Ahmadinejad double-crosses supporters. Iran's chief islamofascist thug is so slippery, even his fascist tools can't trust him. Meir Javendafar at PJM:
Isolated and losing popularity, in a surprising move, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has decided to split ranks with the very political party who helped him come to power in 2005.
It is the second time he has done it. The first incident occured during the Municipal elections in Iran in 2006, whereby his sister Parvin, and other supporters decided to split ranks from members of the right wing Principalist Party (known in Farsi as Osulgarayan) to whom Ahmadinejad originally belonged. Called The Scent of Good Service (Rayehe Khosh Khedmat in Farsi) coalition, his new coalition labelled itself as pro-Ahmadinejad’s policies during the 2006 elections.
With parliamentary elections scheduled for March 14th, members of the right wing Principalist Party have been trying to form a united coalition. Their goal is to improve their position against reformists and pragmatists in the next Parliament (Majlis). ...
And everyday, these soldiers and policemen are getting better equipped, better trained and more and more capable of taking on a diminishing security threat. Iraq has 51 billion dollars to burn through for 2008; this is the largest budget in Iraq's history, calculated at 53 dollars a barrel (...it's now at over a 100 dollars a barrel). All the political actors seem to have mellowed out and are seeking political bargains left, right and center across confessional divides. Big oil companies are starting to jump in and be part of the action, investing tens of billions more. Arts are blossoming, the media scene is vibrant, the legal system is working.
Kazimi adds: 'It's not quite up to the standards of Sweden just about yet [or Norway or Denmark - aa], but Iraq is heading in that general direction. And there's no turning back.'
Iran regime bullies labor leaders.Gateway Pundit: 'The regime in Iran is cracking down on organized labor. 12 union leaders are sentenced to 91 days in jail and 10 lashes for holding a protest last May Day.' Get full details at the link.
It is important not to overstate what the terror group's leadership needs to do to remain relevant. Even if the central leadership's role is limited to connecting terrorist nodes--pairing skill sets, financing, and operatives--it can transform terrorist groups from disunited regional problems into cohesive adversaries capable of threatening Western societies. Moreover, the safe havens that al Qaeda's leaders have gained in recent years magnify their lethal capabilities.
AL QAEDA ITSELF HAS FACED INTERNAL debates about its future. Abu Musab al-Suri, one of the most prolific jihadist ideologues, in recent years has argued for a decentralized combat model. In contrast, Abu Bakr Naji, another prominent ideologue, calls for a more centralized model.
Suri's 1600-page manifesto, The Call for Global Islamic Resistance, argues that the centralized, hierarchical model of jihadism cannot overcome the U.S.'s technologically advanced military, and that regional security cooperation--such as the alliance between Washington and Islamabad--makes a hierarchical structure dangerous. He suggests that decentralization immunizes terror cells from detection through the capture and interrogation of members of other cells. Suri's prescription for decentralization would mean replacing the old training camp model with one in which fighters are trained "in homes and mobile camps."
In contrast, Naji's The Management of Savagery argues that once the jihadists hold territory, they should erect a governing apparatus to enforce Islamic law and provide security, food, and medical care. A high command would ensure that efforts are not needlessly duplicated, and would prioritize actions against various groups or nations. Naji's argument has carried the day within al Qaeda's hierarchy. Though there are many reasons for this, perhaps the most significant factor has been external events. As al Qaeda gained new safe havens in Pakistan and beyond, Naji's model seemed most fitting. ...
The authors conclude: 'As Peter Bergen noted in a New Republic article about al Qaeda's resurgence, "the existence of Al-Qaeda imitators does not prove the obsolescence of the real thing." Now, as al Qaeda's vitality approaches pre-9/11 levels, many analysts still do not have their eye on the central network. With a safe haven in Pakistan--and perhaps soon in other territories--the senior leadership will likely play a greater role in future terror plots, while attempting to conceptualize and carry out an attack that will surpass 9/11. A strong central leadership makes the group more formidable and its attacks more deadly; dismissing the evidence that al Qaeda's leadership has regrouped will ultimately endanger U.S. security.'
The latest charge leveled against Iran is that Qods Force, the special operations branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, is working to destroy the Awakening movements that oppose al Qaeda and Shia terrorist groups. Mohammed Abdullah Shahwani, the director of the Iraqi National Intelligence Service, accused Iran of sabotaging the Awakening, or Sahwa, movements. The Awakening movement and associated Sons of Iraq (formerly the Concerned Local Citizens) movements have been instrumental in securing vast regions of Iraq during the past year.
"We have information confirming that Iranian secret services have sent agents to sabotage the Sahwa experience in Iraq," Shahwani said in a press release issued today. Shahwani is a Kurd who served as a brigadier general in a Republican Guard unit under the regime of Saddam Hussein. Shahwani later organized efforts to overthrow Saddam Hussein.
Gates to Turks: Leave Iraq soon. Defense Secretary William Gates told Turkey's defense minister Vecdi Gonul that Turkish troops must leave Iraqi Kurdistan soon. Fox: 'Defense Secretary Robert Gates said he told his Turkish counterpart on Thursday that Turkey should end its offensive against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq as soon as possible but said the U.S. is making no threats against its NATO ally if it fails to comply. ... Gates said that a specific timetable for the Turks to stop their attack "did not come up during my meeting with the defense minister," but he said before flying to Turkey that withdrawal should come in a matter of days, or weeks, rather than months.'
His coffin was draped in the Iranian Sun and Lion flag. After his coffin was lowered to the ground, his family then poured some Iranian soil in his grave. I too had brought some Iranian soil with me, it was from the Gardens of Fin, where Iran's great secular Prime Minister, Amirkabir was murdered. It was my last contribution to a man whose judgement and insight, I trusted so much when it came to Iranian affairs.
Each person who could, then took turns with the shovel filling up the grave until Aziz's coffin was fully covered. Then came the many bouquets of flowers from family and friends, many of them in the green, white and red of the Iranian flag's tri-colours.
Once all the flowers were laid, a speech was made by a family friend celebrating the life of a courageous man who stood by his principles and helped anyone he could, without expecting any favours in return. A man who was praised by friend and foe for his honesty and loyalty.
When the speech was finished, we sang the Ey Iran anthem, and finished with the shouts of Payandeh Iran (Long Live Iran).
There was no religious ceremony, it was the way Aziz wanted it.
NEW YORK — William F. Buckley Jr., the erudite Ivy Leaguer and conservative herald who showered huge and scornful words on liberalism as he observed, abetted and cheered on the right's post-World War II rise from the fringes to the White House, died Wednesday. He was 82.
His assistant Linda Bridges said Buckley was found dead by his cook at his home in Stamford, Conn. The cause of death was unknown, but he had been ill with emphysema, she said.
Editor, columnist, novelist, debater, TV talk show star of "Firing Line," harpsichordist, trans-oceanic sailor and even a good-natured loser in a New York mayor's race, Buckley worked at a daunting pace, taking as little as 20 minutes to write a column for his magazine, the National Review. ...
The following is a Q&A with a friend who was sent as a teenager to an abusive ultra-fundmantalist "Christian" "school".
1.When were you first sent to Victory?
What caused your family to decide to send you there?
I was 15 when I was first sent to
VCA. It was April 10, 1990. My parents sent me there because I was suicidal and
had been in the psych ward for two months and they couldn’t afford it
2.How long did you stay at Victory?
I was there until Dec 17, 1991. I
also did a short stay from Oct 1992-Dec 1992 when I was 18 because I tried to
kill myself again. I was 18 though so I was in this weird limbo space where I was
not a staff, but also not really a “girl” in the school either. Kind of like in
3. You are familiar with the
information posted at the ISAC site. Can you confirm any of these incidents from your personal
experience? Is there any information on the site that you believe to be inaccurate?
Are there other incidents that do not appear on the site? Have there been
any significant developments since 2005?
Yeah, I was there when the stuff
went down with Rebecca R. It was downright funky how crazy everything
got. Palmer went absolutely nuts over her. He would call her into his
office with a one-way mirror during school all day long and keep the lights off and
play this really loud classical music. It was a trip. He only ate bananas for
weeks and lost all this weight and preached all these love sermons. I don’t
know much about any recent stuff, I have kept my distance since I left.
4. I understand that local and county
authorities may be unable or unwilling to zealously pursue some of the
allegations against VCA. Have State of Florida or Federal authorities been involved in
I don’t know. I think they are
untouchable due to some kind of Christian school organization that Palmer is part of.
There is a woman ... who was in the school about 1992 who could tell
you more. ...
5.The mind control techniques are
really creepy, especially this "sheep and goats" business. G. tells
me that our mutual friend survived by internalizing the idea that "I am
a sinner". Can you share some of your own thoughts about this? As a child
psychologist today, can you shed some light on this process?
I think children have to make sense
of the world by blaming themselves so they can trust the adults who are in
charge of them. Because, how scary would the world be if the adults who are in
control are really, really wrong? At VCA especially, all the lies they were
feeding us were all about what sinners and whores, so this would compound the
shame and blame we were already feeling.
6. Returning to your own experiences,
how did you survive? When and how did you finally get out? Did you know all
along that "these people are really f*cked up" or did you have to go
through a period of "deprogramming" before you could recognize the abuse for what it
was? What things helped you along the way? And what things made it harder?
I was abused my whole life. My
mother was very abusive and a rage-a holic when I was growing up, so I was used to
being abused physically mentally and emotionally. So really VCA wasn’t
as bad for me as it could have been I wasn’t physically abused there, only
mentally and emotionally so yes it was fucked up, but not anything I wasn’t used to.
I got out after I graduated by going to an almost equally weird college in
Pensacola, which was just as misogynistic and Christian based.
It did take me a while before I
realized that what they did was abuse too.
Doing acid and going on Dead tour
helped me to see that the world can be a
beautiful place and to experience
freedom as a right and a responsibility. I think also I naturally have a kind
of resilient and happy-go-lucky personality which has helped me to deal with the
experiences I have had in my life. I also went through 9 years of therapy…
7. Has VCA ever threatened or
attempted legal action against ISAC or individual survivors for exposing abuse
Not that I know of.
8.Have your family and community been
supportive of your recovery process? How has your experience at VCA influenced
your views of religion? What would you like to say to parents who might be
considering sending their children to VCA?
My parents have never really
admitted that they had any kind of real responsibility for this. They still
don’t even really believe it was all that bad. I just don’t talk about it
with them. I can’t even really set foot in a church and listen to a preacher
without getting angry any more. I still believe in God and Jesus but not any more
than I believe in my spirits and ancestors and the Goddess and Buddha… I
don’t pray to God and I don’t really hang out with Christians. I’m pretty leery
of Christians in fact. It took me a long time to get over the anger I had towards
the hypocrisy and fear-based indoctrination of that place…It took me a long
time not to generalize Christianity as what VCA made it out to be.
9. Are there other so-called "schools"
like VCA? What is being done about them? What else can we do to help?
Yes there are other schools. I don’t
know what’s being done though…
Censorship comes in all sizes, from the monstrous to the petty.
Iran: Women journalists are dangerous!Or Does It Explode reports that Iranian regime authorities have shut down the moderate women's magazine "Zanan". Apparently the very word "woman" is a dirty word for these pigs.
Sadr to extend cease-fire.The Long War Journal: 'Muqtada al Sadr, the leader of the radical Mahdi Army and the Sadrist movement, has officially extended the self-imposed unilateral cease-fire. Sadr has "decided to renew the freeze on activities of the Mahdi Army for another period" of six months, spokesman Hazim al Aaraji told AFP. "The decision was disseminated yesterday in letters that were distributed to all of Sadr's offices in Iraq." Sadr's official statement confirms yesterday's reports by senior Sadrist leaders who stated off the record the cease-fire would be extended. ... Sadr’s decision was strongly influenced by US and Iraqi pressure from both the military and political spheres.' Full analysis at the link.
Debka: Syria-based Russian spy ship observed off Israeli shore.Debka:
Russian Amur 1 Class PM 138 naval boat, caught up in the heavy storm raging across the Middle East and Mediterranean last week, flashed a distress signal Tuesday Feb. 19. A Greek Navy frigate responded to the call and escorted the PM 138 to the island of Chios.
DEBKAfile’s military sources point out:
1. Russian naval vessels are spending long periods running into months at the Syrian military bases of Latakia and Tartous.
2. Witnesses in Greece say the vessel, described officially as an auxiliary repair craft, boasted an unusual number of antennas for gathering intelligence.
Non-team player fired by drunken lemurs.Fox News: 'DES MOINES, Iowa — A seven-year casino employee fired after posting in his office a "Dilbert" comic comparing managers to "drunken lemurs" has become the subject of the strip. David Steward was fired from the Catfish Bend Casino because management found the cartoon "very offensive," human resources director Steve Morley had testified during a hearing on unemployment benefits in December 2007. The casino had challenged his claim for the financial assistance.'
Commentary. No commentary today. Have a great weekend.
AP military correspondent Robert Burns reports that an SM-3 missile from a U.S. navy vessel successfully struck a defunct spy satellite over the Pacific tonight. The intercept was aimed at destroying the satellite before it reenters the earth's atmosphere, lessening the danger from falling debris that survives reentry, including the platform's large propellant tank, filled with toxic hydrazine.
The missile was launched around 10:30 p.m. EST this evening, and struck the satellite shortly after. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made the final decision to conduct the intercept.
Earlier in the day, it appeared that heavy seas around Hawaii would delay the intercept attempt. But the weather improved in the later afternoon, allowing the launch to proceed.
Pentagon officials say it may be a couple of days before the status of the fuel tank and its cargo are known. However, early reports suggested that the tank was destroyed by the missile impact.
Kurtz: Pakistan votes "no" to war on terror.Stanley Kurtz at NRO: 'Pakistan’s victorious opposition parties are signaling a new approach to terrorism. That strategy “is more likely to be responsive to the consensus of the Pakistani public than was Mr. Musharraf’s and is more likely to shun a heavy hand by the military and rely on dialogue with the militants.”' Read the rest at the link. Strategy Page: Russia vs. China.Strategy Page:
The [Russian] government is making a lot of noise about rebuilding the armed forces, and another Cold War with the U.S., but this is all talk, to make the government appear like it's doing something. The military would need massive amounts of money (over $100 billion a year, for a decade or more) to restore any meaningful amount of military power. Nothing near that amount is forthcoming. The government is trying to get the population stirred up, so there is less resistance to the purchase of many expensive warplanes and ships. A lot of this necessary because China is buying less, and starting to offer their own stuff, often containing stolen Russian military technology, on the world market. China is threatening to offer its copy of the Su-27 (the J-11). Currently, half of Russian weapons export sales are Su-27s. The Chinese ignore Russian complaints about the stolen technology. To keep Russian weapons manufacturers in business, the Russian military has to buy more, to make up for the lost Chinese sales. Western firms are also going after the lucrative Indian arms market, which Russia has dominated for decades. Last year, Russia sold $7 billion worth of weapons overseas, and may have a hard time topping that this year.
While there is less kidnapping and gunfire in the streets, Russian criminals are still in business. Computer crime is increasing, apparently under the protection of the government. Large scale assaults on foreign banks, corporations and governments are traced back to Russia, yet Russian police refuse to cooperate in rounding up the suspects. At the same time, a former senior intelligence official, who defected to the West, explained how, in the 1990s, Russia stole half a billion dollars from the UN "Oil for Food" program that was supposed to be feeding Iraqis. Russian officials are still known to be ready to deal, if the payoff is big enough. Back home, the government is increasingly making up the rules as it goes along, sliding back to the customs so common when the Soviet Union existed. Those who make a lot of noise in opposition either flee the country, or get prosecuted on some trumped up charge.
The Russian military has a long-standing sense of worry about American technlolgy, too - and the recent satellite shoot-down isn't making them feel any better. China's fretting over it, too. (HT Tammy.)
Commentary. The Russian government has been griping and moaning about US missile defense plans - in Poland and the Czech republic, and now at home. I'll begin by making the obvious comment: If Putin's intentions toward the West aren't belligerent to begin with, why in the world should he be bothered by a defensive weapon? If Bush were saying, "Let's put lots of nuclear missiles in Europe and aim them at Russia," we could expect Putin to have a cow, and it'd be perfectly reasonable for him to do so. But if Vlad the Inhaler is having the vapors over a system designed to prevent Europe and/or America from being nuked, we've got to assume that he wants to nuke Europe and/or America. Why else would he respond with a threat to aim missiles at Poland and the Czech Republic?
(My response would be, "OK, fine. Let's put lots of nuclear missiles in Europe and aim them at Russia." But then, I'm not the President, and it's probably just as well.)
Nonetheless, there is a central piece of bad faith in the way that these three themes typically combine on the left to enable their partisans to evade a single inescapable fact: namely that, flawed as they may be, the capitalist democracies are democracies and none of the would-be anti-capitalist countries, anywhere, has managed to sustain comparably good or better democratic institutions over any length of time. Note that I do not say this means it could never happen; I don't believe that. What it does mean, however, is that the democratic institutions we are familiar with have yet to be improved upon in any of those places that some leftists are given to casting an indulgent eye upon even while they seek to distance themselves critically from the institutions they themselves benefit from and which are superior.
Unwilling to profess a clear allegiance towards what is democratically better, a certain type of leftist is always ready to make allowances for what is democratically worse. Is it any wonder, then, if his or her democratic avowals are regarded by many with suspicion?
A connection? Both in this phenomenon and in Moscow's belligerency there is an assumption of a zero-sum principle at work; that is, if you are to win, I must lose. Notice that I do not say it is a fallacy: if in the mind of the other party the game is a win/lose conflict, then they are simply acting according to their own set of rules and assumptions.
Does Russia have to threaten the West in order to be secure? Must leftists support the enemies of civilization to advance their own cause?
Are they really that weak? The answer is the same.
... was the first Vice President to accede to the Presidency on the death of the incumbent President. He was also the first President born after the ratification of the Constitution, and in that sense, the first President born a United States citizen.
And he would become the first former President to die holding office in a foreign - and hostile - power.