Friday, December 30, 2005

Philippine Communist Rebels Target American Troops

The Communist Party of the Philippines, in a statement on its 37th anniversary, criticised the US military for increasing intervention in the Philippines. It urged its members to take steps to deter the US from “further plundering” the country.
It called on its armed wing, the New People’s Army, to “study and learn in advance how to inflict casualties on US military personnel” and said the rebels should look forward to “the glorious opportunity” of avenging the deaths of Filipinos killed during the 1898 to 1946 US occupation. The rebels – blacklisted by Washington as a terrorist group – have stepped up their attacks in recent months, killing several Filipino soldiers and wounding dozens more in landmine assaults. There have been no known attacks on American soldiers. US troops have been providing counterterrorism training, weapons and military equipment to Filipino troops battling suspected terrorists and insurgents since 2002, when US special forces worked with the Philippine military to rescue three Americans kidnapped by the al-Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf Muslim extremist group in the southern Philippines. Communist rebels have said Washington’s counterterrorism training also intends to wipe them out. They have warned US troops to stay away from their rural strongholds.
Separately, the communist party ordered an escalation of attacks on government targets and said it wanted to team up with disgruntled policemen and soldiers to try to hasten the downfall of President Arroyo, who has faced calls for her resignation since vote-rigging and corruption allegations surfaced earlier this year. The 115,000-strong police force would consider mounting an offensive to thwart a planned rebel assault, police spokesman Chief Superintendent Leopoldo Bataoil said. “There is an option of a pre-emptive strike if one area would be threatened by the rebels but we’ve not heard of any specific threat so far,” Bataoil said. The Maoist guerrillas, estimated by the military to number about 7500 nationwide, suspended Norwegian-brokered talks with the government last year, saying Manila has done little to remove them from the US list of terror groups.

Saudi Forces Kill Terror Suspects

Security forces killed two of Saudi Arabia's most wanted terror suspects over a 24-hour period.
The Interior Ministry identified the two militants as Abdel-Rahman Saleh Abdel-Rahman al-Mutab - Number 4 on the list - and Mohammed Abdel-Rahman Mohammed al-Suwailmi, Number 7. The fighting began on Tuesday when the two militants killed two policemen in a drive-by attack outside the city of Buraydah, northwest of Riyadh. They then drove 12 miles southwest and sprayed gunfire at a security checkpoint near the town of Al-Midhnab, killing three more officers. Police chased the car and fired at it. Al-Mutab escaped, hijacking a woman's car at gunpoint, forcing her and her driver out. Police chased al-Mutab to a desert area called Nefoud Umm Khashaba, surrounded him and killed him in a gunbattle.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Israeli Jets Kicking Ass And Taking Names

Israeli jets attacked a Palestinian militant group's training base in southern Lebanon early Wednesday, hours after an Israeli border town was hit by rocket fire, the military said. The strike against the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command was Israel's deepest inside Lebanon since June 2004.
Lebanese witnesses reported hearing explosions as warplanes roared over the guerrilla base of the Syrian-backed group, which has been waging a decades long fight against the Jewish state. "This is in response to the firing of projectile rockets last night toward Israeli communities," the Israeli military said. It said it views such attacks with "extreme severity" and holds Lebanon responsible. There was no word on casualties or damage in the raid, which came after three rockets landed in a residential area of Kiryat Shemona. The army said the rockets damaged some property but caused no injuries. Lebanon's Hezbollah militant group and the mainstream Fatah Palestinian faction denied involvement in rocket attack. In Wednesday's raid, the witnesses said two explosions were heard as the planes struck at the group's base, a maze of concrete fortified tunnels built inside a hill five miles south of Beirut. Two missiles were fired at the attackers. Lebanese troops at a checkpoint confirmed an air raid and sealed off the area, preventing journalists from approaching. Israeli warplanes struck the same base in June 2004 to retaliate for a rocket attack on an Israeli naval boat. The raid came a month after Israeli jets attacked a command post of the Hezbollah guerrilla group in south Lebanon, responding to Hezbollah rocket and mortar attacks that wounded 11 Israeli soldiers and damaged a house in a border community.
Israel withdrew from an occupied enclave in southern Lebanon in 2000. While fighting in the area has dropped since then, the border remains tense and Hezbollah frequently targets Israeli troops in the disputed Chebaa Farms area. Lebanon and Syria say Chebaa Farms is Lebanese territory, but U.N. cartographers who surveyed the border after the Israeli withdrawal said it belongs to that part of Syria which Israel has occupied since the 1967 Arab-Israeli war. Israel says it will discuss control of the area only in future peace talks with Syria. The PFLP-GC's commander is headquartered in Syria but the group maintains military bases in Lebanon, where it is accused of taking orders from Syria in support of its policies in Lebanon. The PFLP-GC has carried out some high-profile attacks against Israel since it was formed in 1968: It hijacked one Israeli airliner, machine-gunned another at Zurich's airport, and then blew up a Tel Aviv-bound Swissair plane, killing all 47 aboard.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Code Of Conduct For Australian Muslim Clerics

Members of the Prime Minister's Muslim Advisory Council want clerics to abide by a code of conduct in a bid to rein in radical imams. The council is working on a code of conduct for clerics, which it hopes to introduce next year. Council spokesman Yasser Soliman says the guidelines are in response to concerns from the community.
He says some people are worried that there are people appointing themselves as clerics when they are unqualified. "Some of them come from overseas, not being able to speak English, and they occupy thereafter a position of leadership," Mr Soliman said. "We don't think that people who can't speak English will be able to lead effectively in Australia because they can't be part of the solution when a problem arises." The idea of a set of guidelines was first discussed at a summit of Muslim leaders that was held in August. It has the backing of many moderate leaders but some imams are angry about the proposals, which include the monitoring of sermons. However, Mr Soliman believes very few clerics will refuse to participate in the new scheme. "We can't enforce it," he said. "I think most clerics will be happy to be on it and most of them will be happy to register and contribute to it. "Those that aren't, when people are thinking of employing their services they'll check the register and see well they're self-appointed or they're not recognised." Mr Soliman says the scheme will not further marginalise radical clerics. "Part of the approach that is being discussed is to try and develop a dialogue where you bring down the temperature of, I guess, their preachings," he said. He denies the plan amounts to religious censorship. "This happens in other religions as well," he said. "Similar education and upgrading of their education happens in Christian religion, rabbis go through similar things, so why should we be any different?"

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Turkey Down Plays Deal With US Regarding Air Strikes Against Iran

Turkeys Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul dismissed reports about an alleged US offer to permit Turkey to take out PKK bases in Iran in exchange for Turkeys support of US military strikes against Iran.
The reports had been circulated earlier by German news outlets referring to CIA director Peter Goss' visit to Ankara in search for Turkeys support for US air strikes, as well as to an earlier visit regarding the same issue from FBI director Robert Mueller. In a press conference in Bursa Abdullah Gul strongly denied that the Turkish governments talks with Peter Goss were related to foreign countries. According to the report of the German ddp Nachrichtenagentur, the United States requested Turkey to keep its armed land forces ready to back the US airforce against Iran, but Abdullah Gul defined these reports as phantasy and fiction, stressing that Turkey has recently achieve significant improvements in its relations to both Iran and Syria.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

FedEx Dumps Culpepper

FedEx Corp. was pulling a television ad with Daunte Culpepper because the Minnesota Vikings quarterback was charged in the team's boat party scandal, according to published reports. "Upon learning of the criminal charges, we pulled (the ad) immediately," FedEx spokesman Ryan Furby toldreporters. "That was the only deal we had with him. There is no ongoing relationship."
Daunte Culpepper
A message left with Furby was not returned and FedEx referred questions about the matter to spokeswoman Carla Boyd, who refused to discuss Furby's comment or confirm that the ad was pulled. "FedEx considers a variety of factors in determining which advertising spots will run at a given time," she told The Associated Press. Culpepper's agent, Mason Ashe, said he was surprised when he first heard the news, and that he received no official word from the company. "I'm not sure that he's been dropped," Ashe said. "My understanding is that his commercial has been used on and off as a normal rotation." Ashe said he thought Culpepper and FedEx had a good relationship, and said he thought Furby's reaction was "a premature conclusion because there is no evidence." Culpepper is accused of touching a naked woman in public during a lap dance at an Oct. 6 boat party on Lake Minnetonka. Prosecutors charged him on Dec. 15 with three misdemeanors alleging disorderly and lewd behavior. Three other Vikings were also charged. Culpepper's attorney, Earl Gray, did not return a phone message left by reporters. Gray has said his client is innocent and will fight the charges. Culpepper is recovering from knee surgery after a season-ending injury Oct. 30 in a 38-13 loss at Carolina.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

North Korean Counterfeiting U.S. Currency

U.S. Ambassador to Korea Alexander Vershbow says there is evidence that a North Korean Government agency is involved in counterfeiting U.S. currency. He made the claim in an interview.
"I even know some cases where North Korean government officials were caught attempting to deposit forged dollars," the ambassador said. "In charging North Korea, I have taken into account material, circumstantial and eyewitness evidence, and the evidence I got this time is very reliable." Asked about the prospects for six-party talks on North Korea's nuclear program, Vershbow said they were not bright but there was still a chance. Pyongyang denies the counterfeiting charge and has threatened to boycott the talks if the U.S. does not lift sanctions against North Korean firms. The envoy said his intention in calling Pyongyang a "criminal regime" earlier this month “was to call attention to illegal activities including counterfeiting that North Korea has engaged in for more than a decade.” He said there was plenty of evidence that the North has been involved in money laundering and drug trafficking.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Osama Bin Laden's Sexy Niece

She's not the model niece Osama bin Laden's looking for - but she is modelling. This is how Wafah Dufour, the al Qaeda leader's niece, will appear in the January 2006 issue of GQ magazine.
Wafah Dufour ... as she appears in GQ magazine
Dufour, who took her mother's maiden name after the terrorist attacks in the US on September 11, 2001, is an aspiring musician struggling to make a name for herself. She says she has never met Osama bin Laden.
The aspiring musician is frustrated at being 'tarred' by her relation to a man she has never met
"Everyone relates me to that man, and I have nothing to do with him," she said in the article. "There are 400 other people related to him, but they are all in Saudi Arabia, so nobody's going to get tarred with it. "I'm the only one here.

Evolution Named Top Scientific Breakthrough

Two days after a U.S. judge struck down the teaching of intelligent design theory in a Pennsylvania public school, the journal Science on Thursday proclaimed evolution the breakthrough of 2005. Wide-ranging research published this year, including a study that showed a mere 4 percent difference between human and chimpanzee DNA, built on Charles Darwin's landmark 1859 work "The Origin of Species" and the idea of natural selection, the journal's editors wrote.
"Amid this outpouring of results, 2005 stands out as a banner year for uncovering the intricacies of how evolution actually proceeds," they wrote. "Ironically, also this year, some segments of American society fought to dilute the teaching of even the basic facts of evolution." The journal's editor in chief, Don Kennedy, acknowledged this was a reference to the rise of the theory of intelligent design, which holds that some aspects of nature are so complex that they must be the work of an unnamed creator rather than the result of random natural selection, as Darwin argued. Opponents, including many scientists, argue it is a thinly disguised version of creationism — a belief that the world was created by God as described in the Book of Genesis — which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled may not be taught in public schools. "I think what arouses the ire of scientists (about intelligent design) is … the notion that it belongs in the same universe as scientific analysis," Kennedy said in a telephone interview. "It's a hypothesis that's not testable, and one of the important recognition factors for science and scientific ideas is the notion of testability, that you can go out and do an experiment and learn from it and change your idea," said Kennedy. "That's just not possible with a notion that's as much a belief in spirituality as intelligent design is." Intelligent design theory came under review in two U.S. states this year, with a federal judge in Pennsylvania on Tuesday banning the teaching of intelligent design as an alternative to evolution in the Dover Area School District.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

28 Terrorists Killed, 165 Others Captured In Philippines

A total of 28 local and foreign terrorists have been killed and 165 others captured in the Philippines during 19 months until October 2005, the country's anti-terrorism task force said. Defense under secretary Ricardo Blancaflor, head of the Anti-Terrorism Task Force (ATTF), told reporters that among the arrested, 10 are foreign nationals and the others are locals including 132 from the Abu Sayyaf group.
Philippine Soldiers
According to the ATTF statistics, since its activation in March 2004 until October 2005, the task force have arrested four members of the southeast Asian terrorist network, Jemaah Islamiyah, and 18 members of the Rajah Solaiman Movement (RSM), a radical group of Islamic converts in the south, including its chieftain Ahmad Santos. All the 28 killed were members of the Abu Sayyaf group, the record shows. A Tuesday report by the International Crisis Group said that the RSM is being used by the Al Qaida-linked Abu Sayyaf to shift its operations to urban centers. Blancaflor brushed aside the report, saying "what I would like to point out is that achievements in terms of neutralized terrorists for the past two years was not touched on by the report." He also expected the passage of the anti-terrorism bill by the Senate. "Hopefully, it (anti-terror bill) would be taken up at the Senate when it resumes session next month."

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Power To Eavesdrop Open To Interpretation

There are enough serious questions -- and conflicting interpretations of the law -- surrounding the revelation that the Bush administration has been eavesdropping on domestic-to-foreign telephone calls and e-mails and vice versa that a top-to-bottom congressional review is in order.
President George W. Bush
President Bush confirms a report that, by secret executive order, the National Security Agency is authorized to spy on American citizens without a warrant. So hot was the fallout that the Senate blocked reauthorization of the Patriot Act. Critics want hearings. And they should be held. Some argue that the practice, at its base, violates the Fourth Amendment and, as a matter of law, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act of 1978. But one provision of that act indeed does authorize such surveillance without any court order.
President Jimmy Carter
Neither is President George Bush the first president to authorize such a practice. President Jimmy Carter, for example "a Democrat not known for his vigilance in the war on terror," signed a similar executive order in May 1979, citing the very Foreign Surveillance Act that Bush critics say has been violated. Good intelligence is the key to fighting the war on terror. The powers of the President are constitutionally broad in this regard; he has a duty to protect this country. But the check and balance of first obtaining a warrant -- hardly a hurdle too high -- should be sacrosanct. And any laws that undermine this principle should be struck.

Syria Agrees To Hide Iran Nukes

Syria has signed a pledge to store Iranian nuclear weapons and missiles. The London-based Jane's Defence Weekly reported that Iran and Syria signed a strategic accord meant to protect either country from international pressure regarding their weapons programs. The magazine, citing diplomatic sources, said Syria agreed to store Iranian materials and weapons should Teheran come under United Nations sanctions.
Iran also pledged to grant haven to any Syrian intelligence officer indicted by the UN or Lebanon. Five Syrian officers have been questioned by the UN regarding the Hariri assassination, Middle East Newsline reported. "The sensitive chapter in the accord includes Syria's commitment to allow Iran to safely store weapons, sensitive equipment or even hazardous materials on Syrian soil should Iran need such help in a time of crisis," Jane's said. The accord also obligated Syria to continue to supply the Iranian-sponsored Hizbullah with weapons, ammunition and communications. Iran has been the leading weapons supplier to Hizbullah, with about 15,000 missiles and rockets along the Israeli-Lebanese border. The accord, negotiations of which began in 2004, was signed on Nov. 14 and meant to prepare for economic sanctions imposed on either Iran or Syria.
Under the accord, Jane's said, Iran would relay financial aid to Syria in an effort to ease Western sanctions in wake of the UN determination that Damascus was responsible for the assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Iran also pledged to supply a range of military aid to Syria. Jane's cited technology for weapons of mass destruction as well as conventional arms, ammunition and training of Syrian military. Teheran would seek to upgrade Syrian ballistic missiles and chemical weapons systems. Under the accord, Iran would also be prepared to operate "advanced weapon systems in Syria during a military confrontation." Jane's said. "The new strategic accord is based on the existing military MoUs, with the addition of the sensitive chapter dealing with cooperation in times of international sanctions or military conflict," Jane's reported.

Hospital "Muslim Menu" Outrages Patients

A Western Australia hospital has scrubbed baked ham from its Christmas menu, fearing Muslim patients could be offended. It has also overhauled its entire menu so that all meals are now halal - containing only meat and other food prepared according to Muslim customs.
But Port Hedland Regional Hospital staff and non-Muslim patients are outraged, saying it is a case of political correctness gone mad. Kitchen staff are so angry that they have organised a petition demanding ham be put back on the Christmas menu. Other Western Australia hospitals are also introducing halal dining, though the Health Department says Port Hedland is the only one to convert its entire menu to suit Muslims.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

Seaplane Crashes In Miami Beach Florida

A propeller-driven seaplane carrying 20 people crashed just off Miami Beach, killing all 20 of those aboard Scuba divers and rescuers in speedboats struggled to reach the victims, but as evening fell, they found no sign that anyone had survived.
The Chalk's Ocean Airways plane went down around 2:30 p-m Eastern time after taking off from Miami for the island of Bimini in the Bahamas. Amateur video showed the main part of the aircraft slamming into the water followed by a flaming object trailing thick black smoke.
The Coast Guard says 19 bodies were found. The 1940s-era plane was carrying two crew members and 18 passengers, including three infants. Because of witness reports of an explosion, the FBI sent agents to assist in the investigation.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Katrina Death Toll Worse For Whites Than Blacks

Statistics released by the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals suggest that fewer than half of the victims of Hurricane Katrina were black, and that whites died at the highest rate of all races in New Orleans.
White People
Liberals in the aftermath of the storm were quick to allege that the Bush administration delayed its response to the catastrophe because most of the victims were black. Damu Smith, founder of the National Black Environmental Justice Network, in September said that the federal government "ignored us, they forgot about us ... because we look like we look." Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan in October said that the Federal Emergency Management Agency wasn't fit to help the storm's victims because "there are not enough blacks high up in FEMA" and added that, "certainly the Red Cross is the same." Rapper Kanye West used his time on NBC's telethon for the hurricane victims to charge that, "George Bush doesn't care about black people."
But the state's demographic information suggests that whites in New Orleans died at a higher rate than minorities. According to the 2000 census, whites make up 28 percent of the city's population, but the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals indicates that whites constitute 36.6 percent of the storm's fatalities in the city. Blacks make up 67.25 percent of the population and 59.1 percent of the deceased. Other minorities constitute approximately 5 percent of the population and represented 4.3 percent of the storm's fatalities. Overall for the state, 658 bodies have been identified. Forty-seven percent were Negro and 42 percent were Caucasian. The remaining bodies were either non-black minorities or undetermined. An additional 247 victims have not been identified, so their demographic information has not been released. The data showed that the majority of Katrina's victims lived in the Orleans parish. The nearby St. Bernard and Jefferson parishes had 91 and 25 victims, respectively. The storm also did not discriminate based on gender. Fifty percent of the victims were male and 49 percent were female, with 1 percent being undetermined. Calls requesting comment from Damu Smith and the Nation of Islam were not returned.

Iran Ready To Produce 18 Extended-Range Missiles

Iran has purchased from North Korea components and material sufficient for the assembly of 18 extended-range Shihab-class missiles that could reach anywhere in Europe.
Western intelligence sources said Iran has combined components and material from North Korea with technology from Russia for Teheran's Shihab-5 intermediate-range missile. The sources said such a missile has been designed to strike targets at distances of 3,500 kilometers. "For several years, Iran talked about such a missile but did very little about it," a Western intelligence source said. "Over the last few months, that has changed significantly." On Sunday, Gulf Cooperation Council leaders launched a two-day summit in the United Arab Emirates that was expected to focus on Iran. GCC officials said Iran's nuclear weapons program would lead the summit agenda.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Insurgents Issue Post-Election Propaganda

The al-Qaeda group led by Abu Musab al-Zarqawi has warned Sunni Arabs not to be fooled by the apparent success of Iraq's landmark parliament elections. In a statement on a frequently used Islamist website, the group threatened to continue its attacks in Iraq.
On the eve of the election, during which the Sunnis flocked to the polls, al-Zarqawi's group declared it was launching a large-scale offensive against 'the apostate's bastions' in order to disrupt the polls.
However this offensive did not materialise and the rare outbreaks of violence on polling day left four people dead. Official results in the election for the first full-term parliament since the US-led invasion in 2003 are not expected for at least 10 days. The new 275-member parliament is due to appoint a president and two vice-presidents. The presidential council will then have 15 days to name a prime minister, who has 30 days to form a cabinet with parliamentary approval.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Australian Radio Announcer Falls Victim To Muslim Sympathizers

The career of veteran 2GB announcer Brian Wilshire is in limbo after he called Lebanese-Australians "inbreds" and questioned their intelligence on air.
Brian Wilshire
Wilshire, 61, was yesterday pulled off air and made to apologise for comments he made on Thursday night. Discussing Middle Eastern boys involved in violence he said: "Many of them have parents who are first cousins, whose parents were first cousins ... The result of this is inbreeding."

Friday, December 16, 2005

Philippines Army Says Bali Bombing Suspects Are Planning More Attacks

The Philippine military chief, General Generoso Senga, says two Islamic militants who organised the 2002 Bali bombings are in the southern Philippines and are soliciting funds for future attacks. The Indonesian men, Dulmatin and Umar Patek, are suspected members of the Jemaah Islamiyah extremist group.
Umar Patek and Dulmatin
A reporter in Manila, Shirley Escalante, say the pair have fled to the southern Philippines from Indonesia and are on the run. General Senga says security forces have stepped up their efforts to track down and capture the men. Intelligence officials say Dulmatin and Umar Patek are being protected by the Philippine militant group, Abu Sayyaf. They say reports that the men have cut their ties with Jemaah Islamiyah could be a ploy to reduce efforts by Indonesian and Philippine authorities to go after them. The militants have reportedly communicated with Jemaah Islamiyah members on how they could continue their operations in the Philippines and Indonesia. The 2002 suicide bombings on the Indonesian island of Bali claimed the lives of 202 people.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Polls Open In Iraq's Parliamentary Election

Polls opened on Thursday in Iraq's first election for a full four-term parliament since the fall of Saddam Hussein, witnesses said.
Reporters said polls opened at 7 a.m. (0400 GMT) as planned. Some 15 million people are eligible to vote in an election which Iraqis hope will end decades of suffering, lift living standards and pave the way for a withdrawal of U.S.-led troops.

Iraq Prepares For Thursday's Vote

Iraq has ground to a halt amid strict security in advance of Thursday's parliamentary elections, marking the end of weeks of fierce political campaigning and violence. An eerie sense of calm has descended on Baghdad as shops, schools, banks and cafes have closed and most of the city's seven million residents are staying at home.
Iraq's first full-term parliament will be elected by 15.5m voters
A five-day holiday began on Tuesday as part of security steps brought in before Iraqis go to the polls. All of Iraq's borders have been closed. The 15.5 million people elgible to vote will elect 275 parliamentary deputies, each with a four-year mandate. The vote is the latest attempt to further Iraq's transition to a full democracy and eventually allow US-led forces to leave. Iraqi expatriates in 15 countries across the world are already casting their ballots in a three-day process that began on Tuesday. Voters in Iraq's hospitals and prisons were the first to cast their ballot papers on Monday. Many Iraqis and foreign diplomats hope that the first full-term legislature since the 2003 invasion will draw disaffected Sunni Arabs back into politics. The Sunni minority boycotted elections in January but more than 1000 Sunni clerics have pressed members of their community to vote this week. They hope to increase their chances of playing kingmaker in the new government. However, a functioning government could take some time to be achieved, according to one senior US lawmaker. Following a White House briefing on the vote, Senator Richard Lugar said: "The briefers cautioned that given the multiplicity of parties and interests, solidifying a parliamentary government will not be instantaneous. "Under some scenarios, the selection of ministers might not be finalised until April." However, violence is still a major threat to the elections. Four US soldiers, a police commando and a businessman working with the US army were killed on Tuesday. In the heavily damaged western city of Ramadi, a leading local electoral candidate in Anbar province, Mizhar al-Dulaimi, was also killed on Tuesday. He is the latest of the political assassinations that have marred campaigning. Al-Qaida has warned people in Ramadi not to vote and threatened to kill those who take part in the election. In Mosul, two Iraqi policemen died and two were wounded on Wednesday when a bomb exploded alongside their patrol, police said. Meanwhile, the Interior Ministry has strongly denied earlier media reports that a tanker truck filled with thousands of blank ballots had been confiscated in a town near the Iranian border. A stement simply read , "This report is untrue and it aims to affect the election process."

Iraq Border Chief Denies Forged Ballots Seized

The head of Iraq's border guards denied police reports on Wednesday that a tanker truck stuffed with thousands of forged ballot papers had been seized crossing into Iraq from Iran before Thursday's elections. "This is all a lie," said Lieutenant General Ahmed al-Khafaji, the chief of the U.S.-trained force which has responsibility for all Iraq's borders.
An Iraqi woman, casts her ballot with her right index finger covered in purple ink
"I heard this yesterday and I checked all the border crossings right away. The borders are all closed anyway," he told reporters. Iraq's frontiers are closed for the period of the election. "I contacted all the border crossing points and there was no report of any such incident," Khafaji said. Interior Minister Bayan Jabor also denied the reports, which the New York Times ran prominently, quoting a single unnamed Interior Ministry source, and said it was an attempt to discredit the election process. The Times story said a tanker packed with partly filled-in ballots had been stopped by border police at the town of Badra, east of Baghdad, after entering from Iran. The driver had told the border police that three other tankers had entered Iraq at other crossings with forged ballots, the unnamed source told the Times. Khafaji said that when he established the reports were false he tracked the source of the rumor, and said it appeared to have come from the Defense Ministry's intelligence unit. The ministry denied any involvement. The reports had raised concerns that Shi'ite Iran, which has close links with two powerful Islamist Shi'ite parties in the Iraqi government, was attempting to influence the election. The United States has repeatedly expressed concern about Iranian attempts to gain influence. U.S. ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad on Tuesday called Iran a "predatory state." Rumors and "dirty tricks" have featured in the build-up to the election, the first for a full-term parliament since a U.S.-led invasion overthrew Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Missing Jogger's Body Found On Big Bird's Estate

The body of a woman who disappeared while jogging was found yesterday on property owned by the performer who plays Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch on the television show Sesame Street, a town official said.
Big Bird
The body of Judith Nilan, 44, was found in a storage building during a search by state police, tracking dogs, volunteers and a helicopter. Police said her death was a homicide.
Judith Nilan
First Selectwoman Delpha Mae Very cautioned against drawing conclusions, saying the property owned by Caroll Spinney is a very large tract of remote wooded land. A message seeking comment was left at Spinney's home. Nilan's husband, Jon Baker, called police Monday night after Nilan failed to return from her daily run, said Sgt. J. Paul Vance, a state police spokesman. According to his website, Spinney has performed as Big Bird since the first episode of Sesame Street in 1969.

Forged Ballots Headed to Iraq On Truck From Iran

Hundreds of blank ballots like those to be used in this week's elections in Iraq have been found on a truck which entered the country from neighbouring Iran, security officials said.
"A truck with Iranian number plates was intercepted Tuesday night in the locality of Badra, Wasset province, southeast of Baghdad," an official said. Another security source confirmed the discovery and said authorities were looking for three other suspect trucks in areas east of Baghdad near the Iranian border. "The blank ballots were probably destined to stuff the ballot boxes" in Thursday's general election, a security official said. The ballot papers were not printed by the Iraqi Electoral Commission which is the only body authorised to supply voting materials.Iraqis go to the polls Thursday for the third time this year to elect a 275-member Council of Representatives that will form the basis of the first permanent post-Saddam Hussein government.

Former President Gerald Ford Hospitalized

Former U.S. President Gerald Ford, 92, was hospitalized for tests, his spokesperson said in a statement.
President Gerald Ford
President Ford was admitted to Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif. He is undergoing medical tests and will be released when they have been completed,” the statement said. Sources close to the family said Ford was admitted to the hospital for a series of tests after suffering from a bad cold. He was hospitalized simply as a matter of convenience to avoid multiple trips for testing, said the sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity. Over the past few years, Ford has been hospitalized several times, and has had knee and hip problems.

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

“Tookie” Williams Was Executed By Lethal Injection


Militant Groups Label Elections 'Satanic'

Five Islamic militant groups, including al-Qaida in Iraq, denounced the Iraqi elections as a "satanic project" that violates God's law and vowed to continue their war to establish an Islamic government in the country.
But the Internet posting made no threats to disrupt Thursday's parliamentary elections, unlike previous statements before balloting in January and October, when militants warned they would attack polling stations to stop people from voting. The statement's authenticity could not be independently verified. If authentic, it was a rare instance of several of Iraq's militant groups joining together to announce their stance. "The conspiracy in Iraq against the mujahedeen, the so-called political process ... is nothing more than a satanic project, just like those before it," the statement said. "To engage in the so-called political process and in the renegade election is religiously prohibited and contradicts the legitimate policy approved by God almighty for the Muslims in our constitution, which is the holy Quran," it said. The statement appeared on a Web site known for carrying extremist Islamic material and was issued in the name of al-Qaida in Iraq, led by Jordanian-born Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, and the Victorious Sect Army and the Islamic Jihad Brigades. The other groups mentioned were the little known Abu Bakr Salafist Brigades and the Brigades for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. The groups also renounced any attempt at reconciliation with the government, amid efforts by officials to draw Sunni Arab Iraqis - who form the backbone of the insurgency - into the political process. Mainstream Sunnis are calling for a strong turnout by their minority community to increase their presence in parliament. "We disavow anyone who enters into any agreement or deals with this puppet government on the so-called political process," the statement said. "These filthy people want us to sit and have a dialogue with the infidels and the apostates ... and those who have taken free rein against our houses and mosques and our honor itself in hopes of reaching an idolatrous national unity," it said. The groups vowed to "continue our jihad (holy war) ... to raise the word of God on high ... and establish an Islamic state ruled by the book (the Quran) and the traditions of the prophet Muhammad," it said. Patients, soldiers and prisoners began voting Monday, a few days ahead of the general population, to choose Iraq's first full-term parliament since the 2003 ouster of Saddam Hussein.

Monday, December 12, 2005

Australians Sick And Tired Of Terrorists Bullshit

Mobs yelling anti-terrorist chants chased down and bashed people of Middle Eastern appearance at Sydney’s Cronulla beach yesterday, also turning on police fighting to prevent a full-scale riot. A massive police presence at the beach in Sydney’s south failed to prevent the violence that had been expected yesterday, after text messages began circulating among two rival groups urging violent attacks on each other. Twelve people were arrested over the violent scenes, which included numerous assaults on people of Middle Eastern appearance and on an ambulance crew.
Two youths, who looked Middle Eastern, on a train at Cronulla are jeered by a mob outside.
Two paramedics were injured as they tried to get youths of Middle Eastern appearance out of Cronulla Surf Lifesaving Club, where they had fled to escape one group. The mob broke the vehicle’s windows and kicked its doors as it attempted to get the group out. Police, who used capsicum spray and batons in their battle to quell the rioters, were also pelted with beer bottles. Some groups in the crowd, estimated to have peaked at 5000, also stomped on and swarmed around police cars trying to move from one violent flare-up to the next. The trouble began with scuffles about midday after thousands of people, many carrying Australian flags and dressed in Australian shirts, rallied at the beach. As the crowd moved along the beach and foreshore area yesterday, one man on the back of a ute began to shout “No more Lebs” — a chant picked up by the group around him. Others in the crowd, carrying Australian flags and dressed in Australian shirts, yelled “Aussie, Aussie, Aussie . . . Oi, Oi, Oi”. Many had adorned their bodies with racist slogans.
A man is arrested at Cronulla Beach after tensions erupted into running battles between police and a mob of thousands of youths.
One shirtless teenager walked by, this message painted on his back: “It’s time for a fucking war, so join the army of hardcore. Within half an hour, reporters at the scene watched at least three young men of Middle Eastern appearance being singled out and chased, their clothes torn as they fled. NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Goodwin said people of ethnic backgrounds had been clear targets. “What has been occurring on some fronts is that people of Middle Eastern backgrounds that have been seen in the Cronulla area — a swarm of the crowd has approached these people” Mr Goodwin said.

Israel Readies Forces For Strike On Nuclear Iran

Israel's armed forces have been ordered by Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran, military sources have revealed.
The order came after Israeli intelligence warned the government that Iran was operating enrichment facilities, believed to be small and concealed in civilian locations. Iran’s stand-off with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over nuclear inspections and aggressive rhetoric from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, who said last week that Israel should be moved to Europe, are causing mounting concern. The crisis is set to come to a head in early March, when Mohamed El-Baradei, the head of the IAEA, will present his next report on Iran. El-Baradei, who received the Nobel peace prize yesterday, warned that the world was “losing patience” with Iran. A senior White House source said the threat of a nuclear Iran was moving to the top of the international agenda and the issue now was: “What next?” That question would have to be answered in the next few months, he said. Defence sources in Israel believe the end of March to be the “point of no return” after which Iran will have the technical expertise to enrich uranium in sufficient quantities to build a nuclear warhead in two to four years. “Israel — and not only Israel — cannot accept a nuclear Iran,” Sharon warned recently. “We have the ability to deal with this and we’re making all the necessary preparations to be ready for such a situation.” The order to prepare for a possible attack went through the Israeli defence ministry to the chief of staff. Sources inside special forces command confirmed that “G” readiness — the highest stage — for an operation was announced last week. Gholamreza Aghazadeah, head of the Atomic Organisation of Iran, warned yesterday that his country would produce nuclear fuel. “There is no doubt that we have to carry out uranium enrichment,” he said. He promised it would not be done during forthcoming talks with European negotiators. But although Iran insists it wants only nuclear energy, Israeli intelligence has concluded it is deceiving the world and has no intention of giving up what it believes is its right to develop nuclear weapons. A “massive” Israeli intelligence operation has been underway since Iran was designated the “top priority for 2005”, according to security sources. Cross-border operations and signal intelligence from a base established by the Israelis in northern Iraq are said to have identified a number of Iranian uranium enrichment sites unknown to the the IAEA. Since Israel destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq in 1981, “it has been understood that the lesson is, don’t have one site, have 50 sites”, a White House source said. If a military operation is approved, Israel will use air and ground forces against several nuclear targets in the hope of stalling Tehran’s nuclear programme for years, according to Israeli military sources. It is believed Israel would call on its top special forces brigade, Unit 262 — the equivalent of the SAS — and the F-15I strategic 69 Squadron, which can strike Iran and return to Israel without refuelling.

Saturday, December 10, 2005


U.S. comedian Richard Pryor has died on Saturday at age 65 after a long illness, his wife Jennifer Pryor said in a interview.
Richard Pryor
"He was my treasure," Jennifer Pryor said. "His comedy is unparalleled. They say that you are not a comic unless you imitate Richard Pryor ... He was able to turn his pain into comedy."

Ahoy, (One Year Later)

It was 12:03 AM one year ago today. I was on the Northern Alliance web site and stumbled across a link to, It said "start your own blog" I clicked it! I signed up, And "composed" this:

All right here we go. First of all why do I need a blog, Who in the world would want read my crap! I don't need one! And next to no one is ever going to read it. But every once in a while I would like to pretend. Its winter here in Minnesota and I am not going out side too much. So Ill try this for a bit and see what happens. (posted by CRUEL KEV. at Friday, December 10, 2004)

After that I went "BLOG NUTS" I tried to read every blog on the inter-net. That was when it hit me... I did NOT stop to read the personal blogs diaries & journals. But I did read (and returned to) the news & information blogs. But I wanted to take it one step farther. I wanted to post news I wasn't seeing. Being a old sailor I was amazed how many ship collisions and sinking vessels that are never reported on. "This Could Be A Whole New Blog"! And how about a blog for Monsters & Supernatural stuff. OH! And one for Military News. And Hey... How about a Naughty Blog!!! Hey how the hell am I going to keep all these blogs up to date? So I incorporated my web site in with the blogs. But I still spend way to much time on the internet. But since I started this blog stuff a year ago my reading of news and current events has increased emencly. and thats a Good Thing!

Friday, December 09, 2005

Man Who Threatens To Blow Up Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Arrested

Officials said a man was arrested Wednesday after he threatened to set off TNT at the Bureau of Criminal Apprehension Headquarters in Ramsey County. Police said with the man had an undisclosed amount of TNT when they arrested him.
The man is not charged yet, but is being held at the Ramsey County Jail. The Ramsey County Sheriff, Bob Fletcher said he believes this was an ongoing threat -- not an immediate one. He wouldn't call it a plot. He said only that deputies intervened to end a threat. Ramsey County told the BCA about the threat on Monday. The bureau asked for extra patrols outside their building. Police said all the intended targets had to do with law enforcement. Fletcher does not believe there is any immediate threat to the public or law enforcement buildings any more. Police are still investigating, but charges are expected Friday.

Australian Prime Minister says Australian Troops Likely To Extend Mission In Iraq

Australian troops protecting Japanese forces in Iraq likely will extend their mission for as long as the Japanese remain there, Prime Minister John Howard said Friday.
Japan said Thursday it would keep about 600 troops in the southern Iraqi city of Samawah on their non-combat mission that is limited to purifying water and other aid tasks. Australia has 450 troops in the region protecting the Japanese and training Iraqi troops. ``It is unlikely we will be out by May. It is far more likely ... and this will depend a great deal on how things unfold, that we will be there for a longer period,'' he told the Southern Cross Radio network. Howard is a strong supporter of the coalition in Iraq. Defying widespread public protests, he sent 2,000 elite troops to take part in the invasion of the country and still has more than 1,300 military personnel there. ``Over time if democracy can be further introduced and begin to be consolidated and the local security forces continue to be enhanced, then you can then start looking at some kind of wind-down of foreign forces,'' he said. ``I don't want our forces to stay any longer than necessary,'' he added. Australia is guarding Tokyo's troops because Japanese military action is strictly limited under the country's U.S.-drafted 1947 constitution that bans Japan from offensive military action.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Car Crash, Heavy Traffic Turn Out Christmas Light Show

Sheriff's deputies asked the owner who lit up his house with 25,000 Christmas lights synched to music to turn off the display after a traffic accident Tuesday night. Deerfield Twp. resident Carson Williams agreed to shut down his holiday decorations indefinitely.
Williams told a Cincinnati television station that sheriff's deputies could not reach the traffic accident because of the traffic lined up in his neighborhood. The display caught attention across the nation on network TV and on the Internet because the lights on the Williams house and filling their yard are synchronized by computer with music broadcast to car radios. There are three songs in the 12-minute display: Frosty the Snowman by the Jackson 5; God Bless the USA by Lee Greenwood and Wizards of Winter by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra. Williams turned his display on the week of Thanksgiving and motorists have lined up between 6 and 10 p.m. ever since. For the time being, the only place to view the Williams' display will be online. "He told us if we start having traffic problems that he would shut the display down for a while," Warren County sheriff's Lt. Ed Petrey said Wednesday morning. Two cars collided in a minor accident at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday on Simpson Creek Drive, which leads to Winding Creek Court, where the Williams live near Mason in southern Warren County. No one was injured. Williams is an electrical engineer who said his family spent about $10,000 on the display. He had promised his neighbors they would shut it down if there were problems. "If I get a single complaint I'll shut it down," Carson had said Monday night. He could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Chief Of Naval Operations To Host Pearl Harbor's 64th Anniversary

The USS Arizona Memorial Visitor Center will host the Pearl Harbor Day commemoration ceremony marking the 64th anniversary of the Dec. 7,1941, attack.
Keynote speaker at the ceremony, which begins at 7:40 a.m. Wednesday, will be Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chief of naval operations. Other guest speakers include U.S. Sen. Daniel Inouye and Lynn Scarlett, deputy secretary for the Department of the Interior.
About 20 Pearl Harbor survivors are expected to attend the ceremony. Seating will begin at 7:20 a.m. Similar private ceremonies marking the 64th anniversary of the Japanese attack on the Pacific Fleet will be held at Hickam Air Force Base, Pearl Harbor and Marine Corps Base Hawaii at Kaneohe Bay. At noon, Mullen also will speak at the 45th annual Honolulu Council Navy League luncheon at the Hale Koa Hotel. Also honored will be five crew members of the USS Ward which fired the first American shots of World War II and sank a Japanese midget submarine as it tried to sneak into Pearl Harbor early on the morning of Dec. 7, 1941.

Israel Launches Clampdown In West Bank

Israel launched a military clampdown in the occupied West Bank yesterday in the opening stages of what it vowed would be a harsh response to a Palestinian bombing that killed five Israelis.
Israel’s army said it tightened restrictions on Palestinian movement in the West Bank and carried out raids that led to 14 arrests. The bomber’s father and three brothers were detained. Gaza-based leaders of Islamic Jihad shut off their mobile phones fearing the signal could be used to track them for assassination from the air.