31-12-03

See you next year!

I'm off to the coast, and the powerkite is going with me, yeeha! (there's a 3 to 4 knots wind blowing, which is just about perfect: I'm taking some newbees with me..)

Have fun everyone and uhm ... happy New Year!

12:03 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

30-12-03

In dying need of brainfood

"This is your Giant Communal Brain speaking. Resisting is futile."

Guess it's the time of the year that makes me do this, like watching old fotos, but I've been reading a lot of blogs backward these latest days. Not just following up on them, but browsing backward. The amount and the quality of what is out there still keeps amazing me.

There have been numerous arcticles already in mainstream media on blogging, what it is, who's doing it etc., but I think this one (via Kathy Kinsley) is by far the best I've seen on the subject, "this thing of ours" that has taken control of us.

"People are no longer simply consumers of political news. They're publishers of their own," says Bill Mitchell of the Poynter Institute, a journalism think tank. Professional writers who have turned to blogging say they love the dialogue.

"It's like having a giant communal brain," [Andrew] Sullivan says.

Hmmm, a giant communal brain.

As you may have seen, this blog unexplicably changed into a Halloween costume overnight (not!), and now and then undergoes little technical tweakings, hopefully without you, as a member of The Communal Brain (alright, sounds a bit heavy), noticing it.

The blogrolls on the left and the right also mutate now and then. Never thought I was going to like the Christmas Holidays this much.

More ... more ... brainfood.

Additional:
this is a good example on how the Blogosphere can work:

Two minutes later I received an email from Alan saying let's do it. Less than two hours later, he had a Blogger Pro account set up and the first draft of the Command Post was born. Two hours later, ten bloggers had joined our ranks.

Three days later, we had a shiny new URL and a Sekimori design.

In the first few weeks, we broke one million visitors. We were featured in Time, Newsweek, the Washington Post, Newsday, several radio shows and a myriad of other publications I can't think of off the top of my head. We were being fed tips by important people at important locations. We were linked to by major media outlets. It was an interesting time.

Thanks again Michele, also, and not in the least, for the Voices Project.

16:02 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

29-12-03

Saudi Arabia: "unfortunate baseless reports"

Arab News:

“A Saudi security official said that a report by The Mail on Sunday quoting a British politician as saying that Saudi authorities arrested two suicide pilots who were planning to fly two small planes into a packed British Airways plane is not true,” the Saudi Press Agency reported.

Are the Saudi's starting to hide things as well? Or are things getting out of control in The House Of Saud?

Okay, some British newspapers aren't really known for their outstanding correctness, but this one came from Paul Mercer, someone with a serious background ánd an Opposition Member in the UK's Conservative Homeland Security branch. It's men like these who have connections to "unimpeachable" sources.

One more fact for history's waste-basket?

Update: (via The Insta): The Age says Mercer claimed ...

..., according to the same source, that the Saudi authorities tried to cover up the incident near King Khalid International Airport and withheld information from authorities abroad.

Aha.

01:31 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (2) |  Facebook |

27-12-03

Italy: probable attack

Reuters:

Berlusconi Says Vatican Was Christmas Target

He said in the interview with the Libero newspaper, conducted on Wednesday, Christmas Eve, he had received "precise and verified news of an attack on Rome on Christmas Day. A hijacked plane above the Vatican... An attack from the sky."

...

The decision to block the Conciliazione at night came after the newspaper La Repubblica reported that the Israeli secret services had warned of a "probable attack in Italy" against a major Christian symbol at Christmas. The Interior Ministry had declined to comment on that report.

If the French continue like this, something's bound to happen in the end.

13:07 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

24-12-03

Food for the brain

My stack of DVD entertainment for tonight is in!

Starting with The Rock (Sean Connery, Nicolas Cage, ...), continuing with Uprising (Donald Sutherland, Jon Voight, and to top it off, a naturally genuine female beauty, Leelee Sobieski, ...), I hope to end --ok, I'll need some coffee by then-- with Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away.

I haven't seen neither of these movies --mostly I just walk into the rental store and pick up whatever movie that rings a bell or jumps in the eye--  but I'm quite sure I will be enjoying myself, heh!

Whatever your plans are, stay safe, don't eat too fast, have a nice evening. Merry Christmas!

18:15 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

Hey look, a terrorist!

Should have blogged this ages ago, but the capture of The Lion Of Iraq came in between things:

It will be recalled that in May 2002, Israel agreed to deport 13 of the most heavily-wanted terrorists hiding out in the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem. Twenty-six others were sent to Gaza. The 13, responsible for the murder of many Israelis, were distributed among several European countries, with the understanding that they would remain there between three and six years, unless a PLO state is established first, in which case they would be permitted to enter it. One of the 13 was Halil Al-Nawara, whom the Belgians agreed to host and even provide with a monthly stipend. This week Al-Nawara was arrested by local police for his part in a series of armed robberies of banks and post offices.

You will notice that I got this from an Israeli newspaper, Belgian media does not consider this to be important enough. DoF and Rantburg have more.

Belgium gets visited regularly by Bin Laden's friends and is now hosting them as well. We seem to have forgotten too quickly that the murderers of Massoud were both carrying Belgian passports.

Enter Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt (on TV this weekend):

"Blix's opinion appears to be right, indeed, there don't seem to be any WMD's. This [war] was supposed to be about WMD's"

"We did what we had to do [after 9/11], we exposed the terrorist network in Belgium, we catched Trabelsi, we had him followed, the trial is taking place."

Not a word about Khalil Mouhammad Abdallah al-Nawawreh. If this sort of news goes lost unseen, Europe deserves terrorism.

01:41 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

21-12-03

Person Of The Year 2003

Via Instapundit: Tim Blair reveals The person Of The Year 2003:

Speedy Blogospherians, hah! As for the choice itself, I wish all the troops in Iraq, Afghanistan or any other place they may find themselves working in, a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, as well as to their relatives and friends. Thanks guys!

18:27 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

Anti anti-anti-idiotarian maths

Just a quick one on this timely hour, via Ivan Janssens: a calculation by Parapundit of some figures by SIPRI, giving us an idea on who sold what amount of weapons to Iraq and when. Nothing new or surprising, just some handy material to remind the anti-anti-idiotarians of one or two things:

Figures are trend-indicator values expressed in US $m. at constant (1990) prices.

Note: The SIPRI data on arms transfers refer to actual deliveries of major conventional weapons. To permit comparison between the data on such deliveries of different weapons and identification of general trends, SIPRI uses a trend-indicator value. The SIPRI values are therefore only an indicator of the volume of international arms transfers and not of the actual financial values of such transfers. Thus they are not comparable to economic statistics such as gross domestic product or export/import figures.

Country$MM USD 1990% Total
USSR2514557.26
France559512.74
China519211.82
Czechoslovakia28806.56
Poland16813.83
Brazil7241.65
Egypt5681.29
Romania5241.19
Denmark2260.51
Libya2000.46
USA2000.46
South Africa1920.44
Austria1900.43
Switzerland1510.34
Yugoslavia1070.24
Germany (FRG)840.19
Italy840.19
UK790.18
Hungary300.07
Spain290.07
East Germany (GDR)250.06
Canada70.02
Jordan20.005
Total43915100.0

Have a good night.


03:32 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

18-12-03

I am an infidel

Woke up too early so I started to surf around a bit, and since there appears to be more politics and less fun on this website, I thought this might do well for a change:

Useful phrases for westerners backpackers in the middle east:

* Kbar Khali-Kili Haftir Lotfan.
Thank you for showing me your marvelous gun.

* Tikeh Nuneh Ba Ob Khrelleh Bezorg Va Khube Boyast Ino Begeram.
The water soaked breadcrumbs are delicious, thank you. I must have the recipe.

* Ekr Gabul Cardan Davat Parh Gush Divar.
I am delighted to accept your kind invitation to lie down on the floor with my arms above my head and my legs apart.

* Maternier Ghermez Ahlieh Ghorban.
The red blindfold would be lovely.

* Balli, Balli, Balli.
Whatever you say.

* Auto Arraregh Davateman Mano Sephaheh- Hasti.
It is exceptionally kind of you to allow me to travel in the trunk of your car.

* Cashal-Eh Fashal-Eh Tupheman Na Degat Man Goftam Cheeshayeh Mohemarir Behmeshvarehma.
If you will do me the kindness of not harming my genital appendages, I will gladly reciprocate by betraying my country in public.

Nothing but a good laugh to start the day with, is there? Here's where you can find some more, the French are in there as well.

Politically incorrect? That's what jokes are made of sometimes. If, however, you do feel the urge to line up with the Coalition Of The Pissy, tell me where I can find the exact translations, always of good use.

06:44 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (1) |  Facebook |

15-12-03

Links for History

OK, the beard wasn't false, I admit (someone must have spinned me).

The funny stuff: here, here and here.

The strange stuff: Reuters and Al-Jiz use the same headline. Aaahh, those media (?!?) boys and girls ... .

The serious stuff, with lots of links, updates and extras: the Insta of course, and The Command Post. The Truth Laid Bear also has a collection of Weblog Reactions up. Also: Stryker and the others, and don't forget their Iraq page. James Taranto's page is full of content too.

In Belgium: interesting article on IHI by Claude Moniquet, on the possible changes this day may bring forth. (Claude Moniquet is the President of ESISC, the European Strategic Intelligence and Security Center, I'm looking forward to the launching of their website. And no, I do not link to IHI because they linked to me a few days ago, I just couldn't let this one pass.)

Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt gave a short press conference ("... as to transfer authority to the Iraqis, within a multilateral, UN-based form. We will also continue and intensify our support to Iraq, working together with a number of NGO's ...". Blablabla ... . Anyone have a pointer to this huuuge support?)
Minister of Foreign Affairs Louis Michel "didn't see" a trial of Saddam before a The Hague Court very well possible, and said he prefered it to be in Bagdad. Let's see if he sticks to that idea, he appeared very low profile to me.

Maarten Schenk tells you a little more about Indymedia Belgium here: allow me to say they're nothing but ignorant censorers. You have to use CTRL + A to view their blacked-out posts. That's about the badest reaction I could find in Belgium, except for the weatherguy who started with something like "the weather had a long beard today, but we shaved it", and he's just a very friendly joker and it really wás very rainy today.

Even State Television kept things calm and "objective", at least compared to their usual behaviour. Well, of course there where the, by now expected, remarks on our dear own Pravda Brussels (state radio & television services):

"Is that possible, a DNA investigation in two hours time?", while not yet realizing Saddam was already in custody for about two thirds of a day.
And the infamous "It apparently is the real one!" was also heard more than once, while CNN, BBC and other moguls had already passed that stadium aeons ago by that time. Hmmm, the Coalition Of The Pissy indeed.

I'll keep an eye on them for you, and buy a bunch of newspapers tomorrow. At your service!

One more time before I go to bed ... hmmm ... .

00:40 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

14-12-03

Ace of Spades: done.

With the words of Paul Bremer: "Ladies and gentlemen ... we got him!"

Started out as a political gangster, became one of the richest people on earth on the backs of his own people, and ended up in a basement disguised with a fake beard. How life takes turns.

(I would try to put a fake beard on his face, but I'm not really that good in Farking things)

Let's leave the socio-politics out for now, and celebrate. This is a big day for the people who have worked hard for this, but most importantly for the Iraqi people.

13:16 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

12-12-03

A piece of three pies

Welcome to the readers of Institut Hayek Institute, and a big thank you to the authors of IHI for linking to these pages. Much appreciated!

For those of you who do not yet know the site of IHI, they were, with some help of other people, the ones that put up a petition demanding an effort of our ministers to keep NATO in Brussels. Later on, Belgium changed its Universal Competence Law, but it's far from certain that NATO will remain in Belgium. [Note: some pages in French in this paragraph, Google Language Tools can be helpful, if not funny.]

There's Poland, which would receive NATO with open arms (not to speak of other states in Eastern Europe), and there are the ideas to form a European Defense Force.

If Belgium, Luxembourg, France and Germany want to help rebuild a country, after having left other countries to die for it, ánd keep NATO in, ánd have a possible HQ for a huuuuge European DoD on their territory, Claes was indeed right to put up his finger and notice some anomalies. Born in a very friendly and welcoming province (Limburg) in Flanders, he probably just stayed polite.

16:41 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

02-12-03

UN: "4000 arrested, disappointing result"

UN urges more action on al-Qaeda:

...
"Many of al-Qaeda's sources of funding have not yet been uncovered or blocked," the report said. 
"Al-Qaeda continues to have access to funds through charities, deep-pocket donors and from business and criminal activities, including the drug trade."
Michael Chandler, who chairs the UN monitoring group, said he did not think a biological attack was necessarily imminent. But he told the BBC's World Today programme the signs were there that al-Qaeda wanted to use such tactics. 
"It is probably the fact that they are looking for some technical means of dispersion rather than actually the stuff itself," he said. "The ingredients are available if they want to get hold of them."
...

Go here for the UN News Centre's pressrelease:

...
Mr. Muñoz said about 4,000 people worldwide have been arrested in connection with Al-Qaida or the Taliban - "clearly a disappointing result."
...

Hmm, the UN finally wakes up ... . These kind of messages always make me recall the documentary images of nuclear waste being cleaned up in Georgia: there were about eight (can't remember the exact amount) radio-active batteries (used to power antennas of some sort) missing when finally the IAEA (remember them?) started to search for them.

Actually it turned out to make some hilarious squetches: three or four people just put the glowing containers in protective shells, using a large stick. A fifth person counted the seconds and blew a whistle when time was up: Geigercounters, communist style ... .

After some more research, a local was found who had already burnt virtually all of his skin, just because he ate his sandwiches next to Al Qaeda's favourite toy. Yet another admitted he had found a nuclear battery too. When asked what he had done with it, he smiled and said "I shot it in the air, I melted bullets from the thing!" ... .

Imagine what can happen when someone less friendly finds this stuff. Creepy.

[I don't have the time just now to look into it, but I seem to remember the boss of a muslim terrorgroup --was it the one that was responsible for the hostage-taking in the concertbuilding in Moscow?-- actually delivered such a device as described above to some journalists.]

Update: here's a good article to start with if you want more details on the above stories, and I think this might be interesting as well (link goes to Google's HTML-file, the pdf-version requires subscription). Evening reads.

08:44 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |