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Showing posts from October, 2005
Why not confront evil?

Mark Steyn:

According to The Sunday Telegraph, on this week's whirlwind tour of the Great Satan, the Prince of Wales "will try to persuade George W Bush and Americans of the merits of Islam…because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since September 11". His Royal Highness apparently finds the Bush approach to Islam "too confrontational".

If the Prince wants to take a few examples of the non-confrontational approach with him to the White House, here's a couple pulled at random from the last week's news: the president of Iran called for Israel to be "wiped off the map". Kofi Annan expressed his "dismay".Excellent. Struck the perfect non-confrontational tone. Were the Iranian nuclear programme a little more advanced and they'd actually wiped Israel off the map, the secretary-general might have felt obliged to be more confrontational and express his "deep concern".In Sula…
Law professor says Alito is stronger candidate than Roberts

Ann Althouse:

I wanted President Bush to nominate someone like John Roberts, and I think Samuel Alito in fact deserves to be considered a stronger nominee than Roberts. He has the impressive educational background followed by a stellar career before becoming a judge, but he also has a much longer record as a judge -- 15 years to Roberts's 2. I am glad to see Bush not shy away from a person with a real judicial record. The fear of putting up a nominee with actual cases to peruse puts too many fine candidates off limits. To see Roberts as the ideal nominee is to prefer a judicial mystery, someone who is hard to know and hard to attack. With Alito, we can read his cases. It will be important to recognize that an inferior court judge is profoundly limited compared to a Supreme Court justice, but the judicial record is still highly valuable.

Here is an article summarizing a few of his hot-button cases....She summarizes some inter…
Al Qaeda loses another one of its Saudi connections

Multi-National Force-Iraq:

A Saudi-born member of al Qaeda involved in smuggling foreign fighters into Iraq was killed Oct. 29 as he attempted to flee Coalition Forces. Multiple intelligence sources and tips from concerned citizens led Coalition Forces to a location near Ubaydi where a senior Saudi al Qaeda foreign fighter facilitator known as Sa’ud (aka Abu Sa’ud) would be located. Upon arrival at the location, Coalition Forces attempted to secure the vehicle containing Sa’ud and other terrorists when the driver tried to escape. Coalition Forces shot at the vehicle, killing Abu Sa’ud and three unknown terrorists. Abu Sa’ud, a Saudi extremist, was a senior al Qaeda terrorist who funneled foreign fighters and suicide bombers into Iraq. Intelligence sources believe that Sa’ud recently arrived from Saudi Arabia to shore up the leadership of al Qaeda in Iraq foreign fighter and terrorists cells whose previous leaders have bee…
Assualts against Border Patrol agents on the increase

LA Times:

Assaults against U.S. Border Patrol agents nearly doubled along the Mexican border over the last year as patrols cracking down on drug trafficking and migrant smuggling encountered increasing resistance — including the use of rocks, Molotov cocktails and gunfire.

At least 687 assaults against agents were reported during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, up from the previous year's total of 354 and the highest since the agency began tracking assaults across the Southwest border in the late 1990s, according to Border Patrol officials.

Most assaults occurred near urban smuggling havens such as Nogales, Ariz., and Tijuana, but cross-border skirmishes took place from remote California deserts to the banks of the Rio Grande in Texas.

In many attacks, smugglers hurled softball-size rocks or fired high-powered slingshot devices loaded with marbles and ball bearings. Some tried to run over agents with vehicles.

In some cases, smu…
Muslim Brotherhood's limited objective--conquer the world

Oliver Guitta, Conterterrorism Blog:

According to Sylvain Besson, a Swiss investigative reporter, Swiss authorities found a fascinating document when they entered Yusuf Nada’s villa in November 2001. Nada is by the way viewed as one of the bankrollers of Al Qaeda; he is the head of the Al Taqwa Bank. The document seized entitled “The Project” is a fourteen page leaflet dated December 1982 calling for the Muslim Brotherhood’s conquest of the world.

It is a detailed roadmap to attain this objective. The Muslim Brothers must infiltrate existing institutions rather than create their own. It calls for a guerilla war against Israel in the Palestinian territories and support to diverse armed Muslim groups from Bosnia to the Philippines. Swiss investigators confirm that the Project is the proof of the Muslim Brotherhood’s role in supporting and inspiring the worldwide jihad. Also a Western official who studied closely the Project asse…
Rachers fight back against alien invasion

Washington Times:

For the 100 years that Robert Been's family has been grazing cattle and raising horses on this isolated, scrub-brush desert in New Mexico's southwestern corner, illegal aliens have been crossing into the United States.
Mr. Been, whose 2,500-acre ranch straddles a long-established immigration corridor, recalls his parents giving illegals food, water and clothing to guard against the cold desert nights. It was "just a way of life here."
"They were respectful of us, and we returned that respect."
But things have changed in this remote desert valley and the adjoining Animus Canyon.
"The alien smugglers and drug dealers we now face don't care about anything or anybody. They are ruthless" and the "aliens are much different," said Mr. Been, 48.
"They're tearing down our fences, destroying our water tanks, breaking into our homes, slaughtering our cattle, ste…
A "red on red" attack at Baghdad hotel

Jack Kelly:

Al-Qaida has claimed credit for a large, sophisticated attack Monday on the two hotels in Baghdad where most foreign journalists and many defense contractors stay.

...

Mouwafak al Rubaie, Iraq's national security adviser, said the purpose of the attack was to take over the hotel and seize journalists as hostages. If so, many American soldiers might have regarded this as an incidence of "red on red" violence. The view of many that the news media are the insurgents' allies was reinforced by a Reuters story Tuesday that equated the suicide attack to the incident in April 2003, when a U.S. tank fired on the Palestine Hotel, killing two journalists. (The hotel had not yet been taken by U.S. forces, who were fighting Saddam's men in the streets. The journalists were on a balcony. One was pointing a camera at the tank. At a distance, a television camera looks a great deal like a rocket-propelled grenade launcher.…
Michelle Malkin has the Alito roundup
The case for a Libby pardon

NY Sun:

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So Mr. Libby's indictment sent us scrambling back to our copy of Justice Ginsburg's concurring opinion in the 1996 Supreme Court case Brogan v. United States, in which she warned of "the sweeping generality" of Section 1001's language. She wrote, "The prospect remains that an overzealous prosecutor or investigator - aware that a person has committed some suspicious acts, but unable to make a criminal case - will create a crime by surprising the suspect, asking about those acts, and receiving a false denial." She wrote, "the Department of Justice has long noted its reluctance to approve S1001 indictments for simple false denials made to investigators."

...

Now, perjury is a serious crime, but we don't discount for a moment the possibility - we'd even say likelihood - that Mr. Libby was telling the truth. Or that he was misremembering, telling an inaccurate story that he didn't know was false. Ameri…
Mad logic in Iran

Melanie Phillips:

The full text of Ahmadinejad’s speech, translated by the invaluable MEMRI, is worth reading. Here we can see starkly laid out the demented inferiority complex and paranoia of the jihadi, the mad inversion of cause and effect and the centrality of Israel to this apocalyptic vision -- and the centrality of the Palestinians in bringing about the goals of the jihad: We are in the process of an historical war between the World of Arrogance [i.e. the West] and the Islamic world, and this war has been going on for hundreds of years. In this historical war, the situation at the fronts has changed many times. During some periods, the Muslims were the victors and were very active, and looked forward, and the World of Arrogance was in retreat. Unfortunately, in the past 300 years, the Islamic world has been in retreat vis-à-vis the World of Arrogance... During the period of the last 100 years, the [walls of the] world of Islam were destroyed and the World of Ar…
Austin Bay has a lengthy discussion of the Senate Intelligence Committee's report on Wilson's African adventure.
Finally noticing Iran's intentions

Michael Ledeen:

Mirabile dictu, as they used to say before Dante — all of a sudden everyone has noticed that Iran really wants the destruction of Israel. "What took them so long?" you may well ask (as I certainly do). Just a month ago, on September 28, there was a monster parade in Tehran featuring the country's armed forces. One of the high points of the parade was a collection of the Shahab 3 missiles, the ones designed to carry nuclear warheads, and they were adorned with catchy slogans like "The Zionist regime must be destroyed," and "Death to America."

Four military attaches walked out in protest: the French, the Italian, the Greek and the Polish. But that was about it. The Western world had made its point by bravely abandoning the parade grounds. I didn't see any nasty condemnation of the warmongers in Tehran, I don't remember even the toothless jaws of the United Nations condemning the Islamic republi…
Excusing communist genocide

Ralph Reiland:

Question: How many innocent people does a communist tyrant have to kill before The New York Times gets really mad? Answer: More than 70 million. Seventy million is a good estimate of the number of Chinese who perished under Mao's reign of terror and ineptitude, the victims of their own government's decades of torture, famine, forced labor, purges, assassinations, ethnic massacres and class genocide.
... I bring up all this history because I was halfway through reading "Mao: The Unknown Story," the new book by Jung Chang and Jon Halliday, when The New York Times published Nicholas Kristof's review of the book. Now it's true that Kristof, an op-ed writer at The Times, judges the book to be a "magnificent biography," and he does at least whistle past the graveyard, pointing out that Mao had slaughtered a quarter of the entire Red Army, "often after they were tortured in such ways as having red-hot rods force…
The ironic weighs heavy

Christopher Hitchens:

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To judge by his verbose and self-regarding performance, containing as it did the most prolix and least relevant baseball analogy ever offered to a non-Chicago audience, Patrick Fitzgerald is not a man with whom the ironic weighs heavily. Nor does he seem discountenanced by his failure to find any breach in the IIPA or even the more broadly drawn Espionage Act. Mr. Libby stands accused of misstating his conversations with almost every journalist in Washington except for the only one--Robert Novak--who actually published the totemic name of Valerie Plame. "We have not made any allegation that Mr. Libby knowingly and intentionally outed a covert agent," Mr. Fitzgerald contentedly confirmed.

If--and one has to say "if"--the transmission of any classified information is a crime, then as Mr. Fitzgerald also confirmed, one would be in the deep waters of the Espionage Act, which is "a very difficult statute to interpret.&q…
Iran's most immediate threat is by hosting our enemies

Peter Brooks:

THE most immediate threat Iran poses to American national security isn't its nuclear (weapons) program. It's the safe haven Tehran is giving al Qaeda terrorists, who are planning and directing jihad across the globe. If the United States and its allies in the War on Terror don't take firm action against Iranian support to al Qaeda, the price in blood and treasure attributable to Osama bin Laden's killers — in Iraq and elsewhere — will continue to soar. Shockingly, it's been long forgotten that Iran became home to some of al Qaeda's most wanted after the fall 2001 invasion of Afghanistan. Tehran admitted as much, claiming that al Qaeda operatives were under "house arrest" and would be tried. Of course, nothing of the sort happened . . . So al Qaeda "refugees" from Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Uzbekistan, North Africa and Europe — including senior military commander Saif a…
Not the media's finest hour after hour after hour etc.

Howard Kurtz:

The drumbeat of media speculation was so loud last week that at times it sounded as though Karl Rove was on the verge of being thrown in the slammer."Is the man some call Bush's brain about to be indicted?" CNN anchor Heidi Collins asked Thursday night. MSNBC's Chris Matthews asked whether Rove and Lewis "Scooter" Libby might receive a presidential pardon "if they get indicted."ABC's Ted Koppel said the possibility of a Rove or Libby indictment "had risen to the level of expectation," while pundit Paul Begala said on CNN: "If, in fact, the news reports are true, Karl could be in a lot of trouble."So when Rove was not indicted in the CIA leak case Friday, it almost seemed like a victory for the White House. But it was clearly not a victory for the reporters and commentators who climbed far out on the limb of handicapping what a special prosecutor operatin…
Cyprus-Fairbanks schools flunking zero tolerance test

Houston Chronicle:

John Tverbakk, the father of a 13-year-old honor roll student at Cook Middle School in Cypress-Fairbanks ISD, thinks school officials ignored a new law intended to relax zero-tolerance policies when they sent his daughter to an alternative school for six weeks for holding a 1-ounce test tube of beer.

Tverbakk said he is angry because his daughter Veronica, who has perfect attendance, a junior black belt in taekwondo, and is on the school's track team, received the same punishment as her classmate who brought the beer to school."The student said it was Corona, and Veronica thought she was joking, so she held it and pretended to drink it and handed it back to the girl," Tverbakk said.Veronica Tverbakk's case is not the only instance in which parents are challenging actions of administrators in interpreting the new law, said Rep. Rob Eissler, R-The Woodlands, who co-wrote House Bill 603 to curtail zer…
Democrats who blast Walmart shop there for campaign supplies

Cleveland Plain-Dealer via Houston Chronicle:

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Records reviewed by the Plain Dealer of Cleveland show that political organizations headed by these politicians — as well as John Kerry, Wesley Clark, the liberal activist group America Coming Together and the feminist group Emily's List — have spent money at Wal-Mart over the last 2 1/2 years.Leaders and advisers of these groups have criticized Wal-Mart or are lobbying to stop Wal-Mart's spread in several cities.They say Wal-Mart symbolizes the human cost of relentlessly pursuing lower retail prices: low pay and insufficient benefits for the chain's employees, and the financial destruction of small merchants.Why, then, have their aides been cruising Wal-Mart aisles with their bosses' money?Robert McAdam, Wal-Mart's vice president of corporate affairs, suspects he knows."We serve so many people because we're the place that's convenient to go and …
Still fighting the Tonkin Gulf resolution

NY Times:

The National Security Agency has kept secret since 2001 a finding by an agency historian that during the Tonkin Gulf episode, which helped precipitate the Vietnam War, N.S.A. officers deliberately distorted critical intelligence to cover up their mistakes, two people familiar with the historian's work say.

The historian's conclusion is the first serious accusation that communications intercepted by the N.S.A., the secretive eavesdropping and code-breaking agency, were falsified so that they made it look as if North Vietnam had attacked American destroyers on Aug. 4, 1964, two days after a previous clash. President Lyndon B. Johnson cited the supposed attack to persuade Congress to authorize broad military action in Vietnam, but most historians have concluded in recent years that there was no second attack.The N.S.A. historian, Robert J. Hanyok, found a pattern of translation mistakes that went uncorrected, altered intercept tim…
Alito gets Bush nomination for Supremes

AP via Houston Chronicle:

President Bush, stung by the rejection of his first choice, will nominate Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court, selecting a conservative federal judge to replace retiring Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, a moderate. The choice, confirmed by two senior Republican official, was likely to spark a political brawl. Unlike the nomination of Harriet Miers, which was derailed by Bush's conservative allies, Alito will face opposition from liberal Democrats.Bush planned to announce the nomination at 8 a.m. EST....
Freepers continue to battle the Code Pinkos

Washington Post:

Every Friday night, Gael Murphy and Kristinn Taylor meet in Northwest Washington, separated by a bustling four-lane road -- and a whole lot more.Since spring, the two have stood firmly on opposite sides of Georgia Avenue NW in front of Walter Reed Army Medical Center, Murphy leading a coalition of war protesters, Taylor marshaling supporters of the Iraq war.Both sides say they are there to support the troops. Beyond that, there's little common ground."They start yelling, 'Murderer!' 'Traitor!' They call me by name," said Murphy, a co-founder of the women's antiwar group Code Pink. "It's aimed at disrupting our vigil."To Taylor, a spokesman for the local chapter of FreeRepublic.com, a politically conservative Web site, disruption is an honorable goal."It's galling for us to see them across the street," he said. "They've endorsed the terrorists."...
There…
This is pretty consistent with what I have said about the CIA's conduct in the Wilson affair

Instapundit:

THE BIG LOSER in the Libby affair, it would seem to me, is the CIA. At least it will be if anyone pays attention.Consider: Assuming that Valerie Plame was some sort of genuinely covert operative -- something that's not actually quite clear from the indictment -- the chain of events looks pretty damning: Wilson was sent to Africa on an investigative mission regarding nuclear weapons, but never asked to sign any sort of secrecy agreement(!). Wilson returns, reports, then publishes an oped in the New York Times (!!) about his mission. This pretty much ensures that people will start asking why he was sent, which leads to the fact that his wife arranged it. Once Wilson's oped appeared, Plame's covert status was in serious danger. Yet nobody seemed to care.This leaves two possibilities. One is that the mission was intended to result in the New York Times oped all along, …
Disengenious Dems want Rove to quit

Of course they do not care one wit about Valary Plame or the fact that it was not against the law to disclose her relationship with her deceitful husband. They want Rove to quit because he is very effective at campaigning against them and is good at pointing out their dishonesty. If the Dems were really serious, they might at least acknowledge that a man is innocent untile proven guilty, and to get there you have to have an indictment.
Small Alabama company makes device that locates snipers

AP via Wired News:

A sniper fires on American troops in Iraq. In the milliseconds before the bullet hits -- in fact, before the shot is even heard -- a computer screen reveals the gun's model and exact location. That's the kind of intelligence that can save soldiers' lives. The Army is currently testing the technology in combat. The devices are made by Radiance Technologies, a small Alabama company, and differ in their approach to gunfire detection from systems already deployed in Iraq that rely on acoustics. Radiance's invention, WeaponWatch, is powered by infrared sensors that detect missiles or gunfire at the speed of light. "Obviously when the first shot is fired, you can't do anything about it," said George Clark, president of the company founded in 1999. "But what it does do is it allows you to not have a second fired." WeaponWatch is a major reason that Radiance, which had only three…
Baquba shows the benefit of force to space

Christian Science Monitor:

Last January, Baquba was symbol of everything going wrong in Iraq - and its neighborhood of Buhritz was a symbol for everything going wrong in Baquba. This city just 50 miles north of Baghdad was crawling with Sunni Arab mortar teams, snipers, and bombmakers. They had made parts of the city their own, killing police when they found them and driving the rest into hiding. Their grip was so strong that only 60 percent of the region's polling places opened for Iraq's first post-Saddam election. In Buhritz, not a vote was cast; some polling sites were torched.......Baquba is a reminder that at least short-term security gains are being made in many Iraqi cities, particularly ones outside volatile Anbar Province.Asked why, Lt. Col. Rob Risberg, commander of the 1st Battalion of the Army's 10th Field Artillery Regiment, scratches his head, then says it hasn't been rocket science. "The Iraqi Army and the…
US troops bait the Taliban into a fight the Taliban cannot win
Greedy governments raking in excess profits from gasoline
This Rita report is from my sister who made a weekend trip from Lafayette, La.

A long day. The sugar cane harvest is underway and it will be meagre. Some are just cutting, burning off and replanting. The cane in the fields is yellow...from the salt water in the surge and in the rain of Rita. This was all the way from New Iberia to Franklin to Morgan City to Houma. After lunch we drove down to Dulac which is 15 miles south of Houma. Dulac is about 200 miles to the east of where Rita made landfall. Rita 's storm surge was not kind to Dulac. There were shrimp boats and skiffs in every state of disrepair in the bayou...some bow deep in the water, some lying on their sides in the water, some sunk in the water and some lying on the bank... And at the end of almost every driveway there was a pile of debris including appliances, furniture, insulation, roofing, paneling, etc. Some houses looked like they must have been gutted...there was so much piled up outside of t…
East Texas recovers from Rita

Austin American-Statesman:

Not everyone has electricity, and school won't start again until Wednesday. But in this town of 1,200 on the Louisiana border that endured some of the worst of Hurricane Rita's winds, football season is in full swing.On a crisp night last Tuesday, much of the town turned out to watch the red-suited Deweyville Pirates take on the East Chambers Buccaneers, a game that would have been played on a Friday if Rita hadn't forced a condensed football season.The band director, who evacuated because of the hurricane, hadn't returned home, but one student organized about half the band to play "The Star-Spangled Banner" and other tunes at the game."It's Texas," explained the student, 15-year-old trumpet player Eric Brinson. "We do this."More than a month after Rita roared through Southeast Texas, causing massive power outages and strewing tons of debris along highways, life is slowly returning…
He needs one

Deborah Orin and Lukas Alpert:

Former White House aide I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby was shopping for a top-flight criminal-defense lawyer yesterday, even as experts were scratching their heads over how exactly he landed in a legal mess that could send him to prison for 30 years. Libby, himself a lawyer, had relied on Joe Tate, an expert in intellectual-property law, for advice during the investigation that led to his being indicted Friday on five counts. A source told The Post that Libby was seeking more formidable representation but that he was unlikely to jettison Tate. Libby is charged with lying under oath, obstructing justice and making false statements to a grand jury about how he learned the identity of covert CIA operative Valerie Plame. Veteran Washington defense attorney Joe diGenova said his No. 1 advice to any defendant is: "You're not going to lie. Either you're going to take the Fifth [Amendment, against self-incrimination] or you'…
LA Times continues Wilson's deceit about Bush's speech

Patterico's Pontifications:

The L.A. Times runs a story about the Scooter Libby indictment titled Libby Allegedly Told a Whopper. It contains this curious sentence:On July 6, Wilson wrote an op-ed piece in the New York Times that cast doubt on President Bush’s statement that Iraq may have purchased yellowcake uranium from Niger.(My emphasis.)I am unaware of any such statement by President Bush. Perhaps you readers can enlighten me? I know the article is not referring to the phrase commonly known as the “sixteen words,” from Bush’s 2003 State of the Union speech:The British Government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.See? That can’t be it. Saying Hussein “sought” uranium is not the same as saying he purchased it, or even that he “may have purchased” it. This fact has even been noted by factcheck.org, an outfit that The Times has seen fit to cite on occasion …
Cheney has a new job for Joe Wilson
Don Surber on Libby's indictment:

They Wanted A Hog, But Got A Scooter
Roggio interviews the Marine commander in charge of US forces in Iraq's wild west

Late Friday I conducted an interview with Colonel Stephen W. Davis, the Commander of Marine Regimental Combat Team - 2, who is responsible for fighting in western Anbar province, also known as AO Denver....

...

Col Davis: There are three levels of enemy in our area of operations - AO Denver. First there are the independent tribal fighters operating in this barren region who are traditional smugglers and are wrapped up in an assortment of criminal enterprises. There are the Baathists hardliners, the former regime elements that are fighting to rid the area of an American presence and are looking to return to power. Then there are the al Qaeda jihadist who are not interested in the stability of the region, but only interested in killing Iraqis and Americans, establishing their Islamist Caliphate and terrorizing the local population. These various groups will work together or fight each other on any given …
Oh, good grief. Who is trying to make Prince Charles look out of touch and foolish?

Telegraph:

The Prince of Wales will try to persuade George W Bush and Americans of the merits of Islam this week because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since September 11.The Prince, who leaves on Tuesday for an eight-day tour of the US, has voiced private concerns over America's "confrontational" approach to Muslim countries and its failure to appreciate Islam's strengths.Really? You would think that in the US we are chopping off the heads of people who are Muslims. Of all the problems the US has had since 9-11 religious bigotry against Muslims is waaaaaay down the list. There are more hate crimes against Jews than Muslims in this country. This has got to be one of the silliest ideas ever pushed by the Prince and I can only conclude he has been misinformed by the UK's liberal wacko press.
A deportation policy that is not working

LA Times:

On a sweltering afternoon, an unmarked white jetliner taxies to a remote terminal at the international airport here and disgorges dozens of criminal deportees from the United States. Marshals release the handcuffed prisoners, who shuffle into a processing room.

Of the 70 passengers, at least four are members of Mara Salvatrucha, or MS-13, a gang formed two decades ago near MacArthur Park west of the Los Angeles skyline.

For one of them, Melvin "Joker" Cruz-Mendoza, the trip is nothing new. This is his fourth deportation — the second this year.

Wiry with a shaved head, the 24-year-old pleaded guilty in separate felony robbery and drug cases in Los Angeles. "MS" covers his right forearm. Other tattoos are carved into the skin above his eyebrows.

In the last 12 years, U.S. immigration authorities have logged more than 50,000 deportations of immigrants with criminal records to Central America, including untold numbers of ga…
Iran helping to target Iraqi pilots

Telegraph:

Iran is backing a Shia insurgent campaign of systematically assassinating former elite Iraqi air force pilots as part of a covert sectarian war against Sunnis, according to senior politicians in Baghdad.The spate of murders of pilots has prompted an intervention from Jalal Talabani, Iraq's president, who has offered them safe haven in his native Kurdistan even though some of them were involved in dropping chemical weapons there....The organised manner in which the murders have been carried out, each with multiple shots fired from an AK47, has fuelled suspicions that elements within Iraq's Iranian-linked government are behind them."Many of my father's friends have already left Iraq for Jordan because they received written death threats warning them to leave," said Mr Fares' son, Wisam, 21.Victim's families suspect their names and addresses have been taken from old records at Iraq's ministry of defence. They …
Iran's infiltration routes into Iraq

Con Coughlin:

Iran's Revolutionary Guards have set up a network of secret smuggling routes to ferry men and equipment into Iraq for attacks on coalition troops, according to an exiled opposition group.The smuggling is said to be orchestrated by the guards' elite Quds Force, which has its HQ in the southern Iranian city of Ahwaz.The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) says commanders are sending a steady stream of agents and bomb-making equipment from a base codenamed "Fajr" into Iraq, where roadside attacks are carried out against coalition troops....Western intelligence agencies have reported a sharp increase in Iran's involvement in insurgent operations since Mr Ahmadinejad was elected in June.The agencies believe that the guards use a network of routes along Iran's 620-mile border with Iraq.Documents seen by The Sunday Telegraph show three principal routes, two near the Iraqi cities of Basra and Amara, and a…
Sunnis are seeing their worst nightmare

Strategy Page:

After two years of work, the Iraqi Sunni Arabs are seeing their worst nightmare come true. And that is an Iraqi army and police force that can do the job, and is not led by Sunni Arabs. For generations, Iraq was dominated by Sunni Arabs because Sunni Arabs held most of the leadership posts in the army and police. Kurds and Shia Arabs were often the majority of the troops and beat cops, but they nearly always took orders from a hierarchy of Sunni Arab supervisors and officers. The Sunni Arabs knew that the management and leadership skills necessary to run an army or police force were not easily acquired. It took years of training and experience. There was no way the Kurds and Shia Arabs could quickly replace those Sunni Arab officers and NCOs. Thus Sunni Arab terrorists would drive out the foreign troops, especially the deadly Americans, and, then the Sunni Arabs would take over again. But then something very, very bad (for the Sunni…
Iran's helpful gaffe

Jim Hoagland:

Most Valuable Politician of the year? How about President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, who has surged ahead for the 2005 MVP award in the few months he has been in office? He reminds a distracted world at crucial moments of the true nature of Iran's regime, of the abiding source of conflict in the Middle East and of the deeper meaning of global terrorism.Racial and religious hatreds are at the core of these phenomena -- and at the heart of Ahmadinejad's pledges to see Israel "wiped off the map" and to ensure that Arabs who recognize the Jewish state "burn in the fire of the Islamic nation's fury." His statements were reported in laudatory terms by Iranian state-run television Wednesday.Even though the Persian chauvinists who took power in Tehran in 1979 have been more discreet in public in recent years, it is not news that they hate both Jews and Arabs -- or that the sentiment is returned. If novelty there was, it la…
All tactics and no strategy

Mark Steyn:

...

Just for the record, Scooter Libby is the highest-ranking Scooter in the Bush administration, chief of staff to Vice President Dick Cheney. All last week, lefty gloaters were eagerly anticipating "Fitzmas," their designation for that happy day when federal prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald hands down indictments against Libby, and Rove, and maybe Cheney, and -- boy oh boy, who knows? -- maybe Chimpy Bushitlerburton himself. Pat Fitzgerald has been making his list, checking it twice, found out who's naughty or nice, and he's ready to go on a Slay Ride leaving Bush the Little Drummed-Out Boy and the Dems having a blue blue blue blue blue-state Christmas in November 2006, if not before.Well, I enjoy the politics of personal destruction as much as the next chap, and one appreciates that it's been a long time since the heady days when Dems managed to collect the scalps of both Newt Gingrich and his short-lived successor within a fe…
Syria decides to investigate itself

Washington Post:

President Bashar Assad issued an order Saturday for a government committee to investigate any Syrian involvement in the assassination of former Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri in a car bombing in the Lebanese capital on Feb. 14, the Syrian news agency reported.The move was the latest effort by the Syrian government to appear conciliatory before a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, expected to take place Monday. A resolution, backed by the United States, Britain and France, would threaten sanctions unless Syria fully cooperates with the U.N. investigation into the car bombing, which killed 22 others beside Hariri.A Syrian investigation was among the recommendations issued last week by Detlev Mehlis, the German prosecutor heading the U.N. inquiry.The Syrian leadership was said to be caught off guard by the scope of the report, which concludes that senior officials here and in Lebanon almost certainly had a hand in Hariri's a…
Charity far from home for these evacuees
The shoe business the Nazis and communist could not kill

AP via Washington Times:

From China through Africa to the outer reaches of the Americas, Bata has long been synonymous with shoes. But in the land where it was born, the company name was taboo for 40 years.
In the Czech town where the worldwide family shoe empire was founded, the oldest living Bata was all smiles and understatement as he looked back, at age 91, on a life buffeted by the worst horrors of the 20th century.
How did he feel when the rise of Nazism forced him to flee his homeland? "Annoyed." And when the communists took over after World War II, seized his factory and declared Bata a capitalist evil? Again, "annoyed."
"One could have been very angry, but one had to start life again."
The place to start again was Canada, where he exiled himself in 1938, the year Czechoslovakia was dismembered and the stage was set for Adolf Hitler's war. Seven years later, after he served w…
Democrats put the teachers union above helping schools that took inevacuees

Washington Times:

Rep. John A. Boehner, circumventing his own committee, is pushing ahead with a proposal to reimburse public and private schools that took in students displaced by Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The panel defeated the proposal Thursday.
"It is an outrage that House Democrats and the education establishment would stand in the way of meaningful relief for the victims of hurricanes," said the Ohio Republican, chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee. The panel defeated his proposal 26-21 after Democrats complained it was a thinly veiled attempt to create a voucher system for religious schools.
Mr. Boehner -- who said the measure is the fastest way to cut through red tape and get relief to the schools that need it -- is asking the House Budget Committee to include the proposal in a broad budget package expected for a House vote in coming weeks.
His school-reimbursement p…
Katrina killed a lot of wine

Knight-Ridder via Houston Chronicle:

Searing heat and lack of electricity throughout New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina ruined hundreds of thousands of bottles of rare wines by degrading corks and cooking the contents. Owners fear that even those bottles that appear to have survived the hurricane may hold spoiled wine.This city's once-vibrant culinary industry, already beaten back by disaster, has been further injured by damage to its wines. Losses are estimated to be as much as tens of millions of dollars. Private collectors, restaurants and distributors are preparing to destroy much of their stock. Insurance companies are just beginning to assess the damage and deal with the tricky job of determining the wines' value.For wine lovers, it's an incalculable loss.Dr. Chuck Mary, a Metairie-area resident, returned to his home weeks after the storm to find his 500-bottle private collection destroyed by flooding and heat.Losing a bottle…
New Orleans real estate still under water

AP via Houston Chronicle:

Shannon Sharpe, a real estate agent in New Orleans for the past five years, spends her days trying to deal with her flooded house and searching for customers.

Business has been brisk, but since she returned to the city after Hurricane Katrina, it's all been taking new listings, not selling houses."I had six pendings when the hurricane hit," Sharpe said. "They're all gone — roof gone, flooding, whatever. Not in any condition to sell."With her commissions blown away by Katrina and new buyers hard to find, Sharpe is now spending her nights working as a hostess in a reopened restaurant.A real estate boom was predicted after Katrina, especially for areas of the city that did not flood. With a smaller supply of structurally sound houses and houses that did not stand in floodwaters for weeks, some real estate agents predicted 20 percent to 30 percent increases."If anyone can show me data support…
The Dutch Witches Project--write offs for learning to be a witch
Louisiana officals return to whining and dissing mode
Iran is paying its Islamic Jihad proxy warriors $10,000 for rocket attacks on Israel

Sunday Times:

IRAN has promised a reward of $10,000 (£5,600) to Islamic Jihad if the militant group launches rockets from the West Bank towards Tel Aviv, a senior Palestinian intelligence official said last week. Speaking in his Ramallah office, the official produced a fat wad of $100 notes which he said had been confiscated from a pro-Iranian Islamic Jihad activist. The money was said to have gone from Iran to Damascus, the Syrian capital, from where Ibrahim Shehadeh, Islamic Jihad’s head of overseas operations, transferred it to the West Bank. According to the intelligence official, the Palestinian Authority has located workshops where “Al-Quds” (Jerusalem) rockets are being made and has given their co-ordinates to the Israelis. “We understand they destroyed some of them,” he said. The Israeli media claimed last week that rocket attacks from the West Bank were widely expected: Ben Gurion airport’s eas…
Monotheist head choppers strike in Indonesia

Reuters:

Three teenage Christian women were beheaded on Saturday by two assailants wearing helmets in eastern Indonesia as they walked to school near the Muslim town of Poso, officials said.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono condemned the killings, which he described as "sadist and inhuman crimes," and called an emergency security meeting with his vice-president, as well as military officials and police.Two men on a motorcycle and armed with machetes attacked the 16-year-old students on the eastern island of Sulawese, a police official in Poso told Reuters."The men slashed and chopped off their heads. One of the students managed to escape and jumped into the bushes in a ravine and the assailants stopped chasing her," said the official who declined to be identified.Poso, 1,500 km (900 miles) northeast of Jakarta, is in an area where three years of Muslim-Christian clashes have killed 2,000 people until a peace deal was agre…
Chechen's plotted terror on an even grander scale

Independent:

A foiled Chechen rebel assault on the Russian city of Nalchik this month was in fact a "grandiose" attempt to replicate the 11 September attacks and hijack five planes that could be flown into targets such as the Kremlin, a nuclear power station and other strategic facilities, it has been claimed. That alarming hypothesis has been put forward by an authoritative American intelligence provider called Stratfor that boasts of close links to the Russian and American security services.The information is being checked by Russia's Deputy Prosecutor Nikolai Shepel, who is investigating the attack on 13 October that left at least 120 people dead and took thousands of special forces to repel.It was the most significant Chechen rebel attack since last September's Beslan school siege and its precise objective remains shrouded in mystery.The Russian authorities have made no secret of the fact that the militants tr…
3 hurricane evacuees charged in murder of Pasadena woman

Houston Chronicle:

Three hurricane evacuees suspected of killing a 77-year-old woman in Pasadena Friday are in custody today facing possible capital murder charges , according to a Pasadena police department official.

Investigators believe the two men and one woman attacked and strangled Pasadena resident Betty Blair in her home Friday and took off in her car with some of her belongings.Police intercepted Blair's tan 2000 Buick at 8 p.m. last night at the intersection of Beltway and Richmond and arrested the three. An infant child was also with them. Police were able to track and follow the car via Onstar, its on-board electronic tracking system.One of Blair's daughters found her body in her Parkview Estates home on the 2000 block of South Memorial at 6:30 p.m. Friday. She had been strangled with an electrical cord, a Pasadena police officer said, and her car was missing.Neighbors said Betty Blair was very involved in the c…
The Bring New Orleans Back Commission is not working

NY Times:

...At last Monday's meeting, Mr. Thomas asked his fellow commissioners to commit formally to rebuilding the Ninth Ward, an impoverished, largely black and heavily damaged area that some experts have said is too environmentally precarious to be rebuilt. Mr. Canizaro abstained, but Mr. Thomas's resolution otherwise passed unanimously without debate. That prompted commissioners both black and white to grumble about the wisdom of making commitments before they have had a chance to discuss an issue."I'm a little concerned that members of the commission are starting to use the meetings to cater to certain constituencies and stakeholder groups they know are watching," Scott S. Cowen, a member and the president of Tulane University, said. Still other members complain that the panel's meetings are devolving into protracted gripe sessions that have nothing to do with devising a workable plan to rebuild the ci…