Guardian. It seems okay to burn our flag in protest before the event. Crystal
US president joins worldwide condemnation of plan by US preacher to burn copies of Qur'an to mark 9/11 anniversary guardian.co.uk, Thursday 9 September 2010 13.24 BST
President Obama today joined mounting worldwide condemnation of the plan by an extremist US preacher to burn copies of the Qur'an, saying the event would be a "recruitment bonanza for al-Qaida".
The Rev Terry Jones has vowed to go ahead with the event at his church in Florida on Saturday to mark the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.
The US president today pleaded directly to Jones to cancel the event.
"If he's listening, I hope he understands that what he's proposing to do is completely contrary to our values as Americans," Obama said.
In a television interview with ABC, Obama said the event was a stunt that would boost support for terrorism. "This could increase the recruitment of individuals who would be willing to blow themselves up in American cities or European cities," Obama said.
The president repeated a warning by General David Petraeus, the commander of US and Nato forces in Afghanistan, that the burning would endanger US troops.
"And as a very practical matter, I just want him [Jones] to understand that this stunt could greatly endanger our young men and women who are in uniform," Obama said.
David Cameron's spokesman said earlier that the prime minister strongly opposed any attempt to offend members of a religious group.
Religious leaders of all faiths have warned against the event, with statements of protest having come from both the Vatican and the Archbishop of Canterbury.
Earlier this week protests took place in the Afghanistan capital of Kabul where effigies of Jones were burned alongside the American flag.
Anjem Choudary, the former leader of the banned Islamist organisation Islam4UK, told Reuters he was calling on radical Muslim groups around the world to burn American flags outside US embassies in retaliation.
Today about 200 lawyers and civilians marched and burned a US flag in the central Pakistani city of Multan, demanding that Washington prevent the book burning.
The foreign ministries of Pakistan and Bahrain issued some of the first official denunciations in the Muslim world, with the latter calling it a "shameful act which is incompatible with the principles of tolerance and co-existence".
The president of Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim nation, has written to Obama asking him to stop the bonfire.
China's UN diplomat in drunken rant against Americans China's top-ranking UN diplomat embarked on a drunken rant against the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, telling his boss he'd "never liked" him, and adding for good measure that he didn't like Americans either.
Peter Foster in Beijing Published: 11:42AM BST 09 Sep 2010
The outburst by Sha Zukang at a retreat for top UN officials in the Austrian ski resort of Alpbach left senior UN officials cringing in embarrassment as others tried to convince him to put down the microphone, according to Washington-based Foreign Policy magazine.
"I know you never liked me Mr. Secretary-General – well, I never liked you, either," said Mr Sha as Mr Ban looked on, smiling and nodding awkwardly during the 15-minute toast attended by the UN's top brass.
Mr. Sha, who was appointed the UN undersecretary general for Economic and Social Affairs in 2007, also made no secret of his fractious relationship with Mr Ban, although did say he'd grown to respect the South Korean.
"You've been trying to get rid of me," said 62-year-old Mr Sha according to the senior UN official present, "You can fire me anytime, you can fire me today."
Later in his impromptu speech Mr Sha turned to an American colleague, singling out Bob Orr, from the executive office of the secretary-general.
"I really don't like him: he's an American and I really don't like Americans," he said.
A second senior UN official who was at the dinner said: "It went on for about ten or fifteen minutes but it felt like an hour."
Officials present at the dinner suggested that Mr Sha might have been the victim of a misguided attempt at humour.
Romania attempts to tax witches and fortune tellers Proposals to tax witches and fortune tellers in Romania were voted down by senators.
Published: 12:33PM BST 09 Sep 2010
The politicians who had drafted the new law claim it is because they feared they would be cursed if they passed the plans.
Alin Popoviciu and Cristi Dugulescu of the ruling Democratic Liberal Party drafted a law where witches and fortune tellers would have to produce receipts, and would also be held liable for wrong predictions.
Maria Campina, a well-known Romanian witch, said that it was difficult to tax thousands of fortune tellers and witches partly because of the erratic sums of money they received.
It's unclear whether there will be an attempt to redraft the law in Romania.
This Sept. 11, Will Terror Sites Get Hacked Again? By Adam Rawnsley September 9, 2010 | 7:00 am
Jihadi websites are in for a bruising, if the past is any precedent.
For the past two years, Islamic extremists’ online forums have been subjected to a series of attacks around the 9/11 anniversary — just as the jihadists worked to score a propaganda win. Major sites have been shut down, some permanently. Previous reporting has indicated that the United States and its allies have been responsible for some of the attacks.
As Sept. 11 approaches, the United States may or may not go for the hat trick and launch another round of online sabotage. But should it? What do western governments gain from occasionally disrupting jihadi websites?
In September 2008, a number of major jihadi forums were attacked and shut down shortly before the 9/11 anniversary, delaying the release of a feature length al-Qaida 9/11 anniversary video, The Harvest of seven years of the crusade. Eight days later, when the video was finally released, the passwords provided to extract the video files were incorrect. In time, the sites mostly recovered. The video became accessible and remains so today.
A year later, major jihadi websites again were taken offline. This time, Ekhlaas, one of the forums which shut its doors after the 2008 attacks and had remained closed, resurfaced and began advertising itself anew with a hacked user ID used by the al-Fajrmedia network to post media in the forums. Al-Fajr issued a press release denouncing the zombie Ekhlaas as fake, created by hostile intelligence services and warned former users against logging on. The new Ekhlaas eventually gave up and shut down. Major sites like Fallujah and Shumukh (pictured, above) regained functionality. And by Sept. 13, As-Sahab had released Osama Bin Laden’s A Statement to the American People video — albeit two days after the customary anniversary date.
In both cases, the videos were eventually released. The attacks eventually ceased. The forums eventually returned, more or less, to operation. So what is there to show for the efforts?
For one, jihadis’ forums have become more concerned about security. Getting onto the big sites became more cumbersome after the 2008 hack, the Netherlands’ National Coordinator for Counterterrorism noted in a recent report (.pdf). Registration is now required to access the forums. “The details of the parties registering, such as IP address, stated identity, size and nature of contributions, [are now] checked.”
Access to certain parts of forums on the site was restricted to parties known to the webmasters. The forums in question concerned “preparations for the jihadist conflict” and hosted discussions of technical and operational aspects of the jihad and how to deal with weapons, ammunition and explosives…. The contributions by members were critically examined to prevent disinformation and false reporting. Lastly, the sites and participants warned each other in time about reputed infiltration or attempts at disinformation and visitors were given advice about personal security in order to protect their identity.
Of course, the 9/11 shutdowns are by far not the only instances in which jihadi websites have been tampered with, either by governments or private parties. Even if governments were responsible for the majority of such incidents, taken together, they constitute something substantially less than a concerted effort to permanently erase the presence of major jihadi forums from the web.
So why play an intermittent game of whack-a-mole with jihadi websites when it makes them more cautious online and potentially dries up sources of intelligence? That paranoia may be the point, according to Thomas Hegghammer, a leading scholar of jihadism studies and a senior research fellow at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment.
“Shutdowns are one of several factors that have contributed to a very important development on the forums over the past 6 years, namely the spread of paranoia,” says Hegghammer, who strongly suspects that the shutdowns are government-directed but claims no direct knowledge of their authorship. “In the early 2000s, users would often volunteer personal information and would not discuss the surveillance threat that often. Nowadays you practically never see anybody write anything that might reveal their identity or location, and there is a lot of talk about spying.”
That hesitancy has hindered the forums as a platform for recruitment and social networking, diminishing their intelligence value, argues Hegghammer. And so the trade-off between intelligence collection and action against jihadi websites may be less severe than previously thought. The online disruptions, even if only temporary, serve as a deterrent to using the web for operations.
“Of course they can still use forums for propaganda and ideological debate,” Hegghammer cautions, “but the alternative scenario – in which they could both propagandize and recruit – would have been much worse for us.”
The value of intelligence available on jihadi forums has diminished so much that Hegghammer says he’s now more open to the idea of a campaign to shut down and keep down the major forums — as much as that’s possible, technically. “The cost of losing the source is smaller,” he says. “I don’t think we should dismiss it as an option in the future.”
For the moment, such a campaign faces significant practical obstacles, says Matt Devost, former president of the Terrorism Research Center and currently president of FusionX, a cybersecurity consulting firm.
The volume of hosting options, the multitude of legal regimes governing them and the challenges of securing foreign cooperation against them, means jihadists have a convenient array of hosting alternatives if shut down in a particular country, dimming the chances for keeping a number of sites down indefinitely, Devost believes.
American officials have to convince their foreign counterparts that removing a particular site hosted in their territory is both legal under the host country’s laws and necessary. “You have to make some pretty specific legal arguments,” says Devost. These requests can run up against sensitivities over national sovereignty and complicated issues of free speech, a difficult issue even here in the United States. Some governments simply aren’t receptive to begin with. “You can’t go after every site in every country because some countries just won’t cooperate,” Devost tells Danger Room.
American counterterrorism officials have another, unilateral option: forcibly dismantling jihadi websites from afar using the Defense Department and intelligence community’s offensive cyber capabilities. But such attacks can have unintended consequences. Attacks against a single terrorist website can cause damage to several servers across a number of countries. This is reportedly what happened in 2008 when an interagency task force attacked a U.S.-Saudi-created “honey pot” and took down 300 servers in Saudi Arabia, Germany and America with it. An all-out cyber war on jihadist sites could cause considerably more network collateral damage. It’s one of a number of considerations, as the U.S. continues the online jihadist hunt.
Video: How to Film a 23-Mile Free Fall By Chuck Squatriglia September 8, 2010 | 3:09 pm
When Felix Baumgartner attempts to free fall almost 23 miles from the edge of space, he will have what amounts to a flying television studio taking us along for the ride.
Even as the 41-year-old Austrian daredevil trains for the jump, engineers develop the spacesuit he’ll wear and the parachutes he’ll use and Red Bull writes the checks covering it all, a team of filmmakers is assembling the elaborate system of cameras that will record his fall.
Baumgartner plans to ride a helium balloon called Stratos to 120,000 feet and step into the void. He figures the free fall to Earth will take five minutes and he’ll exceed the speed of sound (690 mph at that altitude) within 30 seconds. He plans to make the jump later this year. The goal, purportedly, is to help researchers better understand what happens to the body as it falls from such heights. And, of course, bring Red Bull a whole lot of publicity.
To achieve those objectives, 15 cameras aboard Stratos will record the adventure. Baumgartner will wear three more on his suit. The cameras will transmit “cinematic footage” in high-def. They are being modified to withstand the extreme cold — minus 70 degrees Fahrenheit — and low pressure experienced at that altitude. Some will be sealed in metal canisters filled with nitrogen.
It’s a far cry from the system used to record the jump Air Force Col. Joe Kittinger made from 102,800 feet — a record that still stands — in 1960. Back then, the Air Force made do with three old-school spring-wound cameras heated with hot water bottles. The footage of Kittinger’s jump is amazing and gives you a real sense of just how far Baumgartner will fall.
“We’re going to be able to document the whole experience for the world to see,” Kittinger says of Baumgartner’s planned jump. “Going up, standing up and jumping and then free falling. It’s going to be a wonderful experience.”
Hey gang, here's a fun new trailer for Gareth Edwards' new sci-fi film Monsters, which I'm really looking forward to watching.
Six years ago NASA discovered the possibility of alien life within our solar system. A probe was launched to collect samples, but crashed upon re-entry over Central America. Soon after, new life forms began to appear and grow. In an effort to stem the destruction that resulted, half of Mexico was quarantined as an INFECTED ZONE. Today, the American and Mexican military still struggle to contain the massive creatures... Our story begins when a jaded US journalist (McNairy) begrudgingly agrees to find his boss’ daughter, a shaken American tourist (Able) and escort her through the infected zone to the safety of the US border.
The film will premieres On Demand, Xbox Live, Playstation Marketplace, Amazon and Vudu on September 24th. It then hit theaters on October 29th. Check out the new trailer below and let us know what you think!
Handcuffed suspect steals police car, A man suspect of burglarizing a South Beacon Hill elementary school early Thursday stole a Seattle police patrol car, took it for a roughly two-mile ride, then ditched it near a park.
Police managed to arrest him hours later.
The burglary at Wing Luke Elementary, 3701 S. Kenyon St.., occurred shortly before 2 a.m. Officers found the suspect at the school, arrested him and placed him in the back of a patrol vehicle.
"The officer stepped away from the patrol vehicle for a minute, and the handcuffed suspect managed to crawl from the back seat to the front seat," according to a department statement. "It is unknown if the screen divider was down or if the suspect was able to lower it.
"The suspect drove away from the scene."
The patrol car was abandoned near 51st Avenue South and South Ruggles Street. Police found and arrested the suspect just before 6 a.m., near his home in South Seattle.
Tukwila police, the King County Sheriff's Office helicopter and a police dog joined the search. Investigators say the patrol vehicle wasn't damaged, and equipment in the vehicle was not stolen.
The Cretaceous period's carnivorous answer to a camel has been unearthed in Europe after 130 million years, a new study says (prehistoric time line).
The new, hunchbacked species of dinosaur sprouted spiky, featherlike shafts on its arms; was probably a powerful runner; and likely ate small dinosaurs, crocodiles, and early mammals, researchers say.
Discovered via a finely preserved, nearly complete skeleton found in central Spain, the 20-foot-long (6-meter-long) Concavenator corcovatus—"the hunchback hunter from Cuenca"—had two raised backbones, each 1.3 feet (40 centimeters) taller than the dinosaurs' other vertebrae. C. corcovatus's hump possibly supported a mound of fleshy tissue storing fat, as on a camel, according to the study team, led by paleontologist Francisco Ortega of the Universidad Nacional de Educacíon a Distancia in Madrid.
Alternatively, the hump might have had a display role—for example, attracting a mate or intimidating rivals—or may have helped diffuse heat and regulate body temperature, Ortega said.
Hunchback Dinosaur Had "Feathers," Not Flight
C. corcovatus's oddity extended beyond a hump to bumps—so-called quill knobs on the dinosaur's forearms. In certain birds, the same structures hold the bases of large wing feathers.
In nonavian dinosaurs, feather-like structures could have helped the animals display, control body temperature, or attack faster—perhaps by gliding very short distances—scientists say.
But given the new dinosaur's one-ton weight, it's unlikely the few "protofeathers"—likely short, rigid filaments—would have been any help with dissipating heat or providing locomotion.
"The only useful explanation that we have is display," Ortega said.
Hunchback Dinosaur Was European Colonist?
C. corcovatus was an early member of the carcharodontosaurids ("shark-toothed lizards"), a dinosaur group that later gave rise to massive, fanged predators outside Europe—for example, a meat-eating carcharodontosaurid dinosaur with "steak knife" teeth.
"Ten or 12 years ago everybody thought that carcharodontosaurids were a group that was exclusive to South America and Africa," Ortega said.
With the discovery of C. corcovatus and other primitive carcharodontosaurids outside those areas, "now we are thinking the early evolution of this group was in Europe."
The hunchback-dinosaur study is to be published in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature.
Wednesday, September 08, 2010 Fortean / Oddball News - 9/8/2010
Largest Wild-Caught Koi?
Now I don't get it! Why the heck can't they leave this beautiful animal alone?! If you want to take a look at it, fine. Then catch it and put it into an aquarium. But leave it alone and alive! It's just to feed their egos, to be the one who caught it.
« Last Edit: Sep 9th, 2010, 12:57pm by philliman »
"Now I don't get it! Why the heck can't they leave this beautiful animal alone?! If you want to take a look at it, fine. Then catch it and put it into an aquarium. But leave it alone and alive! It's just to feed their egos, to be the one who caught it."
I agree, it's not like they needed it to eat! The koi made it that long, why kill him now? Crystal
Thursday, September 09, 2010 9/11: Reflecting On What Really Happened
I have found a collection of video news reports from September 11, 2001 that offer reasonable doubt of what supposedly happened...or what we have been led to believe. Example: CNN reported no sign of a plane in Pentagon explosion (no wreckage) - FOX news reported no plane wreckage in Pennsylvania crash just a hole not big enough for a jetliner (No wreckage...no bodies). Later video referencing the murder of a key witness to the WTC 7 collapse. Watch these videos and ask yourself 'what really happened on 9/11?':