web counter Media Lies: February 2005

Monday, February 28, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

Things must really not....

....be going well if bin Laden has to ask Zarqawi to attack the US.
Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden recently asked his chief ally in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, to consider the territory of the United States as a target for terrorist attacks, a U.S. counterterrorism official said on Monday.

"There has been communication between bin Laden and Zarqawi, with bin Laden suggesting to Zarqawi the U.S. homeland as a target," said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official called the bin Laden communication "a fairly recent development" but declined to provide details for fear of compromising U.S. anti-terrorism efforts.
Hasn't Osama noticed that Zarqawi has his hands full in Iraq?


Good News From Iraq....

....part 22 from Arthur Chrenkoff is out. Enjoy. Here's one sample that caught my eye.
So writes David Ignatius in his recent column. Ignatius could hardly be described as an optimist on Iraq; much can still go wrong, as he and everyday news coverage painfully remind us, but as he writes, "for the moment, Iraq does seem to have turned a corner politically. The most telling sign is that the Sunnis who mostly boycotted the political process are now said to be looking for ways to get back in. One prominent Iraqi describes a recent meeting with leading Sunni sheikhs who complained that they had mistakenly assumed the Americans would lose their nerve, postpone the elections and thereby enhance the power of the insurgents. Now the sheikhs want a piece of the action."
I'd love to see Teddy Kennedy's reaction to that. Or the New York Times' editorial staff.



Things are moving fast....

....in Lebanon.
With shouts of "Syria out!" 25,000 protesters massed outside Parliament in a dramatic display of defiance that forced out Lebanon's pro-Syrian prime minister and Cabinet Monday, two weeks after the assassination of a popular politician touched off increasing unrest.

Minutes after Prime Minister Omar Karami announced he was stepping down, jubilant demonstrators — shouting, waving flags and handing red roses to soldiers — demanded that Syrian-backed President Emile Lahoud bow out, too, and pressed on with their calls for Syria to withdraw its troops from the country.

Syria remained silent about the rapidly changing atmosphere in Beirut, where it ruled unopposed for years, even deciding on Lebanon's leaders, after deploying troops ostensibly as peacekeepers during the 1975-90 civil war.

But the dramatic developments — reminiscent of Ukraine's peaceful "orange revolution" and broadcast live across the Arab world — could provoke a strong response from Syria, which keeps 15,000 troops in Lebanon. It also could plunge this nation of 3.5 million back into a period of uncertainty, political vacuum or worse.
Whoever wrote that last paragraph has obviously failed to grasp what's going on in Lebanon. The likelihood of Syria doing anything violent in Lebanon in the present circumstances is almost nil. Why do you think the Lebanese are so emboldened? Precisely because they know that Assad is in the world spotlight right now and unlikely to do anything to exacerbate a situation that is already very uncomfortable for him.

"Reporters"! Feh!!


Murder in the streets of Hillah

Over 100 young people died in Hillah today when a murderous bomber drove into a crowd and detonated a huge bomb. The Fadil brothers are philosophical about it, but Hammorabi is spittin' mad, and I don't blame him. The murderer killed more people in one attack than any other rampage since the war.


Steven Emerson accuses AP of bias

Emerson points out the deceipt in AP reporting of Palestinian events. Not much of a surprise here for my readers, but perhaps another reminder of the need to be diligent when reading their stories (and I use that word rather than "reports" deliberately.)


No elaboration needed

A Marine buddy sent me this today. It really needs no introduction or comment.

Did you know that 47 countries have re-established their embassies in Iraq?

Did you know that the Iraqi government employs 1.2 million Iraqi people?

Did you know that 3100 schools have been renovated, 364 schools are under rehabilitation, 263 schools are now under construction and 38 new schools have been built in Iraq?

Did you know that Iraq's higher educational structure consists of 20 Universities, 46 Institutes or colleges and 4 research centers?

Did you know that 25 Iraq students departed for the United States in January 2004 for the re-established Fulbright program?

Did you know that the Iraqi Navy is operational? They have 5- 100-foot patrol craft, 34 smaller vessels and a navel infantry regiment.

Did you know that Iraq's Air Force consists of three operation squadrons, 9 reconnaissance and 3 US C-130 transport aircraft which operate day and night, and will soon add 16 UH-1 helicopters and 4 bell jet rangers?

Did you know that Iraq has a counter-terrorist unit and a Commando Battalion?

Did you know that the Iraqi Police Service has over 55,000 fully trained and equipped police officers?

Did you know that there are 5 Police Academies in Iraq that produce over 3500 new officers each 8 weeks?

Did you know there are more than 1100 building projects going on in Iraq? They include 364 schools, 67 public clinics, 15 hospitals, 83 railroad stations, 22 oil facilities, 93 water facilities and 69 electrical facilities.

Did you know that 96% of Iraqi children under the age of 5 have received the first 2 series of polio vaccinations?

Did you know that 4.3 million Iraqi children were enrolled in primary school by mid October?

Did you know that there are 1,192,000 cell phone subscribers in Iraq and phone use has gone up 158%?

Did you know that Iraq has an independent media that consist of 75 radio stations, 180 newspapers and 10 television stations?

Did you know that the Baghdad Stock Exchange opened in June of 2004?

Did you know that 2 candidates in the Iraqi presidential election had a recent televised debate recently?



Instead of shouting these accomplishments from every rooftop, they would rather show photo's of what a few perverted malcontent soldiers have done in prisons in many cases never disclosing the circumstances surrounding the events.

Instead of showing our love for our country, we get photos of flag burning incidents at Abu Ghraib and people throwing snowballs at presidential motorcades.

The lack of accentuating the positive in Iraq serves only one purpose. It undermines the world's perception of the United States and our soldiers.


Sunday, February 27, 2005

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Freedom is on the march

Thousands of protestors defied a government ban on protests in Beirut.
Thousands of demonstrators massed in central Beirut overnight to defy a government ban on protests on Monday ahead of a fiery debate in parliament over the assassination of the country's former prime minister.

Opposition groups have called a demonstration at central Martyrs Square and a one-day strike to coincide with the debate on Rafik al-Hariri's killing on Feb. 14 that for many recalled Lebanon's bitter 1975-90 civil war.

Interior Minister Suleiman Franjieh called on security forces in a statement on Sunday "to take all necessary steps to preserve security and order and prevent demonstrations and gatherings on Monday."

The Syrian-backed government's protest ban is due to come into effect at 5 a.m. (0300 GMT).

Late on Sunday, soldiers manning barriers set up in central Beirut stopped hundreds of protesters from entering Martyrs Square, which is near Hariri's grave.

Thousands of demonstrators draped in Lebanese flags had already gathered in the square, where patriotic songs blared from loudspeakers.
If you read blogs, this should bring instantly to mind the orange revolution in the Ukraine.

If you're as old as I am, you remember when Beirut was the garden spot of the mideast and a mecca for vacationers. It's been a long time and many deaths since Beirut was a destination for anyone.

Oh, and they're holding elections in Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, former Soviet satellites.


Talk about empty gestures

Activists in Vermont want to condemn the Iraq war and demand that US troops leave Iraq. Oddly enough, the war is winding down to the point that many of them may be able to leave soon for the right reasons.
The Vermont resolutions grew out of a peace rally in late 2004. A few activists now working as the Vermont Network on Iraq War Resolutions decided Town Meeting Day was an ideal venue for debate, says Montpelier attorney Ben Scotch. He crafted the resolution template, discarding 19 drafts before settling on the wording, though each town can modify its own resolution.

His proposal has three parts. It calls on the Vermont state legislature to establish a commission to examine how National Guard deployments are affecting state readiness. It asks the state's congressional delegation to work to restore a proper federal and state balance over Guard units. And it implores both the president and Congress to take steps to withdraw American troops from Iraq.

Since the state does not control National Guard deployments, and because the resolutions are legally nonbinding, they have no real teeth. But they have symbolic potential. Five percent of the voters in towns had to sign a petition to put it on the agenda.
I guess some of the old hippies from Yasgar's farm must have headed north and settled in up there in maple syrup country.

Not everyone is in favor of the move, however.
Yet if their opinions are separated by the one main road in town, no one expects views Tuesday to be as neatly divided. Becky Cozzens, who teaches kindergarten, says she's already changed her mind. Had Town Meeting Day been three months ago, when her son, Josh, was still in Iraq, when she and her husband refused to turn on their television set, she'd have voted for anything that might get him home sooner.

But at the meeting Tuesday, she will vote "no." "I'm unsure about the way it started," she says of the war. But Josh has convinced her that a no vote is the right thing to do. "A year ago," she says, "it would have been different."
At least some of them have the good sense to realize that the outcome is justifying the initial decision.


Baghdad Bob has a job

Apparently he's the new Al Qaeda spokesman providing the same accuracy in press conferences that he used to do so well for Sadaam.
Al Qaeda's wing in Iraq dismissed Sunday reports that top aides of its leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been arrested, saying U.S.-led forces were trying to boost low morale, according to an Internet statement.
"And who knows which aide was arrested and what lies they made up. This is a hopeless attempt on their part to raise morale," said the statement by Al Qaeda Organization for Holy War in Iraq, posted on Islamist Web sites.

"We give our brothers the good news that our leaders are absolutely fine, thank God, and leading the ranks of the faithful in battle," it said.
I'm sure the terrorist's morale will be sky high after the news that the Ba'athists in Syria have been rolled up.


Stunning news from Iraq

Syria has turned over 30 Ba'athists to Iraq, including Sadaam's half-brother, Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan.
Iraqi officials said Sunday that Syrian authorities had captured Saddam Hussein's half-brother and 29 other officials of the deposed dictator's Baath Party in Syria and handed them over to Iraq in an apparent goodwill gesture.

The arrests dealt a blow to an insurgency that some Iraqi officials claim Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan was helping organize and fund from Syria. The U.S. military said two American soldiers were killed Sunday in an ambush in the capital.

Al-Hassan, a former Saddam adviser, was captured in Hasakah in northeastern Syria near the Iraqi border, two senior Iraqi officials told The Associated Press by telephone on condition of anonymity. Hasakah is about 30 miles from Iraq.

They added that al-Hassan was captured and handed over to Iraqi authorities along with 29 other members of Saddam's collapsed Baath Party, whose Syrian branch has been in power in Damascus since 1963.

Could this be the end of the "insurgency"? What does it say about Assad's state of mind? The Syrians are Ba'athists too. Turning over to the Iraqis the Ba'athists that they have been harboring for two years is an indication that Syria thinks the "insurgency" is doomed and they need to cut their losses. They may also harbor the hope that this action will lessen the pressure on the regime and keep coalition troops out of their country. (Hat tip to Athena.)

UPDATE: Hammorabi reports it with the headline "Big criminal captured".


A media critic in the media

A column by Jack Kelly takes the media to task for having missed every major development in the war on terror.
There are about 50-60 attacks a day on coalition forces, about half the pre-Fallujah level. Almost all are within the Sunni Triangle, and most are ineffective. "Most of these are ambush-style attacks that result in no casualties," noted StrategyPage.com.

The news media report the attacks, but tend not to report, as StrategyPage does, that "dozens, sometimes over a hundred, of the attackers, or suspects, are arrested every day."

Unbalanced reporting has given Americans a false impression of how the war is going, said Austin Bay, a retired colonel in the Army Reserve who was called to active duty in Iraq last year.
Austin Bay, of course, is a blogger, as are more than a few other members of the military who are bypassing the media to take their story straight to the people.

The end result, as Kelly points out, is that the media is "out of it".
Those who get their news from the "mainstream" media are surprised by developments in Iraq, as they were surprised by our swift victory in Afghanistan, the sudden fall of Saddam Hussein, the success of the Afghan election and the success of the Iraqi election.

Journalists demand accountability from political leaders for "quagmires" which exist chiefly in the imagination of journalists. But when will journalists be held to account for getting every major development in the war on terror wrong?
What could possibly condemn the performance of the media more than the accusation that they are uninformed? (Hat tip to Powerline.)


Deconstructing Plamegate

If you want to understand the labyrinthine twists of the Valerie Plame story, you could do a lot worse than to read the Trunk's analysis on Powerline.

The NY Times pumped up a non-story into a major scandal, then demanded a federal investigation, only to start backing away when their own reporters were facing jail time.

It's a classic story of media gone wild, complete disregard for the truth and johnny-come-lately realization that their puffery has come back to haunt them. In the end, the Times could lose much more than they ever sought to gain, and no one will feel the least bit sorry for them.


Saturday, February 26, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
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Nothing lost....

....in translation. Although Hammorabi's grasp of English isn't the polished, smooth prose of an English writer, his point comes through loud and clear.
The world witnessed a lot of major changes since late 1980s yet the Arab world remained sleepy and controlled by worn-out dictators. We wrote before about how this oppressions affecting the Arab world and resulted in hate towards the West especially the USA. In one word the ordinary Arab citizen thinks that his government is appointed by the USA to oppress him or her. So, if any negative thing happens in his life he blames the USA which appointed and supported his leaders to oppress, hijack his/her freedom and kill him. On the other side both the governments and the oppositions directly or indirectly blame the USA which makes the hate a growing vicious cycle born with the individual!

We think, at least until now, that George W Bush diagnosed rightly this illness especially after the events of 11 Sep 2001. GWB seems determined to treat the cause of the illness which is by switching off the conspiracy theory direct towards hating the USA and the west. Real democracy and freedom is the medicine or the mechanic which will fix the anomaly and change the direction towards peace and trust. Every one know that have the 11 Sep 2001 events carried out by simple airplanes but not every one knows what will happen if these airplanes carry out dirty weapons inside them! This is what we would like to prevent for every country and not only for the USA.
His closing remarks are particularly incisive.
Changes in the Arab world are not important for the region but for the world and the future. It is very abnormal to have dictators based on the era of the cold war in one region of the world. This will make the region concerned moving in a different direction from the rest of the world which will make the ship clumsy. The clumsiness will affect every one in the ship of the Earth and not only that part which is abnormal!
Abnormal indeed. It took the bold, decisive leadership of "the cowboy" to destroy the mold of "realism" and set the world on a new path. Only grudgingly will the world admit that Bush was right all along. All the racist prejudice that said that Arabs couldn't "do" democracy has been exposed. All the fear that predicted civil war and uninterruptable violence has been proven wrong. All the elitist rhetoric that claimed you couldn't impose democracy on a region through force has fallen under the swift, decisive action of the coalition.

For all the complaints about the mishandling of Iraq and all the silence following the success in Afghanistan, the end result is silencing the critics who mishandled the evidence and making mincemeat of all the "experts" who ignored the self-evident.


Sadaam's ties to Al Qaeda

This is a sore subject with me. The media has not only completely fumbled this story but has actively sought to discredit it. Yet the evidence of ties between Sadaam and Al Qaeda has always been readily available, and the arguments against those ties transparently obfuscatory.

Now Captain Ed points to an investigator in Spain who has uncovered direct evidence of those ties.
Armed Islamist militants that operate in Europe are also helping support the armed insurgency in Iraq, one of Europe's foremost experts on such groups told Reuters.

Spanish High Court Judge Baltasar Garzon, who has been investigating Islamist militants in Spain since 1991, warned that groups such as the Algerian Salafist movement and the Moroccan Islamic Combatant Group were particularly dangerous for Europe.

"They are groups that have membership inside and outside Europe and in any case we have to keep close watch on the relationship these groups have with others like Ansar al-Islam," Garzon told Reuters in an interview late on Friday.
As Captain Ed explains, those ties have been discussed repeatedly.
I doubt that this will see much exposure in Europe's media, and for good reason; the notion that all of these groups connect back to al-Qaeda, through Iraq, demonstrates that the US had it right all along. Ansar al-Islam established itself in Iraq well before the invasion, with its leader Zarqawi traveling through Baghdad on a number of occasions to conduct business with the IIS. In his book The Connection: How Al-Qaeda's Collaboration With Saddam Hussein Endangered America, Stephen Hayes dissects the connections between Iraq's intelligence services, Ansar al-Islam, and al-Qaeda (pages 162-3):
The first detailed reports about Ansar al-Islam came not from US intelligence but from a groundbreaking report in The New Yorker magazine, the same story that established Zarqawi's 1992 trip to Baghdad. Jeffrey Goldberg, in northern Iraq to report a story about the Iraqi regime's repression of the Kurds, was given access to several prisoners at a Kurdish jail in Sulaimaniyah. The Kurds had been trying for months to convince the CIA to visit the facility and interrogate the detainees, who were being held for their role in attacks against the Kurdish interests. According to the Kurds, the CIA had been unresponsive.
Goldberg's article contained the explosive testimony that connected the dots, in the phrase used by the 9/11 Commission over and over again, more than two years ago:
The allegations include charges that Ansar al-Islam has received funds directly from Al Qaeda; that the intelligence service of Saddam Hussein has joint control, with Al Qaeda operatives, over Ansar al-Islam; that Saddam Hussein hosted a senior leader of Al Qaeda in Baghdad in 1992; that a number of Al Qaeda members fleeing Afghanistan have been secretly brought into territory controlled by Ansar al-Islam; and that Iraqi intelligence agents smuggled conventional weapons, and possibly even chemical and biological weapons, into Afghanistan. If these charges are true, it would mean that the relationship between Saddam's regime and Al Qaeda is far closer than previously thought.
When I asked the director of the twenty-four-hundred-man Patriotic Union intelligence service why he was allowing me to interview his prisoners, he told me that he hoped I would carry this information to American intelligence officials. "The F.B.I. and the C.I.A. haven't come out yet," he told me. His deputy added, "Americans are going to Somalia, the Philippines, I don't know where else, to look for terrorists. But this is the field, here."
If the media cared one whit for facts, there would not even be a discussion of this subject. It would be accepted wisdom.

That such is not the case condemns the media more completely than any accusation by their critics ever could.


Pakistan claims victory....

....in the war on terror in Pakistan.
Pakistan has "broken the back" of al-Qaida by dismantling its network and arresting hundreds of suspects, a top government official said Saturday.

Interior Minister Aftab Khan Sherpao's comments came two days after President Gen. Pervez Musharraf said Pakistani security forces had destroyed al-Qaida-linked militants' "sanctuaries and communication systems" along the border with Afghanistan.

However, Musharraf said Pakistan, a key ally of the United States in its war on terrorism, still had no clue about Osama bin Laden's whereabouts.

"The remnants of al-Qaida are on the run. Their network is no more in tact. They are scattered and not in a position to even plan attacks," Sherpao said in this northwestern border city. "The al-Qaida leadership is no more effective."

Pakistan has arrested more than 700 al-Qaida suspects since the Sept. 11 attacks, including top leader Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, who was captured near the capital, Islamabad, in March 2003.
Many have criticized Pakistan for not being democratic enough. Others have mocked their efforts in the war on terror claiming they are superficial. Still others have complained that the only reason Pakistan is cooperating is because they have been bribed with US money.

Whatever you claim as the cause, it's difficult to argue with the results.


Please tell me if you think....

....this would have happened if the US had not invaded Iraq and elections had not happened.
In a surprise and dramatic reversal, President Hosni Mubarak took a first significant step Saturday toward democratic reform in the world's most populous Arab country, ordering the constitution changed to allow presidential challengers on the ballot this fall.

An open election has long been a demand of the opposition but was repeatedly rejected by the ruling party, with Mubarak only last month dismissing calls for reform as "futile."

The sudden shift was the first sign from the key U.S. ally that it was ready to participate in the democratic evolution in the Middle East, particularly historic elections in Iraq and the Palestinian territories. Mubarak's government has faced increasingly vocal opposition at home and growing friction with the United States over the lack of reform.
There is a lot riding on the gamble that President Bush has taken. We cannot possibly know what the future will be, but all the recent indications in the Middle East are pointing in a direction that is very encouraging.


Is the pen....

....really mightier than the sword? We're about to find out.
I had a date with Najaf yesterday. The trip this time was a special one because I was there to give lectures to spread blogging and to talk about the importance of blogging and the ways to get blogs and use them. It is a part of the Arabic blogging project of the Friends of Democracy that aims at connecting intellectuals, students and NGOs (especially women NGOs) through a network of blogs that facilitates communication and gives democratic debates a push forward through exchanging opinions and sharing ideas among all the parties and the communities in different cities, all through blogging.

That's why our team was so excited and we were talking all the way about the significance of this networking project, the obstacles and the goals.
Actually, some of us already understand this truth. It's the rest of the world that has some catching up to do.


Just when you thought there was hope....

....for peace in Palestine, they blew it up.
A Palestinian suicide bomber blew himself up in a crowd of young Israelis waiting outside a nightclub near Tel Aviv's beachfront promenade, killing at least four other people, wounding dozens and shattering an informal Mideast truce.

The blast, just before midnight Friday, ended several weeks of calm and presented the first serious test to the unofficial cease-fire declared by Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon (news - web sites) and Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Feb. 8 at a dramatic summit in Egypt.
Only time will tell whether this is a temporary setback and the beginning of a new intifada.


Friday, February 25, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
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The phrase "Those who forget history....

....are doomed to repeat it" never seems less trite than when a historian articulates the lessons we should have learned. And no historian I'm aware of is more adroit at the task than Victor Davis Hanson.
Much of the recent domestic critique of American efforts in the Middle East has long roots in our own past — and little to do with the historic developments on the ground in Iraq

1. "It's America's fault."

2. "Americans are weak."

3. "They are supermen."

4. "We are alone."

5. Why?
Each of Hanson's points is well buttressed with evidence. What may be surprising to some is that these same silly arguments have been made both by the left and the right.

Hanson closes with this.
It is wise to cite and publicize our errors — and there have been many in this war. Humility and circumspection are military assets as well. And we should not deprecate the danger of our enemies, who are cruel and ingenious. Moreover, we should never confuse the sharp dissent of the well-meaning critic with disloyalty to the cause.

But nor should we fall into pessimism, when in less than four years we have destroyed the two worst regimes in the Middle East, scattered al Qaeda, avoided another promised 9/11 at home, and sent shock waves of democracy throughout the Arab world — so far at an aggregate cost of less than what was incurred on the first day of this unprovoked war. Car bombs are bad news, but in the shadows is the real story: The terrorists are losing, and radical reform, the likes of which millions have never seen, is right on the horizon. So this American gloominess is not new. Yet, if the past is any guide, our present lack of optimism in this struggle presages its ultimate success.

A final prediction: By the end of this year, formerly critical liberal pundits, backsliding conservative columnists, once-fiery politicians, Arab "moderates," ex-statesmen and generals emeriti, smug stand-up comedians, recently strident Euros — perhaps even Hillary herself — will quietly come to a consensus that what we are witnessing from Afghanistan and the West Bank to Iraq and beyond, with its growing tremors in Lebanon, Libya, Egypt, and the Gulf, is a moral awakening, a radical break with an ugly past that threatens a corrupt, entrenched, and autocratic elite and is just the sort of thing that they were sort of for, sort of all along — sort of...
Clarity like this can only come from one who examines the flaws in his own arguments at least as critically as those he examines in others.


It's official now

The Bush tax cuts have ruined the economy.
U.S. economic momentum at the end of 2004 was significantly stronger than previously thought, according to a government report on Friday revising up fourth-quarter output to reflect stronger exports and investment.

The Commerce Department said gross domestic product, the gauge of total goods and services production within U.S. borders, grew at a revised 3.8 percent annual rate in the final three months of last year instead of 3.1 percent reported a month ago.

That was slightly stronger than the 3.7 percent rate that Wall Street economists had forecast and only a small decline from the third quarter's 4 percent pace.

Nearly half the revision stemmed from a stronger trade performance, reflecting more robust exports than previously thought. Statistics Canada corrected a $1.4 billion error in underestimating U.S. exports to Canada during November, and later data also showed the U.S. trade deficit for December narrowed more than had been anticipated.


Despite the fourth-quarter revision, there was no change in the government's calculation that GDP grew 4.4 percent in 2004, ahead of a 3 percent increase in 2003 and the strongest for any year since 1999, when it expanded 4.5 percent.
Don't you wish we had Clinton back?


Try to imagine for a moment....

....how much less sympathetic this report would be if it involved US troops.
U.N. officials fear the sex-abuse scandal among peacekeepers in Africa is far more widespread and appears to be a problem in each of the global body's 16 missions around the world.

As the world body seeks to crack down on the abuse, it could bar countries from missions if they fail to prosecute offenders, even though the U.N. is hard-pressed to find contributing nations, the officials said on Friday.

Rocked by widespread abuse of women and girls, including gang rape, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the United Nations also has found sexual exploitation cases in at least four other missions -- in Burundi, Liberia, Ivory Coast -- as well as more recently in Haiti, they added.
Notice how officials are allowed to speak for themselves, without any interpretation of their comments by the reporter.

Then think of the coverage of Abu Ghraib, an incident that pales in comparison to the scandalous, widespread, commonplace abuse committed in every mission the UN has!

See, I can use adjectives too.


If suicide is the ultimate act of selfishness....

....then this is the penultimate act of selfishness.
The widow of journalist Hunter S. Thompson said her husband killed himself while the two were talking on the phone.

"I was on the phone with him, he set the receiver down and he did it. I heard the clicking of the gun," Anita Thompson told the Aspen Daily News in Friday's editions.
No matter what he may have accomplished in life, Hunter Thompson's death negates it all.


Up is down and left is right

Remember the Taliban? Well now they're "insurgents".
Taliban insurgents launched three attacks in southeastern Afghanistan in heavy combat that left 19 dead — including 10 rebels killed by U.S. troops, officials said Friday. An American soldier was wounded.

At least nine Afghan soldiers were killed when rebels ambushed their vehicle in Helmand province on Thursday, said Haji Wali Mohammed, a spokesman for the governor.
Note that the AP calls them "insurgents" without quotes. Later they will call them "rebels". Yet, when the Afghan government calls them "terrorists", the AP puts that in quotes.
"We lost contact with the Afghan soldiers late Thursday, and their bodies were found today," he said, adding that authorities would hunt down and arrest the "terrorists" who carried out the attack.

Taliban rebels claimed responsibility for the ambush in the district of Chakul.
The media wants you to believe that they are striving to be neutral and not make value judgments. That's why, they say, that they use the word "insurgents" rather than terrorists. Despite this claim, they make an obvious value judgment by quoting the word terrorists when quoting the Afghan official.

It's extemely hypocritical to claim neutrality while clearly slanting the story in the direction they want it to go.


Zarqawi not far behind?

Accord to reports from Iraq an important Zarqawi aide has been captured, further decimating the ranks of the terrorists.

There's very encouraging news in the report as well.
According to al-Rubaie, government security services managed to infiltrate al-Zarqawi's network — a possible sign of its growing weakness.

"The Iraqi security forces have managed to insert embedded policemen inside the al-Zarqawi group, and the second element is that the Iraqi people, especially those in the so-called Sunni triangle, became more cooperative in informing the police about terrorists' activities and movement — especially the foreigners," al-Rubaie said.
It wasn't that long ago that one of the big problems in Iraq was "insurgents" infiltrating the ranks of the police. If the problem is now reversed, the Iraqis have come a long way.


All six of them?

My first thought when I read this headline: Howard Dean Rallies Kansas Crowd.


Thursday, February 24, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
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OMG!! Is Patterico....

....shilling for the Times? (Not really, but I'll bet I got your attention. :-)


If you're interested in me....

....my interview with Jennifer has been posted.


The Bush administration is wrong...

....on border protection, and the funding for new agents is grossly insufficient. I understand Bush's desire to maintain good relations with Mexico, despite recent problems, but security should not be taking a back seat to anything. The Mexican government aggressively protects their southern border yet expects us to remain a sieve to alleviate the pressure on them to improve their economy and clean up the rampant corruption.

It's time for Congress to take a stand and fully fund the Border Patrol, increase staffing sufficiently to do the job right and quit screwing around.


Do muslims have a problem?

Discerning Texan certainly thinks so. He's bothered by muslim's miserable world-wide record of violence and wonders of muslim can ever get along with their fellow man.

I think Iraq answered that question definitively, but the Texan is right to be concerned. Muslims should be too. What bothers me more is not the ones who do violence. We have plenty of those right here in America. Just yesterday a man in Dallas confessed to killing his pregnant ex-wife and his 11 year old son. This morning I heard on the news that a couple was arrested for sexually assaulting their seven month old baby.

What bothers me more is that a Muslim leader hasn't arisen to profoundly condemn the actions of the Islamists. It's time for the civilized Muslims of the world to rise and condemn, in no uncertain terms, the Wahhabist philosophy of conversion or death.

If they do not, the Texan's predictions may well come true.


And you thought....

....smoking was bad for you health. Who knew that golf could kill you?


Have Congressmen been affected....

....by bloggers? This story from Mudville Gazette makes me wonder. When WaPo published a page one "story" that very inaccurately reflected a committee meeting that Rumsfeld attended, Congressman Hunter decided to publish his letter to the editor on his committee's website when WaPo didn't publish it.

Reminds me of my decision to blog. I was sick and tired of being ignored by the gatekeepers, so I simply left them behind and published my thoughts myself.

Perhaps it's infectious.


Wednesday, February 23, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
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Please adjust your bookmarks.

You simply cannot....

....have your cake and eat it too, yet that's exactly what the Wall Street Journal wants. There's so many problems with this article I hardly know where to begin. First of all, there is no First Amendment protection that permits a reporter to conceal evidence of a crime. There simply isn't, all press protestations about source confidentiality to the contrary.

Second, you cannot know if a crime has been committed until you have a jury trial. That requires that you first get an indictment. To do that you must have witnesses who testify before the grand jury in order to make a determination if the evidence even warrants a trial. (My wife has served on a federal grand jury and I have served on several juries, so I have some familiarity with the process.)

But the latter part of this article is laughable.
Some of our media friends are also pushing a federal shield law, and one has been introduced in the House and Senate. A large question, however, is who will be shielded. The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press wants to protect not just reporters from established news organizations but everyone who writes anything, which means that almost anyone with a laptop and a Web site could claim to be protected from having to provide grand jury testimony. This Congress will never pass such an expansive shield, and we aren't sure it should.
Obviously the Journal wants protection for their reporters while excluding bloggers. They should be condemned for their elitist attitude, of course, but they should be laughed out of the room for their ignorance of the law.

If the Supreme Court were to find that there were such a thing as a protected class of "journalists", they are not going to restrict it to "professional" journalists because that is an undefineable class. How do you define "paid" or "compensation" in a way that excludes all bloggers, for example? (Maybe Patterico or Beldar can show me the error of my ways, but I think I'm right about this.)

More to the point, however, the Journal admits that they aren't sure that some writers should be protected by a "shield" law. Their standard for who should be excluded? Who they think should be. The law doesn't make those sorts of distinctions. The law attempts to be impartial by creating classes or groups who are either exempt, protected or responsible under an act.

Personally, I think the Supreme Court won't even bother to hear the case. The journalists are wrong. The Appeals Court has told them so. The Supreme Court will simply affirm the case by denying the Writ of Certiorari.

There are no "interesting issues" here. The reporters are wrong, and the sooner they realize that, the better.


Instapundit reports that....

....MSM reporters want to ask tough questions of bloggers. I guess they're not aware of Jennifer's blogger interviews.

So what's new?


Making the rounds of the blogosphere....

....is this editorial from Der Spiegel. (Hat tip to the Discerning Texan.)
Germany loves to criticize US President George W. Bush's Middle East policies -- just like Germany loved to criticize former President Ronald Reagan. But Reagan, when he demanded that Gorbachev remove the Berlin Wall, turned out to be right. Could history repeat itself?
The article closes with this.
Yet three years later, East Germany had disappeared from the map. Gorbachev had a lot to do with it, but it was the East Germans who played the larger role. When analysts are confronted by real people, amazing things can happen. And maybe history can repeat itself. Maybe the people of Syria, Iran or Jordan will get the idea in their heads to free themselves from their oppressive regimes just as the East Germans did. When the voter turnout in Iraq recently exceeded that of many Western nations, the chorus of critique from Iraq alarmists was, at least for a couple of days, quieted. Just as quiet as the chorus of Germany experts on the night of Nov. 9, 1989 when the Wall fell.

Just a thought for Old Europe to chew on: Bush might be right, just like Reagan was then.
The Iraqi elections are changing quite a few people's minds, aren't they?


I'll let Captain Ed....

....fill in the details, but I've been saying for some time that democracy in Iraq would be infectious.
The leader of this Lebanese intifada [for independence from Syria] is Walid Jumblatt, the patriarch of the Druze Muslim community and, until recently, a man who accommodated Syria's occupation. But something snapped for Jumblatt last year, when the Syrians overruled the Lebanese constitution and forced the reelection of their front man in Lebanon, President Emile Lahoud. The old slogans about Arab nationalism turned to ashes in Jumblatt's mouth, and he and Hariri openly began to defy Damascus...

"It's strange for me to say it, but this process of change has started because of the American invasion of Iraq," explains Jumblatt. "I was cynical about Iraq. But when I saw the Iraqi people voting three weeks ago, 8 million of them, it was the start of a new Arab world." Jumblatt says this spark of democratic revolt is spreading. "The Syrian people, the Egyptian people, all say that something is changing. The Berlin Wall has fallen. We can see it."
It's pretty simple, really. Red, black, brown or white, every man, once he has tasted freedom's sweet nectar, won't rest until he has it again and always. He'll fight for it. He'll risk his life for it. He'll even die for it. All he needs is the evidence that he can have it, a glimpse of the light, and his heart will stir from its slumber, he will rise, and he will fight to his last breath to possess it.

This pretty much proves it, doesn't it?


The Syrian government....

....is not going to like this at all.
Important steps have been achieved in the last few days by the Iraqi forces to arrest important leaders in the terrorist groups.

Some were arrested in Mosel and Baghdad including Arabs from Syria, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Sudan, Egypt, Yemen and others.

Adam Doma (42 years) from Sudan confessed that he received training in Syria under the supervision of Syrian Intelligence officers. He confessed that he beheaded 10 Iraqi civilians by his own hands so as he was given a leadership activity as Amer. He studied (Sunni Shariah) and lived in Iraq for 15 years! He confessed that he is a Syrian Intelligent agent. He was responsible for many terrorist activities including beheadings and recruiting Arabs in Syria and Iraq.

Some members of his network were also arrested including a terrorist from Egypt who decapitated at least 6 Iraqis and was responsible for attacks against Shiite sites and a terrorist group called the Net of Palestine responsible for attacks against Shiite mosques.

Anis Al-Essa is a Syrian who works as an officer in the Syrian Intelligence Security. He was arrested with Doma and after 3 weeks pretending as deaf and dump he collapsed and confessed about his role and his job with SIS.

Other terrorists who were arrested confessed that they received different kinds of training by the Syrian Intelligence Security and forces in Lathikiyah in Syria. Once they pass the courses the SIS facilitate their entry to Iraq from at least three points in Mosel and Ramadi. They then keep communication with SIS via tech and human communicative ways.

The confessions were video recorded and copies were sent via the Iraqi PM to the UN as well as to the Syrian government according to news sources.
As the evidence piles up and the pressure from Lebanon mounts (as well as from Europe and the US), it should be interesting to watch Syria's reaction.

UPDATE: Alaa has more.

UPDATE2: AP has covered the story as well, but they try to portray the TV channel, Al Iraqiya, as a propoganda front for the US and the confessions are characterized as "purported".

Wouldn't it be nice if they exercised the same caution in all their reports.


Tuesday, February 22, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
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Please adjust your bookmarks.

Hard on the heels....

....of the news that an American Muslim plotted to assassinate President Bush while attending religious school in Saudi Arabia comes Charles Johnson's revelation that the media neglected to mention that he was the son of a Saudi embassy employee.
Mainstream media identified Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, the US citizen charged with conspiring to assassinate President Bush, as “a former Virginia high school valedictorian.” Sounds pretty respectable, eh?

What they didn’t tell you: he was valedictorian of the American madrassa known as the Islamic Saudi Academy, and his father worked at the Royal Saudi Arabian Embassy in Washington, DC. Rusty Shackleford has details: Terrorist Son of Saudi Embassy Worker Attended Saudi Run School.
Nice to know our "friends" care.


Like a modern day Diogenes....

....I'm searching for one honest reporter. Didn't find one here either.
The unanimous vote last week by three federal appeals court judges - that two news reporters should be jailed for refusing to give their sources to a grand jury - stands as an unfortunate reminder that those who value the First Amendment's protection of the press must remain vigilant.

Why? Because if a reporter can't protect a source so that information can freely flow to the public, then one of democracy's underpinnings - the public's right to know - will erode.
Let me see....I'm sure I've got a copy of the First Amendment around here somewhere.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
How you get from the phrase "Congress shall make no law....abridging the freedom....of the press" to "reporters should never have to testify in a court of law to what they know, even if they have witnessed a crime" is an exercise in mental gymnastics I'm not capable of performing. Are you?

I've written about this before. So long as reporters can keep their sources confidential with impunity, the "news" they write cannot be trusted. If there were no confidentiality of sources, there would be a lot less gossiping going on in the "news" that Washington "reporters" write. And the public would know who said what about whom, freeing them to make their own judgments about the veracity of the information.

But then the reporters wouldn't have nearly as much "juicy" "news" to "report", would they?


Lots of sizzle, very little steak

Nato announced today that all 26 nations were united in their commitment to assist Iraq........sort of.

Nato has committed "160 instructors and 200 guards and support staff on the ground in Iraq." Whoopee! There are 110 NATO instructors in Iraq now, and "over half the NATO instructors are American." So NATO, without the American contribution, will provide some 100 instructors and 200 "guards and support staff". Even less whoopee!

France and Germany, however, are still a little miffed about being made to look so completely foolish, so they've chosen to continue looking foolish.
However, in a sign of lingering differences, France, Germany and other opponents of the war will not send instructors to Iraq, limiting their contribution to training outside the country or funding for the operation.
France's contribution?
French President Jacques Chirac confirmed France will participate in the NATO mission. But officials said the contribution would be limited to one officer working at NATO headquarters in Belgium.
Be still my heart!

What is behind the the Franco-Germanic reluctance?
Behind Schroeder's suggestions are concerns in France and Germany that the United States is a "first among equals" in NATO, an alliance where U.S. military might far outweighs that of the European allies. They want more recognition of the EU's economic and diplomatic influence.

Chirac backed Schroeder. "As the German federal chancellor has said, we have to keep taking account of changes on the European continent," he told the meeting.
The Euros still can't accept the fact that theirs is a declining world influence brought on by socialist policies that have deteriorated their economic power and decimated their militaries to the point that they are forced to rely on the one NATO power that hasn't been foolish — the US.

UPDATE: Wretchard seems a bit more sanguine than I.

UPDATE2: And Mark Steyn is much less so. (Hat tip to Roger Simon.)


Astute observations from Iraq

Today produced some interesting posts from Iraqi bloggers. Hammorabi announced the new Iraqi prime minister and threw in, almost casually, this amazing observation.
This is the first time in the history of the Arab region that civilized way of government change happened.
We in America take this for granted. Every two years we elect new representatives and every four or eight years we elect a new President. It's been going on, without great turmoil, for so long that we've forgotten what an amazing thing it is to change governments peacefully.

Omar, at Iraq the Model ponders why Egyptians don't change their tyranny while Iraqis were only too happy to change theirs. The answer? Egyptians are allowed just enough rope to keep them from rebelling, whereas Iraqis had only two choices; silence or death. The former was intolerable, the latter almost inevitable.

Omar doesn't leave it at that, however. He offers hope.
I say, take a look at my country and learn from my people and have faith in yourselves because if you keep thinking with such negativity you will never get the change you want. If the people really want something they can achieve it and they will find many hands reaching out for them with support and advice.
We in Iraq weren't fully prepared for the change here as well but we took advantage of the moment and we believed that this is what we want. Many spectators were expecting a civil war in Iraq and it didn't happen and won't happen and many are still warning of a possible theocracy in Iraq and I believe that this is impossible too.

Bottom line is: the world has changed, we're not living in the fifties anymore and when a tyrant is kicked out, no other tyrant can claim his place. Why? Because nothing can be done behind closed doors anymore, the whole world can watch and have a say in almost everything everywhere and the era when thugs could reach power against a nation's choice is over. The world has simply changed and the change cannot be reversed.
Blogs play no small part in this new era, and bloggers like Omar are at the center of that vortex.

Words have power — spoken by someone who has displayed the kind of courage Omar has, they can change the world.


If you still insist....

....that the UN has a useful role to play in international law, this post on the Counterterrorism blog should help disabuse you of the notion.
Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, and his international business interests, continues to provide a shameful example of the ineffective application of UN measures to curb terrorism financing. Nasreddin was identified and designated by the US Treasury Department and the UN Al Qaeda and Taliban Sanctions Committee in August 2002 as a financial supporter of Al Qaeda. This designation placed an international legal obligation on all countries to freeze his assets and economic resources and to ensure that no funds, financial assets or other economic resouces were made available to him, or for his benefit. All Countries were also required to prevent his entry into or his transit through their territories. see UN Security Council Resolution 1526 (2004).. These designations also listed a number of Nasreddin's business interests. The funds and resources of these entities were also to be frozen. But, despite these restrictions little has been done to put him out of business. A few of his bank accounts were frozen, notably in Switzerland, but no further steps were taken to close down any of his business activities. He continues to operate numerous companies and business ventures in Europe (including holding company ownership of a major tourist hotel in Milan) and around the world. And he continues to travel with little or no hindrence.
If the UN isn't going to do its job, then why should the US continue to foot the bill and provide space on our land for the organization?


Monday, February 21, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
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The expert vs. the common man

No contest.
In Hong Kong last week it was Nobel Prize economist Amartya Sen doing the sounding off, praising the state medical system in China under the Cultural Revolution. Mr. Sen asserted that Maoist China had actually made great strides in medicine, bringing down child mortality rates and prolonging life expectancy. Moving to a privatized system was making the system less fair and efficient, said the Nobel laureate, who's behind many U.N. economic works, such as the much-heralded "Human Development Index."

To back up his remarkable claim, Mr. Sen said that the rate of growth in life expectancy in China was slowing down. Or at least it was doing so compared to India, which is catching up with China in life expectancy. "The gap between India and China has gone from 14 years to seven [since 1979] because of moving from a Canada-like system to a U.S. like system," said Mr. Sen, adding that he thought this change by China was a mistake.

But, alas, there was someone in the audience who actually had lived through the Cultural Revolution in China, and had been one of Mao's "barefoot doctors." He didn't see things quite the same way as Mr. Sen. In fact, he said the comments had quite surprised him.

"I observed with my own eyes the total absence of medicine in some parts of China. The system was totally unsustainable. We used to admire India," said Weijian Shan, now a banker in Hong Kong. Mr. Shan then added an anecdote that tickled the audience, telling how when he first visited Taiwan in the 1980s and saw young medical school graduates serving in the countryside, he thought to himself, "China ought to copy Taiwan."

Mr. Shan added, about Mao's medicine, "If they had made the system optional, nobody would have opted for it."
Theory often loses to practice. You would think that intelligent folks with Ph.D's would learn this, sooner or later.

But you'd be wrong.


Last call for questions....

....for my interview with Jennifer. If there's something you'd like to know about me, you have until Wednesday to submit your questions.


Sorry but I can't resist....

....this Instapundit moment — Heh.


I haven't mentioned Patterico in a while

That's because I can't keep up with his indefatigable blogging. (I do read every post though.) I would be remiss, however, if I didn't point you to his latest effort to inject some fairness and — dare we say it? — honesty into the LA Times. He is actually interviewing LA Times editor, Bob Sipchen.

The Times recently activated an "Outside the Tent" column that offers space to critics of the Times to take the Times to task for their sins of omission or commission. Patterico has been a contributor. It's difficult to think of any blogger who has done more to benefit the public, through his thorough and diligent review of the Times, than Patterico. Outside the Tent, I would like to think, is a direct result of his persistence.

My hat is off to him.


Under the heading of bait and switch

The Dallas Morning News printed, on the front page, above the fold, a story headlined, "Swift Vets' advisers set sights on AARP". It caught my eye immediately. I wondered, why would the Swiftvets be taking on the AARP?

They're not. A conservative lobbying group has hired "some of the same consultants" that advised the Swiftvets to plan ads attacking the AARP for its opposition to the President's plan for Social Security. (I wasn't aware the President had a plan — other than we need to do something or social security will go broke — were you?)

They may know how to write headlines that sell, but all the editors do with headlines like this is piss me off and make me less likely to jump at the next "sexy" lead-in.

I don't buy cars from people who deceive me either.


Meanwhile in Syria....

....things are changing rapidly.
Tens of thousands marched Monday in the biggest anti-Syrian protest in Lebanese history amid signals that Syria will soon withdraw its troops from parts of the country. President Bush renewed demands for Syrian forces to leave Lebanon immediately.
Not that President Bush had anything to do with it, but....
The Arab League chief said Monday that Syria will "soon" take steps to withdraw its army from Lebanese areas in accordance with a 1989 agreement.

The announcement by Arab League Secretary-General Amr Moussa came after a meeting with Syrian President Bashar Assad.

"Assad stressed more than once his firm determination to go on with implementing the Taif agreement and achieve Syrian withdrawal from Lebanon in accordance with this agreement," Moussa said.

"Syrian withdrawal is part of Syrian policy and will see steps in this direction very soon," Moussa quoted Assad as saying. Syria itself has made no announcements about troop withdrawals.
Just pure coincidence, I suppose. On the other hand, the pressure is building, and the world is watching.

Things are changing so fast in the MidEast, it's getting hard to keep up, isn't it?

Yet the UN is still trying to sell gloom and doom in a desperate attempt to divert attention from their own sex scandals, not to mention the Oil For Food scandal (or UNSCAM as I call it.)

It's a crazy upside down world these days.

UPDATE: Whoops! Looks like the UN is wrong.


If you think Iraq is a problem....

....how about these lovely vacation spots?

Colombia faces a hard road in its fight against leftist rebels, President Alvaro Uribe said Monday after deadly attacks blacked out towns, shut down a highway, blew up a hotel and shattered notions that the nation's main insurgent group was on its knees.

The weekend violence left nine people dead, and a rebel commander in this Andean nation warned: "This is only the beginning."
Maoist Shining Path insurgents ambushed and killed three Peruvian policemen in a remote jungle area known for guerrilla activity, officials said Monday.

The officers were driving Sunday evening in the Huallaga Valley about 205 miles northwest of Lima when more than 70 rebels sprayed their SUV with semiautomatic weapons fire, police said.

The officers were shot to death as they fled the vehicle, which was then looted and set ablaze, police said.

Sunday's attack was the first on police in the former guerrilla stronghold since June, when two officers and a marine died in a similar ambush.
Communist rebels stepped up their campaign to block highways disrupting food and fuel supplies across Nepal as seven people were killed in clashes between villagers and rebels, officials said Monday.

The insurgents ordered disruptions of the country's transport network to protest King Gyanendra's Feb. 1 decision to dismiss the government and suspend civil liberties.

Rebels attacked passenger convoys, burned trucks and set off land mines late Sunday to stop travel on the Prithvi Highway, the country's lifeline, killing one truck driver and wounding seven passengers, army spokesman Brig. Gen. Dipak Gurung said.

The road's closure was likely to cause food and fuel shortages and send prices soaring across the Himalayan state. Also Sunday, rebels set off homemade bombs when residents tried to clear tree trunks and boulders placed by the rebels on other roads, injuring four people, police said.
Life is rough in a lot of places. Until the world condemns terror with one voice and stops calling murderers "insurgents", violence will never end.


Can anyone find a single clue....

....in North Korea? I swear their stance on the US and negotiations changes every 48 hours.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Il told a visiting Chinese envoy that his government will return to six-party nuclear disarmament talks if the United States shows "sincerity," the communist state's official news agency said Tuesday.

The announcement — the latest in more than two years of conflicting statements over North Korea's nuclear program — came less than two weeks after Kim flouted Washington and its allies by claiming that it had nuclear weapons and would boycott the talks.

"We will go to the negotiating table anytime if there are mature conditions for the six-party talks thanks to the concerted efforts of the parties concerned in the future," Kim said Tuesday, expressing the hope that the United States would show "trustworthy sincerity," according to the Korean Central News Agency.
We have a saying in Texas — if you don't like the weather, stick around a few minutes. Seems like Kim Jong Il is a Texan. {{shudder}}


Common sense — good sense

I have a friend who used to regularly correct me whenever I said "common sense" in the context of something most people should know. He would say, "You should say, 'Good sense', because whatever it is is not that common."

By my friend's definition, Alaa has good sense. His problem is, he can't figure out why good sense isn't more common.
So, the “Arab and Moslem World” is furious with U.S. for the actions in Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet, the peoples most directly concerned, i.e. the Afghans and the Iraqis are behaving in a very strange manner. The majorities in both these two victim countries of “American aggression” just do not seem to be sufficiently outraged. Of course, they said, what do you expect of “puppets” installed by the “occupiers”? But, Lo & behold, these very same puppets get elected by majorities in fair and honest elections, which probably, were the first of their kind in the history of the region. In Iraq, not even the bitterest enemies can deny the fact; and the worst accusation they can level against these elections is that of being of “incomplete legitimacy”, due to the non-participation of many of the Sunni minority. People brave death, bombs, suicide bombers and hardship to line up to vote despite the privations and sufferings of their daily life in one of the most impressive demonstrations of courage and defiance in history. Thousands of Iraqi security forces protect the voters and behind there are the American boys of the “occupation” forces sharply vigilant to protect the Iraqis. 60% of the eligible voters did vote, this figure would have risen at least to 80% had the conditions permitted. Thus, the majority of Iraqis chose to vote for these same “puppets” and “stooges” who “came with the American tanks”. This is peculiar behavior of a people who are supposed to be absolutely fed up and angry at the “occupation”, according to all the knowledgeable pundits and commentators all over the world. Wouldn’t this occasion have been very appropriate to demonstrate apathy and disapproval in a very easy, passive and quite risk-free manner simply by abstaining from the vote and staying home; especially when the opposite course was so full of danger? Indeed, as the rejectionists had demanded, it would have been appropriate to refuse to have anything to do with an event under the auspices of a hated "occupier".

We have an Iraqi saying: “When the Judge is satisfied, the Mufti has no business to object”. In other words, it is the positions of those directly concerned that matter, not that of others. But could the wise guys and passionate anti-this and anti-that people understand. It seems to me as simple and as evident as 1+1=2 ....
Alaa, my friend, you are not alone. Many of us are asking the same question these days.


Positive news from Hammorabi

Readers of his blog know that Hammorabi has been highly critical of the interim Iraqi government and has chafed at the bit wanting more aggressive work to be done at rooting out terrorists. So his new post praising the efforts of the Iraqi and multi-national forces seems to be an indication that things are going quite well.
The success of the Iraqi forces to keep the security during the tenth of Moharam in Najaf and Karbala was an excellent achievement. It proved that the Iraqi forces are capable of keeping the security even during the difficult time. The security plan in the holy cities was fully Iraqi based without help from the multi-national forces. More than 2 million visitors for the holy shrines came during the tenth day of Moharam. Many terrorists have been arrested before they were able to carry out attacks. Explosives and weapons were confiscated.

In Kadhimiyah in Baghdad Iraqi volunteers arrested 5 terrorists bobby-trapped with explosive belts and handed them to the police. Two of them were women. One of these women cockroaches pretends that she is pregnant. Just before she went into the shrine to blow up her self and kills the visitors, the volunteers suspected some thing wrong and arrested her. The dirty was pregnant with explosives and not a baby! The other woman was old and when arrested she said they gave her the belt and she don't know what inside it. They asked her to wear it and pray for them inside the holy shrine!

In Ramadi at least 97 suspected terrorists were arrested by the US and Iraqi forces. Many others were arrested in Mosel. One Egyptian confessed that he was making explosives for the terrorists.
There's more in his post, and you should read it if you have doubts about the direction in which Iraq is headed, but I can tell you that the denouement of the terrorists in Iraq is not far off.

Even Hillary Clinton realizes that now.


Sunday, February 20, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
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Please adjust your bookmarks.

Pot? Kettle?

Al Qaeda second-in-command, Egyptian physician Ayman al-Zawahri, has published a statement "denouncing U.S. calls for reform in the region and urging the West to respect the Islamic world."

This fine example of the healers' art goes on to say

Al-Zawahri, who appeared sitting on the ground and in front of a brown background, said the U.S. military prison in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, "explains the truth about reforms and democracy that America alleges it wants to impose in our countries."

"Reform is based on American detention camps like Bagram, Kandahar, Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib, it will be based on cluster bombs and imposition of people like Karzai and Allawi," he said, referring to Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Interim Iraqi Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.

"Real security is based on mutual cooperation with the Islamic nation on the basis of mutual respect and the stopping of aggression."
I guess, in the warped world of Al Qaeda, flying into buildings and killing thousands of people equates to — well — "imposing" on people to "force" them to express their own will at the ballot box rather than subjecting themselves to beatings, rape and murder at the hands of fine people like Al-Zawahri, he who upholds his oath every day — "first, do no harm".

I'm all for these guys getting all the publicity Al Jazeera can give them. The more they oppose freedom for Muslims, the more they marginalize their movement.


There are some in the media....

.....who get it. Peggy Noonan apparently does. This is one of the more interesting quotes from a lengthy and astute discussion of blogging.
I don't know if the blogosphere is rougher in the ferocity of its personal attacks than, say, Drew Pearson. Or the rough boys and girls of the great American editorial pages of the 1930s and '40s. Bloggers are certainly not as rough as the splenetic pamphleteers of the 18th and 19th centuries, who amused themselves accusing Thomas Jefferson of sexual perfidy and Andrew Jackson of having married a whore. I don't know how Walter Lippmann or Scotty Reston would have seen the blogosphere; it might have frightened them if they'd lived to see it. They might have been impressed by the sheer digging that goes on there. I have seen friends savaged by blogs and winced for them--but, well, too bad. I've been attacked. Too bad. If you can't take it, you shouldn't be thinking aloud for a living. The blogosphere is tough. But are personal attacks worth it if what we get in return is a whole new media form that can add to the true-information flow while correcting the biases and lapses of the mainstream media? Yes. Of course.
IOW, to all the crybabies in the media lamenting the rise of blogs — suck it up.


Victor Davis Hanson....

....sees many positive possibilities in current events in the MidEast, all of which are the result of George Bush's controversial policies.
But Egypt did unleash venom against us and become the intellectual nexus of Arab anti-Americanism. In the Arab world, a change in American policies to promote democracy was publicized as "anti-Arab" by state-run media — in almost the identical manner that former support for the corrupt status quo was once condemned as "anti-Arab" by Middle East intellectuals. No matter: Despite the short-term lose-lose proposition, no one ever went wrong in the long-term by standing on the side of freedom.

No longer should we remain in thrall to any Arab government that with its left hand rounds up over-the-top terrorists, while with its right gives others less violent a pass to unleash virulent hatred of America. The Rubicon has been crossed in Iraq, and we can no longer watch Americans die for democracy in the Sunni Triangle while giving billions to a regime that kills off consensual government in Cairo. Diplomats can work out the details without sounding either moralistic or naive, smiling and assuring the Egyptians that our friendship will be only strengthened from a new understanding, as the money dries up and we part without acrimony — even as in desperation Mubarak readjusts to his "helpful" role as a third-party interlocutor in Iraq and Palestine.

The American effort to democratize postwar Afghanistan and Iraq has placed a heavy burden on the United States to develop a coherent and consistent policy of supporting reformers throughout the Middle East. We should continue with demands for elections in a Lebanon free of a tyrannical Syria, elevate dissidents in Iran onto the world stage, pressure for change in the Gulf, and say goodbye to Wahhabi Saudi Arabia. If Western elites are really worried about the legitimacy of past elections in Iraq, let them go instead to Lebanon where they can worry first about having any at all, and then later complain about the proper degree of voter participation. The forces of history have been unleashed and we should cease apologizing for the deluge and instead steer the waves in the right direction.
Hanson has it right. The changes occurring are irreversible, and, as I pointed out in an earlier post, even Bush's staunchest critics are coming to that realization.


Is reality finally setting in?

A trip to Baghdad seems to have changed the attitudes of several recalcitrant Senators.
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said Saturday a string of attacks killing more than 50 Iraqis in two days were failed attempts to sow sectarian strife and destabilized the country.

Clinton, a New York Democrat, and Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., were part of a five-member congressional delegation that meting with U.S. officials and members of Iraq's interim government.

Both Clinton and McCain have been strident critics of the Pentagon's planning and management of the war in Iraq. But Clinton said Saturday that Sunni Muslim insurgents were failing in their efforts to destabilize Iraq through sectarian violence.
Amazing how the stubborn, steady leadership of the "chimp" has withstood the sustained assault of critics and is now winning the day.

UPDATE: Wretchard has an interesting post that puts together the pieces, revealing how thoroughly the "insurgency" has been defeated. It's simply a matter of time before the violence is over. And the Ba'athists, panicking at their complete loss of power, are attempting to get to the negotiating table to salvage whatever they can.


How can reporters live with themselves....

....when they write stuff like this story highlighted by Beldar.
MONTGOMERY County District Attorney Bruce L. Castor Jr.'s father helped to arrange Bill Cosby's purchase of the mansion where Cosby was accused of drugging and groping a woman, but Castor did not reveal the relationship to the alleged victim or her attorneys.

"Mr. Castor did not disclose that to us or our client," said Dolores Troiani, who, with her partner, Bebe Kivitz, represents the alleged victim....
Just because an attorney says something doesn't mean the press is compelled to print the allegation, giving credence to the story.

Beldar goes on to explain that Castor's father represented the seller in a real estate transaction 23 years ago in which Bill Cosby was the buyer! Now there's a conflict of interest if there ever was one, right?

How can a newspaper justify printing this crap? Because the truth doesn't matter. Controversy sells papers, and this sounds controversial until you read the facts (which, of course, are buried in the story.) Cosby should sue, and readers should cancel their subscriptions.

That many will not says a lot about the cause of the present state of the media.


You know it don't come easy

The Egyptians have indefinitely postponed a conference on democracy in the MidEast. It seems some Arab leaders took exception to the US criticism of Egypt for jailing Ayman Nour, an Egyptian opposition leader.
Egypt said Saturday it was putting off a U.S-backed conference originally scheduled next month to discuss plans for political reforms in the Middle East, apparently over a dispute over the detention of a prominent opposition leader.

Foreign Minister Ahmed Abould Gheit said the conference scheduled for March 3 will be postponed indefinitely. "The conference is postponed and a new date will be set after consultations with the countries invited," Aboul Gheit said in a statement.
Arab leaders are still resisting the push for freedom. I think you can blame Europe for the slow progress. If Europe had supported the war in Iraq, and if Europe would support Bush's call for democracy, change would come much more quickly.

The timidity of Europeans encourages the Arab leaders to implement small reforms while delaying any substantive changes to their governments. One would have thought that Europe, of all places in the world, would have learned the lessons of WWII but apparently they haven't.


Terrorism in Iraq on its last leg?

It is if Omar's report is any indication. As each day goes by, the terrorists become more despired by the Iraqi people and more likely to be turned in to authorities.
A few days ago a coalition convoy was patrolling our district and they were stopping every other hundred meters talking to the people and distributing key chains and leaflets that carry secure phone numbers for the people to use in reporting criminal activities and this is a smart idea as key chains are always in one's hands or pocket and phones are a reliable contact route and I think using the internet and e mails for the same task is another option that can be helpful as it's untraceable and people, especially the educated segment use the internet very often and they would feel more secure comfortable that way than with the phones.

I have no estimations about how many people will provide information that way but I feel that the rate has increased after the elections. Moreover, the Iraqi media is also playing a good role in exposing criminals and there are some local channels that broadcast the confessions of arrested terrorists.
I think that the local TV station in Mosul has done a good job recently and the people are now even more disgusted from the doings of the terrorists and the terrorists reaction by attacking the station's HQ more than once in the past days indicates that they're really pissed off from this station's shows.

The confessions have shown that some criminals have strong connections with the Syrian authorities from where they get instructions and support.
The interesting part of the show was the interrogation with Khalidah Jasim the sister of Khalid Zakiyah who's one of the most wanted criminals in Mosul who got arrested a while ago in Tikrit.
She stated that she was in her 2nd year in college studying psychiatry and that she was a member of a Palestinian military organization that was lead by George Habash.
If the terrorists are associated more and more with the Syrians, their fate will be sealed. The Iraqis will not put up with that for long.


Thursday, February 17, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

Rathergate is like....

....the Energizer bunny, haunting Les Moonves (and Dan Rather) and forcing him to go to great lengths to hide the truth. (The truth would force Dan to resign in ignominy. It's what should happen but won't.)
Five weeks later, the crisis is not yet behind Mr. Moonves. And far from resolving the problem of the network’s credibility, the independent report commissioned by CBS appears instead to be leading to a confrontation, with defenders of both the ousted CBS staffers involved in the debacle and top CBS management asserting two different truths from the same document.

Mr. Howard and two other ousted CBS staffers—his top deputy, Mary Murphy, and CBS News senior vice president Betsy West—haven’t resigned. And sources close to Mr. Howard said that before any resignation comes, the 23-year CBS News veteran is demanding that the network retract Mr. Moonves’ remarks, correct its official story line and ultimately clear his name.
Bully for them. Out with the truth and let the chips fall where they may. CBS is a goner anyway — being honest about what happened might actually save the sinking ship.

But honest is in short supply in the media these days.


Media on high alert

Concerned about the "influence" of the Bush administration on the media, journalists are more wary than ever. In their alarmist protestations, however, they expose the heart of the media beast, fanning the very flames they seek to put out.

Watch carefully now.
Presidents from George Washington on down have struggled with a news corps viewed as hostile. [Ed: Gee, ya think?] And in the age of television, the art of message management has been increasingly vital to the modern presidency.

But taken together, these recent controversies suggest that the Bush administration may be pushing that craft into new territory - and testing the limits of presidential public relations.

"The public has a reason to be concerned about the ways in which political manipulation is influencing journalism," says Larry Gross at the Annenberg School of Communications at the University of Southern California.
Note that this concern for manipulation only arose after a Republican president proved much more adept at getting his message across than liberals had thought he would be. (Can chimps really create masterpieces???)

It's funny, as an observer of the scene, to see the media and journalism schools working themselves into a frenzy trying to figure out how to counteract the "propoganda machine" of the White House. Somehow, in al their machinations, telling the truth never seems to be offered up as an option. You'd think somebody would think of it.

The American people are starved for someone, anyone, who will simply give them the facts and let them digest them on their own. Yet the media continue blithely on, acting as though they were still the information gatekeepers, when the barn is empty and the horse is nowhere to be found.

It would be interesting to study the history of journalism and determine who it was that decided journalism should be an adversarial enterprise rather than a reportorial one. That was one monster fork in the road, and journalism has suffered from the consequences of that turn ever since.


I want more....

....like this please.
Raider Platoon's final combat patrol in Iraq hardly felt like a transition. During the miserable graveyard shift, the rain-lashed armored vehicles cut along a dark ribbon of highway, east of Fallujah, scouring the cold night for enemies.

None could be found. Raider's last mission closed in gray daybreak, with mudcaked boots and little fanfare.

The dream of homecoming is finally turning to reality for the US marines of the 1st Light Armored Reconnaissance (LAR), Charlie Company, a key element of the invasion of Fallujah last November.

Their war over for now, this week the marines turned in excess ammunition, grenades, and explosives before beginning the long convoy to Kuwait, by ship to Okinawa, Japan, and finally a mid-April flight to Camp Pendleton, Calif. But as that day draws nearer, the marine scouts of Raider One - the "Death Dealers" - are grappling with emotions that range from joy at safe deliverance to anxiety about slotting back into mundane lives that lie ahead.

In Fallujah they fought and bled, testing themselves in ways they never imagined - leaving an entire city in ruins while hunting insurgents house to house, room to room.
This is a fascinating look at the Marines who took Fallujah — what they did, how they felt, how they dread returning to "routine" lives where there is no danger. A well-written piece, the story draws you in and makes you feel a part of the Raiders, winding down and preparing to leave the place that one Marine calls "the best of times and the worst of times; the most exciting, the most eventful and extraordinary; and the most scary, most miserable, most death-defying."

"I feel like [Fallujah] was the pinnacle of my existence - that nothing I will ever do will be like what I have done,".

If more writers could tell stories like this (or even cared to), I doubt there's be anything like the opposition to war that we have now. These are our "boys", coming home from the battlefied, just as they did after World War II. We should be proud of them, and we should pray for them. They will carry with them, for the rest of their lives, memories that can only be shared with others who were there.

And deep in their hearts, they will feel pride for having defended freedom and beaten evil.


I'm still here....

....but my Mac may be mortally wounded. It's in the hospital, and that puts a real cramp in my blogging style. I've been buried deep in two major projects at work, so there's little time during the day to blog, and with the Mac being out of commission, I'm stuck working on this Windoze box in the pris^H^H^H^Hcomputer room. It's enough to make a grown man cry.

Anyway, there's a real kind of lull in Iraq right now, and I'm feeling kind of uninspired by most of the stuff I'm reading these days, so blogging has (obviously) been light. Frankly, I'd rather not blog at all than blog just for the sake of blogging. Besides, my writing suffers (and your reading I'm sure) when I'm uninspired.

So there you have it. My excuse for not producing at my normal rate.


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

PLEASE NOTE: Media Lies has moved.
The new address is http://www.antimedia.us/.
Please adjust your bookmarks.

There's always two sides....

....to every coin. In the ongoing Valerie Plame, Joseph Wilson saga
A federal appeals court on Tuesday upheld a ruling against two reporters who could go to jail for refusing to divulge their sources about the leak of an undercover CIA officer's name.

The three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit sided with prosecutors in their attempt to compel Time magazine's Matthew Cooper and The New York Times' Judith Miller to testify before a federal grand jury about their confidential sources.

"We agree with the District Court that there is no First Amendment privilege protecting the information sought," Judge David B. Sentelle said in the ruling, which was unanimous.

Floyd Abrams, the lawyer for both reporters, said he would ask the full appeals court to reverse Tuesday's ruling. "Today's decision strikes a heavy blow against the public's right to be informed about its government," Abrams said in a statement.
The public has a right to be informed about reporters as well. If reporters can keep their sources secret, then the public has no way to verify that the reporters are telling the truth.

The argument that sources must be kept secret or they will not divulge what they know is tenuous at best. First of all, it isn't just any Tom, Dick or Harry asking for the information — it's a federal court. Claiming immunity under the First Amendment is nothing more than an attempt to prevent reporters for being accountable for what they write.

If Rathergate and Easongate (as well as the Swiftvets story and hundreds of others) have taught us anything, it's that reporters need to be assiduously fact checked as well. If reporters are allowed to keep their sources secret, even from a federal subpoena, then they can write anything they like and no one can disprove them.

While I fear too much power in the hands of the federal government, too much power in the hands of the press is equally dangerous to our nation and should be withstood with the same vigor with which we oppose federal encroachment on our rights.

UPDATE: Read Beldar's in-depth analysis of the case if you want the gory, legalese details.


This drives me nuts

In an article on Iraq, published in the Christian Science Monitor, the writer, Dan Murphy, piles speculation upon speculation. Approaching more fantasy than a news story, the article is replete with "is likely"s, "but could"s and "I think"s.

Why writers can't simply stick to the facts instead of injecting opinion into their story is probably the biggest story the blogosphere has ever covered.
"I think most Sunnis are extremely frustrated and I think there's a lot of support among them for the insurgency,'' says Kenneth Katzman, an expert on Iraq and Iran for the Congressional Research Service in Washington. "Not only are they no longer No. 1 in Iraq, they're not even No. 2."

Mr. Katzman says the Kurdish rise, given their overt independence sentiments and desire to incorporate Kirkuk into their autonomous region, could end up opening another front in Iraq's war.

"I think it's very problematic,'' he says, adding that a Kurdish push for Kirkuk is probably "just a matter of time. And that could draw in other communities and could be a spark that sets this whole thing off."
I'm glad our expert thinks, but he should do his thinking in forward-looking policy documents, not news stories. We've had entirely too much of Katzman-like thinking in "news" stories, and it's muddied the waters and made them impenetrable.

How anyone could make an intelligent guess about Iraq's future is beyond me, but I think there's as much warrant for being positive looking forward as there is for being negative.

Speaking of which, have you ever noticed that "experts" tend to be negative? I suppose it's the salesman's mentality — "always under-promise and over-deliver". Most of the "experts" are self-employed, after all, and they have to worry about their next meal. Better to be negative and wrong than overly enthusiastic and wrong. You can always respond with — "My, that turned out much better than expected!" — and get away with it.


In the first "test" of its new policy....

....the administration appears to be standing up to its word, condemning Syria for the assassination of Lebanese Prime Minister, Rafik Hariri, and recalling the American ambassador to Syria.
The United States has called its ambassador home from Syria while expressing "profound outrage" over the assassination of a Lebanese leader who had protested Syrian influence in Lebanon.

"We believe the Lebanese people must be free to express their political preferences and choose their own representatives without intimidation or the threat of violence," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said Tuesday in announcing the imminent return of U.S. Ambassador Margaret Scobey.

Meanwhile, international leaders were gathering Wednesday in Beruit for the funeral of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri, who died Monday in a massive explosion that also killed 16 other people and injured scores.

His death prompted many Lebanese to take to the streets to demand that Syria withdraw its 15,000 soldiers — in the country for more than a decade.

U.S. officials stopped short of directly accusing Syria of carrying out the murder, but Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Tuesday the assassination was the "proximate cause" of the ambassador's recall.
Of course, Syria is an easy call. They're already on our bad side.

The true test will come when an ally does something worth of disapprobation.