August 31, 2006

Concrete Proof

In the comments of this post, Ronald Lewis, an experienced bomb damage assessment expert with 20 years of experience, states, in part (my bold):

...The nature of the hole in the roof of the Reuters vehicles is inconsistent with penetration by shrapnel. There would be more than one hole, a larger one surrounded by many smaller ones. This single hole, its shape and the initial gray color of the damage area are more consistent with a vehicle struck by a large piece of masonry striking the top of the vehicle at high velocity, possibly dislodged by a rocket blast. It is clear that the vehicle, itself, was not struck by missiles or rockets...

Mr Lewis is not the only expert to reach a similar conclusion.

Both of the armored vehicle manufacturers I corresponded with yesterday agreed that an explosive probably did not cause the damage shown on the Reuters vehicle. Old Soldier, a retired Master Army Aviator helicopter and fixed-wing test pilot also remarked based upon his 31-years experience that the damage may have been caused by (my bold):

... [a] chunk of flying concrete debris from a larger explosion (say perhaps a HELLFIRE or artillery round hitting a building nearby).

There are, of course, conflicting ideas that very may well be valid. Photo analysis alone does not seem capable of resolving this issue with any degree of certainty in the blogosphere, which is why it is quite disappointing that the professional media refuses to investigate what may have occurred.

I have one more email floating out there to an expert that might be able to shed a little more light on this incident, but as time passes, it appears that they are unlikely to return comment. The simple fact of the matter is that without a close-up inspection of the vehicle by recognized experts and perhaps metallurgical tests on any shrapnel that can be verified as being recovered from the victims and the vehicle, we may never know exactly what transpired.

I could not resist my sillier side, however, and present to you an artist's conception of the helicopter that carried out the attack.


Barring any late-breaking developments, I think this story is pretty much done.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:48 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Soros: Negotiate with Evil

I generally oppose the idea of taking moral advice from a convicted felon, and so it was with quite a bit of skepticism that I clicked on the link to today's Boston Globeeditorial by George Soros.

My skepticism was well-founded:

The failure of Israel to subdue Hezbollah demonstrates the many weaknesses of the war-on-terror concept. One of those weaknesses is that even if the targets are terrorists, the victims are often innocent civilians, and their suffering reinforces the terrorist cause.

In response to Hezbollah's attacks, Israel was justified in attacking Hezbollah to protect itself against the threat of missiles on its border. However, Israel should have taken greater care to minimize collateral damage. The civilian casualties and material damage inflicted on Lebanon inflamed Muslims and world opinion against Israel and converted Hezbollah from aggressors to heroes of resistance for many. Weakening Lebanon has also made it more difficult to rein in Hezbollah.

Precisely what further steps should Israel have taken to minimize civilian casualties, Mr. Soros? Israel warned all Lebanese civilians to leave areas where they might launch airstrikes, often days in advance. Israel primarily used precision-guided munitions from strike aircraft to strike specific targeted locations. Israel took the responsible steps any nation should by using precision weaponry instead of area weapons whenever possible, and gave up some of its combat effectiveness by announcing where strikes may occur well before an attack, so that Lebanese civilian and terrorist alike had the opportunity to leave well in advance. Apparently an advance warning wasn't enough, and Soros would have Israel provide transportation as well.

Further, Soros blames Israel for their response, but does not even attempt to address the fact that Hezbollah purposefully thrust Lebanese civilians into the conflict. Hezbollah fired rockets from residential areas, hid the rockets themselves, their launchers, and their fighters in buildings occupied by civilians. The fact that the Lebanese government was weak, ineffectual, and heavily influenced by Hezbollah's paymasters in Damascus is a fact Soros would rather skip past than address.

Another weakness of the war-on-terror concept is that it relies on military action and rules out political approaches. Israel previously withdrew from Lebanon and then from Gaza unilaterally, rather than negotiating political settlements with the Lebanese government and the Palestinian authority. The strengthening of Hezbollah and Hamas was a direct consequence of that approach. The war-on-terror concept stands in the way of recognizing this fact because it separates "us" from "them" and denies that our actions help shape their behavior.

Starting with Presidents Nixon and Ford, the United states, with the rest of the world in tow, started a pattern of appeasing terrorists by providing little or no deterrence to increasingly violent attacks. The lack of a cohesive and forceful military response to these attacks only encouraged the spread of terrorist groups, allowing them to grow virtually unchecked as they killed and injured thousands. It was this long-running pattern of relying on politics, policing, and negotiating that placed us in the situation we have today. Soros repeat a pattern that 35 years of failures has proven is impotent and ineffectual.

Hezbollah, Hamas and the governments that support them have repeatedly stated that their reason to exist is to wipe Israel off the face of the map and to force the rest of the world to accept their radical version of Islam at the point of a sword. Historically, Soros' recommended course of action has proven to be one of failure time and again. He, like the components of the Far Left that lap up his funding, are philosophically unable to face that reality, and continued a dogged pursuit of polices that encourage terrorism to continue to blossom.

A third weakness is that the war-on-terror concept lumps together different political movements that use terrorist tactics. It fails to distinguish among Hamas, Hezbollah, Al Qaeda, or the Sunni insurrection and the Mahdi militia in Iraq. Yet all these terrorist manifestations, being different, require different responses. Neither Hamas nor Hezbollah can be treated merely as targets in the war on terror because both have deep roots in their societies; yet there are profound differences between them.

Again, Soros shows that he misunderstands the problem of confronting Islamic terrorism on a fundamental level. Theirs is not a "political” movement, and while these groups interpret Islam differently, they do not recognize a separation of theology from governance. The tenants of Sharia itself disprove his views categorically. While the specifics differ, all share a common goal of the destruction of Israel, the subjugation of the West under Islam, and death to any that hold an opposing view. You cannot negotiate with those who see their views and their views alone as Absolute Truth. You can choose to bend their will and give up your views, your freedoms, and your rights, or you must fight them to the death. This is the lesson that Islam has spread to every border as it has expanded and been forcefully repulsed over nearly 1,400 years of human history, whether to invading Muslim Army has been Sunni or Shiite in makeup. Soros and those who acquiesce to his viewpoint are woefully unprepared to take the only course of action that over a millennia of experience shows us is the only thing that works to stop or slow the spread of the violence inherent to the various fundamentalist sects of Islam.

Looking back, it is easy to see where Israeli policy went wrong. When Mahmoud Abbas was elected president of the Palestinian Authority, Israel should have gone out of its way to strengthen him and his reformist team. When Israel withdrew from Gaza, the former head of the World Bank, James Wolfensohn, negotiated a six-point plan on behalf of the Quartet for the Middle East (Russia, the United States, the European Union, and the United Nations). It included opening crossings between Gaza and the West Bank, allowing an airport and seaport in Gaza, opening the border with Egypt; and transferring the greenhouses abandoned by Israeli settlers into Arab hands. None of the six points was implemented. This contributed to Hamas's electoral victory. The Bush administration, having pushed Israel to allow the Palestinians to hold elections, then backed Israel's refusal to deal with a Hamas government. The effect was to impose further hardship on the Palestinians.

Soros forgets to mention the constant failure of these groups to keep their end of a bargain. Once more, Soros places all the blame on Western states, while treating Arab states as children unable to take any initiative towards peace or betterment on their own. It betrays an inherent racism, the absolving of a proclivity towards violence as an accepted consequence of who they are. Soros belittles both the mental acuity of these actors and absolves them or wrongdoing. Though a sidenote, Soros forgets to mention what happened when those prosperous greenhouses were transferred from Israeli to Palestinian hands.

The Palestinians destroyed them. The hardships they suffer are self-imposed.

Nevertheless, Abbas was able to forge an agreement with the political arm of Hamas for the formation of a unity government. It was to foil this agreement that the military branch of Hamas, run from Damascus, engaged in the provocation that brought a heavy-handed response from Israel -- which in turn incited Hezbollah to further provocation, opening a second front.

That is how extremists play off against each other to destroy any chance of political progress.

Once more, Soros shows he cannot wrap his mind about the simplest concept; as long as terrorist groups are alive, there can be no peace.

Israel has been a participant in this game, and President Bush bought into this flawed policy, uncritically supporting Israel. Events have shown that this policy leads to the escalation of violence. The process has advanced to the point where Israel's unquestioned military superiority is no longer sufficient to overcome the negative consequences of its policy. Israel is now more endangered in its existence than it was at the time of the Oslo Agreement on peace.

Similarly, the United States has become less safe since Bush declared war on terror.

Israel's "flawed policy"--its determined will to survive-- seems to trouble Soros greatly. A tiny sliver of land in a vast Middle East, Israel only exists because its military has successfully repulsed attempts made by every single Arab neighboring state to destroy them. Israel escalates conflicts until they become unbearable for those attacking them, or it dies. Soros does not seem overly concerned about the possibility of the latter.

Soros says we are less safe now than in the past. Wars are never safe by definition, but the appeasement he preaches is far more deadly.

The time has come to realize that the present policies are counterproductive. There will be no end to the vicious circle of escalating violence without a political settlement of the Palestine question. In fact, the prospects for engaging in negotiations are better now than they were a few months ago. The Israelis must realize that a military deterrent is not sufficient on its own. And Arabs, having redeemed themselves on the battlefield, may be more willing to entertain a compromise.

There are strong voices arguing that Israel must never negotiate from a position of weakness. They are wrong. Israel's position is liable to become weaker the longer it persists on its present course. Similarly Hezbollah, having tasted the sense but not the reality of victory (and egged on by Syria and Iran) may prove recalcitrant. But that is where the difference between Hezbollah and Hamas comes into play. The Palestinian people yearn for peace and relief from suffering. The political -- as distinct from the military -- wing of Hamas must be responsive to their desires. It is not too late for Israel to encourage and deal with an Abbas-led Palestinian unity government as the first step toward a better-balanced approach.

Given how strong the US-Israeli relationship is, it would help Israel to achieve its own legitimate aims if the US government were not blinded by the war-on-terror concept.

Once more, Soros seems to be under the illusion that the Palestinians want peace. Hezbollah, Hamas, and their sponsors patently refuse to recognize Israel's right to even exist. They state in their charters that they fight for the total destruction of Israel.

George Soros seems to think that is negotiable.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:58 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Not the Way We Remember It

In an article focusing on Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld's speech to the American Legion Tuesday, the L.A. Times' Julian E. Barnes slipped this in near the end:

Rumsfeld's speech drew sharp complaints from Democrats, including Sen. Edward M. Kennedy of Massachusetts, whose father, Joseph P. Kennedy, was criticized by Rumsfeld in a speech Monday.

The elder Kennedy, who served as a U.S. ambassador to Britain before World War II, resigned that post because he opposed British and U.S. war preparations.

"Secretary Rumsfeld is the last person who should preach the lessons of history after ignoring them for the last six years," Kennedy said in a statement. "As a result of his failures, Americans are less safe."

Barnes states that the elder Kennedy "opposed British and U.S. war preparations," but it is not surprising that he glossed over just why the senior Kennedy was opposed to the preparations for war.

Wikipedia offers a clue:

Kennedy was (for a while) a close friend with leading Jewish lawyer Felix Frankfurter, who helped Kennedy get his sons into the London School of Economics, where they worked with Harold Laski, a leading Jewish intellectual and prominent Socialist.[4] While holding positive attitudes towards individual Jews, Kennedy's views of the Jews as a people were, by his own admission, overwhelmingly negative.

According to Harvey Klemmer, who served as one of Kennedy's embassy aides, Kennedy habitually referred to Jews as "kikes or sheenies." Kennedy allegedly told Klemmer that "[some] individual Jews are all right, Harvey, but as a race they stink. They spoil everything they touch."[5] When Klemmer returned from a trip to Germany and reported the pattern of vandalism and assault on Jews by Nazis, Kennedy responded "well, they brought it on themselves."[6]

On June 13, 1938, Kennedy met with Herbert von Dirksen, the German ambassador in London, who reported to Berlin that Kennedy had told him that "it was not so much the fact that we want to get rid of the Jews that was so harmful to us, but rather the loud clamor with which we accompanied this purpose. [Kennedy] himself fully understood our Jewish policy."[7] Kennedy's main concern with such violent acts against German Jews as Kristallnacht was that they generated bad publicity in the West for the Nazi regime, a concern he communicated in a letter to Charles Lindbergh.[8]

From Seymour Hersh's Dark Side of Camelot:

There is no evidence that Ambassador [Joseph] Kennedy understood in the days before the war that stopping Hitler was a moral imperative.

"Individual Jews are all right, Harvey," Kennedy told Harvey Klemmer, one of his few trusted aides in the American Embassy, "but as a race they stink. They spoil everything they touch. Look what they did to the movies." Klemmer, in an interview many years later made avail­able for this book, recalled that Kennedy and his "entourage" gener­ally referred to Jews as "kikes or sheenies."

Kennedy and his family would later emphatically deny allegations of anti-Semitism stemming from his years as ambassador, but the German diplomatic documents show that Kennedy consistently minimized the Jewish issue in his four-month attempt in the summer and fall of 1938 to obtain an audience with Hitler. On June 13, as the Nazi regime was systematically segregating Jews from German society, Kennedy advised Herbert von Dirksen, the German ambassador in London, as Dirksen reported to Berlin, that "it
was not so much the fact that we wanted to get rid of the Jews that was so harmful to us, but rather the loud clamor with which we accompanied this purpose. He himself understood our Jewish policy completely." On October 13, 1938, a few weeks before Kristallnacht, with its Brown Shirt terror attacks on synagogues and Jewish businesses, Kennedy met again with Ambassador Dirksen, who subsequently informed his superiors that "today, too, as during former conversations, Kennedy mentioned that very strong anti-Semitic feelings existed in the United States and that a large portion of the population had an understanding of the German attitude toward the Jews."

From George Mason University's History News Network:

Arriving at London in early 1938, newly-appointed U.S. Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy took up quickly with another transplanted American. Viscountess Nancy Witcher Langhorne Astor assured Kennedy early in their friendship that he should not be put off by her pronounced and proud anti-Catholicism.

"I'm glad you are smart enough not to take my [views] personally," she wrote. Astor pointed out that she had a number of Roman Catholic friends - G.K. Chesterton among them - with whom she shared, if nothing else, a profound hatred for the Jewish race. Joe Kennedy, in turn, had always detested Jews generally, although he claimed several as friends individually. Indeed, Kennedy seems to have tolerated the occasional Jew in the same way Astor tolerated the occasional Catholic.

As fiercely anti-Communist as they were anti-Semitic, Kennedy and Astor looked upon Adolf Hitler as a welcome solution to both of these "world problems" (Nancy's phrase). No member of the so-called "Cliveden Set" (the informal cabal of appeasers who met frequently at Nancy Astor's palatial home) seemed much concerned with the dilemma faced by Jews under the Reich. Astor wrote Kennedy that Hitler would have to do more than just "give a rough time" to "the killers of Christ" before she'd be in favor of launching "Armageddon to save them. The wheel of history swings round as the Lord would have it. Who are we to stand in the way of the future?" Kennedy replied that he expected the "Jew media" in the United States to become a problem, that "Jewish pundits in New York and Los Angeles" were already making noises contrived to "set a match to the fuse of the world."

During May of 1938, Kennedy engaged in extensive discussions with the new German Ambassador to the Court of St. James's, Herbert von Dirksen. In the midst of these conversations (held without approval from the U.S. State Department), Kennedy advised von Dirksen that President Roosevelt was the victim of "Jewish influence" and was poorly informed as to the philosophy, ambitions and ideals of Hitler's regime. (The Nazi ambassador subsequently told his bosses that Kennedy was "Germany's best friend" in London.)

Columnists back in the states condemned Kennedy's fraternizing. Kennedy later claimed that 75% of the attacks made on him during his Ambassadorship emanated from "a number of Jewish publishers and writers. ... Some of them in their zeal did not hesitate to resort to slander and falsehood to achieve their aims." He told his eldest son, Joe Jr., that he disliked having to put up with "Jewish columnists" who criticized him with no good reason.

Like his father, Joe Jr. admired Adolf Hitler. Young Joe had come away impressed by Nazi rhetoric after traveling in Germany as a student in 1934. Writing at the time, Joe applauded Hitler's insight in realizing the German people's "need of a common enemy, someone of whom to make the goat. Someone, by whose riddance the Germans would feel they had cast out the cause of their predicament. It was excellent psychology, and it was too bad that it had to be done to the Jews. The dislike of the Jews, however, was well-founded. They were at the heads of all big business, in law etc. It is all to their credit for them to get so far, but their methods had been quite unscrupulous ... the lawyers and prominent judges were Jews, and if you had a case against a Jew, you were nearly always sure to lose it. ... As far as the brutality is concerned, it must have been necessary to use some ... ."

Brutality was in the eye of the beholder. Writing to Charles Lindbergh shortly after Kristallnacht in November of 1938, Joe Kennedy Sr. seemed more concerned about the political ramifications stemming from high-profile, riotous anti-Semitism than he was about the actual violence done to the Jews. "... Isn't there some way," he asked, "to persuade [the Nazis] it is on a situation like this that the whole program of saving western civilization might hinge? It is more and more difficult for those seeking peaceful solutions to advocate any plan when the papers are filled with such horror." Clearly, Kennedy's chief concern about Kristallnacht was that it might serve to harden anti-fascist sentiment at home in the United States.

Like his friend Charles Coughlin (an anti-Semitic broadcaster and Roman Catholic priest), Kennedy always remained convinced of what he believed to be the Jews' corrupt, malignant, and profound influence in American culture and politics. "The Democratic [party] policy of the United States is a Jewish production," Kennedy told a British reporter near the end of 1939, adding confidently that Roosevelt would "fall" in 1940.

But it wasn't Roosevelt who fell. Kennedy resigned his ambassadorship just weeks after FDR's overwhelming triumph at the polls. He then retreated to his home in Florida: a bitter, resentful man nurturing religious and racial bigotries that put him out-of-step with his country, and out-of-touch with history.

Senator Edward Kennedy has the gall to suggest some are ignoring history. Considering his family history of admiring and trying to appease fascists intent on wiping out Jews, he may count himself lucky if that is indeed the case.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:05 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

I Didn't Know This Was Going To Be On the Quiz...

But Dr. Perlmutter gives me an "A" all the same:

I first talked about the blogger-driven battles over the Israel-Hezbullah war imagery in an essay for Editor & Publisher and then here and here in PBB.

And the controversy continues--with a constructive object lesson for us all.

I don't think blogs will replace big media, but the small blogger can, with moxie and smarts, shame the big boys and girls by doing the job that we trained the professionals to do in journalism school. Every good J-School teacher I know instructs her/his students to think, question and dig. Don't just accept the press release or the face value of an event. Scratch your head and ask: “Where can I go besides the usual sources to get the information that will better reveal the truth?”

Sometimes the answer is simple, and you think “Wow, why did nobody else think of that?” The answer is sadly that industrial journalism breeds laziness and routine. There are many hard working journalists out there; but the system undercuts their inventiveness and encourages them to walk the rut of what everybody else is doing.

Not so with the nimble, one wo/man blog enterprise. Consider the case of Mr. Bob Owens, aka, "ConfederateYankee."

As they say, read it all.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:55 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 30, 2006

Armored Vehicle Experts: Reuters News Vehicle Not Hit By Israeli Missile

There has been quite a bit of debate in the blogosphere surrounding this story (note: link has been deactivated) of several days ago:

An Israeli air strike hit a Reuters vehicle in Gaza City on Saturday, wounding two journalists as they covered a military incursion, doctors and residents said.

One of the Palestinian journalists, who worked for a local media organization, was seriously wounded. A cameraman working for Reuters was knocked unconscious in the air strike, one of several in the area.

The Israeli army said the vehicle was hit because it was acting suspiciously in an area of combat and had not been identified as belonging to the media.

"During the operation, there was an aerial attack on a suspicious vehicle that drove in a suspicious manner right by the forces and in between the Palestinian militant posts," army spokeswoman Captain Noa Meir said.

"This car was not identified by the army as a press vehicle," she said. "If journalists were hurt, we regret it."

Despite the Israeli acknowledgement that they did fire on a "suspicious vehicle," bloggers were inherently suspicious of the story due to apparently staged and in some cases definitively falsified information provided by Arab news stringers and photojournalists in the recent Israeli-Hezbollah War. Some were quick to cast doubts on the veracity of the story.

Other bloggers, notably AllahPundit, Ace of Spades and Dan Riehl cautioned that we should resist jumping on the "Pallywood" bandwagon without having support for the claims being made.

I wanted support to prove or disprove these allegations, and so I went to the people who should know most about the kind of vehicles damaged in the attack, armored vehicle manufacturers themselves.


I sent an email to these five armored vehicle manufacturers, asking them to look at the photo (above) that seems to be the center of the debate, and asked them two questions:

  1. Is this damage consistent with what you might expect from a 70MM rocket's warhead detonating roughly a foot above an civilian-manufactured armored vehicle such as the one pictured? If not, would you expect more damage, or less?
  2. People suspicious of the attack are citing the obvious rust around the impact site on the vehicle as proof that these are old markings, while the expert claims that vehicles can rust in this kind of climate in the short time mentioned. Does that sound logical, or would alloys used in civilian armored vehicles take longer to show this level of rust? Would you provide an estimate of how long it would take?

Within an hour, I had responses from representatives of two armored vehicle manufacturing companies.

David Khazanski of Inkas Armored Vehicle Manufacturing responded first, stating:

Looking at the picture received through the link on your email, the damage on the vehicle was sustained very long time ago and probably not by the rocket, or it was already tempered [sic] with[.]

In no uncertain terms, Mr. Khazankski doubts that the vehicle was damaged recently, or by rocket fire, and suggests that the vehicle may have been tampered with.

Chris Badsey, chairman and CEO of First Defense International Group, which has armored vehicles deployed in the Middle East and has professional knowledge of Israeli weaponry, graciously offered up a very detailed analysis of the vehicle in the photo above (minor spelling errors corrected):

1.) Firstly as an armouring company we are familiar with all weapons, weapons damage, collateral damage and the destruction of armoured vehicles from blasts and various types of rockets and ammunition.
2.) Secondly we are familiar with the Israeli weapons of choice and uses in the field as we continue to work with them and have a manufacturing relationship with them both in Israel and Iraq.
3.) Whether the Reuters vehicle was attacked by who I could not verify but In my expert opinion the damage, the hole is NOT consistent of a Hellfire Missile or a 70mm rocket nor any armoured piercing bullet/trajectory.
4.) The Reuters armoured van would only be armoured to threat level IV which would consist of 8mm of High Hard 4140 Steel armouring on the roof which you can see in the picture as peeled open somewhat. The damage to the roof looks to me very consistent with possible shrapnel penetration from an object other than a rocket or missile itself.
5.) Furthermore the armored glass would be 62mm for threat level IV protection against blasts and armour piercing rounds. The damage to the back window is certainly NOT consistent with any missile, bomb, rocket blast that would have occurred on impact if a rocket was fired around and directly at the vehicle.

Mr. Badsey went on to bring up a point that few of us seemed to have considered, and that is the primary blast effect involved in any explosive projectile used against an armored vehicle.

There are essential four kinds of blast effects (mechanisms) related to the detonation of any explosive device on the human body, and the first three carry over to the kind of damage we should expect warheads to have on vehicles.

They are:

  • primary: Unique to high-order explosives; results from the impact of the overpressurization wave with body surfaces ;
  • secondary: Results from flying debris and bomb fragments;
  • tertiary: Results when bodies are thrown by blast wind;
  • quaternary: All explosion-related injuries, illnesses, or diseases not due to primary, secondary, or tertiary mechanisms; includes exacerbation or complications of existing conditions

The vehicle in the picture above shows only very minor damage that some allege are consistent with the secondary, or shrapnel effect of a warhead detonating in close proximity. But a vehicle either hit by or suffering a near miss from a helicopter warhead would also sustain major primary blast damage, as shown below.


The photo above is of one of First Defense International Group's armored Ford Expeditions which was heavily damaged by an IED blast near Baghdad, Iraq. Note how the vehicle has been heavily dented by the blast. Teh hood is crumpled and the bumbers are destroyed. All bulletproof windows have been heavily damaged, with the left rear glass completely imploded (to FDI's credit, there were no casualties).


The Reuter's vehicle, however seems to show far less damage than one may expect. The sheet metal is not damaged, and the spider-webbing of the windshield would seem to be the only damage to the vehicle's glass. If a warhead detonated on or within feet of this vehicle as seems to be the claim, Mr. Badsey would have expected far more damage, what one word did he use to describe what we should see of this vehicle?


It was preceded by the words, "nothing left but."

I then forwarded this link to Mr. Badsey, and asked him if what he saw was consistent with the kind of damage he might expect from a 70MM rocket explosion above the vehicle as an intelligence expert opined to Allah at

He responded:

There is clearly no blast damage internally and only from some object inconsistent with any rocket or missile attack. I'm unable to see any burn or secondary explosion or markings from the picture so apologize for not been 100% able to see from this picture. A 70mm rocket has certain features and destructive mechanisms that are not consistent in either pictures especially on entry and internal damage from what you have shown me. The inside is too intact including the upholstery for this type of ammunition detonation on impact. It looks as if the armor was penetrated by probably flying shrapnel. Not consistent with missiles or rockets of any kind

And so here we stand, weighing conflicting stories.

Reuters says they were fired upon, and Israel agrees that they fired at a suspicious vehicle, but two armored vehicle experts state that the damage to this Reuters vehicle is not even close to being consistent with what they would expect from Israeli rockets or missiles. The first expert, Mr. Khazanski, indicated that he thinks the damage on the roof was sustained a "long time ago."

From what these experts tell me, it does not appear that the vehicle Reuters claimed was hit was hit by either a rocket or a missile, that the damage appears to be from some time prior to the attack, but that the damage may be consistent with shrapnel from something else.

Something damaged this Reuters armored vehicle, but when and how seems to be very much in doubt.

Update: Allah has another photo... no rust. that would possibly rule out the the damage being old, but what precisely hit the vehicle is still up in the air.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:22 PM | Comments (20) | TrackBack

Hit-and-Run in California

I'm admittedly late to commenting on the story of 29-year-old Omeed Aziz Popal, an Afghan native that went on a hit-and-run spree in San Francisco, wounding 14, after running down and killing a man in Freemont, California.

The immediate conclusion that some jumped to was that this was a Left Coast replay of March's Jeep Jihad in Chapel Hill, where Mohammed Reza Taheri-azar decided to run-down UNC-Chapel Hill students because he did not like how Americans were treating Muslims.

I don't think that the motives in this case are clear yet, but he had been reported missing three days ago, and there are early explanations range from saying that he was under a great deal of stress having recently gone through an arranged marriage in Afghanistan, to possibly being mentally ill by relatives.

If it is indeed the case that Popal's family sent a mentally ill man into an arranged marriage, I hope that the bride can get a mulligan. Somehow, I doubt his claimed history of mental illness was revealed to his new in-laws.

Michelle Malkin has the round-up.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:34 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 29, 2006

The Jews Did It

I'm sure it sounds better in the original German.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:50 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

Will Thoretz Watch, Day One

Will Thoretz is the company spokesman for VNU Media, the company that owns Editor & Publisher and employs Editor Greg Mitchell, a man that has something of a "truth problem" according to Michael Silence, and seems to be on the wrong side of an example of "journalistic malpractice" according to Stephen Spruiell.

Mary Katharine Ham of attempted to contact Mitchell at Editor & Publisher for comment several times yesterday, but Mitchell has thus far decline to respond. Ham also tried to contact Will Thoretz of Editor & Publisher's parent company, VNU Media, and while she was able to speak to his assistant, Thoretz has not responded to Ham to date.

Color me skeptical, but evidence indicating that one of your editors has severe ethical issues should demand an immediate response of some sort, unless, of course, the decision has been made to stonewall the story and hope it goes away.

Hopeing that this would not turn out to be the case, I sent the following email to Mr. Thoretz moments ago, hoping to spur him to action:

Dear Will Thoretz,

My name is Bob Owens, and I am the blogger that noticed Greg Mitchell's 2003 editorial admitting that he manufactured elements of a story as a young reporter, was suddenly changed within hours of my having linked it. I also know that you have been contacted by Mary Katharine Ham of regarding the unacknowledged and unethical rewrite of the 2003 column, a rewrite apparently designed to cast Mr. Mitchell in a more favorable light.

I have also noticed that while the article now features a correction to the timeline elements that Mitchell got wrong, it still includes elements of the rewrite (specifically the new addition of the phrase "as a summer intern" which did not exist before 4:00 PM Friday, Aug 26).

I would like to ask why this article has not been restored to the 2003 form in which it has existed for over three years until an unfavorable light was cast on Mitchell's admitted journalistic fraud, and why these changed elements are allowed to still exist without an acknowledgement that such changes took place.

The self-serving rewrite of Mr. Mitchell's column has been described as "journalistic malpractice," and I think the public has a right to know how this happened, who was responsible, and what policies will be put in place by VNU Media to keep such incidents from occurring in the future.

To date, I have noticed that Mr. Mitchell seems to be ducking phone calls from Ms. Ham, and you have not (to the best of my knowledge) responded to her either. I certainly hope that an effort to "stonewall" this issue is not underway, as that would be quite counterproductive to all concerned.

All it takes is a simple look to the server logs to conclusively identify who rewrote Mitchell's 2003 column late this past Friday afternoon. An even application of the kind of company policies I expect in any large media organization against this kind of unethical behavior should provide the remedy.

Please let me know what steps VNU Media intends to take to resolve this matter.

Thank you very much for your time.


I certainly hope Mr. Thoretz and VNU Media will choose to publicly respond to this issue sooner rather than later. By now, they should know that the longer things linger the more time people have to dig, and the worse things get, day by day.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:02 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Shooting for Truth

With the exposure of the "Pallywood" staging of events in Lebanon and Gaza recently, it is perhaps expected that we look at recent claims that a Reuters news vehicle was hit by an Israeli air strike with a certain degree of skepticism, especially as similar attacks have been claimed recently, and convincingly debunked. The fact that Reuters' own reporting of the incident attempted to hide the identity of one of the journalists doesn't exactly lend their account of story much credibility.

And so much to his credit, AllahPundit has refused to take the easy way and assume that the Reuters air strike was faked. In fact, he makes a decent case that case that not only did the strike probably occur, but that 2.75" (70MM) rockets were the likely munition used, based upon the logical comments of someone claiming to be an intel expert:

My second theory, which I think is a slightly more probable, is that the van was attacked with two 70mm unguided rockets. Apaches and other helicopters frequently carry pods with these rockets...

...Although unguided, at close range they are very accurate. This scenario would better fit the report of two rockets since they are usually fired in pairs. Although not definitive, the damage could easily have come from hit from one of these rockets. The 70mm rocket has a smaller warhead than the hellfire and is typically impact detonated. I think the damage seen is consistent with a rocket of this type.

Based upon the opinion of a long-time Army chopper jockey I know who is still active in the aerospace defense establishment, I'm not sure that Allah's expert is correct, but from where I sit, that is kind of beside the point. The point is that good bloggers keep searching for proof where others in the blogosphere and in the professional media often seem to choose a storyline and insert the facts to fit their preconceived biases.

We may never know conclusively what happened in this air strike, but Allah is exhausting every effort at his disposal to make the attempt, and it's something more of us should try to do, both media amateurs and professionals alike.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:48 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Lesson Unlearned

A battered Mardi Gras float in a Gretna, LA, warehouse destroyed by Hurricane Katrina.

One year ago today, Hurricane Katrina made its second and third landfalls as a Category 3 Hurricane. While the media continues to portray Katrina as the "perfect storm" because of the destruction it caused in Louisiana, Mississippi, and Alabama, the simple fact is that Katrina could have been far worse. New Orleans did not suffer a direct hit.

At some point in the unforeseen future, the perfect storm will hit New Orleans, and the billions of dollars we are pumping into rebuilding the city will be realized for the misallocation of funds that it is as it slides beneath the waves for a final time, perhaps with a far greater loss of life than the 1,836 souls that were lost when Katrina bypassed New Orleans.

We should have learned; you don't build a major city in a hole in a swamp surrounded by the Mighty Mississippi on the once side and the Gulf of Mexico on the other an expect it to last. Katrina should have been our wake-up call to relocate or abandon the Big Easy for higher ground; instead we are pumping millions of dollars into a city that the Army Corps of Engineers predicted would fall into the sea within 50 years even before Katrina chewed up an already receding Louisiana coastline.

A pre-Katrina map of what the Louisiana coastline may look like in less than 50 years.

We have not learned the lessons that this mighty near miss tried to teach us, and are now doomed to repeat our mistake in the future. It is arrogant and foolish to think Band-Aid solutions will resurrect a city so close to its natural death.

So what would have been the "proper" response to the devastation of Hurricane Katrina? Rebuilding elsewhere. Surely, the millions of dollars flowing into the slowly drowning city of New Orleans would have been better spent in relocating it to higher ground further inland, where it could have a legitimate chance to rebuild and prosper, instead of looking forward to the dark further of The Next Time, when the futility of our efforts to combat the forces of nature will be realized on a stark day after.

But instead we rebuild New Orleans to fail, no stronger, weaker in many regards, and doomed to repeat as scene of massive tragedy. We have failed to learn from the recent past, and will be forced to live with the consequences in the future.

Update: In the comments, some folks are making the correct observation that not all of New Orleans flooded as a result of Hurricane Katrina, and that some spots are indeed above sea level. To them I say, "for now."

New Orleans, on average, is eight feet below sea level, and sinking three feet per century.

The simple fact of the matter is that all of New Orleans (and the Mississippi Delta in general) is built upon a bed of silt hundreds of feet thick, and this fine material is constantly compacting. The rate of subsidence varies from spot to spot, but all of the Mississippi delta is subsiding, and all of New Orleans is sinking along with it.

That is according to the U.S Geological Survey.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:12 AM | Comments (52) | TrackBack

August 28, 2006

Mystery Senator Exposed?

Mary Katherine Ham notes this Club for Growth article that Senator Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) may be the "mystery senator" holding up legislation that would create "an online, searchable database to allow taxpayers to investigate all federal spending."

Is she?


Well, she certainly seems to have the right qualifications...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:54 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Editor & Publisher's Evolving Implosion

This past Friday afternoon, an unscrupulous revision to a forgotten three year-old editorial by Greg Mitchell became the bomb that threatens to blow apart Editor & Publisher, a media industry trade publication, and it's parent company, VNU Media.

Mitchell wrote a two part editorial last week, "In Defense of War Photographers," attacking bloggers for exposing Reuters news photographers as the author of two faked photos, and calling into question other events bloggers felt were possibly staged.

I hypothesized on Friday that Mitchell's stirring defense of the suspected fakers might have arisen from his own past as someone who has admitted staging the news in a 2003 editorial.

The story should have died right there, but then, in a surprisingly stupid and petty act, someone with access to Mitchell's editorial decided to change the lede of the editorial to paint Mitchell in a more favorable light. Someone at Editor & Publisher was rewriting history within hours of unwanted attention cast upon the editorial by a handful of blogs.

Suddenly, the sleepy little editorial that had lain dormant for three years had detonated into charges of "journalistic malpractice" and calls for Mitchell to resign. Surely, someone who represents an industry trade publication as its editor must be held to the same standards as other journalists, if not higher standards.

And so while other fact errors in Mitchell's editorial have been addressed, Editor & Publisher pointedly refuse to even mention the blatant rewrite of the column's lede that suddenly brought this sleepy editorial back to the nation's attention.

Editor & Publisher and Greg Mitchell could easily defuse an increasingly volatile situation by simply admitting that Mitchell "tweaked" the article because he wanted to write off his fraud as a youthful indiscretion, but instead of taking a small bite of well-deserved crow, it seems Editor & Publisher and their parent company, VNU Media, may attempt instead to act as if nothing ever happened, and hope that the storm will pass without them having to admit their ever-compounding errors in judgement.

Mary Katharine Ham is trying to reach Mitchell at Editor and Publisher for comment, but so far has had no luck. I think she should try Will Thoretz, VNU's company spokesman instead. It seems that sooner rather than later that this particular ball will be in his court as Mitchell continues to hope that his fradulent past and present won't catch up to him.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:33 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Hoping for Transparency, But Expecting the Norm

Mary Katharine Ham has a new column up at discussing the "Fauxtography" scandals and the journalistic malpractice in Greg Mitchell's 2003 column that I highlighted over the weekend.

I should hope that Editor & Publisher's parent company VNU Media follows David Perlmutter's suggested option on how to handle similar scandals:

News picture-making media organizations have two paths of possible response to this unnerving new situation. First, they can stonewall, deny, delete, dismiss, counter-slur, or ignore the problem. To some extent, this is what is happening now and, ethical consideration aside, such a strategy is the practical equivalent of taking extra photos of the deck chairs on the Titanic.

The second, much more painful option, is to implement your ideals, the ones we still teach in journalism school. Admit mistakes right away. Correct them with as much fanfare and surface area as you devoted to the original image. Create task forces and investigating panels. Don't delete archives but publish them along with detailed descriptions of what went wrong. Attend to your critics and diversify the sources of imagery, or better yet be brave enough to refuse to show any images of scenes in which you are being told what to show. I would even love to see special inserts or mini-documentaries on how to spot photo bias or photo fakery—in other words, be as transparent, unarrogant, and responsive as you expect those you cover to be.

The stakes are high. Democracy is based on the premise that it is acceptable for people to believe that some politicians or news media are lying to them; democracy collapses when the public believes that everybody in government and the press is lying to them.

While Perlmutter was specifically talking about photojournalism, the same principles apply to print journalism as well. VNU Media would be wise to opt for a transparent investigation.

We should know just how seriously they value their credibility by their action or inaction later today.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:40 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Israel Deploys Top Secret "Fast Rust" Missiles

Reuters claims this armored car was hit by two missiles from an Israeli helicopter.


As you can see, Isreal's new missiles are quite different than the standard Hellfire and TOW ATGMs of the past, both of which, designed for tanks, would have minced an armored car such as this one. Ths armored car is said to have been hit not once, but twice by missiles, and the only apparent damage is a hole that seems to be surrounded by rust. Corrosion, or explosion?

I think it is fairly obvious that if the Israelis did fire two missiles at this armor car, that the car did not take a direct hit. Tanks can't survive the ATGMs Israel uses on their helicopters, and armored cars have much thinner armor than tanks. It would have cut through one side, detonated, and left a shattered, burning hulk. There was no explosion, and even a dud would have completely punched through the vehicle, exiting the other side with a noticable hole. The photo below shows no such penetration on the opposite side.


Powerline has more. I'd consider the possibility of a near miss causing some damage, but this vehicle was not directly hit by any known missile, and I don't know of any weapons system that would cause a vehicle to apparently rust by the next morning.

To put it mildly, I view the Reuters claims of an successful pair of Israeli missile strikes on this vehicle as highly unlikely.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:29 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

August 27, 2006

Before and After

A bit of three years after-the-fact editing in a 2003 Greg Mitchell editorial at Editor & Publisher got quite a bit of attention in the blogosphere yesterday.

For those you now just coming to this story, Mitchell wrote a May, 20, 2003 article in which he admitted to faking a news story as a young reporter. Jon Ham tipped me off to the existence of the article, which led me to write this post opining that perhaps Mitchell wrote his sympathetic and spirited defenses of photojournalists accused of staging photographs precisely because he, too, had an admitted history as a fraudulent journalist.

My post, complete with a link to Mitchell's 2003 editorial, went "live" early Friday afternoon, complete with quotes pulled from Mitchell's article.

Many blogs linked the story quickly starting at 1:56 PM, and by 4:00 PM, no fewer than five other blogs had copied sections of text, including the opening paragraph. By 5:00 PM, in the course of an hour, the long-dormant story reappeared, rewritten to emphasize Mitchell's youth and inexperience.

As Mary Katharine Ham noted:

This is just so phenomenally stupid. CY rounded up all the blogs that excerpted the original article, and he has the link to the original article from the Wayback Machine. It's all there, for everyone to see. All of the incredible dishonesty. If it was pathetic to fake a story about tourists at Niagara, it's downright embarrassing to alter the confession after a couple people bring attention to it.

Stephen Spriuell, writing at National Review Online's Media Blog, says this represents journalistic malpractice, and if true, calls Mitchell's professional ethics into question.

And so as the work week begins again tomorrow, I suspect we're going to learn some lessons not only about Mitchell, but about the company Mitchell works for, VNU Business Media, and it's President and CEO, Michael Marchesano. Marchesano's site states that, "VNU Business Media takes pride in being one of the most prestigious and respected business information companies in the world."

I have no reason to doubt that, and at this point on a Sunday morning, would be quite surprised if Mr. Marchesano even knew about the potential damage to his company's reputation committed by "someone" trying to mitigate the damage to the reputation of someone who is already a self-admitted fraud.

VNU Business Media claims "45 market-leading trade magazines, 17 directories, 70 events and conferences, 65 trade shows and 165 eMedia products." We will learn tomorrow how willing they are to defend their credibility, and how transparently they choose to respond to what is a flagrant and well-documented cases of dishonesty by someone on their editorial staff. This case is easily proven by an internal audit showing precisely who updated the May 20, 2003 article between 4:00PM and 5:00 PM (Eastern) this past Friday afternoon.

The actual investigation should take less than an hour, but how VNU Business Media, Editor & Publisher, and Greg Mitchell choose to respond may affect them all for a long time to come.

Update: It might not be VNU Business Media that looks into Mitchell's apparent transgressions, but VNU eMedia, who can be contacted here. If you choose to write VNU, please respectfully ask for a review of the changes to the article, and explain who you think it warrants a review.

Update: Dan Riehl establishes that Mitchell seems to have lied about other elements of this story as well. Riehl argues Mitchell was neither nineteen, nor an intern, but 21-year-old professional journalist when he committed his first journalistic fraud. It seems Greg Mitchell has a pattern of behavior that should call his entire body of work into question.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:40 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 26, 2006

The More Things Change...

Acting on a tip yesterday from Jon Ham, I wrote this post, ripping into Editor & Publisher editor Greg Mitchell for his guilty history of staging the news.

The story was quickly picked up in the blogosphere, including NRO's Media Blog, Instapundit, and Ace of Spades HQ.

The "meat" of the story was Greg Mitchell's 2003 admission that he had faked a minor news story in his past, and this "re-broke" after Mitchell had just written a pair of columns blasting bloggers for questioning the apparent staging and faking of news stories by the media in the recent Israeli-Hezbollah war. The article read:

Since the press seems to be in full-disclosure mode these days, I want to finally come clean. Back when I worked for the Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Gazette (now the Niagara Gazette), our city editor asked me to find out what tourists thought about an amazing local event: Engineers had literally "turned off" the famous cataracts, diverting water so they could shore up the crumbling rock face. Were visitors disappointed to find a trickle rather than a roar? Or thrilled about witnessing this once-in-a-lifetime stunt?

I never found out. Oh, I went down to the falls, all right, but when I got there, I discovered that I just could not wander up to strangers (even dorky ones wearing funny hats and knee socks) and ask them for their personal opinions, however innocuous. It was a puffball assignment, but that wasn't why I rebelled. I just could not bring myself to do it.

So I sat on a park bench and scribbled out a few fake notes and then went back to the office and wrote my fake story, no doubt quoting someone like Jane Smith from Seattle, honeymooning with her husband Oscar, saying something like, "Gosh, I never knew there was so much rock under there!"

Of course, I got away with it.

That was exactly the text of this article when I, Mary Katharine Ham of, Jeff Goldstein of Protein Wisdom, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs, Mike of Cold Fury, and Suitably Flip cited the text of the article this afternoon.

And yet now, things have mysteriously changed within the article.

As cited by the six blogs listed in the proceeding paragraph, the opening lines of the article began:

Since the press seems to be in full-disclosure mode these days, I want to finally come clean. Back when I worked for the Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Gazette (now the Niagara Gazette), our city editor asked me to find out what tourists thought about an amazing local event: Engineers had literally “turned off” the famous cataracts, diverting water so they could shore up the crumbling rock face. Were visitors disappointed to find a trickle rather than a roar? Or thrilled about witnessing this once-in-a-lifetime stunt?

By 5:01 PM Eastern time, someone pasting at CY under the name Barfly, in a comment defending Mitchell, noted:

"Back when I was 19 and worked for the Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Gazette (now the Niagara Gazette) as a summer intern[ . . .]"

I think its hilarious how you take Greg to task - and do it in such a dishonest way! Why did you omit the part about his being an intern at the time? Did it interfere with your narrative?. . .

And Barfly was correct: the narrative had changed. It had changed to this:

Since the press seems to be in full-disclosure mode these days, I want to finally come clean. Back in 1967, when I was 19 and worked for the Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Gazette (now the Niagara Gazette) as a summer intern, our city editor asked me to find out what tourists thought about an amazing local event: Engineers had literally "turned off" the famous cataracts, diverting water so they could shore up the crumbling rock face. Were visitors disappointed to find a trickle rather than a roar? Or thrilled about witnessing this once-in-a-lifetime stunt?

Not sure what changed? Let's show the newly added words in bold just to make it a bit more obvious:

Since the press seems to be in full-disclosure mode these days, I want to finally come clean. Back in 1967, when I was 19 and worked for the Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Gazette (now the Niagara Gazette) as a summer intern, our city editor asked me to find out what tourists thought about an amazing local event: Engineers had literally "turned off" the famous cataracts, diverting water so they could shore up the crumbling rock face. Were visitors disappointed to find a trickle rather than a roar? Or thrilled about witnessing this once-in-a-lifetime stunt?

Someone substantially altered the text of the story, after six different bloggers cited the article. If you type in the URL of and press "enter" so that you could investigate who belongs to, wondering how they could change such an old story so quickly, the URL will resolve to

Adweek is owned by VNU Business Media, the same company that runs media web sites BrandWeek, MediaWeek and--you guessed it--Editor & Publisher, where Greg Mitchell is the editor on the hotseat.

It is readily apparent that someone at Editor and Publisher has been manipulating the news a lot more recently than 1967, and if I was a corporate officer at VNU Business Media, I think I'd start my Monday morning by asking who has access rights to post and repost stories, and I'd make a thorough investigation of the server logs to see who uploaded the changes to that article Friday afternoon, sometime between 2:30 PM and 5:01 PM. I'd ask, because that someone is torpedoing my company's credibility.

When they talk to "that person," I hope they remind him that 1967 is long past, but character flaws are forever.

Update: Ed Driscoll notes that the original, unaltered article exists on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:19 AM | Comments (85) | TrackBack

August 25, 2006

E&P Editor Has First Hand Experience with Staging News

Greg Mitchell, the editor of the influential news trade publication Editor and Publisher has recently raised a spirited defense against questions and allegations that news may have been staged in some instances in the recent Israeli/Hezbollah war in Lebanon, may sound particularly defensive because of his own guilty history of staging news:

Since the press seems to be in full-disclosure mode these days, I want to finally come clean. Back when I worked for the Niagara Falls (N.Y.) Gazette (now the Niagara Gazette), our city editor asked me to find out what tourists thought about an amazing local event: Engineers had literally "turned off" the famous cataracts, diverting water so they could shore up the crumbling rock face. Were visitors disappointed to find a trickle rather than a roar? Or thrilled about witnessing this once-in-a-lifetime stunt?

I never found out. Oh, I went down to the falls, all right, but when I got there, I discovered that I just could not wander up to strangers (even dorky ones wearing funny hats and knee socks) and ask them for their personal opinions, however innocuous. It was a puffball assignment, but that wasn't why I rebelled. I just could not bring myself to do it.

So I sat on a park bench and scribbled out a few fake notes and then went back to the office and wrote my fake story, no doubt quoting someone like Jane Smith from Seattle, honeymooning with her husband Oscar, saying something like, "Gosh, I never knew there was so much rock under there!"

Of course, I got away with it.

Somehow, Greg, I don't think that you did. (h/t Jon Ham)

Update: Mary Katharine Ham has more.

Major update: More Fakery?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:41 PM | Comments (34) | TrackBack

Cluster Bomb Inquiry?

According to the New York Times, the United States has initiated an investigation into the use of cluster bombs in South Lebanon during the recent Israeli War against Hezbollah terrorists:

The State Department is investigating whether Israel's use of American-made cluster bombs in southern Lebanon violated secret agreements with the United States that restrict when it can employ such weapons, two officials said.

The investigation by the department's Office of Defense Trade Controls began this week, after reports that three types of American cluster munitions, anti-personnel weapons that spray bomblets over a wide area, have been found in many areas of southern Lebanon and were responsible for civilian casualties.

For those of you that might not be familiar with the concept of cluster munitions, they different than more traditional explosives in that instead of relying on one large explosive projectile or multiple large explosive projectiles to destroy a target, they deploy a shell or bomb containing many smaller grenade-like bombs (submunitions) over a wider area, saturating a larger area with one cluster munition, theoretically decreasing the number of large explosives needed to take out an area target, such as a troop concentration, or in this instance most likely in the Israeli campaign against Hezbollah, rocket-launching sites. It may be simpler to compare it to the difference between using a rifle and a shotgun.

The recognized downside of cluster munitions are two-fold:

  • cluster munitions are designed as area weapons, and are not capable of a pin-point strike to their wide dispersal
  • the submunitions in traditional cluster bombs have a failure rate of between 2%-4% according to my subject matter expert, John Donovan. this means that between 2% and 4% of the submunitions fail to explode, essentially "mining" the area struck with unexploded ordinance

This does not mean cluster bombs are "bad" any more than any other physical object can be "good" or "bad," but knowing the characteristics of such weapons prescribes how they should be used.

It is generally accepted conventional wisdom that cluster munitions are acceptable area munitions against area targets such as troop and enemy vehicle or supply concentrations and certain kinds of entrenched positions. They are recognized as being dangerous to use in areas where civilians may fall victim to the immediate widespread blast pattern, or may return to encounter unexploded submunitions before engineering units can dispose of them. It is also not advisable to use cluster munitions in areas where you expect that your own troops may advance, as these same submunitions could cause casualties to friendly troops.

It is worth noting that no munition of any design is "dud-proof," but cluster munitions are more prone to fail to detonate simply because they require a larger number of separate charges to work, and some more modern cluster submunitions are designed to self destruct to reduce risk to civilian and soldier alike.

Back to the Times article:

The inquiry is likely to focus on whether Israel properly informed the United States about its use of the weapons and whether targets were strictly military. So far, the State Department is relying on reports from United Nations personnel and nongovernmental organizations in southern Lebanon, the officials said.

David Siegel, a spokesman for the Israeli Embassy, said, “We have not been informed about any such inquiry, and when we are we would be happy to respond.”

Officials were granted anonymity to discuss the investigation because it involves sensitive diplomatic issues and agreements that have been kept secret for years.

The agreements that govern Israel's use of American cluster munitions go back to the 1970's, when the first sales of the weapons occurred, but the details of them have never been publicly confirmed. The first one was signed in 1976 and later reaffirmed in 1978 after an Israeli incursion into Lebanon. News accounts over the years have said that they require that the munitions be used only against organized Arab armies and clearly defined military targets under conditions similar to the Arab-Israeli wars of 1967 and 1973.

A Congressional investigation after Israel's 1982 invasion of Lebanon found that Israel had used the weapons against civilian areas in violation of the agreements. In response, the Reagan administration imposed a six-year ban on further sales of cluster weapons to Israel.

Israeli officials acknowledged soon after their offensive began last month that they were using cluster munitions against rocket sites and other military targets. While Hezbollah positions were frequently hidden in civilian areas, Israeli officials said their intention was to use cluster bombs in open terrain.

The question seems to be precisely what the language of any such agreement would be, especially in how the agreement describes what constitutes "clearly defined military targets."

I'm merely pontificating here, but I suspect that if such an inquiry is underway, Israel will likely make the argument that a mobile missile launching platform constitutes a "clearly-defined military target." One could easily make a strong case that a mobile Katyusha rocket launcher away from a civilian concentration is a legitimate target, as shown in the this example from


This example of a short-range Qassam rocket firing site from apparently located in an orchard would also seem to be a valid target:


And at least some of the cluster munitions used by Israel in Lebanon seem to have been targeted at rural areas, as is the case of this unexploded M-42 submunition found in a banana grove near (but not in) the village of El Maalliye. If this banana grove was away from homes and the banana grove was being used as a site to launch rockets against Israel, the Israelis can likely make a case that the use of cluster munitions in this instance is acceptable.

This however, is much more difficult to justify. The munition is undoubtedly a cluster munition, and the site is said to be just 100 meters from the main Lebanese hospital in Tibnin. John Donovan identified this exact submunition as an M-42.

The Times article states further:

But a report released Wednesday by the United Nations Mine Action Coordination Center, which has personnel in Lebanon searching for unexploded ordnance, said it had found unexploded bomblets, including hundreds of American types, in 249 locations south of the Litani River.

The report said American munitions found included 559 M-42's, an anti-personnel bomblet used in 105-millimeter artillery shells; 663 M-77's, a submunition found in M-26 rockets; and 5 BLU-63's, a bomblet found in the CBU-26 cluster bomb. Also found were 608 M-85's, an Israeli-made submunition.

What the Times article does not state is precisely where 1,835 were found.

If the majority of these submunitions were found to be in locations consistent with what the agreement shows to be viable military targets, then Israel should be cleared fairly simply. If however, a substantial number of submunitions were recovered from villages and cities, then Israel's use of cluster munitions may have a legitimate basis to be called into question.

It is important to note, however, that at this time only United Nations personnel and nongovernmental organizations (perhaps Hezbollah itself) have raised these allegations.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:47 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 24, 2006

Family Business

My brother, to put it mildly is warped.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:40 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Zombie News

Zombie's debunking of the Red Cross ambulance hoax hit primetime news, and as always, Allah has the video.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:25 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Hezbollah's White Phosphorus Lies: Part 2, the Conclusive Debunking

Remember less than a month ago when I wrote this?

It was only a matter of time before Hezbollah and their gullible dupes in the media began applying the Terrorist Propaganda Cook Book to the present war in Lebanon, accusing Israel forces of using chemical and other "illegal weapons" against civilians.

The Sydney Morning Herald was all too willing to print these suspiciously vague allegations:

Killed by Israeli air raids, the Lebanese dead are charred in a way local doctors, who have lived through years of civil war and Israeli occupation, say they have not seen before.

Bachir Cham, a Belgian-Lebanese doctor at the Southern Medical Centre in Sidon, received eight bodies after an Israeli air raid on nearby Rmeili which he said exhibited such wounds.

He has taken 24 samples from the bodies to test what killed them. He believes it is a chemical.
Cham said the bodies of some victims were "black as shoes, so they are definitely using chemical weapons. They are all black but their hair and skin is intact so they are not really burnt. It is something else."
"If you burnt someone with petrol their hair would burn and their skin would burn down to the bone. The Israelis are 100 per cent using chemical weapons."

I stated that:

The arguments are recycled, the evidence contrived; there is no credible evidence that chemical or white phosphorus weapons are being used to target Lebanese civilians, and it is telling that the media are all too willing to be led down this same path of lies again.

It turns out that I was right (thanks to LGF for finding the video). The debunkings of the Greg Mitchell's of the world are coming so fast I can hardly keep up with them...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:02 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

All Your Fakes Are Belong To Us

Bad Jawa. Great Video.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 04:55 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Self-Inflicted Wounds

First published as a weekly in 1884 as The Journalist, Editor & Publisher (E&P) is a monthly journal covering the North American newspaper industry.

Since 2002, Greg Mitchell has been the Editor of E&P, and he writes both an online and print column. While I've never read the print version, I have occasionally read Mitchell's online Pressing Issues column, and have actually written about what he has had to say twice in the past.

Click. Print. Bang. was a reaction to the mind of Mitchell, as in his column he advocated that the media should attempt to actively undermine (subscriber-only) the current U.S. President:

No matter which party they generally favor or political stripes they wear, newspapers and other media outlets need to confront the fact that America faces a crisis almost without equal in recent decades.

Our president, in a time of war, terrorism and nuclear intrigue, will likely remain in office for another 33 months, with crushingly low approval ratings that are still inching lower. Facing a similar problem, voters had a chance to quickly toss Jimmy Carter out of office, and did so. With a similar lengthy period left on his White House lease, Richard Nixon quit, facing impeachment. Neither outcome is at hand this time.

Lacking an impeachable offense and disappointed that Bush was reelected to a second term, Mitchell made the following alarmist cry to the journalistic community:

The alarm should be bi-partisan. Many Republicans fear their president's image as a bumbler will hurt their party for years. The rest may fret about the almost certain paralysis within the administration, or a reversal of certain favorite policies. A Gallup poll this week revealed that 44% of Republicans want some or all troops brought home from Iraq. Do they really believe that their president will do that any time soon, if ever?

Democrats, meanwhile, cross their fingers that Bush doesn't do something really stupid -- i.e. nuke Iran -- while they try to win control of at least one house in Congress by doing nothing yet somehow earning (they hope) the anti-Bush vote.

Meanwhile, a severely weakened president retains, and has shown he is willing to use, all of his commander-in-chief authority, and then some.

Mitchell's tone is both decidedly shrill and purposefully ominous, as he advocates his solution (while saying he doesn't) for what he seems to regard as the Bush problem.

I don't have a solution myself now, although all pleas for serious probes, journalistic or official, of the many alleged White House misdeeds should be heeded. But my point here is simply to start the discussion, and urge that the media, first, recognize that the crisis—or, if you want to say, impending crisis -- exists, and begin to explore the ways to confront it.

Not content with the news being reported by the media about the administration, Mitchell was publicly pushing for a confrontational antagonistic policy to be used to try to undermine the White House; a smear campaign to "start the discussion." He pushes, in no uncertain terms, to use the media to dig up scandals, building doubts and fears (his warning that people should, "cross their fingers that Bush doesn't do something really stupid -- i.e. nuke Iran" is a clear indication of his mindset).

What he hopes to accomplish by building distrust and fear of the White House in an influential media is open to interpretation, but based upon his earlier comments that Bush seemed neither likely to be impeached nor voted out, Mitchell seems to hope that with enough fear-mongering, someone sufficiently alarmed by the kind of coverage he hopes to gin up might find another way to remove Bush from office.

Not just hostile to the President, however, Mitchell has gone out of his way to condemn Israel's response to Hezbollah's rain of rockets on Israeli civilian targets, while dismissing Hezbollah's attempts at mass murder:

The word “rockets” makes Hezbollah's terror weapon of choice seem very space age, but they are in fact crude, unguided and with limited range – nothing like the U.S. prime grade weapons on the Israeli side. The vast majority of them land in the water or an empty field or explode in the air.

Mitchell again made his opinion on who was more at fault in the recent Hezbollah-triggered war in this column, and as you might expect, Mitchell placed the blame for Lebanese deaths squarely upon Israel and the White House, refusing to even mention Hezbollah's role in the column except to say that Israel created it.

Given his obvious biases, it should have been no surprise when Mitchell released this first part of a two-part column yesterday, attacking those bloggers who questioned the manipulation and staging of photos from some photojournalists in the recent war, primarily fought in Lebanon. His defense should have been expected, as every example of staged or manipulated stories and photographs attacked Israel, and the exposure of this journalistic fraud undermined the anti-Israeli view Mitchell has clearly decided to advocate.

Allahpundit at Hot Air rightfully took Mitchell's column to task, pointing out that clear examples of journalistic fraud did in fact occur, and catches Mitchell misrepresenting the comments made by Bryan Denton, a U.S. photojournalist witness to the sight of some staging performed by Lebanese wire service photographers.

Allah also notes that while Mitchell blasts bloggers and the suspicions and allegations they've made of staged photos, he pointedly refuses to discuss the fact that a German television station captured live video showing just such staging as it occurred in Qana. One can only imagine how much effort Mitchell took to avoid this well-documented proof that one of the most influential stories of the Hezbollah-Israeli war, the so-called Red Cross ambulance attack, was, in fact, almost certainly a complete fraud.

All of this sets up today's editorial from Mitchell, In Defense of War Photographers: Part II, in which Mitchell continues:

In a column here on Tuesday, I mounted a defense of the overwhelming number of press photographers in the Middle East who bravely, under horrid conditions, in recent weeks have sent back graphic and revealing pictures from the war zones, only to be smeared, as a group, by rightwing bloggers aiming, as always, to discredit the media as a whole.

Which is not to say that this is much ado about nothing. Obviously, Adnan Hajj, the Reuters photographer who doctored at least two images, deserved to be dismissed. A handful of other pictures snapped by others warrant investigation. In a few cases, caption information was wrong or misleading, and required correction. In addition, the controversy has sparked an overdue discussion -- some of it here at E&P -- on the credibility of all photography in the Photoshop age and the wide use of local stringers abroad in a time of cutbacks in supervision.

But, in general, the serious charges and wacky conspiracy theories against the photographers, and their news organizations, are largely unfounded, and politically driven, while at times raising valid questions, such as what represents "staging."

Were press photographers smeared, as Mitchell states, as a group?

I have heard no one doubting that news photographers have put their lives on the line to capture stories, and even when what they capture on film isn't always popular or what we want to hear in the past, we've debated it without clearly taking sides based upon ideology.

I can state for my part that I questioned the overall story the media was presenting from Qana based upon seeming inconsistencies between the stories and the photographic evidence. These questions raised by myself and others helped get an investigation launched—thought Mitchell doubtlessly disproves of it, as it is not the kind of investigation that serves the interests Mitchell's observed bias.

This success in rooting out some apparent fraud led to bloggers to look more closely at the other media information coming out of Lebanon for more, where other suspicious photos and stories emerged.

Did rightwing bloggers attempt to smear the entire media, as Mitchell alleges, or were they targeting specific questionable stories, specific questionable photographs, and photographers exhibiting a suspicious pattern of behavior?

The answer, quite obvious to those that actually read the blog posts and the commentary they generated, is that bloggers investigating specific instances uncovered general problems with how the media gathered news and verified the accuracy of the information, a fact that Mitchell begrudgingly admits. I'd like to know which "wacky conspiracy theories" Mitchell was referring to, as the Qana staging episode and the Red Cross ambulance stories most thought implausible when first proposed by bloggers, turned out to be absolutely correct.

In a significant number of the more widely disseminated blog posts asking questions and making accusations about suspicious media accounts, the suspicions of bloggers turned out to be quite well-founded. Contrary to Mitchell's suggestions, quite a few—more than a handful—of the more widely regarded questions raised by bloggers were exposed apparent staging or fraud--a remarkable achievement by people thousands of miles away from the story, doing the fact-checking and analysis that the media should have been doing, but much to their embarrassment, often did not.

Mitchell, apparently then unable to go much further on his own, decides to simply turn to the Lightstalkers photography forum, and quote heavily from media photographers denying that manipulation and staging took place. And while the much-respected Tim Fadek can say all he wants that the scene in Qana wasn't staged, and other photographers choose to take his observations as fact, when I see with my own eyes on YouTube that it was indeed directed by none other than Mr. Green Helmet himself, I have every right to doubt the veracity of Mr. Fadek and other photographers that denied Qana was staged, along with the media organizations that try to act that such compelling evidence of malfeasance does not exist.

I suspect that Mitchell's next groundbreaking column will expose that according to interviews with inmates at San Quentin, 99% are actually innocent.

This E&P editorial chooses to dodge the real issues of the media's vetting of the accuracy of the stories and photographs that they chose to print coming out of Lebanon and other venues, just as they dodged how so many pictures and events ever had reason to be questioned in the first place.

Greg Mitchell, Editor of Editor & Publisher shows himself to be a prime example of exactly what bloggers fear most in the media; a newscrafter, not a newsman, with a quite specific and heavily partisan agenda. He seems terrified that if the public actually looked too closely at how the sometimes tainted product of the news business is manufactured, they might discover it has fewer quality checks than a disposable diaper, and sadly, sometimes ends up smelling much the same.

David Perlmutter wrote of the problems with photojournalism last week:

I'm not sure, however, if the craft I love is being murdered, committing suicide, or both.

A simple glance at such industry leaders as Greg Mitchell suggests that not only are the wounds are indeed self-inflicted, but that some newscrafters can't keep their fingers from jerking the trigger.

Update: Allah reacts as well.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:59 PM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 23, 2006

Bitter Much?

CNN's web team doesn't appear to be a big fan of Joe Lieberman. While the actual article carries the headline, "Lieberman secures spot on November ballot," the Web team decided this was a fitting link:


This would presumably be the same "fine folks" that brought us this gem in July:


Top-notch. Professional. Pithy.

This is CNN.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:27 AM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Carolina FreedomNet 2006

The John Locke Foundation will be hosting a half-day blogger conference, Carolina FreedomNet 2006, open to all on Saturday, October 7 in Greensboro, North Carolina, from 8:00 AM-2:00 PM.

I've been invited to be on the 8:45 AM-10:15 AM Local vs. Global: What Should Be Your Blog's Focus? panel with Lorie Byrd of Wizbang, Sam Hieb of Sam's Notes, and Sister Toldjah.

A second panel of will attempt to answer the question of How Has The Blogging Phenomenon Affected Politics and Political Discourse?, and will feature's Mary Katharine Ham, Jeff Taylor of The Meck Deck, Scott Elliott of Election Projection and Josh Manchester of The Adventures of Chester.

Scott Johnson of Powerline will be giving the keynote speech, titled The 61st Minute: Inside the Eye of Hurricane Dan.

If interested in attending, you can register for Carolina FreedomNet 2006 here.

I hope to see you there.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:57 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

"Backdoor Draft?" Marines Respond

Marines on the Inactive Ready Reserve (IRR) are being recalled to active duty consistent with the commitment they signed up for, and some of the predictably clueless are claiming that this constitutes a "backdoor draft," when it is of course nothing of the sort.

Two very irritated Marine bloggers, Paul and Brando of Brandodojo ripped into these folks last night.

From Paul in the comments of that post:

People like to call this a "back door draft" because they're idiots and are intentionally using misleading rhetoric to bring up emotions from the Vietnam war, which is the last time a draft was used. They use "backdoor" as if the government is using some sneaky loophole, but this also isn't true. All a servicemember has to do is open up their SRB and look at their contract and read what it says. It's not even in "fine print." It's right there. In my case it says, plain as day, 5 years active, 3 years IRR.

Back to my main point: The offensive part of the "backdoor draft" bullshit is that it's used by two groups of people: 1) People who have never served 2) People who have served and refuse to be accountable for their signature.

I don't have a problem with people being pissed about it -- they're leaving their new lives or whatever and going to a shithole country where they might blow up -- everyone I know was pissed but they still went. That's what matters.

In no uncertain terms, this is something that every Marine signs up for, and is clearly part of their commitment. Implying this is sneaky or underhanded behavior and not a standard part of a Marine's service commitment is simply dishonest.

* * *

Interestingly enough, liberal Ron Chusid cites the CNN article linked above and then states:

If actions such as this continue the trend towards decreased voluntary recruits, this could be yet another way in which George Bush is underming [sic] our long term national security.

But if you follow Mr. Chusid's link, you will find it is obsolete, being over a year old, and concerning only part of the year at that. I last wrote about military recruiting a little over a month ago, and it shows Ron's "truthiness" deserves to be called into question:

Military recruiting for June once again met or exceeded goals across all four branches (h/t Paul at Adventurepan:
  • Marines: 105%
  • Army: 102%
  • Air Force:101%
  • Navy: 100%

You'll note that the Marine Corps and Army, responsible for fielding most of the forces on the ground in Iraq and Afghanistan, have exceeded their goals by the largest margins, despite having higher target numbers than the other branches. They achieved this in the face of a mainstream media attempting to portray the military as rapists, racists, and murderers based up the alleged actions of a handful of men.

Since October 1, all four branches have met or exceed their goals:

  • Army: 104%
  • Marines: 101%
  • Air Force: 101%
  • Navy: 100%

Reserve forces recruiting has not been as even, but interesting enough, the Reserve and Guard forces most likely to be called upon for ground combat overseas (Army National Guard, Army Reserves, Marine Corps Reserves) have been the most successful in recruiting.

One could argue that this also represents only part of the year, but it is the most current data; far more relevant than statistics over a year old that were not reflective of the overall year's total.'s U.S. Military Recruiting Statistics page confirms that recruiting for 2006 (so far) and 2005 were either met or exceeded for both years by all active duty branches. Funny how Mr. Chusid was unable to find those figures, isn't it?

Chusid cherry-picked a story concerning several months in 2005, ignoring the overall 2005 and 2006 recruiting data that undermines his chosen storyline. Honesty is apparently not high on the list of Liberal Values.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:33 AM | Comments (31) | TrackBack

F-16s Escort NW Flight to Amsterdam

Could be something, could be nothing:

A Northwest Airlines flight bound for India was escorted back to Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport by F-16 fighter jets on Wednesday.

The plane was turned around after "a couple of passengers displayed behavior of concern," according to Northwest Airlines.

"Northwest is cooperating with the appropriate government officials," the company said in a statement.

The DC-10 plane, bound for Mumbai, was carrying 149 passengers, Northwest said. Flight number 42 has been canceled and will be rescheduled for Thursday.

The airport spokeswoman said the pilot had requested to return to Amsterdam and after the plane landed, there were some arrests.

She would not specify if those arrested were passengers.

Sources told Dutch journalist Marijn Tebbens that the disturbance was the result of some unruly passengers. The plane landed safely at 11:39 a.m. (5:39 a.m. ET), the sources said.

This sounds supicious, but at this point we have very little concrete information to go on. I'm am curious about odd sentence from the airport spokeswoman, "She would not specify if those arrested were passengers."

Who else would it be, an errant dogwalker?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:50 AM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 22, 2006

Shared Scitless

Proof once again that liberals dispise few things more than a live voter's right to choose:

Critics of Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman's independent run to keep his job attacked on two fronts Monday, with one group asking an elections official to throw him out of the Democratic Party and a former rival calling on state officials to keep his name off the November ballot.

Staffers for the senator from Connecticut, who lost the Aug. 8 Democratic primary to Greenwich businessman Ned Lamont, called both efforts dirty politics. The senator filed as an independent candidate a day after the loss, running under the new Connecticut for Lieberman Party.

A group whose members describe themselves as peace activists asked Sharon Ferrucci, Democratic registrar of voters in New Haven, to remove Lieberman from the party, arguing that he cannot be a Democrat while running under another party's banner.


John Orman, a Democrat who gave up a challenge to Lieberman last year, argued in complaints filed with the state Monday that the senator should be kept off the Nov. 7 ballot.

Orman, a Fairfield University professor of political science, accused Lieberman of creating "a fake political party" and added: "He's doing anything he can to get his name on the ballot."

Joe Lieberman, who has a solid liberal voting record going back to when he was first elected to the Senate in 1989, who was nominated as the Vice Presidential candidate for the Democratic party in 2000, isn't "Democrat enough" for the Peace Democrats (otherwise known as Copperheads as they struggled against Abraham Lincoln in the 1860s, calling him Abraham Africanus as modern liberals call the current Republican President the Chimperor without any registration of the implicit racial overtones spanning three centuries, but I digress). If Lieberman's resume is the standard which we discard Democratic candidates, Republicans would run nearly unopposed.

Connecticut's liberals are playing a dangerous game, trying an overt attempt to throw out the seasoned incumbent frontrunner, forcefully limiting the choices of the voter, based upon the most inane of arguments and the most brazenly partisan of reasons.

I wrote just two weeks ago that I hoped Ned Lamont would win the primary, and when he won, I was thrilled that the Democratic Party would be committing Lamonticide. But I had no idea that the self-administered poison would so quickly take effect.

Connecticut Liberals are trying every trick in the book to keep Connecticut voters from have Joe Lieberman on the ballot.

It appears they aren't "Pro-Choice" after all.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:10 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

Not Even Phoning It In

Rusty and Allah are all over this example of just how lazy Hezbollah has become in their efforts to provide fake news. The official Hezbollah web site (with an appropriate Iranian URL) is showing a picture of a ship being ripped apart in an explosion. Hezbollah claims that the ship was an Israeli ship hit by a Hezbollah missile.

Here is the picture as shown on Hezbollah's site:


And Hezbollah did hit an Israel ship, the INS Hanit, a Saar 5 class missile boat, most likely with an Iranian-made C-701 "Kosar" type missile, on July 14, 2006.

This is the INS Hanit (photo credit: Sweetness & Light):


Note the damage (most noticeably the scorch marks) near the waterline directly under the Hanit's helicopter hanger, roughly three-quarters of the way to the stern. Note also that while the ship was reported to have serious internal damage and four Israeli sailors died in the attack, the ship is largely intact, the keel unbroken, and the ship otherwise, from this view, externally undamaged, where the ship in the Hezbollah photo to has literally been broken by the blast, the aft half of the ship behind the explosion several degrees out of alignment with the fore.

The two ships, as noticed by Andrew Bolt of the Australian Herald-Sun, are not nearly the same.

HMAS Torrens, a decommissioned Australian destroyer escort, was purposefully sunk in a torpedo test on June 14, 1999. If you look at first picture in the second row on this page, it becomes quite likely that Hezbollah stole the image from this wikipedia entry, cropped it, and then enlarged it to get their end result.

A ship built in the mid 1960s and decommissioned in 1971 is not going to be mistaken for a modern vessel launched in 1994.

Of course, seeing is believing.

The INS Hanit (picture mirrored 180 degrees from above for comparative purposes):


HMAS Torrens, just prior to the torpedo test:


Not even close. You would expect that a recently unemployed Adnan Hajj would have been make it at least this close:


These days, Hezbollah isn't even phoning it in.

Update: Blue Crab Boulevard uncovers more Hezbollah pictures.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:37 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

Iran Assaults Oil Rig, Captures Crew

I hope that the Left will condemn this obvious war for oil:

A Romanian oil rig off the coast of Iran came under fire from an Iranian warship and was later occupied by Iranian troops, a company spokesman said.

The Iranians first fired into the air and then fired at the Orizont rig, said GSP spokesman Radu Petrescu. Half an hour later, troops from the ship boarded and occupied the rig and the company lost contact with the 26 crew members shortly afterward.

Petrescu said he had no information about any injuries or deaths. The Orizont rig has been moored near the Kish island in the Persian Gulf since October 2005, he told the Associated Press.

Eugen Chira, the political consul at the Romanian Embassy in Tehran confirmed the incident, but provided few details.

"Some forces opened fire. That an incident has happened is true. We have no details or the reason yet," he said.

If this is the first stage of an attempt to shut down the Persian Gulf, the Iranian's picked an odd place to start, as Kish is to the northwest of the Straits of Hormuz.

More as this develops.

Update: This is still something of a "non-story," that I'm not seeing widely reported, for whatever reason. I'm not sure if it is a lack of information, or a determination by the news Powers That Be that this is a minor story. More info comes from Bloomberg, indicating that this might be a business/teritorial dispute:

Iran attacked and seized control of a Romanian oil rig working in its Persian Gulf waters this morning one week after the Iranian government accused the European drilling company of ``hijacking'' another rig.

An Iranian naval vessel fired on the rig owned by Romania's Grup Servicii Petroliere (GSP) in the Salman field and took control of its radio room at about 7:00 a.m. local time, Lulu Tabanesku, Grup's representative in the United Arab Emirates said in a phone interview from Dubai today.


Iran urged the United Arab Emirates last week to help it return another oil rig owned and operated by the Romanian company in the same waters close to the Straits of Hormuz, through which 20 percent of the world's daily oil supply moves on tankers.

Grup said it recovered its rig last week because of a contractual dispute with its Iranian client, Oriental Oil Kish.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suspended Oriental Oil's activities in 2005 on alleged corruption activity and ties to Halliburton Co. of the U.S. The U.A.E.-registered drilling company had signed a preliminary contract with Halliburton after winning an estimated $310 million contract to develop phases 9 and 10 of Iran's offshore South Pars gas reservoir.

Mircea Geoana, the head of the Social Democratic Party, the main opposition party in Romania, called on the government to ``undertake all diplomatic measures necessary'' to persuade the Iranians to release the rig.

He also called on President Traian Basescu in a news conference broadcast on Realitatea television to invite all political party heads to the presidential palace to "discuss what Romania's reaction will be to this provocation."

You just knew Halliburton would get dragged into this, didn't you? I suspect that it is just a matter of time before the accusations start to fly that this is a set-up by the Bush Administration to use as a justification to go to war.

Andy Sullivan, your newest conspiracy theory awaits...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:11 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 21, 2006

BBC Risks Lebanese Boy for Photo Op with Unexploded Bomb

It is horrific that they would risk a child's life by forcing him so close to an unexploded but still very much "live" bomb.


It is even worse that they admit it (my bold) (h/t LGF):

When Um Ali Mihdi returned to her home in the southern Lebanese city of Bint Jbeil two days ago, she found a 1,000lb (450kg) Israeli bomb lying unexploded in her living room.

The shell is huge, bigger than the young boy pushed forward to stand reluctantly next to it while we get our cameras out and record the scene for posterity.

The bomb came through the roof of the single-storey house and half-embedded itself into the floor, just missing the TV.

"Reluctantly" is correct. The Lebanese boy, wearing a blue tank top and jeans that hang on his thin frame, is visably leaning away from the unexploded ordinance, hands in pockets. That someone pushed him forward to be in such a picture, and that the BCC was willing to capitalize on this obvious bit of propaganda staging, going so far to admit it openly, is reprehensible.

This is an admittedly staged photo by an ostensibly professional and once-respected news organization. Martin Asser and any other BBC staff complicit in this event should be fired, without question.

Much to my disgust, the suicide of photojournalism continues at an every more dizzying pace.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:03 PM | Comments (35) | TrackBack

Forcing God's Hand

This just in from CNN:

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Monday that Tehran will continue to pursue nuclear technology, state television reported.

Khamenei's declaration came on the eve of Iran's self-imposed August 22 deadline to respond to a Western incentives package for it to roll back its nuclear program. The United Nations has given Tehran until the end of August to suspend uranium enrichment.

The supreme leader's remarks also came the day after Iran's armed forces tested surface-to-surface missiles Sunday in the second stage of war games near its border with Iraq. (Full story)

"The Islamic Republic of Iran has made its own decision and in the nuclear case, God willing, with patience and power, will continue its path," Khamenei was quoted as saying by the broadcast.

He accused the United States of pressuring Iran despite Tehran's assertions that it was not seeking to develop nuclear weapons, as the United States and several of its allies have contended.

"Arrogant powers and the U.S. are putting their utmost pressure on Iran while knowing Iran is not pursuing nuclear weapons," he said.

Iran on Sunday said it will offer a "multifaceted response" to the incentives proposal.

For those who have been following these rumors for the past few weeks, the promise of a "multifaceted response" is an ominous, if uncertain, portent:

This year, Aug. 22 corresponds, in the Islamic calendar, to the 27th day of the month of Rajab of the year 1427. This, by tradition, is the night when many Muslims commemorate the night flight of the prophet Muhammad on the winged horse Buraq, first to "the farthest mosque," usually identified with Jerusalem, and then to heaven and back (c.f., Koran XVII.1). This might well be deemed an appropriate date for the apocalyptic ending of Israel and if necessary of the world. It is far from certain that Mr. Ahmadinejad plans any such cataclysmic events precisely for Aug. 22. But it would be wise to bear the possibility in mind.

Iranian President Ahmadinejad and the Hojjatieh movement of the ruling mullahcracy in Iran are so radical that they were banned in 1983 by Ayatollah Khomeini, and it is this sect of Shiite Islam that seek to force the return of the 12th Shiite Imam, Muhammad ibn Hasan. Followers of the three major world religions all believe that the world will one day face an End Times scenario, but only this sect feeling that forcing the hand of God is within their grasp:

...rooted in the Shiite ideology of martyrdom and violence, the Hojjatieh sect adds messianic and apocalyptic elements to an already volatile theology. They believe that chaos and bloodshed must precede the return of the 12th Imam, called the Mahdi. But unlike the biblical apocalypse, where the return of Jesus is preceded by waves of divinely decreed natural disasters, the summoning of the Mahdi through chaos and violence is wholly in the realm of human action. The Hojjatieh faith puts inordinate stress on the human ability to direct divinely appointed events. By creating the apocalyptic chaos, the Hojjatiehs believe it is entirely in the power of believers to affect the Mahdi's reappearance, the institution of Islamic government worldwide, and the destruction of all competing faiths.

Because of the belief of the Hojjatieh that they can, with human hands, bring about Apocalypse, the significance of tomorrow's date sets up in their eyes a divine opportunity that the rest of the world would be wise to treat with all due seriousness.

Considering the magnitude of the threat, I would be quite unamazed if the long-range F-15I "Ra'am" and F-16I "Soufa" and other aircraft of the Israeli Air Force were not now sitting in their hangers fully-fueled under heavy guard, wings heavy with the weight of the most terrible weapons known to man, as Dolphin-class submarines and their American counterparts patrol the Persian Gulf and Mediterranean with their own cataclysmic payloads.

It is fully consistent with the Hojjatieh sect's philosophy to try to "wipe Israel off the map" in hopes of triggering the expected result, and fully within Israel's sovereign rights to respond with all due mortal force to a nation seeking its annihilation. The Hojjatieh seek an end to their world to bring forth Muhammad ibn Hasan, and that they may be able to burn Israel to the ground in the process of bringing forth their Hidden Imam only makes the attraction of Apocalypse stronger.

Do the Hojjatieh seek to end the world on their terms? If is is indeed their plan, I pray that they now reconsider.

The three major religions that arose in the Middle East and propagated around this world all believe in a Creator, One that created All. If these major world religions are correct, then God alone is all powerful, and only God alone can chose the time and place of the beginning and the end, the Alpha and the Omega. By attempting to force God's hand, to attempt to control the End Times, the Hojjatieh are creating a great sin on a scale never before imagined, spanning across all nations, all believers, and faiths. The Hojjatieh seem primed to seek to create the greatest blasphemy of all.

As a Christian believer in a just and powerful God, I feel certain that while millions if not tens of millions could die if the Ahmadinejad and the other Hojjatieh have their way, that their deaths and the deaths of their unsuspecting victims (growing more unsuspecting every day) will only bring an end to lives, not a beginning of paradise.

Man cannot force or control the hand of God. A Pharaoh once tried, and the firstborn of all of Egypt died as a result. If Ahmadinejad's attempt to play God is realized, then the firstborn of the Middle East will only be a fraction of the overall toll.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:22 AM | Comments (24) | TrackBack

Goodbye, Joe

Via CNN:

Photographer Joe Rosenthal, who won a Pulitzer Prize for his immortal image of six World War II servicemen raising an American flag over battle-scarred Iwo Jima, died Sunday. He was 94.

Rosenthal died of natural causes at an assisted living facility in the San Francisco suburb of Novato, said his daughter, Anne Rosenthal.

"He was a good and honest man, he had real integrity," Anne Rosenthal said.

His photo, taken for The Associated Press on Feb. 23, 1945, became the model for the Iwo Jima Memorial near Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. The memorial, dedicated in 1954 and known officially as the Marine Corps War Memorial, commemorates the Marines who died taking the Pacific island in World War II.


Update: The insipid nature of the anti-war left rears its misshapen head once more, as the malecontents at Sadly No! and their friends at's Daou Report see my mention of Joe Rosenthal's passing as a chance to attack both myself and for some odd reason, Rosenthal. To using the passing of an iconic American photographer to attack a relatively obscure blogger betrays a pettiness I personally find repulsive and a bit unsettling, but sadly, par for the course. My response to Sadly No! in the comments of that site are as follows:

So the great “Sadly No!” catch of hypocrisy is what, exactly?

Some have postulated over the years that Joe Rosenthal somehow staged the second flag raising on Iwo Jima, yet not one human soul have ever been able to provide the first shred of proof that the allegations they raised were true, as even your own cited sources concur.

This is in stark contrast to copious evidence that some (I never said nor implied all, as you scurrilously and inaccurately charge) media photographers in Lebanon staged photos, and individual photos by several others were left suspect. No less an authority on photojournalism than David Perlmutter, a man who quite literally “wrote the book” on photojournalism, has come out strongly condemning the actions of these photographers and the media organizations that they represent in Editor & Publisher.

I've only played a small role in exposing some of the photojournalist fraud coming from Lebanon, but I am proud of the work I've done, as is Perlmutter, and at least one major combat photojournalist (a Pulitzer nominee, I may add) who has stated to me privately in e-mail that he is impressed with my ability to catch some of the things I've noticed in staged and biased photojournalism coming from Lebanon.

That you would try to make a comparison between the unproven and mostly discredited charges against Rosenthal that even your own sources cannot support, and the very real and proven charges that have been levied against some Lebanese war photographers, shows a sloppiness in thinking here that quite frankly, I've come to expect.

Not surprisingly, none of the commentors there has a substantive rebuttal.

Update 2:

Via email, from David D. Perlmutter, by permission:

The overwhelming evidence, including the testimony of everyone present at the flag-raisings--both of them--was that the photograph that has become the famous icon was NOT staged. In brief, what happened was that Rosenthal took a series of still pictures of both flag-raisings. At the same time, a movie cameraman recorded the full event. The second flag-raising occurred because the first flag was too small to be seen by Marines and other military personnel throughout the island and at sea. Joe Rosenthal did not ask anyone to raise a flag, did not pose anyone raising a flag, and the second flag would have been raised in same way even if there had been no photographers present. In other words, it was 100 percent NOT a staged photo. The complication occurred because at that time photographers rarely developed their own film in the field. Rosenthal put the role in a can and sent it off for developing. Subsequently, the picture of the second flag-raising, the shot that we now recognize as the great icon, became a sensation. Rosenthal, caught up in the battle, knew nothing about his own success. Weeks later, when told that one of his photographs had become celebrated, he assumed that the questioner referred to another photograph in which the military personnel posed around the flag and talked about it as one he helped set up. Unfortunately, even though the error was corrected very quickly, it has become a data virus in the history of photojournalism. I will add that it is also a very hurtful error, both to the men who raised the flag--some of whom were killed in the battle in the days to follow--and to a sensitive and decent photojournalist. As an added note, as any working Photog can tell you, the photo violates some basic schoolbook rules of photojournalism, so, for example, he would have gotten more faces in “staged” image.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:10 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 20, 2006

When E.F. Hezbollah Speaks...

...people listen.

I guess that answers this.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:29 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 19, 2006

Photojournalism in Crisis

David D. Perlmutter in Editor and Publisher:

The Israeli-Hezbollah war has left many dead bodies, ruined towns, and wobbling politicians in its wake, but the media historian of the future may also count as one more victim the profession of photojournalism. In twenty years of researching and teaching about the art and trade and doing photo-documentary work, I have never witnessed or heard of such a wave of attacks on the people who take news pictures and on the basic premise that nonfiction news photo- and videography is possible.

I'm not sure, however, if the craft I love is being murdered, committing suicide, or both.

As they say, read the whole thing.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:15 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 18, 2006

So Long, and Thanks for All the Fisk

As the Islamic Armegeddon apparently approaches just four days hence,
I thought I'd take this opportunity to mention all the thinks I'm going to miss as a result.

Car Swarms
Sadly, this uniquely Palestinian cultural curiosity is about to expire, along with those who practice it. I never quite understood the odd fascination with retrieving bits of flesh from martyrs "liberated" of their earthly chains courtesy of the Israeli Air Force, but it was an interesting custom to view all the same. I'll have to find another pointless expression of impotent rage to fill this void in my life. Is Randi Rhodes still on the air?

"Differently-Abled" Suicide Bombers
Say what you will about their people skills and willingness to accept those of other beliefs, the various terrorist groups in the Middle East have always believed in diversity, even allowing the mentally infirm and gullible a direct shot at paradise.

If only we cared enough to extend equal opportunities across all strata and mental levels of our society, perhaps we could be as great a culture. Then again, Cynthia McKinney was elected twice, so perhaps we're doing better in this regard than I originally thought.

The price is certainly going to go up. Of course, glass will become much more economical, so it might balance out.

Arab Media
I'll be honest: they've provided me a lot of material in past weeks, and I'm going to miss their fine original craftsmanship, which was openly appreciated in our own media outlets as well. Bill Keller is going to have to find a new mentor, but no doubt he'll land on his feet on a nice marble floor. So long, Qana Chameleons, and thanks for all the Fisk.

No, not really.

You may look at this admittedly short list and ask, "hey, what about all the things in the "Great Satan" and the "Little Satan" that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadabbracadabrajad has promised to destroy as he brings forth the holy cleansing fire of the Hidden Imam?"

And I'll look back at you with a smile on may face and say those four sweet, magic words, "North Korea-designed missiles."

I'll see you on the 23rd.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:09 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Southern Hospitality

The Lebanese Interior Minstry is outraged over a video showing Lebanese soldiers offering tea to Israeli soldiers during the invasion of Marjeyoun on August 10. The Interior Ministry is ordering the base commander, Gen. Adnan Daoud, to be placed under arrest.

Here is an account of what transpired via CNN:

There have been conflicting accounts of what happened at Marjeyoun.

In the video, two Israeli tanks roll up to the gate of the Marjeyoun garrison, where a white surrender flag flutters outside the barracks.

Inside, Lebanese soldiers hold trays with glasses of tea, which they offer to the Israelis. The encounter appears merely social.

However, it is possible that unpleasant parts of the video were deleted during editing.

This is in opposition to accounts of what happened when Israeli soldiers arrived according to several Arab media outlets.

Arab-language network Al-Jazeera has quoted Hezbollah as saying "violent battles" took place with their militants, and Arab news networks Al-Manar and Al-Arabiya reported at least two Israeli tanks were destroyed in the fighting.

Apparently, the new Arab media definition of "destroyed" has been expanded to cover the spilling of milk and sugar on army vehicles. That, or they are lying, and who would expect that from professional media organizations?

While I certainly wouldn't want American soldiers extending this amount of hospitality to foreign invaders, I can't say I blame the Lebanese. They are, after all, only following our example.

The Administration has taken the "tea and cookies" route in dealing with the invasion of illegal immigrants across our southern border for years, so perhaps this model behavior explains this exchange between the Israeli and Lebanese commanders on the scene, as captured on the video:

At one point in the video, Daoud and an Israeli soldier have the following exchange, as translated by CNN's Octavia Nasr:

Daoud: "Don't we need to tell our bosses?"

Israeli soldier: "Tell whoever you want."

Daoud: "We need to brief them on what happened."

Israeli soldier: "We briefed (U.S. President) Bush. You brief whoever you want."

Daoud: "We need to brief Bush too."

While translating democracy to Arab culture continues to be problematic of the President, at least it appears his overly friendly "southern hospitality" is finding admirers around the world.

That, or Lebanese soldiers with small arms don't feel like getting themselves killed for nothing. And after all Hezbollah has done for Lebanon...

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:37 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

August 17, 2006

A Blip

As you know by now, a liberal Detroit judge has ruled against the NSA's terrorist communications intercept program initiated by President Bush. If you fan out across the blogosphere, everyone has an opinion on the ruling.

I'm not really up to it, so I'll go with the professionals, starting with the Volokh Conspiracy

Eugene Volokh:

...the judge's opinion in today's NSA eavesdropping case seems not just ill-reasoned, but rhetorically ill-conceived. A careful, thoughtful, detailed, studiously calm and impartial-seeming opinion might have swung some higher court judges (and indirectly some Justices, if it comes to that). A seemingly angry, almost partisan-sounding opinion ("[The orders] violate the Separation of Powers ordained by the very Constitution of which this President is a creature," emphasis added, thanks to a caller for pointing this out) is unlikely to sway the other judges — especially when the opinion is rich in generalities, platitudes ("There are no hereditary Kings in America and no powers not created by the Constitution"), and "obviously"'s, and poor in detailed discussion of some of the government's strongest arguments.

Dale Carpenter:

I am one of those who believes that the NSA program is not authorized by the AUMF, that it violates FISA, that FISA is a constitutional exercise of congressional power, and that therefore the NSA program is both illegal and unconstitutional. I have written so here. But I am less sure this is an issue courts should review, and even less sure that this case is one they should review.

So while the much sexier questions of executive power, the First Amendment, and the Fourth Amendment, will no doubt occupy many of us over the coming months (as they already have), I'd be willing to bet that at either the appellate court or the Supreme Court the suit will be dismissed for lack of standing.

Orin Kerr:

I've just read through the Fourth Amendment part of Judge Taylor's opinion on the NSA domestic wiretapping opinion, and, well, um, it's kind of hard to know what to make of it. There really isn't any analysis; rather, it's just a few pages of general ruminations about the Fourth Amendment (much of it incomplete and some of it simply incorrect) followed by the statement in passing that the program is "obviously" in violation of the Fourth Amendment...

It's hardly obvious that the program — or some aspect of it — violates the Fourth Amendment; that's the issue before the court, and my sense is that we really don't know enough to answer it without knowing the facts...

I can come up with explanations for why a district court judge inclined to rule against the program would put out an opinion that isn't quite ready for prime time. For example, Senator Specter's bill would take these issues away from the district court, so the choice might be to speak now or never. But at least based on the court's Fourth Amendment analysis, I suspect this opinion is important more for its political impact and its triggering of appellate review than for any analysis in the opinion itself.

Mark Levin hits many of the same points. The consensus among these legal scholars is that the judge made a very weak ruling, and seem to indicate that it will probably get tossed at a September 7 appellate court hearing.

My gut reaction? The ACLU venue-shopped to get a judge that fit their needs, and won a short-term political victory. In the long run, it won't affect the operations of the NSA program all that much, if at all.

I just can't get too excited or irate over a case that seems assured to die a quick death.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:38 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Pocketbook Jihad

Look at any of the casualty figures coming out of Lebanon in the world's major media organizations, and you'll see something very close to this:

The Lebanese death toll, meanwhile, rose to 842 when rescue workers pulled 32 bodies from the rubble in the southern town of Srifa, target of some of Israel's heaviest bombardment in the 34-day conflict. The figure was assembled from reports by security and police officials, doctors and civil defense workers, morgue attendants as well as the military.

The Israeli toll was 157, including 118 soldiers, according to its military and government.

What is missing from this death toll (which CBS News has now quietly removed from this web report) are the casualties sustained by Hezbollah.

Many people would presumably be interested in knowing the toll the war has had on Hezbollah, as Hezbollah's actions did indeed trigger this latest war. But a recalcitrant media has steadfastly refused to provide these figures.

The Israel Defense Forces, as a standard practice, makes an effort to photograph and document each Hezbollah fighter confirmed killed, and also estimates the number of unconfirmed/unclaimed Hezbollah casualties from air strikes and artillery fire. Certainly, a media that has spent a considerable amount of their time and resources ferreting out and reporting America's secret national security programs could easily access unclassified information, some of which has been published on the IDF's own web site. Even a cursory analysis of the world's media reporting out of Lebanon reveals that in photographs, on video and radio broadcasts, and in print, Hezbollah casualties are almost never reported. So why does the media choose to underreport Hezbollah's casualties?

The answer may at least partially lie in stories of Lebanese casualties that the world media does choose to report. Story after story, photo after photo, dead and distraught Lebanese civilians clog the mediastream, building a false, grim montage of a war in which primarily Israeli soldiers and Lebanese civilians die.

This is not the whole truth of this war, but a partial truth developed through complacency and an apparent willful disregard to report the facts on the ground. Instead of seeking and publishing the entire truth, newsrooms have decided that they will publish the stories and images framed by foreign, mostly Arab Muslim reporters, even though their own cultural interests in these events are a clear and undeniable conflict of interest precluding even a pretense of unbiased reporting.

This is beyond bias, it is a reckless and willful disregard for reporting the whole truth in favor of reporting "news" that is easier to sell in a larger world media market. The casualty statistics are there, but the media sticks to the narrative they have helped create because while honest reporting is a goal, the business of the media business is business.

If it "bleeds it leads," but only if what leads sells advertising. News consumers around the world consume the news that more closely matches their perceptions of how reality should be, and stories critical of Hezbollah, stories that show their failures and deaths, don't sell in world population featuring 1.3 billion Muslims that hope for Israel's demise, or at the very best are indifferent to their fate. It is anti-Semitism by cashflow, a pocketbook jihad that buys the media's silence.

This morning I received a comment from an IDF sergeant, stating in part:

It's not classified, but I dought[sic] you'll ever see these figures in the MSM. According to our statistics we (the IDF) have scored OVER 600 CONFIRMED enemy kills (photgrphed [sic], documented, claimed and added to the killboard, I personally scored 2 kills to add to my record) and another 800-1200 unconfirmed/unclaimed kills (this estimation includes kills form airstrikes/artillary shelling). The Hizb'Allah losses aren't counted, on the most part, against the official number of Lebanease[sic] casualties.

Hezbollah has suffered 500-600+ confirmed fatalities, and estimates are that another 800-1200 are dead; perhaps half of Hezbollah's armed forces, and yet the media chooses to ignore these readily accessed figures in favor of a more marketable Lebanese civilian body count.

The media chooses to underreport Hezbollah's casualties because it is bad for business, while it unashamedly pimps civilian corpses for profit. That is just one of the ugly realities of this war that isn't considered "all the news that's fit to print."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:00 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Murtha Lied (Confirmed)

Patterico has directly confirmed that Democratic Rep. John Murtha just flat out lied about when he was briefed about Haditha.

It appears that the DNC's retreat specialist is in trouble.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 06:01 AM | Comments (23) | TrackBack

Accuracy Strikes Middle East Reporting

From the front page of today's JPost:


Take note of the headline and contrast it against the caption: "Hizbullah fighter watches IDF Wednesday."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:40 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Quick Hits

Pat Dollard, the former agent who traded in the glitz of Hollywood for the grit of the Iraqi desert, is nearing completion of the feature film and follow-up cable series for Young Americans, which chronicles the lifes of Marines fighting in Al Anbar Province. He also has a "combat journal" that will be featured in Maxim magazine in November. Maxim Editor-in-Chief, Jimmy Jellinek, said the journal was, "the best thing written about the Marine Corps at war since the book 'Full Metal Jacket' was based on." That book, in case you were wondering, was Gustav Hadford's "The Short Timers."

For folks new to Confederate Yankee in the past weeks, I invite you to take a look at Ward Brewer's Beauchamp Tower Corp's "Operation Enduring Service" blog. BTC is a not-for-profit corporation focused on two awesome goals. Part of their effort is to acquire World War II-era warships and turn them into museums.

BTC recently went to Mexico to acquire the former DD-574 John Rogers, the longest-serving Fletcher-class destroyer in the world, from the Mexican Navy, where combat veteran of Iwo Jima, Guandalcanal, and raids on Japan was on active duty until 2002. Ward has some cool pictures of the aging veteran from this recent foray, and milblogger John Donovan of Argghhh! chronicled the trip as well Start here and go. John Rogers will make its way to Mobile, Alabama where it will be turned into a Maritime Museum, and will be rededicated in November.

Brewer's Operation Enduring Service also has a major humainitarian goal as well, of converting retired naval transport vessels into state-of-the-art hurricane response ships to operate throughout the Gulf states and eastern seaboard. surprisingly enough, the federal government, particularly the U.S. Maritime Adminstration, is fighting this effort tooth and nail. Why they are against donating ships (that they intent to scrap anyway) to a life-saving effort is nothing less than insane.

Speaking of insane, Patterico demolishes sockpuppet master Glenn Greenwald (again) and his inane defense of the proven and admitted photo-staging that occurred in Lebanon. Ace piles on as well, as only Ace can do.

Oh, and torture? It works. Dolts can say otherwise, but it has been around for thousands of years becuase of it's effectiveness. I can sleep at night if pulling out a few fingernails (or worse) kept several thousand airline passengers from plunging into the Atlantic from 30,000 feet. As Al Davis says, "Just win, baby."

Ideals are nice, but don't do you much good as a corpse.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:31 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 16, 2006

A Caption Too Small

Yes, I'm getting just as tired of this kind of stuff as you are (my bold):

Lebanese civil defense volunteers unload a coffin from a refrigerator outside the Hakoomy hospital in port city of Tyre, southern Lebanon, Wednesday, Aug. 16, 2006. At least 842 people were killed in Lebanon during the 34-day campaign, most of them civilians. Israel suffered 157 dead _ including 118 soldiers.(AP Photo/Sergey Ponomarev)

According to the Associated Press "most" (by definition more than half; at least 421) of those who died were civilians. Considering AP's recent track record in Lebanon, I'm disinclined to believe their claim. Their vague figures run in opposition to what we see here from Strategy Page:

On the ground, Hizbollah lost nearly 600 of its own personnel, and billions of dollars worth of assets and weapons.

Ynet News, citing the IDF as a source three days ago, states that 530 Hezbollah members have been killed.

If the Hezbollah deaths cited by StrategyPage and Ynet are correct and the AP's overall casualty count is close to accurate, then more than 60% of those killed were Hezbollah fighters, even as Hezbollah attempted to hide behind old women and children.

However, when looking at the figures provided by the Associated Press, one would be tempted to infer that Hezbollah's attacks were more precisely targeted at Israeli military forces, as the AP points out that the majority of the Israelis killed by Hezbollah--118 of 157--were soldiers, while "most" of those killed by Israel were civilians.

But the AP conveniently leaves out the fact that half of the Israeli civilians killed were the result of 4,000 indiscriminately targeted Hezbollah rockets purposefully aimed at civilian areas. It also leaves out the glaring fact that Lebanese civilian casualties were so high precisely because Hezbollah chose to fight a war using Lebanese civilians as shields.

Israel specifically targeted precision weapons and artillery fire on infrastructure and Hezbollah targets, while Hezbollah aimed their rockets almost exclusively at Israeli population centers.

In the media war against Israel, somehow the captions are never quite big enough to fit that most basic truth.

Update: An IDF First Sergeant clarifies the situation with first-hand knowledge in the comments:

CY, this is a great post you have written here, though I feel I have to eluminate a few things.

I'm an IDF first sergeant and recently returned from Lebanon. And the way things are develping I might return there sooner then I've hoped.

Hizb'Allah casualties. The numbers you have presented are quite close to accurate, but they don't show the whole picture. It's not classified, but I dought you'll ever see these figures in the MSM. According to our statistics we (the IDF) have scored OVER 600 CONFIRMED enemy kills (photgrphed, documented, claimed and added to the killboard, I personally scored 2 kills to add to my record) and another 800-1200 unconfirmed/unclaimed kills (this estimation includes kills form airstrikes/artillary shelling). The Hizb'Allah losses aren't counted, on the most part, against the official number of Lebanease casualties. Hizb'Allah admits to loosing only 58 of it's own men and 21 more from their ally - the Amal terrorist organisation.
How much troops Hizb'Allah has really lost we'll probably never know since they're quite unlickly to release this information.

Hizb'Allah also lost a lot of weapons and equipment, and quite large amounts of equipment were captured by us.

But the operation wasn't deemed as successful since we didn't get our boys back. Also we (the soldiers) feel that some high ranking officers in the Northern Command had little idea what they where doing. Our political leadership could've should've done more - like sending us in early on/buying us more time to finish the job.

At any rate, Olmert chose to succumb to the will of Kofi Anan and his Useless Nations with their Hizb'Allah backed Associated Propaganda and al-Reuters spitting lies all over the world about disproportionate response and us indiscriminately
killing civilians.

But this isn't over by any means, this "cease fire" is just a temporary respite before all hell will break loose once again. And then we'll finish what we've started.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:57 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

"I'm Going to Die, Aren't I?"

Almost five years after the collapse of the World Trade Center towers in lower Manhattan, the release of 1,613 emergency calls made under that bright blue September sky are like ripping scars:

"Listen to me, ma'am," that operator told a panicky Melissa Doi during a 20-minute phone call. "You're not dying. You're in a bad situation, ma'am."

A portion of Doi's end of the conversation was played for jurors in April at the trial of Sept. 11 conspirator Zacarias Moussaoui.

"I'm going to die, aren't I?" Doi asked the dispatcher.

"Ma'am, just stay calm for me, OK?" the dispatcher said. The conversation ended with the operator trying vainly to speak with Doi, a financial manager for IQ Financial Systems: "Not dead, not dead," the operator said to no response. "They sound like deep sleep."

The phone line cut out. Doi never made it out of the World Trade Center.

"Oh, my lord," said the operator, whose words to Doi were previously not made public.

At Hot Air, AllahPundit managed to listen to about 90 seconds of Doi's 24-minute call before he had enough.

I admire him for getting as far as he did.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:25 PM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Reality Check

While the war between Hezbollah and Israel seems to be on an increasingly temporary hiatus, the public relations battle over who actually came out ahead in this latest Arab-Israeli conflict seems to depends on whether or not you give military successes or temporary political successes more weight.

Leftist poster boy in favor of Islamic oppression, Robert Fisk:

The truth is Israel opened its attack on Lebanon by claiming the Lebanese government was responsible for Hizbollah's attack - which it clearly was not - and that its military actions would achieve the liberation of the captured soldiers.

This, the Israelis have signally failed to do. The loss of 40 soldiers in just 36 hours and the successful Hizbollah attacks against Israeli armour in Lebanon were a disaster for the Israeli army.

The fact that Syria could bellow about the "achievements" of Hizbollah while avoiding the destruction of a blade of grass inside Syria suggests a cynicism that has yet to be grasped inside the Arab world. But for now, Syria has won.

Was Lebanon's government—the same government which refuses to disarm Hezbollah—aware of Hezbollah's plan to kidnap Israeli soldiers?

Fisk says they weren't complicit.

Hasan Narallah, leader of Hezbollah, indicates otherwise (my bold):

I told them on more than one occasion that we are serious about the prisoners issue and that this can only solved through the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers. Of course, I used to make hints in that respect. Of course I would not be expected to tell them on the table I was going to kidnap Israeli soldiers in July. That could not be.

[Bin-Jiddu (Al-Jazeera)] You told them that you would kidnap Israeli soldiers?

[Nasrallah] I used to tell them that the prisoners' issue, which we must solve, can only be solved through the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers.

[Bin-Jiddu (Al-Jazeera)] Clearly?

[Nasrallah] Clearly. Nobody told me: no, you are not allowed to kidnap Israeli soldiers. I was not waiting for such a thing. Even if they told me no you are not allowed [nothing would change]. I am not being defensive. I said that we would kidnap Israeli soldiers in meetings with some of the key political leaders in the country.

To call Robert Fisk a liar would be redundant.

Is the loss of 40 soldiers in 1 1/2 days a "disaster" as Fisk states? To the family members of the soldiers it undoubtedly is, but otherwise, the lost of 40 men in a close quarters ground assault against the entrenched positions is hardly a disaster, even if the overall outcome of the battle was not the total destruction of Hezbollah in South Lebanon. "We won because we didn't all die" is hardly the most convincing victory speech for Hezbollah and their Syrian and Iranian patrons, not matter how the politics of the situation are spun.

Of course, that is just the political angle played up by Hezbollah's supporters.

Let's look at another view, based on the facts:

Hizbollah suffered a defeat. Their rocket attacks on Israel, while appearing spectacular (nearly 4,000 rockets launched), were unimpressive (39 Israelis killed, half of them Arabs). On the ground, Hizbollah lost nearly 600 of its own personnel, and billions of dollars worth of assets and weapons. Israeli losses were far less.

While Hizbollah can declare this a victory, because it fought Israel without being destroyed, this is no more a victory than that of any other Arab force that has faced Israeli troops and failed. Arabs have been trying to destroy Israel for over half a century, and Hizbollah is the latest to fail. But Hizbollah did more than fail, it scared most Moslems in the Middle East, because it demonstrated the power and violence of the Shia Arab minority. Sunni Arabs, and most Arabs are Sunnis, are very much afraid of Shia Moslems, mainly because most Iranians are Shia, not Arab, and intent on dominating the region, like Iran has done so many times in the past. Hizbollah's recent outburst made it clear that Iran, which subsidizes and arms Hizbollah, has armed power that reaches the Mediterranean. This scares Sunni Arabs because a Shia minority also continues to rule Syria (where most of the people are Sunni). The Shia majority in Iraq, which have not dominated Iraq for over three centuries, is now back in control.

Hizbollah did enjoy a victory in its recent war, but it was over Sunni Arabs, not Israel.

Two different reactions, one based in leftist cant sympathetic to terrorists, and another based on the actual physical damage and the political resonance felt throughout the region. At the end of the day, I think the Israelis came out far better in their "defeat" than did Hezbollah's military wing in their corpse-riddled "victory."

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:39 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Democratic Ad Equates Illegals with Terrorists


WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Democratic political ad is under fire from Hispanics who say it unfairly compares Latino immigrants to terrorists.

The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee sponsored a 35-second ad on its Web site that shows footage of two people scaling a border fence mixed with images of Osama Bin Laden and North Korea President Kim Jong Il.

Pedro Celis, chairman of the Republican National Hispanic Assembly, said in a statement Tuesday that the DSCC should remove the ad because it vilifies illegal Hispanic immigrants and is "appalling."

Houston City Councilwoman Carol Alvarado, a Democrat, sent a letter to DSCC Chairman Sen. Charles Schumer of New York asking that the ad be pulled. She said it could alienate Latino voters.

"To liken Latino immigrants to bazooka-toting terrorists not only undermines the positive relationship our party has with this community, but also lowers us to a despicable level as breeders of unfounded fear and hatred," Alvarado wrote.

The ad opens with the words "Security Under Bush and GOP?" It features scenes of a masked man with a bazooka, scenes from terrorist attacks and police inspecting a subway train. It also shows Osama bin Laden, Iran President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a docked ship as it claims "4 times as many terrorist attacks in 2005."

Then comes footage of a person climbing over a corrugated metal border fence and another preparing to climb it as the words "millions more illegal immigrants" form on-screen. In the following scene, viewers see the words "North Korea has quadrupled its nuclear arsenal" with footage of a tank and North Korea President Kim Jong Il.

The ad ends with the words, "Feel safer? Vote for change."

Terrorism and illegal immigration are two hot-button issues facing America right now, but the Democrats seem unwilling or unable to realize that while there is some concern that our lackadaisical border security may enable terrorists to cross the border, illegal aliens are not terrorists. While they are an economic and social concern, illegal aliens are not actively engaged in trying to destroy America and take America lives.

That Democrats seem to view these two issues on an equal plane betrays the fact that the reality-challenged Party doesn't hold Islamic terrorists as any more of a threat to American lives than does an illegal alien's attempt to find a better life by the wrong means. With increasingly rare exceptions, Democrats are still a party incapable of admitting and coping with the very real threats of Islamic terrorism facing the Western world.

Does an entire political party unable and unwilling to address your safety with a single concrete plan to address terrorism in the five years since September 11 make you feel safer?

Me neither.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:44 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 15, 2006

Watching Zohra

Yesterday I quipped that I found Gatorade's new energy Drink "self-Propel," after discovering a series of three pictures by Reuters photographer Zohra Bensemra. In those photos, a mysteriously mobile bottle of water appears and disappears beside an elderly injured woman that Bensemra said was waiting to be rescued, and was made to appear utterly alone.

The moving bottle and other suspicious elements in the photos lead me to believe that this series of photos, like so many already discovered coming from Arab Muslim stringers in Lebanon, were quite likely staged.

The curious composition of Bensemra's photos continued today, as this one was, err, unearthed in Yahoo's Photostream:


I have no doubt at all that Lebanese Red Cross members are unearthing bodies from the rubble of Israeli air strikes, and will continue to do so for days weeks, and even months to come. But the damaged structure in question would seems to offer a very narrow opening, and with two rescuers already inside the cramped space (you can see the reflective stripes on the sleeve of another rescuer further in), it would seem strange to bag a body in the narrow confines of unstable rubble, when it would be both safer and easier for the rescuers to do so in the open.

Of course that is making the assumption that this is indeed a cramped space.


Another photo, which I have enlarged and then cropped to show the relevant area, indicates that the external area of the structure in question is only several yards wide, and no more than a couple of yards high. Note the expansive open area in the left side of the frame, and edge of the structure over the shoulder of the second man from the right. This structure these men were emerging from is far too narrow to be a residential building. It seems doubtful that a normal residential dwelling would have such a narrow profile, a concrete roof, walls a foot or more thick, or space for two or more live adults to body bag the undefined deceased inside, before bringing him out.

Victim, or target? House, or bunker? Perhaps the Israelis were able to kill someone other than old women and children after all.

I cannot prove that Zohra Bensemra is complicit in staging photos in Lebanon, but at the very least I can feel comfortable of accusing Bensemra of writing misleading captions that alter the context of how the picture is viewed. A caption reading "Lebanese Red Cross personnel remove the body of a person who died during an Israeli air raid during the conflict between Israel and Lebanon's Hizbollah, at Tayba in south Lebanon August 15, 2006" may be entirely accurate, but a caption reading "The body of a Hezbollah fighter is removed from a bunker near Tayba" would tell quite a different story, if that is indeed what happened.

Is Reuters photographer Zohra Bensemra a journalist, or propagandist? I'll leave that for you to decide, Myself, I tend to judge people by the company they choose to keep.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:08 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Complicity and Consequences

I'm currently in a quandary, trying to determine whether the United Nations cease-fire or Lebanon's implementation of it is more of a joke.

Hizbullah will not hand over its weapons to the Lebanese government but rather refrain from exhibiting them publicly, according to a new compromise that is reportedly brewing between Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Seniora and Hizbullah leader Hassan Nasrallah.

The UN cease-fire resolution specifically demands the demilitarization of the area south of the Litani river. The resolution was approved by the Lebanese cabinet.

In a televised address on Monday night, Nasrallah declared that now was not the time to debate the disarmament of his guerrilla fighters, saying the issue should be done in secret sessions of the government to avoid serving Israeli interests.

"This is immoral, incorrect and inappropriate," he said. "It is wrong timing on the psychological and moral level particularly before the cease-fire," he said in reference to calls from critics for the guerrillas to disarm.

According to Lebanon's defense minister, Elias Murr, "There will be no other weapons or military presence other than the army" after Lebanese troops move south of the Litani. However, he then contradicted himself by saying the army would not ask Hizbullah to hand over its weapons.

If these reports are true, and Lebanon allows Hezbollah to retain their weaponry, they are not only in breach of the cease-fire resolution, they are choosing to side with Hezbollah. Israel should now consider Prime Minister Fuad Seniora's government as an enemy regime.

At some point in the future, maybe only hours or perhaps as long as years from now, Hezbollah with take aggressive actions against Israel that will necessitate another Israeli campaign. The next campaign must not be one of a tentative nature, but one of decisiveness.

Israel must break Hezbollah.

As an "pajama general" half a world away, with no military experience, I must turn to the history books for a solution to Israel's "Hezbollah problem," and a decisive battle in the "Forgotten War" of Korea offers a possible winning strategy.

On June 25, 1950, 135,000 North Korean troops swarmed into South Korea. Within three days they had captured South Koreas capital of Seoul. The U.S. Eighth Army came to South Korea's aid, but even then, they were driven into a small pocket called the Pusan Perimeter before the combined forces were able to establish and hold a defensive line. It was a desperate land stand against the North, and the Korean Peninsula seemed that it might fall completely into communist hands.

That changed on September 15, 1950, when General Douglas MacArthur executed a brilliant "left hook," landing 70,000 men at Inchon, well behind the front, cutting North Korean supply lines. Seoul was liberated ten days later. Half of the 70,000 North Korean troops on the Pusan Perimeter were killed or captured, and the remaining 30,000 were forced to retreat out of South Korea.

Israel may have the capability too consider a similar battle plan in a future war with Hezbollah in Lebanon. While Israel lacks the amphibious forces and manpower of MacArthur, it does have enough helicopter transport capability to perform deep insertions of elite infantry and light artillery units well into Lebanon. By airmobile insertion of these forces along transportation routes from Syria to the west and placing a blocking force to the north and west of Beirut, Israel could cut off Hezbollah from it's Syrian and Iranian suppliers far more effectively than air strikes alone did in the last campaign. It would also open up a multi-front war, keeping Hezbollah off-balance and unable to concentrate firepower in any one direction.

While these airmobile forces are inserted, Israeli strike aircraft could take out cell phone towers, central telephone exchanges, and other command-and-control targets, rendering Hezbollah largely blind and isolated except for short-range communications. At the same time, Israeli reservists and heavy armored units would bypass and cut off Hezbollah strongholds in the south, which could then be targeted and destroyed one-by-one.

This is the campaign Israel should have waged, and perhaps one they may yet fight. It is important to recognize that such a campaign might trigger a conflict with not only with Hezbollah, but the Lebanese Army as well. The conflict would not doubt result in hundreds of Lebanese civilian deaths, perhaps as many or more than this last month-long campaign. The responsibility of these deaths will not only belong to Hassan Nasrallah and Hezbollah, but with Lebanese Prime Minister Fuad Seniora and the elected Lebanese government as well. A government that sides with terrorists, becomes terrorists, and Israel should now regard Lebanon as a state-sponsor of terrorism.

Fuad Seniora has signed a deal with the devil, and however and whenever the next war between Israel and Hezbollah is waged, he will bear the blame for the deaths of hundreds or thousands of Lebanese, as assuredly as if he had pulled the trigger himself.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:06 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

August 14, 2006

The Show Must Go On

According to Reuters photographer Zohra Bensemra, an elderly injured woman lies injured in the ruins of her house, awaiting rescue as Bensemra snaps these pictures.


Let's for a moment try to look past the staging elements that we've become accustomed to searching for over the past weeks.

Ignore for a moment the fact that a wounded elderly woman in a bombed out building is unlikely to be in the kind of physical condition needed to drag several pristine sofa pillows through the rubble and make a bed out of them. Look past the fact that she, in her weakened condition, has found a nearly spotless black blanket in the fine gray dust of a bombed out building to cover her legs against the 80 degree cold. Ignore the conveniently-placed bottled water she somehow found intact and had for the middle photo only.

Look past all this, and the total absence of any readily identifiable injury, to momentarily take Zohra Bensemra's word at face value that this is an injured, elderly woman lying in the rubble, that he seems to have stumbled across before help has arrived.

Now place yourself in Zohra Bensemra's shoes.

If you came across someone lying injured in the rubble, would you cry for assistance, seek to comfort her, or stop to determine which camera angle best captures this scene?

Would you come forward quickly and see how badly she is injured and try to render assistance, or would you compose an increasingly intimate montage of photos?

Reuters, no doubt, will offer the excuse that the photographer has the duty to capture the story, not to become part of it.

I'd like to ask Reuters when a photo-op becomes more important than basic humanity, but I'm afraid they'd be all too ready and willing with an answer.

Update: After thinking about it for a few minutes, I decided one element of these photos deserves more attention, so I updated the second photo to highlight the interesting detail.

According to the photographer's caption:

An injured Lebanese woman lies in her damaged house as she waits to be rescued during the first day of ceasefire, at Bint Jbail, east of the port city of Tyre (Soure) August 14, 2006. REUTERS/Zohra Bensemra (LEBANON)

If she "waits to be rescued" alone, who, then, is moving the bottled water in the second photo out of frame in the first and third pictures? Is it Gatorade's new fitness drink, "self-Propel?"

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:27 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Sockpuppet: Voice of FREEDOM!!!

Safely hidden in his hidden Brazillian jungle fortress, sockpuppet sallies forth to warn us of the evils of the BushCo Mind Control Agenda:

The Bush administration has adopted an array of tactics to control the news, from threatening journalists with criminal prosecution to paying pundits and manufacturing and distributing propaganda videos disguised as taped news segments. One such tactic, used with increasing frequency and obviousness, is that when Bush officials need to do an interview in order to address some brewing crisis, they will sit with only the most sycophantic and Bush-loving "journalists" who will shower them with praise and adoration in lieu of scrutiny and real questions.

Sockpuppet's biggest gripe seems to be that al-Reuters, al-Jazeera, and al-Franken aren't the primary means of distributing information to the world at large. By his estimation, Sean Hannity, Brit Hume and Pamela of the blog "Atlas Shrugs" are the Administration's primary media outlets to the world.

And you know what? He's right.

Sockpuppet cites ironclad evidence showing that Hume was granted an interview with President Bush in September, 2003 and just three years later an interview with Vice President Cheney in February of 2006. Such single-source media domination should not be stood for in a free society.

The blatant right wing domination of the news reared its head again on August 12 as Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice dared to be interviewed by Sean Hannity, only to be followed by Pamela's hour-long interview of Ambassador John Bolten, when he obviously should have been appearing on The View or Al-Manar instead.

These developments have been a huge point of concern for White House Spokesman Tony Snow, long since cut out of the news distribution loop in favor of a mom from New York, a point he made at his last White House Press conference that a now jobless White House Press could not attend.

It is a sad day indeed when politicians are reduced to associating with extremists, as Sockpuppet notes.

A sad day indeed.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:06 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack

August 12, 2006

A Ringer in Qana?

Ah, Qana... the staged massacre that won't go away.

Bernice S. Lipkin, editor of Think Israel wrote to let me know that I was one of several bloggers cited in her newest article, The Bloggers Take on The Qana Massacre. It's worth a read if you haven't been following the story, and probably a nice way to tie everything together if you have.

Due in part to this article and Kathy Gannon's shamefully lightweight defense of AP's reporting (thinly veiled as an article about Slam Daher, AKA "Green Helmet"), I decided to revisit the Qana photostream on Yahoo!, when I noticed something that hadn't quite caught my eye before.

This photo got my attention.


A female victim is being carried out of the naturally lit, open-air basement. Her legs are covered with a white sheet and her torso with a black one, but an armed encased in a black-full length sleeve all but points at the cameraman.

And on the third finger of her left hand, what do you see?


A simple band of gold. A wedding ring?

Aren't wedding bands are Christian tradition?

The 28 named dead were all reported to belong to the same Shiite Muslim family.

Update: Could be dead wrong on this; I dont know. I figured it was better to put it out there and let folks debate it.

Update: CY reader Bruce sends me this link, which seems to indicate that the use of wedding rings in Muslim culture is a flagrant violation of their cultural norms:

The following are some of the practices that are meticulously carried out during matrimonial affairs despite the fact that they are either expressly forbidden in Shariah, or have no bases in Islam:

The engaged couple meet at a public gathering where the boy holds the girl's hand and slips a ring onto her finger whilst the two look romantically at each other. This act is void of modesty and completely [sic] foreign to Islamic culture. It is furthermore, a flagrant violation of the Quranic Law of Purdah. It is an evil innovation of the godless west , and those indulging in it should take cognizance of the Prophet's stern warning that "those who imitate others will rise on the Day of Judgement as of them".

If this is correct, then the use of wedding rings in the strictly Shiite Hezbollah-dominated culture of south Lebanon very unlikely, begging the question, "where did this body, with an apparent wedding band, come from?"

Now more than ever, I strongly suspect this body, among others, may have been "planted" at Qana.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:01 PM | Comments (16) | TrackBack

August 11, 2006

From the Front

Michael Totten podcasts live from the Israeli/Lebanese border as a major Israeli offensive is about to give in.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:48 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Philadelphia Daily Delusions

If I wrote the hare-brained editorial that appeared in the Philadelphia Daily News today, I'd want it left unsigned as well.

A fisking, anyone?

THESE PEOPLE have no shame. Their contempt for democracy is so great they will stop at nothing to undermine it. Their adherence to fundamentalist beliefs that blinds them to reality is frightening. They must be stopped.

And that's just the Republicans.

Nothing like getting your mind-numbed partisanship out front.

Let's start with Vice President Dick Cheney.

Yesterday, Cheney bashed those who voted for Democrat Ned Lamont in the Connecticut Senate primary, claiming that these votes would encourage "al Qaeda types" to think that "they can break the will of the American people."

The idea is that since 18-year incumbent Joe Lieberman lost based on his support for Iraq, Americans opposing the war are waving a white flag of surrender to terrorists.

This is stunningly ignorant logic, as well as annoyingly consistent with the Bush administration's fundamentalist myth that Iraq had ties to al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden - a claim by now well-discounted, most notably by a presidential commission.

Mr. Anonymous Editorialist, are you trying to tell us that Ned Lamont's cries to pull the troops home now—exactly what Osama Bin Laden, Ayman Zawahiri, and the late Abu Musab Zarqawi have called for—is not the exact position of the world's leading terrorists?

The simple fact of the matter is that no matter how you try to shade it, the headlong retreat—or "redeployment" or whatever you want to call it—favored by the radical left is precisely what al Qaeda and similar terrorist groups desire. We know that, because they've said so, repeatedly. The only stunning ignorance displayed here is your own ignorance of the fact that both the terrorists and the Democrats agree that they want the U.S to retreat from the Middle East and stop killing terrorists.

Further, it is precisely the headlong "redeployment" that John Murtha called for from Somalia and heeded by Bill Clinton that resulted in the terror attacks of September 11.

Dead terrorists don't cause problems, and retreating from live terrorists inspires them to attempt greater acts of terror. What part of that logic are you incapable of understanding?

In addition, Mr. Anonymous Editorialist has his fingers crossed and hoped no one would actual check his facts, which would reveal that the 9/11 Commission Report did not say that Saddam's Iraq did not have ties to Osama's al Qaeda. In fact, it said something else entirely.

Bin Ladin also explored possible cooperation with Iraq during his time in Sudan, despite his opposition to Hussein's secular regime. Bin Ladin had in fact at one time sponsored anti-Saddam Islamists in Iraqi Kurdistan. The Sudanese, to protect their own ties with Iraq, reportedly persuaded Bin Ladin to cease this support and arranged for contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda. A senior Iraqi intelligence officer reportedly made three visits to Sudan, finally meeting Bin Ladin in 1994. Bin Ladin is said to have requested space to establish training camps, as well as assistance in procuring weapons, but Iraq apparently never responded. There have been reports that contacts between Iraq and al Qaeda also occurred after Bin Ladin had returned to Afghanistan, but they do not appear to have resulted in a collaborative relationship. Two senior Bin Ladin associates have adamantly denied that any ties existed between al Qaeda and Iraq. We have no credible evidence that Iraq and al Qaeda cooperated on attacks against the United States. Whether Bin Ladin and his organization had roles in the 1993 attack on the World Trade Center and the thwarted Manila plot to blow up a dozen U.S. commercial aircraft in 1995 remains a matter of substantial uncertainty.

Communications between senior officers of organizations are ties, ladies and gentlemen, whether or not they cooperated on attacks against the United States.

Iraq may not have played a role in the terror attack against America on 9/11, but al Qaeda and Saddam's Iraq certainly had ties to one another dating back to 1994, as stated by then CIA Director George Tenet:

  • Our understanding of the relationship between Iraq and al-Qa'ida is evolving and is based on sources of varying reliability. Some of the information we have received comes from detainees, including some of high rank.
  • We have solid reporting of senior level contacts between Iraq and al-Qa'ida going back a decade.
  • Credible information indicates that Iraq and al-Qa'ida have discussed safe haven and reciprocal nonaggression.
  • Since Operation Enduring Freedom, we have solid evidence of the presence in Iraq of al-Qa'ida members, including some that have been in Baghdad.
  • We have credible reporting that al-Qa'ida leaders sought contacts in Iraq who could help them acquire W.M.D. capabilities. The reporting also stated that Iraq has provided training to al-Qa'ida members in the areas of poisons and gases and making conventional bombs.
  • Iraq's increasing support to extremist Palestinians coupled with growing indications of a relationship with al-Qa'ida, suggest that Baghdad's links to terrorists will increase, even absent U.S. military action.

Since the 9/11 Commission Report was issued, even more documents have shined a light on the connections between al Qaeda, their Taliban hosts, and Iraq. Mr. Anonymous Editorialist can say Iraq had no ties to al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden if he wants, but rational people looking at the still-accumulating evidence will be hard-pressed to draw that same conclusion.

But back to the editorial:

And yet the presidential fog machine has continued to belch out its Iraq-al Qaeda-link fumes to the extent that a recent poll suggests that 64 percent of Americans still believe that Saddam Hussein had strong links to al Qaeda. More people than ever now believe, according to a new poll, that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction.

No ties in the preceding paragraph has been walked back to "strong links" in this one. I've give this to the writer; when it comes to headlong retreat, he practices what he preaches.

It goes without saying that Saddam had weapons of mass destruction; it is a simple incontrovertible fact. He used thousands of them in his 1980-88 war with Iran, and gassed thousands of Kurds in a single four-day strike on Halabja in 1988. Iraq maintained and declared WMD stockpiles at the end of the 1991 Gulf War, and an Iraqi general says his men moved WMDs out of Iraq into Syria in the weeks before our 2003 invasion. Anonymous may discount it, but as evidence slowly accumulates, even more people will believe in Iraq's WMD capability because it did exist, and it was never fully accounted for.

Ironically, the number who believe in the al Qaeda link is almost precisely the same number of Americans - 62 percent - who believe we are bogged down in Iraq.

For Cheney - and other Republicans like GOP National Chairman Ken Mehlman - to suggest that those Americans are encouraging terrorism is reprehensible.

And yet, we have to go back to the essential fact that John Murtha's 1993 call for retreat from Somalia is directly responsible for Osama Bin Laden's decision to attack America. I certainly know it is not the Democrat's intent to encourage terrorism, but that fact—and it is a fact—remains that that is exactly what their position has done, and will continue to do.

Cheney's comments came out a day before British intelligence officials announced they had thwarted a major terrorist attack. Surely Cheney was aware of the plot and the work to thwart it, and was no doubt aware of the timing of yesterday's announcement.

To exploit a very real terror threat that could have led to major casualties, and to even indirectly implicate Americans who were exercising their democratic right by going to the polls and making a choice borders on the criminal, to say nothing of the insane.

Has Cheney completely lost it?

Mr. Anonymous has no shame. While more than eager to attack Cheney for politicizing events, he studiously avoids his own Party's attempts to politicize things as well. Should we wait until his next editorial comes out calling Teddy Kennedy or Harry Reid insane or asking if they have "completely lost it?" Probably not.

The latest terror scare is upsetting enough: It is bound to lead to havoc and chaos both domestically and internationally. It could damage the economy if fears on flying are sustained. It reopens the profound wounds of 9/11, a scab we should figure by now will never completely heal.

But the real terror is this: While our Vacationer- in-Chief and his vice president shut down dissent, and discourage questions about the way our government has directed our intelligence and military resources toward a single target in Iraq, we are no closer to understanding or dismantling the threat of al Qaeda.

They "shut down dissent," eh? I spent all this effect to fisk an overly-dramatic editorial, and the guy who wrote it will be inside a Halliburton-run concentration camp before he can even read this. Darn.

Interestingly enough, it now seems that how our President has led our intelligence and military resources may have had a direct impact in thwarting this latest attack, as the very intelligence programs that the New York Times is trying to destroy may have provided crucial intelligence. Of course, ensconced in irons in a cell somewhere near Allentown, Mr. Anonymous will never know or admit to that.

Cheney's remarks underscore just how unsophisticated our understanding of terrorism is. We have no more understanding of the global forces at work that lead so many to want to bomb and destroy innocent lives than we did five years ago.

America's latest crisis is not what happened in Connecticut; it's what was going to happen in airplanes over the Atlantic.

The immoral and ridiculous claims coming out of the Bush administration's reign of error could ultimately be responsible for the kind of casualties that al Qaeda can only dream of.

Actually, terrorism is very simple to understand. It isn't a matter of nuance. Islamists want the whole world to subscribe to their way of thinking, and those that don't, they want dead. That is why Islam partitions the world into Dar al Islam, the House of Submission for the true beleivers, and Dar al Harb, the House of War, where infidels must convert, or die. It's actually quite straightforward. Even a Sea Monkey can grasp the basic concept, even if a Philadelphia Daily News editorialist finds it too taxing.

Claims don't kill people, Mr. Anonymous Editorialist.

Terrorists do.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:11 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack

Precarious Road

Michael Yon issues a stark warning about the growing civil war in Iraq. His comments are disturbing, to put it mildly, but I trust his analysis. We have soldiers and commanders on the ground that know how to succeed, and it seems they are not being allowed to complete their mission.

I've made it apparent in the past that I've had my disagreements with the present Administration, and while I've been impressed with the efforts of our soldiers on the ground, the leadership—primarily the political leadership—seems to have misjudged how best to conduct this war time and again, and quite frankly, seems on the verge of blowing it if they haven't already.

I think it is time for Donald Rumsfeld to consider retiring. He presided over two very successful and very different military invasions in Afghanistan and Iraq, winning each handily with minimal loses to men and equipment on both sides. I think it highly unlikely two countries the size of Afghanistan and Iraq can easily be dispatched as well by any other nation, and Rumsfeld ran two excellent invasion campaigns. The performance of our individual soldiers and commanders on the ground have also been phenomenal as well, and I cannot say enough about their professionalism or the degree of restraint and respect for civilian life with which they have fought these on-going wars.

But I do doubt how our political leadership have run the occupations and rebuilding of Iraq and Afghanistan after we established a large degree of control over these nations. Too many mistakes have been made.

The Sunni insurgency and their al Qaeda allies have been dealt crippling blows during the rebuilding of Iraq, but no rational person with any knowledge of history expects them to completely go away for years to come. But during this same time, Kurdish forces in the north have been allowed to engage in raids into Turkey with little or no repercussions, setting a stage where Turkey may invade northern Iraq. Shiite militias in Baghdad and southern Iraq have been allowed to exist and strengthen ties with Iran. The country is on the verge of collapsing into sectarian genocide, and our political leadership doesn't seem to have the stomach to crack down on these groups with the force necessary to literally kill the private sectarian armies that are ripping the country apart.

The Administration isn't wholly to blame for the situation in Iraq—it is after all their country and they are the ones killing each other—but it is responsible for Iraq to the point where some people have come to view private armies instead of a national government is in their best interests, as many Iraqis obviously do. The person most directly responsible for these failures in Iraq are not the soldiers on the ground, but their senior leadership in the Pentagon, and the man sitting at the desk of the Secretary of Defense. It is his job to run the military's wars, and he has allowed Iraq to reach its present state.

Perhaps it isn't entirely Rumsfeld's fault—he does take orders from the President, after all—but he is most directly in charge of a situation growing increasingly out of control, and I think it is time to have a fresh set of eyes look at the problem, and seek a better resolution. We must win in Iraq, and by "we", I mean the coalition and the Iraqi people. Their lives matter to me. They deserve a chance to live in a society without fear.

We cannot win this war for the Iraqi people by withdrawing. The "nediots" chanting on a Connecticut stage, and mewling around the anti-victory left, refuse to address the genocide that could certainly occur if we heed their calls for a headlong, cowardly retreat. And yet, we cannot win by slowly reacting or failing to act to changing situations. The 25 million people of Iraq deserve the free nation they braved bombs and bullets to vote for, and we owe it to them as much as to ourselves to make sure they succeed.

Our present top level military leadership is failing at that task, and we need fresh eyes on the ball. I thank Donald Rumsfeld for his many years of hard work and dedication to our great nation, but I think it is time for him to pursue other opportunities.

We owe that to our Iraqi allies.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:22 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

Flipside of the Ghost War

I spoke several days ago about the Ghosts in the Media Machine, and how media coverage of the war between Hezbollah and Israel in Lebanon is heavily slanted in favor of Hezbollah.

Scan the photos coming out of Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon, and you'll see and unending stream of dramatic photos of dead women and children and anguished rescue workers climbing through the remains of bombed-out residential buildings, and you will see heart-rending photos of toys in the rubble. You will see mourning. You will see pain. You will see a civilian infrastructure in tatters.

What you will not see, except in very rare cases, is Hezbollah.

There is a flipside to that coverage as well, coming from the same photostreams. Photographers chronicling the war from the Israeli side of the conflict also seem to have their own agenda, geared toward the same end.

The photos of Israel's participation in this war are interesting in that they are heavily invested in showing the army component of the Israeli Defense Forces in an odd light.

There is an old maxim that says life in any military is very much a "hurry up and wait" prospect, where soldiers experience an existence that intersperses long periods of boredom with short, intense periods of combat. The photos coming out of Lebanon and northern Israel certainly capture the boredom aspect of military life, to an extent that seems contrived. The same photostream that has provided the scenes of dead and dying Lebanese civilians and bombed out buildings shows a IDF army on the ground that seems to spend a considerable amount of time marching in an out of Lebanon, or sitting around waiting for something to happen. Time and again, the photos show soldiers that seem equally spent and bored... or worse. Certainly, a large part of the IDF soldier's life in this war is sitting around waiting for something to happen, but what this war is not providing scenes of IDF soldiers engaged in the intense, often close-quarters ground combat that has caused most of the IDF's casualties and many more Hezbollah casualties on the ground.

We do not see photographers following the IDF into action; we have not a single photojournalist comparable to a Michael Yon following IDF soldiers into close combat. We have no Kevin Sites embedded with IDF forces as they clear enemy villages (as a side note, while Sites was vilified by many for shooting the footage of a U.S. Marine killing a wounded insurgent in Fallujah, the Marines he was embedded with seem to have no hard feeling, and Sites himself certainly had no animus towards the Marines). There are no stories telling of the bravery or selflessness that so many soldiers display in their character in the heart of war, no stories of individual courage, though almost certainly these events have transpired.

Instead, the media covering Israel's army seems focused on showing the bored, the wounded, and the dead. Proof is simple enough to find. At the time this post was written, the first 15 pages of the Yahoo! News photostream showed 57 photos of Israeli soldiers and their families, some of them duplicates.

Eight photos showed Israeli military vehicles driving, nine showed Israeli soldiers walking. 15 pictures showed Israeli soldiers sitting, or otherwise stationary. Four photos showed wounded IDF soldiers being evacuated. Nineteen photos--the most of any category--were focused on the death of Israeli soldiers and the anguish of their families and friends. One photo showed an IDF artillery round being fired.

Only one photo--a single, solitary photo--showed an IDF soldier in action.

If the IDF itself is not allowing media to accompany soldiers into Lebanon, this perception of a feeble, ineffective army is proof that the IDF itself does not know how to fight a postmodern media war, and the Israelis have only themselves to blame. If, however, the IDF will allow embedded photographers and journalists to accompany their army into Lebanon (and the photo linked above of an IDF soldier advancing in Qlai'a suggests that it does), and the media is refusing to either accompany IDF forces, or else refuses to distribute the stories and images they gather, then we have something else entirely.

An argument can be made that the media photos coming out of Lebanon and Israel of the IDF's ground forces are meant to show an ineffective force that spends most of its time sitting around doing very little when it isn't burying its soldiers. Obviously, "something" is occurring between the sitting and the dying, and the world's media is failing to tell that story.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:47 AM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Ordinary, Average Guys


Noting really wrong with this photo out of Lebanon, but the caption is, well, slightly misleading:

Palestinians, in the Bedawi refugee camp near the port city of Tripoli in north Lebanon, collect leaflets dropped by Israeli warplanes August 10, 2006. REUTERS/Omar Ibrahim

Just normal, everyday Palestinians. On a stroll with AK-47s assault rifles and military load-bearing equipment (LBE) to carry more rifle magazines and grenades, like they would in say, New York or London.

Reuters: the gift that keeps on giving.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 05:50 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

August 10, 2006

Stern, But Stupid

German Confederate Yankee reader Niko translates this response from a letter to the photo editor of Stern magazine, a major German news magazine. The Editor-in-Chief, Andreas Trampe, attacks the reader for questioning Stern about "Green Helmet" (article translation available at EU Referendum), the designated dead baby carrier for Hezbollah in Lebanon since 1996:

Dear Mr ...,

As Editor-in-Chief of Stern's Picturedesk I write this in response to
your harsh letter dating from August 5th, 2006. So what is it that you
don't like about our reporting? What do you find lurid about that
report [i.e. the initial report depicting Green Helmet as "some rescue
worker"]? In the first two pages we show the carnage and victims in
Qana, the next two depict the carnage and victims in Haifa. The
following picture pages are equally balanced, even more so the text
which, obviously, you didn't bother to read. There's no dispute that
the Israeli air raid on that building in Qana did happen, there's also
no dispute that it caused a lot of civilian victims. So what's wrong
about that? What about it appears to be staged? Did Hezbollah dare the
Israelis to conduct the air raid in your opinion? Did Hezbollah
initiate the bomb raid on their own? Did the Palestinian [sic!]
civilian casualties never happen? Where's the faking? We did not
conduct a story about Green Helmet Ali, even less so a lurid one! That
man is featured in just a single picture and a single caption. Even if
that man were indeed to parade dead children intentionally before the
eyes of the world, those children were dead nonetheless, killed in the
raid. And sadly, they won't rise again even when fervent supporters of
Israel's politics pull out red herrings to distract from actual

Your accusations of anti-Semitism on our part, or that we were hoping
for the destruction of Israel, are the biggest bullshit I've heard in
a long time (leaving aside the fact that it's factually wrong).
Israeli victims are to be bemoaned equally, the death of people in
Haifa and Jerusalem is lamentable in the same way. But crude
conspiracy theories seem to be the latest trend. Thanks to upstanding
internet bloggers. They're sitting in Norway, England or Germany, and,
of course, they're much more intelligent, smart and incredulously
independent. They possess knowledge of remote locations and events,
they're capable of classifying complex matters and doing quick
research. There you go, brave new digital world !!!

We, however, prefer to do it the old way, we send journalists and
photographers around the world for large sums of money so that they
can speak on location and directly to the people. For instance, with
Green Helmet Ali, who will answer those allegations put out, and he'll
tell our readers where he's from, what's his name, and what actually
happened on that day in Qana. That, of course, you won't find
originally reported in internet blogs. What you will find, though, is
some super post from some smartass guy about how Green Helmet Ali once
again fooled the whole world because, in actual fact, he's a secret
agent of Hezbollah. I hope you enjoy the reading.

Andreas Trampe
stern Bildredaktion / stern picturedesk
PS What was it again about intelligence and ideology?

Andreas Trampe
Am Baumwall 11
20444 Hamburg
Phone: +49-40-3703-4122
Fax: +49-40-3703-5685

Editor-in-Chief Trampe tells us that the crude analysis and questions brought about by bloggers about the incident in Qana isn't up to the standards of the highly trained, well-paid media on the front lines of the war in Lebanon.

Perhaps Trampe should save his self-righteous indignation, at least until he can explain this video footage (from German TV, no less) of "Green Helmet" directing the body of a child to be pulled from an ambulance, placed on a stretcher, and then paraded in front of the media.

I have no doubt that the fine media reporters and photographers in Lebanon are paid "large sums of money" as the editor states, but you might think that someone being paid so much might feel the obligation to tell the entire story, at least as long as they are unbiased, as these many Arab Muslim stringers covering a war with Israel certainly are. Of course, I'm just trying to clarify complex matters by doing quick research from another country, so what do I know?

(Note: replaced text link with Youtube video)

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:46 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Meanwhile, in the Psychosphere...

As details emerge on today's foiled mass murder plot from members of the Religion of Peace, most people are thankful that the attacks were thwarted and that many of those involved in the plot have either been arrested or are on the run.

Of course, that would be most normal people.

The Jim Jones wing of the Democratic Party smells a conspiracy.

Although it may not be a "cry wolf" situation, I am skeptical because of the timing. Granted the timing would have been better for BushCo, Inc. for this to break prior to Holy Joe's spanking in CT, it still fits in the every other year (just before elections) pattern of TERROR!!!! alerts. Or am too cynical?

Comment by BuzzMon

Yeah, yeah, yeah, even if this is real, the timing is a political event. (9/11 redux.) I'm both skeptical and jaded. Bojinko!

Comment by eCAHNomics

Damn Brits. They weren't supposed to run this op until two weeks before the election!

Comment by Castor Troy

From the latest AP story, he're the key line:

"Officials said the government has been aware of the nature of the threat for several days."

In other words, instead of warning people a few days ago when they would have been out of harm's way, they created maximum inconvenience at a time of maximum danger for maximum effect after setting the whole thing up with tony snow's press conference yesterday.

Comment by angry young man

I guess the 2006 election season has now officially begun

Comment by DeepDarkDiamond

These comments are just a few representative excerpts from one popular liberal blog, but they mirror the comments made by many others.

It would seem a sizable portion of the Far Left thinks George Bush and Tony Blair engineered a massive al Qaeda terrorist plot to punish liberals for selecting Ned Lamont in the Connecticut Democratic Primary. What, you haven't heard that one yet? Don't worry.

You will. They did.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:40 AM | Comments (18) | TrackBack

Major Terror Plot Foiled

By now, I'm relatively certain you've heard of a immense terror plot that has been foiled in Great Britain, where between 6-10 international flights (some early reports stated as many as 20) from Great Britain to the United States were targeted for attack. The plotters were apparently intent on using liquid explosives disguised as beverages to detonate the flights in mid-air.

United, American, and Continental flights to New York, Washington DC, and California were specificly mentioned as being targeted. As many as 50 suspected terrorists may have been involved in the plot, and it is not clear if all have been captured. Follow media reports and blog reaction to this story at Pajamas Media and Hot Air. Ace has good round up as well.

So, what do we make of this?

First, we're still short of a lot of details. What we can say with a fair degree of certainty is that a group of Muslim terrorists attempted to carry out the mass murder of western civilians on a scale that, if it had been successfully carried out, could have exceeded the carnage of September 11, 2001. The number of casualties would have been determined not only by the number of people onboard the targeted planes, but also where the terrorists decided to detonate the planes. A bomb detonated on a plane over the Atlantic would most likely kill only those on board; a plane detonated shortly after takeoff or landing on a flight path over populated areas could have the potential to take lives on the ground, as did American Airlines Flight 587 when it crashed into Belle Harbor, Queens, after taking of from JFK International Airport in New York on November 12, 2001.

We also know that this plot is very similar to Khalid Shaikh Mohammed's disrupted al Qaeda plot to bomb 11 planes in the mid 1990s.

More as this develops.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:54 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

August 09, 2006


As I hoped they would, Democratic primary voters in Connecticut unleashed "nedrenaline" on an unsuspecting American public last night, as the single-issue candidate Ned Lamont beat long-time Democratic Senator Joe Liebermann by four percentage points.

Liberals are of course loving this, one even dropping in a taunting comment in my last post on the primary race,"Scared to death, aren't you?"

Err, not quite.

The Lamont victory, which may be known in years to come as the "Lamonticide" of the Democratic Party, is precisely what conservatives would have hope for if we were voting (and judging by the number of new voters and voters who switched parties prior ot the election, we may have) in Connecticut last night. Lamont's vicotry speech chant of "troops out now!" with Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton over either shoulder couldn't have been scripted better if it had been written by Ann Coulter and filmed by Rush Limbaugh. It was the perfect re-introduction of a McGovernite Democratic party as it would occur in Karl Rove's dreams.

Shlock waves rippled across the country almost immediately. A giddy Kos immediately said Senator Joe Lieberman is not a real Democrat, and proclaimed he should to be stripped of his committee appointments.

New York Times editorial this morning fatally misunderestimated the average American's intelligence as it tried to label the Daily Kos/Code Pink/Cindy Sheehan fringe "moderates," while fellow "moderate" Michael Moore, in all of his bloated myopia, issued a threat to all Democratic congressmen and senators that they better play by the rules of the radical left, or else.

Ned Lamont's win has galvanized the netroots and encouraged the progressive movement's most partisan fringe to bring forth their most barbaric yawps.

It is, in short, a disaster in the making. Moderate voters to retch as the netroot's most vile proponents are thrust on stage. By the time November rolls around and moderate Democrats and independents flee the now-radicalized left that has run roughshod over the exclusionist Democratic Party, the radicals will too late learn that the active ingredient in "nedrenaline" is syrup of ipecac.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:49 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

Ghosts in the Media Machine

Bloggers—and to a much lesser extent some media outlets—have paid considerable attention to specific examples of media manipulation in the war being fought between Hezbollah and the IDF in Lebanon and Israel, but we seem be under-covering the overall framing of the media's coverage, particularly when it comes to the subject matter chosen for coverage.

This comes into sharp relief when contrasted against the coverage we've become used to from the war in Iraq, particularly as it relates to the media coverage allowed and provided by two different insurgencies in Lebanon's Hezbollah and Iraq's predominately Sunni insurgency.

In Iraq, we've become somewhat used to embedded reporters reporting from both sides of the conflict with a fairly wide latitude to operate. Stringers, both print media and photographers, have occasionally embedded within the insurgency, providing coverage from ambushes and sniper's nests alike. The insurgents themselves often seem to be media hungry, filming operations themselves and often releasing the tapes to the media or producing them on DVDs for public consumption in Iraq and throughout the Middle East.

By and large, the vast majority of video reporting allowed and encouraged by the Iraqi insurgency is combat-related. IED ambushes are particularly popular, often released as montages set to Islamist music as propaganda videos. The Iraqi insurgents have often seemed intent on portraying themselves as rebel forces actively waging a war for the people, whether or not the people would always agree.

Hezbollah, however, seems to be fighting a different kind of media war.

Hezbollah has far more control over their battlespace than does the Iraqi insurgency, and has a much tighter rein on the media reporting coming out of Lebanon. Mainstream media outlets have let this be know albeit comparatively quietly, as I mentioned in the comments of Jefferson Morely's Washington Post blog entry, The Qana Conspiracy Theory:

Anderson Cooper has already admitted that his crew has been handled by Hezbollah media minders, and CNN's Nic Robertson has openly admitted his coverage on July 18 was stage-managed by Hezbollah from start to finish. Times' Christopher Allbritton has said that Hezbollah has copies of every journalist's passport, and has "hassled many and threatened one" to cover-up what journalists have seen of Hezbollah's rocket launching operations. CBS's Elizabeth Palmer admits to being handled by Hezbollah, and being allowed to only see what Hezbollah wants them to see. They are the voices of a few, expressing the experiences of the many.

Israel Insider chronicled these disturbing examples of media control, but the media at large has been loath to make the level of Hezbollah "minding" over their reporting widely known.

With this control and the apparent complicity of many media stringers both Arab and western, Hezbollah has chosen to fight a completely different kind of media war than they one we have seen in Iraq. A review of the Yahoo! photostreams (compilations of various media photographers' work released throughout the day) coming out of Iraq and Lebanon paint two very different pictures. While the Iraqi insurgency often sought to crave media attention (especially when it was more active as an insurgency in 2004 and 2005, as opposed to today's more conflict between Sunni and Shiiite Iraqis), Hezbollah's tightly-controlled media war seeks to portray Hezbollah itself as something of a ghost.

Scan the photos coming out of Hezbollah-controlled Lebanon, and you'll see and unending stream of dramatic photos of dead women and children and anguished rescue workers climbing through the remains of bombed-out residential buildings, and you will see heart-rending photos of toys in the rubble. You will see mourning. You will see pain. You will see a civilian infrastructure in tatters.

What you will not see, except in very rare cases, is Hezbollah.

The "Party of God," well-known for their parades of armed masked men in the past, have vanished into the ether. You will see no Hezbollah fighters brandishing their weapons with bravado. You will see no photos of Hezbollah's rocket launchers or rockets prepared to fire upon Israel's civilian population. You will see no photographs of shattered launchers or weapons caches or even fighting aged men amid the rubble. The media itself quietly reports that anyone who does take such pictures may be killed, though you wouldn't know it from the amount of attention that disturbing detail has received in the press.

Hezbollah is fighting the Victim's War, hiding behind civilians that they set up as targeted pawns by firing rockets from inside Lebanon's villages, cites, and towns, from outside apartment buildings, hospitals and schools in residential neighborhoods.

It is a war of cowards, largely covered by sympathetic Arab Muslim stringers and their Hezbollah minders who determine what can and what cannot be reported; a war in which the "professional" media is all too complicit.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:10 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 08, 2006

Body Shop Bombed?

This is just surreal:


The caption reads:

Lebanese civil defense rescuers, try to remove two blanket-wrapped bodies, found trapped under debris and concrete of the destroyed buildings, attacked late Monday by Israeli airstrike, in the southern Beirut suburb of Chiah, Lebanon, Tuesday Aug. 8, 2006. The raid on the Muslim southern suburb next to a Christian neighborhood killed at least 15 people, police officials said. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

The bodies were found already wrapped in blankets under the debris of the building.

I'm trying to think of rational reasons that Lebanese would keep pre-packaged corpses in their homes, and I'm coming up with nothing. Nada. Zip.

One irrational explanation is that some bodies are being saved by Hezbollah to use in photo ops at a later date, and that the Hezbollah Body Shop (for lack of a better term) got hit, and buried those that should already have been buried.

But that's just nuts. Hezbollah would never use corpses to stage a media event.


Update: Same photographer, different angle, similarly-worded caption:

Lebanese civil defense rescuer directs a buldozer as he stands next to a two blanket-wrapped bodies, center, found trapped under the destroyed buildings, which were attacked late Monday in an Israeli airstrike, in the southern Beirut suburb of Chiah, Lebanon, Tuesday Aug. 8, 2006. The raid on the Muslim southern suburb next to a Christian neighborhood killed at least 15 people, police officials said. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

And another.

So either he really does mean to imply the bodies were blanket-wrapped when found, or his preciseness with the English language is right up there with Adnan Hajj's PhotoShop skills.

Further Update It seems Malla was also one of the photographers that took one of the pictures of Twice-Bombed Lady, and was hanging out with with fired Reuters stringer Adnan Hajj, he of the questionable llama picture, among others.

Update: Dig this.

From Brian Denton, a photographer in Lebanon, at photography forum LightStalkers:

i have been working in lebanon since all this started, and seeing the behavior of many of the lebanese wire service photographers has been a bit unsettling. while hajj has garnered a lot of attention for his doctoring of images digitally, whether guilty or not, i have been witness to the daily practice of directed shots, one case where a group of wire photogs were choreographing the unearthing of bodies, directing emergency workers here and there, asking them to position bodies just so, even remove bodies that have already been put in graves so that they can photograph them in peoples arms. these photographers have come away with powerful shots, that required no manipulation digitally, but instead, manipulation on a human level, and this itself is a bigger ethical problem.
Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:53 PM | Comments (21) | TrackBack

Left Wing Fascists

Today is the day when Connecticut Democratic primary voters will decide on whether or not Joe Lieberman or Ned Lamont will be their Senate candidate, and to a certain extent, determine the near-term future of the Democratic Party. I'm pulling for Ned Lamont.


Ned Lamont, a proven liar (yes, anyone who pals around with Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake, let's her film his campaign commercials starring lfty netroots superstar Kos, and then states, "I don't know anything about the blogs." is a liar, pure and simple) is precisely the kind of extremist that exposes the far left for the opportunistic, back-stabbing lynch mob that they so transparently are. An example of their viciousness comes from none other than Lanny Davis, former special counsel to President Clinton, in the WSJ OpinionJournal (via Instapundit):

A friend of mine just returned from Connecticut, where he had spoken on several occasions on behalf of Joe Lieberman. He happens to be a liberal antiwar Democrat, just as I am. He is also a lawyer. He told me that within a day of a Lamont event--where he asked the candidate some critical questions--some of his clients were blitzed with emails attacking him and threatening boycotts of their products if they did not drop him as their attorney. He has actually decided not to return to Connecticut for the primary today; he is fearful for his physical safety.

This is the face of the rabid netroots that I'd like to see exposed to America's apolitical and moderate voters, those swing voters that decide elections. Take the mask off the beast, and show America the rotten, seething, vicious core that the totalitarian Left represents. Show America a radical left wing that shares the political goals of Hamas and Hezbollah in a defeated American military, a left wing that seeks to lynch American soldiers without the benefit of a trial, that seeks to make America subservient, docile, and weak.

This is face of "liberalism" that I want the world to see, it all of its repulsive glory.

So please, Connecticut, vote for Ned Lamont.

It's just what Dr. Rove ordered.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:42 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

August 07, 2006

Shaking the Dead


Not a PhotoShop, but quite obviously staged for Reuters cameraman Ali Hashisho's benefit, adding drama to the already dramatic picture of a hand protruding from the rubble. Pay special attention to the section of concrete-reinforcing iron rebar just over the victim's hand.


Another photo from the scene, this time from Mohammed Zaatari of the Associated Press. Notice the iron rebar has been bent out of the way, moved up and to the viewer's left, but that the rescuer's grasp on the victims' hand has been reestablished.


Another photo from Mohammed Zaatari. Perhaps it is merely an illusion due to how this photo was cropped, but it appears as if the rescuer may have moved slightly forward so that his hand is more parallel with the bottom of the photo, and that the rebar appears to have been bent downward to facilitate this pose.

Why would a rescuer move a piece of rebar two or possibly three times, reestablishing contact with the hand of a corpse each time, if not to create a more dramatic photo op for the Reuters and Associated cameramen assembled?

Update: A brilliant catch. The Passion of the Toys.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 02:34 PM | Comments (19) | TrackBack

Houla Oops

Read about the "horrific massacre" at Houla, Lebanon while you still can:

Lebanon's prime minister said Monday an Israeli airstrike on the southern village of Houla left 40 people dead.

"An hour ago, there was a horrific massacre in the village of Houla in which more than 40 martyrs were victims of deliberate bombing," Fouad Siniora told Arab foreign ministers in Beirut.

A Lebanese law enforcement source told CNN an estimated 60 people were trapped in the rubble of homes in the Houla area.

Six homes were destroyed, and fires engulfed the area, the source said.

The Israel Defense Forces said it is checking the reports on Houla, noting that it has warned residents for the past two weeks to leave.

Siniora choked back tears, wiping his eyes as he spoke, The Associated Press reported. The ministers applauded.

The deaths Prime Minster Siniora claims as the result of an Israeli air strike haven't materialized to any great extent in the rest of the world's press, an odd circumstance for such a large loss of civilian life. As of now, the only other online mention I can find of the story is from the AP's Sam Ghattis, and no photos or first-hand reporting seems yet available from the scene. As of now, we have only Siniora's word that these deaths took place.

Looking around the various news sites, it seems that few news organizations are willing to give Siniora's word the benefit of the doubt, indicating perhaps that news organizations snake-bitten by the still unresolved questions about Qana and the quite thoroughly resolved frauds of Reuters photographer Adnan Hajj, are not willing to give the terrorist-friendly Prime Minister the instant credibility they might have eight days ago.

The trust of the people that the media needs to survive has been severely damaged in their often one-sided and occasionally staged and faked coverage of the war in Lebanon and Israel. The western media has been finally forced into looking at the reliability of their foreign reporters, photographers, and even the public pronouncements of government officials, and they do not seem to like what they see. A propaganda war is only effective if people are willing to swallow the information they are given, and at this point, it seems even the media is gagging on the taqiyya that seems to flow so freely in Lebanon's fog of war.

It is of course possible that once reporters reach the scene in Houla that the stories will once again begin to flow lamenting the loss of innocent Lebanese because of indiscriminate Israeli bombing, but that moment has not yet come, and even the tearful display from Lebanon's Prime Minister seems not enough to sway a skeptical press.

Hezbollah and their allies still retain the support of Iran and Syria, but seem to be losing, temporarily at least, the support of their nominally reliable propaganda allies in the western media, and that might be the most important division of this war so far.

Update: Siniora has retracted his claim.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 10:50 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

Terror of the Tumbleweeds

Cindy Sheehan has once again resumed her lonely vigil in Crawford, Texas, and I do mean lonely.


Even with a flattering AFP photo angle that seeks to fill the frame as much as possible, only a handful of protestors can be viewed in frame, with just over a dozen supporters noticable.

Support for the dictator-loving, America-loathing anti-war mom seems to have dropped a bit since her September 21, 2005 march that drew just 29 supporters.

"For What Noble Cause" indeed.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 09:50 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

Patriot Act Used to Charge CIA Contractor


In the weeks after the Abu Ghraib prison scandal stunned Iraq, a story emerged from Afghanistan about a CIA contractor named David Passaro, a former Special Forces medic accused of beating an Afghan detainee so severely that he later died.

More than three years later, after several soldiers working at Abu Ghraib have been sentenced to prison, Passaro will finally stand trial when jury selection begins Monday -- in a civilian court in his home state of North Carolina. He is the first, and so far only, civilian to be charged with mistreating a detainee during the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

To bring charges against Passaro, who as a civilian isn't subject to military justice, prosecutors turned to the USA Patriot Act, arguing the law passed after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks allows the government to charge U.S. nationals with crimes committed on land or facilities designated for use by the U.S. government.
When U.S. District Court Judge Terrence Boyle agreed last year, prosecutors received a license to enforce the nation's criminal laws in "any foxhole a soldier builds," said Duke University law professor Scott Silliman.

"Until 2005, Passaro ... was unreachable in federal courts," said Silliman, who runs Duke's Center on Law, Ethics and National Security. "What we're seeing is Congress moving to ensure there is criminal accountability for civilians accompanying the forces."

Silliman said the law represents a dramatic expansion of the reach of federal prosecutors, whose jurisdiction most experts believed was limited to places like embassies and consulates, and not locations like the remote U.S. base in Afghanistan where detainee Abdul Wali turned himself in to U.S. forces.
"What the Patriot Act said was that part of Afghanistan is now part of our ... jurisdiction," Silliman said. "The charge of assault is as if it had occurred in Raleigh. All you have to show it's an assault."

Waiting for the left side of the blogosphere to condemn this expansion of federal power against a U.S. citizen? Don't hold your breath.

While the Glenn/Ellison/Wilson/Ellers side of the blogosphere (and that's just in one house in Brazil) is quick to condemn the Patriot Act for just about any other application of it's power, I strongly suspect that when it comes to this case, Lefties will fall silent. An ACLU challenge would be most unexpected.


The answer should be obvious. Liberals seem only concerned about the "Good Americans," i.e. them, that might have their rights infringed upon by what they see as an abusive Patriot Act. Men such as Passaro, as emissaries of Bush Administration foreign policy, aren't seen to have those same rights. They are, in effect, "Bad Americans."

I happen to be thankful that the Patriot Act gives the government a legal option to seek redress for crimes committed by U.S. civilians, and hope that Passaro gets a fair trial in the courts to resolve his guilt or innocence.

No man should be above the law, regardless of politics. In this instance, the Patriot Act provides that law.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:26 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

I Question the Timing

From Amnesty International:

The results of the IDF investigation state that the IDF "operated according to information that the building was not inhabited by civilians". Yet survivors of the attack interviewed by Amnesty International researchers in Qana shortly after the bombing, stated that they had been in the building for some two weeks and that their presence must have been known to Israeli forces whose surveillance drones frequently flew over the village.

So according to Amenesty International, the extended family hit in the Qana air strike did not move into the building until after the war started. What father purposefully moves their family into a combatant neighborhood in an active war zone? Certainly not someone who wants to keep them alive.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:40 AM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Is Lebanon Faked?

This lady is a fraud, as is this jet's "bombs", this burning koran, this ambulance and llama—yes, I said llama—and this bombed city. In each and every one of these events, the professional media's photographers either failed to capture true events, or were complicit in faking events. In the so-called "media war," the media has clearly chosen sides.

Against that backdrop, the Hezbollah staging and media complicity in the Qana air strike of last weekend seems well within the realm of possibility.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 12:01 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

August 04, 2006

Shadi Business?

When I saw Dan Reihl's post noting that refrigerated trucks came from Tyre before the media arrived after daybreak, I thought that the trucks were suspicious.

Now IsrealInsider (h/t A.J. Strata) is reporting that the Lebanese rescue worker known by many simply as "Green Helmet" that appeared in so many of photos brandishing a dead toddler by the neck, is a man named Abu Shadi.

In the days leading up to the Israeli attack on Qana, Abu Shadi, a mortician for the hospital in Tyre, had been driving refrigerated trucks packed with dead bodies.

Could it be another man named Abu Shadi? Perhaps. Another Shadi with a certified-by-the-media truckload of corpses? Not very likely.

The odd and unanswerable continue to add up in Qana.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 01:06 AM | Comments (25) | TrackBack

August 02, 2006

Schwinns of War

And the questions surrounding the air strike at Qana keep coming.

This photo was first noted as a possible staged photo by A.J. Strata on July 31st.


This photo came one day later on August 1st.


Most people viewing this photo, noticing the shattered toy perched precariously on shattered slabs, are even more convinced it was placed there by human hands, most logically the photographer's.

Is staging photos a conspiracy? Not necessarily, thought it is unethical for a news photographer, especially when the photographer is posting on a polarizing subject.

Speaking of ethics, did you click the link to the picture Strata suggested might be staged? Did you happen to notice who the photographer was?

His name is Nicolas Asfouri, one of the same photographers who was acused of staging photos of the body recovery after the Israeli air strike in Qana earlier that very day.

Update: Ace takes this, and writes it better.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:16 PM | Comments (17) | TrackBack

Cold-Blooded Libel

America's most disgusting Ex-Marine is sued for libel over his allegations that Marines in Haditha "killed innocent civilians in cold blood."

Attorneys for Frank D. Wuterich, 26, argue in court papers that Murtha tarnished the Marine's reputation by telling news organizations in May that the Marine unit cracked after a roadside bomb killed one of its members and that the troops "killed innocent civilians in cold blood." Murtha also said repeatedly that the incident was covered up.

Murtha argued that the questionable deaths of 24 civilians were indicative of the difficulties and overpowering stress that U.S. troops are facing. The congressman, a former Marine, has been a leading advocate for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq.

In the court filing, obtained by The Washington Post, the lawyers say that Murtha made the comments after being briefed by Defense Department officials who "deliberately provided him with inaccurate and false information." Neal A. Puckett and Mark S. Zaid, suing for libel and invasion of privacy, also wrote that Murtha made the comments outside of his official scope as a congressman.


This case is not about money; it's about clearing Frank Wuterich's name, and part of that is to identify where these leaks are coming from," Zaid said in an interview. "Congressman Murtha has created this atmosphere that has already concluded guilt. He's created this environment that really smells, and he's the only one who has done that."

It is work noting that Murtha's claim of a cover-up has already conclusively debunked.

h/t AllahPundit at Hot Air, who has more.

Update: I question the timing:

Evidence collected on the deaths of 24 Iraqis in Haditha supports accusations that U.S. Marines deliberately shot the civilians, including unarmed women and children, a Pentagon official said Wednesday.

Agents of the Naval Criminal Investigative Service have completed their initial work on the incident last November, but may be asked to probe further as Marine Corps and Navy prosecutors review the evidence and determine whether to recommend criminal charges, according to two Pentagon officials who discussed the matter on condition of anonymity.

The decision on whether to press criminal charges against four Marines ultimately will be made by the commander of the accused Marines' parent unit, the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force at Camp Pendleton, Calif. That currently is Lt. Gen. John Sattler, but he is scheduled to move to a Pentagon assignment soon; his successor will be Lt. Gen. James Mattis.

My initial reaction to this is, "Where's the news?"

We've known since this story broke that the Marines killed these civilians. That fact has never been in doubt at all, so to breathlessly say that the evidence supports what you already know is, well, grandstanding.

Nothing has changed.

It seems quite suspicious that the AP chose to break this non-story on the same day that it was announced that the three Marines decided to sue Murtha for libel.

Perhaps the goal of the AP isn't as much grandstanding as it is trying to deflect attention from their "Democratic Hawk" of record.

8/3 Update: I speculated above that the sudden and unexpected AP account above might have been to distract attention from the lawsuits against Murtha. This morning, Time magazine seems to support that line of reasoning, directly contradicting the AP claims (my bold):

DOD officials tell TIME that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recently set up a Pentagon task force, which meets once a week, to track Haditha and prepare for the eventual release of the investigations' results. But a Pentagon source familiar with the criminal investigation says that contrary to the suggestions of some media reports Wednesday, there have been no conclusions that the Marines deliberately killed unarmed civilians. This source also says that the bodies of those killed at Haditha have not been exhumed, which makes proving murder 'very challenging.'

That seems to take the air out of the sails for certain liberal bloggers and their fans, who seem all too eager to see these Marines in front of a firing squad, trial be damned. As I said back in May as this story wasdeveloping:

Someone who truly supports the troops, even if they do not support the war, would want this incident fully investigated to uncover the truth. They would want to know the facts.

They would want to know if the Marines fired out of blind rage at the loss of their friends, and they would be equally interested in finding out if the Marines assaulted that location because someone inside fired upon them, as they claimed. Was it a slaughter of innocents, or were insurgents firing from within civilian homes? Were those that triggered the IED among the dead? We do not yet know, and some are already passing judgment.

We all want the truth of the matter in this incident, and if the Marines did murder Iraqi civilians, they should be tried in a court of law and then sentenced for their crimes if convicted.

Instead, many liberals seem willing to skip the trial in favor of simply lynching those accused, based upon sometimes faulty and always incomplete media reports.

Our Marines, and the Iraqi people, deserve better than that.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:48 AM | Comments (66) | TrackBack

IDF Investigating Qana Because of Blog Reports

From the Jerusalem Post:

The IDF is looking into allegations raised over the past few days by several pro-Israel, Jewish and conservative Weblogs that Hizbullah may have staged aspects of the Kana tragedy on Sunday, in which some 60 Lebanese bodies were removed from a building that collapsed seven hours after being hit in an Israel Air Force strike.

The dead were mainly children, women and elderly people.

The International Committee of the Red Cross Mission in Israel said Tuesday that it would inform its Swiss headquarters about the allegations and seek to clarify the questions raised.

Israel has acknowledged hitting the building, and said 150 Katyushas had been fired from the village in the previous 20 days, with Hizbullah hiding rocket launchers in civilian buildings there. Israel said it did not know civilians were inside the building and expressed sorrow over the tragedy.

The IDF is investigating questions raised by Confederate Yankee, EU Referendum, and other blogs and web sites.

The questions include:

  • When did the building collapse, and what caused the collapse?
  • Were the photos taken of the victims staged?
  • Why do the bodies of the victims not show the crushing injuries one would expect in a building collapse?
  • Why weren't journalists allowed near the building?
  • Why is their such a discrepancy in the initial casualty figures cited to the world (55-60) and the number of bodes recovered by the Lebanese Red Cross (28)?
  • Who is the man known as “Green Helmet” who was in so many of these pictures, and why was he in other, similar photos dating back to 1996?

The International Committee of the Red Cross is currently preparing a report based upon data collected by the Lebanese Red Cross.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 08:27 AM | Comments (14) | TrackBack

August 01, 2006


Catch the fever!

Thanks to a tip from reader Euzious and Laura Rozen's fine War and Piece blog, and in a bit of redemption after a day-and-a-half of Israeli-coordinated counterattacks from trolls spewing right wing talking points in support of the IDF, it now turns out that the IDF's justification for bombing Qana and the killings of dozens of women and children were lies. Haaretz reported today that as the government investigates what happened, the Air Force has changed its story:
It now appears that the military had no information on rockets launched from the site of the building, or the presence of Hezbollah men at the time. The Israel Defense Forces had said after the deadly air-strike that many rockets had been launched from Qana. However, it changed its version on Monday. The site was included in an IAF plan to strike at several buildings in proximity to a previous launching site. Similar strikes were carried out in the past. However, there were no rocket launches from Qana on the day of the strike.

In other words, hitting that building was “in the plan”, and not done in response to a recent attack.

Israeli forces actually had the temerity to fire on a position known to have fired rockets in the past, but not on the day of attack. Steve Soto of The Left Coaster of course ignores that the site was used to store munitions just 24 hours prior to that. Apparently, the new Liberal Rules of War imposes a shot clock.

But Soto is just getting warmed up:

As for those right wing talking points about Hezbollah bringing the building down hours after the IDF attack, that appears to be a lie also:
The IDF account and those of survivors present contradictory versions of the Qana deaths. The IDF said that there is an unexplained gap of about seven hours between the IAF strike and the first report that the building had collapsed. Residents' accounts say only 10 minutes went by between the strike and the collapse. The survivors say rescue teams arrived only in the morning, as night conditions made the rescue mission difficult. The Red Cross in Tyre received a call for help only in the morning, explaining their late arrival. Sami Yazbek, chief of the Tyre department of the Red Cross, said his office received a call only at 7 A.M. The ambulances were further slowed by the bombed roads leading to Qana. The media first heard of the bombing at 8 A.M. The foreign press quoted Lebanese sources explaining the late announcement, saying the electricity and phones in the village of Qana were almost entirely cut-off by IAF attacks. [snip] The IAF admits the village was struck three times between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Two bombs were dropped on the building in the first strike. Channel 10, however, said on Monday that the initial investigation shows the bombs did not immediately explode, and an explosion in the early morning caused the casualties.

In other words, you can't trust a thing the IDF says, or any crap from the pro-Israeli right wing talking points.

So we have a named IDF Air Force Brigadier General named Amir Eshel stating that the building did not collapse for seven hours after the attack, and to counter, we have unnamed "civilains" who admit to being literally-related to the terrorists in their midst, dictating a more favorable timeline, despite the fact that the call to the Red Cross seems to more closely correspond with the Israeli account.

Who earns your trust, anonymous Hezbollah supporters, or named senior officials of the IDF and the Red Cross?

For Hezbollah apologists like this, hugging the enemy is second nature.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 03:38 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

Qana's Unresolved Questions

Yesterday's attempt to analyze the Israeli air strike on Qana, subsequent building collapse seven hours later, the Hezbollah propaganda campaign that resulted, and the media's seeming inability to ask hard questions about the events led to a flurry of analysis in the blogosphere yesterday.

I asked questions here and here, first questioning why the media obediently provided Hezbollah's point of view while ignoring the timeline presented by the IDF, then progressing on to note apparent discrepancies in the macabre media filed day Hezbollah provided as it paraded around the bodies of dead children for a scandal-hungry media's eager consumption.

Blog EU Referendum cast heavy suspicion on Hezbollah's stage management of the event, astutely noting the presence of an individual tagged "Green Helmet" who's apparent role in Hezbollah in brandishing the corpses of dead children for the world media's cameras extends back a decade.

Dan Riehl of Riehl World View notes with suspicion that refrigerated trucks from Tyre arrived before the media was allowed near the scene of the Qana strike, and suggests that bodies from the Tyre morgue may have been added to the Qana body count that the Lebanese Red Cross officially stated was roughly half that, of the widely reported 54-58, at 28.

Predictably, Hezbollah's defenders labeled those questioning the version of events provided by Hezbollah to a carefully controlled media contingent as conspiracy theorists for noting the apparent discrepancies in the story Hezbollah provided the world.

Air Force Chief of Staff Brig.-Gen. Amir Eshel officailly questioned why the building collapsed seven hours after the IDF air strike, and senior IDF officers explicitly noted the possibility of a "Hezbollah-planted explosive device."

Why did the world media so readily accept Hezbollah's claim that it was Israel's air strike that brought the building down? Why have they investigated the officially noted discrepancies in the timing of the collapse?

As asked here on Confederate Yankee, why were the bodies Hezbollah said were recovered from the scene seemingly inconsistent with the dead and injured of other collapsed buildings? The same forces of nature occur in every building collapse, regardless of whether the collapse is intentional (implosion or explosion) or unintentional (faulty construction, etc). Buildings of concrete such as the one in Qana generally produce a substantial amount of fine concrete dust that blankets nearby surfaces to such an extent that it almost appears to be volcanic ash, especially when explosives are involved in their demolition.

We saw examples of such dust on survivors form the World Trade Center collapse.


We see the same thick dust coming from small buildings that collapsed because of earthquakes 75 years ago.


And almost all of us have witnessed the massive clouds of dust released in the television broadcasts of the hundreds of controlled demolition of buildings around the world.


Irrefutably, building collapses release a massive amount of dust into the air. This is even more apparent—or is at least is much more documented in the media—that buildings that are collapsed by explosives.

And yet, when we look at the bodies of those reputedly recovered from the building in Qana, only a handful of those are covered in the heavy layer of concrete dust. If all of these bodies were recovered from the same basement or shelter as Hezbollah claims, then why are the bodies so unevenly coated? Why do some appear all but free of dust at all?

I have little doubt in my mind that the baby brandished by Hezbollah's "Green Helmet" is indeed a building collapse victim because of the thick layer of dust on the body.


But what of so many of the other bodies that Hezbollah claims were pulled from the same basement bomb shelter?




Note that these bodies—whose rigor mortis within two hours of the buildings collapse I've already questioned—are remarkably clean in comparison.

I do not doubt that women and children died in Qana. The Lebanese Red Cross officially stated that 28 were recovered from the rubble. But do I question who died, and how many actually perished.

"Pallywood" has a long and well-documented history of falsifying tragedies, from the questionable death of Muhammed al-Durrah to the Jenin Massacre, where many of the same sources that are unquestionably buying into Hezbolla's Qana story reported a masacre they were later forced to admit never occurred.

Qana has every possibility of being another Jenin.

Will the world listen this time?

* * *

Perhaps even more important than the possible (if not probable) Hezbollah exaggeration of the Qana dead is the story of why these women and children died in the first place.

Hezbollah has made the decision to embed every aspect of it's military apparatus within the civilian population of southern Lebanon, placing ammunition stores, command and control facilities, rocket launching sites and Hezbollah barracks within residential neighborhoods, hiding under the skirts, as it were, of Lebanese housewives and their children.

As Ed Morrissey notes today in the Washington Examiner:

We want to see civilians spared the horrors of war, and we push combatants to take all possible steps to achieve that end. The Geneva Conventions have that explicit mandate, and the world should remain constantly — and consistently — vigilant.

Unfortunately, the global community has failed miserably at this task, and this war not only highlights that failure, but springs from it. While the world holds Israel to this standard, things become curiously silent when it's time to hold Hezbollah responsible for its conduct of war. Hardly a word has escaped from the U.N. or Europe on the 2,500 missiles that have rained down upon Israeli civilians, deliberately targeted by Hezbollah. Those attacks have displaced more than 300,000 civilians, a fact the global community and the mainstream media ignore.

Those who argue that Israel has occasionally violated the Geneva Conventions in its attacks casually ignore the blatant violations of Hezbollah, whose combatants wear no uniform, deliberately hide in civilian populations and fire weapons from residential areas. Hezbollah conducts none of its operations within the rules of war — and yet world leaders and the media never mention it.

Why? Because no one expects terrorists to follow the rules. This is the soft nihilism of low expectations.

The villagers in the areas surrounding Qana were warned by the IDF to leave five days earlier. More than 150 Katyusha had been fired out of Qana against Israeli civilians (which no one in the media seems to want to talk about) including missiles fired from outside that very building the night of the Israeli air strike.

Israel has taken every reasonable precaution it can to prevent civilian deaths, but the battlefield Hezbollah has chosen makes civilians deaths all but impossible to avoid.

Hezbollah has killed their own yet again, and it is to the world's shame that this continues almost without complaint.

Low expectations, indeed.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 11:28 AM | Comments (20) | TrackBack


Former Hollywood agent and current documentary filmmaker Pat Dollard finds gives Iraq war widow Julie Shumney and her three children something no one else could.


Just when Julie Shumney had accepted that advanced DNA testing couldn't provide answers to a mystery surrounding her husband's cremated remains, the Mesquite woman received hope for a different kind of closure.

Documentary filmmaker Pat Dollard contacted her last week and told her that he has footage of the last two weeks of Marine 1st Lt. Dustin Shumney's life. The final glimpses of the Marine were caught not long before he boarded a helicopter that went down in Iraq in January 2005.

"This is what I had been hoping for for the whole past year and a half, and the kids, too," Mrs. Shumney said in anticipation of watching the images with her children, Jordan, 13, Mallory, 10, and Conner, 5.

Though it probably won't answer the questions Mrs. Shumney has about her husband's remains, the widow said the documentary, scheduled for release within three months, could help the family say goodbye.

"It's really going to help a lot," she said.

"Conner can watch this when he gets older, and I think it will trigger a lot of memories for him. The last time he saw his Daddy, he was 2."

Pat Dollard is completing work on Young Americans, an Iraq War documentary filmed entirely by Dollard and the Marines he embedded himself with in Iraq.

Posted by Confederate Yankee at 07:55 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack