April 17th, 2010

aurora // once upon a time

Soldiers did not unlawfully shoot unarmed Afghan: Natynczyk [Canada's Top Soldier]


[Canadian] Chief of Defence Staff fires back against allegations by former military interpreter

After two days of probing, Canada’s top soldier is outright rejecting one of several troubling allegations levelled by a former military interpreter this week -- saying his troops did not unlawfully shoot an unarmed Afghan.

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Source, including a PDF of the letter.

1. Follow up to an earlier post. Figured I'd present the other side.
2. You can have a thousand different stories from one combat event. It's entirely possible the interpreter saw the man without a gun, but the soldiers saw a weapon. I'm probably just being optimistic. The man who was shot has also been referred to interchangeably as a man or teen; I'm curious as to his actual age.
3. Does anyone know how the 96-hour rule figures into this situation? As far as I know it's a NATO rule, which means it should apply to Canadian soliders as well.
movies | Impish Fräulein2

ONTD_Political's PotD: April 16, 2010.


Outside a bunker on March 20, 2010 in Marjah, Helmand province, southern Afghanistan Agence France-Presse photographer Mauricio Lima created a series of portraits illustrating the tattoos of the members of the 3rd Battalion, 6th Marines. Many United States Marines sport several tattoos, commonly to tell the story of their lives as soldiers, to vanquish their fears, honor their comrades or to proclaim their love.
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Mauricio LIMA | AFP PHOTO
Reporting

Bactria Revisited: Does Alexander Have Lessons for Obama in Afghanistan?

By Shazia Z. Rafi

The Pakhtuns of Afghanistan and across the border in Pakistan haven’t always rejected influences from the West. The author suggests that Alexander the Great’s success in the 4th Century B.C. may hold a key to integrating Afghanistan into the international community—in a way that would help protect and empower women in the region.


Relations between President Hamid Karzai of Afghanistan and the Obama administration have reached a fever pitch in recent weeks. Karzai accuses the United States of coercion and threatens to switch his loyalties towards the Taliban. Some officials in Washington accuse Karzai of corruption, ineptness and even drug abuse.  Clearly our Afghan strategy—upping the military ante against Taliban insurgents while shoring up Karzai and bringing him under control—is in trouble. 

Just a few months ago, a visibly troubled President Obama addressed troops at West Point: “As Commander-in-Chief,” he declared, “I have determined that it is in our vital national interest to send an additional 30,000 U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

“After eighteen months, our troops will begin to come home…The struggle against violent extremism ….extends well beyond Afghanistan and Pakistan. It will be an enduring test of our free society, and our leadership in the world. … our cause is just, our resolve unwavering.” As part of this enhanced engagement we are about to lay siege to Kandahar, the Taliban’s main stronghold, and the home base of President Karzai’s brother Ahmad Wali. According to the New York Times, Ahmad Wali is a major figure in the Afghan heroin trade.

But Kandahar has another claim to fame. It is one of 30 eponymous cities established by Alexander the Great during his sweep across Eurasia in the 4th Century B.C. As we move towards Kandahar, or Iskandariya as it was then called, it may be useful to compare the international operation in Afghanistan— now in its ninth year—to his campaign. 
 

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What Americans can do to discourage future McVeighs By Kathleen Parker

The upcoming 15th anniversary of the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people in the nation's worst act of terrorism before Sept. 11, 2001, has prompted renewed concerns about growing anti-government sentiment.

Is the political environment becoming so toxic that we could see another Timothy McVeigh emerge?

No one knows the answer, but fears that anger could escalate into action beyond the ballot box are not misplaced. Ninety-nine percent of angry Americans might be perfectly satisfied to rail at their television sets -- or to show up at a Tea Party rally -- but it takes only one.

The biggest concern for security folks in Washington is the lone operator, the John Hinckley, who tries to take out a president for his fantasy girlfriend. Or some variation thereof.

 

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Phoenix [... Uh. Livejournal?]

Tea Partiers assauge their guilt with "the good ones."

Tea Party puts on a minstrel show in Dallas.

On Thursday, I came here outside Dallas for a Tea Party rally.

At first I thought, “Wow! This is much more diverse than the rallies I’ve seen on television.”

Then I realized that I was looking at stadium workers. I should have figured as much when I approached the gate. The greeter had asked, “Are you working tonight?”

I sat in the front row. But when the emcee asked, “Do we have any infiltrators?” and I almost raised my hand, I realized that sitting there might not be such a good idea.

I had specifically come to this rally because it was supposed to be especially diverse. And, on the stage at least, it was. The speakers included a black doctor who bashed Democrats for crying racism, a Hispanic immigrant who said that she had never received a single government entitlement and a Vietnamese immigrant who said that the Tea Party leader was God. It felt like a bizarre spoof of a 1980s Benetton ad.

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music | sleigh anne.

Uganda crowns "world's youngest king"


Fort Portal, Uganda - Thousands flocked on Saturday to see the head of Uganda's traditional kingdom of Toro crowned, 15 years after he assumed the title as "the world's youngest king."

Oyo Nyimba Kabamba Iguru Rukidi IV was crowned in his capital of Fort Portal in a traditional ceremony in his hilltop palace overlooking the town, following his 18th birthday.

His authority symbolically covers the area of the Ruwenzori Mountains, known as the Mountains of the Moon straddling the borders of Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo.

The young king had officially succeeded to the throne at the age of three when his father died of a heart attack in 1995.

"Our king was crowned when he was three, but in order to be on your own and start working independently, he has to be 18," the kingdom's spokesman Frederick Nyakabwa Atwoki told AFP.

Now it would be up to him to appoint his own advisers, Atwoki said.

The king will already have to choose a regent to run the kingdom when he begins university in September.

"We have 94 clans in this kingdom, every clan has a head (and) our king is the head of all our clans," Atwoki said.

"We are now going to learn what he is, he has been a young person, now that he has age, we are going to know what kind of man he is."

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and other officials along with representatives of several African countries including South Africa and Nigeria were present at Saturday's ceremony.

The kingdom of Toro was founded some 200 years ago but was abolished with other traditional monarchies by Milton Obote's government in 1966. They were revived by Museveni in 1994.

The kings only have cultural power but wield major political influence.

The Toro kingdom reportedly has close links with Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi, who paid for the rebuilding of the palace in Fort Portal in 2001. - AFP

source
Akuma River

This Volcano, Eyjafjallajokull, is killing world trade & your travel plans

Photobucket

Ash may hover for days over uncertain Europe
SYLVIA HUI and ANGELA CHARLTON | 04/17/10 04:36 PM |

PARIS — The Icelandic volcano that has kept much of Europe land-bound is far from finished spitting out its grit, and offered up new mini-eruptions Saturday that raise concerns about longer-term damage to world air travel and trade.

Facing days to come under the volcano's unpredictable, ashy plume, Europeans are looking at temporary airport layoffs and getting creative with flight patterns to try to weather this extraordinary event.

Modern Europe has never seen such a travel disruption. Air space across a swath from Britain to Ukraine was closed and set to stay that way until Sunday or Monday in some countries, affecting airports from New Zealand to San Francisco. Millions of passengers have had plans foiled or delayed.

Activity in the volcano at the heart of this increased early Saturday, and showed no sign of abating.
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World News also mentioned that a nearby volcano, Klaka (or it might be Klafka) Katla, that is also under an ice sheet looks likely to erupt soon as well. So this might be going on for a long while.

Now I'm wondering if this is going to be a death keel to national economies that have been on the rise. A lot of the nations effected by this volcano are ones that depend on international trade across the pond. And if this other volcano blows as well...which way will the ash travel? The same path or another one? What happens if the wind blows in a different direction? Which countries will be effected?

I'm also curious on how to this will effect weather patterns. Major volcanic eruptions have been known to cause major weather changes. The last time a super volcano blew it cause a mini-ice age due to the smoke plume blocking off the sun for most of the atlantic nations.

Any insights?

Cruel Treatment of UK refusenik

Soldier Joe Glenton, who was court martialled on 5 March and jailed for nine months for refusing to fight in Afghanistan, and for speaking out at anti-war demonstrations, is being subjected to cruel treatment by army prison staff.

Joe Glenton, the British soldier who refused to return to fight in Afghanistan in a war he believed to be unjustified and unwinnable, is receiving cruel treatment at the hands of military prison staff, following his court martial and sentence to nine months imprisonment.

The prison authorities are trying to force him to sleep under an unwashed or dirty blanket - a punishment that often leads prisoners to get body lice - and to wear boots despite the fact he has broken his toe.

He has also received no treatment for his Post Traumatic Stress disorder despite the fact that the Judge who sentenced him 36 days ago assured the court he would receive treatment in prison.


Problems started after complaints that he was not receiving books sent by supporters. On Thursday 8th April he was told he was to be disciplined after claims he insulted an officer.

Joe denies the claims. The authorities refused his lawyers' application that he be represented at the disciplinary hearing.

Joe has refused to accept the 'blanket treatment', part of a punishment called One Bravo, despite threats of solitary confinement.

Joe's mother Sue Glenton said today: "We are seriously concerned for his welfare. This kind of bullying and victimisation is simply unacceptable. It is hardly going to help his mental state."

John Tipple, Joe's legal caseworker, said: "This kind of treatment is from the 19th century not the 21st. We are determined to test its legality in court at the first opportunity. The military should not be allowed to get away with this cruel and degrading treatment."

Most people in Britain oppose the war in Afghanistan. It is extraordinary that Joe Glenton, already being punished for his anti war views by a nine month prison sentence, is now being picked on by the military in prison. Stop the War will be organising protests outside the military prison where Joe is being held and at his appeal hearing against his prison sentence on Wednesday 21 April (details below).

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Source: libcom.org
Also: A BBC article from when he was jailed with a bit of background.

The week libertarians started looking like lefties

By now you must have already seen the car-crash of Libertarian Party leader Chris Mounsey being interviewed by Andrew Neil on Daily Politics.

The whole incident has received a rather lot of comment from other bloggers, unsurprisingly, because Mounsey went on to nuke his blog and start afresh.

What I want to highlight here is the reaction that libertarians have when they come across the cold feeling of reality. Two examples:

A few years ago Mounsey used to be vehemently against immigration despite calling himself a libertarian. Like many other loud-mouthed libertarians across the blogosphere, free movement of peoples wasn’t high on their agenda even though they claimed to be highly principled.

That constant rage against immigration came to a rather abrupt end when Mounsey fell in love with, er, an immigrant. Guess what? They found the immigration system to be arcane, really bureaucratic and incredibly difficult to deal with it. It’s intentional see, because they want to make life difficult for people trying to enter the country.

What do you mean the immigration system was gamed to make it hard for people to move to the UK? Mounsey was predictably outraged. Eventually, Bella got through the system (yay!) and Mounsey quietly dropped his opposition to immigration (yay!) and realised the error of his ways (more yays!).

Now let me build on this point.

This week various libertarians are outraged that Mounsey was treated so shabbily on TV. Why ask about his blog and not more about the party’s policies?

Leave aside whether the blog was fair game or not, as it’s already been addressed. What really irked our online warriors was the bastard establishment media and their agenda against a people’s movement. What really annoyed them was that Neil and the media is interested in scandal and not policy!

Wait a second. They sound like lefties.

 

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Source: Liberal Conspiracy

misc01

Sonoma County CA separates elderly gay couple and sells their home

Sonoma County CA separates elderly gay couple and sells their home

Clay and his partner of 20 years, Harold, lived in California. Clay and Harold made diligent efforts to protect their legal rights, and had their legal paperwork in place--wills, powers of attorney, and medical directives, all naming each other. Harold was 88 years old and in frail medical condition, but still living at home with Clay, 77, who was in good health.

One evening, Harold fell down the front steps of their home and was taken to the hospital. Based on their medical directives alone, Clay should have been consulted in Harold's care from the first moment. Collapse )

Source

EDIT: Someone posted this petition to the Santa Rosa Press Democrat asking them to publish the story.
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