Sunday, July 31, 2005

Sex Mall Coming For Berlin's 2006 World Cup

One hundred prostitutes will staff a sixty room brothel called Artemis a short walk from Berlin's Olympic Stadium in time for the 2006 World Cup. Customers can enjoy a whirlpool, sauna, and a movie, along with hot and nasty Teutonic sex in one of Berlin's legal sex trade districts.

Not to be outdone, the city of Dortmund, which will also host World Cup games, is slapping together wooden "sex garages" for drive through sex. One can only imagine what the Happy Meal might be there.

Friday, July 29, 2005

Run, Dick, Run

Lefty dingbat and White House press corps columnist in the Impartial Liberal Media, Helen Thomas, told The Hill newspaper, "The day I say Dick Cheney is going to run for president, I'll kill myself. All we need is one more liar." She still misses Clinton and thinks he was a fabulous president, even though she was the only woman in town he didn't lay.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Hero Of Islam

Shehzad Tanweer, one of four Muslim bombers who self-destructed during the first wave of Tube bombings in London on July 7, had his funeral in his family's village near Lahore in Pakistan. His body was not there, but thousands of people attended to pray for his swift passage into paradise, though he is guaranteed paradise as a martyr for the faith, a shahid. The crowd of Pakistanis hailed him as a "a hero of Islam." The price of his ticket to paradise was the lives of seven infidels killed and ninety wounded by his bomb in the Tube at the Aldgate station.

Here are his seven victims, whose deaths made Tanweer a hero in his home town in Pakistan.

Carrie Taylor was a 24-year-old single girl from Billericay, Essex who lived with her parents and brother, Simon. Her mother last saw her at the Liverpool Street station on her way to work at the Royal Society of Arts on the Embankment. Her temporary job there had just been made permanent. Carrie was going in early to do some shopping at Aldgate before work. Carrie had been secretly writing a novel. Her mother, June Taylor, says, "I know it's in her bedroom but I can't go in there. If I did it would seem so very final." June says of her daughter, "I'm so very glad that the last picture I have of her in my head is smiling and waving at me."

Benedetta Ciaccia, 30, business analyst for Pearson Shared Services, was going to marry her fiance, Fiaz Bhatti, a British Muslim, in September. She lived with him in Norwich. They were going to honeymoon in Sardinia and Corsica.

Her first employer in England remembers, "Benedetta first came to England from Rome about 10 years ago to be our au pair and to help with our two daughters, Bridie and Megan (then aged 4 and 2). Our children could count in Italian before they could count in English. Megan has been an accomplished pasta cook since the age of three. She was to stay with us for six months but extended it to nine. When she left us, Benny decided at first to remain in Gravesend, Kent, where we lived and we would see her from time to time, but more recently we lost touch with her when she moved from the area. We are very shocked and sad to hear the news that she has been identified as having been on the Aldgate tube. She was a funny, lovely, elegant and very intelligent young woman and was adored by our children, especially Megan. It is hard to imagine how someone so gentle could die so violent a death."

Richard James Ellery, 21, a shopworker in Jessops store in Kensington. Richard was on his way to a conference, travelling into Liverpool Street station on his way from his home in Ipswich. His parents last heard from him in a text message sent twenty-one minutes before the first blast

Richard Gray, 41, a tax manager at FW Smith Riches in London's Pall Mall. He had a wife, Louise, and two children, Adam, 11, and Ruby, seven. He was doing his usual commute to work.

Anne Moffat, 48, marketing executive, from Old Harlow, Essex, was head of marketing and communications for Girlguiding UK. Girl Guides are the British female equivalent of the Boy Scouts. The Essex Police released a statement on behalf of her brothers Chris and Tom Moffat: "Close family and friends mourn her tragic loss and wish to be given privacy to grieve as Anne herself would have wished."

Lee Baisden,34, from Romford, Essex was a party boy who had just moved in with his boyfriend of three years. He was on his way to work as an accountant for the fire brigade where he'd worked eighteen months. He boarded the Circle line through Aldgate on his way to work in Westminster, but never made it.

Fiona Stevenson, 29, from Little Baddow, Essex. Fiona worked for two years as an assistant solicitor at the criminal law firm Reynolds Dawson, where she was a duty solicitor in court and police stations, specialising in specialist fraud and extradition. She was on her way to work but never arrived. Says a friend of hers, "She was lively, great company and a hard-working lawyer with a keen interest in human rights. She marched in opposition to the war on Iraq and I remember meeting her for a pint afterwards, with a proud feeling of having stood up for something we believed in."

Tube Train From July 7 Attack

The inside of the bomb-blasted London Tube train between King's Cross and Russell Square stations on July 7 in the first wave of attacks by Islamists. This photo was leaked to ABC News by US law enforcement.

Lee Harris, 30, and his girlfriend, Samantha Badham, 36, were riding the train pictured above. Samantha died immediately. Lee lingered for a week in a coma before he passed away.

Meet the dead of July 7.

Brit Mullah Claims Muslims Innocent Of Terror

Mohammad Naseem, the most senior Islamic cleric in Birmingham, the chairman of the city's central mosque, claims that Muslims have been unjustly blamed for terrorism and that the eight Muslims caught on camera planting the bombs in the current terror campaign might be innocent passengers falsely accused due to "Muslim bashing." Says Naseem, "Where is the evidence that four youths whose pictures were caught on CCTV cameras…were the perpetrators? How did we reject the possibility they were just innocent victims of this terrible happening? They had bought return train tickets."

The government and security services "were not to be relied upon," said Naseem. Tony Blair was a liar. "I do not have faith in the system as it stands."

Naseem claims that Muslims "all over the world have never heard of an organisation called al-Qa'eda".

Naseem is considered a moderate Muslim in Britain.

Search For The Real Killers In Sharm El-Sheik

Last weekend's terror attacks at Sharm El-Sheik not only killed 88 people but put hundreds of ordinary Egyptians out of work, guys who get a hundred bucks a month, sleep ten to a room, and send their salary back home to their large families. The tourist season is ruined now and they are furious at the terrorists who targeted them. They want the terrorists caught. They want them in prison. They want them killed. They march against the terrorists, chanting "Down With Terrorism! We Are Against Terrorism!" And they know exactly who committed this terror and all the others: the CIA and Mossad.

They explained it to Italian journalist, Ms. Fiamma Nirenstein:

"Bin Laden? The Muslim Brotherhood? Certainly the terrorist attacks are not their work, no! This is a lie. A Muslim could never do this. And if they say they do it in the name of Islam, they are not Islamic; or, most likely, this shows, like the television says, that someone uses the name of Islam just to hide the real perpetrators."

Anyhow, Islam is out of the question, And then, we ask again, who is behind the attacks? Well, you know the answer, they smile with a smart expression. Mahmoud, who comes from a periphery of Cairo, where he now cannot go back because he doesn't have the money for a bus ticket, knows the answer, and so do all his other friends, about 10, all from the same town, now all together as one, standing in the corridor of the Hospital of Sharm, no air-conditioning, their friend Khaled in bed with a wound in his back ("I was lucky. Nadem had both of his legs amputated," Khaled says).

They know the answer, yes: the television said that only the Israelis and the Americans have a real interest in seeing Egypt on its knees; General Fuad Allam said that the perpetrators of the Taba attack of October 2004 were apparently linked to the Israeli security forces, and so, supposedly, it is today. Also Al-Jazeera and even Al-Arabia interviewed "experts" to confirm this point of view. A big, beautiful guy with a red T-shirt just puts it down bluntly: "We know only what the television tells us."

It's suddenly clear to me that here television is a metaphor for "knowledge" and for "power": printed paper, school texts, Friday sermons in the mosques, everything is "television" for this guy and his hundreds of millions of "moderate Muslim" friends. And everything points to the Israeli as an object of hate. Their poor condition - almost of slaves, of people almost without civil rights and work protections - makes the growth of their knowledge of how this are going a danger for the fascistic power there rules them.

So, we cannot count on "moderate" Arabs, not even on the group of youngsters that I meet later, the girls dressed just like ours: They repeat to me, still with a smart little face, "It cannot be a Muslim, it's certainly the Israelis and the Americans." The dream palace of the Arab, after the terrorist attack in Sharm, just like the thousands of attacks in Iraq and in Israel, is still there; the summer camps of Hamas still teach that it's good to kill the Jews; several madrassas work full time as centers of recruitment; the television broadcasts an "analysis" that charges the Mossad and the CIA with mass murders. The dictators of the Arab countries, in this case Mr. Mubarak, don't let Khaled know who the guys that cut their legs are. So, Khaled can be as "moderate" as we want, but so long as that fascist culture of hate is there, we can count only on ourselves.

So the next time you see a march against terror in the Middle East and begin to have a little hope, abandon it. They aren't marching against Osama Bin Laden nor Al Qaeda nor militant Muslim radicals. They think those are the good guys. They are marching against America, an ignorant mob convinced that Muslims can do no wrong and we Americans are the ones planting all those bombs.

It is going to be a long war.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Their Eyes Were Bigger Than Their Bombs

The London police have released images of some of the sixteen bombs, such as this nail bomb, found in the terrorists' rental car, parked at the Luton railway station, from which the first wave of London bombers staged to make their attacks on July 7th. Some 56 passengers in the Tube and a bus were killed by their four bombs plus 700 wounded.

More and more, it looks like they killed themselves by accident. The bombs were detonated by timers rather than hand-activated, which infers they intended them to detonate after they had left the scene. They were in knapsacks rather than strapped to their bodies. They bought return train tickets, an unusual step for jihadis on a a one-way trip to paradise. They did not shout "Allah Akbar" before their bombs blew them to hell, as is customary among Muslim death cultists. They left no suicide notes nor martyr videos. They bought a seven day parking pass for their car at the Luton station, rather than the one day pass one would think they would prefer if they intended to depart Earth in a few hours. They did not sanitize themselves of identification papers but rather made the job of the police easy by carrying plenty of documentation confirming who they were. And they left sixteen spare bombs in their car, tucked away in identical knapsacks, unused.

The second wave of bombs, made identically to the first, had fusing problems. The fuses detonated but failed to ignite the main charges. The consistent characteristic of both waves of bombs is incompetent detonation of the bombs. Perhaps the police will tell us more about the malfunction of the fuses. It looks like whoever made the bombs did not know his business well enough, thank goodness. Maybe when the bombs detonated too early on the first wave, they were changed so that they inadvertently didn't detonate at all in the second wave.

The fourth bomber was seen fiddling with his bomb on the bus immediately before it went off. Just before it detonated, a witness heard a horrified yell that he could not identify as male or female. Maybe his bomb did not fuse properly and he was trying to fix it on the fly. Maybe he finally got his timer working and realized at the last moment he had no time to flee. Bummer.

Perhaps the plan was more ambitious than the first attack played out. Maybe the four bombers planned to leave their bombs on the train and return to the car four more times to plant all twenty of their bombs in a day-long bomb-a-thon. Perhaps we are lucky that they were so incompetent that they only killed dozens instead of hundreds.

*** UPDATE ***

This is what one of the bombs found in the trunk of the car at Luton looks like.

Terrorists Target Tinker

Very suspicious people were seen lurking outside Tinker Air Force Base, near Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, two weeks ago. They were suspicious enough for the base to issue Team Tinker Battle Staff Directive BSD # 41:
On 14 Jul 05, three individuals were observed outside of the perimeter of Tinker AFB, OK. They were looking through binoculars, taking pictures and one appeared to be holding a large weapon at chest level. The weapon appeared to be aimed towards a low flying aircraft. The three individuals were described as being of Middle Eastern decent [sic] and left the area when approached. The weapon was later identified as a rocket launcher (MANPAD) and the low flying aircraft to be a B-1 Bomber. FBI in Oklahoma City and AFOSI determined the threat to be credible.

Hat tip to Michelle Malkin

The Three Jars

More great stuff from Michael Yon, freelance journalist reporting from the thick of it in Iraq:

Mosul police were driving downtown when a fusilade of machine gun fire penetrated their truck. The guns began to cool, having shot seven policemen dead. Nearby, a Deuce Four combat patrol came upon three suspicious cars driving erratically. The first car sped away, but the second car--a taxi--was not so lucky, because the driver of the third car apparently panicked and smashed headlong into the rear of taxi.

The taxi driver bolted from his car. There were three passengers in the third car, now accordianed into the back end of the taxi. The front seat passenger tested the mathematics describing physics, stopping his inertia by smashing his head into the windshield, leaving a complete impression of his Tunisian face.

As the Americans stopped and dropped ramps, all three passengers bolted. They ran to the right, leaving a trail of tossed weapons on the road that included two AKs, a grenade and a pistol, and two RPGs and four RPG rounds in their car. The Americans, SSG Freed, Tuzza, and Specialists Hood, Reynolds, Holden, Chacon and others, all led by LT Dave Webb, got after the terrorists.SSG Freed followed the trail of glistening blood-drops from the crash scene for three blocks into a house until he came face to lacerated face with the Tunisian, tackling him as he climbed the back wall of a house.

Meanwhile, the taxi driver had taken refuge in a store behind a counter, and when an American soldier came 'round, the owner subtly signaled with his eyes that a terrorist was hiding behind his counter. Busted.

The soldiers came under small arms fire, perhaps from the car that escaped, but held tight and rounded up four fighters. The Tunisian got busy telling everything he knew. Such is the burden of foreign fighters on the Iraqi terror networks. When caught, they normally tell everything as fast as they can, unleashing cascading rapids of details about insurgent plans, people and resources.

Atique Sharifi

Atique Sharifi fled Afghanistan after the Taliban murdered his parents. The Islamists caught up with him, the last surviving man of his family, on the Picadilly Line of the Tube in London on July 7. He was 24.

The London Times:

Atique Sharifi was the only Afghan national to be killed in the London bombings and the last of the victims to be formally identified.

He came to Britain in January 2002 to make a new life after his parents were killed by the Taliban when he was in his teens. He had been granted exceptional leave to remain in the UK.

Initially unable to speak a word of English, Sharifi had been studying at West Thames College since September 2002, funded by the Learning and Skills Council. There he had excelled in his language studies. His lecturer, Harminder Ubhie, remembers him as a “highly motivated, dedicated and ambitious” student who continued to turn up for classes even as others dropped away.

Sharifi was planning to continue with his studies, and was due to embark on an IT course at West Thames College in September. He was also planning to re-sit his driving test next month, having passed his theory test with flying colours.

Thalia Marriott, principal of West Thames College, said: “The deep irony of this tragic event is that Atique had left his native Afghanistan to seek safety in the UK, only to find his fate at the hands of extremists here.”

He shared a flat in Hounslow, West London, with three other Afghans, and worked in a pizza takeaway. Any spare cash was sent home to his younger sister in Kabul. He had also saved enough from his small wages to purchase his own computer.

Sharifi is believed to have spent the night of July 6 with friends in North London, and was returning to West London when he was caught in the blast on the Piccadilly Line between King’s Cross and Russell Square stations.

Sharifi had some distant relatives in London, but what remains of his immediate family are back home in Afghanistan. On Wednesday the Afghan President, Hamid Karzai, placed a floral tribute of white roses in memory of Sharifi at the garden of remembrance at King’s Cross.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

North Koreans Eat Grass

Gerald Bourke, a spokesman based in Beijing for the UN World Food Program, reports that food is so short in the Worker's Paradise of North Korea that the people are foraging for anything edible to survive. Says Bourke, "People are gathering wild food, grasses, bracken (ferns), acorns. I've seen people going up into the hills with sacks and coming down with sacks of grass and picking through seaweed."

The failed socialist state of North Korea survives on food donations from foreign countries, including the US. However, those donations simply support the Kim Jong Ils catastrophic rule, as the food is directed first to support the military and administration and then used to discipline the population at large. If you don't support the regime, you starve. The regime also sells the donated food to its starving people.

The North has suffered from famine through the 1990s, losing possibly two million people to starvation out of a population of about 23 million. The Global Situation Report tells of incidents of cannibalism in 1999:
So desperate are the people that some have resorted to eating children who die; others have reportedly captured live orphaned children found abandoned on city streets and killed them for food. Three youths were reportedly executed recently for murdering a woman and butchering her body for sale.

The reader is cautioned not to misinterpret this as a failure of Communist genius Kim Sung-Il's policy of "juche," or self reliance. It is a perfect example of juche in action: Instead of relying on foreigners for your dinner, the North Koreans are relying on their neighbors to provide their dinner.

The effects of the famine are reported by GSR:
What is most worrying to some observers is the fact that an estimated 63% of North Korean children are undernourished, with some 16% of children 7 years old or younger suffering acute malnutrition. Thousands of toddlers are too weak to take their first steps. Dr. Hoang Thi Van, a Vietnamese World Food Program emergency officer, estimates that 50% of these youngsters may be permanently stunted. Thousands of grade-schoolers are too weak to concentrate on their studies.

A generation of children may grow up physically and mentally retarded. The effects will be felt for decades. "The impact on the people is very serious because you have children suffering from deprivation of food at a very early age," says David Morton, U.N. humanitarian coordinator in North Korea. "This can affect -- this will affect -- their future physical and mental development and this will affect the long-term development of the country."

And while his people starve, commie dictator Kim Jong Il is hot in pursuit of atom bombs and and Swedish hookers, swilling Hennessy brandy while enjoying the high life.

Apres Kim Jong Il, le deluge!

Russian Spammer Killed

Vardan Kushnir was found dead Sunday in his Moscow apartment. Somebody had beaten his head in. Kushnir was the head of English learning centers called the Center for American English, the New York English Centre and the Centre for Spoken English. Together, they churned out millions of spam emails every day, literally to every citizen of Russia with an email address and beyond. The fury of his addressees did not deter him. Kushnir said spam is what email was made for. Russian law does not consider spamming a crime, which is why it is spamming heaven and a haven for other Internet crimes. It appears somebody decided that beatings are what spammer's heads were made for.

Let's hope it's a trend.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Baghdad Jane

The former "Hanoi" Jane Fonda announces that she will make a cross-country bus tour in March to demand the immediate stop of US military operations in Iraq. The bus will run on vegetable oil. Fonda claims that she has decided to come out against the war at the urging of military veterans whom she met during her recent book tour. Presumably, none of those veterans include former residents of the Hanoi Hilton beaten to appear in her former propaganda ventures. Fonda is also somewhat sketchy on the details of what would happen should the US be so foolish as to take her advice and give Iraq up to the mercies of the Baathists and jihadis now butchering Iraqis by the hundreds.

Perhaps we can look forward to a future Fonda trip to Iraq where she dons a peasant burqa and meets ecstatically with suicide bombers gathering in Syria to urge them on to victory. The good news is that Fonda won't be meeting with any US prisoners of the insurgents this time to make propaganda. They've all been executed.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

How The Left Supports The Troops

U.S. Army Pfc. Timothy Hines Jr, 21, was buried Friday with full military honors after a funeral in Vineyard Community Church in Springdale, Ohio with four hundred mourners attending. Timothy was wounded by a roadside bomb in Baghdad on June 19 and lingered at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC for weeks before he passed away. Timothy left behind a two year old daughter and a pregnant widow due to deliver in two weeks. Friends of the widow's parents filled Timothy's father- and mother-in-laws lawn with twenty American flags as a show of support.

Sara Wessel, Timothy's sister-in-law, was awakened yesterday morning by her car alarm. Somebody had torn the flags out of the lawn, piled them under her car parked in front of the house, and set them on fire. They had not been up a full day yet after the funeral.

Jim Wessel, Hines' father-in-law, likes to think the fire was random vandalism: "If it wasn't random vandalism, what statement were they trying to make?" His neighbors don't buy the random vandalism theory. There were twenty other cars parked on the street. Only the car parked in front of the flag-flying house was torched.

Says neighbor Bob Kramer, "With the connection to this family, what are the chances of them randomly getting the flags out of their yard and choosing that car? For someone to target them and add to their suffering is just horrendous."

By Saturday afternoon, family, friends, and neighbors had replaced the the twenty burnt flags with two hundred new ones.

Wessel said, "We have a great neighborhood."

Ask Not What You Can Do For Your Idea

Syrian human rights lawyer Anwar al-Bounni on radical Islam:
"Our problem is that we have ideology and we use people as fuel for it. Ideology is supposed to be in the service of a person, to make his life better not so that he can die for it. This is a culture of death - that people die for an idea. I want an idea that will die for me. If it doesn’t serve people it should die."

And that is precisely why the Western culture of life will defeat the Wahhabi culture of death now waging war around the world. The Islamists want to die for their ideas while we want to live for ours.

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Real War In Iraq

Michael Yon, freelance journalist, gives us a good look at how our troops in Iraq are fighting the insurgents in his blog, Michael Yon: Online Magazine. This article takes us into "The Devil's Den," where the bad guys hide their weapons. This is the kind of news from Iraq we would read if the media was on our side. And whatever ya do, don't screw with the green balls.

Hat tip to Glenn Reynolds at Instapundit.

The Grizzly Man

Timothy Treadwell loved bears, especially grizzly bears. He raved about them. He sang to them. He lived with them. Sadly, Tim's affection for the bears was not returned. They ate him. His girlfriend, too. And therein lies the tale of goo-goo animal rights activism gone wrong, horribly wrong, a story of a man consumed by his passion soon to be told in a documentary called "The Grizzly Man", appearing in theaters on August 12 and the Discovery Channel this fall.

Timothy Treadwell, author, filmmaker, self-professed eco-warrior, found his salvation in the grizzly bear. As he explained in his book, "Among Grizzlies: Living With Wild Bears in Alaska," bears had driven him to give up drugs and establish a non-profit bear-appreciation group, called Grizzly People. On one his videos, he promises a bear, "I will stop drinking for you and all bears. I will stop and devote my life to you." Greater love hath no man than this, than to lay down his booze for his bears. "I love the bears. I love, love, love these animals," gushed Treadwell.

Treadwell made an annual trek to remote Kaflia Bay in Alaska, about 300 miles southwest of Anchorage, in the Katmai National Park and Preserve, where he set up camp in bear territory from May through October. The salmon ran through there, which attracted the bears. Because of the network of bear trails there, he called it the Grizzly Maze. He repeated the trip for thirteen years. He studied the bears there, coming ever closer to them, even touching them, and videotaping his close encounters with the thousand pound omnivores. Often, Treadwell would creep up on the grizzly bears chanting in a high-pitched, sing-song, "I love you." Some of the people who knew Treadwell think he wanted to be a bear.

Breaking camp after four months, he would return to California where he would relate his ursine adventures in California schools. "His passion for the bears and wildlife was just infectious, and the students loved his stories," said Phil Cott, principal of Webster Elementary School in Malibu.

Amie Huguenard met Treadwell at a grizzly bear presentation in Boulder, Colorado. A graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Medicine, she also had a degree in molecular biology from the University of Colorado in Boulder. She was a physician's assistant in Boulder.

She followed Treadwell to California, then to his camp in Alaska. She quite sensibly feared the bears, though evidently not enough as events proved. Said her sister, "They had a passion and that overrode everything." An old boyfriend of hers said she was very naive and easily fooled. "Amie had a kind of naivete about her that added a real sweetness to her entire persona. At times it was easy to convince her of things that were not entirely true. We would let her in on these jokes and get a good laugh, especially from her."

Bear researchers in Alaska usually defend their campsites with electric fences and carry guns. Treadwell didn't. He even gave up carrying bear spray for self-protection. He told his friends he didn't need it because he knew the bears so well. He faced a giant bear in one of his videos, cooing to it, "Quincy, do you remember when you stood over me? You were so hungry, and you should have eaten me, but you didn't. Thanks for not eating me, Quincy - but if you had eaten me, good, 'cause you're a nice bear!"

Tim named the bears: Booble, Aunt Melissa, Mr. Chocolate, Freckles, Molly. Cupcake, Taffy, the Big Red Machine bear, the Baby Letterman bear, Demon and so on. Treadwell thought his grizzly bears accepted him, perhaps even loved him. Bear experts seem to think that they just tolerated him. Sometimes in his videos he ignored obvious threatening bear behavior, like chuffing or laying their ears back or rocking sideways on their paws. Treadwell appeared oblivious to this dangerous body language.

Treadwell's antics with the charismatic megafauna made him a media darling. "Dateline NBC" did a report on him. Rosie O'Donnell had him on her show as a guest. The Discovery Channel gave him a show, the "Grizzly Diaries." A blurb for the show: "Follow Timothy Treadwell as he keeps a yearly appointment with North America's most feared predator - the grizzly bear! Armed with only a video camera, he roams the Alaskan wilderness living in close contact with the magnificent animals. Watch, amazed, as he comes face to face with an 1000-pound bear!"

"I want to be unconditional love and kindness to them," he told Dave Letterman on the Late Show. "I want to live with them and go with them and not carry something that will hurt them. I mastered a way of interacting with them with body language that enables me to be in extremely close contact with them. Grizzly bears are really just big party animals. I discovered that singing soothes these bears."

Dave jokingly asked Treadwell if he was going to open the newspaper some morning and find he'd been eaten by bears. Treadwell told Dave he felt safer living among the bears than running through New York's Central Park.

Treadwell's facile glibness persuaded the dim bulbs of Hollywood. Hollywood screenwriter Robert Towne (Chinatown), "Common sense will tell you that this man knows infinitely more about Grizzly bears than anyone." Towne was active in Treadwell's Grizzly People group. Hollywood celebrities were happy to kick in cash for Treadwell's adventures, stars like Leonardo DiCaprio, Pierce Brosnan, and supermodel Gisele Bundchen.

Tom Smith, a biologist at the Alaska Science Center, did not find Treadwell's approach so cute, "Bears are bears, and the sooner we treat them as bears instead of humans in a bear suit it will be less dangerous."

Deb Liggett, superintendent at Katmai and Lake Clark national parks, told the Anchorage Daily News in 2001, "At best he's misguided. At worst, he's dangerous. If Timothy models unsafe behavior, that ultimately puts bears and other visitors at risk."

Chuck Bartlebaugh of "Be Bear Aware," a national bear awareness campaign, called Treadwell a leader of "a trend to promote getting close to bears to show they were not dangerous. He kept insisting that he wanted to show that bears in thick brush aren't dangerous. The last two people killed (by bears) in Glacier National Park went off the trail into the brush. They said their goal was to find a grizzly bear so they could 'do a Timothy.' We have a trail of dead people and dead bears because of this trend that says, 'Let's show it's not dangerous.'"

As it turns out, the bears that Treadwell called grizzlies weren't exactly grizzlies but brown bears. Brown and grizzly bears are the same species but grizzlies live in the interior, brown bears live on the coast where Treadwell camped.

Also, the Grizzly People was not a non-profit organization, as it claimed. The IRS never heard of it.

And Timothy Treadwell's name was not Timothy Treadwell but Timothy William Dexter. He was not from Australia as he claimed, but Long Island. Nor was he a British orphan, as he told his friends, but the son of Valentine Dexter, a phone company foreman, who kicked him out of the house after dropping out of college and crashing the family station wagon while drunk.

Treadwell moved to California where his life went into a death spiral of drink and drugs. The police in Sunset Beach booked him on assault charges. The Beverly Hills cops took him on suspicion of assault. Then he nearly killed himself with a drug overdose. That's when he got his vision of life with the bears.

U.S. Geological Survey bear researcher Tom Smith: "He's the only one I've consistently had concern for. He had kind of a childlike attitude about him. I told him to be much more cautious ... because every time a bear kills somebody, there is a big increase in bearanoia and bears get killed. I thought that would be a way of getting to him, and his response was 'I would be honored to end up in bear scat.'" Damned if his dream didn't come true.

A pilot flew out from Kodiak to pick up the pair at the end of their stay and bring them home only to find a big mean-ass bear squatting on human remains in Treadwell's camp. That looked bad. He called park rangers who were charged by the bear at the camp. Joel Ellis, Katmai park ranger, said he fired eleven rounds from his pistol before bringing the bear down twelve feet away. He thought that was cutting it fine.

It was a large, 28 year old, underweight male, only a thousand pounds, with a ratty hide and rotting teeth. The autopsy found hunks of Treadwell and bits of his clothes in its stomach. The rest of Treadwell and Huguenard had been buried to eat later. Bears cache their food like that. Timothy Treadwell was 46. His girlfriend, Amie Huguenard, was 37.

It's not clear what the name of the bear was which ate Tim and Amie. Maybe it was the lovable Booble or that scamp Molly. My guess is that it was Demon.

The Alaska State Troopers believe that Tim and Amie were attacked at 1:45 PM on October 5, 2003 while they ate lunch in their tent during a rainshower. A bear wandered into their camp and Tim left the tent to chase it away. But it wouldn't be chased. It was a bear with a bad attitude. There had been a poor berry crop that year and the bear needed to fatten up for the winter. Maybe he smelled their lunch.

Before he left the tent to confront the bear, Treadwell told his girlfriend to turn on his videocamera. She did, but left the lens cap on. The tape recorded the sounds of the attack. Most of it is screaming, rustling sounds, scratching and dragging noises.

Treadwell screams, "They're killing me out here!" "Play dead," screams Amie. That must not have stopped the attack. Amie screams again, "Fight back!" Treadwell screams again, "Hit him with something! Hit him with a pan!" Treadwell's last words to his girlfriend were the wisest ones he ever spoke: "Get out here. I'm getting killed." The last human sounds are Amie wailing. It took the bear six and a half minutes to kill them.

Rather than be frightened away by Treadwell's tragedy, a new cohort of wildlife photographers and videographers have been encouraged by his example and have set off to national parks to imitate him. They want desperately to do a Timothy. That is undoubtedly good news for hungry bears everywhere.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Tantor's Movie Review

I went to see War of the Worlds last night and boy was it good. It's a Great American Tradition to have a Big Summer Monster Movie with creature or creatures rampaging across the planet. This was the best monster movie in some years. When those Martian tripods start trashing towns and vaporizing people, IT WAS SCARY! Thank goodness, once again, Earth won in the end.

It followed the same general plot as the excellent 1953 version that is required viewing for every little kid, but with some some new, and gruesome, twists. The Martian tripods in the new version were far more sinister than the old manta ray spaceships of the 1953 Martian invasion. They had a retro look like we expected the future to look like twenty years ago.

Steven Spielberg took care not to repeat the cliches of the old monster movies, like famous landmarks being blown up and heroines tripping while being chased by the monster. However, I miss the old cliche where, as the military assembles to attack the alien invaders, the pacifists bravely go out to try to talk peace and love with them, to try and understand their concerns and deal fairly with them, to have a Kumbaya moment with them. The aliens eyeball them incredulously for a moment, then blast them to bits. I always laugh my ass off when I see that.

The funniest part of the movie comes when the protagonists family is trying to comprehend what the tripods are. Terrorists? No, worse than terrorists. Where are they from? Not from here. Are they from Europe?

War of the Worlds gets a Four on Tantor's Five Point Movie Rating System (TFPMRS). A very good popcorn muncher. Go see it.

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith was a bore. In traditional Star Wars style, the movie was begun by words scrolling off into a background of stars. By the time it got to the third paragraph, I was lost and I never caught up. Who exactly are the Sith and why are they bad? I still can't tell you what exactly happenned in this movie except that everyone was pulling out their light sabres every third scene and going at it. A good chunk of the movie was spent tying up the plot threads from the original movie which, theoretically, comes after this one.

The special effects were spectacular, of course. They are the biggest draw for this flick. But the plot, the plot, the plot has been lost in all the special effects. I think George Lucas dreamed up a handful of big setpiece scenes that would dazzle the eyes and then backed in a plot that would tie them together.

I remember seeing the first "Star Wars" back in college with my high school buddies. It was only playing in one theater on the other side of town. We loved it. We went back to see it a couple more times. We thought we had stumbled onto some little known flick. We started calling each other Yoda and Darth and Luke, thinking nobody would know what we were talking about. Little did we know.

That original movie had good, well-drawn, distinct characters, unlike the latest effort. There was a clear plot: Destroy the Death Star! This latest Star Wars plot was muddled. It's as if all the original joy has been squeezed out of this franchise, but not its momentum.

I give Star Wars Episode IIIa 3 out of 5 on the TFPMRS. It's watchable. The special effects are better seen on the big screen than waiting to rent the DVD later to see it on TV.

I liked Batman Begins with the star, Christian Bale, doing a good job depicting the screwed up Bruce Wayne. The movie does a good job of illustrating Wayne's character transformation and how he got all those marvelous toys. It's also unusual in its postive portrayal of his capitalist parents as generous benefactors of the dark and downtrodden Gotham City. Hollywood usually demands that its capitalists be evil. Even more shocking, one of the villains is a psychiatrist. If this trend continues, we may see TV anchors or newspaper publishers as villians some day.

Batman Begins gets a 4 out of 5. Well worth seeing.

The best movie of the year so far is Crash, an oddly structured film that follows in desultory fashion the lives of half a dozen groups of characters in Los Angeles as their lives crash into each other like bumper cars. A thread of racism is woven into all the interlocking stories but I'm hard put to tell you what the main point was of all the stories put together. Yet you can not take your eyes off the screen. This film is all about plot.

Crash gets a strong 4 out of 5. Go. See. It.

I'm inclined to believe that the vast improvement in special effects has led to worse movies in general because of the decline of story. Movies have too much spectacle, too little plot. It just may be that the movies were better back in the Hollywood of the 1930s when they were made on a shoestring and manufactured like sausages. All they had was story.

I went to a software conference a year ago that featured as a speaker Scott Ross from Digital Domain, a company in Hollywood that made special effects for the movies "Titanic", "X-Men", and "The Day After Tomorrow." Digital Domain did those sweeping shots of the Titanic at sea. They also did the shots of tornadoes tearing up LA and the tidal wave swamping New York City in "The Day After Tomorrow." He showed how they built the scenes up, layer by layer, starting with ordinary film or stills and adding the effects, one at a time. It was fascinating.

Ross lamented the decline of story in Hollywood in favor of special effects, oddly enough. He said that plot and story-telling have declined because even after all this time, nobody really knows how to make a good movie. Ross went to visit Howard Koch, a famous screenwriter, who wrote "Sergeant York" and "Casablanca." Ross asked Koch how he did it, how he wrote those classics, what was the secret? The Old Man said, "Kid, I threw a lot of shit at the wall. Some of it stuck."

Friday, July 15, 2005

Body Armor: Don't Leave Home Without It

Here is a dramatic video captured from the enemy in Iraq, taken by a sniper team wanting to assassinate one of our GIs. The bullet strikes him square in the chest. And bounces off.

It must be pretty depressing for insurgent sumbitches to give us their best shot to no effect. We caught 'em later.

*** Update ***

Army Pfc. Stephen Tschiderer of Mendon, NY was the target of this attack while on patrol in Baghdad while serving with the 101st “Saber” Cavalry Division.

"I knew I was hit, but was uncertain of the damage or location from the hit. The only thing that was going through my mind was to take cover and locate the sniper’s position. The shot came from my 12 o’clock position from a silver van parked across an intersection about 75 meters from my location," said Tschiderer.

His patrol returned fire on the van. Two insurgents fled the van but the patrol followed their blood trail and captured them. Tschiderer slapped the handcuffs on the sniper who had shot him, then rendered medical aid to him. Had the situation been reversed, I doubt the sniper would have done the same.

The shooter had used a Soviet Dragonoff sniper rifle, aimed through a small hole cut in the van, which was filled with mattresses to muffle the shot.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Why They Hate Us

Mohammed Bouyeri, the assassin of Dutch filmmaker Theo van Gogh, was happy to plead guilty to a Dutch court this week, "I take complete responsibility for my actions. I acted purely in the name of my religion. I can assure you that one day, should I be set free, I would do exactly the same, exactly the same."

At this point, it is useful to contemplate for a moment what would happen should we set Mr. Bouyeri's fellow jihadis free from Gitmo.

Bouyeri ambushed van Gogh while he was bicycling to work in east Amsterdam last November 2nd, wounding him with a pistol. Van Gogh fell off his bike and fled on foot across the street. Bouyeri followed, firing as he went, while fifty-three horrified witnesses scattered. Van Gogh went down on the sidewalk, pleading with his attacker, "Don't do it. Don't do it. Have mercy. Have mercy!" Bouyeri shot him as he lay. "Surely we can talk about this," begged van Gogh.

Bouyeri pulled a large knife and stabbed van Gogh, then cut his throat from ear to ear. Bouyeri then pinned a five page manifesto to the body of Van Gogh with a small knife. The note contained threats against Dutch politicians and raving about Jewish influence in politics. It was probably written by his group's ideologist. "I surely know that you, Oh Europe, will be destroyed," it read. He then kicked van Gogh and walked away. He shot it out with pursuing Dutch police before he took a bullet in the leg.

Bouyeri murdered Van Gogh because he had made a film critical of Islam.

The Dutch prosecutor, Frits van Straelen, revealed, "In a letter to his family he said he had chosen to do his duty to Allah and to give his soul for paradise. ... [Bouyeri] wanted to become a martyr."

Bouyeri helpfully explained to the bereaved van Gogh's mother where his sympathies lie in the matter, telling her in court: "I cannot feel for you ... because I believe you are a non-believer."

The explanations just don't get simpler than that.

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Fifth Column

Milverton Wallace, a journalist and educator who makes his home in London, reports that some of his neighbors are not unhappy with the carnage in the subway on Thursday:

I talked to many of the young Muslim lads I've known since they were babies, and I talked to their parents. And guess what? The parents are shocked, the youngsters gleeful. Go figure. The leaders of the Muslim Council of Britain can issue as many statements of solidarity and sympathy as they like; the facts are that many of their children rejoiced after the carnage in New York and they rejoiced after the slaughter in London yesterday.

BBC In Fantasyland

Finally, some good news from the BBC! It turns out that Thursday's bombing horror could not happen because terror is a myth. In "The Power of Nightmares" broadcast by the BBC last fall, they helpfully explained that the threat of international terrorism "is a fantasy that has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services, and the international media. So all those Brits aren't really lying dead in the London subway. It's just a dark illusion! Whew!

It turns out that Al Qaeda is not to blame for this nasty terror rumor, but British politicians: "In an age when all the grand ideas have lost credibility, fear of a phantom enemy is all the politicians have left to maintain their power."

That's not to say that there weren't doubts at BBC. Writer and producer Adam Curtis, admitted to some potential embarassment: "If a bomb goes off, the fear I have is that everyone will say, 'You're completely wrong,' even if the incident doesn't touch my argument. This shows the way we have all become trapped, the way even I have become trapped by a fear that is completely irrational."

Sunday, July 10, 2005

Four Went Out, One Came Back

The body of the fourth member of the lost SEAL reconnaissance team was recovered in Afghanistan, not far from the other two bodies of his team. Such teams try to avoid contact with the enemy, but this one was spotted and engaged by a hundred Taliban. They fought to the death. One escaped badly wounded, helped by local Afghans.

They were part of Operation Red Wing, searching for Taliban and Al Qaeda. That's the official story anyway. It may have been a long range sniper team hunting a high value target, like Bin Laden.

The team was on a patrol deep inside Kunar province in northeastern Afghanistan, close to the Pakistan border on a wooded mountain trail when things went sour. They were deep in bad guy territory, vastly outnumbered by hostile locals, moving stealthily, when they were spotted in the evening of June 28. Lieutenant Michael Murphy, 29, leading the team, called for an immediate extraction as they shot it out with the Taliban in heavy rain. They probably dumped their packs to make a disciplined retreat, each man firing in turn as the others fell back to successive positions in the rear.

Murphy was killed. So was Petty Officer Danny Dietz, 25, and another unnamed SEAL.

A Chinook helicopter was dispatched to the rescue carrying an eight man SEAL team and an eight man Army crew. As it came to land in the Waigal valley, near the town of Asadabad, it was struck by an RPG fired from trees which evidently struck the chopper from above in a lucky shot. All aboard perished.

The Taliban claimed to have beheaded the last SEAL. "We killed him at 11 o’clock today; we killed him using a knife and chopped off his head," announced Abdul Latif Hakimi, a Taliban spokesman with a long history of lying. In fact, the SEAL spent five days escaping and evading the Taliban before he was found, exhausted, by a friendly Afghan who took him in and contacted the US military. He's gonna make it.

It may be years before we hear the whole story on this. It is a sad reminder that there are a lot of good guys, America's best, hanging it all out there deep in enemy country, keeping Bin Laden's sphincter tight at night.

London Bus Bombing

It was quite a waker upper to turn on the TV early Thursday morning to news of the bombing atrocity on the London subway. I had an hour before I stepped on the Washington Metro subway to work. Would there be a bomb waiting for me in DC? While the local news told of many security measures taken, the only ones I saw were a couple motorcycle cops parked outside my Metro station. I took a long look around the subway car and my fellow passengers and their bags before I opened my Washington Post and settled in for the ride. Welcome to life in the target zone.

The death toll in London to date stands at forty-nine dead, seven hundred wounded. However, more dead may be yet to be pulled up from the subway tunnel. There is a problem in counting the remains. While the police have recovered many torsos of passengers, there may be more under the wreckage of the subway cars, blown out in front of the train and then run over. The cars themselves remain full of body parts. According to a London police official, "You have hands, you have feet, you have legs, you have organs, and until we can match A with B you're not certain." So the reason why the names of the dead have not been released is that they are too mutilated to be easily identified.

The terrorists were only partially successful. Their attack on three subway trains succeeded, the blasts occurring within a fifty second span. However, a follow on attack an hour later on a bus was apparently premature. When the police rerouted the No. 30 bus due to the subway attack, a man on the top of the double-decker bus was seen nervously fidgeting with his bag immediately before the detonation. He may have blown himself up by accident. There is a report that the Brits are reassembling him. There are conflicting reports that two other bombs were found unexploded on other buses or that they were found to be harmless packages.

Meanwhile, Adil Salahi of the Arab News from Saudi Arabia, is puzzled, really puzzled why people would jump to conclusions and think Muslims to blame. Adil strikes a moral pose:

It must be stated in the clearest of terms that Islam views such acts as crimes of the worst type, because they are aimed at defenseless civilians, causing indiscriminate killing irrespective of nationality, race, color, sex or age. Islam condemns such an operation without hesitation.
But that's not what the Wahhabis teach young Saudi kids in school, what they print in the Arab press, nor what they broadcast on their internal TV. But that's what I like about the Saudis: They serve their hypocrisy straight, no ice, no lime salt around the rim, please.

The silver-tongued Adil goes on to identify the problem as not Al Qaeda, but Islamaphobia:

Why is it that the first reaction always moves in the direction of blaming Islam and Muslims? Western media immediately speak about Muslim involvement, and some politicians are quick to toe this line. ... This is merely the result of Islamophobia, a phenomenon that has been nurtured over many years and has now taken root in many Western societies, with the result that Islam is instinctively associated with practically every terrorist attack anywhere in the world.
At last we have found the root cause for the Sep 11 attacks: Islamaphobia! The Madrid bombings? More Islamaphobia! The Bali bombings? You guessed it, Islamaphobia again! Let me extend my profuse thanks to the Saudis, our "allies in the war against terror," for explaining all this away.

I may have been led astray in blaming Muslims for such atrocities by evidence like this slickly made instructional video for suicide bombers attacking buses, narrated in Arabic. Probably a product of Palestine, the production values are excellent, like a corporate video. In twenty-six minutes, it gives detailed directions about how to pack a suicide belt with shrapnel and high explosives and where to position yourself to kill the most passengers. As music plays in the background, the narrator helpfully explains:

When the person who will be wearing this explosive vest goes on the bus, and wants to blow himself up, he must be facing the front with his back toward the back. There is a possibility that the two seats on his right and his left might not be hit with the shrapnel. However, the explosion will surely kill the passengers in those seats.
This video is all over the radical Islamist websites. They must be Islamaphobic, too.

Then again, maybe the finger of blame hovers around the Muslim head because of threats of future attacks on London from the likes of Sheikh Omar Bakri Muhammad of the al Muhajiroun group, who also applaud the September 11 attacks on the United States. Quoted in, he predicted a large attack against London last year in

It’s inevitable. Because several attacks are being prepared by several groups ... I know that they are ready to launch a big operation. ... We don’t make a distinction between civilians and non-civilians, innocents and non-innocents. Only between Muslims and unbelievers. And the life of an unbeliever has no value. It has no sanctity. ... The British also are terrorists, in Iraq...Terrorism is the law of the 21st century. It's legitimate.
Sheikh Omar had famously remarked earlier that he wanted to conquer England for Islam, to fly the banner of Islam at 10 Downing Street. Asked to comment on that, the Sheikh replied:
Yes, it’s my dream. I believe one day that is going to happen. Because this is my country, I like living here.
It's enough to give you Islamaphobia.