‘Late last year, the writer, polemicist and fierce proponent of the US-led invasion of Iraq Christopher Hitchens attempted, in a piece for the online magazine Slate, to draw a distinction between what he called techniques of “extreme interrogation” and “outright torture”.
From this, his foes inferred that since it was Hitchens’ belief that America did not stoop to the latter, the practice of waterboarding – known to be perpetrated by US forces against certain “high-value clients” in Iraq and elsewhere – must fall under the former heading.
Enraged by what they saw as an exercise in elegant but offensive sophistry, some of the writer’s critics suggested that Hitchens give waterboarding (which may sound like some kind of fun aquatic pastime, but is probably best summarised as enforced partial drowning) a whirl, just to see what it was like. Did the experience feel like torture?
And amazingly, he has done just that. [..]‘
‘At “Buns and Guns” you can order a “Kalashnikov” sandwich from a bullet-shaped menu, prepared by chefs in military fatigues with the roar of explosions as background music.
This new fast food restaurant in Beirut’s southern suburbs, where the Hezbollah movement holds sway, was the brainchild of co-owner Ali Hammoud. He said the war theme was a novel concept that had nothing to do with Lebanon’s bloody recent history.
“It’s just an idea I had, nothing more, nothing less. I could have put toys in place of the sandbags and teddy bears instead of guns. But it was just an idea,” Hammoud told Reuters. [..]
“First time I came here, I thought it was a weapons shop. When I looked at the names of the dishes, I still thought so. I only realized it was a restaurant when I went inside,” said 15-year-old Hussein al-Hajj Ali.’
‘Iraqi lawmakers say the United States is demanding 58 bases as part of a proposed “status of forces” agreement that will allow U.S. troops to remain in the country indefinitely.
Leading members of the two ruling Shiite parties said in a series of interviews the Iraqi government rejected this proposal along with another U.S. demand that would have effectively handed over to the United States the power to determine if a hostile act from another country is aggression against Iraq. Lawmakers said they fear this power would drag Iraq into a war between the United States and Iran.
“The points that were put forth by the Americans were more abominable than the occupation,” said Jalal al Din al Saghir, a leading lawmaker from the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq. “We were occupied by order of the Security Council,” he said, referring to the 2004 Resolution mandating a U.S. military occupation in Iraq at the head of an international coalition. “But now we are being asked to sign for our own occupation. That is why we have absolutely refused all that we have seen so far.”‘
‘A peace campaigner from Newtown will tomorrow ask Reading magistrates for a warrant to arrest George W Bush.
Peter Burt, of Biko Court, is taking his case to court to try to get the American president arrested for war crimes.
Mr Burt, of Reading Peace Group, plans to outline the offences that ‘Dubya’, left, has committed and the international laws that he has broken, including the invasion of Iraq, the bombing of Afghanistan and the abduction, illegal detention and torture of prisoners at Guantanamo Bay.
He said: “The historians of the future will mention the name Bush in the same breath as the names of Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot and other great criminals who have committed the most appalling crimes that humanity has known.
“I will be asking Reading magistrates to stand up for international law by issuing an arrest warrant so that George Bush can be held to account for his crimes in the International Criminal Court.”‘
‘German police have discovered a well-preserved WWII anti-aircraft cannon in a German man’s garage in part of a series of raids that uncovered more than €100,000 in illegal weapons, German daily Berliner Morgenpost reported on Thursday.
Police discovered the flak cannon, used by the German Wehrmacht in the Second World War, after conducting a search on a family home in the German state of Saxony-Anhalt. The 49-year-old resident was in possession of 200 illegal firearms, one kilogramme of explosives, and 15,000 rounds of ammunition. The anti-aircraft cannon was resting where a car would normally park.
“I thought I’d seen everything, but you can always be surprised,” chief investigator Manfred Schmandra told the paper.’
‘At the western entrance to the Iraqi city of Fallujah Tuesday, Muamar Anad handed his residence badge to the U.S. Marines guarding the city. They checked to be sure that he was a city resident, and when they were done, Anad said, a Marine slipped a coin out of his pocket and put it in his hand.
Out of fear, he accepted it, Anad said. When he was inside the city, the college student said, he looked at one side of the coin. “Where will you spend eternity?” it asked.
He flipped it over, and on the other side it read, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. John 3:16.”
“They are trying to convert us to Christianity,” said Anad, a Sunni Muslim like most residents of this city in Anbar province. At home, he told his story, and his relatives echoed their disapproval: They’d been given the coins, too, he said.’
‘Doctors at Brook Army Medical Center are testing a regeneration powder that could help injured soldiers regrow fingers and other body parts lost in battle.
The powder, nicknamed “Pixie Dust” after the fairy dust that enabled children to fly in Disney’s Peter Pan, is made from tissue extracted from pigs. It attracts stem cells and convinces them to grow into the tissue that used to be there. This was reported first on CNN.
Doctors at BAMC used the powder last week on a wounded soldier to encourage the regeneration of a finger in lost in Iraq.
“If it is next to the skin, it will start making skin. If it’s next to a tendon, it will start making a tendon, and so that’s the hope, at least in this particular project, that we can grow a finger,” Dr. Steven Wolf told CNN.
Doctors said they are watching patients for unexpected side effects, such as cancer.’
‘A surge in US airstrikes within densely populated areas of Iraq has led to a dramatic rise in civilian casualties.
According to the Washington Post, ever since an attempted crackdown on Shi’ite militias by the Iraqi government in March, which led to increased attacks on the Green Zone in Baghdad that killed some Americans, the US military has been firing missiles almost every day into the crowded Shi’ite slum of Sadr City.
Residents describe the attacks as indiscriminate and say they have led to many civilian deaths. However, the US Army states that they choose their targets carefully and often refrain from firing for fear of civilian casualties. [..]
CNN reports further on Iraqi victims of US gunfire, noting that “anger against the Americans is only increasing.”‘
‘An Oregon couple received a frightening phone call from their son in Afghanistan when he inadvertently called home during battle.
Stephen Phillips and other soldiers in his Army MP company were battling insurgents when his phone was pressed against his Humvee. It redialed and called his parents in the small Oregon town of Otis.
Sandie Petee, Phillips’ mother, and her husband, Jeff Petee, weren’t home at the time of the call. They returned home to find a three-minute voice mail on their answering machine. [..]
They heard shooting, swearing and shouted pleas for more ammunition on the phone call from their son.
“They were pinned down and apparently his barrel was overheating,” said Jeff Petee. “It’s something a parent really doesn’t want to hear. It’s a heck of a message to get from your son in Afghanistan.”‘
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‘The war in Iraq has become “a major debacle” and the outcome “is in doubt” despite improvements in security from the buildup in U.S. forces, according to a highly critical study published Thursday by the Pentagon’s premier military educational institute.
The report released by the National Defense University raises fresh doubts about President Bush’s projections of a U.S. victory in Iraq just a week after Bush announced that he was suspending U.S. troop reductions.
The report carries considerable weight because it was written by Joseph Collins, a former senior Pentagon official, and was based in part on interviews with other former senior defense and intelligence officials who played roles in prewar preparations.
It was published by the university’s National Institute for Strategic Studies, a Defense Department research center.
“Measured in blood and treasure, the war in Iraq has achieved the status of a major war and a major debacle,” says the report’s opening line.’
‘Just a few weeks back there was a spirited debate over the ethics of deploying war robots in Iraq. Themachine gun carrying remote-controlled killing machines, TALON SWORDS robots, produced by the Army, were among the various robotic soldiers being experimentally deployed in Iraq.
Their deployment lead a major anti-landmine nonprofit organization to campaign against the deployment of the machines. The protests were fueled by a discussion with a leading roboticist, Chris Elliot, who proposed that increasingly intelligent robots might be capable of committing war crimes. [..]
Hot on the tails of his speech, it was revealed on Thursday that the Army will recall the controversial TALON SWORDS robots, with the possibility of pulling the plug on the armed robot deployment program.
Why the sudden withdraw? It turns out the insurgent-slayer decided to attempt a rebellion against its human masters. The Army reported that the robot apparently took a liking to point its barrel at friendlies, stating, “the gun started moving when it was not intended to move.”‘
‘Will Foster never has too much trouble getting a parking spot for his second vehicle.
After all, who’s going to argue with a guy driving a half-scale Panzer tank complete with a working air cannon?
“I took it home, driving it around in this white picket fence neighborhood and one of the neighbors called the cops on us,” said Foster, a Kettering University student who began building the tank from scratch nearly two years ago.
“(Police) came and they just told us to head back home, but they were also laughing at it because they had never seen anything like that before.” [..]
Roughly the size of a small car, Foster’s tank can reach speeds of around 20 mph with its three-cylinder diesel engine. Just like the real thing, the tank runs on treads and has a 360-degree cannon powered by compressed air from a scuba tank.’
(7.6meg Flash video)
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‘Grim tales of cannibalism highlighting the brutality of West Africa’s civil wars emerged in testimony Thursday at the war crimes trial of former Liberian President Charles Taylor.
Former Liberian President Charles Taylor, left, sits in the International Criminal Court before testimony in January.
Joseph “Zigzag” Marzah, who described himself as Taylor’s chief of operations and head of the death squad before Taylor became president, said African peacekeepers and even United Nations personnel were killed and eaten on the battlefield by Taylor’s militiamen.
Prosecutors described Marzah as a key witness with inside knowledge of the former Liberian president’s operations in Liberia and neighboring Sierra Leone, where he is accused of responsibility for the widespread murder, rape and amputations committed by soldiers loyal to him.’
‘Britain’s biggest teachers’ union has accused the Ministry of Defence of breaking the law over a lesson plan drawn up to teach pupils about the Iraq war. The National Union of Teachers claims it breaches the 1996 Education Act, which aims to ensure all political issues are treated in a balanced way.
Teachers will threaten to boycott military involvement in schools at the union’s annual conference next weekend, claiming the lesson plan is a “propaganda” exercise and makes no mention of any civilian casualties as a result of the war.
They believe the instructions, designed for use during classroom discussions in general studies or personal, social and health education (PSE) lessons, are arguably an attempt to rewrite the history of the Iraq invasion just as the world prepares to mark its fifth anniversary.’
‘An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein’s regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden’s al Qaida terrorist network.
The Pentagon-sponsored study, scheduled for release later this week, did confirm that Saddam’s regime provided some support to other terrorist groups, particularly in the Middle East, U.S. officials told McClatchy. However, his security services were directed primarily against Iraqi exiles, Shiite Muslims, Kurds and others he considered enemies of his regime.
The new study of the Iraqi regime’s archives found no documents indicating a “direct operational link” between Hussein’s Iraq and al Qaida before the invasion, according to a U.S. official familiar with the report. [..]
Then-Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld claimed in September 2002 that the United States had “bulletproof” evidence of cooperation between the radical Islamist terror group and Saddam’s secular dictatorship.’
‘Most people believe that the U.S. is interested in Iran for the OIL or the DOMINATION of the Middle East or even the PELT of Ahmadinejad. WRONG. The real reason for attacking Iran is far more MYSTERIOUS and SHOCKING.
The REAL reason the U.S. government and George BUSH are plotting to invade Iran: MAGIC CARPETS.
Most people think that oil that is the real resource the U.S. is after in Iran, but that’s nothing but a falsehood, perpetrated by the CIA and the Pentagon to distract Americans and the world from the TRUTH.
Iran has the world’s largest STRATEGIC supply of MAGIC CARPETS–flying machines that give the otherwise modest Iranian army the ability to carry out QUICK and DEADLY air strikes in complete SILENCE.’
‘Eight British Commandos have been flown home in disgrace for stripping naked and engaging in appalling behaviour in a Norwegian bar during an Arctic training exercise.
The men disgusted onlookers in the town of Harstad with a drunken game of “naked bar”.
After whipping off their clothes, they urinated on each other – splashing other customers and furniture – before slurring insults and abuse.
Furious senior officers ordered the soldiers, from the Army’s 59 Independent Commando Squadron Royal Engineers, back home to face disciplinary action.
“This is taken extremely seriously,” a Ministry of Defence official said. [..]
Harstad police spokesman Gair Pedersen said: “They were drunk and there was a problem in the bar but we are quite used to dealing with British soldiers like this.”‘
‘A website promoting the town of Mildenhall has been shut down after it unintentionally became the recipient of hundreds of classified emails, including messages detailing the planned flight path of President Bush.
Over more than a decade, www.mildenhall.com received emails detailing all kinds of secret military information that were intended for official Air Force personnel. One detailed where Air Force One could be found in the air during a planned visit to the region by President Bush. Others included battlefield strategy and passwords.
“I was being sent everything from banal chat and jokes, to videos up to 15mb in size,” Gary Sinnott, owner of mildenhall.com, said in this article in EDP 24. “Some were classified, some were personal. A lot had some really sensitive information in them.” [..]
Sinnott says he brought the SNAFU to the attention of Air Force officials but was never able to get the problem fixed. At first, they didn’t seem to take the matter seriously, but eventually, they “went mental,” he said. Officials advised Sinnott to block unrecognizable addresses from his domain and set up an auto-reply reminding people of the address for the official air force base.’
‘Australia has once again been criticised by groups at an international conference on cluster bombs, after proposing some of the weapons be allowed to be used for training and testing purposes.
The Australian delegation told the conference in New Zealand’s capital Wellington on Thursday that a treaty to ban cluster munitions should include some exceptions.
“Training is essential for Australia to make a contribution to humanitarian operations,” a representative of the Australian delegation told the meeting.
The proposal was supported by seven other countries, who are among a group of nations accused of frustrating the process at Wellington. [..]
John Rodsted from the key pressure group the Cluster Munition Coalition, which represents numerous non-governmental groups, told AAP that Australia’s position was illogical.
“Australia doesn’t have a stockpile, but they are arguing that they need to retain a stockpile, which means they would have to acquire a stockpile,” he said.’
‘Has the Amber Room, the 18th-century chamber decoration the Nazis stole from the Soviet Union in World War II, finally been found? German treasure hunters say they may have solved the decades-old mystery.
Treasure hunters in Germany claim they have found hidden gold in an underground cavern that they are almost certain contains the Amber Room treasure, believed by some to have been stashed away by the Nazis in a secret mission in the dying days of World War II.
The discovery of an estimated two tonnes of gold was made at the weekend when electromagnetic pulse measurements located the man-made cavern 20 meters underground near the village of Deutschneudorf on Germany’s border with the Czech Republic.’
‘Sometime after midnight on September 6, 2007, at least four low-flying Israeli Air Force fighters crossed into Syrian airspace and carried out a secret bombing mission on the banks of the Euphrates River, about ninety miles north of the Iraq border. The seemingly unprovoked bombing, which came after months of heightened tension between Israel and Syria over military exercises and troop buildups by both sides along the Golan Heights, was, by almost any definition, an act of war. But in the immediate aftermath nothing was heard from the government of Israel. In contrast, in 1981, when the Israeli Air Force destroyed Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor, near Baghdad, the Israeli government was triumphant, releasing reconnaissance photographs of the strike and permitting the pilots to be widely interviewed.’
‘Saudi Arabia’s rulers threatened to make it easier for terrorists to attack London unless corruption investigations into their arms deals were halted, according to court documents revealed yesterday.
Previously secret files describe how investigators were told they faced “another 7/7″ and the loss of “British lives on British streets” if they pressed on with their inquiries and the Saudis carried out their threat to cut off intelligence.
Prince Bandar, the head of the Saudi national security council, and son of the crown prince, was alleged in court to be the man behind the threats to hold back information about suicide bombers and terrorists. He faces accusations that he himself took more than £1bn in secret payments from the arms company BAE.’
So, the war on $cientology continues with real life protests meant to be happening all over the world at the moment.
The internet is pretty funny some times.
For now, here’s a video of 100′s of people marching and yelling in Sydney and Melbourne..
There should be more videos if there’s more protesting. Hilarious.
(1.9 and 17meg Flash videos)
see it here »
‘In a hypothetical future scenario, the U.S. and China are poised to clash — likely over Taiwan.
The democratic Republic of China, commonly called Taiwan — which America backs and the communist People’s Republic of China considers part of its territory — frequently irritates Chinese leaders with calls for greater independence from the mainland. But while the American military mulls its options, Chinese missiles hit runways, fuel lines, barracks and supply depots at U.S. Air Force bases in Japan and South Korea. Long-range warheads destroy American satellites, crippling Air Force surveillance and communication networks. A nuclear fireball erupts high above the Pacific Ocean, ionizing the atmosphere and scrambling radars and radio feeds.
This is China’s anti-U.S. sucker punch strategy.’
‘A campaign has been launched to build a permanent memorial to a bear which spent much of its life in Scotland – after fighting in World War II.
The bear – named Voytek – was adopted in the Middle East by Polish troops in 1943, becoming much more than a mascot. [..]
He saw action at Monte Cassino before being billeted – along with about 3,000 other Polish troops – at the army camp in the Scottish Borders.
The soldiers who were stationed with him say that he was easy to get along with.
“He was just like a dog – nobody was scared of him,” said Polish veteran Augustyn Karolewski, who still lives near the site of the camp.
“He liked a cigarette, he liked a bottle of beer – he drank a bottle of beer like any man.”‘
Anonymous has declared war on Scientology. It’s pretty funny.
‘This is it. These are the final days of your sham. The people you have enslaved shall be freed, your attack dogs shall be silenced, and your entire establishment shall be unraveled. You cannot prevent this; you cannot deter this. Money or luxuries will not sway us. We are not motivated by a personal or secondary goal. Our aim is your destruction, in the name of the good of all people on this earth. Our assault has only begun, and shall not cease until your Church is no more. Our efforts will ebb and flow, but our persistence will be as reliable as the tides.
Your time is up.
Welcome to your end.’
(4.9meg Flash video)
see it here »
‘The Iraq war may not dominate U.S. news reports as the carnage drops, but a new report underscores the financial burden of persistent combat that is helping run up the government’s credit card.
“Funding for U.S. operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and other activities in the war on terrorism expanded significantly in 2007,” the Congressional Budget Office said in a report released on Wednesday.
War funding, which averaged about $93 billion a year from 2003 through 2005, rose to $120 billion in 2006 and $171 billion in 2007 and President George W. Bush has asked for $193 billion in 2008, the nonpartisan office wrote.
“It keeps going up, up and away,” Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad said of the money spent in Iraq since U.S. troops invaded in 2003.’
‘One of Britain’s biggest warships was forced to retreat back to base Wednesday — by fears about a fridge.
The aircraft carrier HMS Illustrious sailed out Wednesday from Portsmouth on the southern English coast, the home of the fleet, to join multi-national operations in the Indian Ocean.
But “Lusty” had to turn back because a refrigeration unit used to store meat was in danger of breaking down.
“The sensible thing is for her to come in and get that fixed before she goes off again,” said Royal Navy spokesman Anton Hanney.’
‘Would you believe it’s possible to narrow the reasons we won’t miss Bush down to 42? No, but it’s a start. We all know the penalty for forgetting history – after all, we’ve been through two Bushes! To get things started, here is a particularly infamous quote for each year of his presidency, from the sadly hilarious to the infuriatingly tragic: [..]
“There’s only one person who hugs the mothers and the widows, the wives and the kids upon the death of their loved one. Others hug but having committed the troops, I’ve got an additional responsibility to hug and that’s me and I know what it’s like.” [..]
“I couldn’t imagine somebody like Osama bin Laden understanding the joy of Hanukkah.” [..]
“I’m the commander — see, I don’t need to explain — I do not need to explain why I say things. That’s the interesting thing about being president.”‘
It’s kinda funny, but probably terrified the cab driver a little. Drink milk!
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