Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Cool Maps of Indonesia - May 31

Is it the end of May already? Man, time flies by! It certainly is later than you think on God's stopwatch too, my friend. I have a hodge-podge of stuff to cover so no Carson-esque monologue for you.

I have stumbled upon three cool links. They are maps of Jogyakarta, where that earthquake occured and not far from a still dangerous Mt. Merapi.

Moral Equivalency Alert! Moral Equivalency Alert! All Holy Books are created Equal Dep't: Some dopey professor in New York is putting the Bible and the Koran on the same footing in terms of violence. Why, just the other day I heard about some Methodists talk about killing infidels. Anglicans? Forever complaining to the media about 'Anglicaphobia'. A horde of Presbyterians torched a foreign embassy recently, too. So I can see what they mean.

Gord Downie (of the Tragically Hip), pat yourself on the back. New Orleans IS sinking (and I don't wanna swim).

Two items concerning the American military:

1) There are some disturbing stories coming from Haditha, Iraq about Marines killing a bunch of civilians. Facts are sketchy at this point so I'll keep you posted should anything of significance occur.

2) VP Dick Cheney addresses the newest Naval Academy grads and tells them, "Know your enemy!" Wow. What a radical idea! D'ya think we'd be in the same pickle right now in Iraq and elsewhere if we bothered to properly research Islam? Iraq is NOT post WWII Germany for crying out loud! As a wise proverb says, If you think education is expensive, try ignorance. Try to the tune of 3000 dead and rising.

Dan Gillerman, Israel's Ambassador to the League of Nations, oops, United Nations has stated that World War Three is underway. Gosh Dan, thanks but it appears our churches, MP's and the liberal media here in CanaD'uh have fallen asleep. Is anybody there? Hellooo! HELLLOOOOO!!!!

A Saudi safely ensconced in Birmingham U.K. tears a new a--hole for Hamas to use. I guess the first one wasn't working well enough.

Immigration from Hell Dep't: Read this Daniel Pipes article about how wanna-be refugees from North Africa are attempting to enter Europe. Yes, even France!

As this Friday is Pentacost and I am a member in good standing of a Pentacostal church, I thought this link might provoke you in the right way.

Finally, because I hate leaving a post on a negative side, read about what GFA missionaries are doing in the Rooftop of the World, Nepal.

Hope that makes up for yesterday.

The Man in Black

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

What Is Hell? - May 30

In today's churches, topics such as 'hell' and the 'wrath/judgement of God' are not considered 'seeker-friendly'. The 'love gospel' is very trendy nowadays, the idea that God is just SO loving and SO caring that He would never send anyone to eternal hell. However, preaching this false gospel to the masses is to do them a major disservice. Indeed, Jesus Christ Himself is the original fire-and-brimstone preacher. So what is hell you may ask? Let me ask you a personal question first. Have you ever experienced a deep or profound loss in your life? Whether it be loss of a person through death, loss of love, loss of a job, or financial/material loss, I can't think of anyone who hasn't experienced loss at least once in their lifetime. If you took all your losses and doubled them, you still wouldn't even come close to what hellish loss is like. It is personal loss on a scale you cannot even possibly comprehend. It is total loss. It is a crushing loss. It is a crippling loss. Worst of all, being in hell is an eternal loss. Being seperated from God's perfect, eternal love is beyond anything you can describe. The word 'anguish' does not describe the sheer desolation that awaits the lost residents of hell. Am I making this up? Go read your Bible and tell me what you think. I don't have the space to do this topic justice but if this scares you, my friend I'm here to tell you that you have a choice. YOU DON'T HAVE TO GO TO HELL IF YOU DON'T WANT TO GO! Ask Jesus Christ to pardon your sins and I promise you that He will save you if your prayer is sincere. Nobody has to go to hell. Nobody should be afraid of death. Christ is my Rock of Salvation. Make Jesus your own personal 'Rock' today. You won't be disappointed.

In case you were wondering, Ariel Sharon is still (barely) in the land of the living. He is still in a permanent coma, or what you would call a persistent vegatative state (PVS). Unlike the late Terri Schiavo, Mr. Sharon has no hope for improvement. Not a big fan of euthanasia, but I think it's time for Israel to let go of one of it's favorite sons (and one of the Arabs most hated enemies). So no, you haven't missed Sharon's funeral. Watch this space for when the inevitable occurs.

Two items as it concerns Afghanistan:

1) Five Canadian soldiers were wounded, one seriously as he was taken to Landstuhl, Germany.

2) How NOT to win hearts and minds Dep't: While in a foreign country, drive like a maniac. Then, when you cause a massive traffic accident, start shooting your guns in the air. And above all, NEVER look like an occupying army. The locals hate that.

As our American friends commemorate Memorial Day, a touching tribute from a USMC officer to his fallen comrades.

Dismay and fury from Mr. Hugh Fitzgerald of Jihadwatch:

From the CBC, a link about the forces of Nature that interact and surround us on a daily basis (cool link of the day).

Apparently, all is not well with EU/Russian relations. Wow. Like I didn't see that one coming AT ALL!!

The Man in Black

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Haven't Posted In Awhile - May 28

Hello X-Def fans, I've been awfully busy or tired, hence no proper postings from yours truly. I turned 36 last Thursday (May 25) and I'm telling you that I feel every inch of it. It amazes me how people live their lives like they aren't going to die. As far as they are concerned, this life is it and que sera, sera. Materialism baffles me. I mean, if this is truly it, then what's the point? It is life that has no hope. Some have hope, but it is a false hope. A Muslim who commits shahada (martyrdom operations) is like one with a false hope. They tragically find out all too late that there isn't 72 virgins waiting for them on the 'other side'. No, they find themselves in eternal hell, the victims of an evil bait-and-switch trick by 'Allah'. My friend, if you have no hope, a false hope or an unsure hope, please do not be discouraged. Ask for Jesus to fill your life. There is no substitute for a sure, steady and real hope to strengthen and encourage the inner will. Make that first step today and rest on God's assurances. In this unsteady world, faith in Christ is surer than any earthly riches.

Please pray for the people of Indonesia. They still haven't recovered from that massive tsunami in Dec, '04. Mount Merapi is still in danger of erupting and now they've had a big earthquake with the death toll in the thousands.

In East Timor, Australian troops are trying desperately to impose some sort of order as local militias do battle.

This is old news (relatively speaking), but I decided to include this because I wanted to make a point. Often times as a Christian I'm asked, "If God is good, why so much evil?" You see, God does allow sin for a season before He judges. The Enron scandal is a case point. Was God absent as Mr. Lay and Mr. Skilling duped investors and Wall Street? No, He was there all along. You see, the people that ask me those type of questions about God and His justice are those that adopt the short and narrow view. Once you start taking the longer and wider view, you see that sin is ALWAYS judged. Believe me, you don't want God to judge all sin immediately. That is foolish thinking (not one of us would be alive today I reckon). But when God says "Times up!", judgement follows swiftly. It's what I like to call the 'Mystery of History'. God's timetable is perfect. ALL sin is judged, just not when we expect it.

From Michael Fumento comes a picture gallery of Iraq through the eyes of an embedded journalist. Sad, tragic, comic and surreal, all in one. 250 pictures in all.

New World Order Alert:

1) Tony Blair is bloody well at it again, this time calling for the reform of the Useless Nations (aka the UN). What is the deal with the Left, which is clearly hypnotized and beguiled by the United Nations? It is Man's desire to rule himself, independent of God's sovereign authority.

2) The Bilderbergers are having their annual meeting, this time in Ottawa. Canadian luminaries include Stephen Harper and Conrad Black. A must read.

3) Iran is hoping to form an axis to oppose the United States. How does Russia, India and China sound? Russia will involve itself with Iran, Libya and various Horn of Africa countries as they launch an all-out attack against Israel (see Ezekiel 38 and 39). As for China and India, I believe these two powers will comprise the armies of Armageddon as the 'Kings of the East'. Bible prophecy is for real, my friend.

This website is a must-see as well. It was created by a brilliant 19 year-old kid named Ryan Mauro. You read correctly. NINETEEN! Unbelievable.
World Threats

Social unrest appears to be a regular feature in today's news. Jesus said that the nations of the world will be reeling, like the waves on a stormy sea. We see this in Tehran, Iran and in Moscow, Russia.

That's enough for today. Be of good cheer and let not your heart be troubled.

Johnny Cash

Friday, May 26, 2006

Special Ops and 'Blowback' - May 26

There are two points I wish to make wrt this article. Firstly, when a government decides to create a corps of 'super-soldiers', it must be done with rigorous civilian oversight or not at all. For every elite unit that is created, there has to be a civilian (preferably with a defense background) to oversee and possibly disband that unit in a moment's notice should the members of that unit go rogue and join the criminal ranks. Without that control, there is a chance of 'blowback'. What is blowback you ask? Well, this neatly segues into my second point. Blowback is NOT the unintended consequences of a military action/policy. Blowback is the unintended consequences of a COVERT military action/policy. You see, many of these (now delinquent) military elements have received both training from American military cadre and given American equipment to boot. Naturally, this is not the kind of thing that Donald Rumsfeld is going to discuss on CNN. In Latin America, these 'special ops' soldiers have gone awry, giving the drug cartels the muscle it requires for 'security' (racketeering, kidnappings, murder and other sordid activity). After all, running a lucrative drug trade is not for the meek nor for the faint of heart. Not a cool scene if you ask me.

The Man in Black.

Stratfor -- Predictive, Insightful, Global Intelligence

Kaibiles: The New Lethal Force in the Mexican Drug Wars
May 25, 2006

The investigation into the April beheadings of two Mexican police officers in the Pacific resort city of Acapulco has led to the Kaibiles, Guatemalan special forces deserters who have taken on the role of hired guns for Mexico's Gulf cartel, one of the most powerful drug cartels operating in the country.

Acapulco is fast becoming a battleground for cartels vying for control of drug-trafficking supply routes. The Zetas, the Mexican version of the Kaibiles, already are fighting on the Gulf cartel's side against skinhead gangs hired by the Beltran Leyva brothers, leaders of the rival Sinaloa cartel. With Mexican anti-drug authorities bearing down on the cartel, however, Kaibiles -- as many as 40, according to Mexico's attorney general -- were brought in to assist the Zetas in dealing with that front. With the Kaibiles now in the mix, fighting is likely to increase in the near future.

The Kaibiles, who are particularly brutal fighters trained in unconventional tactics, are infamous for forcing recruits to bite the heads off live chickens during training. In February 1999, the U.N. Commission for Historical Clarification (CEH), a body established after Guatemala's civil war to investigate human rights abuses that occurred during the conflict, harshly criticized the Kaibiles, citing human rights abuses. Kaibil actions during fighting in the 1980s made the group one of the most feared special forces units in Latin America. According to the CEH, for instance, Kaibil units responding to guerrilla attacks near the Guatemalan town of Las Dos Erres in December 1982 entered a village believed to be sympathetic to rebel groups. Although the Kaibiles reportedly found no weapons caches or guerrillas, they proceeded to conduct a two-day purge, killing everyone in the village, including women and children.

As part of a national reconciliation process following Guatemala's civil war, the Guatemalan army has been restructuring and transforming its units, and has since dropped the name "Kaibil" from its special forces units, referring to them only as the Special Forces Brigade. The units have participated in U.N. peacekeeping operations in Africa.

On Sept. 10, 2005, Mexican authorities arrested seven Guatemalan nationals in the southern Chiapas town of Comitan for smuggling weapons into Mexico. Guatemalan authorities later confirmed that at least four of the seven were former Kaibiles who had deserted their special operations unit at different times, the most recent one in 2004. Unlike the Zetas, the majority of whom deserted at the same time, Kaibiles apparently have been deserting in small numbers for several years now.

A former high-ranking Mexican military official, Gen. Ramon Mota Sanchez, said in an October 2005 interview that former Mexican soldiers who deserted to join the Zetas possibly were trained by Kaibiles. Between 1994 and 1999, he said, Kaibiles trained several dozen Mexican special operations soldiers.

After the end of wars in Central America, bands of militants, mercenaries and death squads suddenly found themselves without a war to fight. Like many of these groups, the Kaibiles looked abroad for work as hired guns, some of them entering the Mexican drug scene through contacts with the Zetas. Special forces units in one region often will share training or establish partnerships with neighboring units.

The presence of Kaibiles in Mexico has introduced an additional foreign element into the Mexican drug wars, along with Mara Salvatrucha from El Salvador and Calle 18 gangs from Guatemala. With the well-trained and brutal Kaibiles and Zetas now in the mix, however, Mexico's drug wars are likely to get even uglier. Moreover, it is only a question of time before their level of violence reaches fronts in the drug war on the U.S. border, such as Tijuana and Nuevo Laredo.

Copyright 2006 Strategic Forecasting Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

When Time Runs Out - May 24

OK, so I was reading my daily e-mail from the CBC when I came across this curious non-event in Ottawa (stop laughing). Now let's get one thing straight. This is NOT some type of judgement from the Almighty. It is however, a growing sign of His impatience. You see, there are mockers and scoffers in this world, walking after their own lusts, who love to tell us that things will just go on as they always have. They are ignorant of two things, namely, Man's sin and God's holiness and perfect justice. There will come a day when time shall be no more and God's perfect court will bang the gavel and declare Man's guilt. My friend, let me make a suggestion. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE THERE! If you accept Jesus' pardon which He secured for you at Calvary, you don't have to live in fear of God's wrath (see below). You'll still be judged mind you, but as an ally of God and a member of His family, not as an enemy. Yes, for the first time in 25 years, the clock atop the Peace Tower has stopped. It will be fixed and the clock will continue as it had before. God's clock is ticking. Will you be ready when it stops?

It is very important that a prayer be lead by the Holy Spirit. So please, when you pray this prayer, pray it like you mean it. You don't have to make a big song and dance out of it, just humble yourself and let God do the rest.

The Sinner's Prayer
Dear Lord, I am a sinner. Please forgive me for what I've done and for what I've failed to do. I'm sorry and I now commit my life to you, Lord Jesus. Change me into the man/woman you always wanted me to be and let me never be ashamed of you. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

Now with that out of the way, we have some interesting developments in the business world.

1) The NYSE is offering 8b euros ($10b) for Euronext. A phenomenal merger if you ask me.

2) I have reported this before but I cannot help but marvel at it's prophetic significance. The Iranians are selling their oil in euros, rather that U.S. dollars. This is the proverbial thin edge of the wedge, meaning you've not heard the last of this. Not by a long shot.

Shutting the Barn Doors After the Horses Have Fled Dep't:

1) This is really cool and kind of funny. In India, nine men on three bikes (!) are spreading the gospel to the local villages. You have a car that can probably fit four adults comfortably. What are you doing to spread the gospel?

2) Censorship in Syria? You gotta be kidding me! Unlike Orwell's brilliant '1984' however, the locals are catching on to the state-sponsored bafflegab they've been getting.

3) Google has stricken certain web-sites from its search engine for 'hate' content. Namely, those that are critical of Islam, a strict no-no in today's obsessive-compulsive PC-induced schizophrenic society that we live in (I'm sorry. Did you consider that 'hate speech'? Whatever). Hey Google, guess what? The word is out and time is not on Islam's side.

Russia is planning to re-vamp its military. Never good when the Russian Bear wakes up and starts to take a look around.

Just as Jesus predicted in the Olivet Discourse (Mt 24 and 25), famine will stalk humanity in it's last days. To the tune of 18,000 children A DAY no less.

"Woe to those who substitute good for evil and evil for good!" (Two links)

1) The perenially loopy 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in California has outdone itself once more. Openly promote Islam to schoolkids? No problem. Teach those same kids about the teachings of Jesus Christ? Separation of church and state! Separation of church and state! (Repeat at full volume 'til you collapse and you'll feel like a true liberal after that.)

2) This story comes from Jerusalem Post that boggles the mind (yet sadly does not surprise me one bit). Anti-Semitism has once again received short thrift in some dopey European 'Anti-Racism' conference. Talk about your average 'Pink Elephant in the Room' syndrome.

Holy smackers! Another stellar post if I don't say so myself.

"Let him who is unjust be unjust still. Let him who is righteous be righteous still. Let him who be filthy be filthy still. Listen to the words long written down!"

The Man Comes Around - American IV

Johnny Cash

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Save Nazanin! - Justice, Iranian Style - May 23

I have reported on this earlier but I decided it was worth revisiting. An 18 year-old girl in Iran might possibly be hanged for, get this, self-defence. Some guys tried to rape her and her girlfriend, she pulls a knife and kills her potential rapist. If she had chosen not to resist, she would've been found guilty and given 100 lashes. Not to mention so-called honor killings, a common occurence in Islam. Yes sir, that's 'progressive' Islam for you. A very lethal Catch-22. Just remember, sins of omission are just as damning as sins of commision. So please do something. Read it all.

Abu Mazen (aka Mahmoud Abbas) is calling for a the cessation of the firing of missiles (RPGs, Katyusha short-range rockets, mortars etc.) into Israel. No, Islam has not changed its black little heart one bit. This is merely tactics, my friend. This article brings to mind the signing of a false peace treaty between Antichrist and Israel which sets off the Triblulation.

The National Hurricane Center is predicting an 'above-average' hurricane season but not as bad as last year. I mean, how can you forget what Katrina did to New Orleans? Pray for the safety of those people living in Florida, the Gulf States and residents of the Caribbean.

Meet Gul Khan, al-Qaida slave trader and all-around heartless scumbag.

Here's a bizarre story from Baton Rouge, La as somebody goes on a rampage in a local church, killing four.

In Kootenay B.C., residents are still struggling with flooding. I think the problem in Quebec is receding though.

An aide to the Jordanian ambassador has been killed in the crossfire between Hamas and Fatah. As you would imagine, the Jordanians are none too pleased.

I want you to read this link to show you something. Three 'asian' men were found guilty of murder of a black English guy. However, there is a bit of a problem with this. Look at their pictures and their names. They're BLOODY MUSLIMS! Race was not the overriding factor here, it was ISLAM! The political correctness being displayed by the judge in this case turns my stomach. The victim was murdered because he was a non-Muslim, not because he was black. It makes me so angry this PC rubbish.

Two links on German Neo-Nazis, soccer (or football if you prefer) and the disturbing rise of extremism.

Gotta go. It's past my bedtime.

The Man In Black

Monday, May 22, 2006

Gaza Elevator Bombing: An Inside Job - May 22

Y'know, even at the best of times the best reporters working for a top newspaper make mistakes. I erroneously reported earlier that a blast in Gaza was the result of an Israeli missile fired from a UAV. Turns out, it was an IED planted inside the elevator shaft, not a missile. Sorry about that. I'll try not to jump to conclusions in the future. JC

Stratfor -- Predictive, Insightful, Global Intelligence

Gaza Elevator Bombing: Earmarks of an Inside Job
May 22, 2006

A bomb exploded in an elevator at the Palestinian General Intelligence Service in Gaza on May 19, seriously injuring the agency's chief, Gen. Tareq Abu Rajab. The blast also killed one of Abu Rajab's bodyguards, seriously wounded five other people in his entourage and injured passengers in an adjacent elevator. Although security in the Gaza Strip is woefully substandard, the fact that a device was planted inside the territory's intelligence headquarters -- where security supposedly is tightest -- suggests the attack was an inside job.

Details on the bombing are sketchy -- security forces having attacked reporters who arrived on the scene -- but investigators say the bomb was a homemade device packed with metal pellets and planted beneath the elevator's flooring. In order to effectively target Abu Rajab, and ensure he was in the elevator at the time of the blast, the improvised explosive device (IED) likely was command detonated, meaning someone would have had to watch Abu Rajab enter the elevator before activating the device.

Because only one person was killed in the attack and passengers in a neighboring elevator were injured as well, the bomb possibly was planted on one side of the elevator floor, rather than in the center. In that scenario, the person standing closest to the bomb would have absorbed the concussion from the blast, along with the metal pellets. The device also could have been a shaped charge, designed to focus the energy of the blast in one direction. Passengers in the neighboring car could have sustained their injuries from the concussion of the blast.

The militant Web site that claimed responsibility for the attack said Abu Rajab survived because the doors to the elevator had not yet closed when the blast occurred, which would have reduced the force of the explosion inside the elevator. Investigators at the scene, however, said that the bomb detonated after the doors closed, as the party was reaching the building's second floor.

Planting an IED in an elevator is a fairly sophisticated and risky operation. The fact that this attack occurred in the intelligence agency's headquarters raises several flags, notably the poor quality of employee screening. Unlike planting an IED on a road or in a public area, planning for an attack of this nature requires detailed knowledge of the target building; in this case, right down to the specific elevator Abu Rajab would be using. This is further evidence the bombers either work in the intelligence service or had an accomplice on the inside who also could have provided a detailed blueprint covering the access points to the elevator shaft.

If executed successfully, an elevator bombing is a much more precise attack than a roadside bombing. Because the blast is confined to the shaft, a smaller, more easily concealed device can be used. The shaft, which is naturally reinforced against the rest of the building, channels the force of the blast in only two directions: up or down. The concussion is therefore amplified in the shaft as it bounces along the enclosure, increasing the damage to the target.

On the off chance that those in an elevator car survive an initial blast, they still can be killed if the elevator falls to the bottom of the shaft, depending on the location of the car at the moment of the attack. Although newer elevators have emergency systems designed to prevent freak freefall accidents, a strategically placed device could disable all safety systems.

Although elevator attacks are effective, they rarely are employed. The last notable elevator bombing occurred in February 2005, killing a former police chief in Tirana, Albania. This latest attack, however, emphasizes the need for routine elevator searches, which are not always included in security sweeps, as well as proper screening of employees.

Copyright 2006 Strategic Forecasting Inc. All rights reserved.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Why Do I Need A Subject Line Anyways? - May 21

Today must be a slow news day. That's not to say nothing is happening, just that nothing of significance is happening. I still came up with some good stuff for you, my dear reader, so all is not in vain.

Tit for Tat Dep't: Four Palestinians were killed by an Israeli rocket, which naturally prompted a response. Those adherents of that 'religion of peace' tried to take out an El Al plane with a RPG in Geneva, Switzerland. Fortunately, the attempt against the plane and its passengers failed.

In Nepal, there's been a bit of a political earthquake as the king has been removed from power. What this will mean for the future of the growing Nepalese church is very much up in the air.

Mother Nature is fighting back. And winning handily, I might add.

There's been some flooding in the Eastern Townships (Quebec) and parts of British Columbia, prompting evacuation of affected residents. Further north, there is a shortage of Arctic ice which is startling Environment Canada. Internationally, that volcano in Java is still quiet, but now Monserrat is erupting.

Let's Go Oilers!: Last playoffs, Calgary Flames were the Cinderella story. The '06 playoffs are proving to be another boon to Alberta as Edmonton takes Game 1 against Anaheim. Not since the days of Gretzky, Messier, Coffey and Fuhr have the Oilers been this deep. I'm also rooting for Buffalo to beat Carolina as there are many Sabres season ticket holders in Southern Ontario. The next best thing to an all-Canadian final, I guess.

I've got two unusual links here. One talks about using water as fuel (!), the other about homeopathic medicine. As always, take everything you see on the net with a serious grain of salt. Looks interesting, though.

Whew. Not bad for a slow news day.

Be not conformed to this world ....

The Man in Black

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Women and Islam - May 20

I want to clear something up from a previous post. We here at the X-Def LOVE women. Indeed, I have noticed that a few comments being left here are from the opposite sex. I value all opinions and viewpoints, be it from the male or female perspective. However, I do stand by what I said earlier wrt the death of Capt. Nichola Goddard. The military is, let's face facts here, a predominantly male institution. Same deal with the police. If our Canadian Forces are 15% female, then that means that the remaining 85% is male. So any female, especially in a combat arms unit (infantry, armor, artillery, engineers) is going to be one lonely gal. Girls need their girlfriends for love and support. I don't think I'm far off the mark on this one! I would advise any woman who has thoughts of a military career to give it some serious thought. Do the research and don't be afraid to ask questions! Also, to say that women are, by their very nature, nurturers is not a sexist statement. It is a simple biological fact that does in no way carry a negative connotation. All the left-wing, feminist rhetoric has not changed the basic way in which men or women think. Thank God for that!

In memory of Captain Goddard, a link from the CBC about women in the military.

If there is one word of advice I would give to any woman thinking of marrying (and having kids with) a Muslim male, that word would be: DON'T! Too many horror stories of forced servitude, isolation and having their kids taken from them to a Muslim country where all the laws favor the male make this an easy call. My advice to Muslimahs is the same. Being married to a Muslim (especially if they are Arab) is a nightmare. So don't do it. You deserve much better.

It was with great horror when I saw the cover of the National Post on Friday as the Iranians were to invoke the old 'Star of David' of the Nazi Germany era. Yellow stripes was for Jews, Red for Christians, Blue for Zoroastrians and so on. Now it appears the the Iranians have been caught with their pants around their ankles and are back-pedalling quite furiously. So it does not appear to be a lock just yet but I certainly wouldn't put it pass them in the future.

Are Hamas and Fatah heading towards a civil war? What's so civil about war anyways? The Israelis are keeping a close watch on this. While it would be in their interest to keep the factions divided and squabbling amongst themselves, it is not in Israel's interest for complete anarchy to break out in their backyard.

As PM Olmert and W get together, President Bush is being advised to not support any massive disengagement from the West Bank (Judea and Samaria). I hope Ehud Olmert is not so foolish to do such a thing. Land for peace is a mirage, an agreement that will give Israel's enemies all the advantages.

As if paying the jizya tax (foreign aid) and buying their bloody oil isn't bad enough, jihadis are now selling narcotics to fuel their jihad against Israel and the West. Forget any sentimental illusions about the 'noble' mujadeen being 'freedom fighters' my friend. Let's call them what they really are, which is narco-terrorists.

Young people in Egypt are increasingly turning to blogs to get their information. Our 'ally' Hosni Mubarak, is corrupt and repressive. As a result, many a prominent blogger is being jailed. A direct assault on the freedom of speech.

A must read article from JINSA on Israel and it's 'Right to Exist'.

Semper Fi Dep't: U.S. Marines have killed some Iraqi civilians. My God, they're losing it over there. Iraq, aka Babylon, is a demon infested place. No wonder the Marines are having problems.

Here is a cool blog to check out.
Politics of Religion

Wow. That's ten links for you today. More to follow.

"So that when you see these signs, look up, for your redemption draweth nigh!"

The Man in Black

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Behold, I Come Quickly! - May 18

Well, it's not ME that's coming quickly silly, it's Jesus who is coming quickly. What amazes me (and I think I've said this before) is the speed at which events are developing. I mean, I'm putting seven to ten (maybe more) links on every post! Ten or fifteen years ago just one of these links would be cause for major discussion and possibly some kind of prayer meeting. Nowadays? Zilch. Apathy as a sign of the times? You bet. The problem is not lack of signs my friend, rather it is that we are drowning in a sea of signs concerning our Lord's return. Too bad that so many that truly love the LORD have fallen asleep over current world events.

New World Order Alert: Arabs are calling for greater integration, both politically and economically. How they plan to fit Iraq in there is anybody's guess.

Don't let anyone give you this bollocks about there being no forcible conversion to Islam. This has been going on for centuries, with Christian girls becoming targets of these Muslim scumbags. Da'wa? D'Oh!

My mind spins as I read this story. Indonesian villagers are going BACK to the sides of Merapi, that active volcano. It's really quite amazing if you think about it. I mean, people will deny a danger exists even when it is staring right back at them. An appropiate prophetic metaphor, I guess.

Aussie! Aussie! Aussie! Oi! Oi! Oi! Dep't: Australian PM John Howard was in Ottawa rubbing elbows with PM Harper. Read what the man says about America and it's foreign policy. Sobering words indeed.

I'm sensing the idea that the Taliban doesn't really like us. I'm just not feeling the love. How do we win their hearts and minds? With hugs and bullets. Lots and lots of bullets.

Here is a lurid tale about some funky financing that went into DaVinci Code:

Extreme Geek Alert: Airbus 380, that double decker airplane that makes the Boeing 747 its bee-otch landed at Heathrow today.

Meet Jan Markell, director of Olive Tree Ministries. Jan is an awesome teacher of God's word, especially in the realm of Bible prophecy. Sign up for her free newsletters. You won't be disappointed.

Even so, come Lord Jesus!

The Man in Black

Canadian Forces and the Taliban - May 18

A link from the CBC to get us started.

A few personal reflections first:

As you may or may not know about me, I served 12.5 years as a supply tech in the Primary Land Reserve (Army). During that time, there were many people who made a strong impression on me. These influences came from both officer and non-commisioned ranks. I can still remember their cool professionalism which still influences me today. It changed the way I walk, the way I talk, my deportment, how I think and even the way I dress. I would not be the man I am today without that positive influence in my life. Along with my decision to follow Christ, the military has had a profound effect on me. I truly believe that if I did not have those two influences in my life that I would either be dead or in jail. An exaggeration? No it is not.

When I was in the military, I had the chance to befriend a few female soldiers. They got along well with me and I got along well with them. However, I am NOT in favor of women in front-line combat roles. Do not consider this as unusual as both the Americans and the British follow this policy. None of the women I met while in uniform were a liability certainly, it's just that none of them particularly stood out either. That is not slagging them or being misogynist, it's called being honest (brutally perhaps). Also, there were specific individuals in my unit, from corporal to Lt. Col., that struck as being fantastic soldiers. If I could emulate a certain desirable characteristic of each one, I said to myself, then I would certainly have the world at my feet. One might have the raw military knowledge. Another would have true leadership skills. Another would have excellent physical fitness. And so on. The problem was that of all these fine soldiers who held up a high standard for me, not one was female. I also noticed that these female soldiers really didn't last long while part of the order of battle and many were not as regular in their attendance as they should've been. Am I being too harsh? Hey, I can only report what I saw and I had excellent attendance both in garrison and in the field. So I'm not whistling dixie here.

It seems fashionable these days to make everything as 'equal' as possible, to the point of sheer insanity. All religions are equal. All political systems are equal. All moral codes are equal. And all men and women are equal in every possible conceivable way. What pure and utter horsefeathers! You see, the social scientists are trying to tell us that we are constantly evolving, moving to a higher and higher plane of existence. Yet for all their rhetoric, human nature has not changed in thousands of years. Men are men and women are, well, women. Man is the hunter-gatherer. Well, at least sort of IMHO. Women by their nature are nurturers. They always have been, always will be. Look, if a woman really, really wants to be a genuine front-line combat soldier, then so be it. Just don't tell me that men and women are 'equal' in every possible conceivable way because it ain't so, Joe. Simply stated, there is a distinct difference in the way men and women go about their business. Of course the man and women are of equal value and importance. I just wish the radical feminists and the social scientist would understand this point as they strive to put sexual politics ahead of military effectiveness. All the social engineering in the world has not budged the way a man or a woman thinks. Not even one iota. Fortunately for us, that's actually a good thing.

The Man in Black.

Stratfor -- Predictive, Insightful, Global Intelligence

Afghanistan's Mean Season: The Taliban Take on the Canadians
May 18, 2006

Fierce fighting continued May 18 in southern Afghanistan's Kandahar province as British, Canadian and Afghan forces engaged hundreds of Taliban fighters near the village of Azizi. In neighboring Helmand province, Taliban fighters overran the town of Musa Qala, a former Taliban stronghold, only to be forced out later by Afghan troops backed by British and Canadian helicopter gunships. The fighting came a day after a Canadian offensive in Kandahar's Panjway district ended in the death of at least 18 Taliban and one Canadian soldier, while a suicide bomber struck a U.N. convoy, killing only the bomber. In the two days of fighting, some 50 Taliban have died, compared with about 14 Afghan and coalition fatalities.

The fighting reflects an overall increase in Taliban activity in southern Afghanistan since late 2005 -- the result of al Qaeda's reinvestment in the country and the change in coalition forces there.

The United States has turned responsibility for most of Afghanistan over to NATO forces in order to free up U.S. troops to concentrate on operations in eastern Afghanistan, near the Pakistani border, where the Taliban and al Qaeda are most active -- and where many senior leaders are believed to be operating. Al Qaeda does not have as heavy a presence in southern Afghanistan, particularly in Uruzgan, Helmand and Kandahar provinces, though the Taliban continue to be active in the area.

As part of the NATO deployment, Canadian Brig. Gen. David Fraser on Feb. 28 took control of the multinational force in southern Afghanistan from U.S. Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry. The Canadian forces in southern Afghanistan include troops from the 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry; an engineer squadron; an artillery battery from 1 Royal Canadian Horse Artillery; an armored reconnaissance troop from 12 Régiment blindé du Canada; and an Unmanned Aerial Vehicle unit from 408 Tactical Helicopter Squadron. The Canadians relieved battle-hardened troops from the U.S. Southern European Task Force, including the 173rd Separate Infantry brigade, 3rd battalion, 6th Marines, and the 82nd Airborne Division's 2nd Brigade. Late May 17, the Canadian Parliament narrowly approved a bill to extend the deployment of the country's 2,300 troops in Afghanistan to 2008.

Three factors are converging on the Canadians in Kandahar province: The perception by the Taliban and local warlords that the Canadians are not as formidable an opponent as the U.S. units they replaced, an influx of younger Taliban commanders eager to apply tactics used by insurgents in Iraq to their fight in Afghanistan, and a lack of financial resources to pay off local warlords, tribal leaders and government officials. Until the Canadians and other NATO troops can adjust to their new environment, fighting will continue, and possibly increase, in southern Afghanistan.

The U.S. presence in southern Afghanistan included selectively spreading money around the region for reconstruction projects. Although ostensibly meant to benefit the local population, especially in rural areas, these projects are actually used as a tool to buy the allegiance of the local warlords and tribal leaders who benefit more directly from them. By building roads, schools and other infrastructure in their areas, the local commanders see their people employed, receive money to provide "protection" for the projects, and get other "gifts" and gratuities as well. The United States had about $30 million to spend on these projects in southern Afghanistan, in addition to projects funded by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).

Canadian commanders, however, lack that kind of money to spread around the local area for reconstruction projects, having only about $2 million to put to work in the area. The Canadians will try to work with various NGOs operating in Afghanistan to fill the shortfall in projects, but this less-direct route could deny them the flexibility that U.S. commanders on the ground enjoyed when disbursing goodies to the locals. This could make local warlords and tribal leaders less cooperative with the Canadians.

The local insurgents began testing the Canadians within hours after they took over, detonating a roadside bomb in front of a Canadian military convoy in Kandahar. Anytime one military unit assumes responsibility from another, the new unit must learn the nuances of operating in the area, despite a transition period during which soldiers from the old units train the new units. No matter how thorough the changeover, however, the new unit must develop tactics and procedures that are best suited to the way it operates. While the Canadians are learning their way around and establishing new relationships with local commanders and leaders, the Taliban will try to take advantage of the opportunity to take over as much territory as they can in southern Afghanistan. This will include attacks against government buildings in small towns, convoys and reconstruction projects.

New Taliban commanders have come into southern Afghanistan in recent months as areas sympathetic to the Taliban across the border in Pakistan continue to produce a supply of recruits and combat veterans have risen through the ranks. These younger commanders are eager to apply tactics used by insurgents in Iraq that have proven successful against coalition and Iraqi forces. This might include more urban warfare, suicide attacks, attacks against towns loyal to the Afghan government, and attacks against government officials. The increase in Taliban and al Qaeda activity has brought with it an increase in suicide attacks. Through mid-May, 11 suicide attacks have occurred in Afghanistan, compared to seven in all of 2005.

Taking a lesson from the insurgents in Iraq, the Taliban realize that gaining media attention is an important aspect of their fight. Overrunning a remote small town in Kandahar or Helmand province and holding it for a few days until coalition and Afghan forces arrive to run them out could have an impact locally, but results in little media attention. On the other hand, a suicide or roadside bomb attack that kills a local police chief or official does result in media attention. An attack against coalition troops, particularly a suicide attack, can have even more media impact.

Unlike Iraq, however, suicide bombings against coalition targets in Afghanistan rarely result in serious casualties. This is partly because of terrain limitations, fewer vehicles on the roads in predominantly rural Afghanistan compared to the urban areas of Iraq, and lower-quality materials used in improvised explosive devices. Convoy tactics learned by coalition forces in Iraq and up-armored Humvees also have mitigated the effects of suicide attacks in Afghanistan.

As the spring turns into summer, militant activity in Afghanistan will increase. The Canadians and other NATO troops in southern Afghanistan have been adjusting to their surroundings and developing sound operating practices. The attacks will continue, but the casualty counts will continue to be disproportionately heavy on the Taliban side.

Copyright 2006 Strategic Forecasting Inc. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Perilous Times Shall Come - May 17

You know, with the release of the DaVinci Code this Friday, there is something unmistakeable going on. Lies and deception are having a field day. Telling the truth is becoming more and more hazardous to your health (even smoking is considered cooler that prophesying). What used to slink around back alleys is now strutting itself right down the middle of Main Street. These are perilous times we are living in friend. A time when it is perfectly permissible to assail and slander Jesus Christ, but don't you dare draw a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed. A time when our so-called leaders are without direction and purpose (will someone please wake up poor W!) and what's worse, appear to be in cahoots with the enemy (Tony Blair, George Galloway). A time of natural disasters, over and above the 'usual' amount of carnage. A time of wars and rumours of wars. Yes, things are not looking good. However, all is not lost. You see, Jesus promised eternal life to those who were willing to believe and trust in Him. Jesus also promised a distinct and literal time in human history called the millennium, a 'Golden Age' which will be a thousand year reign of our Lord. So when I talk of Bible prophecy, I am NOT dealing with doom and gloom. I'm not looking at the tribulation, a time of terror of seven years, I'm looking at those thousand years of genuine peace on Earth, goodwill towards all men. My vision is far greater that the mundane and the routine. How you may ask? When I asked Jesus in my heart, something happened. God's very spirit, the Holy Spirit of God, came inside me to dwell forever. It is the HS that bring God's word to life, convicting you of sin. It is the HS that causes me to worship Jesus and give glory to the Father. And finally, it is the HS that is driving this whole blog. My friend, do you want this? Do want a sense of direction in your life? Do you want to fully understand what's REALLY going on in this dying world of ours? Do you want to bypass the tribulation and go to the millennium? If you've answered yes to any of these questions, then you are ready to receive Christ as your Lord and Saviour. Just ask Him to forgive you and fully enter into your life and I guarantee you that you will be saved. Today, yes today, is the acceptable hour of your salvation! Eternity awaits your answer.

From USA Today, an interesting article from a female reporter about DVC:

Here is some strong encouraging news from the Gospel for Asia website:

Don't you get the idea that if Pope Benedict XVI ever got really mad he'd start turning green and expand to twice his size with nothing but muscles? I can see it now. "GRRRRRR, POPE MAD! MUSLIMS MAKE POPE ANGRY!" Well, what can I say? We all need our Catholic fantasies apparently.

Here is a photo gallery of Merapi, that volcano in Indonesia that is making headlines around the world.

Is RU-486 aka 'The Abortion Pill' safe? No it is not. Is it just me, or does it seem that all the Pro-Choice arguments that are being brought to bear in favor of abortion are turning to dust?

I have reported on this before but I believe it is worth re-posting. Iran is attempting to sell it's oil in euros rather than dollars. As America's largest trading partner (China? No, it's Canada you fool!) this is not insignificant news.

Some guy called Winston Blackmore in Bountiful B.C. has 20+ wives and 103 kids is saying he is being persecuted. That's right, he is a polygamist. My mind is spinning here. I'm guessing he will hire some hot-shot lawyer and start screaming about how his 'rights' are being violated. I mean if marriage is no longer an exclusive union of one man and one woman, then why not polygamy? If I want to have sex with goats and various other livestock, I would merely have to thrust my fist into the air and say the magic word 'Rights!'. They would HAVE to give it to me. Rights is rights, right?

Lastly, here is a cool blog for you to check out:
Libra Bunda

The Man in Black

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Scorpion and the Frog - May 15


One day a scorpion and a frog were by a river's edge and both needed to get across to the other side. The scorpion said to the frog, "Mr. Frog, would you be so kind as to let me on your back as you swim across this river? I have important business to conduct on the other side and I cannot swim in such a strong current." The frog was a little perturbed and so began to question the scorpion's motives. The frog spoke, "Mr. Scorpion, while I can appreciate the fact that you have business to conduct on the other side of this river, please consider what you are saying. You are a scorpion. You have a large stinger at the end of your tail. As soon as I let you on my back you will proceed to sting me which I might add IS your nature." The scorpion, ready for this, replied, "My dear Mr. Frog, it is clearly not in my interest to sting you at all! I do need to get to the other side and I PROMISE that no harm will come to you." Well, this made a great deal of sense to the frog, so the scorpion crawled on his back to make the trek across the river. The frog was making good time getting across when all of a sudden, in the middle of the river no less, the scorpion began to sting the frog repeatedly. The frog, shocked at this development, cried, "Why, oh why are you doing this? You said you needed to get to the other side to conduct your business!". The scorpion replied casually, "Mr. Frog, you said it yourself. I am a scorpion. I have a large stinger at the end of my tail. And yes, it is in my nature to sting you." Then both the frog and the scorpion slipped below the river's surface, never to be seen again.

Putting the 'daffy' in Khadaffy Dep't: If you've been paying attention, Libya (the scorpion) is making nice with the U.S. (the frog). My advice to W and Condi? Proceed with caution.

Just to show you my wariness is somewhat merited, a link from on Khadaffy's true nature. Trust him? Not on your life.

I have another cool blog for you to check out. After you leave your comment here at the X-Def, leave a comment there as well.

Three articles of note wrt the EU:

1) The Gov't Is My Friend Dep't: U.S. to access EU data retention info.

2) Angela Merkel is calling for a 'new era' in the EU. Not to be confused with the 'old era' which was totally fubar, I'm sure.

3) EU commision defends the use of 'high-level working groups'. I dunno, sounds a lot like the old (and very awful) 'soviet' system of the now defunct USSR. I fully expect them to start calling each other 'comrade' soon.

Birth Pangs R Us Dep't:

The first drought order in 11 years has been given in England and Wales.

Mahmoud Abbas is seeking financial assistance from none other than our 'ally' Vladimir Putin.

Malnutrition is stalking Iraqi children. Ask yourself this. Are the people of Iraq better off now than under Saddam? What a tragedy this cynical invasion is creating.

In Pakistan, a killer heat wave stalks the land. How hot? Try 50 C.

Massive flooding in Red Sox Nation and the NE United States:

In the business world, the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX for you MBA types) tumbles 206 points. I'm guessing that's not good.

Australia: You can do it here but not over there Dep't: In the land Down Under, they've decided to allow the 'bad' books, and get rid of the Good Book.

Christian persecution. The only 'acceptable' prejudice allowed today.

The Man in Black

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Prophecy of the Sabbath - May 14

In the first chapter of Genesis, God revealed to Moses that the earth was created in six days and that the seventh day was given unto Man as a day of rest. Understand this about the Shabbat: God gave the Sabbath for Man's benefit, not for God's. We see the pattern repeat itself throughout the Torah (Leviticus) and is especially prevalent in the Book of Revelation (of Jesus Christ). That is you have six periods of activity followed by a period of rest. In Peter's writings he reveals a mystery, unknown in the OT, that a thousand years is but a day in God's eyes (2 Pet 3:8). The Sabbath is a prophecy revealing nothing less than the millenial reign of Jesus Christ! Keep in mind that the Jewish year is 5766. That is, five 'days' are already past and we are in that sixth, or final, yom (Jewish word for day). The seventh 'yom' (or Sabbath) is when Jesus will have dominion over the Earth along with ALL of His saints. Jewish Law is NOT about God giving us a bunch of religious laws because He can, rather, it represents two things:

1) It is a divine revelation of God's personality and His love for us.

2) It is a divine revelation of His perfect redemption plan for mankind.

This is something that has escaped the Jews attention, much to their detriment. Those studying Bible prophecy thinking it's 'doom and gloom' have gloriously missed the point. It is instead the most beautiful love story ever written by none other than the Creator Himself.

So this post is about upheaval, which of course comes in many forms. It could be man-made. It could be in the natural realm. And yes, even in the supernatural realm. The 'Day of the Lord' will come, my friend. God Himself has said so.

In Indonesia, locals are still refusing to leave the side of an erupting volcano. What kills me is that they are looking for some mystical 'sign' before they leave. Great. Tell that to the volcano. Consider the following:
1) It's raining rocks.
2) Lava (liquid rock) is spewing forth.
3) Loud explosions are heard.
4) The ground is literally shaking beneath your feet.
5) Massive clouds of smoke and lethal gas are usually a dead giveaway.
I dunno, these sure look like tell-tale signs to me. I just know I wouldn't be sticking around to see a pyroclastic flow heading my way. Apathy and ignorance rule once more.

In south Texas, we see a new and horrible disease that is afflicting some people there. First the story, then the official site, and a Bible verse to pique your interest. WARNING: NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!!!

Organized criminals in Sao Paolo, Brazil go on a cop-killing rampage. Up to fifty people are known to be dead or injured.

In Iraq, fresh violence rips the country in two.

The IDF is taking care of business in the West Bank.

More nonsense from 'Cartoongate': A crowd of 50,000 in Pakistan gather for a funeral of a young man that died in custody in Germany. All sympathetic to the deceased's militancy no doubt.

In the Philippines, Tropical Storm Chanchu leaves behind a trail of destruction.

Remember that letter that was sent by Iran's Thug-In-Chief to W? Divine inspiration apparently! An Iranian cleric says so.

Abide in the Lord and He will abide in you.

Johnny Cash

Africa's Horn, Israel, and Paul Maurice - May 14

First and foremost I would like say 'Happy Mother's Day'! Moms do such tireless work and if you have a good one like I do consider yourself blessed.

There seems to be a proliferation of activity in the Horn of Africa, especially Somalia, Ethiopia and the Sudan. In Ezekiel 38 and 39, there is a prophecy concerning the last days as Israel is attacked by a conglomeration of nations. Three of the four, Russia, Iran and Libya strike me as rather obvious. It is the people of 'Put and Cush' (black Africans) however, that pique me the most. Due to the amount of suffering and poverty in that region, there does not seem a logical reason why any kind of military invasion would be launched from there. Certainly it is a most atypical 'launching pad' really for ANY kind of invasion. God of course cannot tell a lie so we rest on His word.

Israeli police and protesters are clashing in Jerusalem over Israel's decision to build a security fence near the city.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban are saying 'Hello' to our troops the only way they know how.

In China, expectations of droughts, floods and a losing season of Toronto Maple Leaf hockey are causing many to worry. Except for the hockey part which I clearly made up.

From the 'I did not see this coming AT ALL' Dep't: JFJ announces that Paul Maurice will, in fact, be the next head coach of the TML (yawn). Hey Paul, stock up on antacids, aspirin and anti-depressants before you get underway. Believe me, you'll thank me for it.

Labour unrest in Dubai as foreign (Indian mostly) workers are up in arms. Their demands are as follows:
1) Getting paid on time and in the correct amount.
2) To be able to work less than 16 hours a day.
3) Not living in slums.
The NERVE of these workers! Don't they realize that they are working in the Islamic paradise of Dubai? Such progressive thinking in an Islamic country will never do. The next thing you know the Arabs might have to share real political power with these infidels!

In Indonesia, a volcano is erupting causing villagers to flee. My inner geek is telling me, "Erupting volcanoes are cool!".

Fifth Column Jihad Dep't: Why are so many convicts in America's penal system turning to Islam? Because sociopathic behaviour and jihad are a natural fit, that's why.

Just when you thought it was safe to hug a Dane, a video is calling for a 'sea of blood' over those stupid Prophet Mo cartoons. Allright, let me ask you a question. Does Dan Brown, author of The DaVinci Code, live under a death threat? Have there been angry hordes of Presbyterians outside a movieplex whipping themselves into a frenzy over 'DaVinci'? How many Anglicans are actively intimidating those who wish to see this silly movie? How many Southern Baptists are calling for a war with anyone associated with this film? The answers to these four questions is no, no, none and none. That, my friend, is the difference between us and them.

Aaahhh..... That feels better. Stay tuned.

The Man in Black

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Kyrgyzstan and the Russian Air Force - May 13

Got a quick little sitrep for you from stratfor about Russia's ambitions in its 'Near Abroad'. In this particular case it is Kyrgyzstan.

The Man in Black

Stratfor -- Predictive, Insightful, Global Intelligence

Russia: More Personnel For Kyrgyz Base
May 12, 2006

The Russian air force will move additional personnel to its Kant base inside Kyrgyzstan once construction is completed on 160 housing units and a new school, Vladimir Mikhailov, commander of the Russian air force, said May 12. The base, located 20 miles west of the Kyrgyz capital, can still fulfill its security obligations to the Collective Security Treaty Organization, Mikhailov said. Russia has reportedly provided more than $500,000 to Kyrgyzstan as part of the two nations' military cooperation.

Copyright 2006 Strategic Forecasting Inc. All rights reserved.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

If Real Life Was A Cartoon - May 11

....Then I suspect today's cast of characters would look something like this:

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad: Elmer Fudd (minus the shooting accuracy).
George W. Bush: Homer Simpson. With nukes. D'oh!
Condi Rice: Tasmanian Devil ( rah ooh rah ugh!)
Jacques Chirac: Pepe le Pew (all the smell but none of the charm).
Stephen Harper: Tries to be Principal Skinner but is, in fact, Nelson (A-Ha!)
Donald Rumsfeld: Tries to be Nelson but is, in fact, Principal Skinner.
Pervez Mushharaf: Wile E. Coyote
Osama bin Laden: The Roadrunner
Pope Benedict XVI: Ned Flanders (c'mon, who else would I have picked?)
Tony Blair: Marvin the Martian
Silvio Berlusconi: Foghorn Leghorn
Angela Merkel: Bart Simpson
Kofi Annan: Chief Wiggum
and playing the most important role of all is....
Jesus Christ: Bugs Bunny (What's up Doc?)

OK, so I believe we are getting down to brass tacks concerning Iran. I mentioned yesterday that Iran's Thug-In-Chief sent President Bush a letter wrt the ongoing crisis. The conclusion of this letter is clear. In Islamic thinking, before there is war a Muslim must first ask the non-Muslim if he will join Islam. Should the non-Muslim refuse, then full preparations for jihad can begin. The Islamic version of extending an 'olive branch' if you will. Or if you prefer, submit or fight to the death. I choose to fight. Three links from worldnetdaily follow:
Iran Letter Precursor to War?
Final Warning from Iran's Islamist Rulers?
The Future Belongs to Islam - Hal Lindsey
(All are pretty useful. Just decided not to give each link it's own commentary.)

Just to show you how much smoke and mirrors this all is, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was in Jakarta, Indonesia calling Israel the 'evil empire'. Deny and project, deny and project. Typical.

That gas crisis in Gaza that I reported yesterday has come to an end. Expect to hear more stories like this in the future.

Well, well. It appears that the more digging you do in the Holy Land, the more the Bible is revealed as historically accurate. Naturally this causes all sorts of headaches for those mired in unbelief.

Environment Canada is predicting a dry, hot summer for 2006. Possible blackouts/brownouts as energy consumption goes waaaaay up.

I guess that's it for today. More to follow later.

Johnny Cash

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Objects In Mirror Closer Than They Appear - May 10

OK, OK, so you think the above subject line is a little cheesy. So be it. It's my blog and I ain't changing it. Seriously though folks, we are headed for a showdown between Man and God. Who wins? Both actually, but mankind pays a steep price for his sin. The return of our Lord Jesus is much sooner than we think. God loves you so much. He desires that you be saved, so much so that He allowed His Son to be crucified on your behalf. Accept God's free pardon and claim the victory that Jesus won for you on the cross. The plot is indeed thickening. There isn't a whole lot of time left.

The Sinner's Prayer

Dear Lord, I am a sinner. I need to be saved and I want to be saved. Please save me Lord Jesus. Change me into the man/woman you always wanted me to be. Let me never be ashamed of you. Give me the strength to make a public declaration of my newfound faith in you. Thank you for saving me. I pledge all my remaining days to your service. In Jesus' name I pray, Amen.

There has been an unfortunate shift in events as aid to Hamas is set to resume (actual amount of $ is unknown). This places Israel in grave danger. Not to mention the fact that the West gov'ts appear to have all the resolve of a wet noodle.

Three articles from the BBC:

1) Palestinian fuel crisis looming. No gas, no economy. It's that simple.

2) Vlad Putin in Russia is once again talking about the need for Russia to assert itself. His solution? More babies and a better armed forces (Gulp!).

3) Flogging a Dead Horse Dep't: Brussels is proposing a 'declaration' to circumvent a troubled European constitution. Neo-Roman Empire here we come!

From the CBC comes a story of Man attempting to usurp our Creator in Great Britain.

Reuters: Why we should keep the jizya prohibition in place.

Reuters: Have you ever seen the movie 'Lord of War' starring Nicolas Cage? It's an excellent movie about arms dealer Yuri Orlov with a smattering of black humor. This link shows black-market small arms dealing is still booming and the difficulties gov'ts face in trying to stop it.

You may have heard by now the letter that was sent by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to President Bush. Here is a parody of that letter which I thought was kinda funny. And here is a sample of the real deal (includes a pdf link).

Please note the condescending attitude MA displays towards Bush. Apparently it was like being subjected to a really bad lecture. 18 pages of utter tripe. Careful, deliberate and even subliminal in it's wording? You betcha. An invitation to join the ranks of Islam? Of course. A prelude to war? A definite possibility.

Here is an internet book about the links between Christian and Islamic eschatology (prophecy). A must read for those who wish to understand.

Wow. I went all out on this one. Thats ten links without even trying really hard. Please pray the sinner's prayer if you do not know Jesus as Lord and Saviour. You can thank me in an eternal heaven when we meet. Do it today!

The Man in Black

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

The Jizya Tax - Just Say No! - May 9

Allright X-Def fans (plural?), have I got some good stuff today. You may be asking, "What is the jizya?" The jizya, properly understood, is a kind of 'tribute' tax non-Muslims have to hand over to their Muslim masters. In other words, it's a form of religious racketeering, or 'protection' money. It is pure Sopranos, minus the peppy dialogue and sharp looking Italian-made suits. Much to cover, so lets get to it.

I start this post with an essay from the erudite Hugh Fitzgerald of Jihad Watch on the growing problem in Gaza and elsewhere.

Here is something that's really bugging me. Apparently, the EU and the UN are starting up a 'temporary international mechanism' to keep the funds flowing into Hamas coffers. Never mind the following:
1) Hamas will never recognize Israel because Islam will never recognize Israel.
2) Hamas will never renounce violence. Same deal with Islam.
3) This 'temporary' nonsense is utter bullshit. Since Israel's inception, the Palestinians have been the world's biggest welfare case. Do they really believe that another three months is going to make a big difference?
4) There is no law and order in Gaza. So called 'police' are nothing more than armed thugs and criminals terrorizing their own people. And lastly ....
5) We owe these people nothing. This is not our problem. 'Stop defending the indefensible' is, I believe, perfectly applicable here.

To prove my point, check out this article from DEBKAfile.

Four article from around the world concerning Canada, Iran, North Korea, and the Russians

PM Stephen Harper has taken to task MP Maurice Vellacott for his criticism of judicial activism and the Supreme Court in particular. Despite some of the more 'colorful' criticisms, I think Vellacott is absolutely bang-on with his assessment. It's too bad this kind of talk is muzzled. We need more MPs like this who are willing to call a spade a spade. Or a judge a 'god'. Take your pick.

I posted something like this awhile back about the 'Iranian Oil Bursary'. It amounted to this: Iran wants to sell it's oil in euros instead of dollars. Saddam Hussein was trying to do the same in 2000, hence the cynical launch of 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' in 2003.

As if H5N1 (aka the bird flu) wasn't a big enough worry by itself, the North Koreans are trying to 'weaponize' the bird flu. I pray that the North Koreans fail miserably in their endeavour.

Russia is trying to make nice with the Americans after Dick Cheney made the Bush administration's opinion clear about Russian democracy heading in reverse. 'Burying the hatchet' is a fine idea. However, if you're trying to bury the hatchet in each other's head then you have some serious problems.

Lastly, three articles from euobserver about the 'revived Roman empire'.

Is the UK going to lift it's veto on police matters? It seems implausible that the UK would be so willing to hand its policing powers over to Brussels but that seems to be the direction that the UK is taking.

All is not happy, happy as tensions mount between national and European parliaments. Underming national sovereignty will do that.

The European free press (or what appears to be left of it) are also in the thick of things.

Lotsa stuff. Whew.....

The Man in Black

The Intelligence Problem - May 9

Here is a really interesting article from stratfor. In a nutshell, the American intelligence community (IC) is terribly short-sighted. Due to it's sheer size, any original thinking or bold predictions gets shunted aside. What it does do well is the day-to-day stuff, the mundane, the ordinary, the routine. Events like 9/11 or Saddam's (non-existent) WMD's take them by complete surprise. Jesus said that when He comes (for His church), it will be like a 'thief in the night'. In other words, Jesus will achieve perfect tactical and strategic surprise when He comes for His bride. You better believe that the IC, even with all it's technology and experience, will not see it coming until it is too late. "For when you see all these signs look up! Your redemption draweth nigh!"

Mr. Johnny Cash

Stratfor -- Predictive, Insightful, Global Intelligence

The Intelligence Problem
May 09, 2006

By George Friedman

Porter Goss has been fired as director of the CIA and is to be replaced by Gen. Michael Hayden -- who is now deputy to Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte and formerly was director of the National Security Agency (NSA). Viewed from beyond the Beltway -- and we are far outside the Beltway -- it appears that the Bush administration is reshuffling the usual intelligence insiders, and to a great extent, that is exactly what is happening. But there is more: White House Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, having decided such matters as who the new press secretary should be, has turned to what is a very real problem for President George W. Bush: a vicious battle between the White House and the CIA.

The fight is simply about who bears the blame for Iraq. The White House and the Defense Department have consistently blamed the CIA for faulty intelligence on Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and over the failure to predict and understand the insurgency in Iraq. The CIA has responded by leaking studies showing that its intelligence indeed was correct but was ignored by Bush and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. The truth, as usual, lies somewhere in the middle. There certainly were studies inside the CIA that were accurate on the subject -- but given the thousands of people working for the agency, someone had to be right. The question is not whether someone got it right, but what was transmitted to the White House in then-Director George Tenet's briefings. At this point, it really does not matter. There was a massive screwup, with plenty of blame to go around.

Still, it is probably not good for the White House and the CIA to be in a vicious fight while a war is still going on. The firing of Goss, who was a political appointee brought in to bring the agency to heel, is clearly a concession to the CIA, where he and his aides were hated (that is not too strong a word.) Hayden at least is an old hand in the intelligence community, albeit at the NSA and not the CIA. Whether this is an attempt to placate the agency in order to dam up its leaks to the press, or whether Bush is bringing in the big guns to crush agency resistance, is unclear. This could be a move by Rumsfeld to take CIA turf. But in many ways, these questions are simply what we call "Washington gas" -- meaning something that is of infinite fascination within Washington, D.C., but of no interest elsewhere and of little lasting significance anywhere.

The issue is not who heads the CIA or what its bureaucratic structure might be. The issue is, as it has been for decades, what it is that the CIA and the rest of the intelligence community are supposed to do and how they are supposed to do it. On the surface, the answer to that is clear: The job of the intelligence community, taken as a whole, is to warn the president of major threats or changes in the international system. At least that appears to be the mission, but the problem with that definition is that the intelligence community (or IC) has never been good at dealing with major surprises, threats and issues. Presidents have always accepted major failures on the part of the IC.

Consider. The IC failed to predict the North Korean invasion of South Korea. It failed to predict Chinese intervention there. It failed to predict the Israeli-British-French invasion of Suez in 1956. It failed to recognize that Castro was a communist until well after he took power. It failed to predict the Berlin Wall. It failed to predict or know that the Soviets had placed missiles in Cuba (a discovery that came with U-2 overflights by the Air Force). It failed to recognize the Sino-Soviet split until quite late. It failed to predict the tenacity of the North Vietnamese in the face of bombing, and their resilience in South Vietnam. The IC was very late in recognizing the fall of the Shah of Iran. It was taken by surprise by the disintegration of communism in Eastern Europe and the Soviet Union. It failed to predict the intentions of al Qaeda. And it failed in Iraq.

Historically, the American IC has been superb when faced with clearly defined missions. It had the ability to penetrate foreign governments, to eavesdrop on highly secure conversations, to know the intentions of a particular foreign minister at a particular meeting. Given a clear mission, the IC performed admirably. Where it consistently failed was in the amorphous mission of telling the president what he did not know about something that was about to change everything. When the IC was told to do something specific, it did it well. When it was asked to tell the president what he needed to know -- a broad and vague brief -- it consistently fell down.

This is why the argument going on between the CIA and the White House/Defense Department misses the point. Bush well might have ignored or twisted intelligence on Iraq's WMD. But the failure over Iraq is not the exception, it is the rule. The CIA tends to get the big things wrong, while nailing the lesser things time and again. This is a persistent and not easily broken pattern, for which there are some fundamental causes.

The first is that the IC sees its task as keeping its customers -- the president and senior members of his administration -- happy. They have day-to-day requirements, such as being briefed for a meeting with a foreign leader. The bread-and-butter work of the IC is the briefing book, which tells a secretary of state what buttons to push at a ministerial meeting. Ninety-nine percent of the taskings that come to the IC concern these things. And the IC could get 99 percent of the task right; they know that this minister is on the take, or that that minister is in a terrible fight with a rival, or that some leader is dying. They do that over and over again -- that is their focus. They are rarely rewarded for the risky business of forecasting, and if they fail to forecast the invasion of South Korea, they can still point to the myriad useful things at which they did succeed.

When members of the IC say that no one sees the vital work they do, they are right. And they are encouraged to do this work by their customers. If they miss the fall of the Soviet Union, it is the bread-and-butter work that keeps them going. If the nuts and bolts of intelligence compete with the vital need of a government to be ready for the unexpected, the nuts and bolts must win every time. The reason is simple: The unexpected rarely happens, but meetings of the G-8 happen every year. The system is built for the routine. It is hard to build a system for the unexpected.

A second problem is size. The American IC is much too big. It has way too many resources. It is awash in information that is not converted into intelligence that is delivered to its customers. Huge organizations will lose information in the shuffle. The bigger they are, the more they lose. Little Stratfor struggles to make sure that intelligence flowing from the field is matched to the right analyst and that analysts working on the same problem talk to each other, and it is tough. Doing it with tens of thousands of sources and intelligence officers, thousands of analysts and hundreds of briefers is a failure waiting to happen. All of the databases dreamt of by all of the information technology people in the IC cannot make up for total overload.

It can be argued that there is no alternative. The United States has global interests and thus must have global and massive resources. But the fact is that global interests are not well-served by a system that is too large to function efficiently. Whatever the need is, the reality is that managing the vast apparatus of the IC is overwhelmingly difficult, to the point of failure. Moreover, the management piece is so daunting that finding space to look for the unexpected -- and transmit that finding efficiently to the customer -- has been consistently impossible. The intelligence services of smaller countries sometimes do much better at the big things than massive intelligence services. The KGB was an example of intelligence paralysis due, among other things, to size.

A third issue is the cult of sourcing. There is a belief that a man on the ground is the most valuable asset there is. But that depends on where he is on the ground and who he is. A man on the ground can see hundreds of feet in any direction, assuming that there are no buildings in the way. It always amuses us to hear that so-and-so spent three years in some country -- implying expertise. We always wonder whether an Iranian spending three years in Washington, D.C., would be regarded as an expert around whom analysis could be built. Moreover, these three-year wonders frequently start doing freelance analysis, overriding analysts who have been studying a country for decades -- after all, they are "on the ground." But a blond American on the ground in the Philippines is fairly obvious, especially when he starts buying drinks for everyone, and the value of his "intelligence" is therefore suspect. Sourcing is vital; so are the questions of who, where and for how long.

The most significant weakness of the cult of sourcing is that the most important events -- like the Chinese intervention in Korea -- might be unreported, or -- like the fall of the shah -- might not be known to anyone. These things happened, but there was an intelligence collection failure in the first case; the second failure stemmed not from a collection problem, but from a purely analytic one. In any case, the lack of a source does not mean an event is not happening; it just means there is no source. There is no question but that sources are the foundation of intelligence -- but the heart of intelligence is the ability to infer when there is no source.

Another problem is the IC's obsession with security, compartmentalization and counterintelligence. The Soviet Union's prime mission was to penetrate the U.S. IC. Huge inefficiencies were, therefore, appropriately incurred in order to prevent penetration. The compartmentalization of sensitive information increases security, but it pyramids inefficiency. Al Qaeda is not engaged in penetrating the IC. It is dangerous in a different way than the Soviets were. Security and counterintelligence remain vital, but shifting the balance to take current realities into account also is vital. Intelligence work involves calculated risk. The current system not only keeps smart and interesting people out of jobs, but more important, it keeps them from access to the information they need to make the smart inferences that are so vital. That would seem to be too high a price to pay in the current threat environment. Information on China can be compartmentalized; information on the Muslim world could be treated differently.

The IC wants consistent messaging. They want to produce one product that speaks with a single coherent voice. The problem is that the world is much messier than that. Giving a president the benefit of the official CIA position on a matter is useful, but not as useful as allowing him to see the disputes, discomfort and doubts stemming from the different schools of thought. Those disagreements are sometimes treated as embarrassing by the IC -- but honest, public self-criticism builds confidence. Stratfor -- and we are not comparing our tiny outfit to the IC, with its massive responsibilities -- publishes an annual report card with our forecasts, specifying where we succeeded and failed. We may as well; our readers and clients know anyway.

This may not be what the president wants, of course, and Negroponte and Hayden will want to give him what he wants. But the head of an intelligence agency is like a doctor: He must give the patient what he needs and try to make it look like what the patient wants. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you do, as Porter Goss has just found out. Negroponte and Hayden will probably lose their jobs anyway -- through resigning or being sacked, or through Bush's second term ending. Even if they are lucky, their jobs won't last much more than two years. There is no percentage in hedging, when you think of it that way.

Perhaps the single greatest weakness of the IC is its can-do attitude. It cannot do everything that it is being asked to do -- and by trying, it cannot do the most important things that need to be done. It has had, as its mission, covering the world and predicting major events for the president. It has failed to do so on major issues since its founding, finding solace in substantial success on lesser issues. But it is possible that the bandwidth of the IC, already sucked up by massive management burdens, is completely burned up by the lesser issues. It may be that the briefing book to the president for his next meeting with the president of Paraguay or Botswana will be thinner, or he might just have to wing it. The republic will survive that. The focus must be on the things that count.

Rethinking why there is an intelligence community and how it does its job is the prerequisite for Hayden and Negroponte to be successful. We do not believe for a minute that they will do so. They don't have enough time in office, they have too many meetings to attend, they have too many divergent views to reconcile into a single coherent report. Above all, the CIA has to be prepared to battle the real enemy, which is the rest of the intelligence community -- from the Defense Intelligence Agency to the FBI. And, of course, the odd staffer at the White House.

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