Saturday, December 02, 2006

Do you look good naked?

Well, if not you'd better be working on shaving those extra pounds if you're flying to or in the US. The TSA is going to be taking x-ray photos of you if they think you might be hiding anything. (See the snap?) You can clearly see some things - like the apparent full sized pistol on her left hip, her security 'cargo' belt that hides the profiles of her other equipment, the small knife or pistol like accessory on the right hip, and in larger versions of the photo you can make out various details of the woman's body that I'm sure she doesn't want discussed here.

Here's the story on Yahoo News. The photo comes from the AP story on AOL (sorry, I couldn't find it on AP's site for direct linking), which has somewhat more detail. It also states that the details are on the Federal Register site, but of course there is so much there that I couldn't find the details they referred to either. Anyway, if you have time on your hands and want to search for the ATS (Automated Targeting System) info, the Federal Register is here.

OK, so I have a few questions....

1) Do any of us want those TSA employees seeing us naked? Forgive me for answering my own question, but I don't think so.

2) Just who is dumb enough to think the TSA won't be keeping copies of these films? I fully expect them to do it, and to route the 'hot looking' women thru the screening process just for a chance to see them naked. Or maybe the hot looking men, depending on who's at the machine. Is that sexual harassment? Do you really want your naked photos being checked out by Dick Cheney just because you're buff?

3) What is to prevent these films from being leaked? Bush couldn't stop leaks out of his own office, who can say the TSA employees won't be putting you on the web? Remember the Disney Splash Mountain films that got leaked and called 'Flash Mountain' because the security cameras were catching girls lifting up their shirts before the ride cart hit the water? The whole country was voting on who had the best tits, and the girls never new they were on the web. So how long before these show up?

4) By the way, do they know that X-rays have been proven to destroy mitochondrial DNA? The result is that your cells either won't reproduce themselves, or they might reproduce abnormally, creating cancers and tumors and such. The price of cooperation.

5) How long will it be before someone is arrested for refusing to participate? Supposedly if selected for this, you have the option of a few other choices - one of which is a personal groping by a TSA employee. But don't try to refuse either if they insist - it's a felony to "interfere" with a federal security employee in the conduct of their job, and people have already been arrested for simply complaining too loud in public.

On the whole, I'd say this is a very bad idea. I guess I'll just have to travel by car, train or boat. But then, I quit flying long ago over the entire security procedures thing anyway. I value my privacy too much to tolerate these intrusions.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Media's 'war on terror'

Under the ceasefire which came into force on Sunday, Palestinian militants have agreed to stop rocket attacks on Israel, and Israeli troops withdrew from Gaza. However, rockets have continued to be fired, the latest attack hitting the Israeli border town of Sderot on Monday afternoon. There were no reports of injuries.
Conveniently glossed over is the fact, that Israel has not extended it's cease-fire obligations to the West Bank, as is evident from the following:

Earlier, Israeli troops shot and killed two Palestinians in a raid in the West Bank town of Qabatiya, near Jenin - one a militant and the other a 55-year-old woman.

Israeli troops re-entered Gaza - which they quit more than a year ago in a unilateral withdrawal - after Palestinian militants captured a soldier in a cross-border raid in June.
Here we have a blatant lie. Indeed, a few days prior to the kidnap of the Israeli soldier, two suspected Hamas militants were kidnapped inside Gaza by Israeli soldiers.

News 24
Elite commandos have mounted Israel's first arrest raid into the Gaza Strip since the Jewish state withdrew a year ago. Two two suspected Hamas militants were detained in the Saturday raids.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Emperor has no brains either....

Terrorism begins at home, as they say. And so does regime change. Here's a short piece about Khalid El-Masri, taken by the US and tortured in Afghanistan in spite of the US government's full knowledge that he had no connection to terrorism of any kind.

The following statement from the piece says it all: "Claims of unfettered executive power, after all, fit ill with the mounting evidence of incompetence and sloppiness that the El-Masri case too acutely illustrates." Even if you do believe the government has to spy on citizens and torture suspects to fight terror, do you want to give that power to a government comprised of the short-bus kids? Hell, with DE-de-de people like the Bushies running things, any of us could be next.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

murder of a minister

Fisk in the Independent

Why did Gemayel die just hours after Syria announced the
restoration of diplomatic relations with Iraq after a quarter of a century? Why
has Nasrallah threatened street demonstrations in Beirut to bring down the
government when Siniora's cabinet had just accepted the UN's tribunal to try
Hariri's assassins?
And why did America's UN ambassador, John Bolton, weep
crocodile tears for Lebanon's democracy - which he cared so little about when
Israel smashed into Lebanon this summer - without mentioning Syria?
All this,
of course, takes place as thousands of Western troops pour into Lebanon to shore
up the UN force in the south of the country: UN troops who are supposed to
protect Israel (which they cannot do) and disarm Hizbollah (which they will not
do) and who are already being threatened by al-Qa'ida.
No wonder the
Europeans, whose armoured Nato forces now lie trapped in the south of the
country, are so fearful. No wonder the Foreign Office has been telling Britons
to stay away. No wonder Tony Blair - as discredited in the Middle East as he is
in Britain - has been demanding an inquiry into Gemayel's assassination,
something he will not get.
Hypocrisy isn't the word for it, though recent
history provides all the clues. When Hizbollah captured two Israeli soldiers and
killed three on 12 July, Israel bombed Lebanon for 34 days, slaughtered more
than a thousand civilians and caused billions of dollars of damage. It blamed
Siniora's government and Mr Bolton and his fellow American diplomats did nothing
to help the hapless prime minister. President George Bush wanted Israel to
destroy Hizbollah - which they totally failed to do - as a warning to his latest
Middle East target, which just happens to be Hizbollah's principal supporter,
Iran. So much for Lebanese democracy. Even Mr Blair, so anxious about Lebanon
yesterday, saw no reason for an immediate ceasefire.

It's also important to remember at a time when the mainstream medai-including the BBC- will be making sweeping generalisations, that religion is but an excuse for political-dare I say diplomatic-power games. Indeed, Hizbollah is Shia and Shia politicians in Lebanon tend to support Syria whereas Sunni politicians don't. However, many Shias despise Nasrallah and his band of merry men. On the other hand several Maronite (Christian) politicians have supported Syria as is the case of the current Lebanese president. Furthermore, while Syria's president is Alawite (a branch of Shia Islam), the majority of Syrians are Sunnis. Al Qa'ida, which no doubt thinks a lot of good of Hizbollah's defiant attitude regarding Israel is Sunni. Going back to the Maronites, while one would think they despise Muslims, I can say from personal experience (Lebanese acquaintances) this is not the case. Not only that, but manyLebanese Christians are highly critical of Israel's treatment of the Palestinians (even if they didn't necessarily have much love for Arafat), and many Christians in Lebanon called to support Hizbollah in it's fight against Israel this summer (even if they usually despise the militant group).
This merely goes to show, that we should never take what the mainstream media tell us about any situation, and all the more in the Middle East, at face value. Religion is the mask that hides the reality of power struggles. It is convenient for those with the most power to have us believe, that it is all to do with a clas of civilisations or a barbaric war among sects.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Casting Out Devils

U.S. Senator Christopher Dodd of Connecticut has taken an aggressive stance against the Military Commissions Act. Bob Geiger does a perfectly good job of explaining what Dodd has done, and why the Military Commissions Act has to go, so I won't go further with my commentary. Just click on the links above. His article is titled "Kill Bill - Neutering Bush's Torture Law ". Here's a teaser:

Section 7 of the MCA says that "No court, justice, or judge shall have jurisdiction to hear or consider an application for a writ of habeas corpus filed by or on behalf of an alien detained by the United States who has been determined by the United States to have been properly detained as an enemy combatant or is awaiting such determination."

In other words, don’t bother calling a lawyer, because you have no rights.

The fact that so many of these enemy-combatant determinations rest in the president's hands and the sheer vagueness of the law, combine to create a wide variety of scenarios whereby any American citizen could be arrested and held indefinitely without Constitutional protections."

It's important stuff folks. Citizens should not be terrorized by their governments, and after 6 year of it we finally have a representative standing up for freedom over preservation of the power elite. God bless him.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Not a choice of when, but of which, terrorists

The Bush administration keeps telling us that it's not a matter of whether we will be attacked again by terrorists, but rather a matter of when.

Nostradamnthem is here to suggest that they are wrong. It's not so much a matter of when you'll be attacked, but rather you need to be concerned about WHICH terrorists will get you. As the cartoon character Pogo is famous for saying: "We have met the enemy, and he is us."

The description of how Jose Padilla was treated will explain. You can read it here and also here. Even if you believe he's guilty of every accusation ever made about him and never presented in court, you should also know that this treatment is now the law of the land and applies to EVERY CITIZEN of this formerly glorious nation, and you have even less protection if you aren't a citizen. THAT should concern you - deeply.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Site Updates

My apologies for the lack of site updates recently . I am currently out of town and I will not be returning until next weekend (17/18th November)

The other contributors may well pop through and put up an article or two but failing that, this site will not be updated for at least a week. Please take advantage of the quiet here and go take a look at some of our links and friends.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Breaking : Rumsfeld 'resigns'

President George Bush has just announced the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. A senior administration official confirmed the news and said that Rumsfeld had already written out his resignation.

Senior military officials were briefed on the president's decision to accept Rumsfeld's resignation just fifteen minutes before the press briefing was scheduled to start today.

Progress already...

Election information sources (open thread)

Just a few random sources and video links that are able to keep all the number crunching data from the US elections up to date...

CNN Election special
MSNB LIVE: Decision 2006
New york times election 2006
Daily Kos
Think progress
Real clear politics
America Votes on BBC Radio 4

Feel free to add any interesting election or related links to the comment thread. If your site has a scoop then feel free to link it here. What sites have the best coverage ? let us know...

We are of course also interested in your opinion of the election in general and the results once we have them.

Early CNN Senate Exit Polls

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Ad Wars

Mark Fiore is back with his latest animation.

You can watch it here.

People often say that, in a democracy, decisions are made by a majority of the people. Of course, that is not true. Decisions are made by a majority of those who make themselves heard and who vote - a very different thing : Walter Judd.

Go out and make yourself heard...

Elections Or Electrons

What If Anything Will Count Your Vote

By Dom Stasi

There’s been a lot - not enough, but a lot - of hoopla recently about the fealty of the new electronic voting systems with which we’ve been gifted this election season. It is fitting to see these machines as having spread across our land like the robotic monsters of the 1897 H.G. Wells novel, The War Of The Worlds. The science fiction metaphor collapses, however, when one realizes that these invasive machines bring a lot more fiction to the voting process than they do science.

But let’s face it. The gadgets themselves are but an abuse, a visible target, salt in an already open and festering wound, a wound to the heart of American democracy. The real monsters remain hidden from our view. The real monsters are alive and among us, their dreams of conquest perhaps the closest thing to reality we’ll see manifest this day.

So, as the hours before the midterm elections of 2006 wane, we should look back, not far, just enough to see where we’ve been. It will tell us where we’re going and why the only thing that should surprise us when Wednesday dawns, is truth.

Think of what follows here as you enter the voting booth. I know I will.

Continue reading Here

US-Iraq 1980s

A brief history of US Interventions in Iraq



Sunday, November 05, 2006

Saddam Hussein sentenced to death

Saddam Hussein has been convicted of crimes against humanity and sentenced to death by hanging.

The former Iraqi president was convicted by a Baghdad court for his role in the killing of 148 people in the mainly Shia town of Dujail in 1982. His half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and Iraq's former chief judge Awad Hamed al-Bandar were also sentenced to death.

Former Vice-President Taha Yassin Ramadan got life in jail and three others received 15 year prison terms. Another co-defendant, Baath party official Mohammed Azawi Ali, was acquitted.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki hailed the conviction in a televised address, saying that the sentence was "not a sentence on one man, but a sentence against all the dark period of his rule".

In the Shia district of Sadr City there was jubilation on the streets, with people driving around in cars, sounding their horns. There were also jubilant scenes in the holy city of Najaf.

Immediately after the sentencing, violence reportedly broke out in the mainly Sunni Azamiya district of Baghdad, with machine guns and mortars being fired. Three nearby provinces, including Salahuddin, which contains Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, are also under curfew.

Thousands of people also defied the curfew in Tikrit - but there it was to voice support for Saddam Hussein and to denounce the verdict. Sunnis in Tikrit marched through the city, chanting "We will avenge you Saddam."

Almost three years since Saddam Hussein was captured, soaring sectarian violence has brought Iraq to the brink of civil war.

Source and further details Here

Neo Culpa

As Iraq slips further into chaos, the war's neoconservative boosters have turned sharply on the Bush administration, charging that their grand designs have been undermined by White House incompetence. In a series of exclusive interviews, Richard Perle, Kenneth Adelman, David Frum, and others play the blame game with shocking frankness. Target No. 1: the president himself.


British believe Bush is more dangerous than Kim Jong-il

America is now seen as a threat to world peace by its closest neighbours and allies, according to an international survey of public opinion published today that reveals just how far the country's reputation has fallen among former supporters since the invasion of Iraq.

Carried out as US voters prepare to go to the polls next week in an election dominated by the war, the research also shows that British voters see George Bush as a greater danger to world peace than either the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, or the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Both countries were once cited by the US president as part of an "axis of evil", but it is Mr Bush who now alarms voters in countries with traditionally strong links to the US.

Read the full article Here

Iraq, Broken - American Shock & Awe

The devastation in Iraq - Warning contains scenes of death and destruction.


How to hack the vote

Professor Avi Rubin demonstrates how electronic vote machines can be compromised.