Taliban

Listen you Taliban scum, don’t mess with decent people

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I wish I could give these women a hug.   And fresh ammo.

A grieving Afghan mother took bloody revenge on the Taliban militants who gunned down her son, killing 25 and injuring five of them during a seven hour gun battle.

Reza Gul watched helplessly as her son died while he manned a village checkpoint with his small team of police officers in the lawless Farah province.

But flanked by her daughter and daughter-in-law, she led a counter strike on his attackers killing 25 militants and wounding another five during a ferocious seven hour gun battle.

Seven hours.  And she made it 25 zip.   Read more »

Face of the day

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Afghanistan’s cosmopolitan new first lady, Rula Ghani (pictured), has backed France’s controversial ban on the niqab

Rula Ghani is one amazing lady. She is a Christian in a Muslim Country and she is standing up for women’s rights. She couldn’t do it without the support of her husband and fortunately for her she has it.

France’s niqab ban is PRAISED by Afghanistan’s new First Lady as she begins campaigning for women’s rights in the country
Rula Ghani said the niqab and burqa prevent women from moving freely

Afghanistan’s cosmopolitan new first lady has backed France’s controversial ban on the niqab, comparing the full veil to ‘blinders’ as she prepares to campaign for more respect for women in her conservative adopted homeland.

Rula Ghani shocked Afghan observers earlier this year when she appeared with her husband during the country’s presidential campaign, a rare example of a political wife sharing the spotlight.

Now the Lebanese-American of Christian heritage is set to carve out a role for herself as the patriarchal and deeply Muslim nation’s first high-profile first lady.

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Wearing the full veil in public was banned by French law in 2011

In an interview with AFP at the presidential palace, Ghani, who speaks five languages, reminisced about her time as a student at the prestigious Sciences Po university in Paris which she attended during the late 1960s.
Wearing a vintage Hermes scarf over her hair, she recalled in fluent French that ‘all the young women at Sciences Po had their headscarves which they would wear as they stepped out of school’.

‘When issues began to arise around the veil and hijab in France, I was a little shocked, people seem to not have a very long memory.’

Wearing the full veil in public was banned by French law in 2011, igniting a fierce debate over the value of religious freedom against social cohesion.

Ghani said she supported the ban.

‘Regarding the French law against the niqab and burqa which prevent women from being able to move freely and see, because the niqab is a bit like blinders, I am in full agreement with the government of France,’ Ghani told AFP.
The banning of the rull veil in France ignited a fierce debate over the value of religious freedom against social cohesion

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Malala Yousafzai is a remarkable human being

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Pakistani teenager Malala Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban in 2012 for advocating girls’ right to education, … won the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize on Friday.

With the prize, Yousafzai, 17, becomes the youngest Nobel Prize winner, eclipsing Australian-born British scientist Lawrence Bragg, who was 25 when he shared the Physics Prize with his father in 1915.

Satyarthi [was] picked for [the] struggle against the suppression of children and young people, and for the right of all children to education, the Norwegian Nobel Committee said.

I doubt that decision will cause much, if any, controversy.

I first saw here in the following interview, and she’s a remarkable person – wise beyond her age.   I’m still not as mature as she is.  Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Photograph by Robert Wilson "They were looking quite bedraggled," says Wilson."And while they were having a debrief, I noticed they had this thousand-yard stare".

Photograph by Robert Wilson
“They were looking quite bedraggled,” says Wilson.”And while they were having a debrief, I noticed they had this thousand-yard stare”.

Bringing The Front Line To UK Streets

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An insiders guide to reporting on Israel/Gaza conflict

Journalists over looking Gaza from Sderot   Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

Journalists over looking Gaza from Sderot Photo/ Cam Slater, Whaleoil Media

Tablet has an essay about the media manipulations in reporting the Israel/Gaza conflict.

It is by  Matti Friedman who is a former AP correspondent who explains how and why reporters get Israel so wrong, and why it matters. What she writes echoes what I saw in Israel.

The lasting importance of this summer’s war, I believe, doesn’t lie in the war itself. It lies instead in the way the war has been described and responded to abroad, and the way this has laid bare the resurgence of an old, twisted pattern of thought and its migration from the margins to the mainstream of Western discourse—namely, a hostile obsession with Jews. The key to understanding this resurgence is not to be found among jihadi webmasters, basement conspiracy theorists, or radical activists. It is instead to be found first among the educated and respectable people who populate the international news industry; decent people, many of them, and some of them my former colleagues.

While global mania about Israeli actions has come to be taken for granted, it is actually the result of decisions made by individual human beings in positions of responsibility—in this case, journalists and editors. The world is not responding to events in this country, but rather to the description of these events by news organizations. The key to understanding the strange nature of the response is thus to be found in the practice of journalism, and specifically in a severe malfunction that is occurring in that profession—my profession—here in Israel.

She looks at the disproportionate staffing and reporting on Israel compared with other countries.

Staffing is the best measure of the importance of a story to a particular news organization. When I was a correspondent at the AP, the agency had more than 40 staffers covering Israel and the Palestinian territories. That was significantly more news staff than the AP had in China, Russia, or India, or in all of the 50 countries of sub-Saharan Africa combined. It was higher than the total number of news-gathering employees in all the countries where the uprisings of the “Arab Spring” eventually erupted.

To offer a sense of scale: Before the outbreak of the civil war in Syria, the permanent AP presence in that country consisted of a single regime-approved stringer. The AP’s editors believed, that is, that Syria’s importance was less than one-40th that of Israel. I don’t mean to pick on the AP—the agency is wholly average, which makes it useful as an example. The big players in the news business practice groupthink, and these staffing arrangements were reflected across the herd. Staffing levels in Israel have decreased somewhat since the Arab uprisings began, but remain high. And when Israel flares up, as it did this summer, reporters are often moved from deadlier conflicts. Israel still trumps nearly everything else.

The volume of press coverage that results, even when little is going on, gives this conflict a prominence compared to which its actual human toll is absurdly small. In all of 2013, for example, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict claimed 42 lives—that is, roughly the monthly homicide rate in the city of Chicago. Jerusalem, internationally renowned as a city of conflict, had slightly fewer violent deaths per capita last year than Portland, Ore., one of America’s safer cities. In contrast, in three years the Syrian conflict has claimed an estimated 190,000 lives, or about 70,000 more than the number of people who have ever died in the Arab-Israeli conflict since it began a century ago.

News organizations have nonetheless decided that this conflict is more important than, for example, the more than 1,600 women murdered in Pakistan last year (271 after being raped and 193 of them burned alive), the ongoing erasure of Tibet by the Chinese Communist Party, the carnage in Congo (more than 5 million dead as of 2012) or the Central African Republic, and the drug wars in Mexico (death toll between 2006 and 2012: 60,000), let alone conflicts no one has ever heard of in obscure corners of India or Thailand. They believe Israel to be the most important story on earth, or very close.

That is an indictment in itself right there. That is a massive news imbalance.    Read more »

Photo Of The Day

Women browse in a Kabul record store

Women browse in a Kabul record store

Afghan Women 

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Here’s a conspiracy for ya…

Oh no, explosive revelations in the Dominion Post today about New Zealand spies working in Afghanistan.

Kiwi spies operating in Afghanistan sifted through intelligence supplied by the United States National Security Agency, a former US intelligence officer has revealed.

Prime Minister John Key confirmed this week that New Zealand intelligence agencies provided information to international forces in Afghanistan that may have been used to target drone strikes.

Former “black ops” operator Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Shaffer detailed the work carried out by a New Zealand defence analyst stationed in Afghanistan in 2003.

He revealed that “raw” signals intelligence was passed to a team of US and Kiwi specialists “to parse it and review it to establish their own intel”.

Shaffer, who worked under the alias Major Chris Stryker, struck a deal with a colleague to access the intercepts.

He was working on a mission – eventually vetoed – to strike Taliban insurgents over the border with Pakistan.

Shock horror, our people working with the US.  Read more »

Top shot, six dead scumbags with a single shot

This has to be one for the record books.

Six dead taliban ratbags with a single shot.

A British sniper in Afghanistan killed six insurgents with a single bullet after hitting the trigger switch of a suicide bomber whose device then exploded, The Telegraph has learnt.

The 20-year-old marksman, a Lance Corporal in the Coldstream Guards, hit his target from 930 yards (850 metres) away, killing the suicide bomber and five others around him caught in the blast.  Read more »

Photo Of The Day

INP/Photo

INP/Photo

Sitting Exams Under Cover Of Umbrellas

 

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‘Tis but a scratch, pommy soldier shot through neck but ‘cracks on’ with job in firefight

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They breed pommy soldier tough, real tough.

How typical of the pommy soldier…crack on lads.

Lance Corporal Simon Moloney’s life was saved by friend L/Cpl Wes Masters – who has now been awarded the Military Cross for his bravery.

In the heat of battle with the Taliban, Lance Corporal Simon Moloney was suddenly sent flying to the ground.

He’d been shot in the neck by a sharpshooter as his troop were in the midst of conquering an enemy base.

The 23-year-old cried out for a medic, knowing he had only minutes to live.

Without fear for his own life or waiting for orders, his friend Lance Corporal Wes Masters ran through 300metres of open ground under heavy fire carrying 60kg of equipment to get to him.

His quick reactions saved L/Cpl Moloney and the pair were even able to rejoin the raging gun battle.

L/Cpl Masters, 25, is among more than 100 members of the armed forces recognised in the latest round of military honours.

[…]    Read more »