Thursday, November 26, 2009

On cutting off all aid to Somalia...

Militia warns UN to buy from Somali farmers or cut aid
November 25, 2009 -- Updated 1756 GMT (0156 HKT)

(CNN) -- Islamist militants in Somalia have warned a United Nations agency to buy food from Somali farmers or stop sending aid to the impoverished African country.

"WFP [World Food Programme] causes many problems for the local Somali farmers by importing food from outside Somalia
and that discourages the Somali farmers," al-Shabaab said in a statement.
"So the WFP should buy its supposed food distribution from Somali farmers or stop its operations in Somalia."

The militia also warned local Somali contractors who help distribute WFP
food aid to stop helping the U.N. agency by January 1.

The warning could be a desperate measure by al-Shabaab
, which is reportedly facing financial difficulties following the withdrawal of Ethiopian forces last year. The Ethiopian invasion of Somalia had outraged many members of the Somali diaspora who had sent money to al-Shabaab, which had vowed to kick out the invading forces.

Al-Shabaab has now waged a bloody insurgency against the U.N.-backed government of transitional President Sheikh Sharif Sheikh Ahmed.

The WFP is aware of the report, according to a spokesman for the agency who would not say whether WFP was in touch with al-Shabaab.

"WFP is working in Somalia because the country cannot currently support the food needs of its population," Greg Barrow told CNN.

Somalia is in the middle of the worst humanitarian crisis since the famine of the early 1990s, with half of its population -- nearly 4 million people -- in need of food aid, according to the WFP.
Somalia is also one of the most dangerous places in the world: four WFP staff members were killed between August 2008 and January 2009.

Nevertheless, the aid agency said it increased its operations during the first half of this year, providing assistance to nearly 3 million people.

CNN's Alden Mahler Levine and Journalist Mohammed Amiin Adow contributed to this report.


Sounds like a plan to me. I say we cut off all aid to this region of the world. Let them all starve. If the Somalis ever get to the point where they finally feel their life and their freedom are worth fighting for, they can overthrow their radical Islamic masters. The rest of the world ought to have nothing to do with their self-determination. Freedom bought with the blood of others, is seldom seen as being worth much. I say: "Sink or swim, boys...".

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The making of a jihadi...

Yet another interesting and thought-provoking article, culled from today's DAWN... Enjoy.

Construction of a jihadi mindset
By Khadim Hussain

Wednesday, 25 Nov, 2009

THE fact that a sizeable number of those recruited by religious militant organisations for conducting terror attacks in Pakistan are between 14 to 19 years and are products of both the religious and public education systems in the country should be reason enough to revamp these educational systems.

Considering the present curricula, teaching methods and learning culture in elementary and secondary schools in particular and higher education in general, it is not surprising that there is confusion regarding the objectives of the ideological paradigm of the well-coordinated and well-networked jihadist movement in Pakistan.

The ideological paradigm of the jihadist network in Pakistan is, however, clear enough: it justifies the formation, regimentation and militarisation of non-state groups that are bent upon eradicating the socio-cultural, political, economic and state capital of Fata, the NWFP, Punjab and other parts of Pakistan.

The jihadist network in Pakistan feeds on the jihadi mindset that is nurtured by the elementary, secondary and higher public education system and madressahs in Pakistan. The jihadi mindset, like other extremist belief systems, feeds on a rigid, inflexible, isolationist and myopic worldview. The curricula, methods of teaching and the teaching-learning environment in the elementary and secondary educational system in Pakistan perpetuate a culture of silence on the one hand and status consciousness, feudal behaviour and a morbid individuality on the other.

Over the past several decades, the majority of young men and women in Pakistan have been heavily influenced by the curricula, teaching methods, and learning environment to adopt a one-dimensional approach to reality. This denies them creative space within the pedagogical system. It also increases the probability of their becoming jihadi recruits.

A cursory look at the curricula of social sciences, history, Islamic studies and other subjects followed by elementary and secondary schools shows an emphasis on what is perceived as the Muslim ummah through the manipulation of historical reality, glorification of Muslim monarchs, hatred of other beliefs and the perpetuation of jihadist ideology.

Instead of presenting young minds with a broad-based civilisational perspective, the curricula in public elementary and secondary schools instills an isolationist identity focusing on the demonisation of the leadership of other nations, the construction of a peculiar historical context and the denunciation of religious, linguistic, cultural, social and political diversity. Content on peace education, environment and life skills has yet to find its way into Pakistan’s public education curricula.

This kind of content alienates the young minds from humane values that are the result of a long civilisational evolution. It denies young minds the skill to evaluate a process critically. Hence, the judgmental approach of our educated middle class as evident in the print and electronic, especially the Urdu, media, during socio-cultural, political, religious and economic debates, and the heavy dependence on conspiracy theories, should not surprise us.

The denial of space for students’ participation inside the classroom, the absence of encouragement to question established ideals and the lack of initiatives for basic skill development largely define a typical classroom in an elementary or secondary school in Pakistan. Debate and discussion on an established ideal are usually banned inside the classroom. The lack of teaching strategies to develop skills to construct a reasonable argument leads to the students adopting a subjective approach in almost all spheres of life. This process defeats the process of critical thinking among the students on the one hand, and constructs a mindset that is unwilling to accommodate ideas of diversity and pluralism on the other.

The learning environment of the majority of elementary and secondary public schools across Pakistan depicts a culture in which a predilection for adopting shortcuts to ‘achievements’ is effectively nurtured. (This attitude is especially exhibited in the shape of plagiarism that we find among the university students of Pakistan.)

The behavioural system that is adopted in one’s formative years thus becomes an integral part of adulthood. Rarely are strategies adopted to make students aware of their indigenous knowledge base or to give them the confidence to build on this. In such an environment, natural curiosity is usually the first victim.

Segregation and discrimination on the basis of gender, ethnicity, religion and socio-economic class define the attitude and conduct of the faculty and management of schools across the length and breadth of Pakistan. Activities that nurture innovation among students have yet to find a place in the learning culture. Art, music and dance never find room in our public education system.

Events that include sporting activities, song competitions, poetry recitals and other cultural undertakings are decreasing in elementary and secondary schools with the passage of each day. Physical punishments in schools, especially in rural Pakistan, perpetuate violent behaviour among the students between five and 18 years. Even the walls of the schools and classrooms are decorated with verses and poetry that glorify war, superiority over other nations and religions etc.

Though family upbringing, broader socio-cultural spaces and politico-economic vacuums are powerful factors responsible for young minds falling prey to the jihadist machine, the curricula, teaching methods and learning environment at schools accelerate the process. It is high time that we not only revisit the policy contours of our educational system but also make sure that young minds are taught to value critical thinking and develop a positive attitude towards diversity and show curiosity and a desire to explore knowledge and critically examine established ideals.

The writer teaches at Bahria University in Islamabad and coordinates the research activities of AIRRA, a regional advocacy group.


Oddly enough, it sounds suspiciously familiar for someone who went through the French Catholic School system in Québec in the Sixties... And we wonder where the new recruits come from? Clearly all this bullshit rhetoric from Muslim leaders of how the West's actions are driving young dispossessed Muslims towards jihad, is simply that... empty bullshit rhetoric and a feeble attempt to blame the poisoning of young minds elsewhere than their own culture.

Turning another corner in Pakistan...

According to this report filed today, a retired Pakistani Army general states that he now believes the Pakistani people have woken up. He says they now realize that this fight to crush the Taliban, is not simply a US vendetta, but a matter of their own survival as a nation.

Pakistan determined to fight Taliban, retired general says
By Tom Evans, CNN
November 25, 2009 -- Updated 1130 GMT (1930 HKT)

(CNN) -- The Pakistani people now believe the war against the Taliban is their war, whereas in the past they considered it to be the United States' war, a former Pakistani general with close ties to his country's military told CNN's Christiane Amanpour on Tuesday.

Retired Lt. Gen. Talat Masood, who also was an official in the Pakistani Ministry of Defense, told Amanpour, "I think the Pakistani army and the people of Pakistan are truly determined to fight this war and win."

"Under no circumstances do they think that there is any future for Pakistan unless this succeeds, so they are fighting for their future rather than anything else," he said.

Masood spoke to Amanpour as the Pakistani army presses its offensive into the Taliban stronghold of South Waziristan after a series of deadly bomb attacks across the country, and the United States continues its air strikes from unmanned drones on suspected Taliban targets in Pakistan. U.S. President Barack Obama is on the brink of announcing what is expected to be a big increase in the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan.

Less than 10 percent of Pakistanis
support the drone strikes, polls found. The U.S. attacks in Pakistan, conducted by the CIA, would have much more legitimacy among the Pakistani people if the U.S. shared control of the planning and execution of the strikes, Masood said.

But he questioned the long-term value of the drone strikes for the United States. "I think on balance, one can say that it has tactical advantages. But in the long run, if you really want there to be no opposition, then you should win the hearts and minds of people."

Some also are questioning the ethics and legality of these drone attacks, saying they are nothing more than targeted assassinations. A former assistant general counsel for the CIA, Vicki Divoll, rejected the idea the strikes are a form of assassination.

"I think targeted killing is more accurate, because assassination brings back memories of world leaders being attacked," Divoll said.

Divoll, now an instructor at the U.S. Naval Academy, said the attacks are legal under U.S. law because the U.S. president is free at any time to ignore or waive any executive order he chooses, and none of the laws passed by Congress apply in this case. "I don't think there is any legal bar under United States law to prevent this from happening," she said.

The New America Foundation's Peter Bergen, who has co-authored a study on U.S. drone attacks, said they are the least bad option that exists because the U.S. military cannot invade the Pakistani tribal areas where many of the militants are based.

Bergen, who also is CNN's national security analyst, said there was tremendous pushback from the Pakistanis when U.S. special forces crossed the border during the previous Bush administration.
"Drone attacks are really the only tool in the toolkit that is possible," Bergen said.

He said his study found that since 2006, two-thirds of the casualties from drone attacks have been militants, and about a third have been civilians. The proportion of civilian deaths has fallen to a quarter since Obama came into office, he added. Some other reports, though, say the number of civilian casualties resulting from drone strikes is much higher.

The pace of drone strikes in Pakistan has increased sharply since Obama took office, averaging one a week. That means, according to the New America Foundation, Obama has authorized as many strikes in his first 10 months in the White House as his predecessor approved in his final three years in office.

Call me skeptical if you will... It's nice to hear this coming from a retired army general. But somehow, this sentiment would sound more genuine and therefore more believable, if I heard it coming from actual commanders on the ground or better yet, the average Pakistani in the street. Then I might be more apt to believe that we have indeed turned the corner here...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

On meeting a young warrior...

Last Friday (20 November) I was invited to attend a function of the Veterans UN/NATO Canada military association, of which I am a member. The occasion was the investiture of our three newest members. The three, Mcpl. Michael Trauner (3 RCR), Cpl. William Kerr (2 Bn., The Irish Regiment of Canada) and Cpl. Andrew Knisley (1 RCR), were young Canadian soldiers who had been seriously wounded while serving in Afghanistan. As we arrived at the Les Suites Ottawa Hotel, we were informed that due to personal reasons, Mcpl. Trauner and Cpl. Knisley would be unable to attend.

This was a bit of a let-down for the vets gathered there and we felt badly for these two young warriors. As if these two didn't have enough to deal with in their lives already. Nonetheless, we were honoured and privileged to have Cpl. Bill Kerr and his lovely wife Tracy join us. About 30 members has gathered for this event and they had traveled from Québec City, Montreal, Gatineau/Hull, Sudbury and other points, just to be there.

Cpl. Bill Kerr Cpl Bill Kerr joined the Irish Regiment of Canada in 2003. In 2005 he volunteered for a tour in Afghanistan and after deploying in 2006, returned to Sudbury in the spring of 2007. Shortly after his return to Sudbury, he volunteered again to deploy overseas, and began his pre-deployment training before the Afghan sand was even out of his kit.

After deploying again in September 2008 on this his FOURTH rotation or Roto as they're referred to, he was critically wounded while on foot patrol. On 15 October 2008, he and his team were investigating a house in a small Afghan village. Cpl. Kerr was the fourth man through the door. As he entered, the Taliban remotely detonated a concealed IED. Cpl. Kerr lost both legs and a portion of his left arm. He cheated death and survived his injuries, no doubt thanks to the medics on-scene and CF medical staff at the Base Hospital in Kandahar. He was subsequently evacuated to Landstuhl, Germany and from there he was transferred to the Rehab Centre here in Ottawa, where he has been recovering since.

Cpl. William Kerr proposed to his girlfriend Tracy Faye Lachance of Sudbury, as he lay in a hospital bed in Ottawa. She accepted. I find this speaks volumes not only for the type of person that Mrs. Kerr must be, but of the quantity and quality of the love that these two so obviously have for one another. They original plan was for them to get married when Bill returned from his tour. It was supposed to be a quick escape to Vegas on 09/09/09. But plans have a way of changing... Life has a way of intruding on you. Nobody could have foreseen this...

There are some who claim that she is the reason he came out of it. Being an incurable romantic at heart, I have no problem believing this. Their wedding took place this summer (2009) in Thunder Bay, Kerr's hometown.

CBC Newsperson Laurie Graham had the opportunity to meet Cpl. Bill Kerr and some of his wingers, as she was imbedded with Canadian troops in Afghanistan in 2006.

She posted the following in her CBC online blog: Kandahar Dispatches.

First convoy run
Thursday, December 21, 2006 02:46 PM ET
By Laurie Graham

My camera operator, Al Lawrence and I have to take a convoy with the Canadian military. It’s not supposed to be a long trip, just a jaunt from A to B. I can’t tell you where A begins and B ends, but suffice it to say, we are in southern Afghanistan.

This is not Al’s first trip in a convoy, but it is mine and I’m a little anxious. When I agreed to come to Afghanistan, it was the “convoy” that made me nervous. There have been so many reports of roadside bombings that it scared me to think of driving in one, but there really is no other way to get around.

As we get into our vehicle, we’re told the trip will take only an hour and a half. We get in the back with four soldiers: Corporal Jason Walter, Corporal Lee Willcocks, Corporal Billy Kerr and Corporal John Makela. They’re a Force Protection Unit and their job is to protect convoys. They’ve driven in dozens. In fact, they told me that by the end of their tour in February, they think they’ll hit the hundred mark. I’m thrilled. I figure if I have to take a convoy, these are the guys I want protecting me.

They immediately put me at ease. We start talking about life in the military. They tell me they are reservists which means they don’t actually have to be here, and yet here they are. We talk about the things they miss from home, food and how nice it would be to have a cold beer. "Just one," they say. (Canada runs a "dry" camp which means soldiers go months without a drink.) The conversation is easy and it really helps take my mind off where I am… cramped into the back of a Light Armoured Vehicle.

Then, out of nowhere, we stop. I don’t say anything, but I’m thinking, did something happen up ahead? Did one of the vehicles get hit? The next thing I know, the back hatch opens and a soldier outside starts giving orders. The guys I’m chatting with suddenly jump into "soldier" mode." They get out, secure the perimeter and start yelling, "left side clear, right side clear." They seem pretty calm, Al is okay and on the outside I am too, but inside, I’m thinking… "!#%*" my worst nightmare has come true… we’re stuck on the middle of a road in southern Afghanistan, like a giant bull's-eye.

Then, soldiers start talking on their headsets and within minutes we find out that the second vehicle in our convoy has broken down: a fuel line problem. "It’s not uncommon," the soldiers say. They remain in the ready position with their weapons in hand, looking for anything suspicious, watching vehicles in the distance to make sure they’re not driving toward the convoy. We wait. And we wait. And we wait. I watch the soldiers who are standing beside the convoy of vehicles and I think, "what if something happens, what would I do?" Then, we get word that another convoy is on the way and it could take about 90-minutes before it arrives.

Our Force Protection friends are fine. They’re pretty relaxed. They keep spelling each other off so that while we wait, there is always one of them inside with us.

In the end, it took more than 90 minutes, but after a while I stopped counting. I even stopped worrying. These four reservists from Ontario put me at ease, helped me get over my fear of driving in a convoy and more than anything else, made me feel safe. When we arrived at our destination, we all shook hands and said good-bye and I thought to myself, "I may never see them again, but I will never forget them."

For those of us who were there to welcome Cpl. Bill Kerr and his wife Tracy into our family, it was a sobering, emotional and uplifting moment. We inducted MCpl. Trauner and Cpl. Knisley 'in absentia'. They will receive their vests, crests and medals at a formal ceremony, to be conducted at a later date in Petawawa. There are few words to describe young men like Billy Kerr, Michael Trauner and Andrew Knisley, and yet it is people like them that fill our ranks.

As King Henry V said in his address to his troops, before the Battle of Agincourt:

"We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition:
And gentlemen in England now a-bed
Shall think themselves accursed they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin's Day."

The link below will take you to the Veterans UN/NATO Canada website, which contains pictures of the presentation:

Thursday, November 19, 2009

More looniness from the Imams...

I can always rely on Pakistan's DAWN online newspaper (or any other Islamic journal for that matter...), to provide me with humorous perspectives on life from a Muslim point of view. They provide incessant proof of the absolute incompatibility of Muslim and Western beliefs and values.

Here is the latest offering of this religion-based insanity:

Clerics cringe as '2012' causes storm in Indonesia.

JAKARTA: Hollywood's latest doomsday offering '2012' has caused a storm in Indonesia, with conservative clerics condemning it Thursday as a 'provocation against Islam.'

Screenings have been sold out across the capital Jakarta following the film's success in North America, where it beat Disney's 'A Christmas Carol' to top the box office honours last weekend.

It looks likely to repeat its success in Indonesia, the Southeast Asian archipelago with the world's biggest Muslim population, judging by the queues at cinemas in its opening days this week.

But while most viewers said they had enjoyed the film's apocalyptic vision of life after December 21, 2012, when the fulfilment of a Mayan prophecy sees the Earth engulfed by catastrophe, senior clerics were deeply troubled.

The country's top Islamic body, the National Council of Ulema (MUI), is divided over whether or not to issue a fatwa or religious edict against the film. One local branch has already done so, to little apparent effect.

'The controversial things about the film are, first, in Islam doomsday should not be visualised or predicted, it's the secret of God,' council chairman Amidhan told AFP.

'For the common people, the portrayal of doomsday in this film could distort their faith - that's what I'm worried about.'

He also complained that the film showed mosques being destroyed but not churches, despite sequences depicting the Vatican collapsing and Rio de Janeiro's monumental Christ the Redeemer statue crumbling to pieces.

'The film shows that everything including Kaaba (Islam holiest shrine) and mosques were devastated except for churches. The film is a provocation against Islam,' Amidhan said.

'The Indonesian film censorship body should have cut part of the scene on the devastation of mosques or the Kaaba because it hurts the Muslim people.'

But few people who emerged from a packed matinee showing in Jakarta on Thursday shared the clerics' worries.

'It's actually a beautiful film. The MUI branch is wrong about issuing a fatwa as the movie actually has increased my faith and not the other way around,' insurance broker Ian Ramelan, 49, said.

'I'm a Muslim, my faith in Allah is stronger after watching this flick,' he added, urging the clerics to worry more about rampant corruption in Indonesia than about Hollywood's apocalyptic Christmas blockbuster.

University student Rafi Gamal, 22, said he understood that some people might think the film controversial 'because men were able to predict doomsday and thus played the role of God.'

'But then again it's just another natural disaster movie in which there are some survivors in the end. The end of the world means that there'll be no survivors,' he said.

Junior high school student Steven Benedictto, 14, said the film had a positive message.

'I disagree with the MUI that people should not watch this movie. It has a beautiful message that we all should repent and industries should reduce their sinful activities, such as deforestation,' he said.


Yeah, sure... and having someone take your picture actually allows them to steal your soul. It's the Flintstones, I tell ya... the frikkin' Flintstones...

The ONLY acceptable and logical response to the accusation that anything, be it a gesture, a word, an action, a cartoon or a movie, is offending another person's religion, is a resounding: "FUCK YOU!!"

You are more than welcome to follow whatever delusion, honoring whichever non-existent, man-made deity you wish. That's fine. Whatever it takes to get you through the day. But you have to understand something... OTHER PEOPLE (INCLUDING ME) DO NOT SHARE YOUR DELUSION AND YOU CANNOT EXPECT THEM TO!!!!

If I even think of altering my freedom of speech, my ways of expressing myself, my beliefs, based on the fact that they might "offend" your make-believe God, or worse, your own religious convictions, all I'm doing is validating your beliefs. I'm adding weight to your argument. Trust me, that's NOT ABOUT TO HAPPEN ANYTIME SOON. It's the same as you telling me there's an invisible person in the mddle of the room. Let's call him 'your imaginary friend'. Then you tell me that your imaginary friend doesn't like what I am saying. If I lower my voice, I've just agreed with you that there is in fact an invisible person in the middle of the room. I have voluntarily decided to share your delusion. I'm just as fucking crazy as you... No chance, Buckwheat...

So if I am of the opinion that your 'Almighty' was in fact simply a perverted, pedophile, goat-fucking herdsman (if in fact he ever existed at all...), you my friend have no choice but to suck it up and deal with it. I'm not responsible for your "feelings" and neither is anyone else.

You can say what you want about any religion you choose. I don't ascribe to any of them, of any type. For they are all make-believe and are based solely on man's need to control his fellow-man and our deep-rooted denial of our own mortality. There are no 'deities' involved. The Muslims particularily hate people like me, because there IS no comeback. What're you gonna do? Insult the "late J.C."??? Sorry, don't believe and don't give a North American rat's ass about what you think and/or believe either.

No so-called "God" would be so sick and unevolved, as to sponsor the neanderthal-like stupidity and brutishness which have been the hallmark of every religion invented by man (exception going to the Buddhists, here...). And for any mortal to claim that their non-existent deity is "THE" one... well that just adds credence to my basic philosophy. You gotta be pretty goddamn full of yourself to proclaim that.

If we were to follow their logic, we would have no choice but to declare Islam an affront to our true God, to common sense and to human decency. Believe me... it's very easy to tell that "The West" is not conducting another "Crusade against Islam".

The proof...??? Those sons-of-bitches are all still here.

Sigmund Freud said it best: "God is a delusion and religion, a virus".

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Eating on the phone... Really????

As I spend all my days answering a (or more...) phone line(s), you can be sure that I have been exposed to all manner of phone etiquette over the years. From those who introduce themselves with a big, wet belch, to those who flush while you have them on hold. Yes, you may be on hold, but rest assured we can hear everything going on over on your side. You just can't hear us... Remember that the next time you're on hold with someone.

But the absolutele worse habit of them all, is these people who find it necessary (or even acceptable...) to eat, while trying to have a conversation with me. It is not only rude and inconsiderate, it's disgusting and shows a total lack of even the most basic human relations skills. Be advised, you slovenly, bovine, pig-headed, ill-raised, slack-jawed, malodorous, cheesy-leather, electric donkey, bottom-biters... When I hear you sapping away or deafening me with the crunching of whatever you're stuffing into that great pit of yours, I will greet you with but one line: "When you are done eating, Sir/Ma'am... please feel free to call us back and we'll be more than happy to provide you with any information you might be looking for... Thank you!"

- *CLICK!!*

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Happy Birthday, Sweetheart...

Today is the Birthday of my second oldest daughter. I was fortunate enough to spend some time with her and her friends at a local pub last Saturday. She termed it as "some pre-Birthday sillyness". It had been a while since we had last seen one another and it never ceases to amaze me how beautiful she is, in so many ways. And she only gets better as she matures. She has a thoroughly infectious smile, the kind that lights up a room and draws a crowd to her. She is irreverent, funny, clever...

She is one of those people whom, whenever I am fortunate enough to spend any amount of time in her presence, I inevitably come away feeling buoyed, refreshed, lightened. She makes my heart smile as much these days, as she ever did as a child. She is a very busy young lady, normally unavailable. Yet I really ought to try harder to spend whatever time with her I might. It is always so well worth any effort it takes. I am so fortunate to have both her and her sister, in my life.

So happy big 3-3, Honey!!! Don't let the numbers scare you. It's all about how you feel inside that counts. We may not have a choice about getting older, but we can certainly opt out of the "growing up" part, if we so choose... :)

A very nice surprise...

I have to admit that I wimped out this morning for some reason and took the van. As I entered the carousel loop along the Rockcliffe Parkway, I remained very alert as always, even though deer sightings have been at an all-time low this year. But here a little less than halfway through the carousel turn, to my right-hand side, I saw a very good sized buck, slowly making his way through the bush.

He was a six-pointer at least and was very healthy. I was startled upon seeing him. The last buck I had known to inhabit these parts, had been mowed down by some mindless jackhole in an SUV, as he/she was talking on his/her cell phone. The strike had occurred right at the entrance to the Deer Alley section of the Parkway, just as the road leads from the overpass that crosses the 174. Without a buck, I figured the herd's existence was in jeopardy and that perhaps they would wander off to another territory.

It was a very, very pleasant surprise and a great way to start off a Tuesday.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Dirt on Maj. Hasan just keeps piling up...

As I'm going through 'the news', it would appear that all the signs were there, for the Fort Hood Massacre to have been not only prevented, but for the perpetrator, Major Nidal Hasan, to have been removed from the military and tried for treason.

That of course didn't happen and the rest, as we've heard all too often, is history. So what lessons have America's security and intelligence forces learned since the attacks of 9/11? As it turns out... not a goddamn one.

Read on, in shock and dismay... These articles were taken from ABC online.

The Private Life of Nidal Hasan
Inside the Accused Fort Hood Shooter's Apartment -- Medication, a Prayer Rug, a Paper Shredder and Packaging for a Gun Sight
By Josepf Rhee, Rehab El-Buri and Mark Schone

Accused Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan may have exchanged e-mails with a radical, jihadist cleric in Yemen, but the devout Muslim also tried to be nice to the neighbors in his Killeen, Texas apartment complex -- including one who allegedly vandalized his car.

Hasan was charged Thursday with 13 counts of premeditated murder under Article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which can carry a sentence up to death or life imprisonment.

In the days before the Fort Hood shooting, Hasan tried to get rid of his few belongings. As one neighbor in the Casa del Norte apartment complex told ABC News, Hasan – a "soft-spoken guy" who was happy to do favors -- gave some of his furniture to another neighbor free of charge. But when ABC News toured Hasan's one-bedroom, $350-per-month apartment on Tuesday, traces of his conflicted private life remained.

In Hasan's living room, a crumpled prayer rug shared the floor with a paper-shredding machine. When he moved into the apartment in July, he'd put a bed in the bedroom, but he had gotten rid of the bed prior to the shooting.

In a closet, near the washer and dryer and wads of Hasan's clothing, including fatigues, was a box of pill bottles. The medications included a 2001 prescription for Combivir, a drug often prescribed for doctors who may have come in contact with HIV, as well as the antibiotic Clarithromycin, a cough reliever and an antihistamine.

On a card table in the kitchen were coins from various countries, including Israel, and an empty package for a LaserMax gun sight, with a $229.99 pricetag. There was also a book about Islamic dream interpretation, "Dreams and Interpretations," by Allamah Muhammad Bin Sireen. Anwar al Awlaki, the radical cleric in Yemen to whom Hasan had sent e-mails, has produced a lecture series on dream interpretation.

On the kitchen counter were some documents, including a 2003 psychiatry exam and an insurance report for his car. According to neighbor Kim Rosenthal, another neighbor had used a key to scratch Hasan's car and had also scratched a sticker saying "Allah is Love" off the vehicle. The resident was asked to leave, said Rosenthal. When she asked Hasan if he planned to do anything about the incident, Hasan said no. Reported Rosenthal, "He said, 'It's Ramadan, I've forgiven him.' And that was it."

Said Thompson, "You ask him how he's doing and he'd always tell you he's blessed and he was a good guy, as far as we could tell, you know? Never imagine anything like this happening."

Thompson said Hasan had never had much furniture in the apartment. "There was just like a coffee table in here and his prayer rug laying down and then just ah, I think he had a bed in there and some shelves and that's basically all he had."

"People live different ways," said Thompson. "You just never know. Everybody's different."

Major Hasan: Soldier of Allah; Many Ties to Jihad Web Sites
Officials Say Accused Fort Hood Shooter Used Multiple Hotmail, AOL Accounts for Overseas Contacts
By Richerd Esposito, Mary-Rose Abraham and Rhonda SchwartzNov. 12, 2009

United States Army Major Nidal Malik Hasan proclaimed himself a "soldier of Allah" on private business cards he obtained over the Internet and kept in a box at his apartment near Fort Hood, Texas.

Major Nidal Hasan's private business card, which he obtained over the Internet and kept in a box at his apartment near Fort Hood, Texas.(ABC News)

Hasan, the alleged perpetrator of last week's fatal shootings in Fort Hood, TX, was charged Thursday with 13 counts of premeditated murder under Article 118 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, which can carry a sentence up to death or life imprisonment.

The cards make no mention of his military affiliation, but underneath his name he listed himself as SoA (SWT). SoA is commonly used on jihadist Web sites as the acronym for Soldier of Allah, according to investigators and experts who have studied such sites. SWT is commonly used by Muslims as an acronym for Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala, Glory to God.

"He was making no secret of allegiances," said former FBI agent Brad Garrett, an ABC News consultant.

"It's one more piece of evidence that might have come out if investigators had taken a hard look at Hasan," said Garrett. "It doesn't say he's about to go out and shoot a bunch of people, but there's something not quite right for an Army major to self-identify that way."

The green and white business cards include the title Behavior Heatlh (sic) Mental Health and Life Skills.

Hasan listed a Maryland area mobile phone number and an e-mail address.

U.S. officials and analysts told today that Hasan used multiple e-mail addresses and screen names as he contacted several jihadist web sites around the world.

In addition to his contacts with suspected al Qaeda recruiter Anwar al Awlaki in Yemen, authorities said there is evidence he contacted other radical sites and individuals, including some in Europe.
On Hasan's official Army personnel record, obtained by, Hasan lists his e-mail address using the first name of Abduwall, instead of Nidal. Abduwalli, in Arabic, means "slave of" the great protector, or God.

Al Qaeda Recruiter New Focus in Fort Hood Killings Investigation
Army Major Nidal Hasan Was In Contact With Imam Anwar Awlaki, Officials Say
By Megan Chuchmach and Brian RossNov. 10, 2009

As officials advance the investigation into the Army Major who allegedly perpetrated last week's massacre at Fort Hood, attention is turning to Anwar al Awlaki, a top al Qaeda recruiter who was in contact with Major Nidal Malik Hasan before last week's shootings.

Awlaki, a charismatic American Muslim imam, now operates a jihadist web site out of Yemen that calls on all Muslims to wage war against the U.S. Officials say Hasan had between 10 and 20 contacts with Awlaki beginning late last year.

U.S. intelligence agencies were aware months ago that Hasan was attempting to make contact with Awlaki, two American officials briefed on classified material in the case told ABC News.

According to the officials, the Army was informed of Hasan's contact, but it is unclear what, if anything, the Army did in response.

"Awlaki is known as a senior recruiter for al Qaeda," former FBI agent Brad Garrett, now an ABC News consultant, told Nightline. "He would be the spiritual motivator. Almost like someone you would go to and say, 'this is what I'm thinking about doing.' And they join in and encourage you and basically help you rationalize your behavior."

On Wednesday, a new blog entry on Awlaki's site praised Hasan as a "hero" and a "man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people."

Before moving to Yemen, Awlaki was the imam of a Falls Church, Virginia mosque that was attended by Hasan and two of the 9/11 hijackers.

Much of his writings now glorify violence and suicide, issues members of Congress say should have been identified early on.

"If this guy is in contact with American citizens, it is something that should have raised major red flags," said Congressman Peter Hoekstra, (R-MI), the ranking Republican on the House Intelligence Committee.

According to his site, Awlaki served as an imam in Denver, San Diego and Falls Church, Virginia.
The Associated Press reported Sunday that Major Hasan attended the Falls Church mosque when Awlaki was there.

The Telegraph of London reported that Awlaki had made contact with two of the 9/11 hijackers when he was in San Diego.

He denied any knowledge of the hijacking plot and was never charged with any crime. After an intensive investigation by the FBI, Awlaki moved to Yemen. He was imprisoned in Yemen in 2006, and after his release his message became more radical.

"A Muslim first"

People who knew or worked with Maj. Hasan say he seemed to have gradually become more radical in his disapproval of the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A fellow Army doctor who studied with Hasan, Val Finell, told ABC News, "He would frequently say he was a Muslim first and an American second. And that came out in just about everything he did at the University."

Finell said he and other Army doctors complained to superiors about Hasan's statements.

"And we questioned how somebody could take an oath of office…be an officer in the military and swear allegiance to the constitution and to defend America against all enemies, foreign and domestic and have that type of conflict," Finell told ABC News.

The Army Chief of Staff, General George Casey, raised concerns over the weekend that innocent Muslim soldiers could suffer as a result of the shooting at Fort Hood.

"I think the speculation (on Hasan's Islamic roots) could potentially heighten backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers," he said on ABC's "This Week."


NOTE: 12 military personnel and one civilian are gunned down, in cold blood, inside America's largest Army base, in broad daylight, and the most salient point this man General George Casey takes away from this catastrophy is that: "I think the speculation (on Hasan's Islamic roots) could potentially heighten backlash against some of our Muslim soldiers"???????"

Motherfucker, if it doesn't, then your military has the survival instincts of a Nova Scotia porcupine and you are all doomed.

You know who the enemy is, get them the fuck out of your ranks. We're not talking "equal opportunity" bullshit here, we're talking about the fucking survival of the North American continent as a non-Muslim country. Get with the program or stop whining about large scale killings such as this. In fact, you had better get used to them, and on even larger scales.


This man (General Casey) is a fucking disgrace to the uniform he wears. He might be suited as a HR representative in some civilian-run, navel-gazing commune somewhere in the Nappa Valley, but he has no place in the military of any country, much less the military of the United States of America and certainly not as a General. His words are like so much piss on the graves of every American soldier, sailor and airman, who have died in combat since 9/11.

Is his concern for the troops? For the safety and security of the men and women under his command in their own goddamn country? No!!! He's worried about how people might perceive HIM, if he makes the tough but logical call on this one. I'd like to tell this fucker that there is in fact a NSN (NATO Stock Number, for you civilians...) for a spine, but unfortunately, there isn't... He's obviously "equipped for, but not with...". - Crypt.)

From Yemen, Anwar Awlaki Helped Inspire Fort Dix, Toronto Plots
Despite Terror Connections, E-mails with Major Hasan Did Not Raise Red Flags
By Richard Esposito, Rehab El-Buri and Brian Ross Nov. 11, 2009

In addition to his contacts with Major Nidal Hasan, the radical American cleric, Anwar al Awlaki, served as an inspiration for men convicted in terror plots in Toronto and Fort Dix, New Jersey, according to government officials and court records reviewed by

This SITE Intelligence Group handout photo obtained November 10, 2009 shows Anwar al-Awlaki, a former US resident living in Yemen and accused al-Qaeda supporter, who commented on his website on November 9, 2009, that the attack at Fort Hood perpetrated by the alleged gunman, Major Nidal Hasan, is a "heroic act." As officials advance the investigation into the Army Major who allegedly perpetrated last week's massacre at Fort Hood, attention is turning to Anwar Awlaki, a top al Qaeda recruiter who was in contact with Major Nidal Hasan before last week's shootings.

Despite his ties to other plots, including the one against the Army post at Fort Dix, some 20 e-mails between Awlaki and Major Hasan were dismissed as "innocent" by a military investigator working on the FBI's Joint Terror Task Force in Washington, D.C.

(Fucking D-Uh-hhh!!! - Crypt.)

Awlaki left the United States and moved to Yemen in 2002 after questions were raised about his ties to two of the 9/11 hijackers. He established an English-language web site that appears to have thousands of followers around the world. In a post this week on his blog, Awlaki praised Major Hasan as a "hero" and "a man of conscience." He asked, "How can there be any dispute about the virtue of what he has done?"

American officials say Awlaki, has gone into hiding since his e-mail exchanges with the accused Fort Hood shooter became public. Phone calls to a relative's home in Yemen were not returned.

"He is not just a proselytizer but someone who is operational, with deep and longstanding connections to al Qaeda and has been for some time," said a former senior American intelligence official who had access to classified information.

Awlaki was characterized in court testimony as an inspiration by two of six Muslim immigrants convicted on conspiracy and other charges in a plot to kill U.S. military personnel at Fort Dix.
The cleric, who says it is the duty of all Muslims to fight the United States was cited as a source of wisdom by the two men.

In Toronto, members of the so-called Toronto 18 watched videos of Awlaki at a makeshift training camp where they allegedly planned an attack on the Canadian parliament and prime minister.
"He's a big star attraction as a recruiter to young Americans and Canadians," said the former U.S. intelligence official.

Anwar Awlaki's Ties to Nidal Hasan

Awlaki has more than 5,100 fans on a Facebook fan page. "For every person who hates Anwar al Awlaki," said one fan in London on the page's discussion board Tuesday. "I can promise you that there are at least a hundred or so people who love him, respect him and admire him."

Before he left for Yemen, many in America's Muslim community saw him as a mainstream, moderate whose youth, storytelling ability and articulate presentations made him popular.

Awlaki was born in New Mexico to parents of Yemeni descent. According to the 9/11 Commission Report Awlaki had ties to two of the hijackers, Nawaf al Hamzi and Khalid al Mihdhar, in San Diego and then later at a mosque in Falls Church, Virginia. A Congressional joint inquiry said the meetings "may have not been coincidental."

Around the same time, Nidal Hasan was also attending Awlaki's mosque in Falls Church.
A newspaper report in Roanoke said Awlaki presided over funeral services for Hasan's mother at the mosque.

Awlaki was arrested in Yemen and held for a year and a half in a prison where he said he was tortured. He was never charged with a crime and has blamed the FBI for his detention. Since being released from prison, his tone and approach have become strikingly more radical, according to people who have followed his career.

After last November's U.S. elections, Awlaki said in a blog post that American Muslims who voted were fools who had "humiliated themselves by voting for candidates who have no serious concern for their issues."

"The American culture will destroy their families," he continued. "It will deprive their children and grandchildren of their identity. Time will be the witness."

Senior Official: More Hasan Ties to People Under Investigation by FBI
Alleged Shooter Had "Unexplained Connections" to Others Besides Jihadist Cleric Awlaki
By Martha Raddatz, Brian Ross, Mary-Rose Abraham, and Rehab El-BuriNov. 10, 2009

A senior government official tells ABC News that investigators have found that alleged Fort Hood shooter Nidal Malik Hasan had "more unexplained connections to people being tracked by the FBI" than just radical cleric Anwar al Awlaki. The official declined to name the individuals but Congressional sources said their names and countries of origin were likely to emerge soon.

Brian Ross investigates possible missed signals leading to Fort Hood massacre.

Questions already surround Major Hasan's contact with Awlaki, a radical cleric based in Yemen whom authorities consider a recruiter for al Qaeda. U.S. officials now confirm Hasan sent as many as 20 e-mails to Awlaki. Authorities intercepted the e-mails but later deemed them innocent or protected by the first amendment.

The FBI said it turned over the information to the Army, but Defense Department officials today denied that. One military investigator on a joint terror task force with the FBI was shown the e-mails, but they were never forwarded in a formal way to more senior officials at the Pentagon, and the Army did not learn of the contacts until after the shootings.

In Texas, an hour before a memorial service for the Fort Hood victims, four FBI agents showed up at the Killeen mosque where Hasan prayed and searched a trash bin outside. The mosque president was clearly upset when he had to return from traveling to the service to sign a document handed to him by agents, apparently authorizing the search.

The FBI would not comment on what the agents were looking for at the mosque a full five days after the shooting, but motivation remains the focus.

"Obviously, the key is did he act alone," former senior FBI official Brad Garrett told ABC News. "And secondarily is, what evidence might potentially be in the dumpsters or at the mosque."

"We're concerned any time a house of worship is searched in this fashion," said Ibrahim Hooper, national communications director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Washington, D.C.-based civil rights group. "And we would follow up to see if there was probable cause for the search and if it was carried out in the appropriate and legal manner."

Agents had already seized Hasan's computer in a search of this apartment last Thursday night, and all of his internet contacts and writings are under examination.

The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Hasan gave a PowerPoint presentation to fellow Army doctors in 2007 in which he said, "It's getting harder and harder for Muslims in the service to morally justify being in a military that seems constantly engaged against fellow Muslims." He recommended that Muslim soldiers be given the option of being released from the military as conscientious objectors to decrease what he called "adverse events." Under "comments," he wrote, "We love death more than you love life."


So... again, in the final analysis, what do we find here? We find that since the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon, some 8 years gone by now... the American intelligence community HAS NOT LEARNED A GODDAMN THING FROM THEIR PREVIOUS FUCK-UPS!!!

Plenty of people knew what was going on, there were any numbers of indications that were observed and many people had actually voiced their concerns to those whom they perceived as being 'in authority". And guess what??? That's right... Not a goddamn finger was lifted to prevent this eminently-preventable catastrophy from occurring.

Those who actually stumble upon the intel do not share it with other agencies that really ought to be kept in the loop. It's like a bunch of 2nd graders that find a salamander and refuse to show it to the other kids.

As sad as this is and for as bone-headedly, retardedly stupid this makes every decision making body look, when it comes to the security of the US of A, that's not the worst of it. Not by a long shot...

The very worst of all of this, besides the needless carnage and the irrevocable agony into which have been plunged the families, friends and loved ones of the victims themselves, is the total lack of well-merited moral outrage over the imbecility which has allowed this event to happen. And it's not over yet...

This same blinkered, philistine, pig-ignorance which is so firmly entrenched in your so-called leaders,
will ensure that these types of situations keep occuring again and again.

Why? Because it is far more important to be considered "politically correct" and "culturally sensitive", than it is to be militarily expedient and cull whom you know is the enemy from your ranks. There was a time when the USA could look after it's own interests and protect it's citizens. At least on their own goddamn soil.

Those days would seem to be all but gone...

My Remembrance Day...

I posted the following in the wee hours of Thursday morning, just before calling it a day:

Posted on the Facebook site: Support Canadian Troops in Afghanistan


How do you Celebrate Remembrance Day?

Posted: Thursday, 12 November 2009, 00:27hrs

Today, I saddled up my bike and headed South out of Ottawa, to meet my son-in-law in Morrisburg. The intent was to observe Remembrance Day ceremonies together. Fate and bad timing conspired against us though and I wound up arriving not only late, but unable to pinpoint where the services were being held (I was looking for an outside venue, when they were actually being held inside somewhere). I wound up observing my 2 minutes of silence in the saddle, accompanied by the throaty purr of the bike's Vance & Hines pipes.

I stopped at the Timmies in Morrisburg, to ease the chill and grab a quick double-double, before heading out on the second leg of my trip. I had a rendez-vous with a young American serviceman, over stateside in NY.

I headed out West along the 2 from Morrisburg. It was perfect riding weather, as I meandered my way along the river's edge, and I enjoyed the smells and sights immensely. Coming to Johnstown, I banked right onto the roadway which would lead me to the Prescott-Ogdensburg bridge.

As I stopped at the US Customs, I produced my passport and the officer asked me the purpose of my trip."I'm on a mission", I stated. "Oh", he said. "What mission would that be?" I told him I had to drop in on a young service fellow, down in Alexandria Bay. "Friend of yours?", he asked. "Well... he's ex-military and so am I", I offered. "We have lots in common", I smiled. He waved me through and wished me a safe trip.

From Ogdensburg, I headed West yet again, this time along Route 37, which also follows the St.Lawrence River. It's a very pretty road and from their side, you can see our shoreline on the other side. I stayed on the 37 until it joined the 12 at Morristown. From there, I banked right and continued to follow the river's edge.

I kept it under the speed limit, as I was in no hurry and was simply enjoying being out with my 'knees in the breeze'. Finally, I arrived at Alexandria Bay. I took a right-hand turn at the lights, under the watchful eye of a NY State Trooper who was illuminating that particular strip of road for speeders. I trundled along at barely 30mph. The town, a bustling, rowdy place during the summer months, was deserted. All the shops were closed, including the diner "Chez Paris".

I rode the bike up to the overlook, where there is a large bandstand. I dismounted and after removing my helmet and goggles, retrieved my S.O.T. ballcap and removed the poppy that I had pinned to the side of my hat, with a small Canadian flag pin. My left shoulder was giving me some grief and my left ankle was a little uncooperative for the first few steps, but I soon built up a head of steam and climbed the stairs leading to the bandstand.

I traversed it and took the stairs leading down the other side. This led me to a grassy plain by the water's edge, from where you can clearly observe Heart Island and Boldt Castle. But that was not why I had come here. Just off to the left, stood a black granite cairn. Erected at the top of that cairn, was a 'Soldier's Cross': A pair of G.I.-issued boots, with a M-16A2 protruding from them and topped with a helmet.

This monument was erected to commemorate the service and death of one PFC. Jack Sweet. He was a native son of Alex Bay, all of 19 years of age when he was killed in Ramadi, Iraq by a roadside bomb. He was serving with the illustrious 10th Mountain Division, which is based out of Fort Drum, NY.

He was why I had traveled here today. Someone had hung a wreath of fall-coloured maple leafs, against the wrought-iron fence which surrounded the monument. I approached it, reverently and pinned my poppy onto one of the larger leaves. Taking a few steps back, I removed my cap, bowed my head and gave young Private Sweet his well-earned 2 minutes of silence.

I did not know this young warrior. I happened on his monument, purely by chance. But it stays with me and I never go by that town, without stopping to pay my respects. Not only to him, but to all his brothers-in-arms of the 10th Mountain Division, to whom the monument is also dedicated.

I replaced my ballcap, squared myself away and offered up the crispest salute my protesting body would permit. I felt a tear run down my cheek, it's warmth almost surprising in the now cooling breeze. I turned to the right and marched off, back up the stairs to the bandstand.

Arriving at the top, I stopped and looked back. The area was so deserted... I felt good that someone had come to see him, on this day of remembrance. Even if it was an old Navy fart like me.

Rest easy, Soldier... your duty is done.

Monday, November 9, 2009

On Somali 'pirates'...

It's headlines like these that make me seriously want to re-enlist. I cannot tell you the satisfaction it would give me to send these rat-bastards down under to feed the sharks.

Piracy was a problem, a long, long time ago. There were pirates in 500 BC and all the way up to the late 1600's. It was a problem that was handled. There is only one way to combat piracy, and that is by killing pirates (public executions work best), destroying their ships (we have more than the wherewithall to do that these days...) and obliterating their lairs (let's face it... carpet bombing Somalia would only make the place look better).

It worked way back then and it will work today. All we need do is to resist the urge of giving this job to some goddamn civilian, who will fuck it up just as surely as they would The Lord's Prayer.

Mid-ocean pirate attack on tanker.

Pirates are believed to use "mother-ships" to attack far from the shore

Somali pirates have attacked an oil tanker some 1,000 nautical miles (1,850km) off the coast, the EU's anti-piracy mission says.

The Hong Kong-registered BW Lion managed to evade an attack by two fast skiffs, firing automatic weapons and rocket-propelled grenades, it says.

This is said to be the furthest pirate attack yet from the Somali coast.

Meanwhile, a maritime expert reports that pirates have seized a ship carrying weapons.

New tactics.

Up to 40 ships from the EU, US, China, India and Japan are involved in anti-piracy operations, mainly around the Gulf of Aden.

The forces believe their presence has deterred and foiled many attacks.

But BBC defence correspondent Nick Childs says the pirates have changed tactics and shifted their focus further out into the Indian Ocean.

The BW Lion was attacked some 400 nautical miles (741km) north-east of the Seychelles.

Pirates are believed to use "mother-ships" to transport small speedboats from the coast so they can stage attacks.

Andrew Mwangura, of the East African Seafarers' Assistance Programme, told Reuters news agency that a ship carrying weapons to Somalia in contravention of a UN arms embargo was seized on Sunday.

Last month, a British couple sailing a yacht in the Indian Ocean were captured by pirates, who say they will only be freed if a ransom is paid. (Stupid, stupid people... totally clueless and un-prepared. - Crypt.)

Pirates are also threatening to kill three Spanish sailors if two pirates held by the Spanish authorities are not freed. (Pirates should never be captured alive... they should be dealt with on the spot. That prevents these types of situations from occurring. - Crypt.)

Somalia has not a functioning national government for 18 years and the lawlessness has spread to the high seas in recent years. (Does this really surprise anyone...? - Crypt.)


Yep... It's definitely time to take out the trash. These losers aren't 'pirates'... They're no more that a mob of unruly goddamn chimpanzees with AKs and RPGs. And the world is allowing them to hold it's shipping lanes hostage??? I don't fucking think so... They don't need to be 'deterred' of 'foiled'. What they need to be is blown out of the water. Shot out of hand like the dogs they are. Very much like the SEALs did when they rescued Captain Richard Phillips, the skipper of the hijacked US container ship.

On those American 'hikers' in Iran...

From the files of the criminally stupid and the realistically unaware, comes this gem of a story. Three no-brainers from UC Berkely, figure they'll go on a merry and unguided romp, through Kurdistan. Well, so they say. They claim to consider themselves 'hikers', out for a walk amidst the splendors of nature, in an area where Westerners routinely disappear, only to turn up on the internet, starring in the latest grisly beheading video.

I can totally get onboard with the Iranians on this one. Let's face it, who in their right fucking mind, would be traipsing around in countries where your very skin colour, not to mention whatever religious or non-religious beliefs you might have, can and often do get you killed? Clearly the Iranians themselves refuse to believe that these three could be so absolutely clueless, as to bimble into their territory, like so many heads of cattle let loose on the range... They simply MUST be up to something nefarious... This is natural selection at it's most elemental level.

Iran to charge 3 American hikers with espionage, says prosecutor November 9, 2009 -- Updated 1624 GMT (0024 HKT)
Tehran, Iran (CNN) -- Iran is charging three American hikers with espionage, a Tehran prosecutor said Monday.

The three Americans have been detained since July 31 on charges of illegally crossing the border from Iraqi Kurdistan into Iran. Their family and friends say it was an innocent mistake.

The announcement of the charges comes only days after U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton met privately with the families of Shane Bauer, Sarah Shourd and Josh Fattal, who were detained along the Iran-Iraq border at the end of July.

Tehran's prosecutor general, Abbas Ja'afari Dolatabadi, announced the charges in an interview with the official Iranian news agency IRNA.

"The charge against the three U.S. citizens who were arrested on the Iran-Iraq border is espionage. Investigation of their cases is in progress," he told IRNA, adding: "There will be more to say [about them] soon."

Clinton repeated Monday the Obama administration's call for the release of the hikers, requesting that the Iranian government "exercise compassion."

"We believe strongly that there is no evidence to support any charge whatsoever," said Clinton, speaking in Berlin.

Dolatabadi also said a Danish journalism student who was arrested last week in Iran was still under investigation.

"A journalist must have an official permit from authorized officials," he told IRNA. "Therefore, the investigation will continue. We have also requested information from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance [which accredits foreign journalists] and after they respond to our inquiry we will make our decision."

Clinton on Thursday repeated a call to the Iran government to release the American hikers on humanitarian grounds. "As a mother my heart went out to all of them. I cannot imagine what it would feel like to know that your child was in prison for now 100 days with very little contact between you and them," she said.

"I told them that we are doing everything we possibly could to get Shane and Joshua and Sarah home. And we are exploring every angle. Obviously I would hope that the government of Iran would free them on humanitarian and compassionate basis and return them to their families," she said.
We are doing everything we possibly could to get Shane and Joshua and Sarah home.--U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

The United States, which has no diplomatic relations with Iran, has relied on Switzerland to appeal directly for the hikers' release. A Swiss diplomat has met twice with the Americans in their Iranian prison.

The most recent visit was on October 29, the hikers' families said the following day.
The 40-minute visit took place at Evin Prison in Tehran, where Bauer, 27, Shourd, 31, and Fattal, 27, are being held.

"We were informed via the State Department that Shane, Sarah and Josh are in good physical shape and we're obviously happy they received another visit," the families said in a written statement. "Today marks exactly three months since our children were detained and we urge the Iranian authorities to let our children speak to us directly. Every time our telephones ring, we hope they it is them calling to tell us they've been released."

The Swiss diplomats took clothes and other supplies, including books and writing papers, to the Americans, the statement said.

State Department spokesman Ian Kelly told CNN that the Swiss ambassador was granted the second consular visit after several requests.

A senior State Department official told CNN that it was reported the three seemed to be nervous and scared, but also appeared to be in good physical and psychological health.

The only other consular access came when Swiss diplomats visited the hikers on September 29.
In an effort to obtain the hikers' release, their families in late October released video of the three -- shot two days before they were detained -- fooling around, the families said, like friends on vacation.
The video was shot by Shon Meckfessel, a friend who accompanied them on their Kurdistan trip. Meckfessel had planned to join them on their outing but stayed behind because he felt ill.

The videos show the relaxed travelers enjoying themselves as they take a break from exploring a town in Kurdistan.

"Yo it's hot. Yo it's hot. It's 'cause I'm in Iraq. Someone get me a fan. Someone get me a fan. 'Cause I'm in Kurdistan," Fattal raps as he chuckles and points to the Iraqi landscape behind him.

The videos have been posted on YouTube and at

The Americans entered northern Iraq from Turkey on July 28 during a planned five-day hike. Bauer and Shourd had been living in Damascus, Syria; Fattal was visiting. They set out to hike in northern Iraq's Kurdistan region.

Meckfessel, who spoke with Bauer the morning of their hike, said his friends did not know they were near the border and made "a simple and regrettable mistake" by crossing into Iran.


That last line is rich... as if it was such a good fucking idea to go for a hike over in Iraq, in the first place. How moronic can you be...????? I'm sorry, but according to the laws of the universe, these idiots are exactly where they should be and if I were to be painfully honest about it, should at the very least be sterilized so that they cannot breed any equally senseless offspring.

So... Who is crazy here...???

Some more food for thought, when it comes to the continuing saga of goings-on in Pakistan.

Pakistan rejects unsecured nukes report.

The report by journalist Seymour Hersh, has been dismissed by Pakistan as "nothing more than a concoction".


- Article in The New Yorker states U.S. has serious fears about Pakistan's nuclear arsenal.

- Article says Washington has team ready to fly to Pakistan to help secure arsenal in a crisis.

- Pakistan's foreign ministry says strategic assets are completely safe and secure.

- Article claims another goal is to reassure India, which has fought three wars with Pakistan.

Islamabad, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan angrily defended the security of its nuclear arsenal Sunday after a U.S. magazine reported that the Obama administration wants Pakistan to let Washington help secure its weapons in a crisis.

An article published in the new issue of The New Yorker states that Washington has serious fears about Pakistan's arsenal and has a covert team ready to fly to Pakistan at short notice. The article, written by veteran investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, reports that the Obama administration has been working on "highly sensitive understandings" with Pakistan's military that would let the U.S. military to provide "added security for the Pakistani arsenal in case of a crisis."

And it reported that a "highly classified" emergency response team was activated within the past few months in response to a report that a Pakistani nuclear component had "gone astray." The team was already in Dubai by the time the report turned out to be a false alarm, Hersh's article states, citing an unnamed Pentagon consultant.

Pakistan's foreign ministry blasted the article as "utterly misleading and totally baseless" on Sunday, calling it "nothing more than a concoction to tarnish the image of Pakistan and create misgivings among its people." It accused Hersh of making "several false and highly irresponsible claims by quoting anonymous and unverifiable sources."

"Pakistan's strategic assets are completely safe and secure," the ministry said in a written statement. "The multi-layered custodial controls, which have been developed indigenously, are as foolproof and effective as in any other nuclear weapons state.

"Pakistan, therefore, does not require any foreign assistance in this regard," the statement continued. "Nor will Pakistan, as a sovereign state, ever allow any country to have direct or indirect access to its nuclear and strategic facilities. Any suggestion to this effect is simply preposterous."

Estimates of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal currently range from 60 to 100 weapons. It first declared its status as a nuclear power in 1998, testing five bombs in a tit-for-tat with its south Asian archrival, India.

CNN has not independently confirmed the claims included in Hersh's 6,893-word piece, which appears in The New Yorker's November 16 issue and online. The article quotes a spokesman for U.S. Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who said there are "no military units, special forces or otherwise, involved in such an assignment."

And Pakistan accused Hersh of displaying his "well-known anti-Pakistan bias" in the article, which it called "nothing more than a concoction to tarnish the image of Pakistan and create misgivings among its people."

Hersh dismissed accusations in a brief telephone interview Sunday afternoon.

In November 2001, another of his articles on Pakistan's nuclear program stirred a similar controversy. Hersh reported at that time that the United States was making plans to seize or disable Pakistani nuclear weapons to prevent them from falling into the hands of Islamic extremists. That report was met with widespread denials as well.

But Hersh said Sunday there is an "enormous difference" between what the Obama administration is trying to do and what was being considered before.

"They're now saying, 'We're going to help you,' " he told CNN. In addition, he said, the current U.S. plans focus not on removing warheads, but on separating them from the trigger mechanisms used to set them off.

And another goal of the agreements would be to reassure India, which has fought three wars with Pakistan since the two nations won independence from Britain in 1947. Hersh said U.S. officials hope securing Pakistani bombs will convince India to pull troops off the Pakistani frontier, allowing Pakistan to turn more of its military's attention toward battling al Qaeda and Taliban fighters along its northwestern border with Afghanistan -- where U.S. troops have been battling the Taliban since 2001.

(These would be the same Taliban fighters Pakistan's own Army Officers helped train in their camps... - Crypt.)

"It's all part of the broad strategic scheme," Hersh said. But the plan has had unintended consequences in Pakistan, "one of which is they hate our guts," he said.

Pakistan remains mistrustful of the United States, fearing its nuclear secrets will fall into Indian hands, and "There's an enormous discrepancy between what they say and what they agree to do," Hersh said.

U.S. officials repeatedly have expressed confidence in the security of Pakistan's atomic weapons. But while the Pakistani military is now fighting a Taliban insurgency in its northwest, Hersh reported the greatest fear is the possibility of a mutiny by extremists within the Pakistani military.

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari discounted that concern, telling Hersh, "A mutiny would never happen in Pakistan."

"Our Army officers are not crazy, like the Taliban," Zardari said. "They're British-trained. Why would they slip up on nuclear security?"


The answer to that is unknown... other than to say there are still a great number of Pakistani military and intelligence officers, who are still very much in bed with the Taliban. The only "craziness" which exists here is the denial of Pakistani officials, when it comes to acknowledging the danger that exists within the ranks of their own military. This is why NATO fought tooth and nail to retain the first-strike nuclear option.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Of Caribops and Roosey Roads...

In my early years in the Navy, I spent much time posted to ships. Every winter, we would eagerly await the arrival of the winter exercises Opsked (Operational Schedule) from Marcom (Maritime Command) Headquarters in Halifax. These orders would task various Canadian destroyers and submarines with deployment down to the Caribbean waters, in order to conduct joint exercises with our NATO counterparts, normally American and British naval units. This yearly deployment was referred to as Caribbean Operations or Caribops, for short.

Our port visits for such deployments could range between any of the hundreds of desirable ports down South. Bermuda, Puerto Rico, Jamaica, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, the US Virgin Islands, Mexico, Colombia, Honduras, St.Vincent and The Grenadines, Venezuela, Antigua and Barbuda, St.Kitts... the list was endless. Ships would deploy in mid-February and return in mid-April. In Puerto Rico, there were two possible destinations, though one of them, a stopover at the US Naval Station Roosevelt Roads, was always assured. Roosevelt Roads also possessed an airfield on the base, where American carrier aircraft squadrons are often stationed. All the matelots referred to this USNS as simply: "Roosey Roads".

The second port visit possible there, was San Juan. I fell in love with Puerto Rico. 'La Isla del Encanto', or The Island of Enchantment, as they call it. I'm still unsure if it's because it was there that I experienced my very first romp on a hot, sunny beach in mid-winter, or simply because of the land and the people themselves. Either way, to this very day I feel a melancholic tug at my heart, whenever I hear that country's name.

I will always remember my very first port visit to Roosey Roads. I loved the 'tropical routine the ship adopted when down South. Wakey-wakey was piped at 0600hrs. We were required to turn to (commence working) at 0700hrs. Mainly, we would busy ourselves with scraping, priming and painting the ships exterior. It was dirty, dusty and hot work. We would stop for a break at 1000hrs, when we would enjoy some burgers and drinks. We would secure for the day at 1300hrs, as it was just too hot to continue working beyond that. For those of us who weren't duty that day, we had the remainder of the day off, to hit the beaches or do whatever we wanted. It was like heaven.

At the end of every working day, after secure is piped throughout the ship, the ship's company must provide a Duty Watch. These are personnel who must remain on duty aboard the ship, until the next day. These pre-assigned personnel provide for the daily functioning of the ship after working hours, as well as providing for her safety and security requirements. When in foreign ports, the ship must also provide it's own shore patrol force. These personnel are responsible for ensuring the deportment of ship's personnel while ashore. They are basically the ship's police force ashore.

My first duty watch in Roosey Roads, I was assigned to the Shore Patrol detail. My only knowledge of shore patrol, was what I had seen in old movies from the '30s and '40s. There were several foreign units in port at that time... An Australian supply ship, the British Leander Class destroyer HMS Tartar (the Rat-Rat, as we called her...), 3 Canadian units (MHCS Fraser, HMCS Saguenay and HMCS Onondaga), at least 2 American destroyers and of course the very large number of resident service personnel, which included elements of the Navy Sea-Bees, Marines, Rangers, Seals, US Air Force personnel and innumerable support trades. Prior to our being deployed, we rendez-voused with the base shore patrol personnel, for our formal security briefing. These lads were the true pros. They were big, and mean and dressed in army OD green fatigues. Their only distinguishing mark was the SP armband and a silver "S.P" badge on their covers (cap). They wielded well-used, lead-core nightsticks, about 3 feet long, which actually had what looked like teeth marks on them. These lads didn't mess about...

We were told first and foremost, not to be heroes. Our American counterparts whom we were paired with, carried a shore patrol armband, a truncheon and a US issued Colt .45 Model 1911 on their hip. Us Canadians? We had a SP armband and our charming sense of wit. No truncheon, no sidearm... Talk about feeling under-prepared. Still, we had been advised that if we encountered a "situation", to simply call the specific number we had been given. We were assured that no matter where we were on base, they would respond within 2 minutes.

I was paired with an American matelot of Hawaiian origin. He was short, mellow and funny. He asked me what the deal was on me not being issued a weapon. I was slightly embarrassed about this and I replied our superiors relied on our innate sense of humour and diplomatic skills to defuse any potential situation. Then I reminded him of how long our troops spent in Cyprus and added: "So you can see how well that fuckin' works...". We hit it off from that point on. There were a couple of drinking spots on base, where servicemen and women got together to blow off steam. There was the O.B.A. (or Old Bowling Alley), the Acey Ducey Club (the Petty Officer's and Warrant Officer's club) and the All Ranks Club. The Officers' Club was off limits to the rank and file.

It was a Friday night, as I recall, and the evening air was balmy and full of those fragrances which can only be experienced in a tropical location. My partner and I had been dropped off not far from the All Ranks Club. As we walked slowly along chatting about life in the service, we could smell the unmistakable aroma of 'ganja', floating on the night air. I looked at him and asked him if we were supposed to get involved with that kind of stuff. "Hell, no...", he replied. "We're just here to make sure no fights break out or anything like that. The good maintenance of order and discipline and such...", he smiled.

We made our way to the All Ranks Club. We had been briefed beforehand never to accept a drink (non-alcoholic) if offered one, unless it was specifically from the bar staff. Apparently some folks had been slipping drugs into drinks and offering them to members of the Shore Patrol, as a means of cheap entertainment. We parked ourselves at the entrance and surveyed our domain. The place was packed and the music was thumping. It would be impossible to guess how many patrons were inside at the time, but I would have been willing to wager that they were in the hundreds. And all in varying states of sobriety.

Across the dance floor, I observed one rather large and obviously intoxicated individual, drink in hand, making his terminal approach on a long table of patrons, close to our position. Upon reflection, it was somewhat like following the wake of a torpedo, just waiting for the explosion at the other end of it all. This lad had apparently taken a fancy to this young blonde lass, who was sitting amidst several American servicemen. I could tell by their haircuts, that they were either gung-ho jarheads (Marines) or Rangers. Either way, people who could spell doom for this incoming Romeo. As we later discovered, the blonde in question, was the Base Comander's daughter. That would explain the entourage.

As he comes to a weaving halt, Mr. "Hi-I'm-Totally-Wasted" says to the young lady, in a very broad Australian accent: "'Allo, Sheila... ya fancy a dance wiff a REAL man...?" She looks up at him from her seat as one might do when inspecting a piece of dog turd that has suddenly materialized on your shoe. "No thanks...", she replies. Our drunken Lothario comes back with: "Fuggin' dyke!" and throws his drink on her... His mates across the way had been observing his progress and sensing the worse, began to make a beeline for the table.

Now I don't have to tell anyone that if you did this anywhere in the world, back in the day, the results would be swift and dire. To do this in the midst of many, many testosterone-filled, unit proud and alcohol-powered military personnel, was just about tantamount to suicide... While the dishonored young lady sat there dripping, her mouth agape, the table in front of us exploded as every man there sprang to their feet, drinks spilling to the floor, glasses shattering. The closest jarhead cold-cocked the Aussie with a swift and punishing left hook. You could hear the 'connect' clear across the room, which of course drew the attention of everyone else, as to what was going down. It didn't take but a few seconds for the first retaliatory chair to come sailing into the fracas and from that point, it was pretty much on.

Just as in those old Hollywood movies featuring Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra on shore leave as young sailors, there were fists, bodies, tables and chairs flying Hell West and crooked. My partner and I simply looked at each other and smiled. There was no way in Hell that WE were going to attempt to break this stuff up. Besides, I had yet to see any of our Canadian lads become involved in this. My partner asked the bartender for the phone and dialed the magic number. True to their word, in less than two minutes, the lead SP jeep came roaring up to the front of the All Ranks Club, accompanied by two "deuce-and-a-half" trucks, loaded to the gunwales with Shore Patrol troops.

The lead officer entered the front doors and fired two rounds from a riot shotgun into the deckhead, as the phalanx of Shore Patrol troops fanned out to either side of him, wading into the crowd and swinging those lead-core nightsticks indiscriminately. My partner and I simply stood by and enjoyed the show. I know for a fact there must have been a good many very sore military folks the next morning. The remainder of my watch was mercifully quiet and I often reflect on that one evening. It was one of those singular events that will not only be stuck in my mind's eye for evermore, but one which made the anals of military legends, for those who were there that day. "Remember the '77 riot at the All Rank's Club in Roosey...?", is all you have to say...

I have stood shore patrol in many other foreign ports since that day, but nothing has ever happened since, that could compare in any significant way.