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Michigan Folk! Did you Vote Today??

Our primaries are apparently today... I totally forgot what with school and all... and the suspicious lack of advertisement about it... but anyway, there are about 2 hrs left until the polls close, so I'm off! and I hope you are too!

Top 10 Myths about Iraq by Juan Cole

Juan Cole is an American professor of modern Middle Eastern and South Asian history at the University of Michigan. As a commentator on Middle Eastern affairs, he has appeared in print and on television, and testified before the United States Senate. He has published several peer-reviewed books on the modern Middle East and is a translator of both Arabic and Persian. Since 2002 he has been publishing his webblog, Informed Comment.

10. Myth: The US public no longer sees Iraq as a central issue in the 2008 presidential campaign.


In a recent ABC News/ Washington Post poll, Iraq and the economy were virtually tied among voters nationally, with nearly a quarter of voters in each case saying it was their number one issue. The economy had become more important to them than in previous months (in November only 14% said it was their most pressing concern), but Iraq still rivals it as an issue!


9. Myth: There have been steps toward religious and political reconciliation in Iraq in 2007. Fact: The government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has for the moment lost the support of the Sunni Arabs in parliament. The Sunnis in his cabinet have resigned. Even some Shiite parties have abandoned the government. Sunni Arabs, who are aware that under his government Sunnis have largely been ethnically cleansed from Baghdad, see al-Maliki as a sectarian politician uninterested in the welfare of Sunnis.

8. Myth: The US troop surge stopped the civil war that had been raging between Sunni Arabs and Shiites in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.


Fact: The civil war in Baghdad escalated during the US troop escalation. Between January, 2007, and July, 2007, Baghdad went from 65% Shiite to 75% Shiite. UN polling among Iraqi refugees in Syria suggests that 78% are from Baghdad and that nearly a million refugees relocated to Syria from Iraq in 2007 alone. This data suggests that over 700,000 residents of Baghdad have fled this city of 6 million during the US 'surge,' or more than 10 percent of the capital's population. Among the primary effects of the 'surge' has been to turn Baghdad into an overwhelmingly Shiite city and to displace hundreds of thousands of Iraqis from the capital.


7. Myth: Iran was supplying explosively formed projectiles (a deadly form of roadside bomb) to Salafi Jihadi (radical Sunni) guerrilla groups in Iraq. Fact: Iran has not been proved to have sent weapons to any Iraqi guerrillas at all. It certainly would not send weapons to those who have a raging hostility toward Shiites. (Iran may have supplied war materiel to its client, the Supreme Islamic Council of Iraq (ISCI), which was then sold off from warehouses because of graft, going on the arms market and being bought by guerrillas and militiamen.

6. Myth: The US overthrow of the Baath regime and military occupation of Iraq has helped liberate Iraqi women. Fact: Iraqi women have suffered significant reversals of status, ability to circulate freely, and economic situation under the Bush administration.

5. Myth: Some progress has been made by the Iraqi government in meeting the "benchmarks" worked out with the Bush administration. Fact: in the words of Democratic Senator Carl Levin, "Those legislative benchmarks include approving a hydrocarbon law, approving a debaathification law, completing the work of a constitutional review committee, and holding provincial elections. Those commitments, made 1 1/2 years ago, which were to have been completed by January of 2007, have not yet been kept by the Iraqi political leaders despite the breathing space the surge has provided."

4. Myth: The Sunni Arab "Awakening Councils," who are on the US payroll, are reconciling with the Shiite government of PM Nuri al-Maliki even as they take on al-Qaeda remnants. Fact: In interviews with the Western press, Awakening Council tribesmen often speak of attacking the Shiites after they have polished off al-Qaeda. A major pollster working in Iraq observed,


' Most of the recent survey results he has seen about political reconciliation, Warshaw said, are "more about [Iraqis] reconciling with the United States within their own particular territory, like in Anbar. . . . But it doesn't say anything about how Sunni groups feel about Shiite groups in Baghdad." Warshaw added: "In Iraq, I just don't hear statements that come from any of the Sunni, Shiite or Kurdish groups that say 'We recognize that we need to share power with the others, that we can't truly dominate.' " ' '

The polling shows that "the Iraqi government has still made no significant progress toward its fundamental goal of national reconciliation."


3. Myth: The Iraqi north is relatively quiet and a site of economic growth. Fact: The subterranean battle among Kurds, Turkmen and Arabs for control of the oil-rich Kirkuk province makes the Iraqi north a political mine field. Kurdistan now also hosts the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK) guerrillas that sneak over the border and kill Turkish troops. The north is so unstable that the Iraqi north is now undergoing regular bombing raids from Turkey.

2. Myth: Iraq has been "calm" in fall of 2007 and the Iraqi public, despite some grumbling, is not eager for the US to depart. Fact: in the past 6 weeks, there have been an average of 600 attacks a month, or 20 a day, which has held steady since the beginning of November. About 600 civilians are being killed in direct political violence per month, but that number excludes deaths of soldiers and police. Across the board, Iraqis believe that their conflicts are mainly caused by the US military presence and they are eager for it to end.

1. Myth: The reduction in violence in Iraq is mostly because of the escalation in the number of US troops, or "surge."


Fact: Although violence has been reduced in Iraq, much of the reduction did not take place because of US troop activity. Guerrilla attacks in al-Anbar Province were reduced from 400 a week to 100 a week between July, 2006 and July, 2007. But there was no significant US troop escalation in al-Anbar. Likewise, attacks on British troops in Basra have declined precipitously since they were moved out to the airport away from population centers. But this change had nothing to do with US troops.

"Samantha Bee reports from San Andreas, the town where people feel their way of life is being attacked by the morality people in Washington." From http://www.joystiq.com/2007/10/22/eight-years-of-games-on-the-daily-sh... continue reading

posted by ant 1 decade 3 years 8 months 3 weeks ago • 766 views

DEBKA reports cyber jihad beginning 11-11-07

"In a special Internet announcement in Arabic, picked up by (sic) DEBKAfile’s counter-terror sources, Osama bin Laden’s followers announced Monday, Oct. 29, the launching of Electronic Jihad. On Sunday, Nov. 11, al Qaeda’s electronic experts will start attacking Western, Jewish, Israeli, Muslim apostate and Shiite Web sites. On Day One, they will test their skills against 15 targeted sites expand the operation from day to day thereafter until hundreds of thousands of Islamist hackers are in action against untold numbers of anti-Muslim sites."
http://www.debka.com/headline.php?hid=4723

Related is the following article:
Islamist Website Instructs Mujahideen in Using Popular U.S. Web Forums to Foster Anti-War Sentiment among Americans:
http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP150807
"Raiding American Forums is Among the Most Important Means of Obtaining Victory in the Fierce Media War… and of Influencing the Views of the Weak-Minded American"
"Indicate You Are an American"
"Invent Stories About American Soldiers You Have [Allegedly] Personally Known"
"You should enter into debate or respond only if it is extremely necessary... Your concern should [only] be introducing topics which... will cause [them to feel] frustration and anger towards their government..., which will... render them hostile to Bush... and his Republican Party and make them feel they must vote to bring the troops back from Iraq as soon as possible."
"Do not... discuss issues pertaining to Arabs or Muslims at all, whether negatively or positively... because this could be a trap for you... In addition, do not ask people to circulate the material [you have posted] in other forums... as these types of requests will expose you..."


Somewhat related is the following dispatch from the Global Islamic Media Front instructing Islamists to Infiltrate Popular Non-Islamic Forums to Spread Pro-Islamic State Propaganda:
http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP162107

Here is also an article from February on the state of cyber-terror (at that point in time), written by the Middle East Media Research Institute:
http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=ia&ID=IA32907

A *snuff Voting System

Well we all know that there is some controversy when it comes to borderline snuff videos. I propose a simple yet fair solution. Can we implement a *snuff invocation just like a *ban invocation is made? I think with a system of videos that are seen and seconded as snuff should be automatically discarded. This way we get a fairly democratic system without one person being blamed for discarding the controversial snuff.

Minor Smiley Update

Just updated a couple of smilies to look a little better and added a couple of new ones. To refresh the memory of those who know and inform those who don't, here's the complete list of available emoticons with the new ones first: ... more inside

Raven swoops in to nab a Diamond...

Raven nabs a diamond


Ravenika has just swooped into attaining a Diamond, one of my favorite sifters, with an amazing playlist collection (Vids from the Front, Mess-O-Potamia and others) and the owner of the All Night HorrorShow.




Congrats on the new shiny, welcome to the Cabal . Lambs and other small mammals shall be sacrificed in your name tonight...




Some of my personal favorites:

Ingmar Bergman's The Seventh Seal

Lou Reed - This Magic Moment

Nick Cave - Come Sail Your Ships Around Me

Creedance Clearwater Revival - Fortune Son

Universal Monsters only want to be loved


As always Sifty didn't update the stats yet, and yes I know it's an egg and not a diamond, but I felt it was fitting nonetheless.

Snuff videos

With the addition of Liveleak and recent user submissions, we need to consider defining this. What is a snuff video. not all videos which show death are snuff.
A snuff film, or snuff movie, is a pop culture term for any number of possible definitions regarding a motion picture purporting to depict an actual death.
The most current example was in my opinion, snuff. It was entitled "deadly weightlifting accident".

I propose a definition which would identify snuff films as videos which submitted solely for their depiction of death and which are intended to titillate.
Titillate - To excite (another) pleasurably, superficially or erotically.
One means to identify videos of this type would be to look for descriptions of death in the title, keywords, or description here or at the original video hosting site.

A video report about the Iraq war could currently be taken as snuff because it is likely to contain scenes depicting human casulties. Under this proposed definition would no longer be affected. One recent example of this was "Trophy video" exposes private contractors shooting Iraqi Civilians



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