Board Logo
« Stuff & Nonsense »

Welcome Guest. Please Login or Register.
Oct 19th, 2017, 02:16am


Visit the UFO Casebook Web Site

*Totally FREE 24/7 Access *Your Nickname and Avatar *Private Messages

*Join today and be a part of one of the largest UFO sites on the Net.


« Previous Topic | Next Topic »
Pages: 1 ... 58 59 60 61 62  ...  1070 Notify Send Topic Print
 veryhotthread  Author  Topic: Stuff & Nonsense  (Read 147776 times)
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12079
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #885 on: Aug 27th, 2010, 08:01am »

on Aug 27th, 2010, 07:32am, philliman wrote:
Hello Crystal. You are certainly welcome! smiley

All the best for today. smiley


Thank you Phil,
I feel lucky to be able to go to the dentist. A lot of people right now can't even afford to go. So I'll not whine too much. But I am getting a list of take out food for the weekend........... laugh And I can see the husband running for the stairs as I watch "The Choir: Boys Don't Sing" yet again. He walked by yesterday and said, "You must REALLY like that show!". I said, "They finally made it to Albert Hall! And none of them threw up in their shoes!" grin
Crystal

« Last Edit: Aug 27th, 2010, 08:18am by WingsofCrystal » User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12079
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #886 on: Aug 27th, 2010, 08:04am »

Butterfly Nebula

User Image
photo by Hubble


User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
philliman
Gold Member
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




Homepage PM

Gender: Male
Posts: 1298
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #887 on: Aug 27th, 2010, 1:20pm »

Wow! Stunning picture. shocked

And again for some positive energies, Crystal: wink

User Image


User Image


User Image
User IP Logged

Stellar Thoughts
purr
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar

..you talkin' to me...YOU TALKIN' TO ME..??!


PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 4824
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #888 on: Aug 27th, 2010, 1:51pm »

This is a great thread, thanks for the pics!


purr
User IP Logged

Let us be sure that those who come after will say of us in our time, that in our time we did everything that could be done. We finished the race; we kept them free; we kept the faith.

-RONALD REAGAN
philliman
Gold Member
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




Homepage PM

Gender: Male
Posts: 1298
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #889 on: Aug 27th, 2010, 2:38pm »

You are welcome. And I like your avatar. smiley
User IP Logged

Stellar Thoughts
CA519705950
Senior Member
ImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Male
Posts: 587
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #890 on: Aug 27th, 2010, 4:47pm »

Wow phil, impressive pics. I like the second one the most. Very 'purty'.
User IP Logged

"Death does not concern us, because as long as we exist, death is not here. And when it does come, we no longer exist."
Epicurus.
Swamprat
Gold Member
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Male
Posts: 4144
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #891 on: Aug 27th, 2010, 9:38pm »

Oberg takes quite a poke at Leslie's book.....


MSNBC

UFO book based on questionable foundation

Eyewitness accounts require hard look, even if witness is a pilot


By James Oberg NBC News space analyst
Special to MSNBC
Updated 8/27/2010 10:10:08 AM ET

Commentary


HOUSTON — If we trust pilots to carry us through the air safely, and to guard our nation’s skies, then why can't we trust what they tell us about their encounters with unidentified flying objects?

That's the question posed by investigative journalist Leslie Kean in her new book, "UFOs: Generals, Pilots and Government Officials Go on the Record." It's a compelling question — but is it a good argument for the existence of something truly unexplainable?

The book's main themes are the extraordinary stories of strange aerial encounters in Europe, South America and even the United States. In these stories, investigators have failed to pinpoint phenomena to explain the sightings. And because the primary witnesses are pilots, the accounts are considered more credible than run-of-the-mill UFO reports. But are they really?

Kean asserts that pilots are the best describers of aerial phenomena. “They represent the world’s best-trained observers of everything that flies,” she writes. “What better source for data on UFOs is there? [They] are among the least likely of any group of witnesses to fabricate or exaggerate reports of strange sightings.”

This may sound like a plausible assumption, but others who have studied the raw evidence disagree. Experienced UFO investigators realize that pilots, who instinctively and quite properly interpret visual phenomena in the most hazardous terms, are not dispassionate observers. For pilots, a split-second diagnosis can be a matter of life or death — and so they're inclined to overestimate the potential threats posed by what they see.

One of the world’s first genuine UFO investigators, Allen Hynek of Northwestern University, came to believe that some encounters really could have otherworldly causes. But he was much more skeptical about the reliability of pilot testimony. "Surprisingly, commercial and military pilots appear to make relatively poor witnesses," he wrote in "The Hynek UFO Report."

Hynek found that the best class of witnesses had a 50 percent misperception rate, but that pilots had a much higher rate: 88 percent for military pilots, 89 percent for commercial pilots, the worst of all categories listed. Pilots could be counted on for an accurate identification of familiar objects — such as aircraft and ground structures — but Hynek said "it should come as no surprise that the majority of pilot misidentifications were of astronomical objects."

The authors of a Russian UFO study came to the same conclusion. Yuli Platov of the Soviet Academy of Science and Col. Boris Sokolov of the Ministry of Defense looked into a series of sightings in 1982 that caused air defense units to scramble jet fighters to intercept the UFOs. Platov and Sokolov said the sightings were sparked by military balloons that rose to higher-than-expected altitudes.

"The described episodes show that even experienced pilots are not immune against errors in the evaluation of the size of observed objects, the distances to them, and their identification with particular phenomena," Platov wrote.

Susceptible to over-interpretation


Ronald Fisher of the International Forensic Research Institute at Florida International University in Miami is a lecturer who teaches staff members at the National Transportation Safety Board how to interview eyewitnesses at “critical events” such as airplane crashes. He stresses the importance of eliciting raw sensory impressions first, before asking for the witness’s interpretation of what they think they saw.
“Once they start focusing on their interpretation, that will color the memory of their perceptions,” he told msnbc.com.

“Pilots are susceptible to over-interpretation, especially of vague, rapid and unclear experiences,” he continued. “The less clear the situation, the more your general knowledge and your expectations [contribute].” Passage of time is an enemy of accuracy, because it gives witnesses the opportunity “to use their general knowledge to construct the memory of what they experienced.”

As witnesses of things seen while flying, pilots were a special case. “The cost of a false negative is greater than the cost of a false positive,” he explained. “It’s probably a safety mechanism.”

The body of UFO reports is replete with cases of spectacular misinterpretations, and pilots are frequently involved. So it's prudent to use caution when evaluating the testimony of pilots.

Intelligent UFOs... or sensible pilots?


UFOs are often reported as maneuvering intelligently, and Kean argues that a particularity of the different types of maneuvers reported by pilots serves as proof that UFOs are real and are acting with intelligence. But that logic actually ends up supporting the idea that a pilot's circumstances affect what he or she reports seeing.

Kean refers to the “Weinstein List,” a compendium of 1,300 UFO reports from pilots, assembled by French investigator Dominique Weinstein in 2001. It is described as containing only those “cases for which adequate data is available to categorize the [cause] as unknowns.”

"One crucial point I have noted, which is shown in Weinstein’s study, is that a UFO's behavior tends to depend on whether the encounter involves a military aircraft or a civilian passenger plane," Kean writes.
"Neutrality usually seems the general rule with commercial airlines or private planes, whereas an active interaction often occurs between UFOs and military aircraft. Military pilots usually described the movements of UFOs as they would air maneuvers of conventional aircraft, using terms such as follows, flees, acute turns, in formation, close collision, and aerial combat," she says.

For Kean, this constitutes evidence that the UFOs are guided by intelligent pilots. "These incidents clearly demonstrate that in no way are these examples of natural events, but rather that UFOs are phenomena with a deliberate behavior. The physical nature of UFOs has been proved," she says.

But a much simpler explanation makes more sense: The difference is due to "observer bias." People see what they expect to see, and combat pilots expect to encounter combative bogies. Civilian pilots mostly fear accidental collisions.

The different behavior that is perceived by the two categories of pilots doesn't necessarily mean the unidentified flying objects themselves behave differently. It's more likely that different kinds of pilots draw upon differently developed instincts as they react to perceived threats — and thus they bring different interpretations to stimuli that are actually similar.

What all this means ... and doesn't mean

There’s no reason to argue that all the pilot reports are caused by exactly the same stimuli. UFO reports that are linked to rocket launches or booster re-entries are relatively easy to explain, because the location and timing of the events can be correlated with the accounts from startled and mistaken witnesses.

For other stimuli, such as fireball meteors, secret (or illegal) aircraft operations or natural atmospheric displays, documentation of their transitory existence usually doesn't exist. The main value of the solved UFO cases is to allow a definitive calibration of pilot testimony in general.

Thus, I am not dismayed by the fact that I can't explain every case Kean mentions in her book, because experience has shown that finding the real explanation — even if it turns out to be prosaic — is often a massive effort involving as much luck as sweat. If investigators are unable to find the explanation for a particular UFO case, that doesn't constitute proof that the case is unexplainable.

This is just a fact of life, for UFO sleuths as well as other breeds of investigators. The same is true for murders, kidnappings, accidents, illnesses — for all the catastrophes that befall humanity. We don't need to conjure up alien murderers or kidnappers to account for unsolved crimes. Not finding Jimmy Hoffa isn't proof he must be on Mars.

So the “not proven” assessment makes it even more important to keep our eyes and minds open — to vigorously observe, accurately perceive, and precisely relate unusual aerial perceptions. Something really new could still be discovered. Or something critically important could be masquerading, by accident or design, in a manner that leads too many people to pay too little attention.

Accepting every UFO claim uncritically or rejecting every claim automatically would be equally unjustified; and quite possibly, equally harmful.

NBC News space analyst James Oberg is a 22-year veteran of NASA Mission Control in Houston, and the author of numerous books on space policy and exploration.
For video and links, see:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38852385/ns/technology_and_science-space/
User IP Logged

"Let's see what's over there."
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12079
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #892 on: Aug 28th, 2010, 08:09am »

Beautiful photos Phil! Thank you.
Hello and welcome Purr.
Hey CA519705950.
Good morning Swamprat, thank you for that article. Kean took a little thumping in that didn't she?
Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12079
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #893 on: Aug 28th, 2010, 08:14am »

New York Times.

August 27, 2010
U.S. Weighs Possibility of North Korea Engagement
By MARK LANDLER

WASHINGTON — The last time a former American president traveled to North Korea on a rescue mission — Bill Clinton, a year ago — he was feted by its leader, Kim Jong-il, who seized on the visit to reach out to the Obama administration. This week, Mr. Kim chose to go to China during a visit by former President Jimmy Carter to free another jailed American.

Whatever the motivation for Mr. Kim’s snub, analysts said it underscored the deep freeze between North Korea and the United States. The State Department greeted the news on Friday that Mr. Carter had secured the release of Aijalon Mahli Gomes by warning other Americans not to go to North Korea, saying they risked “heavy fines and long prison sentences with hard labor.”

Even as it keeps up its tough tone, however, the United States has begun weighing a fresh effort at engagement with Mr. Kim’s government, officials and analysts briefed on the deliberations say.

Such an overture would come “several moves down the chessboard,” a senior official said, and would be preceded by additional pressure tactics. But it suggests that the administration has concluded that pressure alone will not be enough to move North Korea’s ailing, reclusive dictator.

At a high-level meeting last week on North Korea, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton solicited ideas from outside experts and former officials about the next steps in policy toward the North. The consensus, even among the hawks, was that the United States needed to resume some form of contact with Mr. Kim, according to several people who took part.

Mrs. Clinton, these people said, expressed impatience with the current policy, which is based on ever more stringent economic sanctions and joint American-South Korean naval exercises — both in response to the sinking in March of a South Korean warship, for which South Korea blamed the North.

Among those advocating a fresh overture is Stephen W. Bosworth, the special envoy for North Korea. He visited Pyongyang, the North’s capital, in December to explore the prospect of talks, but the administration could not decide whether to schedule a follow-up meeting, and then the warship was torpedoed.

“The question is, what are we going to do now?” said Joel S. Wit, a former State Department negotiator with North Korea who founded a Web site, 38 North, which follows North Korean politics. “The answer is re-engagement. There aren’t any other tools in the toolbox.”

Far from abandoning pressure tactics, officials said, the United States is likely to increase them. In July, it announced new measures aimed at choking off sources of hard currency for the government and its allies. Mrs. Clinton sent a senior adviser, Robert J. Einhorn, to Asia to drum up support for the sanctions. The military, defying threats from North Korea and anger from China, has held several days of joint drills with South Korea in the Yellow Sea.

“We don’t want to go down the old road and repeat the experiences of the past,” said Jeffrey A. Bader, senior director for Asian affairs at the National Security Council. “We are looking for behavior change by the North Koreans.”

Still, there is growing concern, even among hawkish analysts, that pressure, without any dialogue, raises the risk of war. Some critics also contend that there is little evidence the sanctions have forced the North to retreat from its nuclear program or its belligerence toward South Korea.

Mr. Kim’s deteriorating health, and the succession struggle it has set off, have increased the pressure on the administration to reach out, in the view of some analysts. While some officials argue that the United States can wait out the political transition, others fear that heightening the confrontation with North Korea could foreclose future opportunities for contact.

As Victor Cha, a former Bush administration official who was responsible for North Korea, put it, “If they look like they’re preparing for war, there’s no opportunity to talk to the new leadership.”

The administration, analysts said, is also losing confidence in China’s willingness to press the North. During a visit to Beijing in May, Mrs. Clinton invested a lot of energy in trying to persuade Chinese officials to accept the South Korean government’s finding that the North had sunk its ship. Her efforts were futile: Beijing never accepted the North’s culpability and it blunted Seoul’s drive for a United Nations statement condemning the attack.

Symbolically, analysts said, Mr. Kim’s choice of a trip to China over a meeting with Mr. Carter highlighted North Korea’s economic and political dependence on Beijing. China has long pushed for the United States to talk to the North, and reopening a dialogue could help ease the tension between Beijing and Washington. One problem for the administration is the form and content of talks. Few analysts have much enthusiasm for the six-party format, under which North Korea has negotiated over its nuclear program with the United States, South Korea, China, Japan and Russia. But the talks are probably necessary to retain support of allies like South Korea and Japan.

Another problem is that the administration has been uncompromising in its demands. Officials have repeatedly said that the United States will not negotiate until North Korea agrees to dismantle its nuclear weapons. Their fear is that the North will extract concessions, as it did during the Bush and Clinton administrations, only to test another nuclear bomb.

An option, experts said, would be to engage North Korea on issues other than the nuclear program. But others said the issue was unavoidable. For now, the administration offers a more pragmatic strategy. “Americans should heed our travel warning and avoid North Korea,” said the State Department’s spokesman, Philip J. Crowley. “We only have a handful of former presidents.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/28/world/asia/28diplo.html?_r=1&ref=world

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12079
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #894 on: Aug 28th, 2010, 08:22am »

Wired Danger Room


Colonel Kicked Out of Afghanistan for Anti-PowerPoint Rant
By Spencer Ackerman August 27, 2010 | 8:58 am | Categories: Info War

Consider it a new version of death by PowerPoint. The NATO command in Afghanistan has fired a staff officer who publicly criticized its interminable briefings, its over-reliance on Microsoft’s slide-show program, and what he considered its crushing bureaucracy.

Army Col. Lawrence Sellin, a 61-year old reservist from New Jersey who served in Afghanistan and Iraq prior to this deployment, got the sack Thursday from his job as a staff officer at the International Security Assistance Force Joint Command in Kabul. The hammer fell barely 48 hours after United Press International ran a passionate op-ed he wrote to lament that “little of substance is really done here.” He tells Danger Room, “I feel quite rather alone here at the moment.”

The colonel’s rant called into question whether ISAF’s revamped command structure, charged with coordinating the day-by-day war effort, was much more than a briefing factory. Or, as Sellin put it, “endless tinkering with PowerPoint slides to conform with the idiosyncrasies of cognitively challenged generals in order to spoon-feed them information.”

According to Sellin, when his commanding general (whom he doesn’t want to name) saw that Sellin described IJC as a blinkered bureaucracy, he informed the colonel that it was time to pack his things. “He was very polite and shook my hand and wished me luck,” Sellin says.

A spokesman for the command cited the specific regulation that sealed Sellin’s fate: NATO Directive (95-1); failure to clear “written or oral presentations to the media” through a designated public-affairs officer. “His comments do not reflect the reality of the work done every day at IJC,” says its director of public affairs, Colonel Hans Bush. “His insights are his own, however, his duty position and responsibilities did not offer him the situational awareness needed to validate his postings to the media.”


Effectively, that means enlisted men and officers are freer to speak their minds in front of embedded reporters than they are while serving on headquarters staff. Additionally troops are basically free to provide their opinions on a blog — as long as it doesn’t violate operational security, and as long as they don’t claim to be speaking for the Defense Department officially. Had Sellin blogged or tweeted his critique rather than published it through a wire service, maybe he’d still have his job.

Sellin says he tried to send constructive criticism up the chain before he typed out his UPI piece. He gave his superiors a briefing on “proven organizational methodologies” to streamline IJC, but it went nowhere. “It was only my rant that everyone read,” he says. “My hope is that after they stop being angry at me, maybe they will take a serious look at how they operate.” The irony? His briefing was a five-slide PowerPoint.

Apparently, not everyone at IJC was as gracious as Sellin’s boss when the op-ed began to circulate. Sellin says that a two-star general — whom he declines to name — told him “I was a coward, unpatriotic, ignorant, petty and that he had no respect for me.” Sellin gauges that lieutenant colonels and lower-ranked officers support him, as do a few colonels. “In regard to most of the other colonels,” he concedes, I have marks all over me from where they have been touching me with ten-foot poles.”

Sellin is going to head home to Finland, where he’s worked for the past several years for an information-technology company that he asks me not to name. He doesn’t wish any of his now-former colleagues in IJC any ill will. But he wonders if recently-admitted problems training the Afghan security forces — the U.S.’s ultimate ticket out of the ten-year old war — is going to yield any greater sense of urgency from IJC.

“Mine is not an indictment of people or am I questioning their intentions, just some judgments that are being made and the methods that are being used,” he says. “It can be done better. We can fulfill our national security needs and get out.”

Update: Sellin wrote a lot more for UPI than just his thoughts on PowerPoint. Check out his full archive of columns here: http://www.upi.com/search/?sp=t&s_l=articles&ss=%22Lawrence+Sellin%22&s_term=ea

Humorous powerpoint presentation


http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2010/08/anti-powerpoint-rant-gets-colonel-kicked-out-of-afghanistan/

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
philliman
Gold Member
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




Homepage PM

Gender: Male
Posts: 1298
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #895 on: Aug 28th, 2010, 5:22pm »

Hello Crystal, how are you doing today? I hope you are doing well. smiley
on Aug 27th, 2010, 9:38pm, Swamprat wrote:
Oberg takes quite a poke at Leslie's book.....


MSNBC

UFO book based on questionable foundation

Eyewitness accounts require hard look, even if witness is a pilot


I feel that there's quite a lot of hype about Kean and her book right now. Good marketing campaign. She's all over the place so to say. But maybe some folks will start to discover this subject for themselves.
User IP Logged

Stellar Thoughts
Swamprat
Gold Member
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Male
Posts: 4144
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #896 on: Aug 28th, 2010, 7:24pm »

I found this graphic illustration fascinating. It is a time-lapse depiction of the over 530,000 asteroids that have been cataloged orbiting the Earth. Makes you wonder how space ships can navigate safely to and from our planet!

http://www.wimp.com/solarsystem/
User IP Logged

"Let's see what's over there."
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12079
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #897 on: Aug 28th, 2010, 9:43pm »

on Aug 28th, 2010, 5:22pm, philliman wrote:
Hello Crystal, how are you doing today? I hope you are doing well. smiley


Hello Phil,
I'm doing fine. The doctor said something about four or five days of feeling crappy. He deals with a bunch of little girls evidently.
Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12079
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #898 on: Aug 28th, 2010, 9:44pm »

on Aug 28th, 2010, 7:24pm, Swamprat wrote:
I found this graphic illustration fascinating. It is a time-lapse depiction of the over 530,000 asteroids that have been cataloged orbiting the Earth. Makes you wonder how space ships can navigate safely to and from our planet!

http://www.wimp.com/solarsystem/


Hey Swamprat,
Wild. Thank you.
Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
WingsofCrystal
Global Moderator
ImageImageImageImageImage


member is offline

Avatar




PM

Gender: Female
Posts: 12079
xx Re: Stuff & Nonsense
« Reply #899 on: Aug 29th, 2010, 06:59am »

New York Times

August 28, 2010
Graft-Fighting Prosecutor Fired in Afghanistan
By DEXTER FILKINS and ALISSA J. RUBIN

KABUL, Afghanistan — One of the country’s most senior prosecutors said Saturday that President Hamid Karzai fired him last week after he repeatedly refused to block corruption investigations at the highest levels of Mr. Karzai’s government.

Fazel Ahmed Faqiryar, the former deputy attorney general, said investigations of more than two dozen senior Afghan officials — including cabinet ministers, ambassadors and provincial governors — were being held up or blocked outright by Mr. Karzai, Attorney General Mohammed Ishaq Aloko and others.

Mr. Faqiryar’s account of the troubles plaguing the anticorruption investigations, which Mr. Karzai’s office disputed, has been largely corroborated in interviews with five Western officials familiar with the cases. They say Mr. Karzai and others in his government have repeatedly thwarted prosecutions against senior Afghan government figures.

An American official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that Afghan prosecutors had prepared several cases against officials suspected of corruption, but that Mr. Karzai was “stalling and stalling and stalling.”

“We propose investigations, detentions and prosecutions of high government officials, but we cannot resist him,” Mr. Faqiryar said of Mr. Karzai. “He won’t sign anything. We have great, honest and professional prosecutors here, but we need support.”

This month, Mr. Karzai intervened to stop the prosecution of one of his closest aides, Mohammed Zia Salehi, who investigators say had been wiretapped demanding a bribe from another Afghan seeking his help in scuttling a corruption investigation.

Mr. Karzai’s chief of staff disputed Mr. Faqiryar’s characterization of the president’s involvement, saying that the president had instructed the prosecutors to move cases forward “appropriately.”

“I strongly deny that the president has been in any way obstructing the investigations of these cases,” said the chief of staff, Umer Daudzai. “On the contrary, he has done his bit in all these cases, and it is his job to make sure that the justice is not politicized. And, unfortunately we see in some of these cases that it is politicized.”

Mr. Aloko did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday. Mr. Salehi could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Faqiryar made his accusations amid a growing sense of alarm in the Obama administration and in Congress over Mr. Karzai’s failure to take action against officials suspected of corruption, but also as the administration debates whether pushing too hard on corruption will alienate a government whose cooperation it needs to wage war.

Awash in American and NATO money, Mr. Karzai’s government is widely regarded as one of the most corrupt in the world. American officials believe that the corruption drives Afghans into the arms of the Taliban.

In a two hour interview at his home, Mr. Faqiryar said he and the other prosecutors in his office were demoralized by the repeated refusal of Mr. Karzai and Mr. Aloko to allow them to move against corrupt Afghan leaders.

Mr. Faqiryar said his prosecutors had opened cases on at least 25 current or former Afghan officials, including 17 members of Mr. Karzai’s cabinet, 5 provincial governors and at least 3 ambassadors. None of the cases, he said, have gone forward, and some have been blocked on orders from Mr. Karzai. He did not elaborate on each case, and it was not clear whether Mr. Aloko or Mr. Karzai were involved in all of the cases.

Mr. Karzai said he had intervened in the case of Mr. Salehi, an official on the National Security Council, because the American-backed anticorruption agencies were violating the civil rights of those they detained. He blamed foreign contractors for the corruption, and threatened to take control of the agencies, summoning the head of the one that arrested Mr. Salehi to the presidential palace for questioning.

Under intense Western pressure, Mr. Karzai appeared to back off, saying he would allow the anticorruption units to do their jobs.

Mr. Faqiryar, a 72-year-old career prosecutor, said he was fired Wednesday by Mr. Karzai after sending a midlevel prosecutor to speak about public corruption on an Afghan television station. After Mr. Karzai watched the broadcast, he called for the papers to authorize the dismissal, Mr. Faqiryar said.

But Mr. Faqiryar said his abrupt departure was the culmination of a long-running tug-of-war between him and his prosecutors on one side, and Mr. Karzai and Mr. Aloko on the other.

The dispute began last year, Mr. Faqiryar said, when he went before the Afghan Parliament and read aloud the names of at least 25 Afghan officials who were under investigation for corruption. The list included some of the most senior officials in Mr. Karzai’s government, including Mohammed Siddiq Chakari, the former minister for hajj and Islamic affairs, and Rangin Spanta, who is now the national security adviser.

When Mr. Faqiryar returned from Parliament, he said he was summoned by Mr. Aloko, who told him that Mr. Karzai was furious.

“He told me the president was not happy about this,” Mr. Faqiryar said. “He said, ‘I told you not to divulge this.’ ”

Mr. Daudzai, the president’s chief of staff, insisted that Mr. Faqiryar was not dismissed. He said Mr. Faqiryar had been due to retire and that his papers “were signed weeks ago but just now came to the surface.”

Some of the corruption cases involved relatively minor transgressions. But Mr. Faqiryar said his prosecutors had unearthed serious allegations of corruption against several senior Afghan officials. In many of those cases, he said, the prosecutors had substantiated the claims with ample evidence.

Just three of the 25 Afghan officials have been charged, he said, and in no case has a verdict been rendered. The cases of the other 22 have either been blocked or are lying dormant for inexplicable reasons, he said.

One of the most serious cases involves Khoja Ghulam Ghaws, the governor of Kapisa Province, who was appointed by Mr. Karzai in 2007. According to Western officials, Afghan prosecutors compiled a dossier against Mr. Ghaws that included telephone intercepts and sworn statements from Americans and Afghans working in the province.

According to these officials, prosecutors have enough evidence to charge Mr. Ghaws with colluding with insurgents and demanding kickbacks from contractors working on American- and Afghan-financed development projects. Mr. Ghaws is also a suspect in the killing of five members of a provincial reconstruction team last year.

Prosecutors turned over the Ghaws case to Mr. Aloko, the attorney general, four months ago, said a Western official who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Mr. Aloko has refused to sign either the warrant to arrest Mr. Ghaws or the warrant to search his house, the official said. “He’s the president’s ally,” the official said of Mr. Ghaws. “Obviously, Karzai doesn’t want the case to go forward.”

Mr. Daudzai insisted that Mr. Karzai had made the first move against Mr. Ghaws “weeks ago” by signing a letter suspending him from his job and asking him to appear before the attorney general. He could not explain why Mr. Ghaws was still running the province and residing in the governor’s compound, where he was interviewed last week by The New York Times.

In the interview, Mr. Ghaws said he was innocent of any wrongdoing.

The case against Mr. Ghaws was raised two weeks ago by Senator John Kerry, the Massachusetts Democrat, who traveled to Kabul in part to urge Mr. Karzai to take action against corrupt officials.

In the interview, Mr. Faqiryar confirmed the Western official’s account, saying that Mr. Ghaws has been allowed to remain free at Mr. Karzai’s insistence.

“Mr. Karzai has not agreed,” Mr. Faqiryar said of the Ghaws case. “Aloko said to me, ‘You have to follow the president.’ ”

Mr. Aloko signed the arrest warrant of Mr. Salehi, the Karzai aide who was later released, but only after Western officials insisted that he do so, Mr. Faqiryar said.

Mr. Salehi was arrested as part of the investigation into New Ansari, a money transfer firm that American investigators say has shipped billions of dollars out of the country for Afghan politicians, insurgents and drug smugglers.

Mr. Aloko is also blocking the arrest of Hajji Rafi Azimi, the vice chairman of the Afghan United Bank and a key figure in the New Ansari case, Mr. Faqiryar said.

According to Western officials, Mr. Azimi is suspected of helping pass tens of thousands of dollars in bribes to Mr. Chakari, the former minister for hajj and Islamic affairs. Prosecutors say Mr. Chakari extorted the bribes from tour operators who arrange travel for Afghan pilgrims to Mecca in Saudi Arabia in exchange for steering business to the tour operators.

Mr. Azimi was out of Afghanistan and could not be reached for comment. Mr. Chakari fled the country last year as prosecutors prepared to arrest him and is believed to be in Britain. Afghan officials have filed an arrest warrant with Interpol.

more after the jump
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/29/world/asia/29afghan.html?ref=world

Crystal
User IP Logged

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0VkrUG3OrPc
Pages: 1 ... 58 59 60 61 62  ...  1070 Notify Send Topic Print
« Previous Topic | Next Topic »

Become a member of the UFO Casebook Forum today and join our more than 19,000 members.

Visit the UFO Casebook Web Site

Donate $6.99 for 50,000 Ad-Free Pageviews!

| |

This forum powered for FREE by Conforums ©
Sign up for your own Free Message Board today!
Terms of Service | Privacy Policy | Conforums Support | Parental Controls