The Echo Chamber
Saturday, September 14, 2002
  11:58 AM

Daschle: "Only Congress Can Declare Burger War"

  1:45 AM

Friday was a great day for the good guys. First we learned that Ramzi Binalshibh and four others were captured in Karachi, Pakistan.

This is the same guy that whose interview was played last week by the Arab news network al-Jazeera. He also claimed that he had planned to be the twentieth hijacker, but was refused a visa four times. He was once a roommate of Mohammed Atta. Lastly, and perhaps most important, Binalshibh was an assistant to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the tactical mastermind of September 11th.

I'm sure the first question Binalshibh was asked was "Where is Khalid Mohammed?" Hey, he's still in Pakistani custody. We really don't need to know how they make him talk.

The same CBS News article reported the arrest of a five-man terrorist cell in Buffalo, New York. These men had all been trained in Bin Laden al Qaeda terrorist camps in Afghanistan.

All of the Buffalo suspects are U.S. citizens of Yemini descent. Four were born in the U.S, while the fifth was naturalized. All live within a block of each other in a Buffalo surburb known as Lackawanna. And all attended the same mosque. The cell's ringleader, also a U.S. citizen of Yemini background, is believed to be in Yemen and outside of U.S. reach for the moment.
These guys apparently grew up in the United States.
Stewart says the fact that all five are U.S. citizens is of particular concern to the FBI.
No kidding. They were born in this country, and presumably grew up here, but they did not integrate into Western society. Finding homegrown radical Islamists is disconcerting. Their families and their mosque deserve a closer look. 

Friday, September 13, 2002
  9:59 AM

Smart guy:
I’ve been reading reactions to the President’s UN speech, and I’m amused at how people don’t seem to get it. Oh, now he’s being a multilateralist? Now he believes in the UN? No. That speech was the equivalent of that fabled kung-fu move that removes your opponent's heart and shows it to you, just before you crumple. It’s of a piece with the administration’s behavior since 9/11: Let all the carpers and obstructionists gather on the tip of the thinnest branch, then show up with a saw and announce they have five minutes to come hug the trunk, which incidentally is covered with sap and stinging ants. It was sheer malicious brilliance to cast the entire case in terms of UN resolutions, because it mean the UN had to chose: either those resolutions mean something, or the UN means nothing. Why, it's almost as if the UN painted itself into a corner - and woke up to find this rude simple cowboy holding the brush. How the hell did he do that?
Link found at Dean's World.

Thursday, September 12, 2002
  5:26 PM

As you've probably heard, on Monday Israel’s once and future Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, was scheduled to give a speech at Montreal's Concordia University. He was interrupted by Palestinian rioters.

The Guardian quotes two people in reporting the story. First, Mr. Netanyahu himself is quoted concerning the rioters, “They're supporting Saddam Hussein, they're supporting (Yasser) Arafat, they're supporting (Osama) bin Laden.''

For equal time, The Guardian then quotes some guy by the name of David Battistuzzi, ``There's no free speech for hate speech.''

I can think of no better illustration of the danger of “PC” than this guy’s quote. But who is he? He’s a 24 year old Concordia University hanger-on. And he is a serial protestor.

In March of 2000 he was busy planning an April Anti - International Monetary Fund / World Bank rally in Washington, D.C.

At another protest he claimed to be beaten by a line of cops. The link is in French.

But my personal favorite Battistuzzi misadventure is his “Melee on May Day.” He and about 200 of his closest friends stormed a rich neighborhood in Montreal and destroyed property, spray painted Anarchist symbols on homes, and generally made fools of themselves before being dispersed by police in riot gear.

Battistuzzi is quoted as saying, “"People live in a bubble up here. The area is so different from where most of us live. I don't even think they live on the same planet as most of us. We want people to wake up to poverty and democracy issues."

Interesting, I didn’t think anarchists cared about democracy.

Anyway, a police source stated that some of the protestors were anarchists and some were “Blood Sisters”.

Blood Sisters are “menstrual activists” (don’t worry, its a new one on me too) that are “concerned with the serious health, environmental and psychological ramifications of the toxic feminine hygiene industry” and "the corporatization of our menstrual bodies and identies" (should I say "sic" or "sick?"). These gals protest the Tampax people and push reusable, I’m not making this up, rags.

Yeah, I’m sure those rags will be MUCH healthier.

This leaves me with one question. Which group was Battistuzzi affiliated with?


Robert of Mentalspace commented:

"Interesting, I didn’t think anarchists cared about democracy."

You don't know much about anarchy, then. I'm not an anarchist, but as I understand it the theory is that the State gets in the way of true democracy, which is spontaneous organisation by the people. By removing the State, you allow democracy to flourish.

I don't agree, but it's dangerous to criticise people without knowing what they stand for.

My reply:

Hey Robert:

I didn't feel the need to study the intricacies of anarchist theory before having a little fun at the expense of this self-righteous thug. And you know what? I still don’t.

Thanks for the education though. So anarchists want to abolish government in order to enhance democracy which is a form of government. Hmm.

My point is I don't buy it. Anarchists are not interested in democracy or anything other than getting their kicks trashing other people's stuff or, in the case of the Montreal riot, stifling another person's right to free speech.

This is why I'm pointing out that Battistuzzi is a serial protestor. He and the rest care less about what they are protesting than the thrill they get from the protest. I mean, geez, "menstrual activists?" Talk about scraping the bottem (ahem, uh sorry) of the barrel for something to be angry about.

For these folks its just a rave without the warehouse. Those who choose to take their "political concerns" seriously miss this point.


  4:22 PM

I know I'm the last blogger to get this, but I'll go ahead and mention that at least one investigative reporter thinks Saddam is linked to the Oklahoma City bombing

  11:30 AM

You missed a great speech if you missed Bush's address to the UN (transcript is here). Here are some highlights:Check out that interesting quote, "a regime that has lost its legitimacy will also lose its power." Was Bush talking about Iraq or the UN?


Wednesday, September 11, 2002
  11:56 AM

Crown Prince Abdullah of Saudi Arabia sent President Bush a message on behalf of the Saudi people which reads in part:
We in Saudi Arabia felt an especially great pain at the realization that a number of young Saudi citizens had been enticed and deluded and their reasoning subverted to the degree of denying the tolerance that their religion embraced, and turning their backs on their homeland, which has always stood for understanding and moderation... I would like to make it clear that true Muslims all over the world will never allow a minority of deviant extremists to speak in the name of Islam and distort its spirit of tolerance.
Last Friday, September 6, Saudi Arabia stood for "understanding", "moderation", and a "spirit of tolerance" in this broadcast from Mecca via the official television station of the Saudi government:
"O God, strengthen Islam and Muslims, humiliate infidelity and infidels, protect Islam, and disappoint tyrants, unbelievers, and Islam's enemies."

"O God, help the mujahidin score victory and elevate the word of Islam. O God, give victory to the mujahidin in Palestine, Chechnya, Kashmir, and elsewhere. O God, support them. O God, destroy the usurper, tyrant Jews, who have spread corruption, killed people, destroyed property, and displaced people. O God, destroy them for they are within your power."

Those darn government-sponsored services are so ecumenical! You just can't get good infidel bashing like you use to. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2002
  3:09 PM

Barbara Amiel of The Telegraph offers this explanation of those who feel further proof is needed before attacking Iraq:
One suspects that they really want to put their collective heads in the sand or, less generously, side with a coalition of anti-Americans, muddled Marxists and confused admirers of Islamism all intent on seeing capitalism, Israel and America crippled. But as this agenda is not quite respectable, so it must be masked by a feigned thirst for knowledge.

  12:06 PM

Douglas Davis at the Jeruslem Post successfully answers the question I've grown sick of hearing: Why do they hate us so much?

A better question is: Should we care? In a word, "NO." It matters that they hate us only because their hatred started this war. But the radical Islamists and the United States are intractable enemies. Many hate us so much they are willing to kill themselves to kill us. They want nothing from us except to see our country and citizens die. The only thing you can do with an enemy like that is to kill him first.

As for the petty jealousies we see in the third world and even in Europe? Again, our positions are intractable. They want nothing from us that we should be willing to give. They would have us accept blame for all that is wrong in the world. They would have us atone for our “sins” by financing their failed communistic, socialistic, or totalitarian regimes that, in actuality, are to blame for most of what is wrong in the world.

Before 9/11, we Americans were content to slowly win the world over to freedom and capitalistic democracies. Now the gloves are off.

First comes Iraq. We will finish off Saddam and then finance Iraq’s rebirth as a free capitalistic democracy with its own oil.

As we fill American gas tanks with Iraqi petroleum, Saudi Arabia will lose funding for its corrupt regime. And Saudi citizens will witness the birth of a vibrant and free Iraq. Whether by revolution or evolution, Saudi Arabia will have to change. Either way, we will be finished financing with petro-dollars Islamic hatred in Saudi Arabia – home of 15 of the 19. 

Monday, September 09, 2002
  9:47 AM

You will want to read this UPI article: "Sept. 11: US Nice Guy says 'enough' ."

Does anyone else get the impression that Bush's speech to the UN this week is going to be an important time of decision for our allies? One important sign is Powell's weekend conversion on the issue of inspections.

There's no doubt that he has chemical weapon stocks. We destroyed some after the Gulf War with the inspection regime, but there's no doubt in our mind that he still has chemical weapon stocks and he has the capacity to produce more chemical weapons.

With respect to biological weapons, we are confident that he has some stocks of those weapons, and he's probably continuing to try to develop more. And biological weapons are very dangerous because they can be produced just about in any kind of pharmaceutical facility...

So there's no question that he has these weapons, but even more importantly, he is striving to do even more, to get even more. That's why he won't let the inspectors back in. That's why he has frustrated the will of the international community, and that's why he's been violating all of these resolutions for all these years. should have a skeptical attitude as to how much inspections can do, particularly in the presence of a regime that's going to do everything they can to hide things from inspectors.

Powell is a dove, but he's also accustomed to taking orders. To say it another way, a man of Powell's temperament and stature would feel free to debate until policy is established.

So, I think a presidential decision has been made, and the thoughts expressed privately by the US at Ditchley are about to be made public. 

  6:41 AM

According to the BBC, the Arabic television station al-Jazeera will broadcast this coming Thursday an interview of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and Ramzi Binalshibh. Mohammed was or is a key lieutenant to bin Laden. Binalshibh was part of the Hamburg, Germany terror cell and wanted to be the twentieth hijacker, but was denied a US visa.

The interview was taken by a documentary film maker named Yosri Fouda. According to Fouda, he was taken to a hideout in Pakistan where over the course of two days, Mohammed and Binalshibh made the following allegations:

Beside learning that the Capitol Building was the target instead of the White House, the most interesting thing about this interview is what they decided to lie about. I do not believe for one moment that these murderous thugs decided against hitting nuclear power plants for fear it could "get out of control." The power plants were not on the agenda that day because they were more interested in hitting symbols. The World Trade Center was a symbol of western commercial power. The fact that it was standing after the 1993 attack made it also a symbol of failure for radical Islamists. The Pentagon is obviously a symbol of our military power. The Capitol Building is a symbol of our law, which they would like to see replaced with Islamic law.

So why lie about this? If you are going to admit to one of the most horrible crimes in the history of humanity, why say you went to plan B instead of hitting nuclear plants? It might simply be that they were playing to their al-Jazeera audience: "You see guys, we're not so bad. We could have hit nuclear plants, after all." But it might be a message to their operatives concerning their next target.

Update: The interviewer Fouda, told The Guardian:

"Khaled [Khalid Mohammed] let his tongue run away by referring to Bin Laden in the past tense," wrote Fouda. "Something is not working well in the upper levels of al-Qaida. I used to think there was a 50% chance Bin Laden was alive, now I rather believe he is dead."
I got the link from Instapundit.

Sunday, September 08, 2002
  5:44 PM

Check out the "The Charles Johnson Interview" at John Hawkin's Right Wing News. Charles Johnson is, of course, the writer of Little Green Footballs.

This interview is so good, I'm tempted to quote the whole thing. Instead I'll just quote this exchange on Palestinian collateral damage:

John Hawkins: Israel recently drew a lot of criticism for collateral damage they caused when they killed a top terrorist. Were they right to fire or should they have let him walk? Why so?

Charles Johnson: Lately it has seemed to me that Israel has started to relax their strict guidelines against harming civilians, when it's necessary to act against terrorists plotting attacks. It's always sad when bystanders are caught up in military action and hurt or killed, of course. But there are some other factors at work that need to be considered.

1) Intention matters. There's no doubt that Israel does not intentionally seek to kill large numbers of Palestinian civilians; with their highly developed military force, they could inflict grievous suffering on the population if that were truly their intent. On the other hand, Palestinian terror groups do intentionally try to kill large numbers of civilians, often aiming at the most defenseless.

2) One reason the terror groups have flourished in the Palestinian Authority is that they were *able* to hide out among the population, knowing that Israel's strict guidelines against injuring civilians would shield them. Also, keep in mind that Palestinian society still has many tribal elements about it; the civilians in an area will usually know that there's a bomb factory down the street, or that the local Hamas commander is hiding at his sister's house.

When Israel shows that they're not always going to respect the rights of civilians who harbor terrorists, they drive a wedge between the civilians and terrorists, and make it much harder for the killers to find refuge. So even though, in the short run, it means occasional unintended civilian casualties, in the long run it's part of a strategy to defang the terror groups that have a death grip on their own societies, and it will end up in less loss of innocent life.


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