Sunday, 25 January 2009
GUANTANAMO & THE WAR ON TERROR
Like I said yesterday, it is a lot easier to sign a piece of paper that ends
someone else's policy than it is to sign one that implements an alternative.
Monday-morning quarterbacking is easy. Barack Obama did it for an
entire campaign. Well, now he's got the ball. And god help us if he
drops it, especially as it relates to the war on terror - the war that Mr. Obama
seems to think is nonexistent.
Close Guantanamo, Mr. President? Ok, you signed the piece of
paper. Congratulations. Now read this, which comes from Agence
France-Presse. Especially the parts I've put in bold print:
Two ex-Guantanamo inmates appear in
WASHINGTON (AFP) Two men released from the US
"war on terror" prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba have appeared in a video posted
on a jihadist website, the SITE monitoring service reported.
One of the two former inmates, a Saudi man
identified as Abu Sufyan al-Azdi al-Shahri, or prisoner number 372, has been
elevated to the senior ranks of Al-Qaeda in Yemen, a US counter-terrorism
official told AFP.
Three other men appear in the video, including Abu
al-Hareth Muhammad al-Oufi, identified as an Al-Qaeda field commander. SITE
later said he was prisoner No. 333.
A Pentagon spokesman, Commander Jeffrey Gordon, on
Saturday declined to confirm the SITE information.
"We remain concerned about ex-Guantanamo
detainees who have re-affiliated with terrorist organizations after their
departure," said Gordon.
"We will continue to work with the international
community to mitigate the threat they pose," he said.
On the video, al-Shihri is seen sitting with three
other men before a flag of the Islamic State of Iraq, the front for Al-Qaeda in
"By Allah, imprisonment only increased our
persistence in our principles for which we went out, did jihad for, and were
imprisoned for," al-Shihri was quoted as saying.
Al-Shiri was transferred from Guantanamo to Saudi
Arabia in 2007, the US counter-terrorism official said.
The other men in the video are identified as
Commander Abu Baseer al-Wahayshi and Abu Hureira Qasm al-Rimi (also known as Abu
The Defense Department has said as many as 61
former Guantanamo detainees -- about 11 percent of 520 detainees transferred
from the detention center and released -- are believed to have returned to the
The latest case highlights the risk the
new US administration faces as it moves to empty Guantanamo of its remaining 245
prisoners and close the controversial detention camp within a year.
President Obama: Did you read that article? In it, did you see
any quote that gave you the impression these "people" were innocents who should
not have been detained? That all they want is to go back to their homes
and families to resume their peaceful lives?
Or did you see words that communicate "I'm a terrorist and now that I'm
out I'm even more determined to be a terrorist"?
Well, you signed the executive order closing Guantanamo. Just like you
would sign a credit card slip after paying for lunch at TGI Friday's.
Easy as easy can be.
Now: What the hell are you going to do to protect us? Where are
you going to send the hundreds of Guantanamo detainees you've just declared
And who is going to advise you on it? code pink?
moveon.org? nancy pelosi? al sharpton?
This is for real now, Mr. President. Start acting like what you were
elected to be.
GAZA'S CHILDREN: WHERE DOES THE HATRED COME FROM?
Following are excerpts from a
stunningly tone-deaf Assocated Press article, which talks about the effect
of Israel's attack on Gaza's children:
Israeli war against Hamas scars Gaza's
They quickly filled the pages passed around by
trauma counselors with pictures of Israeli tanks, dead bodies and Palestinians
firing assault rifles scenes
they saw when Israel's war on Hamas came into their neighborhood.
"We felt we will die soon," 11-year-old Sharif
Abed Rabbo told the group, describing his family's escape. "And I am sad I lost
Psychologists say Israel's three-week offensive inflicted more severe
trauma than previous conflicts in Gaza because
civilians in the crowded sliver of territory had no safe place to run. A wartime
study among hundreds of Gaza children showed a rise in nightmares, bedwetting
and other signs of trauma, said psychologist Fadel Abu Hein.
Counselors and aid workers fear that Gaza's children,
who make up 56 percent of the 1.4 million people here, will grow up hating
Israel and become easier prey for extremists.
"We are losing the next generation," said John
Ging, the top U.N. aid official in Gaza. As a buffer against militancy, U.N.
schools are launching human rights classes for their 200,000 students this
Children and teens were particularly vulnerable in
Israel's military offensive, launched Dec. 27 to try to halt eight years of
Hamas rocket fire on towns in
southern Israel. The rocket attacks have frightened children there and
frequently sent them running for cover.
Gaza's 221 U.N. schools are also trying to help
the children cope. On Saturday, the first day of school, teachers asked students
to share their stories.
The weekly human rights classes will include
lessons about nonviolent ways of solving conflicts. Ging said the new program
had been planned for awhile, but now has greater urgency.
"We have to stand with the mothers and fathers who
want their children to grow up to be doctors, lawyers and civilized in their
behavior and their thinking," Ging said. "But for sure, the circumstances here,
day by day, are working against all of us who have that agenda."
For 14-year-old Zakariya Baroud, the trauma is
still too real. He lost three classmates in an Israeli mortar attack that killed
42 people, most of them civilians, near a U.N. school in the Jebaliya refugee
camp. Israel said at the
time that troops were firing at a Palestinian rocket squad in the area.
Zakariya said he saw bodies strewn across the main
road, including that of his best friend, Bashar Deeb, with a deep gash in his
His father, Baker, spent eight years in Israeli
prisons for activities in the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a
violent group. He said he'd like Zakariya to attend university, but wouldn't
talk him out of taking up arms.
"He is seeing suffering right now," he said of his
son. "For 22 days, we were not able to sleep. He has witnessed the events by
himself, so he, by himself, hates Israel."
I initially read this story at www.freerepublic.com. And in its
"comments" section people posted these pictures, among others. Take a good
look and remember that they were taken long before Israel acted:
So when the UN aid guy cries crocodile tears over "losing" the children of
Gaza to hatred, he might want to consider where they were in the first
And about those "human rights" classes that the UN promises to launch? Where were
they for the last 40 years, during which
UN-run schools have been allowing textbooks which do not recognize the
existence of any part of Israel, proclaim that it must be vaporized for
Islam, tell the children how glorious it will be if they are
shaheed (martyrs) for this cause, and assure them that Jewish children were
born of monkeys and apes?
Where was the UN when all the children's shows on Gaza TV during this
entire period were telling children exactly the same thing?
Did the AP writer happen to notice the
thousands of attacks which, for years, have been launched into
Israel? Those don't count?
When Gazan children see rockets launched from where they live for the purpose of
killing other human beings, they're not traumatized?
And the trauma inflicted upon Israeli children in Sderot and other cities and villages which those thousands of Gazan
bombs were aimed at is not relevant?
If the AP and/or the UN think that Israel's attacks caused Gaza's children to be traumatized and to hate Israel, as though
the trauma and hatred weren't indelibly ingrained in them already by their
own people, they are brain dead.
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS: A NEW VIEW OF AFGHANISTAN
What a difference a change of administration makes.
Here, from Steve Gilbert's invaluable web site, www.sweetness-light.com, is an
Associated Press report on military action the US has taken in Afghanistan:
January 24th, 2009
From a suddenly tune-changing Associated Press:
Afghan villagers shout slogans against the U.S.
and Afghan government during a demonstration following a U.S. operation on
their village, in Mehterlam, capital of Laghman province, east of Kabul,
Afghanistan on Saturday, Jan. 24, 2009.
US, Afghan villagers differ over 15 killed in
By JASON STRAZIUSO and RAHIM FAIEZ, Associated
KABUL, Afghanistan The American coalition in
Afghanistan opened a joint U.S.-Afghan investigation Saturday into an
overnight raid that American commanders say killed 15 armed militants but that
two Afghan officials say killed 11 civilians
A detailed U.S. statement said multiple
teams of militants fired on the coalition forces early Saturday during a raid
against a Taliban commander in the eastern province of Laghman. The
U.S. said a woman carrying a rocket-propelled grenade was among the 15
"We know the people who were killed were
shooting at us," said Col. Greg Julian, the top U.S. spokesman in Afghanistan.
"The people who were killed today were running around, maneuvering against our
forces, and we killed them."
However, Sayed Ahmad Safi, the spokesman for
Laghmans governor, said that government intelligence reports indicated 11 of
the dead were civilians, including three children and two females. Two of the
dead were militants, he said
Julian said he had no doubts about the U.S.
version of the battle, but said a joint U.S.-Afghan investigation had been
launched to put the reports of civilian deaths to rest
The issue also sparks strong emotions among
average Afghans and threatens to turn civilians against the international
"Im ready to start jihad against
the Americans," an unidentified Afghan man told a Kabul TV station during a
protest Saturday in the capital of Laghman.
Earlier Saturday, Hamididan Abdul Rahmzai, the
head of the provincial council in Laghman, said village elders arrived at his
office hours after the early morning operation to complain that the 15 killed
were innocent civilians.
During a call from an Associated
Press reporter, Rahmzai relayed questions to the village elders directly, who
angrily shouted that they would swear on the Quran, the Muslim holy book, that
all those killed were civilians. The elders claimed that women and children
were among the dead.
The villagers told Rahmzai that they are
shepherds and have no ties to militants.
Evaluating competing claims from the U.S. or
NATO militaries and Afghan officials or villagers is extremely difficult.
Journalists and human rights monitors usually cannot reach the site of a raid
because the territory is too dangerous.
Afghan villagers have been known
to exaggerate civilian death claims in order to receive more compensation from
the U.S. military, and officials have said that insurgents sometimes force
villagers to make false death claims
We would appreciate it if anyone could find the
Associated Press ever making a similar admission in any of their reports over
the last six years.
Suddenly, with the ascension of Mr. Obama, it
turns out the locals might be lying about civilian deaths, after all. (Recall
the APs breathless coverage of Haditha, for instance.)
But what a coincidence, huh?
Wow. It's magic. Barack Obama takes over and
suddenly we're justified in attacking and killing "women and children".
Hey, these people are LIARS. They're using the women and children as
HUMAN SHIELDS while they attack us. We are JUSTIFIED in our actions.
I wonder how long it will take for the AP to see the light about Iraq too.
It better be fast: Saint Barack is an impatient
THE PATERSON/KENNEDY SCHLOSSBERG BATTLE CONTINUES
From today's New York Post (which, pretty obviously, is relishing this
KENNEDYS LIVID AS GOV ASKED CAROLINE TO
By GINGER ADAMS OTIS and BRAD
updated: 4:20 am
January 25, 2009
Posted: 2:14 am
An "apoplectic" Kennedy
family is seething over the rough treatment that heiress apparent Caroline got
from Gov. Paterson's office and is spoiling for revenge, several sources close
to the clan have told The Post.
"The governor's going to
pay for this," said a well-placed Democrat. "Ted is furious. The family is
furious. The Kennedys are now against the governor."
Among Paterson's offenses
was a request that Caroline lie about her unexpected withdrawal for "personal"
reasons, according to NY magazine.
"You can't withdraw.
You've got to stay in this thing, and I'll just not pick you," Paterson
reportedly told her over the phone late Wednesday.
Then a torrent of ugly
rumors spilled from Paterson's office about Caroline's taxes, about her nanny,
even about the state of her marriage - and Camelot's seeking payback, confidants
"I'm sure the family is
going to protect her," one source said. "What did Caroline do to deserve getting
dragged through the mud?"
Caroline emerged from her
Park Avenue pad yesterday to say, "I have plans, lots of plans," when asked
about her political future.
A confidant of hers said
Caroline held "conversations with the governor in which he'd indicated she was
"His office was aware of
every step she took," the confidant said. "He even called some upstate leaders
to tell them to meet with her."
Yet a high-ranking state
Democrat involved in the selection process insisted that Caroline's name was
by Susan Edelman, Maggie Haberman, Angela Montefinise, Stephen Nessen and
On the one side you have a dimwitted, incompetent joke of a "Governor" who is
in office only because his predecessor thought he could get away with anything -
and was wrong.
On the other side you have a media-anointed "Princess" with a horribly
bruised ego, and her enormously powerful family that thinks it can get away
with anything - and is usually right.
Somehow, I think I know which side is going to
GLOBAL WARMING UPDATE
The following global warming update comes to us from The National, an
English-language publication of the United Arab Emirates. Please read it
for the latest insight regarding the scourge of global warming:
This is the frozen north ... of the
- Last Updated: January 25. 2009 5:59PM UAE /
January 25. 2009 1:59PM GMT
RAS AL KHAIMAH // Snow covered the Jebel Jais area
for only the second time in recorded history yesterday.
So rare was the
event that one lifelong resident said the local dialect had no word for
According to the RAK Government, temperatures on Jebel Jais dropped
to -3C on Friday night. On Saturday, the area had reached 1C.
Major Saeed Rashid al Yamahi, a helicopter pilot
and the manager of the Air Wing of RAK Police, said the snow covered an area of
five kilometres and was 10cm deep.
The sight up there this morning was
totally unbelievable, with the snow-capped mountain and the entire area covered
with fresh, dazzling white snow, Major al Yamahi said.
started at 3pm Friday, and heavy snowing began at 8pm and continued till
midnight, covering the entire area in a thick blanket of snow. Much of the snow
was still there even when we flew back from the mountain this afternoon. It is
still freezing cold up there and there are chances that it might snow again
Aisha al Hebsy, a woman in her 50s who has lived
in the mountains near Jebel Jais all her life, said snowfall in the area was so
unheard of the local dialect does not even have a word for it. Hail is known as
bared, which literally translates as cold. Twenty years ago we had lots of
hail, said Ms al Hebsy. Last night was like this. At four in the morning we
came out and the ground was white.
Jebel Jais was dusted in snow on Dec
28, 2004, the first snowfall in living memory for Ras al Khaimah
I had flown there in 2004 when it snowed, but
this time it was much bigger and the snowing lasted longer as well, said Major
At the base of the mountains, residents also reported severe
hail on Friday night. We had hail. Last night was very cold, but there can only
be snow on Jebel Jais because its the tallest, said Fatima al Ali, 30, a
resident of a village beneath the mountains.
In Ras al Khaimah City, 25km from Jebel Jais,
sheet lightning and thunder shook houses.
Main roads from Qusaidat to
Nakheel were still badly flooded on Saturday, while temperatures at the RAK
International Airport fluctuated between 10 and 22C.
M Varghese, an
observer at the RAK Airport Meteorological Office, told of the storms that hit
the emirate on Friday night.
We had thunderstorms with rain for more
than 12 hours and we had around 18mm rain, Mr Varghese said. The rain, along
with the cold easterly winds and low-lying clouds, could have bought the
temperatures further down on the mountains.
Giorgio Alessio, a meteorologist at the Dubai
meteorology office, said: In thunderstorms, the rain comes down very rapidly
from higher levels, and the rain that usually forms can reach the ground in some
places as snow. In the next few days the weather regime is completely different
and will return to normal for the season, with a maximum temperature of 23C or
The night might cool down in the desert below 10C. There is
variability in the weather from year to year but it hasnt shown a trend in
getting colder or getting warmer.
The RAK Government plans to transform the 1,740m
Jebel Jais into the UAEs first outdoor ski resort, using Australian technology
that will allow tourists to ski in temperatures up to 35C.
Abu Dhabi and
Dubai also had heavy rain on Friday night.
If I could, I would send Al Gore to Jebel Jais wearing nothing but a speedo,
and have him walk through a couple of villages selling sunblocker and carbon
I would ask that he be joined by some of the (usually well-meaning)
folks who have swallowed his BS whole, and no longer feel the need to think
about whether facts on the ground show any of it to be true.
If ever a leader and his followers need a dose of cold reality, these are the
OBAMA: I DEMAND TRANSPARENCY.....FOR THE REST OF YOU
Following is a blog by Noel Sheppard of www.newsbusters.org. It talks about
Campbell Brown's disgust with President Obama's hypocrisy regarding
Appreciate Ms. Brown's words; because you won't see much of this from the
adoring cadres in mainstream media, who are still writing the Obama
hagiography instead of reporting what he does:
Brown Bashes Obama: Don't Make
Ethics Rules You Won't Follow
It only took a few hours for President Barack Obama to go
back on his executive order concerning the imposition of stricter limits on
lobbyists that wish to work for the White House, and CNN's Campbell Brown is
Not only did she begin Friday's "No Bias, No Bull"
voicing her disgust about "the Obama administration now [wanting] a waiver to
its own rule," but she also wrote a commentary about the matter which was
published at CNN.com
later that evening.
For what it's worth Campbell, I'm impressed (video
and transcript below the fold, h/t NB reader Patrick, file
CAMPBELL BROWN, HOST: But, first, tonight,
"Cutting Through The Bull."
Just a couple of nights ago, we heaped praise on
the new president for announcing what he called a new era of openness, where
in his administration transparency would rule the day and the lobbyists that
he was so critical of during the campaign, well, he told us they will now face
even tougher new restrictions.
Here is what he said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA,PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: The
executive order on ethics I will sign shortly represents a clean break from
business as usual. As of today, lobbyists will be subject to stricter limits
than under any -- under any other administration in history.
If you are a lobbyist entering my
administration, you will not be able to work on matters you lobbied on, or in
the agencies you lobbied during the previous two years. When you leave
government, you will not be able to lobby my administration for as long as I
(END VIDEO CLIP)
BROWN: Now, that's what he said two days
But, as we first told you last night --
and, sadly, we are learning more about this today -- President Obama already
wants an exception to his own rule. You see, what happened is, there is this
former lobbyist for a big defense contractor called Raytheon. His name is
William Lynn. And President Obama wants him to be deputy defense
So, the Obama administration now wants a
waiver to its own rule, which basically means it is saying, we will mostly put
tough new restrictions on lobbyists, except when we won't.
Really? Is this how it's going to be? Please,
please don't make us all any more cynical than we already are, Mr. President.
If you have no intention of abiding by your new rules, then don't make new
rules. That would be actual transparency.
Nicely done, Campbell. Keep it
"Do as I say, not as I do" is an old story. But ignoring what was said
the next day? That's pretty special. It demonstrates an integrity
quotient that hovers right at ground level.
Good for Ms. Brown. It is a pleasure - and hardly an expected one - to
find a mainstream news person not so completely mesmerized by Barack Obama that
she can't see what is in front of her eyes.
Please keep your eyes open. Based on this sorry episode I have little
doubt that there will be plenty more to see.