Saturday, March 18, 2006

Iraqi Docs Update

The translation continues. Hiawatha Bray of the Boston Globe reports:

Joseph Shahda of Randolph earns his living as an engineer. But in his spare time, he's an intelligence agent, working to ferret out the truth about the regime of deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

When the US government on Thursday began publishing captured Iraqi government documents on the Internet, Shahda eagerly began to translate the files into English and publish them on a conservative website.

''I feel a sense of duty," said Shahda, a native of Lebanon who supports President Bush's decision to invade Iraq. ''I think it's a duty for people who know Arabic to translate the documents."

US officials hope that thousands of other Arabic speakers feel the same. Goaded by Congress, Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte has begun to release millions of pages of captured files online in an unprecedented effort to harness the Internet to disseminate raw intelligence material. There, anybody with a knowledge of Arabic can download the files and translate them for the world.

It's the same ''open source" principle that drove the successful development of the Internet and of powerful free software like the Linux operating system. Instead of hiring a team of brilliant professionals to analyze Iraqi documents in secret, the open source systems will use hundreds of clever amateurs, who'll publish their work for anyone to analyze and improve upon.

The more intelligent people we can get working on this, the faster the information from Saddam's regime will come pouring out, and the faster MSM heads will reel as their "common knowledge" beocmes debunked.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Iraqi Documents Released

The mountain of documents from Saddam's regime that we have been waiting for has been released to the public.

Early analysis here and here, which is already making clear Saddam's connections to terrorists, including Osama bin Laden.

This is a huge story, and one which the MSM is already downplaying. Not surprising, because the supposed lack of a link between Saddam and terrorists has been a talking point of the anti-war crowd since the war began.

But the new information found in these Iraqi documents and audio tapes tells a different story; a story that the MSM doesn't want to admit.

So pay close attention to what new information gets revealed as these documents continue to be translated and interpreted. In all likelihood, we will soon realize that the administration was much more accurate in its prewar fears than the MSM wants to give it credit for.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Bird Flu In Israel

Israel is experiencing its first real scare with the H5N1 virus:

Hundreds of poultry were found dead in a kibbutz in southern Israel raising fears of the first outbreak of deadly bird flu in the Jewish state.

"We have found hundreds of dead poultry and other sick birds on a kibbutz in the south of Israel, which makes us worried about the appearance of the bird flu virus," one agriculture ministry official told AFP.

"The initial tests indicated it was bird flu although these were not the final results and everything is still being tested in the laboratories", another official said.

Dozens of dead chickens were also found in communities close to the Ein Hashlosha kibbutz in the Negev desert east of the Gaza border, the website of the Haaretz daily reported.

Both the kibbutz and the adjacent communities were sealed off by the agricultural ministry, the website said.

Israel imposed a ban on all meat imports from the Gaza Strip on February 17 following the discovery of the deadly H5N1 strain of the bird flu virus in Egypt.

This continues to emphasize the importance of state and local governments' preparedness for the arrival of the flu virus.

If there is a poor response to the arrival of the Bird Flu in America, the blame will fall squarely on the shoulders of these local governments, especially given the HHS's release of a comprehensive update on Avian Flu preparedness:
Antivirals are drugs that lessen the impacts of flu. There are currently two FDA-approved antivirals that have shown effectiveness against the H5N1 virus, Tamiflu, and Relenza. Both must be taken within 48 hours of the onset of flu symptoms. (Note that there are two other approved flu antivirals, but CDC studies show H5N1 to be resistant to them.)

We are building a national stockpile of these two antivirals. The immediate goal is to stockpile enough antivirals to treat 20 million people. The longer- term goal is to be able to treat 75 million people, or 25 percent of the U.S. population. Achieving this goal depends on future pandemic flu appropriations, manufacturing capacity and participation by the states.Because Tamiflu is also approved for prevention, treatment for an additional 6 million people is also being stockpiled. This will be used in an effort to help contain a first outbreak of potential-pandemic influenza. The concept is to blanket the area of the initial outbreak, giving Tamiflu to as many people as possible to prevent the flu’s spread before it gets out of control. In March, HHS purchased more than 14 million courses of Tamiflu and Relenza, which will increase the national inventory to nearly 20 million courses. The total targeted stockpile is 81 million courses by the end of 2008. HHS will purchase 50 million out right and subsidize (by 25 percent) the states’ purchase of 31 million courses. (A course is the number of doses needed to treat one person – ten capsules in the case of Tamiflu.)

Antivirals will be distributed among the states and territories on a per-capita basis. FDA is monitoring Tamiflu shipments to identify potential counterfeits, and is actively investigating companies selling fraudulent, unapproved influenza products.

It is crucial that local governments heed the warnings and get down to business. Stockpiling Tamiflu is a necessary step in getting ready for the arrival of the H5N1 virus in America, and local governments must recognize this if we are to have an effective response.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Feingold Has The Dems Acting Frantic

This isn't terribly surprising:

Democratic senators, filing in for their weekly caucus lunch yesterday, looked as if they'd seen a ghost.

"I haven't read it," demurred Barack Obama (Ill.

"I just don't have enough information," protested Ben Nelson (Neb.). "I really can't right now," John Kerry (Mass.) said as he hurried past a knot of reporters -- an excuse that fell apart when Kerry was forced into an awkward wait as Capitol Police stopped an aide at the magnetometer.

Hillary Rodham Clinton (N.Y.) brushed past the press pack, shaking her head and waving her hand over her shoulder. When an errant food cart blocked her entrance to the meeting room, she tried to hide from reporters behind the 4-foot-11 Barbara Mikulski (Md.).

"Ask her after lunch," offered Clinton's spokesman, Philippe Reines. But Clinton, with most of her colleagues, fled the lunch out a back door as if escaping a fire.

(HT: Instapundit)

Meet The 7-Year Old Racist Poet

Michelle Malkin has a post that left me utterly speechless.

A 7-Year old says that "white people are "devils and they should be gone. We should be away from them and still be in Africa."

There is something fundamentally wrong with someone this young saying something this vile and racist. I will never understand how a parent could so completely pollute the mind of a child.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

"Myths Of Iraq"

is the title of Ralph Peters' article at Real Clear Politics. Opening graphs:
During a recent visit to Baghdad, I saw an enormous failure. On the part of our media. The reality in the streets, day after day, bore little resemblance to the sensational claims of civil war and disaster in the headlines.

No one with first-hand experience of Iraq would claim the country's in rosy condition, but the situation on the ground is considerably more promising than the American public has been led to believe. Lurid exaggerations and instant myths obscure real, if difficult, progress.

I left Baghdad more optimistic than I was before this visit. While cynicism, political bias and the pressure of a 24/7 news cycle accelerate a race to the bottom in reporting, there are good reasons to be soberly hopeful about Iraq's future.

Read the entire article.


Those are the odds that the Bird Flu will mutate into a form that can be easily transmitted between humans, according to Robert G. Webster, one of the few Bird Flu experts offering an answer to the question of whether or not humans will be infected:
There are "about even odds at this time for the virus to learn how to transmit human to human," he told ABC's "World News Tonight." Webster, the Rosemary Thomas Chair at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn., is credited with being the first scientist to find the link between human flu and bird flu.

Webster and his team of scientists are working to find a way to beat the virus if it morphs. He has even been dubbed the Flu Hunter.

Right now, H5N1, a type of avian influenza virus, has confined itself to birds. It can be transmitted from bird to human but only by direct contact with the droppings and excretions of infected birds.

But viruses mutate, and the big fear among the world's scientists is that the bird flu virus will join the human flu virus, change its genetic code and emerge as a new and deadly flu that can spread through the air from human to human.

If the virus does mutate, it does not necessarily mean it will be as deadly to people as it is to birds. But experts such as Webster say they must prepare for the worst.

"I personally believe it will happen and make personal preparations," said Webster, who has stored a three-month supply of food and water at his home in case of an outbreak.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Feingold Goes Over The Cliff

Democratic Senator Russ Feingoldis calling for President Bush's censure over the NSA terrorism surveillance program.

This is lunacy at its best.

For starters, the NSA surveillance progam is 100% legitimate, and a completely legal authority of the president under his Article II powers and the judicial precedent set forth in Truong and Hamdi. This has been discussed at length previously, and it only exhibits how little Sen. Feingold reads -- or at least how much he ignores.

But what is most startling about Feingold's rhetoric is the poor position it potentially puts the Democrats in. We are a nation at war, and if the Dems think that listening in on al Qaeda conversations is not helpful to the war effort, they are dillusiional and dead wrong. Republicans should welcome the debate on the GWOT brought forth by Feingold's accusations, because the Dems can't win it.

The White House offers its reponse to Sen. Feingold here.

Nonetheless, this move should be seen as a purely political stunt by a presidential hopeful only trying to further his poor chances at eletcion.


Tim Chapman has the latest on the Feingold madness:
Democratic Senator Russ Feingold has introduced a resolution that would censor the President of the United States for "eavesdropping" in the wake of 9/11. Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, moments ago, made a unanimous consent motion that the Senate vote on the resolution tonight. Maryland Democrat Paul Sarbanes rose to object to the motion. Frist then motioned to vote on the resolution again tomorrow. Sarbanes objected, saying no vote should take place on the resolution until Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid had cleared the timing.

In other words, Democrats know this is a political stunt, without a chance of passage, but want to time it politically for maximum impact.

Later, Harry Reid took the floor to say he was offended that Frist would go to the floor and motion for unanimous consent on such an "important issue" without talking to him first.

Reid's two-facedness knows no bounds. Does he not remember last year taking the Senate floor and invoking Senate Rule XXI, thereby shutting down the Senate? When he made that parliamentary move to score political points over pre-war intelligence, he broke all Senate precedent by invoking the draconian measure without first seeking the compliance of the Senate Majority Leader as has always been done in the past.

Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Google - Al Qaeda Link

Al Qaeda is using a service run by Google to publish propaganda and recruit terrorists from around the world.

And Google won’t stop them from doing it:
Al-Qaeda sympathizers are using Orkut, a popular, worldwide Internet service owned by Google, to rally support for Osama bin Laden, share videos and Web links promoting terrorism, and recruit non-Arabic-speaking Westerners, according to terrorism experts and a survey of the sites.

Most jihadist message boards on traditional Web sites are in Arabic and require users to know someone connected with the board before they can gain access. Social-networking services such as Orkut, Friendster, and MySpace, however, allow users to create personal profiles and associate with “communities” based on shared interests. After users join one of these services, they have access to the forum postings in any public community...

On Orkut, at least 10 communities are devoted to praising bin Laden, al-Qaeda, or jihad (holy war) against the United States. They can be found easily through a simple English-language search of the site...

Google, which operates Orkut, says it tries to balance the free flow of information against the appearance of objectionable material by keeping intervention to a minimum. Google spokeswoman Debbie Frost says the service may remove obscene, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable material from Orkut sites “but has no obligation to.” Frost did acknowledge that Google deleted some terrorism-related content that violated Orkut’s published terms of service.

I guess if Google is willing to censor it's search results for China, this really shouldn't be all that surprising. Nonetheless, it doesn't speak very well for Google, and it certainly doesn't help America in the GWOT if al-Qaeda is allowed to gather supporters via internet message boards.


Supporting The Troops

Michelle Malkin points us to a CBS News item that ran on 60 Minutes tonight. It focuses on U.S. troops reestablishing order after clearing out Al Qaeda from the Iraqi town of Tal Afar.

Michelle as the video file if you'd like to watch it.

As surprising and as rare an occurrence as it is, it's very encouraging to see a MSM outlet pushing a positive story about our troops. I suggest you watch piece, or at least read the story from CBS News.

It certainly contrasts the normal MSM war coverage.