Monday, October 16, 2006

US business execs become familiar with CJTF-HOA mission

Business in Kenya
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Capt. Jonathan Friedman CJTF-HOA Public Affairs

NAIROBI, Kenya - Eight members of the Business Executives for National Security embarked on a journey of Eastern Africa Oct. 8 to gain a better understanding of the region and to assess the issues facing these countries.

The group -- hosted by Combined-Joint Task Force Horn of Africa Commander Rear Adm. Richard Hunt -- consist of successful business executives from the United States. The group began their 6-day journey by speaking with US military and embassy officials about the humanitarian efforts being made in the region

"We hope to stimulate innovative thinking across all areas of our efforts in the CJTF-HOA area," said Navy Capt. Kevin Hutcheson, deputy foreign policy advisor and BENS trip coordinator.

With life at stake, engineer stays determined

Iraq Engineers
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Polli Barnes Keller Gulf Region North - U.S. Army Corps of Engineers

TIKRIT — Having one brother murdered and a brother-in-law kidnapped and tortured, Sa’ad Rasheed narrowly escaped with his life but continues working in the reconstruction of his country.

Daily, Iraq is featured in western media headlines. Reports of insurgents jam the news waves with doom and gloom. While the dangers are real and bad things happen, the real stories here are the ones of bravery and dedication.

Bricks and mortar may not be as exciting or as riveting as insurgents ambushing the innocent, but dedication and commitment to rebuilding a country, risking life and limb in doing so is certainly worthy of headline news and the attention of the world.

Coalition Conference looks at the New Iraq

New Iraq
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Army Sgt. Frank Pellegrini Multi-National Force - Iraq

BAGHDAD — For the last plane full of generals, military staff and dignitaries from half a dozen countries returning to Iraq to resume the fight, the 3rd annual Coalition Conference in Warsaw ended with an afternoon trip down Airport Road.

After three days of briefings, updates and get-togethers — and a little minimum-security sightseeing on Warsaw’s blissfully chilly, quiet streets — the group had touched down at Baghdad International Airport to find their helicopters had been put into the service of visiting U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

They would be traveling back to their International Zone offices the same way incoming troops did — by armored bus. Only not, as is standard procedure here under the cover of night, but at three in the afternoon.

Iraqi Army recruits graduate at steady pace

Iraqi Recruits
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Lance Cpl. Ben Eberle 1st Marine Logistics Group

CAMP HABBANIYAH — More than 300 Iraqi recruits graduated boot camp in a ceremony here Sept. 30.

The Iraqi Army’s newest soldiers endured five weeks of training to learn the fundamentals of marksmanship, urban patrols, search and clear operations, as well as how to make the transition to a military lifestyle.

A national recruiting initiative plans to bring in 30,000 soldiers by May 2007, said Col. Joel P. Garland, the basic combat training liaison officer for Multi-National Force – West.

“The goal is to get up to 1,850 soldiers per class,” said 45-year-old Garland, from Mission Viejo, Calif., who added that a new training cycle will start every six weeks.

Expeditionary Medical Force helps with medical support to Djiboutian citizens

Djiboutian citizens
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
DJIBOUTI — Hospital Corpsman Second Class Jason Moore, assigned to the Expeditionary Medical Force at Camp Lemonier, Djibouti, traveled with Army veterinarians, medics, and security personnel to rural Djibouti to provide medical and veterinary care to the indigent and refugee populations. Here is his account of the medical services provided.

Once we arrived in the district of Ali-Sabieh, we unloaded and organized $40,000 worth of medications including antibiotics, de-wormers, anti-inflammatory agents and multi-vitamins. Boxes were piled to the ceiling after the medicines were sorted.

Our first mission was to the village of Assamo where we set up at a small school. Classrooms became the provider offices for Lt. Cmdr. Christopher Hults, a general surgeon; Hospital Corpsman First Class Steven Wood, an independent duty corpsman; three Djiboutian nurses; an Army medic, and myself. The kitchen became our pharmacy. We saw 240 patients that day, many of them children.

Military leaders discuss operations in Baghdad

Discussing Operations
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By U.S. Army Master Sgt. Rick Brown
MNSTC-I Public Affairs

BAGHDAD, Iraq — Iraqi and Coalition leaders met with Arabic and Western press Sept. 26 to discuss Operation Together Forward, the ongoing joint effort between the Iraqi Army, the Iraqi Police, the National Police and Coalition forces. The operation is designed to help improve existing security conditions and stability in the nation’s capitol.

Maj. Gen. Bashar Mahmoud Ayoub, commander of the 9th Iraqi Army Division, was joined at the press conference by the Adhamiyah District Police Chief, Iraqi Police Brig. Gen. Ahmed and 172nd Stryker Brigade Commander U.S. Army Col. Michael Shields.

Addressing the most recent operations in the Adhamiyah District neighborhoods of Shaab and Ur, all three leaders noted the improved stability and security of the area, but stated that work there is not complete. They were also adamant about the need for continued cooperation between the armed forces, the political leadership of Iraq and the Iraqi people.

Weapons training for the battlefield

Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Air Force Capt. Kevin G. Tuttle Qalat Provincial Reconstruction Team

QALAT, Afghanistan – For some Airmen at the Qalat Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT), training in a hostile environment is crucial to successfully conduct operations.

Provincial Reconstruction Teams contribute to the reconstruction of Afghanistan by promoting good governance and justice, and facilitating reconstruction, development and economic growth. Reconstruction projects include building roads, schools and clinics.

Training for deployment for these Airmen was mandatory, but continuing to sharpen their skills in country is an even greater task considering that they must be ready to react if or when they come in contact with the enemy.

The Air Force provides specific training to all of its Airmen for deployments, but learning the intricacies of working at a PRT can only be mastered with continued practice.

Catamounts on prowl during Mountain Fury

Spartan on Prowl
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Sgt. Amber Robinson Task Force Spartan Public Affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE ORGUN-E, Afghanistan — As major efforts are made across Afghanistan to rid the country of Taliban influence, the Soldiers of 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, Task Force Spartan, have played an instrumental role in operations in the southeastern part of the country.

The “Catamounts” contributed enormously to Operation Mountain Fury, a comprehensive anti-terror effort focused in the provinces of Ghazni, Paktya, Khost and Paktika Provinces, which Coalition forces conducted in the late summer and early fall.

Decisive action for Catamount Fury, 2-87’s portion of the operation, began in mid-September and continued into the last days of the month. The Catamount Soldiers focused on 10 objectives during the project, all villages in the Andar District of Ghazni Province.

“This mission was strictly intelligence-driven,” said Army Lt. Col. Chris Toner, 2-87 battalion commander. “We received strong information that Andar was a center of gravity for Taliban activity.”

NMCB 5 Seabees Begin Renovations in Ethiopia

Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Chief Mass Communication Specialist (SW) Daniel Sanford

CAMP HURSO, Ethiopia – Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 5 Seabees arrived in Ethiopia, Sept. 26, and will soon begin renovations at Camp Hurso.

The Seabees will replace the camp’s 1,300 foot perimeter fence and install new lighting. They will also renovate classrooms and relocate the camp’s flag pole to the main gate so that it’s more visible upon approach.

The five-man team from NMCB 5 is looking forward to getting to work and making an immediate impact at the camp.

“The fence project is extremely important because it’s vital to camp security,” said Utilitiesman 2nd Class (SCW) Terrence Bell, NMCB 5’s Camp Hurso project supervisor. “I also think moving the flagpole is important because it shows our support here.”

In fact the Seabees arrived before many of their materials did. Within the next few days, the remaining supplies should be delivered and main construction will begin. In the meantime, the Seabees are d

New Iraqi plan combats sectarian violence, focuses on unity

Iraqi Police
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
Multi-National Force-Iraq Press Release

BAGHDAD — Senior U.S. officials in Iraq are calling a four-point plan released Oct. 3 by Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to halt sectarian violence “a significant step in the right direction.”

Maliki’s plan, released Oct. 3, aims at uniting Shiite and Sunni parties to reduce and ultimately stop growing sectarian violence that threatens Iraq.

“This … shows that the Iraqi leaders want their country to succeed and are responding to the wishes of their people for security,” said U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad and Gen. George W. Casey, commander of Multinational Force Iraq, in a statement released yesterday.

“Now begins the hard work of implementing the plan,” the U.S. leaders wrote. “We congratulate Prime Minister Maliki and other Iraqi leaders for this important initiative, and assure them of US support.”

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

North Korea by Night

NK at night
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
Here is North Korea by night - and capitalist South Korea, too.

And Foreign Minister Alexander Downer explains what he told the North Korean ambassador yesterday:

I pointed to this photo and I said the policies of his Government had led to this shameful situation where the people of South Korea lived in relative prosperity and the people of North Korea lived in poverty.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

ABC Reposting, Possums Weekend Rant

Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
by Piera Akerman
LIKE John Cleese’s famous ex-parrot, a long-dead possum - possibly kept ina fridge by a group of green activists - has returned to haunt “our’’ ABC.

Recycled footage of the deceased marsupial has provided yet more evidence of the manner in which “our’’ ABC applies one rule to itself and its friends, and another to those who don’t follow its politically correct agenda.

Not only do a number of “our’’ ABC’s announcers side with the counter-culture, they also exhibit an unhealthy tendency to attack private enterprise - particularly if they can give rabid environmentalism a boost.

The shots of the rigid, frigid possum provide a compelling example of this institutionalised culture and the manner in which the ABC clumsily attempts to distance itself from its own complaints procedures.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Selling Sex Freya Days Rant

Not Too Raunchy
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
An intriguing glimpse into the world of legal and illegal sex workers in Queensland in the post “Moonlight State” era has been given in a detailed report by that state’s anti-corruption watchdog. The report on whether call girl prostitution through escort agencies should be legalised shows that illegal prostitution, which was exposed by the Fitzgerald Inquiry as an entrenched cause of police corruption, is still flourishing.

One of the centres of illegal prostitution is on the Gold Coast, with the Crime and Misconduct Commission being told that sex workers were brought in from interstate for short periods of time and put to work in high rise apartments along the tourist strip.

There are 22 licensed brothels in Queensland, but they are forbidden by law to provide “outcall” services to clients. The legal brothels account for only about a quarter of the sex trade. Sole prostitutes are also allowed to legally operate and are the only ones able to work as “call girls”. But according to the CMC report, many escort agencies are illegally providing call girl prostitutes who visit clients in hotels or at their homes.

The price can be as high as $5000 an hour.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Picking and Choosing Responsibility Thorsday's Rant

First a few Muslim taxi drivers at an American airport refuse to drive non-Muslims carrying alcohol. Now this:

A Muslim police officer has been excused from guarding London’s Israeli Embassy after he objected to the duty on ‘moral grounds’.

PC Alexander Omar Basha - a member of the Metropolitan Police’s Diplomatic Protection Group - refused to be posted there because he objected to Israeli bombings in Lebanon and the resulting civilian casualties of fellow Muslims.

UPDATE. Meanwhile, back in the US:

An attorney for a Hispanic man who was allegedly knocked to the ground and kicked by a police officer is seeking over $1 million dollars for his client, arguing that the city’s failure to teach law enforcement officers “fundamental Spanish” is the reason excessive force was used.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Aust Tax Pays Leftwing Fantasy Wodensday Rant

Snuff Puppets
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
Charming folks at Snuff Puppets:

A TAXPAYER-funded theatre group has turned the September 11 attacks into a black comedy.

The Melbourne-based Snuff Puppets company – which receives up to $50,000 in public funding – will put on a charity performance of The Twin Towers Show on Friday.

Snuff Puppet artistic director Andy Freer said the show included black humour and violence.

And so amusingly original in the approved Leftist way:

US President George W. Bush is represented by a shrub wearing a Texan hat.
Of course, Snuff Puppets did protest against September 11 - against the September 11, 2000, Melbourne meeting of the World Economic Forum, that is.
[url=]Andrew Bolt's reference[/url]

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

The Unbalanced Comic, Leunig. Tuesdays Rant

devil cartoon from Leunig
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
Age cartoonist Michael Leunig on terrorist boss Osama bin Laden:

Might we, can we, find a place in our heart for the humanity of Osama bin Laden and those others? On Christmas Day can we consider their suffering, their children and the possibility that they too have their goodness? It is a family day, and Osama is our relative.

Age cartoonist Michael Leunig on the editors of the Iranian newspaper which ran a Holocaust-mocking cartoon competition on the orders of the country’s fascist president, and agreed to withdraw from it one of Leunig’s own:

They were courteously apologising, they had been co-operative. They cared.
But Age cartoonist Michael Leunig last weekend on US president George W. Bush: (see picture)

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Afghan president thanks CENTCOM, coalition

Hamid Karzai
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By 1st Sgt. Marvin Baker CENTCOM Public Affairs

MACDILL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. - Afghanistan’s president spoke briefly to the media Wednesday morning at MacDill Air Force Base but his message to the American people was clear.

President Hamid Karzai said the Afghan people are grateful for the continuing support that is gradually making his nation a better place to live.

“I’m here at CENTCOM to thank you for the sacrifices made for my country’s security,” Karzai said. “I thank the Tampa community for the help of CENTCOM and the Florida National Guard.”

Karzai reminded the Tampa media during his 5-minute news conference that the Florida National Guard has been stationed in Afghanistan training the Afghan National Army.

The 48-year-old president also met with Senior National Representatives at CENTCOM to tell the coalition partners that the Afghan people are grateful for their work toward making Afghanistan a better nation. {Click on image for photo details}

PRT breaks ground on $3 million road project

Afghan Rd
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Tech. Sgt. Joseph Kapinos 455th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

BAGRAM AIR BASE, Afghanistan - The Air Force-led Bagram Provincial Reconstruction team officially started a new road system Sept. 28 in the Kapisa province that will connect all districts and the provincial capitol.

The contract is the first of its kind in Afghanistan and was awarded to Shams Construction Company of Kabul during a conference with the PRT Sept. 18.

"Today is a great day for the people of Kapisa, as well as the people of Afghanistan," said Canadian Brig. Gen. Daniel Pepin to a large audience of religious, political and military leaders. General Pepin is the deputy commanding general for all reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan.

"This road is significant," said Army Maj. Donald Johnson, director of Civil Military Operations for the Bagram PRT. "This will be the first time people will be able to travel to all the districts across the province, bringing commerce, security and stability to the region. Our goal is to aid in making them more self-sufficient and a future partner in the international arena." {Click on image for photo details}

General: subtle transformation in Iraq

Iraq Transformed
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
BAGHDAD — Let’s put the bad news up front: Extremist elements in Iraq are vying for political and economic power and are seeking to take advantage of this delicate stage of transition in Iraq’s history. Sunni and Shia extremists are using brutal and provocative tactics against one another. Baghdad is the center of gravity for this increasingly sectarian conflict. The conflict is complex: There are also foreign terrorists infiltrating the borders, renegade death squads, an insurgency, and foreign governments who seek to exert influence on Iraqi politics.

This, however, is only part of Iraq’s present story. The violence belies the gradual but remarkable transformation this nation is experiencing. Focusing on just violence would miss telling the bigger story of how — despite it —Iraqis have made enormous steps toward self-sufficiency in both the security and political realm.

Three years ago, there were virtually no security forces in Iraq. Today - Iraqis are standing up military and police forces that number over 300,000. In coming months, the Coalition and the Iraqi government will reach the goal of 325,000 trained and equipped force members. {Click on image for photo details}

Iraqi Bomb Disposal School clearing the way

Bomb Disposal
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By U.S. Navy Journalist 2nd Class John J. Pistone MNSTC-I Public Affairs

BASRAH, Iraq – One of the greatest threats to the security of Iraq, and a common tactic of terrorists and insurgents, is the use of improvised explosive devices and mines. According to data provided by the Multi-National Force – Iraq, the majority of the casualties suffered by both Coalition and Iraqi Security Forces have resulted form some form of explosives used in IEDs, vehicle-borne IEDs and suicide bombs. There is an additional threat in Iraq by way of minefields, cluster munitions and other explosive remnants of war.

In an ongoing effort to change this, the Iraqi Bomb Disposal School, located near Basrah, is currently training army and police personnel who are committed to combating the use of IEDs and other explosive devices.

Iraqi Army Lt. Col. Foad, the commander of the 4th Division’s Iraqi Army Bomb Disposal Company, said he believes the school is vital to the war against the insurgency. {Click on image for photo details}

Coalition Routs Taliban, Extremists in Ghazni

Rout of Taliban
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Michael Pintagro

FORWARD OPERATING BASE GHAZNI, Afghanistan — Coalition forces serving in the Andar District of Ghazni Province dealt Taliban and foreign fighters a string of sharp defeats as the main effort of Operation Mountain Fury continued.

Afghan National Army soldiers from the 203rd ANA Corps, along with Connecticut National Guardsmen from Task Force Iron Gray, scattered militants operating in Andar, inflicting heavy casualties along the way as coalition forces progressed through Ghazni Province.

Infantrymen and field artillerymen from Task Force Spartan fought alongside the Iron Grays and ANA “Thunder Corps” soldiers in the joint, combined operation.

“We’ve defeated several enemy cells,” said U.S. Army Maj. Todd Reichert, the Task Force Spartan intelligence officer. “The enemy has to react to American and Afghan forces of an extent he hasn’t seen before.” {Click on photo for details}

Friday, September 29, 2006

Muslim Terrorism

Keysar Trad
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
Multiculturalism, for me, is contentious as it is philosphically impossible. An individual is either from a culture or they aren't. A multiculture does not exist, except as a linguistic construct.

However, I dont think this debate is about multiculturalism, a slogan, so much as cultural pluralism, an ideal. I think this debate is also not about religious practise, so much, as secular extremism. I think you are correct to observe that Christians are not behaving as these extremists are, however, Muslims don't behave as these extremists do either. But Islamist clerics endorse these extremists, and although they are wrong to do so, their endorsement goes unchallenged by the supposed majority.

Christians do have similar expressions as Islamist terrorists. One example is the IRA. Other examples may include aspects of UDF, Middles East Christians, Indonesian Christians and some groups around former Yugoslavia or many other places in Africa, South America or Asia. But, with the exception of the IRA, Christians rarely are endorsed for terrorist activity.

I'm not Muslim. I question the right of anyone to call themselves Muslim who maintain the extremist position.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Starting Bushfires Tuesday & Wodensday Rant

Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Gary Hughes
Between a quarter and a half of bushfires in Australia each year are deliberately lit by firebugs. And there is evidence that the number of wildfires started by arsonists is increasing. With suspicions that some of Sydney’s weekend fires were deliberately started and warnings of an upcoming bad bushfire season, those statistics are particularly ominous. It’s such extreme conditions that arsonists find irresistible.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Seeking a Solution to Drugs

ken moroney
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Gary Hughes
Sweden has one of the lowest illicit drug usage rates in Europe. The number of 15-16 year olds who have tried drugs at least once is just six per cent, compared to a European average of 22 per cent. Sweden also has a lower than average rate of drug use related HIV. Its approach has been so successful, it’s just been put forward as model in a special United Nations research report. So what’s the secret to its success?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Operation Together Forward Brings Life to Ameriyah

Ameriyah Baghdad
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
Spc. Joshua Ramey US Army

BAGHDAD, — Since the beginning of Operation Together Forward, Baghdad’s Ameriyah neighborhood has seen several social and economic improvements as the Iraqi army and Multi-National Division – Baghdad (MND-B) forces work to rid the area of terrorist violence.

The combined military operations in the area includes a variety of civil service projects, such as a large-scale trash cleanup, medical services, and establishing a generally close working relationship with local residents – all of which serve to deter further terrorist attacks.

“Many of the shops that were once closed have reopened, such as a butcher shop and a bakery,” said Staff Sgt. John Davis, of Company A, 412th Civil Affairs Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 1st Armored Division, Multi-National Division – Baghdad. “Main roads in the neighborhood are starting to look and feel like a neighborhood again, and economic activity and employment have increased since the beginning of the operation.” {Click on image for photo details}

Allies restore government, hope in Andar

Afghan Elder
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Sgt. 1st Class Michael Pintagro Task Force Spartan public affairs

FORWARD OPERATING BASE GHAZNI, Afghanistan – Allied forces delivered a forceful blow to extremists operating in southeastern Afghanistan with the establishment of a district center Sept. 17 in the Andar District of Ghazni Province.

A crowd of around 400 Andar elders, townsmen and farmers looked on as provincial and local officials and allied leaders launched a new era of self-government in a district long terrorized by extremists and foreign fighters.

Task Force Iron Gray launched Operation Mountain Fury, a decisive drive into Andar Province, on the fifth anniversary of the 9-11 terror attacks, to root out terrorism in the overrun province. Extremist fighters and foreign terrorists seized large swaths of the district over the summer, assaulting and intimidating farmers, townsmen and shepherds.

Following a ground-breaking ceremony, Andar elders and townsmen queried the government and security officials on issues ranging from security, police recruitment and Taliban terror to political corruption, jobs and economic development.

A series of leaders delivered addresses from the podium, most denouncing insurgents and foreign fighters, pleading for unity and cooperation, and touting the Islamic credentials of government and Afghan military leaders.

Maj. Gen. Benjamin C. Freakley, Combined Joint Task Force-76 commander, said his 10th Mountain Division Soldiers are here at the request of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to help the people. {Click on image for photo details}

New health center in Tanzania dedicated, ready for equipment

Tanzania Health Centre
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
Story by CJTF-HOA Public Affairs

MSATA, Tanzania – Senior officials from the Bagamoyo District, Tanzanian Peoples’ Defense Forces (TPDF), the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam and Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) dedicated the newly constructed Msata Health Center here Tuesday.

The health center will enable Bagamoyo medical personnel to provide triage in an area well known for its severe and often fatal vehicle accidents.

The design for the center was developed by Bagamoyo District officials and facilitated by TPDF engineers. CJTF-HOA contracted with Tanzanian Building Works, Ltd., to construct the facility. Locally hired workers began construction July 8 and completed the project August 18.

The local government agreed to provide the equipment for the new facility if the U.S. could pay for and build it. The dedication will signify the completion of the U.S. part of the agreement, and leave the clinic awaiting the local government to fill it with the necessary supplies. {Click on image for photo details}

Red Horse sergeants preserve Soviet military heritage

Red Horse Sergeants
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Air Force Tech. Sgt. Joseph Kapinos 455th Air Expeditionary Wing

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan - It sits alone in the sun surrounded by the detritus of war and conflict. The sand and sun have left their harsh marks on the face of a structure that once proudly honored the courage and sacrifice of fallen aviators. Destined to be destroyed in the name of progress, its proud heritage would be lost forever.

That is until two Air Force airborne engineers and an Army public affairs sergeant took it upon themselves to save this vital part of Afghan and Soviet aviation history.

Air Force Tech. Sergeants David Keeley and Raymond Ross, 1st Expeditionary Red Horse Group, along with Army Sgt. Tom Clark found the monument sitting in an area slated for demolition and reconstruction while they were surveying the area for a new compound that was going to be built for the Air Force. They decided that this was an important artifact and deserved to be saved.

“We were in the area looking at the old Soviet aircraft bunkers when we stumbled upon it,” said Keeley. “It was mixed in with old concertina wire and barriers.” {Click on image for photo details}

Italian Forces say 'arevaderche' in Dhi Qar

Iraqi Police Parade
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release

CAMP UR, Iraq — With a flourish of his pen, Dhi Qar governor Aziz Kadum Alwan Al Ogheli officially took over governmental and security responsibility for Iraq’s southern Dhi Qar province from British and Italian forces in an elaborate ceremony at an Iraqi Army training base near Tallil Thursday.

“It is a great day,” Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki said. “It holds the message of the future handover of security control in all Iraq.”

Indeed, the handover was another milestone in the road to Iraqi self-reliance known as Provincial Iraqi Control, or PIC. It places full security responsibility with the Provincial Governor and his local Iraqi police force, which now numbers some 10,000. The governor also coordinates with national police and Iraqi Army forces, whose 10th Division, 3rd Brigade has two battalions in the region.

The handover marks the second of Iraq’s 18 provinces returned to local control. British forces transferred security responsibility for neighboring Muthana province in July. {Click on image for photo details}

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Bush wisdom shows Dubya is no dummy Weekend Rant

Myths of 911
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Frank Devine
HAVING been reasonably diligent about splashing around in the torrents of commentary that marked the fifth anniversary of the 9/11 air raids on New York and Washington, I employed a refreshed mind to conclude that the best commentary came from US President George W. Bush.

This includes his main 9/11 speech and comments made privately to a small group of conservative journalists. Who else gets invited to the best parties these days?
Bush's commentary was distinguished, I guess, because he had access to more information than other commentators and a larger audience, including many opponents and enemies keen to rip into him. He had to watch his step.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Chavez sees devils Freyas Rant

lil devil
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
Hating George Bush is a luxury widely enjoyed by the Left.

Imagine, though, a world dominated instead by those who loathe him and his country most. I’m thinking, for instance, of Hugo Chavez, the Venezuelan president and latest poster boy of the Die-Yankee-imperialist movement:

“Yesterday, the devil came here,” Mr. Chávez said, alluding to Mr. Bush’s appearance before the General Assembly on Tuesday. “Right here. Right here. And it smells of sulfur still today, this table that I am now standing in front of.”

Then Mr. Chávez made the sign of the cross, brought his hands together as if in prayer and glanced toward the ceiling.

Chavez has the ability to ruin Venezuala's economy and keep millions in poverty. That good feeling you have when he speaks? It's not from god :D

Thursday, September 21, 2006

As war crimes go this is less than jaywalking

jaywalking chicken
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Piers Akerman
AUSTRALIAN defence chief Angus Houston and chief of the army Peter Leahy need to get out of Canberra.

Their over-the-top responses to a series of harmless home videos made by a bunch of young Australian soldiers and sailors would make an Anzac blush.

Air Chief Marshal Houston and Lieutenant-General Leahy came on like graduates from the Bob Brown university of political correctness and sensitivity training.
The over reaction to the videos had many parallels to Tom Sharpes Wilt character who was English Department Head at a TAFE. He was informed one of his staff had been caught filming himself having sex with a crocodile .. It later transpired, from careful questioning, that the communist staff member had been illustrating a point on capitalism on a rubber croc ..

I don’t know what Leahy and Houston were told when they were told. However, I know that the hyperventilating press can inflate the issue to get people killed, as happened when the Pope was verballed recently, or the comic affair, or post abu ghraib. Leahy and Houston may be laughed at for being overcritical, but no one will die if the press can’t inflate the issue. Imagine if they’d gone in conciliatory?

However, there is a credibility cost. Our rank and file know that come what may, they won’t be supported.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Communities Come Together to Celebrate New School in Lamu, Kenya

Kenya School
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By MCC(DV) Robert Palomares US Navy

LAMU, Kenya – An explosion of color and sound celebrated the dedication of the new Mokowe Secondary School, which was built in cooperation between the Kenyan government, the U.S. Embassy and the Civil Affairs Team, part of the Combined Joint Task Force – Horn of Africa.

Local residents, waving small American and Kenyan flags, erupted in traditional songs and dances, accompanied by drumming. Drummers used plastic containers, metal plates, as well as conventional drums.

Construction on the school was originally started in 1997 and was halted briefly because of the lack of funds. But the project was regenerated in 2003, when two classrooms were completed.

In 2004, CJTF-HOA’s Civil Affairs team accepted the school districts’ proposal to complete four classrooms, administration offices, two laboratory classrooms and toilets for students and teacher {Click on image for photo details}

Soldiers find, destroy unexploded ordnance

Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Army Staff Sgt Robert Ramón 345th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHARONA, Afghanistan - U.S. Soldiers stationed here located and destroyed an unexploded mortar round near a residential area about five kilometers outside of Forward Operating Base Sharona on Sept. 11.

Afghan National Army soldiers secured the site and called on FOB Sharona to assist in removing the threat. Once notified, Soldiers at FOB Sharona wasted not time springing into action.

"We don't want innocent civilians, especially children, to get hurt so it's important that we get out there as quickly as possible," said Army 1st Lt. Gerard Torres, a platoon leader with the 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry, 10th Mountain Division out of Fort Drum , NY . "Also, if the enemy gets their hands on it, there's a possibility it could be used against civilians or us in the future." {Click on image for photo details}

Police, Marines provide more than security

Iraqi Police
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Gunnery Sgt. Mark Oliva 1st Marine Division

GHARMAH — Iraqi Police in Gharman provide more than a safe community—they are also helping some of the area’s most needy children.

Gharmah’s Police force, along with U.S. Marine Police Transition Team members, recently pitched in to pass out clothes, school supplies and sports equipment to under-privileged youths in the city.

“I feel very happy to give to the children,” said Iraqi Lt. Col. Dalaf Rasheed, the police chief here. “These are my children. I like these children.”

Dalaf explained the clothing drive will continue to bond the Iraqi Police to the citizens they protect. {Click on image for photo details}

Measuring Iraq: progress and challenges

MNF Iraq
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
Multi-National Force – Iraq Press Release

BAGHDAD — Gauging the progress of security, reconstruction and governance efforts in Iraq is a challenge unto itself, U.S. officials said Tuesday. While in Baghdad senior U.S., Iraqi and Coalition leaders discussed signs of improved security in the capital’s Adhamiyah district, in Washington Pentagon officials stressed the importance of recognizing that security conditions in Iraq vary widely by region.

On Sunday, the Baghdad provincial chairman, accompanied by the deputy chief of mission for the U.S. Embassy and the deputy commanding general for Multi-National Division – Baghdad, visited the recently cleared district of Adhamiyah for the first time since the start of Operation Together Forward to see the progress being made in securing Baghdad.

Mu'een Hameed Abd al-Majed, along with Amb. Daniel Speckhard and Brig. Gen. David Halverson, walked the streets of the district, talking to local residents about the need for essential services and improved security. {Click on image for photo details}

Bermel troops keep extremists at bay along eastern border region

FOB Bermel
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
Combined Forces Command – Afghanistan Press Release

FORWARD OPERATING BASE BERMEL, Afghanistan – Spec. Jose Pantoja shows off the danger of his mission along the border region of eastern Afghanistan: a scar on his cheek from an enemy bullet. During one of the longest firefights his company has encountered – nearly four hours long – three others sustained gunshot wounds, and nearly everyone took minor wounds from rocket propelled grenade shrapnel.

“One of our guys actually got shot in his helmet,” Pantoja said. “It knocked him down, but he got up and kept fighting.”

Engaging in firefights is almost daily life for the Coalition troops at Forward Operating Base Bermel, most attached to Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division. They keep enemy extremists at bay in this district in the eastern part of the Paktika Province, allowing Bermel to progress with reconstruction projects and establish a firm government. {Click on image for photo details}

cannabis use linked to failed communities Wodensday Rant

Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
Cannabis is the latest blight to hit indigenous communities, with its thriving use being linked to increases in child sexual abuse, domestic violence and suicide. Cannabis hasn’t replaced other forms of drug abuse in remote black communities. Rather it’s being used alongside other drugs such alcohol, petrol for sniffing, amphetamines and kava. The cannabis trade is being driven by huge profits – a ‘pound’ (400-500g) of cannabis bought in Darwin for $4,000 can be sold at a profit of up to $21,000 in remote Aboriginal communities, easily justifying the cost of a charter flight to take in the illicit drug
I understood from idiot friends/users that cannabis had no side effects. I understood they threw money away on the stuff because they liked that it did nothing for them. These stats do nothing but reinforce the outdated stereo typed thinking that suggests drug use is bad.

Maybe drug use isn’t bad, but the cost of drug use is bad. Maybe, if President Iemma funnelled some money from his trough, they could buy drugs for everyone. Then we could save our money and everyone wins.

Or maybe Cannabis is illegal for a good reason and it is irresponsible for any adult to sanction its use.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Anti Israeli Activism Tuesdays Rant

Nadia Hasan has an article posted on the 'electronic intifada.' She claims not to be Muslim and to have no reason to wish to visit Palestine, other than to meet friends. She lives in Jordan. Her last name is Arabic. Her passport is from Chile.

Considering the work of al aqsa intifada with their random executions, kidnapping, torture and extortion, Ms Hasan has some friends. She tells the world little about her friends, or herself, other than the anti Israel message of being named Arabic and being turned back by Israel.

It isn't just fronts for terrorist activists that run an anti Israeli agenda. Respected left wing journals, such as the New York Times, Times of London and CNN are willing to run with terrorist propaganda. Any balanced news organisation, such as Fox, are blasted as being far right wing, which is greatly at odds with Fox's content.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Imams must counter terrorists' use of Islam Weekend Rant

Australian Imam
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
The Howard government yesterday challenged the spiritual leaders of the nation’s Muslim community to reject terrorism.

In a firm address, Andrew Robb, Parliamentary Secretary for Immigration and Multicultural Affairs, told a conference of Australian imams in Sydney that they had a responsibility to “quarantine Australia from the extremist elements who are tormenting the world, masquerading in the name of Islam’’.

Robb referred to similar conferences in Europe, and quoted approvingly from a communique by a conference of Austrian imams in April, 2005:

“In this situation, Muslims have the responsibility, even the obligation, to bring the focus again on the overwhelming majority of Muslims who, in living up to the teachings of their religion, stand for mutual respect and understanding and reject terrorism ...’’

Friday, September 15, 2006

Sold a Pup Freya Days Rant

Crying Baby
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
It appears that the use of police sniffer dogs to screen people for drugs might be little more than an expensive public relations exercise. A NSW Ombudsman’s review has found the use of the dogs to be so ineffective it questions whether the program should be continued. It has also raised concerns that searches of people carried out on the basis of a positive indication of a sniffer dog could be illegal, given the low success rate of the dogs. The use of the sniffer dogs could be more about police and politicians wanting to be seen to be doing something about drugs, rather than actually tackling the problem.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Southern Cross Issues Thors Days Rant

Southern Cross
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
THE ALP has a profoundly serious problem when a pledge to uphold the Australian freedoms of democracy, freedom and gender equality threatens to undermine the party’s values.

Yet NSW Labor MP Robert McClelland, the Opposition defence spokesman and former Opposition spokesman on homeland security who holds the southern Sydney seat of Barton, and Victorian Labor MP Maria Vamvakinou, whose Melbourne electorate of Calwell has a high Muslim population, are among a number of Labor MPs concerned about Opposition Leader Kim Beazley’s support of just such a pledge.

McClelland believes there is a danger that this sort of statement might alienate or ostracise a section of the community - and no prize for guessing which section of the community he had in mind.

“We have to be very careful. The most likely course of a terrorist attack in Australian is from disgruntled youths who have been alienated from the broader community,’’ he said yesterday.

Now, which disgruntled youths are most likely to be involved in a terrorist attack here, or the UK, Spain, the US, Indonesia, Africa or Israel?

A pledge can be a good thing at a primary school, where children can come to discover issues of allegiance in a natural way.

For an adult, however, a pledge is more of an impost. Something to be ridiculed. Being asked to challenge an adult's ideals, an adult is likely to behaviourally oppose the pledge.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Tasers Safer Than Guns Wodensdays Rant

Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
Taser stun guns are now in use in most Australian state and territory police forces, but the debate about their safety continues to rage around the world. In the United States, where the American Civil Liberties Union has been fighting a running battle with the stun gun’s manufacturers, two deaths have been linked to Tasers in the past two months. While in Britain a review of the use of Tasers published in the Journal of Clinical Forensic has recommended they be made more widely available to police.

Civil liberty groups would be upset by them. It's appropriate for police use, not personal use.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bali Prisoner Aid Tuesdays Rant

Crying Shame
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
“My name is Scott Anthony Rush and since August 2005 I have been a resident at the Kerobokan prison in Bali. My experience here has been a unique one to say the least.”

That’s the way Scott Rush, one of the Bali nine who had his sentenced increased to death last week, welcomes you to his website. On the site, where you can read about his life and leave messages of support, he also appeals for financial aid through a trust fund. He needs the money, he says, to help pay for “rent, electricity, food, water, clothing and laundry, medical and dental services” as well as prison programs such as painting, sport and craft. Any funds raised supplement the $125 a month the Australian Government already provides for prisoners in Bali. So if Australian prisoners abroad are reduced to having to beg to survive, are we doing enough to financially support?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Debunking 9/11 Myths: Moonday's Rant

Myths of 911
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
Fast becoming a best-seller in the US: Debunking 9/11 Myths: Why Conspiracy Theories Can’t Stand Up to the Facts .

I’m not sure whether I’m glad it’s out or gloomy that a book with that title even needed to be written.

I feel it should be required reading for ALP and fairfax journalists.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Queensland loses election Weekend Rant

Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
Much of the credit the states claim for sound fiscal management is illusory. I understand that when the GST was put in place, it was thought the states would face a shortfall for the first few years, as certain taxes were removed while GST came into effect. However, I understand that revenues exceeded expectation by $80 billion. The states have had an $80 billion windfall and have porkbarrelled it, leaving no new infrastructure.

In NSW, the ALP have stripped services, like education, health, policing and transport. They have spent the money badly, and now have no extra income and are even willing to ask the federal government for campaign funding from selling the Snowy.

In NSW, new legislation means that a public servant can be procedurally dismissed for no reason. A code of discipline may be deemed to have been breached in the past.

Instead of learning from the failures of Queensland health, NSW has apparent licence to attack whistleblowers who raise community awareness of wrongful death or pedophilia.
I won't dispute your Victorian insight to Liberal failings. I note in NSW, in the past, there has been jockeying for position, rather than working for power. The Queensland experience with attempted unification of the coalition partners made sence under a future view, but nonsence in current terms.

With so few sitting members, Liberals may look like their talent cabinet is bare. However, ALP have many more members and yet less talent.

Had the coalition won in Queensland, Queensland would have been in better hands. The major failing of Queensland coalition is that they failed to sieze initiative in the short campaign. Bailleau should note, the electorate don't need ALP policy, but a confident conservative agenda will provide a compelling case for change.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Proposed Brit Nurse Uniform. Freya Day's Rant

Brit Nurse
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
It allows one to use their imagination. Used in both cold and hot climates. Reflects cultural values.

I wonder if security passes will be accompanied by a photo ..

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Iraqi Medics Ready for Service

Iraqi Medics
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Cpl. Antonio Rosas 1st Marine Division

CAMP AL QA’IM, Iraq — When Iraqi Soldiers and Policemen here are wounded in combat, they used to rely on U.S. service members to patch up their wounds. Not any longer.

Twenty Iraqi Soldiers and Police officers serving near the Iraqi-Syrian border graduated from a combat medical course earlier this month, enabling them to now provide their own emergency care.

The five-week course taught by Coalition forces at the Iraqi camp here will allow wounded Iraqi Soldiers and Policemen to receive medical care from their own staff, lessening their dependency on U.S. medical personnel. The graduation marks another step for the Iraqi military to become a self-sustaining force.

The five-week course taught by Coalition forces at the Iraqi camp here will allow wounded Iraqi Soldiers and Policemen to receive medical care from their own staff, lessening their dependency on U.S. medical personnel. The graduation marks another step for the Iraqi military to become a self-sustaining force.

4th CSH Continues Lifesaving Measures

Combat Support Hospital
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Staff Sgt. Mark Watson 129th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment

BAGRAM AIRFIELD, Afghanistan — While patients teeter between life and death, the Soldiers of the 14th Combat Support Hospital’s Intensive Care Unit fight to keep them alive.

Deployed to Bagram Airfield, Afghanistan, the dedicated Army nurses of the Fort Benning, Ga.,-based ICU care for a wide variety of patients.

“The ICU here at Bagram is the main ICU for Afghanistan,” said Sgt. Josue Contreras, a licensed practical nurse from Chicago, Ill. “We take care of anyone from local nationals, Afghan police, Afghan National Army, Afghan special forces, coalition and contract personnel.”

The variety of medical problems that the nurses treat is as eclectic as the people.

“We (treat) anything from medical problems to surgical issues to trauma injuries of any kind, from someone stepping on a landmine, IEDs, gunshot wounds, burns, you name it,” Contreras said.

Medics race time to save a local girl

Race to Save
Originally uploaded by Sydney Weasel.
By Cpl. Antonio Rosas 1st Marine Division
CAMP AL QA'IM, Iraq — For a 12-year-old Iraqi girl in need of a kidney and liver transplant, time is the enemy. Her friends are a team of U.S. Marines and Sailors who have applied their medical skills to help the keep the girl alive.

Hadael Hamade is in desperate need of surgery, say U.S. Navy physicians who have treated her in recent months.

The girl first befriended Marines from 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, months ago when the Marines were on patrol in Karabilah - a city of about 30,000 near the Iraq-Syria border.

“When we first saw Hadael several months ago, she was walking,” said Navy Lt. Mark D. Rasmussen, an anesthesiologist with the surgical suite here. “Now she can’t move much. The Marines needed to carry her from her house to the Humvee, and from the Humvee to the surgical suite here.”