Poll of a Billion Monkeys

Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Wednesday Religious Assessment 1/31/07

Wednesday Religious Assessment

The Reform of the German Churches - I'll see it when I believe it. But just in case they possibly are serious then Godspeed to them anyway.

ACLU: Stop the Fees, we just want an equity share

Faith and Reason

Saints Behaving Badly - I read this book a couple of months ago. I personally really enjoyed it and what it said about Saints and Sainthood: prior and post.

Disuntity and Union - I'm with her. Forcing any American to pay Union dues, or to belong to a Union is about as American as Stalinism. And that should be the future of such an ideal as well.

Jew Defines Christians - Then argues, "define yourself." Definitely speaking, he's probably right.

Nolo Developo - What the poor need is more dung to burn, and a more efficacious Diet of Wyrms. Welcome to the Liberal Enlightenment of the 12th century ladies and germs.

The Hippity Hobbit - Man, Other, or all around kinda strange Little Guy?

The Spirit at Constantinople - From Middlebrow


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[Also posted at Agam's Gecko]

In the first account of the fate of the Tibetans captured by Chinese troops following the shooting of refugees on the Nangpa La Pass on September 30, 2006, a Tibetan teenager has told his story to international media after his second, successful escape attempt.

Jamyang Samten, aged 15, told his story to journalists in the Indian town of Dharamsala, the seat of the Tibetan Government in exile on Tuesday. Jamyang was one of 32 Tibetans captured by the Chinese after they shot at the group of refugees on the high Himalayan pass, killing two of them. The captured group included children as young as four. The older children and adults, including Jamyang Samten, were tortured with electric cattle prods, a treatment favoured by Chinese officials for recalcitrant Tibetans.
Samten told the AP that his group of 32 - all under 20 years old - was traveling behind the first group when Chinese border guards opened fire. Their guide told them to hide behind boulders and wait while he investigated.

He never returned, Samten said, and the group waited for three days in the snowy peaks until their food ran out and they made another go at the pass.

"As we went across, the Chinese guards started shooting near us to frighten us," he said. They surrendered, were arrested and thrown into a truck, he said.

Inside there was the body of a dead nun and a wounded man who had rags tied around a bullet wound in his leg, Samten said.

Shortly after the shooting, the Chinese government, in a statement that appeared to describe the same incident, said its border forces killed one person when they clashed with some 70 people trying to leave the country illegally. It said a second person died later. But it said Chinese forces were attacked and acted in self-defense.

Samten said his group was taken from an army camp to a police station four hours away. There they were questioned over a three-day period during which they were repeatedly hit with an electric cattle prod, he said.

"It went on until I fainted," said Samten, adding that police repeatedly asked him to identify the dead nun.
Chinese officials have declined to respond to Samten's allegations. As noted above, the Chinese story until this point involves their border troops coming under attack by the refugees, and shooting them in self defence -- which is not believed by anyone.
After three days, they were taken by truck to a prison in Shigatse, Tibet's second-largest city, Samten said.

They were questioned again while chained to a wall, he said. "A guard wearing a metal glove would hit us in the stomach," Samten said.

They were held there for 48 days during which they dug ditches, built fences and tilled fields, he said.

Samten said he was released alone but had heard from other Tibetans that the others were freed a day later.

After being turned over to members of his family by Chinese authorities he tried to escape Tibet again, this time successfully, paying two Nepalese men to smuggle him and two others over the border, he said.
The International Campaign for Tibet has more details, presumably from the same young refugee cited in the AP report. They refer to official Chinese statements to Western governments who had protested the incident, which claimed the children were treated well and released immediately. These statements also claimed that the shooting of unarmed Tibetans crossing the Nangpa La pass was a part of "normal border management." Apparently this is true in regards to Chinese border policy, as the ICT report includes new details of a similar incident one year earlier, in October 2005, from two Tibetan women who said their group was also fired upon, and that they were interrogated and beaten when captured.

The ICT report says that in the 2006 incident, approximately 13 of those captured by the troops were children under the age of 15, and these children were interrogated but not beaten or tortured. The others were treated to rubber batons and electric prods. Many Tibetan nuns who have been incarcerated for thought crimes in Tibet, have told of these cattle prods having been inserted into their bodies -- being raped by them. The Venerable Palden Gyatso, a monk who spent more than 30 years in Chinese prisons in Tibet (and now lives in exile) lost every one of his teeth, due to having such electric prods stuffed into his mouth.

After several days of such treatment at a detention centre in the Tibetan town of Dingri, near the Nepalese border, the group was taken by truck to a prison in the southwest of Shigatse (seat of the Panchen Lama at the Tashilunpo Monastery, who was kidnapped by Chinese officials at the age of six, and whose whereabouts are still unknown). ICT gives the name of this special prison, designed to hold Tibetans caught attempting escape and which opened in 2003, as the 'Snowland New Reception Center' (Tibetan facilities in Dharamsala and Kathmandu which provide services to refugees by the Tibetan Government in exile, are called Tibetan Refugee Reception Centers). Shortly after the Chinese opened the 'Snowland New Reception Center,' former inmates reported approximately 300 prisoners in detention, nearly all for the offence of attempting to reach freedom.

In the 2005 incident, ICT reports very similar treatment afforded to the would-be escapees, although their marksmanship wasn't as good:
One of the group, who is now in exile, told ICT: "The Chinese opened several rounds of gunfire on us. We thought they were just trying to scare us by shooting in the air. But then we realized the shooting was serious. Our group scattered and I have no idea about where the others are, maybe they went back where we had come from, or managed to escape. After continuous shooting for some time, many of us stopped running away and 23 of us were arrested by the Chinese soldiers." According to the same source, none of the Tibetans detained were injured by the shooting.
And there was similar treatment given to those captured, as for those imprisoned last October:
According to the same sources, the group of Tibetans was handcuffed and taken into detention where they remained for several months. The males in the group, mainly monks, were particularly badly beaten by electric shock prods, according to the same account. One of the Tibetan women from the group said: "We were handcuffed one by one by the soldiers. I think there were about 20 of them, and more came. They were all carrying machine guns2 and walkie-talkies. Since the soldiers didn't bring enough [handcuffs], they tied some of our friends with rope and then took all of us to a place where they had parked their vehicles. We were loaded into the vehicles and taken to the army camp. We saw our guide and other monks later brought to the prison. When the soldiers were trying to catch us, the monks had tried to escape. We could see bruises all over their faces as a result of beatings when the soldiers caught up with them. We did not know where our guide was taken after that. We could see the view of the Nangpa Pass from the place where we were arrested."

The Tibetans said that the women were badly beaten but not as much as the men, who were hit with electric-shock prods: "female inmates were mainly beaten with belts." Most of the group was held in detention for four months - for just over 13 days in Dingri, and then for the remaining period in Shigatse 'new' prison. One of the Tibetan women said: "We were treated like criminals. We were described as supporters of 'separatism'." She was fined 3000 yuan ($385) upon release.
There is clearly a precedent for the outrage perpetrated by Chinese border patrols four months ago.

My previous articles on the Nangpa La incident:









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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Tuesday Science and Technology Abstract 1/30/07

Tuesday Science and Technology Abstract

Stem Cells as they Should Be - Now here is a far more ethical use of stem cells. They are extracted from the host creature, no potential separate creature is destroyed to harvest them, and most importantly as I've said before, it is the host organism itself from which real cures for the individual will come. Not from alien stem cells taken from an unrelated creature. It is only basic logic and biology, yet you would think from the way the science surrounding stem cells was pursued originally that nearly 500 years of more modern medical knowledge had been lost overnight in an anti-scientific frenzy of political vapidness. Modern scientists, when they get a bug up their ass and a theory in their empty skulls no amount of evidence will dissuade them. Like Greek theoreticians, they create a theory to explain the way the world oughtta work instead of simply looking at the real world and noticing how it actually works. They make me laugh.

Zazacatla - Very interesting. Another Olmec linked city. Personally I love studying about the Olmecs and Toltecs.

Portfolio of Fuels - How much corn can Jimmy Crack crack?

The Strong and the Stretchy - Nanocomposites that do it all.

The Prize - Dang, and I was betting good money and hard science that Al Gore had done this.

Learning to Devector - A better detector is a better devector.

A Mirror on the Man - Just the ticket and an excellent idea.

Bird Flu goes Mammalian - Well, don't say I didn't see this coming guys cause I told you it would happen. Where is that evolutionary species barrier now that we really need it?

Cybercrooked - I love it. Sir Isaac Newton would be proud. Very proud.

Virtual Europe - It just makes so much sense, whether you stop to bother to think about it, or not.


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Recent Events

Pesharim - Recent Events

I haven't had much time to blog lately.

I've been extremely busy with rearranging the fee structure under which I operate. I have reassessed and updated all of the fees I charge, no matter what the project type: consulting, brokerage, writing, composing, art, investigations, security/threat assessment, or analysis under what might be called a single Operational Rubric. I have standardized all fees for various projects bringing them under a single, unified structure and system. And all fees are now interrelated in a much more logical fashion which is easier to book-keep. It should be much easier to operate now and my projects and profits should circulate much more smoothly and fluidly .

I'm also going to be selling some timber off of my lands and since I now own the old family estate my tax situation has changed dramatically and so my new tax structure is keeping my hopping as well. Couple that with new business projects and the wife and kids having been sick, not to mention our new litter of nine puppies and I haven't had much sleep lately or much time to blog. I can barely find time to work, write, relax a little, or sleep, which I haven't had much of.

Nevertheless I'm slowly knocking things out one thing at a time.

Unfortunately the son of a man who attends my church was shot to death this past weekend. Took a round to the neck and died later of his wound. The local police think robbery might have been a motive, but since no word of anything taken I have my own suspicions, given the locale, time of the shooting, and victim profile - that it was actually likely a case of mistaken identity. I think the shooter mistook the boy's car and/or appearance at that time and at that locale for someone he was gunning for and shot the wrong person. I'm gonna do all I can to assist with the case but I'm giving everyone a chance to settle down a little bit, so they can grieve and become more clear headed. It's a damned senseless shame and there's not a whole lot to work on but I'm gonna see what I can do to help. Kid was so young, and he was a good kid too. Shit like this that gets to ya no matter how used to it you think you are.

Well, I'm gonna go hit the bunk. My pastor is back from his mission trip to Russia but I'll still be helping teach tomorrow, and the girl's have piano and music to boot. So I need at least a little shut eye.
Night all, or morning, or whatever it is.


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Thursday, January 25, 2007

Thursday MCWS Briefing 1/25/07

Thursday Military/Crime/Warfare/Security Briefing

ATF: Thefts of Explosives From State and Local Government Storage Facilities

National Virtual Translation Center - Statement from Director during Congressional Testimony.

Bureau fights Gangs in City of Angels - This is long overdue if you ask me.

US-Allied Systems Interoperability - Good Lord, how long have I and my friends bitched about this, and what should be done about it? Almost 6 years after 9/11? I'll believe it when I see it though.

Laser-Microwave Gun

Middle East Cold War - In my opinion it is far from Cold, it's been a Warm War for a long time. But this does provide an interesting analysis of the current state of affairs.

The AU in Somalia

Dulmatin Wounded

Georgian Sting - My first instinct is to link this, at least on the periphery, to the Litvinenko Case. At the time of the poisoning I remarked to an old friend of mine while discussing the case that I didn't think that Litvinenko was the sole target, he may have even been incidental, but that rather that the assassination was part of a larger plot by someone or some concern to distract and/or dismantle a Private Intelligence Network which had probably stumbled across a weapon's smuggling operation while investigating something else, like the War in Chechnya. And it seems the Russians have shut the Georgian end of the investigation down. Being the Russians they would have done this no matter what the situation but it only confirms for me at this point that I may have not been far off the mark with my original analysis. The fact that the arrest was made prior to the poisoning only makes me all the more interested in the instrumentality of the Litvinenko killing as it relates to this type of smuggling operation, the methods employed, sourcing, and the delivery chain/route.

Civilian Corp - It's not really a new idea, my friends and I have kicked around this for a long time, not just with the military but with Law Enforcement. A long time ago I called the idea the Vigilants. But it doesn't matter the variety of nomenclature, I'm just awfully glad to see this kind of idea being discussed openly.

Seale Finally Sealed - Having worked quite a few Cold Cases myself I know that the feeling can be quite satisfying when you reel one in, especially after this much time has passed. But as I was discussing with a friend the other day, "The only real Justice is prevention, everything else is just playing catch-up." Better if this could have been anticipated and prevented, rather than resolved 43 years later. I wish Law Enforcement put as much effort into Crime Anticipation and Prevention, or Counter-Criminality, as the military puts resources into Counter-Terrorism.

Cryptographic Advance - I was reading this White Paper when the possibilities for a new form of cryptographic espionage technique occurred to me. The Steganographic implications are also quite staggering because it means that steganographic images used to transmit secure data could not only be made entirely unique with every image, but that image could potentially shift according to any number of factors, such as time of day, interception device, reading device, source identity, receipt identity, interpolation marks - the applications are practically limitless.

Advanced Global Name Recognition

Hacking High Definition DVD Players

Summary of Update: Amber Alert

Changes were made to the following sections: Incident Information

Incident Information: Evergreen, MT Last seen on Wednesday, January 24th at 7:00PM

Incident Summary: Subject missing from relatives residence on Maple Drive, Evergreen, Montana, Flathead County. Subject was outside residence awaiting parent. Parent went inside momentarily and when returned child was missing.Search commenced soon after and is ongoing

Victim Information:
Victim 1Loic Rogers, White Male, 3 Years Old, 3 feet 0 inches tall, 40lbs., Blonde hair, Blue eyes,.Additional information: Clothing description: Last seen wearing red, white and blue jacket, blue jeans, yellow,green and orange beanie hat, tan leather boots.

Contact Information:Anyone with information is asked to call 911 immediately. You can also call the MT Control Terminal - Justice Help Desk at 1877ambermt or toll free at 1877ambermtor visit http://www.montanaamberalert.com/

Recommended Text Page Message for Internal Broadcast:AMBER Alert Update Loic Rogers in Evergreen MT plate number: More @ montanaamberalert.com

Recommended Voice Message:MT Control Terminal - Justice Help Desk is looking for Loic Rogers.The event occurred at , Evergreen MT on Wednesday, January 24th at 7:00PM.Subject missing from relatives residence on Maple Drive, Evergreen, Montana, Flathead County. Subject was outside residence awaiting parent. Parent went inside momentarily and when returned child was missing.Search commenced soon after and is ongoingVictim 1, Loic Rogers is described as being a 3 year old White male, Blonde hair, Blue eyes, 3'0 40lbs Wearing: Last seen wearing red, white and blue jacket, blue jeans, yellow,green and orange beanie hat, tan leather boots.If you have any information on this incident, please call 911 or contact the MT Control Terminal - Justice Help Desk at 1877ambermt.

For additional information about the victim(s), suspect(s) or vehicle(s) visit http://www.montanaamberalert.com/


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The New, the Brave, and the Old

The Exchange - The New, the Brave, and the Old

First of all let me apologize, but I haven't had much time to blog lately.
I'll explain that in a minute.

Let me also take this opportunity to introduce Alang, one of my new contributors and correspondents. Alang is in Asia and I'll let him introduce himself more fully later, but he is the first of what I hope to be many International Contributors and Correspondents for the Missal. So that the Missal can become not just a National, but an International and Global Network and PIIN as well.

Alang is an artist and writer and I know him through another site. I think he is a very good artist and some of his sites are here: Old Elfwood, Narazura Studios, Friends of the Corrupt Kingdom.

It is certainly worth a visit and I hope that Alang and I can work on some art and graphic novel projects in the future, hopefully this year.

Welcome aboard Alang and I look forward to your posts.

I'm also working with another International Correspondent, Agam. Agam has already introduced himself so there is no need for me to do that once again. Given what I know about Agam and his site he should provide some very interesting posts about his part of the world. Welcome aboard as well Agam.

I'll be helping Michael of Stingray (for which I also contribute on occasion) get set up to contribute to the Missal once I get his formal site invitation out today or this afternoon. Michael has a good twist on many of his posts and I look forward to his contributions as well. And last but not least I've gotten some more military correspondents, most of whom want to post anonymously through me, due to personal and career factors. (Many of you might be aware of the current Milblog situation.) So you may soon see some posts which were obviously created in the field but which I will explain were not written by me, but will nevertheless be posted by me. I won't use the real name of the writer or contributor in these cases but maybe they will take pen-names, pseudonyms, or code names. We'll work it out however they want to approach it, and we may follow the same or a similar technique for the B-Reader. Speaking of new contributors I have a friend who is planning an upcoming trip to Rome and if that all works out as expected then hopefully he will be blogging his trip and making posts here as well, and submitting pictures of what he discovers while abroad. As far as that goes I encourage all of my new contributors to posts pictures, artworks, graphics, links to their other sites, ideas, papers, etc here as well as the normal posts they make. Anything they wish and which they think might be interesting. We'll make this place as interesting for our readers as possible, and feel free to use this site to network and make contacts as well. I don't intend this to be just another blog, but instead intend it to be a Global Network, a business, idea, and art exchange, a place to gather interesting news and intelligence on events around the world, a forum for discussing religious, political, cultural, scientific, technological, criminal, security, and military issues, and a place for debate. In addition the Missal will soon begin to partake in and even host some Carnivals. If either my readers or contributors have any suggestions about which carnivals they'd like to participate in then just let me know. We're moving into the eight month since the creation of the Missal and it will keep growing over time.

With the building up of these new correspondents and contributors, with my efforts to publicize and expand and market this blog, and with other developments I have underway I have big plans for the Missal. Hope you as readers will come along for the ride because I think it will be very interesting.

Now that I also have a couple of international correspondents and contributors I would like you to know that I eventually intend to have international correspondents and contributors in Central and South America, Africa, Western Europe, Eastern Europe, in various parts of Asia, in the Middle East, in Israel, in Australia, and hopefully a couple in Russia and China as well. So that my readers can keep up with events throughout the world from the point of view of people living and working in those parts of the world. This should also give my readers, both American and foreign a different perspective on events in other parts of the world from a point of view not seen in the mainstream media or form other sources. If you are currently a reader and feel that you would be a good candidate for being either an international or American contributor to the Missal then just let me know by contacting me.

As for me, recently I have been under a very heavy workload, have been out of town some, the wife and girls have been sick so I've been taking care of them, my bitch littered and so I've been tending her and the puppies, and finally I've also been spending time with old friends and military officers who are getting ready to be redeployed (not in the now current politically-correct use of the term, but the real definition) for another tour of duty to a combat theater.

As a matter of fact on Monday I spent a good part of the day at the house of my best friend's father. My friend's father has recently retired and has bought an extremely nice house on a golf course, but set back at one of the far holes along a very reclusive and quiet line of trees. It's almost like being in a rural and sylvan area and it is very quiet and relaxing. It's not as far out in the country as my home, but it almost feels like it.

The house itself is very, very nice, cathedral ceilings (a favorite home architectural design of mine), it's almost brand new, roomy, very nicely and tastefully decorated, clean, and I like the overall internal architecture and use of space throughout the house. It has an attached garage but also a stand alone garage with a studio room built over that, similar to another old friend's family home. My friend had invited me over after he got back in town from a training exercise before being redeployed to a combat theatre. So we had a lot to catch up on and discuss. He's like a brother to me, no, strike that, he is a brother to me, just not blood related. But we grew up together and we've known each other since Middle School. We've never quit being friends and we never will quit being friends. As a matter of fact I'm good friends with his younger brother as well, and I consider their entire family and extended family like a secondary family to my own.

I went over and we talked and rode around, got the lay of the new neighborhood, and his father prepared us lunch from what his wife had already previously cooked. She is an excellent cook and so the lunch was really good, and the company was enjoyable. After that my friend asked me if I'd like to try out his father's new hot tub, and although it was sort of drizzly and cold, I was all up for that. Personally I love going from a cold pool to a hot tub, or steam room, and then a sauna, then doing that all over again. It makes my body feel both really relaxed, and terrifically healthy and vital to go from cold water to hot water and then to steamroom and sauna. In this particular case the cold was provided by the environment and the drizzle, and the hot water by the hot tub which was 101 degrees. We sat out in the hot tub and talked for a long time. We talked out our adventures as kids, what we've done over the years, our families, the future and what he wants to do after he retries, the War on Terror, crime, Intel, Afghanistan, Iraq, what he'll be doing on last mission assignment, America and the culture and society, foreign cultures, our kids and so forth. It was an excellent afternoon. Before either of us had much realized it we had spent nearly an hour in the tub and we were both pretty pruney and starting to feel the heat and exhaustion. I was a little dizzy later on to tell you the truth.

We dried off and went back inside, got dressed and watched a show on "What Rome has Done for Us" (I think it was called) on one of the educational channels, and that was relaxing and nice as well. After an hour or so more I said my farewells to my friend and his father, got some water, and left. All in all it was a fantastically, terrific time (I'm making fun of the Rome show host) and I'm very glad I got the chance to do it. Few things in life are as good as spending time with old friends and just relaxing, which I don't get a chance to do much anymore. It's been a hard past six months or so for me personally and so I was doubly glad to have a day, or most of it anyway, where I could do little but enjoy myself.

But now I'm back at it.

In the near future I'll be writing some reviews because I've been reading some interesting books lately and I've even had time to see a couple of good films and listen to some nice music.
I'll get back on schedule starting today with the MCWS Briefing and catch up as I can.

See ya later,



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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

More Trouble in Poso *Updated*

Indonesian police raid terrorist base in Poso
Indonesian anti-terror police came under fire during a security operation yesterday in Poso, Central Sulawesi. Eleven persons were killed, including one officer. Photo: MetroTV News
The situation in the troubled Indonesian town of Poso, Central Sulawesi has been heating up in the past few weeks. The police anti-terror unit and Mobile Brigades have been making efforts to track and capture 29 individuals specified on a wanted list, focusing mainly on the Gebang Rejo district of Poso City. Two weeks ago an arrest operation was met with considerable resistance, resulting in a gunbattle which left two suspects dead and four arrested. Following the funeral of one of those killed, a mob attacked and killed a police officer.

Subsequent security operations in Gebang Rejo last week were met with a general resistance by residents, who fought police and blocked roads with rocks and trees in apparent attempts to protect fugitives still in the area. Yesterday morning security forces attempted to raid another house in the district, sparking another gunbattle which left 11 dead including one police officer, 21 wounded including 3 officers, and 18 captured suspects. The sounds of gunfire and explosions at the scene went on for several hours, witnesses said. Later in the afternoon, 6 more individuals from the wanted list surrendered themselves to police.

Police found caches of weapons at the hideout consisting of dozens of homemade bombs, 179 rifles, 1500 rounds of ammunition, stores of bomb making materials and "important documents." Poso was said to be quiet last night, without further gunfire or explosions, and schools have been closed today.

Police have said that some of this armed group had trained in Afghanistan and Mindanao terrorist camps, and that several of them are suspects in the beheadings of three young Christian girls in 2005 as well as other violent incidents going back to 1998.

Most of the preceding account has been compiled from watching reports on Metro TV yesterday and this morning, which I receive via satellite dish here in Bangkok. Earlier wire service reports here and here.

A new report from AFP says that 2 additional companies from the police Mobile Brigade (Brimob) will be deployed in Poso to enforce security. Following a ceremony for the fallen police officer, the local deputy police chief also revealed that his department had requested support from the military earlier this month.
See Indonesia Matters for a more detailed account of the violence earlier this month in Poso. In summary, on January 11 police raided the home of one of those on the wanted list. As in yesterday's incident, those inside fought back with guns and home made bombs. Two people, including an Islamic teacher, Ustad ('Teacher') Rian were killed, and four suspects detained. Following the funeral for Ustad Rian, a policeman was attacked and killed.

Police later said the raid was aimed at arresting members of Jemaah Islamiyah, and named several Muslim clerics from Central Java who they claimed were teaching their followers to conduct violent jihad against the non-Muslim population in the area. One of those named was the slain Ustad Rian, and police were hunting for another four Javanese clerics. Police said those arrested in that raid had been planning to bomb a sports complex in the nearby, mainly Christian town of Tentena.

I'm very happy to see the authorities finally zeroing in on the radical clerics who are promoting this violent jihad garbage. After all, no one is more responsible for keeping the violence going, than those whose clear mission is the indoctrination of hatred toward non-Muslims. Before the fighters arrived in the early waves of Laskar Jihad ('Jihad Brigades') to this area (soon after the fall of Suharto), Muslims and Christians lived together with good relations.

As I recall, the earliest violence was ignited out of a contrived sectarian conflict arising out of a traffic accident, and before you could say "Allahu Akbar," Muslim men (mainly from Java) were signing up with the (now defunct) Laskar Jihad to go and kill Christians in Sulawesi. Christians fought back, and atrocities have been committed by both sides in the years since. Each time communal dialogue results in a tentative peace, skilled manipulators manage to puff on the embers and get the fire going again.

Back in Java -- the home base of the fugitive "Islamic teachers" in Poso (and also home to a highly refined and civilised indigenous culture which bears no resemblance to those intolerant sort of creeps), the well known radical cleric Abu Bakar Ba'asyir last week claimed that the United States is secretly behind all the strife which has wracked Central Sulawesi all this time. Ba'asyir, who is the "Amir" of the "Muhahideen Council of Indonesia" and is based at his pesantren (Islamic boarding school) near Solo, said the troubles between Christians and Muslims in Poso are provoked by America in order to keep Indonesia weak and divided, and dependent upon the United States.

Which, after all, he's just being consistent. His "teachings" revolve around the idea that everything wrong in the world is because of Jews and Americans, and their sinister conspiracies. He claims to believe, and promotes the idea that the 2002 Bali bombings (which killed more than 200 innocent people) was caused by an American "micro-nuclear device," rather than by the massive car-bomb constructed and detonated by a few of his students. The explosives-packed van was merely a convenient "cover" used by the diabolical Americans to mask their nuclear weapon. At a crowded bar in Kuta Beach, Bali.

By the way, if Barack Obama actually did attend a Muslim school at the age of six in Jakarta (about 40 years ago), it would be a point in his favour as far as I'm concerned. Radical Saudi Wahabist pesantren (not "madrasas") certainly do exist in Indonesia now, as evidenced by Ba'asyir's ravings. But in those days the pesantren were all run by either Nahdlatul Ulama or Muhammadiyah, both very moderate and indigenous Muslim social organisations.

Ba'asyir, if he was in the country at that time (he's originally from Yemen) would never have been permitted to teach his poison under the Suharto dictatorship. He lived for years in self-exile in Malaysia, returning only after Suharto's downfall. The indoctrination of children with his type of hatred and intolerance is a relatively recent phenomenon in Indonesia, and isn't something the young Barack Obama would have ever been fed at his school (which, as I calculate, would have been 1969 - 1971).

UPDATE: CNN sent a reporter to the Jakarta school, and Allah has the video here. It's not a radical pesantren now, and it wasn't a radical pesantren when 6 year-old Barack Obama attended in the 1960's. The segment on the school itself begins at 3:40, so start there if you'd like to skip the politics on this one. Nice school, if a bit more affluent than the average Jakarta school. I love how Wolf introduces it: "We actually conducted an exclusive, first hand investigation, inside Indonesia..."

Not a headscarf in sight, boys and girls attending classes together, including Christian, Buddhist and Confucian religion students. Meet a man who attended the school with Obama -- they even found a photograph of his teachers. The comments by the deputy headmaster and the former student are both great examples of what I was attempting to get across about Indonesians, just a few paragraphs above and in the previous post/introduction.


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I''ve been invited by our kind host at The Missal to join as an occasional contributor, and I've decided to have a go at it. So here is a brief introduction.

I started blogging in April, 2004 at Agam's Gecko. "Agam" is the name I go by when I'm in Indonesia, a nickname which was given to me by local friends during my first visit to Aceh in 1990. I have lived in Bangkok, Thailand for the past 15 years. I'm originally from Canada.

On Agam's Gecko I write about practically any sort of current affairs which catch my interest, often related to the ongoing ideological struggle taking place across our world. I do keep up with developments in Indonesia (I can watch all their national networks here via satellite broadcast), and visit there fairly often. It's a tremendously important country in this current time of "hearts and minds" ideological tug-of-war around the globe, and sometimes I think it may turn out to be the key to the whole thing, at some point. Indonesians comprise the most Muslims of any nationality on earth, and they have a natural affinity toward brotherhood. It's also amazingly misunderstood in the West.

I also write about happenings in Thailand of course, which last year included a mass popular movement against our former tycoon Prime Minister, the sham elections he conducted, the military coup d'etat against him in September and the still unsolved New Year's Eve bombings in the capital.

I also have long been interested in the situation of Chinese-occupied Tibet, and frequently write about that issue. In fact, that's almost all I wrote about during last October (if you'd like to check out my archives), after Chinese troops opened fire on a group of Tibetan refugees attempting to cross a high Himalayan pass into Nepal, and killing several of them. Mountaineers provided the damning photographic and video evidence, proving beyond doubt that for Tibetans, attempting to flee the oppressive rule of China and seeking freedom in India with the Dalai Lama can result in being shot on sight.

That should give some idea of where I'm coming from, and I want to thank Jack very much for his kind invitation.


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Friday, January 19, 2007

Friday Cultural Calculation 1/19/07

Friday Cultural Calculation

Your Fault - You know, I tend to agree with her. If you can't raise children who are strong enough to resist industry temptations or children who feel they can seek out better opportunism in industries which better fit their own personal interests, desires, and values, then you really haven't raised an independent, capable child, you've raised a robot who conforms to whatever environmental standard they happen to find themselves placed within.

Live and Learn I Guess - Next time try thinking before you act too. Americans sure can be spoiled little bitchy children at times too. Especially those who have mistaken fame for achievement, or lack thereof.

What Europe and Intellectuals Will Never Understand - I hardly agreed with all of this, for instance the author obviously and completely fails to perceive that the US is not a democracy and the Founders went out of their way to assure it was not a democracy, but a Republic (as with so many intellectuals they understand neither politics nor history - thank God I never desired to become one of those) but it was nevertheless an extremely interesting analysis, on more than one point.

On the Other Hand

Free Love no More - I've read her essays before, but this was pretty good.

On Evil - I've known people who were machetied to death in Rwanda. I've always considered it a good example of evil run temporarily wild and without restriction.

The Faustian Man

BA Crosses Out Crosses Out

The Loss of Letters in the West

Marriage is as Dead as You Didn't Think

Thursday, January 18, 2007

My Bitch Just Littered

Pesharim - My Bitch Just Littered

Actually she has been littering since about 3:00 Thursday afternoon. She just pushed out her tenth pup about 11:30 PM. I knew she was huge but had no idea she would deliver that many. Unfortunately one small pup, the runt of the litter was stillborn. I never saw it move. It also seemed underdeveloped compared to the others, a couple of which are huge. And it seems as if it never blew blood out of it's nose or mouth, as if it had some obstruction there. I tried using a straw to force respiration when it became apparent it would not breath of its own, but it never took and it quickly grew cold and figured. It just doesn't seem as if it was very healthy to begin with.

I'll bury him in the morning next to his uncle, who he favored.

They range from between appearing like a typically golden colored Great Dane to appearing like a black Great Dane, similar to my bitch. It's too early to tell if any will favor their sire, my Great Bernard, although a few seem to have his body type, if not his coloring and hair length.

Most appear short haired, but they are just littered and it's very hard to tell at this stage whether they will be truly long-haired or short.

We're gonna keep one of the black pups, of which there are three now, because I promised my girls that if any favored the black Great Bernard I had who died of snakebite, that we would keep him and name him after his uncle. Saint George. Since I also named the stillborn George in honor of his uncle, the one we keep will be Saint George the 3rd. Though we'll just call him George of course.

I did a lot of nutritional experimentation with my bitch while she was pregnant, giving her massive doses of supplements, vitamins, nutrients, amino acids, and so forth (as I did with their sire) to increase the health, intelligence, strength, and longevity of her pups. Apparently it worked, but it also seems to have worked like a sort of natural fertility treatment. She's been delivering all day, but with the tenth I hope that now she is finally finished.

I know she is glad to have it over. She was a trooper though, seems to have had an easy enough go of it, never whimpered or complained, though three were breech birth, and I had to pull two of them out of the vagina myself when they seem to have become momentarily stuck in transit.
But so far she seems an excellent mother. Extremely attentive, devoted, and protective. I'm very proud of her.

I'll post pictures here as I get the chance.We're gonna sell them for $200.00 a pup once they are matured and properly weaned.
The Great Bernard/Saint Dane breeds will make a great dog for whoever gets them.

Because they are each my special animal projects and because I've so much invested in their mother and father I intend to make sure each goes to a very good home. They will also be massive, strong, and very smart dogs I suspect, like their parents.

Their sire was nearly as excited as my bitch, but she wouldn't let him come anywhere near them at first. That's natural enough of course, but he really wanted to see them so as I rotated them on and off teats to feed and sleep I took him four of them and let him sniff and get used to them. He seems incredibly excited, and also a little bit spooked. I guess I can't blame him, this is his first litter and his bitch pushes out ten mostly big brutes her first time out. He's got to be both extremely proud and just a bit overwhelmed.

Well, I'm going to bed.
Pics will come later.


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Chelan Judge Issues Restraining Order Against Wal-Mart

The Glair - Chelan Judge Issues Restraining Order Against Wal-Mart

By Jubal Wilson Guntherson
Missive News

Last updated: 12:22 PM
Thursday, January 18, 2007

On Thursday the small town of Chelan is expected to issue a restraining order against the largest corporation in the world. At stake is a huge new store, which now occupies an area in square feet over three times as large as originally projected. In addition the new store, which is initially expected to employ over 200 people could be effectively put out of business entirely should a judge rule against it in the landmark case.

Opponents to the new Wal-Mart cite wage and management concerns as the chief reasons for their opposition to the new store. These opponents claim that Wal-Mart business practices stifle wages and wage increases, promote cheap products for the consumer which overwhelm the local competition, intend to force Chelan unwillingly into the 21st century, and will employ far too many Hispanics and Yankee transplants from Eastern Seaboard areas of the Northern US Blue-States.

Proponents of the store say that Wal-Mart will employ a large number of people at higher wages than most local employers, will provide a far wider range of goods and services to the local economy than competitors can, and most importantly for all involved do not require the hired workers to read, speak English, or bathe on a regular basis.

“We don’t want that damned Wal-Mart around here, or those damned people either,” said William Snodmeister, a seventy six year old, sixteenth generation immigrant from Bavaria. “If I wanted to live around a bunch of gol-blasted Mexicans and a whole bunch of other cursing, pissed-off, shallow, damned Yankees I’d move to Florida like everybody else!”

“Besides, at my age if a man wants to walk outside on a cold morning in January and take a whiz on his Billy-goat or prize-heifer just for the fun of it, then by gumption, I oughtta be able to do that without some convoy of corporate multinational rubbernecking truckers hauling Wal-Mart crapola double-eyeballing what nature gave me or honking all over my God-given rights. And besides, like the people at the ACLU told me, they don’t pay enough and somehow or another it will interfere with my Medicaid Prescription plan that the Democrats got me. I’m not sure how all of that works ‘zactly,” concluded Mr. Snodmeister, “But if my local union man tells me it’s true then you can bet your last fat grandchild it must be true. My union man even taught me how to vote with a machine. I hadn’t even seen or knowed about any such a thing as a voting machine ‘til he told me how it worked and how many times I could use it on the same day. Worked just like he said too. I was plum amazed.”

Proponents of the new store however have a very different perspective. “We employ both of the local illegal immigrants, who if they weren’t mopping floors at Wal-Mart would be shoveling out the stables at the local dairy farm or sweeping up the floor at Harpoons, the local diner and shoe-shine shop. In addition we pay our illegals enough that they don’t have to go on welfare, can often even afford to go off food stamps, and we don’t make them speak English or any other recognizable language,” said Marticia Martin, the store spokeswoman, who is better known in the local community as Marty-Mart. “In addition we provide very cheap consumer goods at reasonable prices to the local shopper while maintaining the very highest standards of customer service. You don’t get better customer service than you do at your local Wal-Mart, it’s just not physically possible.”

“And finally,” continued Marty-Mart, “our wage and benefit packages exceed comparable packages offered by most multinational corporations operating in Guatemala, Cambodia, Egypt, and Mexico, and of course we pay double the standard wage rate of companies in France though we also work four times as many hours. But then again, who doesn’t?”

“Now we were recently surpassed on our wage and benefit packages by most Vietnamese companies, but we’re working to address those problems right now by opening seventeen new Wal-Marts in Hanoi alone.”

The legal, political, and social ramifications of this case could be potentially wide-ranging. Said Chelan County Superior Court Judge Lesley A. Allan, “I don’t know how people in Wally-Land handle this kinda thing, but round here, pretty much as far as I can tell, we enforce the zoning laws over far less important things like ‘economic laws.’”

Judge Allan continued, “See, round here we believe in the free market. And if you can’t zone that right then it isn’t really free, meaning nobody ought to be able to have it. Freedom means free for everybody, or nobody, and that’s the way America works. Besides a lot of people who own second homes around here were concerned about their freedom to live primitively in primitive surroundings. We don’t want a Wal-Mart here when the whole purpose of owning our second home here is to escape the burden of wealth that a Wal-Mart would potentially bring to this entire area. Besides, they started out with a 50,000-foot floor plan and now it’s 162,000 square feet? That’s triple the amount of goods for sale! Why that kind of thing will just drive visitors and shoppers from all over the area here. Pretty soon there will be all kind of support businesses, newcomers, and what not. Money and commerce will start flowing in practically unrestricted and then where can rich people go to escape that? No, some freedoms are worth maintaining, and a free market means that you have to draw the line somewhere against, well… free markets. Did that come out right? Cause it just sounds kinda funny to me when I hear it outside my head.”

“Well, anyhow, I’m issuing this restraining order against Wal-Mart so that they may not engage in free commerce anywhere in or around Chelan. This case could potentially move all the way up to the tri-county circuit with all of the really important socio-economic and incredibly difficult zoning problems it encompasses. But if that happens, then so be it, by Gawd! This is America and I’m not about to let something like Wal-Mart turn Washington State into some kind of European socialist greenie-headed stronghold”

The larger implications are complicated indeed. With all of the acrimonious debate on the subject the town of Chelan may soon fall under the dark shadow of revenge midnight cow-tippings and illegal possum grab and snatching. In this modern game of economic bait and switch neighbor could turn against part-time resident second-home neighbor. If that happens then Wal-Mart, President Bush, and the War in Iraq may yet again tear at the very fragile fabric of civil American culture. Only time and true social justice will tell.

© JWG, Jr. 2007

Thursday MCWS Briefing 1/18/07

Thursday Military/Crime/Warfare/Security Briefing

Murder and Gang Initiatives

Chinese Satellite Killer - China continues to develop some major new high-tech warfare capabilities. I found this one particularly interesting. What the US will be forced to do eventually is develop countermeasures and perhaps satellite defensive capabilities. Unlike the Soviet Union however, a nation that was crippled by her own lack of economic vision and capability, the Chinese communists understand all too well the very vital and potent link between economic capacity and prosperity and military capability and power.

The Assassin Email

The Digitized Camo - The very first time I saw this design the very first thing I was reminded of was pixilated white noise off of my digital camera screen. I thought the idea absolutely brilliant at first for a static design through which no energy flowed. Fixing on such a camo-ed target at a distance it struck me that perhaps it would cause "fuzz" or distortion which might make the target seem slightly askew of, or displaced from his real position and therefore a more difficult target for snipers to fix upon as just one example. Now I realize after having studied the design for some time that what is actually needed is a design which is energized to create true distortion. Here is an article about troop satisfaction and dissatisfaction in the field with the new camo.

When Good Ideas Smell Bad - This is just the Dick in me I'm sure but something smells all wrong about this, at least at this point in time. Yes, I agree it is a necessary step. It also feels all wrong. I think the flow should be carefully controlled and grandfathered depending upon performance and capability. I got a very bad feeling about just flooding most military and especially police units with more weaponry. This needs to be tracked carefully because Iraq is still Frontier's Law and a Frontier's Combat Zone. My blue sense starts tingling when I think about wide scale weapon dispersements to people and units we may or may not be able to control, or who may or may not remain future allies. I would not have flooded the streets of Berlin with new weapons after World War II to control Nazi insurgents. Not till I was sure the Germans had made the turn-around.

Border Agents Surrender to US Marshals

I don't Know Whether to Laugh, or Cry - Do we really want people like this serving, and who would want to be serving beside them if they were deployed?

Gonna BB an Idiot - Let's just say that it doesn't surprise me.

Bangladesh Crackdown

Last Stand

US Industrial Espionage and Intel


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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Lost in Florence

The Exchange - Lost in Florence

I consider this to be a fascinating case.

First of all I consider Leonardo to be one of the very most brilliant men to have ever lived, and he is in fact one of my Secular Saints. He is also the individual that I have most tried to model my own Renaissance ambitions and capabilities upon, at least as far as my artistic and scientific capacities.

Additionally I am constantly fascinated by his immense range of both scientific and artistic achievements.

Finally as many of you know I love a good mystery and an engaging bit of detective work or an investigative enigma.

So this interests me all the way around.

Hunt for Lost Da Vinci Painting

ROME (AP) - January 15, 2007 - A real-life Da Vinci mystery, complete with tantalizing clues and sharp art sleuths, may soon be solved, as researchers resume the search for a lost Leonardo masterpiece believed to be hidden within a wall in a Florence palace.

Culture Minister Francesco Rutelli and officials in the Tuscan city announced this week they had given approval for renewed exploration in the Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of power for various Florence rulers, including the Medici family in the 16th century. There, some researchers believe, a cavity in a wall may have preserved Leonardo's unfinished painted mural of the "Battle of Anghiari" for more than four centuries.

"We took this decision to verify conclusively if the cavity exists and if there are traces of the fresco," Rutelli said during a visit in Florence.

The search for the Renaissance masterpiece began about 30 years ago, when the art researcher Maurizio Seracini noticed a cryptic message painted on one of the frescoes decorating the "Hall of the 500."

"Cerca, trova" - "seek and you shall find" - said the words on a tiny green flag in the "Battle of Marciano in the Chiana Valley," one of the military scenes painted by the 16th-century artist Giorgio Vasari.

Between 2002 and 2003, radar and X-ray scans allowed Seracini and his team to find a cavity behind the fresco that is the right size to cocoon Leonardo's work, which was long thought to have been destroyed when Vasari renovated the hall in the mid-16th century.
Shortly after the initial discovery, Seracini's decades-long quest came to a standstill when authorities refused to renew his survey permit.

"We are not talking about a search like any other," Seracini told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "We are searching for Leonardo's greatest masterpiece, considered as such also by his contemporaries."

Leonardo began working on the "Battle of Anghiari" in 1505, when he was 53. He worked alongside fellow artist and rival Michelangelo, who had been commissioned to decorate the opposite wall of the council hall, which was to have scenes of the Florentine republic's military triumphs.

The pairing of two great artists created ripples of excitement in art-loving Florence, but both men soon left for other cities.



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