of the defendants were arrested, along with weapons and other material including the videotape, Beandali said those weapons had not been "destined for any attacks" on German soil.
Certainly not. Strasbourg's in France.
He had simply been asked to pass them on to "the Islamic Front" in France for transport to Algeria.
Just helping a friend. What's wrong with that?
In his testimony, Beandali distanced himself from the Strasbourg attack. "At the time, I thought it legitimate. But today I recognise that such action cannot be justified by anything," he said.
That means he was caught before the "boom."
Beandali condemned any action in which innocent children and women might be killed and described September 11 as a "black day" in history and for the Islamic world in particular.
Yeah. Stirred up the coppers and put them into the likes of him. Flat ruined everything.
At the end of Beandali's testimony, the judges decided the hearing be adjourned until Thursday, May 2.
They should be done chuckling by then.

Sunday, April 21, 2002

Saudi intellects: US and Israel are Axis of Evil
A group of Saudi intellectuals and writers has condemned the United States and Israel and described them as the axis of evil in the world, borrowing a phrase US President George Bush has used for Iran, Iraq and North Korea. The 113 Saudis, some of them prominent writers for respected Saudi papers, said the American role in the Israeli military operation against the Palestinians was "shameful" and said the "Israeli massacres do not differ in shape or form from what the Nazis did."
They're really working on this propaganda war. It's common practice before and during hostilities.
The writers called in a statement released Saturday on all Arab governments to severe diplomatic, political and economic ties with Israel and urged Arabs to boycott all American products.
Saw that just yesterday, in fact. Funny, that idea occurring to so many people at once.
"We consider the United States and the current American administration the nurturer of international terrorism with distinction and it, along with Israel, form the axis of terrorism and evil in the world," said the statement.
We don't finance terror networks. We're states. We maintain armies and intel organizations. Unlike the Saudis, we don't rely on armies of mercenaries and terrorists to accomplish our political ends. Unlike the Palestinians occasional Saudi cannon fodder, we don't explode without warning.
The statement said Arab governments should take "serious and responsible steps ... and apply all means of pressure on the American administration to make it feel that its huge interests in the Arab region are threatened." It said failure to do so will lead to "national disasters that will include everyone."
Escalating into open hostilities will bring national disasters that include the Saudis.
Among the signatories were a writer for the widely respected Al-Hayat and a former undersecretary of the Saudi Interior Ministry.
So this is pretty mainstream opinion among the muckety-mucks?
The statement comes at a time when anti-American sentiment is at a high level over what Arabs see as U.S. support for Israel in the conflict with the Palestinians.
High, and being whipped higher.
On Friday, the chief cleric of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Sheik Abdul Rahman al-Sudais, called on the Arabs to abandon peace efforts with Israel because they were "impossible."
Oh, those clerics. They are men of peace, aren't they?
Al-Sudais said Arabs should bid farewell to peace with the Jews, whom he described as "the scum of the human race, the rats of the world, the killers of prophets and the grandsons of monkeys and pigs."
Well, you certainly could reason with people like that, could you? If you wanted to reason, I mean.
He called on Muslims to stand with the Palestinians financially and in kind, saying that peace with Israel was futile because it only "accepts liquidating its opponent, taking over his land, making his people homeless and canceling his dignity. They want the state of Greater Israel. They want to eliminate the nation of one God and the Quran."
There must be lots of Israelis blowing up in Arabia. Wonder what the boundaries are on the Ummah?
Original article
Georgia expecting armed intrusions in Kodori Gorge
The threat of an armed invasion of Georgian territory, the Kodori Gorge in particular, is becoming more and more real every day, as Tbilisi claims. This was announced during the session of Parliamentary Committee on Defense and Security of Georgia by its Chief Georgi Baramidze.
How much of this is pointing with alarm for internal consumption is open to question...
The Chief of the Committee called on the government of Georgia to give full and serious consideration to the report made by Defense Minister Lieutenant General David Tevzadze about «the concentration of troops and vehicles of the prospective aggressor in the lower area of the Gorge and on the approaches to it», which was recorded by the Republic's secret services. The member of Georgian parliament also considers it unacceptable not to react to the threat which is impending over the country.
Kodori Gorge is part of the breakaway Republic of Abkhazia. It's crawling with banditti and thugs, but it's not associated with international terror organizations for the most part. Probably there is some Chechen involvement, but the drivers are groups like the Forest Brothers.
In turn, State Security Minister of Georgia Valery Khaburdzania claims that the recruitment of armed groups of Northern Caucasus is now under way in Abkhazia. He reported it on Thursday in his speech during the session of Georgian Parliamentary Committee of Defense and Security, after the Committee Chief Mr.Baramidze spoke with the alarming news. Besides that, as the head of Georgian security mentioned, according to the operative information, concentration of combat equipment of both Abkhaz and Russian sides is being observed in Tkvarcheli district of Abkhazia.
Abkhazia sez Georgia's getting ready to beat it up. Georgia sez it ain't so, which is probably true since they can't afford it. There was an embarrassing incident when the Russers showed up in Kodori with blue helmets without being invited by the Georgians and had to leave.
Chairman of the State Department of the Border Security of Georgia Lieutenant General Valery Chkheidze also claims that in Abkhazia deployment of troops from the side of the Russian border is being carried out. He also referred to the operative data and reported that for instance «the other day from the direction of river Psou several buses full of people in civilian clothes arrived». Georgian Defense Minister Lieutenant General David Tevzadze holds the same opinion. Lt.General Tevzadze mentioned that «the concentration of forces on the territory of Abkhazia is taking place in two main directions».
So they're building up along both the Abkhazian and the Russian sides? If it is a buildup of tough guys, they probably plan on using one or both as safe havens. The Georgians would probably do the hot pursuit thing into Abkhazia, probably not into Russia proper. The Russian Internal Security forces would probably have something to say about the Bad Guys, though.
Reacting to all these statements, Vice President of Abkhazia Valery Arshba stated that the reports by the Georgian side about the concentration of Abkhaz troops in the lower area of the Kodor Gorge are «nothing but a mere provocation».
Well, some people get provoked when other people tell the truth about them. Are the Bad Guys there, or not?
In the meantime, another event occurred in Georgia, the event that best characterizes the atmosphere of expecting something worse to happen. Last Wednesday flight from London to Tbilisi was suddenly cancelled. In Georgia they do not exclude that the reason for the flight cancellation was a terrorist act that had already been planned. National Television mentioned in this regard that the flight which departed for Georgia circled up in the air for 40 minutes and then was returned to the runway. Meanwhile, one of the passengers left the plane right before the departure.
Didn't want to go "boom" with the rest of them, huh?
According to the official version, the flight was cancelled because of an emergency. According to the republican television however, American instructors were on board of the airbus. They were supposed to arrive in Georgia as part of the program of cooperation in preparing counter-terrorist squads of the Georgian military. Besides that, representatives of Georgian Police and Special Service of Government Security, who were on an internship in the US, were also on board of the plane.
Which would have made it a desirable target to generic Bad Guys.
One of the witnesses of the incident, the Chairman of Georgian Control Chamber Sulkhan Molashvili, who was on his way from the US, stated in the TV interview that during the emergency landing fire engines and British special services arrived at the airport. He expressed hope that the investigation will establish the reasons of what happened.
And who made it happen.
Original article
Protesters Spread Out Across Capital
Marching with puppets and placards and armed with many messages, tens of thousands of protesters joined forces on a warm spring Saturday to demonstrate peacefully against everything from U.S. policy in the Mideast to globalization and corporate greed.
Sounds like protest for the sake of protest, doesn't it?
Protesters massed at sites across the city, then swarmed down Pennsylvania Avenue toward the Capitol, in an eclectic crowd that mixed young communists, Black Panthers and "Raging Grannies." People came in busloads from around the country to show there are vibrant opposition views in the United States.
Hmmm... Wonder where the money comes from? Chartering buses ins't cheap, and arranging accomodations for thosuands isnt' simple. You can't put a Raging Granny up with the same folks who're just waiting to take in a New Black Panther.
"I think the movement is beginning to wake up," said 80-year-old Valerie Mullen of Vershire, Vt., part of the "grannies" group. She said she came to protest "any war."
Is she protesting Binny and Fazl and Qazi and Prince Abdullah, too? And Yasser and Shiekh Yassin and Mullah Fudlullah and the ISI and Abu Sayyaf? Has she a response in mind that makes sense when one or all of them launch? Or will she just try and glue her legs back on and give them all a nice group hug?
Six-year-old Kira Appleman of Silver Spring, Md., came with her mom and held aloft a sign that said, "Palestinian children have rights, too." Palestinian flags proliferated as demonstrators marched through downtown.
Obviously at age six the child has fully formed and matured political opinions. We should listen to her closely. Her mother sounds like a level-headed sort, too. Wonder if the little girl was wearing a toy dynamite belt?
The various groups converged for a concluding rally near the Capitol and support for the Palestinians' cause was the main theme of the day. Authorities do not provide official crowd figures for demonstrations in Washington, but Police Chief Charles Ramsey gave a rough estimate of 35,000 to 50,000.
How many of them were the same 35 - 50,000 who are at every one of these gatherings, like Valery the Raging Granny? How do they make their livings? I have to work every day to keep body and soul together and to support a small family in a modest home. How do they afford to travel all over the country and sometimes all over the world? And who pays to have all those signs professinally printed? They aren't cheap.
With helicopters hovering overhead, police with wooden batons and their riot gear close by kept watch around the city, standing shoulder to shoulder along the marchers' route. A brief rain shower sent some demonstrators ducking for cover but most continued their march.
Don't worry about the cost to the public. It's only tax money. They can always print more.
"It's been very peaceful, very orderly, just the way it's supposed to be," said Assistant Police Chief Terrance Gainer.
Wonder where the black mask crowd is? Still getting their sneakers primed?
While no demonstrators were arrested during the day's events, afterward 25 protesters were arrested for unlawfully entering an underground parking garage and using it as a sleeping area for the weekend demonstrations, said police spokesman Quintin Peterson.
Y'mean they just barged in and took it over? Well, people are more important than property. It's not like there's any connection between the two, after all.
More protests were planned for the next two days, and Ramsey said police were "going to have our hands full" on Monday, when several unauthorized rallies were expected during morning rush hour.
That's right. They usually save the black mask kiddies for toward the end.
The White House had a front-row seat for a number of the protests Saturday, but President Bush missed the scene. He was spending the weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.
Doesn't matter if nobody's home. Send him a message anyway. Doesn't even matter if you have a coherent message.
It was the spring meeting of world financial powers at the World Bank and International Monetary Fund that attracted the protesters to Washington, but anti-globalization forces did not seem to mind sharing the stage with many other causes.
They keep following them around. Same script every time, too, except when they meet somewhere the cops'll toss them in the jug for years at a time and maybe hit them with clubs.
The various protests are "all connected in the sense that it's all part of how the world economic structure works," said 24-year-old Brad Duncan of Detroit.
Brad's Mom must be really proud of him. He must be really smart to figure how freeing Mumia connects to the Argentine banking system.
At the financial institutions' spring meeting two years ago, police made 1,300 arrests during the week.
Wonder how many of the people who were jugged for nominal periods then will be jugged for nominal periods this time?
This time, one of the biggest groups sought to show solidarity with the Palestinians and protest U.S. policy that demonstrators said was tilted toward Israel.
Wonder how many bus tickets the Saudis bought?
Protesters marched with two open wooden coffins bearing young sisters of Palestinian descent. When 7-year-old Philastine Mustafa was overcome by the heat, a young boy quickly took her place.
Sounds like she had lotsa fun.
"My people back home her age are being killed," said Anwar Mustafa, 33, of Philadelphia, the father of the girls. "Me and my daughters can spend a little time in the heat to show people who don't know."
Well, if you ever go back to Palestine, stay away from any pizza shops. If they ever meet any Jews, which they won't, make sure they stay away from any Passover dinners.
In a counterdemonstration, a few hundred people gathered on the mall to show their support of U.S. policies. Some carried signs that said "Peace through superior fire power."
Sounds nearly as stoopid as the demonstration they were countering, but it's probably better than doing nothing at all.
Outside the barricaded buildings of the IMF and World Bank, where world financial powers were meeting, a 30-foot-tall inflated Earth bearing a "For Sale" sign and the Citibank logo was erected. "It's becoming a global doomsday economy," said 22-year-old Rob Fish of New Jersey.
Oh, c'mon. Real Men don't speak Cliche. The scary part to me is that this jerk was old enough to vote last year.
Not all the groups were in perfect agreement. When Black Panthers chanting "jihad" and "holy war" hoisted a Palestinian flag next to a picture of Osama bin Laden, a Palestinian activist urged them to take the flag down.
It doesn't say much for your innaleck when Palestinian activists have more sense than you do, does it?
Original article at