Sunday, September 30, 2007

Guardian Unlimited | Comment is free | The faith of the oppressed can topple the worst tyrants

The faith of the oppressed can topple the worst tyrantsThe conviction of the monks could still oust Burma's generals, just as a congregation was the catalyst for the end of East Germany.
Religion poisons everything, says my friend Christopher Hitchens. Looking at the Buddhist monks being clubbed and shot on the streets of Rangoon, Mandalay, Sittwe and Pakokku in Burma I thought, well, not quite everything, Christopher.Until the monks were seized or held prisoner in their monasteries by General Than Shwe's troops last Thursday night, they led the heroic demonstrations in Burma, proving a trend of modern times that organised religion is very often the only means people have of challenging a dictatorship and bringing about the enlightened political values that Hitchens holds dear.

He will know that among the many things forgotten about the neglected miracle of the uprising in East Germany in 1989 is that it all began in a Lutheran church - the Nikolaikirche in Leipzig - when a pastor called Christian Fuhrer inaugurated prayers for peace after the Monday evening service. It was a small gesture of defiance but through September 1989, the crowds swelled in the square outside the church. Many carried candles to show that they planned no violence or vandalism, the idea being that you cannot throw a brick when you're shielding a candle in the night air. The vanguard of barefoot monks in Rangoon denoted the same peaceful intention.The turning point in Germany came on 9 October when 400,000 people filled the centre of the city.

From then on, the communist regime in the GDR, among the most repressive in Eastern Europe, was doomed, although no one could have predicted that 31 days later the Berlin Wall would fall and the regimes in Czechoslovakia and Romania would follow quickly.No one had any doubt about what had happened at the Nikolaikirche. One of the six luminaries of the Leipzig protests, Bernd- Lutz Lange, remarked that the leadership was not a person, but a place. 'There was no one leader of the revolution. In fact, the only leadership was Monday, 5pm, the Nikolaikirche.'The discussions about freedom of speech, travel, assembly and association would have taken place anyway. The point is that church provided the institutional context in which to challenge the state, while the faith of so many ordinary people gave them the courage to go into the streets on that critical evening when paratroops had been flown in, the Stasi were armed and hospitals cleared to receive hundreds of casualties.

Together, faith and passive mass resistance create an inspired force that is more than the sum of the parts. That is why the churches across the GDR in 1989 and temples in Burma last week were points of ignition. I don't say it always happens - the Archbishop of San Salvador, Oscar Romero, was shunned by Catholic colleagues before being shot in his cathedral in 1980 - just that religion can be a platform of resistance and any history of liberty and modern civilisation must concede that.

There are other striking similarities between Burma and Germany The GDR was ruled by an inflexible and out-of-touch gerontocracy led by Erich Honecker. Like the aged Burmese generals, Honecker's party officials lived in privileged enclaves with every possible service and luxury, while the people went without. Both regimes made the mistake of allowing conditions where the people had nothing but their lives to lose.The GDR was a political dependency of the USSR, as Burma is of China.

 In October 1989, Mikhail Gorbachev went to the GDR to attend the country's 40th anniversary celebrations. During the visit, he made some not-so-off-the-cuff remarks to a TV reporter about history penalising those who did not change with the times. In their oblique way, the Chinese may be saying the same to the Burmese junta, although there is a difference in relationship. While the GDR needed Soviet oil, the Chinese are desperate for Burmese oil.Yet the Chinese sense the danger of this extraordinary movement in Burma and they must wonder if the course of their own peculiar political evolution is threatened by infection from their client state, as was the Soviet Union by the revolutions in Europe.

The Chinese want the Burmese situation to go away as quickly as possible. That may have been achieved for the time being, but the fire has been lit and the resolve of the people and monks may yet prevail.Much was made last week of the way the Burmese used the internet and mobile phones to skirt round the fierce censorship by the regime, often sending tiny fragments of a picture or report by text message.

 In the autumn of 1989, there were no mobile phones in East Germany, Apple had just released its first laptop and an obscure scientist, Tim Berners-Lee, had only just published his paper on hypertext, describing the idea of a web. Communication was at a minimum. Just one camera hidden and fixed along the route partially filmed the historic march on 9 October, which is why the West underestimated what was happening.I am not persuaded that the internet and mobile phone make peaceful uprising easier. In the technology race between state and the people, the state has constantly moved to control technology or equip itself with the means of spying on its citizens, as in Britain and the USA.

The Chinese first censored Google, then allowed the US search engine to censor itself, which, if nothing else, proves that a company which celebrated its ninth birthday last week has the morals to match its age.Still, it has been difficult not to be moved by the film coming out of Burma , particularly of Aung San Suu Kyi receiving the marchers in the pouring rain.

 Seeing this marriage between the heroic, poised secularity of the elected leader and the staunchness of the monks, I wondered if the Palestinians were not missing a trick. The circumstances in the Middle East are obviously different, but peaceful processions in Gaza and along the Israeli defence wall, processions that excluded the bully boys firing AK47s from the back of pick-up trucks, may well have an arresting effect on world opinion and attitudes in Israel.

But the thing that should come to us as we allow the sequestration of our rights to assemble in Parliament Square, to communicate without being monitored and to move about without being watched is that once these things disappear into the vaults of the state, we face a long, perilous fight to reclaim them.

The crowds in Burma could only offer passive resistance to Than Shwe's forces. They may look beaten now, but their day will come, even if the general resorts to mass internment and large-scale executions. World opinion is activated and on the eve of the Olympics, China must move to control him.

In Germany, the regime was restrained by the Soviet Union which refused to mobilise any of the hundreds of thousands of troops stationed the GDR. Yet the actual reason the demonstration in Leipzig on 9 October did not end in bloodshed was that on the morning of that extraordinary day, a statement was read from the pulpits of every church in the city appealing for peace and self-control. The pastors gave that message authority and the people courage. Without them, the most peaceful revolution ever seen would have been very different.The monks have been beaten and their monasteries sacked in Burma, yet they have served the cause of freedom and their religion well.

henry.porter@observer.co.uk
Guardian Unlimited | Comment is free | The faith of the oppressed can topple the worst tyrants

This is an excellent article and well worth reading. Henry Porter speculates about the Palestinians, that if they held peaceful protests then maybe the world would listen, but I think that he is misguided with this speculation since the Palestinian issue is not about the tyranny of Israel, but it is about Islam and the jaded way in which Islamists seek to convert the world to Islam - that is it is either convert or perish where they are concerned. He has not understood the nature of blood libel, and that some events that have been reported world-wide have been set up. The al-Durah case is a good example of blood libel because there is footage available that shows that the man and his son had the opportunity to escape from behind the barrel, and that there was someone close by who was filming the event. There were even people who ran past the spot whilst father and son remained in their designated position. The world turned against Israel because of this blood libel, but I think that there is sufficient reason to doubt that the boy died that day.

There has been a lot of bloodshed in Burma within the last week. The Buddhist monks and nuns took to the streets for a good reason, that is the oppression of the military junta. They had no rifles or other weapons, yet the junta sent in the army and many hundreds of people died. It is through their faith that the Buddhist monks and nuns believed that they had the means for peaceful resistance. In the long run perhaps they will be rewarded because of their faith that they will become free.

The oppression of the military junta in Burma is another form of slavery. The people are crying out in order to be released from that slavery. I pray that the Lord will hear their pleas and that something will happen that will lead to the end of their oppression.

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Arabic adverts aid Madeleine hunt | World | The Observer

Arabic adverts aid Madeleine hunt | World | The Observer

At least some people continue to believe in the innocence of the McCanns. Richard Branson has come to the aid of the couple and another wealthy man is paying for their media consultant who has quit his job in order to give help and advise them. The McCanns have not given up hope that Madeleine is alive.

Richard Branson is right to point out that there are other similar cases where people have been wrongly accused of murder. The disappearance of this child and the Portuguese investigation bears similarities to the way in which the disappearance of Azaria Chamberlain was handled. In that case, an innocent woman was convicted of the murder of her daughter based upon circumstantial evidence that should have been laughed out of the courtroom (even to the untrained eye there was a lot of difficulty with evidence that was conveniently no longer available because the forensic laboratory technician wiped the plates clean). As it turned out the alleged blood turned out to be sound deadener. For this reason, when I heard of the alleged results in the McCann case I was wondering about the samples that were analyzed, because the match was not exact and in all likelihood the DNA could be that of her sister. Fortunately, the judge ruled that the evidence was not strong enough to lay charges against the McCanns.

This has not stopped the Portuguese press printing all sorts of lurid and wild stories about this case. The stories have been fed to the press by the Portuguese police. In the past, another woman whose daughter disappeared was convicted of her child's murder, despite the fact that a body has never been retrieved. It would seem that the Portuguese police do not seem to know how to mount a proper manhunt when children disappear.

What then is the likelihood that this other child is still alive too? What if that child has been kidnapped by a pedophile and taken to another country where she is being held captive? What if this is the same fate for little Madeleine? There have been kidnappings of this nature in Belgium and in Austria, why not in Portugal?


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Friday, September 28, 2007

Getting Online Again

This is part one of the saga associated with getting online again. We deal with Telstra and Bigpond. I am not complaining about the level of service received. In fact it has been far better this time around than on previous moves where I have ended up abusing the operator because of delays in being hooked up to the telephone, or in one case having to write a long letter of complaint because of the way that I was treated because my name did not appear as the account holder. Thanks to the dumb privacy laws I continue to get treated like a second class citizen.

When we arrived at the house we checked to see if the phone line had been made operational. We have been able to dial out and receive calls. However, what we did not know was that our order could not be completed because of an error in the Telstra system. The error code indicated that the previous owners had not requested a disconnect for their phone line to take place as of the 10th September. Instead, what they had done was to make an order for the disconnect and the reconnect to occur on 8th October when they move into their new home. As a result of their error, Telstra could not proceed to connect us to Bigpond. We were not aware of this issue until we found our computer equipment, and David hooked up the modem, only to be greeted with nothing for an ADSL signal.

Today I made contact with Bigpond regarding the issue. I ended up with a young woman who was not in the slightest bit helpful. She was not able to find the order that had gone through the Internet. I asked to speak to her supervisor, and she wanted to know why, so I asked again. She asked me to hold, and I waited, and waited, and then the telephone dropped out. The stupid bitch must have hung up the phone on me. So, I rang in again, seeking the same information, and eventually, after at least two more calls I found out the reason as to why we did not have our Bigpond connection. I had to ring the Real Estate agent to get him to ask the previous owner to request the disconnect as a matter of urgency. This was completed within 15 to 20 minutes. When I got in touch with Telstra/Bigpond again I was able to sort out the activation. The woman was super friendly and helpful. In the end she contacted David and asked him to cancel the original order so that a fresh request could be made. Everything was then done on the spot.

Everyone was extremely helpful, but I must say that I do not appreciate an operator calling my husband my "partner". I find this to be somewhat insulting because "partner" has the connotation that we are living together and that we are not married (we have been married for 30 years). I did tell the operator that I do not appreciate the use of the word "partner". However, it is not his fault if Telstra is following the latest trend by getting their operators to use the word "partner". It is fair enough if I had not said I am "Mrs", but I introduced myself that way, so he should have used his brains and used the correct terminology.

So, now I am waiting until I can get back online. Part 2 of this story will be the completion of the latest of the sagas involving our move from Sydney to Canberra.

Welcome Neighbour

It is a truly wonderful experience when one arrives in a new place, and one of the neighbours comes along to say welcome. Matthew is only 27 years old, and whatever is in his past, there is just so much goodness, that I am certain he can make a real go of his life.

Matthew helped to carry the dog's kennel, and that has been the beginning of his helpfulness. He has been a really good Neighbour. He has made us feel welcome in the neighbourhood.

However, what is more outstanding is Matthew's thoughtfulness. He offered us the use of his lawnmower because he realized that since we were moving house that it was possible that ours was left behind to keep the lawns neat and trim. To my surprise, Matthew actually mowed the lawns for us. This is a truly wonderful gesture. In Matthew's words, it was his way of bringing around a fruit basket.

In all of the moves that we have undertaken since we have been married, this particular welcome has been the most touching and the most outstanding. To me, this is a young man who understands the truth of the Gospel message, even though he rejects religion at this point in time.

Ruby and Skittles, this is your new home

The trip from Castle Hill to Canberra was uneventful and the animals were well behaved. We reached our destination by early afternoon. It was time to introduce our mulies to their new home.

One of our neighbours helped David with the kennel, and so we were able to offload the kennel and move it around the back so that Ruby could be settled into her new home.

Skittles was still in her cage, and after fetching the key we were able to go inside. I placed Skittles in the bathroom (our ensuite is sufficient for the two of us), and I opened the door of the cage, but Skittles remained firmly entrenched inside the cage. When we left to go to the hotel for the night Skittles was still inside the cage. She had not budged. I left her with some of her favourite meat as well as her favourite dry food. I still had her special box for toilet needs, and she is such a good cat that she immediately began to use the tray that was provided.

When we arrived the following morning I went to check on Skittles. There she was, with her head right up against the wall in a spot that was between the bathroom cabinet and the door. She looked so cute, yet I could see that she was so frightened. By Friday morning Skittles had emerged from the bathroom. At first it was a few small steps, then she would run back into the room where she felt so much comfort. By Saturday, though, she was exploring several rooms, had taken herself downstairs and found herself a hiding place. Today, she took the first step towards her adventures in her new home, and she went outside for the first time. She explored a part of the yard, and as soon as I headed for the door, she was ready to shoot past me and to enter into her safe area.  She has continued her exploring of the house, but I must admit that I am not sure that I want her walking over my bed (and getting caught by David).

Ruby was a little bit unsettled, and she was more than a little bit unfriendly towards the removalists. However, we kept her on the chain whilst our boxes and goods were being delivered. She is now a lot more settled. Her appetite has returned and I do think she is miffed because I have not been giving her the dry food. The morning routine is also back and she knows that she must say "woof" in a certain way (it is doggie for please and thank you) or she cannot have her treats. Ruby is very protective of her new territory and she has not as yet accepted Matthew our new neighbour but given time she will settle down.

There is no swimming pool here for the mulies so they no longer have their large drinking bowl. Ruby has her bucket of water, and Skittles has her bowl of water. I am hoping that they will not miss their big water supply. At least I will be able to knit without my thread ending up getting wet!!

Moving Day - Continued

Tuesday was to be the big day for the uplift. I decided to play hooky for a while and join my friends at Castle Towers for the last time. When I got home after completing my tasks, I was surprised to discover that the removalists were later than expected. They arrived with a large truck, but before they had come to our place they had emptied the contents of the two containers and placed them in this van.

The team on the Tuesday was large, and the guys really got stuck into packing the remainder of what had to be packed. Even so, there were some items that had been missed. My two walking sticks that had been in the house were amongst the missed items. The team was unable to get the refrigerator through the door and so they decided to disassemble the doors. There were some other minor hiccups related to the removal activities but overall it was not too bad. I still think that our move with Independent Removals was the absolute worst that we had ever had to endure.

After the removalists had finished we went around picking up all the odd bits and pieces that we could find. These were mostly items that were going to be taken to the tip the next morning. At last we were able to leave the house and head back to the hotel. We were so very tired, sore and stiff.

The next morning I waited at the house for the arrival of the man to clean the curtains, and to speak to Alberto the cleaner. I gave a front door key to a friend so that he could let in the carpet cleaner the next day. Alberto was supposed to start early in the morning but he had some unexpected appointments. He came around midday, and then he stayed until after 7.00 that night. We had a call from Phillip because some leaking of water was discovered. We realized that this was the result of the water being sloshed about in the bathrooms upstairs. The water leakage dried out.  After David had been to the tip we had to load up the kennels and the animals into our respective cars for the trip to Canberra.

Ruby the dog went in David's car. She was hiding when he arrived from the tip, and I had get her lead attached to her collar. That was achieved, and it was time to get her into the car. Ruby sat down and refused to budge, but we finally managed to lift her into the car. I had already rounded up Skittles and placed her in the cat transport cage in preparation for the trip. I loaded her into my car, and finally we were ready to leave and head to Canberra.

Skittles began to make the loudest noise that comes out of her, which really showed her fear, and she continued until we hit the M7. She was very quiet for the remainder of the trip, and I was genuinely surprised to discover that she was in fact awake when we made a stop for a refill of petrol.

Moving Day has arrived - The Packers were Irish

The purchase for our new house finally went through without a hitch (only a few small hiccups). So, everything was in place for the move. It had been arranged that we were to have three days for the move, the first pre-pack day was to be the Friday, and another on the Monday, with removal of goods set for the Monday and Tuesday.

On the Friday I had a doctor's appointment for first thing in the morning, and David had to go and collect his car after it had been repaired due to the actions of a stupid woman who ran into the back of his car. He arrived home first and told them to go ahead and pack everything. He did not specify to them that they should not touch our bedroom.

To my surprise, when I went upstairs with the supervisor, I discovered that the Irish woman had packed up everything in our bedroom. All of the dressing table and bedside table drawers were empty. Even my dirty clothing had been packed into a box and simply labeled clothing. It was just as well that I do not keep my medication beside my bed because she would have packed my essential medications.

As a result of this I was concerned about my pearls that had been lying on the bedside table. So far I have discovered the necklace and the bracelet but the earrings are still missing. I have emptied a few boxes, recovered my jewelry boxes, but the pouch containing the pearls in the first place has not turned up just yet. Until that turns up and I find the earrings I feel quite anxious.

However, this is only the beginning of the tale about how Irish these packers really were, and yes, they were of Irish nationality. As I unpacked some of these boxes, it was to my amazement and amusement that I discovered that some long forgotten nail clippings had been packed with the rest of the contents of my bedside chest. I must admit that I am both flabbergasted and amused that the nail clippings were packed.

David had written a letter to the parish priest of our parish stating that we were leaving and that we would be ending our envelope contributions. He stated in that letter that the Sunday would be the last day for the contributions. Then he realized that the envelopes had been packed. So, on the Sunday I had to tell the parish priest that we would send the envelope to him because of the situation. However, I then went home and started getting into the boxes in our bedroom, and to my delight, I found the envelopes, and so I raced up to the church and handed the envelope to the Fr. John. At the same time, and I admit it resulted from my amusement over what he had to say about the fantastic win the Eels had over the Canterbury Bulldogs, and his further comment about the upcoming match against Melbourne Storm that I challenged him to a bet. However, I was not able to follow up with the challenge because I was busy on the Sunday and had to close down the computer on the Monday.

The next surprise about these Irish packers is that they packed everything (including items that packers and removalists do not normally take with them), and that included laundry powder and liquids, as well as the bathroom items. We had made the decision that since the packers had packed up our bedroom that we might as well make an extra night's booking in the hotel and let them pack up our bedding. All of our bedroom furniture was removed on the Monday.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

North Korean Nukes in Syria(?)

One Free Korea is following this major international development.
Read the whole thing.
Here's the latest from The Washington Post:

North Korea may be cooperating with Syria on some sort of nuclear facility in Syria, according to new intelligence the United States has gathered over the past six months, sources said. The evidence, said to come primarily from Israel, includes dramatic satellite imagery that led some U.S. officials to believe that the facility could be used to produce material for nuclear weapons.

The new information, particularly images received in the past 30 days, has been restricted to a few senior officials under the instructions of national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley, leaving many in the intelligence community unaware of it or uncertain of its significance, said the sources, who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Kim Jong Il's regime denounced the attacks on Syria in a rare statement.

The discarded Israeli fuel tanks were found in a field in Turkey as shown in Turkish papers and here on Iran Press TV.

YNET News reported that Turkish intelligence assisted Israel in the attack on Syria(?)

Here's another photo of a discarded fuel tank from YNET News.

Former UN Ambassador John Bolton said that North Korea was warned about selling its nuclear material:

US President George Bush warned North Korea last year against transferring nuclear material to Syria, Iran or a terrorist organisation, saying such a move would be perceived as a "grave threat," according to a former senior government official.

In a telephone conversation with the Israeli daily, Haaretz, former US ambassador to the UN, John Bolton, said Bush had issued the warning because the administration feared North Korea could be using Syria and Iran as "safe havens" for its nuclear activity.

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Al Qaeda-Linked Iraqi Arrested Trying to Enter US from Peru

Peruvian authorities arrested ten Iraqis trying to enter the US from Peru.
One of the Iraqis is thought to have links to Al Qaeda.
Global Incident Map and the Washington Times reported:

By Kelly Hearn - LIMA, Peru — Ten Iraqi citizens with forged passports and documents are in a Peruvian prison after an apparent bid to enter the United States on a flight to Los Angeles, officials here say.

An 11th Iraqi man thought to be part of the group is at large.

One of the men arrested is thought to have links to al Qaeda, said Peruvian National Police Col. Roberto Lujan, who is leading the investigation.

The capture of the 10 in this Andean nation raises the specter of a smuggling ring that could touch neighboring Ecuador.

The plot unfolded on June 21, when three Iraqis entered Jorge Chavez International Airport in Lima attempting to board a flight to Los Angeles.

Airline officials alerted police after two of the men holding Dutch passports could not speak Dutch. Citizens of the Netherlands are not required to hold a visa to enter the United States.

Police detained the suspects and learned that another group of Iraqis had been en route to the airport.

"The others were slowed by traffic on their way to the airport," Col. Lujan said. "When they arrived, they apparently saw what was happening and left."

None of the three Iraqis arrested in the airport spoke Spanish. One gave police the name of a 40-year-old Spanish-speaking Iraqi citizen named Rafid Joboo Pati, the group"s reputed leader.

Police said the Iraqis entered Peru on May 11 and passed through the Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Ecuador without authorities noticing that their documents were fake.

Peruvian intelligence units spent several days watching Mr. Pati, who was residing in the upscale Lima neighborhood Miraflores, Col. Lujan said. Others thought to be part of the smuggling ring also were watched.

On the night of July 17, police raided three apartments where the suspects were living and arrested seven persons, including Mr. Pati.

Mr. Pati confirmed that all of the suspects were Iraqis. Two had Dutch passports, two carried Ecuadoran identification and two held Iraqi passports, police said. Mr. Pati carried an Ecuadoran passport, Col. Lujan said.
Rantburg noticed the interesting set of ages of those detained Iraqis:

On the night of July 17, police raided three apartments where the suspects were living and arrested seven persons, including Mr. Pati. Mr. Pati confirmed that all of the suspects were Iraqis. Two had Dutch passports, two carried Ecuadoran identification and two held Iraqi passports, police said. Mr. Pati carried an Ecuadoran passport, Col. Lujan said. Those detained are brothers Dane-K-Mansour, 26, and Nail Mansour, 29, Mushtaq-y-Hana, 24, Loayi-s-Elda, 29, Jaboo Pati-Rafid, 40, Adelmika Homow, 61, Salema Hazim, 53, Ala Tomina, 30, Istab Hekmat, 28, and Rafid Joboo Pati, 40.

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South Korean hostages told 'convert or die'

Da'wa: the intensive course. "Some kidnappers threatened us with death at gunpoint to force us to follow them in chanting their Islamic prayer for conversion."



More on this story. "S Koreans told 'convert or die,'" from the BBC (thanks to all who sent this in):



A group of South Koreans held hostage by Taleban militants in Afghanistan have said they were beaten and ordered at gunpoint to convert to Islam.

At a news conference in Seoul, the former captives also said they were made to work "like slaves" during their six-week ordeal.



Twenty-one members of the group were freed last month following an agreement between South Korea and the captors.



Two of the hostages - all Christian aid workers - had already been killed.



Beaten and kicked



The former hostages said they feared for their lives at times when their captors turned violent.



"We were beaten with a tree branch or kicked around. Some kidnappers threatened us with death at gunpoint to force us to follow them in chanting their Islamic prayer for conversion," said Jae Chang-hee.



"I was beaten many times. They pointed a rifle and bayonet at me and tried to force me to convert."



He said the group "lived like slaves. We had to level the ground for motorbikes, and get water and make a fire".



Another of the group, Yu Jung-hwa, described how she thought she was going to die.



"The most difficult moment, when I had a big fear of death, was when the Taleban shot [a] video.



"All 23 of us leaned against a wall and armed Taleban aimed their guns at us, and a pit was before me.



"They said they will save us if we believe in Islam. I almost fainted at the time and I still cannot look at cameras," she said.

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Arabs blame US for terror rise

Don't fight back! If you just lie down and let yourself be conquered and subjugated, all will be well. That's essentially the message here. And the views expressed here are by no means unique to the Arabs; they are quite common in the U.S. also. Rashwan's statement, "Al-Qaeda has changed from a medium-sized group to a big network; it has become a franchise and a model for potential self-recruiting terrorists," is absurd on numerous ways. For one thing, the group already demonstrated in the 1990s a capacity to attack on an international level. But even worse is the idea that the U.S. response to 9/11, being responsible for a buildup, is therefore wrong in itself. Certainly, as we have often argued here, it has not been pursued as it should have, but the answer is decidedly not to make no response at all. Imagine an article in 1943 tut-tutting that the U.S. response to Pearl Harbor had led to the Japanese Navy growing from a medium-sized to a large force.



By Samia Hosny for DPA (thanks to all who sent this in):



Cairo - Some six years after the September 11 terrorist attacks in New York and Washington, many in the Arab world say the US-led "war on terror" is spurring terrorism everywhere and that the world is less safe as a result.

The resurgence of al-Qaeda is blamed by many Arabs on the United States, with recent foiled bomb plots in Germany, deadly terror attacks in Algeria, the latest video release by Osama bin Laden as well as the undiminishing daily violence in Iraq and Afghanistan winning yet more converts to this viewpoint.



"The world is much worse than it was before the war on terror," said Egyptian terrorism expert Dia Rashwan. The US-led campaign "created two main hotbeds for terrorism: Iraq and Afghanistan," Rashwan says.



According to Rashwan, the war on terror has given the al-Qaeda network and its ideological brethren ammunition to legitimize their terror ideology and continue their media campaign for the hearts of Muslim youths.



"Al-Qaeda has changed from a medium-sized group to a big network; it has become a franchise and a model for potential self-recruiting terrorists," Rashwan says.



The apparent failure of US strategy in Iraq combined with a comeback of the Taliban in Afghanistan are creating a general feeling of "schadenfreude" in the Arab world.

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US: Syria on nuclear watch list; North Koreans were in Syria

1938 Alert, and an update on this story from the Associated Press:



North Koreans were in Syria and Damascus may have had contacts with "secret suppliers" to obtain nuclear equipment, a senior US nuclear official said Friday.


Andrew Semmel, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation policy, did not name the suppliers, but said there were North Koreans in Syria and that he could not exclude that the network run by disgraced Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan may have been involved.


Semmel was responding to questions about an Israeli air strike in northern Syria last week.


Neither side has explained what exactly happened, but a US government official
confirmed that Israeli warplanes were targeting weapons from Iran and destined for Hizbullah in Lebanon.


The Washington Post reported Thursday that Israel had gathered satellite imagery showing possible North Korean cooperation with Syria on a nuclear facility.


Semmel, who is in Italy for a meeting Saturday on the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, said that Syria was certainly on the US nuclear "watch list."


"There are indicators that they do have something going on there," he said. "We do know that there are a number of foreign technicians that have been in Syria. We do know that there may have been contact between Syria and some secret suppliers for nuclear equipment. Whether anything transpired remains to be seen."


"So good foreign policy, good national security policy, would suggest that we pay very close attention to that," he said. "We're watching very closely. Obviously, the Israelis were watching very closely."


Asked if the suppliers could have been North Koreans, he said: "There are North Korean people there. There's no question about that. Just as there are a lot of North Koreans in Iraq and Iran."


Asked if the so-called Khan network, which supplied nuclear technology to Iran,
Libya and North Korea, could have been involved, he said he "wouldn't exclude" it.

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"Many U.S. Muslim groups viewed as moderate by the Justice Department and other government agencies secretly are linked to the pro-terrorist Muslim Brotherhood"

At last the truth -- the truth we have repeated here for years -- is coming out. "Inside the Ring," by Bill Gertz in the Washington Times (thanks to Matthew):



The international Sunni jihadist group Muslim Brotherhood set up numerous U.S. front groups since the 1990s that should be regarded as hostile and a threat to the United States, a Pentagon Joint Staff analyst said.

Stephen Caughlin, a lawyer and military intelligence specialist on the Joint Staff, stated in a Sept. 7 memorandum that many U.S. Muslim groups viewed as moderate by the Justice Department and other government agencies secretly are linked to the pro-terrorist Muslim Brotherhood. The groups also are engaged in influence and deception operations designed to mask their true aims, he said.



Documents entered into evidence in the federal terrorism trial in Dallas of the Holy Land Foundation, a charity charged with illegally funding the Palestinian Hamas terrorist group, reveal new security threats from a network of more than 29 U.S. Muslim groups.



"These documents are beginning to define the structure and outline of domestic jihad threat entities, associated nongovernmental organizations and potential terrorist or insurgent support systems," Mr. Caughlin said.



Specifically, a 1991 Muslim Brotherhood memorandum "describes aspects of the global jihad's strategic information warfare campaign and indications of its structure, reach and activities," Mr. Caughlin said.



The Muslim Brotherhood memo on organizing Muslims in North America said that all members "must understand their work in America is a kind of grand jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within, and 'sabotaging' its miserable house by their hands and the hands of believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions."



Mr. Caughlin said in his memo that "consequently, outreach strategies must be adjusted in the face of credible information that seeming Islamic humanitarian or professional nongovernmental organizations may be part of the global jihad with potential for being part of the terrorist or insurgent support system," he said.



Mr. Caughlin said the 1991 memorandum identifies the Islamic Society of North America (ISNA) as part of the Muslim Brotherhood. The ISNA, one of more than 300 unindicted co-conspirators in the Holy Land Foundation trial, recently became a subject of controversy among officials who opposed the Justice Department's participation in a conference held last month, despite opposition from two members of Congress.



In August, Rep. Peter Hoekstra, Michigan Republican, and Rep. Sue Myrick, North Carolina Republican, wrote to Attorney General Alberto R. Gonzales to oppose the Justice Department's attendance at the ISNA conference in Chicago as a "grave mistake" because it would legitimize a group with "extremist origins."



The Justice Department said in response that its participation at the Labor Day weekend meeting was part of "outreach efforts ... to educate the public about how the department works to protect religious freedom, voting rights, economic opportunity, and many other rights."



Mr. Caughlin warned in his memo that such outreach "can cause those responsible for its success to so narrowly focus on the outreach relationship that they miss the surrounding events and lose perspective."



"This could undermine unity of effort in homeland security, lead to potential for embarrassment for the [U.S. government] and legitimize threat organizations by providing them domestic sanctuary."



No war of Ideas



Sen. Joe Lieberman pressed senior U.S. intelligence and security officials this week on what the Bush administration is doing to counter the ideology of Islamic extremism domestically and internationally.



The answer from the top officials: Not much.



Mr. Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said during a hearing Monday that a war of ideas is needed to counter Islamic extremists.



"Because this is a war, but it is ultimately a war against, and with, an ideology that is inimical to our own values of freedom and tolerance and diversity," the Connecticut independent said.



FBI Director Robert S. Mueller III revealed during the hearing that the FBI has no counterideology response other than its "outreach" to Muslim-American communities so they "understand the FBI" and address "the radicalization issue," he said.



Asked whether the FBI has a responsibility to wage a battle of ideas within U.S. Muslim-American communities, Mr. Mueller said: "You put that where I would say no, that it would not be our responsibility for any religion to engage in the war of ideas."



The FBI's responsibility, he said, is "to explain that once one goes over the line and it becomes not a war of ideas but a criminal offense, this is what you can expect, and to elicit the support of those in whatever religious community to assist us in assuring that those who cross that line are appropriately investigated and convicted."



The comment shows that despite the creation of a dedicated FBI intelligence-gathering branch, the bureau remains limited to investigation and law enforcement.



Retired Vice Adm. Scott Redd, head of the National Counterterrorism Center who has a strategic operational role in countering terrorism, said one of the "four pillars" of the U.S. war strategy is the "war of ideas," but he noted that there is no "home office" for that effort in the United States.



Retired Vice Adm. Mike McConnell, director of national intelligence, said the intelligence community does not conduct any battle of ideas against terrorists in the United States unless there is a foreign connection.



Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff also said nothing is being done domestically to battle Islamist extremist ideas. The department's incident management team, he said, is focused on civil rights or civil liberties — not fighting terrorists' ideology.



Ain't that the truth. Where is the new Radio Free Europe, where is the new Voice of America, to broadcast into the Islamic world against the jihad ideology?



Fighting the war of ideas -- that is the primary focus of my new book. But I see hardly anyone else working in this area.

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Police: Michigan med student with AK-47 in park claims to be Hizballah member

zorkot005.png



Possibly a major terror attack averted in Detroit. The above image is from Houssein Zorkot's website (thanks to all who sent this in), via HotAir:



An update on this story. "Police Prevent Terrorist Attack in Michigan," from WLNS.com (thanks to Jeffrey Imm):



Federal authorities in Dearborn may have stopped a planned terrorist attack and mass murder before it happened. Police got a tip that a 26-year-old medical student was planning an attack, and when they stopped him in a Dearborn park, he had an AK-47 assault rifle and was dressed in black military style clothing. He also had black makeup on his face as he climbed into an SUV with the loaded weapon. The man was arrested and is facing several felony charges. Police say he has a website where he claims to be a member of the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah.


More in this video.

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Friday, September 14, 2007

Global warming? It's natural, say experts

Global warming? It's natural, say experts | the Daily Mail

I have not involved myself in the global warming debate because I happen to think that what we are experiencing is a natural phenonemon. It seems that even though I am not an expert in the field, and in fact I have no expertise whatsoever, I am not alone with this opinion:

Global warming? It's natural, say experts

by BARRY WIGMORE - More by this author » Last updated at 22:36pm on 13th September 2007

Comments Comments (13)

Some scientists have suggested global warming is due to a natural 1,500-year cycle

Global warming is a natural event and the effects are not all bad, two respected researchers claimed yesterday.

Authors Dennis Avery and Fred Singer looked at the work of more than 500 scientists and argue that these experts are doubtful the phenomenon is caused by man-made greenhouse gases.

Climate change is much more likely to be part of a cycle of warming and cooling that has happened regularly every 1,500 years for the last million years, they say.

And the doom and gloom merchants, who point to the threat to the polar bear from the melting North Pole, are wrong, the authors say.

Even if our climate is changing, it is not all bad, they suggest, because past cold periods have killed twice as many people as warm periods. Mr Avery said: "Not all of these researchers who doubt man-made climate change would describe themselves as global warming sceptics but the evidence in their studies is there for all to see.

"Two thousand years of published human histories say that the warm periods were good for people.

"It was the harsh, unstable Dark Ages and the Little Ice Age that brought bigger storms, untimely frost, widespread famine, plagues and disease."

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flood

Recent flooding in the UK has fuelled fears about global warming, but scientists are debating what has caused it

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Mr Singer said: "We have a greenhouse theory with no evidence to support it, except a moderate warming turned into a scare by computer models whose results have never been verified with real-world events.

"The models only reflect the warming, not its cause."

The most recent global warming was between 1850 and 1940, the authors say, and was therefore probably not caused by man-made greenhouse gases.

Historical evidence of the natural cycle includes a record of floods on the Nile going back 5,000 years; Roman wine production in Britain in the first century AD; and thousands of museum paintings that portray sunnier skies during what is called the Medieval Warming, and more clouds during the Little Ice Age.

The authors looked at a raft of studies which, they claim, undermine the "scare-mongering" by those blaming man for destroying the planet.

In the current warming cycle, they say there is evidence that storms and droughts have been fewer and milder; corals, trees, birds, mammals and butterflies have adapted well; and sea levels are not rising significantly.

bear

Polar bears are threatened by global warming

Mr Avery is a fellow of the Hudson Institute, an independent U.S. thinktank that tends to side with big business.

He was a senior agricultural analyst at the State Department when Ronald Reagan was president. Mr Singer is a climate physicist.

The pair spent months analysing scientific reports for their book, Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1,500 Years, to counter claims made by former U.S. Vice President Al Gore in his film An Inconvenient Truth.

They argue that variations in the Sun's radiation have far more influence on our climate than humans.

Mr Singer said: "This can all be explained by the Sun's activity."

He added: "The number of the Sun's cosmic rays hitting the Earth affect the number of low, cooling clouds that reflect solar heat back into space, amplifying small variations in the intensity of the Sun."

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

DNA expert urges caution over evidence - Maddie McCann

DNA expert urges caution over evidence - Telegraph

The world's leading expert in DNA cast doubt on a key facet of the alleged forensic evidence against Kate and Gerry McCann last night as he offered to act as an expert witness for the couple.

Sir Alec Jeffreys, who invented DNA fingerprinting, said a match did not necessarily demonstrate a person's guilt or innocence.

It follows claims that DNA samples matched to Madeleine had been found in her parents' hire car and holiday apartment. Sources said the traces were being treated by Portuguese detectives as strong evidence that Madeleine's body was placed in the car.

However, Sir Alec told BBC's Newsnight programme: "There are no genetic characters in Madeleine that are not found in at least one other member of the family.

"So then you have an incomplete DNA profile that could raise a potential problem in assigning a profile to Madeleine given that all other members of that family would have been in that car."

Sir Alec, 57, added: "DNA testing seeks to establish whether DNA sample A from a crime scene came or did not come from individual B.

"So if you get a match there's very strong evidence that it did come from B. It is then up to investigators, the courts and all the rest of it to work out whether that connection is relevant or not.

"So DNA doesn't have the words innocence or guilt in it - that is a legal concept. What it seeks to establish is connections and identifications."

Off-camera, Sir Alec said he was prepared to act as a witness for the McCanns.

His caution came as a leading genetics expert also called into question the value of DNA evidence in its own right. Dr Paul Debenham, a member of the advisory body the Human Genetics Commission, said there could be legitimate reasons as to how DNA from Madeleine found its way into the hire car.

Prosecutors would need to establish that it got there as part of a criminal process and not through chance contact, he said.

Dr Debenham said: "With the current highly sensitive DNA methodologies we can deposit DNA as a trace amount just from contact with a fabric. And that fabric can touch another surface where the DNA is passed on.

"So there is a situation where there is a legitimate or a possible explanation as to how the DNA got on the back seat despite the individual not being there, but through some legitimate transfer of garments, clothes or soft toy.

"It questions the value of that particular evidence in interpreting what happened."



I have already made the comment that I think that this is the Azaria/Lindy Chamberlain case redux, because I see a similar turn in the course of events. The Portuguese police seem to be of the opinion that they need to get a resolution on this case, and they have started pursuing a course of action that is based upon the flimsiest of evidence. In the Chamberlain case, the prosecution built up their case against Lindy Chamberlain based a work up by a forensic laboratory technician who identified what turned out to be sound deadener and coca cola stains as traces of blood belonging to Azaria. Based upon this forensic testing result, Lindy was charged with murdering her baby by slitting the child's throat, even though Azaria's body was not found. Madeleine McCann is classified as a missing child. Her body has not been found, yet the Portuguese police have come to the conclusion that Kate McCann must have overdosed her child with a sedative, hidden the body for almost a month and then Gerry McCann disposed of the body. These conclusions are based upon DNA samples in a car that the McCanns hired after Maddie had disappeared. There is a claim that specks of blood were found in the car and that this blood belonged to Maddie. If Maddie was dead for so long prior to be "dumped" then surely it would not be possible for her blood to be found in that car for obvious reasons. The real experts have cast doubt upon the DNA findings for other reasons, so at least I could be on the right track in thinking that there is something very wrong with the way in which the Portuguese police are handling the investigation.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Police in Turkey defuse explosives found in minibus

Police in Turkey defuse explosives found in minibus - CNN.com

There are times when it is not the Jihadis who are responsible for bombs or attempted bombing. In Turkey the threat comes from the separatist Kurds, who are probably Islamists anyway.


Bomb experts said the materials were similar to those seized in the past from Kurdish separatists. Turkey accuses Kurdish rebels of smuggling hundreds of pounds of explosives into the country from neighboring Iraq, where the guerrillas have been based for decades. Turkey is pressuring Iraq and the United States to crack down on the group in Iraq, threatening to do the job itself if others do not.

If authorities determine that rebels belonging to the separatist Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, were behind the plot, that could fuel debate about whether to stage a cross-border offensive to eliminate the threat -- despite strong objections from the United States and Iraq against such a unilateral military move.

The guerrillas have staged numerous bombings and suicide attacks in the past, but the bomb discovered Tuesday was the largest ever linked to the Kurdish rebels.

The governor's office said police found sacks of bomb-making materials, including chemicals and gas canisters connected to a mobile phone -- the method often used by Kurdish rebels in roadside bombing against troops in the country's Kurdish-dominated southeast near the Iraqi border. The type of the chemicals was not revealed.

"A possible disaster has been prevented," Gov. Kemal Onal told reporters.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007

BBC NEWS | UK | Prosecutor to get Madeleine file

BBC NEWS | UK | Prosecutor to get Madeleine file

It is a tense situation for the McCanns because the Portuguese police seem to think that they have evidence of a crime. However, I believe that they are barking up the wrong tree and that they are failing in their duty of finding the little girl. There are a lot of reasons to doubt their evidence that they have accumulated.

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Chickenhawk Express: The Left Reacts to Osama's Video

Chickenhawk Express: The Left Reacts to Osama's Video

Robin has done a very good job here with a roundup of the attitude of the moonbats who cannot manage to drag their heads out of the sand in order to face reality.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Israeli neo-Nazi ring caught after attacks on synagogues

Israeli neo-Nazi ring caught after attacks on synagogues | Israel and the Middle East | Guardian Unlimited

The emigrated to Israel from Russia, under what must be considered very generous provision by the Israeli government. However, this group of neo-Nazi thugs have decided to emulate Hitler and they have a real hatred of the Jews. The leader of the gang had a grandfather who was Jewish and this gave him the right to sanctuary in Israel, but it was a right that he has abused.

Boanitov, who was known as "Eli the Nazi", told police: "I won't ever give up. I was a Nazi and I will stay a Nazi, until we kill them all I will not rest." In one conversation recorded by the police, Boanitov tells one of his fellow gang members: "My grandfather was a half-Jewboy. I will not have children so that this trash will not be born with even a tiny per cent of Jewboy blood."

During the investigation, police seized video recordings of the suspects attacking foreign workers. One of the videos shows the gang members attacking a Russian drug addict, striking him until he bled and forcing him to ask forgiveness of the Russian people for being a Jewish drug addict.

The search also revealed photographs of the suspects wearing Nazi clothing, using the Nazi salute and calling for the burning of Jews. Explosive materials were found in the home of one of the suspects.

Police also found recordings of conversations between gang members, in one they planned how to celebrate the F├╝hrer's birthday, and in another they planned a Nazi ceremony at Yad Vashem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem.

The Anti Defamation League, a New York-based group that fights anti-Semitism, praised the arrest of the neo-Nazis but warned Israelis not to stigmatise the whole Russian community for the actions of a few members.

"The suspicion that immigrants to Israel could have been acting in praise of Nazis and Hitler is anathema to the Jewish state and is to be repelled," the organisation said in a statement. "Members of the group were reportedly from the former Soviet Union and were religiously identified as Christians.

"They were allowed to immigrate to Israel on the basis of law of return which grants even grandchildren of Jews sanctuary in the Jewish state.

"The tragic irony in this is that they would have been chosen for annihilation by the Nazis they strive to emulate." The ADL said that the phenomenon appeared to be marginal and was more a reaction to anti-Russian discrimination in Israel.

Israeli politicians reacted with anger to the revelations and proposed several changes in the law to prevent a repeat of neo-Nazi actions. Effi Eitam of the National Religious Party said he would propose a bill in the Knesset that would restrict the rights of non-Jews to emigrate to Israel.

Ahmed Tibi, an Arab Israeli member of the Knesset, said that the case illustrated the absurdity of Israeli laws which give extensive rights to newcomers from Russia while denying them to Arab residents who had lived in the region for generations.


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Sunday, September 09, 2007

Update on the Denmark Terrorism plot

The man behind the foiled Denmark terrorism plot had targeted the British and United States embassies in Denmark. The planned attacks were set to mark the 6th anniversary of the attack on the World Trade Centre.

The eight suspects who have been rounded up range in ages from 19 to 29 and they come from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Turkey. They are believed to be a part of the Al Qaeda network. It is believed that the group had received instructions from British based cyber terrorists who had been shut down earlier this year:

The British group's activities were stopped by an MI5 investigation earlier this year when three men were jailed for encouraging suicide missions using online forums and websites.

Their websites were also used as a secure communications centre by several senior Al Qaeda operatives, including two Bosnian-based terror chiefs known as "Maximus" and "Danish Turk".

The pair were jailed over a plot to mount a suicide attack against a Western embassy in Sarajevo.

And The Mail on Sunday understands that two of those arrested in Copenhagen had been in regular telephone contact with them and under longterm surveillance by Danish intelligence.

The arrest earlier in the year of the British group helped authorities to keep these terrorists under surveillance. It is work well done, but have they captured all concerned?

Thursday, September 06, 2007

There is no compulsion in Islam?

It seems that we have another case of misunderstanding. This time a Pakistani Christian truck driver is being harassed into joining Islam. When he resisted the first attempt, the two Islamics threatened to kill him because he is a Christian.

And I thought that there was no compulsion in religion in Islam. How wrong could I be ?

UK to go ahead with hybrid embryos - CNN.com

UK to go ahead with hybrid embryos - CNN.com

There is no proof that this research will bring any results. The public is being hoodwinked into believing that the research should go ahead and that there will be benefits for Alzheimers and Parkinsons victims. I would not want my mother becoming an experiment to researchers just because they want to play with DNA and genetics.

The embryonic stem cell research has not brought any form of success since it was started. It is nothing but a failure, and in the long term we still do not know what cancers will develop because of this research. It should be stopped immediately.

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Putin is not a friend of the West

Putin is on his way to Australia, and on the way he made a stop over in Jakarta, Indonesia. The reason for the stop over was to sign an arms deal contract. 

There was a time when Australians were informed that there was no threat from any nation for at least 20 years. What the spies forgot to tell us happened to be that Indonesia was an Islamic country, and that it has other plans for the region.

The signing of a deal between Russia and Indonesia is not a good omen. It is a cause for grave concern.  

Another bomb plot foiled

Only days ago there was a foiled bomb plot in Denmark and today there is this story regarding a foiled bomb plot in Germany. One of the plotters is a German national who converted to Islam, and one of them is a Turk.

The motivation for the plot is extreme hatred of the USA. One has to wonder where such hatred has come from, and the answer, yet again is an extremist mosque.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Getting Ready for the big move

I have two weeks to go before the big move from Sydney to Canberra. Since I found out that we were going to move the time has been slipping away from me.

I have a lot of books, magazines, thread, shuttles, bobbins, yarn and cross stitch plus embroidery kits. I have already done quite a lot of packing of my goods, and I have been continuing to do a little bit each day.

It is hard to keep going all day because of my arthritis is active at the present time. When I began to start packing my books and magazines I would finish the day in quite a lot of pain. I could barely sleep at night because of the intensity of the pain when I remained on one side for too long during the night. So I am going at a much slower pace than my husband expects.

I have started on a different medication to see if I can bring the inflammation under control. I feel a lot better, and I am not as stiff, but the inflammation has continued. It makes me think that there is a link between this inflammation and the stress of having to move.

Drugs and mental illness 'go hand in hand' | NEWS.com.au

Drugs and mental illness 'go hand in hand' | NEWS.com.au

Former rugby Newcastle Knights player, Andrew Johns has admitted his drug habit on national television. A few days later, the psychiatrist treating Andrew Johns stated that Johns has Bipolar disorder and that "he is not to blame" for his condition. However, I am not certain that the psychiatrist is seeing what is obvious to most people - that there appears to be a connection between the Bipolar Disorder of Andrew Johns and his drug taking habit.

Today I saw this article which is a report on a conference that is dealing with the twin problem of substance abuse and depression. There are at least 500,000 Australians who suffer from depression and at the same time they have a drug problem. One woman at the conference spoke about the problems of getting treatment for her son because the "system" has not been able to cope with treating both conditions at the same time:


"SUBSTANCE abuse and mental illness go hand-in-hand for hundreds of thousands of people and more options are needed to treat the problems together, a conference was told today.

The Anex Illegal Drugs and Mental Health Conference in Melbourne was told that separating drug use and mental health treatment put lives at risk.

Jo Buchanan, whose son Miles had depression and substance abuse problems, said that for more than 15 years Miles was shunted from psychiatric wards to drug rehabilitation units, never able to be treated for both problems at once.

"One after another, one they would deal with depression, the next one would deal with the drugs, but never at the same time," Ms Buchanan told the opening day of the conference which is being conducted by Anex - the Association for Prevention and Harm Reduction Program.

"Usually he was released prematurely from the hospital psychiatric wards before the effects of the anti-depressants had taken place, so he would come out and as soon as he succumbed to the depression, he turned to the drugs again, so next thing he'd be in rehab.

"But you could not go into any rehab place if you were on anti-depressants. They would not accept you, so he had to go off the anti-depressants to be treated for his drug problems."

She said that during this period, Miles attempted to kill himself several times.

Mental Health Council of Australia chief executive David Crosbie said 500,000 people were facing mental illness and drug problems together."

I suspect that this is an extremely common problem and it has not been taken seriously for many years. One of the difficulties in getting the right treatment stems from the propaganda of the pro-marijuana crowd who refuse to acknowledge and accept that smoking pot can in fact cause mental illness in some patients. As a result of that propaganda pot was portrayed as a harmless social drug. The truth that was avoided for so long is that for some people with a highly addictive personality any drug of addiction is harmful. The person craves a high, and he or she might start with pot, but inevitably that person ends up on something harder, including heroin and ecstasy.

Andrew Johns was caught with one ecstasy tablet. He has admitted that he intended to take the tablet. This does not make sense because ecstasy is known to be harmful, and it can kill, and yet Andrew Johns was prepared to ignore the fact that ecstasy is a killer drug. After the psychiatrist came out with details of Andrew Johns having Bipolar Disorder, Matthew Johns admitted that his mother had been concerned about her son's behaviour when he was still a teenager. In hindsight, the behaviour could have been a clue that Andrew Johns was taking drugs since his teen years.

Without doing the necessary research on Bipolar Disorder, I cannot be 100 per cent certain that I am on the right track but I certainly think that there is possibly a real link between the taking of recreational drugs and this form of mental illness. Not all people who are diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder have been on recreational drugs, but I would like to see the statistics on what percentage of patients affected have a history of drug taking. This would open up further questions as to what came first: Bipolar Disorder or drug taking. I suspect that the drug taking came first.

There are many causes for depression and most of the causes are traceable to personality traits and attitudes towards daily life. People who have unrealistic expectations are more likely to end up being depressed. The stressors of life can cause mental illness, especially if the person does not have a fully developed coping mechanism, i.e. a positive mental attitude. Bipolar Disorder is the more serious form of depression because the individual suffers highs and lows. It is not difficult to see that a rugby player of the stature of Andrew Johns had difficulties with the highs and lows of the rugby game. Without a doubt, his drug taking habit has contributed to his mental illness. From this point of view, I do believe that Andrew Johns is responsible for his current condition.

Without a doubt, people with these problems need a treatment that takes both factors into account, and that includes not going soft on the drug taking habit. Nothing is achieved by telling the patient that his mental condition is not his fault. It is for this reason that I believe that the incorporation of a 12 step program in the rehabilitiation process is very necessary. The mentally ill patient needs to admit responsibility for past actions and without the admitting of responsibility the patient is not capable of moving forward or being cured. Perhaps Mr. Johns has taken that first step, by going on TV and admitting that he has a drug habit and that he was taking drugs over the period of his rugby career. However, this is only the first step on the road to recovery. If Andrew Johns can move forward to the point that he can prove that he has been cured, then perhaps he really will become a good example to others who are struggling with Bipolar Disorder and a drug habit.

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Woman has rare identical quadruplets (AP)

J.P. Jepp cradles   Dahila  Jepp,  Thursday, Aug. 16, 2007, at a hospital in Great Falls, Mont., one of the  identical quadruplets his wife Karen Jepp gave birth to Sunday afternoon, Aug. 12, 2007. The four girls were breathing without ventilators and listed in good condition Thursday, a hospital spokesperson said. (AP Photo/The Great Falls Tribune, Kristen Cates)AP - A 35-year-old Canadian woman has given birth to rare identical quadruplets, officials at a Great Falls hospital said Thursday. Karen Jepp of Calgary, Alberta, delivered Autumn, Brooke, Calissa and Dahlia by Caesarian section Sunday afternoon at Benefis Healthcare, said Amy Astin, the hospital's director of community and government relations.


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Hidden cache links child killer to unsolved murders - smh.com.au

Hidden cache links child killer to unsolved murders - National - smh.com.au

There are several cases in Australia that have involved the disappearance and murder of children that have never been solved. I was still a child when these murders and disappearances took place, but by the time the suspect was arrested for a murder at Warneet in Victoria, I was 15 years old. Yes, I remember hearing about almost every case that has been mentioned in relation to Percy. The disappearance of the Beaumont children in Adelaide and Linda Stillwell in Melbourne has remained a mystery, until now. The Wanda Beach murders had not been solved and until now there had been little progress in finding the killer. What is significant though, is that the murders and disappearances stopped after Percy was captured and put in prison for the rest of his life. There is one disappearance which I believe has not been resolved, and that was the child from Beaumaris, Eloise Worledge. I have not heard anything about this particular crime being solved...

Percy was put in prison in 1969, and it is only now that papers belonging to this man, and more than likely implicating him in the murders and disappearances have been found in storage in Melbourne. Permission was granted to interview the man, but despite his "insanity", he was sane enough to use the Carmen Lawrence plea - "I do not remember".

The evidence could be circumstantial, but on the other hand Percy wrote in explicit detail about the murders of the two girls at Wanda Beach, as well as that of Simon Brook in Sydney. He used to write about how he was going to capture and murder children. Further circumstantial evidence revolves around a response to a question that he gave to a detective who knew him at school, when he said "I might have". It is not proof of his guilt though.

This is a case that I hope to cover in more detail as more information is released. I admit it would be a relief to see these particular crimes resolved.

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A Bad Winter

If I had doubts about having Ankylosing Spondylitis, well after this winter I should have cleared up all such doubts. Yes, it has been a very painful winter this year. I have been in an arthritis flare since the beginning of July, and I have had trouble staying asleep at night. My back, arms, shoulders, knees, neck, elbows and feet all hurt at different times.

I had another bone scan this year. The result of that scan happens to be that if someone hurts me when squeezing my fingers then I have a good reason to poke that person in the eye. There were a lot of hot spots on the scan, including inflammation in my fingers. Then last week I had the bone density scan, and I got a very positive score - because my vertebrae is laying down new bone.

At the end of June I caught a chill, and that caused me to come down with a nasty cold that refused to go away. I suspect that these events have been the cause of the flare. Yes, I am hurting.

Hillary’s History of Accepting Contributions from Felons Ignored | NewsBusters.org

Hillary’s History of Accepting Contributions from Felons Ignored | NewsBusters.org

Why is the MSM ignoring the implications of this scandal? I am an outsider but one thing is certain, I do not trust Hillary Clinton. There is a lot of scandal surrounding this woman, and this story is the tip of the iceberg.

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