June 29, 2002

DEMOCRATS.COM'S

favorite cartoonist seems to hold some fairly Ted Rall-esque opinions. Take a look at this Rus cartoon:



Here you have the Attorney General personally sentencing Johnny bin Walker to life in prison, contrary to the facts that
a) Ashcroft can't sentence him to anything
b) Walker has yet to stand trial, which he is in the process of doing
c) his trial has no connection whatsoever to Ashcroft's pro-life views, which are shared by half the country
d) Ashcroft, contrary to paranoid leftist fantasies, doesn't whack people with his Bible and isn't 50 feet tall, and
e) it's a lousy cartoon, reminiscent of what you see on ArabNews on a regular basis.

Not bad enough for you? How about this cartoon:

The cartoonist is saying that America deserved 9-11. When Jerry Falwell said the same thing with different reasons, he was rightly attacked.

And for a finale, here's the one that got me interested in examining this cartoonist's work:

Now that's a conspiracy theory. The whole awful collection can be found here. Here's a gem comparing Camp X-Ray to a Nazi death camp. He sure doesn't seem to like Ashcroft. Note the Hitler mustace, and the crosses in the background and in the Statue of Liberty's torch. Substitute them for six-pointed stars, and you have hate speech my friends.

Here's a quote from Rus's Rants:

The UN-elected Dimwit started a "war" solely to increase his felonious family's profits. We knew Smirky was a sick sack of slime, but murdering thousands of innocent people just for another billion bucks? Anyone who still "supports" that lying thief needs inpatient psychiatric treatment.


That would include, at present, something like 70 to 90 percent of the country.

Democrats, your mouthpieces are always making Republicans answer for the likes of David Duke though we kicked him out of our polite society years ago. TAPPED wanted us all to answer for Cal Thomas' silly column in which he said that the Pledge ruling was worse than 9-11. Now I'd like to hear someone on your side answer for this garbage. The GOP never accepted David Duke, and several of us did rise up to disagree with Thomas' column, yet Democrats.com publishes this guy and ran that last cartoon today. They claim to be the biggest "progressive" site around, and the site is connected to the elite in the Democrat party. Democrats.com also advertises a video alleging that Mohammed Atta was working as a US covert intelligence agent when he was taking flying lessons in Florida. Is this what you Democrat "progressives" really think? If not, I think a solid denunciation of this tripe from some of you folks is in order. How about it, TAPPED?
Posted by B. Preston at 11:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No Title

THE BELL-RINGER OF NOTRE DAME: Political correctness kills the the hunchback.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A JUNKYARDBLOG READER GETS PUBLISHED

: JunkYard readers have probably noticed that a fair amount of my recent posts have thanks attached at the end, and that nearly half have said "thanks to Dave" or something to that effect. Well Dave is Dave McLaughlin, a transplanted Irishman living in New York, and has gotten a story about the Padilla question published back home in a Dublin publication. Here's a link to the story. For those of you who can't read it in its native tongue (which includes me), Dave has been kind enough to translate:

I remember 19 April, 1995. I was working at 30 Vesey Street in Lower Manhattan, across the street from the World Trade Center. Teresa took the call from our headquarters in Missouri. "Shirley said that there was a big explosion at the Government Building here in New York!" 26 Federal Plaza?, I thought. That was only seven short blocks away from us and no one heard anything! After a short while, another call came: "It didn't happen here, but it's in Oklahoma City!" After that we heard more. Timothy Mc Veigh...Terry Nichols...Militiamen...Fascists. And "John Doe #2", a man who was seen by a number of people in Oklahoma. He was with Mc Veigh. He was described as a man with a "Middle Eastern" appearance. His picture was in newspapers across the country, drawn from their accounts. Then, suddenly, not another word was heard about "John Doe 2". The FBI was not seeking a third person, satisfied as they were with the case. From time to time, there were rumours of some kind of a conspiracy, of course. This is America...in the age of the Internet. Water under ground [note: this is idiomatic Irish for "a conspiracy"], from Mecca to Belfast: Mc Veigh's lawyer said that the Irish Republican Army was involved in the disaster!

And I remember 11 September, 2001. "Nine-Eleven" as we say here. It was a fine morning. Now, I was in 5 WTC, working two years in another company. I am a Customshouse broker and the New Customs House was in 6 WTC. I came early that morning, after voting in the New York Primary Elections. Then, I heard a noise like thunder, only louder by far...

From that day, we've heard other names. Osama bin Laden... Muhammed Atta... Al-Qaeda...The Taliban... John Walker Lindh. For a couple a weeks now, another name has been in the news: Jose Padilla. "Abdullah al-Muhajir", he calls himself. Padilla became a Muslim in the Nineties. A month ago, the Feds arrested him in Chicago. Padilla flew from Pakistan to O'Hare International Airport. According to the FBI, he planned to build a "dirty bomb", in connection with Al-Qaeda. A dirty bomb would be a conventional bomb full of radioactive material.

Bryan Preston has a blog ("weblog"). On his site, he puts up stories and bits of news with links each day. One day, he saw Padilla's photograph in the news. He dug up the old picture of John Doe 2 from the Internet. He put them side by side and looked at them together. Then, Preston noticed a true resemblance between them: the hair, the eyebrows, the eyes, the noses, the mouths, and the chins. And what about the scar on the left cheek in each picture? Did the FBI get the third terrorist at last? He put a report of his findings up on his blog (www.junkyardblog.blogspot.com).

This interested another blogger, John Berger. Berger opened a new site: "whoisjohndoe2.com". Before long, there were stories in the Wall Street Journal and the Village Voice. Berger gave an interview to National Public Radio.

According to Berger, Mc Veigh was in Florida when Padilla was living there. At the same time, the office of the Benevolence International Foundation was in Jose Padilla's area. Years after that, the BIF moved to Chicago. Now, the BIF is under suspicion for terrorism and closed down by the FBI. On his site, Berger discusses a possible connection between the BIF and Terry Nichols.

According to the San Antonio Lightning, Eldon Elliott, a witness in the Oklahoma case, has no desire to talk about Padilla. In 1995, Elliott and his two employees said that they let out a truck to Timothy Mc Veigh and another man with John Doe 2's appearance. Now, he refers questions to his lawyer.

This week, we've heard in the news that the Government received warning of terrorism from Islamic extremists against official buildings, the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building among them. Four weeks later in Oklahoma City, the Murrah Building, and the people inside, men, women and children, were destroyed by dynamite and fertilizer left in a truck from Eldon Elliott's shop.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:45 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

LET'S ROLL

became the nation's rallying cry in the days immediately following 9-11, as those words were the signal for Flight 93's heroes to attack the hijackers aboard their flight. But Democrats.com thinks there's a coverup, though, and that there were no heroes on that doomed flight:

"The Republican Party's decision to sell the photo of George W. Bush taken on Air Force One on September 11 for $150 generated a firestorm of outrage and controversy. But until now, no one has asked what George Bush was actually discussing on the phone aboard Air Force One. And here is the likely scenario: Bush was approving the shooting down of hijacked airliners, which led Dick Cheney to order the shooting down of Flight 93 - with all of the Heroes on board. How can we arrive at this conclusion? In part, we rely upon the White House's own version of 911, as told to the Washington Post. While the White House admits that Bush gave the shootdown order, the Pentagon denies it actually shot down Flight 93. However, a careful analysis of all available evidence points to a shootdown as the most likely cause of the crash of Flight 93 - thus making George W. Bush personally and directly responsible for the deaths of 37 passengers and 7 crew members on Flight 93." So writes Bob Fertik.


Talk about your wacky conspiracy theories. There's absolutely no evidence that Flight 93 was shot down. The families of those on board were allowed to hear the cockpit recordings, and came away knowing that their loved ones had acted heroically, had attempted to overcome the hijackers, and that the ensuing struggle brought the plane down in Pennsylvania. Democrats.com describes itself thus:

Democrats.com is the largest independent community of Democrats. We're the aggressive progressives.


They're certainly aggressive--a cartoon at the top of the page tries to link Christianity and the pro-life movement with the anthrax attacks and the Klan--yet another conspiracy theory from these clowns. This leads me to wonder whether Democrats.com represents a mainstream Democrat view of events on 9-11. I suspect that it doesn't, but if it does, this country is more divided than I thought, and the Democrats are less reliable supporters of the war effort than I'd suspected. Are they publicly mouthing support while undermining the war within their own circles?

(thanks to Chris Regan)
Posted by B. Preston at 02:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 28, 2002

THE PRAYER WAR UPDATE

: Glenn Reynolds is right on this one, notwithstanding Telford Work's response. America is the champion of religious freedom right now. Praying against us is praying for the victory of America's enemies. That's not hoping for a reduction of hubris--it's just wrong.

I am, frankly, appalled at some of my fellow Christians and their behavior since 9-11. We've seen Christian monks assist Palestinian terrorists, we've seen a Catholic bishop hold hands up high with Arafat, and we've had some peacenik Christians start praying for our defeat. What do these Christians think will happen if their prayers are answered? If the Islamofascists win this thing, the first thing they'll do is ban Christianity and start systematically killing Christians and other non-Muslims.

The "just war" doctrine has been around for centuries--at least since the time of Augustine. It's an accepted part of life in an imperfect world that wars will happen, and that Christians will have to take up arms against aggressors. To not do so leaves innocent people defenseless, which is on its face immoral. These Christian peaceniks have no theological or moral leg to stand on, and their prayers will go unanswered.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:01 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NEW BLOG IN THE YARD

: Winds that Speak, run by an Apache/Seminole by the name of Little Irondog, pledges to offer a Native American perspective. Is he the first Native American blogger? I don't know, but his blog should be interesting.
Posted by B. Preston at 07:35 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

MORE ON THE PLEDGE

: While I'm at it, The Truth Laid Bear supports the 9th Circuit's idiotic decision, aligning himself with the 10% of the country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us. Three points to counter the usual separation of church and state rhetoric:

1) The word "God" is by no means inherently sectarian. It's the English equivalent of the Arabic "Allah," and the Hebrew "Jehovah." I know, there are semantic differences with "Jehovah," but the core meaning is basically the same. So invoking God in the Pledge isn't inherently a Christian statement, and includes more than it excludes. Republics such as ours are majority-rule entities--if the majority wants an innocuous phrase included in things like the Pledge, the majority should get its say. Those who find it offensive should suck it up and move on--that's life. You still have your freedoms, and the Pledge is in no way an infringement on those freedoms.

2) At the time the Constitution was written, the Commonwealth of Virginia had as a prerequisite for officeholders that they be Christians (it also said men, natch--Susan B. Anthony hadn't come along yet). To the founders, Virginia's position was apparently legitimate--none of them, including Virginians George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, ever mounted a challenge to it. The key Constitutional phrase seems to be "Congress shall make no law..." As Virginia's law had been passed by the state legislature, it caused no problem to the men who actually wrote the Constitution.

3) The doctrine of the separation of church and state was an early American phenomenon (and a good one), starting with a minister named Roger Williams in Rhode Island (he founded the city of Providence, I believe, indicating that even he saw reasonable standards), but gets its Constitutional impetus from a letter penned by Thomas Jefferson. A letter--not a law. The phrase itself never made it into the Constitution. If you discount the Declaration of Independence's God statements, surely a letter has no more authority. So we're left with the Constitution's plain language, and it provides against Congressional religious lawmaking, and nothing more.

Nothing here should be misunderstood to suggest that breaking down the separation between church and state as it exists would be a good thing. Given the current numbers, if we broke down that wall and put more religion into government, it would likely turn Catholic--I certainly don't want that. Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance is a non-compulsory act, even for school kids. No one's going to jail for not saying it, or for leaving out offending words. It's not like an oath of office or being sworn in for court testimony--it's just an affirmation of a set of values that the vast majority of Americans share.

A final point--we all find different things offensive every day. The difference between most people and people like the Pledge-killer is that most people never dream of calling up the ACLU and forcing everyone else to change to accomodate us. If we all act like this guy has, it will wreck our system pretty fast--but the lawyers will love it.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:50 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

I'LL TAKE UP TAPPED'S TASK TOO

: Cal Thomas' column, in which he says that the Pledge ruling was worse than 9-11, is silly and wrong. Coming from Cal, it actually did surprise me. He's not as bad as most bloggers seem to think he is, and he's actually good on some things, but this column is inexcusable.

The Pledge ruling has had at least one positive outcome--it's made the 9th Curcuit look as dumb as it is. It's also put a cobra in the Democrats' pajamas. I'd have paid good money to see Daschle lurch around the way he has the past couple of days. Thanks to the 9th Circuit, I didn't have to.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

PADILLA UPDATE

: Columnist Jack Kelly offers offers his thoughts. The groundswell builds...
Posted by B. Preston at 05:59 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

DID TERRORISTS PLOT TO BLOW UP THE LIBERTY BELL?

It's no surprise that terrorists would want to blow up the Liberty Bell, which was heavily guarded even before 9-11. So on Sept 16, 2001, five days into the war on terror, a woman spotted to Arab-looking men in a white van across the street from the Bell. She told a guard, who notified the FBI, who came and took the men away. The men, who allegedly have ties to al Qaeda, etc, are apparently still in custody.

But the FBI denies any of this happened.

For months afterward, when word of the incident leaked out, the FBI denied that they had foiled any terrorist plot against the Liberty Bell in the days following Sept. 11 and denied that they had arrested anyone at all. FBI spokeswoman Linda Vizi on Tuesday afternoon vociferously denied any such event took place.

"The FBI did not charge anyone with anything," said Vizi. "There is nobody charged with any terroristic threats to blow up the Liberty Bell. We did not arrest anyone."

Efforts to describe the situation -- that park rangers detained two men who were whisked away by the FBI -- were rebuked by Vizi, who continued speaking as a reporter attempted to outline the events. "Listen to me," she said, her voice getting louder and angrier. "You are off-base. Your sources are wrong. It didn't happen."


And there's more:

Police spokeswoman Maria Ibrahim says that at 12:46 p.m. that day, Philadelphia Police and park security "detained two Middle Eastern men along with a white Chevy bearing New Jersey temp tags. The FBI were called to the location and took both men in for invesigation." The FBI, says Ibraham, "gave no more info" about the detainees.

After being confronted with the information provided by Sheridan and Ibrahim, Vizi left a message Wednesday morning repeating her semantic assertion.

"I will tell you once again, there was nobody under arrest by the FBI on September 16 for a plot to blow up the Liberty Bell," she said.


"...there was nobody under arrest on Sept 16 for a plot to blow up the Liberty Bell..." Sounds pretty definitive. But if they were detained for any other reason, or weren't technically under arrest, her statement can be literally true but conceal all the relevant facts of the story. The men could be "material witnesses" being held for their alleged ties to bin Laden. Not that I have any problem with that--if the feds have something on them, keep them and get them to talk. But the word games of our times are getting to be too much. Bill Clinton sure did poison our language.

Read the story. It's bizarre. Of course, if you're inclined to believe that the FBI occassionally conceals things to further its own ends, be they for good or ill, this story isn't so strange. It may be that these guy were double agent informants--they did at one point claim to be waiting to meet with FBI agents. But they were also carrying a couple of different IDs each, and were parked in a big van across the street from a national historical site. If you were a big bomb-toting terrorist, what better place to park than across the street from a national historical site? It fits the MO of, let's see, Khobar Towers, Beirut barracks, the African embassies, the Tanzanian bombing, and the bombing in Oklahoma City, among others. It also fits the FBI's MO to play games with the truth when it serves its purposes.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE?

is leaving prime time. Millionaire was a killer show in its early days, but thanks to ABC's overexposure (they had it on 7 days a week at one point), and those putrid celebrity shows, it's going away after only 3 years.

The producers, and the network, really killed the cash cow here. Millionaire's charm was that regular people had the chance to get on the show, answer a few questions, and walk away with a small fortune. It was great TV, and played off of similar shows I watched in Japan. Japanese game shows either feature regular folks or celebrities, but don't often show both on the same show. On the regular folk shows, the producers usually pick someone who needs the money--I'll never forget one show that featured a poor schlep trying to win $10,000 to fix his very crooked teeth. He was obviously a decent enough human being, had a great self-deprecating sense of humor, and had the audience pulling for him. He didn't win, but it made for great TV and turned an average guy into a hero for a while. Millionaire did that, once, and became a ratings titan.

Then, ABC saw that it was singlehandedly dominating the ratings, and started running it wall to wall. And putting Queen Latifah and Rosie O'Donnell on to play for charity. That's when the ratings went south, because people no longer cared if the "contestants" won. It didn't help that the celebrities always cheated, answering each other's questions and generally being egocentric and annoying. And now Millionaire will leave ABC, finding a new life for a while in syndication.

Yes, I'm mostly blogging this because I'm in the contestant pool. The show had a search in Baltimore last year, and I went, took and passed the test, got past the interview and have been waiting for that postcard ever since. I want to be a millionaire--but thanks to ABC's programmers I'll probably have to find another way.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SMOKE

reported at the US Capitol Building, fire trucks on the way. The building is being evacuated, no more details yet.

UPDATE: Seems to have been a minor fire resulting from a malfunction of some kind. The fire is out, no one injured.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:10 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

OPERATION BUZZARD

: Flying border checkpoints are the military's latest weapon against al Qaeda operatives trying to sneak back into Afghanistan from Pakistan.
Posted by B. Preston at 02:28 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

INSTAPUNDIT PRAYS,

and hilarity ensues. When Glenn is on, he's on.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:29 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BATTLE IN THE PHILIPPINES

: I think we can officially call the Philippines an ally in the war against al Qaeda. Here are the details. Philippine troops have overrun at least four Abu Sayyaf camps, knocking out several of its leaders and taking a few casualties themselves.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:49 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SICK SICK SICK

: Just go look at this photo. Stop whatever you're doing, and go look. The Palestinians are committing, among other things, child abuse on a societal scale.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:20 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

GIVE 'EM THE BOOT

: Two Iranian UN workers are getting one-way tickets home for going around videotaping the Brooklyn Bridge, the entrance to New York's tunnels and the Statue of Liberty. Pre-9-11 that sort of activity by Iranians wouldn't arouse suspicion. Now, it get's them kicked out.

Just a reminder from the federal government that we're not messing around. I'm glad to see them taking things seriously now.
Posted by B. Preston at 09:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

NOT PLAYING WELL WITH OTHERS

: What gets into some Muslims heads, that they think it's alright to just persecute, persecute, persecute Christians and members of other faiths? Check out this story about the troubles a Christian church is having with its Muslim neighbors.

By the way, ASSIST News Service (the source of this story) is the same outfit that's been scooping the big boys on those al Qaeda web sites that keep popping up. They seem to be becoming the AP of sniffing out terrorist and anti-Christian activity around the world.

(thanks to Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 09:12 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

PADILLA UPDATE:

The "dirty bomb" suspect is part of a wider US terror network working on al Qaeda projects. According to this story, Padilla had been communicating with a Palestinian living in Florida, and expected this man's assistance on the dirty bomb scheme.

Federal investigators monitored the communication between Padilla and Palestinian Adham Hassoun of Sunrise, Fla. They arrested Hassoun earlier this month following months of surveillance.

Hassoun is now being held on an immigration charge at an INS facility and is considered a flight risk. U.S. officials describe him as an "important link" not only to the Padilla investigation, but possibly to a suspected U.S.-based al Qaeda network awaiting orders for future attacks.

Sources said domestic intelligence intercepts have now convinced officials that such a network of al Qaeda fundraisers and operatives exists in the United States.

A number of people are under surveillance. None is believed to have had a supporting role in the 9/11 attacks. Some may have been slated to assist Zacarias Moussaoui - the so-called "20th Hijacker" - who senior officials now believe, in fact, was not scheduled to be part of the Sept. 11 attacks after all, but was to have carried out a separate, unknown mission.


Though so far there's no known connection between Hassoun and al Qaeda, he was apparently well-known around his neighborhood for his outspoken support of violent terrorists, a fact now being downplayed by his neighbors:

"I would consider him that he's against violence, but he has a strong tongue, you know, he has a strong tongue!" said Sofian Abdelaziz, with the American Muslim Association of North America.


Um-hum. Sounds like the Feds have just found good territory for a terrorist hunt.

(thanks to Dave and to Chris Regan for the tip)

UPDATE: This Adham Hassoun is connected to Benevolence International, the terrorist-front charity recently shut down by the feds. And Benevolence has tenuous links to one Terry Nichols, currently serving a life sentence for his role in bombing the Murrah Building in Oklahoma City in 1995.

UPDATE: Now that I'm finally catching up on my email (no thanks to Iomega), I see that reader Dave is on to a thread here. Adham Hassoun, alleged associate of Jose Abduyah Padilla, is a very interesting character.

Hassoun is considered by the United States an "important link," not only to the investigation of Padilla, a former Chicago gang member who took the name Abdullah al-Muhajir upon his conversion to Islam, but also to sleeper al-Qaeda cells lying in wait for future attacks in the United States.
(italics mine)

(thanks again to Dave for this catch)
Posted by B. Preston at 09:07 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

AARRGGHHH!!!

I loathe Iomega. Iomega makes storage devices, Jaz drives, Zip drives, Peerless drives, etc. The storage media they make to fit those drives have long been among the least reliable storage media known to man, but also among us artsy types among the most used. Have you ever backed up critical data onto a Jaz disk, only to have said Jaz disk melt down on you at the worst possible moment, destroying all of your data? I have. Ever had a Zip just suddenly decide that it's not formatted, when you know good and well that it is? I have. Ever had an Iomega driver destroy your machine? That's what I'm experiencing right now.

The JunkYardBlog World Headquarters is currently a three-year-old K6-2 400mhz machine running Win2K. It's a fine machine, if a little old, decked out with USB, Firewire, the works, and soon to get a larger hard drive attached so that I can edit video projects on it. To that end, I wanted to run some tests using my Firewire port, my DV camcorder, and one of Iomega's Peerless drives, which are 20gb Firewire external drives. They're very fast and fairly big, and having successfully tested digitizing video onto a Peerless at work on a much faster machine, I thought I'd try it at home. So I installed the Peerless drivers, only to have Iomega's driver cd literally yell at me for not registering. Then after installing, the driver setup informed me that I needed to reboot, which I did, and watched the machine cycle through about 20 failed boots before manually ending the digital carnage.

I ended up having to wipe the hard drive and re-install everything, and the one thing that hasn't worked right ever since is the Firewire card. I can't digitize video without dropping frames, meaning that I basically can't digitize anything useful at all. And that's after re-installing Windows a few times, wiping out all the old drivers and starting fresh. Oh, and now my old Zip drive doesn't work either. And those clever people at Iomega were so smart--they loaded the Zip's installation software onto one of those volatile Zip disks, which has long since bitten the big one. And yes, I've downloaded drivers, installed from old cd's, etc. And the Zip is still dead, and the Firewire card won't digitize video without losing frames.

So thank you, Iomega. You make lousy products, sloppy code and cause misery throughout the computer using world.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:40 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 27, 2002

PLEDGING ALLEGIANCE

to the most easily offended in society. That's what the 9th Circuit is doing--making precendent based on the whiniest, least stable people we have, people who can't suffer in silence the things with which they disagree. That's something all the rest of us do--we encounter things daily that we don't agree with if we bothered to think about them, but we go on, not feeling the need to mess with the rights and freedoms of others. So it's a dumb, silly decision, and one that will probably be upheld in the SCOTUS once it gets there.

As for the bright side, I think Patrick Ruffini has nailed it--if it has electoral legs, they're running to the Republicans.

UPDATE: Maybe the 9th Circuit should take a look at this insane school's policy. If the Pledge has to go, then so does forcing students to be Muslims for three weeks.

UPDATE: There's been a stay in implementing the decision, so maybe it won't be upheld after all. Meanwhile, the guy who started this idiocy lawsuit, Michael Needow, had this to say:

"It's just people who don't understand," he said. "What if the pledge said 'one nation, under Jesus,' or 'under Buddha?' I regret they don't realize this."


We don't realize...what? That the Pledge doesn't say Jesus or Buddha? We do realize this, and that's the whole point--it's non-sectarian and therefore doesn't "establish" a religion by any reasonable standard.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:26 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

AL QAEDA PLANS CYBER ATTACKS

is the thrust of this story in the Washington Post:

U.S. analysts believe that by disabling or taking command of the floodgates in a dam, for example, or of substations handling 300,000 volts of electric power, an intruder could use virtual tools to destroy real-world lives and property. They surmise, with limited evidence, that al Qaeda aims to employ those techniques in synchrony with "kinetic weapons" such as explosives.

"The event I fear most is a physical attack in conjunction with a successful cyber-attack on the responders' 911 system or on the power grid," Ronald Dick, director of the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center, told a closed gathering of corporate security executives hosted by Infraguard in Niagara Falls on June 12.


It's one more indication that we're up against a very dangerous, if bizarre, enemy.

(thanks to Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 08:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 26, 2002

FIREFIGHT IN PAKISTAN

: Chechen al Qaida members resisted arrest when Pakistani forces surrounded them (on a US intel tip), starting off a gun battle that killed 10 of the Pakistanis and a smaller number of the terrorists. They were hiding out in a local tribal elder's home, having been flushed there during the Afghan war.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:11 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

MORE COUNTER-INTUITIVE EVIDENCE

that Usama bin Laden is in the heavenly whorehouse (what else would you call their version of the afterlife?). Tres Producers note a WaPo story about an audio tape recently aired on al-Jazeera. In it, an al Qaida spokesman says bin Laden is alive, and threatens future attacks on US soil. But bin Laden never shows up in person, never utters a word.

Put that together with the recent Islamofascist web activitity, showing pics of the bearded wonder circa October, but none more recent.

Why isn't UBL speaking for himself? 'Cause he can't.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:31 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

WHAT PART OF "GET OUT" DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?

Arafat doesn't think President Bush's recent speech, in which he called for new Palestinian leadership before establishing a Palestinian state, called for his ouster.
Posted by B. Preston at 10:33 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

OUR FRIENDS, THE SAUDIS

don't like the Star of David. So much for that Saudi PR charm offensive--now they're just offensive.

(thanks to Dave)
Posted by B. Preston at 09:11 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 25, 2002

9-11'S PLANNER

has been identified by captured al Qaida thug Abu Zubaydah, and this terrorist has links to the Philippines. According to the Washington Post, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed lived a very un-Islamofascist life while in the Philippines, partying and scuba diving and renting helicopters while also planning and moving money around for the 9-11 atrocity. Mohammed also knew Wali Khan and Ramzi Yousef of 1993 WTC bombing infamy.

Apparently Abu Zubaydah, the captured senior al Qaida terrorist, is the source for all this info linking Mohammed to 9-11, while 1995 vintage terrorist Abdul Hakim al Hashim Murad has been telling the tales of debauchery.

Zubaydah seems to know an awful lot, and is willing to talk. So let's ask him who "the farmer" is.

(thanks to Dave for the heads up)
Posted by B. Preston at 06:52 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

JUSTIN SODANO

and the zen of TV watching. I watch TV, heck I even make TV, but I've never analyzed it in quite the way Justin or Adbusters do. Or to such depths. Not sure I want to. Guess I don't have to, since Justin has done it for me.

One point about Adbusters--they're morons. They assert somewhere in their anti-TV screed that if you focus on the "technical events" of TV--the editing, soundtrack, etc--you can't focus on the plot, and you'll somehow learn something from this. That's nonsense--when I watch TV, or a movie, I nearly always watch on two levels, noticing the "technical events" while simultaneously following the plot. And I'm not alone--read any blogger's reaction to Attack of the Clones and you'll see that the same thing is going on there--people do catch the editing, quality of the effects, the sound design, the pace and tone of the music, as they watch the story unfold, to some degree. In part, it's the technique of storytelling that makes or breaks a production--good editing can save a mediocre plot (ever watched Psycho--there's your lame plot being saved by crafty technique), and a good plot can be brought low by a second-rate editor (most Shakespeare films fit into this category).

Adbusters just doesn't want you to watch TV. That's not entirely a bad agenda, but this stealth zen thing is loony.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:26 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

IRONY OR SELF-PARODY?

The press is getting increasingly miffed about the Bush Administration's alleged ability to keep secrets (except those delivered to Congress, or in the hands of the leaky FBI), yet refuses to dig around a story like Jose Padilla's. Juicy bits:

Let's get this straight. We are in a global war that is probably the biggest news story of our lifetimes. An American citizen is arrested at a public airport in Chicago for allegedly planning terrorist attacks, then transported to New York and held in prison for more than a month, and quite a few people, including his attorney, know about it. And the media don't find out until John Ashcroft comes beaming in from Moscow to tell us the story?

How did that happen?

We know how it happened, of course. This administration keeps secrets like nobody in Washington has kept secrets for a long time—maybe ever. Unlike the previous administration, which couldn't resist telling journalists every little thing about itself down to its underwear choices, the lips of the current regime are pretty much vacuum-sealed. And when it comes to war, these people are breathtakingly good at not talking.


Or maybe, it's because the press is breathtakingly bad at asking, and reporting, and digging.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:18 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

No Title

OTHERS UNKNOWN: I'm finally getting into the meaty parts of Stephen Jones' book about the Oklahoma City bombing, and Tim McVeigh's and Terry Nichols' roles in it. I was a bit disappointed with the early chapters, as they don't offer much in the way of new information, but the section I'm in now connects several of the dots between Terry Nichols and Ramsay Yusuf, architect of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Much of that work has already been laid out here in other posts, but one thread did offer some intriguing insight. The book was written before 9-11, and revised for its present edition just after McVeigh's execution, yet it lays out a remarkable case against Usama bin Laden, tying together the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, the Khobar Towers bombing in Saudi Arabia, and possibly Oklahoma City. All of this trail was foreshadowed by Abu Sayyaf terrorist/double agent Edwin Angeles, whose taped testimony delivered for the McVeigh case alleges that he met with Terry Nichols in the Philippines, a meeting that also included Wali Khan and Yusuf, both since convicted in the 1993 WTC attack. Angeles' credibility has been called into question by various sources, yet all but one of the cases and meetings he seems to have descibed has been borne out--the one that has yet to be confirmed is the Nichols meeting.

Some other facts I should clear up include Nichols' travels to the Philippines, which seem to total about 6 trips of varying lengths between 1991 and '94, not 16 as I had previously thought. His wife Marife did accompany him on some, but not all, of those trips. And Nichols apparently never did live in the Philippines, though he expressed the wish to more than once. So, while the actual number of trips has decreased, the purpose of them is no more clear--he wasn't visiting friends, more often than not wasn't accompanied by his wife (who was from the Philippines), and his stays ranged in duration from a few days to more than 30 at a stretch. And he did leave that weird sealed letter with his ex-wife, likely knowing that she would open it as soon as he had cleared the driveway, prior to one of his odd trips.

One other tidbit that I just found interesting--McVeigh was actually a bright guy. I'd always thought of him as a dolt, but he scored in the 96th percentile on standardized tests, putting him in the top 4% of the nation in intelligence. Doesn't make him any less guilty or any more likeable, but it does change the picture a little bit. He also seems to have known pretty well how to play people, from the case judge to his own lawyers to the press.

As for lawyer Jones, well I don't like lawyers much so he occassionally comes across as far more interested in winning a legal point than assuring his client got a fair trial, or that justice has been done. But he also comes across as someone who came away from the McVeigh case, in which he played a central role, with more questions than answers, at least to the point that I've read anyway.

So what about Padilla? Well, naturally there's nothing in Others Unknown about him, but his involvement in OKC seems less far-fetched to me now that it did, say, a couple of days ago. Jones lays out a decent case (so far) favoring international involvement, in a plot that allowed for professional terrorists to do the "brain work" while letting locals knowingly take the fall. It's the exact pattern Yusuf ran in the 1993 WTC bombing--masterminding it, but leaving town the day it happened while the local boys (who happened to be Islamic radicals themselves) took the rap. Unfortunately for him, he ended up getting busted outside the US and promptly extradicted back. Some of Jones' case may be constructed to cast a better light if it's possible on McVeigh, and therefore on Jones as his defense attorney (I'd hate to think of the pressure and such associated with having defended "the most hated man in America"). But much of it has been confirmed in other sources, such as the warnings our government was receiving about specific terrorist threats in the spring of 1995, one of which had the Murrah Building at the top of a target list.

Others Unknown is, if nothing else, a page-turner with massive implications.
Posted by B. Preston at 12:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 24, 2002

MORE ISLAMIC WEBSITES KEEP POPPING UP

: This story has all the details. Meanwhile, our friends at Taliban Online remain suspended. I keep wondering how that poll finally turned out.
Posted by B. Preston at 11:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

TAMMIE FAYE'S

new job. File under "truth: fiction, stranger than."
Posted by B. Preston at 06:53 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SGT STRYKER

doesn't like "Homeland Security" any more than the rest of us, but comes up with better alternatives.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

IS YOUR EARTH YOUNG OR OLD?

Mark Byron and Kevin Holtsberry, among others, are jumping in on the young vs old earth debate that has made many Christians look silly (not these two guys though) over the years. They both subscribe to old earth, as do I, but seem not to like looking too closely at the Genesis text to justify their claims. Look closely at it, and it says repeatedly "there was evening and there was morning" as a segue between Creation days. That was my Genesis sticking-point for years, because the plain language seems to refute old earth, which states plainly that days transitioned into night, which transitioned into the next day.

Or does it? I say no, and justify my answer with a little relativity. The thing in this debate, as in all debates about the meaning of Biblical passages, is to respect the text--don't put words in its mouth, and don't take words out of its mouth if they're plainly there. Just try to understand them to the best that we can, secure in the knowledge that science changes often, and the science that doesn't seem to agree with scripture today likely will tomorrow as new discoveries are made.

Other than that, both Mark and Kevin make some good points. I especially like Kevin's point about "mental furniture."
Posted by B. Preston at 06:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

IF THE CONTINENT'S A-ROCKIN'

don't come a-knockin'.
Posted by B. Preston at 06:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

BUSH LOCKS UP THE AL QAIDA VOTE,

according to NZ Bear.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

MAKING SENSE

: President Bush outlined his conditions for creating a Palestinian state today, and they go pretty far toward getting Arafat off the stage before such a state can expect his support. This raises the bar for statehood much higher than any Palestinian has shown a willingness to jump, and puts the burden of action on the Palestinians themselves. But--there is a dark cloud behind this silver lining:

Bush said the United States, European Union, World Bank and International Monetary Fund stand ready to help oversee reforms in Palestinian finances.

"And the United States, along with our partners in the developed world, will increase our humanitarian assistance to relieve Palestinian suffering," he pledged.


That's fine as a carrot to reward good behavior, but in the interim we should cut funding to the terrorist-hugging PA altogether. It's called tough love, or, well, just not funding their leadership until said leadership has changed personnel and stopped supporting, organizing, funding and actively planning terrorist strikes.

Here's the text of President Bush's very non-wobbly speech.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:36 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

PADILLA UPDATE

: John Berger has found another tenuous connection linking Padilla to OKC. I can't really quote any one part of his post without needing to quote the whole thing--it's all intertwined--so check it out. Here's the thrust of it:

The man who identified Abduallah al Muhajir (aka Jose Padilla) to U.S. authorities has also given investigators information about Mohammad Shaikh Khalid, a former member of an Islamic terrorist cell allegedly tied to the Oklahoma City bombing.


The tie between Khalid and OKC is through those Philippine terror cell meetings with an American called "the farmer," who former Abu Sayyaf terrorist/double agent Edward Angeles identifies as Terry Nichols. Nichols' frequent travel to the Philippines is not in dispute--he went there, often, and the reasons for this could range from family trips (his wife Marife is from the Philippines, though she apparently didn't accompany him during any of these trips) to some benign business deal or visiting friends (Nichols apparently lived in the Philippines at one point) to meeting with al Qaida-linked terrorists operating there. But shortly before one of his last trips, Nichols left an odd "to do list" in a sealed envelope with his ex-wife Lana Padilla (no relation to Jose) to deliver to Tim McVeigh in case Nichols never returned. More details on that letter can be found in this post, which examines among other things the possibility that Nichols and McVeigh were allied with Ramsay Yusuf, convicted in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, who fled to the Philippines shortly after that bombing to plan other terror attacks.

Still no indisputable link, but another tantalizing clue on the trail of the man one of my readers calls "Abduyah Padilla." Think about it...the Spanish pronunciation of "Abdullah"...
Posted by B. Preston at 05:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

168 DEATH SENTENCES OVERTURNED

by the Supremes. But not for racial reasons, or as a broad ruling on the death penalty itself, but because 5 states have judges, rather than juries, impose it. The Supremes are in effect saying that only juries may impose the final punishment. On its face, I think it's probably a good ruling. It's going to wreak havoc in those 5 states in the short run, though, and probably four others in which juries recommend, but don't impose, the death penalty. The 5 states are Arizona, from which the case originated, as well as Idaho, Montana, Colorado and Nebraska.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:07 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

A REFUTATION

of the Padilla stuff is here. Not bad, except that it only takes into account the Todd Bunting-as-John Doe #2 theory, which is the one sighting that was thoroughly debunked. It also makes no mention of the surveillance videos from either the Subway shop visited by McVeigh and a man fitting John Doe #2's description (and Padilla's) on April 18, 1995, or that from the Murrah Building's own security cameras--neither of which have been released by the FBI. Nor does it refute McVeigh's own statement that a man did accompany him to Elliot's Body Shop, where he rented the "death truck." That statement is in Others Unknown, defense attorney Stephen Jones' book about the OKC bombing. McVeigh acknowledged the presence of a second man, who was with him, unintentionally during a conversation with Jones during the discovery phase of the trial. I also think the linked refutation makes too much of the opinions of the Denver grand jury--grand juries tend to believe whatever prosecutors lead them to believe, having no counter-arguments presented to sway them the other way. But check it out--make up your own mind.

My mind is still very much not made up at all.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SUDAN

has for years been one of the most hellish places on earth. It has been in a state of internal jihad, with the government in the north routinely murdering, enslaving and displacing Christians and other non-Muslims in the south. Sudan was also home to one Usama bin Laden for much of the '90s, until the Clinton Administration pressured them to cough him up, forcing him to move to Afghanistan.

Since 9-11, there have been reports floating around that Sudan has gotten the message, that it's halting its support of terrorism and more specifically al Qaida, that it's easing up on its jihad within, and so forth. Those reports have been premature, according to this story, which details Sudan's decision to re-open terror training camps, renew its internal bloodshed and generally backslide to its normal horrible condition.

This may point to one of the failures of our war and how we're presenting it to the world. Since Aghanistan, other regimes and their support for terror have come to light, in the Palestinian Karine A incident and its evidence of Iranian involvement, in Saudi and other "charity" work, and so forth, and we haven't done a thing about it. Tops on that agenda is and should be Iraq, with its WMD programs and demonstrated willingness to use such weapons. Countries like Sudan probably felt justifiable fear in the early days of the war as the President announced that there were but two sides--us and terror, but as time has marched on and we haven't done much more than bluster, such countries probably figure that we're backing away from enacting regime change in Iraq, and that they are therefore safe too.

Toppling Saddam will prove that notion wrong, and will likely have the effect of demonstrating resolve to fence-sitters and others more openly hostile to us. Toppling Saddam is therefore probably the best way of communicating with regimes like Sudan's.

(thanks to Dave for the link)
Posted by B. Preston at 12:54 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

June 23, 2002

TAG HIM AND BAG HIM

: Abu Sayyaf's top terrorist, Abu Sabaya, has been killed in a firefight with Philippine troops. He's believed to have been responsible for kidnapping the American missionaries, two of whom were killed during a rescue attempt.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:22 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

SADDAM'S TORTURERS

: Just read the story.
Posted by B. Preston at 05:00 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

TIM McVEIGH AND THE DEATH PENALTY

: Since the beginning of the Jose Padilla dust-up, lots of folks have used it as an angle of attack on the death penalty. The logic goes like this: If only Tim McVeigh were here, he could just answer all the questions lingering from OKC--is Padilla involved, was there a John Doe No. 2, was there a Middle East connection, etc? I think people using this line mean well, but it falls apart on the facts. First, McVeigh had years to talk but never did, insisting to his dying day that there was no John Doe No. 2, no "others unknown," etc. 9-11 wouldn't have been likely to change that--he hated the government, and to the extent that 9-11 caused our government pain and embarrassment, he would have approved of it. Remember, he seems to have gotten along famously with the Unabomber, another anti-government terrorist.

Additionally, as I responded to this post over at Rand Simberg's place, whether McVeigh is alive or not doesn't matter much, since his #1 accomplice, Terry Nichols, is very much alive. He's in prison for the duration, stewing over his crimes or Waco or whatever makes him tick. Instead of focusing all this attention on what a pity it is that Tim McVeigh isn't around to tell us all his secrets, we could just ask Terry Nichols. He knows just as much as Tim McVeigh knew, if not more.

But that would get in the way of the anti-death penalty agenda, wouldn't it.

And by the way, Nichols isn't any more likely to talk now either. Whatever secrets these guys kept, they'll both likely keep them to their graves.
Posted by B. Preston at 04:41 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

GETTING THE PLANS TOGETHER

: Bill Kristol disclosed today on Fox News Sunday that President Bush and Gen. Tommy Franks met last week to discuss "concrete war plans" with Iraq.

(link from reader Chris Regan)
Posted by B. Preston at 04:03 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

ORDER FROM CHAOS

: I'm attempting to get all the interesting Jose Padilla/OKC bombing posts linked in one area, in the column to the left. There you can find the initial picture comparison, the two lengthy posts I wrote, one of John Berger's posts, and other tidbits of the investigation as they get posted. They're in the "Padilla Posts" section.
Posted by B. Preston at 03:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

THANK YOU

to whoever recently dropped a few bucks into my






account. Thank you.
Posted by B. Preston at 02:14 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

YOU WANT A CONSPIRACY THEORY?

Go ahead, I dare you--download this conspiracy theory. I think it's mostly a conspiracy to force dial-up users to switch to something, anything, that's faster.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:37 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

THE HORRIFYING FRAUD

, is a 9-11 conspiracy-minded book that's currently all the rage in France. For the record, it's stupidity like this that explains why I don't buy into 99.99% of conspiracy theories. They're crap, pedalled by crapheads. It's completely unsurprising that the French are buying into 9-11 conspiracy nonsense--they probably think there was some grand conspiracy behind their surrender to the Germans in 1940, when simple cowardice and martial incompetence suffice as explanation. I mean, the only brilliant military man that has led France in battle was a Corsican, for cryin' out loud.

To be fair though, French newspapers are walking point (when was the last time a Frenchman walked point anywhere?) in attacking "The Horrifying Fraud":

Libération and Le Monde, left-of-center newspapers with no love for the Bush administration, have led the assault on Mr. Meyssan's book.

"The pseudotheories of `The Horrifying Fraud' feed off the paranoid anti-Americanism that is one of the permanent components of the French political caldron," Gérard Dupuy wrote in an editorial in Libération. Edwy Plenel, news editor at Le Monde, wrote: "It is very grave to encourage the idea that something which is real is in fact fictional. It is the beginning of totalitarianism."


The author, one Thierry Meyssan, says that Muslims couldn't have carried out the 9-11 suicide attacks because the Koran forbids suicide. And I guess all those Catholic priests couldn't have molested all those kids because the Church demands that they be celibate.

I guess Monsieur Meyssan has never heard of Palestinian suicide bombers. They're Muslim. They blow themselves up, killing the innocent around them. If I were to interview him, that's the first thing I'd ask him--"What about the Palestinian Islamikazes?" That right there pretty much knocks his theory into left field where it belongs.

His book also alleges that the Pentagon wasn't struck by a plane, but instead by a missile fired by wing-nut loonies. Don't tell that to Solicitor General Ted Olson, who lost his wife Barbara on that plane that certainly crashed somewhere, or the dozens of witnesses who saw a plane hit the Pentagon. A plane--not a missle. As for the Pentagon, it has issued no official response.

A Pentagon spokesman said, "There was no official reaction because we figured it was so stupid."


Yup.
Posted by B. Preston at 01:09 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack