HVT Killed in Yesterday’s Hellfire Strike?

MSNBC is reporting that an Arab high-value target was hit in yesterday’s Hellfire missile strike in Pakistan:

Senior U.S. and Pakistani officials tell NBC News that Wednesday’s Predator attack on a village in northwest Pakistan was not insignificant, that a “high-value target … an Arab” was among those killed. U.S. officials believe the unnamed target was planning attacks outside Pakistan, “so we nailed him,” in the words of one.

By all accounts, on Wednesday evening, two male guesthouses in the village of Damodola were struck by Hellfire missiles fired from Predator drones. The drones are normally operated by the CIA.  Inside the guesthouses were local fighters along with several “foreigners,” including the Arab fighter, according to the U.S. officials and locals. 

Although the number of missiles fired remains uncertain, recent attacks have involved multiple volleys from multiple Predators. Predators now carry up to six Hellfires.

Initial reports had the dead at 12, but now they are as high as 30.

UPDATE: In other news of note, this will be a first if true, Manned Nato aircraft striking the Pakistan side of the Durand line per Pakistan Tribune:

Our Wana correspondent adds: Jet fighters flying from across the Pak-Afghan border violated Pakistan’s airspace in South Waziristan Agency Wednesday and dropped bombs in the area near the Durand Line.
Tribal sources said the jet fighters from the US-led Nato forces operating in Afghanistan intruded into Pakistan’s territory at Sra Khawra area near the border town of Angoor Adda and flew about three kilometres deep into South Waziristan Agency.
The planes reportedly dropped some bombs inside Pakistani territory but there were no details of losses. The same jet fighters also bombed targets on the Afghan side of the border. The government officials could not be reached to confirm the violation of Pakistan’s airspace by foreign planes.

Worthy of note however is how the Durand Line has been stretched in a few areas into Afghanistan the past few years. The craft could have been bombing the internationally recognized line, rather than the Wazir view of where the line is.

Update:
A bit more from The News (jang) where some of the casualties are named:

“All the bodies were split into pieces and scattered in the building,” he spoke to this correspondent by telephone after visiting the destroyed house. Tribal sources told The News that close friends of the Arab fighter were invited to the function and that was the reason that death toll was high as the guests were spending the night in the hujra when blitzed by Drones.

Maulvi Omar, militants’ spokesman belonging to Bajaur’s troubled Mohmand subdivision, called this correspondent and said 11 people were killed in the air strike. Among the dead, he said, five militants belonged to Bajaur.

Five others, he said, hailed from neighbouring Mohmand Agency, including Shah Wali, brother of militants’ central commander Abdul Wali code-named Omar Khalid while another Shahid belonged to Shabqadar in Charsadda district.

He said thousands of tribe people came from all parts of the agency and attended funeral prayers of victims of the air strikes. Maulvi Omar said no women or children were killed or injured in the attack.

Also note here that TTP Taliban Leader Nawab Khan was killed by his friends in Parachinar, the location of a lot of sectarian fighting the past few years.

The Touchy-Feely Obama

Obama’s raising hell about Bush’s speech in Israel about trying to appease the terrorists. Bush just
told it like it is although he didn’t mention any names, Obama was the first to counter his words. This is like someone who although suspected but not directly accused jumps up saying “No I didn’t, it wasn’t me!”

If Obama thinks he can go head to head with the leaders of North Korea Iran and Venezuela and come out on top he’s living in a fantasy world. He doesn’t have a clue on how they conduct negotiations and they wrote the book on lying and disinformation. Anything they say or sign concerning a treaty is not worth the ink used in their signatures.

Although people like Obama are so naive to believe they have accomplished a genuine feat only to find out all they did was waste their time and effort. To add to this, they will still have faith that the other side will change and honor their commitments — which has never and will never happen unless threatened by force of arms. And people like Obama will not press the issue and instead will allow it to evaporate like the dew on the morning grass.

Another Grim Jihadi Milestone

Milestones -- the philosophy of the Muslim BrotherhoodIn another grim Islamist Terror group milestone, 902 muslims were killed in April, and another 1208 were maimed and injured. Indeed, since these numbers are compiled from news reports, some of the injured could have slipped into the death column after the news was reported, and many likely did.

The Islamists kidnapped and tortured some of these muslims, and the reports come from the following places:

Pakistan, Algeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen, Gaza, The West Bank, Sudan, Lebanon, and the Kashmir. I’ve excluded incidents where non-muslims were killed, but the number of those deaths is less than a tenth of the number of muslims killed, tortured, and maimed.

Muslims at some point have to ask: if the terrorists are for the Umma, why are they killing so many of them? However that’s almost as silly as asking why a “holy warrior” would wear a mask… It’s evident that they seek temporal power, control, and wealth in the countries they are in, Islamism is good cover for their brutality since it is then supported by even some moderate muslims. After all how can moderates argue with Qutb and the Koran?

Compiled from reports at the Religion of Peace, The Daily Times, AP, and Reuters.

Above you see the book that extends the philosophy which drives many Islamist groups seeking temporal power: Milestones, by Sayid Qutb.

Islamists Out of Control in the UK

A very disturbing video.

Should MeK be Removed From the Terror Watchlist?

Since Mujahadin-e-Khalq has provided us intelligence on Iranian weapons initiatives, Quds force weapons smuggling, and Revolutionary Guards operations within Iraq there is a movement afoot to get them removed from the Terrorist organization lists in some countries. The intel they provided proved to be not only true over time, but invaluable in some cases. (background here, and here.)

They even have Daniel Pipes pulling for them – a heavy-weight proponent to be sure. I disagree with Daniel however. 

Once a group adapts terror as a means to an end they can never be trusted again – if they show the willingness to let the ends justify the means once, they can, and likely will, again. Should we continue to accept intelligence from them? Surely.  Just as I read El Ehklaas, so too must even terrorist sources of information be used.

That said, there is no redemption for terror groups. Fatah should never have been legitimized, and I don’t care if it’s convenient for political or strategic purposes – terror groups are terror groups. Accepting terrorism from any quarter allows our enemies moral footing, and that should never happen.

So, PKK, IRA, LTTE, MEK, Fatah — still terror groups in my book. If a group wishes to change, remove the leadership, rename, and repurpose with new manifesto that explicitly abjures all forms of terror without equvocation then maybe they could be considered. That’s not the case here.

More background here from Winston in Canada.

This Evening’s Moon

Taken earlier than normalThis evening’s fine moon, taken a bit earlier than normal. It’s at half, and I believe it to be waxing.

Administrivia

Now that the entire world is talking about Nuclear energy, the perils of burning food, and energy needs it’s safe to move on to other topics, so I will let those lie awhile. It’s been a somewhat lonely couple of years leading into this however. (if you check past posts, pages etc. you will see where I’ve been predicting that we will need all the sources of energy we have in the short term gap. That includes even bio-fuels and coal which I’ve been picking on lately, research must continue at minimum — and short term we might need it for security.) Also see this article on energy sybsidies.

Some clarity comes from the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), an independent federal agency that tried to quantify government spending on energy production in 2007. The agency reports that the total taxpayer bill was $16.6 billion in direct subsidies, tax breaks, loan guarantees and the like. That’s double in real dollars from eight years earlier, as you’d expect given all the money Congress is throwing at “renewables.” Even more subsidies are set to pass this year.

An even better way to tell the story is by how much taxpayer money is dispensed per unit of energy, so the costs are standardized. For electricity generation, the EIA concludes that solar energy is subsidized to the tune of $24.34 per megawatt hour, wind $23.37 and “clean coal” $29.81. By contrast, normal coal receives 44 cents, natural gas a mere quarter, hydroelectric about 67 cents and nuclear power $1.59.

I’m still not running ads, nor asking for donations and I expect that to continue at least until such time as I retire from my other job. 

The sidebar might go wonky later this week, and the format might change while I fiddle with the theme and a few other things here, if it blows up too badly for you please drop a comment, I can’t test with fifteen types of browsers the way the pros like Charles Johnson do.

There’s yet another merger going on where I work, and I might get sucked into a black hole as technical structures get glued togetther and strategies are aligned. I will remain incommunicado on things technical for the duration just to ensure that I don’t spill the beans on anything from work accidentally.  I don’t do too much of that anyway simply because I don’t want to feel like I’m pimping a company or technology to you.

The redbuds are all gone and the trees are leafed out here, and I”m into the mowing routine. I just finished the back but caught the front wheel in that planter again, bending the tie-rod. I beat it out once more with a hammer and all is well with the tractor. Mowing the lawn is getting a bit more expensive due to gas prices, so expect the neighborhood kids to start charging more if that’s how you get your lawn done.

 

Happy Mother’s Day

This is for you Mom.

Two Wazir Taliban Commanders Killed in Afghanistan

It appears that Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan is either making raids cross border, or seeking alliances or arms judging by who was killed in a recent clash with Afghan and NATO forces in Afghanistan. From the Hindu News:

The dead Taliban belonged to the Wazir tribe and were members of a group led by Pakistani Taliban Mullah Nazir, who operates in the South Waziristan tribal region. Among the dead were Maulana Muhammad Iqbal, deputy chief of Mullah Nazir’s group, and Khan Mohammed Wazir, another key Taliban commander.

Three of the dead Taliban were aged between 15 and 20 years, local tribesmen said. The bodies were repatriated to Wana from Afghanistan’s eastern Paktika province early today, the Taliban sources said.

The skirmish in Paktika left 13 Taliban militants and eight NATO and Afghan troops, including a colonel, dead. Witnesses said the bodies of the Pakistani Taliban were badly burnt, making it difficult to identify them.

More on Taliban captured and killed this weekend here.

The Problem With ID and Discovery Institute

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Even though I am atheist, I don’t have a problem with intelligent design, or the existence of G-D: both are distinct possibilities if you are talking about the origin of  the universe, or of life itself. The issue isn’t with Intelligent design and belief in a creator as the movie “Expelled” poorly attempts to portray. Ir’s about their markedly political agenda to discredit evolution and to stop its teaching in science class. 

When I said poorly above it’s because there is a certain amount of deceit in the movie. You have to wonder why they leave an interview with a Christian evolutionary biologist on the cutting room floor if the movie’s really about academic freedom? 

You don’t have to disbelieve G-D to oppose the Discovery Institute and their aims. You don’t get special credit in heaven for supporting them either, because they are attacking truth as scientists know it today through deceit. As the good book says  “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”

While there certainly are rabid atheist secularists out there like Richard Dawkins, they are the exception, not the rule. Interviewing Dawkins on a subject such as this would be like interviewing Fred Phelps in a documentary about Christianity – you would be guaranteed some juicy bits, but would you really be portraying Christianity truthfully? I think not.

Forty percent of scientists believe in G-D in one form of religion or another. So why would the film attack atheism? Why would it attack science with the blood libel that they created the holocaust?

Those are not rhetorical questions: those are questions you need to ask yourself; and then you need to read the Wedge Document here which was leaked from the Discovery Institute. Before you accuse me of trusting wiki etc. be aware that the Institute, and the documents creators have admitted that it is real, however they do make serious attempts to downplay it, as noted here. (There are plenty of links at the bottom, citations, as well as a photocopy of the cover of the doc.)

The theory of evolution makes no claim to “knowing” how life started, or how the universe originated. How life and the universe began are hot topics of controversy within science, they are unsettled fields, and they are exciting fields. Religious scientists want to find truth every bit as much as the atheist and agnostics do, I would imagine they look upon it as discovery of G-D’s work.

So Ben sets up one strawman argument, and then rebutted himself. The other strawman shaken in our faces in the movie is the assumption that evolutionary theory is never challenged. This is somewhat over the top as it does get challenged regularly, not only by creationists, but also by scientists themselves. The debate over the details and mechanisms of evolution has raged across science for a long time, and it will continue to do so for it helps fuel new discoveries.

One of the strategies of the Discovery Institute is to attack and invalidate evolution by “teaching the controversy” – however when I studied evolution they were ahead of the DI. In other words my teachers did teach that there were gaps in fossil records and that there were controversies in Evolution. Teaching what we don’t know is an important part of science education.  The unanswered questions are the exciting parts for scientists and for students after all.

In the end you have to wonder who is closer to G-D – a scientist who studies wonders such as this in daily awe at the universe, or a disingenuous PR flack for a neo-luddite political think-tank?

Other resources:

Expelled exposed – a site that exposes the deceit and flaws in the movie

The Discovery Institute – the think tank

The Panda’s Thumb – an evolution blog

Talk Origins FAQ – records and debunking of the various claims against evolution