Showing posts from March, 2006

Iran launches stealth missile

AP /ABC: Iran successfully test-fired a missile that can avoid radar and hit several targets simultaneously using multiple warheads, the military said Friday. Gen. Hossein Salami, the air force chief of the elite Revolutionary Guards, did not specify the missile's range, saying it depends on the weight of its warheads. But state-run television described the weapon as "ballistic" suggesting it's of comparable range to Iran's existing ballistic rocket, which can travel 1,250 miles and reach arch-foe Israel and U.S. bases in the Middle East. "Today, a remarkable goal of the Islamic Republic of Iran's defense forces was realized with the successful test-firing of a new missile with greater technical and tactical capabilities than those previously produced," Salami said on state-run television. It showed a clip of the launch of what it called the Fajr-3, with "fajr" meaning "victory" in Farsi. "It can avoid anti-missile missi

Pick swinging terrorist zapped by Predator

Defense Talk: An MQ-1B Predator unmanned aerial vehicle engaged three insurgents in the process of planting a homemade bomb along a road near Balad Air Base, Iraq, March 28 and launched an AGM-114 Hellfire missile against the group. The Predator monitored the three insurgents for about a half hour while they used a pickax to dig a hole in the road, placing an explosive round in the hole, and stringing wires from the hole to a ditch on the side of the road. When it was clear the individuals were placing a bomb, the Predator launched the 100-pound Hellfire missile, killing all three insurgents. ... Using joint Army and Air Force trend analysis and past incident reporting from the area, the Predator was assigned to monitor the general location where the insurgents were ultimately found. "Based on the information we had available, we had a pretty good idea there might be some activity in the area, and we were right," General Gorenc said. "This strike should send a message to

The "mosque massacre" ploy

Maj.Gen. Rick Lynch: ... Last Thursday, I talked to you about the hostage rescue of the Christian Peacemakers team and how we had planned in detailed operation to release those hostages. This is exactly the same. This was led, planned and executed by the Iraqi special operations forces, based on detailed intelligence that a kidnapping cell was occupying this complex. The operation consisted of about 50 members of the Iraqi special operations forces and about 25 U.S. advisors. But the U.S. advisors were there purely in an advisory role. They did none of the fighting; there wasn't a shot fired from a U.S. servicemember during the conduct of this operation. They surveyed the battlefield in advance, looking for sensitive areas, and they said, "Okay, there are mosques in the area, but the nearest mosque is about six blocks from the target point complex." So a decision was made to do the operation -- focus

Swedish goverment "watchdog" insist that puppy be sold to lesbian

AP: A Swedish court has imposed a 20,000 kronor ($2,600) fine on a woman kennel owner who refused to sell a puppy to a lesbian. The kennel owner, who was not identified, had initially been willing to sell the woman a puppy but changed her mind when she found out the woman was living with a lesbian partner, according to Sweden's discrimination ombudsman, a government watchdog who filed the lawsuit. (Emphasis added.) ... The story provided no information on the sexual orientation of the puppy.

Special guns for killing bin Laden

Sydney Morning Herald: Osama bin Laden has no intention of being taken alive and has designated a "special gun" to be shot in the event of imminent capture, one of the al-Qaeda chief's former bodyguards says. Abu Jandal, who was with bin Laden in Afghanistan from 1996 to 2000, told the CBS news program 60 Minutes that his old boss had given strict instructions on what should happen if he was cornered. "If he was going to be captured, Sheik Osama prefers to be killed," Jandal said in the interview, to be broadcast tomorrow. "There was a special gun to be used if Sheik Osama bin Laden was attacked and we were unable to save him, in which case I would have to kill him." Jandal, who lives in Yemen, said he believed bin Laden was hiding in Afghanistan rather than Pakistan and warned that his most recent threats of another terrorist strike on the US should be taken very seriously. ... This is not a particularly new revelation

More evidence of Democrat lack of seriousness on national security

Captain's Quarters: The Democrats announced their new platform on national security earlier this week, promising to reverse decades of image problems on national defense and foreign policy with a policy statement long on sloganeering but dreadfully short on specifics. Yesterday they underscored their new commitment to securing America by attempting to starve the National Security Agency in a fit of pique over the work performed by the agency in terrorist surveillance. The Los Angeles Times soft-pedals this while reporting some serious pushback to the monster created by the 9/11 Commission in the intelligence community: Republicans on the House panel defeated a Democratic push to suspend hundreds of millions of dollars in spy agency funding until the Bush administration provided more information about a controversial domestic espionage program being conducted by the National Security Agency. ... Republicans on the committee defeated a Democratic amendment that sought to force th

The media view of Iraq and the real world

The Belmont Club: ... Finally, let's look at the picture that is usually trumpeted in the popular press twenty four hours a day, which normally consists of the same stories -- 'today two American soldiers died, bring the number of deaths to' or 'newly discovered memos show that in the days leading up to the war' or 'defects in body armor have shown that' -- with variations for dates. It is almost intentionally repetitive, designed to convey a narrative that has no sense; no beginning; no end.... Zarqawi, whatever his moral infirmities, is a man with a firm grasp of the facts. He would not have survived as long as he has without it. He understands when he has a losing hand and when to start a new game. It's an instinct common to survivors but amazingly rare among people who write for a living. By way of example, the richest man in Australia, Kerry Packer, recently died heart and renal disease. He was something of winner at making commercial bets and the

The problem with Muslims in UK

Melanie Phillips: The decision by the Blackburn mosque to cancel the planned visit by Condoleezza Rice is utterly unacceptable and deeply troubling. A mosque spokesman has said that it was cancelled not through dislike of Dr Rice but because of the threat by Muslim anti-war protesters to invade the mosque, thus compromising the safety of the visiting dignitaries. What an appalling state of affairs where the safety of the Foreign Secretary and a distinguished overseas visitor cannot be guaranteed against the threat of violent disorder. Aren’t we all supposed to be engaged in a war against this kind of menace to life and liberty ? If there are disagreements, however profound, the British way is to voice them in a civilised manner and never to resort to violence. It is essential that fanatics should not be allowed to disrupt our British way of life like this -- which, let it not be overlooked, is also pitching Muslim against Muslim -- and that we should not cave into this kind of inti

The false assumptions of the anti war left

Victor Davis Hanson: O pponents of the war in Iraq, both original critics and the mea culpa recent converts, have made eight assumptions. The first six are wrong, the last two still unsettled. 1. Saddam was never connected to al Qaeda, the perpetrators of 9/11. 2. There was no real threat of Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. 3. The United Nations and our allies were justifiably opposed on principle to the invasion. 4. A small cabal of neoconservative (and mostly Jewish) intellectuals bullied the administration into a war that served Israel’s interest more than our own. 5. Saddam could not be easily deposed, or at least he could not be successfully replaced with a democratic government. 6. The architects of this war and the subsequent occupation are mostly inept (“dangerously incompetent”) — and are exposed daily as clueless by a professional cadre of disinterested journalists. 7. In realist terms, the benefits to be gained from the war will never justify the costs incurr

Real insecurity, the Dem's latest "plan"

David Limbaugh: After the 2004 election liberals bombarded us with endless screeds sneering at how stupid, gullible and reality-challenged Red-staters were to have voted for President Bush. But in ploy after partisan ploy ever since, the Democratic leadership has made it painfully obvious they regard their own constituencies with similar contempt. Their latest antic, the unveiling of their "Real Security" plan is so insultingly juvenile it would barely qualify for a "Saturday Night Live" skit. Just how dense do they think Americans are? ... After all their complaining, the Democrats' plan doesn't even demand immediate withdrawal from Iraq. Why? For the same reason they took so long to come up with a "plan” of their own in the first place. They couldn't agree among themselves. Now they have come up with a junior high school-level outline designed to convince Americans they are better equipped to lead our nation in war. Actually, I don't mean to o

The Dem's latest joke on national security

Peter Huessy: The Democrats announced a new national security policy five years after 9/11. What took them so long? Were they waiting for the recommendations from the French? It's unclear but they propose to: (1) Get rid of Al Qaeda; (2) Finish the job in Afghanistan; (3) Increase intelligence; (4) Secure our seaports; (5) Eliminate dependence on foreign oil; and (6) Withdraw from Iraq US forces and "redeploy" them somewhere else. What is wrong with this picture? Everything. They want to get rid of Al Qaeda but won't let us intercept their communications to find out where they are. They cheered when the Patriot Act was nearly killed, but now want us to believe they really, really, want to use its provisions to catch the terrorists. They want to finish the job in Afghanistan, but 62 House Democratic members have just endorsed cutting $62 billion a year from the U.S. defense budget which, of course, would make "finishing the job" impossible. They want

Multilateral toothlessness in dealing with Iran nukes

Investor's Business Daily: The U.N.'s toothless response to Iran's defiance on nuclear weapons tells Iran it can do what it wants with no consequences. Once again, the U.S. is in the lonely position of telling a rogue state "no." The so-called P5 — the U.S., Britain, France, China and Russia, the five permanent, veto-wielding members of the U.N. Security Council — on Thursday issued a new set of "demands" to Iran. But calling the weak requests it made "demands" is a bit grandiose. The group really just punted. Let's start with the fact the statement is "nonbinding." The countries couldn't agree on anything tougher. So much for sticking together. The statement gives Iran 30 days to abandon uranium enrichment activities. Then what? There are no carrots and no sticks in this document. It's the worst kind of signal to send to a defiant Iran — weakness and disunity in the face of a real nuclear threat. It's clear that

Good news for boys, they are now part of the victim class

Heather MacDonald: The moment is close when the United States will be composed entirely of victim groups. For the last year, the press has sounded the alarm about a new gender crisis in education: boys reportedly make up a declining portion of applicants to, and students within, colleges. More than 56 percent of undergraduates are women; two-thirds of all colleges and universities report receiving more applications from girls than from boys, according to a recent New York Times op-ed. The implication is obvious: we—the federal government, state bureaucrats, and the endlessly expanding diversity industry—need to do something! Even New York Times columnist John Tierney, ordinarily a ruthless debunker of big government, called last week for the federal Department of Education to “figur[e] out how to help boys reach college.” And so the future is clear. That rustling sound you hear is the migration of university deans and associate provosts, “managing differences” consultants, and ed s


Victor Davis Hanson: Hundreds of thousands of Mexican citizens, along with Mexican-Americans and Hispanics in general, hit the streets throughout the United States this past week in one of the largest displays of public outrage since the Vietnam-War era. The conventional wisdom was that the supposedly spontaneous outbursts of immigrant pride and anger took lawmakers by surprise. In response, politicians may backtrack on some of the tougher proposals concerning border enforcement, from constructing a wall to deportations. The media tended to emphasize the heartfelt anguish of the demonstrators, who often on selected televised clips carried American flags and were shown reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. But here in Central California that is not the public face of the demonstrations that we saw--which were mostly angry and, in the case of truant high-school students, so often unfortunately characterized by Mexican chauvinism, if not overt racism of the La Raza ("the race")

Has Harvard embraced the Taliban like Yale?

Deborah Orin: MAYBE Yale isn't the only elite university with a "Taliban Man" problem. Yale is taking flak for making a student out of an ex-Taliban spokesman. Sayed Rahmatullah Hashemi once toured America defending the hideous regime that pulled out women's fingernails for the "crime" of wearing nail polish. The Taliban also barred girls from school, banned women from working, stoned adulterers to death and used its soccer stadium for mass executions. In a scene that landed in Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 9/11," Rahmatullah confronted an American woman who'd showed up to protest his speech wearing the burqa imposed by the Taliban on Afghan women - a head-to-toe sacklike garment with just an eye slit: "I'm really sorry to your husband. He might have a very difficult time with you," gibed Rahmatullah. ... So, is it true that Harvard also accepted a Taliban-style student - a high official from an outlaw regime? Shaw, now Sta

Destroying Lybia's WMD

AP /NY Times: Pentagon specialists made an unannounced visit to Libya in January to see what it would take to help Libya destroy its tons of chemical weapons, a process that could cost $100 million. James A. Tegnelia, director of a Pentagon unit known as the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, said Thursday that the officials who were in Libya are now writing a proposal for the State and Defense departments, spelling out various options for helping Libya comply with an international agreement to get rid of the banned weapons. ... We should do it and also examine them to see if any came from Iraq's stokepile that is still unaccounted for.

700-ton bomb want have adverse effects?

Hearst News Service: The Pentagon plans to explode a massive 700-ton conventional bomb on June 2 at the Nevada atomic test site as part of a U.S. military program to develop weapons for destroying underground enemy bunkers. The blast will be one of the largest explosive tests since the end of the Cold War. ... Irene Smith, a spokeswoman for the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, said the blast will register between 3.1 and 3.4 on the Richter sale but that "there will be no adverse effects to surrounding facilities." ... Isn't the bomb supposed to have adverse effects in the area where it explodes? I am guessing the 700-tons refers to a blast equivalent to that many tons of TNT. If the bomb really weighed that much, I do not see how it would ever be carried aloft.

Defunding the Dem's evasions of campaign finance limits

NY Times: To many Republicans, the liberal activist organization is a political boogeyman that they hope to chase off with new restrictions on so-called 527 groups. But the pursuit may turn out to be fruitless. Like other major groups planning to inject themselves aggressively into the midterm elections through advertisements, voter drives and issue fights, has already figured out what it thinks is a better, and less controversial, way to spend its millions. Its 527 — named for a section of the tax code — is being put on ice. "Our 527 is dormant," said Eli Pariser, executive director of He said his group would predominantly operate as a conventional political action committee, allowing it to more freely mix explicit political support and issue advocacy in a way that Mr. Pariser described as "squeaky clean." might be moving on from its 527, but Congress is not. Two years after 527's burst onto the political scene, gain

Shaking the ground beneath Iran's feet

AP/NY Times: Three strong earthquakes and their aftershocks reduced entire villages to rubble in western Iran early Friday, killing at least 50 people and injuring hundreds, state media reported. At least 13 tremors jolted the mountainous region throughout the night, state television reported, saying the first one had a preliminary magnitude of 5.1 and struck around 1 a.m. local time. The U.S. Geological Survey reported a 5.7 magnitude quake shortly before 5 a.m. local time., followed by a 4.7 magnitude aftershock about 15 minutes later. The area had been hit by a 4.7-magnitude quake the day before, the USGS said. The quakes were centered near Boroujerd and Doroud, two industrial cities about 210 miles southwest of Tehran, the official Islamic Republic News Agency reported. Provincial official Ali Barani said about 200 villages were damaged, some flattened. State-run television said 50 bodies had been pulled out of destroyed houses in Silakhor, a region north of Doroud. The broadcast s

Turning off terror TV

Cliff May: Slowly and with difficulty, America's military is learning to fight the armed conflicts of the 21st century. Slowly and with difficulty, are we also learning to fight a modern war of ideas. But a battle was won last week when the U.S. Treasury Department designated Hezbollah's al Manar satellite television operation as a Specially Designated Global Terrorist organization. By prohibiting transactions between U.S. entities and al Manar, and freezing any assets al Manar may have in the U.S., this designation gives the government the tools it needs to cripple al Manar's internationally broadcast incitements to terrorism. The Coalition Against Terrorist Media (CATM) worked long and hard to achieve this result. An organization assembled by the Foundation for Defense of Democracies , CATM includes Christian, Muslim, Jewish and secular groups and individuals – American and European. ... CATM has briefed more than 800 government officials and private sector executives i

The lack of seriousness in enforcing immigration laws

LA Times: Every year, the Social Security Administration collects information from companies that could make it easier to crack down on illegal immigration. A New Jersey labor broker and a security guard firm in California are among thousands of businesses that have filed Social Security tax payments for a large number of workers that do not match any known taxpayer. That, the Social Security agency says, is a sign that the workers are most likely illegal. In 2001, payments for 96% of the New Jersey company's workers did not correspond to any taxpayer on file. Yet the authorities who enforce immigration law have no access to the names of the companies or the workers. That is just one of many ways that legal barriers, funding priorities and other problems make it hard for immigration officials to go to the one place they know undocumented workers will be: the work site. With the Senate debating an overhaul of immigration laws, the nation is about to see how much muscle Congress is

A force multiplier for B-2

Defense Talk: Northrop Grumman Corporation has completed an upgrade of the U.S. Air Force's B-2 stealth bomber that allows the aircraft to deliver five times its previous capacity of independently targeted, “smart'' (GPS-guided) weapons. The company delivered the 54th and final smart bomb rack assembly (SBRA) earlier this month to the Air Force's 509th Bomb Wing at Whiteman Air Force Base, Mo., home of the B-2 fleet. A SBRA-equipped stealth bomber can deliver 80 500-pound smart weapons, each targeted against a different aimpoint. ... “We are increasing the B-2's capability and flexibility in areas such as weapons loads; precision targeting and retargeting; communications for better situational awareness and mission updates; and airframe maintainability,'' said Gene Fraser, vice president and B-2 program manager at Northrop Grumman's Integrated Systems sector. “In this way, the B-2 will provide even greater effects for joint force commanders.'' ..

A family turns in a terrorist

MNFI: Coalition and Iraqi security forces are getting help rooting out terrorists and their weapons as Iraqi citizens grow increasingly intolerant of terrorists, even turning their own relatives over to authorities. One terrorist’s relative turned him over to Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers Monday, accusing him of drive-by attacks against Iraqi Army troops in Baghdad. Soldiers from the 87th Infantry Regiment responded to the relative’s tip and searched the suspect’s house, finding two AK-47 rifles, a 9 mm pistol and body armor. The suspect was taken into custody for questioning. Two separate tips from local Iraqis led Coalition and Iraqi Soldiers to two weapons caches March 25 east of Al Imam. U.S. 4th Infantry Division Soldiers along with 8th Iraqi Army Division Soldiers found more than 300 grenades and 100-plus hand grenade fuses, machine gun rounds, artille

The civil war in Turkey

Gateway Pundit has the story of resistance to governemnt forces. Protesters throw stones to the riot police as they stand in front of a burning barricade during clashes in southeastern Turkish city of Diyarbakir, March 30, 2006. The violence erupted on Tuesday after funeral ceremonies for 14 guerrillas of the banned Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), killed by security forces in a military operation last weekend. ( REUTERS /Anatolian News Agency) Turkey is experiencing its worst street fights in a decade as police and Kurdish fighters continue to clash in the southwest : Kurdish rioters have clashed with police in southeastern Turkey in a second day of violence that has left at least three people dead and 250 injured. The fighting on Wednesday was the worst street fighting in the region in a decade and began after the funerals of four Kurdish fighters who were killed in fighting with Turkish soldiers. The provincial governor said that between 2500 and 3000 Kurds rioted in Diyarbakir, the

Scaring the Iranians

Scrappleface parody: The United Nations Security Council yesterday passed a resolution calling on Iran to halt uranium enrichment by the end of April or face the looming specter of a “virtual mushroom cloud” of additional Security Council discussions and resolutions. Iran immediately called the non-binding resolution “a terrifying deployment of words that threatens our women, our children and our peaceful way of life.” The measure, which carries no consequences for non-compliance, nevertheless contains active verbs, challenging vocabulary and deliberate punctuation that pose a “clear and present danger” to the people of Iran, according to an unnamed spokesman for the Islamic Republic. ...


Captain's Quarters: Editor & Publisher noted yesterday that Gallup reported a shift in party identification in the US; Democrats outpoll Republicans in party identification -- by a single point.... ... A one-point difference, especially in a poll of 1,000 adults, falls within the margin of error in any case. It's interesting and revealing to see E&P cast this as a "historic shift" when Gallup reports that this has been unchanged for almost a year. Either E&P has a strong case of analytical illiteracy or they want to put a spin worthy of John McEnroe on what amounts to a lob. But one issue does arise from this fresh polling, one that undermines practically every political survey published in the past couple of years. If party identification is so close as to be a dead heat, why do polling services routinely underrepresent Republicans? CBS polls routinely overpoll Democrats so badly that their results are hardly worth the effort of analyzing. Their last

Dem goals are not a plan

Irish Pennants: The mood in Washington has been sour lately so Democrats in Congress thoughtfully provided a little levity Wednesday by issuing their National Security Strategy . On Feb. 3rd, the Department of Defense issued its quadrennial report on defense strategy. It was 92 pages long. The "Democratic Plan to Protect America and Restore Our Leadership in the World" is six pages long. Half of that is repeating the report in Spanish. And there is a cover page in each language. So the actual "plan" is just two pages long, presented in bullet points in large type, with ample white space between them. Party elders must have labored for months to produce this bear. The first pledge the Democrats make is to: "Rebuild a state-of-the-art military by making the needed investments in equipment and manpower so that we can project power to protect America wherever and whenever necessary." This would be a welcome change from past Democratic practice, since

A failure of "leadership"

Jonah Goldberg: I'M THINKING of a cabal of radical legislators who don't reflect the views of average Americans or even the interests of their own constituents. They use wedge issues, play the race card and push their party to the ideological extreme. They collude with outside activists, many of whom use religion as a Trojan horse for a radical political agenda. Sound like those perennial paladins of villainy, the congressional GOP? Guess again. This is the Congressional Black Caucus. The caucus lives in a fantasy in which it is the "conscience of the Congress." Immune to the sort of scrutiny that many other groups receive, it has benefited from the soft bigotry of low expectations for decades. As the Economist recently noted, gerrymandering and Democratic politics have resulted in a caucus well to the left of black America. Only four of 43 members of the group voted to ban partial-birth abortion in 2003, even though a majority of blacks favored such a ban. Most Afric

The Medal of Honor winners

Peggy Noonan: ... I talked to James Livingston of Mount Pleasant, S.C., a Marine, a warrior in Vietnam who led in battle in spite of bad wounds and worse odds. I told him I was wondering about something. Most of us try to be brave each day in whatever circumstances, which means most of us show ourselves our courage with time. What is it like, I asked, to find out when you're a young man, and in a way that's irrefutable, that you are brave? What does it do to your life when no one, including you, will ever question whether you have guts? He shook his head. The medal didn't prove courage, he said. "It's not bravery, it's taking responsibility." Each of the recipients, he said, had taken responsibility for the men and the moment at a tense and demanding time. They'd cared for others. They took care of their men. Other recipients sounded a refrain that lingered like Taps. They felt they'd been awarded their great honor in part in the name of unknown

The striking idiocy of the French "youths"

Theodore Dalrymple: THE SIGHT OF MILLIONS of Frenchmen, predominantly young, demonstrating in deep sympathy and solidarity with themselves, is one that will cause amusement and satisfaction on the English side of the Channel. Everyone enjoys the troubles of his neighbours. And at least our public service strikers just stay away from work, and spend the day peacefully performing the rites of their religion, DIY, and not making a terrible nuisance of themselves. In fact, many of them are probably less of a public nuisance if they stay at home than if they go to work. Of course, demonstrating in huge numbers is what the French do from time to time. We should never forget that to break a shop window for the good of humanity is one of the greatest pleasures known to Man. Trying to topple governments by shouting insults is also great fun. We like to think of France as having a deplorably statist and centrally controlled economy, while the French like to think of Britain as a land of savage l

Justices dubious of extending exclusionary rule for failing to call consulate

Houston Chronicle: Lawyers for two foreign nationals found guilty of violent crimes tried to convince the Supreme Court on Wednesday that those convictions should be thrown out, because the men were not told they could contact their consulates before talking to police. But the justices appeared skeptical that the oversight would justify suppressing the evidence that led to the guilty verdicts. The two cases, which are being considered together by the high court, were brought by Mario Bustillo, a Honduran convicted of killing a Virginia teenager with a baseball bat in 1999, and Moises Sanchez-Llamas, a Mexican found guilty of attempted murder in the shooting of an Oregon police officer in 1997. Lawyers for both men said the Vienna Convention, a treaty signed by the United States in 1969, required American officials to contact the embassies of foreign nationals "without delay." It is not enough for arrested foreigners to be told they can remain silent, hire a lawyer or have a

Reporter released

AP /Houston Chronicle: American reporter Jill Carroll, who was kidnapped three months ago in a bloody ambush that killed her translator and later appeared in videotapes pleading for help, was released today, and her editor said she was "fine." Police Lt. Col. Falah al-Mohammedawi said Carroll, 28, was handed over to the Iraqi Islamic Party office in Amiriya, western Baghdad, by an unknown group. She was later turned over to the Americans and was believed to be in the heavily fortified Green Zone, he said. ... In this story she says: ''I was treated well, but I don't know why I was kidnapped,'' Carroll said in a brief interview on Baghdad television. Funny. That was not the impression she gave in her videos. Were all those tears just an acting job, or is she covering for them now? Other than dressing her in funny cloths, threatening to kill her and making her cry on video, she was treated ok. It appears that her treatment was at least as bad as the guy

New Orleans murders go home

NY Times: The wail of police sirens is back, and gunfire again punctuates the night. As drug dealers move into flood-damaged houses, alarmed residents say that in the last few weeks, they have begun to sense a return to the bad old days before Hurricane Katrina, when crime was an omnipresent straitjacket on life in this city. ... "It's coming back," said Capt. Timmy Bayard of the New Orleans police, who is in charge of narcotics investigations. "It's not as plentiful as it was," Captain Bayard said. But, he added, "We're starting to grab some people." His men, searching abandoned houses in the Eighth Ward, have found drug stashes. He said it was like "looking for a needle in a haystack." ... In Houston, which reported a sharp spike in killings after Hurricane Katrina, police officials say they have noticed a decline since the beginning of the year. Homicides were up 24 percent in 2005, but Houston police officials say the number wou

Saudis arrest 40 al Qaeda suspects

Arab News: Saudi security forces arrested 40 suspected terrorists in three different operations around the Kingdom in the past two weeks, the Interior Ministry announced yesterday. “It was not one operation but a series of operations aimed at tackling terror early on,” ministry spokesman Gen. Mansour Al-Turki told Arab News. Those arrested are suspected members of Al-Qaeda terrorist cells, some of whom appear to have links to the Feb. 25 foiled attack on the Al-Abqaiq oil refinery in the Eastern Province. The ministry has not released the names of any of the detained suspects. The ministry statement said that security forces tracked a number of suspicious movements in various areas of the Kingdom by people who were stockpiling weapons, providing material and financial support to the terrorists’ cause, and using the Internet to spread subversive propaganda and promoting acts of violence. ... The daily said several bombs, machine guns and explosive materials were found, adding that the o

What kind of culture is this?

Michael Ledeen: ... It never ceases to amaze me--truly--that the so-called feminists just can't get their dander up when their sisters are hung or stoned or tortured by the islamofascists. We know better, don't we? So let's rally round this little girl, the one Kathryn wrote about here . Dear Friends I need your help, On January 3rd 2006, 18-year-old Nazanin was sentenced to DEATH BY HANGING by a criminal court in Iran after she reportedly admitted stabbing to death one of three men who attempted to rape her and her 16-year-old niece in a park in Iran in March 2005. She was seventeen at the time. Her sentence is subject to review by the Court of Appeal, and if upheld, to confirmation by the Supreme Court. There was a similar case a few years ago of a woman in Iran named Afsaneh Norouzi who ended up being released because of international pressure. THERE IS HOPE! I have set up a petition that wiill only take you 30 seconds to complete. PLEASE help save Nazanin's lif

Did Saddam outsource his nuclear research to Lybia?

ISSA at its site has an analysis that plausibly suggest that Lybia's nuclear program was actually being done for Saddam. Analysis. By Gregory R. Copley, Editor, GIS. Discussion and analysis of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programs relating to the former Iraqi Administration of Pres. Saddam Hussein has seriously — and virtually from the beginning — missed the point. By focusing entirely on Iraqi WMD programs within the physical borders of Iraq, and by refusing to discuss contextual issues, the arguments missed the point that the bulk of the Iraqi WMD work since 1991 was conducted outside the borders of the country, this being a result of the lesson which Saddam derived from the 1991 Coalition war against him. There is a very substantial, historical chain of intelligence — much of which has been cited and verified by Global Information System (GIS) HUMINT sources over the past 14 years and some of which has been verified by external sources —

Who got it right

Powerline compares the Washington Times story on the FISA judge testimony to the NY Times story and sees a conflict. The Washington Times quotes the judges as sayingf that FISA does not override the President's inherenet authority to intercept enemy communications. The NY Times says the judges were skeptical of the Presidential authority. However this direct quote from the Washington Times suggest the NY Times is trying to mislead its readers and protect its rearend: "If a court refuses a FISA application and there is not sufficient time for the president to go to the court of review, the president can under executive order act unilaterally, which he is doing now," said Judge Allan Kornblum, magistrate judge of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida and an author of the 1978 FISA Act. "I think that the president would be remiss exercising his constitutional authority by giving all of that power over to a statute." The NY Times wants to

Sleep talk leads to divorce

BBC: An Indian Muslim says he will not be separated from his wife, despite uttering the words necessary for divorce while he was asleep. Akhtar, from West Bengal state, told the BBC a ruling by village elders that the couple were divorced was unfair. Uttering the word "talaq" (I divorce you) three times allows a Muslim man to divorce his wife with immediate effect. But Akhtar says it has no force because he did not mean it, and he and his wife both say they want to stay together. The BBC's Amitabha Bhattasali in Calcutta says several Muslim authorities in India have spoken out against the elders' ruling, arguing that the "triple talaq" pronouncement must be intentional to be recognised. India's minority Muslim population has its own personal laws on issues such as marriage, divorce and inheritance. ... Well, that was easy.

Selectively naive as Baghdad hostage

Winnipeg Sun: "I need to get reacquainted with my partner Dan." - Jim Loney, freed Christian Peacemaker Team member, March 27. The Christian Peacemaker Team members have been called misguided and naive. But it's clear from here that Jim Loney is only selectively naive. He could not afford to talk about his partner while in captivity and didn't. Homosexuality in Saddam Hussein's Iraq was punishable by death. Amnesty International says the current status of gay and lesbian rights is unclear. But here are few things that are crystal clear. 1) Jim Loney only feels free to speak his mind about his sexual orientation in a country with a government that protects gay rights. 2) Christian Peacemakers claim to have gone to Iraq to prevent the coalition forces from carrying out their mission. 3) Had the the Peacemakers succeeded in keeping Saddam Hussein in power, a homosexual in Iraq would have zero hope for having an openly gay life. We know from Loney's statement mad

Can you imagine even wanting to keep your first job for life?

Roger L. Simon: ... So I was thinking this morning, while reading the NYT coverage , just how alien the French view is from ours. Take a look at this employment issue from another angle: Can you imagine wanting or even considering keeping your first job out of college for life ? How extraordinarily dull. How fundamentally, well, conservative in a social sense. Most of us automatically view our first jobs as stepping stones (to a variety of destinations). But this is what all those kids and trade unionists are demonstrating about. For all their Bohemian bravura, the French are often the most conventional of people in their lifestyles and aspirations. Some people brand this a form of socialism, but I believe there is something more psychologically traditionalist or conformist in this. The socialism emerges from this essential conservatism, not the other way around. But having read this conclusion of the NYT's article, I should shut up: On Sunday, the defense minister, Michèle All

Taiwan upgrades its amphibious assualt vehicles

AFP: Taiwan’s marine corps March 28 inaugurated 54 U.S.-built amphibious assault vehicles as part of the island’s efforts to boost defense capabilities in the face of ongoing saber-rattling from Beijing. Some of the AAPV7-A1 vehicles, built by FMC Corporation, would be deployed in the northern township of Linko to safeguard the capital from any surprise attack by Chinese forces, the navy said. Others would deploy at the Tsoying naval base, it said. The remodelled and upgraded vehicles were purchased in 2002 for 6.1 billion Taiwan dollars ($187.7 million U.S.) to replace the LVTP5 vehicles, which have been used by Taiwan’s marines for more than 60 years. ”These vehicles outperform the LVTP5s now serving the marines either in water or on land,” navy captain Wang Rui-lin told reporters. ...

Remember how we were suppose to respect results of Palestinian election

Well the Palestinians say you can forget about it when it comes to respecting the results of Isreal's election. This is from the AP: The militant group Hamas is dismissing Israel's election results as another face of Israeli policy designed to eliminate the Palestinian issue. Other Arabs are warning the Jewish state about taking unilateral action. Acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's centrist Kadima Kadima party won 28 of the 120 seats up for grabs in yesterday's vote. Hamas swept Palestinian legislative elections in January and formed the Palestinian government. Hamas's political leader maintains Israel is -- in his words -- "hostile toward Palestinian rights" and insists on "wiping it out." Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas says the results will have little effect on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict unless Olmert changes his policies. ... Hypocrits, but then you knew that.

Saddam's slow war

Austin Bay: The latest quip accusation that the United States "rushed to war" with Saddam's Iraq conveniently ignores 12 years of combat, terror and crime. Perhaps The Slow War -- Saddam's war against the U.N.-mandated sanctions and inspections regimen that halted Operation Desert Storm -- has slipped from public historical memory. It shouldn't, for The Slow War is the long, violent bridge connecting Desert Storm to Operation Iraqi Freedom. From March 1991 to March 2003, Saddam fought The Slow War savvily and savagely, utilizing an array of political, military and economic ploys. Moreover, by early 2003, Saddam believed he was winning. The Iraqi dictator had reasons to make that calculation. Recall the fall of 2002 -- and the growing realization that the entire post-Desert Storm sanctions regimen had withered. The curious lack of political will on the part of key Security Council members (France and Russia) to keep Saddam properly caged was increasingly evident