Comments and e-mails are welcome, but all such communication is to be assumed to be 1) the original work of any who initiate said communication and 2) in the public domain, with free use granted for publication in electronic or written form. If you do NOT wish to have your message posted, write "CONFIDENTIAL" in the subject line of your email.
Original content copyright © 2006 by the respective authors. Fair, not-for-profit use of said material by others is encouraged, as long as acknowledgement and credit is given, to include the url of the original source post. Other arrangements can be made as needed.
Site contact: greyhawk at mudvillegazette dot com
Reports coming out of North Korea tell of a massive prison break:
Numerous sources have alerted that 120 prisoners escaped a political concentration camp, the Camp 16 in Hwasung, North Hamkyung province in which North Korean authorities responded by mobilizing the National Safety Agency, the People’s Protection Agency and military in a madhunt to search out the fugutives.
Check points have been set up around North Korea and troops are seaching the mountains to capture escaped prisoners. Some of them have already been captured and will assuredly be executed.
One Free Korea has unbelievable Google Earth images of the 16X18 mile prison camp complex along with pics of the terrain these prisoners will need to cross in order to escape to China. Highly recommend that everyone read his posting.
With over 250,000 political prisoners and millions that have perished from famine over the years due to NK governmental neglect, I have always found it interesting how the Hollywood & academia liberal crowd cannot find any time to take up the cause of North Korean human rights and yet find time to condemn America for keeping a few hundred terrorists in Gitmo. While the liberal crowd is shedding tears for terrorists in Gitmo, I will be praying that at least some of these political prisoners can complete their great escape.
But I can speak to you about how we correspondents at the New York Times feel about the American military in Iraq. We have covered the disasters. We’ve covered what happened at Abu Ghraib. We’ve covered what happened at Haditha. But I think I could say this on behalf of all of us who work at the New York Times, and who depends a great deal for our security on American forces, governments…there’s an old saying that countries get the kind of governments they deserve. Well, I would say that may be true also of the military. And the United States military that we encounter are wonderful. They’re magnificent. They’re extremely brave, that goes without saying. They make an enormous effort to perform a civic as well as military duty in Iraq. They are people of honor, and they’re people of whom America can be proud. And I say that without…in an unhyphenated, unqualified way, and I hope that that finds its way into the columns of the New York Times, in the way that we report on this war. America has a fine military, a fine Army, a fine Marine Corps and Navy, and whereas we experience, it, and they’re in an extremely difficult situation, what General Casey, the departing commander describes as a very convoluted situation from which there is no certain, safe, successful exit.I wish I was sure management felt the same way. But as Hugh Hewitt notes, Burns has "...reported from Afghanistan under the Taliban, and after their overthrow, and he’s reported from Iraq under Saddam, and after his overthrow", a perspective perhaps lost on those in the home office.
With such earth shattering news as Anna Nicole Smith's death happening, I guess it was inevitable that news of Al Qaeda criticizing North Korea becauses it owes the terrorists nuclear tests was not considered newsworthy by the majority of the media:
And in yet another gambit that smacks of desperation, [al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Omar] al-Baghdadi tries to rile up the French and the Chinese against American global hegemony, and addresses those nations as “the freemen of the world.” Not only that, but he adopts a scolding tone with North Korea, essentially invoking the “sharing is caring” line, when he says, “And let North Korea know that it owes its nuclear tests to the mujaheddin in Iraq.” Translation: ” Al Qaeda’s actions distracted America from dealing with your evil, and the least you can do is share a nuclear device with us.”
Before anyone dismisses the claims of North Korea transferring nuclear technology to terrorists let me quote the position of the North Korean government for you:
The United States should consider the danger that we could transfer nuclear weapons to terrorists, that we have the ability to do so.
– North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Kim Gye-Gwan, April 2005
You read a whole lot more here about Vice Minister Kim who is known as the "smiling assassin". Currently the "smiling assassin" is heading the North Korean delegate to the six party talks in Beijing. It is interesting Al Qaeda is delivering such a message in the middle of nuclear disarmament talks.
HT: OFKAll done!
Take my word for it, I think you'll be glad you did.
The grossly graphic torture scenes in Fox's highly rated series "24" are encouraging abuses in Iraq, a brigadier general and three top military and FBI interrogators claim.
The four flew to Los Angeles in November to meet with the staff of the show. They said it is hurting efforts to train recruits in effective interrogation techniques and is damaging the image of the U.S. around the world, according The New Yorker.
"I'd like them to stop," Army Brig. Gen. Patrick Finnegan, dean of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, told the magazine.
Finnegan and others told the show's creative team that the torture depicted in "24" never works in real life, and by airing such scenes, they're encouraging military personnel to act illegally.
"People watch the shows, and then walk into the interrogation booths and do the same things they've just seen," said Tony Lagouranis, who was a U.S. Army interrogator in Iraq and attended the meeting.
Of course, it's also possible the reporter got the story completely wrong, but I'm not sure that matters now.
NOTE: Strikethroughs added above after making the following updates to the story. Lesson learned: Never write before your first cup of coffee...
Update: There's always more to the story. Seems Tony Lagouranis has made something of a career for himself speaking about things he's never seen, but has heard rumors about.
He's a member of Iraq Veterans Against War.
Somehow that didn't make it into the story. (In fact, I'd say the above excerpt attempts to imply he was one of the members of the DoD team.)
More: Here's the original New Yorker article, where we learn that
The meeting, which lasted a couple of hours, had been arranged by David Danzig, the Human Rights First official.(Links added to the above.) From reading the Daily News version I somehow got the mistaken impression that Brig. Gen. Finnegan and his team had simply launched a campaign against "24" on their own - or at the urging of the DoD.
In fact, Finnegan and the others had come to voice their concern that the show’s central political premise—that the letter of American law must be sacrificed for the country’s security—was having a toxic effect. In their view, the show promoted unethical and illegal behavior and had adversely affected the training and performance of real American soldiers. “I’d like them to stop,” Finnegan said of the show’s producers. “They should do a show where torture backfires.”
Kudos to them for participating in this meeting - even if it opened them to the sort of mis-characterization of their efforts offered by the Daily News reporter above. Fortunately the original New Yorker piece is a bit more straightforward in telling the story:
Finnegan told the producers that “24,” by suggesting that the U.S. government perpetrates myriad forms of torture, hurts the country’s image internationally. Finnegan, who is a lawyer, has for a number of years taught a course on the laws of war to West Point seniors—cadets who would soon be commanders in the battlefields of Iraq and Afghanistan. He always tries, he said, to get his students to sort out not just what is legal but what is right. However, it had become increasingly hard to convince some cadets that America had to respect the rule of law and human rights, even when terrorists did not. One reason for the growing resistance, he suggested, was misperceptions spread by “24,” which was exceptionally popular with his students. As he told me, “The kids see it, and say, ‘If torture is wrong, what about “24”?’ ” He continued, “The disturbing thing is that although torture may cause Jack Bauer some angst, it is always the patriotic thing to do.”I'm not sure I'd complain about a television show prompting academic debate - though I'd be deeply concerned for numerous reasons if the professors were declaring the opposition too tough to handle - but even if so it seems a bit of a stretch to convert that complaint to the Daily News lead: "The grossly graphic torture scenes in Fox's highly rated series "24" are encouraging abuses in Iraq, a brigadier general and three top military and FBI interrogators claim." All done!
Gary Solis, a retired law professor who designed and taught the Law of War for Commanders curriculum at West Point, told me that he had similar arguments with his students. He said that, under both U.S. and international law, “Jack Bauer is a criminal. In real life, he would be prosecuted.” Yet the motto of many of his students was identical to Jack Bauer’s: “Whatever it takes.”
Mike Yon says: "America has asked David Petraeus to walk into a burning barn and perform brain surgery on a dying patient."
But adds "Personally, I am betting on General Petraeus, his staff, and the great number of hard-minded people who believe Iraq can stand again."
Does he often think about losing his life there? "It’s an odd thing and I suppose – I don’t want to get into psychobabble here but I think probably the psychologists could probably explain this. I find the war in Iraq much more frightening to watch on television when I’m on leave outside Iraq than I find it when I’m there."Glenn Reynolds notes: "You hear similar things from soldiers."
Spent yesterday shuttling between about 47 different offices taking care of the 5 dozen different critical things that have to be taken care of properly to prove you really truly want to go to Iraq no matter how hard the DoD tries to stop you.
Fortunately there were televisions in the waiting rooms to keep us entertained. Otherwise I might not have known that Anna Nicole Smith had died, an event that prompted every news network to switch over to 24-hour coverage of various key locations in the story. Not since Princess Di asked the famous question: "Can't this bloody thing outrun a moped?" had I seen the world come to such a complete and screeching halt.
At first I thought it was nice that something had finally knocked the Astronaut story into the background. (Dr Bellows, call your office, stat! Too late! - fired during cutbacks in the Gore years...) but somewhere around hour 32 another guy in the group summed it up:
"Don't get me wrong, but I'm almost hoping for another 9/11 here - anything to get this off the television."
Didn't anything else happen?
While I am loathe to admit to agreeing with Sen. Clinton on anything not related to mutual disdain for her husband ("What in my background equips me to deal with evil and bad men?"), I must confess that the hands-down winner of American Midol is... (gulp)... right. She doesn't want this Iraq monkey on her back and neither do I, especially at a time when she'll be far too busy redesigning the shape of the Oval Office into a ♀, replacing all the missing "H's" in the West Wing keyboards, and beginning construction on Bill's leakproof and pressfree Underground Tailroad for West Wing interns. Who has time for terrorism--least of all "wars on terrorism"--dragging you under when there's universal heath care plans to forcefeed the public with? While her campaign calculus could change once she's secured the Angry Left nomination, currently she's running on a platform of "I win, Iraq loses." Personally, I think she means it.
Read the rest of my latest HERE
Soldier's Mom snuck the link in at the bottom of a post on another topic, but the story is catching fire through the internet, and rightfuly so.
In addition to Roggio, Major Owen West's name should be familiar to milbloggers too. Here's a story he did on the battle for Fallujah - one I suspect may have been turned down by some of the mainstream sources who've published his work before.
Along with Mark Seavey and some other fine folks, West was also a founding member of Vets for Freedom, a group that for some odd reason doesn't seem to get the same amount of press as certain other groups with more overtly political motives these days.
Owen and his father Bing, also a Marine, are both writers. Senior wrote No True Glory : A Frontline Account of the Battle for Fallujah - the definitive account of that months-long conflict that still defines the war itself in the minds of many. (I used a few passages from the book here.)
Here's an article they co-authored on lessons learned from both the current battlegrounds of the war - both have spent an extensive amount of time "over there".
Finally, here's their web page.