Thursday, August 31, 2006
Reporter Peter Taylor has spent five years since 9/11 investigating Al Qaeda in Britain and around the world.
In the first of two special investigations, Taylor concludes that Iraq has become the dominant radicalising and recruiting force for many muslims and that British support for US foreign policy has made Britain a prime target.
With the so called 'War on Terror' far from won and the August's chaos at UK airports, is it time to consider a new approach?
To try and end the violence, is it time to engage with Al Qaeda?
I wonder what exactly they would have us say to Al Qaeda? "We surrender"? Is there anything else they would be satisfied hearing from us? I guess I'll have to tune in on 3rd September to see exactly how the BBC thinks we should be running the war on terror.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Here's the story- a local postie created a mailshot of his own for his run, informing the people living along his route that the amount of junk mail they were getting was about to increase, and explaining how they could get in touch with the Post Office and use their opt out service.
The Post Office suspended the postie for "misconduct" pending a further investigation. The reason for the stern action were claims that the Royal Mail depended on being paid to send out the unwanted snail mail spam- completely ignoring the fact that they offer the opt out themselves and are basically trying to punish a worker for pointing out the fact. And nevermind that the people on his route were grateful for his actions.
If you live in the UK here's how you too can opt out of receiving unwanted mail-
Monday, August 28, 2006
In any case, here we have a member of Islamic Jihad [I suppose they didn't get that Religion of Peace memo?] explaining what they are teaching Palestinian children-
We don't forget our martyrs, and we teach them about making sacrifices on behalf of the Palestinian people and tell them the truth about Islam.
When asked about this "truth," Hisham launches into a monologue on history from his perspective: "We teach the children the truth. How the Jews persecuted the prophets and tortured them. We stress that the Jews killed and slaughtered Arabs and Palestinians every chance they got. Most important, the children understand that the conflict with the Jews is not over land, but rather over religion. As long as Jews remain here, between the [Jordan] river and the sea, they will be our enemy and we will continue to pursue and kill them. When they leave we won't hurt them."Palestinian children get the message then- the trouble with Israel is religious. I wonder if those Westerners who keep thinking that the conflict is the fault of Israel's post-'67 borders get that too?
Lantos said he was putting a legislative hold on Bush’s proposal to provide $230 million in aid for Lebanon in the aftermath of the 34-day war between Israel and Lebanese Hizbollah guerrillas. As the top Democrat on the International Relations Committee, Lantos has the power to hold up legislation.
He's opposed to the funding going through without Beirut agreeing to the deployment of troops along the border with Syria to prevent arms being smuggled into Hezbollah.
As it stands the current ceasefire seems to be nothing more than an attempt by the international ommunity to protect Hezbollah and not secure a lasting peace in the region.
And yet some creep swoops in at the last moment and steals it away from me. What's up with that? Couldn't he just wait his turn and get an item ending a few days from now, maybe for a lot less? I don't get it- if I'm looking on Ebay and find an item I want I'll generally avoid those with bids in already- obviously someone wants it and the price is sure to rise. I'm happy to let those pass when there's an abundance of a certain items available. No point in fighting over one auction when there are many more with no apparent interest in them, is there?
That low-down son of a gun.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Meanwhile, a radical Islamic group called Hizb al-Tahrir (Liberation Party) is planning to declare the birth of an Islamic caliphate in the Gaza Strip on Friday. The relatively small party, which is seen as more extreme than Hamas, is said to have increased its popularity following what is perceived as a Hizbullah victory over Israel.
On Tuesday, thousands of the party’s supporters staged a demonstration in Gaza City to mark the anniversary of the end of the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. It was the first demonstration in the Gaza Strip in which demonstrators called for establishing an Islamic caliphate that would rule not only in the PA territories, but the entire world.
Buoyed by the large turnout, the party’s leaders are now considering declaring an Islamic caliphate in the Gaza Strip during Friday prayers, sources close to the party said.
If this new Caliphate calls for Muslims all over the world to wage jihad on the infidels what, I wonder, will the moderates have to say about it?
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Well, when a comedy group called The Franz Kafka Big Band decided, on their radio show, to have a sketch featuring Rolf Harris drawing Mohammed (on a radio show) the BBC sprang into action and pulled the show-
The corporation said the programme's "bold" subject matter required some "fine-tuning" before it could go on air.
Which I'm assuming means "cuts will be made". Now, the makers of the program claim that they were hired by the BBC to be "bad boys"; and the Beeb obviously knew what they were getting; this is the group's second series.
Other sketches in the show include a discussion between Jesus and Peter at the Last Supper, in which Peter admits he is allergic to fish, and a musical number to the tune of Sammy Davis Jr's The Candy Man in which the group sings "Who can start a jihad? The Taliban can".
They also had some material on the Palestinian situation, but the story doesn't go any further than that.
So there we have it- the BBC is more than happy for a major television comedy to show to create a sketch on Terrorism Awards but when a radio show creates a sketch about drawing Mohammed; well, that's not on, is it? I guess there are still some people that the Beeb don't want to offend.
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
Sunday, August 20, 2006
The Columbus city prosecutor refuses to press charges against CAIR and Dr. Al-Akhras for assaulting me, twice. I was told that there wasn't enough evidence. What! The entire assault is on video (posted here). I was told since there were no injuries "it didn't rise to the level of an assault;" he didn't "punch you or anything." What about having a camera shoved in my face? What about grabbing and pulling my hand right along with the camera? Then I was told that they felt I was "badgering him with my questions." So perceived badgering is justification to push someone around? Anytime we don't like questions being asked of us, we now have permission from the prosecutor's office to attack someone.
The decision is being appealed. Note too that on the actual video of the incident, the CAIR official in question refuses to comment on Hezbollah's violence. He's all too ready to condemn Israel but has nothing at all to say about Hezbollah firing rockets at Israeli civilians.
I wonder if the utter cluelessness of the guy right at the start of the video is common among Hezbollah's Western supporters? Is that the reason they support the group, that they actually have no understanding whatsoever of the group and its activities?
In the discussion at IBA, there were predictions that violence against the Muslim population of Britain could grow as people grew more frustrated with the Islamist terrorist threat, and the lack of any positive action by the government to combat it; obviously this is not a good thing. I left my own prediction based on a subject that has been bothering me more and more in recent months; the association of leftists/liberals with Islamists. Here it is-
It seems to me that this will be another instance of the rupturing of Western society- while more and more people are becoming aware of the threat, a huge segment seems to think that their loyalties lie with groups like Hezbollah; and within hours of the news of the airline plot breaking Leftists were claiming that it was a British/Blair plot.
I still can't comprehend why Londoners would come out to protest the Israeli actions in Lebanon- and fly Hezbollah flags. Protesting war is one thing, but to actively show their support for a bunch of murderous terrorists is another. It completely mystifies me why so-called peace protesters and champions of individual/human rights throw their weight behind brutal terrorists who oppose exactly the things that they claim to love.
The whole Red-Blue divide is global. If you want another prediction, here's mine; the Islamist threat will grow and grow in Europe and America, and they will receive support from Western, non-Muslims who seem to hate the very culture that oprovides them with the freedoms they claim to cherish. Neo-Nazis have already offered their support to Al Qaeda, other leftists will follow. We could be looking at a return to the sort of terrorism we faced back in the '70s.
I hope I'm wrong.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
"the UN will thus be using its influence and resources to protect Hizballah from Israel"
And people wonder why Hezbollah are claiming a victory over this one?
Another addition to my beginner's knife collection arrived today. This time it's yet another Columbia River Knife and Tool product- a KISS SST. That acronym stands for "Keep It Simple Stupid" and "Short Stubby Thing". Well, CRKT claim that KISS means "Super Simple" but I think I'll go with the British military version instead.
It is indeed a short, very simply constructed folder. The blade is two and a quarter inches long, quite thick and chisel ground (sharpened on only one side) so that when folded the edge will not cut even though it sits exposed. The blade itself is a curious sort of hook-nose shape called a Wharncliffe blade. It means that it had a very sharp point, as I found out when I needed to cut open a box. There's also a clip, recommended for use as a money clip but which I use to hang it on my jeans; the knife is small enough that it fits in the key/coin pocket very neatly.
For such a small item, the SST feels quite sturdy and solid in the hand. It appears to be (like all the CRKT products I have) very well made and finished. Though smaller than my K-AT Hawk, it actually feels a little heavier in the hand; I wasn't expecting that at all and it gives me a bit of extra confidence in the design. Unlike the other knives in the KISS range, the SST doesn't have a hole for a keychain attachment, which might be a drawback for some. Not me, it just means I get to order another knife!
If you're looking for a small, compact knife for everyday use, the KISS SST would seem to be the ticket. It's small, simple, solid and sharp. Although it's intended (for me) as an every day knife, since it arrived I've begun to think that it might be a useful addition to a small survival kit too. The main "bulk" of the knife comes from the bulging clip- if that could be either flattened or removed then the SST would take up very little room at all. And it would certainly be better quality than most of the knives packed into pre-made kits. That's something I'll maybe experiment with at a later date.
One last point- the SST cannot be opened left handed without some digital acrobatics. The nature of the design means that it has to be a right handed opener (and CRKT seem to have no plans to make left-handed versions of any of the KISS knives). I'm a southpaw myself and I don't see any problem with this. This is not the sort of knife that you'll need to deploy rapidly in a "tactical" situation with one hand. I'm content enough to one hand open it with my right hand- if you need to have it in your left hand to open it, you'll have to either use two-hands or do a heck of a lot of practice. Keep some plasters around if that's the course you take because it seems to be just asking for a nasty cut.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
BODIES of extinct Ice Age mammals, such as woolly mammoths, that have been frozen in permafrost for thousands of years may contain viable sperm that could be used to bring them back from the dead, scientists said yesterday.
It won't exactly be a mammoth (not until we develop some functional cloning technology) as the sperm is to be used to impregnate the mammoth's close cousin the Asian elephant.
With access to the mammoth’s genetic code, and with frozen sperm recovered from testes, it may be possible to resurrect an animal that is very similar to a mammoth.
Half-mammoth, half-elephant is good enough for me. I wonder if it will be a blonde or brunette?
Muslim leaders summoned to talks with the Government on tackling extremism in their midst called for public holidays to mark their religious festivals.
The meeting was set up so that the government could highlight the need for the Muslim community to tackle extremism- but it got "turned around" and instead the Muslim leaders made their own demands. Incredibly the Daily Mail leads with the call for Muslim bank holidays to be recognised when the real story here, as far as I can see, is that the Union of Muslim Organisations of the UK and Ireland called for Sharia law to be introdcued to the UK for "family matters".
The Secretary General of that group had this to say-
'We told her if you give us religious rights, we will be in a better position to convince young people that they are being treated equally along with other citizens.'
We are willing to co-operate but there should be a partnership,' Dr Pasha said. 'They should understand our problems then we will understand their problems.
Sounds a bit like a veiled threat to me- give us Sharia or else. The worrying thing is that the govertnment didn't reject the notion straight away but would "consider the proposals".
A tense, tenuous cease-fire between Israeli troops and Hezbollah militants appeared to be holding early Tuesday, despite a number of clashes and mortars fired inside southern Lebanon.
Perhaps you have to turn you head a certain way, and maybe squint a little too, to make that look like a ceasefire.
The Israel Defense Forces reported that about four mortar rounds were fired inside southern Lebanon after the cease-fire.
Several minor clashes between Hezbollah fighters and Israeli soldiers were also reported after the cease-fire went into effect. At least six Hezbollah militants were reported killed.
Or maybe you just have to really want to see it?
Forty-five percent say 9/11 was a conspiracy by the American and Israeli governments.
Almost one in four British Muslims believe that last year's 7/7 attacks on London were justified because of British support for the U.S.-led war on terror.
When asked, "Is Britain my country or their country?" only one in four say it is.
Thirty percent of British Muslims would prefer to live under Sharia (Islamic religious) law than under British law.
Twenty-eight percent hope for the U.K. one day to become a fundamentalist Islamic state. This comports with last year's Daily Telegraph newspaper survey that found one-third of British Muslims believe that Western society is decadent and immoral and that Muslims should seek to end it.
Seventy-eight percent support punishment for the people who earlier this year published cartoons featuring the Prophet Mohammed.
Sixty-eight percent support the arrest and prosecution of those British people who "insult Islam."
When asked if free speech should be protected, even if it offends religious groups, 62 percent of British Muslims say No, it should not.
"Hardcore Islamists" constitute nine percent of the British Muslim population.
A slightly more moderate group is composed of "staunch defenders of Islam." This second group comprises 29 percent of the British Muslim population. Individuals in this group aggressively defend their religion from internal and external threats, real or imagined.
The scary reality is that only three percent of British Muslims "took a consistently pro-freedom of speech line on these questions."
Before the London bombings, British intelligence services estimated that one percent of British Muslims either support or are involved in terrorism. While this is mainly a peaceful and productive immigrant population, a significant number are prepared to act against their own country.
The British government believes that, in recent years, 3,000 British Muslims have returned home from al Qaeda training camps. Intelligence experts estimate that 1,200 Muslim radicals (80 percent of Pakistani origin) are currently pursuing a terrorist rather than a democratic option to vent their disgust at Tony Blair's support for America's invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and opposition to Hezbollah.
To put the statistics into context the British Muslim population is approximately 1.6 million. That means that 160,000 British Muslims support or are involved with terrorism. Only 400,000 say that Britain is their country, and an equal number believed that the 7/7 bombings were justified. Over a million of them believe that British people should be punished for "insulting" Islam. 144,000 are "hard-core Islamists". And only 48,000 out of 1.6million are consistently in favour of free speech.
The current UK total population is currently about 60 million people.
THE Government is discussing with airport operators plans to introduce a screening system that allows security staff to focus on those passengers who pose the greatest risk. [Ed- you mean they don't already?]
The passenger-profiling technique involves selecting people who are behaving suspiciously, have an unusual travel pattern or, most controversially, have a certain ethnic or religious background.
Now, to most everybody it seems to make perfect sense to concentrate limited security resources on the most probable threat. We are after all being threatened by Islamic terrorists; terrorists who are known to cry "Allah akbar" before detonating explosive belts or crash their hijacked planes, terrorists who often make videos declaring their martyrhood- does it make any kind of sense at all then to focus attention on Buddhist as much as Muslim travellers? Patently, the answer is no. Does this mean that the authorities think that every Muslim is a potential terrorist? Of course not, but how else are they going to try and deter Muslim terrorists from committing mass murder, if they don't look closely as Muslims in the airports?
Not so long ago the greatest terrorist threat the UK faced came from the IRA. Back then the security at airports focused a great deal of attention on travellers coming to and from Northern Ireland, young Ulster men in particular. I've written before that I was stopped almost every time I travelled for that extra attention. Was it profiling? You bet, and I'm seriously glad that it occurred. What would the point have been of giving little old ladies from Devon the same attention as me?
Right now, the sane and sensible thing to do is to focus security attention on Muslim travellers- because we face a threat from a segment of that group. Surely the rational thing for Muslims to do is to realise that this extra attention might be all that saves them from being murdered by Islamist hijackers or bombers? This profiling might save hundreds or possibly thousands of lives- so why the "outrage" from the Muslim community? Are they opposed to the prevention of mass murder on the grounds that they may be inconvenienced for a few moments?
I don't recall ever hearing any outrage from the Irish community about the extra security that was put in place to combat the IRA (security that included machine gun emplacements on the road to Belfast International airport, along with Army check-points to search your car before you even got close to the terminal). There was no howling about racism or the terrible victimisation we were suffering; it was simply part of the process to prevent mass murder.
If the Irish can be singled out for extra security to stop murderers carrying out their massacres, why can't Muslims?
Monday, August 14, 2006
Justice Minister Cathy Jamieson announced laws to ban swords unless sold for legitimate reasons.
Shops selling swords will need a licence, as will businesses dealing with non-domestic knives and other bladed weapons such as machetes.
So expect to see knife crime to continue with blade purchased just south of the border or with kitchen knives. And what exactly is a "legitimate use"? Well here's what the government says-
Exemptions to the ban on sword sales include swords that are to be used for Highland dancing, museum displays, historical re-enactments, fencing and martial arts.
So if you're a legitimate collector of bladed weapons you're completely out of luck. And as non-domestic knives are also included under this legislation if you want to buy a survival knife for that camping trip, or a Leatherman to have handy, you'll have to provide your personal details to the shop for their register. Time to drive down to England for the day, or perhaps go online to Ebay or countless other stores to make your purchases instead
Anyone selling swords under the exemptions would have to take "reasonable steps" to establish that the intended use was a legitimate one.
Commercial sellers will have to comply with strict new licensing conditions, including keeping records of all sales.
I wonder what those reasonable steps might include? Asking them to do a little jig, put on some blue face paint to prove that they are a reenactor? Maybe demonstrate some karate moves?
From what I can tell it won't be illegal to own a sword, just harder to buy some more. I wonder if they're goiong to ban pieces of metal that could perhaps be sharpened next? Pointy sticks too? After all, they could cause horrific wounds and contribute to the awful crime levels Scotland is experiencing. And we all know that regulating the sale of swords and the like is going to stop criminals from using blades in the course of breaking the law.
A fiendishly simple plan. Just look at the British ban on handguns and how well that worked.
Sunday, August 13, 2006
"Nazi kikes out of Lebanon"
I mean, really, a "Stop the US-Israeli War" protest where the protestors signal their support for mass murdering terrorists Hamas and Hezbollah.
Can't be the liquid only diet that's making her dehydrated can it? Unless she's not taking enough water with all those protein shakes she's been gulping down.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Blair Government Concocts Terror Threat - Scares British People Into Silence
No need to worry about Islamic terrorists, folks, it's all a plot by Tony Blair to well, I don't know what really. He's not got much longer in power so why should he bother trying to do this? So that the next PM, be he Labour or Conservative can create a thousand year Reich? Perhaps it's some ploy by the Illuminati to take over the world!
"the terror threat was entirely fabricated by members of the American British and Israeli intelligence services and other unnamed government back room boys."
Ah, that explains it then. It's all a Jewish plot to take over the world. Pity poor Catholic Blair then; by the time the cunning and devious plan by someone to take away the freedoms of the British people by completely fabricating terrorist plots (involving their cohorts in the police and intelligence services, not to mention the government and civil service- they must all be in on it after all to prevent someone from talking) he'll be a regular citizen just like the rest of us. He'll have to fear our new
Shouldn't this story be on The Onion?
"the head of the family, Ram Singh, feared that he would be targeted by militants because he was a minority Hindu and therefore always slept at the guard post in the village. The militants, however, targeted his family."
I did a quick search for the story to try and find more details. Instead I came across this version from the BBC-
Police in Indian-administered Jammu and Kashmir say a woman and her two children have been killed by militants.
They say the victims were the only Hindu family in the village of Arra.
And that's essentially it- from this take on the story we don't find out that they were murdered in cold blood as they slept or even the identity of the militants. Is there a reason why perhaps another sentence worth of information should have been left out of the story? Instead they report that there has been no "independent confirmation" of the story. I guess the word of the Police Inspector General isn't good enough for them.
More and more I'm beginning to wonder just why I should be obliged to pay for such an appalling serviee through the TV licence.
Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah says his guerrillas would agree to any cease-fire brokered by the United Nations but insists the militant group has a right to resist Israel.
In other words, we agree to the ceasefire so long as it only applies to Israel and we get to resume full scale "firing rockets blindly at civilian targets" again soon.
I'll bet the UN folds, the attacks against Israel continue or stop for just a short time, and then Israel is criticised the next time it tries to do anything about this attempt by murderers to blow up civilians.
Odd that when the British police stop just such a plot politicians in the UK and US hail it as a success- but when Israel tries to do exactly the same thing its lambasted.
Problem is, it's a complete lie. She actually fell from a swing and received her head wounds that way.
Another dead child, more anti-Israeli propaganda.
If you have the stomach for it, you can see just how "civil defence" worker Green Helmet does his job; by parading the body of another child for the world's press to see.
I don't know what's worse- that Green Helmet and his cohorts behave like this or that the Western media laps it all up? If it hadn't been for bloggers like LGF and EU Referendum, do you think that the BBC, CNN or any of the others would have exposed this blatant and disgusting propaganda? Or would they just go on, keeping quiet about the manipulation and happily publishing the results?
Just before I go- the latest from EU Referendum is the practice of actually digging bodies up so that they can be laid out for the photographers. The link he provides is currently down- capacity exceeded. Here's the quote from photographer Bryan Denton-
"i have been witness to the daily practice of directed shots, one case where a group of wire photogs were choreographing the unearthing of bodies, directing emergency workers here and there, asking them to position bodies just so, even remove bodies that have already been put in graves so that they can photograph them in peoples arms. These photographers have come away with powerful shots, that required no manipulation digitally, but instead, manipulation on a human level, and this itself is a bigger ethical problem."
As they say, this is a developing story.
And all around those homes [raided by police] there was an apprehensive, scared Muslim community.
They've got to be terrified of those international terrorists threatening to murder them in the name of Allah...um, is that right? I haven't got anything mixed up here have I?
First of all the BBC contacts a local shop owner who is appalled. He even stocks a pamphlet by an Islamic scholar which ponders whether or not bombing and wreaking havoc are justifiable-
Its 26 pages are dense, hard-going Islamic scripture - but the message is there; these are "shameful acts" that have no justification in Islam.
Well, that's all right then isn't it? For a moment there I was beginning to get worried that there might be some sort of global cult of killers inspired by ancient texts to justify their murderous appetites. I wonder how long it took the reporter to read and digest this "dense" text? He did read it obviously, because he's fit to comment on the contents. Right? And, is it just me or are there no Christian or Buddhist texts which have to question such issues? Hmm, I wonder if there could be some hidden message there for us?
And that's not the worst of it- the BBC is quick to interview the best friend of one of the men arrested, pointing out that he's a social, integrated kind of guy- obviously quite innocent of all charges against him. Heck, they even interview a former teacher of Waheed Zaman who is also convinced that the poor chap is totally innocent-
I've taught for 48 years and he would be one I would remember as a good kid.
Can't get a better character reference than that, can you? But the intrepid BBC doesn't stop there! Not content with trying to convince readers that it's all been a big mistake to arrest Zaman, they go on to visit the local mosque to guage opinion there.
Many were quick to express their frustration - not just at the arrests and a sense of being targeted, but also at what they saw as to blame: foreign policy.
While the real local problems may be poverty, education or unemployment, it was Britain's perceived role in the US's Middle East policy that made people angry.
"Muslims are getting it everywhere and if you want to know why these things happen then you've got to ask yourselves questions about why Britain is fighting in Muslim lands," said one young well-mannered man.
See, it's not the fault of the murderous terrorists who want nothing more than to kill innocent people- it's all down to Britain's foreign policy. If only we'd do what those blood-thirsty savages want then there wouldn't be all this trouble.
British Muslim groups have written to Tony Blair to demand changes to UK foreign policy in order to safeguard British citizens at home and abroad.
The letter was signed by three Muslim MPs and 38 other groups.
Muslim Council of Britain secretary general Mohammed Abdul Bari said civilians in the UK, the Middle East and the rest of the world should "all enjoy protection".
Of course they should but I find is amazing that just days after a plot to murder thousands of people peacefully going about their daily business by Islamic terrorists that prominent British Muslims should call, not for the terrorists to stop targeting innocent men, women and children, but for the government to appease the perceived grievances of those terrorists.
Surrender in advance.
By making no immediate demands for the release of the two kidnapped IDF soldiers before any cessatrion of Israeli military activity and a preposterous "long term" call for the disarmament of Hezbollah (just look at how that's working out for the IRA), the UN has handed the terrorists a huge victory.
This is akin to a call by the UN for a stop to the aggression against the Taliban and Al Qaeda after 9/11- doesn't matter that New York was attacked first, they've got to prevent any unecessary suffering of the civilian population, regardless of the consequences to other civilian populations further down the line.
This has set a terrible precendent- one that can only serve to embolden terrorists all over the world to attack their enemies, knowing that if there is any kind of retaliation they can rely on the UN to try its hardest to defend them from harm. And in the process they'll probably lose their terrorist status as the cowards at the UN upgrade them to de facto states.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
The 50 swings winded me but I still felt pretty strong at the end of it so, still with the 32kg KB, I decided to try some cleans. A few sets of 5 followed- and I was surprised by how capable I felt; the 32kg is heavy. With this done I still felt strong so I attempted a clean and jerk- the KB went up no problem. Not wanting to push my luck I stuck with sets of just 1- swapping hands as I went. In the end I lost count of how many I was able to do- and I only stopped because time was pressing.
I finished off with a quick couple of sets of one handed swings- feeling my grip start to weaken towards the end of each one.
The moral of the story? Swings are the number one way to increase your strength with kettlebells. Stronger legs, back and arms from a single exercise that improves your performance in other exercises. Awesome.
I may not look it, but I certainly feel like this right now.
Seems like someone forgot to send that memo to MI5-
The Provisional IRA has not mounted a terrorist campaign since 1997. Its associated political party, Sinn Fein, is engaged in the Northern Ireland political process.
Paramilitary and criminal activity by all paramilitary organisations continues in Northern Ireland.
And they continue to list Northern Irish terrorism as one of the main threats that they face.
In addition to houses being searched, the police have also cordoned off an area of woodland in High Wycombe. Could be a storage point? So far no news, just some aerial shots from the press of a taped off area with very little obvious police activity.
9/11 has been mentioned several times on the BBC but so far the word "Islamic" has not come up. If you didn't fill in the dots yourself you could be excused for thinking that this was an operation by the IRA or some such group.
"Police had spoken to a "good number of community leaders to make them aware that a major operation was under way," he added." Yeah, but what community? Gypsies, Polish, Irish?
The latest news is that flights out of Gatwick airport have also been suspended. A news conference by the Home Office and police is due to begin shortly. I'll blog more throughout the day as more news comes in.
UPDATE- The Home Office press conference was short. He basically said that action was taken after a great deal of unprecedented surveillance of a plot which has a "global dimension". The explosives were manufactured in the UK.
UPDATE- John Reid, Home Secretary, has just held a press conference- the terrorists planned to detonate the explosive mid-flight. Says the loss of life unprecedented. About 2,000-odd dead is my reckoning- a transatlantic flight would hold roughly 200 people, up to ten planes hijacked. Reid refers to a complex on-going operation. 21 arrested. Police reckon they have got the main players but can't be complacent. Could be more out there.
UPDATE- The first mention of Al Qaeda in relation to the plot comes from a US administration official according to CNN. Follows on the heels of an expert on the BBC mentioning the 1995 Al Qaeda plot in Manila.
UPDATE- According to ITN six houses and the wood in High Wycombe are being searched by police. Eye witnesses say one of the homes (closest to the wood) was raided at about 6 a.m. and possibly two suspects were taken away. That's in addition to the houses raided in Birmingham and London.
UPDATE- Homeland Security briefing. It's Chertoff suggeting the Al Qaeda link. Also BBC reporter in New York suggests that the city might have been the target of the attack; the area where the bombs were detonated. FBI and other US agencies have been working with UK authorities.
UPDATE- Official line from the UK is that the arrests took place because of the actions of the terrorists, but they aren't saying this means that the attacks were due to take place today. A questioner at the Homeland Security conference raises the possibility that the attacks may have been timed to coincide with the upcoming 9/11 anniversary. Seems that it was all American airlines targeted so it's not an unreasonable suggestion.
UPDATE- CNN is reporting that the flights which were targeted by the terrorists flew into Washington DC, New York and California. A US anti-terrorist expert said that the men involved were "very close" to boarding their flights. Hours, days? No exact details yet.
UPDATE- The US is sending air marshals to the UK to help with security according to the latest from the BBC- and homes in High Wycombe are being evacuated by police. Could that be the source of the bomb-making?
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
I'm not usually one for admiring cars but this BMW Mille Miglia concept is an exception to that rule. Designed to commemorate a '30s racer, this blend of futuristic and retro is stunning. There are more photos here. Why don't they actually make cars like this to sell?
UPDATE- Just discovered this page discussing the top 10 coolest concept cars. The Mille Miglia of course features- seems that it's essentially a Z4 chassis with a new body on top. Of the other cars listed be sure to check out the sleek Saab Aero X and the frankly bonkers Nissan Pivo. Who dreamed that up?
This one is for Cowboy Blob. The model depicts a character from the Simon Bisley graphic novel A Fistful of Blood; a mature tale about a female gunfighter coming up against vampires and zombies in the Wild West. I haven't read it yet but it's on my "to do" list. There were rumours of a possible movie some years ago but nothing seems to have come of it. Perhaps with the current popularity of zombie films (a whole slew of them are in production) this may yet see the light of day.
Thanks goodness for the blogosphere.
A study by the Centre for Crime and Justice Studies says there is nothing to suggest that knife amnesties, such as the national amnesty held recently across the UK, are effective.
Report author Chris Eades also warns that the government's plans to increase the maximum sentence for carrying a knife from two to four years "smacks of a knee-jerk legislative response" to media concerns.
"Government and the police lack a coherent, evidence-based, reasoned strategy for dealing with knife carrying and knife-related offences," the report warns.
Funny how they link the completely victimless "crime" of carrying a knife with the use of knives in crimes. Of course, the government rejects any criticisms of its policies. The Tories tried to jump on the bandwagon and criticise Labour too-
Shadow home secretary David Davis said today's report was a sign that the government had failed to get a grip on the growing problem of knife crime, which he described as a "scourge on society".
"It completely undermines Labour's claims to be tough on crime. We have consistently proposed tougher measures on knife crime which the government have blocked - the public are now paying the price," he said.
So the report criticises knee-jerk sentence increases and the Tories repsonse is, "yeah, we told you that tougher sentencing is the way forward." Way to listen to what's actually being said. You just know that the Tories want to be seen to be doing more than Labour- regardless of the actual effect. I wouldn't be at all surprised to see them propose a knife ban.
The key point of the report is this- "none of the government's proposals to tackle knife crime are based on any proper evidence – there had been little evaluation of local amnesties across the country, nor of education schemes." And yet that remains the government's policy, and they seem quite happy to carry on with it because they believe that it will work. The same way they believed that banning handguns would lead to a reduction in gun crime. And we all know how that one turned out.
Perhaps the solution is not to increase the sentence for carrying a knife but to throw violent criminals into prison for long, long periods of time. Regardless of what they use in the commission of their crime. While they're at it perhaps they could stop harassing law-abiding citizens who simply try to defend themselves against thugs.
The problem is that AVG and Symantec have no record of a virus with that exact name- and wininet.dll is an actual system file that's required by several applications to start and connect to the internet. I was beginning to worry when Ad-aware and then my Nero DVD-writing software wouldn't start up- it's been a while since my last back up! When I tried a System Restore it wouldn't work either- that program needs the wininet.dll to start up too.
Thanks to a very useful site called Dll-Files I was able to grab an untainted version of wininet.dll and put it back in the System32 folder- although it took a couple of attempts to realise that the infected version was being stored in the dllcache folder also. It kept replacing my clean version; it took a few restarts for me to catch that one and delete it too.
After a tense time my system finally started up without any warnings about programs failing to initialise- and Ad-aware and Nero worked. Thank the heavens.
I'm still not sure how or where the virus came from; or if it's some sort of false positive from my AVG. In any event I at least know now where to find easy copies of dll files- and my second hard drive also has a copy of Windows installed. If the virus had crippled my system I would have been able to swap the jumpers on my HDDs and boot off the second one; it also has Nero installed and ready to run. Always pays to have a plan b.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
The IRA is no longer involved in any centrally organised criminality, the British and Irish governments believe.
The key phrase here is "centrally organised" because as the Independent Monitoring Commission has already revealed, members of the IRA are involved in organised crime here; heavily involved in their own terms. The IMC then goes on to state that they cannot be certain to what extent the proceeds of crime are passed on to the IRA themselves. Funny really as they then say-
"PIRA [Provisional IRA] continues to raise funds and we also believe that it looks to the long term exploitation of the proceeds of earlier crimes, for example through the purchase of property or legitimate businesses. Some senior members are involved in money laundering and other crime.
Money has become a key strategic asset. There has been some restructuring in the finance department, possibly in reflection of the changing circumstances.
PIRA also seems to be using experts and specialists able to assist in the management of illegal assets."
Hey, but there's no real proof of any involvement in organised crime, right? As the DUP's Nigel Dodds so succinctly points out, "This latest assessment from the secretary of state lacks credibility and will be treated by the vast majority of people in NI as yet another ham-fisted attempt to bluff the community and its political representatives into establishing an executive including Sinn Fein."
And the British and Irish government would like to completely ingore the fact that the IMC also concluded that the IRA continues its intelligence gathering, lied about decommissioning all of its weapons and it is involved in the process of exiling; forcing individuals and whole families to flee their homes. Not to mention their vigilante control over whole communities.
Sure sounds like a group you'd like to have in government doesn't it? This, folks, is the other side of Tony Blair's stance on terrorism- outright appeasement to avoid a return to conflict. I'm sure that the jihadis are quite aware of it too; continue to bomb, murder and threaten for long enough and they too will be invited to No. 10 for tea and quite possibly be able to take seats in Parliament without swearing alleagiance to the Crown.
It's worked for Sinn Fein/IRA, why not them too?
Made in 1958, the movie depicts the rescue attempt in the early '70s of the first manned expedition to Mars. Of the original crew only one man has survived; who tells his rescuers tales of a Martian creature that killed the others. He's promptly put under guard and brought onboard the rescue ship as they head back to Earth for his court martial. Only something comes on board with them.
Alien is basically a remake of this film; an unstoppable alien creature picks off the crew one by one. It's simply told and very much of its time- the two female crew members serve the men their chow at dinner time for example. No Ellen Ripley's here. To add to that there's the imagery of the astronauts packing 1911s and a Garand rifle on their rocket ship; perhaps a niche appeal but it certainly works for me. Also there's no attempt to "understand" the alien; at most a few moments are spend wondering about its motives and then the work of trying to utterly destroy the beast resumes. The men are men, Shirley Patterson is a delightful female lead, and the monster is not half bad at all. The special effects are certainly no worse that the recent Godzilla film (I still can't understand why the CGI monster looks like a man in a suit?).
All in all it's great B-movie fun as the relentless alien forces the crew into retreat and they try everything to fight back. Highly recommended.
The most outstanding feature of the K-AT is the wrist lanyard which is stowed by wrapping it up through the cut-out at the base of the blade and then hooking it over a stud at the end of the hilt. It not only give the knife a very distinctive look but means that if it is being used out of doors there's little chance of losing it- a real possibility with this little knife.
The bead blasted blade is flat on one side with just a single grind. I'm sure that there's a name for this but I'm not that much of a knife geek [yet]. Out of the box it's very sharp indeed. I selected the partially serrated blade preferring to have the extra cutting power of the serrated section on a blade this short. The full length tang is knurled top and bottom at the base of the blade to provide a bit of extra hold and the urethane scales seem very grippable- feels like they won't slip in the wet. The handle shape and knurling seems to fit my hand very well- even though it's short, it's still possible to get a very good grip on it if you need to exert some real pressure.
Another feature of the K-AT is the sheath- so much so that the few friends of mine who have seen the K-AT look at the knife for a moment and then quickly enquire about it instead. It's a two part system- the sheath itself is urethane too with a hollow tube at the base so that the little knife can be carried around the neck (chain not included!). It's quite slim giving a low profile under clothing and the sheath holds the knife well- you have to press down in it with your thumb to release the blade. I'm confident enough in the design to carry the knife upside down like this and not have to worry about the knife falling out. The second part of the carry system is a belt clip which the sheath fits into snugly, held in place by a metal bar over which is hooked the line at the base. The belt clip is about one and three quarter inches wide so it should fit a fair variety of belt sizes. The actual belt loop is right at the top of the sheath meaning that the knife sits quite low on the belt, a feature that I'm fond of.
Like the Pesh-Kabz, the K-AT is not longer on CRKT's homepage- one of the reasons I purchased it now instead of another model. It's a very compact and handy fixed blade design. I'm not quite sure of what place the K-AT will earn on my kit just yet; its small size and weight would seem to suggest that it is ideal for carry on daytrips. And the affordable price means that it would also be a very handy item to keep stowed in a daysack for a "what if" situation. It's not a do-it-all knife by any means but it is certainly a useful piece of kit.
As my second CRKT knife, I have to say that I'm becoming a fan of the company; very interesting design and good quality finish. I'm hoping that time will prove that the build quality is good too. Given that their knives have a lifetime warranty I suspect that this will be the case.
Today's story involves the police search of the home of an offender already in prison for possible human remains. The body, if it exists, is being linked to events that transpired 30 years ago- policed received the tip off in an anonymous letter.
What caught my eye about the story was not that though, it was this-
The paedophile, Leslie Ford-Thrussell, 72, is currently serving a 12-year jail term for 36 offences including seven counts of rape.
Among the offences was one count of gross indecency with a child.
Ford-Thrussell who was convicted in 2004, also admitted to taking and making obscene images.
All that and he's only been given a 12 year sentence? I Googled his name and turned up some other details of his crimes-
Leslie Ford-Thrussell, began a 12-year jail term last week for committing 44 sex crimes on children aged between six and 13.
The pervert, 70, raped and indecently assaulted his victims over a 17-year period and videotaped many of the abuses.Written in 2004 the story comments that he will be at least 78 when he's released- meaning that he's eligible for release after serving 8 years of that 12 year sentence.
From the same newspaper but a different story comes this-
Leslie Ford-Thrussell, 70, attacked nine children aged 13 and under and filmed himself performing lewd acts in front of them.
Ford-Thrussell, of Walton Green, New Addington, was convicted of 37 child sex crimes at Croydon Crown Court on Friday, including seven counts of rape and 23 counts of indecent assault committed between 1986 and 2003.
His string of disgusting crimes were committed over a 17 year period and focused on children- and he might serve only eight years inside?
If this country's laws made any sense at all he would never see the outside of prison again. How many more times will we have to hear of children being attacked by convicted sex offenders before the message gets through- they have forfeited their right to exist in our society.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
Several suspected spies were shot dead in the southern Lebanese port of Tyre, witness said on Thursday.
Passengers on board an evacuation ship told medical doctor Boris Buck from the German city of Munich that they had seen members of the Lebanese Shi'ite Hezbollah group or their sympathisers killing 18 Lebanese people during the night.
The victims were suspected of helping the Israeli air force pick out targets.
Why all the coverage of the deaths caused by Israel but the story that 18 Lebanese people were murdered by Hezbollah on mere suspicion of being spies gets virtually nothing?
One of the biggest changes is relearning to do the clean. In Russian Kettlebell Challenge I learned to absorb the "thump" of the kettlebell coming to a rest at shoulder height with a slight dip of the knees. Well, things have changed- incorporating lessons learned from training sessions the new technique is now to keep the body braced for the impact. It seems like a simple little change but I'm still getting used to it a few weeks on. I find that when I get towards the end of a session and I'm tired that I'll slip back into the old, ingrained habit of the knee-dip. I'm hoping that there aren't more technique changes for me to discover later in the book!
Another big change in ETK is that there's a set routine to follow. One of the recommended sessions is the "man maker"; a series of swings interspaced by jogging for twelve minutes. I haven't done that yet; I avoid running like the plague, an effort to protect my back. I'm going to have to think about an alternative- perhaps set my bike up on the turbo trainer instead?
The other is a five minute set of Get Ups. Oh my! I've never done Get Ups before, it was just an exercise that didn't seem to appeal to me. How wrong I was. I spent one or two sessions practicing the movement; the exercise involves lying flat on your back with the kettlebell in one hand lifted up as if you've just pressed it. You then have to rise smoothly to a standing position, come back down, pass the KB to the other hand and repeat for five minutes. The first time I did the workout my shoulders burned with the effort. It's very hard indeed- and I've discovered that I love doing them, it's a tremendous work out.
Anyway, for the past few weeks I've been sticking to basics, interspacing sessions of Get Ups with those based on swings, cleans, the military press and just a few snatches. All of these using my light 16kg KB and keeping the reps up, trying to improve my stamina a bit. The result is that I've dropped 9lbs of weight in the space of three weeks- and that's with a pretty lousy diet, I've been eating out much more than usual lately. Conclusion- kettlebells work.
A few days ago I was supposed to be having a rest day but in the evening I was feeling restless so I decided to have a quick workout. Feeling like it would be short and sweet I grabbed my 32kg KB for the first time in months and proceeded to do some sets of swings. The first few felt clumsy but I soon got used to the extra weight and I ended up training for maybe fifteen minutes, ending up by doing a couple of sets of snatches with the 16kg KB. The heavy bell had me pretty much worn out so those snatches weren't easy. I was expecting to feel a little stiffness from that but it amazed me just how much impact it did have- my thighs felt like blocks of wood the next day and my obliques...well, let's just say that I haven't ever been quite so aware of them. And there's another advantage of KB training- no need to worry about crunches!
Thursday, August 03, 2006
The United Nations’ #2 man, Mark Malloch Brown, says it is “not helpful” to call Hizballah a terrorist organization.
The [Australian] government is on a collision course with its Muslim advisory group over its claim that Hizbollah should not be considered a terrorist organisation.
In a rebuff to Washington, the European Union will not add the Islamist Hezbollah movement to its list of terrorist organizations, the EU president says.
I guess Al Qaeda will soon be along to start firing rockets at random into Israel in order to have their terrorist status rescinded too.
There are also questions about the timing of the building collapse. While the IDF maintains that there was a gap of some seven hours between the attack and the collapse, there are different reports from the inhabitants of the village-
Residents' accounts say only 10 minutes went by between the strike and the collapse.
Is that so? Because according to another story, also from Haaretz-
The survivors spoke of two bombings; one at 1 A.M., and the second some 10 minutes later. However, what appeared to the survivors as a second bombing may have been the sound of the building coming down. None of the survivors said that the building only collapsed several hours later.
Notice, the very leading "may have been". Yeah, it may have been the building coming down, or it could have been another strike- or an explosion of Hezbollah munitions within the building. None of the people there may have said that the building came down several hours later- but did they say it didn't? Supposition is all well and good but right now there seems to be too much confusion to make any definite claims. What does bother me is this meme which seems to be spreading-
Ibrahim Shalhoub described how he and his cousin had left to find help following the strike on the building. "It was dark and there was lots of smoke," he said. "No one could do anything until morning. I could not stop crying; I couldn't help them."
The fact that the Red Cross in Tyre was informed of the incident only in the morning is another reason why assistance was late in arriving. The director of the Red Cross office in the city, Sami Yazbek, said that he received word of the incident only at 7 A.M.
The implication is that the building was brought down by the airstrike but nothing could be done unitl morning. Interesting that the Red Cross didn't hear anything until 7 a.m. Sunrise in Lebanon occurs at about 5:50 a.m. And if Lebanon is anything like the other parts of the world that I've been too it will begin getting brighter before that. Amazingly enough too, there are also things which can create light- torches, candles, laterns, matches even. Surely some of these devices would have enabled people to notice that a large building had fallen down during the night, allowing them to alert the Red Cross?
Or perhaps Hezbollah had to get there first to arrange the site?
Whatever the facts of the matter are it's important to remember that the IAF are investigating what happened. Because the Israeli forces don't deliberately target women and children in their attacks. Perhaps errors were made and there were no Katyusha rockets being launched from next to that building- but that's the point, isn't it? Errors. It might turn out to be a ghastly mistake but, unlike Hezbollah and their ilk, those civilians weren't the target that Israel was trying to hit. It seems like an obvious thing to say and yet I still see so-called peace protestors marching around with Hezbollah flagsa draped across their shoulders- when Israel kills civilians during war, it is a mistake- when Hezabollah do the same, it is deliberate.
And yet still the "peace" activists denounce Israel.
UPDATE- The IDF investigation into the attack seems to be concluded-
Two missiles, the only one of which exploded, hit the building on July 30. The army said that they had operated according to information that "the building was not inhabited by civilians and was being used as a hiding place for terrorists." Had they known that civilians were in the building, the attack would not have been carried out.
No word on when the building came down and I'm sure we'll never have an independent investigation into the remains of the building itself to see just what was inside.
There is also this to consider-
Paul Conneally, the Irish national who is deputy head of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in Israel and the Palestinian Authority and is the person assigned to deal with Lebanese matters, said he could not say exactly how many bodies were taken out and how many died there. He had no information about whether anyone had autopsied the bodies to determine the causes of death.
So, the Israelis thought the building was empty and that's why it was targeted. Will we ever know any more about the timeline of events at the building? What was inside? What was the exact cause of death of the children paraded before the world's press? Where were the men of the village? Are they Hezbollah? Why was help not called for when it might have done some good? Were there rocket launchers near the building at the time of the attack?
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
rockets has been reduced by two-thirds. It's not all good news though-Three weeks ago, Hizbullah had 13,000 short-term rockets. After firing 1,500 rockets Israel, and additional 1,500 destroyed by the IDF, the organization still has 10,000 rockets that can reach the frontline. The rockets have a diameter of 107 and 122 millimeters.
So there are 10,000 rockets in terrorist hands in Lebanon still. Good work by the UN (in the region since 1948) and the Lebanese army. Is it any wonder that Israel has been forced to resort to taking military action to defend themselves? No one was doing it for them. Can any other country in the world honestly say that if terrorists were firing rockets at their cities and towns with impunity from just beyond their borders they too would do nothing about it?
It is believed that Hizbullah members received an order to fire between 100 and 120 'normal' rockets a day. On Monday for example, 157 such rockets were fired, a fifth of them fired north of the Litani River, a fact which testifies to the difficulties of the rocket launchers targeting Israel.
A Philadelphia School District police officer...grabbed a 3-year-old boy by the throat after the child accidentally squirted his car with a water gun on 17th and Tasker.
Police said Bradley threw the boy to the ground and smashed his water gun before re-entering his home and allegedly retrieving an unregistered firearm.
Neighbors said he threatened them with the .38 caliber handgun...
But after hearing, a judge threw out the most serious charges, leaving only misdemeanors.
This is just the latest in a long line of stories that War on Guns covers almost daily. Do you honestly think that YOU would be facing misdemeanour charges if you assaulted a three year old child and threatened your neighbours with an unregistered firearm?