Al Qaeda's "Working Paper for a Media Invasion of America" - from a recently translated document originally published on a jihaddist web site brought to you not by the mainstream media but from the Mudville Gazette, a blog by an American soldier.
Osama Bin Ladin, the document's author Najd al-Rawi says wants his fellow mujahadeen to pay more attention to the opportunities presented by the American media. The author wants more videos, especially of attacks on US soldiers and more English translations of videos that can "throw fear into the American people's hearts."
Lastly, the paper points out what the author considers the best locations for providing this material, and suggests dissemination via the world wide web, following efforts to ensure the origin can't be traced.
- US discussion forums
- US chat rooms
- Well known newspapers and magazines
- American TV channels with web sites
- Famous US authors with email addresses such as Friedman, Chomsky, Fukuyama, Huntington, and others
- Famous US web sites like MEMRI, or those of the Zionist lobby (AIPAC), or research institutes like Rand
CNN has already aired one video showing American soldiers being killed by snipers with film supplied by a terrorist organization.
Many of these snuff videos have been uploaded to YouTube where they are traded by Islamic jihaadists. The New York Times published a piece in its travel section, Anti-US Attack Videos Spread on the Web, especially on YouTube.
At the same time, American videos that protest the Islamic violence or are anti-jihad have been banned, I presume because the jihaadists are quick to protest. Michelle Malkin is leading an effort of many bloggers to protest the snuff films and other violent videos. Fighting jihad at YouTube
YouTube and the cyber jihad.
The war on terror is not just being fought on battlefields or within intelligence agencies. With the Internet, terrorists are able to attack us by cowing nervous Web site owners into submitting to their demands. When they can't scare Internet operators, they simply try to hack into a site and shut it down. As Mrs. Malkin rightly notes, in the case of YouTube, "instead of boycotting the site, we need to stay and fight." She has urged her readers to keep posting anti-Islamist videos to combat the terrorists' cyber-jihad.
Civil-liberties advocates are constantly warning about the dangers of censorship enacted by the government. What they have just as constantly overlooked is the very real danger of censorship enacted by private businesses fearful of Islamist rage. The only way to fight this assault on our freedoms is by not giving in as YouTube has.
A man whose son died on holiday in Cuba demanded yesterday to know why his body was returned to the UK with organs missing.
Andrew Redfern, 37, died after slipping and hitting his face on a marble floor in a hotel. A post-mortem examination in the UK revealed his lungs, kidney and part of his brain were missing.
His father, Lawrence Redfern, 58, of Inverness, said: "If his organs were taken for transplants I wouldn't have minded, but nobody mentioned anything.
Mr Redfern, an offshore oil worker, of Wirral, Merseyside, went to Havana alone in August after splitting with his partner.
Mr Redfern, who has an 18-month-old daughter, slipped in the hotel lobby on the final day of his holiday. He suffered an injury to his face, which needed ten stitches. He had a seizure the next day and was taken to hospital, where he died.
When emails home become the archives of your legacy to family, friends and country. Iraq through the eyes of a Marine captain on the front line.
Robert Secher had a passion for history. Until his death in Iraq on Oct. 8, the 33-year-old Marine could recount all the major battles of the Civil War. He studied the Holocaust, in which members of his father's family lost their lives. In recent e-mails home, he said he was reading about Vietnam and the Mexican civil war. But his favorite books were on ancient Rome: he was captivated by the centurions, who commanded from the front and led by example. "He talked about being a soldier since he was 6 years old," his mother, Elke Morris, told NEWSWEEK last week. "He wanted to be tested in battle." Secher signed up for the Marines when he was 17. He served on the Afghan border after the attacks of September 11 and later pressed for a transfer to the front lines in Iraq. He ended up in the insurgents' largest stronghold, Anbar province.
R.I.P. Captain Secher
A six-hundred pound man proved too much for one crematorium.
His body fluids seeped onto the floor and ignited a fire.
Firefighters rarely see these kind of fires.
But they say a six-hundred-pound body can create problems during a cremation.
"It really does condense or breaks down that fat into a greasy product, just like a grease fire," said Freitag. "Only a little bit can cause a flame to go up."
In Manila it's so crowded, that some are converting mausoleums into living quarters as squatters have moved into cemeteries. As All Saints Day and All Souls Day, Catholic feasts on November 1 and 2,
approach and families plan picnics on the the graves of their ancestors, many squatters who find shelter among the graves will be asked to leave by cemetery caretakers.
"Who is going to be held responsible for the emotional, mental and physical damage this has done to the families?" said Adele Milanowycz on putitaboveground.org, a Web site posting updates for families on the searches.
"Why is this not front-page news? We read about bodies being found in Iraq in mass graves and we are horrified. How is this not horrifying the world?" wrote Milanowycz, who lost her son Greg in the attacks.
Bloomberg has said the city would not shut down construction while searches continued on the western edge of the site where commemoration ceremonies for the families of victims are held on each anniversary of the attacks.
The discovery is the latest setback for the rebuilding effort at the World Trade Center site. Construction of a new Freedom Tower began in April after bickering over financing, security and design delayed plans.
Seems as if Castro is dying of stomach cancer, if not already dead.
Confirmation of the terminal illness comes from the usual sources but in a non-conventional manner. The Cuban government has been summoning to Havana representatives of the major international media to negotiate the best seats, camera angles, and interviews with the despot’s political survivors, and to inform them of the ground rules for coverage of the state funeral.
The foreign media are being told that the model for Castro’s funeral is that of Pope John Paul II a year ago. The Cubans actually believe — or pretend — that the death of a tyrant deserves the same attention as that of the world’s great men of peace.
This is one of Castro’s lasting legacies to his countrymen: moral disorientation.
It's time for our annual look at the money dead celebrities make. Actually, it's Forbes magazine that does all the work has all the juicy details here.
Kurt Cobain $50 million
Elvis Presley $42 million
Charles Schulz for his "Peanuts" cartoons, including of course Snoopy, $35 million.
John Lennon $24 million
Albert Einstein $20 million
Andy Warhol $19 million
Dr. Seuss $10 million
Ray Charles $10 million
Marilyn Monroe $8 million
Johnny Cash $8 million
J.R.R. Tolkein $7 million
George Harrison $7 million
Bob Marley $7 million
Well, here's something you may never read again, a real life Hannibal Lechter, a "Dining Partner of Cannibals".
Mr. Schneebaum came to prominence in 1969 with the publication of his memoir, also titled "Keep the River on Your Right" (Grove Press). The book, which became a cult classic, described how a mild-mannered gay New York artist wound up living, and ardently loving, for several months among the Arakmbut, an indigenous cannibalistic people in the rainforest of Peru.
So much for the sacredness of life, even if some think it's only a clump of cells.
Hospital admits to burning aborted babies in waste incinerator used for rubbish to save about $35.
Addenbrooke's Hospital, in Cambridge, said it was no longer able to afford the dignified disposal at a local crematorium of foetuses from unwanted pregnancies.
Instead, they are being burnt in the hospital's main incinerator - which is normally used for rubbish and clinical waste.
The revelation sparked anger and distress among church leaders and pro-life groups, as well as women whose pregnancies were terminated at the hospital. . . .
One local woman, who asked not to be named, said after the heartache of deciding to have an abortion she was mortified to find the hospital had used the same furnace they burn rubbish in to incinerate her terminated baby.
She said: "I am furious and very hurt. Imagine my horror when I discovered that my baby was incinerated in the same furnace as the hospital rubbish."
The RCN's guide, Sensitive Disposal of all Foetal Remains, says disposal alongside clinical waste is 'completely unacceptable'.
It adds: 'It is acknowledged that sometimes parents don't recognise their loss at the time, but may return months or even years later to enquire about the disposal arrangements.
'Therefore, it is important to respect the wishes of parents who may not want to be involved, but to ensure also that sensitive and dignified disposal is carried out.'
Lisa Wilson, of the ProLife Alliance, said: "What absolute horror. Has our society lost even a minimum concept of the humanity of the unborn child and the respect due to these tiny victims of our ruthless legislation?"
Some idiot threw a beer keg into a burning barrel at a party in New Milford, Connecticut. The result: a deadly explosion that sent metal shards slicing threw a crowd of people, killing Sean Caselli, 22 and wounding seven others.
CNN is the network that refuses to air beheading videos or the Mohammed cartoons yet defends its showing of an American soldier being shot by terrorists in Iraq as the "unvarnished truth", no matter how disturbing it might be for millions of viewers and especially the soldier's family.
For some reason, the airing of clips of snipers targeting American soldiers, killing at least one, is deemed "newsworthy" in a way beheading videos and the Mohammed cartoons are not.
Now, this footage was not filmed by CNN but came into its hands "unexpectedly through contact with an insurgent leader" and is part of an insurgent group's propaganda video.
I would expect a news organization to be familiar with the many Al Qaeda documents seized in Afghanistan in 2001 and translated far too slowly into English, and only some of which have reached the mainstream press.
Najd al-Rawi, the document's author, begins by noting that although they've been successful in many ways, the jihaddists haven't fully exploited the opportunities presented by the US media. .. He points out that videos from the "Shayks of jihad" are in great demand in the western media.
Such videos are readily available - but for the most part translation to English is left to the media outlets that elect to broadcast them. The plan suggests a remedy for this oversight, and the paper calls for talented professionals to join the jihad - specifically, translators, and people with journalistic or literary talent who can provide a "ringing and powerful style that will have impact on the American people."
So what we have is an American cable network airing terrorist propaganda showing the death of an American soldier as news.
Dear readers of this blog know that I have a profound respect and deep fondness for Oriana Fallaci.
Now comes news that the Fallaci, the self-described atheist, has left most of her books and notes to the Pontifical University in Rome.
In one of her final interviews, Fallaci told The Wall Street Journal: "I am an atheist, and if an atheist and a pope think the same things, there must be something true."
Benedict was surprised by the gift of the books, which dated back as far as the 17th century and included volumes about the formation of modern-day Italy, American history, philosophy and theology, said Monsignor Rino Fisichella, rector of the Pontifical Lateranense University in Rome.
"The veneration that she had for you, Holy Father, persuaded her to make this donation, which will be known as the Oriana Fallaci Archives," Fisichella said during a ceremony at the university Saturday to announce the gift of the books.
There is no reason whatsoever to make a movie of people killing themselves. That didn't stop director Eric Steel from making one of people jumping from the Golden Gate Bridge to their certain death.
His movie called The Bridge was turned down by film festivals at Cannes and Berlin, but not the London Film Festival where it will be shown today.
The only people who would want to in the words of the director "bear witness to something profoundly disturbing" are those who are contemplating suicide themselves.
Five years on and they are still finding body parts of 9/11 victims at the World Trade Center, this time in a manhole.
The families of some 1150 victims still do not know whether their loved ones' remains were recovered.
You will recognize the photographs below.
To really understand how fake photos of the dead are used as propaganda, you must read Camera Obscura by Richard Landes in The New Republic. It documents how French TV fudged the death of Mohammed Al Durah and sparked the intifada in Israel and the beginning cycle of suicide bombers.
Or you can read the full report with links on Landes's blog The Augean Stables.
In 2000, anyone told of Muslim plans to Islamicize the West laughed with scorn. It was the least of Western worries. Today,  some have already given up Europe for lost, others see it  in the balance, even as others  awaken with shock to the radical shift in the balance of forces. And every aspect of l’affaire Al Durah is emblematic of why: from the Palestinian forces that staged it… to the Western  mainstream media and  NGOs which presented it as news without asking hard questions, which believed any subsequent Palestinian claims of Israelis killing children, and resisted all efforts at correction… to the Muslim world that turned it into an icon of hatred and a call to genocidal holy war… to the “leftist” revolutionaries who jumped on the jihad bandwagon and via Durban, led the  “peace” movement of Spring 2003 into the lair of Jihad… to a public distressingly eager for “dirt” on Israel and unaware of the forces empowered by diffusing such poisons into the global information stream.
These  court trials, then–in which France2 seeks to bury any serious assessment of so critical and poisonous a tale–are also trials of France’s ability to defend her republican values against an Islamist onslaught that it seems ill-equipped to resist. It is Dreyfus redux: the path to modernity for the Army and Church lay in preferring honesty to honor; this time the challenge is to French Mainstream Media and French Muslims.
And, as France goes, so goes Europe. (Would France have it any other way?)
Three journalists have been charged under a French law designed to protect individuals from the mass media with libeling France2 producer Charles Enderlin and France2 simply for questioning the truth of the staged photos.
Richard Landes, a professor at Boston University, was called as a witness at two of the trials held this fall.
Nidre Poller, an American married to a French man, reported from France on the trial.
"Not since the days of Alfred Dreyfus and Emile Zola has the French legal system been put to such a test on basic issues of racism and freedom of expression."
Technorati Tags: Al Durah
Today we are mainly concerned whether people are still really alive when they are in a persistent vegetative state.
A hundred years ago, the concern was whether a person was really dead. The fear of being buried alive was so great that all sorts of methods were used to determine whether a person was dead. The Athanasius Kircher Society writes about some of them in A Short History of Security Coffins.
In the gruesome case of the funeral directors who plundered corpses to sell body parts. seven funeral directors have secretly pleaded guilty to an indictment brought by Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes.
"It is clear that many more funeral home directors were involved in this enterprise," Hynes said.
The names of the funeral directors have not been disclosed because they have all agreed to cooperate in an ongoing investigation involving funeral homes in New York City and Rochester.
Four original defendants in the case were to be arraigned Wednesday afternoon. Michael Mastromarino, a former oral surgeon, and three other men are accused of secretly removed skin, bone and other transplantable parts from hundreds of bodies without the permission of families.
Mastromarino, owner of Biomedical Tissue Services of Fort Lee, N.J., allegedly made millions of dollars by selling the stolen tissue to biomedical companies that supply material for procedures including dental implants and hip replacements, prosecutors said.
At the time, prosecutors said they had unearthed evidence that death certificates and other paperwork were falsified. In Cooke's case, his age was recorded as 85 rather than 95 and the cause of death was listed as heart attack instead of lung cancer that had spread to his bones.
Patrick Belton pens a beautiful eulogy to his mother who died too young at 62.
"Let my tell you about my mother...."
Let me tell you about my mother, who was zealous that those whom she loved rest. Mum, I am your son, sprung of your loins, and today I am zealous that you rest. That your heart, so loving, rest now from its strenuous exertions of a lifetime. That your body, so wearied from unstinting quiet, quiet service to others, and your final illness, rest in the embrace of a loving earth which spawned you. Requiem, rest. Requiem aeternam dona matrem meam, Domine. Eternal rest, o God, to whom all flesh comes. Et lux perpetua luceat ei.
When clearing a spot for the construction of a parking garage in Vatican city, a truck was spotted hauling tombstones with Latin inscriptions.
Today, as part of the Vatican Museum's 500th anniversary, the pagan Necropolis, called the "little Pompeii of cemeteries" will be open to the public, even as excavation and conservation is still on-going.
What has been unveiled is a cemetery of the middle class in the first century.
Necropolis Unveiled. Below are some photographs which, if you click, you will see enlarged.
Overview of necropolis
"Like something from the twilight zone" said the police spokesman in Bulgaria.
A Bulgarian woman who killed her son was released from prison because she was in the last stage of terminal cancer. She went home, but not to rest. Once home, she upped and killed her husband.
Taken into custody again, she threatened that if released, she would kill her second son as well.
A missing airman, First Lt Shannon Estill of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, lost in action in WWII, has been identified and will be returned to his family to be buried with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.
After being struck by enemy anti-aircraft fire in 1945, his plane exploded and crashed in eastern Germany. U.S. military personnel could not recover his remains after the war since the crash site was in the Russian-occupied section of Germany.
Two German nationals found the crash site in 2003. Two military teams interviewed people who had witnessed the crash as children and excavated the site over two years before enough evidence was found to identify the body.
I wrote about the Promessa process over 2 years ago.
Now it seems more than a quarter of local authorities surveyed in Britain are actively considering the freeze-drying of corpses.
Many cemeteries will run out of space in 10 years so they are looking for solutions to the lack of space. They could have double-decker graves or have the graves "standing up" with coffins placed vertically.
Cremation has its own problems as dental fillings create mercury emissions. Many crematoria have to be completely rebuilt to comply with government regulations.
No wonder freeze-drying seems so attractive. After the body is dipped into liquid nitrogen, it's placed on a vibrating mat until it disintegrates into a fine powder. A magnetic field then removes metal objects like dental fillings and metal pins in the body.
The phrase "dust to dust" is not from the Bible, but from the burial rite in the Book of Common Prayer.
In sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life through our Lord Jesus Christ,
we commend to Almighty God our brother <name>; and we commit his body to the ground;
earth to earth; ashes to ashes, dust to dust.
The Lord bless him and keep him,
the Lord make his face to shine upon him and be gracious unto him and give him peace. Amen.
In Madagascar, the tradition of partying with the dead, called the turning of the dead, is dividing some families who have become Christian.
In Madagascar, Digging Up the Dead Divides Families (Wall St Journal, subscribers only)
Seeing how much his father's body had decayed since his death nine years earlier was bad enough. But the whole custom of removing ancestors from their tombs, dressing them in fresh shrouds and dancing with their bodies suddenly struck the born-again Mr. Rabeatoandro as un-Christian.
So Mr. Rabeatoandro, a 48-year-old English teacher, told his family that never again would he participate in the "turning of the dead" ceremony.
His theological decision has carried a steep emotional price. Mr. Rabeatoandro's relatives were aghast. His brothers refused to discuss the matter with him. His mother worried that ignoring the dead could bring bad luck. "Someone who refuses to turn the ancestors denies his identity as a Malagasy," says Mr. Rabeatoandro's cousin, Joseph Rabefararano, a 66-year-old retired house painter. "He leaves the family."
Today, 52% of Malagasy practice indigenous religions, while 41% are Christians, according to the CIA World Factbook. The reality, however, is far more complicated. Many families include both Christians and animists. And many individuals blend Christianity with a belief that the ancestors can intercede with the Creator to bless the living with wealth, health and happiness or, if mistreated, curse them with unemployment, disease and misery.
In some famadihanas, the families take the bodies on a stroll through town, to show the ancestors what is new, and introduce them to children born since they last left the tomb. The thinking is that, to help the living, the dead must be familiar with their lives.
Catholics are often accepting of the ceremony. Father Solofomampionona Razafindrakoto, a 29-year-old Carmelite priest, sees the ancestors as akin to Catholic saints and the corpses akin to the relics kept in many churches. He has even celebrated mass before a famadihana. "The saints were people like us," he says. "They knew our lives and our suffering. Now they are close to God, and that's why we pray to them."
An American expatriate, Rosamond Carr transformed her Rwandan flower shed into a refuge for children, orphaned by genocide.
When the Rwanda genocide began, she was forcibly convinced to leave.
From the Washington Post obituary by Joe Holley
Back in the United States, Mrs. Carr watched the violence on television and determined that she had to help the orphaned and abandoned, some 300,000 in all.
After four months away, she returned to her farm, and at age 82 she converted a flower-drying shed into an orphanage for 40 children. She called it Imbabazi, meaning ``a place where you will receive all the love and care a mother would give."
She embodied that care, running the orphanage for the last dozen years of her life.
Sometime, you discover your life's purpose at a late age.
After euthanizing them to purify the German gene pool of mental and physical disability, the Nazis threw their bodies into a mass grave.
A mass grave containing the bodies of 51 people murdered by the Hitler regime has been discovered in a quiet German village which once housed a Nazi euthanasia clinic.
The skeletons of 22 children and 29 adults have been exhumed from the grave in a Catholic church cemetery in the village of Menden-Barge.
The bodies show signs of having met a violent death and the children's tiny skeletons had been tossed into the grave without coffins.
The courage of the young Amish girls in facing death is astounding.
Staring down the barrel of Charles Carl Roberts' gun, 13-year-old Marian Fisher and her 11-year-old sister, Barbie, bravely pleaded with the madman to shoot them and spare the eight other girls he was holding hostage.
"Marian said, 'Shoot me first,' and Barbie said, 'Shoot me second,' " said midwife Rita Rhoads, who had helped deliver several of the victims.
"They were really trying to save the younger girls. It is a real reflection of their faith."
"They all knew they were going to be shot. They just stood there with courage," Rhoads said. "There was no atmosphere of panic there. They were courageous."
I wrote yesterday about Plain Evil and Plain Good and the amazing outreach and forgiveness of the Amish towards the gunman's family.
Yesterday was the first day of 4 funerals. The fifth will be held today.
Funerals were held in the homes of Marian Fisher, 12; Naomi Rose Ebersole, 7: and two sisters, Mary Liz Miller, 8 and Lena Miller, 7.
Three long processions of 34 dark buggies and carriages left each of the victim's homes to a hilltop cemetery shaded by two elm trees.
Pennsylvania state troopers on horseback and a funeral director's black car with flashing yellow lights cleared the way for the buggies and the black carriages carrying the hand-built wooden coffins.
Pennsylvania State Police troopers were intent on preserving the families' privacy. All roads were blocked off and airspace for 2 miles in all directions was closed.
Earlier, hundreds of Amish men and women, wearing black hats, dresses and suits, had gathered at the homes of each of the victims' families to chant hymns and prayers in Amish German during funeral services closed to the public.
Then, starting at 11 a.m., they placed Naomi Rose's simple coffin in a buggy and drove her body to be laid to rest - followed four hours later by Marian's body, and two hours after that by the Miller sisters.
At the wind-swept cemetery, friends and relatives took one last look before placing the lids on the coffins and lowering them into their graves.
Relatives took turns throwing dirt atop the coffins.
It was a somber occasion, and, for the Amish, a profound one. Funerals are their most important religious event, for they believe they are sending a loved one into the arms of God.
Reported the Washington Post in A Plain and Profound Farewell, a neighbor who declined to give her name said, "You learn a lot from [the Amish], how they deal with things. It's just amazing. It's not just words."
Digital Growth Charts from Mother Pie collects examples of human time lines, photographs taken daily or yearly assembled into short videos. Like the time lapse videos of flowers, only human.
I've already told you about Noah who took a photograph of himself everyday for 6 years.
Jonathan did the same only for 8 years and compressed it to a 5 minute video
Hattie asks where are the children? We want to see babies turn into adolescents in 1 minute.
You could start by taking a photo of your baby, wearing a white Tshirt in the same place the first of every month. Continue for 18 years. Follow the arrow of Time.
With the success of best sellers such as Frank McCourt's Angela's Ashes, writing memoir has attained a new status in the literary world. It has achieved such power because it invites memoirists to select incidents in their past and interpret them with the emotional honesty and wisdom that only time, distance and maturity can illuminate.
Memoir is not autobiography, chronicling the epic of one's life and creating a genealogy. It is the genre that gives credibility to our deepest feelings. It can be one page or 100 and be as simple as a 10-year-old's paragraph on his love for his grandfather. It can also be as profound as James McBride's The Color of Water, a 314-page remembrance written from two viewpoints.
By writing memoir, children and adults become critical thinkers. One of the best compliments I ever received as a teacher was when an elderly woman in a class of senior citizens gleamed with great relief, explaining that I had freed her. She finally understood that she didn't have to write about her ancestors, her birth and every incident in her past. She could select the episodes that had impacted her most. She chose to write about the death of her husband, her feelings of loss and her resurrection. When she read her memoir, others in the class who identified with her grief and joy were comforted by her words.
Very interesting links if you're just getting started.
In Britain, a survey of funeral homes reveals the top ten pop songs requested to be played at funerals.
1. Wind Beneath My Wings - Bette Midler
2. My Heart Will Go On - Celine Dion
3. I Will Always Love You - Whitney Houston
4. Simply The Best - Tina Turner
5. Angels - Robbie Williams
6. You'll Never Walk Alone - Gerry And The Pacemakers
7. Candle In The Wind - Elton John
8. Unchained Melody - Righteous Brothers
9. Bridge Over Troubled Water - Simon And Garfunkel
10. Time To Say Goodbye - Sarah Brightman