President Pervez Musharraf strongly hinted Friday that al-Qaida chief Osama bin Laden and his Egyptian-born top deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri are hiding in "mountains in Pakistan."They had a “command and communications system" based in South Waziristan? I'm sure they did. Is that like bin Laden's make-believe mountain fortress?
Musharraf told a packed press conference that the U.S. interrogation of senior al-Qaida member Abu Farraj al-Libbi had revealed that the terrorist network's command and communication center has been destroyed by Pakistan's military campaign in South Waziristan.
Al-Qaida is now using couriers to relay messages, the president said.
"They are using the courier network. The last man that we got Abu Farraj al-Libbi, we got him through their courier man," Musharraf said in his opening statement.
Al-Libbi, a Libyan who is regarded as third in al-Qaida's hierarchy after bin Laden and al-Zawahiri, was arrested in May in a hideout in the Northwest Frontier Province.
Although al-Libbi is accused of two assassination attempts on Musharraf in December 2003, he was handed over to the United States for further questioning.
"Their (al-Qaida) command and communication system stands broken. Their No. 3 man was taking months to get messages up and down," Musharraf said.
The president said al-Qaida is no longer operating as an organization. Those who are claiming responsibility for or carrying out terrorist attacks have not been in communication with the terrorist network's high command, he said.
"Their communication linkages are not there," Musharraf said of the al-Qaida network.
During the two-hour press conference, Musharraf spoke at length about the Pakistani armed force's successful operations against al-Qaida hideouts in the South Waziristan tribal area bordering Afghanistan.
He disclosed that the Pakistan army recovered two truckloads of computers, television sets and disk tapes from a tunnel in one of the sanctuaries in South Waziristan.
"We have broken the vertical and the horizontal command and communication link of al-Qaida, which means that they have ceased to work as a homogenized organization,' he said.
Musharraf hints bin Laden, al-Zawahari in Pakistani mountains
The Pentagon on Tuesday released a study of Chinese military capabilities. In a preview, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told a Singapore audience last month that China's arms buildup was an "area of concern." It should be. But we shouldn't get overly fixated on such traditional indices of military power as ships and bombs — not even atomic bombs. Chinese strategists, in the best tradition of Sun Tzu, are working on craftier schemes to topple the American hegemon.You can read Unrestricted Warfare for yourself, in its entirety, for free, at Cryptome.org.
In 1998, an official People's Liberation Army publishing house brought out a treatise called "Unrestricted Warfare," written by two senior army colonels, Qiao Liang and Wang Xiangsui. This book, which is available in English translation, is well known to the U.S. national security establishment but remains practically unheard of among the general public.
"Unrestricted Warfare" recognizes that it is practically impossible to challenge the U.S. on its own terms. No one else can afford to build mega-expensive weapons systems like the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which will cost more than $200 billion to develop. "The way to extricate oneself from this predicament," the authors write, "is to develop a different approach."
Their different approaches include financial warfare (subverting banking systems and stock markets), drug warfare (attacking the fabric of society by flooding it with illicit drugs), psychological and media warfare (manipulating perceptions to break down enemy will), international law warfare (blocking enemy actions using multinational organizations), resource warfare (seizing control of vital natural resources), even ecological warfare (creating man-made earthquakes or other natural disasters).
Cols. Qiao and Wang write approvingly of Al Qaeda, Colombian drug lords and computer hackers who operate outside the "bandwidths understood by the American military." They envision a scenario in which a "network attack against the enemy" — clearly a red, white and blue enemy — would be carried out "so that the civilian electricity network, traffic dispatching network, financial transaction network, telephone communications network and mass media network are completely paralyzed," leading to "social panic, street riots and a political crisis." Only then would conventional military force be deployed "until the enemy is forced to sign a dishonorable peace treaty."
This isn't just loose talk. There are signs of this strategy being implemented. The anti-Japanese riots that swept China in April? That would be psychological warfare against a major Asian rival. The stage-managed protests in 1999, after the U.S. accidentally bombed the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade, fall into the same category.
The bid by the state-owned China National Offshore Oil Co., to acquire Unocal? Resource warfare. Attempts by China's spy apparatus to infiltrate U.S. high-tech firms and defense contractors? Technological warfare. China siding against the U.S. in the U.N. Security Council over the invasion of Iraq? International law warfare. Gen. Zhu's threat to nuke the U.S.? Media warfare.
And so on. Once you know what to look for, the pieces fall into place with disturbing ease. Of course, most of these events have alternative, more benign explanations: Maybe Gen. Zhu is an eccentric old coot who's seen "Dr. Strangelove" a few too many times.
The deliberate ambiguity makes it hard to craft a response to "unrestricted warfare." If Beijing sticks to building nuclear weapons, we know how to deal with that — use the deterrence doctrine that worked against the Soviets. But how do we respond to what may or may not be indirect aggression by a major trading partner? Battling terrorist groups like Al Qaeda seems like a cinch by comparison.
We're supposed to be living the United States, a nation striving for racial equality, moving towards pushing past the ills of yesterday and to (sorry about the overused phrase) make a better tomorrow.
With that, is there any reason to push the "separate but equal" theme by making a "black version" of America Online? Called "AOL Black Voices: African American & Black Culture Community", this site (http://blackvoices.aol.com/) tailors News, Sports, Education, Work & Money, Lifestyle, and Entertainment information for black people, as well as providing the "Black Bloggers" section for us to let it all out.
First of all, knowing corporate America as I do, I'd guess the concept wasn't created by a black person but some goody-goody, compassionate, inclusive, sniveling white liberal who thought that the internet experience would be enhanced for black people if we had our own "Black Voices."
Now in the interest of fairness, what kind of hell would break loose if there was suddenly a "White Voices" site on AOL? Okay, some out here could reply that the whole internet is white. There are many websites out there that specifically target all demographics and maybe I'm just being hypersensitive.
Now if black people want specific information online, does AOL think we're too stupid to find it ourselves without their help? And with all due respect to Steven Smith at ESPN, since black athletes reportedly have unease taking to white reporters and thus require a translator, are we soon going to have a BESPN, or a Bisney Channel, ABBC, and Brown Fox? Is Apple racist? I've had to endure the indignity of buying a three iPods (for the family) and a white iBook.
With all the sacrifice many have made in the name of racial equality and inclusion, why are liberals trying so hard to drive us apart? I sincerely doubt "Black Voices" on AOL is a conservative idea.
So while liberal whites continue to write and produce unfunny sitcoms for black people, they now feel the need to tailor websites specifically for us. I'll never forget the time I was in an editing suite in Los Angeles and heard a producer say that a certain piece of dialogue "wasn't black enough." Well, not only is the subject matter on "Black Voices" supposed to be representative of black people, but they even chose brownish color schemes to make us feel more comfortable there.
Ding. Youse gots mail, y'all.
Ten people were indicted last week, all alleged members of a ring operating in the United States and Honduras that smuggled young, undocumented Honduran women into the US and forced them to work off their smuggling debts in bars in Hudson County, New Jersey.There's very happy news for the young ladies, other than their release from the basest bondage: they'll come away from this as American citizens.
The women, mostly from rural, poor villages in Honduras – some as young as 14 – were recruited under the false promise of getting legitimate jobs as waitresses in restaurants in New Jersey. Once brought to Hudson County by way of a safehouse in Houston, Texas, however, they were put to work at several bars owned by the ringleader and subject to physical and emotional abuse, according to Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents.
The 31-count Indictment describes, among other abuses, young victims being raped while smuggled to the United States; victims sometimes far younger than 21 forced to continually drink alcohol and dance with male customers at the bars to raise money to pay human smuggling fees of between $10,000 and $20,000; victims being beaten if they were not compliant; victims forced to work in the bars up to seven days a week from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m.; threats of deportation or harm to them and their families in Honduras if they did not comply with the ring’s demands.
Young women who became pregnant were forced to terminate pregnancies to maintain them as income-producers for the ring, according to the Indictment. In one case, a 21-year-old victim was allegedly forced to take pills intended to induce a spontaneous abortion. The next day, the victim gave birth to a live baby girl, who died shortly afterward.
The indictment charges the 10 individuals with violations of the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 (authored by Congressman Chris Smith of New Jersey), including counts of conspiracy to commit forced labor, forced labor, alien smuggling and harboring illegal aliens. The Indictment supersedes and consolidates three earlier indictments and adds two new defendants, including the suspected ringleader in Hudson County, Luisa Medrano, who was arrested along with Rosalba Ortiz, one of the ring’s so-called “enforcers."
Medrano, 50, of Cliffside Park, a US citizen and native of El Salvador, is the owner of three bars in Union City and Guttenberg where the young women who were trafficked to Hudson County were put to work, according to the Indictment. Medrano also owned three multi-unit buildings in Union City, where the victims were allegedly forced to live while they worked to pay off their smuggling debts. Included in the Indictment are two forfeiture counts, in which the government seeks to seize the buildings.
According to the Indictment, the ring employed recruiters in Honduras to locate attractive, innocent young woman – most in their teens and early 20s; used smugglers, commonly known as “coyotes," to get them into the United States illegally, and “enforcers," who advised the Honduran women upon arrival in New Jersey of the true nature of their work, that they were required to repay a smuggling fee of up to $20,000 and then used physical abuse and intimidation to control and use them to make money for the conspirators.
The young women received $240 for approximately 48 hours of work per week plus an amount related to the sale of drinks to customers they met at the bars. But they were required to pay virtually all their earnings to the ring, at the rate of between $250 and $500 a week, according to the Indictment and earlier criminal complaints.
The Indictment details circumstances of 10 victims. But in searches of two Hudson County apartments in January by agents from Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the US Department of Labor Office of Inspector General, approximately 30 young women were arrested as illegal immigrants.
The victims, though illegal aliens, are receiving counseling, education and other social services provided by the US government. All those referred to in the Indictment, as well as others originally arrested, have been qualified for special visas that will allow them to stay in the United States and become naturalized citizens. Their immediate families can join them and are eligible for the same status.I love this country. Freedom is on the march.
States across the country are rushing to pass laws to counter the potential impact of aOf course, the nanny segment of society disapproves. Namely, the "planners". Can there be a creepier job title? Hey, bozos, thanks for destroying our cities!
U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that allows state and local governments to seize homes for private development.
In Alabama Wednesday, Gov. Bob Riley will sign a law that prohibits the state, cities and counties from taking private property for retail, office, commercial, industrial or residential development. "We don't like anybody messing with our dogs, our guns, our hunting rights or trying to take property from us," says state Sen. Jack Biddle, a sponsor of the law.
Delaware also has changed its law since the high court ruling on eminent domain. Legislatures in at least eight other states are weighing proposals this year. More may be coming. And Congress is considering action.
"When legislatures start new sessions in January, I expect the majority of states to take up bills that would restrict the use of eminent domain for economic development purposes," said Larry Morandi, environmental program director for the National Conference of State Legislatures.
The issue has spawned an unusual alliance among conservatives opposed to the principle of government seizing private property and liberals worried that poor people would be the most likely victims.
The actions are a swift response to a Supreme Court decision in a Connecticut case. For the first time, it ruled that condemnation of private property solely for economic development was constitutional.
In that case, the justices accepted New London, Conn., officials' plan to raze homes to make way for a hotel, office complexes and a marina.
But the court left the door open for states to limit the use of eminent domain for economic development.
In Washington, U.S. Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said his office received more calls from constituents angry about this case than it did for the Supreme Court ruling that limited displays of the Ten Commandments on public property. Cornyn is proposing a bill to bar cities and counties from using federal funds for economic development projects that involve seized property.
Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., a liberal who rarely supports Republican bills, has signed onto two GOP bills and proposed two of her own. "The people who get hurt are the many poor people and working people who don't think they can fight City Hall," she said.
Paul Farmer, executive director of the American Planning Association, said eminent domain for private projects can revitalize cities. "It should remain a tool that would clearly not be used very often," he said.I'm sure it won't be used any more than necessary, which is defined as whenever the fuck you feel like it and your pockets are sufficiently lined. The American people are telling you and your black-robed eggers-on to go climb a tree.
This one stood out as a relatively rare instance of Rockwell depicting evil in American life, though one may note that he memorializes the racists' graffiti, in the background, but not the racists themselves -- the white parents who, publicly and without embarrassment, vied to shout "nigger" the loudest... at a six-year-old girl.
What I didn't know, until last week, is that the little girl in the painting was a portrait of a historic individual, and not a sentimentalized composite of African-Americans who took part in the desegregation movement. Despite having a name that was "made for the marquee," Ruby Bridges somehow never made it into the curricula of my schooldays.