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WASHINGTON, Oct 11 (Reuters) - A California-born convert to Islam, accused of making a series of al Qaeda propaganda videos, became on Wednesday the first American charged with treason since the World War Two era, U.S. Justice Department officials said.
According to the charges, Gadahn appeared in five videos broadcast between October 2004 and Sept. 11, 2006, giving al Qaeda "aid and comfort ... with the intent to betray the United States."
"Gadahn gave himself to our enemies in al Qaeda for the purpose of being a central part of their propaganda machine," Deputy Attorney General Paul McNulty told a news conference.
Remember the Democrats coming out and complaining that John McCain was playing politics by him criticizing former President Clinton's failed 1994 Agreed Framework with North Korea? So what do the Democrats do? Continue playing politics themselves of course; with former Clinton Secretary of Defense William Perry writing this blame Bush editorial in the Washington Post:
North Korea's declared nuclear bomb test program will increase the incentives for other nations to go nuclear, will endanger security in the region and could ultimately result in nuclear terrorism. While this test is the culmination of North Korea's long-held aspiration to become a nuclear power, it also demonstrates the total failure of the Bush administration's policy toward that country. For almost six years this policy has been a strange combination of harsh rhetoric and inaction.
President Bush, early in his first term, dubbed North Korea a member of the "axis of evil" and made disparaging remarks about Kim Jong Il.
I guess Perry would prefer the Bush call Kim Jong-il the Dear Leader instead of the tyrant that he is?
Some of you may remember that Perry also wrote an editorial before the July NK missile tests in the Washington Post advocating a bombing campaign against the NK Taepodong missile before it could be tested. Perry like many former Clintonites are trying to rewrite history. Their policies were a failure then and their advice is a failure now.
Just think about if the US followed Perry's advice before July's missile test. A bombing campaign against NK would validate the very reason Kim Jong-il proclaims for needing both a ICBM and nuclear programs; to protect the country from US aggression not to mention possibly causing a second Korean War which the US would have clearly been the aggressor. Additionally the US would have never gathered the valuable intelligence of the failed test. The US didn't totally know the NK ICBM capabilities, now the US does. It is the same thing with the nuclear test. The US now knows that the NK nuclear program is not as advanced as the North Koreans would want you to believe. Plus the NK actions have driven a wedge between China and North Korea which a bombing campaign would have never done. If anything it would bring the two allies closer together against US aggression. Now this is not the case after the nuclear test because China is actually seriously considering backing a UN resolution that would allow a US naval blockade of North Korea. Do you think a bombing campaign would have brought this close cooperation with China about?
So what does Perry advocate in the wake of the nuclear test, when his bombing campaign policy would have been an obvious failure? Well I really don't know because the article is all blame Bush with no policy alternatives. Maybe he learned from his last article that blaming Bush is safer politics than actually providing alternative policy ideas.All done!
A very interesting interview with the Secretary of the Army can be heard here.
Or, "Lancet Nonsense." Both fully descriptive. Looks like we were all on the same wavelength. Here's an excerpt of my take, full version at the bottom link.
The Associated Press reports on the latest Public Health propaganda crafted by the partisan duo of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and the British Medical Journal, The Lancet:
Deaths are occurring in Iraq now at a rate more than three times that from before the invasion of March 2003," Dr. Gilbert Burnham, lead author of the study, said in a statement.For those who don’t recall, these are the same folks who, using an equivalent “methodology,” suggested that over 100,000 Iraqi Civilians were killed in the initial Coalition Invasion. These claims at the time of their earlier report were widely discredited, and their methods rightly derided.
The study by Burnham, of the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, and others is to be published Thursday on the Web site of The Lancet, a medical journal.
Here’s how their survey is described by AP:
For Burnham's study, researchers gathered data from a sample of 1,849 Iraqi households with a total of 12,801 residents from late May to early July. That sample was used to extrapolate the total figure. The estimate deals with deaths up to July.You don't have to be an "expert" in social scientific "method" to recognize crap when you see it.
The survey participants attributed about 31 percent of violent deaths to coalition forces.
Much like polls in general, anything based on anecdotal evidence is going to be hopelessly biased and potentially orders of magnitude from reality. Even if we take these researchers at their word that they "checked 92%" of death records, how did they ensure they didn't double count? Did they keep a copy and reconcile no dupes? In a tribal community, many "families" would claim the same family member as "one of their own."
I remember clearly when the earlier report came out from these researchers. Then, it was clear that any “insurgent” who managed to die away from the location of combat would almost surely be counted as a “civilian” casualty, as the Al Qaeda in Iraq and Baathist holdouts we were fighting at the time purposely hid their identities and wore no uniforms. Many injured and killed were showing up at Iraqi hospitals and morgues, mis-identified as “civilians.” Call it an early prototype of the same public relations and deception efforts that Hezbollah would later professionalize.
(More commentary over at Dadmanly.)
These jihadists are amateurs. Doc Russia and I here suggest rubber bayonets as teething rings for newborn Marines-to-be. (See the comments, and congratulations).
The Defense Statistics Agency has released a new report on Casualties and Evacs here
As of Sept 30th
Wounded - No Evac Required - 14,414
Wounded - Evac Required - 6,273
Demographics of Wounded Here
Army - 13,358
Marines - 6,650
Navy - 446
Air Force - 233
Officers - 1,199
Senior Enlisted - 6,584
Junior Enlisted - 12,904
Male - 20,687
Female - 418
Pre-invasion mortality rates were 5·5 per 1000 people per year (95% CI 4·3–7·1), compared with 13·3 per 1000 people per year (10·9–16·1) in the 40 months post-invasion.
According to the CIA Fact Book
The average death rate for
Afghanistan is 20.34/1000(est)
Hungary is 13.31/1000(est)
The World is 8.67/1000 (est)
The EU is 10.10/1000 (est)
US is 8.26/1000 (est)
Pakistan 8.23/1000 (est)
But Iraq stood miraculously at 5.5/1000 (est).
He escaped, he rejoined the fight, he died.
I guess we both got what we wanted - he got "martyrdom" and we get a dead terrorist piece of *&^%. Anyone still wondering about determination - theirs or ours?
Your choice: read the American media or read al Qaeda's "Working Paper for a Media Invasion of America".
Or both - but hopefully not one without the other.
Senator Jon McCain has come out guns a blazing at the Democrats and Hillary Clinton:
"I would remind Senator (Hillary) Clinton and other Democrats critical of the Bush administration's policies that the framework agreement her husband's administration negotiated was a failure," McCain said at a news conference after a campaign appearance for Republican Senate candidate Mike Bouchard.
"The Koreans received millions and millions in energy assistance. They've diverted millions of dollars of food assistance to their military," he said.
Guess what? The Democrats accuse him of playing politics:
"He must be trying to burnish his credentials for the nomination process," said Kerry, who labeled McCain's comments "flat politics and incorrect."
"The truth is the Clinton administration knew full well they didn't have a perfect agreement. But at least they were talking. At least we had inspectors going in and we knew where the (nuclear fuel) rods were. This way, we don't know where the rods are, the rods are gone. There are no inspectors. Ask any American which way is better," Kerry said.
I guess it is okay for the Democrats to play politics but McCain can't because the news networks have been filled with Democrats engaging in Bush bashing all week.
This is what the Clinton camp had to say:
Sen. Clinton's spokesman dismissed McCain's criticism and argued that it was time for a new policy from the president.
"Now is not the time to play politics of the most dangerous kind — with our policy on North Korea," Philippe Reines, spokesman for Sen. Clinton, said in a statement. "History is clear that nothing the Bush administration has done has stopped the North Koreans from openly testing a nuclear weapon and presenting a new danger to the region of the world."
What is interesting about this is that Clinton's staff was drawing up war plans to bomb North Korea's reactor when Jimmy Carter showed up in Pyongyang and brokered the deal that led to the 1994 Agreed Framework. The Agreed Framework failed because their was not enough inspection standards in place to stop the North Koreans from continuing their nuclear program covertly. So basically all the free aid they received allowed them to divert resources to aid their nuclear program. Clinton acted in good will hoping that the North Koreans would reciprocate, but they didn't which isn't necessarily Clinton's fault because he had to try to engage the North Koreans before launching a war. I for one can understand trying diplomacy before launching a war.
However, the US should know better now that the North Koreans cannot be trusted to uphold a bargain without strict inspection standards that the North Koreans will not allow. The Democrats demands to hold bi-lateral talks means that they want Bush to cut another deal similar to the 1994 Agreed Framework that has already failed once. Why should Bush implement this failed policy again?All done!
The Washington Post has taken to New Fiction Book Reviews on Page A12 today with Study Claims Iraq's 'Excess' Death Toll Has Reached 655,000. I don't have the stomach tonight to systematically dismantle this unadulterated piece of garbage (though I will tackle the article) propped up by the Washington Post, but will at least forge the way for those Iron Gut MilBloggers who are about to grind their teeth into powder. Mine are on their way, so please forgive the ranting tone of what follows.
A team of American and Iraqi epidemiologists estimates that 655,000 more people have died in Iraq since coalition forces arrived in March 2003 than would have died if the invasion had not occurred....
...Of the total 655,000 [!!!] estimated "excess deaths," 601,000 resulted from violence and the rest from disease and other causes, according to the study. This is about 500 unexpected violent deaths per day throughout the country.
The survey was done by Iraqi physicians and overseen by epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health. The findings are being published online today by the British medical journal the Lancet.
Now, we are supposed to line up and accept this as 'scientific'? That the global media machine somehow missed 500 deaths per day and that it took a gaggle of eight physicians to shed light on death unseen?
Oh...it gets better...
The method used is something called "cluster sampling" where "randomly selected households" are asked a sort of 'mortal exit poll' on how many people in their family have died since the 2003 invasion. Visions of the 2004 exit polling reports that predicted with absolute certainty a landslide victory for the eventual losing candidate comes to mind as one reads the "sampling" used to extrapolate the numbers.
The survey was conducted between May 20 and July 10 by eight Iraqi physicians organized through Mustansiriya University in Baghdad. They visited 1,849 randomly selected households that had an average of seven members each. One person in each household was asked about deaths in the 14 months before the invasion and in the period after.
The interviewers asked for death certificates 87 percent of the time; when they did, more than 90 percent of households produced certificates.
From a sample of "1,849 randomly selected households," we are to believe a number like 655,000? Stunning boldness rivaling that of the Zarqawi himself.
And 90% of those asked had death certificates? Where were they randomly polling, at the morgue itself? Who issues Iraqi death certificates? And now we are getting somewhere... Who knows more about Iraqi deaths (from which to potentially 'randomly sample' families)? Perhaps "eight Iraqi physicians organized through Mustansiriya University in Baghdad"? A Baghdad university would select doctors from which city? Perhaps the most dangerous one in Iraq? To where might they venture out to 'randomly sample'? In a dangerous country, there is comfort in familiarity...even if it is Baghdad.
Precisely how the polling Iraqi physicians were "overseen by epidemiologists at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health," as the story states, is beyond me. Did they perhaps oversee how randomly the households were chosen and from where? Seems Mustansiriya University did the organizing.
But Columbia University's Ronald Waldman assures us that the 'scientific' cluster sampling method is "tried and true," and added that "this is the best estimate of mortality we have." Well that's wonderful analysis, Dr. Waldman. At 500 deaths per day, as this 'scientific report' claims, the Marine in me thinks that this instance of "cluster sampling" looks a whole lot more like a "cluster-somethingelse." It might be the best available, but at one point in time a large stick was the best hunting method. It didn't make it 'good.'
Of course, there are more upstanding members of the global intellectual community prepared to assure us that indeed 500 Iraqi's have died of wounds suffered each day for the past three-plus years.
This viewed [sic] was echoed by Sarah Leah Whitson, an official of Human Rights Watch in New York, who said, "We have no reason to question the findings or the accuracy" of the survey.
Well of course Human Rights Watch doesn't question the findings. Just look at the numbers! It's a political goldmine for them. But Whitson can't stop there. What she says next will absolutely floor any objective observer.
"I expect that people will be surprised by these figures," she said.
Ya think? Please, Ms. Whitson, do qualify that remark if you would be so kind.
"I think it is very important that, rather than questioning them, people realize there is very, very little reliable data coming out of Iraq."
Very little reliable data coming from Iraq...perhaps including this Mortal Exit Poll??? Since there's apparently so little reliable data coming out of Iraq, why start questioning numbers now?
Gilbert Burnham, a Johns Hopkins physician and epidemiologist, is "very confident with the results." He cites the consistency of the poll's pre-invasion death rates found that were similar to pre-invasion death rates cited by others, including the CIA's World Factbook, that "attests to the accuracy of his team's results."
But if those 'randomly' polled are concentrated in the Baghdad vicinity and other post-invasion high-conflict population centers, such as Fallujah or Ramadi, those findings cannot be extrapolated across the whole of the Iraqi population. Of course the pre-invasion numbers would be similar before the onset of hostilities. For that matter, one wonders if the eight doctors ventured north to ask the Kurds for pre- and post-Saddam violent death rates.
And, appropriately, this look at the MIT-sponsored study should conclude with its empirical data.
Of the 629 deaths reported, 87 percent occurred after the invasion. A little more than 75 percent of the dead were men, with a greater male preponderance after the invasion. For violent post-invasion deaths, the male-to-female ratio was 10-to-1, with most victims between 15 and 44 years old.
And there you have it. From 629 deaths exit polled we can 'scientifically' extrapolate a reliable 655,000 who have died that otherwise would have lived but for the US invasion in 2003.
The bad guys have a new recruiting approach, too.
MEMRI, the Middle East Media Research Institute, monitors Islamist web sites and provides trranslations as part of its Jihad and Terrorism Studies program. Here's a recent example from Hamas:
How to Raise Your Son to Be a TerroristMore at the link, here's just one of the pictures:
On Sunday, October 8, 2006, an Islamic website posted a series of images produced by the Izz al-Din Al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, titled "How to make his [sic] son terrorist." 
The images show various methods which are supposedly effective in imbuing children with terrorist aspirations.
This is not a joke.
What did this ship have to do with Australia's worst naval loss?
Find out here.
WASHINGTON (Army News Service, Oct. 9, 2006) – The Army announced start of its communication and education efforts to assist the Army family to communicate to the Nation its new advertising campaign – Army Strong – to an audience of Soldiers, Army civilians and family members today.For those with access to Army Knowledge Online--there is a 4.9MB preview video of the campaign. The video is excellent with some great music (think Gladiator)
Basically the campaign is: The Army endows a unique brand of strength to its Soldiers, a strength that is mental, emotional and physical; a strength the Army is capable of finding and forging.
I.E.: There's strong, and then there's Army Strong.
Gone are the ads and images of frail looking individuals using the Army to find their strength, this campaign starts with the strong--a much better approach than the "My, Myself, and my Army" stuff of years past.
There are some very good lines in the video including:
The strength to obey,
[soldier saluting a drill sergeant]
And strength to command
[clip of General Casey in full gear running]
The strength to build,
[shot of engineers building a bridge]
And strength to tear down
[clip of Abrams crashing through a river]
My favorite part is:
"The strength to get yourself over,"The campaign goes public on 9 NOV. But check out the video if you can.
[clip of soldier scaling an obstacle]
"And the strength to get over yourself"