Thursday, August 31, 2006

Kidnapper and Rapist Claims Discrimination Against Islam

Saudi man convicted of sex abuse
By Jeremy P. Meyer
Denver Post Staff Writer

Arapahoe County - An Indonesian woman wept and plugged fingers into her ears to shield the sounds of wailing family and friends of the man found guilty Friday afternoon of sexual abuse.

Homaidan Al-Turki, 37, of Saudi Arabia, who lives in Aurora, was initially charged with kidnapping and sexual assault. But after a day of deliberation, the jury convicted Al-Turki on reduced charges of false imprisonment and unlawful sexual contact, as well as the original charges of theft and criminal extortion.

Al-Turki, a linguistics doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado at Boulder, now faces up to life in prison at his sentencing Aug. 31.

Authorities say for four years Al-Turki kept the 24-year-old Indonesian woman as a slave in the family home, forcing her to cook and clean and take care of the family and their five children with little pay. Prosecutors say Al-Turki eventually intimidated the woman into sex acts that culminated in her rape in late 2004.

The defense said many of the allegations were simply misconstrued cultural differences, or what attorney John Richilano called "cynical Islamaphobia."

The 2 1/2-week trial ended in drama in the courtroom, with as many as nine sheriff's deputies trying to keep peace while Al-Turki's supporters howled at the verdict that was delivered after a day of deliberation.

One man was forcibly removed

Cynical Islamaphobia? Sure, who are we to enforce our laws and customs on this Muslim man? Allah has no restrictions on men for forcing women to be sex slaves. In fact if one is a good Muslim, that will be his reward in heaven.

Iran Remains Defiant as US Draws up Sanctions

WASHINGTON - The long-running saga of Iran's nuclear program was due to reach another key marker on Thursday, with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expected to tell the United Nations Security Council that Tehran had failed to halt uranium enrichment or to cooperate with international inspectors, paving the way for the possible imposition of sanctions.

The Security Council had demanded that Iran stop its uranium enrichment by Thursday, but as late as Thursday morning Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, speaking on television, reiterated his country's right to master the nuclear fuel cycle and said his country "would not be bullied".

The United States, in addition to accusing Iran of trying to build nuclear weapons in violation of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, says Iran supplies Lebanon's Hezbollah with mid- and long-range missiles and equips and trains Shi'ite militias in Iraq that are hostile to the US occupation there.

US and European officials, according to reports, are already planning on how to deal with the sanctions issue. Of the permanent five members of the Security Council - the United States, France, the United Kingdom, China and Russia - the last two are known to be reluctant, at least initially, to approve stringent measures.

The US has announced that it will draft a resolution for the Security Council calling for sanctions immediately after the deadline expires. Washington is composing a response to the response by Iran on August 22 to the incentive package offered by the US and Europe in exchange for stopping nuclear-enrichment activities.

Nicholas Burns, US under secretary of state for political affairs, is to travel to Berlin next week to discuss a sanctions package with the Permanent Five and Germany, which is also involved in Tehran's case. The indications are that the package will begin with symbolic measures, such as a travel ban and asset freeze on Iranian officials. Subsequently, measures could be increased to include tougher bans on Iran's access to international credit and other financial assistance.

An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman has shrugged off the possibility of sanctions, telling state-run television that Iran "will find a way to avoid pressure eventually".

Unfortunately Iran is correct. Russia and China won't support UN resolutions and even if they did...they would not be enforced. The United Nation's record in enforcing its own resolutions is well known to Iran. Saddam Hussein used the "oil for food" resolution as a way of getting around sanctions with the help of corrupt UN officials. The United States has let the European Union lead the way in negotiating with Iran and the results are there for the world to see. Now with Iran on the brink of having nuclear weapons, the options are limited.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The United States Open

Today I make my yearly pilgrimage to the U.S. Open tennis tournament being held at Billie Jean Tennis Center. Personally I would have preferred it being named after Jimmy Connors or John McEnroe.
That's just my choice.

Maybe I will be lucky and see Maria Sharapova or Martina Hingis.

I just hope the weather holds out today.

Open tracks today.

Update: The weather held up and we were able to see a lot of good matches including Rafael Nadal vs Mark Philippoussis, Lleyton Hewitt, Blake, and most importantly, Martina Hingis.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Russian/Chinese Expedition to Mars

While the American space program seems to have lost its way, other countries are willing to take the lead in space expiration.

China And Russia To Launch Joint Mission To Mars

China and Russia are planning a joint mission to Mars that will bring back samples to earth and land on one of the red planet's tiny moons, state media quoted a Chinese scientist as saying Wednesday. Ye Peijian, of the Chinese Research Institute of Space Technology, made the announcement at a forum on the nation's space technology development, Xinhua news agency said.

Ye said Russia will launch the spacecraft in 2009 and it will carry China-made survey equipment. The mission will collect samples on Mars and the planet's nearest moon, according to Xinhua.

Sun Laiyan, of the China National Space Administration, said in June that China would focus on the moon and Mars in its deep space exploration program over the next five years.

The program calls for stepping up international cooperation, he said.

China has previously said it hopes to launch a lunar exploration satellite next year as part of a program that aims to place an unmanned vehicle on the moon by 2010.

In 2003 it successfully launched astronaut Yang Liwei into orbit, becoming the third country after the Soviet Union and the United States to put a man in space.

On a side note...I know I was way behind the curve on this one, but last night I watched for the first time the 2005 documentary "Protocols of Zion". If there are any other stragglers out there: PLEASE WATCH!
This is worth your time.

A Slur on Islam?

Beauty Queen Uproar

A MELBOURNE Muslim girl condemned by Islamic leaders for entering a beauty pageant has defied protests to be shortlisted for the Victorian final.
Ayten Ahmet, 16, advanced to the top 26 of Miss Teen Australia yesterday despite an outcry from some of Victoria's senior Muslims.

The year 11 student said she entered the pageant to fulfil her modelling ambition, and was surprised by the objections.

Parents Salih and Sarah Ahmet said their daughter was a typical teenager, and her faith was irrelevant to the contest. Ms Ahmet, from Craigieburn, beat hundreds of hopefuls at an open casting session at Federation Square.

A spokesman for Melbourne cleric Sheik Mohammed Omran this week branded the competition, which involves swimsuit parades, as a "slur on Islam".

And Victorian Islamic leader Yasser Soliman said the contest did not conform with the teachings of the Koran.

Ms Ahmet, who plans to combine modelling with an accounting degree, said the criticism was disappointing and unnecessary.

"I thought it would be good experience and an opportunity to have a bit of fun," she said. "The cameras are something I love."

Sherene Hassan, executive committee member of the Islamic Council of Victoria, said Sheik Omran's comments were unfair.

"He is entitled to his opinion, but people should be aware he does not represent the mainstream Muslim community," Ms Hassan said.

She said she felt beauty contests were exploitative, but she supported Ms Ahmet's right to make her own choice.

Ms Hassan said she never judged women by the clothes they wore. Mr Ahmet said his daughter was entitled to participate.

"We are not flying any flags. We are Australians first and foremost," Mr Ahmet said.

I wonder if Sheik Mohammed Omran would object to making Ayten Ahmet one of his wives?
My guess is no.

Friday, August 25, 2006

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Much ado about Pluto

In photo: Pluto

Pluto's Planetary Status Looks Doomed
Thursday, August 24, 2006


Leading astronomers are bitterly divided over new galactic guidelines that for the first time would define what is and isn't a planet. The debate all but dooms a proposal being put to a vote Thursday to expand the solar system to 12 planets from the traditional nine.

Caught yet again in the crossfire is puny Pluto, scorned by many as a poser that could be demoted as a dwarf — slightly shrinking Earth's neighborhood instead.

Opponents "smell blood, and I think they're going to get it," Alan Boss, an astrophysicist at the Carnegie Institution in Washington, D.C., said on the eve of a vote by members of the International Astronomical Union.

Leaders of the group, the official arbiter of heavenly bodies, caused a sensation last week by proposing that Pluto's largest moon and two other objects officially be designated as planets. They suggested that Pluto and the three newcomers be the first of a new class of planet dubbed "plutons." Rest of story here.

For me anyways...Pluto will always be the ninth and final planet in our solar system.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

China's Emergence as the anti-United States Choice

While America has its eyes focused on the JonBenet Ramsey circus, Venezuela's President Chavez is spending the week in China selling oil. China has already established significant trade agreements with Cuba and will be doing oil expiration/drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. It also has extensive trade agreements with Iran. With America losing respect worldwide, China has emerged as an alternate choice for many leftist countries.

China isn't limiting itself to just economic development. China is also investing heavily in its military. According to the Pentagon Beijing is investing heavily in military force, "particularly in its strategic arsenal and capabilities designed to improve its ability to project power beyond its borders."

Chavez: China to Expand Oil Cooperation


BEIJING -- Visiting Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez said China will expand its cooperation in oil exploration and help his country build a fiber-optic communications network under agreements to be signed in Beijing this week.

The visit by Chavez, who arrived in the Chinese capital early Wednesday, comes amid growing Venezuelan oil sales to China, which wants increased access to Latin American energy sources for its booming economy. Chavez also plans to go to Malaysia and Angola.

In China, Chavez is to meet with President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao and also visit the eastern city of Jinan.

Chavez said Venezuela's growing relations with China are part of his government's efforts to create a "multipolar" world to counter U.S. hegemony. He accuses Washington of using its might to bully countries like his own from developing military technology.

The left-leaning Chavez has forged strong ties with Beijing since taking office in 1998. He said last week that he will buy Chinese-made oil tankers and seal an oil exploration deal.

"We're going to sign a series of agreements for another leap in energy cooperation," Chavez said after arriving in Beijing. He said they would include accords for China to begin extra-heavy oil production in Venezuela's Orinoco River basin and to jointly develop the eastern Zumano oil and gas fields.

Venezuela, the world's No. 5 oil exporter, currently sells 150,000 barrels of crude, fuel oil and other petroleum products a day to China. Venezuela says it plans to increase that amount to 200,000 barrels this year.

The United States is the No. 1 buyer of Venezuelan crude, but Chavez's government has sought to sell more to other countries.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Too Close to the Truth

Two Islamist spies met in a busy downtown restaurant after they had successfully slipped into United States.

The first spy started speaking in Arabic. The second spy shushes him quickly and says:

Don't blow our cover. You're in American now...speak Spanish.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Emboldened Iran

Iran Test-Fires 10 Short-Range Missiles

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran test-fired 10 surface-to-surface short-range missiles on Sunday, a day after it launched a series of large-scale military exercises throughout the country, state-run television reported. The Saegheh missile had a range of between 50 and 150 miles, the report said. It did not specify whether the missile was capable of carrying a nuclear warhead, but it was not believed to be.

State-run television said the missile was built based on domestic know-how, although outside experts say much of the country's missile technology originated from other countries.

Iranian military forces alight from a helicopter during a training exercise in Zahedan, in the southeastern province of Sistan va Baluchistan, Iran, on Saturday Aug. 19, 2006. Iran on Saturday launched a series of large-scale military maneuvers aimed at introducing, what is being called, the country's new defensive doctrine, state-run television reported. (AP Photo/ISNA, Mehdi Ghasemi)
Iranian military forces alight from a helicopter during a training exercise in Zahedan, in the southeastern province of Sistan va Baluchistan, Iran, on Saturday Aug. 19, 2006. Iran on Saturday launched a series of large-scale military maneuvers aimed at introducing, what is being called, the country's new defensive doctrine, state-run television reported. (AP Photo/ISNA, Mehdi Ghasemi) (Hasan Sarbakhshian -
Iran said it launched the new military exercises Saturday to introduce a new defensive doctrine.

"We have to be prepared against any threat and we should be a role model for other countries," local newspapers quoted army spokesman Gen. Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, as saying earlier this week.

The military exercises come as Iran faces heightened international scrutiny because of its contentious nuclear program and for supporting the guerrilla group Hezbollah in Lebanon.

The U.N. Security Council passed a resolution last month calling for Iran to suspend uranium enrichment by Aug. 31 or face the threat of economic and diplomatic sanctions.

Iran, which claims its nuclear program is peaceful, has rejected as "illegal" the binding resolution, saying it had not violated any of its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation treaty. But it promised to offer a formal response to a package of Western incentives on Tuesday.

Iran also has denied Israeli accusations it is arming and training Hezbollah fighters but also has declared Hezbollah victorious in its battle against the Jewish state.

The Islamic Republic is concerned about the U.S. military presence in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan. It also has expressed worry about Israeli threats to destroy its nuclear facilities.

Iran already is equipped with the Shahab-3 missile, which is capable of carrying a nuclear warhead. An upgraded version of the ballistic missile has a range of more than 1,200 miles and can reach Israel and U.S. forces in the Middle East.

Last year, former Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said Tehran had successfully tested a solid fuel motor for the Shahab-3, a technological breakthrough for the country's military.

Iran's military test-fired a series of missiles during large-scale war games in the Persian Gulf in March and April, including a missile it claimed was not detectable by radar that can use multiple warheads to hit several targets simultaneously.

State-run TV also reported that a small military training plane had crashed on Sunday. The plane was not participating in the military maneuvers, the TV said, stating the crash was due to technical failures and the only pilot in the plane parachuted to safety.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Hezbollah: Victorious in the Eyes of Most Arabs

Hezbollah didn't defeat Israel's army. They weren't able to stop Israel from invading. They weren't even able to defend their strongholds. They used civilians as human shields. Their infrastructure is in tatters and many of their soldiers have been killed. Still, at least in the eyes of most Arabs, Hezbollah was victorious.

Associated Press

CAIRO, Egypt - Babies have been named "Hezbollah" and "Nasrallah." Even some die-hard secularists are praising the Shiite fundamentalist militia in the wake of its cease-fire with Israel - saying its fighters restored their feelings of honor and dignity.

But behind the outpouring of support for Hezbollah in recent days, some in the Middle East are increasingly worried about the rising power of religious extremists.

"The last thing I expected is to fall in love with a turbaned cleric," wrote Howeida Taha, a strongly secular columnist in Egypt, in the Al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper this week. "I don't like them, and of course they will never like somebody like me ... (but) I feel I've been searching for Nasrallah with my eyes, heart and mind. I feel Nasrallah lives within me."

Yet, she added, "No matter how much we admire Hezbollah's fighters' bravery, the last thing we want to see is the rise of a religious party in Egypt."

Around the Arab world, Hezbollah was widely seen as the victor in the 34-day war with Israel, because of the tougher-than-expected resistance it put up under Israel's relentless bombardment and heavy ground assaults.

As a result, Hezbollah and its leader, Sheik Hassan Nasrallah, have emerged as popular heroes.

"Thanks be to God and to Hezbollah," read the banner of an opposition independent weekly, Al-Destour, in Egypt on Wednesday.

More than 120 babies born during the war have been named after Nasrallah in the Egyptian city of Alexandria, according to the official registrar there. In Gaza City, there are at least a dozen newborns named Hezbollah, (Party of God) Nasrallah (Victory from God) or Hassan.

On an Islamist Web site for youth, based in Egypt, many women wrote saying they would love to marry someone like Nasrallah.

"I want to marry one of Nasrallah's three boys and dedicate myself to resistance and pride of my (Islamic) community," said Noha Hussein, a university student in Cairo.

Necklaces and key chains with his image are now in style, the Web site notes.

Much of the enthusiasm has come from finally seeing an Arab military force dig in against Israel.

Arab nations fought several wars with Israel - in 1948, 1956, 1967 and 1973, as well as Israel's previous two invasions of Lebanon. The first three were heavy defeats for Arab armies, and though Egypt's army saw dramatic successes in 1973, the battle had swung to Israel's favor by the time it ended.

In the eyes of many Arabs, Hezbollah's performance shook the Israeli military's image of invulnerability.

"The Lebanese people may have lost a lot of economic and human resources .... but away from figures and calculations, they have achieved a lot of gains," said Youssef al-Rashed, a columnist for the Kuwaiti daily Al-Anba.

Lebanon's "heroic resistance fighters have proven to the world that Lebanese borders are not open to Israeli tanks without a price," he wrote Tuesday. "Lebanon was victorious in the battle of dignity and honor."

Also, the image of a guerrilla force doing what a regular army could not has apparently deepened the popular resentment toward Arab governments.

"The crux of the problem in Lebanon is that a political movement became bigger than the state," said Maamoun Fandy, the director of the Middle East program at London's International Institute for Strategic Studies. "The same syndrome - a perceived lack of legitimacy of governments that are being challenged by armed political movements - can be seen in many Arab and Muslim states. ... Their message is that movements can do what states failed to do, and can restore the honor that governments have squandered."

Awni Shatarat, a Palestinian refugee from Baqaa camp, is among those who strongly view Hezbollah as victorious.

"Israel was defeated by a small group, which succeeded in demolishing the image of the undefeatable army," he said.

But others are far more critical of Hezbollah and pessimistic about what the war might bring.

Jordan's former information minister, Saleh Qallab, said Hezbollah's new strength could now be turned against the anti-Syrian, pro-democracy movement that gained power in Lebanon last year - "which means that a civil war is imminent in Lebanon, unless a miracle occurs."

"Do we call this a victory?" he said.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

The Rise of the Shi'ite Crescent

Shiites, the second largest branch of Islam, comprise less than 20 percent of the world's Muslims. They broke off from mainstream Islam after the death of the Prophet Mohammed in AD 632 over who should be his chosen successor. Unlike Sunnis, they believe Islam's leader should be a direct descendant of the Prophet

Shi'ite-ism was born as a protest group of sorts within Islam. Since AD 680, Shi'ites have been marginalized in Muslim societies for religious, political, and demographic reasons. In Iraq, Shiites suffered from two major crackdowns at the hands of Saddam Hussein's Sunni Baathist regime: one in the late 1970s and early 1980s, and another after the 1991 Gulf War, when a Shiite uprising was brutally put down. In Saudi Arabia, the Usuli Shi'ites community, based mainly in the oil-rich province of al-Hasa, is not officially recognized by the Saudi regime. Shi'ites—whether Arabs or not—still largely identify themselves, Aslan says, as "a persecuted yet righteous minority surrounded by a persecuting and unjust Sunni majority." In modern times, they often have been associated with Marxists and secularists.

Historically, Sunni Muslims have dominated the Islamic world but now coinciding with the rise of Iran, Shi'ite Muslims are becoming more powerful...both politically and militarily. Many Sunni leaders have voiced their concern. Arab nations long have been wary of non-Arab, Shi'ite Iran and worry that an alliance with a Shi'ite-ruled Iraq would shift the balance of power in a region dominated for centuries by Sunni Muslims. The largely Sunni Muslim regimes also fear such an alliance would inspire unrest among their Shi'ite populations, which have long complained of discrimination. Jordan's King Abdullah II told The Washington Post in December that Iran was seeking to create "a Shi'ite crescent" in the Middle East that would include Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. The comments angered Iran, and the king later said he was not opposed to Shi'ites.

Many of these Arab nations targeted their anger at Hezbollah for starting a war with Israel but as Israel failed giving Hezbollah a crushing defeat and casualties to Lebanon's civilian populations mounted, many of these same Arab nations started condemning Israel...even if this was only to satisfy the more radical Islamist in their own countries.

One has to wonder if the United States and Israel has helped Iran in their goal. Now, for the first time, a Shi'ite-run Arab state exists, thanks to the U.S. military. Confounding Washington's expectations, Iraq's Shia majority has put its religious identity ahead of its national and ethnic identification and embraced Iran. In Lebanon, the popularity of Hezbollah has never been stronger and they may also gain political power even if they lose some of their military power.

Meanwhile, Iran's power is waxing on the world stage, fueled by its massive oil revenues, defiant pursuit of nuclear weapons and sponsorship of populist Shi'ite heroes Hezbollah.

One terrifying aspect of this issue could throw all bets off as far as engaging Iran from a rational-realist perspective: growing Shi'ite apocalypticism. Islam teaches that a messianic figure called the Mahdi will emerge in a time of cataclysmic violence to usher in the end of the world.

Iran's fanatical president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, believes himself destined to prepare the Mahdi's path. Apocalyptic slogans recently have begun to appear on walls in Baghdad's Shia slums.

Something dangerous is happening.

Monday, August 14, 2006

No Surprises Here

Hizbullah refuses to disarm in south Lebanon

Jerusalem Post

The Lebanese government was scheduled to meet on Sunday to discuss the disarming of Hizbullah south of the Litani River, but postponed that meeting following indications by the guerrilla group that they would not do so.

Hizbullah's refusal was conveyed to Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Saniora through the group's representative in the Lebanese parliament, Nabih Berri.

This is despite Lebanon's Prime Minister demanding that Hezbollah disarm.
Hezbollah has created a "state within a state" in Lebanon and must be disarmed, the country's Prime Minister says.

Fouad Siniora said the Shiite militia had been doing the bidding of Syria and Iran, and could only be disarmed with the help of the international community once a ceasefire had been achieved.

"The entire world must help us disarm Hezbollah. But first we need to reach a ceasefire," Mr Siniora told Milan-based newspaper Corriere della Sera.

Are we once again about to see how toothless the UN and its resolutions are?

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Say It Ain't So...

Recent reports filtering around various new sources claim a deal is in the works that Israel will accept a cease-fire without the disarmament of Hezbollah. Any way that you look at it, this is an unmitigated defeat for Israel and a victory for our enemies. Hezbollah has successfully stood up to mighty Israel and will become heroes to their Islamic comrades. The IDF will lose face and Northern Israel will still be in sight of Hezbollah's rockets.

Cease-fire: Getting It Right
Peter Brookes | August 10, 2006
Any U.N. cease-fire agreement aimed at ending the violence between Israel and Hezbollah is worthless unless it leads to the disarming of the terrorist group. Plain and simple.

Without a demobilization process, we're sure to see a resumption of the current bloody fighting across the Lebanese border -- between the same two parties -- again at some point in the future.

The problem is that, after almost four weeks of fighting, Hezbollah has little motivation to agree to such an end-state. Unfortunately, Hezbollah is feeling pretty darn good about itself these days.

It's no surprise. The relatively puny terrorist group has withstood repeated body blows on the ground and from the air by the mighty Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), the Middle East's most capable conventional military.

Even today, nearly a month after hostilities began with Israel, Hezbollah continues to launch tens -- if not hundreds -- of crude, but deadly, Katyusha rockets into Israeli cities on a daily basis (more than 3,000 to date).

In fact, some military analysts have sheepishly called the war "a stalemate," criticizing Israel's political and military leadership for its campaign strategy -- and for losing the public-relations war through some questionable targeting.

As a result, Hezbollah's leader, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, has become a veritable rock star in the region and across the Muslim world, thumbing his nose at Israeli intelligence as he hides in a bunker somewhere beneath Lebanon.

Plus, Hezbollah is getting unexpected political support from across the region. It has, of course, the full backing of its puppeteers, Syria and Iran, who have funded, trained and supported the group for years.

But now, Shia Hezbollah, which was initially criticized -- by even its fellow countrymen -- for picking a fight with Israel is beginning to receive support from its long-standing Lebanese rivals such as the Sunni and Christian communities.

And other Arab states that were none too happy with Hezbollah -- and Iran and Syria -- for creating unwanted regional instability, and icing any prospects for progress on the Middle East peace process, have started to quietly rally to Nasrallah's side.

Arguably, Hezbollah is more powerful than at any time since it sent the Israelis packing from Lebanon in 2000. So the question is: Why would it give up that hard-fought clout now by demobilizing?

Sure, Hezbollah could get completely out of the terrorist and militia business and throw its newfound heft fully into politics. It already holds 14 seats in the Lebanese parliament and two cabinet posts in the government.

Riding a wave of unprecedented popularity from the war, it certainly could pick up more seats in the 128-seat parliament in the next election -- perhaps even win enough to run the Lebanese central government.

Indeed, Hezbollah's militia -- consisting of 2,000-4,000 well-trained guerilla fighters -- could become the new backbone of a reinvigorated Lebanese army, capable of providing for the country's sovereignty and national defense.

But the sad fact is that such a peaceful transition is unlikely. In its own eyes -- and that of its sponsors in Tehran and Damascus -- Hezbollah is nothing if it isn't a well-armed anti-American, anti-Israeli resistance group.

Unless there is a significant Israeli military breakthrough in the conflict, such as cutting short the reign of Nasrallah, breaking Hezbollah's resolve (and that of its outside supporters) is going to be tough.

So while a U.N. cease-fire to end the ongoing hostilities and suffering is, in principle, a worthwhile diplomatic endeavor, in the end, any resolution must lead to neutralizing -- not preserving -- Hezbollah's militia capability.

I think I'm going to be sick to my stomach...

UPDATE:Israel confirmed on Friday that Prime Minister Ehud Olmert had ordered the army to expand its ground offensive against Hizbollah in Lebanon but said the decision "does not exclude a diplomatic solution".

The move, announced by Israel's Foreign Ministry, came shortly after U.S. and British ambassadors at the United Nations said Security Cuncil members were on the verge of a deal on a resolution aimed at halting the month-old war.

Apparently Israel realized the colossal mistake the cease-fire agreement would have been.

Let's Keep This Simple

Terror Plot Failed

British authorities said Thursday they had thwarted a major terrorist plot to simultaneously blow up several aircraft heading to the U.S. using explosives smuggled in hand luggage, averting what police described as "mass murder on an unimaginable scale."

Twenty-one suspects are in custody, after a series of arrests overnight.

The U.S. issued its highest terrorism alert ever, red, for commercial flights from Britain to the United States and raised the threat level for all domestic and international flights. All other flights, including all domestic flights in the United States, were put under an orange alert, one step below the highest level.

The Department of Homeland Security is taking immediate steps to increase security measures in the aviation sector in coordination with heightened security precautions in the United Kingdom. Over the last few hours, British authorities have arrested a significant number of extremists engaged in a substantial plot to destroy multiple passenger aircraft flying from the United Kingdom to the United States.

Apparently with Hezbollah getting all the recent media coverage, Al Qaeda was feeling left out.

Does anyone still believe this isn't a GLOBAL WAR on terrorism?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Honesty and Integrity Not Needed

"In matters of war we undermine presidential credibility at our nation's peril." Joe Lieberman

Once again the Democratic Party has proven that having high standards of integrity and honesty are detrimental to one's political future in the Democratic Party. While Senators such as John Kerry flip-flop one day to the next depending on political polls, those who stayed true to their beliefs may find themselves out of a job.

Lieberman Persona Non Grata with Democrat Leadership

By Sher Zieve – Senator Joe Lieberman’s problems are said to go beyond his support for the Iraq war. The Connecticut Democrat has been portrayed by his Democrat opponent and the Democrat leadership as unquestioningly following President Bush’s stance in regards to Iraq.

But, an even greater reason for Lieberman’s new found disdain from his own party is said to be his attempts at bi-partisanship towards the formation of a cooperative relationship with Republicans. His stance for strong foreign policy and his values-based politics are being suggested by the Washington Post as his ultimate downfall within the Democrat Party. It is reported that Lieberman is not partisan enough and hasn't more viciously attacked members of the Republican Party.

Reflecting the liberal point of view, William A. Galston of the Brookings Institution said: “…this president and this administration manifestly have played politics with foreign policy, and their chief political adviser has been totally frank about that. I think it would have been permissible and even advisable for Joe Lieberman to conclude at some point that a bipartisan foreign policy has got to be a two-way street. He really didn't."

Lieberman was condemned by Democrats when, after visiting Iraq in November 2005, he wrote an Op/Ed piece for the Wall Street Journal that spoke to the positive things occurring in Iraq. Lieberman commented: "I wasn't thinking as a Democrat. I was thinking as an American senator who went to Iraq and saw some progress and wanted to report it to the American people because I feel so deeply that the way this ends will have serious consequences for the future of this country."

The majority of Democrat leaders are said to be supporting Lieberman’s opponent, anti-war candidate Ned Lamont, in the Connecticut senatorial race.

There was some good news for the Democratic Party yesterday...Cynthia McKinney was handily defeated in her primary runoff.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Need a New Kidney?

China faces suspicions about organ harvesting

By Gregory M. Lamb | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
A pair of human rights activists are charging that "a crime against humanity" is happening on a large scale in China. Members of Falun Gong, a spiritual movement banned by the Chinese government since 1999, are being "in effect, murdered for their organs," which are being sold to buyers from China and abroad, says David Kilgour, a former member of the Canadian Parliament and coauthor of the report.

Mr. Kilgour and his partner, Canadian human rights lawyer David Matas, are now traveling the world speaking with governments and professional and human rights organizations urging further investigation of the allegations. Early last month, the pair released a report ( laying out details of an investigation they undertook on behalf of a Falun Gong support group, the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of the Falun Gong in China.

"Ideally, we would like to pursue further research before we come to any firm conclusions," the two conceded, while noting the difficulty in obtaining accurate information within the closed society of the People's Republic of China.

But while the evidence may not persuade everyone who reads their report, it is strong enough in their minds to render a verdict. "Based on what we now know, we have come to the regrettable conclusion that the allegations are true," the report says. "We believe that there has been and continues today to be large-scale organ seizures from unwilling Falun Gong practitioners."

The source of some 41,500 organ transplants in China in the years 2000 through 2005 remains unexplained, leading to the possibility that they may be the result of the execution of Falun Gong members, the report says.

The Chinese government "since 1999 have put to death a large but unknown number of Falun Gong prisoners of conscience," the report alleges. Their vital organs were seized involuntarily "for sale at high prices, sometimes to foreigners, who normally face long waits for voluntary donations of such organs in their home countries."

The Falun Gong movement, whose guiding principles are truthfulness, compassion, and forbearance, was founded in China in 1992 by Li Hongzhi, who now lives in the United States. Its philosophies incorporate ideas from Buddhism and Taoism and include slow-motion meditative exercises. Falun Gong is generally seen as a peaceful and law-abiding movement outside China, but within its borders it is officially deemed a dangerous cult. For several years, Falun Gong followers around the world

Phone transcripts: Shopping for Falun Gong organs

As part of their report alleging that China was executing Falun Gong prisoners and harvesting their organs for transplantation, Canadian lawyers and human rights activists David Kilgour and David Matas included transcripts of telephone calls made by Mandarin Chinese speakers from North America to hospitals and other institutions in China. The callers inquired about the availability of organs from Falun Gong prisoners. The caller below is identified only as "M" to protect his or her identity. Excerpts from English translations of some of the transcripts follow:

From a call to "Li" at the Mijiang City Detention Center in Heilongjiang Province (June 8, 2006):

M: Do you have Falun Gong [organ] suppliers? ...

Li: We used to have, yes.

M: What about now?

Li: ... Yes.


M: Can we come to select, or you provide directly to us?

Li: We provide them to you.

M: What about the price?

Li: We discuss after you come.


From a call to Shanghai's Zhongshan Hospital Organ Transplant Clinic (March 16, 2006):

M: ... So how long do I have to wait [for organ transplant surgery]?

Doctor: About a week after you come....

M: Is there the kind of organs that come from Falun Gong? I heard that they are very good.

Doctor: All of ours are those types.

From a call to "Dr. Lu" at Nanning City Minzu Hospital in Guangxi Autonomous Region (May 22, 2006):

M: Could you find organs from Falun Gong practitioners?

Dr. Lu: Let me tell you, we have no way to get [them]. It's rather difficult to get it now in Guangxi. If you cannot wait, I suggest you go to Guangzhou because it's very easy for them to get the organs....

M: Then they use organs from Falun Gong practitioners?

Lu: Correct....

M: ... What you used before [organs from Falun Gong practitioners], were they from detention center[s] or prison[s]?

Lu: From prisons.

M: ... And it was from healthy Falun Gong practitioners...?

Lu: Correct. We would choose the good ones because we assure the quality in our operation.

From a call to "Dr. Dai" at Shanghai Jiaotong University Hospital's Liver Transplant Center (March 16, 2006):

M: I want to know how long [the patients] have to wait [for a liver transplant].

Dr. Dai: The supply of organs we have, we have every day. We do them every day.

M: We want fresh, alive ones.

Dr. Dai: They are all alive, all alive....


M: I heard some come from those who practice Falun Gong, those who are very healthy.

Dr. Dai: Yes, we have. I can't talk clearly to you over the phone.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Is This What We've Been Fighting for?

Are we uniting Shi'ites and Sunnis?

This past week up to one million Iraqi Shi'ites have marched in Baghdad burning American and Israeli flags. George Bush and Tony Blair were burned in effigy. These are the same people we rescued from Saddam Hussein. With almost 25,000 injuries and fatalities, American military members from all branches of service, have shed their own blood so that these "people" would have the freedom to march in protest. Under Saddam Hussein, they would have been killed for this act, but now they shout death to those who have freed them.

This shouldn't be much of a surprise. They do the same in Kuwait, a country we rescued from Saddam's grip. When Kuwait was being robbed of its riches and their woman being raped, it was America who led the charge to save them...not their Arab brothers.

Iraqis In Mass Protest Against U.S., Israel

Pro-Hezbollah Rally Called By Radical Cleric Attracts Thousands

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Thousands of Shiite Muslims marched though the Iraqi capital Friday in support of Hezbollah guerrillas battling Israeli forces in Lebanon, answering a call by radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr to rally to the cause of their fellow Shiites.

Throngs of Shiite men, most clad in white burial shrouds that symbolized their willingness to die, gathered in the northeast Baghdad slum known as Sadr City. Then they marched toward the center of the capital, chanting: "We will step over America. We are Hezbollah."

Other demonstrators waved the yellow flag of Hezbollah, the red-and-green flag of Lebanon and numerous banners, including one that read: "Death to America and Israel, the enemies of humanity." Occasionally, protesters stopped to desecrate the Israeli flag.

Are we just playing into Iran's ambitions by creating an Iran dominant southern Iraq?

Friday's demonstration was the latest sign that the fighting in Lebanon is sparking outrage across the Middle East, especially among Shiites. The large turnout, along with the absence of reported violence, also suggested that Sadr's ability to rally legions of followers remains strong at a time when factional militias dominate Baghdad.

"Today, we proved that there is no violence among our ranks and the Iraqis are fully in support of the Lebanese people," said Sahib al-Amiry, who heads a branch of Sadr's organization.

Are these people really worth losing American lives over? Are they worth the $400 billion that could have gone to research alternative energy sources or building new nuclear power stations? I think the best thing that could happen would be an all-out war between Shi'ites and Sunnis but it looks like our policies might be bringing these sides together.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Iraqi Civil War Imminent?

Generals warn fears of civil war

TWO senior US generals fear growing violence between Shiite and Sunni Muslims threatens to plunge Iraq into civil war.
"I believe that the sectarian violence is probably as bad as I've seen it, in Baghdad in particular, and that if not stopped, it is possible that Iraq could move towards civil war," said General John Abizaid, the top US military officer in the Middle East.

General Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff and thus the top general at the Pentagon, agreed with the assessment.

"I believe that we do have the possibility of that devolving to a civil war, but that does not have to be a fact," Pace said. Read more..

IRAQ: Shi'ites march in Baghdad

Thousands of Shi'ite civilians charged with guarding neighbourhoods in Iraq marched through Baghdad yesterday in a show of force likely to stir passions in a country ravaged by sectarian violence.

Young men in civilian uniforms and headbands, all members of what is known as the popular committees, chanted as a speaker called on them to crush 'terrorists' and loyalists of ousted President Saddam Hussein leading a Sunni Arab insurgency against the Shi'ite-led government. Read more...

Ambassador warns of Iraq civil war

LONDON, England (CNN) -- The UK's outgoing ambassador to Baghdad has warned government ministers that a civil war in Iraq is more likely than a successful transition to democracy, according to a news report.

William Patey also predicted the division of Iraq along ethnic lines, in a confidential memo addressed to the Prime Minister, Foreign Secretary, Defense Secretary and senior military leaders.

Patey's warning was contained in his final diplomatic cable, leaked to the BBC, before leaving office last week, the BBC reported.

"The prospect of a low intensity civil war and a de facto division of Iraq is probably more likely at this stage than a successful and substantial transition to a stable democracy," Patey wrote. Read more...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Civil War in Iraq?

Leaked memo: Civil war most likely outcome in Iraq

Outgoing British ambassador to Iraq also predicts the country will break up along sectarian lines.

The BBC reports that the confidential leaked memo also predicted the breakup of Iraq along ethnic lines into three separate countries. While "not hopeless," Mr. Patey wrote, it will remain a "difficult and messy" situation for the next five to ten years.

Patey wrote: "The prospect of a low intensity civil war and a de facto division of Iraq is probably more likely at this stage than a successful and substantial transition to a stable democracy.

"Even the lowered expectation of President Bush for Iraq – a government that can sustain itself, defend itself and govern itself and is an ally in the war on terror – must remain in doubt."

I have been thinking this is probably inevitable myself.
Was this worth the loss of so many American lives?
I still believe that if we didn't take the war to the terrorist, there would have been more terrorist attacks here in United States.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Why Have the Democrats Abandoned Lieberman?

In Lieberman Fight, Some Faithful Feel Torn

Just two Presidential elections ago, Lieberman was the Democratic candidate for Vice President. Now it seems that most Democrats are supporting his challenger, Ned Lamont, for the Democratic Senate primary. John Kerry has even stated that he is willing to campaign against the incumbent. Could it be because he has remained true to his word and maintained his support for the war in Iraq? Is honesty and integrity no longer considered desired values among Democrats? Even Hillary Clinton, the face of the Democratic Party, has received criticism for maintaining her support for the Iraqi war.

As Senator Joseph I. Lieberman battles to retain his seat in Connecticut, some factions within the national Democratic Party are quietly preparing to campaign against the three-term senator if he loses the primary on Tuesday and runs as an independent in the general election in November, numerous Democrats said yesterday.

Furthermore, some forces within the party, including Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts, will be willing to campaign actively for Mr. Lamont if he is pitted against Mr. Lieberman in the general election, many Democratic officials said. Some Democratic officials also say the Democratic National Committee will probably support Mr. Lamont if he wins the primary, though Howard Dean, the party’s chairman, has been neutral leading up to the primary.

That would set the stage for an extraordinary battle pitting some national Democrats against a fixture of the party who was their own vice presidential candidate in 2000.

Many Democrats continue to maintain that they hope Mr. Lieberman defeats Mr. Lamont next week, rendering the matter moot. “I hope he wins,’’ said Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa, referring to Mr. Lieberman. “Will I support him if he doesn’t win the primary? We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.”

But with the most recent Quinnipiac University poll showing Mr. Lamont running even or slightly ahead of Mr. Lieberman, some Democrats in Washington said yesterday that a Lamont primary victory could provide an opportunity to shift the party in a more progressive direction — away from supporting the war in Iraq and toward policies that favor withdrawing troops.

For figures like Mr. Kerry, who was the party’s presidential nominee in 2004 and is considering running again in 2008, the race could also offer a platform to broadcast opposition to the war.

Let's hope Kerry decides again to run for President, that should almost guarantee another Republican victory.

Last week Joe Lieberman stated "if people question whether I'm a democratic, the democratic party is in trouble."

If any further proof is needed...the New York Times has endorsed Ned Lamont.

The Times even has the gall to claim the anti-war, liberal-beloved Lamont is a moderate:

“Mr. Lamont, a wealthy businessman from Greenwich, seems smart and moderate, and he showed spine in challenging the senator while other Democrats groused privately. He does not have his opponent’s grasp of policy yet. But this primary is not about Mr. Lieberman’s legislative record. Instead it has become a referendum on his warped version of bipartisanship, in which the never-ending war on terror becomes an excuse for silence and inaction.”

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