News, Weather, Mozart, Sports, Eurovision Love Ænema & Perverted Videogames from Vleeptron

NGO_Vleeptron (aka "Bob from Massachusetts") recently featured LIVE on BBC WORLD SERVICE, heard briefly by Gazillions!!!

My Photo
Location: Great Boreal Deciduous Hardwood Forest, New England, United States

old dude, all hair, swell new teeth

30 June 2006

my HTML ate a bad fig and was constipated. Cured now.

Okay, the original "Asymmetric Warfare" post seems to have eaten a rotten fig and caused a couple of days of Bad Constipation on Planet Vleeptron. Thus the re-post, and Vleeptron now believes the Constipation is Cured, and Vleeptron can now be accessed without problems.

Here is an original visual complaint about The Technical Problems Vleeptron's readers were experiencing the last day or two. Copyright (c) 2006 by Ron Bizer, All Rights Reserved.

The inevitable consequence of Asymmetric Warfare

General Jacob H. Smith's infamous order,
"Kill everyone over ten"
was the caption in The New York Journal cartoon
on May 5, 1902. The Old Glory draped an American
shield on which a vulture replaced the bald eagle.
Caption is:

"Criminals because they were born
ten years before we took the Philippines."
(from Wikipedia.) Click.

The inevitable consequence
of Asymmetric Warfare

Asymmetric Warfare -- I don't know which twerp first used the phrase -- is Military Gobbledyspeak for a superpower's high-tek military which bumbles into a war against dirt-poor barefoot guerrillas who have neither air force nor navy and who arm themselves with 1940- or 1910-era firearms and $30 worth of box cutters and duct tape from the Tru-Value.

If they can't make their own high explosives, they steal them from our military depots, which have tons of the shit, or from our duds -- our unexploded bombs and ordinance. Then they make vests of plastic explosive and a Tru-Value thumb switch and walk up to an army platoon and FOOMF. Six American flag-draped coffins fly back to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, and the bomber begins acquainting himself or herself with Paradise.

As a fine modern example of Corrupting The English Language, AW ranks with "Collateral Damage," which is Military Gobbledyspeak for a superpower's high-tek military dropping a planeload of bombs on a children's hospital. The bedridden children made the mistake of getting too close to bona-fide military targets.

This *quote,* as best I remember this startling live-TV moment, is very close to Ramsey Clark's outburst on CNN when some US Air Force fuckhead used the term during the NATO bombing of Belgrade (in which the Chinese Embassy was collaterally smithereened):

*Collateral damage -- for god's sake,
call it what it is:

Killing children, women,
civilians, old people.*

Here are our superpower military ideals and doctrine of warfare as we continue to teach them to the professional officer corps at Annapolis, West Point, the Air Force Academy, and the military staff and command colleges:

We go against some Third World nation with overwhelming destructive power -- the doctrine of Shock and Awe -- destroy their military's ability to continue fighting, accept their surrender in some insulting fashion, stand around waiting for the liberated native girls to throw their arms around our soldiers and kiss them in gratitude, and then cable the band to start rehearsing for the huge Victory Parade down Pennsylvania Avenue. Mission Accomplished.

Asymmetric Warfare is Evil, because our enemy refuses to stay surrendered, and then refuses to stand up and face us fair and square like Americans. They are cowards and murderers.

They are also winning. Just tossing out figures, but I put the ratio this way. If the US has to spend $12,000,000 per day to fight the War in Iraq, our enemies are spending $3,751.16 per day, not including newspaper coupons redeemable at the hardware store for electrical wire and lantern batteries.

And they're winning. We're certainly losing. Do you think we're winning? Make Vleeptron wise: Leave A Comment.

(Calling me a traitor is not a persuasive argument that we're winning. Aim that intimidating crap at Natalie Maines instead, if you haven't already.)

Our Season of Whistleblown Atrocities began pretty early after Mission Accomplished, with Abu Ghraib. The universal Pentagon response, of course, is that the abuses are committed by a very few rotten apples, but 99.99993 percent of all American soldiers and Marines are Straight Arrow Decent Guys who would never do anything like that.

By an astonishing coincidence, all the rotten apples who end up getting court-martialed are low-ranking enlisted men and women, PFCs, corporals and 3-stripe buck sergeants. Commissioned officers (and gentlemen, by Act of Congress) never force prisoners to strip naked and masturbate for the camera while threatening the prisoners with unmuzzled attack dogs, nor would any American commissioned officer ever countenance or encourage such things by his or her subordinates.

Hardware War is incredibly frustrating for a modern superpower military which still thinks it's fighting World War Two in Europe.

We make a brigade-size battle plan, the helicopters, air support and wheeled and track vehicles all start to rock and roll at 04:45, we race into the sleeping town -- and find no one there whom we can unambiguously identify as enemy combatants. No one is standing up to fight us like Americans. They are all somewhere else, or are wearing sneaky, deceitful Civilian Costumes -- like little-girl and old-women dresses or schoolboy uniforms.

The week before Operation One-Two Punch, nine soldiers in the brigade were blown up or ambushed and killed and maimed. Everyone from Private to Major General, Commanding is Pumped and ready for Righteous American Military Vengeance. When the whistle blows on One-Two Punch, SOMEBODY's gonna be sorry. SOMEBODY's gonna wish they'd never been born.

Unfortunately, the Cowardly Fiends who killed our comrades are nowhere to be found. They've taken the day off to redeem their coupons at the hardware store and make some more Improvised Explosive Devices (MilGobble for Crude, Cheap Bomb).

But like 800 armored, locked-and-loaded, megapumped American soldiers all yelled at 04:45: SOMEBODY's gonna be sorry.

~ ~ ~

The problem is, these are Not Civilized, Gentlemen Warriors like we are.
They are Barbarians, Savages. Massacre and Torture are the only language they understand. Their barbarian sneaky tactics are so frustrating that They are forcing Us to behave that way. We didn't want to. But it's All Their Fault. We came to Iraq to fight a gentlemanly, orderly, rational war with our overwhelming conventional forces vs. their pre-doomed silly antiquated tiny forces.

And we defeated them exactly as we predicted we would, for as long as the Fair and Square Phase lasted.

But they won't stop killing us. They lost. But they refuse to act like enemies who lost fair and square.

And now, if you are expecting SP5_Happy to launch into an Old Toothless Vet's Memoires of the Vietnam War, surprise: I'll skip MY Asymmetric War vs. the Cowardly un-American Barbarians (who won btw) for a change, and hurtle you back 65 years earlier, in the Heathkit TM-212 Time Machine, to America's first Asymmetric War.

They were barbarians. Torture and massacre were the only language they understood. They made us do those things to them. We didn't want to have to fight them that way. They forced us. We had no choice. What else could we do?

~ ~ ~

Agence-Vleeptron Presse Advisory

The following block of this Wikipedia article
runs stet, without changes.

A-VP has added only typographical emphasis:
boldfacing and supersizing.

To help readers recognize anything that might
sound faintly familiar to them.

Like the Army-organized campaign
of letter-writing --
identical language in
personal letters home --
by US soldiers
early in the Iraq War.

~ ~ ~

from Wikipedia

The Philippine-American War

War Crimes

American torture and scorched-earth campaigns

In 1908, Manuel Arellano Remondo, in a book entitled General Geography of the Philippine Islands, wrote: "The population decreased due to the wars, in the five-year period from 1895 to 1900, since, at the start of the first insurrection, the population was estimated at 9,000,000, and at present (1908), the inhabitants of the Archipelago do not exceed 8,000,000 in number." [25]

U.S. attacks into the countryside often included scorched earth campaigns where entire villages were burned and destroyed, torture (water cure) and the concentration
of civilians into "protected zones" (concentration camps). Many of the civilian casualties resulted from disease and famine. Reports of the execution of U.S. soldiers taken prisoner by the Filipinos led to savage reprisals by American forces. Many American officers and soldiers called war a "nigger killing business."

American soldiers' letters and response

From almost the beginning of the war, soldiers wrote home describing, and usually bragging about, atrocities committed against Filipinos, soldiers and civilians alike. Increasingly, such personal letters, or portions of them, reached a national audience as anti-imperialist editors across the nation reproduced them. [26]

Once these accounts were widely reproduced, the War Department was forced to demand that General Otis investigate their authenticity. For each press clipping, he forwarded it to the writer’s commanding officer, who would then convince the soldier to write a retraction.

Private Charles Brenner of the Kansas regiment resisted such pressure. He insisted that Colonel Funston [27] had ordered that all prisoners be shot and that Major Metcalf and Captain Bishop enforced these orders. Otis was obliged to order the Northern Luzon sector commander, General [Arthur] MacArthur, to look into the charge.

Brenner confronted MacArthur’s aide with a corroborating witness, Private Putman, who confessed to shooting two prisoners after Bishop or Metcalf ordered, "Kill them! Damn it, Kill them!"

MacArthur sent his aide’s report on to Otis with no comment. Otis ordered Brenner court-martialed "for writing and conniving at the publication of an article which ... contains willful falsehoods concerning himself and a false charge against Captain Bishop."

The judge advocate in Manila convinced Otis that such a trial could open a Pandora’s box, as "facts would develop implicating many others."

General Otis sent the Brenner case to Washington writing: "After mature deliberation, I doubt the wisdom of court-martial in this case, as it would give the insurgent authorities a knowledge of what was taking place and they would assert positively that our troops had practiced inhumanities, whether the charge should be proven or not, as they would use it as an excuse to defend their own barbarities"; and Otis went on, justifying the war crimes, "and it is not thought that his charge is very grievous under the circumstances then existing, as it was very early in the war, and the patience of our men was under great strain." [28]

Towards the end of 1899, General Otis attempted to repair his battered image. He began to work to win new friends among the journalists in Manila and bestowed favors on any journalist who gave him favourable press. [29]

Concentration camps

As one historian wrote about Marinduque, the first island with concentration camps: "The triple press of concentration (camps), devastation, and harassment led Abad (the Marinduque commander) "to request a truce to negotiate surrender terms ... The Army pacified Marinduque not by winning the allegiance of the people, but by imposing coercive measures to control their behavior and separate them from the insurgents in the field. Ultimately, military and security measures proved to be the (essential element) of Philippine pacification." [30] This assessment could probably be applied to all of the Philippines.

Filipino atrocities

To counter the bad press back in America, General Otis stated that insurgents tortured American prisoners in "fiendish fashion," some of whom were buried alive, or worse, up [to] their necks in anthills to be slowly devoured. Others were castrated, had the removed parts stuffed into their mouths, and were then left to suffocate or bleed to death.

It was also stated that some prisoners were deliberately infested with leprosy before being released to spread the disease among their comrades. Spanish priests were horribly mutilated before their congregations, and natives who refused to support Emilio Aguinaldo were slaughtered by the thousands. American newspaper headlines announced the

"Murder and Rapine"
by the
"Fiendish Filipinos"

General "Fighting Joe" Wheeler insisted that it was the Filipinos who had mutilated their own dead, murdered women and children, and burned down villages, solely to discredit American soldiers. [31]

Other atrocities included those by General Vicente Lukban, the Filipino commander who masterminded the surprise attack in the Balangiga Massacre, that killed over fifty American soldiers. Media reports stated that many of the bodies were mutilated. [32]

Sergeant Hallock testified in the Lodge committee [that] natives were given the water cure, "in order to secure information of the murder of Private O'Herne of Company I, who had been not only killed, but roasted and otherwise tortured before death ensued." [33]

Reporters and Red Cross accounts contradict Otis

During the closing months of 1899, Emilio Aguinaldo attempted to counter General Otis’s account by suggesting that neutral parties -- foreign journalists or representatives of the International Red Cross -- inspect his military operations. Otis refused, but Emilio Aguinaldo managed to smuggle in four reporters -- two English, one Canadian, and a Japanese into the Philippines.

The correspondents returned to Manila to report that American captives were "treated more like guests than prisoners," were "fed the best that the country affords, and everything is done to gain their favor." The story went on to say that American prisoners were offered commissions in the Philippine army and that three had accepted. The four reporters were expelled from the Philippines as soon as their stories were printed. [34]

Emilio Aguinaldo also released some American prisoners so they could tell their own stories. In a Boston Globe article entitled "With the Goo Goo’s" Paul Spillane described his fair treatment as a prisoner. Emilio Aguinaldo had even invited American captives to the christening of his baby and had given each a present of four dollars, Spillane recounted.

Naval Lieutenant J.C. Gilmore, whose release was forced by American cavalry pursuing Aguinaldo into the mountains, insisted that he had received "considerable treatment" and that he was no more starved than were his captors. Otis responded to these two articles by ordering the "capture" of the two authors, and that they be "investigated," therefore questioning their loyalty. [35]

When F.A. Blake of the International Red Cross arrived at Emilio Aguinaldo’s request, Otis kept him confined to Manila, where Otis’s staff explained all of the Filipinos' violations of civilized warfare. Blake managed to slip away from an escort and venture into the field. Blake never made it past American lines, but even within American lines he saw burned out villages and "horribly mutilated bodies, with stomachs slit open and occasionally decapitated." Blake waited to return to San Francisco, where he told one reporter that "American soldiers are determined to kill every Filipino in sight." [36]

Ratio of Filipinos wounded

The most conclusive evidence that the enemy wounded were being killed, came from the official reports of Otis and his successor, General Arthur MacArthur, Jr., which claimed fifteen Filipinos killed for every one wounded. In the American Civil War, the ratio had been five wounded for every soldier killed, which is close to historical norm. Otis attempted to explain this anomaly by the superior marksmanship of rural southerners and westerners who had hunted all their lives.

MacArthur added a racial twist, asserting that Anglo-Saxons do not succumb to wounds as easily as do men of "inferior races." [37]


In the south, Muslim Filipinos resisted until 1913 -- the so-called Moro rebellion. They were never part of Aguinaldo's movement. During this conflict, the Americans realized a need to be able to stop a charging tribesman with a single shot. To fill this need, the Colt M1911 Handgun was developed for its larger .45 caliber ammunition (45 ACP), resulting in additional stopping power.

English education and the Catholic Church

The Catholic Church was disestablished, and a considerable amount of church land was purchased and redistributed. However, the bulk of the land was quickly bought up by American companies with little going to Filipino peasants. [citation needed]

During the U.S. occupation, English was declared the official language, although the languages of the Philippine people were Spanish, Visayan, Tagalog, Ilokano, Pangasinan and other native languages. Also, six hundred American teachers were imported aboard the USS Thomas. The first task of the Thomasites was to reform the education system to one that maintained an anti-Spanish curriculum but glossed over existing American atrocities. [citation needed]

The English requirement barred many from political office and ensured a dependency on American administrators.


Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to: Philippine-American War

In the fall of 1899, [General Arthur] MacArthur, who was still loyal to General Otis, said to reporter H. Irving Hannock:

"When I first started in against these rebels, I believed
that Aguinaldo’s troops represented only a faction.
I did not like to believe that the whole population
of Luzon --
the native population that is --
was opposed to us
and our offers
of aid and good government.

"But after having come this far, after having occupied
several towns and cities in succession, and having been
brought much into contact with both insurrectos
and amigos,
I have been reluctantly compelled
to believe that the Filipino
masses are loyal
to Aguinaldo and the government
which he heads." [38]

Further reading

* Agoncillo, Teodoro A (1997). Malolos: The crisis of the republic. University of the Philippines Press. ISBN 9715420966. Kenton J. Clymer States "The book provides the best account to date of the inner dynamics of the Filipino side of the war." -- Review: Not so Benevolent Assimilation: The Philippine-American War, Reviews in American History Vol. 11, No. 4 (Dec., 1983), pp. 547-552

* Brands, H. W. (1992). Bound to Empire: The United States and the Philippines. Oxford University Press.

* Deady, Timothy K.; "Lessons from a Successful Counterinsurgency: The Philippines, 1899-1902" Parameters, Vol. 35, 2005

* Gates, John M. (1973). Schoolbooks and Krags: The United States Army in the Philippines, 1898-1902. Greenwood Press. ISBN 0837158184.

* Gates, John. "War-Related Deaths in the Philippines, 1898-1902", Pacific Historical Review 53:367+ (1983)

* Gates, John M., The US Army and Irregular Warfare, Chapter 3: The Pacification of the Philippines

* Linn, Brian McAllister (2000). The U.S. Army and Counterinsurgency in the Philippine War, 1899-1902. University of North Carolina Press. ISBN 0807849480.

* May, Glenn Anthony (1991). Battle for Batangas: A Philippine Province at War. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300048505.

* Miller, Stuart Creighton (1982). "Benevolent Assimilation": The American Conquest of the Philippines, 1899-1903. Yale University Press. ISBN 0300026978. Kenton J. Clymer States "The War Miller describes is a more believable one than the one Gates pictures."

* Schirmer, Daniel B. (1972). Republic or Empire: American Resistance to the Philippine War. Schenkman. ISBN 087073105X.

* Schirmer, Daniel B. Stephen Rosskamm Shalom (1987). The Philippines Reader: A History of Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Dictatorship, and Resistance. South End Press. ISBN 089608275X.

* Shaw, Angel Velasco (2002). Vestiges of War: The Philippine-American War and the Aftermath of an Imperial Dream, 1899-1999. New York University Press. ISBN 0814797911.

* Smallman-Raynor, Matthew, and Andrew D Cliff. "The Philippines Insurrection and the 1902-4 cholera epidemic: Part I-Epidemiological diffusion processes in war" Journal of Historical Geography, v 24, n 1, January, 1998, p. 69-89

* T.A. Agoncillo / M.C. Guerrero, History of the Filipino People, Quezon City,1987, pp. 159

* Twain, Mark and Jim Zwick (1992). Mark Twain's Weapons of Satire: Anti-Imperialist Writings on the Philippine-American War. Syracuse University Press. ISBN 0815602685.

* Zwick, Jim. Friends of the Filipino People Bulletin

* Zwick, Jim. Militarism and Repression in the Philippines

* Zwick, Jim. "Prodigally Endowed with Sympathy for the Cause:" Mark Twain's Involvement with the Anti-Imperialist League" (Ephemera Society of America (January 1, 1992) ASIN B0006R8RJ8

* Young, Kenneth Ray; The General's General: The Life and Times of Arthur MacArthur, Westview Press, 1994

Government and contemporary sources

* The Philippine "Lodge committee" hearings (A.K.A. Philippine Investigating Committee) and a great deal of documentation were published in three volumes (3000 pages) as S. Doc. 331, 57th Cong., 1st Session An abridged version of the oral testimony can be found in: American Imperialism and the Philippine Insurrection: Testimony Taken from Hearings on Affairs in the Philippine Islands before the Senate Committee on the Philippines--1902; edited by Henry F Graff; Publisher: Little, Brown; 1969. ASIN: B0006BYNI8

* See the extensive Anti-imperialist summary of the findings of the Lodge Committee/Philippine Investigating Committee on wikisource. Listing many of the attrocities and the military and government reaction.

The President ... is as powerful a monarch as Louis XIV ... and is not subject to the processes of any court in the land ...

cartoon by Spooner for The Age

Ah, screw it, I give up. I can't find this guy's e-mail addie anywhere on the website of Australia's national broadsheet The Age. I want to write the guy an e-mail but I can't.

So I'll just filch his column, post it on Vleeptron, and maybe he'll notice and contact me to complain.

Oh, I'll say I'm sorry and offer to buy him a pizza.

But I want to tell him what a great column this is.

Why should anybody care about a loop job like David Hicks?

Mr Shaun Carney, an Associate Editor of The Age, tells us why.

It's called The Rule Of Law. Our President Bush suspended it, and ceaselessly tells the American people why he suspended the Rule of Law, and why he doesn't care who objects, and promises to keep suspending the Rule of Law for as long as he's the worst president we've had in living memory, and for as long as he's the worst "Commander-in-Chief" we've ever had during a national emergency or two.

Yesterday five justices of the United States Supreme Court told President Lawless that he had to stop acting as if he were Above The Law.

And five is enough to mean that one of our three co-equal branches of the federal government demands he Straighten Up and Fly Right. The Supreme Court just told the president to Obey The Law. Or Else.

(Or Else what? Watch This Space.)

A little peek at the future.

In 2008, our Constitution says we must hold a presidential election, and Bush can't run for a third term. Our Constitution says that in January 2009, a new guy (or mebbe a lady) will take the oath and be sworn in as the new President of the United States.

If you were Bush, and you were as self-hypnotized as Bush says he is that the entire safety of every citizen of the USA depends on his being Above The Law during a national emergency -- would you gracefully and happily turn your powers over to The Next Guy or The Next Gal? Would you gracefully and quietly go back to Texas and spend your days polishing up your Presidential Library?

Hmmm ... maybe, if the guy who wins in 2008 is another right-wing Republican pscyho loop job. Like his brother Jeb, the Governor of Florida -- just an example.

But what if the 2008 winner is a Democrat who ran on a platform of restoring respect for the U.S. Constitution and the Rule Of Law? What if the 2008 winner is sitting on a new Democratic majority in both houses of the U.S. Congress, after a flip in '06 and/or '08?

If I were as megalomaniacal as Bush -- I wouldn't go gentle into that dark Texas. America needs me! Only I can save America! America will be doomed if it votes mistakenly for some kommie pinko sissy liberal Democrat. And personally, I'd be convinced that it wasn't a fair vote, but that the Democrats won by rigging the election. I can't let them take over the reins of power if they stuffed ballot boxes and hung pregnant chads in some politically corrupt state.

More than that, Bush on several occasions has made it clear that he has a historically unique special mandate to be our President. A mandate from God. God specifically wants George Bush to be President of the United States.

If I were God, do you think I'd care about the U.S. Constitution? God is Above The Law. God IS The Law. God chose George Bush to be President. Four more years, says God -- or that's what The Voice of God in Bush's Head will be telling him.

By the way, this "There's a war on, I'm the President, I'm Above The Law" crap has been pulled before. Richard Nixon's lawyer specifically argued before the Supreme Court that, during a presidency, the President has the same powers as Louis XIV of France -- the original "We Are The Law" absolute monarch. Here is what Nixon's lawyer, James D. St. Clair, said to the nine justices:

"The President wants me to argue that he is as powerful a monarch as Louis XIV, only four years at a time, and is not subject to the processes of any court in the land except the court of impeachment."

This cartoon from The Age pretty much shows how the Supreme Court (unanimously, I think, 9-0) replied to Nixon's lawyer. A few months later Nixon climbed aboard the Marine helicopter and waved goodbye, the first and (so far) only president ever to resign while in office.

How can you compare a total fuckup (I don't exactly know what the Ozzie word "bogan" means, if you do, please Leave A Comment)

WIKIPEDIA: Bogan (pronounced ... to rhyme with slogan) is an Australian and New Zealand English slang term, at times derogatory, for a person who is, or is perceived to be, unsophisticated or of a lower class background. The stereotype includes having speech and mannerisms that are considered to denote poor education and uncultured upbringing. Mostly applied to white, working-class people.

Any discussion of the meaning of the term is likely to be controversial. Australians tend to have an image of their country as culturally egalitarian; by contrast, Britain and the United States are often stereotyped in Australia as obsessed with cultural and economic class respectively. The presence of an insulting stereotype for poor people is obviously in conflict with this self-image.

Like the British term chav and the American term white trash, the term is supposedly based on behaviour rather than class alone. It may be contrasted to the term 'povvo', which assumes that poverty as such is worthy of insult.

Further, the stereotype assumes a correlation between subcultural practices of particular working-class people (eg style of dress, accent, and musical tastes), and anti-social behaviour. It should thus be considered a slur.

The term, and the attendant stereotype, are far more acceptable in Australian culture than equivalent slurs. A person who used the term in the media, for example, would be unlikely to face similar consequences to if they had used a term such as nigger or kike. The popular Australian TV comedy Kath and Kim derived much of its humour from this stereotype. A TV comedy based on equivalent stereotypes of Aboriginal people, for example, would have been highly unlikely to be aired.

While it has been used as a derogatory term, the word 'bogan' is becoming much more accepted, particularly among bogans themselves. Many people proudly claim to be bogans, making a statement on their musical preferences, lifestyle and morals.

like the pathetic Australian David Hicks to Our Great and Mighty God-Chosen War President? What can possibly link these figures together?

Shaun Carney knows, and says so with such wonderful, amazing clarity.

It's the Rule Of Law. If we live under it, David Hicks is still pathetic -- but he's somebody, a recognized human being, and the Laws of the United States of America, and the Laws of Australia, say so, and require he be treated according to these laws.

Three associate justices (led by Clarence Thomas, who was such a sore loser he read his dissent from the bench, something he's never done before) say the hell with the Rule of Law, this president can ignore it, and this president should ignore it. We're at War, the president needs the unlimited powers of a Strong Man to defend the USA. Like Louis XIV, liked Mussolini, like Hitler. Bush is Above The Law.

Five associate justices said: No. The President is not above the law.

~ ~ ~

The Age (national Australian broadsheet)
Saturday 1 July 2006

Sacrificing David Hicks

by Shaun Carney

David Hicks must surely be the most celebrated Adelaide bogan ever.
All that ink, all that air time, all the legal work done on his behalf. The protests, such as the mock prison cage set up on a Manhattan street. The high-level diplomatic representations. Now, even the loftiest jurists in the world's most powerful nation, the members of the US Supreme Court, have, by extension, considered his fate.

Many among us have, to varying degrees, made a mess of our lives. But Hicks has earned the right to be the poster boy for that particular subset of humanity. He could have evaded capture by the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan in late 2001 by staying out of that country. Instead, having taken off earlier, he went back in to get his meagre belongings.

That's when he was nabbed and eventually handed over to the United States. And his life, bad enough before -- with his poor schooling and ridiculous, possibly murderous adventures with al-Qaeda and the Taliban -- has been an utter nightmare ever since.

There can be no doubt that Hicks is the chief author of his own misfortune, which was to be consigned to a dismal existence in detention at Guantanamo Bay, and so much more. But he is not the sole creator of his own story.

It was Hicks' bad luck to hail from a country whose elected political leadership not only does not give a stuff about him or his legal rights, but appears to actively want his life to be broken as some sort of example or sacrifice. Or something.

If Hicks had been, say, a Saudi Arabian or a British citizen when he was captured, he would not be in Guantanamo Bay now. He would be back in his homeland.

I do not like what David Hicks did. I do not like the way he lived his life. I think many of his choices were stupid and wrong. In Afghanistan he made a conscious choice to do the bidding of very bad people. The Taliban are evil and Hicks appears to have taken up arms on their behalf. At the very least, he hung out with them and fashioned himself a fellow traveller.

Morally, there is no defence for that. But we long ago left behind the practice of deciding what to do with our citizens based solely on our judgement of their morals.

Instead, we have laws; they are the spine of our society. Laws are to be applied equally, free of political preferment and interference. If there is anything we are defending in our ongoing battle against the terrorists who try to attack our way of life, it is that.

Hicks has not broken any Australian laws. Prime Minister John Howard acknowledged this in a radio interview yesterday. "If he's brought back to Australia he can't be effectively charged because the crimes he committed were not, according to Australian law, crimes at the time he committed them," he said.

"It was not a crime back in 2001 to do as he admitted he did, and that is train with al-Qaeda and rejoin al-Qaeda even after the terrorist attacks (on the United States) on the eleventh of September."

For that reason, Howard says he has no interest in seeing Hicks returned to Australia. From that decision, that attitude, held widely at the senior levels of the Howard Government, everything about the Hicks case has flowed.

Because of it, Hicks has languished for 4 1/2 years at Guantanamo, first without charge and then awaiting trial before a US military commission. It was a remarkable thing to see: one nation effectively shopping around for a forum to which it could deliver one of its own citizens -- a citizen who had broken none of his own country's laws.

Whenever Hicks' plight was raised with the Government, the Prime Minister, Attorney-General Philip Ruddock and Foreign Minister Alexander Downer would say there was nothing they could do. Hicks was the property of the US, where he would be dealt with fairly by that great democracy.

Oh, and the by the way, they always added, Hicks is a terrible person who did terrible things. Totally guilty, you understand, even if he hasn't been charged with anything.

On Thursday Washington time, this entire approach to Hicks collapsed when the US Supreme Court ruled that the military tribunal the Howard Government was happy to see pass judgement on him did not have proper legal status and breached the Geneva Conventions.

Defiant to the end, Howard said yesterday that Hicks should be brought to trial. "There clearly has to be another method of trial -- a court martial or a civilian trial -- which conforms with the Supreme Court decision."

Reports from Washington suggest that there was a desire on both sides of Congress to refashion the military tribunals, to give them a proper legal status. However, the same reports said the Supreme Court had warned that this would not be easy because of the requirements of the Geneva Conventions, which include proper protections for defendants.

Yesterday the Prime Minister said he had no sympathy for Hicks, adding almost comically "but that doesn't mean to say his rights should not be respected."

The Government's best course would be to swallow its pride, submerge its ego or whatever else its leading figures have invested in this thing, and repatriate Hicks.

After all, the Supreme Court ruling would seem to suggest that Hicks and the other Guantanamo detainees have been held illegally. That is, the Bush Government has locked them up for an illegal purpose.

Beyond that, however, there is the issue of Hicks' punishment. Is the four-and-a-half years of hard time he has already served enough? How does this square with his former Guantanamo inmates, British citizens, who are now free?

There will be no great public outcry from the Australian public in the coming days for Hicks to be either released or dealt with in some other more humane or legally decent manner, so the Government will not feel under pressure to change its approach.

For that, Hicks can take some of the blame. His bad choices marked his cards with many of his fellow Australians. The tragedy is that the nation's political leadership, which makes laws and expects those laws to be respected, continues to be so anxious to serve up one of its own citizens for its own political and diplomatic ends.

Shaun Carney is an associate editor.

Copyright © 2006. The Age Company Ltd.

29 June 2006

Romeo and Ethel, Abdullah the grocery delivery boy and Katherine the Honor Student

My least favorite Shakespeare play. In Tom Stoppard's "Shakespeare in Love," the Bard is having writer's block with his first draft: "Romeo and Ethel." It couldn't have been worse than "R & J."

I don't know what Love is. But I know what it's Not. And it's Not anything you experience so wildly and violently at any age younger than 20.

Which isn't to say that the stuff you experience at 14, 15 or 16 isn't Fun. Teen Romance is the Theme Park Summer Thrill Ride of the emotions.

Too bad so many of the riders get thrown out of the cars and land on the concrete. But most of them manage to limp away from that.

Hmmmm a bit of Journalistic Subtext here. The family appeared on ABC TV's morning show and blabbed about their Family Problems to the televised world, but refused to talk to the Associated Press.

Is this because the AP doesn't bribe subjects with $$$$$ payoffs for interviews?

Next we turn to the Michigan prosecutor. Doesn't this asshole have anything better to do than torment this little girl? I mean, she just ran away from home to try to experience something she perceived as Love. She's not a Teen Thrill Killer. No Human or Animal Was Harmed in the Making of This Adventure. Doesn't this asshole prosecutor have any Real Crime in his county?

And Abdullah ain't no al-Qaida terrorist fiend, he's just your basic 20-year-old boy meatball, too, with a grocery delivery job and the confused and volcanic emotions of Youth. Romeo fell in love just like Juliet did. Leave him alone, too.

Poor little girl got caught at the Amman Airport and sent home, embarrassed, humiliated all over TV and the front page.

Now leave her alone, let her rents handle it. She gets good grades in school.

And stop blaming it all on MySpace. Jeez. Teenagers are just being teenagers. But the adults in this Adventure really need to Get Smart.

And the little girl needs a few lessons in How Not To Get Caught. I was pretty good at that when I was her age. Contact Vleeptron for free Teenage Sneakiness Lessons.

Although the scam she pulled on her rents to get herself a passport -- pretty slick! Only an Honor Student can get from Detroit, Michigan USA to Amman, Jordan on a teenager's allowance!

A cheerleader probably couldn't have made it to Indianapolis on a Greyhound bus.


Associated Press
Thursday 29 June 2006

'MySpace' Teen's Trip
Leads to Family Court

by DAVID RUNK (Associated Press Writer)

GILFORD, Michigan USA -- Weeks after trying to get to the West Bank to pursue an online romance, a now-17-year-old girl was set to appear Thursday in Family Court, where authorities have filed a runaway juvenile petition against her.

A judge could ultimately place Katherine Lester under court supervision until she turns 18 next June 21.

Her secret was uncovered earlier this month, when she slipped out of her mother's home in rural Michigan and made it as far as Amman, Jordan, before being sent home by U.S. authorities.

Lester is now living with her father, Terry, near Flint. A judge ordered her to surrender her passport and undergo counseling. In an interview last week on ABC's "Good Morning America," she declared her love for Abdullah Jimzawi, a 20-year-old Palestinian who works in his father's business delivering goods to minimarkets.

They still talk online, her father and Jimzawi have said, and she says she wants to marry him.

"Now that this is all over with, I know that if I would have told them about him, they would have understood my feelings for him," she said in the appearance with her father and stepmother. "I wish I would have told them about him."

"Now that our relationship is out in the open, I feel like I don't have to go there to talk to him or to be with him," she said. "I plan on him coming here and us being together over here."

Her father has declined requests from The Associated Press to interview his daughter but says her story should serve as a warning to families -- not about the dangers of the Internet, but about the importance of good family communication.

"She's her same old self," said Terry Lester. "She knows what she did was wrong, and she's willing to accept the responsibility."

Authorities don't think any local or state laws were broken in Katherine Lester's disappearance, but the FBI continues to investigate.

[Thank God! America's Security is at stake! Add 20 more FBI agents to the case immediately!]

MySpace, a social networking Web site popular with teenagers, has raised concerns among U.S. authorities, with scattered accounts of sexual predators targeting minors on the site.

But Jimzawi has said his love for Lester is pure. In a recent interview with the AP, Jimzawi said he met Lester online about eight months ago and was devastated when he learned they would not meet face-to-face. Jimzawi's mother, Sana, said Lester intended to sign a marriage contract in Jericho.

"When I realized she wasn't coming, I felt my whole world collapse," he said. "My tears didn't stop and I couldn't sleep for three days."

Back home, those who know Katherine continue to be stunned. For months, Katherine Lester had kept her relationship a secret: the then-16-year-old girl appeared to have a typical teenage life. Family members say she kept up good grades and went on two dates. But all along, she was crafting a plan to visit him, authorities said, securing a passport by telling her parents she wanted to go to Canada with friends.

The principal of her 200-student school in Michigan's agricultural eastern region said he expects there will be a lot of questions from students when they return from summer vacation.

The teen is a member of the National Honor Society at Akron-Fairgrove Junior/Senior High School and was an intern at the radio station where her older sister worked.

"It was a little shocking," said Joseph Candela, the school principal and district superintendent. "Katherine is a very good student, an excellent student. ... You would have never known it."

Her 19-year-old sister, Mary Lester, said that before Katherine's trip, she thought of her as honest.

"This story has taken a toll on not only our family, but on our entire lives as well," she said. "The sister that I have been around since this all happened is not the sister I have known for the past 16 years."

"She is not an adult," said Prosecutor Mark E. Reene at the Family Court proceedings. "That is something that should not be lost -- even though she is making a decision that could affect her whole adult life."

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved.

28 June 2006

Oh absolutely, click several times,
it gets bigger and more detailed.
e-mail Vleeptron for ordering instructions
so you can hang this poster on the kids' bedroom wall.

You people laugh at me for spending half my time on Planet Vleeptron.

First, you think: Hey, that's ridiculous, nobody can travel to other planets.

But then you think: Now why would anybody ever want to leave this swell Earth planet?

I'm not posting this article to point any fingers at anybody. It takes two -- or three or four -- to start the Final Cataclysmic Apocalyptic Armageddon End Times Eschatological Global War prophesied by Saint John the Divine.

According to the Book of Revelations, after the Apocalypse, Colonel Harlan Sanders will climb out of his tomb and deep-fry us all a gigantic bucket of Original Recipe Kentucky Fried Chicken, with our choice of 3 sides. Like my brethren and sistern in the Fundamental Evangelical branches of Christianity, I can't wait.

I just went surfing to The Jerusalem Post to check out the latest developments in the start of Armageddon. In a region not particularly noted for wise leadership or Ghandi's ideals of non-violence, some Palestinian rocket scientists decided to kidnap an Israeli Army private in Gaza.

The Israeli government -- a parliamentary democracy which consists entirely of six ancient Orthodox rabbis and the IDF (Israeli Defense Forces) -- is now responding in a measured, thoughtful, diplomatic way.

By the way, Israel possesses about 200 fission bombs, but that's a secret, you're supposed to pretend you don't know that.

The Vleeptron Roadmap for Peace In The Middle East consists (see previous post) of United Nations distribution of massive amounts of hasheesh from Lebanon's Bekaa Valley. Hahahahahahaha! That's funny, isn't it?

Let me know how funny you think it is three days from now. Let me know how well you think Serious Reality's Plan (currently designed by Condoleezza Rice) is doing.

Back in the Ancient Days of the Woodstock Sixties, during the Vietnam War, John Lennon urged everybody to Give Peace A Chance, and Cat Stevens urged us all to Ride On The Peace Train.

Fucking stoned peacenik hippie Commies -- Thank God nobody listened! What a disaster that would have been! Blacks and whites and Asians getting along, Muslims, Christians and Jews having hackeysack picnics and Group Hugs. We avoided that Nightmare just in time!

Since then, the leaders of the world have substituted an Alternative Plan. It kicks off on the Gaza-Israel borders today. Body Bag City. Atrocityville. Bidirectional Genocide.


The Jerusalem Post (Israel)
Tuesday 27 June 2006

What Muslims think

by Daniel Pipes

To find out, the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press [see Wikipedia article below] carried out a large-scale attitudinal survey this spring. Titled

"The Great Divide:
How Westerners and Muslims
View Each Other"

it interviewed Muslims in two batches of countries: six of them with long-standing, majority-Muslim populations (Egypt, Indonesia, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Turkey) and four of them in Western Europe with new, minority Muslim populations (France, Germany, Great Britain, Spain).

The survey, which also looks at Western views of Muslims, yielded some dismaying but not altogether surprising results. Its themes can be grouped under three rubrics.

A PROCLIVITY to conspiracy theories: In not one Muslim population polled does a majority believe that Arabs carried out the 9/11 attacks on the United States. The proportions range from a mere 15 percent in Pakistan holding Arabs responsible, to 48 percent among French Muslims.

Confirming recent negative trends in Turkey, the number of Turks who point the finger at Arabs has declined from 46 percent in 2002 to 16 percent today. In other words, in every one of these 10 Muslim communities, a majority views 9/11 as a hoax perpetrated by the American government, Israel, or some other agency.

Likewise, Muslims are widely prejudiced against Jews, ranging from 28 percent unfavorable ratings among French Muslims to 98 percent in Jordan (which, despite the monarchy's moderation, has a majority Palestinian population).

Further, Muslims in certain countries (especially Egypt and Jordan) see Jews conspiratorially, as being responsible for bad relations between Muslims and Westerners.

Conspiracy theories also pertain to larger topics. Asked, "What is most responsible for Muslim nations' lack of prosperity?" between 14 percent (in Pakistan) and 43 percent (in Jordan) blame the policies of the US and other Western states, as opposed to indigenous problems, such as a lack of democracy or education, or the presence of corruption or radical Islam.

This conspiracism points to a widespread unwillingness in the umma [Arabic: the community of Muslims, that is, the totality of all Muslims] to deal with realities, preferring the safer bromides of plots, schemes, and intrigues. It also reveals major problems adjusting to modernity.

SUPPORT FOR terrorism: All the Muslim populations polled display a solid majority of support for Osama bin Laden. Asked whether they have confidence in him, Muslims replied positively, ranging between 8 percent (in Turkey) to 72 percent (in Nigeria).

Likewise, suicide bombing is popular. Muslims who call it justified range from 13 percent (in Germany) to 69 percent (in Nigeria). These appalling numbers suggest that terrorism by Muslims has deep roots and will remain a danger for years to come.

BRITISH AND Nigerian Muslims the most alienated: The United Kingdom stands out as a paradoxical country. Non-Muslims there have strikingly more favorable views of Islam and Muslims than elsewhere in the West; for example, only 32 percent of the British sample view Muslims as violent, significantly less their counterparts in France (41 percent), Germany (52 percent) or Spain (60 percent).

In the Muhammad cartoon dispute, Britons showed more sympathy for the Muslim outlook than did other Europeans. More broadly, Britons blame Muslims less for the poor state of Western-Muslim relations.

But British Muslims return the favor with the most malign anti-Western attitudes found in Europe. Many more of them regard Westerners as violent, greedy, immoral, and arrogant than do their counterparts in France, Germany, and Spain. In addition, whether asked about their attitudes toward Jews, responsibility for 9/11, or the place of women in Western societies, their views are notably more extreme.

The situation in Britain reflects the "Londonistan" phenomenon, whereby Britons preemptively cringe and Muslims respond to this weakness with aggression.

Nigerian Muslims have generally the most belligerent views on such issues as the state of Western-Muslim relations, the supposed immorality and arrogance of Westerners, and support for bin Laden and suicide terrorism. This extremism results, no doubt, from the violent state of Christian-Muslim relations in Nigeria.

Ironically, most Muslim alienation is found in those countries where Muslims are either the most or the least accommodated, suggesting that a middle path is best -- where Muslims do not win special privileges, as in the UK, nor are they in an advanced state of hostility, as in Nigeria.

Overall, the Pew survey sends an undeniable message of crisis from one end to the other of the Muslim world.

The writer, based in Philadelphia, is director of the Middle East Forum.

This article can also be read at

Copyright 1995-2006 The Jerusalem Post


Pew Research Center
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Pew Research Center is a nonpartisan "fact tank" that provides information on the issues, attitudes and trends shaping the USA and the world. The Center and its projects receive funding from The Pew Charitable Trusts. The Pew Research Center is a strictly non-advocacy organization, while the Pew Charitable Trusts supports advocacy and non-advocacy projects.

The Center's work is carried out by six projects:

* Pew Research Center for the People & the Press
* Pew Internet & American Life Project
* Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life
* Pew Hispanic Center
* Pew Global Attitudes Project

It's official: Pot-smokers are Communists, pot prohibitionists are Fascists.

Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime

Meanwhile, same plant, two different planets.

Same United Nations, but one agency protects refugees, another saves ancient art, architecture and natural wonders, another safeguards human rights, another provides health care to children -- and another runs around screaming like a retarded clown.

Nobody's ever died from smoking cannabis, and there is no such thing as cannabis addiction. Don't believe everything you hear from a white guy in an Italian suit who gets driven around Europe in a stretch limo.


The Times (London, UK)
Tuesday 27 June 2006

Cited: UNODC's 2006 World Drug Report

Italy Relaxes
Cannabis Laws

by Richard Owen, in Rome

Boosted by its overwhelming victory in the referendum on devolution yesterday, the centre-left Government of Romano Prodi has moved to dismantle yet another legacy of the Berlusconi era by overturning its "zero tolerance" drugs policy.

The change will restore the distinction between "hard" and "soft" drugs, and will increase the amount of cannabis a person can possess without being arrested as a suspected dealer.

During its first month in power the Centre Left, which won local elections last month as well as the general election in April, has reversed the policies of Silvio Berlusconi's five-year administration on issues from Iraq to significant infrastructure projects.

Livia Turco, the Minister of Health and a member of the former Communist Democrats of the Left, said today that she would act immediately on the amount of cannabis permitted, an administrative measure that does not require parliamentary approval.

She said the amount of cannabis allowed for personal use -- 500 mg -- would be doubled. Nearly 10 per cent of Italians smoke cannabis regularly, according to a recent survey. A third of Italian teenagers between the ages of 15 and 19 say they have smoked it at least once.
Paolo Ferrero, the Welfare Minister, who is a Communist, said he would ask Parliament to repeal the "zero tolerance" policy and re-establish the distinction between hard and soft drugs. The emphasis would be on "prevention rather than punishment" and "treatment and rehabilitation rather than repression." This would help to fight illegal drug-dealing by the Mafia, Signor Ferrero said.

However, Antonio Maria Costa, executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, issued a warning this week that cannabis posed "health risks" similar to those caused by heroin.

In the 2006 World Drug Report, he said cannabis had become more potent in recent decades and Governments that maintained "inadequate" policies "get the drug problem they deserve ... Policy reversals leave young people confused as to just how dangerous cannabis is."
Daniela Santanche, a member of the Far Right Alleanza Nazionale -- the moving force behind "zero tolerance" -- said Signora Turco's decision would "send a terrible message to young people that drug use is OK."

The new drugs policy has also raised alarm among Catholic members of the centre-left coalition. The Vatican objected strongly this month when Signor Ferrero suggested that Italy might introduce supervised "shooting galleries" where heroin addicts could inject themselves in a controlled, hygienic environment.

A number of nations, including Switzerland, Germany, Spain, Australia and Canada, have supervised "drug-consumption centres." But the International Narcotics Control Board says this appears to condone hard drugs and thus undermines the UN's prohibitionist policies.

Signor Ferrero also caused a furore recently by declaring that "many professional people in Italy, including politicians" use cocaine.

Health experts say there has been an 80 per cent rise in cocaine use in Italy over the past ten years. There are also an estimated 300,000 heroin addicts.

Copyright 2006 Times Newspapers Ltd

- 30 -


The Scotsman (Scotland)
Tuesday 27 June 2006



by Gerri Peev, Political Correspondent

THE drugs watchdog of the United Nations has rebuked the UK government's policy change on cannabis, saying it sent a confusing message to young people.

UN experts also warned that a major increase in the potency of cannabis means it now poses health risks similar to those of heroin.

The decision to reclassify cannabis as a Class C drug -- made by the Home Secretary in 2004 -- was implicitly criticised by Antonio Maria Costa, the executive director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, who warned of the growth in its use.

Cannabis had become more potent in the past few decades and governments that maintained inadequate policies got the "drug problem they deserve", Mr Costa said in the 2006 World Drug Report.

"Policy reversals leave young people confused as to just how dangerous cannabis is," he added. "

The cannabis pandemic, like other challenges to public health, requires consensus, a consistent commitment across the political spectrum and by society at large."

He warned governments against playing party politics with the classification of cannabis as its harmful effects were "no longer that different" to the damage caused by cocaine and heroin.
His remarks were made on UN Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking.

But the Home Office stood by its decision to maintain cannabis as Class C.

A spokesman said: "Cannabis is controlled as a Class C drug. It is harmful and illegal and no-one should take it. In January 2006 the Home Secretary accepted the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs recommendation that cannabis remain a Class C drug. This decision to retain its classification is supported by the police and by most drug and mental health charities."

The Home Office said that consumption of cannabis had fallen from more than 28 per cent to 24 per cent in 16-24 year olds.

Scotland has one of the worst drug problems in Europe, with an estimated 50,000 addicts. At least half a million Scots are believed to have smoked cannabis and 200,000 are believed to have taken cocaine.

Last week, Tom Wood, Scotland's drug tsar, sparked controversy by suggesting the nation had "lost the war on drugs."

The European Commission has admitted that drug abuse in the bloc and the deaths it causes have reached "unprecedented" levels and that in any given month, 1.5 million Europeans take cocaine and 12 million use cannabis.

Since David Blunkett, the former home secretary, downgraded cannabis to a class C, ministers have proposed much lower limits for possession of the drug before an individual is prosecuted as a dealer. In contrast, the Dutch parliament is considering allowing the controlled cultivation of cannabis while Italy has also taken a softer stance.

The European Commission is asking for input into its drugs policy review from July to September.

Copyright 2006 The Scotsman Publications Ltd

- 30 -

27 June 2006


European brown bear
Ursus arctos arctos

The Independent
& The Independent on Sunday (UK)

Tuesday 27 June 2006 00:29

The killing of Bruno:
act of cruelty,
or bear necessity?

by Tony Paterson in Berlin

Bruno, the first wild bear seen in Germany for 170 years, has been shot dead by hunters in the Bavarian Alps, prompting a public outcry and fury from conservationists who had fought in vain to capture the animal alive after it went on a month-long spree of farm livestock killing in the region.

The two-year-old bear, nicknamed Bruno by the German media but dubbed "rampant brown bear JJI" by the authorities, was killed by a marksman armed with a powerful hunting rifle at 4.50 am near the Spitzingsee lake in the Bavarian mountains yesterday, only hours after a ban on shooting the animal with live ammunition was lifted.

"The shot has been fired and the bear is dead," said Manfred Wölfl, a bear expert employed by the Bavarian government to track the animal. "Everyone knows that we would have preferred things to have turned out differently, but there was simply no other way of trapping the bear."

However, Bruno's death provoked a furious response from German and Austrian conservationists, who had enlisted a team of specialist Finnish bear hunters equipped with dogs, GPS position finders and anaesthetising stun darts in a forlorn attempt to take the bear alive.

Hubert Weinzierl, the President of Germany's Nature Protection Circle, described the shooting as: "The most stupid solution of all." He added: "I am deeply sad. The Germans should have taken a more relaxed attitude. In other countries bears and humans live peacefully alongside each other. Only in Germany are bears liquidated."

In Schliersee a press conference was interupted by self-described bear liberationist Bruno Engelhard, wearing a bear costume.

Spokesmen for the Bavarian and Austria hunters' associations said their organisations had been flooded with e-mails from the public, some of which threatened to murder hunters in retaliation for the bear's death. They said that as a result they were keeping the identities of hunters secret.

Germany's Nature Protection Association said the shooting was a "tragedy." A spokesman added: "In Austria, where bears were introduced several years ago, the animals walk past picnic tables and nobody bats an eyelid."

In Italy, Bruno's birthplace, Fulco Pratesi, the head of the country's World Wildlife Fund, described the shooting as an "act of barbarism."

Bruno wandered into Germany across the Austrian Alps from his birthplace in the Trentino district of Italy on 20 May. He was welcomed by the Bavarian state authorities as a sort of ursine prodigal son. Officials noted that the last wild bear was killed in the region in 1835.

But within days the animal started on a killing spree which led to the deaths of more than 35 sheep, dozens of chickens and domestic rabbits and the destruction of a beehive. Farmers in the region demanded the animal be shot on sight.

Bavaria was forced to admit that Bruno had become a "problem bear" but agreed to join forces with the WWF in an attempt to capture the animal alive, despite fears that its next victim would be human.

In the meantime, Bruno turned into a media celebrity, with reports of his whereabouts vying with the World Cup's progress on television. Germany was flooded with "Bruno T-shirts" and a mock "Bruno hunt" game featured on the internet.

The team of Finnish bear hunters was flown to Bavaria a fortnight ago. Equipped with a bear trap imported from the US, they covered more than 500 kilometres in the high Alps in a search for Bruno.

However, the bear eluded his pursuers at every turn. On one occasion Bruno managed to hunker down in a reception "blind spot," which made tracking him with GPS equipment impossible. Later, the bear was hit by the wing mirror of a car and was even seen sitting down outside a police station.

Bruno was last seen alive on Sunday evening by the owner of an inn located about 5,000 feet up in the Bavarian Alps. "My guests were having supper. I told them to stay inside. Then I went out and shouted at the bear and he ran off," the innkeeper said. The police were informed and hunters sent to track down the bear.

Several tourists in the Bavarian village of Schliersee, near where Bruno was shot, said they were relieved that the animal was dead. "It was high time that something was done. Any one of us could have been attacked," said one. But others said they were dismayed.

A spokeswoman for the Austrian WWF conceded that Bruno had become a threat to humans and said shooting the animal had always been an option. However, she insisted that the 20 wild brown bears ranging the Austrian Alps would not meet a similar plight. "They all live far from human habitation and pose no threat," she said.

In a gesture that seemed destined to provoke further outrage from animal lovers, Bavaria announced that Bruno's corpse would be delivered to a taxidermist and that a stuffed version of the bear would eventually be displayed at the state's "Museum for Man and Nature" in Munich.

- 30 -

© 2006 Independent News and Media Limited

26 June 2006

I made the green in 2!!! I dropped the putt! I got a birdieAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!

click if you have time
before you're vaporized

It's Sports Time on Vleeptron!
All the Sports from Vleeptron!
We've got the latest Qx'ii scores!
Guys playing golf in rivers of Lava!
Bear-baiting, fish-shooting,
cockfighting too!
Bare-knuckle boxing from 1902!
A fifth of our Sports
all take place in the Zoo!
Get your Sports on Vleeptron!
Get your Sports on Vleeptron!

This is a stale story from mid-May, but just last week I saw TV news film of this golf course, filled again with happy golfers.

Or maybe they weren't happy. Who knows who's happy? Who knows what happiness is?

All I can say for sure is that they were playing golf while, 5 miles off, Mount Merapi was the most violent, dangerous, earthquake-generating volcano on Earth.

I love erupting volcanos.

They love golf.

We have much in common.


Associated Press
Monday 15 May 2006

Play abandoned at erupting
Mount Merapi's golf course

MOUNT MERAPI, Indonesia -- The caddies have fled. A pair of cleaning ladies squat beneath the shade of a tree close to the 18th hole. The club's manager sits and smokes, knowing he is in for a quiet couple of weeks.

When dormant, the volcano that gives Golf Merapi club its name is its biggest draw.

Golfers from around the world come for the unique experience of playing on the flanks of a still active volcano, the crater of which is just five miles from the course.

But when the mountain is erupting, it stops play like nothing else.

"I tell people, it is probably safer to stay at home," said manager Sukirman, as the 9,800-foot peak belched out massive clouds of ash and sent searing hot gas clouds rolling down its slopes on Monday.

The club, which is situated just outside the peak's mandatory evacuation zone, is not the only business that is suffering because of Merapi's wrath, which scientists say could last for several weeks.

Scores of guesthouses popular with adventure tourists are now off limits, as are camp sites and restaurants catering for day trippers from Yogyakarta, the nearest city to the volcano.

The peak sputtered into life several weeks ago and activity has steadily increased.

On Saturday, officials hiked its alert status to the highest level, and more than 5,000 people were evacuated from their homes.

Many are staying in temporary shelters close to Merapi Golf.

Sukirman said the caddies that ply the 6,969-yard, par-72 course ran home when a particularly large eruption shook the mountain on Monday. The club closed its gates, and most of its 250 staff were told not to come to work.

"This is the risk of putting a club here," said Sukirman, who like many Indonesians goes by a single name. "When there is an eruption, it can make the future look pretty unclear."

© The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.


Merapi Golf:
Golfing on The Top of Jogja

Merapi Golf: A Golf sitting on 800 meters above sea level, with just the perfect climate and the most breathtaking panoramic view of Mount Merapi with the hinterland of Yogyakarta and the Indian Ocean, is worth trying to play on.

Merapi The Perfect Golf Course

These 18 holes, 6370 meters par 72 course is located only 30 minutes drive from the ancient city of Yogyakarta. The stunning design of MERAPI GOLF COURSE is truly masterpiece of golf course, created by the golf course master: Thomson, Wolveridge & Perrett

The blend of the natural beauty and the freshness of mountainous weather, the challenging hilly landscape with Volcanic rocks of million years makes the golf course one of the most attractive courses in Central Java and difficult to forget.

Each hole is carefully planned and positioned, and is distinctly different with its own difficulties, serving a superb test for clubbing.

The quiet and peaceful surrounding, the spectacularly beautiful view, make the golfers enjoy the game and certainly would not miss this challenging course. This is really the place where golf lovers could play without being bothered by the heat and pollution.

Green Fee:
Weekdays : IDR 150,000 + V.A.T
Weekends : IDR 300,000 + V.A.T
Golf Car : IDR 100,000 + V.A.T (member)
IDR 100,000 + V.A.T (non member)

Golf Equipment, Pro Shop and Restaurant available.

Jl. Golf No. 1 Kepuharjo-Cangkringan
Kab. Sleman, Yogyakarta 55281
Phone: +62 274 896176, +62 274 896177, +62 274 896178
Fax: +62 274 896179
Shortcut URL:

Visit Yogyakarta / Jogja. Copyright © 2003-2006 YogYES.COM.