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}