Thursday, June 29, 2006

Iraq, Iraq (song)

Iraq, Iraq, we've got your back.
We'll go or stay. On what you say.
Iraq, Iraq. Oh, please don't crack.
Please find another way.

We came for WMD,
Then stayed to build democracy.
But then things went from bad to worse.
And now it's like a curse.

Shiite, Sunni, civil war.
Iran, Qaeda, crime and more.
They say America's to blame.
They wish we never came.

Votes are coming. I don't care.*
They say to go to hell, we're there.
Who to believe and who to blame?
It all seems like a game.

Iraq, Iraq, you're on the track.
To where, it's hard to say in fact.
Iraq, Iraq. Oh, please don't crack.
Please find another way.

Click here for melody and lyrics

* "Votes are coming" refers to the upcoming 2006 Congressional elections in America, not to any upcoming Iraqi elections. The issue of Iraq seemed to have gotten politicized in recent Congressional debates with an eye towards the upcoming Congressional elections.

posted: june 29, 2006, 10:12 pm ET
update: june 30, 2006, 8:21 pm ET

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

A history of Iraq (based on an article in the Wikipedia) (song)

Way back in the old days
Before Christ was born,
In three thousand twenty BC,
In Mesopotamia
Old cultures thrived,
The cradle of our history.

Sumeria, Akkadia, Babylonia, Assyria,
Chaldea, we love ya, unconditionally,
For your math, philosophy,
And writing and science and law.

Many years later,
Islam did spread
To what is now known as Iraq.
Ali ruled, then later Hussein,
Then the Battle of Karbala.

Baghdad, Baghdad,
Head of Abbasid, Cali.
Then came the Mongols,
Then Ottoman Turks who allied
With the Kaiser's Germany.
Then Britain drove out
The Ottoman Empire.

Iraq is home
To the Garden of Eden,
Garden of Eden,
Garden of Eden.

Click here for melody and lyrics.

main source
Wikipedia. Iraq. June 27, 2006.

post: june 27, 2006, 2:59 pm ET
update: july 21, 2006, 7:23 pm ET

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Gen. Casey says timeline

"According to a classified briefing at the Pentagon this week by the commander, Gen. George W. Casey Jr., the number of American combat brigades in Iraq is projected to decrease to 5 or 6 from the current level of 14 by December 2007 . . . with the first cuts coming this September." [1] Allah Akbar. It's all politics.

[1] The New York Times. U.S. general in Iraq outlines troop cuts. June 25, 2006.

posted: june 25, 2006, 2:52 am ET

Friday, June 23, 2006

Mineta to resign as Transportation Secretary

Secretary of Transportation Norm Mineta sent his letter of resignation to President Bush today (June 23), effective July 7. [1] The letter was dated June 20, 2006. [2]

[1] The White House. Press briefing by Tony Snow. June 23, 2006
[2] U.S. Department of Transportation. Letter from U.S. DOT Secretary Norman Y. Mineta to President Bush. June 20, 2006.

posted: june 23, 2006, 7:03 pm ET

Life and death in Africa and Iraq

Four million dead in the past 10 years in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 1,000 dying every day. Hunger, disease, rape, murder. Why does anyone else complain? [1]

So what's the message? Should America take over in Iraq and fix everything before it tries for democracy? Should it install a strongman and deal with terrorism the best it can? Or should it just leave period? Allah Akbar. Nice try. God is great.


[1] The New York Times. In Congo, Hunger and Disease Erode Democracy. June 23, 2006.

posted: june 23, 2006, 11:03 am ET
update: june 23, 2006, 7:09 pm ET

Miami terror plotters unplugged

Seven "supporters of militant Islam" were arrested in Miami yesterday (June 22) on "terrorist-related matters," but "posed no immediate threat to the U.S." [1] One of the young men, Narseal Batiste, "met several times in December 2005 with a person purporting to be an al-Qaida member," [2] "but who in fact was an informant." [3]

"On or about March 26, 2006, during this meeting, Narseal Batiste and Burson Augustin provided the 'al Qaeda representative' with photographs of the FBI building, as well as photographs and video footage of the James Lawrence King Federal Justice Building, federal courthouse buildings, the Federal Detention Center, and the Miami Police Department, all located in Miami-Dade County, Florida." [4]

[1] The Washington Post. 7 Held in Miami in terror plot targeting Sears Tower. June 23, 2006.
[2] The Washington Post. (AP). (Changed to Washington Post article only). 7 indicted in Sears Tower plot. June 23, 2006.
[3] The New York Times. Seven are charged with plot to blow up Sears Tower. (Changed to: Terror Plot Was in 'Earliest Stages,' Gonzales Says). June 23, 2006.
[4] Findlaw. U.S. v. Batiste, et al. Indictment of 7 in Miami accused of plotting to blow up U.S. buildings in support of al Qaeda. Page 7. June 22, 2006.

posted: june 23, 2006, 8:50 am ET
update: june 23, 2006, 7:58 pm ET

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Stay America, but don't turn Iraq into a target

President Bush and the Republicans have been speaking out in favor of American troops remaining in Iraq for as long as it takes the Iraqis to build a self-sustaining "free and democratic" nation. [1, 2, 3]

Since America is already there and unless staying causes more problems than leaving, this seems to be the right position to take. Though the initial invasion may have been a mistake, to leave or threaten to leave before Iraq can effectively govern itself does not make sense. Also, America helping to build a free and prosperous Iraq might serve as a kind of penance for its questionable history in that country with sanctions resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children (though some blame Saddam Hussein for this) and for the backing of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East throughout the years.

But there's another position that the Republicans and the President appear to be taking that does not seem as right. This position is identifying Iraq as an enemy of apparent terrorist forces. [1, 2, 3] This identification would seem to be setting Iraq up as a target for terrorist acts that should by directed at America instead.

The people of Iraq were not the enemies or targets of these terrorist forces before America's invasion of that country. The terrorist forces may choose to turn Iraq into an enemy for whatever reason, but the Republicans or the Bush Administration should not exacerbate this unfortunate position through inflammatory rhetoric or through other means.

The Iraqis have enough to worry about without having terrorist acts deflected onto them. Their purpose in the war on terror should be as an example of how the people of Iraq and the Middle East can live their lives in a peaceful, democratic society, not as a military ally.


[1] The White House. Press conference of the President. June 14, 2006.
[2] Congressional Record. 152 Cong Rec H 4024. 109th Congress, 2nd session. June 15, 2006. Message from the Senate ( search page).
(Or copy of "Message from the Senate" at
[3] The White House. President's radio address. June 17, 2006.

posted: june 20, 2006, 9:43 pm (new york)
update: june 22, 2006, 9:56 am (new york)

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Death messages?

Is someone using a possible link on WFMU's Beware of the Blog video page to the 38-page letter page on my website to send me a death message? When I was checking the statistics of my site, I noticed a link to WFMU on the Referrer Report page of my site. When I clicked to WFMU, the title of the post on top of the page was "World Cup Death Watch - Update 2." There was also a picture of a little kid giving someone the finger. It was the June 16, 2006 post.

In January 2006, I had noticed a WFMU link on my Referrer page and I got a big jump in the number of page views which was nice. No death messages either. The increased page views diminished over the following weeks and the WFMU link disappeared.

Then today I noticed the link to the WFMU page with the Death Watch posting.

A similar thing happened a couple of months ago. A link to WFMU appeared on my Referrer page and when I clicked it to WFMU's video page, the April 21 posting on top included a link to a Japanese video called Suicide Club.

posted: june 18, 2006, 12:03 pm (new york)

Friday, June 16, 2006

Toronto terror plot postscript

Thomas Walkom of the Toronto Star said that the timing of the arrests could help the Canadian government convince citizens to continue support for Canadian troops in Afghanistan and also to influence Parliament which was "conducting a mandatory five-year review of Canada's new anti-terror laws." [1] Defense attorney Rocco Galati added that the arrests were meant to influence the "planned Supreme Court hearings on the constitutionality" of the anti-terror laws. [2]

The RCMP had disrupted at least a dozen terrorist plots in the past two years using tactics like letting suspects know they are under surveillance. This was done when police did not have enough evidence for criminal charges. These types of tactics became unpopular after a series of scandals in the 1970s in which the police sometimes broke the law in order to achieve their goals. Abridging people's freedom of speech was also a concern. [3]


[1] The Toronto Star. June 7, 2006. Suspects seem strictly second-rate.
[2] CBC News. June 12, 2006.
Lawyers for bomb plot suspects upset over publication ban.
[3] The Globe and Mail. June 7, 2006. RCMP foiled dozen plots in past two years.

posted: june 16, 2006, 7:20 pm (new york)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Spider-man 3 filming in New York (photos)

More pictures of Spider-man 3 filming in New York on Saturday, June 10, 2006 at Foley Square/Thomas Paine Park in lower Manhattan. Click here.

update: june 20, 2006, 10:59 am (new york)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Al-Zarqawi killed by U.S. air strike

“Ladies and Gentlemen, Coalition Forces killed al-Qaida terrorist leader Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi and one of his key lieutenants, spiritual advisor Sheik Abd-Al-Rahman, yesterday, June 7, at 6:15 p.m. in an air strike against an identified, isolated safe house."

The New York Times. June 8, 2006. Statement by U.S. Forces in Iraq.

"Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, was believed to be behind many of the most headline-grabbing attacks of the conflict in Iraq."

Al-Jazeeera. June 8, 2006. Obituary: Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.

Photos of al-Zarqawi's wounded body and the aftermath of al-Zarqawi's safe house.

Army News Service. June 9, 2006. Zarqawi killed in air strike.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Untimely link deaths

Why do my Toronto Star links keep dying? I've had 3 of their 4 links die in the past couple of hours in my June 6 Toronto terror plot timeline posting. They were to June 5 or 6 articles. One of the three links has died twice in about the past 24 hours.

I've revived them all, but for how long?

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Toronto terror plot timeline

Fall 2004 - The Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) begins monitoring an anti-Western Internet chat room used, allegedly, by some members of the indicted Canadian terror group. [4] *

November 17, 2004 - CSIS notifies the Royal Canadian Mounted Police that they are monitoring the group because they believe the group could be criminally prosecuted. [1] **

March 1, 2005 - June 2, 2006 - Indicted group members "knowingly participate in or contribute to . . . (the) activity of a terrorist group" [9] and engage in activity intended "to cause an explosion . . . that is likely to cause serious bodily harm or
death . . . or serious damage to property." [10]

March 13, 2005 - Ehsanul Islam Sadequee, an American, and Syed Haris Ahmed, living in Atlanta, GA, travel by bus from Atlanta to Toronto and meet with at least three members of the Canadian group. They had allegedly been emailing two of the Canadian group's members. At some time, they had also visited Washington D.C. to videotape the U.S. Capitol building and other locations. [3, 4, 5, 18] ***

August 13, 2005 - Two Canadians from the Toronto area, Ali Dirie and Yasin Mohamed, are arrested for firearms possession while trying to return to Canada. Their car had been rented by Fahim Ahmad who was not arrested at this time. [1, 4, 6] The three men would later be included in the June 5, 2006 terrorism indictment. [11]

Late summer - early fall 2005 - The Canadian group looking at possible training camp location. [17]

November 27, 2005 - December 31, 2005 - Members of the Canadian group receive training for terrorist purposes, according to the indictment. [9] Group members trained from December 18, 2005 till December 25, 2005, according to the Canadian government's case synopsis. [17]

January 2006 - CBC News says that dates of incidents in court documents go back to January 2006, "indicating that Canadian security services have had the group under surveillance for a consierable period." [20] The June 7, 2006 Globe and Mail reported that the Canadian government's 8-page synopsis of their case says that the police had been gathering evidence on the group for "months." [17]

February 2006 - Investigators or intelligence analysts brief the Toronto police on the suspected terror group. [4, 19] The mayor of Toronto is briefed either shortly before [19] or shortly after [4] the police were briefed.

Late April 2006 - Sadequee, the American who traveled to Toronto by bus, is indicted in Brooklyn, New York for "making false statements to the FBI." His travel partner, Ahmed, is indicted in Atlanta, Georgia for "material support of terrorism." [5] ****

Late May - early June 2006 - CBC News says that, during this time, the Canadian group allegedly begin talk of obtaining three tons of ammonium nitrate, a potential bomb-making ingredient. [19] It also says that the group "at one point had a rental agreement for a house in Toronto where the bomb-making supplies would be stored and the bombs constructed. But they later changed their minds and moved to a warehouse." [20] The Toronto Star says the talk of acquiring the three tons of ammonium nitrate allegedly began in June. [4]

June 2006 - The group had three tons of ammonium nitrate delivered to them with the "intent to use it for a terrorist attack." They also "took steps to acquire components (to create bombs) from the ammonium nitrate." [2] The police were conducting a sting operation on the group. [17]

June 2, 2006 - Seventeen group members are arrested for "terrorism related offenses," including two who are already in prison. The seventeen include 12 adults and five minors. [2, 15] All are "Canadian" [12] or "Canadian residents." [13] All are Muslim. [14] Some reports say that arrests were also made on June 3. [15, 16]


* The "CSIS was monitoring Internet sites and tracing the paths of Canadians believed to have ties to international terrorist organizations . . . Local youths espousing fundamentalist views drew special attention." [1] "CSIS targets individuals and groups based on their activities....(They) must be engaging in activities that are believed to be in support of espionage, sabotage, foreign-influenced activity or activities in support of terrorism . . . All intrusive methods of investigation used by CSIS are subject to several levels of approval before they are deployed. The most intrusive methods—such as electronic surveillance, mail opening, and covert searches—require a warrant issued by a judge of the Federal Court of Canada." [7]

** The Royal Canadian Mounted Police are Canada's "national police service." It serves as "a national, federal, provincial and municipal policing body." [8]

*** The FBI says that the U.S. has been cooperating with the Canadian police since the March 2005 meeting between Sadequee, Ahmed and members of the Canadian group. [18]

****Sadequee and Ahmed have not been part of the Canadian indictments as of this time.


[1] Toronto Star. June 3, 2006. How Internet monitoring sparked a CSIS probe.
[2] Royal Canadian Mounted Police. June 3, 2006. Seventeen arrested on anti-terrorism charges

[3] Los Angeles Times. June 4, 2006. Canada arrests 17 in alleged terror plot.
[4] Toronto Star. June 5, 2006. Plot began in chat room.
[5] Federal Bureau of Investigation. April 21, 2006. Defendant arrested and charged with making false statements to the FBI.
[6] WGRZ-TV, Buffalo. August 14, 2005. Weapons arrest at Peace Bridge.
[7] Canadian Security Intelligence Service. November 14, 2005 (date modified). Frequently asked questions.
[8] Royal Canadian Mounted Police. December 22, 2003, (revised November 7, 2005). About the RCMP.
[9] Crown vs. Fahim Ahmad, et al. Indictment. Appendix B, #1. June 5, 2006. Findlaw. Legal News and Commentary.
Canadian terror indictment alleging plot to make explosive devices.
[10] Crown vs. Fahim Ahmad, et al. Indictment. Appendix B, #6. June 5, 2006. Findlaw. Legal News and Commentary.
Canadian terror indictment alleging plot to make explosive devices.
[11] Crown vs. Fahim Ahmad, et al. Indictment. Appendix A. June 5, 2006. Findlaw. Legal News and Commentary. Canadian terror indictment alleging plot to make explosive devices.
[12] Toronto Star. June 6, 2006. National interest must come first.
[13] The New York Times. June 4, 2006. 17 held in plot to bomb sites in Ontario.
[14] Toronto Star. June 6, 2006. Editorial: Time to challenge Muslim extremists.
[15] Toronto Star. June 7, 2006. Plan to "behead" PM.

[16] CBC News. June 5, 2006. Overview.
[17] The Globe and Mail. June 7, 2006. How the police watched the plan unfold.
[18] CBC News. June 4, 2006. Theories surface about what led to Ontario arrests.
[19] CBC News. June 6, 2006. Investigation timeline.
[20] CBC News. June 7, 2006. Security services had bomb plot suspects under surveillance for more than six month.

update: June 16, 2006, 7:38 pm (new york)
unlink dead links: June 16, 2006, 7:11 pm (new york)

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Who's who on Site Meter?

According to Site Meter, I had two total visitors on May 31. They visited between 3:11 am and 3:13 am. I had four total visitors on June 1. They visited between 3:42 pm and 3:51 pm. I had no visitors on June 2nd or 3rd.

All the visitors had been referred by Blogger blogs, but when I visited those blogs, they didn't have a link to my blog. The referring blog on the top of the list, called My Life Abroad, said that she was moving to Japan. It was her only entry. I've had the feeling that people, from time to time, have wanted me to move to Japan.

It's referring blog of unknown provenance propaganda.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Financial compensation for discrimination against Muslim-Americans

The June 1, 2006 New York Times has an article called Terror Fears Hampers U.S. Muslims' Travel that describes how innocent Muslim-Americans are being discriminated against at border crossings and airports. They are being unfairly handcuffed by law enforcement officers and denied airline tickets by ticket agents. The article says that the treatment of Muslim-Americans is much worse than that experienced by traveling non-Muslim-Americans since 9/11 and that it has made many Muslim-Americans feel like "second-class citizens."

A solution to these discriminatory acts might be automatic financial compensation for each unfounded act of discrimination. Compensation should begin at $1,000 per incident and go up into the millions depending on the severity of the act. This way, everyone shares the pain.

It's possible that these acts are being deliberately done or deliberately being allowed to occur because they create a climate of fear in the Muslim-American community. The thinking being that this climate would serve as a deterrent to any potential Muslim or Muslim-American terrorist or sympathizer. But why should innocent Muslim-Americans have to suffer in order to accomplish this deterrence? *

Monetary compensation would probably lessen this climate of fear and therefore, the deterrence factor, if this is what's happening. But I don't believe that Muslim-Americans should be abused at all in this manner and having a counterbalancing compensation system in place would make it less likely to occur. And at the very least, it may supply some solace to our fellow Muslim-Americans for their unwarranted suffering.

* A culture of fear might also induce some to do things, like become an operative for law enforcement, that they might not otherwise be inclined to do.

update: june 6, 2006, 10:31 pm
unlink dead link: june 16, 2006, 7:28 pm (new york)

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