Blog Smith

Blog Smith is inspired by the myth of Hephaestus in the creation of blacksmith-like, forged materials: ideas. This blog analyzes topics that interest me: IT, politics, technology, history, education, music, and the history of religions.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Abu Suleiman al-Jazairi Confirmed Dead

The death of Abu Suleiman al-Jazairi, an Algerian militant, has only recently been confirmed. Al-Jazairi died along with at least 15 others when the Pakistani house in which he was staying in Pakistan's Bajaur tribal district was hit by a missile fired from a Predator. The al-Qaeda trainer and explosives specialist was involved in a range of European terrorist networks.

AQ Women's Liberation



A TV image from 13 November 2005 wherein Iraqi Sajida al-Rishawi opens her jacket and shows an explosive belt as she confesses on Jordanian state-run television to her failed bid to set off an explosives belt inside one of the three Amman hotels targeted by al-Qaida.


Female Muslims have posted Internet messages expressing frustration with the al-Qaida No. 2 leader's refusal to give them a larger role in terror attacks. Graphic source: AP Photo/Jordanian TV, File

Citigroup Support for Financial Jihad

Banks first emerged in the Middle Ages when people grew tired of carrying around all their gold and began leaving their money with the goldsmith. The Medici family, one of the most prominent banking families in Europe during this time, became quite wealthy from its banking and moneylending practices. This 14th-century painting depicts people depositing and withdrawing money in an Italian bank. Graphic source: Encarta, Hulton Deutsch


The Western system of finance, which emerged during the Renaissance,




is supplemented today with a new world-wide model, Islamic finance. Banker, a U.K. based trade publication, estimates that Islamic financial assets increased to US$500 billion. Although relatively small in worldwide financial terms, the amount far exceeds the $50 billion invested in U.S. companies by the four most financially active Muslim countries: the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Saudi Arabia, Singapore, and Kuwait. Perhaps more importantly, Islamic finance is expected to grow at about a 20% rate at least annually for the next few years.


The real impetus for growth, however, is that Middle Eastern financiers reacted negatively to Congress' nixing of DP World, the Dubai-based operative, which sought to manage U.S. ports. As a result, Islamic commerce emgerged, adhering to sharia, Islamic law based on the Koran. The restrictive measures of Islamic finance would prevent Islamic financiers from participating in typical Western banking practices, such as loaning money at interest. However, a team of sharia scholars issues rulings in order for Islamic finance to prosper.


Islamic profit is being invested. Arcapita Bank, based both in Bahrain and Atlanta, Ga, makes sharia compliant investments, primarily in the U.S.


They are not alone. Citigroup Inc. was one of the first Western banks to engage in Islamic finance. Since 1996 they have been operating in Bahrain. Most of the banks engaged in Islamic finance are in Europe but Citigroup is one of the few American banks to engage consistently in the practice.

Friday, May 30, 2008

May: a Least Violent Month in Iraq



An Iraqi man waves to a U.S. soldier on patrol in the al-Sukkar neighborhood of Mosul. Militant attacks across the nation are down 70%. Graphic source: Ali Yussef, AFP/Getty Images


Despite the offensives in several Iraqi towns, this May has been one of the least violent months of the Iraq war. The Coalition has moved to a supportive role and the relative calm follows in the train of steady pressure from mostly Iraqi led forces. This is quite a turnaround and something that was hardly thought possible as late as the end of summer.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Life On Mars?

I remarked on the Mars landing recently and its fascinating to consider the IT process at work. Engineers are beaming up daily software code to run the 7.5-foot arm and analyze soil samples. The questions driving the expedition are enormous. The Lander is collecting samples to discover if water flowed across the surface. And, where there is water, as many have wondered, the big question is, is there Life On Mars?

Coalition Captures a "key Special Groups financier"

One of the progress points in Iraq has been the identifying and shutting down of the ratlines into the country. Iran established the Ramazan Corps, which is run by the Qods Force, to direct operations and move weapons, money, and fighters to what it views as critical battlefields in Iraq. It is these infernal operations that have been painstakenly dismantled.

World Lauds Iraq Efforts

Ban Ki-moon Graphic source: AFP


Who would have thought, even a year ago, that world leaders would laud the U.S. for its efforts in Iraq? But UN chief Ban Ki-moon hailed Iraq's progress in combatting violence and stabilising the country. A declaration adopted by 100 delegations at a Stockholm conference said the participants "recognised the important efforts made by the (Iraqi) government to improve security and public order and combat terrorism and sectarian violence across Iraq." Moreover, it acknowledged political and economic progress, and stated that "given the difficult context, these successes are all the more remarkable." Ban stated that Iraq was "stepping back from the abyss that we feared most," and added that Iraq could fulfill its "vision of becoming a free, secure, stable and prosperous nation."


One drawback is Iraqi debt, which excluding interest, is some 140 billion dollars, including 10 billion dollars owed to Saudi Arabia and a little less to Kuwait.


The Stockholm conference was the first follow-up meeting since the International Compact with Iraq, a five-year peace and economic development plan, was adopted in Egypt in May 2007.

Coalition Coalescing

Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi indicated that Italian troop deployment in Afghanistan may change. Berlusconi's statement came shorty after Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said some of Italy's 2,500 soldiers in Afghanistan might be redeployed to the more dangerous and combative south to fight the Taliban if NATO requested it. Berlusconi told Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper he was rethinking the rules on Italy's troop deployment "in a spirit of solidarity with its allies." Canada has around 2,500 troops in the region already and 82 of its soldiers have been killed there since 2002. The country's parliament voted in April to extend its military mission in the volatile southern Afghanistan to 2011, provided its allies sent reinforcements. ISAF, which comprises some 47,000 troops from 40 nations, is trying to spread the rule of Afghanistan's weak central government and foster reconstruction.


Italy's position might be coupled with the recent comments from Australia's military that they too sought a more active combat role in the Iraqi situation.


In addition, although the Coalition has sought a greater role from its European allies, elite German commandos are not permitted to kill known Taliban commanders. The Norwegians have no such qualms. Recently, Norwegian forces based in Badghis province came under attack, and they responded by killing thirteen Taliban during battle.


If I were to believe the major news media this should not be happening but some of the Allies are seeking a more active, combat role in operations. I would think that it is entirely possible that intelligence is being disseminated and the word is out that the Taliban and AQ are on the run. After years of combat the Coalition is coalescing.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Hate Is More Popular Than Ever

Hate is in this year, even 2.0 style. A recent report documents the largest spike in digital hate Web sites and online posts in the last decade. With the benefit of Web 2.0 technologies, online hate activities have jumped 30% in the past year, according to a report by the Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights organization.


The spike in the number is primarily because of the increasing availability of the viral, repetitious [applications] and an increase outside the U.S. by extremist try to get their pitch across. The terrorist groups and those who support them are at the cutting edge of technology,
according to Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center.


Terrorist activities have spawned SMS2US, created by the Islamic Front for the Iraqi Resistance, for "inspirational" Short Messaging Service messages that are overlaid onto videos of attacks against coalition forces. And, the Media Sword Campaign, an effort by al-Qaeda to use discussion forums to get support for jihad (holy war) and to recruit hackers for its cause.


These activities should alert people to the fact that the technology lowers the barrier of entry for terrorists yet is an effective tool for the crafty practioner. The terrorists exploit educational tools much quicker and faster than educators generally seem capable of.

Iraqi Army Pushes Deeper Into Sadr

Opposition, if you want to call it that, resulted in the deaths of ten Mahdi Army fighters when "operations against special groups in eastern Baghdad" were reported today. Iraqi troops seize 59 explosively formed projectiles in Sadr City since May 24 as Iraqis, on their own, pushed into Sadr City, with background support of U.S. troops. An early estimate is that the U.S. can withdraw in 2009. Now, that's an intriguing ideas worth exploring but in the volative Iraqi situation, I would make no predictions. I would wait until Christmas and announce it as a gift.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Al Qaeda Mixes a Nuclear Cocktail

"Nuclear Terrorism" as advocated by Al Qaeda has been posted on a web site which calls jihadists to use nuclear or chemical weapons to strike the west.


"Strike civilians in the west without mercy using weapons of mass destruction" the video states in the 39-minute tape.


The video continues: "Attack those who attack you. Fear Allah and know that Allah is with those who fear Him."


An off camera voice invites Muslim fighters to obtain these weapons of mass destruction and shows a document on the "rules for using weapons of mass destruction against the unbelievers" written by Saudi scholar Naser Bin Hamed al-Fahd.


al-Fahd states: "They kill our people and for this reason we should also strike them with weapons of mass destruction - doing so forms part of our response to their attacks."


He continues: "We cannot stop the operations against our civilians conducted by Jews and Christians in our countries if we don't do the same thing."


al-Fahd states: "The best weapons to use are bacteriological ones. This type of barbarous weapon is used by the international community."


Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the water.

Under 16 Year Old Al Qaeda Cell Formed

Graphic source: AKI


The Iraq Al-Qaeda cancer released a video of a teenage terror cell under the Islamic State of Iraq, the umbrella name adopted by al-Qaeda groups, the video features the group's new teenage terror cell for those under 16 years of age.


The video of the cell is known as "Youths of Heaven" and is produced by al-Furqan, the media production arm of the Islamic State of Iraq.


Al-Arabiya ran the video first which shows a group of young aspiring suicide bombers brandishing Kalashnikovs and promising to blow themselves up against "the crusaders and apostates."


The new al-Qaeda terror cell is only open to those under the age of 16.

Law Enforcement Learns to Share



Key to Law Enforcement Database Standards:

Global Justice XML Data Model (GJXDM) — An XML-based standard that defines the vocabulary and format for data exchanges among law enforcement databases. All of the databases above now support GJXDM data exchanges.

National Information Exchange Model (NIEM) — The NGI, N-DEx and NGA are NIEM-compliant, which means that they meet the information exchange technical standards developed by the DOJ’s Office of Justice Programs and local law enforcement agencies. Based on the GJXDM, NIEM is an updated standard that serves a broader community beyond law enforcement. It promotes cross-domain data sharing, such as exchanges between law enforcement and emergency management. NIEM includes GJXDM as well as other data structures.


Cf. http://www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=317970&source=NLT_PRN&nlid=2941


Graphic Source: FBI, DOD and US-VISIT

Aussies Tired of Waltzing

Graphic source: REUTERS/Mohammed Jalil/Pool An Australian solider guards an area during a joint street patrol with Iraqi security forces in Sammawa, south of Baghdad June 22, 2006.


You have to hand it to the Australian troops. There they are, in the midst of a regional conflict in which their nation's interests are at stake, and yet, they are restrained from engaging in real action in Iraq. As the U.S. is turning the tide in Iraq, and other nations, mostly Europeans, have failed to follow-up on obligations, the Australians want to be in the thick of it.


According to Major Jim Hammett, in an article entitled "We Were Soldiers Once," in the Australian Army Journal, the good soldier stated that some infantry soldiers were ashamed of wearing the Australian uniform.


Hammett notes that the troops are restricted in their ability to engage although they wanted more action.


In a subsequent article in the journal, Captain Greg Colton, second-in-command of Sydney's 3rd battalion, agreed but further stated said troops were kept from frontlines like "downtown Baghdad, Basra and Helmand province."


Australia has long supported U.S. policies but it placed only special forces on the ground, not infantry, as well as supplying support forces, ships, and aircraft.


Australia has almost 4,000 troops but it only has a nominal number, 500 troops, in frontline action.


Hammett asks a pointed question:


"Why, in an era of global operations and unity of purpose against common enemies, are Australian infantrymen conspicuously absent from the fighting, whilst our allies are engaging in sustained combat operations?"


He has a valid point. Australia has a direct stake in the regional future of Iraq and this ally has proved its committment to a global problem. Why are they being restrained and who is preventing them from taking a leading role?

Monday, May 26, 2008

Daily Update

حتجز [أوس] و [إيرقي] أمن قوّات 135 يشكّ مهدي جيش مقاتل في بغداد. [إيرقي] عسكريّة ناطق بلسان قد كان يقال موصل أخلى من [أل] - [قدا]. إئتلاف قتل قوّات ثلاثة [أل] - [قدا] عميلات ويحتجز 17 أثناء غارة.

US and Iraqi security forces detained 135 suspected Mahdi Army fighters in Baghdad. An Iraqi military spokesman said Mosul has been cleared of al Qaeda. Coalition forces killed three al Qaeda operatives and detained 17 during raids.

Whaddya' From Mars? Frankly, Yes

Graphic source: NASA


The Mars Phoenix lander touched down in the far north of the Red Planet, after a 680 million-km (423 million-mile) journey from Earth. The lander will examine the landing site for ice thought to be below the surface and evidence of the building blocks of life. A signal confirming the lander had reached the surface was received at 2353 GMT on 25 May (1953 EDT; 0053 BST on 26 May).

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Iraqi Troops Clear Mosul of AQ and Other Insurgents

Iraqi troops cleared Al-Qaeda from Mosul, the last urban bastion of jihad, the interior ministry announced. "Operation Mother of Two Springs has enabled us to dismantle and weaken the Al-Qaeda network in Nineveh province," spokesman Abdel Karim Khalaf stated. 1,480 people have been detained since the operation began. The range of those netted included other groups in addition to Al-Qaeda, members of Ansar al-Sunna, the Army of Mujahedeen, and the Brigades of the 1920 Revolution.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Al-Maliki Relating to China and Spain

Al-Maliki is seeking to develop deeper ties with China and Spain and if recent events were not going well he certainly would not be able to do so. The Prime Minister met with the Chinese Ambassador, Chen Xiao Dong, and the Spanish Ambassador, Ignacio Roberis, last Monday to mark the end of their work in the country. The all diplomatically agreed to strengthen their relations with Iraq in all areas and continue to support the political process and cooperate with the government to achieve security, stability and economic prosperity.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Bin Laden's Re-Branding as Iraq Base Fails

I've posed the question about the two latest messages believed to be from Osama Bin Laden which emphasise the importance of a struggle against Israel to the detriment of fighting in Iraq.


As recently as March, Iraq was key, Bin Laden stated: "Iraq is the perfect base to set up the jihad to liberate Palestine. Palestine will be restored to us, with God's permission, when we wake up from our slumber."


The word "slumber" (and his criticism of Arab rulers) is a clue as to Bin Laden's intention since this is term used against Arabs.


Also, this terminology shifts the emphasis away from Iraq, which has come to mean difficulties, to the "Palestinian question", which can attract support.


Nigel Inkster, Director of Transnational Threats and Political Risk at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, stated as much:

Through its now dead agent in Iraq, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, it hoped to attack Israel after establishing a base in Iraq, but the hope of establishing that base has probably failed. Al Qaeda could now be preparing its followers for a strategic failure in Iraq. It therefore needs a rallying cry and Palestine is a no-brainer.


AQ is shifting terminology to reflect a loss in Iraq.


Inkster, formerly deputy head of Britain's foreign intelligence agency MI6, adds that the loss of life proved to be high since there has been numerous complaints about too many Muslims killed in Iraq and elsewhere.


"Al-Qaeda's number two, Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is like the chief executive officer to Bin Laden's chairmanship, recently held an open day of questions on the internet," he said.


In business terms, this is a rebrand.


Moreover, in the same session, al-Zawahiri defended killing Muslim bystanders, who, he said, had died because of "unintentional error" or had been used as "shields" by al-Qaeda's enemies.


Marc Sageman, a former CIA officer and now writer on international security issues, has been trumpeting the idea of what he calls "leaderless jihad" (the title of his latest book), in which the larger debate of who is in control, a central AQ structure, or local autonomous cells.


Sageman stated: "they have been unable to project their capability outside Pakistan and Afghanistan."


None of this is intended to downplay the very real threat that AQ represents and the organization has proven to be resilient in past experience.


Groups are inspired by the leadership but not necessarily controlled by "al-Qaeda Central." It gives them strength, in that they proliferate in unknown cells, but it also leaves them vulnerable to being isolated. A study of power indicates that isolation is dangerous. It seems as if isolation would make defense stronger but it actually weakens a group.


Al Qaeda Denounces Religious Dialogue

Al Qaeda leader Abu Yahya al-Libi criticized Saudi Arabia for considering a dialogue with other faiths. King Abdullah advocated inter-faith dialogue which is a condemnation of extremism.


By God, if you don't resist heroically against this wanton tyrant ... the day will come when church bells will ring in the heart of the Arabian Peninsula. And the case of Qatar is not far away from you, stated Libi.


This is in reference to Qatar's decision to allow the opening of the first church in the U.S.-allied Gulf Arab state; next door neighbour Saudi Arabia, which adhers to Wahabism, still bans other religions from building public houses of worship in the birthplace of Islam.


There is no moderation, no rapprochement, and no collaboration between us and infidel peoples. Where do light and darkness ever meet? stated Libi.


Let them (proponents of moderation) know that Islam is the religion of the sword, he added.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Iraq Is Not Vietnam

One of the most consistent false analogies that have been made about Iraq is a comparison to Vietnam. Yet, in numerical terms, the two conflicts really do not compare well.


For example, one of the vociferous criticisms of Coalition body counts is that they are useless propaganda and similar to the false impression of imminent American victory in Vietnam. The Tet Offensive ended all hopes that the U.S. had any hopes of an achievable peace, much less a victory.


In the Iraq situation a consistent argument has been advanced stating that killing only begets more killing. The recent "body counts" of Mahdi Army fighters is a case in point.


At the eminently practical Long War Journal the low ball figure of Mahdi killed has been that 600 Mahdi Army fighters were killed since fighting broke out on March 25. The U.S. military estimates the number killed at 700 but the key here is that the Mahdi themselves estimate the number at 1,000.


Now if the Coalition were guilty of inflating figures so as to provide a false hope of success, their number should be lower than the Mahdi themselves estimate. According to the Long War Journal's Bill Roggio, an interviewee stated: “What about the martyrs?” a Mahdi battalion leader recently told a reporter. “A thousand martyrs, what did they die for?”


The Iraqi government ground down the Mahdi. Sure to lose, the Sadrists capitulated and the experience with insurgent groups is the penchent for declaring victory even after a defeat. Then, they regroup, adding more assets and live to fight again. The situation in Sadr City though is a first example that the Iraqi security forces continued the fight, the Iraqi government functioned well enough to maintain pressure, and Coalition forces re-deployed to provide a well-entrenched but much needed supportive role. This is an incredible turn around and the first hope of a functioning Iraqi state.

Numbers Tally in Iraq Demonstrates Substantial Growth



Graphic source: Bill Roggio


Despite the incredible ferocity of military power that has been unleashed the violence in Iraq has not increased this year. The extension of Coalition settlement is impressive to say the least and the interim between the height of violence and now has allowed the Iraqi security forces to make substantial strides. No one will be willing to say the path is easy but it is entirely possible that the turning point has occurred and Iraq may yet transition into a functioning state.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Daily Advance on Sadr City

The US military killed a senior member of the Mahdi Army, according US and Mahdi Army sources. Arkan Hasnawi, a senior lieutenant of the Mahdi Army commander in Sadr City, was killed in a guided rocket strike in Sadr City on May 3. The news of Hasnawi's death comes as details emerge on the senior leadership of the Mahdi Army in Baghdad and the blurring of the lines between Sadr's militia and the Special Groups.

Hasnawi was among several senior Mahdi Army leaders killed or wounded in the GLMRS strike on a Mahdi Army command and control center that was placed next to the Sadr Hospital inside Sadr City.

Operations against the Mahdi Army outside Sadr City have not abated, either. Today, US forces killed 11 Mahdi Army fighters during a series of engagements in New Baghdad, which borders Sadr City to the east. The Mahdi Army fighters were killed as part of "an ongoing operation," Multinational Forces Iraq reported. US forces also captured a Special Groups commander in the Rashid district in Baghdad
.


Cf. The Long War Journal



ل [أوس] قتل جيش عضوة كبريات من مهدي جيش, يوافق [أوس] ومهدي جيش مصادر. قتلت [أركن] [هسنوي], ملازم أوّل كبريات من مهدي جيش قائد في [سدر] مدينة, كان في يرشد صاروخ إضراب في [سدر] مدينة في شهر ماي 3. يأتي الأخبار من [هسنوي] موت بما أنّ تفصيل يظهرون على القيادة كبريات من مهدي جيش في بغداد وال يغشي من الخطوط بين [سدر] ميليشيا والمجموعة خاصّة.

[هسنوي] كان بين عدّة كبريات مهدي جيش زعيمات يقتل أو يجرح في ال [غلمرس] إضراب على مهدي جيش أمر و [كنترول سنتر] أنّ كان وضعت [نإكست تو] [سدر] مستشفى في [سدر] مدينة.

لم يخفّض عمليات ضدّ مهدي جيش خارجيّ [سدر] مدينة يتلقّى, أيضا. اليوم, [أوس] قتل قوّات 11 مهدي جيش مقاتلات أثناء [سري] الإلتزامات في بغداد جديد, أيّ يجاور [سدر] مدينة إلى الشرق. مهدي جيش قتلت مقاتلات كان كجزء "عملية جار," شركة متعدّدة الجنسيّات قوّات العراق يفاد. [أوس] على قبض قوّات أيضا خاصّة مجموعة قائد في رشيد من في بغداد.

Obama & Hillary Too Busy for Oil Prices

Fellow Democrat Patrick Leahy from Vermont held hearings on high oil prices but I know two Senators who are not interested: Obama and Hillary. While America is burning they are fiddling with delegate numbers for the nomination. Leahy stated:

Today’s witnesses represent the major, vertically integrated oil companies that, collectively, made more than $36 billion in profits in just the first quarter of this year-- $36 billion in the first three months of the year.

Leahy attacked Bush and blamed him and the Iraq war for the increases but I'm not sure that the political grandstanding will help us solve the problem much.


Leahy added:

I want to hear directly from these oil companies about causes of the rising price of oil on which Congress can act. This Committee unanimously approved Senator Kohl’s NOPEC legislation, which would put an end to artificial limits on supply by ensuring that the U.S. Government has the authority to prosecute OPEC members for collusive behavior. Seventy members of the Senate have voted for this legislation, as have 345 Members of the House. Yet this President threatened to veto it.

Leahy then asked the oil executives how they would like antitrust laws applied to them. I think a better tactic might be to just inform them that he or someone else is moving on enforcement. He preferred the slap on the wrist approach.


Leah does not seem to grasp international reality. OPEC meets regularly to dish it out on consumers and he thinks this is wrong. It does not matter. If you have someone over a barrel, literally, you don't get anywhere by whining about it. The more direct question should be why Leahy and the Senate are not acting on the problem.


Leahy identities a key problem. He states:

Do they agree that we need to crack down on speculation and manipulation in the oil commodities market? Numerous experts have testified before this Committee and others that oil prices are moving higher as a result of speculators. Investors are betting up the price of oil, and consumers are paying the bill. Increasingly, this speculation takes place in over-the-counter trading, which avoids the oversight of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, thanks to the Enron loophole.

Why is he asking their opinion? Does he seriously think they will agree and voluntarily be nice boys?


Maybe he is actually acting, since the loophole kept the CFTC blind to speculation and manipulation in the oil futures market. Last week, Congress passed the Farm Bill that would close this loophole. The President threatened to veto the legislation.


Finally, he added:

last week we were able to pass legislation calling for the Government to stop artificially inflating demand by diverting fuel to the strategic petroleum reserve. The President opposed it. Filing the SPR may have made sense when oil was $25 a barrel. At $125 a barrel, it is simply hurting consumers.


Leahy makes a tepid, fawning appeal to the oil boys to play nice as if he expects them to do so. He makes his grandstanding rhetoric against Bush seem like he has some backbone. Its a pathetic waste of time but then again, that's the Senate.


Cf. Statement of Patrick Leahy
Chairman, Senate Judiciary Committee
Hearing on “Exploring the Skyrocketing Price of Oil”
May 21, 2008

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

YouTube declines Lieberman Request to Remove Terrorist Videos

Senator Lieberman wrote to Google asking that particularly objectionable material be removed from YouTube. They declined. I agree. They should not take them down. Who should be active though are citizen activists who disagree with the repulsion that is international terrorism to flag the objectionable videos and have them removed. The government should stay out. What if young people got active and began caring about the images of American troops in harms way? What if young people set a goal to be vigilant and flag a set number of objectionable videos per day? What if young people had private competitions determined to stop the hatred expressed by terrorists? Nahh, never mind.



May 19, 2008

Dr. Eric Schmidt
Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
Google, Inc.
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043

Dear Dr. Schmidt:

YouTube is being used to share videos produced by al-Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist groups. The purpose of this letter is to request that Google implement its own policy against this offensive material, remove these videos from YouTube, and prevent them from reappearing.

Today, Islamist terrorist organizations rely extensively on the Internet to attract supporters and advance their cause. The framework for much of this Internet campaign is described in a bipartisan staff report released last week by the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs (“Committee”), which I am privileged to chair, titled Violent Islamist Extremism, the Internet, and the Homegrown Terrorist Threat. The report explains, in part, how al-Qaeda created and manages a multi-tiered online media operation that produces content intended to enlist followers in countries all over the world, including the United States. Central to this media campaign is the branding of content with an icon or logo to guarantee authenticity that the content was produced by al-Qaeda or allied organizations like al-Qaeda in Iraq, Ansar al-Islam (a.k.a Ansar al-Sunnah) or al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb. All of these groups have been designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTO) by the Department of State.

Searches on YouTube return dozens of videos branded with an icon or logo identifying the videos as the work of one of these Islamist terrorist organizations. A great majority of these videos document horrific attacks on American soldiers in Iraq or Afghanistan. Others provide weapons training, speeches by al-Qaeda leadership, and general material intended to radicalize potential recruits.

In other words, Islamist terrorist organizations use YouTube to disseminate their propaganda, enlist followers, and provide weapons training – activities that are all essential to terrorist activity. According to testimony received by our Committee, the online content produced by al-Qaeda and other Islamist terrorist organizations can play a significant role in the process of radicalization, the end point of which is the planning and execution of a terrorist attack. YouTube also, unwittingly, permits Islamist terrorist groups to maintain an active, pervasive, and amplified voice, despite military setbacks or successful operations by the law enforcement and intelligence communities.

YouTube posts “community guidelines” for users to follow, but it does not appear that the company is enforcing these guidelines to the extent they would apply to this content. For example, the community guidelines state that “[g]raphic or gratuitous violence is not allowed. If your video shows someone getting hurt, attacked, or humiliated, don’t post it.” Many of the videos produced by one of the production arms of al-Qaeda show attacks on U.S. forces in which American soldiers are injured and, in some cases, killed. Nevertheless, those videos remain available for viewing on YouTube. At the same time, the guidelines do not prohibit the posting of content that can be readily identified as produced by al-Qaeda or another FTO.

I ask you, therefore, to immediately remove content produced by Islamist terrorist organizations from YouTube. This should be a straightforward task since so many of the Islamist terrorist organizations brand their material with logos or icons identifying their provenance. In addition, please explain what changes Google plans to make to the YouTube community guidelines to address violent extremist material and how Google plans to enforce those guidelines to prevent the content from reappearing.

Protecting our citizens from terrorist attacks is a top priority for our government. The private sector can help us do that. By taking action to curtail the use of YouTube to disseminate the goals and methods of those who wish to kill innocent civilians, Google will make a singularly important contribution to this important national effort.

Thank you for your immediate attention to this critical matter and I look forward to your response.

Sincerely,



Joseph I. Lieberman (ID-CT)
Chairman, Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs

Iraqi Troops Regain Sadr City



Iraqi troop mans a checkpoint in Sadr City.


Graphic source: Reuters


I'm wondering if the Times is coming around to presenting the war in a more realistic light. They featured a headline story, "Iraqi Troops in Push to Regain Control of Sadr City," and actually, it was mostly accurate. The journalists are Michael R. Gordon and Stephen Farrell while they received assistance from "Anwar J. Ali, Mudhafer al-Husaini and an Iraqi employee of The New York Times contributed reporting." Since the story really is showing what on-site bloggers have been saying for some time, they may be coming around. And, I wonder what the exact arrangment of journalists and writers is? In other words, do the Westeners sit at the pool eating bon-bons while the local stringers actually go out and get the news? The story at least sounds like it has first-hand elements so somebody was out there. The important aspect of an article such as this is that it emphasizes that Iraqi troops pushed deep into Sadr City and they operated without the involvement of American ground forces, which is really a major turnaround from not all that long ago. Who would have thought that the Times would run a story with the sentence: "No American ground forces accompanied the Iraqi troops, not even military advisers." This was an Iraqi operation with the Americans in the supportive but physically rearward position. I hope its the first of many, many more to come.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bin Laden Whines Again: Yawn

Bin Laden is emphasizing Palestine and its liberation. In order to be liberated, he accuses fellow Muslims of allowing Palestinians to die. The solution, as he sees it, is to attack fellow Muslims in order to liberate Palestine. The question is why he shifting to an emphasis on Palestine, and not the liberation of the Holy Land? Is it because he knows now that he can not win in Iraq now that AQ is on the run, and traditionally, Palestine was a rallying cry amongst Muslims worldwide? I think so.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

EEF Poster

Graphic source: Electronic Frontier Foundation


A few groups are stretching the boundaries of freedom and protecting the free expression of ideas. In a previous post, I noted the importance of the Electronic Frontier Foundation on behalf of Wikileaks case, an instance of a whistle-blower issue, on behalf of telephone consumers to prevent the NSA from spying on citizens, and in the case of commercial search engines which may be storing personal information about people.

Dutch Give Up Liberties to Extremists



This is a tamer example of a cartoon by the satirist.


Graphic source: Gregorius Nekschot


A Dutch cartoonist, who works under the pseudonym Gregorius Nekschot, was arrested on suspicion of violating hate speech laws, and insulting people because of their religion, according to Amsterdam public prosecutor spokeswoman Sanne van Meteren. Each is a crime punishable by up to a year in prison under Dutch hate speech laws-—or two years for multiple offenses. Both the cartoonist, and his Dutch publisher, Uitgeverij Xtra, have received death threats so apparently the cartoonist may be threatened but his right to free speech and artistic expression can be silenced. Not surprisingly, Nekschot is known primarily for cartoons mocking Muslims and leftists, but he is a satirist who targets "any strong ideology" including other religions. Nekschot has a web site but has also been featured on the Web site of Theo van Gogh, the filmmaker who was murdered by a Muslim radical in November 2004. The cartoonist's pseudonym, "Gregorius" refers to Pope Gregory IX, who instituted the Papal Inquisition, and "Nekschot" means literally "shot in the neck," a method used by "fascists and communists to get rid of their opponents." Let's hope the Dutch who opposed totalitarianism before will have the good sense to protect their liberties against Islamofascism.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Aynak Valley Attracts Chinese Mining Investment

Graphic source: Times Online


Afghanistan copper deposits worth $88 billion have attracted Chinese investors and if China moves in I would hope the U.N. or international pressure would force the Chinese to provide security in the region. In the Aynak valley, al-Qaeda trained and planned the 9/11 attacks that triggered the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001.


With such an infamous past, a Chinese mining company begins its foray into the Afghanistan economy. The valley’s floor contains one of the world’s largest untapped copper deposits, estimated to be worth up to $88 billion which is more than double of Afghanistan’s entire gross domestic product (GDP) in 2007. A 30-year lease was sold to the China Metallurgical Group for $3 billion, making it the biggest foreign investment and private business venture in Afghanistan’s history.


This deal is so large, the price tag equalled 20 per cent of all foreign aid to the country since 2001, and the annual royalties of $400 million represent 45 per cent of its state budget. The obstacles are huge in this insecure area and the valley is without basic infrastructure. As in the case of Chinese investment in Africa, no one knows the effect of investment in Afghanistan, according to Integrity Watch Afghanistan, a non governmental organisationwhich, is ill-equipped to absorb huge sums of money or even to consider the social and environmental costs. Afghanistan's largest product is opium so it remains to be seen what effect huge and legitimate mining operations might have on the poverty stricken region.


“Afghanistan has abundant known mineral resources,” said Stephen Peters, of the US Geological Survey, which completed a two-year survey of the country last year. The positives are intriguing to consider though, and may act as a corrective to extremism. The mining will create jobs for 5,000 people, 90% Afghans. Up to 4,000 jobs will be created to build a railway to the Pakistani border, and several thousand security guards will be recruited from surrounding villages. The Chinese are contractually obligated to build mosques, schools, hospitals, markets, and small bazaars.


The site was discovered in 1974 by the Soviets, who built the now derelict buildings, mapped the area and took thousands of rock samples.


Their plans were thwarted by Mujahidin rebels who surrounded Aynak and cut it off from the outside. General Hatiqulluh Luddin, who led the rebels around Aynak and still commands 30,000 men in the area.


The Afghan civil war thwarted any development in the area.


When the Taleban took over in 1996 they showed no interest in Aynak and allowed al-Qaeda to turn it into its main training camp.


Only after the Taleban’s overthrow did Aynak arise again when a team from the British Geological Survey arrived to start recovering and organising the 78 reports and 1,300 maps on Aynak, which were mostly in Russian and based on obsolete Soviet methodology.

Germany As Target and Breeding Ground for Terrorism

In Germany, the threat of Islamic terrorism remains "consistently high" according to an annual report by the Office for the Protection of the Constitution. Islamic militants consider Germany as an "operational area" and Islamists regard Germany as a "crusader" as an ally of the United States and Israel. American, Israeli, Russian, and British institutions are also targets. For example, militants were arrested on 4 September 2007, when three individuals allegedly planned attacks on American institutions in Germany and were caught with bomb-making material. In addition, by 2007 there were 30 nationwide active Islamist organisations. Among these groups, 1,390 were active followers of the Muslim Brotherhood, and about 900 were from the Lebanese Shia radical group Hezbollah.

Moving to Mosul

The Coalition is expected to begin operations against al-Qaida operatives in Mosul. The strategy is a typical one which will begin with U.S. military airstrikes. After about three or four weeks the infantry is expected to stage raids and search neighborhoods. In addition to al-Qaida members, the Ansar al-Sunna organization inhabits the area as well. At least three U.S. military brigades will accompany at least a full brigade from the Iraqi military against an estimated 5,000 militia members. Analysts have stated that there may be as many as 7,000 armed men affiliated with al-Qaida or other radical organizations. Operation Lion's Roar nets more than 1,000 suspects.


The Iraqi security forces launched the Operation as a first step in the operation.


This is Al Qaeda's last major ratline into Syria which spans westward from Mosul into Tal Afar and the crossing point at Sinjar.


As the ratline is dismantled, "just under 200" Tier 1 and Tier 2 al Qaeda and Islamic State of Iraq operatives have been detained, stated Major General Mark Hertling, the commander of Multinational Division North.


Tier 1 operatives are operational leaders. Tier 2 operatives are foreign fighters or weapons facilitators, bomb makers, and cell leaders.


The Sahwa, or Awakening, forces in Ninewa are mobilized in the province. Fawaz al Jarba, the leader of the Mosul Sahwa Council, said more than 11,000 tribal fighters were prepared to assist security forces.

Friday, May 16, 2008

McCain First-Term Withdrawal

McCain commented on a possible first-term withdrawal scenario if elected. If he is reading about the new breed of evolving U.S. warfare, the timing may be sooner.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Daily Note

US troops have killed five Mahdi Army fighters in western Baghdad since May 14 as the Mahdi appear to be giving up and seeking an easier environment. US troops killed five Mahdi Army fighters in the western district of Kadamiyah after receiving sniper, small arms and rocket propelled grenade fire. 599 Mahdi Army fighters have been confirmed killed in and around Sadr City since March 25,

NATO Cyberwarfare Center Announced

NATO plans to set up a cyberdefense center in Estonia and when considered in conjunction with the recently set-up U.S. effort it demonstrates just how important this area is becoming. Estonia experiences one of the most significant cyberwarfare attacks to the country is an obvious choice to head up the effort. The Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence will operate out of Tallinn, Estonia, with a staff of 30. Half of the specialists come from its seven sponsoring countries: Germany, Italy, Spain, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovakia and Estonia.

New York Times Admits Wall

Graphic Source: Multinational Forces


Just in the past couple of days The York Times has appeared to hint that events in Iraq might be going better than they have stated previously. They even published the Multinational map which showed the actual dimensions of the Wall. Even if they are not celebrating with the military there is progress that the mass media may be coming around to admitting progress, as tentative as it may be, is occurring in Iraq. That's a big first step.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Daily Note

ز'ير] [أل-سّد] [في] [سولت] [أل-هق] على قبض عمليات 2 [أق] قادة كبريات على الطريق عامّة بين [مكهموور] منطقة و [أل-قرا] منطقة قرب [مكووك] قرية, 40 [كم] غرب [مكهموور]. اعترف المعتقل هم قتل وخطف مدنيّ.

10 مهدي جيش قتلت مقاتلات أثناء صدامات في [سدر] مدينة وثلاثة كثير مهدي مقاتلون كان في مكان آخر في بغداد.

قتل 593 مهدي يتلقّى يكون أكّدت في [سدر] مدينة منذ مارس - آذار 25.

إئتلاف دعا قوّات في هواء إضرابات ضدّ [تليبن], يقتل اثنا عشر مناضلات.

راجستان قد أطلق شرطة الرسم تخطيطيّ من 25 [ير ولد] رجل مع إرتفاع متوسّط الذي يكون شككت أن يكون خلف جايبور انفجارات في أيّ 80 الناس كان قتلت.

Za'eer al-Assad Fi Saulat al-Haq operations captured 2 AQ senior commanders on the high road between Makhmour district and al-Qayara district near Makook village, 40 km west of Makhmour. The detainees confessed they killed and kidnapped civilians.

10 Mahdi Army fighters during clashes in Sadr City and three more Mahdi fighters were killed elsewhere in Baghdad.




A video posted on 14 May 2008 shows an aerial bombing.


593 Mahdi have been confirmed killed in Sadr City since March 25.


Coalition forces called in air strikes against the Taliban, killing a dozen militants.

Rajasthan police have released the sketch of a 25-year-old man with medium height who is suspected to be behind the Jaipur blasts in which 80 people were killed.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

حركة الجهاد الإسلامي , Movement of Islamic Holy War Slaughters at Least 80



Graphic source: AFP/Graphic


حركة الجهاد الإسلامي , or, the Movement of Islamic Holy War slaughtered at least 80 people and wounded 200 with seven nearly simultaneous bomb blasts in Jaipur. The trademark blasts appear similar to AQ and since the Movement's founding in 1992 there have been close ties between the two groups.


AQ linked networks or publically declaring Osama Bin Laden their Emir, killed over 10,000 Indian civilians before 9/11. India has a small contingent of troops in Afghanistan and the bombings may be in retaliance for Indian presence there.


I've advocated the greater presence of India in the region especially since its economy is booming and perhaps this latest horrendous attack is an impetus for more direct involvement on the part of India. India could expand its role in Somalia, Darfur, Indonesia, Thailand, and the Philippians. By the same token, India would be entitled to a greater influence in how the international community is fighting the global Takfiri (excommunicated Muslim) threat. Why not?

Daily Post, Explosions in India

Graphic source: The Long War Journal, an AQ propaganda banner.


Iraqi security forces detained 142 "gunmen" since Operation Lion's Roar began in Mosul on May 10. US and Iraq forces captured seven al Qaeda operatives in Mosul. Iraqi security forces killed one "gunman" and captured 24 in Baghdad. Sheikh Majid Abdul-Razzaq Soliman, the chairman of the Iraq Chieftains & Notables Council of the Dulaimi tribe, said the US and Europe must help stop the "growing Iranian influence" in Iraq.

Details emerged about the two top AQ operatives who were killed yesterday. Abu Suleiman al Otaibi is a Saudi national who served as a senior leader in al Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq prior to meeting his end in Afghanistan. He was the former leader of the legal system of al Qaeda in Iraq's political front, the Islamic State of Iraq.The other individual was Abu Dejana al Qahtani, also a Saudi national. He is the brother of Abu Nasir al Qahtani, one of four al Qaeda operatives who escaped from Bagram prison in 2005.

An AQ-affiliated group, Harkat ul Jihad al Islami Bangladesh, or HuJI-B, killed 60 and wounded 200 in multiple bombings in India.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Kirkuk Goes Badly for AQ

Violence in Iraq’s Kirkuk province has plummetted by 70%, and Coalition forces have “virtually destroyed” AQ.


Army Col. David Paschal, commander of 1st Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, noted four developments:


-- Precision targeting against insurgent leadership;

-- The growing capabilities and capacities of the Iraqi police and army;

-- Establishment of a “Sons of Iraq” program, in which citizens aid in the security effort; and

-- Partnership with Kirkuk’s provincial reconstruction team, composed of State Department and military personnel working along with experts from other governmental and nongovernmental agencies to aid local development.


The Coalition has killed or captured 20 high-value targets. U.S. soldiers also captured 63 “persons of interest” in the area.


The Iraqi security forces have improved dramatically and the Sons of Iraq program has contributed 400 men from two months of police training.


Kirkuk is the northern oil center of Iraq and it has exceeded all the pre-war level of exports.


Kirkuk may turn over provincial control to the Iraqis in November or December.


Finally, the Iraqi government also is hosting a small-loans program, anywhere from about $2,500 to $10,000, for small businesses to operate.

Review of Owning the Olympics: Narratives of the New China, eds., Monroe E. Price & Daniel Dayan


I read this work as an Early Reviewer on LibraryThing.com. I do not believe this is a work for the casual reader and the writers are assuming prior knowledge of media studies in general, and a familiarity with contemporary Chinese affairs.

That being said, this is a worthwhile work for the initiated. The "New China" is revealed today as an Olympic status country in the limelight as a global media event. I can claim to be an expert in neither field (http://blogsmithconsulting.blogspot.com/)--China or media studies--but I would be able to address media studies and am generally knowledgeable in global affairs as an historian. I would therefore characterize a more or less typically educated reader.

My opinion of the book then is that it will be more useful for a rather select audience of readers interested in China, and in particular, for those whose expertise lies in media studies. Most of the selections read like conference papers dedicated to those two fields and there is a cross-pollination of readings and knowledge which may be tedious for those outside the two fields.

As in many conferences as in an edited work such as this there is a range of quality and usefulness in the presenters and topics. I found Jeffrey N. Wasserstrom to be the most helpful since he concentrated on the analysis of the 2008 Chinese Olympic event that relate to history. The casual reader could profit by dipping in the selections and discovering which topics are of interest. The basic import of the text though is for a more specialized audience, and they would profitably benefit from the entire text.

Lastly, a word should be noted on what the book is not. It is not a general book on the "New China," it is not about the Olympics per se, or sports as a category. The reader should realize that this is an academic work for specialists although at points there may be a nugget or two for the more general reader. As the news media has picked up on the conflicts and controversies regarding China as a site for the Olympics, and symbolic protests occurred, I found myself dipping more into the work to provide a context and background for the news coverage. You may too.

Catching Up in Afghanistan as Sadr City Winds Down

قتلت 13 [تليبن], نائب ال [مولّه] [نزير], كبريات [تليبن] زعيمة في [وزيريستن] جنوبيّة, كان في [بكتيكا]. 2 [أق] قتلت زعيمات يهرب [كلأيشن] في العراق, بما في ذلك زعيمة سابقة في الدولة إسلاميّة العراق, كان أيضا.
إئتلاف قتل قوّات [مولنا] [إيقبل] و12 [تليبن] في [بكيتكا]. كان 12 من ال 13 [تليبن] يقتل من باكستان. كان 9 من [تليبن] من [وزيريستن] جنوبيّة, 2 من [بونجب], و1 من حيدراباد.


Thirteen Taliban, including a deputy of Mullah Nazir, a senior Taliban leader in South Waziristan, were killed in a clash with NATO and Afghan forces in the eastern Afghanistan province of Paktika. In a separate clash, two al Qaeda leaders, including a former leader in al Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq, were killed during fighting in neighboring Paktia province.

US and Afghan forces killed Maulana Iqbal and 12 other Taliban fighters in a major clash in Pakitka province. Twelve of the 13 Taliban killed during the fighting were from Pakistan, The Hindu reported. Nine of the Taliban were from South Waziristan, two were from Punjab province, and one was from Hyderabad in Sindh province. The bodies of the Taliban fighters have been sent back to Pakistan for burial.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Ten-Point Summary of Miniter's Losing Bin Laden



A quick ten-point list of contents:


1) The never-before-told story of the Saudi government attempt to assasinate bin Laden; 2) Why Bill Clinton refused to meet with his first Director of Central Intelligence; 3) Drawn from secret Sudanese intelligence files, the never-before-told story of bin Laden's role in shooting down America's Black Hawk helicopters in Mogadishu, Somalia--and how Clinton manipulated the news media to keep the worst off America's TV screens; 4) How Clinton ignored intelligence and offers of cooperation against bin Laden from several Muslim countries; 5) The 1993 World Trade Center attack--why Clinton refused to believe it had been bombed; why the CIA was kept out of the investigation; and how one of the FBI's most trusted informants was actually a double agent working for bin Laden; 6) Why the CIA never funded bin Laden--despite the liberal myths; 7) The untold story of a respected congressman who repeatedly warned Clinton officials about bin Laden in 1993--and why he was ignored; 8) Revealed for the first time: how Clinton and a democratic senator stopped the CIA from hiring Arabic translators--while phone intercepts from bin Laden remained untranslated; 9) How the Predator spy plane--which spotted bin Laden three times--was grounded by bureaucratic infighting; and, 10) Plus much more, including appendices of secret documents and photos, as well as the established links between bin Laden and Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Round-Up

تلت تسعة مهدي كان في [سدر] مدينة: أربعة مهدي قتلت مقاتل كان ب [أير وبون] فريق بما أنّ هم زرعوا بتفجّر يشكّل [بنترتور] حافة الطريق قنبلة; قتلت ثلاثة كان بما أنّ هم هاجموا العائق موضع فريق على طول [قودس] شارع; وقتلت اثنان كان بما أنّ هم أطلق النار صاروخ. خمسة كثير مهدي جيش قتلت مقاتل كان ب [أير وبون] فريق في بغداد جديد بما أنّ هم صنّفوا لهجوم, وثلاثة أكثر كان قتلت بما أنّ هم أوصلوا هجوم في [أدهميه].

قتل 562 مهدي يكون أكّدت في [سدر] مدينة منذ مارس - آذار 25.

[أوس] قتل قوّات اثنان [أل] كبريات - [قدا] عميلات في أفغانستان. أبو سليمان [أل] [أتيبي], سابقا زعيمة في [أل] - [قدا] إسلاميّة دولة العراق, وأبو [دجنا] قتلت [أل] [قهتني] كان أثناء يتنازع في [بكتيا] محافظة.

Nine Mahdi were killed in Sadr City: four Mahdi fighters were killed by an air weapons team as they planted an explosively formed penetrator roadside bomb; three were killed as they attacked the barrier emplacement teams along Qods Street; and two were killed as they fired rockets. Five more Mahdi Army fighters were killed by air weapons teams in New Baghdad as they grouped for an attack, and three more were killed as they conducted attacks in Adhamiyah.

562 Mahdi are confirmed killed in Sadr City since March 25.

US forces killed two senior al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan. Abu Suleiman al Otaibi, formerly a leader in al Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq, and Abu Dejana al Qahtani were killed during fighting in Paktia province.

CAIR Against Pennsylvania Law Enforcement Exercise

“Pennsylvania’s police prepare for radical Islam” and “Radical Islam: A law-enforcement primer” are two programs offered to law enforcement officers in light of recent events. However, Ahmed Rehab, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) objected. CAIR was listed among organizations tied to the Muslim Brotherhood's American network. Its founders emerged an Islamic organization that two courts have found played a supporting role for the terrorist group Hamas. A lengthy investigation reveals that CAIR's aims are anything but benign and it holds a place front and center in American terrorism.

Barrier Maps Compared Wherein the Washington Post Deceives

Graphic source: The Washington Post


I noted earlier that the Washington Post seemed to miss the story and the dimensions of the wall being built by Multinational Forces.

Map of the disposition of Iraqi and US forces in and around Sadr City, and the progress on the barrier. The red portion has yet to be completed. Graphic Source: Multinational Forces


The disparate illustrations are worth noting for the differences. The actual (red portion) of Quds Street where the barrier is being built is about 3.2 miles according to the US mapping agency. However, in The Washington Post misleading map the scale is completely wrong on a basic bit mapping: 7.5 miles. In addition, the 4 on the miles scale should be a 1. Since the misleading illustration makes the barrier appear 2.5 times longer than it really is, the project seems doomed. As the barrier has unfolded, and is much clearer now, the JAM (the Mahdi) is beatable, and now beaten down and cowed.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Sadrists Buckle Under, Agree to 14 Point Ceasefire

562 مهدي قتل جيب مقاتل يتلقّى يكون أكّدت في وحول [سدر] مدينة منذ مارس - آذار 25; [سدريست] يحدّب كتلة, يوافق أن ترك جيب [إيرقي] في [سدر] مدينة.

[ز'ير] [أل-سّد] [في] [سولت] أوصل [أل-هق] بقوّات [إيرقي] عمليات عسكريّ ضدّ 92 هدف في موصل. الأمن أنجزت عملية أن يرسّخ خارجا [أل-قدا] كان مع التعاون من المدينة مقدمات.

ساعد شرطة [أفغن] بالإئتلاف قوّات قتل سبعة [تليبن] متمردات في [بكتيا] محافظة.

562 Mahdi Army fighters have been confirmed killed in and around Sadr City since March 25; Sadrist bloc buckles, agrees to let Iraqi Army in Sadr City.

Za'eer al-Assad Fi Saulat al-Haq by Iraqi forces conducted military operations against 92 targets in Mosul. The security operation to root out al-Qaeda was performed with the cooperation of the city's residents.

Afghan police backed by the Coalition forces killed seven Taliban insurgents in Paktia province.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Militia Capitulates: Iraqi Army Enters Sadr City



Soldiers from Company A, 64th Brigade Support Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division set concrete barriers in place in the surroundings of the southern portion of the Sadr City district of Baghdad May 3. (US Army photo/Specialist Joseph Rivera Rebolled)


ثلاثة وعشرون مهدي جيب قتلت مقاتل يتلقّى يكون ب [أوس] وقوّات [إيرقي] منذ الالعصر شهر ماي
8. [أوس] خاصّ عمليات قتل أفرقة يشغل داخليّة [سدر] مدينة تسعة مهدي جيب مقاتل بما أنّ هم هاجموا عراقيّ و [أوس] قوّات يبني العالقة مادّيّ على [قودس] شارع. وجّه الفريق أيضا غارة جويّة أنّ قتل اثنان كثير مهدي جيب مقاتل. بالأمس, [أوس] قتل قوّات خاصّة اثنان مهدي جيب مقاتل في [سدر] مدينة.

[أوس] قتل جنديّ 12 كثير مهدي جيب مقاتل في [سدر] مدينة من شهر ماي 8-9. [أوس] استعمل قوّات [أونمنّد] جوّيّة عربة, هليكوبتر, [أبرمس] دباب, و [سملّ-رمس] نار [إين رسبونس تو] مهدي جيب هجوم داخليّة [سدر] مدينة.

Followers of rebel cleric Muqtada al Sadr agreed late Friday to allow Iraqi security forces to enter all of Baghdad's Sadr City and to arrest anyone found with heavy weapons in a surprising capitulation that seemed likely to be hailed as a major victory for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki.

Twenty-three Mahdi Army fighters have been killed by US and Iraqi troops since the afternoon of May 8. US Special Operations teams operating inside Sadr City killed nine Mahdi Army fighters as they attacked Iraqi and US forces building the concrete barrier on Qods Street. The team also directed an air strike that killed two more Mahdi Army fighters. Yesterday, US Special Forces killed two Mahdi Army fighters inside Sadr City.

US soldiers killed 12 more Mahdi Army fighters inside Sadr City from May 8-9. US troops used unmanned aerial vehicles, helicopters, Abrams tanks, and small-arms fire in response to Mahdi Army attacks inside Sadr City.

Note on Oren, Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present



The history of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East by Michael Oren portrays American involvement in the region but without the usual canard that the American interest in the region is simply about oil. An historian and senior fellow at the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, Dr. Oren authored the recent bestseller Power, Faith, and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present to this end. With its fledging navy, the United States began as a nation dependent on trading. Two centuries before the oil boom, 20% of this trade was with the Middle East.


The pirates of the Muslim Barbary corsairs attacked the U.S. and Europe. Thomas Jefferson did not wish to employ bribery, as had been the case, and he violated his own anti-state tendencies to argue that the United States should build a naval force to protect its maritime interest. The John Adams argument advocated the continued policy of payoffs to building a navy. Finally, Jefferson's view prevailed and in fact one of the primary arguments for the U.S. Constitution was that a stronger federal government was needed to raise funds for just such a naval force.


In contrast to an emphasis on oil acquisition, Oren demonstrates that the earliest American presence in the Middle East has revolved around three themes: faith, fantasy, and power. He makes no bones about the American pursuit of power in the region, military, diplomatic, or economic as the case may be, in the pursuit of tangible American interests in the Middle East.


In addition, faith informed American thought on the Middle East as evangelists sought to impart their own faith to an unbelieving world. America was to be the "city on a hill" or that divine example of freedom, morality, and human rights all on display for the world.


Finally, the theme of fantasy informed the illusory and mystical images of the Middle East suggested to the minds of many Americans, who saw the Arabic tradition as a land of unrivaled romance and exoticism.


The overwhelming predominance of Americans who visited the Middle East in the 19th century traveled either to enjoy the exotic lands to be discovered there, or, they were there to convert Muslims, or at least educate them, to the American gospel.


In the twentieth century, U.S. policy toward the Middle East was dictated by the intersection of faith and power as exemplified by Theodore Roosevelt who insisted that the United States should declare war on the Ottoman Empire. He argued that the U.S. was obligated to spread its faith and its democracy to the backward and recalcitrant Turks. We should realize the failure of this policy once President Woodrow Wilson's refused to commit the U.S. During WW I then, more than a million troops from Britain and France were stationed in the Middle East but not one American soldier. The Frence and the British dictated post-War policy without the Americans.


Throughout the subsequent administrations, to that of Harry Truman in 1948, the U.S. faithfully endorsed Jewish restoration to the Holy Land while supporting the spread of democracy in the region.


In the final concluding section, Oren switches gears and describes the complex and nuanced policy of the U.S. in the Middle East.


The major takeway to consider is how the U.S. has had a nearly parallel history to that of the U.S. itself. This nation and the Middle East have been intertwined for nearly the same amount of time that the nation has existed. Partly based on a desire to promote faith in America's institutions, and exert power in the region, American presidents have sought to export America's faith in itself and its institutions, while being captivated and seduced by the exotic Middle East.
Today, many Middle Easterners are unaware of this history, not realizing that the United States has long enjoyed multifaceted and mutually beneficial relations in the region. Although its policies, perceptions, and motives have sometimes been a bit muddled, the United States has done vastly more good than harm in the Middle East over the course of more than two centuries, in unexpected ways that often foreshadowed some of this century's most complex challenges.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Daily Round-Up


The picture of AQ's failed hope of a collapsed Iraqi state: Baghdad, Anbar, Diyala, Kirkuk, Salah al-Din, Ninawa, and other parts of the governorate of Babel.



Graphic source: AQ



ال [إيرقي] عسكريّة يدّعى أبو [أوب] [أل] [مسري], [أق] زعيمة على قبض في [نينوا] محافظة. كان 14 من العلويّة 30 [أق] عميلات يقتل أو على قبض في الساحقة 3 شهور [أق] زعيمات في موصل, بما في ذلك 3 من [سودي ربيا]. 19 مهدي قتل مقاتلات. أكّد 539 مهدي يقتل في [سدر] مدينة منذ مارس - آذار 25. أمرّ الحكومة [إيرقي] أنّ ال [أل] [أهد] محلة لاسلكيّة, [سدر], يعطّل.


The Iraqi military claimed Abu Ayyub al Masri, AQ leader captured in Ninewa province.




14 of the top 30 AQ operatives killed or captured in the past 3 months were AQ leaders in Mosul, including 3 from Saudi Arabia. 19 Mahdi fighters killed. 539 Mahdi confirmed killed in Sadr City since March 25. The Iraqi government ordered that the Al Ahad radio station, Sadr's, be shut down.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

AQ Disintegrating in Iraq

ئتلاف يجبر يقتل أو على قبض 50 أعضاء كبريات [أل] - [قدا] هذا شهر. من العشرة [أل] كبريات - [قدا] [نبّد] زعيمات, خمسة أمير, أو زعيمات, واحدة خليّة زعيمة, وخمسة [فسليتتور] وقنبلة صانعات يتلقّى يكون. [أل] [بغددي] يصحّ اكتشفت هويّة كان عقب إستجوابات مع [ا نومبر وف] [أل] - [قدا] زعيمات الذي كان أوقفت في [هديثا]. [أل-ربيا] عيّن الزعيمة والشبكة إذاعة صورته. قال ال [دوبي-بسد] شبكة الاسم حقيقيّ [أل-بغددي] حميد [دووود] [أل-زوي].


Coalition forces killed or captured 50 senior members of al Qaeda this month. Of the ten senior al Qaeda leaders, five emirs, or leaders, one cell leader, and five facilitators and bomb makers have been nabbed. Al Baghdadi’s true identity was discovered after interrogations with a number of al Qaeda leaders who were arrested in Haditha. Al-Arabiya identified the leader and the network broadcast his photograph. The Dubai-based network said the real name of al-Baghdadi is Hamid Dawoud al-Zawi.

Al Qaeda Network Nabbed, April-May 2008

Graphic source: Multinational Forces Iraq


While most of the good news from the front arises from Sadr City lately, the pressure has been kept on al-Qaeda as well. A list of the 10 most senior al Qaeda leaders killed or captured in April and May is now available. In April and May, US and Iraqi security forces have killed or captured 50 senior members of al Qaeda over the past month. Of the ten senior al Qaeda leaders, five emirs, or leaders, one cell leader, and five facilitators and bomb makers have been nabbed. Mosul remains hot. Three of the leaders captured were in Mosul, and one was responsible for operations in Bayji, close to Mosul. AQ's last major ratline into Syria spans to the west from Mosul into Tal Afar and the crossing point at Sinjar.


The Long War Journal lists several AQ bagged:


Senior AQ operatives killed or captured in Mosul, Baghdad, Salahadin Province:


Mosul:

• Ibrahim Ahmad Umar Nasir al Sabawi: Al Qaeda's emir of eastern Mosul. Sabawi facilitated the movement of foreign al Qaeda operatives into Mosul and worked closely with Abu Yasir al Saudi, also know as Jar Allah, one of two Saudi al Qaeda leaders killed in a US airstrike in Mosul in February.
• Ayyad Jasim Muhammad 'Ali: Al Qaeda's emir for northeastern Mosul.
• Adnan Muhammad: An Al Qaeda cell leader in Mosul.
• Nawaf 'Ali Muhammad Sultan: An Al Qaeda suicide car bomb cell leader in Mosul.
• Husam Asim Sayid Mahmud: An al Qaeda suicide car bomb facilitator for Mosul.

Baghdad:

• Abbas’ ‘Abd Ahmad Hamad: An al Qaeda car bomb maker for the South Karkh network.
• Riyad 'Abbas Husayn: Al Qaeda's sharia emir, or religious leader in charge of enforcing al Qaeda's Taliban-like religious rule, in South Karkh.
• Sa'ad Abdullah Salih: An al Qaeda bomb maker who facilitated the movement of foreign al Qaeda operatives into Baghdad.

Salahadin Province:

• Yusif Dhalaf 'Abd Fayyad: Al Qaeda's security emir in Bayji.
• Najah Husayn 'Ali Ismail: An Al Qaeda weapons facilitator in Tikrit.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Turning the Corner

US, Iraqi forces kill 18 Mahdi fighters during clashes, raids in Baghdad. The Iraqi government arrested 42 policemen for colluding with outlaws and arrested 35 hospital workers for assisting the Mahdi. Iraqi police discovered a weapons cache in the Imam Ali Mosque in the Al Ghadeer neighborhood in New Baghdad. 520 Mahdi have been killed in Sadr City since 25 March.

يقتل [أوس], قوّات [إيرقي] 18 مهدي مقاتل أثناء صدامات, غارة في بغداد. أوقف الحكومة [إيرقي] 42 شرطيات ل يتآمر مع يحظّر وأوقف 35 مستشفى عامل ل يساعد مهدي. اكتشف شرطة [إيرقي] أسلحة مخبأ في [إيمم] علي مسجد في ال [أل] [غدير] جوار في بغداد جديد. قتلت 520 مهدي يتلقّى يكون في [سدر] مدينة منذ 25 مارس - آذار.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Daily News

تباعد الجيش ال [أل-موستفا] ([أ.ك.] "[جيش] [أل-موستفا]") - [سونّي] مجموعة متمرّد أيّ قد ادّعى اعتمادات ل على الأقلّ ثلاثة عمليات مشتركة مع [أل-قيدا] "دولة إسلاميّة من العراق" ([إيس]) منذ يناير - كانون الثّاني 2008 يتلقّى فجأة علاقة مع ال [إيس], يتّهم قادته محلّية من يشبك في "تهديدات" و" عمليّة ابتزاز."
إئتلاف قتل 18 مهدي منذ شهر ماي 3. ما من [أوس] أفدت جنديّ كان يقتل في حادثات [أني وف ث].

The Army of al-Mustafa (a.k.a. “Jaish al-Mustafa”)—a Sunni insurgent group which has claimed credit for at least three joint operations with Al-Qaida’s “Islamic State of Iraq” (ISI) since January 2008—has suddenly broken off relations with the ISI, accusing its local commanders of engaging in “threats” and “blackmail.”
Coalition killed 18 Mahdi since May 3. No US soldiers were reported killed in any of the incidents.

Cole Killers Get a Free Ride

Graphic source: U.S. Navy / AFP file.


This photo from Oct. 12, 2000, shows the damaged port side of the guided missile destroyer USS Cole after an attack blamed on the al-Qaeda terror network during a refueling operation in the Yemeni port of Aden. Quote courtesy of MSNBC.


U.S. Sailors Dead; killers freed.


As frustating as that statement may be, that is about the size of it. The probe of the USS Cole bombing unravels as the plotters are freed by the state terrorists running Yemen. Al-Qaeda nearly sank the USS Cole with an explosives-stuffed motorboat, killing 17 sailors, all the defendants convicted in the attack have escaped from prison or been freed by Yemeni officials.


Jamal al-Badawi, a Yemeni who helped organize the plot to bomb the Cole on Oct. 12, 2000, has broken out of prison twice. He was recaptured both times, but then secretly released by the government last fall. U.S. officials have demanded the right to ensure he is actually jailed.


Two suspects, described as the key organizers, are being held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, beyond the jurisdiction of U.S. courts. They may never be tried by the military.


The United States government failed to bring al-Qaeda operatives to justice.


Other Cole conspirators have been freed after short prison terms and at least two went on to commit suicide attacks in Iraq.


Ali Soufan, a former FBI agent and a lead investigator into the bombing, was one of the most valuable assets the country had in the investigation and his frustration with the case is palpable. A riveting account of Soufan's clever investigation informs Lawrence Wright's, The Looming Tower about al-Qaeda.




Al-Qaeda celebrates the Cole attack as one of its signature victories. They are correct. The U.S. response has been tepid at best.


Very few of the individuals and countries who played a role in the Cole assault have been questioned.


The Cole investigation paled after 9/11.


Once dispatched to Yemen, the investigation was bogged down by internal bickering and the clash of culture between sophisticated FBI techniques and the backwardness of Yemeni culture.


The U.S. investigation, headed up by the FBI however, identified the ringleader as Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri, a Saudi national of Yemeni descent who served as al-Qaeda's operations chief in the Arabian Peninsula.


The Yemeni authorities protected him and U.S. officials could not arrest him.


Nashiri eventually left Yemen to prepare other attacks on U.S. targets in the Persian Gulf, U.S. officials said. He was captured in the United Arab Emirates in November 2002 and handed over to the CIA. He was detained in the CIA's secret network of overseas prisons until he was transferred to Guantanamo Bay in September 2006.


Another al-Qaeda leader, Tawfiq bin Attash, who also played an organizing role in the Sept. 11 hijackings, was arrested in Karachi, Pakistan, in May 2003 and confessed last year to overseeing the Cole plot.


Bin Attash and Nashiri were both named unindicted co-conspirators in the Justice Department's investigation into the Cole attack. A decision was made not to indict them because pending criminal charges could have forced the CIA or the Pentagon to give up custody of the men.





Quotes courtesy of © 2008 The Washington Post Company, URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/24449741/.

Afghanistan Ambassador Calls Korea

Afghanistan expects bigger Korean role, at least this is what Afghanistan Ambassador Mohammad Karim Rahimi said. In an interview with The Korea Times the Ambassador hoped that Korea would take an active role in assisting Afghanistan. Korean troops were deployed during 2002 in Afghanistan as part of the International Security Assistance Force under the command of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and stayed until last December. Korea decided not to renew the deployment. However, last month, the Korean government announced it would dispatch a dozen policemen to Afghanistan for training purposes.


The Ambassador went on to point out that security is still the biggest challenge in Afghanistan. He stressed terrorist threats in Afghanistan were a threat to the region and, at large, to the world, implying full-fledged action against it on the international level is needed to tackle the problem. The Ambassador stated: "Terrorism is an enemy of humankind. No matter where you live, in Korea, the U.S. or France. As human beings we need to join our hands to get rid of the common enemy." No secret there and it would be assisted solved effectively by the increasing presence of the international community. Most importantly for the U.S., it would lessen this country's stance of largely going it alone and Korea should increase its involvement to be more of a regional power.


To date, nearly 40 (NATO and some non-NATO) countries have a military presence in Afghanistan under the UN resolution working for reconstruction and stability of the war-torn country. In June 2008, member states of G8, neighboring countries and other countries that have contributed to Afghan reconstruction will meet at the Paris Conference.

مصر تدرس امكان اعادة فتح سفارة لها في بغداد

الإثنين 05 أيار 2008 05:58 GMT

أعلن وزير الخارجية المصرية احمد ابو الغيط أن القاهرة على اتصال مع حكومة المالكي لتأمين زيارة وفد أمني مصري بهدف درس امكان اعادة فتح السفارة المصرية في بغداد.
وأكد ابو الغيط عقب محادثات اجراها مع نظيره البحريني الشيخ خالد بن احمد آل خليفة أن الوفد جاهز للسفر فور تحديد موعد له. وقد اشترط وزير الخارجية المصرية توفير الأمن للبعثة اذا ما استأنفت عملها في بغداد****، فيما اعتبر وزير خارجية البحرين أن التواجد في العراق مهم للغاية، مذكّرا باستشهاد سفير مصر في بغداد ونجاة السفير البحريني من محاولة اغتيال.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Questions for The New York Times



Graphic source: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images, for The New York Times


In one of those annoying major news media stories that is misleading, factually incorrect, and unduly biased, a productive counter-insurgency move is missed by The New York Times.


The question is, why does The New York Times insist on missing the story and providing incomplete coverage? For example, in the misleading article written by Alissa J. Rubin, she does not explain how, even in her published news article, that you can see a road on the right hand side of the damaged vehicles. What she does not explain but you can see in the picture is that the hospital is on the left hand side of the road.




From the blast pattern, it is obvious that the GMLRS (Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System) hit across the road to the right and avoided the hospital.


Graphic source: Global Security.org


U.S. Army commanders and troops have come to view the missiles as their 70-kilometer sniper rifle, but the insurgents understand the weapon in a far more ominous light. The insurgents are calling it the 'Hand of Allah.' For the insurgents, the rockets seemingly come from nowhere. With their vertical trajectory, ability to cover 70 kilometers (43 miles) in 82 seconds and close-combat precision, the rockets are decisive.


Finally, how come Ms. Rubin does not publish a picture of the target and show the Mahdi compound and the criminal activities taking place? The U.S. military targeted and destroyed a Special Groups command and control center. The Special Groups are a unit of the Mahdi Army that receives backing from Iran's Qods Force, the foreign clandestine operations wing that has supported Shia terror groups in Iraq. The Mahdi Army used hospitals as staging areas for sectarian attacks and weapons storage depots. The target was selected for elimination precisely because it was an insurgent headquarters and located in a difficult to hit area because of its sensitive location.


And last but not least, who is Tareq Mahir, listed at the bottom of the article, who is he affiliated with, and if Rubin gets major credit in writing the article, what does Mahir have to do with the article? I think that The New York Times is performing a major disservice in not being upfront with its readers.

Who Said This and When?

And today we salute our unseen allies in occupied countries, the underground resistance groups and the Armies of Liberation. They will provide potent forces against our enemies......


There have always been cheerful idiots in this country who believed that there would be no more war for us if everybody in America would only return into their homes and lock their front doors behind them.



Who said this and when?


24 December 1943, Franklin Delano Roosevelt

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Saif Al Adel, Al Qaeda Document, Zarqawi In Iraq Before Americans



On February 17 2008, Al-Ekhlaas which is the largest terrorist forum on the internet published an Al Qaeda document that talks about the life of Abou Musaab Al Zarqawi and indicates that Zarqawi came to Iraq before the war to prepare the terrorist insurgency against the US troops. According to the document Zarqawi arrived to the Sunni areas in central Iraq. This document was written by one of Al Qaeda top leaders called “Saif Al Adel”. There were many accounts about Zarqawi's presence in Iraq before the war in particular in Northern Iraq with “Ansar Al Islam” an active Al Qaeda affiliated terrorist group that was present in the Kurdish areas of Iraq long before the war started. The document also proves that Ansar Al Islam helped Al Qaeda members establish themselves in Iraq before the war started. The author of the document wrote that there were no relation between Saddam regime and Al Qaeda but this does not negate at all the most important fact that Al Qaeda was in Iraq before the war for the sole purpose of preparing for its most important front to fight the U.S and it is now in Iraq where Al Qaeda is suffering its most crushing defeat since its existence. It is very important to note that despite the author's denial of a relationship between Saddam regime and Al Qaeda, it does not mean that Saddam regime was not aware of Al Qaeda presence in Iraq. In fact the document clearly points out that Zarqawi went to the Sunni areas in Central Iraq before the war and these areas were totally controlled and loyal to the Saddam regime and it was very hard to imagine that Zarqawi stayed and prepared his terrorist sleepers cells in these Sunni areas without the approval of the Saddam regime.

30 April 2008 Order of Battle-Iraq



Iraqi troops are being improved as the Mahdi have collapsed in and around Sadr City.

Pulverizing Mahdi: GMLRS Deployed

14 Mahdi Army fighters have been killed during clashes over the past 24 hours.

The US Army targeted and destroyed a Special Groups command and control center in a Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System.

465 Mahdi Army fighters have been confirmed killed in and around Sadr City since March 25.

14 مهدي جيب قتلت مقاتل يتلقّى يكون أثناء صدامات على السابق 24 ساعات.

ال [أوس] استهدف جيب ودمّر مجموعة خاصّة يمرّ و [كنترول سنتر] في يرشد يتعدّد إطلاق صاروخ نظامة.

465 مهدي قتل جيب مقاتل يتلقّى يكون أكّدت في وحول [سدر] مدينة منذ مارس - آذار 25.

Rear Window



Rear Window is a 1954 film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, based on Cornell Woolrich's 1942 short story It Had to Be Murder. The movie stars James Stewart as photojournalist L. B. Jefferies, Grace Kelly as his fashion-model girlfriend, Lisa Carol Fremont, and Raymond Burr as the suspected killer, Lars Thorwald. The film combines its main theme, a murder mystery, with a critical examination of the ethics of marriage and voyeurism.


Hitchcock's fans and film scholars have taken particular interest in the way the relationship between Jeff and Lisa can be compared to the lives of the neighbors they are spying upon. Many of these points are considered in Tania Modleski's feminist theory book, The Women Who Knew Too Much. (ISBN 0-415-97362-7)[2]


* Thorwald and his wife are a reversal of Jeff and Lisa (Thorwald looks after his invalid wife just as Lisa looks after the invalid Jeff). However, Thorwald's hatred of his nagging wife mirrors Jeff's arguments with Lisa.
* The newlywed couple initially seem perfect for each other (they spend nearly the entire movie in their bedroom with the blinds drawn), but at the end we see that their marriage is in trouble and the wife begins to nag the husband. Similarly, Jeff is afraid of being 'tied down' by marriage to Lisa.
* The middle-aged couple with the dog seem content living at home. They have the kind of uneventful lifestyle that horrifies Jeff.
* The music composer and Miss Lonely Heart, the depressed spinster, lead frustrating lives, and at the end of the movie find comfort in each other (the composer's new tune draws Miss Lonely Heart away from suicide, and the composer thus finds value in his work). There is a subtle hint in this tale that Lisa and Jeff are meant for each other, despite his stubbornness. The piece the composer creates is called "Lisa's Theme" in the credits.


The film received four Academy Award nominations: Best Director for Alfred Hitchcock, Best Screenplay for John Michael Hayes, Best Cinematography, Color for Robert Burks, Best Sound Recording for Loren L. Ryder, Paramount Pictures. In 1997, Rear Window was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". This film was ranked #14 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Thrills. It was ranked #48 on AFI's 100 Years... 100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition). To this day, the film gets a 100% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.


Cf. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rear_Window

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Reading since summer 2006 (some of the classics are re-reads): including magazine subscriptions

  • Abbot, Edwin A., Flatland;
  • Accelerate: Technology Driving Business Performance;
  • ACM Queue: Architecting Tomorrow's Computing;
  • Adkins, Lesley and Roy A. Adkins, Handbook to Life in Ancient Rome;
  • Ali, Ayaan Hirsi, Nomad: From Islam to America: A Personal Journey Through the Clash of Civilizations;
  • Ali, Tariq, The Clash of Fundamentalisms: Crusades, Jihads, and Modernity;
  • Allawi, Ali A., The Crisis of Islamic Civilization;
  • Alperovitz, Gar, The Decision To Use the Atomic Bomb;
  • American School & University: Shaping Facilities & Business Decisions;
  • Angelich, Jane, What's a Mother (in-Law) to Do?: 5 Essential Steps to Building a Loving Relationship with Your Son's New Wife;
  • Arad, Yitzchak, In the Shadow of the Red Banner: Soviet Jews in the War Against Nazi Germany;
  • Aristotle, Athenian Constitution. Eudemian Ethics. Virtues and Vices. (Loeb Classical Library No. 285);
  • Aristotle, Metaphysics: Books X-XIV, Oeconomica, Magna Moralia (The Loeb classical library);
  • Armstrong, Karen, A History of God;
  • Arrian: Anabasis of Alexander, Books I-IV (Loeb Classical Library No. 236);
  • Atkinson, Rick, The Guns at Last Light: The War in Western Europe, 1944-1945 (Liberation Trilogy);
  • Auletta, Ken, Googled: The End of the World As We Know It;
  • Austen, Jane, Pride and Prejudice;
  • Bacevich, Andrew, The Limits of Power: The End of American Exceptionalism;
  • Baker, James A. III, and Lee H. Hamilton, The Iraq Study Group Report: The Way Forward - A New Approach;
  • Barber, Benjamin R., Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism's Challenge to Democracy;
  • Barnett, Thomas P.M., Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating;
  • Barnett, Thomas P.M., The Pentagon's New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century;
  • Barron, Robert, Catholicism: A Journey to the Heart of the Faith;
  • Baseline: Where Leadership Meets Technology;
  • Baur, Michael, Bauer, Stephen, eds., The Beatles and Philosophy;
  • Beard, Charles Austin, An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States (Sony Reader);
  • Benjamin, Daniel & Steven Simon, The Age of Sacred Terror: Radical Islam's War Against America;
  • Bergen, Peter, The Osama bin Laden I Know: An Oral History of al Qaeda's Leader;
  • Berman, Paul, Terror and Liberalism;
  • Berman, Paul, The Flight of the Intellectuals: The Controversy Over Islamism and the Press;
  • Better Software: The Print Companion to StickyMinds.com;
  • Bleyer, Kevin, Me the People: One Man's Selfless Quest to Rewrite the Constitution of the United States of America;
  • Boardman, Griffin, and Murray, The Oxford Illustrated History of the Roman World;
  • Bracken, Paul, The Second Nuclear Age: Strategy, Danger, and the New Power Politics;
  • Bradley, James, with Ron Powers, Flags of Our Fathers;
  • Bronte, Charlotte, Jane Eyre;
  • Bronte, Emily, Wuthering Heights;
  • Brown, Ashley, War in Peace Volume 10 1974-1984: The Marshall Cavendish Encyclopedia of Postwar Conflict;
  • Brown, Ashley, War in Peace Volume 8 The Marshall Cavendish Illustrated Encyclopedia of Postwar Conflict;
  • Brown, Nathan J., When Victory Is Not an Option: Islamist Movements in Arab Politics;
  • Bryce, Robert, Gusher of Lies: The Dangerous Delusions of "Energy Independence";
  • Bush, George W., Decision Points;
  • Bzdek, Vincent, The Kennedy Legacy: Jack, Bobby and Ted and a Family Dream Fulfilled;
  • Cahill, Thomas, Sailing the Wine-Dark Sea: Why the Greeks Matter;
  • Campus Facility Maintenance: Promoting a Healthy & Productive Learning Environment;
  • Campus Technology: Empowering the World of Higher Education;
  • Certification: Tools and Techniques for the IT Professional;
  • Channel Advisor: Business Insights for Solution Providers;
  • Chariton, Callirhoe (Loeb Classical Library);
  • Chief Learning Officer: Solutions for Enterprise Productivity;
  • Christ, Karl, The Romans: An Introduction to Their History and Civilization;
  • Cicero, De Senectute;
  • Cicero, The Republic, The Laws;
  • Cicero, The Verrine Orations I: Against Caecilius. Against Verres, Part I; Part II, Book 1 (Loeb Classical Library);
  • Cicero, The Verrine Orations I: Against Caecilius. Against Verres, Part I; Part II, Book 2 (Loeb Classical Library);
  • CIO Decisions: Aligning I.T. and Business in the MidMarket Enterprise;
  • CIO Insight: Best Practices for IT Business Leaders;
  • CIO: Business Technology Leadership;
  • Clay, Lucius Du Bignon, Decision in Germany;
  • Cohen, William S., Dragon Fire;
  • Colacello, Bob, Ronnie and Nancy: Their Path to the White House, 1911 to 1980;
  • Coll, Steve, The Bin Ladens: An Arabian Family in the American Century;
  • Collins, Francis S., The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief ;
  • Colorni, Angelo, Israel for Beginners: A Field Guide for Encountering the Israelis in Their Natural Habitat;
  • Compliance & Technology;
  • Computerworld: The Voice of IT Management;
  • Connolly, Peter & Hazel Dodge, The Ancient City: Life in Classical Athens & Rome;
  • Conti, Greg, Googling Security: How Much Does Google Know About You?;
  • Converge: Strategy and Leadership for Technology in Education;
  • Cowan, Ross, Roman Legionary 58 BC - AD 69;
  • Cowell, F. R., Life in Ancient Rome;
  • Creel, Richard, Religion and Doubt: Toward a Faith of Your Own;
  • Cross, Robin, General Editor, The Encyclopedia of Warfare: The Changing Nature of Warfare from Prehistory to Modern-day Armed Conflicts;
  • CSO: The Resource for Security Executives:
  • Cummins, Joseph, History's Greatest Wars: The Epic Conflicts that Shaped the Modern World;
  • D'Amato, Raffaele, Imperial Roman Naval Forces 31 BC-AD 500;
  • Dallek, Robert, An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy 1917-1963;
  • Daly, Dennis, Sophocles' Ajax;
  • Dando-Collins, Stephen, Caesar's Legion: The Epic Saga of Julius Caesar's Elite Tenth Legion and the Armies of Rome;
  • Darwish, Nonie, Now They Call Me Infidel: Why I Renounced Jihad for America, Israel, and the War on Terror;
  • Davis Hanson, Victor, Makers of Ancient Strategy: From the Persian Wars to the Fall of Rome;
  • Dawkins, Richard, The Blind Watchmaker;
  • Dawkins, Richard, The God Delusion;
  • Dawkins, Richard, The Selfish Gene;
  • de Blij, Harm, Why Geography Matters: Three Challenges Facing America, Climate Change, The Rise of China, and Global Terrorism;
  • Defense Systems: Information Technology and Net-Centric Warfare;
  • Defense Systems: Strategic Intelligence for Info Centric Operations;
  • Defense Tech Briefs: Engineering Solutions for Military and Aerospace;
  • Dennett, Daniel C., Breaking the Spell: Religion as a Natural Phenomenon;
  • Dennett, Daniel C., Consciousness Explained;
  • Dennett, Daniel C., Darwin's Dangerous Idea;
  • Devries, Kelly, et. al., Battles of the Ancient World 1285 BC - AD 451 : From Kadesh to Catalaunian Field;
  • Dickens, Charles, Great Expectations;
  • Digital Communities: Building Twenty-First Century Communities;
  • Doctorow, E.L., Homer & Langley;
  • Dodds, E. R., The Greeks and the Irrational;
  • Dostoevsky, Fyodor, The House of the Dead (Google Books, Sony e-Reader);
  • Dostoevsky, Fyodor, The Idiot;
  • Douglass, Elisha P., Rebels and Democrats: The Struggle for Equal Political Rights and Majority Role During the American Revolution;
  • Doyle, Sir Arthur Conan, The Hound of the Baskervilles & The Valley of Fear;
  • Dr. Dobb's Journal: The World of Software Development;
  • Drug Discovery News: Discovery/Development/Diagnostics/Delivery;
  • DT: Defense Technology International;
  • Dunbar, Richard, Alcatraz;
  • Education Channel Partner: News, Trends, and Analysis for K-20 Sales Professionals;
  • Edwards, Aton, Preparedness Now!;
  • EGM: Electronic Gaming Monthly, the No. 1 Videogame Magazine;
  • Ehrman, Bart D., Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scriptures and the Faiths We Never Knew;
  • Ehrman, Bart D., Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why;
  • Electronic Engineering Times: The Industry Newsweekly for the Creators of Technology;
  • Ellis, Joseph J., American Sphinx: The Character of Thomas Jefferson;
  • Ellis, Joseph J., His Excellency: George Washington;
  • Emergency Management: Strategy & Leadership in Critical Times;
  • Emerson, Steven, American Jihad: The Terrorists Living Among Us;
  • Erlewine, Robert, Monotheism and Tolerance: Recovering a Religion of Reason (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion);
  • ESD: Embedded Systems Design;
  • Everitt, Anthony, Augustus: The Life of Rome's First Emperor;
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