Hurry up!

NASA is going to launch something very exciting! Live here! Thanks to Transterrestrial!

Update: " .. vehicle is in the water ... ", heh. As far as I can see (which wasn't actually very far in this case), things seem to have gone well. Most exciting television viewed since long.

I'll post something more on this later perhaps, I'm just going to let a pure 1.45 hour long thrill sink in for now!

21:45 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (2) |  Facebook |


We welcometh this we-welease

[Just managed to crash a complete post about this. Sorry, but it's bedtime now so you're gonna have to do it with the cut-down version]

Never thought I was going to post something even by far related to The Passion Of The Christ, now I don't even have a choice:

The 1979 movie about Brian of Nazareth, who is mistaken for the Messiah, will make a return to the big screen in America at the end of April in Los Angeles and New York.

Very well. I would like to see it again in Belgian theaters though:

Scene 23 -- Pilate's addwess


CROWD: [cheering]
PILATE: People of Jewusalem!
CROWD: [chuckling]
PILATE: Wome is your fwiend.
CROWD: [laughing]
PILATE: To pwove our fwiendship, it is customawy at this time to welease a wongdoer fwom our pwisons.
CROWD: [laughing]
GUARD #3: [chuckling]
PILATE: Whom would you have me welease?
BOB HOSKINS: Welease Woger!
CROWD: Yes! Welease Woger! Welease Woger! [laughing]
PILATE: Vewy well. I shall welease Woger!
CROWD: [cheering]
CENTURION: Sir, uh, we don't have a 'Woger', sir.
CENTURION: Uh, we don't have anyone of that name, sir.
PILATE: Ah. We have no 'Woger'!
CROWD: Ohhhhh!

Aaaah, those good old days ... . Here's where you can find the script. Have fun!

01:36 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (2) |  Facebook |


Wanted: European First Amendment, missing files etc.

Hans-Martin Tillack, the journalist whose arrest I wrote about in this post, has been released but sees his filecabinets emptied:

The Belgian police confiscated his materials as well as computers and phones, which are still in their hands.

Mr Tillack expects to go through the material with the Belgian police next week and has told the EUobserver he hopes to get some of his materials back at the meeting.

Terrance Coyle is updating as things go further amiss:

Serious stuff, the nub is that Tillack, the journo was a meticulous German, and had all his files on over 50 investigative stories confiscated. All his contact details were in those files. There are at least 12 Commission sources that will be uncovered by this (possibly) illegal action. Those sources will be punished, and thus the job of a journalist in Brussels goes from hard to nigh on impossible. If the Commission can confiscate journalist's files without evidence of illegality who is ever going to talk to a journo?

The Command Post has the subject in the crosshairs as well now.

23:52 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


Yassin revisited

In my comments today, in a reaction to the list I put up in the previous post and (I assume) the accompanying sarcasm I presented:

Great work from the Zionist propaganda machine. I'm still looking for a list of all the illegal settlements, and of course, of all the Palestinian innocents killed by Zionist state terrorism. But I'm affraid the Palestinians are too busy with mere survival to play on the Net. And by the way, the Hamas chief was killed, it serves him well. But what about the 5 innocent bystanders? Did they have a blog? Or should they embark in a Spanish train to be remembered?

A list of all the illegal settlements? I'm sure there are plenty to find. Do these settlements kill people? No. Are they illegal? Yes. In this story, the answers are many.

Take it to the UN I'd say, they should be able to find a solution. I suspect they're not going to be extremely fast in doing so, but hey, who's complaining?

Have the Pan-Arabian leaders (or various supporting Middle-East countries to be more correct) step in and let them talk to the media, instead of playing the Palestinians out to their own advantage. With all the oil in their possession, they should be able to acquire more than some money to play a tad of media and other strings. As if they're not already doing so.

Take it to the EU. And while you're there ask them to force the Palestinians to start spending the money they're receiving from the European Mogul, on some useful stuff, instead of spending it on detonators and RPG's.
Speaking of blogs, have the EU pay up for some bandwidth. I'd like every Palestinian to have his/her own blog, so someone could tell them in their comments what the idea behind the money is actually representing, instead of what it only seems to be on a first-view-basis. "Stop the war! I'm blogging this! End the complicity of the European Parliament!" ... .

I've been trying to come up with some ideas on how it's possible for the major media to be oh sooo astonished about what happened to the poor wheelchair-man, but I honestly couldn't find any. Why so much attention to this one man, but not to the many children, women and men before?
Because of the highly symbolic value this man represented in the eyes of the Palestinian people? Maybe.
Because this could play out very badly and spread out to other regions in the Middle-East? Even more maybe: those "other regions" are simply being kept busy enough with their own problems.

How many Mr Rantissi's were standing in line before Monday to take Yassin's place? Expect some more scathing rhetoric in the Friday prayers.

Additional: out of respect toward the honorable Mr. Yassin, just a short excerpt from his commemoration which is already online:

We are gathered here today in memory of a great man. A man we all admired, a leader and humanitarian, a hero not only to his own people, but to all downtrodden people everywhere.


23:57 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (19) |  Facebook |


In dying need of earplugs

Lesson to remember: do not keep to "known routines" when trying to avoid helicopter gunships. For extra comfort, bring earplugs in case overhead F-16 jets try to pop your eardrums. Ask Allah to disable "lock on"-feature on Apaches.

One question: what ... the .. hell ... is all ... the ... fuss ... about? Via Chuck Simmins:

 Date LocationCasualitiesResponsibiltyNotes
14March2004Ashdod10 killed, 16 woundedHamas and Fatah Al Aqsa Martyrs' BrigadesTwin suicide bombings at port
22February2004Jerusalem8 killed, over 60 woundedFatah Al Aqsa Martyrs' BrigadesSuicide bombing on bus
29January2004Jerusalem10 killed, 50 woundedFatah al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeSuicide bombing on bus
4October2003Haifa19 killed, 60 woundedIslamic JihadSuicide bombing in restaurant owned by Jews and Arabs
9September2003Tel Aviv8 killed, 32 woundedHamasSuicide bombing at a hitchhiking post for soldiers
9September2003Jerusalem7 killed, 50 woundedHamasSuicide bombing at Cafe Hillel
19August2003Jerusalem22 killed, 135 woundedHamasSuicide bombing on a bus.
5January2003Tel Aviv23 killed, 108 injuredFatah al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeTwo suicide bombers in an immigrant neighborhood
5June2002Megiddo17 killed, 38 injuredIslamic JihadCar bomb next to bus
27May2002Petah Tikvah2 killed, 37 injuredFatah al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeSuicide bomb in shopping mall
22May2002Rishon Lezion2 killed, 40 wounded Suicide bomb on pedestrian mall
19May2002Netanya3 killed, 59 injuredHamas and the PFLPSuicide bomb in market
7May2002Rishon Lezion16 killed, 55 injuredHamasSuicide bomb in pool hall
12Apr2002Jerusalem6 killed, 104 injuredFatah al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeSuicide bomb in Mahane Yehuda market
10Apr2002Kibbutz Yagur8 killed, 22 injuredHamasSuicide bombing on bus
31March2002Haifa14 Killed, 40 WoundedHamasSuicide bombing at restaurant
29March2002Jerusalem2 killed, 28 WoundedFatah al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeSuicide bombing at supermarket in Kiryat Yovel
27March2002Netanya22 killed, 140 WoundedHamasSuicide bombing at Passover seder at Park Hotel
21March2002Jerusalem3 killed, 86 WoundedFatah al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeSuicide bombing downtown
20March2002Afula7 killed, 30 woundedFatah al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeSuicide bombing on bus
14March2002Karni-Netzarim road3 Killed, 2 WoundedFatah al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeRemote Control Mine
12March2002near Kibbutz Matzuva6 Killed, 7 WoundedFatah al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeGunmen Ambush Vehicles
12March2002Kiryat Sefer checkpoint1 Killed, 1 Wounded Shooting Attack
11March2002Ashdod1 Wounded Gunman Opens Fire at Bar Mitzvah
10March2002Netzarim1 KilledFatah al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeShooting Attack
9March2002Jerusalem11 Killed, 54 WoundedHamasSuicide Bomber at Cafe
9March2002Netanya2 Killed, 50 WoundedFatah al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade2 Gunmen Open Fire on a Promenade
7March2002Atzmona5 Killed, 23 Wounded Terrorist Opens Fire and Throws Grenades
7March2002Ariel>6 Wounded Suicide Bomber in Hotel Lobby
5March2002Sderot1 Baby Wounded Kassam Rocket
5March2002Afula1 Killed, 10 Wounded Suicide Bomber on Bus
5March2002Tel Aviv3 Killed, >35 Wounded Gunman Opens Fire at Restaurants
5March2002outside Bethlehem1 Killed, 1 Wounded Gunman Ambushes Vehicle
2March2002Jerusalem10 Killed, >50 WoundedFatah Al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeSuicide Bomber outside Synagogue
27February2002West Bank3 WoundedFatahFemale Suicide Bomber
25February2002Jerusalem1 Killed, 8 WoundedFatah Al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeGunman Opens Fire at a Bus Stop
25February2002Gush Etzion1 Killed, 1 Pregnant Woman WoundedFatah Al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeGunmen Open Fire on a Car
22February2002Efrat1 Wounded Suicide Bomber in Supermarket
22February2002North of Jerusalem1 KilledFatahDrive-by Shooting
19February2002En Arik6 Killed, 1 WoundedFatah Al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeGunmen Open Fire at Soldiers
18February2002Gush Katif3 Killed, 4 WoundedFatah Al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeGunfire and Bombs at Cars
18February2002near Jerusalem1 Killed, 1 InjuredFatah Al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeCar Bomb
16February2002Karnei Shomron2 Killed, 27 WoundedPopular Front for the Liberation of PalestineSuicide Bomber at Crowded Shopping Mall
14February2002Gaza3 Killed, 4 Wounded Mine Placed Under Tank
10February2002Be'er Sheva2 Killed, 4 WoundedHamasDrive-by Shooting
8February2002Jerusalem1 Killed 4 Teenagers with Knives
6February2002Moshav Hamra2 Killed, 5 WoundedHamasGunmen Infiltrates Moshav
30January2002Taiba2 WoundedFatahSuicide Bomber
27January2002Jerusalem1 Killed, >150 WoundedFatahFemale Suicide Bomber
25January2002Tel Aviv24 WoundedIslamic JihadSuicide Bomber at Crowded Pedestrian Shopping Mall
22January2002Jerusalem2 Killed, 40 WoundedFatah Al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeGuman Opens Fire on Crowd
17January2002Hadera6 Killed, 35 WoundedFatah Al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeGunman Opens Fire at Bat Mitzvah Celebration
15January2002Beit Jala1 KilledFatah Al-Aksa Martyrs BrigadeAmerican Kidnapped and Murdered
9January2002Kerem Shalom4 Killed, 2 WoundedHamasGunfire and Expolsives
12December2001Emmanuel10 Killed, 30 WoundedFatah & HamasBomb and Gunfire Attack on Bus
9December2001Haifa31 Wounded Suicide Bomber
2December2001Haifa15 Killed, 46 WoundedHamasSuicide Bomber on Bus
1December2001Jerusalem10 Killed, >188 WoundedHamas2 Suicide Bombers and a Car Bomb in a Pedestrian Mall
29November2001near Hadera3 Killed, 9 WoundedIslamic Jihad & FatahSuicide Bomber on Bus
27November,2001Afula2 Killed, Dozens WoundedIslamic Jihad & Fatah Al-Aksa Martyrs Brigade2 Gunmen Opened Fire on Crowd near the Central Bus Station
27November,2001Gush Katif1 Killed, 3 WoundedHamasGrenades and Gunfire
26November2001Erez Checkpoint2 WoundedHamasSuicide Bomber
24November2001Kfar Darom1 KilledHamasMorter Shell Landed on a Soccer Field
4November2001Jerusalem2 Killed, >50 WoundedIslamic JihadGunman
28October2001Hadera4 Killed, 40 Wounded Gunman
28October2001near Kibbutz Metzer1 KilledTanzimDrive-By Shooting
17October2001JerusalemIsraeli Tourism Minister Rehavam Ze'evi AssasinatedPopular Front for the Liberation of PalestineGunmen in Hotel
7October2001Beit She'an Valley1 Killed Suicide Bomber
4October2001Afula3 Killed, 16 Wounded Gunman Opens Fire on Crowd
1October2001JerusalemSeveral Wounded Car Bomb
9September2001Nahariya3 Killed, 90 WoundedHamas1st Israeli-Arab Suicide Bomber, at Train Station
9September2001West Bank2 Killed, 4 Wounded Gunmen
4September2001Jerusalem20 Wounded Suicide Bomber disguised as Orthodox Jew
3September2001Jerusalem3 Wounded Series of Car Bombs
12August2001Kiryat Motzkin21 WoundedIslamic JihadSuicide Bomber at Cafe
9August2001Jerusalem15 Killed, >130 WoundedIslamic Jihad & HamasSuicide Bomber at Pizzaria
16July2001Binyamina2 Killed, 11 WoundedIslamic JihadSuicide Bomber at Bus Stop
22June2001Dugit2 KilledHamasSuicide Bomber
1June2001Tel Aviv21 Killed, 120 WoundedHamasSuicide Bomber at Disco
30May2001Netanya8 WoundedIslamic JihadCar Bomb outside School
27May2001Jerusalem30 WoundedPopular Front for the Liberation of Palestine & Islamic Jihad2 Car Bombs
25May2001Hadera65 WoundedIslamic JihadCar Bomb
18May2001Netanya5 Killed, >100 WoundedHamasSuicide Bomber at Mall
9May2001Tekoa2 KilledIslamic JihadTwo 14 year-old Boys Beaten and Stoned to Death, found dismembered in a Cave
23April2001Or Yehuda8 WoundedIslamic JihadCar Bomb in Outdoor Market
22April2001Kfar Saba1 Killed, 60 WoundedHamasSuicide Bomber at Bus Stop
28March2001near Kfar Saba2 Killed, 4 WoundedHamasSuicide Bomber at School Bus Stop
27March2001Jerusalem7 WoundedIslamic JihadCar Bomb
27March2001Jerusalem28 WoundedHamasSuicide Bomber
26March2001Hevron10-Month Old Infant Shalhevet Pass Killed Sniper from Abu Sneineh
4March2001Netanya3 Killed, >65 WoundedHamasSuicide Bomber
14February2001Azor8 Killed, 21 WoundedHamasBus Driver Plows into Crowd
23January2001Tulkarem2 KilledHamasGunmen Kidnap and Shoot 2 Israelis
1January2001Netanya>50 WoundedHamasCar Bomb
22December2000Jordan Valley>3 WoundedHamasSuicide Bomber
22November2000Hadera2 Killed, 55 WoundedIslamic JihadCar Bomb next to Bus
20November2000Kfar Darom2 Killed, 9 Wounded School Bus Bombed
2November2000Jerusalem2 Killed, 10 WoundedIslamic JihadCar Bomb in outdoor Market
26October2000Gaza1 WoundedIslamic JihadYouth Suicide Bomber on Bike
7November1999Netanya27 WoundedHamas3 Pipe Bombs
10August1999Nahshon Junction6 WoundedHamasCar Plows into Crowd (Twice)
6November1998Jerusalem2 Killed, 20 WoundedIslamic Jihad2 Suicide Bombers
29October1998Gush Katif1 Killed, 8 WoundedHamasSuicide Bomber Attacks School Bus
19October1998Be'er Sheva59 WoundedHamasGrenades Thrown at Central Bus Station
11October1998Hevron18 WoundedHamas2 Grenades Injure Palestinians and Israelis
27August1998Tel-Aviv14 WoundedHamasBomb In Dumpster
20August1998Tel RumeiydaRabbi KilledHamasFire Bomb & Stabbing
4September1997Jerusalem4 Killed, 181 WoundedHamas3 Suicide Bombers at Pedestrian Mall
30July1997Jerusalem15 Killed, 178 WoundedHamas2 Suicide Bombers at Outdoor Market
21March1997Tel-Aviv3 Killed, 48 WoundedHamasBomb at Restaurant
4March1996Tel Aviv20 Killed, 75 WoundedIslamic JihadSuicide Bomber at Mall
3March1996Jerusalem19 Killed, 6 WoundedHamasSuicide Bomber on Bus
25February1996Ashkelon2 KilledHamasSuicide Bomber at Bus Stop
25February1996Jerusalem26 Killed, 80 WoundedHamas2 Suicide Bombers on Bus
24July1995Ramat Gan6 Killed, 31 WoundedHamasSuicide Bomber on Bus
25June1995Neve Dekalim3 WoundedIslamic JihadExplosives-ladden Cart
9April1995Gaza8 Killed, 50 WoundedHamas & Islamic Jihad2 Suicide Bombers
22January1995Beit Lid Junction21 Killed, 69 WoundedIslamic Jihad2 Suicide Bombers at Bus Stop
25December1994Jerusalem13 WoundedHamasSuicide Bomber at Bus Stop
11November1994Netzarim Junction3 Killed, 6 WoundedIslamic JihadSuicide Bomber on Bike
19October1994Tel Aviv22 Killed, 56 WoundedHamasSuicide Bomber on Bus
9October1994Jerusalem2 Killed, 14 WoundedHamas2 Gunmen Open Fire
13April1994Hadera5 KilledHamasSuicide Bomber
6April1994Afula8 KilledHamasCar Bomb next to Bus

Go here for the more complete list(s), there's more material where that came from.

23:54 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (2) |  Facebook |


Belgium: journalist arrested

Let us hope this is not an example on how Europe is going to define "Freedom of Speech" and "Human Rights" in the future:

Belgian police raid German magazine office

... Journalist Hans-Martin Tillack told reporters as he was being taken away on Friday that the police were looking for documents dating from three years ago related to the European Union's anti-fraud office, OLAF. He said he was "totally shocked".

This may sound like a naive question but ... was it too much to just ... ask him first? And if he did refuse to answer, there still is something called The European Convention on Human Rights, see Article 10:

Everyone has the right to freedom of expression. This right shall include freedom to hold opinions and to receive and impart information an ideas without interference by public authority and regardless of frontiers.

From the International Federation of Journalists:

The IFJ says that journalists must be able to protect their sources of information without being subject to official harassment and intrusion and if there are problems with journalists work these can be dealt with without resorting to the courts and intervention by the police.

“This affair smacks of intimidation and overreaction and amounts to an appalling assault upon the fundamental rights of journalists," said White. [Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary--ed.]

Of course, if a controlling body like OLAF does not have any "powers of arrest" (I'm quoting The Eire, see the first link above), it's always handy to ask a country that has too much "powers of arrest", to help out:

Under Belgian law, a lawyer is not allowed to be present during questioning on the first day of police custody, said Mr Tillack’s lawyer.

In a ten hour timespan there's a lot to take with you. Wonder whether Mr.Tillack is going to see his documents back ... . From the same article:

In 1996, a number of Belgian media had their offices and private homes raided by police.

This case was brought to the Court of Human Rights, who recommended that Belgium introduce proper legislation and secure the protection of sources.

Yes. May I point the humble people of OLAF, ánd the even humblier Belgian judges --since they apparently have to listen to what Europe's developing CIA is telling them to do-- to the fact that the case of 'Ernst and Others versus Belgium' was decided to the advantage of the people writing our daily newspapers?
May I also ask our dearly beloved politicians to decide in favour of amendments that guarantee the liberty and the protection of journalists and their sources? (link goes to pdf-files in which the amendments are described. They're in French and in Dutch, according to Belgian law, but I think you'll get the gist of them).

Thanks much to Terrance over at Fainting in Coyles, who brought this whole thing to my attention and who's been asking around a bit, including with Hans-Martin Tillack himself.

Additional: forgot the link to the pdf-files, and in digging it up again I noticed there's actually more than one proposal: here's one, which is titled "Proposal to grant journalists the right to keep their information sources secret", and here's a second one titled "Proposal to protect the journalist's information sources". Translation is mine and may be a bit wobbly.

22:20 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (4) |  Facebook |



Via John Baeyens:

S.N.O.W. blog is an educational project aimed at forging paths for dialogue among youth belonging to communities in conflict.
Snowblog is an educational project aimed at forging paths for dialogue among youth belonging to communities in conflict.

Projects to follow that deserve our support.

00:23 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


Voices Project

Remember Michel Catalano's Voices Project over at A Small Victory? When she put it up I thought it was a great project --you can find my contribution here and here-- and I still think it is. A few days ago I e-mailed her with some thoughts about it. Please go and take a look.

01:37 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

Red Bull good for posts, bad for titles

Just got home from travelling around most of the country for about 14 long working hours, which results in your humble servant turning towards the famous small-and-great-subjects-all-alike-next-to-little-stars-style. One advantage thereof: neither you, nor me know where these are taking us. Here goes nothing.

* Just so you'd know: spring is in the air, at least for today ánd the next 12 hours --sorry, I do live in Belgium, you know: rain, mist, kind of like Scotland but with about three more weeks of summer ... . I almost fainted after being exposed to powerful sunbeams for about half an hour (the writing of completely useless paragraphs like this one is most probably a consequence of my brain being affected by them as well; again, please bare with me).

* Thanks much to the people of CNE, the Centre for the New Europe for the evening I referred to in the previous post, and a big thank you to Cécile Philipe for putting up with us and feeding us with pizzas and beer. Another big thank you to Brian himself for trying to make us all smarter people. I'm not going to write a scription about it, for a variety of reasons. First, Mr. Micklethwait is too much a speaker to do that and I really am too humble towards this much experience in Libertarian thinking. Second: Mr. Micklethwait is one of those people that, as I like to call it, "tickle your brain". Jumping from one subject to another, they make you think where to go with the information they give you. It makes you think and it's kind of a playful way of explaining things, but you do encounter a lot of subjects as they go along. Third: five hours ago I poured one of these Red Bull things into my internal organs, which helps to keep one (too) awake but still hasn't given me wings to make my words fly.

I'll get you on the road though: Libertarians "shrug" when people ask them about art and their position towards the subject. Collectivists want the State to put as much funding into it as they can, after which you can hear them say "See what state funding can do to the world?". Just goes to show ideologies really can be about selling stuff to people. Or in some cases almost certainly are --the word "propaganda" comes to mind. Terrance Coyle puts it nicely and says Libertarians should try and:

(...) capture the cultural ground from the statists

If Libertarians want to convince people that a Liberal stance is better for them, they too should start talking about the art they like, and I can agree with what Brian is saying. One example? Here's a man who has complete collections of old matchbooks, a desk full of postcards, staples of fiftys, sixties and seventies culture. He loves to talk about it all, and when he writes about them, I almost get engulfed with this "Joy-de-vivre", this "Ode to life". Others may call it "a warm fuzzy feeling", whatever. A matchbook? Not art? No "highly spiritual meaning"? Maybe not, but what about architecture? And yes, he is tearing some of it down completely with the hammer of humor, or irony, call it what you will, but all in a loving kind of way which views the things created by man (and on a further note, by industry, ...) as ... well ... fantastic. We love talking about design and often spend a great deal of money on it. I thought most of us would agree that at least some of it can be considered to be "art" (there should be a note in front of this paragraph that says "Warning! The definition of the word "art" is not defined in this paragraph. Please check if yours is and whether it is justifiable").
That's what you'll have to do it with for now. Our beloved speaker talked about a whole lot of other issues, but it would take me too far to write them all down. If I succeeded in explaining to you why and how Libertarians should talk about art, you should be able to understand why the movie Splash can be something to admire. There. On to the next little star!

* Just as many other bloggers, I too am still stuck with the bowing-deep-for-terrorism-move the Spanish people presented to us on Sunday.

The People Have Spoken. The Bastards.

Indeed. This is a little hopefull though (via DoF):

"They've even called him a killer when he's done more than anyone to fight terrorists. In his eight years in power, more terrorists than ever have been arrested. It's very sad. I hope we can sort it out in four years."

Hope is about all we've got for the moment. London, Paris, Brussels, Strassbourg or any other city in a country that joins the list of most ardent enemies of Islam, is marked as a big red dot on the map already. The qualifications a country has to present to be listed between "the ardent", seem to aim at a fairly big amount of members ... .

* It was nice to meet a fellow blogger over at the CNE's event. Isn't it time for a regional Blogbash? Define "regional" to your own liking.

* What's with this Titadine thing? It's about all I see coming in in my stats. Is everybody Googling themselves crazy to try and make a bomb? I realize I put a post up a few days ago where the word appears, but sjeesj ... . Fine: here you go: Goma 2 ECO Titadine Goma II ECO Titadyne Goma ii ECO Tytadine Goma 2 Eko Tytadyne. Up with the stats! Be careful and don't lose your fingers. Or good luck with the investigative journalism career, whatever. Check this one out as well.

01:07 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


Night out

We're off tonight, heading for our beloved capital Brussels, Brussel, Bruxelles.

Brian 'Samizdatista' Micklethwait is going to tell us why the left (call them Socialists, Collectivists, ... ) is talking about art more often than libertarians do. The Centre for the New Europe is hosting the evening. Promises to be interesting I think. More later.

17:27 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

Paint a burqa on your butt

Quote of the week:

You can stick your head in the sand and paint a burqa on your butt. But they'll blow it up anyway.

RTWT, as they say. The quote the author is referring to can be found here, and is from the Australian Federal Police Commissioner, Mick Keelty. Of course, it could just as easily be a Norwegian Commisioner, or a Danish one, or a French one, or a German one, or a British one, or a Dutch one, or a ... .

After even more cracks have started to appear in the already crumbly old face of Europe, I need this wekend to end with a cartoon ... here you go (link goes to Sandy Huffaker cartoon on Cagle):


Try to stay safe, look out for backpacks on your way out.

[Note: the first quote is in the first article, which refers to a second quote ... just to be clear. Only noticed it after reading it again after a few hours.]

01:20 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


Spain: 3 Morrocans, 2 Hindus arrested

Spanish newspaper El Mundo now has an article up in which it says three Morrocans and two Hindus are arrested.

Also, according to Belgian state television, a Spanish commercial radio network says Spanish Intelligence is already convinced Islamic terrorism is to be blamed.

20:20 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (5) |  Facebook |

Madrid bombings actually failed

More details on Thursday's bombings, in an article that points out some technical issues of the attacks:

Titadine is already an ETA "hallmark". The clandestine organisation stole a quantity of around 8,000 kilograms of the explosive from a factory in Brittany, France, back in 1999. But there's no record of ETA ever having used it in previous attacks in a mixture with nitroglycerine.

More evidence pointing towards an Arab link? Seems like it:

However, experts are pointing out that some of ETA's large collection of French "loot" has already made its way to the Middle East. If so, that means there's a distinct possibility it could have found its way back to Spain, only this time in the hands of an Arab organisation.

The "loot", which the Dutch article says consisted of some 20.000 timers, apparently contained more than that according to a 2001 Guardian article:

Eta, reportedly concerned that it could no longer store the ageing Titadine safely, replenished its explosive supplies with a second raid in France in March this year. [2001]

The raid was carried out at an explosives warehouse near Grenoble by eight masked gunmen who stole 1.6 tonnes of dynamite and 20,000 detonators.

So, these 1,6 tonnes were obtained on top of the 8 tons which ETA seems to have sold to some Arab terrorists. From the same Guardian article:

The Spanish news magazine Tiempo, in a separate report, quoted unnamed French police sources as confirming that a deal had been struck between Hamas and Eta at a meeting last September [1999] in northern Italy.
That deal, police said, saw Eta sell a stock of Titadine dynamite, stolen from a French factory by a commando unit made up of members of Eta and the Breton Revolutionary Army (BRA), for small arms and money. The explosives apparently came from a haul of eight tonnes of dynamite stolen from a Titadine factory in Plevin, Brittany, in September 1999.

Recap: in September 1999, ETA purportedly steals about eight tons of explosives. It sells them to Hamas in the same month. To replenish their own kitchen cupboards about seven months later, ETA again steals some explosive material, 20.000 timers included. Where did the timers go? According to the Dutch article: to the Arabs, and back again to Spain (making a short stop to have tea with some Tsetsjen rebels [(25th July 2004) Correction: Chechen rebels], but that's only a personal view). Vicious circles indeed, in both meanings of the word ... .

At the end of the Dutch article:

A delay saves lives
One thing which is already clear is that something as simple as a two-minute delay on the railways actually saved Madrid from an even greater catastrophe. The Spanish police have said that the terrorists' real intention was to blow up a number of trains simultaneously inside Madrid's Atocha station. If they'd succeeded, the death toll could easily have reached 1,000 or more.

Who said anything about the attack not being "that intelligent" ... ?

19:56 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

We Were All On That Train

"I am looking for my wife," Colombian Carlos Alberto Rendon told Reuters news agency at the main Madrid hospital. "I don't know anything, I can't find her anywhere and she isn't on any of the lists."

One of many tragic stories that I can't read or hear without choking a little bit each time. I've said it before, but in times like these, it's often the images that show more than words can tell:

Picture via Michele, who can take about just as much as I can of this horror (see her previous post). A few minutes ago, Spanish TV-network TVE was showing a helicopter view of the endless rows of people gathering together on their bloodstained streets. At a certain moment, the images were accompanied with a beatiful but somber piece of classical music. I've reached my limit for today.

For those of you who want to send flowers to the Spanish Embassy in Belgium or show support in whatever other way, they are located here (I don't think there's a link available):

Spanish Embassy

Wetenschapstraat 19
B-1040 Brussel/Bruxelles
Tel. (+)(32)(2) 230 03 40
Fax. (+)(32)(2) 230 61 04

Just one last thing though: we've seen 9/11, we've seen Bali, we've seen Madrid, we've seen the ones before those and the ones in between. Before the start of GWII, we saw the so-called "masses", the "huge crowds", the "millions across the world protesting" ... . Unrelated? Because it's not sure yet that this was an attack by Islamic negationists? Because the people of Spain were "already" suffering attacks from ETA? Because it's not about WMD? How twisted can you get?

So here's my question to the protestors of last year: where are you now? What does it take to make you see that terrorism isn't against Uncle Sam or "the West", but against anything that stands in its way? How many more friends and relatives in utter despair, roaming the streets in search for their loved ones, do you want to see? How long do you want them, the lists of people who's life was cut short in a most useless way?

00:01 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (2) |  Facebook |



Via Secular Blasphemy, this cartoon ... how images can sometimes say more than words:

The image by cartoonist Forges is posted on the frontpage of Spanish newpaper El Pais, where you can find this article (if you want the original one, see top of the page):

The terrorists do not look for to convince, not even to overcome, but to demonstrate that they can make much damage; and the more weak they are, the more they will try to concentrate that damage in acts without limits of cruelty and badness.

People should reflect more on this: when you put a cat in a bag, it'll fight harder to get out of it and you'll get your hands scratched. Also note the title of the article: "11-M" ... how many more ...?

The longer the fight against terrorists, the bigger the possibility they will see no limits in using whatever means provided to them to reach their goal:

Under the leadership of the OSCE, the first part of the conference today was addressing current and emerging threats, with two working sessions focusing on the threat posed to civil aviation by Man-Portable Air Defence Systems (MANPADS) and on the need to break the nexus between terrorism and organized crime.

CNN has 'breaking news' now: apparently a tape with Koranic verses is found in a suspicious van.

London-based newspaper Al-Quds is now saying the attack is claimed by Al-Qaeda.

Update2: (via HispaLibertas) Spanish newspaper El Mundo (in English) has a special page up.

[Note (14th March 0:03AM): due to my ftp-site being off line, some pictures like the one in this post are not viewable, please follow the link to El Pais, the pic is on their front page.
In the meantime, my apologies to The Command Post for deeplinking the pic in the next post.]

21:07 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

Madrid bombings

All my sympathy to the friends and families of the victims of yet another barbarian attack.

I'm trying to understand as much as I can while watching Spanish television channel TVE now, and it's devastating. They've been airing updates all the time, but just now there was an older program containing interviews with family members of one of ETA's victims.

Without wanting to slide into amateur journalism or something, and keeping an eye on the major newschannels, I get the impression there still doesn't seem to be 100% certainty about the bombings being executed by ETA (the bloggers that Instapundit is referring to have different opinions as well).
Just for the sake of argument mind you. After all, setting off 13 TNT-stuffed-backpacks (of which 3 didn't go off it seems) at the same time on 4 different locations, in a time when Europe should be watching terrorism around the clock, isn't a small achievement (although a terrorism expert interviewed on BBC a few minutes ago said he didn't think of this as a very intelligent attack, he also said there just wasn't enough to go on to really confirm that this was ETA).

Start with Instapundit and go from there on, and The Command Post is trying to keep up as well. Secular Blasphemy seems to be off line already.

16:59 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |

Steel prices rocketeering?

Shell wonders what is wrong with steel prices:

(...) our vendors are no longer allowing us to use book pricing for steel products. We must get quotes from them for each order, and quotes will only be honored for 5 days.

[Note: I realise I don't often throw much of my personal information into the footlight (Yet! Working on it though ..), but you may have noticed this post in which I've said to have spent quite some time in steel construction business.]

Well, something smells fishy over here too; quoting myself in Shell's post:

[From Belgium] Consider yourselves lucky, I sent 5 demands out today to as many suppliers, of which one just plainly responded that he "couldn't see it fit to respond towards the order" (it wasn't a huge one, but it wasn't a small one either; almost all suppliers are suffering shortages in products), 3 others couldn't deliver half of what we had demanded.

When asked when the missing stuff could finally come in, a fifth guy said he "didn't even dare to say it", since "things are just drippling in, we just have to wait and see. I really can't give you anything on that."

Most of the offers lasted for about two days, one even had "prices valid for the next 24 hours only" on it, hardly usual and a sign of how suppliers view the current events.

People really are expecting much worse, estimates of a 30% rise are common for plain steel products, those for stainless steel go even higher, and --on a side-note but related-- prices for glass seem to be completely out of control.
There's a kind of panicky feel hanging over the whole situation, and news like this will probably make that worse:

SEOUL (AFP) - South Korea's third-largest steelmaker, Dongkuk Steel Mill, said it has suspended exports of all steel products to ease a worsening domestic supply shortage.

(...) Analysts and goverment officials expect a prolonged supply shortage because of China's high growth and a global economic recovery led by the United States, the world's largest exporter of scrap iron.

Separately, Finance and Economy Minister Lee Hun-Jai warned a further surge in raw material prices could delay the recovery of consumption and undermine growth.

Anyone care to comment on this graph? (Arcelor is one of the biggest steelsuppliers for the Belgian market)

The color of steel is often blue, but if things continue like they do, blue might well become the color of our faces when bills start to arrive ... or when product stocks are empty.

01:05 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


Browsing through the funny side of the net: youngster performs amazing tricks on an Arcade computergame; go here and look for Asian Arcade (you have to click twice to start downloading the file in your player).  Probably a classic but I hadn't seen it yet. Reminds me of long lost skills, trying to play music. Does he actually play the tunes and the rythm or does he react to the falling blocks?

00:01 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


Separation of religion & State

How do you tell people that there really isn't any place for their favourite religion in the politics, the Constitution etc. of their country if they want their state to work at its best? Simple, you turn the reasoning in the other direction and you say:

"We don't want to involve God in questions of infrastructure and sewerage, technology and water. Islam equals God. How can we involve it in such daily affairs?"

Thanks to Moammar Gaddafi for the smart move, to my insomnia for making me put the comp back on (really, it's 6:30 AM and I already started the week laughing, how much better can it get?), and hat tip to ideofact for linking to this Washington Post article (subscription required but free).

06:40 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


Blog wash now, you patient

Very good morning to you! I been working on blogroll and other stuff of blog like colours and so on. Very tired now. You notice, new blogs added, very funny ones as well, me reading lots and lots of stuff, haha funny, look:

Of course not, comrades. Aside from using wrong data, graphs cannot lie.

But they can tell larger truth, da? Look at this graph. Is very famous. Is all over internet. Good Party Comrades love this graph, put it on backpacks and everything.

You go read whole thing, as tovaritch himself is said, you see two cards with intresting lies .. lines sorry .. on them.

Me thinks communist blogger very smart, use simple words so straight-understanding. Better than put time in difficult English translation and always have to go look things up in Dictionary.com ... much much less work. Me also start same style of writing ... haaaaah ... every one understand then finally.

You let me now changes to blog ok or bad, ok?

Update (in plain English again ..): the Commissar now has a link up to these charts:

(...) On this evidence I think it is reasonable to say that the casualty rate among coalition forces in Iraq has decreased more than 30 percent in recent weeks.
[see "Hostile Fire Dead and Wounded"--ed.]

Aaah, the virtues of Excel graphs.

09:55 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (2) |  Facebook |



A short one to end the day:

(...) affordable health care for poor children of minimum-wage-earning same-sex domestic partners who were wounded by assault weapons on underfunded public school playgrounds.

It makes you laugh! It makes you think! It's Scrappleface!

23:02 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (1) |  Facebook |

Iraq: present situation and things to look out for

Very  to-the-point and interesting article by Claude Moniquet (see also here) over at Hayek Institute:

(...) Because of the reach and the extreme branching out of these networks, Abu Mussab Al-Zarqawi is certainly a man capable of "bringing the war into the enemy's camp". However, next to the United States and Great Britain, at present time nine other countries participate in the Coalition: Bulgaria, Denmark, Spain, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Poland, Thailand and Ukraine. These countries are targets just as "legitimate" for the Islamique terrorism as they are for Abu Musab al-Zarqawi's cells. [article in French, translation mine]

Go here to translate words in French, or here for Google's translation of the whole article (if you still don't understand what Moniquet is saying, you will at least have had a good laugh).

Moniquet starts off with explaining why the Iraqi terrorism looks big, but really isn't, and why "it contains the germs of its own failure" in itself. You should be speeding off to his article already. After all, it's also about a race . . .  .

22:19 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


Intelligence kills emotion


Since its landing January 25, Opportunity has used the same tools as a human field geologist would to determine the chemical contents of the rocks. Using an alpha particle X-ray spectrometer, a device that can identify chemical elements, scientists have identified a high concentration of sulfur in the bedrock.

Another instrument on board, a Moessbauer spectrometer, has detected an iron sulfate mineral known as jarosite. From their knowledge of rocks on earth, scientists say rocks with as much salt as this Mars rock either formed in water, or had a long exposure to water after they were formed. The scientists say these rocks could have formed in an acidic lake or even a hot springs.

The rumour about the Space Agency announcing important news about Mars today, already caught my attention many hours earlier than it was on CNN this evening, thanks to NRO. Speedy Blogospherians at work indeed.

Quite exciting? Some people just shrugged when they heard it from the grapevine:

If all they say manana is that there's water on Mars, that's not news. We've known it for years. If they say they've found amino acids, that's more interesting, but no more so to me than, say, the discovery of some new form of life on the ocean bottom.

21:09 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


Rumsfeld quotes & Big Brother

Via IMAO (thanks n00b):

... they'd prefer it [Israel] not be there and they'd like it to be put in the sea. And Israel has opined that it would prefer not to get put in the sea, and as a result, over a period of decades, it has arranged itself so it hasn't been put in the sea" -- Donald Rumsfeld

Here's more of this refreshing style of his.

Of course, this is the sort of quote that makes people ask "Why are they there in the first place?"

Was James Balfour wrong, declaring support for a Jewish Homeland? Were the British wrong, as in not seeing the longterm consequences of their tactical decisions? Maybe.

But there are other views as well: where is this "pan-Arab Brotherhood of Muslims" in defending their rights or even just trying to bring forth a unified message? Where were the Arafats in 1917? Why were the Palestinians on the streets screaming "Death to America!", but also "Death to the Arab leaders!" during their Intifadas? Opposed to all the "flapping and the fluttering" in the last 80 years, what is happening in Iraq right now is very hopeful:

For the first time in more than three decades, Iraqi Shi'a will be able to observe the holy day of Ashura and its associated period of mourning this year without the shadow of the Ba'athist regime hanging over the ceremonies.

although not easy ...

The controversy over Big Brother came as another Arab reality TV show ended. Al Hawa Sawa - which means On Air Together - paraded eight women from across the Arab world before suitors in a luxury apartment for 24 hours a day. The men could contact the woman of their choice to propose marriage. The show was criticised for being too liberal. It ended on Monday when one of the last two contestants said she refused to get married.

Well, history shows us that people don't always know how to exactly handle their newly obtained freedom. Not that they're missing out on much ... yet ... .

20:20 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (4) |  Facebook |

Pagan ethos?

The Kerry question:

How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?

The Lileks question:

But how do you ask someone to be the last man to get fed to a plastic shredder for a regime that collapsed a day later?

Clear enough.

12:40 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |


Belgian justice on trial with Dutroux

The first investigating magistrate was dismissed after having supper with one of the victim's families.

Hence "The Spaghetti Affair" was born, one of many surreal, almost unbelievable details in an eight year long road to a process that shocked this little country.

The whole child abuse dossier consists of 166 boxes, containing 400.000 pages (that's five zeros you see there), now copied onto  three DVD's, reducing the Iraq dossier and the Hutton Report to mere midgets.

In just about six hours and 15 minutes Belgium's already most guilty person will be driven to court to stand on trial, together with his accomplices.

00:47 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (3) |  Facebook |

What was that password again?

Ahum .. where was I? Oh yes, I used to have this blog ... .

Hey, if this blogger can, why can't I? I'll be straight with you: due to an overload on the professional side of life, I'm having a really hard time to update this blog on a regular basis, and to be completely honest, the thought did pass my mind to let it slip.
Since my first strolls in the Blogosphere my views on the succes of it have changed dozens of times. I think David Bernstein is right when he says

Those of us in touch with the blogging world seem to sometimes forget that most people, at least most people over age 25, never look at blogs, and often don't know what they are.

Bloggers tend to know this but don't often admit to it, for obvious reasons.

Anyway, I've taken the decision to go along with it anyhow. There still is the urge to write about things (or/and to go flat on my face ..), and this medium still attracts me, which is more than can be said for newsgroups or fora. The latter are like pubs where everyone is crying higher than the other one, and the Blogosphere is more of a free podium for everyone. You don't like it? You don't see it. Automatically makes for less one-liner spamming.

00:14 Gepost door Flint | Permalink | Commentaren (0) |  Facebook |