These are all the Blogs posted on Friday, 19, 2011.
Friday, 19 August 2011
Afghan Independence Day
The festivities began with a twin suicide bombing on the British compound in Kabul and then revellers engaged in a prolonged firefight with the compound's defenders. And no firefight would be complete without rocket propelled grenades which the revellers had in abundance. What a celebration! Fun for the whole family.
KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A coordinated attack Friday on a British compound in Kabul involving two suicide bombers and a five-hour long firefight between Afghan security troops and attackers who penetrated the complex killed at least 10 people, Afghan officials said.
The attack on the British Council occurred as Afghans on Friday celebrated Independence Day, marking the day the country achieved full independence from Britain in 1919.
A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahid, claimed responsibility for the attack.
The dead included eight Afghan policemen, a security guard whose nationality was not immediately known and an Afghan municipal worker, according to Kabul police official Farooq Asas. Two of four people wounded in the blasts were not Afghans, he said.
The attack started with one suicide bomber detonating an explosives-laden car outside the British Council in west Kabul while another suicide bomber struck inside the compound, according to Afghan police.
Afghan security forces dispatched to the scene said that at least three insurgents fought from a secure bunker inside the compound with rifles and rocket propelled grenades....
I suppose NASA provided a grant for this piece of research. Well, perhaps "research" isn't quite the word I'm looking for. From The Guardian:
It may not rank as the most compelling reason to curb greenhouse gases, but reducing our emissions might just save humanity from a pre-emptive alien attack, scientists claim.
Watching from afar, extraterrestrial beings might view changes in Earth's atmosphere as symptomatic of a civilisation growing out of control – and take drastic action to keep us from becoming a more serious threat, the researchers explain.
This highly speculative scenario is one of several described by a Nasa-affiliated scientist and colleagues at Pennsylvania State University that, while considered unlikely, they say could play out were humans and alien life to make contact at some point in the future.
Shawn Domagal-Goldman of Nasa's Planetary Science Division and his colleagues compiled a list of plausible outcomes that could unfold in the aftermath of a close encounter, to help humanity "prepare for actual contact".
The mainstream media has been working to "destigmatize" polygamy for a while now, as exemplified in the popular HBO series, Big Love, and the reality series, Sister Wives. And this is true regardless of the consequences for women and children. Now we are being told that it is wrong to stigmatize pedophiles, who, like homosexuals, are "born that way" and really can't help it. It doesn't seem to occur to anybody that the stigma is the very thing inhibiting pedophiles and is therefore necessary to prevent child abuse. This comes from Salon (with thanks to Joan W.):
We usually hear pedophilia talked about in terms of mental illness -- if not evil -- but Aug. 17 a motley crew of self-identified "minor-attracted persons" and mental health professionals have gathered in Baltimore to talk about it as a sexual identity. At hand is an issue deeply important to both groups: the revision of the diagnostic criteria for pedophilia.
The sponsor of the event, B4U-ACT, a support group aimed at preventing pedophiles from acting on their attraction to children, hopes to influence the relevant entry in the upcoming revision of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Understandably, the idea of pedophiles helping to define their own mental illness has some unnerved. Earlier this week, the Daily Caller wrote about the event in a piece headlined, "Conference aims to normalize pedophilia." It's true that many in the community believe that attraction to pubescent or pre-pubescent children isn't a mental illness at all, but the symposium itself has the stated aim of raising awareness about fundamental problems with the proposed revision to the DSM's entry on pedophilia.
Richard Kramer, director of B4U-ACT, argues that the panel of experts responsible for the revision "represents only the narrow field of sex offender assessment and treatment." He believes it's important to also represent minor-attracted folks who have not offended and would like to keep it that way: "[The panel] bases its work almost exclusively on assumptions about, and research on, sex offenders, who do not represent minor-attracted people in the general population," he wrote me in an email. "As a result, the DSM includes inaccurate and misleading information and ignores the existence of minor-attracted people who are law-abiding."
It might seem counterintuitive for non-criminals to fight to be recognized alongside criminals, but B4U-ACT sees this as a way of fighting the stigmatization of attraction to children and the conflation of pedophiles with child molesters. Of course, "pedophile" has become cultural shorthand for "abuser" for good reason: We fear they will act on their attraction to children. An article on the DSM debate in the Harvard Mental Health Letter says the scientific evidence supports that concern: "Several reports have concluded that most people with pedophilic tendencies eventually act on their sexual urges in some way. Typically this involves exposing themselves to children, watching naked children, masturbating in front of children, or touching children's genitals." Kramer and his ilk argue that such scientific wisdom is based on skewed data that looks only at offenders, and that many child molesters are not technically pedophiles (i.e., they offend because of opportunity, not sexual attachment).
Such claims seem rather dubious when visiting a message board like Boy Chat, where it's easy to find men discussing how society just doesn't understand that many "young friends" enjoy having a friendship with a "boy lover." There are no mentions of sexual activity with children, as such posts are forbidden, and posters are effusive about how they would never think of "hurting" a child -- but one gets the sense that they're operating under a different understanding of "hurt." Most of the discussions focus on feelings of love and tenderness for young boys; it's all very reminiscent of how Michael Jackson would talk about his friendships with children. There are also conversations about how to find a "YF" -- for instance, one man says he is renting a room in his house to a woman with custody of her grandsons. He writes, "The boys have taken to me, naturally, and my landlady loves me. I'm taking it slow, but I've already been trusted to watch the boys ... another night coming this week; an overnight. They're cutie pies."
There is a general consensus within the medical community that pedophilia is a sexual orientation and as such is unlikely to change, so treatment focuses on helping them to suppress their desires through psychotherapy and medication. Fred Berlin, director of the Sexual Behavior Consultation Unit at Johns Hopkins and an expert presenter at today's event, compares it to the sort of treatment people with drug addiction or alcoholism go through. "They need to learn to not give in to cravings which are satisfying and very pleasurable but which their intellect and their conscience and society is telling them they ought not to act on," he told me by phone. "Now, can everybody succeed? No, but there are large numbers of people who experience these attractions and with proper help go on and don't continue to offend. There is good evidence to show that that's the case."
He says many pedophile activists are concerned that the term "has become a stigmatizing pejorative," a way of saying "that somebody is less than human." They're unlikely to get much sympathy from the general public for being stigmatized, but Berlin says it's in society's best interest to resist demonizing them. "The idea is to try to get folks who are sexually attracted to children to come forward and get help before acting so that children are not harmed," he said. "That's certainly a goal that I would fully support." He adds: "None of us as little children sit down and ask ourselves the question, 'Do I want to grow up to be attracted to men or to women, to boys or to girls?' Nobody sits down, reflects about that and then decides," he argues. "If someone realizes while growing up that they're attracted to pre-pubescent children, it seems to me it is very important for them to know that there are places they can go to get help before they act on those feelings."...
These kinds of attacks (by Muslims on other Muslims congregated in mosques) are another illustration of the vast gulf between the Muslim and Western worldviews and how each one defines the word "religion." LATImes:
A suicide bomb blast at a mosque jammed with worshipers killed at least 34 people and injured 100 Friday in Pakistan's restive tribal region along the Afghan border, one of the deadliest recent attacks in the country.
At least 400 people filled a mosque near the town of Jamrud in the Khyber tribal district when the bomber walked into the hall and detonated his explosives, police and witnesses said. Khyber, the gateway into Afghanistan for NATO supply trucks, remains a stronghold for Taliban militants waging an insurgency against the U.S.-allied Pakistani government.
Worshipers who appeared at the mosque for Friday prayers were on their way out when the bomber showed up, witnesses said. Samiullah, who goes by one name, said a young man — whom he believed to be the bomber — cried out just before the blast...
Commonsense in New South Wales: Face-Covering Removal Law Extended Beyond Police
This will affect all persons wearing any kind of face covering, though it has been formulated chiefly in response to the Carnita Matthews case: a female convert to Islam, wearing the face veil, who was convicted of having filed a false statutory declaration claiming that she had been abused by a traffic cop (when his car cam showed no such abuse occurring) but who then got off the hook because - since she was wearing the face veil when she made the declaration - it could not be proven that it was she who made the declaration...
'New laws allowing New South Wales police to demand the removal of face coverings for identificatiion will be extended to prison and court officials.
Excellent idea. But I would suggest that Centrelink (i.e. social security) staff should also be able to require removal of a face veil to confirm identity of someone who presents as a client. - CM
'The State Government has confirmed details of its changes to the Law Enforcement Act, to allow officials to demand the removal of any face covering, including helmets, masks and religious veils, for the purpose of making a clear identification.
'Those who refuse will face penalties ranging from a $220 fine to 12 months in jail.
An officer of the law should simply be given authority to remove the covering on the spot if the person wearing it refuses; because to refuse to identify oneself is already - shall we say - suspect.We would not hesitate to take the helmet off an outlaw bikie or the mask off a burglar or rioter who has been detained. A niqabed or be-burka'd Muslim female whose identity needs, for legal or security reasons, to be established, should also - if she refuses to remove her Slave Mask herself - have it removed for her, willy nilly, then and there, by the police officer or other official. - CM
'The change was prompted by the case of Carnita Matthews, a Sydney woman who won her appeal against a jail sentence for falsely accusing a policeman of trying to forcibly remove her burka.
'In quashing a six-month sentence for Ms Matthews in June, the magistrate said he was unable to confirm whether Ms Matthews had made the accusation as police had been unable to see the face of the woman who made the complaint.
'Premier Barry O'Farrell says it soon became clear [that] the powers were not just needed by police.
"Our message to people is clear. When asked to comply with proper identification, comply with the request to remove any face covering or face tough penalties", Mr O'Farrell said.
"It's important in courts that identification be proven. It's important in juvenile detention centres and prisons that when people are visiting that their identificatiion is established.
Hmm. I wonder how many face-veiled Muslimahs have been turning up to visit their clansmen in juvenile detention centres and prisons? - CM
"This is about putting in place sensible and appropriate powers for Government officials, whether police, whether court officials, whether correctional facility officers".
'Previously police only had the power to demand the removal of face coverings during the investigation of serious offences'.
Well done, Mr O'Farrell. I hope other States in Australia will soon follow suit. And then it will be less easy for others like Carnita Matthews to get away with malicious deceits. - CM
The Popular Resistance Committee Foments "Balagan"
Popular Resistance Committee
In June, 2005, I wrote a piece for The American Thinker about the disastrous unilateral disengagement from Gaza: Balagan! (The Russian word for chaos or screw up adopted into slangy Hebrew). The moribund Ariel Sharon, then Prime Minister, sent 14,000 unarmed IDF troops to eject 8,600 Jewish settlers from Gush Katif in northern Gaza. Wealthy American Jews members of the Aspen Institute, raised $14 million to purchase more than 3000 high tech greenhouses that those Gush Katif settlers had created a mini-industry on the dunes of Gaza generating more than $100 million annually from sales in cut flowers and herbs for sale in the EU and US. Within days of evacuation of Gush Katif these greenhouses were ripped apart, computers and wiring torn out and the remains converted into armories. The Gush Katif settlers forcibly repatriated to Israel, languished for years for compensation and resettlement. The unilateral withdrawal from Gaza on August 15, 2005 was opposed by present Israeli PM Netanyahu, then finance Minister in the Sharon government, former IDF Chief of Staff, Moshe “Bogey” Ya’alon and Human rights icon, Natan Sharansky.
The delusion of gaining security by removing Jewish settlers and more than 9,000 IDF security forces from Gaza in 2005 foundered when Hamas took over control of the Palestinian legislature in February 2006 and in June 2007 when Hamas militias ejected the PLO-Fatah security forces in a murderous sectarian jihad. What followed was a veritable crescendo of Kassem and GRAD rocket attacks from Gaza against the Western Negev Israeli communities of Sderot and Beersheba and Southern Israeli towns of Ashdod and Ashkelon. Those attacks led to the controversial Operation Cast Lead by the IDF in Gaza in late 2008 that inconclusively ended on the cusp of President Obama’s Inaugural on January 20, 2009.
Virtually on the sixth anniversary of the Gaza unilateral withdrawal, another balagan broke out on Thursday, the attack on Egged civilian buses and cars near Eilat by military cadres of the Popular Resistance Committee (PRC) that resulted in the deaths of 8 and more than 40 inured Israelis. They had trekked nearly 200 kilometers from Rafah in Gaza, across the Sinai to undertake, what some consider an triple terrorist attack straight out of the al Qaida playbook.
Ha’aretz reported details of the actions that occurred in midday on Thursday, August 17th.
Israeli forces killed five of the terrorists, and Egyptian soldiers reportedly killed two more. But the Israel Defense Forces estimates that 15 to 20 participated in the attack, meaning most escaped.
IDF officials believe the goal of the attack was to kidnap a soldier. The IDF had previously responded to warnings of a planned attack, beefing up its forces in the area.
The assault began around noon, when three terrorists armed with rifles, grenades and explosives entered Israel from Egypt and stationed themselves at intervals of about 200 meters along the highway to Eilat, Route 12, at a stretch of road that runs very close to the border. At 12:30 P.M., they opened fire on an Egged Bus 392, wounding seven passengers, causing light to moderate injuries. Most of those injured were soldiers.
A few minutes later, an empty bus and several cars arrived. The terrorists opened fire again, and when the bus stopped, one of the terrorists ran up to the bus and activated his explosive belt, killing himself and the driver.
The shooting killed four occupants of one car, plus the driver of another.
At that point, the first soldiers arrived in two vehicles. One vehicle ran down one of the terrorists, killing him. Soldiers in the second vehicle opened fire on the third terrorist. One soldier, Staff Sgt. Moshe Naftali of Ofra, was killed in the ensuing gun battle.
The IDF immediately launched reprisal attacks. Israel air strikes in Rafah, Gaza killed the leaders of the PRC; Kamal al-Nairab, military chief, Imad Hammad and Khaled Masri involved with the kidnapping of IDF Sgt. Gilad Shalit. In retaliation, more than 30 Kassem and Grad rockets were fired at Israeli towns in the Western Negev and at the Southern Israeli cities of Ashdod and Ashkelon. While the Iron Dome System intercepted most of these rockets, some fell and harmless exploded in open area. A GRAD rocket fell near an industrial park in Ashdod, injuring six persons, one seriously.
The PRC has a murderous and violent background of terrorism against Israelis and Americans. The PRC was purportedly involved with the kidnapping of IDF Sgt. Gilad Shalit on June 25, 2006 during an attack on a border outpost near Kibbutz Kerem Shalom. Shalit has allegedly been imprisoned for more than five years as a pawn in the demands of Hamas for release of hundreds of terrorist prisoners held by the Israelis. The PRC had perpetrated murder of an Israel Gush Katif settler family; Tali Hatuel and her four daughters in May, 2004. In October, 2003, the PRC was involved in a bombing of a US diplomatic convoy in Gaza in which three US security contractors were killed. A lawsuit against the Palestinian authorities was brought by the surviving relatives of one of the murdered US security contractors, Mark Parsons, was brought in US Federal courts. A US Appeals Court ruled recently that the Parsons case can move forward against the Palestinian Authority on the grounds of the latter had provided material support to terrorists.
Lt. Col. (ret.) Jonathan D. Halevi in a recent report by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs provided background of the Islamic extremism of the PRC.
The PRC was established at the beginning of the Second Intifada at the end of September 2000 by Jamal Abu Samhadana (killed in an Israeli Air Force Strike in June, 2006) who brought together under his command former officers who served in the Palestinian security services as well as activists from Fatah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, and other groups. The ideology of the Popular Resistance Committees is based on an extremist version of Islamism.
[. . .]
Islam, in their view, is seen as the solution, or even a cure, for all the problems of the Palestinian people. The leadership of the Popular Resistance Committees believes that both “resistance in all its aspects” and “jihad as the way of Allah” are the only paths to liberate all of Palestine. Hizbullah is perceived, in this context, as an exemplar model of how to wage the struggle against Israel.
The PRC flies a flag modeled on that of Hizbullah in Lebanon lending the suspicion that military cadres might have been recruited and received training and weapons from the Revolutionary Guards Al Qods force in Lebanon.
This latest attack is evidence that the Arab Spring has removed the security arrangements with Israel that had been implemented by former Egyptian strongman, Hosni Mubarak under the provisions of the so-called ‘cold peace’ treaty between the two countries. A peace treaty that the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt wants abrogated, should they come to power in the possible fall elections. This, despite polls in Egypt indicating that the majority want the treaty continued. Now, the world watches as an ailing Mubarak is being tried behind a cage in a show trial in Cairo on alleged corruption charges. All abetted by some of his former deputies in the Supreme Military Council, who rule as interim authorities in Egypt.
The Netanyahu government in Jerusalem is faced with daunting security issues. Will the IDF have to position units on permanent patrol from bases along the Israeli Egyptian border? Will Israel have to seal the 120 mile stretch of its border with Egypt that MK Arieh Eldad of the National Union party has argued has allowed illegal Sudanese and other African refugees to enter Israel? Will the current escalation of rocket attacks on Israel from Gaza set the stage for what some analysts said might be in the offing: Operation Cast Lead II?
Stay tuned for further developments in this latest episode of ‘balagan’ in the Sinai and Gaza.