Friday, November 28, 2008

Hostages Killed

This is unfortunate but not unexpected. These murdering nutcases don't take "Hostages" in the traditional sense. Their singular aim is to kill.

Commandos who stormed the Mumbai headquarters of an ultra-orthodox Jewish group found the bodies of five hostages inside, an Israeli emergency medical crew said, as a fresh battle raged at the luxury Taj Mahal hotel and other Indian forces ended a siege at another five-star hotel.

More than 150 people have been killed since gunmen attacked 10 sites across India's financial capital starting Wednesday night, including 22 foreigners — two of them Americans, officials said.
Early Friday night, Indian commandos emerged from a besieged Jewish center with rifles raised in an apparent sign of victory after a daylong siege that saw a team rappel from helicopters and a series of explosions and fire rock the building and blow gaping holes in the wall.

Inside, though, were five dead hostages.
A delegation from Israel's ZAKA emergency medical services unit entered the building after the raid and reported through an Indian aide that five hostages and two gunmen were dead, a ZAKA spokesman in Israel said. The spokesman had no information on the hostages' identities or whether there were wounded inside.

Jewish law requires the burial of a dead person's entire body, and the mission of the ultra-Orthodox ZAKA volunteers is to rescue the living — and in the case of the dead, carry out the task of gathering up all collectable pieces of flesh and blood.

By Friday evening, at least nine gunmen had been killed, one had been arrested and as many as six were still in the Taj Mahal, said R. Patil, a top official in Maharashtra state, where Mumbai is the capital. He said more than 150 people had been killed and 370 injured.

Bangkok Airport Stand-Off

The Airports in Bangkok are still closed. This might get uglier. How unfortunate.

No surrender

The government indicated on Friday it would try to talk protesters out of the Bangkok airports without using force - but the demonstrators sneered at a request from a high-ranking official to leave and claimed they would "fight to the death" against any police attack.

The state of emergency declared by the embattled cabinet of Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat sparked widespread fears that any attempt to use force to clear Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports could spark a bloody confrontation with the anti-government activists.

Airlines began flying stranded air travellers out from Utapao naval base on Friday. But there are tens of thousands of passengers who have missed flights from the four days of unrest that have badly hit Thailand's tourist industry and Utapao is a Vietnam war-era base with few tourist facilities.

Somsak Kosaisuk, a core leader of the People's Alliance for Democracy, told a crowd of yellow-shirted supporters occupying Don Mueang airport: "We are not afraid. We will fight to the death, we will not surrender and we are ready."

Top PAD leader Chamlong Srimuang told reporters that "a senior person in the country" had telephoned to ask him to move his protest out of Suvarnabhumi airport because the closure has severely damaged the economy.

Maj-Gen Chamlong boasted he had told the senior person that he will halt all rallies - if the prime minister resigns.

Anti-government activists braced for an assault Friday night. They extended barbed-wire cordons to about three kilometres around Suvarnabhumi, and blocked the few access roads, witnesses said.

Police say around 4,000 protesters from the PAD are occupying Suvarnabhumi for a fourth day.
The international community openly criticised Thai officials on Friday. At a meeting called at the Foreign Ministry to "explain" the situation to ambassadors, the foreign envoys called on the government to clear the Don Mueang and Suvarnabhumi airports as soon as possible.

Police began planning what they described as an open operation to reclaim the airports.
Bangkok police chief Pol Lt Gen Suchart Muankaew said after a video conference with the prime minister that he will begin with peaceful means, and try to talk the demonstrators into leaving, but with plans to escalate action.

Before any operation, he will invite representatives from the National Human Rights Commission, the Lawyers Council, the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the media to a meeting to give advice. He would allow live television broadcasts of any police operation, to counter any possible charges of brutality.

No Vegans Allowed

This is where I want to 10-51 !

Just south of the Phoenix Metro area at 6185 W Chandler Blvd. in Chandler, Arizona. (South-West corner of Kyrene & Chandler) Our hours of operation are Monday - Saturday 11am - 9pm and Sunday 11am - 4pm.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


As much hand wringing as there as been (and I have done myself) about Obama and what he might do/not do regarding Terrorism (which far too many folk seem to think isn't "real") I would suspect the events in Mumbai and what ever super secret stuff the President Elect is now privy to will be a wake up call. Unless he's a complete moron like Jimmy Carter.

Chabad House in Mumbai Attacked

Eight Israelis held by terrorists in Mumbai Chabad House

Indian commandos and police were evacuating civilians and cordoning off the area apparently in preparation to storm the Chabad House in Mumbai, India, where a rabbi, his wife and several other Israelis were being held hostage, according to IBN, an Indian news agency.

Chabad spokesman in Israel, Moni Ender, said there were eight Israelis inside the house, including Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka Holtzberg.

Several other Israelis were reportedly being held at the Oberoi Hotel, Israel Radio reported.

Newscasters were calling it the "final assault" on the Nariman House, where Chabad headquarters are located, adjacent to the Leopold Cafe, a major tourist center in Mumbai's Colaba area, which was also attacked Wednesday night.

According to a report by Reuters, the terrorists have expressed their desire to negotiate with the Indian government for the release of the hostages. The government, however, has repeatedly stated that it will not negotiate.

Several senior Indian police and security officers have been killed in the joint attack, which has caused police to take more cautious measures before storming the Chabad House, said Indian reporters.

Earlier, Reuters reported that one terrorist had been killed by Indian special forces in the Chabad House, but four others still remained barricaded inside, where they were holding off efforts to reach those inside.

Sky News reported that a loud explosion had been heard at the Chabad House. There was no official word as to the cause of the explosion, which could indicate the onset of an attempt to storm the compound.

On Thursday morning, Moshe Holtzberg, the toddler son of the Chabad emissaries, was rushed from the house in the arms of one of the Chabad House's employees, Sandra Samuel.

"I took the child, I just grabbed the baby and ran out," said Samuel, 44, who has worked as a cook for the center for the last five years.

She said that the rabbi and his wife, along with two other unidentified guests, were alive but unconscious.

"Pray that we should hear good news," urged a Chabad spokesman, Rabbi Zalman Shmotkin, in a telephone conversation with The Jerusalem Post from New York in the early hours of Thursday morning, Israel time.

Shmotkin also said that the gunmen had seized a police vehicle, which allowed them access to the area around the Chabad House.

Joshua Runyan, the news editor of the website, told the Post that there had been "several reports that shots were fired in the vicinity of the Chabad House, and unconfirmed reports on CNN of casualties in the Nariman House." Nariman House, Runyan said, was the original name of the Chabad House, which was purchased two years ago.

Runyan, who is in Jerusalem, said that a friend of the rabbi's had received an email from Holtzberg, unrelated to the attacks, at around the time of the attacks or shortly before they began, but that there had been no contact with Holtzberg since. "Since then, we've been trying all the numbers," he said.

The Foreign Ministry in Jerusalem confirmed that hostages had been taken in the Chabad House area. The ministry had yet to make contact with some 20 Israelis in the Mumbai area.

Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni spoke with the Israeli consul general in Mumbai, who briefed her on the attacks, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement. According to the statement, the ministry and the consulate were making "maximum efforts to ascertain the situation of the Israelis in the city as quickly as possible."

Livni sharply condemned the attacks, saying, "This is further painful evidence that the terrorist threat is the greatest challenge which Israel and the international community have to face. Nothing justifies the unforgivable slaughter of innocents."

Indian news agencies reported that three people were killed in or close to the Chabad House. The dead were not hostages, the reports said.

Phone calls by the Post to the Chabad House and to the Holtzbergs went unanswered late Wednesday night and in the early hours of Thursday morning.

Friends of the Holtzbergs placed messages on various Internet sites appealing for information about them.

Israel Radio reported that consulate staff were visiting local hospitals. Runyan said the Chabad House was a popular tourist destination and that "Israelis regularly come by and visit."

In an article on the Web site, Runyan wrote that "Chabad-Lubavitch representatives in New York and Israel are working alongside the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the US Consulate in Mumbai and a volunteer team of local residents to ascertain the well being of the Holtzbergs and other Jews in the area."

He added: "People are urged to say Psalms for Gavriel Noach ben Freida Bluma and Rivka bas Yehudis, and anyone affected by the tragedy."

Attackers "Foreign"?

Apparently the terrorists who attacked Mumbai weren't from India. What a shock that is. Especially since all the other attacks were done by non-Indians. Let's see... What country might they be from? I'd guess it starts with a P and ends with a stan.

Mumbai Attackers Based Outside Country

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh says the perpetrators of coordinated attacks on the financial capital Mumbai were likely based outside the country.

Mr. Singh addressed the nation Thursday a day after heavily armed men attacked 10 sites in the city, killing about 100 people and wounding about 300. Without specifying another nation, he said he will tell "neighbors" that the use of their territory for launching terrorist attacks will not be tolerated.

As Mr. Singh was speaking, Indian security forces were moving through two luxury hotels, The Taj Mahal Palace and the Oberoi-Trident, in an attempt to free hostages and find remaining gunmen. Gunfire and explosions were heard from the hotels, and another fire broke out at the Taj after an earlier blaze caused serious damage to the historic building.

Police were also trying to resolve a standoff at a building belonging to a Jewish group, Chabad house.

Wednesday night, groups of assailants with machine guns and grenades attacked several locations popular with foreigners and business people, including hotels and train stations.

Witnesses said gunmen were looking for U.S. and British citizens.

Local media report a previously unknown militant group, called the Deccan Mujahideen, has claimed responsibility. The term Mujahideen is associated with Islamist extremists, while Deccan may be a reference to the Deccan Plateau - an area of southern India.

Islamic militants have been blamed for past bombing attacks.

Among those reported killed in the attacks were Mumbai's anti-terror chief, Hemant Karkare, and at least 11 policeman. Foreign nationals, including an Australian and a Japanese citizen were also killed.

Police say at least four gunmen have been killed and nine arrested, but it is not clear where these encounters occurred.

Please send in the S.A.S.


Thailand's political problems continue.


Authorities have officially declared Suvarnabhumi airport closed until Saturday at 6pm at the earliest.

Agriculture Minister Somsak Prisananantakul told reporters the special Cabinet meeting held in Chiang Mai declared emergency laws will apply in and around both the closed Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports.

Meanwhile, growing numbers of tourists, business executives and government officials are stranded by the severed transportation links between Thailand and the rest of the world. Foreign Minister Sompong Amornwiwat was reported stranded in Germany where he was on a private visit on Thursday.

Some flights have continued through provincial airports but the main bulk of the 75 flights per hour through Suvarnabhumi have been cancelled.

The emergency decree orders the police to restore order and gives the military the right to help to "restore order, allow the suspension of civil liberties, ban public gatherings of more than five people and bar the media from reporting news that causes panic."

The military thus can clear out and reopen both airports, which were attacked, occupied and closed by the People's Alliance for Democracy on Tuesday night and Wednesday respectively.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Airport Closed

I believe (and I may be wrong) that the King has TOLD the Army not to Coup. I wonder at what point he'll have a talk with the Government and PAD. Hopefully soon.

Army helpless

The government on Wednesday rejected a "suggestion" by army chief Anupong Paojinda for the prime minister to resign, and the protesters who seized and closed Suvarnabhumi airport on Wednesday similarly declined the general's demand to leave the airport.

Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat, meanwhile, returned to Thailand without incident through Chiang Mai airport. He spend the past week out of the country to attend the Apec summit in Peru, and the PAD was trying to block his return.

"The prime minister should dissolve parliament and call a snap election," Gen Anupong said. "The prime minister should think about the benefit of the country, and so should the PAD," he said.

But he tempered the demand, just as he did a month ago when he also told Prime Minister Somchai Wongbsawat to step down.

"We will not seize power from the government," said the army commander. "We are just making a suggestion and will let the government decide.

In that case, said spokesman Nattawut Saikuar, the government will stay on.

He spoke by telephone to Channel 3 news and said, "The prime minister has said many times that he will not quit or dissolve parliament because he has been democratically elected. That still stands,"

The People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) gave an equally dismissive shrug to Gen Anupong's demand that they call back their protesters and reopen Suvarnabhumi.

Mr Somchai must resign, PAD leader told cheering supporters inside the airport terminal.

The government "must quit first before we sit down and talk," he said.

PAD ideologue Suriyasai Katasila said flatly that the group would stay at the airport until it could discuss the matter among members, and rejected the general's demand.

Gen Anupong's strong stance against a coup gave him no leverage in trying to handle the situation, and he has time after time been reduced to little more than another helpless spectator.

Late last month, he attempted to intimidate Mr Somchai into quitting by appearing with other service commanders, the supreme commander and the national police chief on an evening TV news programme, but Mr Somchai simply ignored the demands to quit.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Bangkok's Airport Closed

Airport closed, shots fired

"For the safety for passengers, we have to stop flights out of the airport temporarily until the situation returns to normal."
Suvarnabhumi airport manager Serirat Prasutanon at 9pm Tuesday evening.

Protesters rushed into Suvarnabhumi airport and forced a halt to all flights on Tuesday, as rival forces clashed at outside, as well as on the road from Don Mueang airport where two people were wounded in the first exchange of gunfire between the PAD and UDD.

"I can confirm that there were gunshots," a police colonel on the scene said.

"There was a slight clash and two people were wounded."

In the eastern suburbs, protesters of the People's Alliance for Democracy - some masked, some armed with metal rods - rushed into the main terminal, startling thousands of passengers and staff. They forced airport officials to shut down operations and cancel all outbound flights indefinitely. Planes on their way to Suvaranabhumi were still landing late on Tuesday.

Some Russian Predicts End of USA (again)

You'd think Drudge would know better than to post up this rubbish but it is amusing.


A leading Russian political analyst has said the economic turmoil in the United States has confirmed his long-held view that the country is heading for collapse, and will divide into separate parts.

Because when you think of "Political Analysis" Russia is the first country that springs to mind. Right after Togo.

Professor Igor Panarin said in an interview with the respected daily IZVESTIA published on Monday: "The dollar is not secured by anything. The country's foreign debt has grown like an avalanche, even though in the early 1980s there was no debt. By 1998, when I first made my prediction, it had exceeded $2 trillion. Now it is more than 11 trillion. This is a pyramid that can only collapse."

If this guy was right, and he's not, and everything "collapsed" I'd say the standard of living would still be HIGHER than Russia. So shut up, Ivan.

The paper said Panarin's dire predictions for the U.S. economy, initially made at an international conference in Australia 10 years ago at a time when the economy appeared strong, have been given more credence by this year's events.

Yes. And Global Warming looks best in the summer too.

When asked when the U.S. economy would collapse, Panarin said: "It is already collapsing. Due to the financial crisis, three of the largest and oldest five banks on Wall Street have already ceased to exist, and two are barely surviving. Their losses are the biggest in history. Now what we will see is a change in the regulatory system on a global financial scale: America will no longer be the world's financial regulator."

When asked who would replace the U.S. in regulating world markets, he said: "Two countries could assume this role: China, with its vast reserves, and Russia, which could play the role of a regulator in Eurasia."

Right. Of course. China. Because they don't have any bad debt at all. And Russia. Right.

Asked why he expected the U.S. to break up into separate parts, he said: "A whole range of reasons. Firstly, the financial problems in the U.S. will get worse. Millions of citizens there have lost their savings. Prices and unemployment are on the rise. General Motors and Ford are on the verge of collapse, and this means that whole cities will be left without work. Governors are already insistently demanding money from the federal center. Dissatisfaction is growing, and at the moment it is only being held back by the elections and the hope that Obama can work miracles. But by spring, it will be clear that there are no miracles."

But what about the "HOPE"?

He also cited the "vulnerable political setup", "lack of unified national laws", and "divisions among the elite, which have become clear in these crisis conditions."

He predicted that the U.S. will break up into six parts - the Pacific coast, with its growing Chinese population; the South, with its Hispanics; Texas, where independence movements are on the rise; the Atlantic coast, with its distinct and separate mentality; five of the poorer central states with their large Native American populations; and the northern states, where the influence from Canada is strong.

The influence of Canada??? That statement proves this guy doesn't know what he's talking about.

He even suggested that "we could claim Alaska - it was only granted on lease, after all." Panarin, 60, is a professor at the Diplomatic Academy of the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has authored several books on information warfare.

Sure, claim that too. You've already claimed most of the North Pole. By the way, how are those oil prices?

Monday, November 24, 2008

Bangkok Protests

Major protests in Bangkok.

Parliament paralysed

Protests on Monday forced parliament to cancel its planned joint session, and left anarchy on the streets from Government House all the way to the old Don Mueang airport.

The People's Alliance for Democracy declared victory, but failed to gain its objective. Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat resolved to stay in office, and the military showed no sign it intended to seize power.

More than 5,000 protesters led by PAD leaders Sondhi Limthongkul, Piphob Thongchi and Somkiat Pongpaiboon were still gathered in front of the parliament building on Monday evening. Traffic lanes were closed around the venue, as more protesters were expected to join the mass rally.

The protesters also cut off electricity to the parliament building and the Chart Thai party headquarters.

Suriyasai Katasila, PAD coordinator, said the siege would continue until parliament goes into recess or government MPs abandon their attempt to amend the constitution.

"May victory be with the people," PAD leader Somkiat Pongpaiboon chanted.

But from the Apec summit in Peru, Mr Somchai said he no intention of resigning, because the government emerged from democratic elections.

If the government has to be forced out, it should be done by the parliamentary election or the general public in a ballot, he said.

He said the global economic crisis was more important than the protests.

"The situation in Thailand at the moment is small - only a single location in Bangkok, and it has not significantly destroyed the country's economic foundation," claimed the prime minister.

"We have to talk and try for reconciliation," he told a reporter from the Reuters news agency.

An estimated 18,000 flag-waving demonstrators split up throughout the capital. They hijacked buses, fanned out in running protests through the central part of the city, and even wound up outside the new government offices at Don Mueang.

Six armed men claiming to be PAD security guards hijacked a public bus at gunpoint in front of the army’s Survey Department in the Nang Lerng area not far from Government House.

Police confronted the hijackers, and shot out the tyres of the bus. When it ground to a halt, the six men were arrested and police seized knives, a shotgun and ammunition.

House speaker Chai Chidchob called for calm and announced the postponement of a joint parliamentary session which was supposed to consider legislation needed for the Asean summit to be held in Chiang Mai beginning in December.

"I ask for all sides to stop the movement now. If you love the king, please return home," he said on parliament radio.

He was forced to call off the scheduled parliament sitting because elected MPs and senators could not enter the building. Police did not confront the protesters as they did last Oct 7, when a tear-gas assault killed one person.

The yellow-clad PAD protesters marched through the Ratanakosin district, waving Thai flags and holding aloft portraits of His Majesty the King.

Monks joined the protest, which supposedly was aimed at toppling the government. Black-clad volunteer PAD security guards wielding homemade batons protected the crowd.

Market Tipsy

Here's a free market tip for all you would be investors out there. Only pay attention to the last half hour of the market day because everything before that looks like a good old fashion game of Pong.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Mars Invades Alberta

"Across two hundred million miles of void, invisibly hurtling towards us, came the first of the missiles that were to bring so much calamity to Earth..."

They're here...

Reports of meteor streaking across Prairies

A bright light lit up the sky around 5:30 MT Thursday evening in Western Canada, with people reporting sightings in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

People telephoned the CBC newsrooms in Edmonton and Calgary to talk about what they saw.

"It was a really big flash, lit up the sky, and there was this huge, flaming fireball falling from the sky," said Rowyn Windsor, 12, who lives on the Canadian Forces base in Cold Lake, Alta., about 350 kilometres northeast of Edmonton.

"This huge light in our kitchen window lit up our whole kitchen," said Sabrina Schneider, who lives just outside Lloydminster on the Saskatchewan-Alberta border. "It kinda flashed a couple of times. It was really bright. It was a different light than lightning.

"We weren't really sure what happened ... got up to look out the window, and all of a sudden, we heard this rumbling."

Schneider said her sister saw the meteor while she was driving past North Battleford, Sask.

Torey Van Vam was driving north from Redcliff, Alta., outside Medicine Hat when he saw a bright white streak.

"As it got closer to the ground, it was more visible as a ball of white light with green around it. And as it got really close to the ground, it turned kind of orange, and I'm pretty sure it went straight to the ground," he said.

Bev Ully, who lives on a farm near Unity, Sask., was watching TV when she saw a light through her west-facing living room window.

"It was just like there were headlights right outside the window and that something was moving. It wasn't just one big, bright flash. It was several flashes," she said.

Ully said her daughter in Brooks, in central Alberta, had told her she had seen the light as well.

The fireball was also visible in Edmonton. Kim Wingrove was driving in the city's west end when he saw something in the sky.

"I saw this large orb shoot across in an east-southeast direction, on a very steady trajectory," he said. "It was very, very big. And I've seen a lot of shooting stars from all the world as I travelled, but I've never seen one so large. It was very bright yellow, with hints of green in it. It stayed in the air ... for about two to two and a half seconds."

Alister Ling, an Edmonton-area amateur astronomer who is a member of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, recorded the fireball using equipment from Alan Hildebrand, a meteorite researcher at the University of Calgary.

"When it flares out on the tape, you can see there's several of these multiple flashes, and that's when it's probably partly blowing up, which is also a really good indicator ... that there's multiple stones that have come down," he said.

He said anyone who sees a fireball with their own eyes has a hard time judging where it came down, because fireballs stop glowing when they are 50 kilometres above the earth.

Ling said he will be consulting with other astronomers in Alberta, who will look at tapes from a local network of cameras and assess eyewitness reports to try and figure out where the fireball may have landed.

Although its early in the process, he thinks it may have fallen somewhere in central Alberta, and there could be search parties out looking for chunks as early as this weekend.

"Who knows," he said. "We might be really, really lucky."

Yah, wait until the lid of the Cylinder unscrews...

Thailand Not For Sale to "Middle Easterners"

I'd like to know which Middle Eastern countries they're worried about and which part of Thailand is being bought up.

Somsak: Middle East hunting for Thai land

The minister of agriculture is hoping to persuade the Cabinet to issue a law preventing excessive land grabbing by Middle Eastern groups.

Minister of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Somsak Prissananantakul revealed his ministry has received reports of groups from Middle Eastern countries collaborating with large agriculture firms in Thailand to grab up farm land through mass-buying and renting of farmers' land. Mr. Somsak said this would lead farmers to their downfall.

The agriculture minister said his ministry is not idly sitting by and preventive measures against land grabbing are being sought.

According to Mr. Somsak, the issue would be brought up for discussion at a Cabinet meeting so appropriate laws on land rent or ownership could be laid down. One idea would be limiting holding of land to 50 rai per person.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bomb Attack in Bangkok

More violence directed against the Anti-Thaskin/Anti-Government group PAD. Wasn't the 2006 Coup supposed to prevent this sort of thing?

Bangkok bomb

At least one anti-government protester was killed and 24 were wounded in a pre-dawn bomb blast Thursday inside a demonstration site in Bangkok, emergency services said.

The bomb went off at 3:28am in front of a stage at Government House compound, which protesters from the People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) have occupied since late August.

Twenty-two demonstrators wounded by the explosion were taken to four nearby hospitals, emergency services said. One later died and 11 were still in a serious condition, they said.

"It's a powerful bomb, so far one has died. We are still waiting for forensic officials and for PAD permission to go into Government House," local police commander Colonel Somchai Chueyklin told AFP.

An emergency medical official speaking on condition of anonymity also confirmed that one man had died.

"Ten are in critical condition at (army-run) King Mongkut hospital, one serious at Ramathibodi hospital. The man died at Ramathibodi hospital," the official said.

The protesters have vowed not to leave Government House until the government, which they accuse of being corrupt and a proxy for ousted prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra, steps down.

There was no immediate comment from the anti-government alliance.

The months-long stand-off erupted into bloodshed on October 7 when police fired tear gas at the demonstrators, sparking clashes that left two people dead and nearly 500 injured.

A number of small blasts have also rocked the protest camp at the complex, injuring several people.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Canucks Remember in Kandahar

Canadian veterans honoured in Kandahar

KANDAHAR, Afghanistan — The dark sunglasses worn by some family members of fallen soldiers yesterday to block out the unfailingly bright desert sun could not hide the flow of tears that streamed steadily throughout the bagpiper's mournful song.

For nearly half an hour, families of six slain soldiers had held back, looking pained but stoic during a Remembrance Day ceremony as Brigadier-General Denis Thompson, the commander of military troops in Kandahar province, outlined the specific gains that each soldier's death helped the military enable.

“They need to be reassured that everything that they put into this country, their blood, their family, is not a waste,” Gen. Thompson said.

The parents of Private Mark Graham, a former Olympic sprinter who was killed horrifically by friendly fire – an American fighter jet bombed a Canadian camp they mistook for insurgents – during the infamous Operation Medusa in September, 2006, were told that the place their son died has been rehabilitated into a wellspring of life.

“Mark lost his life in an area absolutely infested with insurgents who had forcibly evicted thousands of local villagers for the sake of their philosophy,” Gen. Thompson said. “Today, two years later, Mark would not recognize his battlefield. Schools are operating, local governance is prospering, and infrastructure is being built …A major coalition forward operating base has been constructed on the very spot that Mark lost his life.”

The family of Private Blake Williamson, killed in October, 2006 in the volatile Zhari district, was assured by the General their son died in what was then “without a doubt the most dangerous part of Afghanistan.” Today, the region is a “stability box”, he said.

The area of northern Kandahar province where Cpl. Randy Payne lost his life in April, 2006, is now secured and serves as a key access route linking Kandahar province to Uruzgan; nearly 1,000 troops were recently anchored in dangerous Maiwand district, the wild-west of Kandahar province where Private David Greenslate fell in April, 2007. They are disrupting the insurgent supply lines emanating from nearby Helmand province, the General said.

After he extended similar assurances to the families of Cpt. Matthew Dawe, killed in July of 2007, and Pte. Michel Levesque, who died in April, 2006, each family was invited to lay wreaths at the airfield's Canadian war memorial, a marble-tiled structure carved with the names and faces of all 97 soldiers our country has lost so far here.

With the bagpiper playing, they rose from their seats family by family, some clutching hands for support, most looking as if the act of placing their wreath deepened the ache of their loss rather than easing it. That is when tears began to flow.

Still, the families – flown to Afghanistan by the military as part of Remembrance Day tradition – said spending the day close to the spots where their sons breathed their last breaths was somewhat cathartic.

“Being here and just feeling the air … hearing from the Afghan people and hearing what has happened here since Mark has passed away has made a huge difference,” said Linda Learn, Pte. Graham's stepmother. “It really puts a different picture in my mind about Afghanistan. We had a picture of where he died. Now we know that there's roads and marketplaces and bazaars and schools,” she said. “It doesn't bring him back … but it does bring some comfort.”

Peter and Reine Dawe, parents of Capt. Matthew Dawe, took their visit one step further – the pair asked to see and sit in the actual vehicle their son was killed in. Mr. Dawe called the process “traumatic”, although his wife said it helped her feel closer to her son.

Thai Senate Finds Police in the Wrong

Hope for Thailand. The Government finds out it just can't shoot a people who disagree with them.

Senate finds police, govt guilty

Senate panels on Tuesday found the government and police guilty of violating human rights for the crackdown on the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) on October 7.

The Senate committee on human rights, freedom and consumer protection chairman Somchai Sawaengkarn said violent crowd dispersal tactics - which left two people killed and more than 400 people injured - could have been avoided.

Mr Somchai also said government officials could have used alternative routes to enter parliament while meetings could have been postponed or relocated.

“The committee sees that the incidents reflected the guilty party’s lack of discretion and their inappropriateness of using weapons to disperse people,” the senator said.

He added the actions carried out by the police followed the cabinet’s resolution on October 6 to allow the government to announce its policy at the parliament as scheduled. Therefore, the government and the Royal Thai Police must be responsible for the damage done.

“Police officers did not negotiate with the protesters but instead used tear-gas canisters and rubber bullets against them, causing many injuries. Their acts infringed on the Declaration of Human Rights and were more than necessary,” Mr Somchai said.

Mr Somchai said a budget consideration of 56 million baht for victims was inadequate and unjust.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Burn in Hell

Who's smiling now, Jackass? Yes the Bali Bombers are dead. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

Relief in Australia as Bali bombers executed

Australian victims of the Bali bombings and their families expressed relief Sunday after the execution of three Islamists for the attacks, but said they were still struggling to cope with their grief.

"It's just utter relief," survivor Peter Hughes told CNN on the news that bombers Amrozi, Mukhlas and Imam Samudra had been killed by an Indonesian firing squad shortly after midnight.

Hughes, who sustained horrific burns after a suicide bomber detonated himself within metres of him, said the executions took him back to the moment the first bomb went off and he found himself surrounded by burning bodies.

"We had to fight for life pretty hard back then and it's been a struggle every day since," he said.

"So from my perspective these guys set about mass murder and they've paid the highest penalty."

But he added: "It doesn't feel good."

Trent Thompson, whose brother Clint was among the 88 Australians killed, said he would have been happy if the bombers had lived long, miserable lives in jail but he was pleased they would no longer be able to spread their views.

"I guess the overwhelming feeling isn't joy because they're dead, but it's definitely relief that we don't have to continue with the circus," he told national news agency AAP.

"It hasn't bought anyone back. Everyone is still dead."

Yes and unfortunately there's someone they DIDN'T execute. Old Bashir the Nutter.

Become terrorists, cleric urges

AS the Bali bombers prepared for their executions, radical Muslim cleric Abu Bakar Bashir urged Muslims in their home villages to follow them as terrorists.

After visiting the bombers' mother Tariyem in this tiny rural hamlet, Bashir emerged to praise Mukhlas and Amrozi and fellow bomber Imam Samudra as Islamic heroes who had brought honour to themselves and their families.

"Their fighting spirit in defending Islam should be followed,'' the ageing bearded preacher said.

"We will win the fight in this world or die as martyrs.''

Appearing before a large banner featuring photos of the condemned men at the hastily established "Heroes Who Fight For Islam Media Center'', Bashir said he was both sad and happy at the same time.

"Even if they are murdered, they will die as Islamic martyrs,'' he told the small but noisy crowd of mostly unemployed young men and curious locals.

In a rambling speech, the spiritual leader of the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) terrorist group promised his impressionable audience that everything would be good for Mujahid (Islamic fighters).

Bashir also conceded that his brand of radical Islam, which is followed only by a tiny minority in Indonesia, faced an uphill battle.

Officials visited the family on Friday night to make final arrangements for the bombers' last journey.
Ali Fauzin, the younger brother of Amrozi and Mukhlas, travelled to the prison yesterday to deliver the shrouds that the bodies will be wrapped in before being flown back to their home village by helicopter.

The executions were expected to be carried out overnight

Friday, November 7, 2008

Raja Petra Kamaruddin Freed

This is good news out of the increasingly over-Islamic Malaysia.

Malaysia's top blogger released from detention

Malaysia's leading blogger, Raja Petra Kamaruddin, was Friday released from detention under controversial internal security laws after a court ruled the government had no right to hold him.

Raja Petra, a vocal government critic who had been held at a notorious detention camp since September, wept and embraced his family after being freed by the Shah Alam High Court.

"I'm realy glad it's over. I'm really tired. The judge's decision proves that there was no justification for my detention," he said, calling for an end to the Internal Security Act (ISA) which allows for detention without trial.

"We have to fight all-out and get the ISA abolished," he told reporters.

Looking haggard and dressed in a brown T-shirt and jeans, Raja Petra was garlanded by dozens of supporters outside the court before stepping into a maroon Rolls Royce provided by a supporter to ferry him home.

"It's a great day for human rights and fundamental liberties," said Malaysian human rights commissioner Denison Jayasooria.

"The executive must use the ISA only in situations where there is a real threat to national security," he told AFP.

Raja Petra, founder of the popular Malaysia Today website which has outraged top leaders with its stream of critical stories, was detained in September for writing articles that allegedly insulted Islam.

His lawyer Malik Imtiaz Sarwar said the High Court ruled earlier Friday that Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar had acted outside his powers by ordering Raja Petra to serve two years in detention without trial.

"The judge ruled that the circumstances which existed at the time that Raja Petra was detained did not satisfy the threshold conditions under the ISA," he told AFP.

Malik said it was the first time a court has ordered the release of an ISA detainee since 1989, when courts were barred from interfering once a detention order has been signed by the home minister.

"It is certainly an historic ruling and a profound moment for civil liberties in this country," he said, while adding that the government can appeal the decision.

Opposition parliamentarian Lim Kit Siang said the ruling "sustains hope that basic judicial decency, independence and integrity have not been completely destroyed, despite two decades of judicial darkness."

He called on the government to "fully respect" the verdict and "slap down any trickery or stratagem to frustrate the judicial decision, such as a re-arrest."

Raja Petra is best known for his articles on politics, and had already been charged with sedition and defamation for linking Deputy Prime Minister Najib Razak and his wife to the sensational murder of a Mongolian woman.

But he was also accused of threatening public security and causing racial tension by inciting hate in his articles on Islam -- a serious offence in predominantly Muslim Malaysia.

There has been a rash of detentions in recent months under the ISA, which allows for renewable two-year periods of detention without trial.

Raja Petra was detained on the same day as opposition lawmaker Teresa Kok and journalist Tan Hoon Cheng, both of whom have since been freed.

Tan's arrest in particular caused a furore as she had merely reported on racist comments from a ruling party member who was subsequently suspended by the United Malays National Organisation.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Sell, Sell, Sell!!!

The press continues to sniff Obama's saintly arse with this article on why the markets tanked yesterday. Because the market decline COULDN'T have something to do with a collectivist getting elected could it? No. It's "recession fears".

World stocks plunge as recession fears bite

Global stock markets tumbled for a second day running on Thursday as investors shrugged off Barack Obama's election as US president to focus on growing recession fears, traders said.

Europe's main markets were up to four percent lower in late morning trade after Asia saw losses of around seven percent. Wall Street shed five percent overnight and on Thursday there were also sharp losses for Nordic and Gulf share prices.

"The honeymoon period for president-elect Obama is already proving extremely short-lived, with the run of grim US economic data (on Wednesday) highlighting the mammoth task ahead in terms of getting the economy back on its feet," said Mitul Kotecha, an analyst at Calyon investment group.

"As attention turns from credit problems to economic concerns, any improvement in risk appetite will be limited, as seen in the sharp pull back" in equity markets, Kotecha added.

Investors in Europe were gearing up for interest-rate decisions from the European Central Bank and Bank of England later on Thursday, with both widely expected to slash key lending rates by half a percentage point.

"The ECB and BoE rate verdicts do have the potential to provide some cheer, especially if the cuts end up at the more aggressive end of the spectrum," said CMC Markets dealer Matt Buckland.

Some economists say the Bank of England may to reduce its key lending rate by as much as one percentage point. The BoE decision is due at 1200 GMT with the ECB call 45 minutes later.

"What is clear beyond what takes place today (Thursday) is that further substantial monetary easing will be required globally," said Derek Halpenny, an analyst at The Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi in London.

"Tomorrow's employment report from the US may well remind markets of the potential scale of the slowdown coming."

Yep. It's not the commie.

That Didn't Take Long

Let the Obama-bashing begin! He's not even the Prez yet and already the bitching starts. Hurray for democracy!

Obama campaign workers angry over unpaid wages

Lines were long and tempers flared Wednesday not to vote but to get paid for canvassing for Barack Obama. Several hundred people are still waiting to get their pay for last-minute campaigning. Police were called to the Obama campaign office on North Meridian Street downtown to control the crowd.

The line was long and the crowd was angry at times.

"I want my money today! It's my money. I want it right now!" yelled one former campaign worker.

A former spokesman for the Obama campaign said 375 people were hired as part of the Vote Corps program and said people signed up to work three-hour shifts at a time. Three hours of canvassing got workers a $30 pre-paid Visa card.

The workers showed up to get their cards Wednesday morning at 10:00 am.

"There was a note on the door saying 1:00 pm and then at 1:20 pm everybody was like why is nobody here. They just got here and they're trying to get it organized," said Heather Richards, a former campaign worker.

The large gathering of around 375 people prompted police to call in extra officers and set up temporary barricades. The barricades helped keep the crowd from spilling out onto Meridian Street. Police say the several hundred people in line were for the most part orderly.

"No arrests. Some of the people were upset at first because the line wasn't moving as fast as they thought it should. But we really haven't had any problems," said Major Darryl Pierce, Metro Police.

Eventually people did start getting paid, but some said they were missing hours and told to fill in paperwork making their claim and that eventually they would get a check in the mail.

"Still that's not right. I'm disappointed. I'm glad for the president, but I'm disappointed in this system," said Diane Jefferson, temporary campaign worker.

"It should have been $480. It's $230," said Imani Sankofa.

Get used to in Imani, redistribution applies to YOU too.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Obama in The House

Well I'm sort of glad it's all over.

Now the Dems will have their chance to mess everything up, or at least get the blame for messing things up, or for failing to deliver what ever it was they promised.

Also this will hopefully allow the Americans to move on from obsessing about race and color. If Obama fails to get re-elected it will because he blew it, not because of his race.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Here's Your Change, America

Imagine if you will the emergence of a young charismatic political leader. One who would appeal to the youth vote, inspire a devoted following, and a Beatles like frenzy where ever he went. Imagine an attractive stylish man who would promise to unite a divided country and bring about real change. But if one scratched beneath the surface of this media darling one would find a history of socialist thinking and admiration towards Dictators such as Fidel Castro.

Sound familiar?

It does to Canadians. His name was Pierre Eliot Trudeau and he ruled Canada almost continuously between 1968 and 1984. If Americans want to see what an Obama presidency might look like, or what effects socialist policies might have in the long run they should look to the North.

Trudeau came on to the Canadian political scene in the mid-sixties and benefited greatly from the wave of change that was moving across the Western world. Youth culture was taking shape, all things “old” were being questioned, and aging polititans just weren’t “with it”. Canada was moving with great optimism towards its Centennial celebration and the mood of the country was positive. Now, to look at the young Trudeau’s Austin Power’s fashion sensibilities it’s hard to believe women actually threw their panties at him but he out-styled the stodgy old parliamentarians of the time and “Trudeaumania” swept much of Canada. It was with this mania that Trudeau easily took power in 1968’s Federal election.

Trudeau, the son of a wealthy industrialist, had been pretty much unheard of outside of Quebec before the previous Canadian Prime Minister; Lester B. Pearson had brought him into his cabinet. In his youth Trudeau had supported the socialist New Democratic Party, as well as having worked with Quebec labor unions. During the Liberal Leadership convention prior to the 1968 election Trudeau seemed to come out of the no where and surprised everyone by winning over old party favorite Paul Joseph Martin who was expected to easily take the position.

During the election itself the Liberals campaign focused on Trudeau being the leader of the future who would build a "just society", unite English and French Canada and allow the expansion of social programs. The Progressive Conservatives with and their leader Robert Stanfield didn’t stand a chance. Stanfield was portrayed as a bumbling old man and the Conservatives couldn’t seem to make their minds up on how to deal with an increasingly demanding Francophone population in Quebec. When the votes were counted the Liberals had won over 45% of the popular vote giving Trudeau the majority he needed to make the changes he’d promised.
Trudeau’s economic policy largely based on the theories of the British socialist Harold Laski, whom Ayn Rand based the character Ellsworth Toohey on in her novel “The Fountainhead”. Thanks to these policies between 1968 and 1984 the Canadian National debt rose from $18 billion to $200 billion. Trudeau later brushed off criticism of this debt by noting “it mostly wasn’t foreign held”. Foreign held or not the tax burden it created crippled the Canadian economy while driving many professional Canadians such as Doctors or Engineers to “vote with their feet” by relocating to the United States or elsewhere. Trudeau’s advice to those average Canadians suffering from the bad economic times of the early 1980’s was to “tighten their belts”.

As the Canadian economy began to feel the effects of the Liberals’ policies inflation began to soar. Rather than dealing with the causes of this inflation Trudeau imposed wage and price control legislation. Even with this draconian “cure” Canada saw an annualized inflation rate of 7.63% between when Trudeau came to power and when he finally left office. Unemployment went from 4% in the early 1970s to 11% in 1984, and again Trudeau’s sought to deal with the effect rather than the cause by increasing unemployment benefits, strengthened the power of the Unions, increasing the unemployment insurance bureaucracy. This in turn led to additional taxation to support these policies.

Even during the oil thirsty 1970’s Canada’s resource sector was betrayed by Trudeau’s protectionism and socialism in the form of the “National Energy Program” which regulated free market prices, and effectively destroyed the growth in energy rich Alberta. In 1974 Trudeau’s government created The Foreign Investment Review Agency (FIRA) which put the nail in the coffin of foreign investment in Canada, particularly in the areas of resources and energy development. It was these two policies, and Trudeau’s endless pampering of his voter base in Eastern Canada that laid the groundwork for the regionalism that now dominates Canadian politics.

Trudeau had come into power promising to “unite” Canada, East and West, Francophone and Anglophone in to one strong country. Instead in 1970 when Quebec nationalists the F.L.Q. began a campaign of bombings and kidnappings Trudeau invoked the “War Measures Act” which suspended civil liberties and declared martial law. Although many applauded Trudeau’s get tough approach the heavy handedness of Canadian soldiers being deployed in quiet Quebec streets actually furthered the Quebec separatists cause by forever fixing Canada as “the oppressor” of Quebec and its culture. In contrast to his “tough” approach to the F.L.Q. crisis Trudeau had no problem with negotiating with the terrorist or allowing them to flee to Cuba. Today almost all of the F.L.Q.’s most wanted have either returned unhampered from exile or are free from prison including those involved in kidnapping and murder. One of the F.L.Q.s leaders, Paul Rose was sentenced to life, paroled in 1982 and is now a political leader in Quebec.

The Canadian Justice system also faltered under Trudeau’s rule. More liberal minded Judges were brought in and sentences were changed from the traditional punishment to focus on reform. In 1982 Trudeau’s Liberals replaced the long standing Juvenile Delinquents Act of 1908 with the half thought out “Young Offenders Act”. This progressive bit of legislation applied to anyone between the ages of 12 and 17 and completely protected offenders under the age of 12 from any prosecution at all. The act specified a maximum sentence of two years except in cases where an adult could face life imprisonment, such as murder or manslaughter. In those cases the young offender could be subject to the harsher maximum sentence of three years. The act also imposed identity protection for the offender throughout the court proceedings and often after their release. Needless to say youth crime skyrocketed. Although the Act was replaced by a slightly better one in 2002 Canadian Courts still tend to treat youth crime with incredible leniency, while attempting to regulate gun ownership to control the chronic gang violence now plaguing schools in the larger Metropolitan areas such as Toronto.

Trudeau is remembered as the Prime Minister who fought to save Canada from Quebec separatism and who gave us our Constitution. The Constitution we were given however does little to protect individual rights of Canadians. For example if I were to open a shop anywhere in Quebec and post a sign in English I would be arrested and or fined by the Quebec Government for breaking their language laws. The Canadian Constitution does nothing to protect me, as Quebec has special status under that Constitution. The Canadian Constitution also provides Quebec with an unfair voting advantage in Federal Elections. Even though the population of the Western provinces Ontario and Quebec are equal to that of Quebec they do not receive an equal representation in Parliament. The tiny province of Prince Edward Island receives a guaranteed four seats in Parliament for its population of just over 100,000 people while a section of Toronto receives one seat for the same amount of people. Trudeau’s Constitution which was created under much media fan fair (while the Canadian Economy was at its worse with 12% unemployment) didn’t improve the rights of Canadians beyond insuring Eastern Canada would forever rule over and dictate to the West. This did nothing to appease Quebec and further drove apart the regions with hostility and suspicion. The Canadian Charter of Rights limits rights subject to "limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society." Or in other words you have these rights until we say you don’t. There is no guarantee of property rights included at all.

One proud Canadian institution that suffered the most under Trudeau was The Canadian Military. Canada, like Australia came to age in the trenches of the First World War 50,000 Canadians gave their lives during the Second World War. Trudeau, unlike others of his generation, avoided fighting in the Second World War by joining a seminary. During the War the young intellectual would ride a motorcycle through Montreal’s Jewish quart wearing a German army helmet. While this doesn’t suggest he was a Nazi, it displays the indifference many Quebec intellectuals had regarding the War, which they saw as unjust.

When in power, while he was hobnobbing with various Third World tyrants such as Castro, Trudeau reduced Canadian Military spending to the point where its NATO commitments were impossible to live up to. The government amalgamated the Royal Canadian Air Force, Royal Canadian Navy, and the Army into the singular Canadian Armed Forces, thus illuminating the contentions word “Royal” that was the bee in the bonnet of so many in Quebec. The old duty uniforms that had distinguished the services that had fought against Nazi Germany and Japan as well as North Korea were replaced with hideous “pine-scent air-fresher green” outfits that’s soviet style was more befitting a gas station attendant than a soldier, sailor or airman. Equipment fell into disrepair and Canada was unable to even police its own shorelines effectively. It is only with in the last decade that Canada’s military has begun recover from the Trudeau years and the continuation of his policies in subsequent Liberal Governments since.

To understand the degree of which Trudeau memorized many Canadians, especially those in the areas of culture and media, one only has to look at how Trudeau has been canonized since his death in 2000. Former Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney (arguably the most unpopular Prime Minister in Canada’s history) has recently come under attack for “speaking ill of the dead” in his memoirs, and in 2006 when authors Max and Monique Nemni’s “Young Trudeau: Son of Quebec, Father of Canada, 1919-1944” painted a picture of Trudeau as an anti-Semite and admirer of Mussolini many saw their well researched book as nothing short of blasphemy. Trudeau is proclaimed as the savior of Canada despite Quebec’s continued separatist efforts and a bitter regionalism that dominates Canada’s parliament. After his death in 2000 some Canadians lay roses on the train tracks as his coffin was transported to his funeral which was attended by long time friend Fidel Castro and President Jimmy Carter. Ironic as he once gave the finger to a group of unemployed protesters from the comforts of his luxury train car as he traveled by them.

Canadian tax payers continue to pay for Trudeau’s policies quite literally with an annual $ 125 million tax dollars being used to fund “The Trudeau Foundation” which is supposed to provide for 100 doctoral and post-doctoral students and to preserve Trudeau’s ideas.

You would think Canada had already paid enough for those ideas.

Bombs in Thailand

In case you've forgotten Thailand is under attack in the South from Islamic Nutbars...

Triple blast

Three bombs apparently set on motorcycles by southern insurgents killed a woman and wounded at least 71 passersby in Sukhirin district of Narathiwat on Tuesday, police said.

Police said the first two bombs went off almost together around 11:15am on the edge of a parking lot near the entrance to the district office, where village leaders from the area were holding an outdoor meeting.

The third went off a few minutes later near a tea shop.

Wounded people were rushed to Sukhirin and Sungai Kolok hospitals. Mobile phone access to the area was cut to try to prevent more explosions, adding to the chaos.

Initial reports by hospital officials said a woman was killed in one of the blasts. At least 30 of the 71 wounded were taken to hospital with serious injuries.

Military officials said they had received reports of a bomb and explosives disposal teams tried to rush to the scene.

"But as they were closing the area, the bomb exploded and many bystanders were also injured," said an officer.

The bombs were the latest incidents in a sudden upsurge of violence as students returned to school after the autumn harvest break.

An army spokesman said security personnel also found a 5kg bomb in next-door Rueso district, also in Narathiwat, but it did not explode. On Monday, a roadside bomb targeting soldiers escorting teachers exploded but there was no casualty.

Last week, Prime Minister Somchai Wongsawat visited the South and commented that troubles in the region appeared to have eased.

On Monday night a 47-year-old religious teacher was shot dead in Narathiwat province, while a 41-year-old man was killed laterthe same night in a similar attack in nearby Pattani province, police said.