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Meanwhile, In Somalia…. December 31, 2006

Posted by Dan in Main, Middle East, Must Read, News, Politics, Religion, Snipets, War.
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Somali Islamist forces have backed into their last stronghold, the port of Kismayo. The largely supported Ethiopian invasion is an effort to expel the standing Islamic government of Somalia. The outbreak of fighting, however, seemed largely unprovoked. The Ethiopian government is accusing Somali Islamists of “harboring terrorists,” and used this as justification for war. It seems as if the United States has set a bad example and legitimized unilateral invasions, provided they fly the flag of anti-terrorism. The consequences of the failed occupation of Iraq have bled outside of the Middle East to start another war in Africa. This one, largely uncovered by the media, may be far more brutal than Iraq. You can rest assured that no one will be asking about the captives taken in this conflict. Mass-media blinders have largely seen to that. The UN estimates that 30,000 people have already been displaced during the fighting, and that casualties have been high. The war officially began when Somali Islamic forces were forced from the capital of Mogadishu three days ago, on Thursday.

From the BBC:

Somali Islamist militiamen are fighting Ethiopian and Somali government troops advancing towards their last major stronghold in the port of Kismayo.

Artillery fire has been reported near the town of Jilib, close to Kismayo. (more…)


CNN Translates Saddam Hussein Execution Video December 31, 2006

Posted by Dan in Main, Middle East, News, Politics, Video, War.

[UPDATE: The newest video, post execution can be found on Webmerica at this address.]
You can see Saddam’s last words and those of the people around him translated into English. This is the “cell phone” video of his execution. CNN verifies the authenticity of the footage, which was posted on Webmerica earlier.

Watch CNN’s report here:

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A Pledge To A Better America – Saddam Hussein’s Execution Fallout December 31, 2006

Posted by Dan in Main, Middle East, Must Read, News, Politics, Snipets, War.

There has been a lot of talk following the hanging of Saddam Hussein about whether or not it was an appropriate punishment; if any good would come from it. The truth is, there is no one solution that will satisfy everyone. However, we must work towards a solution that satisfies mostly everyone. Sometimes this means hanging our heads in defeat, and sometimes it just means hanging heads. (Horribly insensitive pun intended)

In this case, we were forced to watch a dictator killed for running his own country in the manner that he saw fit. This is something no one really talks about. Where do we get our justification to hold other nations to the laws we live by? In other words, how do we know our laws are the right laws? The true nature of democracy is when the population of a country runs its own government. So doesn’t this mean that real democracy can only be brought about as a revolution of the people, rather than from the imposition of outside forces?

Just War Theory states that, if a foreign leader is oppressing his own people so badly that they are unable to revolt to save themselves, it is the duty of neighboring countries to remove that leader from power and install a more “people friendly” government. So the question becomes, was the population of Iraq so oppressed that internal revolt became impossible?

I believe this was the case, however things are more complicated then that. As it appears now, Iraq was a tenuous hodgepodge of various ethnic groups held together by the glue of a semi-brutal dictatorship (see Hitler’s for an example of fully brutal), not a united force opposed to the existing government. And so, upon removing that dictator, the country promptly fell apart. Everyone began fighting for power in the newly established “free power marketplace” called immature democracy.

The reason why America’s democracy has been so successful is because the population of America was forced to unite in order to defeat the British during our Revolution. We were 13 independent colonies, with independent governments subservient to England, but we joined and fought as one to win our freedom. The military leader of that Revolution became our first President, and some say that our country would never have gotten off the ground were someone else elected first. The Iraqi’s have no such heros. There was no “united we live, dived we fall” sentiment, and as a result, there was no clear succession of power. There are no founding fathers with a hard-fought Declaration of Rights. Division is why Iraq is failing.

As a result of this colossal oversight, I believe the Bush Presidency will go down in history as one of the worst on record. The whole war was their idea, spawned from faulty intelligence. However, they have consistently made mistakes at every level of government, and refused to acknowledge or correct them until long after any good could be salvaged. They have made secrecy paramount to our success, when in fact, it is the one thing that will guarantee our failure. Transparency of government is crucial for democracy to function. This is the great failing of the Bush Administration. Their refusal to learn from the history of our nation has led them to make mistakes that should’ve never possible. They do believe in democracy, and no one will fault them for that. In fact, if there is any blame to be had for their mistakes, it is shared by the entire voting population of America. We elected those without the knowledge or experience to effectively run a national government, let alone one as powerful and influential as our own. This war should’ve never happened because Bush should’ve never been elected in the first place! The fact that he was, is our fault.

TO THE REST OF THE WORLD: We are sorry. We took for granted the power of the vote; we did not respect it. We got caught up in the slander that has become campaigning, and allowed lies and misstatements to cloud our judgement. Whether or not we individually voted for or against Bush, as a whole we voted for him, and as a result, brought about the entire mess that followed.

While I can’t speak for everyone, I will speak for myself, and invite others to speak with me:

I will pledge to fully investigate the facts behind electoral candidates, rather than voting along party lines. I will not allow deception and secrecy to become the de facto standard in a society based on transparency of government and freedom of speech. I will protect and defend the Constitution of the United States of America by exercising my political right to vote. I will not allow my vote to be bought or cheapened by slanderous political practices. I will strive to make my government the absolute best government it can be, for the people of my country and the people of the world.

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New Video – Saddam’s Actual Hanging – WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC December 30, 2006

Posted by Dan in Main, Middle East, Must Read, News, Politics, Video, War.

[UPDATE: The newest video, post execution can be found on Webmerica at this address.]
This video is RAW and EXTREMELY GRAPHIC. You will not see this on American TV. This video appears to have been shot from a different camera and does include Saddam Hussein’s death from hanging. The video appears to be unedited and certainly looks genuine when compared with the other previously released footage. You can tell you are watching the same event. Webmerica is bringing this to you in the interest of free press. Death is not something to be celebrated, for any cause.

UPDATE: This video is legitimate, CNN reported. No one knows who filmed it or whether the Iraqi government supports it. It may have been shot on a cell phone camera. That report with english translation is available here.

Other publicly released video:

The CNN Report:

Please also read my Pledge to a Better America

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Video of Saddam’s Body – Post Hanging December 30, 2006

Posted by Dan in Main, Must Read, News, Politics, Video, War.

[UPDATE: The newest video, post execution can be found on Webmerica at this address.]
While we haven’t been able to find footage of the moment of Saddam’s death, we do have the following footage of his body, post execution. He is visible wrapped in white cloth. Under Islamic law, his body should be buried within 24 hours of his death. What you’ll see is grainy at best… but hey! Its Iraqi TV.

Please also read my Pledge to a Better America

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Video of Saddam’s Hanging!!! December 30, 2006

Posted by Dan in Main, Middle East, Must Read, News, Politics, Snipets, Video, War.

[UPDATE: The newest video, post execution can be found on Webmerica at this address.]

This is the first bit of video, and the new uncensored footage from his execution. As always, Webmerica will try and get the unedited, uncensored version that does not stop just before the moment of death. [UPDATE: That footage is available below.] We show criminals in this country executed on television all the time! Without the “moment of death” on camera, how can we be sure he was killed?

UPDATE: A different, uncensored video can be found in this article, or below, but it is very shocking…

UPDATE: This video is legitimate, CNN reported. No one knows who filmed it or whether the Iraqi government supports it. It may have been shot on a cell phone camera. That report with english translation is available here.

The New Video:

The CNN Report:

Please also read my Pledge to a Better America

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President Bush’s Reaction to Saddam Hussein Hanging – Full Text December 30, 2006

Posted by Dan in Main, Middle East, Must Read, News, Politics, Snipets, War.
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Today, Saddam Hussein was executed after receiving a fair trial — the kind of justice he denied the victims of his brutal regime.

Fair trials were unimaginable under Saddam Hussein’s tyrannical rule. It is a testament to the Iraqi people’s resolve to move forward after decades of oppression that, despite his terrible crimes against his own people, Saddam Hussein received a fair trial. This would not have been possible without the Iraqi people’s determination to create a society governed by the rule of law.

Saddam Hussein’s execution comes at the end of a difficult year for the Iraqi people and for our troops. Bringing Saddam Hussein to justice will not end the violence in Iraq, but it is an important milestone on Iraq’s course to becoming a democracy that can govern, sustain, and defend itself, and be an ally in the War on Terror.

We are reminded today of how far the Iraqi people have come since the end of Saddam Hussein’s rule — and that the progress they have made would not have been possible without the continued service and sacrifice of our men and women in uniform.

Many difficult choices and further sacrifices lie ahead. Yet the safety and security of the American people require that we not relent in ensuring that Iraq’s young democracy continues to progress.

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Saddam’s Last Words – The Death Letter December 30, 2006

Posted by Dan in Main, Middle East, Must Read, News, Politics, Religion, Snipets, War.

“The Letter” written by Saddam Hussein on November 5th, was released by his lawyers following his death. Key excepts from the BBC’s translation are below. However, I want to prefix this with a statement. While he speaks towards the good of his country, know that he was put to death for executing a large percentage of that country. He speaks of sacrifice, yet he lived in palaces. He speaks of enemies, but he has done everything in his power to make them. The only good thing he he says is that people should not hate, but for a man who inspired such fear from his own population, that is quite a claim. Did he not hate the Olympic athletes from his own country that were executed for their under-performance? What about those he killed strictly for their religion? He can’t white-wash history with this letter….

A letter written on 5 November by Saddam Hussein has been released by the former Iraqi leader’s lawyers. Here are some key excerpts.

In the past, I was, as you all know, in the battlefield of jihad and struggle.

God, exalted by He, wished that I face the same again in the same manner and the same spirit in which we were before the revolution but with a problem that is greater and harsher.

Oh beloved, this harsh situation, which we and our great Iraq are facing, is a new lesson and a new trial for the people by which to be judged, each depending on their intention, so that it becomes an identifier before God and the people in the present and after our current situation becomes a glorious history.

It is, above all, the foundation upon which the success of the future phases of history can be built.

In this situation and in no other, the veritable are the honest and faithful and the opposing are the false.

When the insignificant people use the power given to them by the foreigners to oppress their own people, they are but worthless and lowly. In our country only good must result from what we are experiencing.

To the great nation, to the people of our country, and humanity: Many of you have known the writer of this letter to be faithful, honest, caring for others, wise, of sound judgement, just, decisive, careful with the wealth of the people and the state… and that his heart is big enough to embrace all without discrimination.

His heart aches for the poor and he does not rest until he helps in improving their condition and attends to their needs.

His heart contains all his people and his nation, and he craves to be honest and faithful without differentiating between his people except on the basis of their efforts, efficiency, and patriotism.


Here I am speaking today in your name and for your eyes and the eyes of our nation and the eyes of the just, the people of the truth, wherever their banner is hoisted.

You have known your brother and leader very well and he never bowed to the despots and, in accordance with the wishes of those who loved him, remained a sword and a banner.

This is how you want your brother, son or leader to be… and those who will lead you (in the future) should have the same qualifications.

Here, I offer my soul to God as a sacrifice, and if He wants, He will send it to heaven with the martyrs, or, He will postpone that… so let us be patient and depend on Him against the unjust nations.

In spite of all the difficulties and the storms which we and Iraq had to face, before and after the revolution, God the Almighty did not want death for Saddam Hussein.

But if He wants it this time, it (Saddam’s life) is His creation. He created it and He protected it until now.

Thus, by its martyrdom, He will be bringing glory to a faithful soul, for there were souls that were younger than Saddam Hussein that had departed and had taken this path before him. If He wants it martyred, we thank Him and offer Him gratitude, before and after.

‘The enemies’

The enemies of your country, the invaders and the Persians, found that your unity stands as a barrier between them and your enslavement.

They planted and grounded their hateful old and new wedge between you.

The strangers who are carrying the Iraqi citizenship, whose hearts are empty or filled with the hatred that was planted in them by Iran, responded to it, but how wrong they were to think that they could divide the noble among our people, weaken your determination, and fill the hearts of the sons of the nation with hatred against each other, instead of against their true enemies that will lead them in one direction to fight under the banner of God is great: The great flag of the people and the nation.

Remember that God has enabled you to become an example of love, forgiveness and brotherly co-existence…

I call on you not to hate because hate does not leave a space for a person to be fair and it makes you blind and closes all doors of thinking and keeps away one from balanced thinking and making the right choice …

I also call on you not to hate the peoples of the other countries that attacked us and differentiate between the decision-makers and peoples…


Anyone who repents – whether in Iraq or abroad – you must forgive him…

You should know that among the aggressors, there are people who support your struggle against the invaders, and some of them volunteered for the legal defence of prisoners, including Saddam Hussein…

Some of these people wept profusely when they said goodbye to me…

Dear faithful people, I say goodbye to you, but I will be with the merciful God who helps those who take refuge in him and who will never disappoint any faithful, honest believer… God is Great… God is great… Long live our nation… Long live our great struggling people…

Long live Iraq, long live Iraq… Long live Palestine… Long live jihad and the mujahideen.

Saddam Hussein

President and Commander in Chief of the Iraqi Mujahid Armed Forces

[Additional note:]

I have written this letter because the lawyers told me that the so-called criminal court – established and named by the invaders – will allow the so-called defendants the chance for a last word.

But that court and its chief judge did not give us the chance to say a word, and issued its verdict without explanation and read out the sentence – dictated by the invaders – without presenting the evidence.

I wanted the people to know this.

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Saddam Hussein Has Been Executed in Iraq! As of 0300GMT – Video to be Released December 29, 2006

Posted by Dan in Main, Middle East, Must Read, News, Politics, Video, War.
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Iraqi TV has been broadcasting Saddam Hussein’s execution by hanging. It took place just before 0600 local time (0300GMT).

Saddam Hussein’s half-brother Barzan al-Tikriti and former Iraqi chief judge Awad Hamed al-Bandar were also executed.

“Criminal Saddam was hanged to death,” state run Iraqiya television announced to the beat of patriotic music and images of national monuments.

A scrolling headline read: “Saddam’s execution marks the end of a dark period of Iraq’s history.”

A U.S. statement is expected.

The execution was videotaped, but whether or not that tape will be released is still up for grabs.

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Bush is Villain of the Year – Beats out Saddam and Bin Laden December 29, 2006

Posted by Dan in Main, Middle East, Must Read, News, Politics, Snipets, War.

From the AP:

WASHINGTON (AP) — Bad guy of 2006: President Bush. Good guy of 2006: President Bush.

When people were asked in an AP-AOL News poll to name the villains and heroes of the year, Bush topped both lists, in a sign of these polarized times.

Among entertainment celebrities, Oprah Winfrey edged out Michael J. Fox as the best celebrity role model while Britney Spears outdistanced Paris Hilton as the worst.

Bush won the villain sweepstakes by a landslide, with one in four respondents putting him at the top of that bad-guy list. When people were asked to name the candidate for villain that first came to mind, Bush far outdistanced even Osama bin Laden, the terrorist leader in hiding; and former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who is scheduled for execution.

The president was picked as hero of the year by a much smaller margin. In the poll, 13 percent named him as their favorite while 6 percent cited the troops in Iraq.

On the question of celebrity role models, a pop singer’s bad behavior claimed worst honors.

When asked to choose from a list of names, nearly three in 10 adults, or 29 percent, bestowed the honor of worst celebrity of the year on Spears.

The 25-year-old pop singer and mother of two young sons recently filed for divorce from Kevin Federline, her husband of two years. She then followed with highly publicized nights out with party girls Hilton and Lindsay Lohan, including photographic evidence of Spears wearing no underpants, which raised questions about her fitness as a parent.

Spears apologized on her Web site, saying she probably went “a little too far” with her newfound freedom.

Second-worst celebrity billing went to Hilton, 18 percent. The 25-year-old celebutante was arrested for drunken driving in Los Angeles in September while, she has said, she was on a late-night hamburger run.

Mel Gibson, 50, was third-worst celebrity with 12 percent, surely the result of his anti-Semitic tirade at police in Malibu, California, during his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving. He later apologized and said he harbored no animosity toward Jews.

In the best celebrity role model category, 29 percent of adults chose talk-show host Winfrey.

The philanthropist and entertainment mogul contributed $40 million toward the establishment of the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa, which is scheduled to open next month.

Fox, who has Parkinson’s disease, finished second with 23 percent. He recently was criticized by conservatives for political ads that showed his body shaking as he urged support for a ballot measure promoting stem cell research and for the Democratic Senate candidate over the Republican.

Actor George Clooney, who’s been advocating for refugees in the war-ravaged Darfur region of Sudan, finished third with 12 percent.

Eight percent chose Angelina Jolie over boyfriend Brad Pitt, 2 percent. Newlyweds Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes tied at 2 percent.

Rounding out the worst celebrity role model category were Cruise, 9 percent; former “Seinfeld” star Michael Richards, 6 percent; Nicole Richie, 5 percent; Federline, 4 percent; Lohan, 3 percent; and Jolie, 2 percent.

Jolie and Cruise were the only celebrities to land on both the best and worst lists. But more people named Jolie best celebrity role model, and more people named Cruise worst.

Bush was the choice of 43 percent of Democrats for villain, and 27 percent of Republicans for hero.

The telephone poll of 1,004 adults was conducted December 19-21 by Ipsos, an international polling firm. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 3 percentage points.

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