Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Desperate Libyan Rebels Beg Dithering West to Assassinate Muammar Gaddafi

Way too late for a no-fly zone to do anybody any good:

"...we are disappointed with the US 
for not exercising leadership"

-Malta Times-

The Libyan opposition -back on their heels as pro-Gaddafi forces consolidate fresh gains in what was rebel-controlled territory in the east- has been reduced to pleading for a targeted strike on Gaddafi's residential compound, ala Ronald Reagan 1986...

Seems they realize that in the unlikely event of Beijing and the Kremlin actually approving a UN NFZ, it's not going to have the desired effect on the outcome now... the rebels need a lot deeper intervention than that, but they're never going to get it:

Libya's revolutionary leadership is pressing western powers to assassinate Muammar Gaddafi and launch military strikes against his forces to protect rebel-held cities from the threat of bloody assault.

Mustafa Gheriani, spokesman for the revolutionary national council in its stronghold of Benghazi, said the appeal was to be made by a delegation meeting the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, and the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, in Paris on Monday, as G8 foreign ministers gathered there to consider whether to back French and British calls for a no-fly zone over Libya.

"We are telling the west we want a no-fly zone, we want tactical strikes against those tanks and rockets that are being used against us and we want a strike against Gaddafi's compound," said Gheriani. "This is the message from our delegation in Europe."

Asked if that meant that the revolutionary council wanted the west to assassinate Gaddafi, Gheriani replied: "Why not? If he dies, nobody will shed a tear." 

Alas, as the regime's tanks, artillery, and fighter jets make quick work of the rebels, the US has come out far less hawkish than the British and French... and they haven't gotten the already-useless NFZ proposal anywhere near a Security Council vote anyway:

On the other hand -although the rebel stronghold of Benghazi lies just 150 mi from the front lines now and appears militarily threatened- Gaddafi's forces would face a difficult type of urban warfare there and likely take significant casualties, something altogether different from their chasing disorganized and outgunned rebels across the desert. 

Additionally -with pro-regime supply lines stretched- the Libyan opposition will be defending their own homes and families. Rebel morale is holding up from most accounts, with Radio Behghazi even broadcasting a special Libyan rebel-rap song to the soldiers at the front. They've got an experienced new commander who recently defected from the Libyan Army, too- reportedly he's bringing 8000 men and some heavy weapons with him.

But that doesn't mean they're not scared in Benghazi: all in Libya know the life expectancy of any enemy-of-Gaddafi-now-at-his-mercy can be measured in minutes. And the guy's as twisted a sadist as you could imagine: in 1984 the Brotherly Leader scheduled the "trial" of a peaceful political protester -a respected engineer- in a basketball arena filled with Libyan schoolchildren: instead of a trial, the gallows were unveiled and he was promptly hanged...Gaddafi watched back home on live TV.

Most expect a horrendously bloody fight followed by battlefield massacres/mass executions if Benghazi falls: think Rwanda and you'll have some idea of what to expect from this vengeful, soulless monster: recall that both Gaddafi and son Saif have been promising "rivers of blood" right from the start...

Al Jazeera's correspondent in the capital Tripoli said the (amnesty) offer will play on very anxious rebel forces who don't know how they will be able to put up a fight against Gaddafi's forces, given the overwhelming superiority of his military forces.

"There is an enormous degree of anxiety. It's an all or nothing game now," Anita McNaught said.

"If the rebels do not manage to hold out against Gaddafi and establish some kind of protective zone in the east of the country, it is almost certain in the wake of this there would be some dreadful purge of those who dared to raise their hands against the Gaddafi administration.

"People know that unless they are able to keep Tripoli at bay, that the alternative is almost too awful to contemplate. Those fears apply equally in Tripoli; they are just not expressed as openly as they are in the east."


So how has Obama's inaction -while the rebels he claimed to support are cut to ribbons- gone over in Benghazi?
Rebel spokesman Mustafa Gheriani says that Obama's empty rhetoric -which created huge false expectations- will be causing the west problems in the future:

...Libyans are also increasingly vocal in their criticism of Washington in particular for what is seen as a failure to back up rhetoric against the regime. 

However, Gheriani said that if the west failed to offer practical help to the revolutionaries to free themselves from Gaddafi's rule it risked frustrated Libyans turning to religious extremists.

"The west is missing the point. The revolution was started because people were feeling despair from poverty, from oppression. Their last hope was freedom. If the west takes too long – where people say it's too little, too late – then people become a target for extremists who say the west doesn't care about them," he said.

"Most people in this country are moderates and extremists have not been able to penetrate them. But if they get to the point of disillusionment with the west there will be no going back."

And democracy advocates never had any real choice but fight, according to former Libyan minister Ali Errishi:

We are frustrated, the UN should live up to its moral and legal obligations, and do what is right, we are disappointed with the US for not exercising leadership.

People went out to demonstrate peacefully, they were then faced with bullets and with air bombardment. We had to defend ourselves. This fight has been imposed upon us.

The Libyan people made up their mind, it is either victory or death, the rest of the world should know, that there is no room for negations because the other side left no room for negotiations...

By reaganiterepublicanresistance.blogspot.com

IDF Intercepts Iranian Weapons Ship bound for Gaza

March 15, 2011
2:35 PM

Background from Jameel: Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu announced minutes ago that the weapons found aboard the "Victoria" -- an IDF intercepted ship bound for Gaza from Syria, originated in Iran.

IDF Spokesman:

Early this morning IDF Naval Commandos from boarded a cargo ship, "Victoria" -- a German owned ship, operating by a French Company, flying under a Liberian flag. We had advance intelligence information that this vessel was carrying weapons.

We boarded the ship and the crew complied without any violence. A preliminary search revealed weapons in shipping containers. The Israeli navy is now escorting the boat to Israel where a further, detailed examination of the cargo and the ship will take place.

The ship originated from the Syrian port of Latkia, and also docked in Turkey's Mersin Port on its way to Alexandria in Egypt. The IDF believes the weapons found on board were destined for Hamas in Gaza.

The ship's crew apparently had no idea there were weapons in the shipping containers, and the IDF doesn't believe that Egypt or Turkey were connected.

The current operating analysis is that Syria and Iran are the major actors, cooperating to send weapons to Hamas.

The Victoria was boarded 200 nautical miles west of Israel early Tuesday morning.

The IDF spokesman declined at this point to detail what weapons were found, but we will be find out after the ship's detailed examination.

The Man Who Wasn't There

I don't actually have many memories of the Fab Five on the court. I remember being utterly heartsick when Webber called that timeout. That moment is undoubtedly the genesis of my obsession with rules that suck and should be changed*. I remember hating that technical when the ref could have just ignored it and left Webber to figure it out himself.

I also remember a black t-shirt I had commemorating the '92 Final Four, but incompletely. I know Cincinnati was on the shirt. I had to look up the other two teams, look up that Michigan beat the Bearcats in the semi before losing to Duke, look up the fact that Michigan was just a six seed. I remember the shirt being embroidered, because that's what happened in 1992 when you wanted something fancy. It was scratchy. I loved it.

I've got the heartsick and the shirt; everything else has melted away. When Wolverine Historian posted one of their games against Illinois I watched it and was stunned by… well, everything. A stone-cold packed Crisler full of people losing their minds. The helter-skelter nature of the game on both ends. Michigan—Michigan!—having a bunch of defiant, ruckus-raising black guys Jim Nantz remains terrified of to this day.
That is not the equilibrium state of Michigan basketball. That does not come from Earth. It comes from a planet with a green sun and marshmallow donkeys.
Later I remember loathing Chris Webber. Years and years had passed and Webber was on a very good Sacramento Kings team playing the Lakers in the conference finals. Sacramento had just gotten legendarily boned in game six. I remember watching game seven smugly, thinking Webber was born to fail in the moment of truth as he clanged threes and the Kings evaporated.
Anyone with a soul roots against the Lakers for the same reason they root against the Yankees. Sacramento had just suffered through a game that Tim Donaughy could point to years later as an example of a fix only to have obsessives like Bill Simmons say "tell me something I don't know." My loathing for Webber overcame all.
Some years later Webber was a trade-deadline acquisition for the Pistons during the period when the Billups/Prince/Hamilton/McDyess core still had my full attention. I was unhappy with it but dealt. I watched Chris Webber play basketball again. By that point he had suffered a variety of injuries that left him barely able to jump. He was useless defensively, an old man devoid of the thunderous athleticism that I assumed must have been part and parcel of why he was so good in college, the #1 pick in the draft, etc. By all rights he should have been out of the league already. Like Shawn Kemp, basically.
The reason he wasn't was his passing. Someone who paid more attention to the NBA than I did or wasn't 14 the last time he saw Webber play much already knew this. I didn't. I knew Chris Webber, though. I knew he was a liar and a choker and not very smart and just a general all-around jerk who wouldn't even apologize. I knew the Fab Five was just a bunch of guys who played schoolyard basketball because they were so outrageously better than everyone they could get away with it.

I knew Chris Webber until I watched him play. He dropped passes in spaces that didn't exist until he saw them. He hit cutters that didn't know they were open until the ball was in their hands. He was brilliant despite having the athleticism of Artie Lang. He was incredible fun. Despite myself I really liked watching Chris Webber play basketball, and now I don't think I know one thing about him.
To say Michigan has done a 180 in re: the cultural alignment of their basketball team understates things despite that being axiomatically impossible. The old ringleader just called black guys at Duke "Uncle Toms"; the new one is from Chesterton, Indiana, and once knew 62 digits of pi. After Michigan completed its season sweep of MSU the most desperate, laughable assertion I came across from some guy on an MSU message board was that Michigan had "thugs" on its team, an accusation that would have been uncomfortable during the Fab Five era and literally true when Ellerbe was running things into the ground.

Webber's been banned and feels repudiated and people feel free to demand an apology from him before he even thinks about setting foot in Crisler again, so I get why he doesn't feel like he owes anyone anything. If he wouldn't talk to Jalen Rose for his documentary, it's hard to believe he'll actually "tell his side soon" as he hoped on twitter.

This is immensely disappointing to me. I don't hate him any more and don't care about apologies, don't care about the crater he is often blamed for no matter how little input he had on hiring Ellerbe**. I'd just like to know every last detail of what happened.

Because I don't understand Jalen Rose, don't understand Webber, don't understand the lady in the gas station on the South Side of Chicago I asked directions of who responded "I don't know about any damn directions." I do understand the visceral thrill of those bald heads and black socks, but only vicariously, like a kid from Troy buying an NWA cassette. I can't say why I thought Jim Nantz's obviously racist distaste for the Fab Five was obviously racist, but I had a Nantz-like reaction to that lady in Chicago. I understand why my fiancée continually mishears Duke's mascot as the "white devils" and simultaneously have less than zero sympathy for Robert Traylor and would want to punch him in the face if I ever met him and he was tied to a rock and he had no idea who I was and I could definitely run away before he got loose.

Webber's redemption never happened with him or Taylor or Bullock, and while Bullock was from some suburb in Maryland and cannot be redeemed—seriously, he can die in a fire for all I care—maybe if Chris Webber said something brutally honest it would help me be less confused and sad about Michigan basketball in the 90s, and maybe a bunch of other things of greater significance.

It bothers me that Michigan's response to the NCAA scandal was to go from culturally black enough to have Ice Cube in your documentary to Duke Lite, but goddammit I also wanted some directions. I want Chris Webber to gently untie this Gordian knot in an hour-long interview on national television. When he's done the pieces will assemble themselves into a butterfly with big ears and a huge assist rate. This is the least he can do for 13-year-old me and my embroidered Final Four t-shirt. Thanks in advance.
  • Timeouts in basketball. There should be one, period, like in hockey.
  • The NHL rule where flipping the puck into the stands from your own zone is a penalty. It should be handled like icing, which is what the NCAA does.
  • Hockey offsides is brutal. Widen the line to reduce whistles.
**[Tom Goss, not Ed Martin, is the man who killed Michigan basketball.]

By Brian

Adrian Peterson pulls the slavery card

Minnesota Vikings running back Adrian Peterson is taking a ton of heat after comparing NFL players and their labor plight to “slavery.” In an interview with Yahoo! Sports, Peterson compared the NFL to “modern-day slavery.”

Even fellow NFL player Ryan Grant of the Green Bay Packers blasted Peterson over the slavery analogy.

By Mike Responts

Shocking News: NBA Refs Are Crooked

"Bill Spooner, a 22-year veteran NBA official, is suing Minnesota Timberwolves beat reporter Jon Krawczynski for tweeting during a game that Spooner promised coach Kurt Rambis that he'd get the Wolves two points in the form of a make-up call, the Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal reports. According to Spooner's suit, Rambis took umbrage with a foul called against his team in the second quarter of a Jan. 24 game against the Houston Rockets. Spooner then told an upset Rambis that he'd review the call at halftime.

Rambis asked how his team was supposed to get the two points back. While Spooner's suit claims he didn't respond to the Minnesota coach's question, Krawczynski tweeted otherwise.

"Ref Bill Spooner told Rambis he'd 'get it back' after a bad call," Krawczynski tweeted. "Then he made an even worse call on Rockets. That's NBA officiating folks (ESPN)."

There is no way for me to know if this report is true or not. The thing here is that it wouldn't surprise anyone if this was true. I mean can you seriously tell me that you haven't seen "makeup calls" in the NBA? After the gambling scandal a couple years back, this is the last thing the NBA needed. I think this just highlights once again that the NBA's biggest problem is the way the games are called. There are no standard rules for fouls. I mean every time down the court a foul could be called, so basically it's just whenever the refs feel like, which leads to stories like this.

I am not even going to get into the whole "star players getting calls" stuff, but even the biggest NBA fan knows that these are the worst refs in all of sports.

Congressman Earl Blumenauer defends Crowley calls Obama's actions Outrages


Congressman Earl Blumenauer (D-Ore.) defends PJ Crowley

Blumenauer tweeted Today: repblumenauer Earl Blumenauer

"Outrageous -PJ Crowley leaving State Department for saying the truth about treatment of Bradley Manning. Obama needs to fix this."

State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley resigned after the assistant secretary of state for public affairs, said WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning was being "mistreated" at the Marine Corps Base brig in Quantico, Virginia. "What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the department of defense,"

Mr Crowley's remark came in response to a question last week during a public forum at MIT.


The unauthorized disclosure of classified information is a serious crime under U.S. law. My recent comments regarding the conditions of the pre-trial detention of Private First Class Bradley Manning were intended to highlight the broader, even strategic impact of discrete actions undertaken by national security agencies every day and their impact on our global standing and leadership. The exercise of power in today’s challenging times and relentless media environment must be prudent and consistent with our laws and values.

Given the impact of my remarks, for which I take full responsibility, I have submitted my resignation as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Spokesman for the Department of State.

RESOURCES: Resignation of Philip J. Crowley as Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs

Gilbert Gottfried Fired From Job As Aflac Duck Voice

You might have known both, one, or niether of the following two things. 1.) Gilbert Gottfried is the voice of the Aflac Duck. 2.) Gilbert Gottfried really likes to Tweet earthquake and tsunami jokes about Japan immediately after Japan suffers from earthquakes and tsunamis. It turns out the second thing made it so the first thing isn’t true anymore.
From The Hollywood Reporter:
Aflac Inc. has severed ties with comic Gilbert Gottfried, the longtime voice of the insurer’s duck mascot, after he made a series of crude jokes about the Japan earthquake and tsunami via Twitter.
“Gilbert’s recent comments about the crisis in Japan were lacking in humor and certainly do not represent the thoughts and feelings of anyone at Aflac,” Aflac Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer Michael Zuna said in a statement Monday, reports TMZ. “There is no place for anything but compassion and concern during these difficult times.”

In case you were wondering what the Tweets were, they were all along these lines:

I was going to explain a whole thing here about why Gilbert Gottfriend shouldn’t have been fired, but then this following Gchat conversation happened when another blogger messaged me. This is a verbatim transcript. (Punctuation has been corrected.)

Other Blogger:  So, I wrote a thing about Gottfried getting fired from Aflac for making sh*tty Japan jokes, and my take is yes, he should have shown better judgment and not made those jokes, but Aflac can’t hire an infamously raunchy roast comic and then fire him for being an infamously raunchy roast comic. Does that make sense?

Me:  Uhhhhh, yes. And I was literally writing that same post.