"It was for freedom that Christ has set us free..." Gal 5:1



Archive for April, 2008

I find the idea of anyone of any age being forced to marry extremely disturbing. There is no doubt in my mind that this constitutes a crime that should continue to be punishable by law. When such arrangements are forced on underage children we are talking about a great evil!

But as I watch this story unfold I have questions. I have been trying to think about how to express those questions. Then I stumbled on this article by Joseph Farah at WorldNetDaily.com. He asks some good questions! I encourage you to read the article.

Here is a sample:

Is there a community in America where child abuse is not taking place?

Don’t we normally arrest individual suspects and try them for their crimes?

Do we normally and pre-emptively round up all the children in a community where it is suspected abuse is taking place without specific evidence?

When a government schoolteacher is arrested for abusing one student, are all the students in that school assumed to be victims?

And why aren’t all the usual, dependable advocates of tolerance, diversity and alternative lifestyles actively protesting the disruption of life within a peaceful community based on society’s imposition of its own sense of morality?

Is the secular state really better at determining what’s best for the children of the YFZ Ranch than are the parents of those children? [Read More]

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Chinese arms dispatched to Mugabe rejected by ports
– so far

April 24, 2008

By Gordon Thomas
Reposted from the G2 Bulletin with permission – The G2 Bulletin is a subscription only news source.

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Robert Mugabe

LONDON – A floating arsenal of weapons and bombs dispatched by China in a rust-stained tramp freighter to the pariah state of President Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe now is being shadowed by Britain’s most powerful submarine, a nuclear Trident.

Freighter officers are desperate to be allowed to unload their cargo of 1,500 rocket-propelled grenades, 2,500 mortar rounds and three million rounds of ammunition for Mugabe’s army, intended to be used to further cow the country’s starving population.

But it has been turned away by dockers in the South African port who branded it “a ship of shame,” as well as ports in Angola and Mozambique.

Now as it wanders around the South Atlantic, the An Yue Jiang, which began its voyage five weeks ago from the Chinese port of Ningbo southwards into the Pacific and across the Indian Ocean, the Beijing Ministry of Defense has been trying to find an African country which would allow it to unload the lethal cargo.

Intelligence sources in London have confirmed that secret approaches have been made to Equatorial Guinea, Benin and the Ivory Coast. But so far none has allowed the ship to dock and offload its weapons.

Tom Casey, a State Department spokesman in Washington, said: “We think that under the present circumstances and the current political crisis in Zimbabwe, now is not the time for anyone to be increasing the number of weapons and armaments available to that country. We will press African nations to refuse the Yue Jiang docking rights or to face worsened relations with the United State.”

Naval intelligence sources in London have said the possibility “cannot be ruled out” that the ship could make the journey to Venezuela, whose maverick leader, President Hugo Chavez, has a good relationship with China and is an opponent of the United States.

“Chavez is a skilled player on the international stage and he could say he was offering to refuel the ship on humanitarian grounds. The weapons could then be transferred to a Venezuelan registered ship and repackaged for Zimbabwe,” said one ship’s broker at Lloyds, the world’s largest shipping broker.

Meantime, the Trident — one of four in the fleet which is based in Faslane on Scotland’s Clyde — is on patrol.

For three months, the black-hulled submarine will be at sea. At 450 feet long and weighing 16,000 tons, the leviathan hull is covered with sonar-absorbing anechoic tiles.

From the depths of the ocean it trails a 1,000-yard-long communications wire. That wire is used to receive and send short burst communications.

The Trident’s role is simply that of a watchdog. But its presence can only reinforce the mood in Washington and London that the shipment of arms must be recalled to China and plans to send further shipments abandoned by the Beijing regime.

Gordon Thomas is the author of the newly published Secrets and Lies: A History of CIA Mind Control and Germ Warfare (Octavo Editions, USA) and the forthcoming Inside British Intelligence (JR Books, UK).

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Abu Ghraib, ‘torture’ ban blamed for prolonging war
April 22, 2008

Reposted from the G2 Bulletin with permission – The G2 Bulletin is a subscription only news source.

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Abu Ghraib prison

WASHINGTON — U.S. military casualties in Iraq skyrocketed during the Abu Ghraib prison scandal and following a ban on coercive interrogation of prisoners 18 months later, shows an analysis of monthly Defense Department reports on troop deaths conducted by G2B.

Only two times during the course of the war do statistics show combat deaths significantly increasing:

  • The first came just as the Abu Ghraib scandal was breaking in April 2004, casting international doubt upon the American-led mission and, say U.S. military sources, giving encouragement to terrorist forces on the ground.
  • The second came in 2006, following the implementation of new rules of engagement and a congressional ban on so-called “torture” that strictly limited interrogation techniques by U.S. military personnel.

In addition to being the month the world first heard of Abu Ghraib, April 2004 also was the second-highest month for U.S. military deaths in Iraq and it set off a period of significant instability.

The 136 U.S. combat deaths in April were rivaled only once — seven months later, as the scandal continued to unfold in the international media.

In the first 13 months of the war, leading up to April 2004, there were a total of 605 U.S. military deaths in Iraq. In the following 13 months there were 928 — more than a 50 percent increase.

Casualties remained steady and slightly higher than at the beginning of the war through the next 18 months of the war, followed by another major surge of violence directed against U.S. troops, U.S. military sources that include veterans of multiple tours of Iraq, those involved in interrogations and military intelligence experts told G2B.

In early 2006, the Congress approved the ban on interrogation methods widely labeled as “torture.” However, U.S. military interrogators say the more accurate terminology for the practices banned is “coercive interrogations.” They say the prohibitions left the U.S. without the kind of information it needed to prevent future attacks, to assess the strength of the enemy and to locate strongholds.

Analysis of statistics suggests those assessments may have some validity.

Beginning in October 2006, the U.S. faced an 11-month period of greatly increased field casualties — a total of 1,091. Only the introduction of higher U.S. troop levels and new surge strategies offered up by Gen. David Petraeus had the effect of reducing casualties to the lowest levels of the war over the last seven months.

Besides the alarming statistics, there are on-the-record sources linking Abu Ghraib fallout, changing rules of engagement and the ban on coercive interrogations to higher death tolls for U.S. troops.

According to Army Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller, the chilling effect of the prisoner abuse scandal at Abu Ghraib caused about a 25 percent decline in intelligence gathered from inmates.

Back in 2006, one military insider told G2B: “There are absolutely no standards and everybody — and I mean everybody — graduates now. They’ve essentially removed all structure to the questioning techniques and now students, mostly 18-year-old kids, get to question any way they like. The instructors at the end of the iteration have to provide the student with all the information they missed.”

According to the Iraq Study Group’s report in December 2005, “our … government still does not understand very well either the insurgency in Iraq or the role of the militias.” It said there had been too little investment in intelligence gathering and analysis.

The worst part of the new manual on interrogations, say experts on the subject, was the fact that the U.S. made the restrictions public.

Veteran military interrogators say the public release of the Army’s limits on techniques tipped the hand to terrorists and enemies worldwide virtually ruling out the possibility that prisoners would offer up any effective intelligence in the field.

One critic said “tactical HUMINT” — meaning human intelligence gathering — is now a dead concept as far as effectiveness is concerned.

“The worst thing is that the new manual has been released, with no secret amendments totally unclassified to the world — not even ‘for official use only,'” said a field interrogator with experience in Iraq. “All the briefers were honest enough to state that every terrorist entity in the world is now is fully aware of all of our techniques and all of our limitations and therefore, is prepared to resist. The rationale is that the Army and the DoD (Department of Defense) want no bad press and doesn’t want anybody in the world to think we are doing anything ‘sneaky.'”

New rules of engagement that began to go into effect for some units in Iraq at the end of 2005 also played a role in turning U.S. troops into targets rather than warriors. G2B first reported that year soldiers were told not to fire unless fired upon.

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