October 31, 2003

Oct. 31 - My work

Oct. 31 - My work schedule has changed, so I'll be posting at different times on a near daily basis at least until Christmas. I'll try to keep up, but go check out the fine bloggers on my blogroll. They're a good group.

Happy Halloween, too! Save me some candy . . .

Posted by Debbye at 11:02 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 31 - I freely

Oct. 31 - I freely admit that I don't really get Quebec, and since the question of separation was settled long ago in the USA, I have a cultural bias that precludes any pretense at objective analysis. This doesn't exactly help in furthering my understanding:

QUEBEC -- Quebec's National Assembly voted unanimously yesterday to recognize Quebec as a nation, but not all parties agree on what it means.

The unanimous vote comes a day after a heated debate in the [Canadian] House of Commons in which the Liberal majority defeated a Bloc Quebecois motion also calling for the recognition that Quebec constitutes a nation. [Background here.]

The Bloc motion stated that Quebec could withdraw from new federal spending programs with full financial compensation. The National Assembly motion contained no such demands, only a simple declaration: "That the Quebec National Assembly reaffirms that the Quebec people constitute a nation."

The motion was immediately sent to House of Commons, where it will be delivered to all the federal members of Parliament.

Quebec Premier Jean Charest, who tabled the motion, insisted that the motion will not change Quebec's status within Canada. "Quebec is a nation within the Canadian nation," Mr. Charest said. "It contradicts nothing in the fact that we are both Quebeckers and Canadians."

But maybe there's more politican maneuvering than meets the eye when I remember the flack over the issue of whether Mike Harris speaks French, hmm? And then there's this, which more than anything seems to indicate that polls are useless:
As the debate over the recognition of Quebec as a nation unfolded, a public opinion poll conducted in Quebec for the Council for Canadian Unity showed support for sovereignty-partnership at 47 per cent in September, an increase of six percentage points since last April. However the same poll also showed that 75 per cent of Quebeckers were favourable "to the [Charest] government playing a very active role to help the Canadian federation work better."
Seven people were recently arrested for painting anti-Canadian slogans in a predominantly anglophone former suburb of Montreal and possession of homemade bombs. This report that there is a Quebec militia training and armed to take on the Canadian army. The militia's vice-president says the aims of the militia are defensive in nature:
"We want to act in entire legality. We want to train people to defend and help the Quebec people, for example in cases of natural disasters. We want to defend sovereigntist activists if they're attacked during a demonstration."

The group would also act if the Canadian army moves in after a yes vote for sovereignty, she said.

A former member of the group told the TVA television network that he quit after hearing people muse about blowing up mailboxes in English-speaking areas. The vice-president said such plans are not condoned by the militia.

I hardly think that the FLQ is going to make a dramatic comeback, so there's no panic!

But, and it's a biggie, under a new law recently voted into effect, the Canadian taxpayer will be footing the bill for candidates at the rate of $1.50 for each vote garnered by the political parties in national elections. That means that my tax dollars will go to funding a separatist party, the Bloc Quebecois, as well as a socialist party, the NDP. That's just so wrong on so many levels.

Posted by Debbye at 10:58 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 31 - It's rather

Oct. 31 - It's rather neat to be reading a debate over which armoured transport should be supplied to the Canadian army: after so many years of agitating for better equipment, it is a definite improvement that folks are arguing which should be purchased rather urging that purchases must be made even against this backdrop of orders to Defence Secy. McCallum that he reduce military spending.

Toronto Sun columnist Peter Worthington argues that the Stryker are a Strategic buy and that the opposition should be focused on a bigger issue:

The opposition would be better advised to urge that 166 Strykers be purchased instead of 66.
The Canuckistanian agrees that the Stryker would be a valuable acquisition and cites his own experience (and he too has pictures!).
Have you ever seen a jeep with an oversized gun on it?

Have you ever seen what it can do?

I have and it scared the hell out of me!

Paul still doesn't like the Stryker and links here to a study of Stryker Brigades vs. The Realities of War at the Global Security website, but agrees with Worthington about quantity and also points out that flag officers will outnumber tanks as well as this numbers sting:
Which also brings to mind a rant that has been wandering through my mind of how, if procurement continues the way it has been going when it comes to heavy items - replacing two with one, or less -, by 2100 you should have a grand total of three tanks and two planes facing off against each other on the battlefield ...
Paul wants both more and better. I can't see anything wrong with that, and would be happy to have the heavier tanks as well as the lighter Stryker.

Many of the recommendations by the military are based on a 1998 report which, as I ranted earlier, is irrelevant in this new era of fighting terrorism.

Bottom line: no army would be wise to limit their functionality to a single terrain, field condition, or assumption as to which country they might be deployed to work alongside.

Making purchases on the assumption that larger and heavier American transport will be close by is very short-sighted. Although the Canadian and American military have worked together before, a recent deployment of the Canadian military assisted the French in the Congo, and they are now working with an international force in Afghanistan under German leadership.

What I know about armoured transport is, well, isn't, if you get my drift, but this tiny move by the Liberal Party to seek improvements in the equipment of the military is still a good first step.

Now, about those helicopters:

HALIFAX -- Investigators were examining the engines and gear boxes on two Sea King helicopters yesterday after the aircraft lost power in flight, forcing the military to restrict the fleet's flying time to only critical missions. For the first time in its troubled 40-year history, the aircraft were ordered to stand down and not fly any non-operational flights. The six now able to take to the air in Halifax and the remaining Sea Kings in British Columbia will not be able to conduct routine training missions, but can still respond to emergencies.

That could change as early as today if engineers find enough similarities between the two mishaps to warrant a complete grounding of the geriatric fleet.

Predictably, PM Chretien is not embarrassed that the fleet is grounded. After all, he was willing to see the Snowbirds disbanded for lack of training jets so he could indulge his yen for flying palaces.

We also musn't forget the goofy notion the government put forward that civilians patrol Canada's coast instead of upgrading the navy.

As I see it, fighting for better equipment for the army is Round One. Rounds 2 and 3 are to upgrade the equipment for the air force and the navy.

Support the troops that protect us. It's that simple.

Posted by Debbye at 08:09 AM | Comments (0)

October 30, 2003

Oct. 30 - Donald Sensing

Oct. 30 - Donald Sensing over at One Hand Clapping takes a couple of steps back to look at The Big Picture in the war on terror, the casus belli for military intervention in Iraq, the rationale for that intervention as well as the reminder that heck yes! it's a big gamble, but when have the stakes ever been higher? We're sitting one card short of a royal flush, and what kind of miserable creature would throw in their cards with that hand?

The post is an excellent read, but it's got something extra: it boosted my morale.

We will not falter, we will not tire, we will not fail is a heck of a lot easier for us to say than it is to do here on the homefront, so if we are to keep the homefires burning we must commit to endlessly countering the leftist propaganda, and I admit it: I'm getting tired.

I doubt I'm the only person who would much rather be over there than bogged down here trying to keep the nation's focus on the real successes while the highly weird Democrat Party presidential primary candidates strut their stuff to what is admittedly a generally unimpressed electrorate, but I know I just know that we can't get tired and we can't let up.

As Donald points out:

This strategy is fraught with risk and may not succeed. But playing a deadly game of whack-a-mole with Islamic terrorists is a strategy doomed to fail.

The campaign against terrorism is foundationally a contest of wills - dare I say it, a spiritual struggle.

The real issue is whether the Western Civilization shall prevail against the last vestige of medievalism; whether the rule of men who shoot their prisoners, enslave their women and deny the rights of self-determination to their own people, shall kill us and displace us, to whom the individual and individual rights are sacred and whose laws require respect for freedom of conscience, freedom of religion and whose traditions preserve freedom from fear and cruelty. In the long history of civilization, this task is to be done now. (Emphasis added)

He's right: we can't let them break our spirit.

Further, I'm not sure I properly understood how fundamentally the war on terror would link with the fight against anti-Semitism (simply because I hadn't recognized there had been a resurgence of anti-Semitism until the apologists for Sept. 11 expressed their views) but that too is a struggle that must and will be won.

So I am grateful to Donald for putting together a cogent, reasoned argument that starts with Sept. 11 on through to our current struggle in Iraq (and for us civilians, on the homefront) and most especially and personally because I need it. Morale matters for civilians too.

I don't often bookmark single posts, but this is the exception that breaks the rule.

Posted by Debbye at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 30 - A dispatch

Oct. 30 - A dispatch from Stephen Thorne on yesterday's blast which was caused when a lightly armoured front-end loader hit an explosive device. Sgt. Rene Grignon was stunned but uninjured. Investigators will determine what kind of ordinance was involved and, hopefully, may be able to determine when it was laid.

Posted by Debbye at 09:29 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 30 - There's more

Oct. 30 - There's more about the equipment concerns for the Canadian military Strykers defended which I'm only noting for future reference.

I still think that all the discussion about equipment obscures the real problem: that the armed forces in Canada are not given the respect and support from the leadership in this country. But that would require a change in the way Canadian history is taught, and we can't have that, right?

There's more here.

UPDATE: Paul has pictures and asks the Lord to smite John McCallum. There's that delicious word Smite again . . . and he's got even more pictures as well as a defense plan that would personally involve the Defense Minister. (Defence? defense? . . . sometimes I get confused which country goes with which spelling. Sue Me.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:24 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 30 - An update

Oct. 30 - An update on steps being taken by Toronto Airport after a missile threat to an El Al flight forced it to divert from Toronto to Montreal and then Hamilton:

Security officials have since provided more air space between flights as El Al jets approach the airport, police said.

Police are also conducting background checks of flights originating from smaller Toronto airports when El Al is in the air to prevent in-air missile attacks. And teams of officers are also cruising highways around Pearson as the flights descend searching for signs of a missile launcher.

Posted by Debbye at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 30 - This from

Oct. 30 - This from Barrie, Ont. (Barrie? Yikes!): 3 face explosives rap. I never really thought of Barrie as a hotbed of radical or gang activity, so this is definitely in the WTF department:

BARRIE -- Three young adults were in bail court yesterday facing charges of vehicle theft and possession of two grenade-like explosive devices. Nicole Bazin, 18, Mark Burt, 18 and Steven Fiala, 20, all from the Barrie area, are charged with theft and possession of a 2002 Nissan Pathfinder and two counts of possession of an explosive device. They are to be back in bail court this morning.
UPDATE: Doh! Pierre from B.C. points out that the kids probably had explosives for Halloween hijinks, because nothing says Halloween more than blowing stuff up. The bigger the bang the better. I hadn't thought of that, being from the days of rotten eggs and tp-ing the school, but it seems the very likely explanation. Thanks, Pierre.

Posted by Debbye at 09:12 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 30 - Interesting story

Oct. 30 - Interesting story from AP reporter Jim Krane in today's Sun about the outsourcing of jobs by the US military and the dangers they face (Contractors face heat in military zones.) Unfortunately, he veers too quickly from the contractors and goes into a full scale rant on the military-industrial complex, but, rhetoric aside, it raises some valid points about the extent to which civilians are involved not only in Iraq and Afghanistan but also in Liberia and Kosovo.

Krane fails to draw a fairly obvious parallel between US contractors and contractors for the NGO-civilian-complex, nor does he address how NGOs like the Red Crescent and the UN cut and run at the first sign of danger whereas US contractors stay and do the jobs which with they've been entrusted.

In contrast, Kingdom of the Geeks has been publishing emails from one known as Capt. "L" who is one of those contractors (correct me if I'm wrong) and who has a different take on his role as a contractor than the one Krane describes. In a post describing the bombing at the Al Rashid Hotel, the Capt. notes:

After the hotel was attacked, the military officer that was killed was found by his window with a rifle pointing out the window and set for full automatic. I figure that he must of heard the first hit and went to the window to attempt to return fire, when his room took a rocket strike, killing him.
Capt. "L" is former military, and his reports are full of respect for the military and he wrote earlier that he felt humbled to be working alongside and eating spam with the fine men and women over there.

Capt. "L" knows exactly why he's in Iraq and what role he is playing. It's a pity Mr. Crane didn't interview him or, for that matter, any of the contractors in hot zones. I'll rate the courage and dedication of the contractors over the feckless NGO types every.single.day. God bless and keep them.

Posted by Debbye at 09:01 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 30 - The Palestinian

Oct. 30 - The Palestinian PM-For-Today, Ahmed Qureia, has a wonderful idea: negotiate a truce with the terrorist groups that operate freely in PA territory and ask Israel to honour it. Seeing as all previous truces have merely been a breather so the terrorists could plan and launch more attacks, I just can't understand why Israel wouldn't want to go along with this new one.

I get Rocky and Bullwinkle flashbacks when I read such announcements by the PA: remember how Bullwinkle would pretend to be a magician and tell Rockey Hey Rocky! Watch me pull a rabbit out o' my hat! and Rocky would say Again? That trick never works!

In My World (which is admittedly a poor one compared to Frank J.'s,) those are the words I'd like President Bush to use when he hears about this latest plan. Maybe not aloud, because that wouldn't be, you know, statesmanlike, but I'd sure hope they're what he'd be thinking.

Posted by Debbye at 08:26 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 30 - The TTC

Oct. 30 - The TTC has put aside agonising over Sony RPG games and is doing something useful in the city-wide effort to find Cecilia Zhang: they have placed her picture up on posters at subway stations and on toll boxes.

Anyone who has seen Cecilia (links to picture) should call 416-808-8390 in English and 416-808-3681 in Chinese.

In another story, organizers of the festival to celebrate the Chinese New Year next January are using the networking and preparations for it to help in the search for Cecilia.

Does anyone else find it both eerie and hopeful that Elizabeth Smart has been back in the news? Oh well, I'm always greedy for good omens.

Posted by Debbye at 08:11 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 30 - Peter Worthington

Oct. 30 - Peter Worthington pretty much sums up my attitude toward all the hoopla over the MPs using Irving family jets and fishing lodges when he identifies the corruption as being on A petty scale:

More serious breaches are when ministers give contracts without mandatory bidding process (like the PM getting DND to buy new and unnecessary ministerial aircraft for prestige purposes.[)] Or ministers hiring their girlfriends for consulting work, or paying them to write reports on subjects they know nothing about; or ministers wasting a billion dollars on nothing; or the billion-dollar gun registry boondoggle that will actually increase crime and violence rather than curtail it. The list goes on and on.
Exactly. The media is focused on a relatively tiny breach of ethics at the expense (ha!) of major boondoggles. Classic diversionary tactic, I mutter. Plain-freaking-diversion. Don't fall for it.

Posted by Debbye at 07:57 AM | Comments (0)

October 29, 2003

Oct. 29 - There are

Oct. 29 - There are some serious rumours that another attack against Internet Haganah is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. The attack is evidently against HostingMatters (which no longer services Haganah thanks in great part to the many bloggers who rushed to their defence by digging deep to donate to the tip jar over there) so whereas it may be inconvenient for us they will miss their target. There's a lesson in that somewhere . . .

Attack my freedom of speech, will you? Not. in. this. lifetime.

For more information link to Snooze Button Dreams: Here we go again.

Also, check at Irreconcilable Musings who's keeping track of the other bloggers keeping track. As he puts it, We shall not be silenced!

(Primary link via The Penguin.)

Posted by Debbye at 07:03 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 29 - Who does

Oct. 29 - Who does it better than Frank J.? Bite-Sized Wisdom: Me Busy, Me Insulted, Terrorists, Fight Club, and Screw You Guys:

So the terrorists attacked the Red Cross on their own frick'n holy month. For those of you who are behind the curve, these people are evil. EEEEEEEvil. It would be morally wrong of us not do everything we can to splatter these bastards despite the whining of the hippies. Do you want to have to explain why the terrorists aren't dead to your children?

"Daddy, why aren't the bad people dead"

"Because of Demi-crats and Europeans."


Posted by Debbye at 06:44 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 29 - One of

Oct. 29 - One of my recent additions to the blogroll is Rangting Profs. In the post WHAT DO TERRORISTS WANT? is this neat summation:

Terrorism is, and I don't mean to sound to flippant or glib here, so bear with me, essentially an evil form of performance art.

Posted by Debbye at 04:58 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 29 - This is

Oct. 29 - This is such an affront to Truth, Justice and the American .., oh, wait; wrong villain, start again? Yeah, now GO!

The Filthy Lie I'm about to relate about Evil Glenn's Halloween costume is an affront to every DC Comic fan ever born.

That evil, wicked puppy blender is going as Oswald Cobblepot, The Penguin himself, from Batman.

Evil Glenn is now messing with the Legend of the Dark Knight. Is nothing sacred to the vile hobo killer?? He probably had a hand in the progressively worse Batman films too. Oh yes, there are many MANY more lies in Gotham City, and you can be sure Evil Glenn is blamed for all of them. [All you have to do is post something clearly marked as a lie and he'll be blamed. Simple, really.]

Uh huh, and like now I'm wondering what really happened to that nasty little ankle biter from Batman Returns which would have been a much better movie without Danny DeVito as the Penguin and are we are seeing the pattern here? Hmm?

Posted by Debbye at 02:51 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 29 - This week's

Oct. 29 - This week's assignment in Precision Guided Humor is "What lessons can we learn from the life of Ted Kennedy?"

Being in a somewhat philosophical state of mind today, I find myself reflecting on the influence of the Kennedys during my own lifetime: the invigorating personae of both John F. and Robert F. Kennedy, the shocks my generation experienced upon their untimly deaths, and how deeply the death of John Jr. a few years ago reopened those old pains.

I remember the Inaugural Speech of John F. Kennedy in 1961 only barely (althought it was been replayed many times) but do remember how a certain word gained a new pronounciation: vigor. There is also Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country. The Peace Corp. Drawing the line against communism. Sending in National Guard troops to Little Rock. Profiles in Courage.

I saw John F. in person when he was awarded a doctorate degree from UC Berkeley. My grade school attended the ceremonies along with everyone else in and near Berkeley. I don't remember what he said, but I do remember that he was vibrant and infused with an energy and confidence in the people of America.

I only saw Robert F. while he was waving from a motorcade during the 1968 Dem primary campaign in California, and he too had this magical electricity and confidence in our abilities to take up challenges and succeed. I've never been to the Ambassador Hotel, and never will.

We learned a new word during the Kennedy years: charisma. Jack and Bobby had it, John Jr. had it, Ted, alas, doesn't. But neither did/do Johnson, Jimmy Carter, George McGovern, Richard Nixon and Hubert Humphrey, although Ronald Reagan had it (which was a really awkward discovery given that I was a lefty back when Reagan was governor of California.) (I've never seen either Bush, Clinton or Bush live before, so don't know about them.)

But that's not a lesson we can learn from Ted Kennedy because it's not his fault that he doesn't have charisma.

The Pope visited Toronto a few years ago, and in one of the most powerful statements I think I've ever heard, he looked gently at the many young people assembled and told them that they didn't know how good they were.

President Bush has reminded the American people that we are a good, generous people who have always treated our friends and enemies with kindness and forgiveness.

President Kennedy had full confidence when he proposed going to the moon that we would succeed precisely because the challenge was so hard. Despite the many conspiracy theories that surround the president's assassination, the evidence remains that a Communist who had lived in the Soviet Union killed Kennedy, probably in retaliation for the events of the Cuba Missile Crisis.

Sen. Kennedy once said that some people look at those things that are and ask why, and he looks at what could be and ask why not. Sen. Kennedy was killed by a Jordanian, Sirhan Sirhan, who claimed he was disappointed because the Senator was a strong supporter of Israel.

I tend to date the beginning of American self-loathing in 1968 when both Dr. King and Sen. Kennedy were killed. Those events marked a downward spiral in our belief in ourselves as a people and a country. It took until Sept. 11 to shake off that malaise of self-destructiveness and reaffirm that there are many, many good things about the USA and Americans.

Sen. Ted Kennedy should have played a vital and positive role in this rebirth of the American spirit and would, after all, have been continuing the family tradition in exhibiting confidence and faith in the American people. But he didn't.

The lesson? Ted Kennedy could have been a contender. That his presidential ambitions may have been dashed when he drove off a bridge so many years ago doesn't change the fact that he still could have contributed to the future of his country today by invoking and giving that which the Kennedys have always given aplenty: complete and total confidence in the American people.

Posted by Debbye at 02:26 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 29 - Two Soldiers

Oct. 29 - Two Soldiers Killed in Iraq Explosion near Baghdad when their Abrams transport was damaged by a land mine or roadside bomb near Balad, 45 miles north of Baghdad.

7 Ukranian soldiers were injured:

A spokesman for the multinational division at Camp Babylon said the attack on the Ukrainians occurred when two of their armored personnel carriers rolled over land mines near Suwayrah about 40 miles southeast of Baghdad.

After the vehicles were disabled, unidentified gunmen opened fire on the disembarked soldiers, the spokesman said on condition of anonymity.

About 1,650 Ukrainians are serving in the Polish-led stabilization force patrolling central and southern Iraq.

The beginning of Ramadan marks this latest wave of terrorist attacks in Iraq. Americans, British and Canadians have been advised to be vigilant due to increased security concerns in Saudi Arabia.

Posted by Debbye at 11:57 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 29 - Slings and

Oct. 29 - Slings and Arrows is back online after the power went back up. He also carries this report from a fellow blogger who did have to evacuate.

Posted by Debbye at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 29 - Michael Moore

Oct. 29 - Michael Moore is being sued:

Detroit — James Nichols, the brother of Oklahoma City bombing conspirator Terry Nichols, says he was tricked into appearing in the anti-gun documentary Bowling for Columbine, according to a federal lawsuit filed against filmmaker Michael Moore.

Nichols also alleges in the lawsuit, filed in Detroit, that Moore libelled him by linking him to the terrorist act.

Nichols accuses Moore of libel, defamation of character, invasion of privacy and intentional infliction of emotional distress. His lawyer is asking for a jury trial and damages ranging from $10-million to $20-million (U.S.) on each of nine counts, the Detroit Free Press reported.

A message seeking comment was left Tuesday with Moore's publicist.

In the film, Moore asks Nichols for an interview and steers the subject from the Oklahoma City bombing to gun ownership. Nichols tells Moore he has a gun under his pillow, and Moore asks Nichols to show him.

In the lawsuit, Nichols, who lives in Decker, said Moore misled him about the purpose of the interview.

Bowling for Columbine won the feature-length documentary Academy Award earlier this year.

There have been calls to revoke the Oscar due to the many flights of fancy that make Bowling for Columbine less documentary and more mockumentary.

Recently released videos which show the two Columbine shooters purchasing their weapons and engaging in targets practice with their new weapons indicate that the Columbine shootings were not spree killings but planned well in advance of that morning.

(Via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 10:42 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 29 - There was

Oct. 29 - There was an incident today with an explosive device placed on the same track as Sgt. Short and Cpl. Beerenfeger were on when they were killed earlier this month, but thankfully there was no injury this time to the soldier:

Kabul — A Canadian combat engineer escaped injury Wednesday when his lightly armoured vehicle struck an explosive device west of the Canadian military base in the Afghan capital.

The incident occurred at 12:35 p.m. local time as combat engineers were clearing the route on which two Canadian soldiers were killed by at least one anti-tank mine Oct. 2.

The engineer, whose name was not immediately released, was taken to a field hospital at nearby Camp Julien for observation.

The vehicle involved in the incident was a Zettelmeyer front-end loader equipped with a bucket and had been preceded down the track through rolling foothills by combat engineers on foot.

Officials said they did not know if the vehicle struck a landmine or another type of explosive device. An investigation is under way.

Posted by Debbye at 10:26 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 29 - Only days

Oct. 29 - Only days after it was announced that Sony was removing an imaginary instance of Quebec terrorists capturing the Toronto subway from their game Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain, due to protests from Quebeckers and the Toronto Transit Commission that something so negative and unthinkable would be portrayed, seven separatists face charges after anti-English incident:

Seven arrests, the discovery of explosive devices, and anti-English graffiti in communities that want to break away for Montreal have some people in the city on edge.

The arrests were made after police discovered the former town hall for Baie d'Urfe, a mainly English-speaking community, had been defaced with anti-Canadian and separatist slogans.

Police said they caught the men as they were trying to cut down a federalist symbol at the townhall with a chainsaw. Investigators said they later found several homemade pipe bombs in a suspect's car.

The graffiti included the words Canadians Go Home, Quebec Libre (A Free Quebec) and Fusion Montreal.

Paul lives in Montreal and has good commentary here and makes points that people (like me, who often wonder why this continues to be an issue after 30+ years) need to remember.

Just to round this out, there's been a mini-controversy up here over revelations in a recent Chretien biolgraphy that the PM was prepared for a military intervention had the 1995 referendum gone against Quebec staying in Canada. Paul reports and comments here, for Paul's thoughts, and Francois offers some perspective going back to Trudeau's invocation of the War Measures Act in 1970 as well as a possible alternate reason as to why the army may have been on alert.

I don't comment on Quebec because that is irremediably something I don't get, at least from a Canadian perspective, any more than I get bi-lingualism but Murdoc makes a valid point about the UN that I haven't seen elsewhere (but dang! I wish I had thought of it first.)

Posted by Debbye at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 29 - This is

Oct. 29 - This is Cecilia. If you have seen her, call the Cecilia Zhang hotline at 416-808-8390.

9-year old Cecilia Zhang is still missing, and there are evidently no new leads in the search for her. Toronto police have offered a $50,000 reward for her return and the case will be on America's Most Wanted this Satuday.

Police reconstructed the Oct. 19 abduction for reporters (Window of hope) and released the information that two phone calls were made to the home from payphones shortly before the abduction.

Posted by Debbye at 08:58 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 29 - The Canadian

Oct. 29 - The Canadian government has seen fit to share the information they received which prompted them to divert an incoming El Al flight from Toronto to Montreal and then Hamilton (although a cynical person might point out that they only confirmed some rumours): Jet attack tip from Mossad

Canadian security officials yesterday revealed details of the threatened terror attack on an Israeli passenger jet enroute to Pearson airport last week. While the El Al Boeing 767 was in the air Thursday, Mossad agents in Tel Aviv notified airport and Canadian security agents that al-Qaida operatives were planning to attack the jet with a surface-to-air rocket, officials said.

"The tip originated from the Mossad," one senior federal official said, speaking on condition they remain anonymous. "They believed it was very credible threat."

Police suspect the heat-seeking missile was to have been fired at the descending aircraft from a van or truck on either Hwys. 427, 27, 401 or 403, the officials said.

They aren't sure if the rocket was to have been fired from a moving vehicle or one parked on the shoulder of the highway.

The only revelations is that last paragraph, but it seems a little incredible that the rocket would be fired from a moving vehicle. If they missed, that rocket would have hit . . . what? But here's the really interesting part:
Officials said the attack was aimed at that specific flight because certain unidentified Israeli military or government members were on board.

"We suspect there were potential targets on the flight that particular day," one official said.

"The airline never releases the names of its passengers."

That raises some interesting questions. It's a pretty clear implication that either there was a breach in security or there's an insider at work. Maybe somebody who knows more about how secure information about passenger lists might be breached will comment on this.

Posted by Debbye at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)

Justice for Kazemi elusive

Oct. 29 - The investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi continues to be a political fight between the reformists and hardliners in the Iranian government. The official Iran report on Kazemi death highlights this:

TEHRAN -- Iran's reformist-dominated parliament accused hardline Tehran prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi yesterday of illegally detaining a Montreal photojournalist and then covering up facts surrounding her death in custody in July. Zahra Kazemi, a Canadian of Iranian origin, died July 10, about three weeks after she was detained for taking photographs outside a Tehran prison during protests against the ruling Islamic establishment.

An intelligence agent charged with her alleged beating death has pleaded not guilty to "semi-premeditated murder."

The parliament holds Mortazavi responsible as the head of the Tehran prosecutor's office.

The reformists control the intelligence agencies, and the hardliners control the judicial agencies.
Parliament accused Mortazavi of covering up facts about Kazemi's death -- he said she died of a stroke -- and having no evidence when he accused her of spying and having no permission to work.

The report said Kazemi was beaten by judiciary officials in Evin prison, north of Tehran. It said 20 guards who witnessed and reported the beating were forced to change their reports.

The report leaves little option for the court but to summon Mortazavi for questioning in the trial.

One of the demands of the Canadian government has been for the return of Kazemi's body to Canada and her son, Montrealer Stephan Kachemi. This has not yet been done.

It's hard to tell how much pressure the Canadian government would have put on the Iranian government to pursue this investigation had not Kachemi, Reporters Without Borders, the Canadian media, bloggers and the Official Opposition kept this issue in the forefront, but it is important to keep the pressure on. Kazemi is one of several journalists who are imprisoned in the Middle East and, had she not been a dual citizen of Canada, her death would probably have been ignored.

We tend to take freedom of speech and freedom of the press for granted, and nothing highlights this more than the incessant whining by lefties that they are being "repressed" when, in fact, the fact that they aren't in jail proves that there is no repression except in their own minds, but, more seriously, their whining insults those who actually are being repressed, tortured and jailed for asking questions, taking the "wrong" photographs and speaking their opinions as free people.

The best way we can aid those who are being repressed is to keep the death of Zahra Kazemi an issue. I think that's the best tribute we can pay to her and her belief in freedom.

UPDATE: The story in the Daily Telegraph says: Yesterday, a parliamentary commission dealing with press freedoms, attacked Teheran's chief prosecutor, Said Mortazavi, who has a reputation for jailing journalists and closing down newspapers.

Posted by Debbye at 08:19 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 29 - Wondering how

Oct. 29 - Wondering how members of the Iraqi police forces are coping with the recent bombings that have hit their stations and killed their fellow cops? Boots on the Ground reports that their courage and steadfastness remind him of their colleagues in NYC. Inspiring read.

UPDATE: Grr, CNN is talking about getting the Iraqis to do more of the heavy lifting. The last attempt to bomb the UN offices was stopped by an Iraqi policeman. This latest string of bombings would have been worse had not some of the bombers been intercepted and stopped. I dispise this new generation of liberals precisely because of their patronizing attitudes. I'm not a numbers person, but if I find any total numbers for Iraqi police and cadets I'll post them. Damn the media some more.

Posted by Debbye at 07:04 AM | Comments (0)

October 28, 2003

Oct. 28 - From the

Oct. 28 - From the Times of India:

Indo-Pak thaw making jihadis desperate.

NEW DELHI: Terrorists have struck again in J&K injuring 36 people, a day after the Lashkar threatened renewed strikes during Ramazan. The Army expects more such attacks with winter setting in and the upswing in the Indo-Pak peace process.

Army intelligence sources said, over 2,500 jihadis are waiting across the border in Pakistan waiting for a chance to infiltrate into India before winter sets in.

Good article about something we should be paying more attention to.

As the original poster says, terrorist attacks continue to impede efforts to stabilize hot regions as well as disrupt elections, including the recent killings in Columbia.

(Link via Allahu Akbar.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:16 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 28 - Paul lays

Oct. 28 - Paul lays a righteous fisking on the Nuclear Safety Commission and their unbelievable decision to not safeguard nuclear reactors in Canada.

Posted by Debbye at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 28 - There's some

Oct. 28 - There's some nice spoilery information posted about some of the scenes included in the Two Towers extended edition due to be released Nov. 20 here.

Link from Ith who also makes some insightful comments and links to some Return of the King pics.

Two. More. Months

Posted by Debbye at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 28 - Iyman Faris,

Oct. 28 - Iyman Faris, who also uses the name Mohammad Rauf, was sentenced to 20 years for plotting to cut cables on the Brooklyn Bridge.

Iyman Faris was sentenced to 15 years for aiding and abetting terrorism, plus five years for conspiracy. According to prosecutors, Faris, 34, travelled to Pakistan and Afghanistan, carrying out low-level missions for terrorists. He provided sleeping bags, cellphones and cash to members of al-Qaida and met with Osama bin Laden in 2000 at a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, his accusers said. He also was accused of providing the terror group with information about possible U.S. targets.
Faris received attack instruction from Khalid Shaikh Mohammed. It has been suggested that a second wave of terror was planned after Sept.11 and the destruction of the Brooklyn Bridge was intended to be part of that wave.
U.S. Attorney Paul McNulty also said Faris researched the use of ultralight aircraft for al-Qaida missions and communicated with operatives by e-mail using a code he improvised.


He was born in Pakistan and became a U.S. citizen in 1999. Since his arrival in the United States in 1994, his primary occupation has been as a truck driver.

Posted by Debbye at 07:59 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 28 - U.S. and

Oct. 28 - U.S. and Afghan soldiers were in an intense firefight after they were ambushed by the Taliban last Saturday near Shkin, Afghanistan, which is on the Pakistan border.

10 Taliban, and Two Americans were killed in the firefight. The Americans have been identified as William Carlson of Southern Pines, North Carolina, and Christopher Glenn Mueller of San Diego, California. They were said to be formerly with special forces before they became contract workers with the CIA.

Posted by Debbye at 07:48 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 28 - Stephanie Rubec

Oct. 28 - Stephanie Rubec writes from Camp Julien that the mechanics are in constant battle with the terrain when patrolling outside Kabul due to the rocky roads travelled by the light vehicles.

Since arriving at Camp Julien in mid-August, the 46 combat mechanics have logged 16,469 hours on 1,150 jobs. They rarely get time off, and there's always a group on call 24 hours a day to repair breakdowns.

The mechanics at Camp Julien service 542 vehicles and trailers. They deal with a shortage of spare parts by cleaning out air filters for repeat use and rebuilding alternators, starters and carburetors.

Posted by Debbye at 07:39 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 28 - Yet another

Oct. 28 - Yet another of the world's leading despots is not feeling too well: Mugabe 'flown to South Africa after collapse':

President Robert Mugabe collapsed yesterday and was flown to South Africa for emergency medical treatment, sources in Zimbabwe said last night.
Ohmygosh, first there was a rumour that Arafat has stomach cancer, then Bin Laden reportedly received a visit from a "foreign doctor" and now Mugabe is ill. How ever can we bear it?
Supporters of Mr Mugabe, 79, were setting up barricades in the capital, Harare, manned by well-armed riot police.

It was reported that senior members of the "Green Bombers", the notorious youth brigades created by Mr Mugabe and responsible for rape, murder and political thuggery, were being flown to the city.

Any transition of power in Zimbabwe would probably be violent as Mr Mugabe's successors in the ruling Zanu-PF party would clash with the opposition Movement for Democratic Change.

Astonishing! There have also been some moves within the PA to consolidate and align position for maximum standing should Arafat die.

Just for the record: we didn't do it. No, really. Everyone knows we suck at assassinating people, and we don't even try because the ones we want to target tend to live even longer than your average despot.

Posted by Debbye at 03:06 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 28 - European Commission

Oct. 28 - European Commission auditors have discovered that the fox is in charge of the hen house. It seems that Brussels failed to shut down a network of slush funds and not only let slush funds stay but allowed abuses to spread.

MEPs called for the head of Pedro Solbes, the economics commissioner, after a final audit report leaked yesterday said missing records and the total breakdown of financial control at Eurostat, the statistics agency, made it impossible to know how much taxpayers' money had vanished or what it was used for.

Investigators identified the loss of £3 million in "a vast enterprise of looting" by senior officials in Luxembourg, mostly through inflated contracts with outside firms.

Suddenly members of the Prime Minister's Cabinet look like a bunch of underachievers.

Posted by Debbye at 02:47 PM | Comments (0)

October 27, 2003

Oct. 27 - Boots on

Oct. 27 - Boots on the Ground

I am a Solder of the United States Army, currently serving in Baghdad, Iraq. My goal in making this site is to give people back home and abroad on the daily life for the American soldier here in Baghdad, Iraq. I dont think the media covers this place that well. I will have an unbias'd oppinion, so I'll even be critical toward what the US military does here in Iraq. However, I will also re-iterate, that alot of stories on the news dont always give the full true stories. Anyway, that is my goal, I hope I can get as many people as possable to visit this site.
Count on it!

(Link via Andrew Sullivan.)

Posted by Debbye at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 27 - Interesting transcript

Oct. 27 - Interesting transcript from a Broadcasting & Cable interview with Fox News' Roger Ailes Roger's Balancing Act.

The interview persuades me we will probably never get Fox News up here for at least as long as the Liberals run the CRTC:

... I would say, of course, I can be objective about the war and the coverage of the war. But, as a United States citizen, do I want the Taliban to win and subjugate all the women and execute people in stadiums? No, I'm sort of opposed to that. The concept that the journalists are totally objective is crazy. They have friends. They have an education. They've gone to some school where some professor spun their brain out. They've got a view of life. They've got history. They've got parents. They've got people they like and socialize with. They have a view based on their experience. And they bring all that to journalism. Their job is to try to sort through that and get to as much truth as they can get to, which is what we do, every day. (Emphasis added)
Eat that, CBC!

The interview is exceptionally good. Ailes makes some interesting points about advocacy journalism and how he believes Fox News has challenged and changed institutions like the NY Times and LA Times.

(Link via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 27 - I'm not

Oct. 27 - I'm not going to try to report on the California fires, but I did note two news items that got my attention: Suspects sought

Authorities announced they were seeking two men for investigation of arson and possibly murder in connection with the fire, which ravaged foothill neighborhoods of San Bernardino and threatened mountain homes. One man was seen Saturday morning throwing something into roadside brush that caught fire, then he and a companion fled in a van, officials said.

The 30-mile fire in the San Bernardino area was formed when two smaller fires merged, covering the region with thick smoke and ash.

From World Net Daily -- Al-Qaida planned U.S. forest fires:
As arson wildfires consumed nearly 200,000 acres in Southern California, destroying 850 homes and killing at least 13, the inevitable question arises: Who started the fires?

While firefighters focus on containing the blazes rather than the detective work necessary to prosecute arsonists, many are wondering about a possible connection with terrorism.

I'll admit it: I'm one of those who wonder, and my suspicions are only increased when reports after the fires break out state that the fire was started by arson but then that fact is downplayed as was the case recently in Western Canada and Australia last year.
In August, Australian authorities launched an investigation into reports al-Qaida planned to spark bushfires in a new wave of devastating terror attacks.

A June 25 FBI memo to United States law enforcement agencies revealed a senior al-Qaida detainee claimed to have developed a plan to start midsummer forest fires in the U.S.

The terrorist hoped to mimic the destruction that devastated Canberra last summer, killing four people and destroying more than 500 homes, as well as in other parts of Australia.

The memo, obtained by the Arizona Republic newspaper, said an unidentified detainee revealed he hoped to create several large, catastrophic wildfires at once.

"The detainee believed that significant damage to the U.S. economy would result and once it was realized that the fires were terrorist acts, U.S. citizens would put pressure on the U.S. government to change its policies," the memo said.

You mean like use bigger bombs? Oh, I probably shouldn't say that. We're still working on the principle that Islam is a religion of peace. It seems like only yesterday that Muslim leaders were urging the US to start the offensive in Afghanistan after the Ramadan festival because it would offend Muslims if war were to intrude on the holiness of that peaceful nature. Why just yesterday at the Baghdad Red Crescent HQ . . .

Oh please, direct your hate to someone who cares. I believe that Islam is a religion of peace just as Judaism is a religion of peace just as Christianity is a religion of peace. It's nothing personal, merely an historical observation. Back me into a corner and I'll cut your heart out. Simple, really.

Back on topic: what I didn't realize was there is a precedent:

In fact, Arab terrorists in Israel have started dozens of major forest fires over the years...

As far back as 1988, Israeli police caught more than a dozen Palestinian adults in the act of setting fires, while other Arabs confessed to arson after arrest. Some fires followed specific calls by underground Arab terrorists. A leaflet issued by the Palestinian uprising's underground leadership called for ''the destruction and burning of the enemy's properties, industry and agriculture.''

Maybe this is just my day of collecting odd bits and pieces of the news, or maybe the quiet speculation is being reinforced by leaked intelligence reports.

I hate wondering about what might be behind cases of food poisoning (I'm kidding) or servers going down (not kidding.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:48 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 27 - According to

Oct. 27 - According to the Sun (UK), the rockets used in the attack on the Rashid Hotel were new French missiles:

Half of the missiles fired were modern French weapons, said experts -- produced after the arms embargo imposed on Iraq following the first Gulf War.

The shock discovery will further fuel growing concern over blackmarket French arms links with Islamic terrorists.

The French government has furiously denied turning a blind eye to illegal weapon supplies, despite the recent discovery in Iraq of military hardware apparently built there.

This information should probably be taken with a caution, especially as an earlier report that Polish troops found new French missiles proved to be false. An Australian news agency reports that:
The military believes the insurgents are raiding abandoned weapons dumps, a legacy of Saddam's regime, where they find everything from missiles to mortars.

Posted by Debbye at 08:00 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 27 - This dispatch

Oct. 27 - This dispatch from Stephanie Rubec, Dangers in the dark, details the dangerous duty of night patrols in Kabul. It's more dangerous in nighttime Kabul than Toronto, and the Canadian troops are the only ISAF unit who undertake these patrols.

Although there are police in Kabul, they haven't been paid in months and are potentially part of the problem.

Although night-vision goggles give the soldiers the advantage, they use the stars to guide them. And, not suprisingly, the green uniforms are an advantage in the dark.

Good read.

Posted by Debbye at 07:18 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 26 - From Alpha

Oct. 26 - From Alpha Patriot, a recent report indicates that illegal aliens have changed the makeup of Congress because they are included as residents when seats in the House of Represenatives are reapportioned on the basis of population in districts. He links to a report from the Center for Immigration Studies which indicates that California has 3 new seats and North Carolina has another due to illegal aliens who reside in those districts and 4 states have lost a seat each.

Posted by Debbye at 12:11 AM | Comments (0)

October 26, 2003

The downside of power sanders

Oct. 26 - From the blog quebecois:

If you have a power sander, dispose of it now. Throw it in the garbage, give it to Goodwill, annihilate it with a cutting torch.

People with power sanders are like people with pickup trucks. When people need to move on the cheap, they think of people with pickup trucks.
This can only end one way . . .

Susie has some thoughts about moving the clocks around from the viewpoint of someone in Indiana here they stick to the clock all year. Cool.

David wrote a letter to his blog and invokes the spirit of Rod Stewart.

Anger Management has a disturbing story (my favourite kind) about the untimely demise of Miss Piggy.

The Lemon bears the sad tidings that Iraq is being kicked out of the Axis of Evil, but the remaining members are heroically searching for a third member to replace it. There's also a report that Dean is leading in the presidential polls -- in Europe.

The Essay has a house that's easy to care for. Sort of.

Allah Is In The House (actually he's out playing paintball) and has some nice things to say about the NY Times. Sort of.

ScrappleFace is just plain funny. Just start at the top and keep on going.

Posted by Debbye at 10:56 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 26 - What do

Oct. 26 - What do you say about a blogger who is reporting on the relentless march of the San Diego fire by looking out his window? Byron of Slings and Arrows is uncomfortably close: this is chilling. This is more chilling.

Take care of yourself Byron.

Posted by Debbye at 09:18 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 26 - The Meatriarchy

Oct. 26 - The Meatriarchy has successfully abandoned Toronto for his new home in Burlington and has started posting again.

Does anyone know where I can find an online Newfoundland Dictionary? (I already consulted my Caper Dictionary) I need to look up fousty.

Posted by Debbye at 02:24 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 26 - The transcript

Oct. 26 - The transcript of this morning's interview with L. Paul Bremer is here

UPDATE: Murdoc actually got to watch it, and has makes the point that invoking Sept. 11 overlooks the larger picture about why we need to fight terrorism.

Posted by Debbye at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 26 - When the

Oct. 26 - When the Dems and liberals unite to defend the CIA I want to run for cover because I know that the end must be nigh.

But no, it's just partisan politics as usual CIA rejects blame in battle over flawed Iraq intelligence and I don't really care who said or didn't do or any of the sentences that begin Blame Assignment. There are big, gaping holes in that intelligence agency and My Inner Capt. Kirk says I don't care if it takes every man and woman we've got -- I want them off the ship. The President is free to use that phrase, if he so choses.

But at the end of Telegraph article is this gem:

Three former high-ranking officials in Saddam Hussein's Mukhabarat security agency have been shot dead in a suspected punishment attack for assisting American troops, writes Damien McElroy in Baghdad.

Asham Sharif Al-Tikriti, a former ambassador to Tunisia, Mohammad Al-Sabahi, the general director of the secret services section, and Thamur Al-Falahi, a former director-general of the agency in Basra, were attacked at a Baghdad restaurant on Friday night.

An Iraqi intelligence official said the men were helping to trap a network of Palestinian exiles linked to the terrorist leader Abu Abbas that is believed to have supplied suicide bombers for recent attacks on the United Nations headquarters and the Turkish embassy.

Say what? Try Syria threatens to attack Golan settlers if Israel strikes again because toward the end is:
Washington is already planning tough diplomatic and financial action against Syria. Mr Sharaa risked further American criticism in admitting that Syria could not control the border with Iraq and had failed to stop Palestinians, Iraqis and Syrians going to fight against American forces.

"We are doing everything we can," he said."We have tightened our checkpoints and are turning people back. But the border is long and we cannot cover it all.

"If America, a rich superpower, cannot stop Mexicans crossing into the United States, then how can we, a poor country, be expected to stop Palestinians getting into Iraq?" he added.

Mr. Sharaa is dissembling. The point is that Syria is encouraging them to go.

Posted by Debbye at 01:40 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 26 - This deserves

Oct. 26 - This deserves to be read in full: Canuck cheer wins friends because it goes from the smiles and waves to the mission itself: providing security for the war-torn country for the residents

Taylor pointed out that in the areas where he's patrolled, robberies, rapes and crime, which are mostly committed at night when the streets of Kabul are deserted, have decreased.

"In the past two weeks we haven't had anything," he said. "There are women and children who can sleep at night. Internationally it's not a big difference but it is to their family."

and security for the Afghan government as they prepare for the Decemeber summit of the Loya Jirga (council of elders) during which they will be working on the country's Constitution:
Those warlords are duking it out in the many provinces of Afghanistan. They are fighting to gain control of land, and most importantly areas where oil pipelines snake through Afghanistan.

In an effort to destabilize Interim President Hamid Karzai's hold on Kabul, terrorist factions have infiltrated the capital.

They have been identified by intelligence reports as Chechnyans, Yemens and Saudi Arabians, intent on wreaking havoc in ISAF and Kabul.

So Canadians on patrol are always on the lookout for specific vehicles and people, calling on the rapid response force at any sign of the suspects.

Remeber they who serve.

By the way, have you sent your
greetings or parcels to the troops in Afghanistan yet?

Posted by Debbye at 12:20 PM | Comments (0)

Terror watch

Oct. 26 - There's been a lot of strange symmetry this week with a round-up of terrorists in and from Canada in yesterday's National Post combined with (unofficial) allegations that Maher Arar gave names to Syrian interrogators and the rationale behind the re-routing of El Al flights away from Toronto Airport.

That there are people in Canada who have been trained by al Qaeda is hardly a surprise: after all, why would Canada be any different in this respect from France, the UK, Australia, Gemany, and the United States?

What bothers me most is government reluctance to publicly address the issue. Toronto Sun columnist Gary Dunford was more irritated than humourous today in his column Flying in the Dark:

REMAIN CALM: Like most, I say we should be told absolutely nothing about why Israeli jetliners have avoided Pearson airport for three days. Canadians, like mushrooms, grow best in the dark.
The story behind the diverted El Al flights from Toronto, according to this, was a telephone threat to an Israeli security agency to bring down an El Al airplane at Toronto Airport report. Officials are unsure if the phone call was made from a pay phone or a cell phone. (Airport security officials spoke on condition of anonymity. Sigh.)

The good news: somebody is apparently examining and seeing if dots connect:

Security officials are also trying to determine if a rocket launcher found in a postal shipment is linked to the threat.

The Mounties and CSIS are tracing the origins and destination of a German-made rocket launcher, found by Canada Customs officers among 14 caches of weapons, entering the country at a Mississauga postal plant from April 2001 to March 2003.

The weapon is designed to be fired from the shoulder and can be outfitted with heat-seeking missiles.

Meanwhile, B'nai Brith Canada is urging members of the Jewish community to be careful in light of the El Al alert.

According to this, Canada's Minister of Transport, David Collenette is considering re-routing more El Al flights destined for Toronto to other Canadian cities, which may seem to solve the problem in the short term but doesn't adddress security concerns. That's about as official a comment on the diversion we're likely to get.

Now this: Canadians warned to avoid travel to Saudia Arabia because intelligence reports indicate that terrorists are planning future terrorist attacks. The warnings specify that Americans, the British and Canadians should be especially vigilant around the upcoming Ramadan:

"It is the Embassy's assessment that terrorist groups may place special operational significance on the upcoming month of Ramadan and American citizens are therefore urged to be particularly vigilant during this time."
According to this, one reason the warning was issued was because explosive belts were found during a raid in Saudi Arabia.

An unusual warning was issued by the FBI to Muslims in the US:

On Friday, the FBI urged extra vigilance for possible terror attacks and violence against Muslims in the United States during Ramadan.

In its weekly bulletin to 18,000 state and local law enforcement agencies, the FBI said it has no credible information that an attack is being planned by Osama bin Laden's al-Qaida network or any other terror group during the month.

But attacks overseas have been timed in the past to coincide with symbolic dates, the FBI said, adding that "the possibility of such an attack in the United States cannot be discounted."

Is the FBI warning about attacks on Muslims from non-Muslims or Muslims? Al Qaeda certainly has no scruples about killing Muslims, as has been evidenced most recently in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia, and it's no secret that many American Muslims are actively trying to root out terrorist cells within their own communities, something al Qaeda would want to punish. I'm just speculating, but when I see a non sequitur like the above my anteannae go hippity-hop.

Or maybe it's the persistant whispers from the Netherlands and Australia among other places that there is a quiet struggle within the Muslim communities that overtly seems to revolve around whether women should or not should wear headscarves, and more ominously, what to do about women who chose to forgo them, and this fairly well-circulated report by Theodore Dalrymple on the public housing ghettoes in France (ghetto is my terminology), and some further musings from Mark Steyn.

(If you follow only one link, make it the one to Mark Steyn. It may startle you.)

(NP and Dalrymple links via Right On!.)

UPDATE: MSNBC has an article on the harsh life of Muslim women in Paris, which is considerably more on target than the pathetic NY Times article A Crime of the Young Stalks France's Urban Wastelands.

UPDATE: The threat to El Al is officially over. Officials are remaining tight lipped.

Posted by Debbye at 11:24 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 26 - Guess I

Oct. 26 - Guess I should mention today's Big News: even if the Cubs didn't play in the World Series, the National League won.

I'm over it already. (Wait'il next year.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:54 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 26 - Two reports

Oct. 26 - Two reports on yesterday's demonstrations, here and here.

Only a few hundred in San Francisco? Things are definitely changing for the better in California.

A picture is worth a lot of words: here is a unique photographic report from Belligerent Bunny Blog. Excellent work.

(Bunny link via Instapundit.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

October 25, 2003

Oct. 25 - I'm voting

Oct. 25 - I'm voting for Irreconcilable Musing's post on the recent distributed denial of service attacks on Hosting Matters that closed down Instapundit, Little Green Footballs, Anti-Idiotarian Rotweiller and others.

This post issues a call to battle in Defending the Blogosphere Front in the War on Terrorism. The target of the attack was Haganah, an Israeli based website that monitors the internet and works to expose and shutdown terrorist-sponsored sites

Having a sizable portion of the blogosphere taken down is annoying. But stop for a moment. The people who carried out this hack come from the same pool of radical Islam that brought 9-11 to us. The more I read about what Internet Haganha does, the more I came to realize that this weekend's DDoS attacks are nothing less than another front of the War on Terrorism.

Then it hit me. I can do something about this. (Original emphases)

Please read the post and see if you too can help.

Posted by Debbye at 04:43 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 25 - I'm going

Oct. 25 - I'm going to be out for the rest of the morning, so don't forget the stupid clocks tonight and have a safe one.

Posted by Debbye at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 25 - Billions for

Oct. 25 - Billions for palaces, barely a cent for reconstruction from those world renowned humanitarians in the governments of France, Germany and Russia, but others have met the challenge as Donors pledge UN extra £8bn to rebuild Iraq.

The United Nations secured nearly £8 billion in loans and grants to rebuild Iraq at a donors' conference in Madrid yesterday, meeting expectations but falling short of the figure sought by the United States and the World Bank.

The pledges came on top of £12 billion already promised by America, bringing the total offered to around £20 billion - £13 billion short of what the World Bank estimated Iraq's overall requirement to be.

"This is an excellent start. Iraqis are shedding tears. Humanity has stood beside them," said Mahdi Hafez, Iraq's planning minister.

US officials, who had lobbied hard to persuade reluctant donors to contribute, offered fulsome praise for the conference, which they said marked a turning point in international support for Iraq.

But Russia, France and Germany, which led opposition to the war on Iraq and only grudgingly agreed to a UN resolution setting up a multinational force for Iraq last week, failed to pledge any financial aid.

This is a supply your own snark post.

Posted by Debbye at 10:12 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 25 - Second El

Oct. 25 - Second El Al flight avoids Toronto airport following security threat.:

TORONTO (AFP) - A second El Al flight in 24 hours avoided Toronto's airport and landed in nearby Hamilton, after a security threat diverted the plane to two Canadian airports on the first leg of its trip, a transport official said.

On Thursday, an El Al flight to Los Angeles that had been due to stop in Toronto was diverted twice, first to Montreal's Mirabel airport and then to Hamilton's airport. The plane then headed to Los Angeles without incident.

"On its return flight from Los Angeles last night, El Al decided that it wanted to operate using the Hamilton airport again, which it did and has proceeded on to its final destination into Israel," said Peter Coyles, a Transport Canada spokesman.

This next report confirms that El Al had missile threats. The threat is being investigated by CSIS.
HAMILTON -- An El Al flight was diverted from Pearson Airport to Hamilton because of a missile threat, an Israeli source confirmed yesterday. The flight carrying 180 passengers let off Toronto-bound passengers in Hamilton before continuing to Los Angeles on Thursday. The return flight to Israel also landed at Hamilton instead of Toronto on its way back yesterday.

Transport Minister David Collenette said the plane was diverted again because El Al believed the threat against the plane continued. He would not give details, but an Israeli source told The Canadian Press that it involved a ground-to-air missile.

Wasn't another El Al flight from LAX to Pearson diverted within the past year? It was before I started to blog and thus I have no ready source, but maybe another Canadian blogger has kept track. I'll update if I find it. (Keep in mind my memory could be playing tricks, you know.)

(Yahoo! link via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 25 - Another dispatch

Oct. 25 - Another dispatch from Stephanie Rubec: Kabul bomb alert:

CAMP JULIEN, Afghanistan -- Soldiers in Kabul are on the lookout for a highly trained female suicide bomber whose target is Canada and other members of the coalition fighting terrorism, Sun Media has learned. Jamila, trained in Iran, "is planning to attack U.S. or coalition targets," warns a document bearing a picture of a veiled young woman. The document was distributed at Camp Julien where 1,900 Canadian soldiers are based.

The Canadians have also been warned that some Afghan women wearing burkas -- a traditional garment that covers them from head to toe -- are known to be smuggling explosives and weapons into Kabul and around its outskirts.


This week both the commander of the multi-national International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) and the Canadian commander in Afghanistan warned of an infiltration of terrorists in Kabul.

Those terrorists, from Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Chechnya, are plotting attacks to destabilize ISAF and the interim Afghan government.

German Lt.-Gen. Goetz Gliemeroth, ISAF commander, said earlier this week those terrorists are working for the Taliban, al-Qaida and a terrorist leader named Gulbudeen Hekmatyar and are poised to use "maximum force and unjust force."

May God watch over and protect the troops.

Posted by Debbye at 09:38 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 25 - 9-year old

Oct. 25 - 9-year old Cecilia Zhang is still missing, and thousands are holding out hope that she will be found and returned to her family. A few articles today:
Toronto Vigil shines light of hope, and
A tearful plea.

I'm not going to speculate on who has Cecilia and why, but join my prayers that whoever has her contacts her parents and ends this nightmare.

Posted by Debbye at 09:33 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 25 - I'd hardly

Oct. 25 - I'd hardly call throwing your baby to the floor because you already thought it was dead the sign of good parenting, but then juries often confound me: 'Gutsy' jury acquits dad:

A Toronto father who twice threw his 13-pound baby boy onto the floor believing he was already dead was a free man yesterday after a jury made the "gutsy" decision to acquit him. Sebastiao Simpson was found not guilty on a second-degree murder charge arising from the death of tiny infant Schadrac.

Schadrac, who was born prematurely and died on Jan. 14, 2001 at nine months of age, succumbed to a brain and skull injury from likely more than one blow to his head.


Simpson testified that Schadrac's mother, Emiliane Seti-Mayinga, wanted to take the baby to church that day and he disagreed. They got into an argument which evolved into a tug-of-war over the baby, who was pulled from his dad's arms and fell to the floor. Simpson said he concluded his son had died in the fall and was so grief stricken, confused and irrational that he reacted by throwing him down twice more.

Schadrac was found by emergency personnel with vital signs absent. He was revived, but with no obvious brain activity, and was taken off life-support in hospital 12 hours later.

A "tug-of-war" over a baby? Sorry, but I am certain that, had one of my kids fallen and I feared they were dead, whatever stupid argument had caused such a fall would have been forgotten and I would have called 911 and administer whatever first aid I could, including mouth-to-mouth rescuscitation.

Ah, never mind. There are no words to express the contempt I feel for parents whose power struggles are more important than the sanity and health of their kids.

I could let it go with "grow up" but sadly Schadrac will never have that chance.

Posted by Debbye at 09:28 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 25 - Maybe Bin

Oct. 25 - Maybe Bin Laden still is among the living, although that assertion only highlights questions as to why he won't show his face on the routine videos pledging death and destruction. From Camp Julien, come some reports that Bin Laden has been spotted:

CAMP JULIEN, Afghanistan -- Osama bin Laden is hiding out in the mountains less than 200 km from Kabul, according to the latest intelligence reports obtained by Sun Media. The leader of al-Qaida, recently re-invented under Fath-e-Islam (Victory of Islam), has been seen in the Koh-I Kandic mountains in the province of Kunar, an ultra-religious conservative region that supports bin Laden and is pro-Taliban.
The Afghan defence department says that Fath-e-Islam operates two training camps in Pakistan and is trying to get surface-to-air missiles in China.

Bin Laden's hiding place is also reportedly in a Pakistani village 80 km from the Afghan border, according to a top Pakistan newspaper, and a classified document with the Int'l Security Assistance Force says he is hiding with the Guzer tribe in an area said to be inacessible. The same document says Bin Laden was recently visited by a "foreign doctor" to treat his kidney problems. (So where is al-Zawahir, who is supposed to be Bin Laden's personal physician?)

Posted by Debbye at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 25 - This isn't

Oct. 25 - This isn't news, it's reality: Hall: 2% tax hike and a plan to pass a bylaw to limit all increases to the rate of inflation. (I wonder if that will apply to councillors' expenses and salaries?) The real giggle, though, is her approach to sub-contracting city services:

Hall said she would entertain the idea of contracting out some services now provided by city workers.

"I don't see that necessarily as the answer to all of these issues," she said. "I think I'm interested in questions of productivity. I think people in this city expect good service -- efficient service." (Emphasis added)

She added in many cases, contracting out city jobs does not yield cost savings.

Please, how much is the standard salary in the private sector for a position which consists of putting people on Endless Hold and passing a member of the public from person to person, none of whom can answer the questions posed but can cheerfully pass them onto another employee who will place them on Endless Hold?

Just your tax dollars at work, folks.

Posted by Debbye at 08:36 AM | Comments (0)

October 24, 2003

Oct. 24 - Ayad Allawi,

Oct. 24 - Ayad Allawi, the current head of Iraq's U.S.-appointed governing council, may have uttered the quote of the week when he was commenting on the limited German, French help for the reconstruction of Iraq:

"I don't think the Iraqis are going to forget easily that in the hour of need, those countries wanted to neglect Iraq."
Steve at Enter Stage Right points out that the Arab countries appear to be donating what they found in the couch.

Jen finds common ground with Mr. Allawi.

Sometimes our country feel so isolated, and it's good to remember that:

Real friends don't spend all their time telling you what good friends they are. Real friends don't need to.
You can tell who your friends really are by what they do, not by what they say.
Here is a list of the countries that have boots on the ground in Iraq at USS Clueless and his commentary.

It's Friday, which means a Victor Davis Hanson piece up at the NRO and today's is The Event of the Age

[a successful consensual government in Baghdad] will confront radical Islam with a competing ideology that possesses a far more revolutionary message than the Islamists' tired old culture of death that ruined Afghanistan and Iran, ..
Read the whole thing.

Posted by Debbye at 06:08 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 24 - Boy, some

Oct. 24 - Boy, some people are sure sensitive. Both the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and some people in Quebec object to a portion of the Sony game Syphon Filter: The Omega Strain that features "instrument of world peace" Gabe Logan taking down some Quebec separatist terrorists who are trying to take over the Toronto subway system.

Sony pulls gun-toting separatists from new game for reasons that don't actually make a lot of sense. The hero of the game isn't after separatists, he's after gun-totin' separatists which I should think would please the politically-correct gun-registering types that can always find a microphone:

"It's difficult not to be made to feel like a target when you know that games distributed to large numbers are inviting the player to shoot at separatists," the Societe St Jean Baptiste's Jean Dorion told CFCF News.
It's a mainstay of any game that you lose points if you target someone who isn't targeting you, sir. Release the subway car if you want to live.
The Toronto Transit Commission was also upset by the game.

"The fact is someone is putting the Toronto subway as a terrorist site, that is a very dangerous thing to do," spokeswoman Marilyn Bolton told Canadian Press before Sony changed its plans.

"One of the things we have to be careful about is letting some person who's doing something that really doesn't seem ethically correct pit Canadians against Canadians."

I have no idea what the heck she's talking about. Who the heck is this "we," the TTC? The TTC is worried about ethical correctness? Does she have the faintest clue which city council member is on the Commission?

UPDATE: Howard Moscoe is the city councillor, for the Torontonian who emailed me.

Posted by Debbye at 01:18 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 24 - Another subject

Oct. 24 - Another subject in a long list of question is Maher Arar (why did the US deport him, why did the Syrians want him and why did they let him go) so why would I be surprised to read this: Arar provided info to Syrians: gov't sources:

Senior government officials in various departments have told CTV News that while in custody in Syria for almost a year, Canadian Maher Arar provided information to the Syrians about al Qaeda cells operating in Canada.

They say Arar also provided information about the Muslim Brotherhood, a radical Islamic group linked to Osama bin Laden, and information about four other Canadians:

Arwad al-Bushi, a Syrian-born Canadian being held in a Syrian jail;
Abdullah al Malki, another Syrian-born Canadian being held in Syria;
Ahmad Abou-el-Maati, an Eyptian Canadian in custody in Egypt; and
Mohamed Harkat, born in Algeria, who is being held under an anti-terrorism security certificate at the Ottawa Detention Centre.

Kerry Pither, an Arar family spokesperson, talked to Arar Thursday night.

"What he's asked me to say is that he's outraged government sources are leaking information to the media," Pither told CTV News, "and if they had any information about him, why is he walking around free."

I don't know why he's walking about free, but I'm with him on the "government sources leaking information" complaint.

Maybe this will add some perspective: Palestinian gunmen kill suspected collaborators.

There really is a moral crisis in our governments on this continent. I don't blame reporters, they are supposed to report whatever dirty laundry they can uncover after all, but I Am Tired Of Leaks. I am tired of wondering if the leaks are true, I am tired of the strain of arguing with people who interpret rumours as fact and believe "senior officials" actually exist, and I am tired of finding the retraction of a leaked rumour by the ubiquitous "senior offical" buried in the paper that first aired the incorrect leak.

For example, what does this leaked information about Maher Arar do to the cases the government may be building against Mohamed Harkat? Will adverse pre-trial publicity be used as a reason to declare the defendent cannot receive a fair trial?

Are leakers as this one malicious, or are there just a lot of dumb people in government who are easily flattered and like to boast about things they know that you and I don't know and which an all too obliging reporter is willing to publicize?

UPDATE: According to this in the Saturday Sun, at least one Liberal MP got that these revelations put Arar and his family in danger.

The suddenness of Arar's release and the leaked information about what he may have told Syrian interrogators make it look as though his release was done out of malice rather than concern for his rights. It sure puts Canada in an awkward position.

Posted by Debbye at 12:57 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 24 - I have

Oct. 24 - I have been in a particularly nasty mood this past 24-hours.

I received an Eligible Elector Card which entitles me to vote in the upcoming Toronto municipal election, and all I need to do is bring this card and a piece of ID which has my Toronto address.

There's just one problem: I'M NOT A CITIZEN OF CANADA!

I've lived in Canada for over 20 years and I never had this problem before, and I blame it on all the forms and questionnaires and surveys the governments have sent out (there have been a lot of them this past year.)

Statistics Canada knows my status because I ticked the box that said "Landed Immigrant" when I completed my census form.

Ontario knows my status because I told a Registrar I wasn't a citizen when she knocked on my door this summer in preparation for preparing the voter's list for the recent Provincial election. (Full disclosure: I told her twice because she didn't believe me the first time and asked me if I was sure. Uh-huh)

The Office of the Attorney General knows I'm not a citizen because the information was requested as part of the routine jury duty screening questionnaire I completed last year.

I finally located the form to amend my status online, but it doesn't list my particular issue and there is no designated "If Other, Please Specify" section.

What to do? What to do?

I did the ethical thing, of course. I sat on hold at the Election Information Line, but foolishly failed to prepare adquately by reading this.

Trust me, one government agency is like any other government agency. Canada, the USA, Ontario, California, Toronto, Pinole, it doesn't matter. Bureaucratese transcends national sovereignty, languages and common sense.

I hold this truth to be self-evident, all man and women are created equal and are endowed by their governments to life on hold, liberty to listen to shudderingly-awful musack and the pursuit of a live human to address the problems caused by bureaurcratic red tape.

I listen carefully to the menu options voiced by the electronic drone; if there's no mention of We are Recording You To Ensure Quality Control (ha!) I beam happily because at least I can say whatever I chose when a electronic voice comes on to tell me I'm still on hold.

Oh lighten up. I usually just mutter sarcasms because I figure they might be monitoring me and not telling me, right?

More later. Or not. I may do as my oldest recommends: frame the damned thing as a reminder to never ever complete government forms because you never know how they'll screw up perfectly straightforward answers to their deceptively simple questions.

Posted by Debbye at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 24 - Make of

Oct. 24 - Make of this what you will: Saudi-funded school in Germany 'linked to terrorist attacks':

Explosives and a testament like those written by suicide bombers have been found at the home of a man linked to a Saudi-funded school, German secret service sources said yesterday, intensifying pressure for the institution to be closed.

The King Fahd Academy in Bonn was set up eight years ago with £10 million from the Saudi royal family, and was hailed as a "cultural bridge between Germany and the Arab world".

Now it is alleged to be a magnet for Islamic fundamentalists. A spokesman for the city of Bonn said: "According to information from intelligence sources people have been observed at the school over the past few months who have contact with terrorists or are themselves suspected of involvement in terrorist attacks. By that I mean teachers and the parents of pupils."

As I mentioned yesterday, in all the hoopla over the leaked Pentagon memo the fact that Secy. Rumsfeld poses questions about madrasses has been either ignored or overlooked.

I really don't know the truth on this issue. Whereas I don't doubt that some Saudi-funded schools could well be terrorist recruiting and training grounds, I don't know if that is the exception or the rule. Oh well, stay tuned.

Posted by Debbye at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

October 23, 2003

Oct. 23 - Jen remembers

Oct. 23 - Jen remembers another anniversary
Moscow theatre siege by Chechen Islamist terrorists.

Posted by Debbye at 09:19 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 23 - Yet another

Oct. 23 - Yet another Rumsfeld Memo Leaked to Media.

Posted by Debbye at 08:08 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 23 - I still

Oct. 23 - I still haven't been able to get through all of the recent report from the U.S. Committee for Human Rights in North Korea mostly because I can only get so far before I have to stand up and pace. It is horrible, and I doubt anyone can read it without feeling as though we ought to be doing something.

Steven den Beste over at USS Clueless has a great many thoughts on this report and what action we might take, but I can't select one item to isolate for quote here so don't expect me to.

Get comfortable and link here. It's time well spent.

Posted by Debbye at 06:29 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 23 - First, hearty

Oct. 23 - First, hearty congratulations to Charles who's just bought a new (sort of) house, and second, take time to ponder some wise observations about That 50s show:

Decades, of course, seldom conform to mere chronology, and the Fifties were arguably the longest decade of the twentieth century, beginning 25 June 1950 along the 38th parallel on the Korean peninsula and ending 22 November 1963 in the city of Dallas. In the intervening years, we've been taught that the Fifties were a perfectly dreadful era, riven with paranoia and choked with conformity, the spectres of Jim Crow and Joe McCarthy glaring down upon the landscape, and June Cleaver forever stuck behind her vacuum cleaner.

But a truer picture of the Fifties, I think, emerges when you stand these arguments on their heads. Tailgunner Joe's obsession with communists, however overwrought, was based on fact. Jim Crow was about to be plucked: in 1954, Linda Brown won out over the Topeka Board of Education, and the following year Rosa Parks was arrested, precipitating the Montgomery bus boycott. Innocuous pop tunes were displaced by rhythm and blues and its marginally-legitimate child, rock and roll. And while Ward may have been the nominal head of the Cleaver family, it takes less than half an hour to notice that June actually ran things.

It's too easy to make superficial judgements about superficial observations, and lots more rewarding to observe how things evolve for the better. Of course it would be harder to sit around and hate ourselves if we did that!

Posted by Debbye at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 23 - Another winner

Oct. 23 - Another winner from Day By Day by Chris Muir.

He just keeps getting better.

Posted by Debbye at 04:56 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 23 - Jay Currie

Oct. 23 - Jay Currie is celebrating his blogging birthday. Actually it was on Oct 15, 2002, but Jay missed his own birthday. (They say the memory is the first to go when you have children.)

I first ran into Jay's blog last April when I found the Canadian Friends of America website and (blush) learned that there were some fine Canadian bloggers to supplement my war blog reading.

Thanks Jay, and keep blogging.

Posted by Debbye at 04:52 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 23 - 20 years

Oct. 23 - 20 years later, Lebanon bombing haunts

BEIRUT, Lebanon (AP) -- Twenty years ago the United States had its first experience with the suicide bomb -- initially its embassy, then its Marine barracks, blasted to shreds by a truckload of explosives that killed 241 servicemen and launched a new era in the Middle East. The reverberations are still being felt.

Today the 19-year-old soldier on duty at Beirut airport's Parking C lot shrugs indifferently when told that this was where the doomed barracks stood. He wasn't even born when the bomb went off on October 23, 1983. For many like him, it's a distant memory, one of scores of atrocities committed during Lebanon's 1975-1990 civil war.

But for Washington it was a watershed. It ultimately drove the U.S. military out of Lebanon. A decade later American forces pulled out of Somalia, their mission again wrecked by violence. Today, as U.S. casualties mount in Iraq, some are asking whether the United States will walk away again.

The answer, of course, is no.

It should also be remembered that on that same day, a separate and simultaneous blast killed 58 French paratroopers.

Although countries may differ and bicker, there is a special solidarity among soldiers -- American, Canadian, German, French, and other nations' soldiers that unites those who are on the front lines and in the line of fire.

What remains unresolved is who was behind the Beirut bombings and, as with the recent bombing that targeted and killed 3 Americans last week in Gaza, answering that question may appear to be on the back burner but do not let appearances deceive you.

Ask Abu Abbas.

We. Don't. Forget.

May those who were killed at the Marine Barracks and at embassies throughout the world rest better knowing that, however belatedly, we are taking care of business.

Semper fidelis.

Posted by Debbye at 04:27 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 23 - The Canukistanian

Oct. 23 - The Canukistanian as a series of links and comments about the Terry Schiavo affair and, yes, this is A Very Smelly Business which is why getting the legislature to pass a bill and Gov. Bush signing it was the long way but still the best way.

But still, it makes you think. Better read what the Canukistanian has to say before you re-write your will.

Posted by Debbye at 03:09 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 23 - Started at

Oct. 23 - Started at The Bleat and got to here:

Hugh read that letter on the air to Mark Steyn, which made me pause: whoa. Mark frickin’ Steyn ...

Gnat was hanging on my leg demanding that I come and write ABCs in her book, but I had to say not now, honey, a brilliant prose stylist is making general observations about daddy and his website.

“Why?” She asked.

She asks that a lot.

Holy Cow! The thought of James Lilek! Hugh Hewitt! and Mark Steyn! in one paragraph is like having real chocolate, real mint and real almonds in one ice cream so when I catch my breath I link over here bang! slap upside the head because I had missed something of significance:
The early reporting on The Rumsfeld Memo wholly misses the most significant focus of the Secretary of Defense's leaked memo to his four senior colleagues. Rumsfeld was focusing on the madrassas run by radical clerics and their long term impact on the war on terror. Thom Shanker in the New York Times and Bradley Graham in the Washington Post both focus on other aspects of the memo, but the word "madrassas" appears three times in Rumsfeld's rumination for a reason. This isn't a war against a religion, as has been so often been stated in the aftermath of Arkin's attack on Boykin, but it is clearly a conflict fueled by radical clerics.
I fell for a classic diversion, allowed myself to get all annoyed because the media was making a mountain out of a molehill focusing on the existence of the memo so I missed what should have been a Major Freaking Hmm Moment because although I had read the text here, I had already had my focus re-directed instead of, well, focused on the actual memo.

I will not be influenced by what others say when I can read the original myself.
I will not be influenced by what others say when I can read the original myself.
I will not be influenced by what others say when I can read the original myself. (Cont.)

[N.B. Mark Steyn's website links to a March 16 column on Rumsfeld The Straight Talker and has some advice for British Conservatives. Now I'm thinking it's about time to resurrect the Rumsfeld Press Conferences from SNL . . .]

Posted by Debbye at 01:29 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 23 - You don't

Oct. 23 - You don't even have to supply your own coconuts when you visit Doune Castle, Where knights say 'Ni', because Castle manager George McWilliam provides them.

Posted by Debbye at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 23 - Pretty interesting

Oct. 23 - Pretty interesting article about the BBQ PM Howard hosted for Pres. Bush including the information that Steve Irwin, everyone's favourite Croc hunter, tops VIP list for Bush BBQ.

There were some references to rugby and a jersey presentation:

Eales made a presentation to Mr Bush and reminded the - the (sic) Rugby World Cup.

In introducing Eales, Mr Howard described him as the greatest rugby player Australia had produced.

"He took the trophy at Millennium Stadium in Wales in 1999 and has been a great ambassador, and he is the ambassador of the World Cup, and he's deviously decided he wants to make a little presentation," he said.

Mr Bush was taken aback when he stood next Eales, who towers at 200 centimetres, and joked as he stretched his arm up to Eales' shoulder.

"You thought you were tall George," Mr Howard said.

[...] [Joke told that I don't get either but think has something to do with someone having the wrong signature on the wrong jersey!]

He then revealed Mr Bush used to play rugby during his days at Yale University.

But the US president set the record straight.

"I wasn't any good," he said.

Eales presented Mr Bush and Mr Howard with a rugby jersey made up of half the US team's jumper and half the Wallabies colours.

Paul has a picture and a question about coffee.

Posted by Debbye at 10:43 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 23 - President Bush

Oct. 23 - President Bush addressed the Australian Parliament (text here) and thanked Australians for their strong partnership in the war on terror, in Afghanistan and in Iraq before ending his tour of southern Pacific countries. During this address to Parliament, the President praised the Australian diggers:

Americans know Australia as a land of independent, enterprising and goodhearted people. We see something familiar here, and something we like. Australians are fair-minded, and tolerant, and easygoing. Yet in times of trouble and danger, Australians are the first to step forward, to accept the hard duties, and to fight bravely until the fighting is done.

In a hundred years' experience, American soldiers have come to know the courage and good fellowship of the diggers at their side. We were together in the battle at Hamel, together in the Coral Sea, together in New Guinea, on the Korean Peninsula, in Vietnam. And in the war on terror, once again, we are at each other's side."

Noting that both countries have been hurt and grieved by terrorism, the President said
The nature of the terrorist threat defines the strategy we are using to fight it. These committed killers will not be stopped by negotiations. They will not respond to reason. The terrorists cannot be appeased –- they must be found, they must be fought, and they must be defeated.
He ended the speech by citing Australian Special Air Service Sgt. Andrew Russell, who was the first casualty among America's allies in Afghanistan, and later laid a wreath at Australian War Memorial in Sgt. Russell's and the long line of Australians who have died in service to this nation.

Although the speech was disrupted by two hectoring Parliamentarians, the President commented "I love free speech" and continued his own.

Earlier during this tour, the President had stopped off in Bali to pay his respects to the victims of last year's bombing.

Posted by Debbye at 10:27 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 23 - If the

Oct. 23 - If the Canadian soldiers are engaged in a smile-and-wave campaign then I'm going to call reports about how this government supports the military the bobble-head campaign for reasons which anyone who has ever seen Def. Min. McCallum perform in the Commons will immediately understand. (It is common to refer to the Liberal back-benchers as trained seals, but I 've always regarded seals as intelligent life forms.)

Def. Min. John McCallum is trying to do more with less, which is to say he claims to be trying to streamline the defense budget (although it has recently been shown as less of a means to supply the armed forces and more of another way to divert money to Bombardier at the expense of the Canadian soldier.)

This article cites some recommendations for saving money which include dropping cold war era equipment like the Leopard tank and adopting lighter armoured vehicles, an idea which was met with this response:

But an Opposition member of Parliament was harsher in his assessment, downplaying the $128 million in savings Mr. McCallum was promoting.

"I'm not sure what the big story is here," said Canadian Alliance Defence critic Jay Hill. "$128 million that he is supposedly going to reallocate. It's taken him 10 years to find it. The auditor general herself identified that the Armed Forces are going to need some $45 billion over the next 15 years. So ... we're not talking about a lot of money."

You all recognize a shell game when you see one, right? Because
Military researchers warned five years ago that replacing the tank with a lighter armoured vehicle, similar to what is to be purchased as part of the army's modernization plan, would not only cost Canadian lives, but would be morally and ethically wrong.

Government officials confirmed yesterday that Defence Minister John McCallum is expected to announce within the next few weeks the $600 million purchase of the Stryker Mobile Gun System. The eight-wheeled Stryker, equipped with a 105-millimetre gun, would replace the military's Leopard tanks, and is seen by Mr. McCallum as a key part of a revitalized army.

But in 1998, Department of National Defence researchers examined how an eight-wheeled vehicle equipped with a 105-millimetre gun would perform during wartime. During a simulated battle, units equipped with such an armoured combat vehicle, or ACV, suffered up to three times the casualties of those outfitted with U.S.-made M1A2 tanks.


[Army official Col. Bob Gunn, who is involved in determining the army's equipment needs] ... said in the past the army has tended not to make much use of its Leopard tanks on overseas missions. At the same time, military strategists have determined that in a future conflict it is likely that Canada would be operating alongside U.S. forces."We think in the future when we go into a position where there are (enemy) tanks, our good friends to the south will be there with their tanks," said Col. Gunn.

That would free up Canadian military units to concentrate on other tasks, he added.

The 1998 report also noted that in missions other than war, such as on peacekeeping operations, the tank also came out ahead over the wheeled armoured combat vehicle.

First, might I recommend you requisition another freaking report? Trust me, any study commissioned in 1998 is ir-re-le-vant.

Second, your friends to the South, also known as damned bastards, morons and failed statesmen, have begun to realize that aiding Western countries that are in trouble does not promote friendship or solidarity but rather breeds contempt, resentment and envy from those who were in need, and although the US military is known for defending those who cannot defend themselves, I have some questions about putting American lives in danger in defense of those who are too damned stingy, greedy and self-absorbed to spend money on their own freaking national defense yet strut about on the international stage slamming the US because it isn't a social democracy.

Phew, sorry about that; sometimes I get overwhelmed by the Chretien Legacy.

Posted by Debbye at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 23 - No, not

Oct. 23 - No, not the people-snowbirds who flock to Florida and other warmer climates each winter but the precision acrobatic aerial team that thrill us each year at the CNE airshow (among other places.) Last August there were rumours that the Snowbirds might be disbanded due to budgetary issues because the team needs new training jets, and a report today highlights discussions that are ongoing to try to save the team by various means including that of having the funding fall into Heritage Canada's budget.

The Canadian Alliance got a good shot in:

Jay Hill, defence critic for the Canadian Alliance, said Cabinet ministers -- including Jean Chretien, the Prime Minister -- have supported keeping the team flying but have not given the air force the budget to buy new aircraft.

"And we're not talking about a tremendous amount of money here," he said. "A third of that could've come from the two [Challenger] jets that Mr. Chretien bought for his own comfort."

The fact that purchases for the ease and comfort of the Prime Minister have been foisted onto an already-strapped Defense budget still rankles many.

Posted by Debbye at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 23 - Another good

Oct. 23 - Another good dispatch from Stephanie Rubec about the Canadian force in Afghanistan in today's Toronto Sun

KABUL, Afghanistan -- If Canada's campaign to win the hearts and minds of Afghanis can be judged by the size of the crowds of smiling and waving children, it's a tremendous success. As soon as the 28 Canadian soldiers working for the Civil-Military Co-operation (CIMIC) platoon step out of their white Toyota Land Cruisers topped with Canadian flags, children rush forward.

"We have the smile-and-wave campaign," said Maj. Steve Whelan, the officer commanding CIMIC platoon.

"We make it very clear that we come as guests in their country."

But guests who have a purpose to ensure the peace, promote stability and bring gifts, like 20 boxes of paper and coloured pencils to a high school short on supplies, funding new water pumps and, probably most importantly, purchasing supplies in Kabul and hiring local contractors to do the work to help stimulate the Afghan economy.

Posted by Debbye at 07:59 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 23 - There has

Oct. 23 - There has been no progress in the effort to find and return Cecilia Zhang to her family, and last night there was a Silent vigil near her home by neighbours and classmates. The border guards are on the lookout (part of the Amber Alert is immediate notification of border guards) and Mike Strobel hopes that the differences between Cecilia's and Holly's cases mean that we can hope for a better end and safe return for Cecilia.

So we all pray.

Posted by Debbye at 07:29 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 23 - Have you

Oct. 23 - Have you ever had earworm?

Unexpected and insidious, the earworm slinks its way into the brain and refuses to leave. Symptoms vary, although high levels of annoyance and frustration are common. There are numerous potential treatments, but no cure.
University of Cincinnati marketing professor James Kellaris has studied earworm, the term he coined for those unwanted songs and jingles that get stuck in our heads and just won't leave, since 2000. Result? Nearly everybody gets hit with it, and there's little we can do about it.

It afflicts each person differently, and when respondents to the study were asked to identify songs on the "playlist from hell" which had become lodged in their heads, the Number One choice was "Other" indicating that the songs that lodge in our brains are highly idiosyncratic.

Respondents also had suggestions for cures: chewing on a cinammon stick, passing the earworm on to someone else or erasing the offending song by singing the theme from Gilligan's Island.

Posted by Debbye at 07:11 AM | Comments (0)

October 22, 2003



Aug. 22 - Michael Moore was feted and banqueted last night at the **Anglosphere Traitor's Awards Ceremonies which were held at an undisclosed location.

Moore was presented with the award for Best Obfuscation of the Facts for his mockumentary "Bowling for Columbine" and Best Pretentious Fiction Disguised as Non-Fiction which he received just for showing up.

The awards were presented by the Dishonourable MP George Galloway who himself is being investigated for crimes against the United Kingdom as well as possible misappropriation of funds for his fundraising activities of several charities which are of dubious merit.

Galloway presented the award to himself for Saddam's Highest Paid Stooge which he accepted after which he immediately threatened to sue himself for libel.


Posted by Debbye at 06:18 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 22 - It's a

Oct. 22 - It's a blogmire scandel is what it is, this Mr. Glenn "Instapundit" Reynolds not having a witty tagline. Who does he think he is, anyway, King of the Blogs? Master of the One-Liners? Scourge of Tennessee?

It's a freaking rule, Mr. Instapundit: you got. to. have. a. tagline and it's supposed to at least try to be witty and hip and cool.

So, since he won't exert himself, I'll give him one: Use Reynolds Foil to Prevent Penguin Freezerburn!


Posted by Debbye at 06:11 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 22 - Another wonderful

Oct. 22 - Another wonderful post from (Not)Stupid Angry Canajun!

SA explains exactly why Chretien came to be Prime Minister in Memories. It actually makes sense and, now that I think about it, the fact that Canada is the world's largest producer of comedians should have been the tip-off, but I had missed that connection. (dumb, dumb, dumb)

Americans must read this; a vast misunderstanding exists that must be cleared up for the sake of future generations.

Posted by Debbye at 02:09 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 22 - News Junkie

Oct. 22 - News Junkie Canada covers several recent news items that indicate some of the waste of tax payer dollars and the potential conflict-of-interest cases of Allan Rock and Isabelle Bradshaw.

There's also more information about the Bombardier scandel and PM Chretien (I didn't know there was a family connection between the PM and the company, fancy that!) and some surprising revelations about the expenditures of Governor-General Adrienne Clarkson which have tripled since 1995.

The impact of seeing page after page of boondoggle spending is indescribable.

Thanks News Junkie, we need that.

Posted by Debbye at 01:41 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 22 - Tomorrow marks

Oct. 22 - Tomorrow marks a grim day for Americans and in particular for the United States Marine Corp because it will be the 20th anniversary of the Marine Barracks bombing in Beirut which killed 241 Marines, sailors and 1 soldier.

Oliver North remembers in From Beirut to Baghdad:

But in fact, terrorists proclaimed war on Americans long before September 11, 2001, and every time American interests are targeted by these fanatics, there is one American family that suffers casualties, or is called upon to retaliate, or both. That American family is the United States Marine Corps. Among their many other duties, Marines have the unique honor and responsibility of providing security at American Embassies around the world where the sentries are ordered to "take charge of this post and all government property in view." Unfortunately, embassies tend to be a favorite target of terrorists.

The Corps' history of fighting terrorists dates to 1804 when Marine 1st Lt. Presley O'Bannon led his men to defeat the Barbary Pirates. But the modern day war on terrorism is often traced to Nov. 4, 1979, when Iranian militants seized the American Embassy in Tehran, Iran, and took 66 Americans hostage — 52 of whom would be held in captivity for 444 days.


The war against terror, as the president has repeatedly warned, will not be short, as evidenced by this week's 20th commemoration of the bloodiest terrorist attack in U.S. history, prior to September 11. On Oct. 23, Marines all over the world will take a moment to salute their comrades who were murdered 20 years earlier. And then they'll return to the fight until the war against terror is won.

Perhaps on that day, all Americans can take time to acknowledge the extraordinary contributions our fellow Marines have made to defend America's liberty throughout our history, particularly those who sacrificed their lives from Beirut to Baghdad to defend our nation and bring peace to a violent part of the world. Semper Fidelis, Marines. Semper Fidelis.

Always honour, never forget.

Posted by Debbye at 12:42 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 22 - Where is

Oct. 22 - Where is the ACLU when a citizen's rights have been violated? (Of course that was rhetorical . . ) Rumsfeld backs inside probe of general's speech and hopefully it will ascertain that the pressure to convince the world that the war on terror is not a war on Islam doesn't mean that we are pretending that terrorism isn't evil, and that blowing up children on a bus isn't evil because terrorism is evil.

I understand the political problem, but eliminating the "loan" provision in the Iraq and Afghanistan reconstruction bills will go a long further to persuade those who are willing to be persuaded that we aren't targeting Islam but rather an evil practice.

North Ireland and Columbia, as I mentioned (countless times) before are also part of this war. Not that I expect the media to get that, of course. They'd have to understand why we've sent aid to Columbia, for one, and cover the recent breakdowns in dis-arming the IRA for another.

UPDATE: Heh, I'm just a pussycat compared to Cal Thomas. In Muzzling the Wrong Dog he asks

Why don't members of the Islamic faith silence some of their own? They can start with speakers at the Organization of Islamic Conference last week in Malaysia. Mahathir Mohamad, the Malaysian prime minister, told an applauding audience made up of kings, presidents and emirs that Jews are running and ruining the world...


This notion that religion is not at the heart of the hatred directed at America from outside and now inside the country qualifies as extreme denial. Throughout the Muslim world, America is condemned not mainly because of its ideas but because Islamists believe we are infidels opposed to God.


There are no calls in the Islamic world for any of these speakers — from prime ministers to imams — to tone down, retract or repent for their rhetoric. There are only calls for Americans to remain silent about this growing threat.

Posted by Debbye at 12:24 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 22 - The inmates

Oct. 22 - The inmates are running the House, er, asylum, in this report that says House Urges Negotiators to Give In on Iraq Loan Conditions:

WASHINGTON — House members on Capitol Hill put a twist Tuesday on a decision to send negotiators to conference with Senate members about differing packages on President Bush's $87 billion request for military and reconstruction aid to Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 277-139 vote instructed House conferees to "go along with" a Senate provision making $10 billion of $18.6 billion in aid a loan that would have to be repaid by the Iraqi people unless foreign creditors forgave 90 percent of Iraq's debt to them. The measure also asks for them to negotiate for improved medical benefits for veterans and military reservists.

The language, however, is non-binding, meaning the members of the House negotiating team do not have to heed the instruction, and could come back with a bill that strikes the loan provision from the final version needing approval by both chambers.

We need a History Buff lobby at the Hill . . .

Posted by Debbye at 11:58 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 22 - Smite is

Oct. 22 - Smite is one of my favourite words, and I need to settle down before I can re-read this properly, but You! Go! NOW! to the latest from IMAO: In My World: When God Attacks.

Have I mentioned this week that Frank J. rocks? My dream team would be Don Cherry and Frank J. talking rock 'em sock 'em hockey . . .

Posted by Debbye at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 22 - Ith is

Oct. 22 - Ith is keeping on top of the latest weirdness from the EU, which is In A Jam.

And we thought NAFTA had problems . . .

Posted by Debbye at 11:34 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 22 - The latest

Oct. 22 - The latest buzz up here is all about rumours that PM Chretien would have sent troops to Quebec had the referendum vote in 1995 gone against Quebec staying in Canada.

The always excellent Paul covers this story and adds his insights.

Posted by Debbye at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 22 - Chirac reaches

Oct. 22 - Chirac reaches out to the people:

President Jacques Chirac, beset by falling popularity ratings, went to a troubled former industrial town yesterday to re-establish contact with ordinary France and try to show he is more than a foreign policy leader.
That's a matter of interepretation . . .
M Chirac, purposefully ignoring the would-be economic reformers in his party whom he blames for making him unpopular, said his mission was to remedy the "social fracturing" of France.
Aha, the critics make him unpopular, not the economic crisis.
During the past few days M Chirac has voiced his displeasure with his party's Right wing. Unlike them, he sees no point in forcing through market and economic reforms in France, as demanded by the EU.

France's deficit is already in breach of the stability pact rules and is showing no sign of coming down, a fact which scarcely seems to bother M Chirac.

This article is just too easy to fisk. Read it and enjoy this excellent piece of British understatment.

Posted by Debbye at 10:55 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 22 - Zimbabwe secret

Oct. 22 - Zimbabwe secret peace talks collapse:

Secret talks with President Robert Mugabe's regime have collapsed, Zimbabwe's opposition Movement for Democratic Change said yesterday.

A spokesman for the MDC, Paul Themba Nyathi, said attempts to broker a dialogue with the government had achieved nothing, leaving the party no option but to challenge Mr Mugabe's rule in court.

Posted by Debbye at 10:48 AM | Comments (0)

This is Cecilia. If you

This is Cecilia. If you have seen her, call 9-1-1.

Oct. 22 - We use phrases like "every parent's nightmare" but that barely touches the waking horror of how we try to reassure our own kids when something like Cecilia's abduction hits the news stands.

Mike Strobel's column in today's Toronto Sun 'Just sinking in' explores the difficulty of reassuring our kids that they are safe, but of course they notice that we suddenly take unprecedented precautions as well as the haunted look in all our eyes that belie our comforting words.

For other news on Cecilia Zhang, check Child Find aids search, Media praised as Amber Alert cancelled, Cops using their urban grid search, this plea from Cecilia's parents, no detail too small and Parents in same suburb fearful for kids.

9-year old Cecilia Zhang was abducted from her bedroom Sunday night or early Monday morning.

Toronto is still in shock over the disappearance of 10-year old Holly Jones who was abducted in May as she walked home from a friend's house.

Posted by Debbye at 10:24 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 22 - Soldiers from

Oct. 22 - Soldiers from the 31 nations stationed in Kabul have raised more than $10,000 for the families of Sgt. Short and Cpl. Beerenfenger in a sign of respect and solidarity (Troops raise cash for fallen.) The two Canadian soldiers were killed by a land mine planted in their path a few weeks ago.

Most of the money was raised via betting on a horse race of sorts, which is to say that token horses advanced toward a finish line by the throw of a die, an idea hatched by two British soldiers.

"I've been in the British army for 23 years and this is the largest amount I've seen raised for such an event," British Regimental Sgt.-Maj. Don Cameron said yesterday.

Cameron visited Camp Julien early yesterday to hand three freezer bags filled with $2,270 US and 4124.48 euros to his Canadian counterpart, Warrant Officer Erroll Gapp.

Another $655 was dropped off by soldiers who weren't able to attend the game, bringing the total to about $10,000 Cdn.

"Even yesterday I had some civilians come to me within headquarters and they gave me money," Cameron said.

They don't forget, and neither must we.

Posted by Debbye at 08:56 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 22 - Lt.-Gen. Goetz

Oct. 22 - Lt.-Gen. Goetz Gliemeroth, German commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF,) said that a new breed of terrorist is in Kabul. They have come to Afghanistan from Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Chechnya and work for a warlord named Fulbudeen Hekmatyar and are Kabul's newest threat.

The cooperation of the residents will be the key to stopping terrorist attacks:

Gliemeroth called on Kabul's three million residents, on behalf of ISAF, to rat out suspected terrorists who will target civilians as well as soldiers.

"They should cooperate with us, as a lot of them did in the past," he said. "Everybody is potentially in danger."

But this next step is so typical and shortsighted:
To bring more stability to Kabul, ISAF will begin a pilot project to disarm locals, most of whom have owned guns their entire lives and consider them vital to the protection of their families.

Gliemeroth said ISAF's next step is to convince locals to lock up their tanks, military vehicles and heavy weapons in a containment area outside the capital.

Disarming the locals will achieve . . . what, exactly?

Posted by Debbye at 08:29 AM | Comments (0)

October 21, 2003

Oct. 21 - This is

Oct. 21 - This is . . . this is horrible. Maple Leaf Gardens to become Loblaws market.

UPDATE: I've tried to edit and make this more coherent, but the travesty of buying tomatoes at the once-majestic Maple Leafs Garden stops me cold. Oh well, progress, I suppose.

I keep getting a visual image of Charleton Heston collapsing on his knees at the entrance of the Gardens . . . You bastards, you did it . . .

Posted by Debbye at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 21 - President Bush

Oct. 21 - President Bush has threatened to veto the $87 billion package for Iraq and Afghanistan unless Congress removes the loan mechanisms.

This latest example of Senatorial Lunacy has been condemned by a vast, right-left-centrist-moderate-libertarian-wing non-conspiracy or, as Balloon Juice put it,

That means that a coalition of greens, sociaists, liberals, center left Democrats, center right Republicans, little-l libertarians, and conservatives in the blogosphere all think this is a shitty idea. Can we all be wrong?
Not very likely.

Posted by Debbye at 04:39 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 21 - Alpha Patriot

Oct. 21 - Alpha Patriot has the latest ideas for gifts you can get for those peopole who already have everything here.

Posted by Debbye at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 21 - We can

Oct. 21 - We can find football in church and The Bible in a Deck of Cards.

That's why I don't worry overly that we haven't found Osama yet, because we have found ourselves.

Posted by Debbye at 03:04 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 21 - A startling

Oct. 21 - A startling revelation: officials believe that Khalid Shaikh Mohammed wielded the knife that killed Daniel Pearl.

Let us reflect on the honour and courage of he who killed a man whose hands and feet were bound.

Yeah, me too.

Posted by Debbye at 02:52 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 21 - Bill Hemmer

Oct. 21 - Bill Hemmer interrviews Salam Pax here.

Posted by Debbye at 02:39 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 21 - I read

Oct. 21 - I read this Front Line Voices: A Day In Baghdad and think of the soldiers attacked while they were walking Iraqi kids to school.

Stand up, folks, there are heroes in our midst.

Always remember those who serve.

Posted by Debbye at 02:38 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 21 - I've always

Oct. 21 - I've always used a fairly simple experiment to decide if a joke is actually funny or an ethnic slur: substitute my own nationality and see if it's still funny. If it is, I can tell it without ethnicity and still be PC.

Actually, the whole thing would be rendered irrevelevant if only Li'l Moron jokes would make a comeback. After all, how can you possibly offend morons? They don't know they're morons as a general rule, so how can they claim to be offended unless they admit they're morons?

Back to topic, Frank J's readers already know that few joys surpass the ability to laugh and satirize oneself enthusastically.

Among those I read for delicious satire is Allah Is In The House, and, although I had to get past the occasional stirrings of nascent liberal guilt, the humour is just too funny and universal to ignore.

Anyway, if you still have doubts, read this and reflect.

Now, I got a question: is this offer available to Christians?


Posted by Debbye at 02:01 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 21 - Ith has

Oct. 21 - Ith has some good advice for some who need to Get Over It.

Posted by Debbye at 01:38 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 20 - Hosting Matters

Oct. 20 - Hosting Matters is under attack (again) which means that Instapundit and Little Green Footballs (among others) are unavailable, but Tim put up a Right On! Blog Backup page after the first attack so you can go there for your Right On! fix.

Posted by Debbye at 12:49 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 21 - I haven't

Oct. 21 - I haven't read WorldNetDaily long enough to determine how accurate they are much less the Iraqi news source they cite, but given that Saddam's links to al Qaeda are still open to question, this is interesting: Officer: Saddam trained al-Qaida pre-9-11.

The article says that

Saddam Hussein ordered the training of al-Qaida members two months before the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, according to an independent Iraqi weekly.

The Fedayeen, under the command of Saddam's late son Uday, directly supervised 100 al-Qaida fighters who were split into two groups, reported Al-Yawm Al-Aakher, citing an Iraqi officer identified by the initial L.

One group went to Al-Nahrawan and the second to Salman Pak, near Baghdad, where they were trained to hijack airplanes, the officer said in an article translated by the Washington, D.C.-based Middle East Media Research Institute.

The Salman Pak facility has been the focus of a lot of speculation, and rumours about the alleged meeting between Mohammad Atta and a member of the Iraqi secret politce remains a point of speculation.

Read the whole thing. It remains one of those things that, barring definitive proof, people will have to decide for themselves.

(Link via Neale News,)

Posted by Debbye at 11:23 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 21 - Nobody likes

Oct. 21 - Nobody likes to be told that their eminently clear message was misunderstood, and it would appear that Malaysian PM Mahathir is no exception: Malaysia's Leader Repeats Claim That Jews Control the World and claimed that global reaction "shows that (Jews) do control the world."

"Israel is a small country. There are not many Jews in the world. But they are so arrogant that they defy the whole world. Even if the United Nations say no, they go ahead. Why? Because they have the backing of all these people," Mahathir was quoted as saying.

These people. Better that this truth, that Jews and not Israel, are what many Muslim leaders view as "the problem" be in the open. Mahathir isn't attacking Israel, he's attacking the world Jewry, and confronting anti-Semitism under whatever cover it appears is necessary.

(This was edited for clarification.)

(Link via Neale News.)

Paul has had an epiphany.

Posted by Debbye at 11:19 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 21 - There are

Oct. 21 - There are some very interesting items in the Australian press today:

PM's China trade deal coup announces that the first formal steps for a free trade agreement between Australia and China will be announced on Friday.

The Asian-Pacific Economic Conference has adopted a terror alert plan:

TERRORISTS and suspected criminals will be closely tracked as they travel through our region under an Australian plan adopted at the APEC summit yesterday.

The 21 national leaders at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation meeting in Bangkok backed the Advance Passenger Information (API) system.

It would provide information on travellers from the moment they begin their journey.

Presently, alerts are raised only after a suspect has arrived.

The API initially will operate in Australia, Canada, the US, New Zealand, Japan and Thailand. Seven other countries are examining it.

Not surprisingly, President Bush will be the larger focus for demonstrations than Pres. Hu of China. It only makes sense that leftists would be more worried about the leader of a free nation than the leader of a repressive government. I get that. Really. These people supported Saddam, for heaven's sake, so Pres. Hu and the totalitarian government in China must seem a kinder, gentler regime.

Posted by Debbye at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 21 - Attempts by

Oct. 21 - Attempts by the media, most notably the LA Times, to depict Gen. Boykin as a Bible-thumping lunatic have prompted many people to wonder why the rights of Christians aren't being afforded the same First Amendment protection as those of other faiths. Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., questions if American leaders and people understand who the enemy is in the war on terror, and reminds us that since we are battling those who use terror as a tactic, the list of adversaries is long. It starts with al Qaeda, but doesn't end with them.

I always keep in mind that terrorism isn't a tactic used solely by radical Islamists, as people living in Columbia and N. Ireland can attest. Terrorismn isn't a tactic used solely against Westerners, as people living in Algeria, Indonesia and again Columbia are painfully aware.

Sept. 11 had one blessing: it marked the end of political correctness, that vile practice which would not allow people to speak the truth as they saw it because PC bullies would accuse them of being in league with the devils of racism and bigotry. It had been a temporarily effective tactic, but always incurred a simmering resentment and if the idiots running the PC campaigns were as smart as they claimed to be, they would have known that those chickens always come home to roost.

Propaganda is part of any war, and it was a foregone conclusions before the end of September , 2001, that it would take time and experience before we could distinguish between propaganda and education, and there would be uncertainty as people reached different conclusions at different times.

I decided long ago that the Bush administration was following the only option they had: to trust Muslims and Muslim organizations in America until and unless that trust was violated. That's the USA I love and swear allegiance to, and that's the USA I want to protect. The approach has obvious inherent dangers, but the alternatives are unthinkable and would violate everything we believe in and stand for.

The sobering reality is that taking that approach could cost lives. It is easy to state airily "That's the cost of freedom" but that won't make any potential death toll easier to bear.

It was in that context that I followed the reactions to the nomination of Dr. Daniel Pipes to the US Institute of Peace, and made some decisions about which Islamic and Muslim organizations in the US were credible and which weren't. (Give praise to the research capabilities of the internet again.)

After listing some of the recent revelations about some of the Islamic groups due to the arrests of Muslim chaplains who were working at Guantanamo, Frank Gaffney hits the nail on the head with this:

In light of the arrests and worrisome revelations, it is all the more astounding that such groups enjoy any credibility at all when they denounce those who warn of Islamists hijacking and perverting the Muslim faith. The latest example of this phenomenon has been an attack mounted in the past week by the Islamists' proponents on one of the nation's most highly regarded, experienced and decorated Special Forces officers, Lt. Gen. William "Jerry" Boykin. Gen. Boykin recently assumed the post of Deputy Undersecretary of Defense for Intelligence. In that capacity, he is charged with the priority tasks of hunting down Osama bin Laden, Saddam Hussein and their ilk.

This respected Pentagon official became the subject of intense and mostly hostile media attention after an inveterate leftist activist-turned columnist and TV commentator named William Arkin circulated videotaped and other materials. In them, the general professed his Christian faith and reviled Muslim extremists -- yes, extremists -- on both religious and strategic grounds.
I doubt that I'm the only person who most definitely did not regard Gen. Boykin's religious beliefs as a cause of national concern, but was very interested in how various groups would react, and measured the vehemence of their denunciations with the ruler of tolerance and respect for the right of Americans to hold whatever religious belief they chose.

A number of groups failed to measure up, and that, as they say, is history. Mr. Gaffney makes this point:

To their credit, President Bush, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Joint Chiefs Chairman General Richard Myers have thus far declined to accede to this sort of pressure. While the administration's party line remains that the United States has no interest in waging war against Islam, it would be a significant breakthrough if American officials can now frankly address the nature of our most dangerous foes: Radicals seeking to justify their terror by masquerading as bonafide adherents to the Islamic faith.
One of the cornerstone beliefs in the United States is that the government must allow her citizens to process information themselves and make up their own minds. This truth is one that I think the Bush administration understands and much of the media forgot.

The controversy that surrounded Dr. Pipes and now surrounds Gen. Boykin have served to highlight the need for Americans to take a critical look at the propaganda being waged not only from Bin Laden tapes but from groups like CAIR, and to make decisions accordingly.

Clarence Page, also in today's Washington Times, weighs in on another side of the debate with Enemy Soundings in which he points out that Gen. Boykin's comments will be picked up and used as propaganda against the United States.

Both columns are good reads and worthy of reflection. I'm just too stuck in the righteousness of the path of tolerance, however, and the recent remarks by Malaysian PM Mahathir have persuaded me even more that ultimately, this war on terror is a war for tolerance because that alone can be the ultimate path to peace between Christians, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, and all religions and peoples.

Posted by Debbye at 10:39 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 21 - Another dispatch

Oct. 21 - Another dispatch from Stephanie Rubec On a Kabul street patrol:

Taylor and his squad from the 3rd Royal Canadian Regiment have recently been assigned a new sector.

"All the infrastructure is in there so all the bad guys are in there," he says. "We're going to whack the bad guys and make friends with the good guys."

Ms. Rubec's dispatches are getting better and better, and in this one she gets to the heart of what the Kabul mission is doing and what the soldiers are up against.

But, as the article makes clear, the slow, patient work being done by the Canadian soldiers is working albeit slowly.

This dispatch from Camp Julien covers what environmental assessment teams are doing to monitor the air and how the soldiers are dealing with hostile insects and reptiles. German troops also found mosquitoes that carry malaria, adding that problem to the others posed by scorpions, snakes and poisonous spiders.

Never forget those who serve.

Posted by Debbye at 09:19 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 21 - I guess

Oct. 21 - I guess the price for using the UN as the ultimate authority in international relations could be that PM Chretien won't be able to toke up legally after all: Pot agenda illegal: MP:

OTTAWA -- A Liberal MP says Canada will violate an international treaty if it moves ahead with plans to decriminalize pot. Ajax-Pickering MP Dan McTeague said representatives of the United Nations office on Drugs and Crime met with government officials last week to warn that Canada's proposed legislative changes would contravene a 1961 UN drug control convention.

"It would represent a serious blow to the government," said McTeague. "It's always been keen to find ways to suggest those who are opposed to this are following U.S. policy. In fact, it's not U.S. policy, it's UN policy."

The UN convention prohibits parties from permitting the possession of drugs, including cannabis, except for scientific or medicinal purposes. Canada risks being viewed as the "Colombia of the North" if it withdraws from the treaty, McTeague said.

The UN has spoken. Will Canada obey? (snark) I assume that the government will remind the UN that Canada is a sovereign nation and pass laws in the best interests of Canadians.

Or maybe there will be an old-fashioned horsetrade. They'll outlaw spanking children, but proceed with passing a law that decriminalizes possession.

I'm getting whiplash here. Will the real Canada please stand up?

Posted by Debbye at 09:06 AM | Comments (0)

Oct.21 - Yesterday there were

Oct.21 - Yesterday there were stories in the Toronto Star and Toronto Sun which not only claimed that the US president had "snubbed" PM Chetien but also erroneously said that the US president had not visited Canada since his election (he was in Montreal, 2001, and Kananaskis, 2002).

Today the story is that Bush, PM cozy up at the Asia-Pacific Economic Summit, i.e., the President walked over to Chretien, said he wanted to chat, and they and their wives sat together during a gala performance. Excerpts:

"He said, 'Jean, I would like to see you for a meeting soon,'" Chretien told reporters. "I will meet with him as we do all the time in bilaterals. We talk about trade -- and we might even talk about baseball at this time."

"It was a warm evening between two countries (and) two couples," Chretien spokesman Jim Munson said, playing down the chill between the two leaders that has existed since Chretien refused to back Bush's war on Iraq. "It was a sweet night."

I don't know if the CP reporters filing these stories understand just how dumb this all sounds, but trust me: all these rumours and second-guessing the relationship between two friendly countries is a waste of time because Nobody Cares!

Now, if there's a story about PM Chretien meeting with PM Howard of Australia and their discussion about possible ways of dealing with Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe at the next Commonwealth meeting, I'll care.

Posted by Debbye at 08:57 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 21 - An Amber

Oct. 21 - An Amber Alert has been issued in the kidnapping of a 9-year taken from her bedroom late Sunday or early Monday. Dong-Ye "Cecilia" Zhang is 4'11", 70 lbs with a thin build, shoulder-length black hair with blond highlights and brown eyes.

Her picture is here. Police are asking everyone to check their properties, and if you find anything or if you have seen her call 911 or the Cecilia Hotline at 416-808-8390.

Posted by Debbye at 08:27 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 21 - Jay Solo

Oct. 21 - Jay Solo is hosting the 2nd edition of the Carnival of the Capitalists this week here.

Posted by Debbye at 08:15 AM | Comments (0)

October 20, 2003

The ever-nuanced French

Oct. 20 - The ever nuanced French give another lesson in diplomacy as Dominique de Villepin is said to have boasted that the French will sink the Queen:

THE Queen WILL be stripped of her powers as sovereign by the new EU Constitution, French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin boasted last night.

De Villepin said the new masterplan demands a EUROPEAN policy on foreign affairs.

So the Queen stands to lose her power over foreign policy and new treaties - which would be agreed in Brussels.

Tony Blair vows to defend our control over foreign policy, defence, tax and social policy.

But during the Dimbleby Lecture on BBC1, de Villepin stated categorically: "Europe must have its own foreign policy and be able to fight for its principles.

"This is what the current draft constitution provides for."

His admission supported fears voiced in The Sun last week. (Their emphasis)

He also said the Euro army deal agreed between Mr Blair and French president Jacques Chirac in 1998 signalled the end of Nato.

But De Villepin's biggest surprise came when he claimed his country shares with Britain - "a refusal to surrender."

He seemed to forget France's surrender to Germany by signing an armistice in June 1940.

De Villepin, 49, also claimed France was a "reliable" ally to the US, despite leading opposition to the Iraq war.

He made no mention of how furious Americans famously branded French president Jacques Chirac and his cronies as "cheese-eating surrender monkeys."

I love reading the Sun!

Posted by Debbye at 10:29 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 20 - According to

Oct. 20 - According to this, Chirac rebukes Malaysia in 'anti-Jewish' dispute:

French President Jacques Chirac wrote to Mahathir Mohamad, the Malaysian Prime Minister, yesterday telling him that his recent remarks about Jewish influence would be condemned by those who remembered the Holocaust.
Gee, that sure sounds like a stinging rebuke. Maybe something got lost in the translation . . .

Posted by Debbye at 10:20 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 20 - The Council

Oct. 20 - The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) sponsors an effort called the Library Project which seeks to get libraries to stock Islamic books, tapes and videos.

Critics are calling it

... a "Trojan horse" in the country's literary stacks.
Robert Spencer, an adjunct fellow at the Free Congress Foundation, takes exception to a book by Paul Findley, "Silent No More: Confronting America's False Images of Islam," which he says calls American Muslim Council founder Abdurahman Alamoudi an "early pioneer in Muslim political activism" but quotes none of his statements supporting terrorist groups.

"In October 2000, Mr. Alamoudi told 3,000 Muslim supporters in Washington's Lafayette Park, 'We are all supporters of Hamas [and] I am also a supporter of Hezbollah,' " Mr. Spencer said. "Alamoudi's inclusion in this book as a normal guy and a good American is a sign of the blinders people have on."

Ibn Warraq, a former Muslim who has written several books critical of the religion, said the collection gives too rosy a view of Islam.

"In a democracy, you cannot stop groups like CAIR from sending their propaganda," Mr. Warraq said. "Hopefully, the libraries will be more critical in what they accept. I hope they are careful these books [from CAIR] are not full of anti-Semitism, hatred against the West and non-Muslims."

I really hate it when I find I've been played for a fool. According to this Sept. 30 story in the Washington Post
Abdurahman Alamoudi, who as leader of the American Muslim Council met frequently with senior Clinton and Bush administration officials, was arrested Sunday at Dulles International Airport as he entered the United States from Britain, six weeks after he allegedly attempted to smuggle hundreds of thousands of dollars into Syria. U.S. officials said the final destination of the money is under investigation.

Authorities said the arrest is an important step in the wide-ranging investigation of funding for terrorism in this country, a probe that centers on a cluster of foundations and businesses based in Herndon.

Agents for the Department of Homeland Security alleged that Alamoudi received the $340,000 from Libyan officials as part of a longstanding relationship with that government. In exchange for financial assistance for Muslim activist groups he founded in the United States, authorities said, Alamoudi was trying to help persuade the United States to lift sanctions against that nation.

Doing business with Libya remains illegal under U.S. law because of that nation's role in the 1988 bombing of an airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland. The United Nations removed sanctions against Libya earlier this month, although the State Department still lists it as a sponsor of terrorism.

Alamoudi, 51, a naturalized U.S. citizen born in Eritrea, was a senior executive of several of the Herndon charities. They were raided in March 2002 by law enforcement agents seeking evidence that the network of interlocking organizations was funneling money to terrorist groups, according to a search warrant issued at that time.

Kevin Delli-Colli, director of the Washington field office of the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, said Alamoudi's home and several of those organizations were searched again by federal agents on Sunday, after his arrest.

"Mr. Alamoudi is a significant figure and has been under investigation for some time," Delli-Colli said in an interview.

An Alamoudi affiliate is among the few Muslim groups that accredit Islamic chaplains for the Pentagon, and he is the second person affiliated with the chaplain's program arrested this month. James Yee, an Army captain and Muslim chaplain at the U.S. Navy prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, was arrested Sept. 10 on suspicion of espionage allegedly carrying sketches of the facility and documents related to interrogators and detainees.

I think relations between Americans who are not Muslims and Americans who are Muslims might be smoother without CAIR but maybe that's just me.

Posted by Debbye at 09:41 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 20 - This article

Oct. 20 - This article is pretty light on reasons why Pres. Bush might have no interest in a one-on-one with Canadian PM Chretien Bush ices meeting with PM because I could sure add a few more less than diplomatic statements uttered by the PM and his Cabinet in addition to comments Chretien made before the Evian G8 conference.

There is another glaring inaccuracy in this article by Alexander Panetta:

Bush has yet to visit Canada in the nearly three years since he was sworn in as president. His relationship with Chretien soured when the prime minister refused to send Canadian troops to Iraq to support the U.S.-led invasion.
That the President's visit to Kananaskis, Alberta, last year is overlooked could be ascribed to Eastern snobbery, but what about the visit to Montreal for Summit of the Americas in April, 2001?

Posted by Debbye at 09:17 AM | Comments (0)

How important is it to

How important is it to have the right tools for the job? Conventional wisdom would answer "Very", and, as this story illustrates, the pictures of the bombed-out Iltis [link to story, not pictures] taken immediately after the blast (and before the sanitized ones released to the press) Canadian soldiers are circulating demonstrate graphically that the right equipment can mean the difference between life and death.

Photos of the bomb-shredded military runabout in which two Canadian soldiers died 18 days ago on a remote gravel road in Afghanistan are sombre reminders of the risks of war. But they are also becoming an icon shared privately by soldiers who curse politicians, high-ranking officers and bean-counting bureaucrats who forced them to use the underpowered, light four-wheel-drive carriers, which they call "soft-skin" junk.

The wreck photos, which were sent secretly via computer to other soldiers in Canada, were obtained by The Toronto Sun yesterday.

What can I say? The soldiers are right: they've kept their bargain with the Canadian people, but we the taxpayers haven't kept up our end even if PM Chretien choses to pretend that the troops are equipped with the best and military spending isn't a priority:
"Last year, we gave them virtually a billion dollars," he said, prior to touring the main Canadian base southwest of Kabul, known as Camp Julien. "But it's never enough. I have never seen an army anywhere in the world who returned a government money - anywhere.

"They all need more and they all have plans for more. It is a question of priority."

Given the rumours circulating about how the not-as-yet-released Auditor-General's report blasts the Chretien government misspent $100 million on Bombardier jets alone, it seems an odd choice of words for him to worry about the military returning government money when the government itself takes, misspends, denies and lies about money they themselves never return.

$999 million was overspent on the long gun registry alone. My math tells me that the government spent as much on the military as they spent on a registry which has been shown to be useless. What was that about priorities?

Posted by Debbye at 08:50 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 20 - Here's something

Oct. 20 - Here's something I never thought about before: how non-fraternization rules apply even to married coules who are serving in the same unit overseas. Read No love in war zone by Stephanie Rubec, who's been sending a lot of dispatches from Camp Julien in Afghanistan.

Posted by Debbye at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)

October 19, 2003

Oct. 19 - Mark Steyn

Oct. 19 - Mark Steyn has a new column up at the Chicago Sun-Times that takes a serious look at the recently discovered infiltrations into the US military and some connections to Saudi Arabia in With friends like the Saudis . . .

Posted by Debbye at 07:02 PM | Comments (0)

Sept. 19 - Interesting op-ed

Sept. 19 - Interesting op-ed in the NY Times by Iraqi Governing Council member Iyad Alawi -- America Must Let Iraq Rebuild Itself.

He has some proposals for restoring some of the institutions and administrations to Iraq, including recalling army units to duty after vetting those who committed crimes.

But we also realize that there are obstacles on Iraq's march toward democracy. In the months since Iraq was liberated, jubilation has given way to insecurity and chaos. When my fellow Iraqis finally go to the polls to elect their government, they must have confidence that state institutions are not only legitimate and independent, but robust enough to guarantee safety and civil rights. That is why the coalition and the council must take several immediate steps to establish these necessary conditions for the constitutional process to succeed.

First, it is vital to call up the Iraqi Army and the national police force, at least up to mid-officer level. The coalition's early decision to abolish the army and police was well intended, but it unfortunately resulted in a security vacuum that let criminals, die-hards of the former regime and international terrorists flourish. And the coalition's plan to build a 20,000-member lightly armed force mostly responsible for security and border control would make poor use of a valuable resource: the 300,000 Iraqi soldiers who simply went home with their weapons in the face of the American-led invasion.

Demobilizing the entire Iraq army was definitely, in retrospect, a mistake.

We all remember the US had done intense propagnda prior to the war asking the Iraq soldiers if they wanted to die for Saddam, and promising that US troops would not engage in hostilities unless fired upon. Leaflets were dropped so that tank crews would know how to display their intent not to engage us.

The stated intentions of the United States were to go into Iraq, remove Saddam, help Iraq in the transition of founding a sovereign nation and then leave. These were known well in advance of the war. It became a question of trust and was aided by the fact that there was clear precedent after World War II made manifest given Germany's open and vicious opposition which, if nothing else, proved they were no puppet or satellite.

Result: most of the Iraq army chose to stand down which was the major factor in the speedy advance to Baghdad which in turn saved lives and preserved most of the country intact.

The true awe of the campaign for me was this decision by the army to stand down. It was gambling everything -- everything -- on hope. And they were trusting a country that had already seemingly betrayed them.

It still gives me chills. A leap of faith, seemingly simple, yet an extraordinary act.

All right, back to Iyad Alwai. He recommends that the Iraqi Army be recalled, and I'm very, very inclined to agree.

He also recommends returning the police as well as other employees of some of the ministries and government bureaucracies. I'm not sure of the extent of preference given to members of the Ba'athist Party in the agencies he cites, so can't comment.

The most interesting of the proposal urges a turnover of power and international recognition of national sovereignty before the ratification of a constitution, which I'd have to think about longer but I'm not sure I agree with. I still believe that letting democracy take hold at the grass roots will be the spirit and force to protect and defend democracy at the national level (I'm using the term democracy generally):

Finally, as security improves, Iraqi institutions are re-established and the constitutional drafting process is completed, the United States should support international recognition of Iraqi sovereignty. Then a recognized interim government could quickly present a popular referendum, under United Nations monitoring, on the new national constitution. It would be a grave mistake for the United States to hold out sovereignty and international recognition as the reward for passage of a constitution. Rather, making Iraqis once again a part of the international system is the prerequisite of successful reconstruction and a durable democratic system.
In every way it is the process of formulating a constitution that is the important thing, having to wrangle and argue and getting used to a lot of different opinions being aired vehemently, and learning to live with the fact that there are disagreements and then chosing how to compromise to gain qualifed assent and then, then holding elections with the understanding and knowledge that even if your side or our side loses, everyone knows for absolute sure that you and I, as well as them, and all our supporters will get another chance to try again within a certain amount of time.

And that process needs to take as long as it needs to take.

Liberty is a frail, precious thing, and it takes time to learn how to live with and in liberty. You have to get some new habits, and new ways of looking at other people and dealing with their opinions. One of the hardest things to do is recognize when it's time to agree to disagree (flame wars on Usenet over obscure minutiae prove that we are still learning!) and so I'd prefer they take the necessary hammers and tongs to forge a Constitution that will last and serve them over centuries. And that's of course just my opinion.

There are some other recommendations in the piece too, so read the whole thing, as they say. This is just as new to everyone in Iraq as it is to everyone else in the world, so there will inevitably be a healthy exhange of ideas.

Posted by Debbye at 05:27 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 19 - Had trouble

Oct. 19 - Had trouble finding stuff to cite and post, so made a wise decision to take advantage of this beautiful weather (not too hot, not too cold, with a delightful bit of the nippy) and went for a long walk by the Mimico Creek.

One thing about living in the SF Bay Area is the lack of seasons, and especially the lack of vibrant fall colours. It just seemed to go from green to brown, and from sunny days to constant overcast and rain.

One thing we never tire of discussing up here is how the Maple Leafs are doing, trashing the Habs, and speculating when the first snowfall will come. Old timers are saying (from my unscientific survey) that it should come by mid-November, which is a bit early, but it guarantees that the ground will be cold enough for snow to stick by Christmas.

We have a lot of hilly areas in my part of Toronto, so that's good news for kids and their sledding and building snow forts and snow angels.

Anyway, despite a dearth of hard news, there's a lot of good commentary so I'm getting a slow but sure start.

Now I just have to rev myself up and pretend to be wise and thoughtful. Uh-huh.

Posted by Debbye at 03:51 PM | Comments (0)

October 18, 2003

Oct. 18 - From Meowtrix:

Oct. 18 - From Meowtrix: Relittered There is No Spork!.

(Via Ghost of a Flea.)

And then, at Moving Target, there's this, a dramatic rendition of how Roy got bounced by the tigger. (It's blogger, so you may have to scroll.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:46 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 18 - I am

Oct. 18 - I am voting for Hypocrisy and Hypotheses...Same Thing Every Year... in the new blog showcase because of this:

It's not so much the buying I mind, it's the shopping part I can certainly do without. Let me find what I want at the first shop, and then get the hell out !!
I too hate to shop. I believe shopping should be conducted with military precision: Get in, Get purchase, Get out in 10 minutes or less.

Posted by Debbye at 09:27 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 18 - French Libertarian

Oct. 18 - French Libertarian in Quebec has a survey up on the CA/PC Merger in which Canadians are invited to participate.

Well, go on! I'm finished.

Posted by Debbye at 04:22 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 18 - Timing, as

Oct. 18 - Timing, as they say, is everything. I read a terrific post this morning which depicted the current struggle as The War of Two Religions yesterday at American Digest which asserts that the terrorists are at war with the religion of Freedom, and this afternoon we get another tape allegedly from bin Laden in which

He also called on Muslims to fight those in their midst who support democratic solutions to conflicts.

"There are many voices going loud and clear in Iraq -- as before in Egypt, Palestine, Yemen and others -- calling for peaceful, democratic solutions in dealing with infidel governments," the voice said, citing the Iraqi Governing Council as an example. "We have to warn against the danger of this methodology. This is against the Sharia (Islamic law) of God.

"You have no reward but in Jihad," he added, calling those who support the United States "infidels and heretics."

He called on Muslims to continue martyrdom operations against "infidels and crusaders."

American Digest also has two posts about how the statements made by Gen. Boykin came to the attention of NBC and the LA Times here and here which are reminiscent of the attempt made by the LA Times to depict Arnold Schwarzenegger as a groping womanizer on the weekend before the California recall vote which rekindled my urge to find out of the Times is owned by the Hearst family (they don't) because the mud slinging and yellow journalism is clearly out of control over there.

Back on topic: so Gen. Boykin tells the truth that dare not speak its name (TM Vanderleun) and the speaker in the alleged bin Laden tape seemingly agrees:

The message to Iraqis and Arab Muslims worldwide called the U.S.-led effort in Iraq "a Christian war" and issued a rallying cry for Muslims to launch jihad operations against the United States and allies helping it. "The aggressors should know we reserve the right to respond at a time and place that we see appropriate," he said, specifically naming England, Spain, Australia, Japan, Poland, and Italy. (Emphasis added.)
I've found that my Rules of Life have changed somewhat as I get older, but one that I still hold very dear is that When The Enemy Speaks, Pay Attention so whether I prefer to characterize the struggle as being between terrorism and those who chose to fight it is irrelevant to the followers of bin Laden; they are telling us that they believe it is a war between sharia and freedom, and between Islamicists and Christians.

History will indeed sort it all out but we are living in the here and now, and to pretend that al Qaeda views the USA as anything other than a nation that was founded upon Judeo-Christian ethics is a very special kind of appeasement that only a pretentious fool could tolerate.

Speaking of appeasement, I am eagerly awaiting CAIR's denunciation of the alleged bin Laden tape.

UPDATE: In case you want to keep track of the bin Laden tapes, Fox has the round-up here.

UPDAT: Ith and others listed in her post have some further thoughts on the mini-controversy about Gen. Boykin. It's not about agreeing or disagreeing with him but about defending his right to speak his religious views freely, and judging from this LA Times editorial and this one from the Washington Post it looks like members of the media have forgotten that the Gen. Boykin is entitled to the same protection under the First Amendment as they are. Hypocrites much?

UPDATE: I eliminated the two referrals because they're already listed in
Ith's post. So, can we all say great minds and all that?

Posted by Debbye at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 18 - Forget the

Oct. 18 - Forget the lawyers, we need to elect more history majors to Congress, and the following explains why: go read this at Jessica's Well for something that gives actual historical perspective to rebuilding Iraq and especially the media coverage of the endeavour.

Today Congress, tomorrow Big Media. History majors must step up and make their voices heard.

(Link via Dean's World.)

Posted by Debbye at 12:25 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 18 - Another good

Oct. 18 - Another good one over at Day By Day by Chris Muir.

Posted by Debbye at 12:20 PM | Comments (1)

Oct. 18 - I haven't

Oct. 18 - I haven't posted about the debate and vote in Congress over the appropriation of funds for Iraq because I don't post when I'm furious. I'm so tired of partisan politics over any and everything that I'm just keeping two lists these days: those who get it, and those who don't care to.

David Brooks gets it, and has written an op-ed for the NY Times defining three Democrat Partys, The Good, the Bad, the Ugly, and their differences over the future of Iraq.

First, there are the Nancy Pelosi Democrats. These Democrats voted against Paul Bremer's $87 billion plan for the reconstruction of Iraq. The essence of their case is that the Bush administration is too corrupt and incompetent to reconstruct Iraq. If Bush is for it, they're against it.

Their hatred for Bush is so dense, it's hard for them to see through it to the consequences of their vote. But if Pelosi's arguments had carried the day, our troops in Iraq would be reading this morning about the death of the Bremer plan and the ruination of our efforts to rebuild Iraq.

Next we come to the Evan Bayh Democrats, named after the Indiana senator. These Democrats can see past their dislike of the president. They would appropriate some money for Iraqi reconstruction. But siding with the anti-foreign-aid Republicans, they'd turn the rest of the aid into loans. The Iraqi people have been raped, tortured and left bloodied on the floor. The Bayh Democrats say to them: Here's a credit card. Go buy yourself some treatment, and you can pay us back later.

The Bayh Democrats are centrist but not visionary, and they seem to worry more about adding an extra $10 billion to the deficit than about the future of the Middle East. They may have read memos from the Democratic pollsters on the unpopularity of the $87 billion plan, but they don't seem to have read about the Versailles Treaty and what happens when strong nations impose punitive burdens on proud ones. (Emphasis added)

And finally there are the Cantwell Democrats, named thus because Maria Cantwell sits at Scoop Jackson's old desk, but, as Brooks notes, could be named for Joe Biden, Joe Lieberman or Dick Gephardt:
But they knew yesterday's vote wasn't about George Bush. It was about doing what's right for the Iraqi people and what's right, over the long term, for the American people. These Democrats supported the aid package, and were willing to pay a price to give the Iraqis their best shot at a decent future. This week, Gephardt, who has to win over Iowa liberals to have any shot at the White House, is the bravest man in Washington.
Go here for an excellent round-up of statements by bloggers equally outraged at Senatorial Lunacy but better at anger management than I.

Then, in today's editorial in the NY Times, Islamic Anti-Semitism, points to the aspect of Mahathir's speech that worry me most:

It is hard to know what is more alarming -- a toxic statement of hatred of Jews by the Malaysian prime minister at an Islamic summit meeting this week or the unanimous applause it engendered from the kings, presidents and emirs in the audience. The words uttered by the prime minister, Mahathir Mohamad, in a speech to the 57-member Organization of the Islamic Conference on Thursday were sadly familiar: Jews, he asserted, may be few in number, but they seek to run the world.


When Israeli officials noted that such talk brought Hitler to mind, the assembled leaders were mystified. Yemen's foreign minister said he agreed entirely with his Malaysian colleague, adding, "Israelis and Jews control most of the economy and the media in the world." The Egyptian foreign minister, Ahmed Maher, called the speech "a very, very wise assessment." Even the Afghan president, Hamid Karzai, said the speech was "very correct."

The editorial goes on to point out that Muslim are most marginalized and disenfranchised by the very people who applauded Mahathir's speech, and expresses alarm that the EU decided not to condemn the speech but fails to mention that it was Chirac (among others) who blocked the motion.

I'm glad the NY Times is returning to being the newspaper I love even when I hate it.

Posted by Debbye at 11:44 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 18 - Gen. Boykin

Oct. 18 - Gen. Boykin has issued a statement which explains statements criticized by Muslims he made at a prayer study group

In his statement, Boykin said for 33 years he has defended every American's right to "worship as he or she chooses" and the "right of free speech and a free press."

"I will continue to do so," he said.

Boykin said his primary message to audiences has been to pray for America's leaders. He went on to defend the above statements.

"My comments to Osman Otto in Mogadishu were not referencing his worship of Allah but his worship of money and power; idolatry. He was a corrupt man, not a follower of Islam. My references to Judeo-Christian roots in America or our nation as a Christian nation are historically undeniable," the statement said.

He also issued an apology to anyone who might have been offended by his remarks.

This didn't satisfied the Council of American-Islamic Relations who said that Boykins continued involvement in the War on Terror sends a negative message:

"This apology should be appreciated but the question is, do we want a person with extremist views... in this position in the war on terror," the group's executive director, Nihad Awad, told CNN. "If he continues to be there it sends a very negative message to the Muslim world." [CNN's ellipses]
CAIR preceeded their statement with a profound apology to Jews for the remarks made by Malaysian PM Mahathir at a recent conference that charged that Jews run the world.

Oh wait, my bad. They didn't apologize. They have never apologized for any of the hateful, incendiary statements some Muslims have made that offend Jews, Catholics, Protestants, Hindus, Buddhists, Taoists, agnostics, atheists, Americans, British, Canadians, Germans, Russians, Poles, Ukranians, Argentinians, Australians, Italians, Israelis, Indians, Spanish, etc.

UPDATE: Another story at CNN elaborates on comments made by Nihad Awad, executive director of CAIR, on Gen. Boykins's suitability as a Pentagon intelligence official:

O'BRIEN: So you're saying that in spite of the apology, he should be removed from his position?

AWAD: It's not the apology but the views. How would I trust someone who looks at Islam and at Muslims as idol worshippers, and allow me to put one point of education here because it is very important: Islam is a monotheistic religion.

So he maintains that Boykin claimed Muslims worship idols even though Boykin was clearly referring to a war-lord (who happens to be Muslim) who worships money and power? Okay, may it's a bit Old Testament, but the criticism was clearly directed to an individual, not a religion.

Maybe the point being made by CAIR is that all Muslims are above criticism.

And no, Soledad O'Brien didn't ask Nihad Awad to comment on PM Mahathir's remarks either. It's CNN, remember?

Posted by Debbye at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 18 - A few

Oct. 18 - A few items from Afghanistan:

Planning has begun to expand the mission to regions outside Kabul and some areas have been scouted for future NATO base sites:

KABUL -- Two of the top Canadians in Afghanistan have been to a half-dozen potential NATO expansion areas, assessing needs and how Canada might meet them once its current mission is done. Ambassador Chris Alexander and Maj.-Gen. Andrew Leslie have ventured to Parvan province, north of Kabul; Faryab, to the northwest; Bamiyan, to the west and Jalalabad, to the east.


The alliance is considering employing provincial reconstruction teams, or PRTs, each consisting of between 50 and about 400 soldiers and combat engineers who would restore infrastructure in areas outside Kabul.

PM Chretien visited the troops in Afghanistan, toured the base at Camp Julien, inspected the honour guard, met with senior military commanders, and spoke to the assembled troops.
"Over my time as prime minister we have had to ask more and more of the Canadian Forces," he told them. "In the last 10 years, you have undertaken more deployments to more regions than at any time in Canada's history."

"In each case you were the best Canada could offer. In every case your efforts brought very positive results."

"Everything has been destroyed over the last 25 years and we have to help them to rebuild and to give them a normal life," he said at the base.

"And it's coming. What is touching me most is that we have been there to help the kids to go back to school, especially girls who have not gone to school for years and generations, perhaps.

"This is a very important step and we're part of it."

Canada is also helping with water, roads, hospitals and clinics, he noted.

The Prime Minister also met with Afghan interim President Hamid Karzai who asked that the thanks and gratitude of the Afghanistan people be brought back to Canada.

The troops face more dangers than those from land mines, snipers and rockets: a nasty assortment of poisonous snakes and insects. Capt. Ken Taylor has the responsibility for teaching new arrivals about those dangers and how to deal with them. The bounty on Canadian troops has increased the danger, and means that they can't relax or completely trust anyone:

During a raid of the living quarters of over 200 locals hired to work at Camp Warehouse, a multinational base where Canadians are also stationed, 20 possessed documents such as a detailed sketch of an anti-tank rocket, aircraft manifest and a lists of soldiers' home addresses.
Read the whole thing, as they say.

Posted by Debbye at 09:07 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 18 - Operation Booster

Oct. 18 - Operation Booster Shot needs you to collect items for "care" packages to be sent to Canadian soldiers serving in Afghanistan:

Paramedic Sarah Zourdoumis figured her brother could use a boost. After speaking with Aesop, a soldier stationed in Afghanistan, she realized how homesick our troops are out in the desert.

Besides family and friends, Zourdoumis said the troops miss things like magazines, licorice, gum and Gatorade.

Zourdoumis talked with other paramedics about sending pick-me-up packages to the soldiers and suddenly collection boxes sprung up at EMS stations all over the city, launching Operation Booster Shot.

"For the soldiers, just knowing that people are doing this for them at home is a huge, huge boost," Zourdoumis said.

The goodies are to be flown out from CFB Trenton in coming weeks to soldiers involved in Operation Athena, in Afghanistan.

Mac's convenience stores even pitched in with donations of magazines and candy after paramedic Jamie Rodgers sought their help.

Sarah Zourdoumis has begun a worthy effort to let the troops know that this country cares about them, and she and the EMS personnel in Toronto deserve hearty congratulations for turning thoughts into action. I might add that books, including crossword and other puzzle books, as well as baby-wipes and hand lotion would also be welcome.

I used google to search EMS+Centers+Toronto and got a map of EMS Stations in Toronto here.

Posted by Debbye at 08:44 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 18 - Officials at

Oct. 18 - Officials at McMaster University said they have no record of Adnan El Shukrijumah posing as a student or casing their 5-megawatt nuclear research reactor facility.

The research reactor is used for research in physics, biology, chemistry, earth sciences, and medicine and produces radial iodine used in treatment of cancer.

A report yesterday said that El Shukrijumah had been at McMaster Univeristy trying to obtain radioactive materials to make a "dirty bomb" and described him as a key al Qaeda planner and, likening him to Mohammad Atta, was the ring-leader of a cell.

El Shukrijumah is known to travel under several aliases and passports from Guyana, Trinidad, and Canada. An alert was issued for him March 27 by the FBI.

Posted by Debbye at 07:54 AM | Comments (0)

October 17, 2003

Oct. 17 - The Canukistanian

Oct. 17 - The Canukistanian rightly rejoices the latest step to unite the Progessive Conservative Party with the Canadian Alliance and rightly so, for who has been more tireless than he in urging, agitating, pushing and remonstrating the parties to put Canada's welfare first? He has two bang-on posts today: Charlie Brown Again and Charlie Brown on the Liberal Threat.

Another one of my favourite Canadian bloggers, News Junkie Canada, has a post The Most Unselfish Act in Canadian Politics and scroll down for some ideas in her post Canadian Conservatives: Let's Get Started--Together--to Build.

Posted by Debbye at 04:33 PM | Comments (0)

Precision Guided Humour

Oct. 17 - The last precision guided humour assignment with The Alliance was to imagine what I would say if I had the floor at a press conference with Jacques Chirac.

I couldn't come up with anything (which is to say I couldn't come up with anything I'd want my mother to read) but it took me awhile to figure out why I was totally blocked.

Actually, once I stopped fretting about it, it turned out to be very simple: I live in Canada, which too is a member of the Axis of Weasels thanks to the PM here, one Jean Chretien, who has surrendered Canadian sovereignty to the Chirac wing of the UN.

The questions I might pose to Chirac would be nothing compared to the questions I would level at Chretien, yet asking Chretien "How could you betray every value of Western civilization" has already been answered: he is an arrogant, self-serving bastard who is more interested in reminding everyone that he's a French-Canadian with strongs ties to France and family ties to the French conglomerate oil company TotalFinaElf.

Chretien has reduced the military budget in Canada to a point that puts Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan in danger because they have inadequate armour on their transports.

He uses the international forums of the UN and G-8 conferences to attack Pres. Bush and the USA, and continues to try his best to enrage the American public.

When the UNSC was contemplating a second resolution, Chretien visited Mexico to persuade them to vote "no" should a second resolution be presented.

Chretien has, as Jay Currie put it in his post French Poodle, reduced Canada to being Chirac's bitch.

What could I possible ask Chirac except "How did you do it?"

Not very scathing or witty, but still fully aware of immense betrayal.

BUT other Alliance members fared a lot better with their responses.

Posted by Debbye at 03:24 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 17 - Malaysian PM

Oct. 17 - Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad's recent remarks at the Organization of the Islamic Conference continue to generate controversy and international condemnation despite efforts to say it was all a misunderstanding. I don't think those attending the conference misunderstood (excerpted quotes):

The Malaysian prime minister told leaders of the 57-nation Organization of the Islamic Conference, the world's largest Muslim grouping, that "Jews rule the world by proxy. They get others to fight and die for them."

The speech drew immediate criticism from Israel, the United States and other countries, and raised fears that it could fan violence against Jews. But it got a standing ovation from the kings, presidents, sheiks and emirs including key U.S. allies gathered in Malaysia's capital, Putrajaya. (Emphasis added)

Leaders at the Islamic summit included Karzai, Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah, Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf and Indonesian President Megawati Sukarnoputri. Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo of the Philippines were special guests because of their large Muslim minorities.

Mahathir, a respected leader in the developing world with a long history of making articulate, provocative comments, is retiring Oct. 31 after 22 years in power. He told the Islamic leaders that Muslims had achieved "nothing" in more than 50 years of fighting Israel.

"They survived 2,000 years of pogroms not by hitting back but by thinking," Mahathir said of the Jews. "They invented socialism, communism, human rights and democracy so that persecuting them would appear to be wrong, so that they can enjoy equal rights with others."

The ancient Greeks of Athens were infiltrated by Jews? And for another quick reality check, the Israelis are doing their own fighting, which is more than I can say of Saudia Arabia, Iran, Syria and other states that promote, fund and sponsor terrorism against Israel.

That stalwart defender of human rights, Jacques Chirac, still fights tirelessly to stem the threatening tide of simplisme:

At their own summit in Brussels, Belgium, European Union leaders had drafted a harshly worded statement condemning Mahathir's remarks, but French President Jacques Chirac blocked the wording from becoming a part of a final declaration.

The text had said Mahathir's "unacceptable comments hinder all our efforts to further interethnic and religious harmony, and have no place in a decent world. Such false and anti-Semitic remarks are as offensive to Muslims as they are to others."

Chirac, however, said there was no place in an EU declaration for such a text. EU leaders compromised by having Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi criticize Mahathir at his closing news conference. Officials said the draft text also would be issued as a separate statement and would be posted on the EU presidency Web site.

Translation: Chirac wimps out, Berlusconi doesn't.

The US, Australia, UK, Germany and Israel are among the countries that have denounced PM Mahathir's remarks.

Damien Penny is staying on top of this story here, links to the text in this post, and has more here and sums up Chirac's response here.

Canadians are Smug comments on the CBC coverage.

No, this story is not going away because vile as the remarks were, Mahathir's views are hardly unique.

UPDATE: Evidently it wasn't only Chirac who blocked the EU condemnation of Mahathir's speech.

Posted by Debbye at 01:49 PM | Comments (0)

Press lost public trust in USA

Oct. 17 - Support for the US action in Iraq is still supported by a majority of Americans, and although the negative press coverage has harmed perceptions as to the current situation in Iraq, the press itself has lost the confidence of Americans according to this poll conducted October 14-15 by Opinion Dynamics Corporation.

Currently, 58 percent of Americans think going to war with Iraq was the right thing for the United States to do, down from 62 percent in September and 65 percent in July. Almost four in 10 (39 percent) feel strongly that taking military action was the right thing to do and 19 percent feel it was somewhat right. About a third think going to war was the wrong thing to do (23 percent strongly and 12 percent somewhat).

A solid majority believes progress has been made toward restoring security and government services in Iraq. About one in five Americans (19 percent) think "a lot" of progress has been made, while 44 percent say there has been some progress, "but not a lot." Twenty-one percent say "a little" progress has been made, and nine percent say "no progress at all."

There are large party differences on this issue, with fully 82 percent of Republicans saying they think a lot or some progress has been made, compared to 49 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of independents.

"An America that was united after 9/11 is clearly returning to the intensely partisan split that was apparent in 2000," comments Opinion Dynamics President John Gorman. "Even Vietnam, which tore the country apart, was somewhat bipartisan on both the pro- and anti-war sides, since it was begun by Democrats and continued by Republicans. The Iraq effort is rapidly becoming a Democrats versus Republicans issue, which will make it far more difficult for the administration."

And more difficult for the Iraqis.
Earlier this year, when major combat was still underway in Iraq, over half of Americans approved of the way newspapers and television channels were reporting on the war. Today, nearly half disapprove (46 percent) of the way news outlets have been reporting on U.S. military operations in Iraq. Again, there are predictable partisan differences. Democrats are more likely to approve of the news coverage of Iraq, but a majority of Republicans disapprove.

In addition, three times as many Americans think news reports about Iraq are more likely to focus on the negative and leave out the positive (60 percent), than to focus largely on the positive things happening in Iraq (19 percent). Earlier this week President Bush gave several interviews to local broadcast stations, in part, because he believes the positive things happening in Iraq are not getting attention in the mainstream press. (Emphasis added)

(Via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 12:35 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 17 - I already

Oct. 17 - I already know I'm not the only American who, on Sept. 11, 2001, offered this quick prayer of thanks: "Thank God there's a Republican in the White House" and I don't even find it ironic that it came from me, a woman who had never voted Republican in her life. So I'm not terribly concerned at this: God put Bush in charge, says the general hunting bin Laden. After all, the Inaugural Oath, which is taken with one hand on the Bible, and ends with the words "so help me God."

The unoffical national anthem, God Bless America, is a plea to the Almighty to guide us during this difficult period.

I wish Western Christian-haters would Get A Grip. Openly acknowledging one's religious beliefs is protected under the First Amendment, and I'm getting tired of the attitudes by some that being a Christian should be treated as a private, dirty little secret.

It happens to be one of the things we're fighting to protect.

Do I think we are fighting Satan? Well, I would hardly characterize the ruthless viciousness of al Qaeda as a manifestation of mischevious leprechauns . . .

Posted by Debbye at 12:28 PM | Comments (0)

Adnan El Shukrijumah and a "dirty bomb"

Oct. 17 - Despite the carping about the sieve-like Canadian border (disclosure: I'd be carping about problems within the US more if I resided there!) and so on, I do think that Canada has been a partner in the War on Terror and this Washington Times report by Bill Gertz illustrates that there has indeed been cooperation between the two countries: Al Qaeda pursued a 'dirty bomb':

A key al Qaeda terrorism suspect was in Canada looking for nuclear material for a "dirty bomb," The Washington Times has learned.

Adnan El Shukrijumah is being sought by the FBI and CIA in connection with a plot to detonate a dirty bomb -- a conventional explosive laced with radioactive material.

According to an FBI informant, El Shukrijumah was spotted last year in Hamilton, Ontario, posing as a student at McMaster University, which has a 5-megawatt research reactor. U.S. officials believe El Shukrijumah, whose photograph was posted on the FBI's Web site in March, was in Hamilton trying to obtain radioactive material.

One U.S. official said El Shukrijumah is a key North American al Qaeda member who is useful to other Middle Eastern members of the terrorist group because of his knowledge of the United States and his ability to speak English.

El Shukrijumah was identified by the informant after his photograph was made public by the FBI in March. He is believed to be part of an al Qaeda cell in Canada and the United States that was planning a dirty-bomb attack. The status of the bomb plot is not known.

Spokesmen for the FBI, CIA, Canadian Security Intelligence Service and Royal Canadian Mounted Police declined to comment on El Shukrijumah's stay in Canada.


In addition to El Shukrijumah, the informant said that at least three other al Qaeda terrorists were seen in Hamilton in 2002. They include Anas al-Liby, one of the FBI's most wanted terrorists, Jaber A. Elbaneh and Amer El-Maati.

Anas al-Liby is connected to the 1998 embassy bombings in West Africa, and El Shukrijumah is believed to be a ring-leader (similar to Mohammed Atta) and was in Florida at the same time as Jose Padilla, who is currently being detained on suspicion of trying to make a "dirty bomb."

The Toronto Sun carried the story here.

Posted by Debbye at 11:22 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 17 - Never mind

Oct. 17 - Never mind the movie stereotype of Army life. Far from home, lonliness and homesickness has always been the lot of the soldier, and it's a Tough time for the troops in Afghanistan:

CAMP JULIEN, Afghanistan -- A growing number of Canadian soldiers are battling homesickness, weighed down by the thought of another four more months here. According to military researchers, troops hit a slump after completing two months of a six-month mission and become distracted on the job, increasing the possibility of injuries and accidents.


[Camp Julien's social worker Maj. Jurden] Rice said military leaders on base have been combating the slump, encouraging special activities at Camp Julien such as a sports day held a few weeks ago. Last night some of the 1,900 soldiers who arrived here in August were treated to a barbecue.

Rice said the special events keep the soldiers from dwelling on their loneliness, which could lead to potentially deadly mistakes on patrols.

In another report from Afghanistan, I hope morale is being boosted by the renewed attention on the troops by the media, the public and even the government as they are going to receive more armour:
Canadian soldiers serving near Kabul will get more muscle next month to thwart terrorist attacks during patrols. Maj.-Gen. Andrew Leslie, Canada's top soldier in Afghanistan, said he'll receive 15 light armoured vehicles next month and about 50 soldiers to operate them -- mostly from the 1st Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment at CFB Petawawa.

Leslie said he asked for more muscle because threats from al-Qaida and Taliban operatives are increasing.


"Based on the threats and the tragedy, we need more armour," he said.

Sgt. Robert Alan Short, 42, and Cpl. Robbie Christopher Beerenfenger, 29, died when their Iltis hit a land mine during a patrol only hours after the route had been cleared by military engineers.

"We believe someone scampered out and buried a mine after the route was proved," Leslie said.

The LAV IIIs and their crews will be flown to Kabul by mid-November. The Bison vehicles will arrive in the following weeks.

The Forces are also sending an African-built commercial mine-protected vehicle to sweep patrol routes for landmines.

God bless and keep the troops.

Posted by Debbye at 10:40 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 17 - N. Korea

Oct. 17 - N. Korea is still playing coy and hinting it may test N-weapon:

SEOUL, South Korea -- North Korea hinted yesterday that it may test a nuclear weapon in what would be a major escalation in the year-long standoff with the U.S. The communist state, in comments attributed to a foreign ministry spokesman, said it would "open its nuclear deterrent to the public as a physical force."


North Korean negotiators reportedly told U.S. officials in August that they would prove the country possesses nuclear weapons by testing a nuclear device, unless Washington makes diplomatic and economic concessions.

In early October, North Korea said it completed extracting plutonium from its 8,000 spent nuclear fuel rods and is using the material to build nuclear bombs.

The inimitable James Lileks came up with a solution last August:
Why not nuke North Korea's nuke test? They've said they're going to have a test; I presume we know where that will be. So we nuke it the day before. There's a big explosion, a mushroom cloud; they blame us. We say what are you talking about? You said you were going to light one off. And you did. No! You did it! Right. We nuked your nuke test. And that makes sense . . . how, exactly? It would certainly keep them off their game. And just after we nuke the test - and every subsequent test, of course - we put a call to Li'l Kim's cellphone, and someone with a Texas accent says oh, I'm sorry, wrong number. I was tryin' to reach a live man.

Posted by Debbye at 10:23 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 17 - 73 Child

Oct. 17 - 73 Child slaves who were kidnapped from the small African nation of Benin (regional map here) and forced to work in Nigerian granite quarries were rescued by authorities:

COTONOU, Benin -- Scarred by beatings and their hands callused, 74 boys received medical treatment yesterday after their rescue as slaves in Nigerian granite quarries. The children told authorities that over the previous three months, at least 13 other boys died, succumbing to exhaustion, disease, hunger and abuse, officials said.

"We would break the stones, and the men would come take them away in trucks," said one boy, who was skinny, filthy and heavily scarred.

The children, many just hip-high with bare chests showing white scars, hung from the windows of buses used to return them from Nigeria to Benin, where they had been taken by traffickers and sold as child labour.

In Nigeria, granite pit bosses buried the dead children in shallow graves near the quarries, said Kemi Olumefun, whose Nigerian women's charity helped rescue the children after receiving tips about the brutal conditions.

Child labour and labour-trafficking are common across West Africa -- while rescue efforts are rare.

Under an accord signed in August, the neighbouring countries are cooperating to find and return children who have been forced into gruelling labour. Nigerian police believe at least 6,000 children from Benin still labour in granite pits in the southwest. (Emphasis added)

Please note the absence of UN involvement, probably because those UN agencies that address child abuse are too busy fussing over the fact that Canadian parents are still legally permitted to spank their children.

On Sept. 23, in an address (transcript here) to the UN, President Bush said:
There's another humanitarian crisis spreading, yet hidden from view. Each year, an estimated 800,000 to 900,000 human beings are bought, sold or forced across the world's borders.
The UN has not addressed his concerns yet because they are more worried about restraining the hands of one of the most benevolent super-powers in history than in trying to curb child slavery in granite mines or the sex trade.

If I seem disrespectful of the UN it's probably because I don't respect it. They are more interesting in pretending that the USA is eeevil than they are in confronting true evil, and were the lofty members of the UN actually interested in humanitarian relief, soldiers wearing blue helmets would be entering Nigerian granite quarries and rescuing kids.

Even though the UN continues to fail miserably as a force of justice and humanity, it is worth noting that some African nations have taken up this challenge and are taking care of this troubling practice themselves.

Posted by Debbye at 09:44 AM | Comments (0)

October 16, 2003

Oct. 16 - It must

Oct. 16 - It must be TIME FOR THE MONTHLY DOSE OF ATTENTION because although former Pres. Bill Clinton is beginning to take sole lead at the top of The Neediest Person Ever Born List he is answered (or is that smacked down?) by smartercop.

But I musn't be too nasty. It is absolutely essential that the former President hit the campaign trail on behalf of the Democrat Presidential candidate in 2004.

The really scary part is when I find myself wondering if the press will be just as fascinated with PM Chretien after he retires. (The more scary part is wondering if Chretien ever will retire, but that's hardly news.)

Posted by Debbye at 03:25 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 16 - Read and

Oct. 16 - Read and keep scrolling for your Very Own Stress Reduction Kit, courtesey of Stupid Angry Canajun. C'mon, you know you want one!

Posted by Debbye at 02:03 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 16 - Alpha Patriot

Oct. 16 - Alpha Patriot has one of the best analysis of the Trouble in Bolivia I've seen yet and includes a look at some of the historical factors for the simmering anger.

It's too easy to fixate on the Mid-east and forget more immediate neighbours and, as this post makes clear, there are nations in our own backyard that need attention.

UPDATE: Tens of thousands of Bolivia's poorer citizens demonstrated in La Paz yesterday to protest the deaths of an estimated 74 people in recent violence and to reject attempts to initiate free trade agreements despite "watering down" by Bolivian Pres. Sanchez de Lozada.

Posted by Debbye at 01:20 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 16 - Be sure

Oct. 16 - Be sure and read Front Line Voices today; Air Force Capt. Steve has a letter "Fear of Fueling" that is a must read.

Come on, isn't there a part of you that's amazed at mid-air fueling? The amount of precision it takes never fails to make me gasp with awe and admiration.

Posted by Debbye at 12:58 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 16 - Two must-read

Oct. 16 - Two must-read posts about the merger of the right in Canada at The Canukistanian: Charlie Brown on the Merger, and
Deal struck to unite-the-right.

UPDATE: link fixed.

Posted by Debbye at 12:03 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 16 - Australia has

Oct. 16 - Australia has awarded several honours to the heroes and heroines of the Bali bombing:

THEY are people who risked their lives and surpassed all human expectation in the aftermath of the Bali bombings.

They ignored their own horrific injuries to rescue strangers from the infernos of the Sari Club and Paddy's Bar. Some left safe havens to repeatedly enter the burning buildings in answer to the screams of people they had never met.

Others applied bush medicine in the street or used hard-won skills to restore fractured bodies.

Some had to call on deep wells of grace and compassion when confronted with the anger of traumatised families stepping off aircraft to search for loved ones. And some used their skills to track down and prosecute the evil that brought this on us.

Now we know their names. [Scroll down the article for the roster.]

Today's Bali honours list includes survivors of the blasts, Australian consulate staff in Indonesia, members from most Australian police services, military personnel, public servants, doctors and nurses and other Australians who, for whatever reason and with whatever resources, went to the aid of others.

Never forget that we can rise to the occasion when extraordinary events threaten to overwhelm us.

Posted by Debbye at 10:47 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 16 - There are

Oct. 16 - There are so very many ways to excuse one's own failures, but the Number One favourite is: 'Jews Rule World by Proxy' and it comes from the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Mahathir Mohamad, at the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

I read crap like that and want to dismiss it as the ravings of a loser, but then I see something like this account of a hate crime at York University in Toronto and remember that messages like that espoused by the Malaysian PM are fervently believed by too many people who act on that hate.

UPDATE: Damien Penny reports that the York University Hillel chapter has decided to take the Succah down after the attacks.

UPDATE: Still think there's a difference between being anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic? Read this.

UPDATE: PM Mahathir claims he was misunderstood and no offense was intended. His remarks have drawn an angry response by the US, Australia, the EU, and Israel, and in the UK the Malaysian top diplomat was summoned to the Foreign Office to express British concern about Mahathir's remarks.

UPDATE: The text of the speech can be found here.

Posted by Debbye at 10:11 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 16 - This from

Oct. 16 - This from Fox News: Behind the Bar - Is Arizona the Next Recall State?:

One of the underreported stories to come out of the California recall election was the fact that Gray Davis' signing of the illegal alien driver's license bill actually mobilized votes against him.

Though the proposed California law, now consigned to the trash can with the election of Arnold Schwarzenegger, was arguably the least safe driver's license law in the country, other governors spoke admiringly of the law -- albeit before the votes in California had been counted.

In September, Janet Napolitano, governor of Arizona, said that if the state's Legislature presented her with a bill identical to the California bill, she would sign it. That is to say, if she were to be presented a bill that stripped identification requirements to use of an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, she would let it become law. Arizona is one of several states that are being driven into bankruptcy in large part by unreimbursed medical costs, as well as other forms of public assistance, associated with the treatment of illegal aliens

Proponents of laws that would give driver's licenses to illegal aliens usually sum up their arguments like this: "Illegal aliens are driving without licenses right now, so let's test them and grant those who pass the road test a driver's license."

Does this mean that those illegal aliens who don't pass the road test will suddenly stop driving? Of course it doesn't. Such laws don't change anything except the number of votes the executives who sign them believe they can garner at the next election.

Arizona is by no means the only state that has a law that allows illegal aliens to drive, but it is the only state that is deliberately trending in that direction. Gov. Napolitano's effort is just as transparently political as Davis' was. But Gov. Napolitano is demonstrably invulnerable to facts. She recently refused to sign a bill that would curb voting by illegal aliens by requiring photo identification to vote. When doing so, she stated that she knew of not one instance in which an Arizona election was affected by votes of non-citizens, though only two years ago an Arizona politician and her campaign manager were arrested for voting prior to becoming citizens. So while Gray Davis' political career was ended in large part by a law allowing illegal aliens to drive, Janet Napolitano looks at such a law as a safe bet. (Emphasis added)

Arizonans have begun to organize against Gov. Napolitano. An estimated 78 percent of Arizonans want hospitals and polling places to demand proof of legal residency before medical treatment or voting takes place, with between 82 percent and 96 percent of Republicans in favor of such a measure...

Interesting times (and yes, Gov. Napolitano is a Democrat.)

Posted by Debbye at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 16 - Looks like

Oct. 16 - Looks like there's a new player in town: Palestinians Report Three Arrests for U.S. Convoy Bombing who are said to be members of the Popular Resistance Committees:

JEBALIYA REFUGEE CAMP, Gaza Strip — Palestinian police arrested three members of a small militant group Thursday in connection with a deadly attack on a U.S. diplomatic convoy (search), security officials said.

Witnesses said militants and police exchanged fire for about 10 minutes during the raid.

The three suspects are members of the Popular Resistance Committees, a group of dozens of armed men, including many former members of the Palestinian security forces and disgruntled followers of Yasser Arafat's Fatah movement, said the officials. Officials initially gave the number of people detained as five.


Involvement by the Popular Resistance Committees, which has issued a statement saying it was not involved in the attack, could prove particularly embarrassing to Arafat because of the group's links to the security forces.

Please, Arafat is beyond being embarrassed. It's frustrating, because, although I suspect that the attack was done on Arafat's orders, I doubt it will be proven.

I hereby concede that the One Bullet Solution is the only solution.

Posted by Debbye at 09:51 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 16 - The Fan

Oct. 16 - The Fan Who Cost the Cubs the Pennant is now The Fan Who Fears for His Life, but Florida Gov. Jeb Bush has reportedly said the fan should consider asylum in Florida and offered him a 3-month stay at an oceanfront resort.

It's hard to convince unbelievers that one act of fan interference actually resulted blowing a 3 run lead, but true baseball fans know that observance of superstitous rituals are the key to winning, and the road to the pennant is oft marred by bad mojo.

If you don't believe me, check out this same die-hard Yankees fan.

Her preparations put me to shame. All I did was make sure my ancient Cubs shirt was clean for the games, but it didn't work any better for the Cubs than wearing my Giants shirt worked for SF.

I may hate the conclusion to the National League pennant series, but hot damn! the Cubs and Red Sox have sure made this one of the more exciting playoff series in recent memory.

Posted by Debbye at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 16 - Here's something

Oct. 16 - Here's something you don't hear about every day: an earthquake in southwest New Brunswick. It registered 3.1 on the Richter scale.

Posted by Debbye at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 16 - I gave

Oct. 16 - I gave up on newspeak when people became reclassified as human resources, but this takes the cake: 200 environmental assistants laid off at St. Michaels Hospital.

Environmental assistants are responsible for cleaning patients' rooms, transferring them throughout the hospital and serving meals.

Posted by Debbye at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 16 - This is

Oct. 16 - This is a must see, a tribute On A Rock In Rural Iowa painted by Ray Bubba Sorensen III.

(Via One Hand Clapping.)

Posted by Debbye at 09:15 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 16 - Iraqis have

Oct. 16 - Iraqis have begun exchanging old Iraqi dinars for the new currency at banks in Iraq.

"He's gone and now his picture is gone, too," said Bank of Baghdad worker Raghad Kandala, as customers lined up to hand in their expiring "Saddam" banknotes.
Lawgiver Hammurabai is pictured on some of the dinars, and I can't help thinking how fitting it is that he replaces Saddam.

Posted by Debbye at 09:13 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 16 - A raid

Oct. 16 - A raid was launched against a suspected Taliban hideout in southern Afghanistan on Monday. After two days of fighting, there were 7 Taliban dead and 12 captured, and 3 Afghan soldiers killed and 5 wounded. Approximately 500 Afghan soldiers backed by US troops participated in the operation.

Posted by Debbye at 09:12 AM | Comments (0)

October 15, 2003

Oct. 15 - According to

Oct. 15 - According to CNN, there was a battle ysterday between US troops and unnamed forces at Iraqi-Syrian border

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- U.S. troops came under fire from a group of people the coalition says were trying to cross illegally into Iraq from Syria on Wednesday. The resulting gun battle left several of the alleged infiltrators dead, coalition officials said Wednesday.

A U.S. observation helicopter was forced down after being hit by small-arms fire during the skirmish, but no U.S. soldiers were reported killed or wounded.

The clash began about midnight Tuesday (5 p.m. EDT), when ground observers from the Army's 82nd Airborne Division noticed a group of people trying to enter Iraq without going through an official crossing.

The report says that there were no US troops injured, and some of the assailants were take prisoner but no details have been given yet as to the nationalities or affiliations of the captured.

Posted by Debbye at 04:20 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 15 - Paul reports

Oct. 15 - Paul reports that the list of suspects in today's Gaza bombing that killed 3 Americans is lengthy and speculates This is going to get ugly... but brightens up when he realizes the Palestinians are suddenly very worried about that wonderful American tradition we call Payback.

Posted by Debbye at 02:58 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 15 - Part III

Oct. 15 - Part III of Austin Bay's "Walk Back the Cat" is up at Strategy Page.

Part I is here, and Part II is here.

Via He who thinks he's too good for a witty tagline.

Posted by Debbye at 02:50 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 15 - Does something

Oct. 15 - Does something that everyone knew would happen (after the mandatory rhetoric and posturing) really count as news? Oh well, here's the no-surprise UN decision: Three Countries Give U.S. a Key Iraq Concession and drop their demand to give the UN a central role in Iraq but are still hoping to force a rapid turnover of power to Iraq because they are still hoping for a chance to destroy Iraq's chances of becoming a country that is ruled by constitutional law and consensus.

Okay, that's my spin, not the article's.

But think about it: a year ago, President Bush went before the UN and appealed to it to assert its role as the world's leader. Today, the UN, having failed that chance to become relevant, has become symbolic of all the things that are wrong with this world.

Maybe after we win the war on terrorism it will be a good time to wage war on bureaucrats and the limited thinking that characterizes their deviant behaviour.

Posted by Debbye at 02:43 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 15 - Rita has

Oct. 15 - Rita has a very interesting update to this morning's terrorist attack on the US convoy in Gaza Res Ipsa Loquitur: Well, Well and includes this information:

Several hours after the bombing, U.S. investigators were attacked by Palestinian stone throwers and sped away as their cars were pelted by rocks.

Diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. citizens were asked to leave the volatile strip, but details of the order were not immediately available.

Read Rita's comments before you follow the link in her post. I guess a lot of us are thinking along those lines.

Posted by Debbye at 02:35 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 15 - Jay Currie

Oct. 15 - Jay Currie wonders why Canada would dedicate funds to Iraq but funnel them through the NGOs that allowed Saddam to divert money intended to assist the Iraqi people to maintain his opulent lifestyle in a post titled French Poodle:

The explanation may be that Canada, or at least Chretien's Canada, has given up any semblance of an independent foreign policy. "We be Chirac's bitch".

Posted by Debbye at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 15 - Score one

Oct. 15 - Score one for Pres. Bush: criticisms of media coverage in Iraq (and the President's decision to communicate directly with regional media) have prompted some media giants to take a second look at themselves and announce that ABC, 'Time' collaborate on covering big picture in Iraq - Network chief says coverage is lacking [insert your own personal snark.]

ABC News and Time magazine have joined forces for a series of in-depth reports in November on how the war in Iraq is affecting ordinary Iraqis.

The move, announced in a memo to top ABC News anchors and producers last week, comes amid criticism from President Bush and his advisers that the media are painting a gloomy picture of the situation in Iraq.

Monday, Bush granted interviews to regional media in a move that was widely seen as bypassing the national media to press his message on Iraq.

Last month, a media watchdog group found that ABC's World News Tonight, anchored by Peter Jennings, was by far the most anti-war of the Big Three nightly newscasts.

Tell me something I don't know.
In his memo, ABC News president David Westin said he has been dissatisfied with media coverage of the war.

''I've been troubled for some time about the reporting of all news organizations on the situation in Iraq,'' he wrote. ''We often seem to be captive to the individual dramatic incident -- and those of us in television subject to one that comes with great video.

''ABC News is now going to address this conspicuous lacking in the reporting to date,'' Westin wrote. ''Our goal is essentially to conduct an audit across several parts of Iraq, gauging the quality of life for the average citizen.''

By running the series of reports during the November ratings sweeps period and across all ABC news programs, from Good Morning America to Nightline, ABC clearly plans to make a splash.

In its study, the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Media and Public Affairs found that only 34% of comments on World News Tonight were positive about the war, compared with 53% on NBC Nightly News, 60% on Fox News Channel's Special Report and 74% positive on The CBS Evening News. CNN and MSNBC were not analyzed.

Odd, that CNN would be left out considering its sizeable Baghdad bureau which operated so successfully under Saddam's regime.
[Center for Media and Public Affairs spokesman Matthew] Felling says the Bush administration ''might have a point in saying that this is a slowly developing story that can't be adequately covered by daily snapshots.''

Through its upcoming series of reports, Felling says, ABC News ''is putting its feet on the ground, tracking the story and making it deeper and more nuanced.''

Nuanced, as in touchy-feely, Christianne Amanpour-style "tone" which talks about things which cannot usually be discussed because actual facts get in the way? I understand al Jazeera does nuance well.
[ABC news president David] Westin says he came up with the idea in the aftermath of the U.N. bombing in Baghdad. ''I thought, 'Does this really affect the attitudes and thoughts of the individual Iraqi?' ''
So it took the bombing of the UN to make you wonder if you might be slightly off base, and only then did you begin to wonder if the Iraqis resent and hate the UN because that august body wanted them to continue to live under Saddam's heel?

And it only took six months, proof that the Iraqi people were being starved by the UN sponsored oil-for-palaces program, and several mass gravesites for them to figure that out. American journalism at its finest.

(Via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 01:35 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 15 - This from

Oct. 15 - This from Australia: Australian 'JI chief' in Java talks are scheduled for this week somewhere on Java:

ALLEGED Australian Jemaah Islamiah terror group leader Abdul Rahim is expected to attend a crucial planning meeting of the organisation somewhere on the Indonesian island of Java this week.

Regional police and intelligence officials believe Mr Rahim, head of JI's Australian cell - known as Mantiqi 4 - will join with the heads of the Southeast Asian terror group's three other regions for the second meeting of its kind to be held this year.

The last was in April in Bogor, an hour south of Jakarta, and was attended by Mr Rahim, who fled Australia in the week prior to last year's Bali bombings.

For the past three years, JI operatives have followed a pattern of meeting bi-annually, with the second yearly meeting always occuring mid-October.

Before he fled Australia, Mr Rahim was a regular attendee and was called on to give an account of fundraising and activities in the Australian JI cell.

His departure from Australia, via a sweep through Perth, Melbourne and Sydney, coincided with the JI forum that took place at a hillside resort in East Java on October 16-17 last year, four days after the Bali blasts.

Mr Rahim was joined by the heads of the three other mantiqis, including convicted Bali controller Mukhlas and detained Mantiqi 3 leader Nasir bin Abbas.

Police have said that what remains of the JI leadership no longer relies on mobile phones to communicate. Instead, they use personal envoys, or in some cases chat rooms and often-rotated email addresses.

It is this method that led Indonesian police to an internet cafe near Jakarta last month where they missed by half an hour perhaps the most influential and dangerous of the current leaders, Azahari Hussein.

Dr Azahari supervised the construction of the devastating Sari Club bomb and is also believed to have helped assemble the device that ripped apart the JW Marriott Hotel in Jakarta in August.

The best guess of regional police is that following the capture of JI operations chief Hambali the same month, Dr Azahari has now stepped into the breach.

His links to Mr Rahim are as yet unknown, although the latter is not suspected of having any prior knowledge of the Bali blasts.

The hunt for Mr Rahim is being led by Indonesian police at the behest of the foreign intelligence service ASIS, its domestic equivalent, ASIO, and the Australian Federal Police.

Meanwhile, one of the last men accused of a major role in the bombings will learn his fate today when the Denpasar District Court is expected to sentence alleged logistics expert Mubarok to life in jail.

Pres. Bush is in Australia to visit PM John Howard and said:
"The great thing about Australians is they're not afraid," Bush said at a White House interview with The Australian.

"When I go to Australia I'll be speaking to a country which does understand the consequences of sacrificing for something greater than themselves."

Asked whether he saw Australia as the US's deputy sheriff in Southeast Asia, the President said: "No. We don't see it as a deputy sheriff. We see it as a sheriff. There's a difference" - a line that drew a laugh. "Anyway, no, equal partners, friends and allies. There's nothing deputy about this relationship."

Opponents of US policy never tire of implying that other countries might be cooperating from a postion of weakness rather than a position of strength and moral clarity although the reality is that, in every way, the US needs Australia, Spain, Italy, Poland, the UK and other nations who support us a lot more than they need the political and economic cost of supporting us.

And once again, it is a good time to fervently say "Thank you."

Posted by Debbye at 12:38 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 15 - Clint Eastwood

Oct. 15 - Clint Eastwood proves that entertainers can go to France, speak to the French press, and not attack the president, the war in Iraq or other Americans as the former Monterey mayor wishes Arnold luck.

Posted by Debbye at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 15 - Peter Worthington

Oct. 15 - Peter Worthington is a Korean War vet and one of the few Canadian columnists worth quoting on military matters, so it is a real bonus to have permalinks for his assessment of the mission in Kabul and his report on A soldier's view. Retired Col. Michel Drapeau, in a CBC interview, had criticized the degenerating state of military equipment and blamed the light Iltis transport for the deaths of Sgt. Short and Cpl. Beerenfenger

[Commander of the Canadian forces in Kabul] Gen. Leslie is on record saying no matter what vehicle Short and Beerenfenger were in, the "enormity of the blast," was such they'd likely not have survived.

If the general is right, it makes one wonder how the driver of the Iltis, Cpl. Tom Stirling, survived with minor injuries, and two others with more serious injuries. Defence Minister John McCallum offered the preposterous statement that Canadians aren't likely to win "hearts and minds" by speeding by in armoured vehicles."

One wonders if he thinks Canadian soldiers being blown up in Iltis jeeps furthers the "hearts-and-minds" campaign.

In short, the official version is that the Iltis isn't at fault, and that everyone knew from the start that the mission is dangerous.

This is the part where I get to support the Canadian government a little and criticize them a lot.

Winning hearts and minds is a big part of the mission, but if the forces in Afghanistan travel too heavily armoured even in the comparitive safety of the cities, it will give the impression that they are afraid and they lack confidence.

The fact is that there is a strong tradition for displays of "manhood" in Afghanistan, and you win respect more by laughing in the face of danger than by prattling on about peace, love, and puppies.

Furthermore, you can't build schools or teach kids how to play baseball from the confines of a tank.

The Canadian government failed, however, to address why Canadians would be targets because they would have to challenge some very erroneous assumptions on the part of the Canadian media and public.

Canadian media have been reporting American casualties in Iraq assiduously, and some have barely disguised their glee as they pushed the Quagmire Tag. It is unfortunate that their anti-Americanism led them to mislead the Canadian public as to the true nature of the enemy in both Afghanistan and Iraq, and that they failed to understand or convey that the same dangers facing US troops every day in Iraq face the Canadian men and women assigned to Afghanistan for the same reasons.

Canadian media quickly jumped aboard the train of thought that claimed that the bombing of the Canal Hotel in Baghdad was the fault of the US because the US had respected the UN officials refusal to take stricter security measures. (Canadians died in that attack also.)

Those Canadians who believe the Toronto Star and Globe and Mail version of the attacks on US personnel in Iraq, that Americans are being killed in Iraq because everyone hates them, are not prepared to face the reality that Canadian troops are at risk in Kabul.

After all, almost everyone knows that Canadians are well loved throughout the world, and Canadian casualties in terrorist attacks happened only because they were standing too close to Americans.

I lay the failure to adequately prepare Canadians for casualties in Afghanistan directly at the feet of the Canadian government. They have yet to fully explain Canadian policy in the War on Terror, and have not made it clear to Canadians that they too are at risk. (I should point out here that Peter Worthington and the Toronto Sun have been unwavering in their criticism of the Canadian government's failure to address the threat of terrorism to Canada and Canadians.)

Nevertheless, the continued gutting of the Defense budget and failure not only to replace obselete but damaged equipment and even cutting benefits for those who serve this great country are shameful. This isn't about a single jeep, it is about decades of neglect. The article in the Ottawa Citizen Politics, bureaucracy, and two dead soldiers tells a story that should shame us all because it makes clear the Canadian soldier is regarded as little more than a polticial football.

Back to Peter Worthington,

If this [lack of adequate equipment] hasn't been a concern of Gen. Leslie's, well, that leads to a more ominous area. How do soldiers "at the front" feel?

Here's part of what a comrade of Sgt. Short's in Kabul wrote of the incident. (It's a letter home, so I'll not identify him): "There are risks we accept as part of our duty," he wrote. "Much has been said about our jeeps. Yes, they are old and they are sh-t, and that's what I drive around in every day." He felt armoured vehicles were too large and "we can't be effective if the bad guys think we are scared."

He added: "It's no secret that our vehicles suck and we are not really especially well-equipped, despite what the minister and the PM say in press conferences ...

"The people of Canada rally around us when tragedy strikes and then sh-t on us the rest of the time by not exercising their rights under the democracy we soldiers protect, and pressuring the government to do more ..."

Those are the truest and saddest words spoken to date not only about the state of the military in Canada but about the state of the Canadian mind when it comes to the military.

The Canukistanian also has a post on this titled All our sons which explores the state of the equipment more thoroughly and how politics are killing our sons and daughters in the military.

In a related story, Canadian Def. Min. John McCallum says that the commander of the force in Kabul, Maj.-Gen. Leslie, has a direct line to him and that

Although Canada won't extend its mission in Kabul past August once 4,000 Canadian soldiers wrap up their tours, McCallum promised to keep a Canadian presence in Afghanistan.

He likened Afghanistan to Bosnia, where it took almost a decade for peacekeepers to calm ethnic tensions before pulling out.

Next year the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force patrolling Kabul will be led by a Canadian, Lt.-Gen. Rick Hillier.

McCallum said he felt so strongly about a Canadian taking over that he called NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson and demanded it.

"I think it's important because it's rightfully ours," he said.

Right. Don't let reality get in the way of Elitism. Canada wants to be in charge of missions because of a sense of entitlement, not because they've earned it, and even though the Canadian government has been undercutting its own military to the point that it is incapable of being engaged in any combat theatre.

Quick question: would you trust the young men and women of your country to a country that despises its own military? I didn't think so.

UPDATE: Chretien is due to visit the troops in Kabul but his reception may be cool. Do read the whole thing, as they say, because this article by Matthew Fisher (who an embed during the Iraq war and first reported the recovery of the PoWs) is a good, solid analysis of the current Canadian armed forces and concludes with:

But for the troops, the EH-101 and the Iltis fiascos symbolize Mr. Chrétien's military legacy. They will wonder how, after mostly ignoring the military for a decade while eagerly volunteering them for dangerous, dirty missions that keep them away from home so much, the prime minister has the temerity to come to Afghanistan to glory in their stoicism, bravery and heroism.
It's really very simple, really. Their blood for Chretien's international image. Instead of "No blood for oil" the protesters should have been chanting "No blood for Chretien's legacy."

UPDATE: Paul delivers with an excellent of fisking of Chretien's visit.

(Matthew Fisher link via Neale News.)

Posted by Debbye at 11:28 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 15 - Feds give

Oct. 15 - Feds give $45M:

WINDSOR -- Canada "stepped up to the plate" yesterday with an additional $45-million contribution to wartorn Iraq. Aid officials have said the money is desperately needed to improve access to clean water, health services and education.

Among the allocated funds announced by Susan Whelan, minister for international cooperation, is $40 million that will go to UNICEF over three years to rebuild Iraq's social sector. The money will be aimed at reducing infant mortality, supporting child protection and restoring water and sanitation systems.

The other $5 million will go to CARE Canada to improve living conditions and infrastructure in the Iraqi town of Kerbala.

Posted by Debbye at 10:06 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 15 - It may

Oct. 15 - It may be too early to speculate about this morning's big story Explosion Near U.S. Convoy in Gaza Kills Three Americans, but given the twists and turns in the PA, dissension over Arafat's appointments to the Cabinet, the quiet speculation about the inevitability of a civil war in the PA as the only way to begin disarming the terrorist groups, and yesterday's vote (vetoed by the US) at the UN condemning the erection of a Hadrian's Wall on the West Bank, I can't avoid feeling that the attack on US personnel in that region was just as inevitable as the attacks on Sept. 11.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility. The attack was condemned by Palestinian officials who said those killed were members of a U.S. monitoring team sent to the region to supervise implementation of a U.S.-backed peace plan.

Wednesday's attack could deal a major blow to Palestinian efforts to bring more international monitors to the region.

It stands to reason that not everyone wanted international monitors just as the recent terrorist attacks in Israel indicate that not everyone is interested in peace.
Palestinian militants have attacked Israeli army and settler convoys in Gaza repeatedly in the past three years of fighting, both with bombs and gunfire. Islamic militants, responsible for the bulk of the attacks, have said in the past they have no interest in "exporting" the conflict by taking aim at non-Israeli targets.
Possibly because it wasn't in their interests to do so? Going with reason again, the recent moves by the US government to shut down fund raising operations in the US for Hamas, Hezbollah, etc., added to the removal of the Saddam regime in Iraq and subsequent cutting off of money sources would presumably reduce their reluctance to hit the US.

Depending on how deep the divisions with the PA actually are, and depending on the extent to which these divisions reflect deep strategic differences or are just cynical power plays, Arafat could believe he stands to gain by hitting the US thus proving how fearless he is.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia denounced the attack. "We strongly condemn this incident and we will conduct an investigation and we will follow it to find the source of this attack," he told reporters in the West Bank.

Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat suggested the blast would undercut the long-standing Palestinian plea for international supervision in the West Bank and Gaza. "These are American monitors that have come here at our request, Erekat said. "These people were here to help us."

Israeli officials said the attack underscored the need to dismantle Palestinian militant groups -- a requirement of the stalled, U.S.-backed "road map" peace plan that Palestinian leaders have refused to carry out.

"What happened is evidence that no one is immune, unfortunately, to Palestinian terrorism, even when we are talking about the representatives of ... the United States, whose entire goal was and remains to advance a peace agreement between the sides," said Zalman Shoval, an adviser to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon.

Back to basic sleuthing: in whose interests exactly is it to launch a terrorist attack against the American government and people?

This account from AP provides some context to the timing of the attack:

The explosion came hours after the United States vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution that would have condemned Israel for building a barrier that cuts into the West Bank.

The United States had sought an alternate draft that would have called on all parties in the Middle East work to dismantle terrorist groups. But Syria, which introduced the draft, went ahead with Tuesday's vote anyway.

Syria too is a suspect. They were humbled by the air strike against a terrorist training camp and the US stood solidly behind Israel on it. It could be a retaliatory action that can't be traced directly to them.
Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat also said he has protested to the United Nations after Israel's military ordered the expulsion of 15 Palestinian detainees from the West Bank to Gaza, charging they were accomplices to violence.

The military said expulsion orders issued Tuesday were the only way to be sure the detainees would not return to terror activity. The military said most of them are members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad militant groups.

None participated directly in attacks on Israelis or had "blood on their hands," an army statement said, but all were accomplices to violence. The detainees have two days to appeal the orders. They have already been moved to an army jail near the Gaza Strip.

In the past, the military said expulsion was a form of deterrence by hitting at relatives of militants, but a September 2002 ruling, Israel's Supreme Court severely limited the practice to only those directly involved in violence.

Even with the court's limitations, human rights groups say the practice violates international law.

Arafat said late Tuesday that he has sent messages of protest to the United Nations and the 57-nation Islamic Conference, the world's largest Muslim group now meeting in Putrajaya, Malaysia. He said the expulsions "are part of the conspiracy," without elaborating.

The Islamic Conference recently called upon the US to withdraw immediately from Iraq.

One last thought: the attack killed security personnel who were following cars with diplomatic personnel, and there are rumours that some of the security personnel were CIA. If the target was carefully chosen, and I have to assume it was, it was very careful to distinguish between a clearly civilian target and what some might argue was a military-type target and that distinction could cloud US response.

Posted by Debbye at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 15 - The first

Oct. 15 - The first editition of Carnival of the Capitalists is up, hosted this week by Business Pundit.

These posts are written in English, by which I mean there's little econo-speak (or whatever we call discourse between Business majors and MBAs) or, full disclosure here, I can read them without my eyes glazing over.

The articles range from topics as far ranging as info-mercials to the Int'l Monetary Fund to outsourcing to ancient Roman coins and their metal content.

Good reading.

Posted by Debbye at 08:04 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 15 - I just

Oct. 15 - I just found an interesting post at Country Store on some dissident voices in France. The post is called Today's Hoot possibly because, like me, Cracker Barrel Philosopher wonders if the country that appeared so united in it's anti-Americanism is suddenly having second thoughts about their righteousnes, or if their newfound introspection is because they have found themselves subjects of the planet's laughter.

Posted by Debbye at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

October 14, 2003

Oct. 14 - California's Slings

Oct. 14 - California's Slings and Arrows has a chart that tells the Story of the Recall better than anything I've seen yet, and then link to this to understand where the Democrats who worry so about the "working class" and poor of California are coming from, literally, and where the actual working class and poor fled to get away from those so determined to bankrupt them.

Bread and butter issues. The politicians forget them at great peril.

Posted by Debbye at 11:38 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 14 - Paul is

Oct. 14 - Paul is feeling better and fulfilling his painful duty of keeping an eye on Beloved Leader Kim Il Song, and obligingly has come up with more stuff to really creep us out. It's long reading even If you have a whole bunch of minutes...

You all know the old adage "Know thy enemy" so it is necessary reading. (Ugh, I just want to skip the part about keeping our enemies closer.)

Paul is a real gentlemen. After wading through one nutbar's story, he rewards us by reminding us of the best story ever told of the ultimate nutbars with this new Quizilla What Monty Python Holy Grail Quest Character Are You?

Anyone who lives in Chicago will read this later, of course. GO CUBS!

Posted by Debbye at 10:17 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 14 - Martin thinks

Oct. 14 - Martin thinks I diss the UN early and often (I could promise to try harder to diss them earlier and more often, heh) but the following might explain why my contempt for the UN is thorough and implacable:

Congressman Ron Paul (R-TX) recently introduced legislation to ensure American taxpayers are never forced to fund United Nations gun control schemes. Several of Paul's pro-gun colleagues in the House of Representative have already cosponsored the bill, which prohibits the use of U.S. tax dollars for any UN measures that would infringe upon the 2nd Amendment rights of American citizens.

Paul's bill, entitled the "Right to Keep and Bear Arms Act" (HR 3125), recognizes that perhaps the greatest threat to our 2nd Amendment rights comes from global Bureaucrats. The bill cites several examples of UN contempt for both American sovereignty and gun rights. In fact, the United Nations has waged a campaign to undermine Second Amendment rights in America for more than a decade.

UN Secretary General Kofi Annan has called on members of the Security Council to address the "easy availability" of small arms and light weapons, by which he means all privately owned firearms. In response, the Security Council released a report calling for a comprehensive program of worldwide gun control, a report that admonishes the U.S. and praises the restrictive gun laws of Red China and France! Meanwhile, this past June the UN held an anti-gun "Week of Action against Small Arms" conference.

In fact, French President Jacques Chirac and the socialist president of Brazil, Luiz Lula da Silva, both advocate the imposition of a United Nations TAX on firearms for various utopian purposes.

Stop right there. Yes, there, at the word TAX. Our nation was founded with the battle cry "NO TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION" and no bureaucrat at the UN has ever been elected by the people of any country so they do not have the right to impose a tax on anyone.

These same bastards who refuse to open the books on the oil-for-food program they administered for Iraq now want to scam the American tax-payer? I guess they never heard of the Whisky Rebellion.

Paul's legislation aims to halt the trend toward global gun laws by withdrawing American funding for UN gun control measures, while reaffirming that the 2nd Amendment is the law of the land within our borders.

"It's no surprise that UN bureaucrats want to impose gun control worldwide," Rep. Paul stated. "They don't respect national sovereignty, and they certainly don't care about our Constitution. Congress should make it clear that America will not pay for UN gun control schemes, nor will we allow the disarming of American citizens."

ACTION ITEM: Ironically, at the same time the United Nations was working to prohibit Americans from exercising their Second Amendment rights to defend themselves, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was called to investigate the illegal possession of submachine guns by bodyguards to Secretary General of the United Nations Kofi Annan.

This is ridiculous. Proposals to tax or otherwise limit rights under the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution are reprehensible and deserving of condemnation...

Go here for more information on HR 3125, "The Right to Keep and Bear Arms Act."

Trust me as someone who is over-regulated and under-whelmed by an inefficient entity we call social democracy in Canada and take this threat to your Second Amendment rights seriously.

Posted by Debbye at 04:30 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 14 - This sounds

Oct. 14 - This sounds like your basic baby step, but considering the source, it is remarkable: Saudi Arabia to hold first local council elections:

Under pressure from extremists at home and its American allies abroad, Saudi Arabia yesterday announced it would hold its first elections for municipal councils.

Only half the members of the new local assemblies will be elected. But this timid reform is an unprecedented concession by the House of Saud, which has ruled as an absolute monarchy since the Saudi kingdom's creation in 1926.

The only previous elections in Saudi Arabia were conducted by businessmen for the head of the Saudi chamber of commerce.

"The council of ministers decided to widen participation of citizens in running local affairs through elections by activating municipal councils, with half the members of each council being elected," said the announcement by the state news agency.

It did not give further details, such as the date of the election, which is due to be held within a year. The announcement implied that the remaining half of the council members would be appointed by the government.

Saudi Arabia has come under recent scrutiny as speculations about the funding of al Qaeda and in particular the attacks of Sept. 11 seem to have trails which lead straigh to the ruling family. The US occupation of Iraq has allowed for unprecdented freedoms of the press and speech there, and how and to what extent the neighbouring countries respond and emulate those freedoms is of great interest to many of us.
Encouraged by the crown prince's call in January for general Arab reform, liberals have issued petitions demanding an independent judiciary, constitutional reforms, elections to the consultative Shura Council, freedom of expression and the creation of institutions of civil society and economic reform.

Last month, several women added their names to a pro-reform petition for the first time.

The status of women, both as voters and candidates, was not mentioned.

Posted by Debbye at 12:36 PM | Comments (0)

Ahmed Said Khadr possibly killed

Oct. 14 - Early reports indicate that Ahmed Said Khadr and one of his sons were killed by Pakistan security forces during a raid on an al-Qaeda camp in Waziristan, Pakistan.

A press release issued by the Islamic Observation Centre in London and circulated on an Arabic Internet site announced the death of Mr. Khadr, calling him a "founding member" of al-Qaeda.

"God bless him and we hope that his soul will be accepted by God," said the British-based Islamic centre, which has close links to Egyptian terrorist groups including Mr. Khadr's Al Jihad.

Canadian officials were unable to confirm the deaths yesterday but said consular authorities were looking into the matter. Mr. Khadr's family in Scarborough was unaware of the reports.

"Our officials in Islamabad are investigating the reports regarding Ahmed Khadr," Jennie Chen, a spokeswoman at the Department of Foreign Affairs, said yesterday.

Canadian intelligence officials believe Mr. Khadr is a senior al-Qaeda member closely tied to Osama bin Laden. Three of his Canadian sons -- Omar, Abdurahman and Abdullah -- are also suspected members of al-Qaeda.

When Mr. Khadr was arrested in Pakistan for his alleged role in the 1995 bombing of the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad, Jean Chretien, the Prime Minister, intervened in the case. Mr. Khadr was released shortly thereafter.

The press release said Mr. Khadr and his son were among 12 al-Qaeda and Taliban members killed in an exchange of gunfire. It did not name the son but he is believed to be Abdullah, who once ran an al-Qaeda training camp in Afghanistan. Omar and Abdurahman Khadr are currently being held by the U.S. military at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

The report from London did not indicate when Mr. Khadr was killed, but on Oct. 2, Pakistani forces launched a major raid in Waziristan, where some believe bin Laden and his deputy Ayman Al Zawahiri are hiding. At dawn, soldiers backed by Cobra helicopter gunships surrounded five mud compounds that had been taken over by al-Qaeda and Taliban members. They refused to surrender and fought back with grenades and machine guns.

By the end of the day, 12 al-Qaeda fighters had been killed and another 18 were captured. Pakistani soldiers seized grenades, rockets, guns and anti-tank mines from the compounds.

Major-General Shaukat Sultan, a spokesman for the Pakistani military, said the dead were "foreign elements who were most likely involved in attacks against coalition forces in Afghanistan."

The assault occurred the same day Canadians Sergeant Robert Short and Corporal Robbie Beerenfenger were killed in Afghanistan by a land mine authorities suspect was placed by pro-Taliban guerrillas.

The Islamic centre said Mr. Khadr, also known as Abu Abdurahman Al Kanadi, was among those killed in the operation in Waziristan, where hundreds of fighters loyal to al-Qaeda have fled since the fall of the Taliban. "He and others were killed during an exchange of fire between mujahedeen [holy warriors] and Pakistani forces," it said.

"God bless him, Abu Abdurahman was running a charity, Human Concern International, in Afghanistan. This is a charity based in Canada and he's an Egyptian who bears Canadian citizenship and he's about 55 years old."

Mr. Khadr was born in Egypt, but moved to Ottawa in 1975 and studied computers at the University of Ottawa. He married a Palestinian-Canadian and they had six children, four boys and two girls, most of them Canadian-born.

After the Soviets invaded Afghanistan in 1979, he joined Human Concern International (HCI), an Ottawa-based Muslim charity financed by the Canadian government, and brought his family to Pakistan, where he was supposed to be running refugee camps.

The Canadian Security Intelligence Service, however, says the camps were actually mujahedeen bases, used by Islamic fighters entering and exiting Afghanistan. HCI "was one of many organizations that were helping refugees fleeing to Pakistan from Afghanistan and supporting the mujahedeen freedom fighters who waged war against the Soviet occupying forces throughout the 1980s," a CSIS report says.

Mr. Khadr returned to Canada in 1992 after he was wounded by shrapnel near Kabul. Once he had recovered at Toronto's Sunnybrook Hospital, he returned to Pakistan with his wife and children.

In November, 1995, members of the Al Jihad terrorist organization blew up the Egyptian embassy in Islamabad, killing 17 people. Mr. Khadr was arrested for allegedly financing the operation.

But he was freed after Mr. Chrétien, under pressure from Canadian Muslim groups, took the highly unusual step of intervening in the case during a meeting with Benazir Bhutto, then the prime minister of Pakistan.

Mr. Khadr came back to Canada, left Human Concern and formed his own aid group called Health and Education Project International, which was based at the Salahedin mosque in Scarborough. But he soon moved his family to Jalalabad, where he was reportedly in close contact with bin Laden.

A month after the attacks of Sept. 11, Canada placed Mr. Khadr's name on its list of designated "terrorist entities." His son Abdurahman was captured in November, 2001, by Northern Alliance troops who swept south to oust the Taliban. The following July, Omar Khadr, then just 15, was caught near Khost after a firefight with U.S. forces. He killed a U.S. medic with a hand grenade before he was captured. Khost is just across the border from Waziristan.

The RCMP's National Security Investigations branch launched an investigation into Mr. Khadr and his fundraising activities in Canada in the fall of 2001, but no charges have been announced.

The press release announcing Mr. Khadr's death was posted on the Abu Dhabi-based Internet site alsaha.com, which is closely monitored by the CIA and FBI because it often posts credible information on Islamic terrorist activities. The posting was detected by the SITE Institute counter-terrorism research centre in Washington, D.C.

Posted by Debbye at 11:04 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 14 - Two items

Oct. 14 - Two items about Afghanistan today: the first is a look at changes through the eyes of 18-year old Sohrab Shaheed (Afghanistan linked to past) and the second is UN to expand peace force beyond Kabul Excerpts:

The UN Security Council voted unanimously Monday to expand the 5,500-strong NATO-led force in Afghanistan to areas beyond the capital, Kabul.

The vote, which had been expected, came after Afghan President Hamid Karzai called on the world body last month to deploy peacekeepers into regions where increasing lawlessness is causing many Afghans to long for the security that marked the rule of the rigid Taliban regime. Canada, the largest contributor to the International Security Assistance Force with 1,900 troops, welcomed the decision.

The 15-member council approved the decision in a speedy meeting Monday without debate, after NATO Secretary General Lord Robertson sent Negroponte a letter seeking a vote on the German-drafted resolution.

With the resolution passed, Germany will now seek parliamentary approval for an expanded force of between 230-450 troops who will deploy in the north.

"If this is successful we hope that this is considered as a pilot project that could be copied in other parts of Afghanistan," German Ambassador Gunter Pleuger said after the council meeting.

Pleuger said the NATO plan eventually envisions international troops being deployed to eight separate cities across the country, including Herat in the west, Kandahar in the south and Kunduz and Mazar-e Sharif in the north. Once the cities are stabilized, the plan envisions linking the peacekeeping forces in the eight areas using mobile military units.

Pleuger is also leading a Security Council mission to Afghanistan on Oct. 31 to study the work of the UN and the peacekeeping mission.

NATO took over command of the multinational force in August from Germany and The Netherlands.

The United States initially opposed any expansion of the peacekeeping force, but recently gave its support to enlarging the NATO mission, hoping more peacekeepers could ease the burden on the separate combat operation run by 11,500 U.S.-led troops against the remnants of the Taliban.

Canada is due to take charge of the running of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in 2004.

Posted by Debbye at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)

Oct 14 - A belated

Oct 14 - A belated Thanksgiving to all you Canadians, and a belated Columbus Day to all you Americans.

I was sans-posts yesterday because all three kids/men were here and I didn't get a chance to use the computer.

Obligatory "thankful for" things will be very brief this year:

I am thankful I'm an adult and don't have to cook or eat turkey but can cook ham California style with pineapple slices, marischino cherries, butter and brown sugar glaze. Glaze is also good for the carrots and sweet potatoes.

Whoever invented those little marshmallows deserves some kind of award.

I'm thankful we didn't run out of plates, bowls and glasses before the kids left (although it was close.)

I'm thankful my kids stopped growing. Two of them are over 6 ft., and when all three are in the living room there is no living room. Everything is dwarfed, or something, and it's all in vibrant, living colour. They are so full of life, hopes, dreams and aspirations and we never laugh at them or jeer when they exhibit extreme naivetee because we remember being there.

I'm thankful we are all healthy and semi-sane.

I'll probably wish I had added more stuff but I need to do another load of dishes and, looking around, each of the kids left things here so they may be adults but they are still My Wonderful, Goofy Kids.

Maybe most of all I'm grateful that my kids still include my on their lists of things-to-do.

Posted by Debbye at 08:38 AM | Comments (0)

October 12, 2003

Oct. 12 - The Canukistanian

Oct. 12 - The Canukistanian has a Must Read piece for Canadians today.

Jack served his country for 14 years. In a blistering statement on the way the Armed Services are run and the forces that control it, Politics, bureaucracy and 2 dead soldiers, he links to an article in canada.com . . . and it's an OhMyGod I don't believe this s--- and a staggering feeling in your gut because in a way all taxpayers are responsible for how their tax dollars are spent and that means me too.

I don't know what to say, Jack. I just don't know. God forgive us.

Posted by Debbye at 04:00 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 12 - Bisons being

Oct. 12 - Bisons being a new armoured vehicle, that is.

Look, I'm trying to understand this. Def. Min. McCallum had said repeatedly that the mission to Afghanistan was dangerous and could involve Canadian casualties. Rockets have been fired into the Canadian mission base, for crying out loud. They missed, but were still a threat. Sheesh.

Now, with 2 dead

"The threat has changed," said Lt.-Col. Don Denne, commander of Canadian forces patrolling Afghanistan's capital.

"We feel we have been targeted and we have been attacked."

My humble translation is that, after targeting the Canadian forces many times, the enemy was finally successful but the threat remains the same.

At least now I understand why the families of Sgt. Short and Cpl. Beerenfenger asked government officials and the military brass to stay away from the memorial services.

The next pious Canadian I hear opining that US troops are "cannon fodder" to describe how the US military treats their troops is gonna . . . walk funny for a few days.

Posted by Debbye at 11:41 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 12 - Today marks

Oct. 12 - Today marks the anniversary of the worst terrorist attack since that of Sept. 11 which targeted young Australians who were innocently celebrating during their equivalent of Spring Break. A suicide bomber walked into Paddy's Club and detonated his deadly load which sent many into the streets where a second, larger bomb in a mini-van parked front of the Sari Club was detonated.

202 people were killed including 88 Australians, 7 Americans and 2 Canadians. The majority of the victims were Balinese, an Indonesian island of which most of the inhabitants are Hindu.

Hundreds of Australians have returned to Bali to remember the fallen and try to heal the heartache.

There, under the gaze of Wisnu - the Hindu god of protection - and in a cathedral-like canyon hewn from stone, tribute was paid to the 202 people who lost their lives in the attacks, including 88 Australians.

Representatives from the 22 nations who lost citizens in the bombings, together with religious leaders, stepped solemnly forward to light candles in memory of the fallen.

They came from across the world, including Brazil, South Africa, Portugal, the US and Korea, as well as Australia and Indonesia.

"Yours is a loss that can never be recovered," Mr Howard told the families of the victims.

"We haven't forgotten you, we never will.

"Australia will never forget October 12, 2002."

How many can look at Bali today and not feel the stirrings of the anger, hurt and outrage that arise whenever we think of Sept. 11? And, as there is in N. America on that anniversary, there were memorial services throughout Australia as well as in Bali.

Why hit Australia? Maybe because it's kick-ass, ornery, stubborn, tough and gutsy? Didn't you cheer when you heard Australia's PM John Howard pledge support way back in September, 2001?

Much as I appreciated Australi's support, I never wanted to be united in grief with them as I am today.

Damn the media some more. It was hard to get information about the blast in Bali last year (way more important that CNN interview armchair profilers about the DC sniper) but the trusty internet served well.

The event is commemorated in the Washington Times and CNN.

Both the Toronto Sun and Canada.com carry the story and mention the 2 Canadian deaths, but I'm forced to conclude that no Canadian officials attended the ceremonies in Bali as none are mentioned even in the Canadian press.

Canada's lazy Globe and Mail coverage re-printed the AP story and failed to note the 2 Canadians casualties. Bastards.

Posted by Debbye at 10:18 AM | Comments (0)

October 11, 2003

Oct. 11 - There was

Oct. 11 - There was a sombre service yesterday at St. Paul's Cathedral to honour the 50 British servicemen who died in the Iraq War.

Grieving relatives of the dead joined the Queen, other senior royals and Prime Minister Tony Blair for the poignant tribute.

Soldiers, airmen and sailors representing every military unit that took part in the conflict were also among the 2,000-strong congregation — some with babes in arms.

Fifty military personnel and one civilian contractor died in the war that ousted Saddam Hussein, and in its aftermath.


As head of the armed forces the Queen led 11 other members of the Royal Family. They included the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Princess Anne and the Duke of York, who all wore military uniform.

Prince Philip and Air Chief Marshal Brian Burridge — who commanded British forces in Iraq — read lessons before the cathedral choir sang a specially-composed anthem. The Last Post was sounded and a two-minute silence observed.

The Sun Says noted:
THERE were no marching bands, no military parades, no flags, no guns.

The service at St Paul’s Cathedral was not a celebration of victory.
It honoured the sacrifice made by our Forces in Iraq.

Their families can draw great comfort that the nation will always hold dear the memory of those who die in the service of Britain.

They did not die in vain. They died for the most worthy cause — liberty.

We don't forget.

Posted by Debbye at 02:36 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 11 - As Australia's

Oct. 11 - As Australia's PM John Howard prepared to leave Australia to attend memorial services in Bali, he cautioned that the War is not over:

... "This will be a sad and emotional weekend for all Australians.

"It's an important weekend in the process of us adjusting to what happened a year ago, and steeling ourselves for the ongoing fight against terrorism."

One of the things I remember most from the Australian message boards in the aftermath of the Bali bombings was the deep concern posters expressed about the Balinese and the long-term impact on the tourism industry which is a sizeable part of Bali's economy.

That concern is still ongoing:

Mr Howard was greeted at Bali airport last night by the island's governor Dewa Made Beratha. The PM was scheduled to watch the grand final of the Bali Nines - an Australian rules competition that had been running all day. Later, he was expected to present honorary Orders of Australia to non-Australians who helped in the bombing aftermath.

Mr Howard said the commemorations would also send a strong message to the Balinese that Australians had not abandoned them. (Emphasis added)

"They were as much the victims of this attack . . . both in the direct sense and the impact on the lifestyle and economy of that island," he said.

Australia had sent airplanes loaded with medical teams and supplies to Bali, and returned with the injured. I've never seen any statistics as to how many lives were saved because of that, but sheer logic would tell us that both lives were saved and much suffering allevited because of that compassion and common sense approach of augmenting Bali's overburdened medical facilities.

Those who promote the notion that the war on terrorism is in some way racist might want to ponder on that for awhile. Australia has been a good neighbour in the South Pacific, from East Timor to Bali to the Solomon Islands.

Posted by Debbye at 01:53 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 11 - I saw

Oct. 11 - I saw an article in the Toronto Sun that highlighted a speech by former Prime Minister John Turner the other day in which he pushed MP power but as it lacked context, I noted but didn't post it.

Today, in Walter Robinson's column, some background was provided and it turns out that Mr. Turner's speech was given during the screening of a video:

Does Your Vote Count? paints an ugly but realistic picture of our House of Commons which has been neutered and rendered more and more impotent as the decades have passed. For example, closure as a means of ending debate early and shutting down the opposition so the government can ram legislation into law has been employed more times in the last quarter-century than the previous 113 years of our history as a nation by a ratio of six to one.

As for Mr. Turner's remarks he rightly noted that cabinet and cabinet solidarity really determines whether a government succeeds or fails. Indeed, he repeated the fact -- not assertion of opinion -- we are living under an "elected dictatorship." And to be fair, Mr. Turner has said this for over four decades -- even before I was a twinkle in my father's eye and when John F. Kennedy was still the president of the United States.

As for the role of MP as legislator and political entrepreneur, such examples are truly exceptions to the rule. Excessive party discipline, whipped votes on almost every issue including private member's bills, a powerful and technically armed civil service and a media-driven "cult of personality and leadership" have all unconsciously yet conveniently conspired to render MPs almost powerless. Yet there is hope.

Backbenchers from all parties are fighting back and working together in parliamentary committees and defying their party leadership when issues of policy and process trump partisanship. And the expectations around Paul Martin's promises of reform and empowerment have now taken on a life of their own. The proverbial reform train has left the station and its destination cannot be determined by an overbearing PMO.

Hopefully, the next federal election -- regardless of the Liberal lead in the polls or if the right has united or not or if the NDP has any traction beyond its narrow base -- will offer up candidates who present themselves and their order of priorities determining their elected conduct as follows: First they will be loyal to their own values, moral compass and conscience; second, they will serve the will of their constituents; and finally if these two criteria are satisfied and congruent, then and only then will they also vote and align themselves with the party platform on which they were elected.

Along with Mr. Martin, aspiring MPs would be wise to visit the URC website and get a copy of John Turner's remarks from this past Tuesday -- both should be required reading and study for returning and future parliamentarians.

The website Mr. Robinson refers to is of The Underground Royal Commission and is full of interesting commentary about the state of politics and political power in Canada. Check it out.

Posted by Debbye at 01:33 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 11 -- Okay, silly

Oct. 11 -- Okay, silly article about a silly joke in which Arnie falls for prank call by 'Canuck PM', but as with all jokes, the part that sells this is the kernal of truth within:

My defence minister, Don Cherry, ...
Don Cherry would absolutely rock as Defence Minister. Go Grapes!

Posted by Debbye at 01:01 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 11 - We're all

Oct. 11 - We're all familiar with the phrase "just give me 5 minutes alone with him," right? Well, sometimes dreams do come true.

And then there's Canada.

Posted by Debbye at 12:47 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 11 - Sorry, getting

Oct. 11 - Sorry, getting a late start this morning. The Cubs game went pretty late, and then, as though to cause more joyous hilarity, the oldest son woke us up at 3 a.m. screaming in his sleep You don't walk the pitcher, you &#$*@ moron, you NEVER WALK THE PITCHER and this went on for awhile. Ah, my sides are still hurting from all the muffled laughter.

I love baseball. GO CUBS!

Posted by Debbye at 12:18 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 10 - More letters

Oct. 10 - More letters from Captain Steve from last March are up at Front Line Voices.

It's seems longer but it was only 7 months ago. Reading these letters reminds me of a lot of things that have slipped to the back of my mind.

It's been 6 months since the Ba'athist fled, less time than it takes for a baby to come to full term, and we expect an entire country to be full term by now! Ah me . . .

God bless and keep our troops.

Posted by Debbye at 12:21 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 10 - I am

Oct. 10 - I am voting for News From Baghdad from The Kingdom of the Geeks for this week's showcase winner.

The whole site is wonderful, and well worth reading.

Posted by Debbye at 12:02 AM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2003

Oct. 10 - Quick hits:

Oct. 10 - Quick hits:

Some advice for Arnold: (Excerpt:)

I know you campaigned saying you're for gun control, but come on; you're Arnold. Liberalize laws on guns and then save money by cutting the police force in a program called "Shoot Your Own Damn Criminals".
Meanwhile, Gray Davis announces his future plans.

Insprired by events in California, there's a movement underway to recall Recall Arafat.

Allahu Akbar wants to know what is this VDH?

Last, Mark Steyn reports the Europeans are shocked! about Arnold.

Posted by Debbye at 10:47 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 10 - Sooo, it's

Oct. 10 - Sooo, it's 25 minutes before the hour and I have to come up with a lie (or falsehood, if you prefer,) about the location of Darth Puppy Blender's non-existence tattoo by 6:00 pm CDT and if I miss the deadline I have to not only come up with the non-location of the non-existent tattoo BUT also a really lame excuse as to why I'm late which begs the question If I could come up with a lame excuse wouldn't I also have been able to come up with the other lies?

I finally decided that, with absolutely no evidence, Puppy Blender must be a Damn Yankees fan so I'll just lie some more and claim that:

Wicked Darth Puppy Blender has a tattoo that says No, No, Nanette mua-ha-ha-ha! strategically placed under his right shoulder blade.

Posted by Debbye at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 10 - I think

Oct. 10 - I think Chris Muir says it best in today's Day By Day. Heh.

Posted by Debbye at 05:20 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 10 - Part II

Oct. 10 - Part II of Walk back the cat by Austin Bay is up.

(Here is Part I.)

Posted by Debbye at 05:16 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 10 - Martin asks

Oct. 10 - Martin asks Why Is This Man Crying? and yes, Martin, the answer does make me feel humble.

Posted by Debbye at 05:06 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 10 - What happens

Oct. 10 - What happens to a tin-pot dictator when rumours begin to circulate about his impending death? Arafat seems to be learning how tenuous his grip really is: Cabinet crisis as ill Arafat argues with ministers.

Yasser Arafat's attempt to launch a new Palestinian government collapsed in chaos yesterday after the prime minister threatened to resign and parliament failed to confirm his cabinet.

Officials said the Palestinian leader had a furious argument with Ahmed Qureia, the new premier, barely 48 hours after swearing him in.

It came after Mr Arafat failed to attend a meeting of the Palestinian parliament, the Legislative Council, fuelling reports that his health is failing.


He chose the slimmed-down cabinet under emergency regulations and insisted that his appointments did not need confirmation by the parliament. But Mr Qureia told him that the council should vote on the cabinet, in accordance with the Palestinian constitution.

At this meeting, Mr Arafat is believed to have demanded the sacking of Nasser Yousef, whom he had appointed to the post of interior minister only days ago.

Mr Yousef angered the Palestinian leader by insisting on wielding greater power over the eight Palestinian security forces, which Mr Arafat is determined to prevent.

Mr Qureia resisted the demand for Mr Yousef's dismissal and threatened resignation during a heated row with the Palestinian leader.

Interesting times. It really hurts when you appoint a lackey and he rears to bite the hand that feeds him, hmm? And adding insult to injury, there's a power struggle going on and Arafat is still alive. Imagine the feeding frenzy when he exits this earthly existence.

And what of the leaders of Hamas, Hezbollah, and the other terrorist groups that take their orders from Arafat? And the governments that support those groups? They aren't going public with their views so far as I've read, but I have to assume they're discussing the power struggle even now.

Some might say the Palestinan Authority is becoming a quagmire!

The Globe and Mail is calling it an implosion and says Arafat has been politically humbled, but marks it as a dead end for the Middle East peace process. Hello? The process died when the first terrorist bomb went off, and was buried when Mahmoud Abbas resigned.

The important thing is that the USA keep the pressure on. Syria has a few problems that may be distracting them from Comrade Arafat's troubles, like a vote in the House approving The Syria Accountability and Lebanese Sovereignty Restoration Act to impose sanctions on Syria which bans the export of weapons and items that could be used in in weapons programs and gave President Bush a sort of grab-bag of other proposed sanctions from which to choose (see link for details.)

The Syrians have criticized the sanctions and claim

... the bill was drawn up by "ultra-extremists who are doing their best to make the atmosphere tense between Arabs and the American administration."

"The whole world knows that Syria is the country that demanded, and is still demanding, the clearing of the whole (Middle East) region of weapons of mass destruction, and it is abiding by the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, which Israel is refusing to join," wrote the political editor of Tishrin.

The House committee passed the bill, by 33 votes to 2, three days after Israeli warplanes struck an alleged Palestinian militant training camp outside Damascus...

I really must send a note to the Syrians outlining just what the "extremists" would like to do to them, and it's got nothing to do with sanctions and a lot lot to do with Hellfire and Cruise missiles, daisy cutters, MOABs and just plain raining all-out death and destruction on all those who sponsor and sanction terrorism and are accessories to the deaths of US soldiers and Iraqi civilians who are trying to build an better life in Iraq, you know? so don't freakin' whine to me about "extremists" when this administration is still giving you a chance to mend your evil terorist ways!

Posted by Debbye at 11:32 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 10 - What can

Oct. 10 - What can anyone say about the terrorist bombing of nightclubs in Bali? Even a year later, it still hurts -- and angers -- to remember that 202 people died while they were innocently celebrating life.

The people of Bali thought they were safe. Terrorism was not a problem in Indonesia.

They should have been safe. That's what people forget about terrorism: it targets us where we feel safest. If we're wrong, the guilt is not on us but on those who would shatter the right of peoples everywhere to be safe.

Australians were targeted because they successfully intervened in East Timor to stop the massacre of the inhabitants by "para-militaries" after the population had voted for independence in a UN sponsored vote.

Australians were targeted because they could not, as a nation with a conscience, sit idly by while unarmed people were being murdered right next door.

Jake Ryan, a 22-year old student at Queensland, achieved international fame during the trial of the infamous, smiling Amrozi. After Amrozi aimed one of his grins at him, Jake went ballistic and told him he was gonna die (language cleaned up a tad). The blogosphere, led by Tim Blair, contributed to a fund dedicated to treating Jake and friends to a night on the town. People around the world donated to that fund because Jake said what we all wanted to say: terrorists don't inspire fear but contempt. Terrorism isn't going to make us give up joy and love of life, it will only make us cling to our enthusiasm all the more even as it hardens our resolve to end the threat from those who hate life.

Jake returned to Bali to commemorate the victims of the bombing. His eloquence as he reminds us that the Guilt lies only with the killers is stirring:

EVERYONE looks the same when they're on fire. This is something I learned searching for my brother Mitchell in the first minutes after the Sari Club exploded a year ago on Sunday.

I couldn't find him. I couldn't tell if Mitch was one of the dozens of burning people dying outside the club.

A friend and I ran back inside and found a girl sitting in a circle of flame. She was holding someone whose skin was totally blackened. We yelled at her to reach out, so we could lift her from the fire, but she screamed back that she couldn't: "I have no legs." I looked down. Both her legs were gone. She died looking me in the eyes.


To the terrorists who killed these two and 200 others last October 12, it doesn't matter what any of us looked like, before or after. Or who we were. They didn't care. They killed Indonesians, Australians, English, Germans, Koreans, Danish, French, Americans, New Zealanders, Japanese, Italians, Dutch – people from 20 countries. They worked hard to make sure they killed as many random people as possible. The van that blew up at the Sari Club had its back seats taken out so they could screw four filing cabinets full of explosives to the floor. The attack was planned for months.

And I keep hearing that it was our fault. That we caused it.

People who think this crime was caused by anyone other than the terrorists are kidding themselves. People who blame the West and blame Australia and blame John Howard should blame the cowards who actually detonated the bombs, and the bastards who financed them. It isn't difficult to work out.

Read the whole thing. It's powerful.

And never forget that Canadians also died in that attack.

Rest in peace, and know that We. Will. Never. Forget.

Tim Blair remembers in Beating Terror and links to a scathing inditement:

Moral blindness, cowardice, thinly disguised snobbery, power worship, and remoteness from ordinary people. This is Dennis Glover in his new book Orwell's Australia, describing the left-wing intelligentsia of George Orwell's time.
Sound familiar?

Posted by Debbye at 10:31 AM | Comments (0)

October 09, 2003

Oct. 9 - Between laughing

Oct. 9 - Between laughing at the media's reactions to the recall results and a glorious cyberspace victory party with friends back in California, I didn't check the blogs yesterday, so here goes:

First off, congratulations are in order for two well-know Canadian bloggers.

Ladies first: relapsed catholic had an article published in the American Spectator's Prowler website about Irshad Manji, who's recent book, The Trouble with Islam: A Wake Up Call For Honesty and Change, has sparked a lot of controversy. Bonus points for irritating Toronto Star choke-columnist-choke Antonia Zerbisias.

Gentlemen second: Jay Currie reviews The Earliest Weapons of Mass Destruction by Adrienne Mayor for the Christian Science Monitor:

While the ancient world's arsenal of biological and chemical weapons was trivial compared with the horrors of the modern world, those weapons raised the same terrifying moral and political dilemmas then as now. Is a bunker-buster bomb dropped from the sky more civilized than a clay pot filled with scorpions thrown into an enemy's cave?
History often helps us put things into perspective in unexpected ways.

I used to worry because Jay's permalinks don't link, but all his posts are good, and it's usually so hard to try to isolate any one post in particular for mention that the lack of perms has become a bonus. So start at the top and scroll down.

Right On! has some good thoughts and a link on why he likes progress with a link to one Adam Smith. Check it out and do read the Adam Smith link. (If you can't remember why the name sounds familiar you may be a product of our current education system so definitely need to read it.)

A very funny woman who calls herself stupid angry canajun and admits to being a recovering moron talks about people we all recognize and know as unrepentent morons. She lives in ehduhmonton. I like women who take no prisoners, it makes me feel less harsh.

Paul reports that our good friends and allies, the Spanish, have made some sizeable arrests of people suspected of links to the ETA. Any group that targets innocents with bombs and such can't go to jail fast enough.

There was an anniversary on Sunday, Oct. 5, which went unremarked and seemingly forgotten except by French Liberatarian in Quebec: it marked the day that James Cross, the British Trade Commissioner in Montreal, was kidnapped. Francois also gives some excellent links to other reference sites on the October Crisis.

The Meatriarchy confirms that Pavlov was right and that porn makes for better sperm (the two articles are not related but there is a . . never mind. Complete your own sentences, please.)

Lastly, and soberly, The Canukistanian sadly notes that the men and women who are dedicated to serving this country have been short-changed in every way that matters, and are losing faith in leaders who have not held faith with them in A sad sign of lost trust. This is all the more poignant in that it comes from a man who served his country proudly and keenly feels what can only be termed betrayal.

This is an important post to read because when you get right down to it, it is asks "what kind of people are we?"

Morale matters. Knowing that you have the active support of the folks at home matters. This isn't me the hawkish American speaking, this is me who remembers a time when Americans also forgot to respect and value our military to our deep national shame.

I would sincerely hope that Canadians would avoid that mistake, and I don't think it's too late to change course.

If the federal government isn't providing the leadership, so what? You can still go here and send a message to the troops.

Governments don't make a country, people make a country. Be a people -- the Canadian people -- who respect and support their military.

Posted by Debbye at 06:03 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 9 - From News

Oct. 9 - From News Junkie Canada today, scroll down for two articles on child-raising: "Structure Comes First" on micro-managing our children's lives and "To Spank or Not To Spank" in which Tom Nicholson of the National Post recalls some of his more mischievious moments and admits that the spanking got his attention faster than sad looks and recriminations.

These articles are excellent and point out that child-raising needs to be structured around the child, not structure the child around the theories.

On the question of micro-managing, News Junkie comments:

There is an excerpt, then links to the other articles in the series. You judge for yourself whether the child ends by being captive to someone else’s “plans” and then has difficulty in adjusting to managing himself/herself as an adult. Is this the perfect education to fit the individual into group structure—and group think? Would you want it? There is no denying the children seem to achieve well academically – but at what cost? Where is the time for the mind to contemplate and judge, to discriminate between and to choose alternatives for oneself – to learn to live as an individual?
I am suspect that we are over-thinking our parenting because we lack the confidence our parents and forebears had when it came down to establishing rules and regulations. Right and wrong were perfectly acceptable explanations for why we were supposed to do or not do things, as were "because it's dangerous" and "you're too young."

It sounds more like that old "self-esteem" thing in another guise, and still misses the point that we feel good about ourselves when we do good things that are worthy of esteem.

What's wrong with providing them with some books, Lego, crayons and Play-do and letting them have fun?

Oh, and NJ? About Arafat: I've been saying "make it look like natural causes" but accidents are also good, and I'm finally beginning to realize that a well-aimed rocket or JDAM wouldn't really be so bad either.

Posted by Debbye at 04:06 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 9 - I didn't

Oct. 9 - I didn't post anything about Arnold Schwarzenegger's victory in California yesterday because a) I knew he would win the minute he announced his candidacy, and b) I've learned over the past month that people either understood what the campaign was all about or they didn't.

I was also too busy laughing yesterday at the bewilderment of CNN and Canadian news sources who just couldn't get a grip on the fact that the Dems lost a big one, and failed to understand how fundamentally the media helped in that defeat. (Canadian media totally earned my anger when they trashed the recall effort in August.)

The American media tried their best to portray the recall as a circus and thus not serious; California voters knew better. This was a opportunity which could not be manipulated by the Party Machines however hard they might try. On a national level, the Republican party wisely stayed out of the fray and the state Republican party endorsed Arnold only in the final weeks of the campaign. The Democrat Party brought in Clinton, Jackson, Dean and Clark, among others, to raise the Democrat profile of Davis and try to play the campaign with an "us vs. them" strategy (props to me for predicting that bringing in Clinton would hurt Davis' chances) and cynical moves to postpone the recall only further infuriated voters who correctly perceived that, after complying with all the requirements for a recall, they were being railroaded by the Party Machine in ACLU clothing.

Bonus: the once respectable ACLU was revealed as a Democrat Party tool.

It's almost unavoidable to wonder why the media behaved in a manner guaranteed to anger voters in the most populous state in the union. Since it wouldn't be in their best interests to do so, I have to conclude that they didn't realize that people would see through their attempts to circumvent democracy and be angry with them (or make that angrier as the need for a website like Front Line Voices indicates widespread dissatisfaction and anger with the media.)

To me, it's an unavoidable conclusion that the media thinks they have authority, influence and power. They lack historical perspective, remember? They've probably all seen the classic movie Citizen Kane yet don't realize that it applies to them: yellow journalism is a constant in American news media and always will be. Reporters chase police cars and fire trucks and jostle for elbow room with attorneys. You can call yourselves journalists but we aren't fooled. You can call yourselves crusaders, but your pay check is commensurate with the amount of dirt you spread so your motives are hardly noble.

A recent Gallup Poll tried to ascertain if people perceived liberal bias in the media, but the most important aspect of the poll is in the area of how much trust people have in the media. Although the poll brags that people trust the media more than the government (Americans aren't supposed to trust the government: it's right there in our unwritten Constitution) by Sept., 2003, only 54% trusted the media and 46% didn't. (The link compared confidence in the media over the last several years; it's down.)

Most bloggers have to have some faith in the media because they are our primary source for research; our disagreement is not so much over the facts but over which facts are given more attention, how those facts are presented, and the interpretation of those facts.

Maybe the reason Americans are increasingly hostile is the growing awareness that the media are little better than information prostitutes as expressed by Donald Sensing over at One Hand Clapping. [Follow the link and also read this about what, exactly, a senior administration official is -- and isn't. American news reports based on unnamed sources which seem to be in conflict with official reports will suddenly make a lot more sense.]

Reports from Iraq have not inspired confidence in the media, and it's not due to lessened trust over what might be isolated cases like the Jayson Blair fiasco at the NY Times or Eason Jordan's revelations of how CNN smothered stories of brutality and mass murder in Iraq, but has been confirmed by articles such as the one by John Burns about corruption in the media here and the disparity over what people returning from Iraq are saying and what reporters who were known to be against the war are saying.

Then CNN's Christianne Amanpour claims that she was intimidated by Fox News and the Bush Administration to the delight of the international media but to the boisterous howls of laughter by Americans who remember all too well her negative reporting from both Afghanistan and Iraq.

The victim card failed, so what's the poor media to do to convince Americans that they, the media, are alone possessed with the true understanding of life and can see the correct path the US should follow?

Going back to Arnold: he was accused of behaving like a typical man during the 1970's. He apologized for behaving like a typical man. The LA Times had worked long and hard trying to dig up dirt on him and expected women to be shocked at the outrage. Result: the majority of women voted for Arnold.

He's an actor, not a politician! California voters said "We know! He has successfully managed businesses! That's why we're voting for him."

His only "identity politics" are with the Hollywood crowd, and even they don't support him! So after a relentless parade of Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins, Sean Penn, the Dixie Chicks, et alia, expressing their views on President Bush and the war in Iraq, the media are now claiming that people in the entertainment industry aren't politically competent unless they're Democrats? Pull the other one.

And as for not belonging to an identifiable interest group? Even better, the voters said. This state has been bankrupted by identity politics that don't address the needs of the population as a whole.

Bill Clinton said "It's a right wing power grab" which should have frightened people away from being taken in by the, you know, scary and shadowy right wing. But voters wanted fiscal restraint by any means necessary, and Republicans in California have a better record than Democrats on that issue. Besides, Democrats who signed the recall petition knew that dumping Davis was not the result of a power grab by anyone other than the voters, and voter power is supposed to be wielded by the people.

Arnold's father was a Nazi and Arnold likes Hitler! After nearly a year of being told that Pres. Bush is the same as Hitler, that barely registered a yawn. Besides, exactly who was trying to stop a recall vote that was legally and constitutionally achieved? None other than the same forces who claim that Atty. Gen. John Ashcroft will tear the Constitution to shreds. What's wrong with that picture?

A long forgotten news items was this in which a Democrat caucus was overheard planning how to manipulate the budget to cause the most pain in an effort to get Prop. 13 repealed.

Maybe I'm being too harsh. Maybe I should be thanking Big Media for instructing Americans on how the system really operates, but I suspect that the recall results prove that Americans already get it.

Anyway, there will be a lot of pundits trying to figure out what happened in California (although they could have taken a clue from the campaign that made Jesse Ventura the governor of Minnesota but, "they lack historical perspective," remember?) and I can pretty much guarantee that most of them (except exceptional ones like Mark Steyn) still won't get it.

It's about power and the misuse of power. Until the media recognizes that they are the ones abusing power, the level of trust Americans have in the media will continue to degrade.

Posted by Debbye at 09:47 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 9 - This is

Oct. 9 - This is just another in a long string of stories about taxpayer money spent on entertainment, this time by the Business Devlopment Bank of Canada which spent $1M for fed bashes, but it is noteworth for this:

The Edmonton event was attended by almost 700 local business leaders who were entertained by magicians, fire eaters, jugglers and hula-hoop girls at a cost of $172,000.
What, pray tell, is a hula-hoop girl? and how much do they earn?

Hula-hoops were a huge fad in the 50's, and I'll bet I could still hula a hoop. Who would have guessed it would have been a viable career choice?

Posted by Debbye at 08:01 AM | Comments (0)

Maher Arar

Oct. 9 - Maher Arar returned to Canada after detention in a Syrian jail. However, there are still no answers as to why he was detained, why he was sent to Syria instead of remaining in US custody, and why he was released. There were no answers forthcoming in the Commons:

"We do it in order to protect the privacy of individuals involved and ... to protect the integrity of investigations that are ongoing," he [Solicitor General Wayne Easter] said.

Foreign Affairs Minister Bill Graham sidestepped a question on whether Secretary of State Colin Powell told him if the RCMP shared information with the U.S.

"Secretary Powell ... said that the American authorities had acted within their jurisdiction ... based on information which they had received," Graham said. (Their ellipses)

The questions still remain: based on what information and from what source?

An Ottawa Citizen report had alleged that Arar was an al Qaeda agent and involved in a plot to bomb the American embassy in Ottawa.

According to this, there may be an investigation run by the RCMP's Public Complaints Commission.

Many believe that Arar was picked up by US officials on the basis of information relayed to them by the RCMP.

Posted by Debbye at 07:54 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 9 - Israel has

Oct. 9 - Israel has strengthened security in preparation for the Jewish holidays, including an open-ended lockdown of Palestinian towns on the West Bank. Def. Min.. Shaul Mofaz also ordered two more batallions sent to the West Bank and Gaza. Reserve soldiers may also be called up.

Amid rumours of illness, Arafat installed an emergency cabinet for new Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia. Qureia has said he will not try to forcibly disarm Hamas and Hezbollah terrorists but will only use persuasion in his effort to try to get them to stop terrorist attacks.

Qureia's ability to prevent terrorist attacks will detemine if the US and Israel judge him to be a partner in peace efforts, but an Arafat-appointed Cabinet has already compromised him.

Posted by Debbye at 07:45 AM | Comments (0)

October 08, 2003

Accused in Kazemi case enters plea

Oct. 8 - Mohammad Reza Aghdam Ahmadi, who has been charged in the beating death of Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi, entered a plea of innocence yesterday in Tehran.

Tehran Deputy Prosecutor General Jafar Reshadati said Tuesday that Ahmadi was the only interrogator who spent long periods of time alone with Kazemi, refused to answer some questions about her treatment and gave contradictory statements.

Reshadati told the court a prison doctor confirmed June 26 that Kazemi was in good health and had responded to questions in writing. Hours later, she was rushed to the hospital with fatal injuries.

"Now, the accused should explain how a healthy person in his control who responded to questions in 18 pages by her own handwriting is then transferred to hospital and finally dies," Reshadati said.

Ahmadi's lawyer, Ghasem Shabani, told the court the indictment was flawed and showed "serious and deep contradictions" with documents provided by the Intelligence Ministry.

Shabani requested and received more time to study the inditement. No date was specified for resumption of the proceedings.

The case is becoming another struggle between reformists and hard-liners in Iran: the Intelligence Ministry is controlled by the reformists, and the judiciary is controlled by the conservatives.

The Intelligence Ministry has said that Kazemi was beaten by a prison official, who would have been a judicial agent. They have threatened to "expose all the facts" if the charges are not withdrawn.

Canadian Ambassador to Iran Phillip Mackinnon attended the trial. He recently returned to Iran after being withdrawn by the Canadian government.

Kazemi's body has still not been returned to Canada despite the request of her son, Stephan Hachemi.

Reporters without Borders issued an appeal Sept. 26 for an independent enquiry including international experts.

Posted by Debbye at 07:02 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 8 - The ongoing

Oct. 8 - The ongoing investigation into the mines that killed two Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan Oct. 2 confirms suspicions that the mines were deliberately set between patrols. Further evidence indicates that there were 2 or 3 mines set atop one another for maximum damage to the vehicle.

There is a possible link to the terrorist attack that killed 4 Germans last spring:

Maj.-Gen. Andrew Leslie announced at the same time that a terrorist suspected of directing an attack on a bus that killed four German peacekeepers last spring had been arrested yesterday. They are trying to establish whether he is connected with the attack on the Canadians last week, Maj.-Gen. Leslie said.

Abu Bakar, who is thought to be Kabul commander for Hezb-e Islami, Afghanistan's third largest terrorist organization after the Taliban and al-Qaeda, was seized during a secret joint operation involving Canadian, British and German troops with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force and the Afghan police.

Mr. Bakar is believed to report directly to Hekmatyar Gulbuddin, a notorious warlord and former prime minister of Afghanistan, whose turf once covered the area in southern Kabul where Canadian troops operate and the nearby mountains where Sgt. Robert Short and Cpl. Robbie Beerenfenger died Thursday.

In Pembroke yesterday, more than 3,000 people attended services for Sgt. Short and Cpl. Beerenfenger. A miniature Maple Leafs hockey puck was set in front of long time Leafs fan Sgt. Short, and the services were broadcast to Canadian forces in Afghanistan.

We don't forget.

Posted by Debbye at 10:37 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 8 - According to

Oct. 8 - According to this, the Taliban are about to mount a new campaign by the beginning of winter to retake Afghanistan and are operating from a firm base in Quetta near the Afghan-Pakistan border.

They are said to have purchased over 2,500 motorcylcles and imported satellite telephones from Arab Gulf states to avoid being monitored by the US intelligence.

One of their main targets will continue to be international aid agencies in Afghanistan. The article reports that they are being financed by the heroin trade.

Posted by Debbye at 09:58 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 8 - Illusionist (or

Oct. 8 - Illusionist (or self-described master mentalist) Derren Brown, who's latest television stunt involved a game of Russian Roulette, reportedly load the gun with a blank instead of a live cartridge. The Jersey police said:

"There is absolutely no way that the States of Jersey police would allow anybody to put themselves at risk and shoot themselves dead."

He added: "This was just an illusion - the question of whether it was in dubious taste is another matter."

A spokesman for Brown said if the illusionist had fired a blank round into his head "he would have died anyway". He declined to comment further about the show, which was broadcast on Sunday night.

According to this, Brown is declining to comment.

The background on the stunt is available here under the inappropriately named article "Russian roulette gives magic a shot in the arm." Guess it beats "Magic needs master mentalists like a hole in the head". Okay, that was a bit lame. Sue me.

Posted by Debbye at 09:36 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 8 - Our good

Oct. 8 - Our good friend Robert Mugabe is trying something new in his attempt to end Zimbabwe's suspension from the Commonwealth: NZ confirms Mugabe envoy plot:

NEW Zealand has confirmed that Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has hatched an ambitious plot to unseat Commonwealth Secretary General Don McKinnon over his role in the rogue State's continuing suspension.

But New Zealand's Foreign Minister Phil Goff said yesterday there was no sign of support from other Commonwealth nations to support the ousting of the former New Zealand foreign minister.

Australia's Foreign Minister Alexander Downer also has indicated he would support Mr McKinnon against any Zimbabwe-inspired plot.

The confirmation follows a report in London's The Times newspaper that suggested Mr Mugabe was seeking the support of African nations to ensure Mr McKinnon did not win a second four-year term when the 54-nation Commonwealth group meets in Abuja, Nigeria, in December.

Mr Mugabe wants an Asian candidate to replace him.

Mr Mugabe is angry at Mr McKinnon's insistence that Zimbabwe remain suspended from the Commonwealth until the political and humanitarian situation in the country improves.

Mr McKinnon intervened after a Commonwealth troika of Prime Minister John Howard, South African President Thabo Mbeki and Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo was unable to agree whether to continue Zimbabwe's suspension when it was reviewed in March.

Labor foreign affairs spokesman Kevin Rudd said yesterday he supported Australian government efforts to retain Mr McKinnon.

What is it going to take to rid Zimbabwe of the man who has single-handedly destroyed that country as one of Africa's most economically viable nations?

Posted by Debbye at 09:22 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 8 - Aw, the

Oct. 8 - Aw, the father of modern terrorism doesn't feel so good and rumours are burgeoning although Arafat 'heart attack' denied:

YASSER Arafat's advisers denied a report today that he suffered a mild heart attack, but said the 74-year-old Palestinian leader is suffering from a stomach flu and continues to be weak.

In brief appearances this week, Arafat looked drawn and pale and his lower lip trembled considerably. He spoke with great effort and with prompting from his chief adviser, Nabil Abu Rdeneh. At times, he appeared in a daze, staring straight ahead. (Emphasis added.)

The British newspaper The Guardian today quoted Arafat aides as saying he had a "slight heart attack'' last week, but that the incident was kept secret for fear of creating panic.

Palestinian Cabinet minister Saeb Erekat denied today that Arafat suffered a heart attack, saying the Palestinian leader is battling a stomach virus.

The sympathy card fails to arouse an iota of pity. Palestinian sources said he feared he had been poisoned and is reported to be "picking at his food," and I remained unmoved.

It's been awhile since a story so ripe for conspiracy theorizing has hit the stands. My solution to Arafat has long been "make it look like natural causes" but I never figured on the trembling lower lip play. But as I've read Robert Graves book "I, Claudius," my skept-o-meter has been severely compromised.

Actually, should foul play be involved, the list of suspects is lengthy. Now that financial incentives from Iraq have ended and fundraising for Hamas and Hezbollah are under increasing scrutiny, members of the PA may finally be starting to realize that Arafat's policy of unending terrorism might become less lucrative.

And what of their good allies, the Syrians? Bluster aside, they have received very clear messages from both Israel and the US, and even, to a somewhat less clear extent, from Russia.

Conspiracy theorists will have a lot of fun with this one, and the only drawback will be that all of them will be short on facts.

Anyway, I do not wish Arafat a quick and speedy recovery. If he suffers while he makes his way down that dark road, it will only prep him for his eventual meeting with the True Prince of Darkness.

Posted by Debbye at 09:14 AM | Comments (0)

October 07, 2003

Oct. 7 - From The

Oct. 7 - From The Canukistanian: read the post "Case Closed," which raises some long overdue questions about the investigation into the death of Dudley Moore.

Well worth reading.

Posted by Debbye at 08:24 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 7 - Have you

Oct. 7 - Have you read Front Line Voices lately? Be sure and check out the entries from "Major Pain," a nurse at a hospital camp and who also tended some of the wounded from the Canal Hotel (UN HQ) bombing last month.

Posted by Debbye at 08:10 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 7 - Canadians still

Oct. 7 - Canadians still miffed because Japan was so adamant in refusing imports of Canadian beef after the one case of mad cow disease was discovered here might want to pull in their own horns and consider that Japan has reason to be nervous: an 8th case of Mad Cow Disease has been discovered there, this time in a 23-month-old Holstein. This is the youngest cow proven to be infected with the disease.

The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries' panel has said meat and bone meal feed might have been the source of BSE infection for other seven cows, but has not yet specified the infection origin.
The source for the single case in Canada has not been identified yet either.

(Link via Alpha Patriot.)

Posted by Debbye at 07:48 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 7 - Never come

Oct. 7 - Never come between a member of the US military and his determination (with a little help from his friends): Operation Give: Sending smiles to Iraq one toy at a time.

Go. Think. Give. Talk is cheap, but doing something for a kid's smile? Priceless.

Posted by Debbye at 07:26 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 7 - Thank goodness

Oct. 7 - Thank goodness Paul has the fortitude to keep track of the strange and wacky world of the North Korean government and, if I am not hallucinating, their Tourism Board. The links he provides make clear that reality is indeed illusory in North Korea. But hey! it fooled former State Secy. Albright, right?

Somehow I suspect tours in the Death Camps and lectures on North Korean cannibalism rituals are not included.

Posted by Debbye at 07:18 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 7 - Anecdotal evidence

Oct. 7 - Anecdotal evidence may not be scientific, but it should not be excluded either. I was very angry that my kids were disappointed in university because they had believed that once they escaped high school, they would be taught facts and a variety of methodologies through which they could choose how to interpret those facts. I had told them this because I remembered my own university education as being complex, rich and exciting.


They ended up doing what far too many students are doing: writing papers that mimic the professor's views and trying to keep their resentment of this travesty under control. Why? Because they learned that when they submitted papers that varied with the established philosophy, they were penalized.

They learned that they could submit a paper that said the right things but were rife with errors in spelling, punctuation and footnote applications and still get an excellent grade.

Link here if you're interested in learning more about this first step to attempt to provide students with the tools to get a true education, and go to the link for the Academic Bill of Rights to begin to return education to being . . . education, instead of indoctrination.

Legislators in Colorado, Missouri and Georgia (where I'm registered to vote) are already considering passage.

Note: This may be an American petition, but who can dispute it is needed in Canada? Who will tackle this urgent problem up here?

Posted by Debbye at 06:58 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 7 - Canadians can

Oct. 7 - Canadians can be extremely naive sometimes: they are in a war zone, the German peacekeepers they replaced had been hit hard by a suicide bomber, but they still held out hope that the mines that killed Sgt. Robert Short and Cpl. Robbie Beerenfenger and wounded 3 might have been left over from the Afghan-Soviet war instead of deliberately set to target them.

Russian intelligence sources say they have proof that the mines were deliberately laid by terrorists to kill Canadians according to Russian Def. Min. Sergei Ivanov, but "I did not receive any such information from him," he [Cdn. Def. Min. John McCallum] said, cautioning against jumping to conclusions.

Nevertheless, it has been established that at least one and possibly three Anti-tank mines were deliberately laid and the intent was indeed to kill Canadians.

There has also been an arrest. (Excerpts taken out of order)

His name is Abu Bakr, the senior-most commander in Kabul of Afghanistan's third-largest terrorist organization, Hezb-e-Islami Gulbuddin, or HIG. Details on the Bakr's arrest were not disclosed.

Bakr, a disciple of terrorist leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, has also been linked to the suicide bombing of a German bus last June in which four German soldiers were killed and 29 others wounded.

"We have indication he is under orders to orchestrate attacks on ISAF personnel using rockets and mines," Leslie said.

"Should this turn out to be conclusively an attack, we may well have apprehended the man who ordered it."

Bakr is being held in a secret location. Meanwhile Canadian soldiers are proceeding with patrols throughout their area of responsibility where upwards of 800,000 Afghans live.

Read the article; Bakr is a very strange individual, and if this report is true, he seems to ally himself with some very strange and diverse types.

I confess I'm bewildered by the next statements, mostly because it seems to be at variance with previous statements that warned that the Kabul deployment was dangerous and could involve Canadian casualties:

The last Canadian engineers passed over the site about 2 1/2 hours before the incident.

Canadian military authorities are reviewing all patrol routes, standard operating procedures and threat assessments.

A board of inquiry has been called to look into the broader issue of practices surrounding route clearance and approval by Canadian engineers.

The report said the explosion was most probably caused by at least one Soviet-made TM-57 anti-tank mine "designed to kill or immobilize a main battle tank."

Investigators found the mine's fuse assembly near the scene, as well as the top plate and strikers from two anti-tank mines, the report said.

Such mines weigh about nine kilograms, but due to the shape of the crater and the blast marks inside, investigators have concluded that three explosive devices were involved.

Have those in charge of this mission actually been conducting operations without taking into account that the troops there are targets? Obviously not, as the road had been checked, but I think those in Ottawa do not, despite previous warnings, understand that there is no exemption given to Canadians by terrorists.

Canadians are still grieving for the "friendly fire" incident in which 4 soldiers died in May, 2002, and those troops packed up and left early.

Now two more Canadian soldiers were killed in the service of their country, but they were not killed by an American pilot, incorrect road clearing procedures or because their equipment was inadequate but because they were specifically targeted by people who hope that at the first sight of blood, the troops will leave Afghanistan.

I'm not going to speculate whether that tactic might work. There's a lot I don't understand about the mindsets of the Canadian government and the Canadian people, but I do recongize that Canadian opinion is divided over the war on terror, and what worries me the most is that many Canadians do not seem to believe that terrorism is something that really concerns them. They believe that no one would want to deliberately harm them, and that the Canadians who died on Sept. 11 and in Bali were "collateral damage" in the terrorists' efforts to kill Americans and Australians.

Will this persuade Canadians that the war on terror, although different in many respects from previous, more conventional wars, is a serious, deadly affair that requires commitment?

Posted by Debbye at 05:01 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 7 - Sun Media

Oct. 7 - Sun Media reporter Brigitte McCann went "inside" to research an investigative report on the Montreal based Rael cult that had achieved notoriety last Christmas when they announced the impending birth of a cloned human (although nothing happened after that announcement, their publicity department deserved a bonus.)

There are several parts in today's Sun:
World of fear (the leader is said to be targeted by the USA and France);
The Raelian Nation;
The Interrogation; and
The Experts.

No, your eyes are not playing tricks; this series is indeed in the Sports section (maybe because the founder of the Raelians, Claude Vorilhon, is a former race car driver?)

These articles make for fascinating reading, and are focused on events and people right here in Canada. Between the Jonestown suicides in Guyana and the Branch Dividian deaths in Waco, cults both raise flags and push buttons and a rational context for dealing with them or leaving them in peace might be desirable sooner rather than later.

UPDATE: This is dispicable: The Raelians are promising to use their expertise in cloning to generate new arms for Ali Abbas, a young Iraqi orphan mutilated by a bomb in Iraq. As the link makes clear, they have not actually been in contact with the team of doctors tending Ali, and this is a grotesque search for publicity at the expense of a young man who has already suffered.

In contrast, the Sunday Toronto Star has a column by Tim Harpur titled America obsessed with future acolapypse in which the author fusses over the notion that because some Americans believe that Armageddon may come, born-again Christians led by Pres. Bush are doing things that could turn that into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

This should be read if only to emphasize how deeply and intensely I despise and hate these hypocritcal, pseudo-intellectual bastards who hide behind pretentions to multi-cultural and mult-ethnic diversity but who only maintain cohesion with incessant hate-mongering against the USA, Pres. Bush, and Americans in general because they are devoid of analytical skills, creativity and humanity.

Trust me, that was rant-lite.

Or how about this beauty: Europe favoured over U.S. poll says which claims "Canadians like the way Americans make money and wave the flag, but they would rather be more European when it comes to diversity, education, social programs and culture, according to a new poll."

Read the article, and you'll see a classic definition of Propaganda: people must choose between
(a) making money and waving the flag, or
(b) diversity, education, social programs and culture.

One must, of necessity, be sacrified for the other. That is the message.

No, I'm not having a bad day. I had to contend with a situtation over the weekend that was made worse when someone thought to bring up the good ol' anti-American card, which is why I didn't post much. Sometimes it is harder to keep the bittereness at bay than at other times, but I can't deny that living up here with most of the media and many of the people being very anti-American is very, very hard on a daily basis and sometimes it gets to be too much.

Yet were I to really believe that Canadians are as stupid as the Star would have me believe, I would have been gone a long, long time ago. What I don't know is the extent to which Canadians believe that Americans are as stupid as the Star would have them believe.

Posted by Debbye at 08:34 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 7 - What happens

Oct. 7 - What happens when intelligent, creative people have a good idea? Maybe something like this: Carnival of the Capitalists.

Of course, good ideas don't stop with only an announcement, but go on to establish a homepage complete with schedules and hosts for upcoming carnivals, and there is no FAQ but an NYAQ -- Not Yet Asked Questions.

Check it out.

Posted by Debbye at 07:38 AM | Comments (0)

October 06, 2003

Maher Arar released from Syria

Oct. 6 - This very interesting in that it has happened so soon after the arrests of US military personnel who were suspected of spying for sources within Syria, the Israeli strike at a terrorist training camp, the emergency UNSC meeting called at Syria's request to condemn that strike, and the refusal of the US to drop its support of Israel: Canadian Maher Arar, held by Syria as a suspected terrorist, been released without explanation.

Arar had been intercepted while returning to Canada during a stopover in NYC and deported by US authorites to Syria. He holds dual citizenship with Canada and Syria, but was said to be travelling under his Canadian passport.

It's never been clear what triggered the detention or deportation, and the extent of involvement by Canadian security forces.

He had been accused of having links with al Qaeda, and Syria had reported been planning to trial him for membership in the banned organization Muslim Brotherhood.

Syria was accused of torturing Maher.

There was a news report in the July 25, 2003, Ottawa Citizen by Robert Fife titled "Al-Qaeda targeted U.S. Embassy" (the original link is dead, but a copy of the article is available here):

Ahmad Arnous, the Syrian ambassador to Canada, said yesterday he did not have personal knowledge of the al-Qaeda intrigue, but confirmed Syrian intelligence has provided useful information to the CIA and CSIS.

Mr. Arnous said Syria even shared classified information with the CIA and CSIS on Maher Arar, a Syrian-born Canadian citizen who U.S. authorities say has ties to al-Qaeda.

Mr. Arar, a 32-year old Ottawa engineer who was the target of a joint Canada-U.S. investigation, is now in a Syrian prison because of alleged links to terrorism.

Sources say Mr. Arar was tracked when he left Canada last year for a vacation to Tunisia. On his return home, he was arrested Sept. 26 by U.S. immigration authorities while changing flights at New York's Kennedy Airport and deported to Syria on Oct. 8 even though he was carrying a Canadian passport.

"There is some kind of co-operation between all countries friendly with Syria, including Canada because even on Mr. Arar there was a communication between the security people in Canada and Syrian anti-terrorism people," Mr. Arnous said.

Mr. Arar was first sent to Jordan for 10 days where the CIA has a special interrogation site for al-Qaeda agents.
In April, U.S. Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci, told a private audience that Mr. Arar was under surveillance long before his arrest and deportation to Damascus.

"Mr. Arar is very well known to Canadian law enforcement. They understand our handling of the case. They wouldn't be happy to see him come back to Canada," Mr. Cellucci said.

Last month, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien wrote to Mr. Arar's wife, Monia Mazigh, promising to fight for the return of her husband to Canada, although Foreign Affairs acknowledges they have not been able to see Mr. Arar since last April.

But a U.S. source said the Canadian government "knows much more about Arar than they are telling Canadians," saying the RCMP quietly asked the U.S. government to arrest Mr. Arar in New York City and deport him.
"Arar had been monitored for a long time. Canadian authorities knew about him long in advance before his arrest. He had been in Afghanistan with al-Qaeda," a source said.

Mr. Arar's wife denies her husband was ever in Afghanistan and insists he is not linked to al-Qaeda or any other terrorist group.

The Syrians also arrested another Ottawa man, Abdullah Almalki, last summer when he was travelling in Syria. Mr. Almalki remains in a Syrian prison, but little is known about him or the reasons for the arrest.

Foreign Affairs says two other Canadian men are also being detained overseas, but each has asked the department to keep his identity secret for reasons of privacy. One, who holds dual Canadian-Syrian citizenship, is being held in Syria. The other man holds Canadian and Egyptian citizenship and is considered by authorities to be a serious security risk.

According to the New Yorker, the Syrians compiled hundreds of files on al-Qaeda and penetrated al-Qaeda cells throughout the Middle-East and in the Arab exile community.

I wonder how involved PM Chretien was in obtaining Arar's release. Chretien also used his personal influence to release an accused terrorist held in Pakistan, Ahmed Said Khadr, who was later revealed as a money man for al Qaeda and who ran Human Concern, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency.

The CIDA cut off funding after Human Concern financed a bombing in Pakistan that was orchestrated by al-Qaeda's #2 man, Al-Zawahiri.

Ahmed Said Khadr has not been seen since Sept. 11, and has been named as a high-ranking al Qaeda member by the UN. Two of his sons were detained in Afghanistan and are currently in custody, one of which is at Guantanamo and known as the "Toronto teen." PM Chretien has declined requests that he intervene to secure the younger Khadr's release and have him returned to Canada.

Posted by Debbye at 10:09 AM | Comments (0)

October 05, 2003

Oct. 5 - I turned

Oct. 5 - I turned on the news yesterday only to learn that a suicidal woman sought martyrdom and, unfortunately, took 19 innocents with her and wounded another 50. After that shock, I didn't visit my usual news spots, deciding that I had earned a day off (although I regularly checked in just in case the Golden Gate Bridge had been leveled, but that's just me.)

Shock you say? Damned straight, I say. After 40 years of international terrorism I have never gotten used to it, never become complacent about it as being "one of those things" and never stopped hating it. But most of you already know that already.

This morning I awoke to better news, that Israel had retaliated by going after a terrorist training camp run by Islamic Jihad in a nation that supports and protects terrorists, known to some as Syria, and known to others as "What the heck are they doing on the UNSC?"

I love it. As the world twittered and speculated about Yassar Arafat's future, or possible lack of one, Israeli coolly hit one of the major sources of terrorism in the Mid-East.

I'm not even going to quibble about why they didn't hit all of them, or hit the ones in Libya. I think this is one message that can be stamped "Delivered."

Now I read that UNSC member Syria seeks condemnation of Israeli airstrike.

[Israel's UN Ambassador Dan] Gillerman said Israel acted in accordance with Article 51 of the U.N. Charter, which allows nations the right to self-defense. Syria has "put itself in the dock" by calling for Sunday's meeting, he said.

"There are few better exhibits of state sponsorship for terrorism than the one provided by the Syrian regime," he said.

The United States holds the council's rotating presidency and invited Israel to sit at the table.

"I would be very surprised if the U.S. supported a Syrian resolution," Gillerman said, "certainly without that resolution in a very strong and clear way being one which also condemns in the strongest possible terms Syria's support for terrorism."

Timing is everything. Arresting and detaining members of the US Armed Forces with ties to Syria just, what, last week? I'm often wrong, but I'd call it bases loaded, the top of the batting order coming up.

Syria is making all kinds of threats. They plan to do what, exactly, with 140,000 US soldiers in Iraq and a lot of USAF pilots who might be looking forward to a little action against a country that has aided and assisted wannabe jihadists going to Iraq to cause a lot of trouble and responsible for the deaths of US soldiers?

He said Syria has exercised "maximum self-restraint," but he accused Israel of trying "to export its current domestic crisis to the entire region.
So training terrorists and exporting them to Israel to create a crisis is also known as exercising "maximum self-restraint." Who knew?

And they plan to do what, exactly, with a lot of Americans more alarmed about a possible Fifth Column than at any other time since the days immediately following Sept. 11, and Syria severely implicated as a sponsor of that Fifth Column?

Who knows, all that negative reporting from Iraq might yield unexpected fruit. After all, many believed Baghdad Bob and his Incredible Denials of the Day, so they probably believe al Jazeera and CNN reportage as absolute and total truth also.

None of that, however, changes the fact that 19 innocent people are dead because they went to a particular diner. And that remains an outrage.

Posted by Debbye at 09:34 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 5 - The Coalition

Oct. 5 - The Coalition Provisional Authority-Iraq website is up. (Via Relapsed Catholic.)

Posted by Debbye at 08:31 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 5 - Sen. Graham

Oct. 5 - Sen. Graham Claims He Ran for President! From ScrappleFace, of course.

Posted by Debbye at 08:23 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 5 - Something extremely

Oct. 5 - Something extremely disturbing over at USS Clueless - On the Home Front. (Thanks to The Canukistanian for the link.)

Posted by Debbye at 08:19 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 5 - A rather

Oct. 5 - A rather uplifting story about being 5 minutes late to meet the President and another meeting that was also late over at You Big Mouth, You!. Very timely.

Posted by Debbye at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 5 - I sometimes

Oct. 5 - I sometimes read something and what I call the "hmm light" turns on in my head, but it doesn't really illuminate so much as highlight. I sense there's more than meets the eye, but beyond that I'm clueless. Such is the case whenver I hear about the Chinese Space Program.

Maybe part of the answer is over at Murdoc Online in the post This is not at all insignificant. It certainly is food for thought.

Posted by Debbye at 07:24 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 5 - The poor

Oct. 5 - The poor widdle Secy. Gen. of the UN, Kofi Annan, got his feelings all hurted because the US ignored his recommendation for a rapid turnover of power to the Iraqi people. He finds it incomprehensible that the US isn't so anxious to be loved again that we'd sell out the hopes and aspirations of the Iraqis out for a pat on the head.

Kofi Annan is clearly out of his depth when he is dealing with people who have principles.

It would take too long to list the dictatorships that run former European colonies in South East Asia and Africa. That which was done under the banners of Independence and Freedom was betrayed by the Amins, the Mugabes, and the Pol Pots of the world.

Amin can't understand why the US would willfully and defiantly refuse to make the same mistake as the rest of Europe. Incomprehensible! (pretend that was in French.)

Okay, I'm starting to restate the arguments I already made here so I'll stop.

Clearly Amin must be answered, but really, why should I go to all that trouble, complete with links and background, when the mis-named King of Fools has already done it so well?

The French, by the way, piped up after Amin (along with Canadian PM Chretien who, as we all know, is a staunch defender of liberty and political freedom) and the King deals with them too (the French, I mean. Chretien is still being ignored, which is easier for the King of Fools to do than those of us who live here in Canada. If I was on my game I'd be able to do something with a sentence that contains both King of Fools and Chretien but . . . look! the Yankees have made a pitching change . . .)

Posted by Debbye at 06:37 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 5 - Alpha Patriot

Oct. 5 - Alpha Patriot has some picture of the new Dinars in Iraq -- in colour, of course -- and the best part is both who and who isn't on them.

Posted by Debbye at 05:49 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 5 - There is

Oct. 5 - There is an interview with Bruce Willis, who recently returned from entertaining the troops in Iraq, and Bill O'Reilly of Fox News here with some good comments by Willis on understanding how Iraq ties into the war on terror which, I think, places him very close to mainstream American thinking.

Roger Clemens was also in Iraq, so I'm not mad at him for the snippy way he left the Toronto Blue Jays anymore.

(Via BushBlog.)

Posted by Debbye at 04:18 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 5 - Must see

Oct. 5 - Must see photo. What kind of a world is this where adorable puppies can be dressed for dinner? Literally?

Posted by Debbye at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 5 - I've let

Oct. 5 - I've let down my obligation to The Alliance to lie about Glenn R. mostly because (lame excuse) it is so hard to come up with phony lies when one is constantly inundated with actual lies promulgated by the media, presidential contenders, and whatever the heck Sen. Ted Kennedy is, but I finally got an idea for a lie from the Puppy Blender himself.

It seem that Puppy Blender insists he is not InstaNews Service. At least one, Blaster's Blog, begs to differ and makes this pertinent point:

But that is precisely why you should be using Instapundit or your favorite blogger as a news service. Because the stories that the Big Media are ignoring are important ones. The blogworld is fact checking the entirety of the media's asses, and while everybody has their own spin, the facts, when they exist, will out.
Yet still Puppy Blender shouts NO NO NO. Heh. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, or methinks he doth protest too much? I report, you decide.

My lie? Oh yeah. You may have thought it was Giants right-fielder Jose Cruz who dropped that fly ball or Jose Cruz that struck out with bases loaded to give Florida the win last Friday, but it was actually Glenn R. That's right, Glenn R. That's the lie. (What did you expect? A lame excuse followed by a fabulous lie? Pfft.)

Canada sent two men to the Giants this year: Felipe Alou, who managed the underrated Montreal Expos and played outfield with the Giants and the great Willie Mays, was an important part of my childhood; and Jose Cruz, who played for the Jays, wasn't an important part of anything and is not missed.

And however much I may suck at lying, my sorrow over the Giants being eliminated is genuine. It would have been wonderful for Felipe Alou to get a pennant or World Series ring because although he managed the Expos on a limited budget he would have had a shot at both were it not for the baseball strike of 1994.

Besides, doesn't everyone root for the old home team?

Another lie: Puppy Blender caused the baseball strike of 1994. I don't know how he did it, but I know he did. He just covered his tracks too well to be exposed.

I can always root for the A's, but they're an American League team and I only make that exception for the Jays. So it's GO CUBS! and GO RAIDERS! (because it's always good to have a backup plan.)

You all understand what a non-sequitur is, right?

Posted by Debbye at 01:07 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 5 - And now

Oct. 5 - And now for something completely different: this from the always excellent Chicago Boyz and some thoughts I've been developing about the future of US-Canadian relations.

It's about the writings of the anti-anti-Americans in France, and needs more than one read through (be sure to read the comments section also.) It is also an insightful account of how little influence and power France actually has, and contends that were France not a permanent member of the UNSC, their true lack of power would be all the more readily apparent.

It has some Canadian applications too: economically, as scandals in both the federal Liberal Party and federal civil service are exploding; and politically, with the realization that there is nothing the electorate can do to alter the Liberal hold on power (at least for the present.)

A further, inevitable connection is the extent to which Canada's open solidarity with the French during the lead up to the Iraq War damaged US-Canadian relations.

It is clear that the American people have not forgiven the French, and, in fact, the popular sentiment of the American people to punish France preceded the advice given by Condaleeza Rice (Punish France, forgive Russian, ignore Germany.)

It is important to recognize that the above indicates an American unity of mind and heart rather than the Bush administration waiting for poll results before indicating its response to the diplomatic maneuvering of Chirac, de Villepin and the other weasels. Do not doubt the solidarity of the American people on this issue.

Canada, obviously, was omitted from Rice's pronouncement despite PM Chretien's active role in the Axis of Weasels. That may be seen by some as good news, probably in the hope that Canada was overlooked, yet I know darned well that Canada was not overlooked; so what to make of the omission?

The obsession of the French press is matched by the obsession of the Canadian press in its unhealthy and stalker-like focus on American affairs. It is nice in that it allows the populations of the two countries to be self-congratulatory about how superior they are to the rubes in America, but is unhealthy because it does nothing to alleviate problems and improve conditions in France or Canada.

As the lead link makes clear, problems in France are acute and deep. The leadership, however, has been unable to take even a small step to address the long-term problems they face without public outrage as evidenced by the strikes last summer.

I believe the American public (and I'm only reading between the lines) is keeping an open mind about Canada. That's a major step down from unquestioning feelings of friendship, but isn't as bad as declaring Canada to be perfidious.

There is a strong assumption (in the Canadian press, at least) that Paul Martin's probable elevation to Prime Minister will give Canada some room to repair relations. I think this view is extremely naive.

Maybe Paul Martin will salvage relationships, but what of future PMs who might also chose to go the Chretien route in a future crisis? If Canada is seen to be ruled by a benevolent dictator and foreign policy is subject to that individual's whims and Parliament has no voice in foreign policy, then Canada must be judged to be unreliable, unstable, and subject to bewildering turns and about-faces from regime to regime. Clearly, the US must re-evaluate their relationship with Canada in that light.

So, if Canada alters its relationship with the US merely according to which party or personality occupies the Chief Executive's chair, that is only another marked sign of instability (as well as arrogance.) [Those in Canada who still contend that Bush "stole" the election of 2000 are summarily stupid because the all-important mid-term elections of 2002 which resulted in Republican majorities in both the House and the Senate was Americans passing their own judgment on the 2000 elections, and I cannot stress how indifferent we are to the opinions of Canadians and the other Axis members which are appearing increasingly similar.]

Canadians have this foolish notion that it actually would have made a difference which party was in the White House on Sept. 11.

A Democrat would have responded no differently to Sept. 11 than Pres. Bush. It didn't hurt, of course, to have a heavyweight like Colin Powell as Secy. Of State instead of a lightweight like Madeline Albright, and the feisty Donald Rumsfeld as Secy. Of Defense was all-important to American morale, but who knows the eventual make-up of an Al Gore Cabinet?

A Democrat President would also have been met with resistance from the UNSC over Iraq and would have formed a multi-national coalition outside the UN to deal with Saddam.

Aha! you say. But a Democrat wouldn't have gone to war against Iraq.

Another shocking display of ignorance, I reply.

Most Americans have noticed that neither former Pres. Clinton nor Sen. Hillary Clinton have criticized the action in Iraq. Some might console themselves with the thought that courtesy might silence Bill Clinton, but that overlooks the fact that he was privy to much of the intelligence that went into the decision for war.

Political considerations would impel Hillary Clinton to speak out unless she knew it was political suicide in the long term. In other words, both Clintons knew that the war was justified and necessary.

If you haven't yet done so, do read the May Report to the Congress on the hunt for WMD. It proves beyond doubt that the President's case for war was justified.

Canadian focus on whether a Democrat or Republican is Chief Executive also displays total ignorance of the American political system, and in particular how checks and balances serve to ensure that the will of the people prevails. There was no party discipline necessary to vote for or against the funds for Iraqi reconstruction because the outcome was a foregone conclusion; the political posturing done by some really didn't fool anyone.

Put another way: if the Democrats in Congress didn't agree with the plan for Iraq, they wouldn't have voted the funds but rather would have hog-tied the budget with amendments and the ensuing debates. They didn't. The political posturing was to give them tactical maneuvering room for 2004 as opposed to strategic maneuvering room because they fundamentally agree with the strategy.

Until Canadians recognize this, everything opined and lamented up here will serve only to further antagonize the American public. Americans are not overly concerned anymore about being liked by everyone. We aren't teenagers, we're adults; we know that being liked is irrelevant because we are fighting for our survival.

Those who apply peer pressure only expose themselves as immature and disrespectful.

We have a couple of sayings back home: People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Good fences make good neighbours. Mind your own darned business.

Posted by Debbye at 12:43 PM | Comments (0)

October 04, 2003

Oct. 4 - Remember and

Oct. 4 - Remember and honour them: They stand on guard for thee. (From Paul.)

Posted by Debbye at 10:21 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 4 - I am

Oct. 4 - I am voting for Japanese Astronomer 1, Dissenters Zero by Patriot Paradox for personal reasons.

[Ignore the following: This link is dead, but is the one the Truth Laid Bear references in the New Blog Showcase. Just stick with the one in the first paragraph.]

I grew up in the SF Bay Area, and it was always in the back of our minds that the big one (far bigger than the '89 quake) is coming.

The Japanese have led the way in innovative building designs that can withstand earthquakes, both jolts and tremors. The research they've done has saved countless lives.

Think about it. Skyscrapers built on top of big springs? It worked! The inhabitants looked a little green after all the swaying, but they were alive and the building undamaged. The BART tunnel under the bay in a giant vacuum cleaner hose? Nary a leak.

Using astronomy to predict earthquakes, why not? We barely understand earthquakes (the notion of plate tectonics is relatively new, remember) and I remember well the derision that theory received when first introduced.

Blog posts can also bring us out-of-the-mainstream news, which this is unless you live or have loved ones in earthquake country in which case it is very mainstream.

Posted by Debbye at 10:16 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 4 - Suicide bomber

Oct. 4 - Suicide bomber kills at least 19 in Israel. I'm posting this because it must be posted, it must be acknowledged, and it must be part of the record, but I don't have words that are precise or detached enough to actually comment on it, and I sure don't have the stomach to quote the Palestinian Authority's pious condemnation of the bombing.

Posted by Debbye at 06:55 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 4 - I saw

Oct. 4 - I saw this Thurs. night, but couldn't lay off the jokes to post it properly: Court strikes down prisoners' DNA database:

SAN FRANCISCO, California (AP) -- A 3-year-old law that requires federal prisoners and parolees to give blood samples for the FBI's DNA database was declared unconstitutional Thursday by a federal appeals court.

A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that requiring the blood samples amounts to an illegal invasion of privacy because they are taken without legal suspicion that the convicts were involved in other crimes.

The court said that is a violation of inmates' Fourth Amendment rights against illegal searches. The samples "constitute suspicionless searches with the objective of futhering law enforcement purposes," Judge Stephen Reinhardt said.

Wow. "Objective of furthering law enforcement purposes." Who'd have ever thought that law enforcment agencies would ever stoop to furthering law enforcement? Now I have to put my thinking cap on and think think think figure out why convicted prisoners serving sentences in prison might be suspects in other crimes think think think because maybe if the 9th U.S. Circuit Court says its wrong then they must be right, right? I mean, they're like judges and smart and everything, you know?

Posted by Debbye at 12:40 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 3 - You will

Oct. 3 - You will love this: DON VS. GOD:

As you may know, I am an atheist, which some people think means I don’t believe in theists, but you’d have to be pretty stupid not to believe in theists. No, an atheist is one who fails to lack a disbelief in God.
Funny stuff.

Posted by Debbye at 12:30 AM | Comments (0)

October 03, 2003

Oct. 3 - More French

Oct. 3 - More French perfidy? Polish troops find new French missiles in Iraq:

Polish troops in Iraq have found four French-built advanced anti-aircraft missiles which were built this year, a Polish Defence Ministry spokesman told Reuters on Friday.

France strongly denied having sold any such missiles to Iraq for nearly two decades, and said it was impossible that its newest missiles should turn up in Iraq.

''Polish troops discovered an ammunition depot on September 29 near the region of Hilla and there were four French-made Roland-type missiles,'' Defence Ministry spokesman Eugeniusz Mleczak said.

''It is not the first time Polish troops found ammunition in Iraq but to our surprise these missiles were produced in 2003.''

The Roland anti-aircraft system is a short-range air defence missile in service with at least 10 countries, including France and Germany.

They are fired from a mobile launcher vehicle and defence experts say the missiles are highly effective against aircraft attacking at low and medium altitude.

Under a strict trade embargo imposed by the United Nations, Iraq was barred from importing arms after its invasion of Kuwait in 1990.

Among others, Russia, Britain and France all sold arms to Iraq in the 1970s and 1980s. In Iraq's arsenal were Soviet-built Scud missiles, British Chieftain tanks and French Mirage fighters.

But Iraq managed to circumvent the arms trade ban in the 1990s through shadowy deals with various arms traders and kept its military equipment functioning.

And in case we need reminding:
In the run-up to the outbreak of the 2003 Iraq war, American and British combat pilots struck Iraqi anti-aircraft batteries repeatedly as they patrolled no-fly zones in the north and south of the country.
The French response to the report, declaring that it is not credible because they never authorized such a shipment, is pathetic.

I know this is hard for the French to accept, (for one thing, it would require a sense of reality) but the fact remains that the new, lavish palaces in Iraq were pretty clear cut indicators that the UN-sponsored Oil for Food program had been corrupted.

I'm getting weary of the continous denials by the French. A responsible government would respond with concern and launch an investigation to see if French companies might have sold the anti-aircraft missiles without authorization.

Speaking of the French, if any of you miss pavefrance.com, there's a new website about our good friends and allies at Perfidious France.com with links to the pertinent news items. Or, as Casey Stengel said, "You can look it up."

Via Merde in France, and while you're there, keep scrolling down. This guy makes me look soft on the French.)

UPDATE: The story, alas, is erroneous. The Polish troops did find anti-aircraft missiles, but those marked "2003" did not refer to the date of manufacture. (Link will follow when I can find it again.)

Posted by Debbye at 10:34 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 3 - Austin Bay

Oct. 3 - Austin Bay presents the first in a series of 3 columns on Walking back the cat, which is "spy slang for retracing the train of evidence and assumptions until the double agent, the false source or the analytic error is identified. The cat unraveled the ball of string. Rewind the twisted yarn to find the flaw."

He traces the history of this long war (which began in 1990) from the events prior to that which serve to remind us that Saddam didn't bluff when it came to using chemical weapons or invading his neighbours.

Posted by Debbye at 11:42 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 3 - Reactions to

Oct. 3 - Reactions to the Kay report (text available here) to Congress of the search for WMD in Iraq by David Kay, top US arms inspector, will probably be mixed.

On the one hand, no actual weapons have been found. On the other hand, there is a growing body of evidence that chemical and biological weapons programs were ongoing or, if shut down, were only temporarily so.

The most worrisome find was that Saddam had an active program to extend the range of missiles:

"The Iraqis were engaged in a very full-scale program that would have extended their delivery systems out beyond 1,000 kilometers [620 miles]; that is enough to reach Ankara, Cairo, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh. And these were both ballistic missiles and Land Attack Cruise Missiles, a refit of the Chinese Silkworm," he said. He added that the programs were maintained with "foreign assistance."
Isn't is sad that the list of suspects for "foreign assistance" is so long? and that it includes members of the UNSC?

The Sun (UK) characterizes the report as "a terrifying new probe yesterday revaled Saddam Hussein WAS [their emphasis] secretly preparing for chemical, biological and even nuclear war" and that it vindicates the decision by the Blair government to go to war:

The 13-page document, compiled from the reports of 1,200 arms experts who have been scouring Iraq for two months, says Saddam was determined to resume building nukes.

And he was already negotiating with rogue state North Korea to buy long-range rockets that could have launched nuclear AND chemical warheads at UK bases in the Med.

The experts also unearthed secret bio-weapons labs, new strains of lethal diseases, a deadly bug hidden in a scientist’s home — and evidence of possible chemical weapon tests on human victims.

YMMV, but mine won't. It was worthwhile.

UPDATE: The report is available here. It seems to bolster the government's case better than I thought. Sheesh, the evalution in the Sun (UK) may be more accurate than that in the Washington Times. I'd like to know a little more about the prison lab (or maybe not; the possbility that prisoners were used as subjects in experiments may not surprise but still give me uncontrollable shivers.)

Posted by Debbye at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 3 - The UN

Oct. 3 - The UN is once again showing its determination to thwart efforts to give Iraq time to develop the leadership necessary for the transition to a democracy by insisting on a rapid turnover of power:

Annan, the French, Russians and Germans want a quick transfer of power to a provisional Iraqi government that would then draft a constitution and hold elections.
How typical that they insist on the one method that has proven to be utterly ineffective. Maybe they haven't read this:
One of the problems with Santayana's "lessons of history" is learning the right lessons, and part of that is figuring out which ones actually apply. If you use the wrong one, you'll go astray. VietNam isn't the right one with regard to our involvement in Iraq.

Versailles is the right lesson. Our experience in Europe between 1915 and 1965 is the right lesson. And those who have been trying to focus attention on VietNam are trying to make us repeat the mistake of Versailles.

or this
Even now, with Saddam deposed and in hiding somewhere, will the mercurial Americans suddenly lose interest and pull out, leaving a power vacuum which Saddam will once again fill by reestablishing Baathist rule? Were I an Iraqi, I could not dismiss that possibility.

And those who speak freely today, might discover that their names had been added to a list of "those to be liquidated" after the Americans cut and run and Saddam returns to power.

Indeed, is it not likely that the French, Russians and Germans too would like a return of the Ba'athists who would have no reason to be friendly to the US but embrace their old regime-proppers?

Is it likely that a Ba-athist regime would demand that the books be opened on the UN sponsored Oil-For-Food program that went so badly astray?

The media notwithstanding, most of us understood exactly what would be necessary in long term assistance to Iraq in the transformation from tyranny to liberty, and we strongly supported the mission to free Iraq because of this understanding, not despite it.

No more half-assed efforts. No cutting and running before the mission -- political and military -- is finished.

Those who died (and are still dying) to give Iraq a chance to take her place among the free nations of the world must not be betrayed.

Posted by Debbye at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 3 - It was

Oct. 3 - It was only ten years ago that Pres. Boris Yeltsin sent troops to force hard-line communists out of the former House of the Supreme Soviet. Not everyone thought this was for the good: there is to be a rally to mourn Yeltsin's victory.

In Russia Mr Yeltsin is remembered as a weak and corrupt leader, whose tenure was marked by robber capitalism, economic collapse and political turmoil.

A poll this week showed that two thirds of the people interviewed blamed him and his predecessor, Mikhail Gorbachev, for taking the country to the brink of chaos.

This links to a brief, illustrated history of those events.

Only ten years ago. A bare blink of an eye.

Posted by Debbye at 10:19 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 3 - Grenades were

Oct. 3 - Grenades were thrown by an unidentified man into a mosque during Friday prayers in the southern Philippine island of Mindanao kllling one and injuring 30. The mosque was located inside the compound of the government's National Irrigation Administration in the city of Midsayap.

This and previous attacks are believed to have been done by Muslim separatists.

Posted by Debbye at 10:02 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 3 - The Australian-led

Oct. 3 - The Australian-led assistance to the Solomon Islands continues with a patrol boat, HMAS Wollongong, leaving Darwin to replace HMAS Ipswich.

The ship, the first Darwin-based vessel to join the effort, will be involved in maritime patrol and surveillance, and helping protect police officers.

"We will operate within the Solomon Islands domestic law and our international law obligations and conduct boardings and so forth if necessary on vessels which are acting illegally, and then hand them over to Solomon Islands police for prosecution," Lieutenant Commander Thompson said.
The crew also have with them clothes donated by Darwin charities for the people of the strife-torn nation.

Posted by Debbye at 09:56 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 3 - The deaths

Oct. 3 - The deaths of 2 Canadian peacekeepers yesterday was probably due to an explosive planted on the road according to the Canadian commander in Kabul, Maj.-Gen. Andrew Leslie:

"It had been patrolled prior to this tragedy occurring ... and it had been cleared within the previous 24 hours, cleared in the sense that engineers had driven over the road with specialized equipment to check for embedded explosive devices" (Their ellipses)
In another report:
Afghan army official Shir Pacha said the site of the blast is in the middle of a mine field.

“We told ISAF not to patrol, as there are a lot of mines. But they went. I don't know why,” he said.

Maj.-Gen. Leslie said the patrol was essential as it was in hills where rebels had previously launched rocket attacks on Kabul. The area is about three kilometres southwest of the Canadian camp.

The family and friends of native New Brunswickan Sgt. Robert Alan Short, 42, spoke briefly to reporters and described him as a devoted father and Maple Leafs fan. Sgt. Short leaves behind a wife and two children.

Cpl. Robbie Christopher Beerenfenger, 29, is survived by his wife and 3 young children.

Today's Globe and Mail has a good article explaining the nature of the peacekeeping duties in Kabul.

There was a moment of silence in the Canadian Parliament yesterday to honour the fallen soldiers.

Stephen Harper, leader of the Official Opposition, released a statement praising the soldiers and those who serve.

The most recent losses sustained to the military by hostile forces was 50 years ago in Korea.

Posted by Debbye at 09:16 AM | Comments (0)

October 02, 2003

Oct. 2 - The first

Oct. 2 - The first toys have arrived!

Words do not do justice to the excitement on this post. Read it!

These guys think of everything: they are taking precautions to ensure the articles sent do not end up on the black market. There is a new address for the packages (but not to worry; if you already sent something to the other one, it will still arrive.)

An address has been added for those sending packages from Australia, and other countries will be added as soon as possible.

Posted by Debbye at 03:37 PM | Comments (0)

Collar bomb & pizza deliveryman

Oct. 2 - French Libertarian in Quebec has been keeping on top of the case of the pizza deliveryman who wore a collar bomb, robbed a bank, and was killed when the bomb detonated.

This post tracks more twists and turns than The Rockford Files. It connect to a body in a freezer, and, well, just go on over and read.

(A quick prayer: don't let them make this into a TV-movie. Please.)

Posted by Debbye at 02:54 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 2 - Dash over

Oct. 2 - Dash over and wish Paul a very happy 26th birthday.

Posted by Debbye at 02:20 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 2 - More voices

Oct. 2 - More voices from Iraq: Iraq bishop says media distorts coverage to discredit US-led war.

An Iraqi Catholic bishop has accused Western media of lying about the postwar state of his country.

Auxiliary Bishop Andraos Abouna of Baghdad said he believed media were running a propaganda campaign to discredit the American-led coalition that ousted Iraqi President Saddam Hussein and now runs Iraq.

Bishop Abouna, a Chaldean Catholic, told the Catholic Herald in London that the situation in Iraq is steadily improving rather than descending into a morass resembling the Vietnam War, as often depicted by media outlets.

"It's getting better but still there are many problems," Bishop Abouna said. "The first problem is that they need security, then they need water and electricity -- and all these things are getting better."

"The media are exaggerating a lot of things. They should be realistic about the situation in Iraq. Newspapers and television are saying a lot of things that aren't true. When they go there they can see everything (is changing)," he said.

(Via Relapsed Catholic.)

Posted by Debbye at 02:16 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 2 - A land

Oct. 2 - A land mine exploded under a vehicle carrying Canadian peacekeepers in Kabul killing two and wounding three members of the Royal Canadian Regiment, 3rd Battalion, based in Petawawa, Ontario.

The dead soldiers have been identified as Sgt. Robert Alan Short and Cpl. Robbie Beerenfenger. The injured have been identified as Master Cpl. Jason Cory Hamilton, Cpl. Cameron Lee Laidlaw and Cpl. Thomas Stirling. Their injuries are not believed to be life threatening.

It was not clear whether the explosion was caused by an old land mine, or one laid recently in an effort to target international peacekeepers. ISAF officials declined to reveal the location of the explosion but said it was in an area that is regularly patrolled.

Arata would not identify the victims, but Canadian Deputy Prime Minister John Manley confirmed that the dead and injured were all Canadian.

"It looks like their vehicle struck an explosive device a few kilometers outside the camp," Manley told The Associated Press in Toronto.

Canada's Defense Minister John McCallum told Parliament in Ottawa that "even though we knew that our soldiers were in harm's way, it does not lessen our shock."

Deepest condolences to the families of these brave men. We don't forget.

Posted by Debbye at 02:02 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 2 - News Junkie

Oct. 2 - News Junkie Canada has some excellent posts today, including one I missed on the "secret" list of terrorist fronts operating in Canada. There's also (scroll down) "This is Just the Tip of the Liberals' Corruption Iceberg!" for a link to the Special Report of the Auditor General on George Radwanski's department.

Also, Bud is back with a review of the CBC's new season. This guy has a sharp wit. I nominate him to replace Peter Mansbridge for One on One. I could really enjoy Bud and Don Cherry shooting the breeze between hockey periods.

Posted by Debbye at 01:54 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 3 - Sun readers

Oct. 3 - Sun readers class act

THOUSANDS of Iraqi kids yesterday went back to schools that have been rebuilt thanks to The Sun's army of readers.

You raised £133,212 to help youngsters in war-torn Iraq through our Give A Quid For An Iraqi Kid campaign.

And yesterday children across Baghdad stepped into their classrooms for the first time since Saddam's evil regime was toppled.

Last night Save The Children staff who ran the project thanked The Sun's army of big-hearted readers.

It's a good time to bring up the drive to collect and send toys, school materials and other much needed items to Iraq. For those who have concerns that the articles will reach the kids, I refer you to One Hand Clapping who is a member of the Council on Ministries of the Tennessee Conference of the UMC and asked the Council to officially sponsor the toy drive and the correspondence between Mr. Sensing and Chief Wiggles.

The chaplains in Iraq have agreed to help with the program and ensure that the toys and sundries get into the hands of the children.

There is a button for the Iraqi Toy Drive at the start of the post. Click there for more information on how to give.

Posted by Debbye at 12:48 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 2 - There is

Oct. 2 - There is a pretty fierce gunfight ongoing in which, thus far, the Pakistan Army Kills 12, Arrests 10 Suspected Al Qaeda. Most of those captured or killed appeared to be "foreigners."

Former OBL bodyguard, Yemeni Abu Hazim al-Sha'ir, ( also known as Khalid Ali bin-Ali al-Hajj) is believed to have been promoted to be the head of terrorist operation in the Gulf. He is believed to have played a major part in the Riyadh bombing of May 12.

Ali Ghufron, alias Mukhlas, has been proven guilty of planning the terrorist attack in Bali last October and has been sentenced to die. During the trial, Mukhlas admitted to being operations chief of Jemaah Islamiyah. This Australian headline says it all: Last chapter in Bali hatred saga. Mukhlas, like Amrozi, showed no remorse during his trial. And, like the others who have been convicted, he is so eager to achieve martyrdom that he is going to appeal to save his miserable skin.

Mukhlas, Amrozi, Imron and Samudra have all been convicted.

Mukhlas, along with Imron and Samudra, is one of the "Afghan alumni", a group of Indonesians who trained in Soviet-occupied Afghanistan and became operatives in the Southeast Asian terrorist network Jemaah Islamiah. Osama bin Laden was in Afghanistan at the same time as Mukhlas and they fought together at the battle of Joji. The Indonesian now reveres the Arab extremist as a Muslim hero and has named his youngest child after him.

Regardless of the threat posed by the associates of Mukhlas and bin Laden, Bali police chief I Made Pastika yesterday invited Australians to come to the holiday island's commemoration of the attacks on October 12. "Please come," he said. "Not to be terrorised - that is one of the ways of fighting terrorism. Let's fight together."

Never forget.

Posted by Debbye at 12:10 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 2 - Some more

Oct. 2 - Some more with the belligerence from North Korea as they claim they have finished reprocessing 8,000 spent fuel rods and are Using Plutonium for Bomb Production.

They are asking for diplomatic recognition, a non-aggression treaty, and money. In exchange they will pretend to dismantle its nuclear weapons program. Again.

UPDATE: According to the Washington Times, video footage has been obtained that shows food being sold from sacks with international markings and the US Dept. of State has admitted that monitoring food distribution remains a problem:

State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said yesterday that he was not yet aware of the activists' tape, but that the monitoring of U.S. donations, which are distributed by the WFP, is still an issue in future contributions by Washington.

In February, Washington announced a donation of 40,000 metric tons of food and said that it would contribute as much as 60,000 metric tons of additional aid before the end of the year if Washington's distribution concerns were addressed.
It was not clear if the food on sale contained any donations from the United States, which has contributed more food to North Korea than any other country -- more than $600 million since 1995.
Much like Afghanistan, pre-Sept. 11, their food dependency on the USA is unlikely to deter aggression. I guess food contributions are the US equivalent of "soft power," but I can't countenance letting people starve to death even if their government is evil.

Posted by Debbye at 11:37 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 2 - I'm just

Oct. 2 - I'm just going to report this and hope Canadians weigh in with the commenting: Day jousts with visiting Arab official (We allow free press, Alliance MP tells Muslim diplomat):

OTTAWA -- Stockwell Day, the Canadian Alliance foreign affairs critic, accused the visiting secretary-general of the Arab League of undermining freedom of the press yesterday in a heated exchange after an appearance by the top Muslim diplomat at a Commons committee meeting.

Secretary-General Amre Moussa had just finished an hour-long appearance before the Commons foreign affairs committee and was exiting the West Bloc meeting room when he and Mr. Day became embroiled in an almost surreal verbal exchange.

I'm not going to quote the exchange; it was somewhat surreal, however. Cutting to the chase:
At that point, Mr. Moussa noticed that at least three print journalists and one television reporter were recording the verbal exchange.

"I am not making an interview," Mr. Moussa said, glaring at one reporter.

"We don't mind freedom of the press," Mr. Day shot back.

"Yes, freedom of the press is there, but when there are rules," Mr. Moussa replied motioning to the committee table behind him where he had just given recorded testimony.

"I am not going to answer because I am not making an interview."

Mr. Day pursued the point. "We just allow freedom of the press. We're used to it," he said.

"Freedom of the press should be done in an honest way," Mr. Moussa said.

(Via Neale News.)

UPDATE: Yep, it's official. Day has more balls than most reporters.

Posted by Debbye at 11:10 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 2 - I don't

Oct. 2 - I don't know which has me more steamed up: the fact that the Federal government is too cheap to see that Canadian soldiers are well taken care of, or that an appointed official would brush their earned trip home aside to take her elite entourage on tour. Soldiers stranded as Clarkson uses backup plane:

The homecoming for 150 Canadian soldiers who were to fly back to their Edmonton base last week after a six-month tour in Bosnia has been delayed for up to 11 days, because the only backup for their military transport plane was taking the Governor-General on a much-criticized world tour.

Canadian Forces spokesmen said the soldiers' return to Canada was delayed on Saturday when a mechanical problem grounded their CC-150 Polaris transport, the military version of the Airbus A-310.

I'm doing my own idiotarian thing. I think this tour was part of an effort to get Pres. Putin to push for ratification of Kyoto.

I dunno, Chretien; Putin became the Invisible (and thankfully Silent) Man in the Axis of Weasels and left you and Chirac holding the game bag. You really think sending 59 snooty Canadians over there is going to make him rethink a policy that will be bad for Russia?

In the meantime, if there is a plan to eliminiate the Canadian Armed Forces altogether, it certainly is working. The least the troops should expect in the service of their country is respect, and they aren't getting it.


(Via Neale News.

Posted by Debbye at 10:53 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 2 - I just

Oct. 2 - I just caught this late entry at The Canukistanian's site about Mme. Chirac endorsing Sen. Hillary Clinton for president in 2004.

Jack calls it stupid; I call it French diplomacy.

First Lady Laura Bush just left France.

Coincidence? I don't think so.

Posted by Debbye at 10:13 AM | Comments (0)

George Radwanski

Oct. 2 - The cost thus far in the audit of former Privacy Commissioner George Radwanwski's office is $800,000.

True to form, the critics rushed to weigh in:

NDP MP Pat Martin called it a "horrendous cost" that could have been avoided through stronger control mechanisms to keep small agencies like the privacy commissioner's office in check.

"Having the auditor general do this ... expensive, comprehensive audit is the crudest of instruments to ensure scrutiny and oversight," he said. "This would be virtually negligible if there was a concrete process for these smaller agencies."

Radwanski is a victim, not a dirty unethical cheating lying pompous son-of-a-registered-gun arrogant thief. What we need is more regulations, because that always works. Thieves will never find the loopholes!
Canadian Alliance MP Paul Forseth said the Radwanski mess signals the need for better protection for public service whistleblowers as well as tighter system oversight.

"But the culture is denial, the culture is that everything is okay and that the Liberals who are in charge are great managers," he said. "In fact, this is showing the Liberals are terrible managers."

Isn't that what the Liberals said when it was a Progressive Conservative-led government? But heck, we're talking about a government that still won't establish ethics and conflict of interest guidelines. We're talking about a government wherein Cabinets appointments are made according to region and gender, not knowledge. Qualifications? Pfft. 'Tis to laugh. How hard can it be to stroke Chretien's ego?

The true denial is that the habitual patronage appointments without regard to character or qualifications plus a civil service culture that is less employee and more voting block creates problems.

The civil servants who knowingly allowed the gun registry to run over budget by $ 99 million were promoted. And MPs are worried about $800,000?

Posted by Debbye at 10:01 AM | Comments (0)

MPs unite in anger over Kazemi

Oct. 2 - Here's something you don't see everyday: MPs unite in anger over Iran. A motion by MP Sarkis Assadourian (Brampton - Lib) calling for a return of Zahra Kazemi's body from Iran was unanimously approved by the House of Commons.

Canadian Alliance MP Stockwell Day raised objections to the return of Cdn. Ambassador Philip MacKinnon to Iran.

Posted by Debbye at 08:59 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 2 - This doesn't

Oct. 2 - This doesn't look good: Feds to hike troop rents to bring them in line with the going market rate.

Rents for cash-strapped Canadian soldiers living in military houses and apartments will jump by as much as $100 next month, neutralizing the 2.5% pay hike most soldiers got in April. Defence department spokesman Tina Crouse said soldiers living in the 15,500 married quarters are facing the hike to bring them in line with local real estate prices, a Treasury Board policy.

Crouse said the military has been raising rents annually for five years across the country, and intends to continue the trend every fall until they reach the average rental cost for each area.

I'm biting my tongue so hard I'm afraid I'll draw blood. Like it or no, what the Canadian government does reflects on the Canadian people.

Posted by Debbye at 08:49 AM | Comments (0)

October 01, 2003

Oct. 1 - Front Line

Oct. 1 - Front Line Voices is officially launched.

This project has arisen due to the determination of bloggers who, in what is becoming blogger tradition, are determined that the truth must be told. Sometimes the truth will be ugly, and sometimes the stories might be about incompetence. There will be both good and bad news. But it all must be told.

We owe it to they who serve, and, as the media has let us down, we owe it to ourselves and to the American and Canadian people.

I'm not sure I can come up with any more words for this endeavour that are not trite and cliched, but I think it might be because either folks get it, or they don't.

I'm not going to say that I hope you enjoy the site; you will, but it will be to the extent that you are capable of feeling awed by men and women who are doing an incredible and difficult job inch by inch.

There are also guidelines for submissions if you are in contact with someone "other there" and they are willing for their emails and letters to be posted.

Good night.

Posted by Debbye at 09:02 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 1 - Paul has

Oct. 1 - Paul has been heroically keeping track of David Blaine's stunt over in the UK (see here for all the posts on this lurid story (they're even funnier read sequentially) plus he's found someone who may be even a bigger idiot: illusionist Derren Brown who plans to stage a Russian roulette stunt:

"[Brown] will use his mind control to determine which chamber the bullet is in."
Is it wrong to double over with laughter at such an absurd announcement?

UPDATE: Murdoch compares this stunt with watching friends watch the Detroit Lions! Ouch.

Posted by Debbye at 08:28 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 1 - I haven't

Oct. 1 - I haven't really been commenting on the Plame Controversy because several bloggers are on top of it -- and I really mean on top of it as it continues to unfold and change from hour to hour. Daniel W. Drezner and Donald Sensing over at One Hand Clapping are my main sources; they update frequently, and, I predict, will get to the truth first.

Posted by Debbye at 08:16 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 1 - After reading

Oct. 1 - After reading David Warren's Next and Steven Den Beste's Decompressing Iraq, I had the whimsical thought that I was attending a double-header, but actually I am video-wise, as the baseball play-offs are ongoing. [The Giants are behind, so I console myself with blogging.]

David Warren raises the oft-heard criticism that the Bush administration hasn't articulated the strategy often enough, i.e., that helping Iraq evolve into a country that observes human rights and democratic protections will revolutionize the Mid-East and give hope to a people long oppressed by tyrants.

He's not wrong, but I discovered in numerous arguments that there are those who grasp this tenet almost instinctively and those who deny the potential for a variety of reasons ranging from belief that Arabs culture is incompatible with freedom to Bush-hate. I was surprised to find there was little middle ground.

Nevertheless, Mr. Warren does re-state the aim and ultimate benefits of establishing that Iraq can become a beacon for the frustrated ambitions of Arabs, and illuminated how horribly the United Nations has let down peoples of other countries who yearn for freedom.

It's a good read, and David Warren also discusses future strategy and deplolyment, and like many of us, would like to see a better phrase than "War on Terror" to describe this war! His pronouncement on the press is both depressing and realistic.

Steven Den Beste addresses a different, and perhaps overlooked, aspect of how a people who've long been oppressed by a vicious and ruthless sociopath would take time adapting. I'm not going to try to quote from it, because it speaks best when read as a whole, but then who doesn't look forward to settling back with a drink of something whenever something new is posted over at USS Clueless? (I also would urge you to follow the links in the article.)

We are winning this war. It is slow (as we were warned) and requires patience (as we were also warned) but the potential gains are beyond anything those devoid of imagination can comprehend.

Robert F. Kennedy once said 'Some people look at things as they are and ask "Why?" I look at things as they could be and ask "Why not?"'

Posted by Debbye at 06:47 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 1 - I think

Oct. 1 - I think that Baldilocks is onto something here in Possessed by Something. Read it, and reflect that this is a similar problem in Canada (Stockwell Day, anyone?) And of course, last Christmas in Toronto, there was a (mercifully brief) kerfuffle over what to call the tall pine-needly thing until Mayor Lastman injected some common sense.

Although I enjoy Ann Coulter, I always bring the salt shaker along, yet her latest column, It's the Winter Solstice, Charlie Brown!, strikes a chord because of some recent court rulings which discriminate against religion (and judges should know darned well that doing so violates the First Amendment.)

I've admitted before that I am a casual Christian, not a church goer but respectful of the Gospel and teachings of Jesus. But I find these attacks, as with any that reek of smug self-righteousness, to be far more grating than the polite Jehovah's Witnesses that might knock at my door. It also gets my radar up (you know, the radar that says there's more to this than meets the eye.)

The ACLU, for one, is so rabid in its pursuit of stamping out all references and public displays of religion that I believe they must feel terribly threatened by them. That is so sad a commentary on a once respectable organization: they once took cases for people who were deprived of their lawful rights, and now they use the law to deprive people of their lawful rights.

I find it ironic that Joseph Campbell is often cited by cultural relativists, for his insights into the universality of the Hero and His Journey myths asserts the need for challenges, initiatory ritutals and spirituality rather than denies them.

I read an interesting post recently that presented the thesis that once religion has been removed as the main pillar of society, something would be needed to fill that void. Given that in Canada, at least, nothing is offered except government programs, one can only wonder whatever is the endgame. (If my braincramp subsides and I remember where I saw the post, I'll put it up.)

Posted by Debbye at 06:02 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 1 - Be sure

Oct. 1 - Be sure and vote in the 2003 Weasel Awards!
(Link via Alpha Patriot.)

Posted by Debbye at 04:35 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 1 - Rep. Jim

Oct. 1 - Rep. Jim Marshall (D-GA) has written an op-ed piece for the Washington Post titled Don't Play Politics on Iraq. He has my respect: he decided to go to Iraq to compare the gloomy reports by the media with the rosy reports by the Pentagon, and discovered that the Pentagon had a better grip on reality. Since his return, he has been outspoken about his concern that the focus on bad news by the media is misleading as well as destructive:

Many in Washington view the contest for the presidency and control of Congress as a zero-sum game without external costs or benefits. Politicians and activists in each party reflexively celebrate, spread and embellish news that is bad for the opposition. But to do that now with regard to Iraq harms our troops and our effort. Concerning Iraq, this normal political tripe can impose a heavy external cost.

It is too soon to determine whether Iraqis will step forward to secure their own freedom. For now, responsible Democrats should carefully avoid using the language of failure. It is false. It endangers our troops and our effort. It can be unforgivably self-fulfilling. (Emphasis added.)

I tend to vote more for the person than the party, but in the '04 election I'm going for a straight Republican ticket. It will take some time for me to look at the opportunism demonstrated by the Democrat Party without total and complete disgust.

What Bill Clinton did or not do with his member was not a matter of urgent national security; confronting immediate threats to American security must override partisan considerations, and the Dems let Americans down.

I suspect many Americans feel the same as I about '04, but that doesn't mean that we should overlook those Dems who have stood tall and supported the country and her troops, and if the Dems care for my advice, they would do well to take names because that may be all that salvages the Democrats from being branded opportunistic and selfish by future generations.

Rep. Marshall has played an important role in helping the campaign for better coverage from Iraq finally break out from its early stages of initially being confined to the internet (and maybe Fox, but I don't receive Fox up here) and, as John Leo points out, "That view might be a starting point for the big media to discuss how the 'look from afar' got so skewed."

That, to me, is the The Ultimate Question: what is the motivation behind this skewed reporting? If it's laziness or incompetence, why haven't they been fired and/or replaced?

UPDATE: Media Bias on Display In Iraq Coverage has some interesting links, and makes this prediction:

The good news is, some in the press are now reporting how others in the press have been ignoring the good news and hyping the bad news from Iraq. This will inevitably lead the accused press to race to prove it is not guilty of the accusations. They'll do so by starting to publish or broadcast more balanced coverage - and by running columns criticizing media outlets that persist in pushing the demonstrably false "Iraqi quagmire" theme. Soon, very soon, the mainstream media will be filled with good news from Iraq.
Heh. He's probably right.

Posted by Debbye at 01:19 PM | Comments (0)

Oct. 1 - The Canukistanian

Oct. 1 - The Canukistanian has addressed the reservations I have about the recently announced suggestion that the government may hire civilians to patrol the coast. His post is revealingly entitled Stand on guard for thee.

Jack also has a real hum-dinger with The Axis of Leftism although I must protest a tad: Pierre Trudeau was elected by Canadians (or, more properly, the Liberal Party which rose to federal power by Canadian voters) so the leftists and social engineerings were already controlling the votes by 1967 and thus not from the USA, but home-grown.

Posted by Debbye at 11:21 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 1 - Frank J.

Oct. 1 - Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., delivers a stinging rebuke to those with the vision of a walnut in today's Washington Times commentary:

... The perspective offered by a just-completed trip to that city, Tikrit, Mosul and Babylon suggests the critics are not only oblivious to the considerable progress made to date in consolidating the liberation of that country.

Worse yet, by their petty parsimony, they risk squandering a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do very well strategically by doing good.
To me, the debates over Iraq could be settled by asking one simple question:

Do you believe the desire for liberty beats in the human heart? (The "Yes, but" votes will be counted as ayes, and the "No, but" votes will be counted as nays.)

Those who believe that the desire for liberty dwells in us all also know that assisting the establishment of an Arab state that is ruled by consensual government will be a beacon for all Arabs to transform their states from tyranny to freedom.

Don't let them tell you it can't be done. Look! It's been done, and it's working. Blow the nay-sayers off.

Those who answer negatively will have to explain why, either by admitting they are racist or by admitting they don't believe in freedom.

They will also have to explain why so many Arabs are desperate to leave the Mid-East and immigrate to Canada, the USA and the UK.

Just my $.02.

Posted by Debbye at 09:50 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 1 - Don't expect

Oct. 1 - Don't expect too many sighs and lamentations as Huffington withdraws from recall race although her failure to gather support in her anti-Bush campaign could force the Dems to consider that they are slightly out of touch with voters' issues:

Huffington said she has a sense of "deja vu" from the 2000 presidential election, during which President Bush called himself a compassionate conservative.

"And then we woke up with the nightmare of a warmonger who took a $500 billion surplus and turned it into a $500 billion deficit, [with] millions of jobs lost," she said. "If we elect Schwarzenegger, we are going to wake up to the same nightmare."

Earlier Tuesday, [Gov. Gray] Davis said Huffington had brought "wisdom and clarity" to the recall race when asked about her pending announcement.

"I believe she's made a contribution to the dialogue that has begun over these last 70 to 75 days," he said. "... I would welcome her comments between now and the end of the campaign."

Huffington brought wisdom and clarity? Maybe it takes a wingnut to know a wingnut. Arnold is quoted as saying "She brought color and excitement to the race."

Actually there is one regret: what about those who entered Mark Steyn's competition which gives prizes for whoever predicts Ariana's percentile in the elections?

Mark has already provided his readers with the answer:

Arianna has quit the California race in a desperate attempt to avoid the humiliation of being asked to sign the winning copy of The Fourth Instinct! The competition's judging panel are conferring - en banc! - about the legality of this move and will announce their findings later today.
The contest on Gray Davis's percentage is still on, although who can accurately predict the percentage until we know how much campaigning former Pres. Clinton plans to do on his behalf?

Posted by Debbye at 09:11 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 1 - People in

Oct. 1 - People in the UK get it. Why don't judges?

James Taylor, who photographed himself raping a 13-month old baby, had been sentenced to 5 years in jail but public outrage has forced a sentence review as well as calls for the lenient judge's firing.

The court heard Taylor, from Grangemouth, Stirlingshire, was arrested after a tip-off that he was downloading child porn.

Police found 2,280 indecent images of children on computer discs at his home — including the rape.

The campaign to review the sentence was led by The Sun (UK) and supported by victim's rights groups.

Posted by Debbye at 08:43 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 1 - Sheesh, is

Oct. 1 - Sheesh, is there a country that doesn't have troubles in the departments assigned to deal with immigration? The ABC (Australian Broadcasting Company - oh heck, just think BBC and CBC, m'kay?) alleged that immigration department staff encouraged failed asylum seekers to use forged passports, which the immigration department has denied.

The usual twist: the ABC can't provide information that would allow the government to investigate the allegations fully because they would out their sources.

Posted by Debbye at 08:20 AM | Comments (0)

Oct. 1 - There are

Oct. 1 - There are two active forces in Afghanistan, the 11,500 strong US-led force which is still engaged in rooting out and fighting Taliban and al Qaeda forces, and the 5,500 NATO-led force that is pretty much confined to Kabul.

Plans to extend the ISAF, International Security Assistance Force, to other cities may not happen because NATO is having trouble finding more troops to expand the force in Afghanistan.

The 19 NATO countries have 4.4 million troops, but only a fraction of them are effectively equipped and trained for such far-flung missions.

Alliance officials acknowledged difficulties in expanding the current ISAF force, which NATO took responsibility for in August. They fear another recruitment drive for the force could reveal more weaknesses

"Do we have enough strategic airlift to get European soldiers to Afghanistan? The answer is 'no,' " Burns told reporters.

At present, Germany and Canada are the largest deployments at 2,000 each, followed by France with 900 troops. France is training the new Afghan army.

Posted by Debbye at 08:05 AM | Comments (0)

George Radwanski

Oct. 1 - The ongoing investigation into departmental expeditures under former Privacy Commissioner George Radwanski, who was forced to resign last June, continue with a damning report from Auditor General Sheila Fraser. Starting with the now ubiquitous luxurious, over-the-top entertainment expenditures, it also charges that Radwanski played favourites, ran the department with bullying and threats, and, by bullying those who would have brought financial abuses to public attention, created a climate of fear and intimidation.

The Auditor General has recommended that the RCMP investigate a pattern of civil servants cashing in vacations while taking time off and improper cash advances of $15,000 to Radwanski (one of which has not been repaid.)

Sheila Fraser urges that steps be taken to see that the money improperly acquired be repaid:

Blaming the Treasury Board Secretariat and Public Service Commission for allowing bad behaviour to go unchecked for years, Fraser insisted the rampant abuse by civil servants is "not the norm." She recommended the government rectify the wrongs of the bad apples by knocking down undeserved hires or promotions, and ordering repayment from those who abused public money.

She estimated about $200,000 is recoverable -- including half from Radwanski. Officials could also go after $350,000 in questionable payments through over-classed jobs or performance bonuses.

In an interview yesterday, interim privacy commissioner Robert Marleau said two executives have already paid $80,000 in restitution for vacation pay, and a third is expected to submit $120,000 within days. He also plans to recoup cash for improper travel and hospitality claims but added he won't make heads roll -- at least for now.

As people may remember, this investigation began when it was discovered that Radwanski has altered financial expenditure reports, and gained momentum when it was revealed that one day prior to his appointment as Privacy Commissioner in 2000, Radwanski had been forgiven a debt of $540,000 which he owed in unpaid taxes.

Posted by Debbye at 07:51 AM | Comments (0)