17 June 2004

Uh, wasn't that part of his job?


A US army officer has been charged over the murder of an Iraqi follower of Shiite Muslim radical cleric Moqtada Sadr, the US military said Thursday.


“The charge stems from a May 21 incident which took place near Kufa. Soldiers conducted a high-speed chase with a vehicle that they believed to be carrying suspected members of Moqtada Sadr’s militia,” it said.

“During their pursuit, soldiers fired at the vehicle, wounding the driver and passenger. Shortly afterward, the driver was shot and killed at close range.”

The military was referring to an incident in which Sadr aide Mohammed al-Tabtabai was arrested by US troops as he headed back from Kufa to its twin city of Najaf, 160 kilometres (100 miles) south of Baghdad.

It’s not a full court martial yet, just an article 32 investigation. Unless there’s a lot more than is in this story, I’d suggest a medal instead of an investigation. Any follower of Sadr is an illegal combatant who, as far as I’m concerned, can be freely gunned down like the scum he is.

Posted by orbital at 8:24 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

Taxes + fads = boom for con men


WASHINGTON — U.S. House members are promising to investigate an embattled government program intended to bring telephone and Internet access to schools and libraries in poor areas.

Members of the House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations heard testimony Thursday about alleged mismanagement of the E-Rate program in Puerto Rico. The nationwide program has a $2.25 billion annual budget funded by telecommunications carriers through the federal Universal Service Fund. In February, subcommittee staffers found $23 million worth of networking equipment intended to go to Puerto Rico schools sitting in a warehouse, reportedly not moved out of the warehouse for about four years.

The Puerto Rico problems are a fraction of the “waste and abuse” found during a year-and-a-half subcommittee investigation into the E-Rate program, said subcommittee chairman Jim Greenwood, a Pennsylvania Republican.

In late May, NEC-Business Network Solutions pleaded guilty to defrauding the E-Rate program and agreed to pay $20.6 million in fines and restitution.

Earlier this year, SBC Communications agreed to return $8.8 million to the Federal Communications Commission after equipment was not installed in Chicago schools. The Department of Justice has investigated E-Rate fraud in New York City and Milwaukee, and recent newspaper reports have alleged abuse in several other cities.

Gosh, a fadish government program thrown at the schools with little oversight, planning or even goals, and there is fraud and waste? I’m shocked, shocked to hear that.

Shut it down.

Posted by orbital at 8:21 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL


[source, source]

The Muslim Student Union (MSU) of University of California-Irvine has asked graduating Muslim students to wear green sashes bearing the word “shahada,” the Arabic word for “martyrdom.” The Muslim world refers to a suicide bomber who kills innocent civilians in Israel as a “shahid.” Pilots and their cohorts who fly airplanes into skyscrapers are also celebrated for their “martyrdom.” Children in Palestinian schools are taught, “blessed with shahada and honour, his soul returns to its Creator to live a different life, content with the rewards and honour bestowed upon it, a life of grace thanks to Allah.”

[… ]

It is hard to believe that the UC-Irvine would silently endorse this culture of death at its graduation ceremony, yet to date, not a single member of its administration has spoken against the MSU’s promotion of the suicide sashes. The proposed sashes don’t just represent Palestinian “freedom fighters” and their crusade against Israel. They also glorify the actions of those 15 “martyrs” who brought the World Trade Center to the ground on top of American citizens. And this institution of higher learning has chosen to support pro-terrorist advocacy while this country is at war with terrorism (or rather, vice-versa).

What’s so hard to believe? It’s California.

Posted by orbital at 4:53 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

One crack in the dam?


Last month, an attack on contractors at the Saudi oil facility in Yanbu killed six Westerners, two of them Americans. Senior Saudi officials told the world al-Qaida terrorists were to blame and al-Qaida claimed responsibility.

But tape obtained by NBC News reveals that, inside Saudi Arabia, on Saudi television, Crown Prince Abdullah told a strikingly different story about who was to blame.

NBC News translated Abdullah’s remarks from Arabic: “Zionism is behind it. It has become clear now. It has become clear to us. I don’t say, I mean… It is not 100 percent, but 95 percent that the Zionist hands are behind what happened.”

I’ll echo Backspin with kudos for NBC actually publishing a story about the double dealing of the Saudi Entity.

Posted by orbital at 12:52 PM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

We're from the government and we're here to help

[source, source]

Naperville has a unique law that allows police to ticket underage people for drinking even when they’re not drinking. All a person under 21 has to do to get a ticket is to be in the same area as an underage drinker.

In the last six months, Julie Beata, 19, said she has received two citations from Naperville police for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Both times, said the North Central College freshman, she was picking up underage friends who had had a few drinks at a party.

The law is being criticized for encouraging underage people to drink when around other underage drinkers since non-drinkers receive the same punishment as those who are actually drinking. It is also seen as encouraging drinking and driving as it discourages non-drinkers from picking up their friends that imbibe and reduces the number of sober drivers at a gathering.


Naperville has made the punishment for being the designated driver a $75 minimum fine, court appearance, suspension from extracurricular activities and your name in the paper as an alcohol related offender. And this is being done to help the underage drinking situation?

Francis Cuneo Jr., Naperville city prosecutor, said the community has an obligation to keep young people out of the company of those who commit crime.

Better to have the drunken kids driving on the road than to permit non-drinkers to associate with their ilk, apparently.

Posted by orbital at 10:32 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL

But if we reported that, we'd lose credibility!

[source, source]

On June 9, Demetrius Perricos announced that before, during and after the war in Iraq, Saddam Hussein shipped weapons of mass destruction and medium-range ballistic missiles to countries in Europe and the Middle East. Entire factories were dismantled and shipped as scrap metal to Jordan, the Netherlands and Turkey, among others, at the rate of about 1,000 tons of metal a month. As an example of speed by which these facilities were dismantled, Perricos displayed two photographs of a ballistic missile site near Baghdad, one taken in May 2003 with an active facility, the other in February 2004 that showed it had simply disappeared.

What passed for scrap metal and has since been discovered as otherwise is amazing. Inspectors have found Iraqi SA-2 surface-to-air missiles in Rotterdam — complete with U.N. inspection tags — and 20 SA-2 engines in Jordan, along with components for solid-fuel for missiles. Short-range Al Samoud surface-to-surface missiles were shipped abroad by agents of the regime. That missing ballistic missile site contained missile components, a reactor vessel and fermenters — the latter used for the production of chemical and biological warheads.

“The problem for us is that we don’t know what may have passed through these yards and other yards elsewhere,” Ewen Buchanan, Perricos’s spokesman, said. “We can’t really assess the significance and don’t know the full extent of activity that could be going on there or with others of Iraq’s neighbors.”

Perricos isn’t an American shill defending the Bush administration, but rather the acting executive chairman of the U.N. Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission (UNMOVIC) and his report was made to the Security Council.

Just try to find American coverage of this strong evidence for pre-invasion claims of WMD programs.

Posted by orbital at 8:49 AM | View 0 TrackBacks | Trackback URL