Al Jazeera – Terror’s Mouthpiece
The terrorists in Iraq are now holding Turkish citizens and, you guessed it, are threatening to behead them if Turkey does not pull out of the Coalition. (Thank you, Spain.) And yet again, we hear about it through a tape received and broadcast by Al-Jazeera TV. What is it with this station? Do they have some sort of anonymous drop-box out there that says “Deposit your terrorist films here”? Or is it something more sinister than that?
I say that Al-Jazeera’s not just the lucky recipient of all the beheading tapes they can swallow. Their anti-Coalition, anti-American, anti-anything-that’s-not-Arabs-victorious attitude had made them into something far different than a “news” organization. They’re the propaganda wing of Terrorists-R-Us. They actively seek stories, footage, and relationships with these terror groups and make damn sure they get their say on the air. Frankly, I would not be surprised at all to find out that the cameramen shooting the beheading footage and the (yeah, right) “negotiation” offers are in fact Al-Jazeera employees.
I think Al-Jazeera knows full well not only who those terrorists are, but they know where they are. They know where they’re holding these people and they know that they have no intention whatsoever of releasing them. The only difference this time is that the men they’ve taken this time are most likely Muslims themselves. Not, of course, that this has slowed them down much in the streets of Iraq where they’ve killed hundreds of their fellow Muslims over the past few days. Al-Jazeera has been the cheerleader for this violence and has made sure to be seen as the outlet for terrorists to spread their hate as far and wide as they can. They’re involved, and we should find out exactly how. That’s right: I think a raid on Al-Jazeera’s offices are in order.
Now before anybody starts screaming “freedom of the press”, let’s get 2 things very straight here. First, and way, way foremost: even the phrase “freedom of the press” that gets bandied about so eagerly is pulled from the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. That’s a document that applies to citizens and organizations of the United States. So feel free to apply the concept to any other countries citizens you’d like. Such application has no basis in the laws of this land and as regards those other countries’ citizens, the protections granted by that document… Do. Not. Apply.
Second, as I’ve already stated, their actions have made it clear that they are no “observant bystander” in this conflict. I’ve seen it mentioned that there’s no way we’d have allowed a Nazi camera crew to set up shop on the cliffs overlooking the beaches at Normandy so they could broadcast everything the Allies were doing there June 6, 1944. The reason is simple: they would have let the enemy know all the movements we made and they would have participated in actions against us. Al-Jazeera does no less. They shouldn’t be allowed to do so any more than we would have Nazis 60 years ago. And they should not expect to enjoy the protections granted news organizations in the West.
We need to know where these cowardly, murderous bastards are. Let’s go find out from the people who so clearly know.
In case you’ve been living completely off-line over the last 24-36 hours, you already know that there’s been a new breed of attack going on on the Web. “Hackers” have been cracking into highly popular web sites through the use of some well-known Windows Internet Information Server (IIS) security holes and implanting malicious code on the pages. The code itself then uses 2 security vulnerabilities in Internet Explorer to redirect a user to a Russian-based web site where spyware gets uploaded to the user’s machine. The spyware is a keystroke recorder designed to keep track of all data entered by the user, including passwords, credit card numbers, social security numbers, and the like.
Here’s the important stuff for you: the attack does not read like a virus, so your anti-virus software will not find it. There is no patch from Microsoft for these holes they know to exist in Internet Explorer. No word whatsoever from MS about fixing, them either.
Personally, I got tired of this kind of event about 4 months ago and started looking for alternatives. I found them. The browser is called Mozilla Firefox and the e-mail program is called Mozilla Thunderbird. Firefox has features IE doesn’t have and MS doesn’t seem to want you to have, including tabbed browsing which is a personal favorite. Thunderbird is a POP3 e-mail client with anti-spam features and everything the average user will ever need.
Don’t take my word for it, though. Here’s what the Washington Post reported today on the topic:
|Space Here||The attack takes advantage of several recently discovered security flaws in Microsoft’s Internet browser and Internet Information Services Web software. Microsoft released a patch in April to fix one security hole in its Internet browser; the company is still working on a patch for the other flaw, which security researchers publicly detailed less than two weeks ago.
CERT recommends that Explorer users consider other browsers that are not affected by the attack, such as Mozilla, Mozilla Firefox, Netscape and Opera. Mac, Linux and other non-Windows operating systems are immune from this attack. For people who continue to use the Internet Explorer, CERT and Microsoft recommend setting the browser’s security settings to “high,” but that can impair some browsing functions.
CERT, by the way, is the US Computer Emergency Readiness Team. These folks know their stuff.
Moore’s a liar and a thief
In his headlong rush to put out yet another movie hack-job of the truth in an effort to gleefully offend as many people as he can, Michael Moore has managed to commit copyright violation at the same time. Moore’s newest waste of celluloid titled Fahrenheit 9/11, subtitled the “temperature at which freedom burns” is making use of a title he has no right to use. Ray Bradbury, the author of Fahrenheit 451, says the title of Moore’s work infringes on his copyright.
|Space Here||“He didn’t ask my permission,” Bradbury, 83, told The Associated Press on Friday. “That’s not his novel, that’s not his title, so he shouldn’t have done it.”
Bradbury, who hadn’t seen the movie, said he called Moore’s company six months ago to protest and was promised Moore would call back.
He finally got that call last Saturday, Bradbury said, adding Moore told him he was “embarrassed.”
“He suddenly realized he’s let too much time go by,” the author said by phone from his home in Los Angeles’ Cheviot Hills section.
Nice going, scumbag…
Update: And lest you think my thoughts on the man and his – work – are merely part of the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy &trade, have a look at the column by Vanity Fair author Christopher Hitchens.
Aerospace History in the making (UPDATED!)
It’s scheduled for 5 minutes from right now. At 09:30 this morning, DC time, SpaceShipOne will launch. This is the privately funded effort by Scaled Compositites to put people into space as part of the X-Prize. And they’re doing it without government funding or support.
Go baby, GO!
Update: And they have done it!!! According to the reports, the launch was a spectacular success:
|Space Here||MOJAVE, California (CNN) — Rocket plane SpaceShipOne reached an altitude above 62.5 miles (100 km) during its brief flight Monday morning, making it the first privately built craft to fly in space, controllers said.
The space plane was carried aloft to about 50,000 feet by the jet White Knight.
From there SpaceShipOne launched into space.
Is it just me, or does it seem like the world’s possibilites have just expanded?
WaPo making it obvious again (Updated: NY Times, too.) (Updated again
On the Washington Post home page today, there’s a story about Clinton’s memoirs, a big headline about all the mistakes the Administration has made in Iraq (“Iraq Mistakes Loom Large”), one about the terrorist leader the Saudi’s killed yesterday “…After Hostage Beheaded”, a story about conjoined twins in Virginia who were separated surgically, and – important stuff here! – a farewell to the cicadas of brood X who have done their thing and shuffled off.
Not one story there about the amazing news from Russian President Vladmir Putin. The leader of the former fellow superpower, the largest single country on the planet, comes out saying he personally advised our leader of Iraq planning terror attacks against us during a very critical period and the supposedly premier newspaper of the Nation’s capital can’t be bothered to run a headline? What, this isn’t newsworthy?
Not at all. Just doesn’t play well into the “Bush Lied! Bush Lied!” story they want to sell.
UPDATE: While I personally don’t read the New York Times, I am aware of the Times‘ massive power to inform, or misinform, huge sections of the public. The fact that literally all the major television news outlets take their lead from the Times merely compounds the problem. So the editorial the Times has put out saying that the President is lying about the connection between Saddam and Al Qaeda is a particularly heinous one given that it’s basis is itself a lie. I direct you to the Power Line, a blog I just heard about this evening, and their fine write-up of the issue. They do the reporting of the facts that the Times is supposed to do.
UPDATE: I finally found where the WaPo put the story – on Saturday, it was on page A11. A story of this magnitude and they bury it. Good work, boys.
Putin told US Saddam was planning attacks
After yesterday’s release of the 9/11 Commission report, I’ve been hearing and seeing a lot of folks ranging from satisfied to downright smug pointing to that 1 conclusion in the report that the Commission had found “no credible evidence” of collaboration between Al Qaeda and Saddam with regard to the attacks on 9/11. At first I was planning on simply letting it pass, since the record is quite clear that the Administration never once said there was such a collaboration. In fact, President Bush said quite specifically that he had no evidence of a link between the 9/11 attacks and Iraq. So the point is really a non-argument since the concept that Saddam was somehow responsible for 9/11 was never advanced by the Administration. Ever.
What was claimed was that Saddam and his government were supporting terrorist organizations and were, themselves, a threat to the US. Note the distinction, please. Not that Saddam was responsible for 9/11, but that he was supportive of terrorist organizations and was planning threatening actions on his own. That was a reason cited as justification to go to war, and that was loudly decried as baseless lies by the Left. So, how about some independent 3rd-party confirmation that this was going on?
Russian President Vladmir Putin good enough?
As is being reported all over the place, Putin has stated publicly that his Special Services people became aware of plans made by Saddam’s government to launch terror attacks against the US. They told the Bush Administration of this information between 9/11 and the start of the Iraq war. While the actions in Afghanistan were progressing, the President was doing his job: looking to the future and making the best decisions he could with the information available as to how to best guarantee America’s security. With this information on his desk, the decision to attack Iraq becomes much less the scatter-brained deal many on the Left seek to paint it as.
All of this assumes Putin’s not lying, of course. So let’s examine that. Why would he lie? He was one of the big 3 staunch opponents to the war. Russia had millions in trade going with Saddam’s government and promises of lots more. Let’s not forget, shall we, that Russia and Russian companies were high on that list of groups receiving big gifts of oil from Saddam. (A story our media has woefully undercovered. It makes Bush’s opponents look bad, after all.) Russia was basically sidelined as an effective force in the world events over the last year or so as a result and the relationship between he and President Bush soured significantly as a result of Russia’s stance in the UN. (Recall that President Bush spoke very warmly about Putin just after taking office.) There’s just no motive for Putin to lie publicly like this when it does nothing but bolster the case in favor of attacking Iraq. It sure doesn’t help him any and it makes his previous resistance – along with that of France and Germany – seem even less reasonable. I can’t imagine what such a lie would gain him.
State-sponsored terrorism – and that’s what Saddam’s plans, as reported by Putin, amount to – is exactly the kind of threat President Bush spoke of when he said he was going to go after the terrorists wherever they were. It is also a recognized act of war and the concept of self-defense most certainly allows a preemptive attack against a foreign power engaged in such planning. Had we known the Japanese were planning to bomb Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 (and been able to launch such an attack), we would certainly have been within our rights to attack that force while it was in preparations in port. We would not have had to wait until that morning and then tried to fend off the attack. Iraq is no different excepting only the method of the attack. They were planning an attack, we found out about it, we moved to defend ourselves.
Muslim Challenge to the Islamist State of Mind
Worth a read, definitely. Tashbih Sayyed is the editor-in-chief of Muslim World Today and Pakistan Today, California-based weekly newspapers, president of Council for Democracy and Tolerance and adjunct fellow of Hudson Institute.
|Space Here||I am convinced that the only way to save the Muslims from being permanently consigned to the dustbin of history is to destroy the basis of anti-Semitism from the Muslim traditions and liturgy. And this can only be done by exposing the Islamist agenda. Muslims have to be informed of the real reasons of anti-Semitism by creating an alternative source of information and education from within the Muslim community. Only a Muslim challenge to the dark ideology of Islamism can undo the damage done to the Muslim mind.||Space Here|
I tend to agree. Once a real, open dialog is established – in two directions – then it becomes less a case where only a Muslim can do the job. Until then, however, I think he’s onto something. In any case, you should definitely read the whole thing.
It’s called “Shot Down” for a reason…
The 9/11 Commission is reviewing the response to the 9/11 attacks by the military and other agencies today. Already key in several media accounts is the fact that the pilots of the intercepting fighters that day didn’t get the go-ahead to shoot down the civilian aircraft until after Flight 93 had already crashed in Pennsylvania. While the impact of Flight 11 on the north tower of the World Trade Center was, for all practical purposes, unstoppable, there’s going to be some serious focus on Flight 77, which impacted the Pentagon. It did so 30 minutes after Flight 11′s strike. The 9/11 Commissions’ questioning appears to be implying that the military did not respond in a timely fashion and that if they had, Flight 77 might have been intercepted.
If you’ve looked at the picture, that interesting looking figure at the left is Dulles International Airport. (You can see the major runways running parallel to each other. There’s a 3rd runway extending off up and to the left. The terminal is between the 2 major runways.) The Pentagon is actually just off the right side of the image (sorry, it’s too small to be noted if the image is widened enough to see both.) Feel free to look closely at what is between those points. That’s right: lots and lots of homes, businesses, and people. The towns of Sterling, Reston, Herndon, Tyson’s Corner, Falls Church, Alexandria and Arlington are all in there. If there’s enough room anywhere in there for a plane to land normally, I don’t know where it is, and I live out here.
So imagine some F-15 or F-16 putting an AIM-120 up the tailpipe of a Boeing 767 loaded with literally tons of aviation fuel. Just where do you think that’s going to go? That’s right – down. And likely down in a big spray of debris. Pilots know this and their training is such that they will avoid taking out a target over a civilian population if there’s any way to avoid it. That little thought process doesn’t stop in the cockpit, either. It goes right up the chain of command. All those people making that same calculation takes time. And when the order comes down, that also takes time. More than enough to allow those terrorists to do their evil work.
I hope the Commission is truly interested in finding the facts and less about assigning blame. Their mandate should be less about pointing the finger and more about giving us something serious to prepare with.
Asymmetic War, Asymmetric Reporting
Deborah Orin is the Washington Bureau chief for the New York Post. She wrote a great op-ed piece regarding the unbalanced reporting going on about Iraq, with some special regard to the Abu Ghraib prison scandal. She articulates well on some of the reasons why, as well.
|Space Here||June 16, 2004 — THE video only lasts four minutes or so — grue some scenes of torture from the days when Saddam Hussein’s thugs ruled Abu Ghraib prison. I couldn’t bear to watch, so I walked out until it was over.
Some who stayed wished they hadn’t. They told of savage scenes of decapitation, fingers chopped off one by one, tongues hacked out with a razor blade — all while victims shriek in pain and the thugs chant Saddam’s praises.
Saddam’s henchmen took the videos as newsreels to document their deeds in honor of their leader.
But these awful images didn’t show up on American TV news.
In fact, just four or five reporters showed up for the screening at the American Enterprise Institute think tank, which says it got the video via the Pentagon. Fewer wrote about it.
No surprise, since no newscast would air the videos of Nick Berg and Wall Street Journal reporter Danny Pearl getting decapitated, or of U.S. contractors in Fallujah getting torn limb from limb by al Qaeda operatives.
But every TV network has endlessly shown photos of the humiliation of Iraqi prisoners by U.S. troops at Abu Ghraib. Why?
“Because most [journalists] want Bush to lose,” says AEI scholar Michael Ledeen, who helped host the screening of the Saddam video.
Excellent point. She mentions that neither the Pentagon nor the media themselves have figured out a way around the issue but that they must find a way. Harping on the actions of a few idiot soldiers and some careless commanding officers simply because you can show those pictures, but refusing to even speak of, let alone show, the actions of Saddam’s minions is simply unjustifiable for an industry allegedly committed to bringing us the facts. Again, from the article:
|Space Here|| AEI spokeswoman Veronique Rodman, puzzled by the minimal interest in the Saddam torture video, is sure that if it was a video of equally horrific torture committed by U.S. troops, the press would find ways to show or report it.
Reporters have to face up to the fact that right now, if we highlight the wrongs that Americans commit but not — out of squeamishness — the far worse horrors committed by others, we become propaganda tools for the other side.
This isn’t to argue in any way against reporting the Abu Ghraib scandal. But reporters have to face up to the problems — and find ways to achieve a more balanced account.
It’s precisely this kind of activity – becoming the (possibly) unwitting propaganda machine of the enemy – that allows comment’s like Sen. Kennedy’s totally unsupportable charge that the prison had merely re-opened under new U.S. management. Because the American public is only peripherally aware of the attrocities that went on at Abu Ghraib before we even got there, Sen. Kennedy’s viewpoint is given more credence and weight than it deserves. As Ms. Orin says, the press needs to face up to the consequences of their unbalanced reporting and do something about it.
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Say wha-, huh?
Oooookay, I’m clearly not getting the point. As reported on CNN:
|Space Here||WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Bush praised his predecessor’s “energy and joy” Monday as the official portraits of former President Clinton and first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton were unveiled in a lighthearted ceremony at the White House.
The Clintons received a standing ovation from guests in the East Room of the executive mansion before the paintings by artist Simmie Knox were revealed.
“President Clinton and Sen. Clinton, welcome home,” Bush said.
Clinton said it was a great honor for him, his wife — now a U.S. senator from New York — and their family to return to “this wonderful place we called home for eight years.”
Bush’s introduction, he said, “made me feel like a pickle stepping into history.”
I’m afraid I just don’t get the reference, here.