|Ken Novak's Weblog
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Wednesday, May 12, 2004
'Holy war' general linked to Iraq prison scandal:
"The US Army general under investigation for anti-Islamic remarks has been linked by US officials to the Iraqi prisoner abuse scandal, which experts warned could touch off new outrage overseas. A Senate hearing into the abuse of Iraqi prisoners was told on Tuesday that Lieutenant General William Boykin, an evangelical Christian under review for saying his God was superior to that of the Muslims, briefed a top Pentagon civilian official last summer on ways military interrogators could gain more intelligence from Iraqi prisoners. Critics have suggested those recommendations amounted to a senior-level go-ahead for the sexual and physical abuse of prisoners, possibly to "soften up" detainees before interrogation, a charge the Pentagon denies. Lt Gen Boykin touched off a firestorm last October after giving speeches while in uniform in which he referred to the war on terrorism as a battle with "Satan" and said America had been targeted "because we're a Christian nation". " Boykin is still "on review" for those statements, 8 months later; Bush and Rumsfeld refused to reassign him pending the outcome of the review. 10:14:03 AM
Overdosing on Islam
: "Qom is the religious center of Iran, but even here, there is anger and disquiet. One of the central questions for the Middle East is whether Iran's hard-line Islamic regime will survive. I'm betting it won't.
"Either officials change their methods and give freedom to the people, and stop interfering in elections, or the people will rise up with another revolution," Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri told me.
"There is no freedom," added Ayatollah Montazeri, who is among the senior figures in the Shiite world but is excluded from power in Iran because of his reformist ideas. "Repression is carried out in the name of Islam, and that turns people off. . . . All these court summonses, newspaper closings and prosecutions of dissidents are wrong. These are the same things that were done under the shah and are now being repeated. And now they are done in the name of Islam and therefore alienate people."
Whoa! Ayatollah Montazeri was a leader of the Islamic Revolution, and was initially designated by his close friend Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to be his successor as supreme leader of Iran. Everything he says carries immense credibility, for he is a more senior religious figure than any of Iran's present leaders." 9:14:49 AM
Ongoing riots, massacres in Nigeria: "Muslim and Christian militants are fighting bloody street battles in Nigeria's northern city of Kano for a second day, killing at least 15 people, witnesses say. The rioting, which killed at least another 11 on Tuesday, was sparked by popular anger over what the Islamic community sees as the government's failure to prevent last week's massacre [in] Yelwa. .. Survivors of last week's attack on Yelwa town said they buried 630 corpses after a two-day assault by heavily armed Christian militia. It was not possible to verify the figure independently and police have said "hundreds" were killed.
The Yelwa massacre was the latest outbreak of a conflict dating to 2001 when more than 1,000 were killed in fighting in the state capital Jos. At least 1,000 have been killed in the past three months. The Yelwa massacre came three months after Islamic militia killed almost 100 Christians there. ..
People of the Tarok and other predominantly Christian tribes in Plateau accuse the Hausa-Fulani of invading their ancestral land and want to drive them out of the state. Semi-nomadic Hausa-Fulani say their families have grazed cattle there for generations." As in Linden's book, another case where population growth and ecological decline generate violent conflict. 9:05:11 AM
Reuters - Mexico Air Force video creates UFO stir
: "The Mexican Air Force has released footage of what a UFO expert said were 11 invisible unidentified flying objects picked up by an infrared camera as they whizzed around a surveillance plane. .. The ministry confirmed to Reuters it had provided the video, filmed by the Air Force on March 5 over the eastern coastal state of Campeche. "We are not alone! This is so weird," one of the pilots can be heard yelling, after the plane's crew switched on an infrared camera to track the objects, first picked up by radar.
The film, recorded by a plane looking for drugs trafficking near the Gulf of Mexico, shows 11 objects as blobs of light that hover in formation or dart about, sometimes disappearing into cloud. .. Interviewed by Mausson on another section of the video, the pilots said they grew nervous when the objects, still invisible, turned back during a chase and surrounded the plane. "There was a moment when ... the screens showed they were behind us, to the left and in front of us. It was at that point that I felt a bit tense," said Maj. Magdaleno Castanon.
Mexico has a long history of fanciful UFO sightings, most of which are dismissed by scientists as space debris, missiles, weather balloons, natural weather phenomena or hoaxes" 8:57:46 AM
Spammer wins restraining order against Spamcop: "mass e-mailing firm OptInRealBig.com was successful in the first phase of his lawsuit against anti-spam group Spamcop: The organization for now is barred from sending complaints to ISPs other than its own as well as removing email addresses from such complaints. The temporary restraining order is critical for Richter's business and will be in effect until May 20. Spamcop's complaints often resulted in the cancellation of Richter's contracts with ISP's and limited his bandwidth and connectivity to send out his campaigns.
OptInRealBig.com claims that its emailings stays within the law and are sent out only to people in the US who sign up for the service. According to Richter, more than 100 million emails are sent every day from his servers which are all located the US. Representatives from Ironport, which operates Spamcop, will appear before the United States District Court .. Ironport as well as other email marketers were surprsied by the judge's decision. If upheld, it would be first case of a spammer barring an anti-spam group from reporting unwanted commercial emails. " 8:50:43 AM