discarded lies: friday, january 19, 2018 9:37 am zst
strangers in a strange blog
daily archive: 08/22/2005
zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
The Competition in Gaza
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Monday Winds of War Briefing: Swan Song
This is probably my final Monday Winds of War briefing, as it takes too much time that I don't have. Too much stuff going on at once, and I'd like to devote my energies mostly to Bloggie. Anyway, here's ye briefing.

Top Topics

* The Department of Energy is going to release a whoooole lot of energy, blowing up truck bombs in the desert to figure out whether nuclear site security barriers are vulnerable to them.

* Dress-up time for Putin! Is it a pilot...a seaman...it's a tin-pot autocrat playing games with another tin-pot autocracy! The unprecedented 8-day-long joint military exercise, Peace Mission 2005, involving 10,000 Russian and Chinese troops, started on the 18th. The exercises are meant to send the US a message and sell more weapons. Russia and China also want the US to quit its bases in their backyard to free them to pursue influence, resources and regional hegemony. The US is watching. According to the Russians, the scenario for the war games is ostensibly Russia and China are "assisting" a third country that has a terrorist insurgency. I'm sure they'll be very helpful.

* The Taliban are reopening the Afghan front with new tactics, flush with cash and weapons. They're taking a few pages out of the Iraq playbook. The CIS's anti-terror chiefs are concerned. The amnesty for Taliban fighters/government jobs program doesn't appear to be too effective either.

* The Pentagon's latest (and third, so far) 25-year roadmap for the development of unmanned aerial systems (née UAVs). If you're looking for pictures, vital stats and future plans for every unmanned craft in the US arsenal, this is the PDF for you. There are currently well over 1000 unmanned aerial systems in Iraq and Afghanistan.

* A "serious geopolitical project": several democratic former Soviet Republics are forming an axis to reduce Russia's leverage and minimize their dependence on it.

* In the face of rioting and increasing domestic unrest, China unveils a new police force armed with choppers and armored vehicles. It will be deployed in 36 large cities. The end is near, comrades.

* In the wake of the New Folsom prison terror cell's unraveling plot, questions are being asked more urgently about Islamist recruitment in prison. Over 200 agents are involved in the investigation into the homegrown terrorist cell, a manifestation of Saudi Arabia's insidious war on the United States. According to geostrategy-direct (no link, sorry), the Saudi military is sending 100 officers a month to fight in Iraq. The cell itself may be homegrown, but at least one of the terrorists is not-he's a Pakistani national. Oh, Pakistan.

Other Topics Today Include:
Turkey holding Zarqawi confederate?; AQ chief in Saudi killed (yes, again); Putin flirts with Jordan; US permanent troop presence in Iraq details; US teams up with 4 countries against MS-13; NYPD & its Middle Eastern employees; ACLU whining; Arab Bank fined; two states of emergency along the border with Mexico; US shopping mall security learns from the Israelis; US mediates release of hundreds of POWs in Morocco; Mugabe tottering; how Binnie got da Bomb; 27 terrorist training camps in Pak sez India; JI US embassy truck-bomb plot thwarted; UK wrings hands as terrorists broadcast demoralizing messages inciting the death of its soldiers in Iraq-from their UK facilities!; IRA doings; UK appoints fox to guard hens; secret spilled; Bakri and Little Bakri still in the news and mucho mucho more...
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Glimmers Of Hope
Nearly drowned out by the noise of explosives on subways and car bombs in busy marketplaces, quieter initiatives are under way in which Muslims, Jews and Christians are seeking ways to understand one another and to move their communities toward a better future.

We — a rabbi and Muslim doctoral student — have observed firsthand some of these initiatives, and we can report with confidence that the violence of extremists is only one point on a spectrum of views within the Muslim world, a world that is engaging in introspection and internal debate.
Despite the noise of bombs, Muslim world offers quiet hope
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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Slavery As We've Heard It
Slavery As We've Heard It is the name of a school project undertaken in 1932 at Jonesboro Elementary in North Carolina. Schoolchildren were asked to take down oral histories of their parents, grandparents or relatives who were slaves. It's really something.
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
Love Your Mullahs
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad plans to promote "a culture of kindness" in Iran and he says that national solidarity needs "love and affection."
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sine in The People's Diner:
Is Bloggie Fruity?
Refrigerator magnets...crazy women wielding giant spatulas...cheese on every thread...pregnant men...Yes, I'd say Bloggie is definitely fruity.

Catch the fruit spirit!





Or, if you're in the mood for something truly different, and have access to either a time machine or a mad-scientist secret cloning wizard, try Frank's
Trilobite Scampi

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evariste in Discarded Lies:
Soviet biological weapons programme threatens us from its grave
Just once, I want to hear a story about Russia that doesn't involve repression, horrible deaths, or the threat of either.
As the Aral Sea in southwestern Kazakhstan continues to shrink, the deadly legacy of the Soviet Union's biological weapons programme is threatening to spread illness in this arid region.

For nearly 60 years, Soviet scientists used the Aral Sea island of Vozrozhdenie (Rebirth) to test bacteriological weapons - including anthrax and the plague - in top-secret laboratories.

The experiments ended in 1991 and much of the infrastructure on the island, now shared between the Central Asian states of Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, has been destroyed but scientists say the diseases may have survived in animals.

The waters of the Aral Sea are receding and Vozrozhdenie is de facto no longer an island and is linked to the mainland by a swamp.

"The day the passage to the island is completely dry, animals could leave the island and bring their diseases with them," warned Askar Khussainov, head of an Aralsk inhabitants' support group.

The threat of the Soviet legacy is still real.

In 2002, the US army got permission from Uzbekistan to unearth and destroy stocks of anthrax buried on Vozrozhdenie for fear they could be stolen and used by militants.

The Aral Sea began receding forty years ago as irrigation canals from the Amu-Darya river were built to develop cotton plantations in the Uzbek desert.

Now, inhabitants of the former fishing port of Aralsk, 70 kilometres away from the sea shore, are likely to suffer from digestive and kidney diseases because the shrinking water supply is four times more salty than norms set by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Adding to the problem, the wind sweeping through this bleak land carries with it chemicals used in cotton farming from the exposed sea beds into residential areas.

When rockets are launched from Russia's space base at Baikonur in Kazakhstan, some 200 kilometres (124 miles) south of Aralsk, the concentration of chemicals in the wind is even higher, said Sharapat Medetov, deputy head doctor at Aralsk hospital.

"On the day they launch a rocket, sand storms and therefore chemicals rise up. When this happens, you can't even open your eyes," Medetov said.

Eye diseases, neurological disorders and skin illnesses are becoming more widespread in Aralsk, even though no scientific study has ever proved a link to rocket launches.

"People permanently breathe in salt and chemicals," said Medetov. "Almost everyone here is anaemic. Women's milk is polluted by nitrates which make babies already weak from anaemia even more sick."

As Aral Dries Up, Soviet Union's Biological Weapons Secrets Surface
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zorkmidden in Discarded Lies:
In papijoe's kingdom...
...Poverty is on the rise
Soup kitchens and bread lines seem out of place in this affluent country long known for its generous welfare system, administered until recently by generations of socialist-leaning governments.

But the growing dependency on private charity by thousands of people reflects how Holland — long admired for its fast-paced growth, high employment and prosperity — is increasingly falling on hard times.

After years of strong growth, the economy has ground to a near standstill and since April 2004, the number of people receiving free food packages at the Dutch Food Bank has jumped from 600 per week to nearly 5,000. Thousands more go without.
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ev and zorkie in Discarded Lies:
That Was Nucking Futs On Sunday
We really felt violated after what happened in the Introducing Your Fridge Door thread, and foolish for trusting people's good nature, and shocked and in disbelief. Anyway, we're still Bloggie despite all this, and although the new system will involve passwords, we're going to make it extremely friendly to use and give it that bloggie touch. It'll also be the building block of the upcoming registration system, which we promise will always be optional. You'll always be able to use random nicks for fun, or post anonymously, and posting will never require registration. The only thing that will change is that you'll be able to pick your own icon never the soccer ball, that's for us two only :-) and you can protect your good name from impersonators. We only want to add to the Bloggie experience, never subtract. We're still going to keep the same exact spirit of openness, tolerance and free speech that we've had since the beginning.

We've banned two people recently, but our "no banning for expressing opinions, however distasteful or sheerly disgusting they may be" policy is still in effect.

The first person we banned, j0hhny/various misspellings of johnny, threatened to subject Bloggie's server to a denial of service attack, and then proceeded to spam us with obscenities and make Bloggie unusable. He threatened, the way the poker and pill spammers always have, to make Bloggie unreadable. So did BadImplementation/JohnnyNoMates, who was destroying your data on the server. Behavior that is entirely destructive and ruins the fun experience and friendly atmosphere of Bloggie is an existential threat to Bloggie's culture. We won't hesitate to ban the more virulent of social parasites that physically degrade the usability of Bloggie. We still won't ban anyone for discussing their opinions, however disagreeably, as long as actual interference with the freedom of others to express themselves on bloggie isn't threatened or attempted. So, look forward to the next raj, or Prince Henry Something Something Something Something Windsor, or whatever ;-) but if anyone comes near our baby menacingly, we'll knife them. We're like mama bears with our sweet Bloggie and our dear comrades.

People should know better than to piss off a Greek and an Arab.
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