Archive for October, 2007
31 Oct 2007

Cyber Jihad

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al-Qaeda Cyber Jihad logo

Debka:

In a special Internet announcement in Arabic, picked up DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources, Osama bin Laden’s followers announced Monday, Oct. 29, the launching of Electronic Jihad. On Sunday, Nov. 11, al Qaeda’s electronic experts will start attacking Western, Jewish, Israeli, Muslim apostate and Shiite Web sites. On Day One, they will test their skills against 15 targeted sites expand the operation from day to day thereafter until hundreds of thousands of Islamist hackers are in action against untold numbers of anti-Muslim sites.

DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources report that, shortly after the first announcement, some of al Qaeda’s own Web sites went blank, apparently crashed by the American intelligence computer experts tracking them.

The next day, Oct. 30, they were up again, claiming their Islamic fire walls were proof against infidel assault.

They also boasted an impenetrable e-mail network for volunteers wishing to join up with the cyber jihad to contact and receive instructions undetected by the security agencies in their respective countries.

Our sources say the instructions come in simple language and are organized in sections according to target. They offer would-be martyrs, who for one reason or another are unable to fight in the field, to fulfill their jihad obligations on the Net. These virtual martyrs are assured of the same thrill and sense of elation as a jihadi on the “battlefield.”

In effect, say DEBKAfile’s counter-terror experts, al Qaeda is retaliating against Western intelligence agencies’ tactics, which detect new terrorist sites and zap them as soon as they appear. Until now, the jihadists kept dodging the assault by throwing up dozens of new sites simultaneously. This kept the trackers busy and ensured that some of the sites survived, while empty pages were promptly replaced. But as al Qaeda’s cyber wizards got better at keeping its presence on the Net for longer periods, so too did Western counter-attackers at knocking them down. Now Bin Laden’s cyber legions are fighting back. The electronic war they have declared could cause considerable trouble on the world’s Internet.

31 Oct 2007

“Must … see … naked … women”

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Spamsters are using a virtual striptease game to get human volunteers to decipher the distorted CAPTCHA test words or numbers used to block automated access.

John Murrell
:

Spammers are a parasitic plague upon the Net, but when it comes to their mastery of social engineering and manipulation, sometimes you just have to stand back in admiration.

One of the most popular and effective techniques for stopping spammers from, say, automating the creation of new, bogus e-mail accounts is the use of CAPTCHAs — a step in the sign-up process that presents a picture of a word distorted in such a way that a human can read it and enter the information correctly, but a machine can’t. From the spammer’s standpoint, what you really need to get around this is a bunch of human volunteers to decipher the CAPTCHAs and send back the results. But how do you persuade people to do your evil bidding for free? Why you just tap a primitive urge wired into the male brain — the caveman voice that says, “Must … see … naked … women.”

A couple of security outfits have now found evidence of the technique in the form of a virtual striptease “game” that is activated when Windows IE is run on an infected machine. The program presents a partial picture of “Melissa,” who invites you to see more by deciphering a CAPTCHA. Answer correctly and you get a peek at another piece of Melissa and a new CAPTCHA to solve, and so forth.

31 Oct 2007

University of Delaware Operating Student Thought-Reform Program

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“All whites are racist” according to official policy at the University of Delaware, and students are required to undergo “treatment” and obliged to demonstrate “behavioral changes.”

Foundation for Individual Rights in Education article:

The University of Delaware subjects students in its residence halls to a shocking program of ideological reeducation that is referred to in the university’s own materials as a “treatment” for students’ incorrect attitudes and beliefs. The Orwellian program requires the approximately 7,000 students in Delaware’s residence halls to adopt highly specific university-approved views on issues ranging from politics to race, sexuality, sociology, moral philosophy, and environmentalism. The Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE) is calling for the total dismantling of the program, which is a flagrant violation of students’ rights to freedom of conscience and freedom from compelled speech.

“The University of Delaware’s residence life education program is a grave intrusion into students’ private beliefs,” FIRE President Greg Lukianoff said. “The university has decided that it is not enough to expose its students to the values it considers important; instead, it must coerce its students into accepting those values as their own. At a public university like Delaware, this is both unconscionable and unconstitutional.”

The university’s views are forced on students through a comprehensive manipulation of the residence hall environment, from mandatory training sessions to “sustainability” door decorations. Students living in the university’s eight housing complexes are required to attend training sessions, floor meetings, and one-on-one meetings with their Resident Assistants (RAs). The RAs who facilitate these meetings have received their own intensive training from the university, including a “diversity facilitation training” session at which RAs were taught, among other things, that “[a] racist is one who is both privileged and socialized on the basis of race by a white supremacist (racist) system. The term applies to all white people (i.e., people of European descent) living in the United States, regardless of class, gender, religion, culture or sexuality.” …

According to the program’s materials, the goal of the residence life education program is for students in the university’s residence halls to achieve certain “competencies” that the university has decreed its students must develop in order to achieve the overall educational goal of “citizenship.” These competencies include: “Students will recognize that systemic oppression exists in our society,” “Students will recognize the benefits of dismantling systems of oppression,” and “Students will be able to utilize their knowledge of sustainability to change their daily habits and consumer mentality.”

At various points in the program, students are also pressured or even required to take actions that outwardly indicate their agreement with the university’s ideology, regardless of their personal beliefs. Such actions include displaying specific door decorations, committing to reduce their ecological footprint by at least 20%, taking action by advocating for an “oppressed” social group, and taking action by advocating for a “sustainable world.”

In the Office of Residence Life’s internal materials, these programs are described using the harrowing language of ideological reeducation.

Office of Residence Life — Report 1 On Strategic Change:

In the most turgid of bureaucratese (page 9), the Assistant Director for Residential Education is tasked to “design… engage in action… interpret,” yada yada, and so on “competencies,” i.e. student (re-education/indoctrination subject) program goals.

1. Understand how your social identities affect how you view others.

    a. Each student will understand their social identities which are salient in
    their day-to-day life.
    b. Each student will be able to express an understanding of how their social
    identities influence their views of others.

2. Understand how differences in equity impact our society.

    a. Each student will learn about the forms of oppression that are linked with
    social identity groups.
    b. Each student will recognize that systemic oppression exists in our society
    c. Each student will recognize the benefits of dismantling systems of
    oppression

3. Understand your congruence with citizenship values:

    a. -Human suffering matters.

This program surely produces plenty of human suffering.

30 Oct 2007

American Military Attacks Iraqis With Sharks

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Latest US Anti-Iraqi-Personnel Device

Reuters spills the beans on the latest American atrocity.

A two-meter shark has been caught in a river in southern Iraq more than 200 km (160 miles) from the sea.

Karim Hasan Thamir said he was fishing with his sons last week when they spotted a large fish thrashing about in his net. “I recognized the fish as a shark because I have seen one on a television program,” he told Reuters.

The shark was pulled from the mouth of an irrigation canal that joins the Euphrates River. The Euphrates joins the Tigris River further east to form the Shatt al-Arab waterway which flows south past Basra into the Gulf.

Dr. Mohamed Ajah, assistant dean of the college of science at Thi Qar University in Nassiriya, said barriers in river estuaries usually prevented sharks swimming upstream.

“In this case, I think this animal was there for a long time but no one had managed to see it,” he said.

Locals blamed the U.S. military for the shark’s presence.

Tahseen Ali, a teacher, said there was a “75 percent chance” Americans had put the shark in the water.

“This is very frightening for us. Our children always swim in the river and I believe that there are more sharks. I believe that America is behind this matter,” said fisherman Hatim Karim.

Personally, I knew that we could top the British.

———————————

Hat tip to Karen L. Myers.

30 Oct 2007

Bigfoot Photos From Pennsylvania

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Ray L. Wallace before he passed away in a nursing home in Centralia, Washington in 2002 admitted that he had personally created the North American Sasquatch myth with some faked footprints leading to nationwide press reports in 1958. But the stories continue.

Last September 16th, around 10:30 PM, an automatic camera set up by Rick Jacobs in the Allegheny National Forest, near Ridgway in Elk County, Pennsylvania, intended to capture photos of a trophy buck,was triggered and took some photographs prompting world-wide Bigfoot-sighting reports.

Bradford County Era

news.com.au (Australia) Photo Gallery


Obviously bears.

AP

30 Oct 2007

Speaking of Polls

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Zogby finds 52% of Americans favor military action against Iran. (And that other 48% will vote for Hillary.)

In celebration of the good news, listen to:

3:07 commie “Bomb Iran” video — Good song, though.

30 Oct 2007

Hillary, Doomed to Lose?

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Jim Geraughty:

Pollster Scott Rasmussen just shared this fascinating observation in an interview: When you average the head-to-head matchups with Hillary Clinton vs. any of the Republicans, she’s always getting 46 to 49 percent against any of them.

    “When we polled her against Ron Paul, she got 48 percent of the vote. When we polled on Ron Paul among people who knew who Ron Paul is, she got 48 percent of the vote. When we polled among people who didn’t know who Ron Paul is, she got 48 percent percent of the vote.”

It may be that things just have not changed very much since 2000.

The country is deeply, and almost evenly, divided between urban coastal democrat voters and red state Republican voters, but we Republicans have just a tiny little margin in the numbers.

29 Oct 2007

“Bush Ruined My Marriage!”

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John Hawkins went touristing over in the fever swamps of Daily Kos, and has returned with reports of the toll George W. Bush has wreaked upon the private lives of its contributors.

Examples:

angrybird: I wrote a diary a short time ago about how the Bush administration helped ruin my marriage. It wasn’t because my husband was a Bush supporter or anything…it was because of all the stresses from job loses, living without health insurance and getting sick, to my husband being forced to take a job where he wasn’t home much that helped ruin my marriage. …

begone: Before my head began exploding a few years ago in response to Busharama, I’d exercise a lot… I mean, almost daily, joyous-type exericising. Now I come home with a slight frown on my face and come here to hear the news & be a mojo-mama even if too tired to comment, and hang for hours here and on other blogs, as if the light will shine again and I’ll be present to hear the BREAKING news about that. Bush, I blame you for my new-ish extra 20 pounds….

delphine: I haven’t had a relationship since he took office. But I can say that I’ve been trashed by potential online dating partners for stating I couldn’t date anyone who thinks bush is a good presznit….

meldroc: Bush has also damaged my mental health.

The Kos consensus is that the current president is so totally diabolical that, even from his Oval Office location many miles away, he can literally drive moonbats mad.

Of course, that is frequently a very short trip.

Read the whole pity party, and laugh.

28 Oct 2007

“Deliverance” as War Metaphor

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The late James Dickey’s son, Christopher Dickey, took the occasion of the release of a new DVD-edition of the 1972 movie based upon his father’s novel Deliverance, to treat the film as a metaphor for the War in Iraq.

In the fiction of “Deliverance,” Ed (the Jon Voight character)’s sanity and bravery eventually save the day when he climbs out of the gorge. What I wonder is whether in the real-world crisis of Iraq there is enough sanity and bravery in Washington to deliver us from the evil that’s been created in Iraq. Unfortunately it doesn’t look that way. Whether we listen to the Republicans or the Democrats, the woman candidate for president or the men, all the major contenders remain reluctant to challenge the ersatz standards of strength set by the Bush administration. Sure, they snipe at each other, but none want to appear weak on national security. So we’re left with “Law, what law? Plan, what plan?” And we continue to float down the river as if without a paddle, unable and unwilling to climb out, with much more violence and in all probability worse humiliations yet to come.

And Mark Steyn rebuts.

In a column headlined “War and Deliverance,” their Middle East editor, Christopher Dickey, makes the picture the defining metaphor for “the Mesopotamian quagmire.” The Atlanta suburbanites in the picture include Burt Reynolds as the obsessive wannabe back-to-nature survivalist and Jon Voight as “the perfectly ordinary man, the just-getting-by guy,” but the one who, in the end, delivers his pals from the hell of their weekend in the country.

Unlike most of us, whose knowledge of the film relies on hazy memories from the 1970s and late-night TV screenings, Dickey knows the story in depth: His dad wrote the novel and the screenplay. And, as he sees it, the Burt Reynolds character with his “untested ersatz fortitude” is “Dick Cheney’s closet fantasy of himself,” and the Jon Voight character is “the rest of us, just scared and trying to get by.” As for the river whose rapids they set out to negotiate, “that’s the war in Iraq.”

Christopher Dickey paints with a broad brush: “On a grand scale they [the administration] could reinterpret the Constitution until it became meaningless.” (Monitoring jihadist phone logs being the reinterpretation into meaninglessness, unlike, say, partial-birth abortion, which is merely an ancient constitutional right the founders had cannily anticipated a need for.) So one’s first reaction to this is a faint flicker of surprise that Dickey doesn’t see Cheney as the mountain man and the Constitution as his rape victim. One’s second reaction is that the metaphor is dishonest. When it comes to “closet fantasies” about toppling Saddam, it’s not Dick Cheney versus “the rest of us.” Throughout the 1990s and all the way up to the Iraq war resolution, there were a lot of folks auditioning for the Burt Reynolds role: Bill Clinton, Al Gore and almost every other prominent Democrat indulged in just as much “ersatz fortitude” about Iraq and its WMD as Dick Cheney ever did. …

The real flaw in Christopher Dickey’s “Deliverance” metaphor: If Cheney is Burt Reynolds, and the rest of America is Jon Voight, and the river is Iraq, who are the hillbillies? Well, presumably (for he doesn’t spell it out) they’re the dark forces you make yourself vulnerable to when you blunder into somewhere you shouldn’t be. When the quartet returns to Atlanta a man short, they may understand how thin the veneer of civilization is, but they don’t have to worry that their suburban cul-de-sacs will be overrun and reduced to the same state of nature as the backwoods.

That’s the flaw in the thesis: Robert D. Kaplan, a shrewd observer of global affairs, has referred to the jihadist redoubts and other lawless fringes of the map as “Indian territory.” It’s a cute joke but a misleading one. The difference between the old Indian territory and the new is this: No one had to worry about the Sioux riding down Fifth Avenue, just as Burt Reynolds never had to worry about the mountain man breaking into his rec room. But Iran has put bounties on London novelists, assassinated dissidents in Paris, blown up community centers in Buenos Aires, seeded proxy terror groups in Lebanon and Palestine, radicalized Muslim populations throughout Central Asia – and it’s now going nuclear. The leaders of North Korea, Sudan and Syria are not stump-toothed Appalachian losers: Their emissaries wear suits and dine in Manhattan restaurants every night.

Life is not a movie, especially when your enemies don’t watch the same movies, and don’t buy into the same tired narratives.

28 Oct 2007

Syrian Smoking Gun

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Debkafile says US and Israeli Intelligence have documents with Syrian president Assad’s signature trading wheat for North Korean nuclear technology.

President Bashar Assad was personally involved in Damascus’ nuclear deal with Pyongyang. Documentary proofs of this, obtained from the presidential bureau and signed by Assad in person, are now in the hands of the US and Israeli intelligence services, DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report. In one, Assad hands down a specific order in his own handwriting that North Korea not be charged for Syrian goods, including an annual shipment of 100,000 tons of Durham wheat for five years worth a total of $120 million. This is the equivalent of the value of the reactor for producing plutonium up to its most radioactive stage, which North Korea promised Syria.

A high-ranking Western intelligence source speaking to DEBKAfile described the evidence against Assad in US and Israeli hands as solid and much closer to a smoking gun than the West has turned up against Iran’s nuclear program.

Read the whole thing.

28 Oct 2007

Baby Boomer Quiz

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(received via email)

1. In the 1950s, where were automobile headlight dimmer switches located?

a. On the floor shift knob
b. On the floor board, to the left of the clutch
c. Next to the horn

2. The bottle top of a Royal Crown Cola bottle had holes in it. For what was it used?

a. Capture lightning bugs
b. To sprinkle clothes before ironing
c. Large salt shaker

3. Why was having milk delivered a problem in northern winters?

a. Cows got cold and wouldn’t produce milk
b. Ice on highways forced delivery by dog sled
c. Milkmen left deliveries outside of front doors and milk would freeze, expanding and pushing up the cardboard bottle top.

4. What was the popular chewing gum named for a game of chance?

a. Blackjack
b. Gin
c. Craps!

5. What method did women use to look as if they were wearing stockings when none were available due to rationing during W.W.II?

a. Suntan
b. Leg painting
c. Wearing slacks

6. What postwar car turned automotive design on its ear when you couldn’t tell whether it was coming or going?

a. Studebaker
b. Nash Metro
c. Tucker

7. Which was a popular candy when you were a kid?

a. Strips of dried peanut butter
b. Chocolate licorice bars
c. Wax coke-shaped bottles with colored sugar water inside

8. How was Butch wax used?

a. To stiffen a flat-top haircut so it stood up
b. To make floors shiny and prevent scuffing
c. On the wheels of roller skates to prevent rust

9. Before inline skates, how did you keep your roller skates attached to your shoes?

a. With clamps, tightened by a skate key
b. Woven straps that crossed the foot
c. Long pieces of twine

10. As a kid, what was considered the best way to reach a decision?

a. Consider all the facts
b. Ask Mom
c. Eeny-meeny-miney-mo

11. What was the most dreaded disease in the 1940’s?

a. Smallpox
b. AIDS
c. Polio

12. “I’ll be down to get you in a ________, Honey”

a. SUV
b. Taxi
c. Streetcar

13. What was the name of Caroline Kennedy’s pet pony?

a. Old Blue
b. Paint
c. Macaroni

14. What was a Duck-and-Cover Drill?

a. Part of the game of hide and seek
b. What you did when your Mom called you in to do chores
c. Hiding under your desk, and covering your head with your arms in an A-bomb drill

15. What was the name of the Indian Princess on the Howdy Doody show?

a. Princess Summerfallwinterspring
b. Princess Sacajewea
c. Princess Moonshadow

16. What did all the really savvy students do when mimeographed tests were handed out in school?

a. Immediately sniffed the purple ink, as this was believed to get you high
b. Made paper airplanes to see who could sail theirs out the window
c. Wrote another pupil’s name on the top, to avoid their failure

17. Why did your Mom shop in stores that gave Green Stamps with purchases?

a. To keep you out of mischief by licking the backs, which tasted like bubble gum
b. They could be put in special books and redeemed for various household items
c. They were given to the kids to be used as stick-on tattoos

18. Praise the Lord, and pass the ________________?

a. Meatballs
b. Dames
c. Ammunition

19. What was the name of the singing group that made the song “Cabdriver” a hit?

a. The Ink Spots
b. The Supremes
c. The Esquires

20. Who left his heart in San Francisco?

a. Tony Bennett
b. Xavier Cugat
c. George Gershwin

ANSWERS

28 Oct 2007

Britain Packing It In

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Gethin Chamberlain (Neville’s grandson?), in the Telegraph, talks to a senior officer of the British Army in an era of Labour Government, who tells him that they are “tired of fighting,” have concluded that their cause was wrong, have been bled white by 171 casualties, and are ready (in the glorious tradition of Percival of Singapore) to give up.

It was as astonishing an admission as any that has emerged from the lips of a British officer in the four and a half years since the tanks rolled over the Iraqi border. The British Army, said the man sitting in a prefab hut in Britain’s last base in the country, were tired of fighting.

“We would go down there [Basra], dressed as Robocop, shooting at people if they shot at us, and innocent people were getting hurt,” he said. “We don’t speak Arabic to explain and our translators were too scared to work for us any more. What benefit were we bringing to these people?”

The officer — one of the most senior in Iraq — agreed to speak to The Sunday Telegraph only on the highly unusual condition of anonymity, but he made clear that what he said reflected a major change in British tactics. “We are tired of firing at people,” he said. “We would prefer to find a political accommodation.” ..

For Britain, in southern Iraq, it is all but over. It tried force, and ultimately had to admit that force failed. Since March 2003, 171 British men and women have lost their lives in the war.

British commanders can only hope that the Iraqis have more luck. But if, as the British mantra now runs, the answer is “an Iraqi solution to an Iraqi problem”, the question that must now be asked is why it took so long to reach that conclusion, and whether it should have been reached much earlier, at a cost of far fewer British lives.

Let the bands play Monty Python’s Ballad of Brave Sir Robin as that “senior officer” marches (or scuttles) away.

Packing it in and packing it up
And sneaking away and buggering off
And chickening out and pissing off home
Yes, bravely he is throwing in the sponge

27 Oct 2007

Tom Lantos Tells Off Dutch Pinkos

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79-year-old Bay Area Congressman Tom Lantos is unfortunately a moderate liberal and a democrat, but he is also a Holocaust survivor and a refugee from Hungarian Communism.

AP reports that some visiting leftwing Dutch legislators recently tried telling him that the US should close its Guantanamo Bay internment facility, and Tom Lantos put them in their place.

Dutch lawmakers who visited the Guantanamo Bay military prison this week said they were offended by a testy exchange in Washington with a senior congressional Democrat.

The lawmakers said that Rep. Tom Lantos, D-Calif., chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told them that “Europe was not as outraged by Auschwitz as by Guantanamo Bay.”

Lantos, a Holocaust survivor, was responding to arguments that the United States should shut down the prison, located on a U.S. naval base in Cuba, the lawmakers said. Mariko Peter, a member of the Dutch Green Party, who began the exchange with Lantos, said she took notes of the remarks. …

Before the Guantanamo exchange, the lawmakers had discussed a debate in the Netherlands about whether the country should maintain its 1,600 troops serving in NATO’s Afghanistan operations.

“You have to help us, because if it was not for us you would now be a province of Nazi Germany,” Lantos said, according to the Dutch lawmakers.

“The comments killed the debate,” said Harry van Bommel, a member of the Socialist Party. “It was insulting and counterproductive.”

There are times one really wishes Tom Lantos was a Republican.

27 Oct 2007

Yemen Frees USS Cole Bomber

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Jamal al-Badawi, angry Muslim

BBC

In 2004, Yemen appeased the United States by sentencing the most senior conspirator in USS Cole bombing Jamal al-Badawi to death. His family appealed the sentence, which was promptly reduced to 15 years. In 2006, Badawi escaped from prison. He has now successfully negotiated a new deal. He turned himself in, and swore allegiance to Yemeni strongman Ali Abdullah Saleh, the current president, and received a further commutation of his sentence to house arrest.

The US has been offering a $5 million reward for Badawi’s capture.

It is shameful that Third World fly speck countries like Yemen feel free to harbor terrorists and murderers of Americans. In a more sensible era, a president like Theodore Roosevelt would have responded to an insult of this kind by sending a US battleship to bombard Yemen’s ports, or by landing a regiment of Marines. George W. Bush ought, at the very least, to bomb the safe house where the murderer is enjoying his retirement into oblivion.

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