Saturday, December 31, 2005

WHERE THE F*CK IS THE GLOBAL WARMING CROWD WHEN YOU NEED ‘EM?????

Yesterday my ass froze off.

Okay, almost. Still, it was so god-dam-COLD that either W must be held responsible, or else I have become a pussy those Kyoto folks are completely nuts. We spent a couple of hours in Gent, the capital of the province of East Flanders, for some end-of-the-year-bookshopping. Gent, in Anglosaxon literature referred to as Ghent, is one of the core historical cities of Flanders. Archeological finds demonstrate that the place, at the confluence of the Schelde (Scheldt) and Leie (Lys) rivers, was already inhabited during the Stone Age. In Roman Times it was an important agricultural settlement. But its Golden Age really was in medieval times between 1100 and 1500. Ironically, its historical demise began with the birth within its walls of that pivotal political figure of the Renaissance, Charles V, the Habsburg Emperor, and indeed, the square where he was born is called to this day the Prinsenhof, or Prince's Court.

Peace Treaty of GhentGent, or Ghent if you like that better, has also an American link! Indeed, it was here that the Treaty of Ghent was signed, which concluded the 1812-1814 War between the young United States of America and Great Britain. The leader of the American delegation was the later President John Quincy Adams, who while on the spot seems to have had other interests beyond burying the battleaxe with the Brits. Unlike Jefferson in Paris however, Adams seems to have been a good boy. He was a great aficionado of plants and flowers and frequently visited the Plantentuin, the city’s botanic garden. Once or twice a week he accompanied the friends he had made here to theatre plays by the Rhetorica society. On mondays, the plays in the Hall at the Parnassusberg were performed in Flemish (keep in mind that the bourgeois language in Ghent was French, Flemish was for peasants - note by MFBB), and Adams somehow bungled in on one occasion. It was no success. He wrote to is wife: "I did not understand anything and fell asleep. Thereafter I withdrew." Sigh, us Flemings have always had a hard time finding appreciation for our mother tongue, fighting the Frogs since well before 1302 and the Krauts already prior to 1288 and so on. Well, at least Adams did not withdraw from the negotiations.

Old Carthusian MonasteryThe American delegation stayed at Hotel Lovendeghem in the Veldstraat, the British one in a Carthusian monastery on Meerghem. It was also in this monastery that on Christmas Eve 1814, after nearly four months of negotiations, the treaty was finally signed. There are identical commemoration plaques on the façades of both buildings. I will be glad to show them to you should you ever happen to be in Ghent for touristic purposes or for signing a treaty of your own. Anyway, the hotel is a shop now, the monastery a funny farm (Psychiatric Institution Sint Jan de Deo). It’s a mad, mad world.

Please allow me to ramble on before you fall asleep. Below you see some photos I had the occasion to shoot despite continued tugging from two females intent on spending money. Mine of course, Mu Ha Ha Ha.

The row of houses on the pic below is arguably Gent's most famous street: the Graslei. The slumped forward building in roman style, the third from the right, is called "Het Spijker", literally The Nail. It dates from 1200 and was used to stock grains which were transported through Ghent (via the Leie River, Lys in English). Its façade with the brick stairs is the oldest one of its kind in the world. For a very brief period the building was even a Calvinist University! The central building, seemingly just below the clock tower, is the Guild House of the Free Masons, mind you, the fellas who put bricks on each other, not the ones you first thought of. The building looks old but isn’t. It is a reconstruction from 1912 in Brabantine Gothic. Virtually every building along the Graslei is noteworthy, you will find a brief description here.

Graslei, Ghent

Another famous sight in Ghent: below, to the left, you see the old Postal Office(now a shopping mall), in the centre the Sint-Niklaaskerk (Saint Nicholas Church), built, from the beginning of the 13th century on, in so-called Scheldt Gothic. Interesting to note is that from the very beginning this church suffered from stability problems due to architectural or construction faults. Throughout its history it was the subject of renovations, a series of important ones starting in late 19th century when the situation had become critical, not to say dangerous. The current renovation effort was started in 1960 (!) and was only in full swing by the time yours truly in vain tried to impress hot females in Ghent student clubs. In the mid-eighties, that was. In 1992 transept and choir were made accessible to the public, right now the ship is being renovated. More pics and info here.



Gravensteen
And another must-see when passing through Ghent: the Gravensteen, a medieval water castle smack in the middle of the Old City. Originally built by Philip from Alsace, Count of Flanders, in 1180. Residence of the Counts of Flanders until the fourteenth century, after which it was first used for making coins and then, more notorious, as a prison. Don’t miss the torture chamber!!! OK, I know the fancy tools on display there will be regarded by your average Gitmo Guard specialized in Eminem and Christina Aguilera tapes with some degree of disdain, but still it is worth a peek. Visit the armory too.

When I started this post it was 2005. And I am finishing it now after watching Wedding Crashers with Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson on dvd, all the while quietly slipping into 2006. I'd say the first 3/4 were quite entertaining, but the last quarter sucked. I am talking about the movie, with the year it was rather the other way round. Oh well. I can imagine there are worse means to say a year goodbye. An especially vile year at that, imho.

Anyway, I'd like to wish the readers of DowneastBlog - those of good will, mind you - and their loved ones a HEARTFELT HAPPY AND SUCCESSFUL 2006!!!


MFBB

Monday, December 26, 2005

MUDWRESTLING OVER EUROS...

In Europe, there was quite some fuss the last two weeks concerning the planning of the EU Budget for the period 2007-2013. Basically, the debate got the UK pitted against, well, virtually against all the other 24 member states. To understand what was going on, understanding two buzzwords might be helpful: "EU Presidency" and "UK rebate".


A.) The EU Presidency.

UK EU Presidency 2005First, the EU Presidency. Currently, Britain holds it. What does that mean? Well, if you think of the EU as one country, does right now the UK, personified by Blair, fulfil the role of EU President then? Somewhat simplified, yes, but not completely. There is also the EU Commission, headed by Barroso. Now hold it, I realize it’s real tough for non-Europeans to grasp Euro leadership, but basically, EU Presidency and EU Commission combined, equal the EU’s "Executive Body". The two are supposed to act as the EU "government" so to say. One could liken the EU Commission to a company’s Board of Directors, responsible for the day-to-day business. And the EU Presidency – to be correct, we speak of a Council of Ministers of which the presidency rotates among the EU member states – would then be the Executive Committee, responsible for the strategic decisions.

Now, while Barroso serves a four-year term, EU Presidencies only last six months. In other words, EU Commission chiefs typically see eight EU Presidencies come and go. Luxembourg had it from January till July, after which Britain took over, and as we are rapidly approaching the end of the year, it soon will hand over the torch to Austria. But I said EU presidencies do the "strategic decisions", and indeed, the UK’s last important task was to establish a sound budget plan for the period spanning 2007 till 2013. To give you an idea of the kind of budget we are talking about, this year it was 106.3 billion EUR, or 1% of the combined gross national income of the 25. In US dollars, that's give and take a 128 billion US$ budget - roughly what the Danish government spends yearly! So for those of you who in the back of their minds nurture an atavistic fear that one day Uncle Sam will be challenged by, uh, Uncle Jean, fear not!!! That day is apparently still far off!



B.) The UK Rebate.

Most of you will recall Margaret Thatcher’s famous 1984 quote "I want my money back". What was that quote about? In the early eighties, 80% of the EU’s budget went to the CAP, or Common Agricultural Policy.

The CAP provided farmers throughout the EU – or EEC, as it was then known – with guaranteed minimum prices for their products. This was by means of subsidies, which were also paid for planting certain crops – or planting no crops at all! All EEC member countries contributed to a common pot, which was then essentially re-distributed with the more agricultural countries receiving the bulk of the subsidies. Now Britain paid disproportionately much, due to its relatively small agricultural sector. At the time, as the EEC was joined by precisely those countries with weak industry but strong agriculture – Portugal, Spain, Greece – the EU budget and thus the CAP subsidies – was set to expand further, thus likely to strain the UK’s precarious financial situation even more. Do not forget that Britain was then the third poorest EEC member, and that in 1982 it had fought an expensive war with Argentina over the Falklands! That is why, in 1984, Mrs. Thatcher negotiated a rebate, or a payback of funds, in order to redress the imbalance between what the UK put into the EEC and what it got back out from it. The method of calculating the rebate is complex, but as a rule of fist one can assume that it amounts to 2/3 of the amount by which the UK contribution exceeds EU expenditure returning to Britain.

UK Rebate financingSo Mrs. Thatcher got part of her money back in 1984 – a unique accomplishment, because the UK is the only EU member that got a discount on its Euro membership fee, so to say. That of course left the proposed EU budget with a gap, which subsequently had to filled up somehow. And here’s the angle: all other EU members are supposed to make good the lost British contribution, and France finances roughly 31 per cent plus of it. You understand why France is so eager to scrap the rebate, and from the French viewpoint a reduction is reasonable: after all, nowadays agricultural subsidies "only" account for some 42 % of the EU budget. Keep in mind that an EU budget consisting of not much more than agricultural subsidies was precisely the reason why Britain got its rebate. Plus, over the past two decades Britain has gotten rich - it can no longer claim it is the sick man of Europe as it was in 1984.


Now, the EU budget 2007-2013. In short, the following were the main bargaining positions at the opening of the budget talks, now some two weeks ago:

* Most if not all EU members with France up front wanted the UK rebate to be reduced, if not scrapped, and changes to the CAP postponed till 2014.

* Britain wanted the CAP – the agricultural subsidies – toned down by 2010 and, you guess it, keep its rebate. In fact Britain, never suspected of Europhilism, also wanted a smaller and poorer EU, and proposed an EU budget of only 1.03% of the combined gross national income of the member states.


This was the UK’s last important task before handing over the torch to Austria come January 1st, and its last occasion to rescue what is generally regarded as a very weak and uninspired EU Presidency. Indeed: putting African debt relief on the G8 agenda, establishing new emission targets for when Kyoto expires, a failed Hampton Court Summit on economic reform, a moderate success in organizing Europes first cohesive antiterror strategy, and starting EU membership talks with Turkey… it reads like a lame list of non-issues, and while Blair and Straw regard the Turkey admission talks as a "success", fewer and fewer across the Channel think in their adjectives. Anyway, reaching a solid budget deal was the only way to "sex up" the UK EU Presidency.

Well, my take is that most Brits are none too fond of Blairs deal, while the rest of Europe is. The deal is:

*During the period 2007-2013, the UK agrees to a cutback of 10.5bn euros (£7bn) of its rebate, some 20%, while the EU budget grows to 862.4bn euros, helping to fund the development of new member states. The budget is scheduled to be 1.045% of the composed gross national income of the member states.

*In return, Britain obtained an agreement that in 2008-2009 there will be a wide-ranging budget review, and not only on the CAP. From the beginning Blair stressed that reviewing European spending was of major concern to him.

*There were a lot of sweeteners for the new member states, paid for with the cutbacks on the rebate - a.o. 100 million EUR for Poland (a Merkel feat, Angela Merkel was also the one who apprently got the budget talks moving again)


These are really the most important headlines. To most observers, it looks like the UK yielded a lot and France very little. Blair took quite some heat at home, The Daily Telegraph even labelling the Brussels Summit a "surrender" and William Hague, foreign affairs spokesman for the Tories (the British Conservatives) smartly paraphrizing Winston Churchill with "Seldom in the course of European negotiations has so much been surrendered for so little". To be honest, France did not get all it wanted either. E.g., it opposed giving Macedonia EU candidate status next year - Macedonia got it. It wanted the EU to impose lower VAT rules for its restaurants - it did not get it. And while the promise to review the CAP in 2008-2009 is a thing that blows in the wind, Romania and Bulgaria, set to join the EU in 2007 and 2008 respectively, were told they can expect no agricultural subsidies. Which means that the same CAP pie by that time will have to be divided over more countries, thus effectively reducing CAP subsidies at least proportionately. But all in all, to me too it looks like the UK indeed yielded the most. Paul Beliën over at The Brussels Journal thinks so too, although he puts it in starker terms:

How the French are gloating, to be able to present themselves as the champions of the "poorer member states" while not contributing a single extra cent, and lecture Britain on its duties to the new member states while France has always opposed enlargement.


Some fleshing out yet tomorrow, God willing. Europe here, over and out.



MFBB.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW...

Alas, again no white Christmas in BelgoSmurfLandTM this year. Prospects for it had been better though ever since I was a kid, for we had our first snowfall halfway November, an absolute rarity ever since Bush screwed the climate.

Nevertheless, I'd like to share these pics with you, taken yesterday, December 24, at around 9pm on or around my hometown's market square. I really love this place. Although I live now in Wallonia, I can nor will ever forget I'm a (censured) at heart. Every year a beautiful Christmas Tree adorns the square, as well as a large Christmas stable right in front of the Saint-Bartholomew Church.






Market SquareThe photo to the left shows the same market square taken from the opposite side. The beautifully lit building between the Tree and the church is the old Town Hall, now used for touristic purposes only. My hometown was officially declared a town in 1068 by Boudewijn VI, Count of Flanders, and IIRC the building in the photo is built on the same location where the original townhouse, built in the twelfth century, stood. Time and again it was destroyed and rebuilt, the last time, roughly one hundred years ago, in neogothic style.

Anyway, White Christmas or not, I'd like to wish the readers of DowneastBlog - those of good will - a heartfelt MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!


MFBB

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

'APE WITH A HEART MAKES GROWN MEN CRY'

King Kong review

"Grown men around me were crying," says one Hollywood insider. "

Ok, I haven't seen the movie yet, and it looks like it's going to be great, but any grown man who weeps at this film is a sitzpinkler.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

GENTLEMEN, GIRD YOUR SWORDS.

I guess most of you learned this week that Belgium finally sent fighters to Iraq. One of them was 38-year old Muriel Degauque, a Wallonian woman from Monceau-sur-Sambre near Charleroi. On November 9 she blew herself up near a US convoy in Baquba, Iraq, thus becoming the first European woman suicide bomber, at least for Allah’s cause. Fortunately, she was the only one killed. Zeg niet te gauw ‘t is weer een vrouw, like we say over here, a tad unrespectfully translated Don’t say too quick it’s again a chick. Paul Beliën of The Brussels Journal offers some perspective. Anyway, about one year ago I posted on these pages that in the West we should focus on Islamic converts and dang, there it is. Dutch daily De Telegraaf writes that police increasingly gets info on converts radicalising. Closer to home, one of the five or six schtoopid cunts wo whore, wooooooooooops sorry, who wore, burqas in Maaseik, is a Flemish woman, a certain Maureen R. For the record, Maaseik, eastern Belgium, is where Khalid Bouloudou is from, one of the thirteen suspected GICM members in Belgiums fourth terror trial currently going on in Brussels. The GICM, or Groupe Islamique Combattant Marocain, is one of the outfits responsible for the Madrid bombings. But back to Our Lady of the Exploding Hollowness.

Muriel Degauque had always been the trouble child in Jean Degauque’s family. As a teenager, she drank, smoked and used drugs. She was unable to find a steady job and had relationships with a Turk and an Algerian, whom she married in her early thirties. She herself asked her husband to teach her Arabic so that she could read the Quran. She also started to wear a headscarf. The marriage was short-lived, for in 2000 the couple divorced. Muriel’s parents Jean, a retired steelworker, and Liliane, a medical secretary, were flabbergasted when a couple of months later she married again to a certain Hicham Goris, a Moroccan of mixed parents (in some publicatins he is referred to as Aissan). To her parents she explained that "marrying so soon after divorce was easy in Islam". Her new husband had the most radical influence on her, since from then on she appeared in burqa with only a slit letting the eyes free. She even wore gloves so that the skin of her hands would not be visible anymore.

After a while Hicham started to demand that father Degauque quit drinking beer and that men and women ate separately. This finally led to a breech in the relation with her parents and the radical couple moved from Charleroi to Sint-Gillis, Brussels, where they learned suicide methods. I am told it's one of the very few courses Methodist Vanuatuans truly excel in there, apart from, under certain circumstances, farting in the general direction of Reykjavik. A couple of months ago, they travelled to the Middle East and the Degauques got a last telephone call from their daughter from - but what a coincidence!!!! - Syria. The next and final stop was Baquba, Iraq. As for the woman, my greatest concern is that she damaged the precious paint, dutifully paid for by American taxpayers, on the trucks in that convoy. As for the man, he was shot dead by US forces. Thanks for cleaning up our garbage America!

Don’t you now think too bad of Belgian women. Mark Steyn’s mother is Belgian.


MFBB


UPDATE:

Brigitte GrouwelsBelgium is a federal state with both Flanders and Wallonia having their own regional governments. Little known is the fact that Belgium’s capital, Brussels, is a separate region of its own, since neither Flemings nor Walloons would ever accept Brussels being an administrative part of either region. So in the Belgian federal framework Brussels is technically the Brussels Capital Region, with its own (small) government as well as a parliament. One of the "ministers" in this government is Brigitte Grouwels, from the Christian democratic party CD&V. Her official title is State Secretary for Equal Opportunities. This is what she had to say last Friday:


"In large parts of Brussels women are called names and reproached of being whores by young immigrants, often of Moroccan origin. It suffices that they are fashionably dressed with tight skirts and a flash of a bare belly. Some native women don something on their heads, because then they are not troubled anymore."

Mrs. Grouwels has her own site, where you can read the interview she gave with the daily Het Laatste Nieuws in full:


Q: "Have you been harassed yourself?"

A: "Yes, and my daughter repeatedly, just like her friends. These are young women aware of fashion, with sometimes tight skirts and a glimpse of a bare belly. Immigrant girls are reprimanded if they don't wear a headscarf, but also just because they walk on the streets, or if they dare to laugh among each other. Take the Zuidlaan across the Zuidstation. It used to be a very mixed neighborhood, where many Belgians had shops. Now it is a quarter where immigrant shops dominate, which are controlled by a certain type of men. They watch from cafes who passes and intimidate women. Gradually these disappear from the street. There is an atmosphere of intolerance. Women can't dress the way they would like to. Well, we are fed up being called whores because we are not dressed the way certain men would like us to be. It is an offensive and disrespectful attitude towards women."

Q: "What do these men say then?"

A: "Remarks like you don't belong here, how are you dressed, you are a prostitute. It is no longer only along the Zuidlaan, but there it strikes that less and less women walk on the streets. It just as well happens in Sint-Joost, in Molenbeek, in Schaarbeek, when they shop along the Louizalaan (Avenue Sainte-Louise) and very frequently on the tram. Respect is extremely important in those men's culture. Well, we demand respect for ALL women. It is a form of verbal violence, which is very annoying. There are women who say that if we don a headscarf, we are no longer called names. Well, that's a step too far."

Q: "It's the Belgians who have to adapt to the immigrants?"

A: "That's it yes. Women must be able to walk day and night on the street in safety. We have not fought 50 years for our emancipation just to be beaten back in time. We don't want that in a single quarter of Brussels."

Q: "Who are those men?"

A: "They are mainly Moroccan youths, who think that they have the right to impose their rules on girls. With Turks it's similar, especially in their own commmunities, but it is just as well unacceptable. They must also have the right to dress the way they like."



Look, it's not that I like to post those things. In fact I hate it. I have a company to run and I had better spent the last hour on doing some necessary paperwork. But I think it's of paramount importance that everyone who cherishes freedom ought to know what is happening in Europe. Because it's not in Brussels alone. If the usual multiculti dorks show up, throw them stories like these in their faces. These assholes are going to let it come to the point of no return, and then it's too late.

Mind you, Mrs. Grouwels is not someone whom you would categorize in the Belgian rightwing political sphere, certainly not the quarter occupied by the Vlaams Belang. In fact, the remedy she proposes: an action plan with a sensitive approach costing 670,000 EUR to make people aware and "reach out" to immigrants, is purely socialist by nature: throwing money away while avoiding to step on sore toes. So when a lady like her bluntly says this like "Gradually these (women) disappear from the street" and "but there it strikes that less and less women walk on the streets", bells ought to ring.

Friday, December 02, 2005

The economy is kicking ass

Ok, let's make a pact: Everyone has to agree to not let any liberal in their presence get away with any "the economy is bad" BS.

Here's an article if you need one to forward, although since the evidence is completely overwhelming it's not hard to find others.

I can understand people being against the Iraq invasion or any number of other Bush policies, but if you think we're in the middle of a struggling economy you're just ideologically blind or just plain stupid.

Monday, November 28, 2005

Michael Barone on Unions

Barone lays out in plain English what a disaster labor unions have been for the US. And forget about all the "unions brought us the weekend" crap. The sooner we get rid of these parasitic organizations the better it will be for everyone, including union members.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

PARTNERS IN CRIME?

Molotov Cocktail Party1939. Commies ally themselves with Nazis… The photo shows a jovial Stalin addressing Nazi Germany’s Foreign Minister, Von Ribbentrop, on August 23, at the signing of the so-called Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact or Nazi-Soviet Non-Agression Pact. The guy scribbling his name onto the rag is the USSR’s Foreign Minister Molotov and in case you wonder, yes, that’s the fella the French youths’ drink of choice is called after. I am not going to elaborate on this document, ain’t the place nor the time, suffice to say that Article 1 stated that:

"Both High Contracting Parties obligate themselves to desist from any act of violence, any aggressive action, and any attack on each other, either individually or jointly with other Powers."

and it must be said that Both High Contracting Parties behaved themselves admirably till, duh, June 22, 1941.

Article 2 furthermore stated that:

"Should one of the High Contracting Parties become the object of belligerent action by a third Power, the other High Contracting Party shall in no manner lend its support to this third Power."

And indeed, when the Polish Army fought back when the Nizis invaded Poland on September 1, 1939, that could be interpreted as Nazi Germany becoming the object of belligerent action by a Third Power, subsequently Uncle Joe in no manner lent his support for the Polish but rather chose to stab them in the back.

…………………xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo……………

2005. Maybe it’s just MFBB’s mean f*cking bad behaviour, but as I learn these days of certain suspicious alliances I can’t resist musing about that 1939 gentleman’s agreement.

Take Copenhagen, Denmark for example. There a Muslim immigrant and city counsellor by the name of Wallait Khan participated in the November 15 municipal elections as a Venstre candidate (Venstre = center-rightwing party; it is also the party of Denmark’s courageous PM Anders Fogh Rasmussen - MFBB). A political scandal of the first order developed when Mr. Khan, immediately after a poor showing, decided to defect to to the city council’s left wing when promised the post of 2nd deputy mayor along with some other functions. Now, if gaining a post cheaply was the only issue, Khan’s treason would be mere political backstabbery. However, it has also emerged that he supports two radical Islamist organizations, Minhaj-ul-Quran and Hizb-ut-Tahrir. Moreover, undoubtedly as a sign of his near perfect assimilation in Danish society, he simultaneously ran for elections in his native Pakistan, and I bet it wasn’t for the Pakistani Christian Democrats. Danish daily Weekendavisen has the story (translation by Viking Observer):

In the November-issue 2005 of the urdu-language monthly Sahil, that is distributed in Copenhagen, it says in reference to Wallait Khans own campaign materials: "There has been this whole campaign against Minhaj ul-Quran and Hizb ut-Tahrir, Wallait Khan has always supported these organisations and schools and institutions all that he could."

If a Hizb-ut-Tahrir supporter isn't a good candidate for deputy mayor of a Eurabian capital then I don't know what is, don't you agree. Note also that Wallait Khan does NOT have Danish citizenship. So with only slight exaggeration you basically have here a Pakistani who gets to decide whether he will spend public money for fixing the potholes in the street in front of Lars Q’s house or funding Copenhagen’s mosques. Some of you may recall that this whole travesty of allowing non-residents of a country to participate in local elections, a pet idea of the despicable European Left, is precisely the reason why I joined the Vlaams Belang.

anna rytterAn even more striking example of Islamic radicals joining up with the Danish Left is offered in the city of Odense, where the Islamic convert Anna Rytter of the Communist Party Enhedslisten (Unity List), was elected to the city council. Que???? So here we have someone who is supposed to be a Sophisticated God Bashing Vatican Spitting Post Modernist Quintessential Atheist Non Believer, and yet she has submitted herself to the will of Allah???? Things are getting goddam f*ckin' weird in the Leftist Brainhole-O-Sphere you know. In October Wouter Bos, Chairman of the PVDA, the Dutch Social-Democrats, announced that he would join the Muslims in the Netherlands in a day of fasting during Ramadan. Bos’s day of fasting like a devout Muslim was recorded and aired on television. Now you have to understand that this is the same Mr. Bos who recently insisted that the traditional "Bede", the Prayer in the Dutch Queen's annual speech in Parliament, was abolished. I get it Wouter. I am not that dumb! Christianity is makroob, and Islam is halal!!! And anyone who suggests that your Ramadan fasting had sumpin to do with the municipal elections in Holland on 7 March, well, that is just a mean racist xenophobic Flemish redneck!

Sikandar SiddiqueBack to Copenhagen. Where we also have the case of a certain Sikandar Siddique who was the Social Democrat’s candidate for mayoral post in Copenhagen. Danish blogger Sappho reports that Mr. Siddique may be a member of the radical Islamist organization Hizb-ut-Tahrir:


Today Sappho can reveal, that a vote for Siddique in all likelyhood also is a vote for the radical moslem organisation Hizb-ut-Tahrir, that advocates the establishement of a caliphate run along 1400-year-old principles, where there is neither freedom of speech, democracy, freedom of the courts nor rights for women and non-believers. So far, Hizb ut-Tahrir has always claimed, that these conditions would not be introduced in Denmark, but that they exclusively had far-off Oriental regions in mind. Danes thus had no reason to be nervous about the organisations agitation and big influence on especially the moslem youths in Nørrebro in Copenhagen.

Something indicates, that Hizb ut-Tahrir now also is seeking direct influence on Danish politics - and that Sikandar Malik Siddique has been chosen as the spearhead of these aspirations.


Duh. MFBB's simple brain draws some conclusions from this. First, the Danish, and by extension the European Left is clearly whoring for votes among its Muslim communities whom they have given in most European countries the right to vote in municipal elections (for starters). Given their very high fertility rates as compared to the natives' catastrophically low ones, one could argue that from the Leftist POV this is a smart move to stay in power. Of course, what these doofuses don't seem to foresee is that once Islam is in power there will be precious little love left for fancy lefty issues such as gay marriage and/or adoption, your right to grow cannabis in your backyard or get stone drunk while enjoying that new sex-inciting drug I heard about. Well, in 1939 Uncle Joe too thought he was being smart.

Second, if you want to see that famous braless li'l mermaid in Copenhagen's port, you might want to book a ticket to Denmark presto, since I can't guarantee for how long these famous Danish boobies will remain halal.


MFBB

Sunday, November 20, 2005

ONE YEAR AGO... OPERATION PHANTOM FURY

One year ago, on November 20, 2005, Operation Phantom Fury(or Dawn) to clear the city of Fallujah from terrorists, was concluded.

In May of that year there had been an earlier attempt to flush them out, but the (very modest) Marine units involved then were prematurely ordered to a stop on the insistence of high-ranking Iraqi GC officials, a.o. al-Jaafari, so as not to stir up the mood of Iraqs Sunni population. It was a bad move, as soon became apparent. The so-called "Fallujah Brigade", initially a 1,600 strong force commanded by Muhammed Latif, a former general of Saddam Hussein’s Army, and intended to restore order in the restive city, was quickly joined by the very insurgents the 1st Marine division had been fighting. By June it was apparent that the brigade was part of the problem rather than of the solution, to put it mildly, and so by August it was disbanded.

The city then sunk further and further into chaos and became a hotbed for insurgents and al-Zarqawi linked terrorist groups, prompting precision airstrikes which gradually turned Fallujah into a combat zone and ultimately forced at least 90% of the citizens out.

By October it was obvious that a Fallujah left undisturbed would prove a possibly fatal impediment to the upcoming January elections. So an operation to clear the city once and for all was scheduled, its codename being originally Phantom Fury, later changed to al-Fajr (Dawn) on the request of Iraqi generals.

Aerial view on Day 1, from the westGiven the size of Fallujah, essentially a 3km wide on 3.5km long rectangle, with an estimated prewar population of 250,000, the forces assembled to take it seemed oddly insufficient, give and take 10,000 USMC and Army troops, plus another 2,000 Iraqi security forces. Anyone familiar with World War 2 literature will recall that if the battles fought in cities like Stalingrad, Berlin, Arnhem, Warsaw etc. proved one thing, it’s that in street fighting the attacking force can litterally bleed white even when opposed by a numerically far weaker adversary. In Stalingrad during the fall of 1942, the Germans deployed almost an entire 250,000-strong army, the 6th under Von Paulus, against the Russian 62nd Army under Chujkow, which numbered at some point not more combat troops than a weak division (10,000). Yet it took them two months (and tens of thousands of casualties) to occupy 9/10 of the city. In Arnhem in September 1944, the fresh British 1st Airborne division, 10,000 strong, melted away in the space of a week against a veritable hodgepodge of ad hoc German units still shattered by the Normandy campaign. It never saw combat as a unit anymore for the duration of the war.

To military historians Fallujah November 2004 may therefore be treated not as a typical example of urban warfare but rather as the exception which proves the rule. The roughly 80 US and Iraqi soldiers which gave their lives for an operation which very likely saved Iraq’s first true parliamentary elections are bad enough – but the focus of future investigations will rather be on why there were not 800 – or 8,000 for that matter. For opposing the US and Iraqi troops was a determined force of between 2,000 and 3,000 insurgents, and for those who think that the Marines had a distinct numerical advantage, see the number of 12,000 US/Iraqi troops mentioned above, it may come as a surprise that as for the number of fighting men involved the discrepancy was far less obvious. The best way to explain this is to keep a knife in mind: the cutting edge itself represents only a tiny fraction of the knife’s mass, while it is the blade which provides the main weight. In the same manner the guys seeing the "white in the enemy’s eyes" are always far outnumbered by the ones in the rear providing supplies, medical services, artillery fire, communications, transport and what not. Thus it was that in fact only 6 US combat battalions, numbering together perhaps 4,200 troops, took on Fallujah’s main defenses in a broad sweep from north to south (the Iraqi units were engaged mostly to the west of the city, with a noted commando action to take control of the city’s hospital). These six battalions, arranged to the north of the city, were, from west to east:

a.) the 3rd Battalion of the 1st Regiment (3/1) of the 1st Marine Division (the "Guadalcanal" division)
b.) the 3rd Battalion of the 5th Regiment (3/5) of the 1st Marine Division
c.) the 2nd Battalion of the 7th Cavalry Regiment (2/7) of the 1st Cavalry Division
d.) the 1st Battalion of the 8th Marine Regiment (1/8) of the 2nd Marine Division (the "Tarawa" division)
e.) the 1st Battalion of the 3rd Marine Regiment (1/3) of the 3rd Marine Division
f.) the 2nd Battalion of the 2nd Infantry Regiment (2/2)of the 1st Infantry Division ("The Big Red One")

Order of Attack, 7 November 2004Phantom Fury/al-Fajr started with a night attack on November 7 at 7pm local time, with Iraqi commandos seezing the main hospital in the west, on a peninsula in the Euphrates, and Marines taking the two nearby key bridges across the river. The aim was to prevent fleeing insurgents from turning the hospital into a stronghold and/or using the bridges as an escape route.

On November 8 the main assault started, but not before massive aerial and artillery bombardment lasting 12 hours had saturated the zone of attack. It was again 7pm in the evening before the attack got under way, with 3/5 in the west immediately seizing a huge apartment block, giving their machinegun teams and artillery observers an excellent overview of the battle area. The most significant gain in the centre was the railway station, which was seized by 2/7.

Order of Attack, 7 November 2004November 9 saw 3/1, 3/5 and 2/7 joining forces to focus on conquering the Jolan District in the northwest (on the map this effort is dubbed "The Wedge" - it seems in Jolan the toughest resistance was met), 1/8, 1/3 advancing towards the center and 2/2 consolidating its hold over the Askari District in the northeast. When you look at the map to the right, basically one sees the 3-battalion "Wedge" group focussing southwest and 2/2 focussing, with a bit of imagination, to the southeast. It appears that in doing so, the two Marine battalions and the cavalry battalion in the west, and the Big Red One battalion in the east, wanted to seize both ends of Highway 10 on the outskirts of the city. Highway 10, the dotted yellow line on the photo, is the main traffic artery of Fallujah, running from a huge traffic exchanger in the east to a Euphrates bridge in the west. Possession of both ends of Highway 10 gives one virtual control over who enters and leaves the city.

On November 10, 2/2 indeed secured the eastern approaches to the huge clover leaf traffic exchanger, thus allowing supplies coming from the Baghdad direction to flow in. This day was to prove the toughest day of the fighting yet, with key battles erupting around some mosques which were used as enemy strongholds, ammo dumps and IED factories. Among the captured mosques were Al Tawfiq, Hydra and Muhammadia, the latter one being the site of one of the largest battles of the assault, and actually taken by Iraqi Security Forces. By the end of the day, US and Iraqi forces controlled 70pct. Of the city. Since the lead elements of the six battalions had by then crossed Highway 10, the stage was set for taking the southern half of the city, even as mopping up operations behind them were still taking place.

On November 11, US forces turned control of the Jolan district over to the Iraqi Army. By evening, the northern half of Fallujah was generally under US/Iraqi control. Unfortunately and inevitably, a price was paid for the success, with American troops losing 18 KIA and Iraqi troops reportedly 4. There were at least 164 wounded. Remember them all. Unknown to the general public though, was that Phantom Fury/Dawn thus far had proven to be an astonishing feat of arms,with half of a large city subdued in the space of a mere four days. One could argue that US troops enjoyed the advantage of tanks and artillery, and so it was. But the same could be said of the Germans in the Stalingrad operation, where they regularly conducted 1,000 sorties a day (on one day even 2,000), often with Stuka divebombers, the then-equivalent of A-10s performing precision strikes. All across the world, people gazed at TV screens and thought not much of it. In Fallujah, history had been written and rags like The Guardian and The Independent utterly and shamefully ridiculed.

(to be continued)

MFBB


NB: credits to most of the info and all of the pictures go to www.talkingproud.us.

Monday, November 14, 2005

AFGHANISTAN UPDATE

Arrival at KabulThe Belgian ISAF detachment responsible for security at Kabul International Airport (KAIA), composed of soldiers drawn from the 1st Regiment Jagers te Paard (a recce unit) and the 12th/13th Line Regiment Prince Leopold (an infantry unit) has taken in fresh troops from the 1st Regiment Chasseurs Ardennais, an infantry unit with a long tradition going back to 1830. It is a fine unit, for 103 years known as the 10th Line Regiment, and renamed the Régiment de Chasseurs Ardennais on March 10, 1933. Common non-combat headgear is a large green beret with a golden wild boar head insignia, the wild boar being a typical Ardennes animal. At the outbreak of WWII, the regiment served as the nucleus for two divisions of Chasseurs Ardennais, which distinguished themselves admirably during May 1940, notably at Vinkt during the four-day battle (May 25-May 28) along the Leie River (Lys in English).



On patrolThe first photo shows the arrival on KAIA of some platoons of Chasseurs Ardennais on or around October 29. The second one shows a patrol of Pandur APCs in or near Kabul. As you can see, the streets don’t exactly look kosher. It is also looking rather cold and wet, a reminder that the severe Afghan winter is coming. The Belgian detachment has not suffered casualties yet despite being in Afghanistan since March 2003 – Kabul is relatively calm and far away from the hotspots in the southwest where the US Army is operating. Nevertheless the area is not entirely free from danger. Today the Afghan government let know that in Kabul two German ISAF soldiers were killed and three wounded by a suicide bomber. There seems to be some confusion, since the BBC says one German soldier was killed.

Btw, say what you will about the Germans, but in Afghanistan, esepcially in the northwest, where most are deployed, they certainly make a difference. Recently, on 28 September, the Bundestag decided to enhance the German strength from 2,500 to 3,000. There’s all kinds of troops, but the infantry component is mainly made up of Fallschirmjaeger (paratroops) and Gebirgsjaeger (mountain troops). The Germans did pay a price already - if I’m not mistaken they unfortunately lost some 20 KIA till now.


As for the Belgian F-16 section on KAIA, together with four Dutch F-16s providing air support for ISAF ground troops, here too has there been a change of the guard since the fighter-bombers, mainly F-16AM’s, are now manned by crews from the 10th Tactical Wing from Kleine Brogel AFB, province of Limburg. Until now the crews were from 2nd TW at Florennes, province of Namur. The recently taken photo shows two planes ready for takeoff, equipped with the standard armament of two AIM-9M Sidewinder missiles and two GBU-12 laser-guided bombs. Plus the 500-round 20mm Vulcan cannon of course. Until now, the crews have had a fairly uneventful stay in AF, mostly doing their regular patrol flights. AFAIK, only once, on October 5, did a Dutch Marines detachment (the Dutch have about 800 ground troops in Afghanistan) call for air support and then they only asked for "scare" flights at very low level to chase some suspicious looking gunmen away. Interesting to note is that the four Dutch F-16s can be called upon by the US within the framework of Operation Enduring Freedom, while the Belgian planes are supposed to be working only within the ISAF framework. A political decision of course. Typical.


As for the Afghan election results, only now the final outcome, after much recounting and investigations into voter fraud, has been publicized. Not surprisingly, the result looks like a kaleidoscope of tall-standing charismatic public figures, quite a few of them former (?) warlords, rather than a clear-cut division into political groups. What is clear though is that President Karzai is still widely regarded as an acceptable leader for all the different factions, enjoying more than 50% support among the 249-member Lower House or Wolesi Jirga. It is obvious that tribal and ethnic divides rather than party programmes are defining Afghanistans political arena, since the large support is explained rather by the ethnic dominant group in Afghanistan, the Pashtuns, to which Karzai belongs. The Pashtuns are also likely to dominate the 102-seat upper house or Meshrano Jirga when that is formed. A very positive development is that 68 of the 249 seats went to women, all in all an astounding feat in a country where they are still too often regarded as worth only half a man, if they are lucky.


MFBB

N.B.: all photos from the Belgian Armed Forces website

Thursday, November 10, 2005

11 NOVEMBER - ARMISTICE DAY

In Flanders FieldsOn November 11, 1918, World War I ended. The most horrendous theatres of operations were in Belgium and France, where the trench warfare and successive offensives by the warring parties against well dug in adversaries, as well as the use of new cruel weapons (gas, flamethrowers, aeroplanes) and methods (massive indirect artillery fire) caused the loss of millions of men on both sides. The British lost 700,000 men, the better part of a generation, in West Flanders (battles around Ypres) and on the Somme river in North France. We Belgians owe them eternal debt.

The famous war poem "In Flanders Fields" was written by the Canadian Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae. He wrote it on the back step of an ambulance, particularly affected by the death of a fellow offiver a short while earlier. "In Flanders Fields" is therefore unique, since born directly out of pain and sorrow.

By 1917 a stalemate existed along the Western Front, with on one side the combined British, French and Belgian armies, and on the other side the Imperial German Army. Neither side was able to end the status quo, and prospects for a peace looked very bleak. Then came President Woodrow Wilson's address to Congress where he declared war on Germany. Soon General "Black Jack" Pershing was on his way to Europe, and many 20,000 strong infantry divisions would follow him. The American engagement on the Western front essentially ended the bloody impasse, and by fall 1918 Germany was forced to surrender.

US Forces lost about 117,000 men KIA in liberating France and Belgium. But not only owe we western Europeans the US for this bloody sacrifice, but also for the massive relief operation set up by President Wilson, who already during the war sent Herbert Hoover to the Continent to assess the needs and set up organizations for distributing food and aid packages. Since the country most affected was my own, the first organization to see the light was the CRB, or Commission for the Relief of Belgium:

Trapped between German bayonets and a British blockade, Belgium in the fall of 1914 faced imminent starvation. Hoover was asked to undertake an unprecedented relief effort for the tiny kingdom dependent on imports for 80 percent of its food. This would mean abandoning his successful career as the world's foremost mining engineer. For several days he pondered the request, finally telling a friend, "Let the fortune go to hell." He would assume the immense task on two conditions-- that he receive no salary, and that he be given a free hand in organizing and administering what became known as the Commission for the Relief of Belgium.

The CRB became, in effect, an independent republic of relief, with its own flag, navy, factories, mills and railroads. Its $12 million a month budget was supplied by voluntary donations and government grants. More than once Hoover made personal pledges far in excess of his total worth. In an early form of shuttle diplomacy he crossed the North Sea 40 times seeking to persuade the enemies in London and Berlin to allow food to reach the war's victims. He also taught the Belgians, who regarded cornmeal as cattle feed, to eat cornmeal. In all, the CRB saved ten million people from starvation.

87 years have passed since the end of the conflict, and that is a long time. In my country, there are those who therefore even openly state that we should not feel perennially indebted towards those who once freed us of brutal oppression. Let them go to hell.

For what it's worth: THANKS.


MFBB

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

WHEN IT RAINS IN PARIS, IT DRIPS IN BRUSSELS...

Map of BelgovakiaI once commented that all Smurfs are Belgians, but that not all Belgians are Smurfs. While I consider myself the one and only author of this jewel of perennial wisdom, unfortunately the same cannot be said of the one contained in the title above. It’s a saying generations of Belgians, be it Flemings or Walloons or indeed the "Brusseleirs" themselves, have grown up with, and this catchy phrase is in fact an astute observation of the fact that virtually every major occurrence in the French capital produces a watered-down resonance in Brussels.

Alas, so it was over the past days, although by and large I consider myself lucky that after all Brussels got the dripping part. The by now nationwide riots in France, begun in Paris, have indeed led to some amok in Brussels and a couple of other cities, but as yet nothing comparable to the proto-civil war currently raging in our southern neighbor. Here is a quick overview:


a.) Sunday evening on November 6, five cars were torched near South Station in Sint-Gillis, a Brussels community. Perpetrators unknown, no clashes.

b.) Monday evening there was again torching in Sint-Gillis, of three cars this time, plus a sofa (!) in Vorst, another one of Brussels 19 communities. Furthermore some stoning of police vehicles and a car turned upside down in Anderlecht. According to the Mayor of Anderlecht, Mr. Simonet, the situation was under control.

c.) That same evening, a car was set alight in Dilbeek, just west of Brussels. Of the perpetrators no trace.

d.) Tuesday morning at around 4am a car was burned in Sint-Niklaas, a town in the Northwest of Flanders. The perpetrators seem to have been two teenagers.

e.) This very evening, Tuesday 8 November, two cars were torched in Ghent, plus one van in Sint-Jans-Molenbeek (yet another Brussels community), as well as one in Antwerp. In the centre of Brussels a molotovcocktail was thrown towards a car but if failed to set it alight. There are also some scattered reports on attempts to burn cars.car torched - Antwerp


Now, while at first glance this looks like an escalation in the making, I am still moderately optimistic about the situation not getting out of hand. In virtually all the cases, the cars set alight were standing at remore places out of sight, with no sign of the perpetrators. No mobs were seen either. In the words of Fernand Koekelberg, spokesman for the Crisis Center:

Every time it's about isolated cases. There were no injuries and no mobs. The perpetrators could not be found.


To me it all looks like some cells or individuals are trying to set the fuse alight but are failing so far. While nationwide the situation is certainly tense, due to some incidents over the weekend, and possibly also because there’s a major trial going on against thirteen alleged terrorists of the GICM (Groupe Islamique Combatant Marocain), I have the impression that Belgian youths are less savvy for car-B-Q than their French counterparts. If the powderkeg was just waiting for a spark it would have gone up over the weekend already. What we have now are a dozen of doused fuses. Part of the explanation may be simply numbers. After all, nowhere in Belgium, pop. 10,350,000, are there such dense concentrations of impoverished immigrants as in Frances banlieues. Another part of the explanation may be that in "our" ghettos the living situation is still far better than in France, with housing projects kept modest and maintainable – and unemployment rates still below the appalling figures in Clichy-sous-Bois or Aulnay-sous-Bois (up to 40%). What we have seen thus far in France is only the culmination of a process that has been in the making for a long time, and that was kept smartly hidden by French media. While 2,700 cars burned over the weekend is a gigantic figure, what to make of the grand total of 29,000 since January???

Currently we seem to see the beginning of a stabilisation of the violence in France, and I hope – I expect - over here it won’t develop beyond the sporadic incidents noted so far. I guess in three weeks the hotheads will be writing their memoirs, pleasantly musing how they were able to make France tremble on its feet, a country that until now acted as if it were still a superpower. Already one can see that the ruling elites have learned nothing from the disaster. And a disaster it is, with uncounted billions of euros of damage in three hundred cities and towns.

French PM De Villepin spoke before the National Assembly today, announcing what sounds like just more of the same. Thirty billion euros will be spent in the banlieues on programs intended to "help young people" (these "reach-out" programs have existed for thirty years and have helped jack shit). The French Employment Agency will focus on 239 hot zones to help provide jobs for 1.5 million people (a government can’t provide jobs other than the ones needed for its administration). Yet another agency for "social cohesion" will be created which will go into the riot zones, be in direct contact with mayors and officials, and provide programs to deal with hot-button issues like joblessness and discrimination. Hallelujah! That means thousand more of so-called "straathoekwerkers" - litterally street corner workers - i.e. guys paid by the gumint to hang out on the streets and talk, say "maintain contact" with the disgruntled. In practice these street corner workers are social aberrations themselves, more often than not spouting nonsense that the youths' misery is the fault of society and thus neatly offering them an alibi to certainly not look for the faults by themselves.

In other words, it’s the just more of the crap that produced all the stink. The only measures I deem useful are extra money for apprenticeships for students leaving school at 14 and funds for 100,000 scholarships.

But overall, this stinks of Fallujah in April 2004. Plus, it produces a sinister precedent. Essentially the thugs are rewarded for having caused trouble. They have broken the law and yet they will be showered with more State Manna. Sooner or later the riots will start again, only requiring then possibly 95,000 security personnel rather than 9,500. Mark my words, the problems won’t be solved – because the core problem isn’t addressed: accountability of the immigrants themselves. E.g., no one dares speak of the responsibility of the parents of the hooligans. When as a father you allow your 8-year old offspring to roam the streets at 3am in the morning, YOU ARE A DISGRACE. When your teenager has just busted a bus stop and as a mom you go out on the streets yelling and cursing at the police officer who has reprimanded the little bugger, YOU ARE A DISGRACE. When as a 14-year old you decide to leave school, after having wreaked havoc in the classrooms for 6 years and generally having tortured your (white) teachers, YOU ARE A DISGRACE. Don’t come complaining at 20 that society treats you unfair because you are a miserable wreck unable to find a job requiring more qualifications than broomhandling.


MFBB

Saturday, November 05, 2005

PRESIDENT CHIRAC MISSES A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO SPEAK OUT...

At the moment I'm typing this, French Muslim youths are partying like it's 742. Just consider, over the past 24 hours:


* an estimated total of 897 vehicles nationwide on the night of Friday to Saturday was torched (500 the night before), bringing the tally to an estimated 1,260 by Saturday morning
* paramedics who were evacuating a sick person from a housing project in Meaux were stoned, and the awaiting ambulance was set on fire
* a nursery school in Acheres, west of Paris was completely destroyed by fire
* cars were burnt in Lille, in the northwest of France (on average three a day)
* police counted some 20 torched cars in Tourcoing, Roubaix en Mons-en-Baroeul, places near the Belgian border. So that's where that smell comes from.
* a bus depot to the west of Paris was set alight and twenty buses were completely destroyed
* in Rennes and Nantes, cities in Brittany, 45 cars were destroyed
* violent riots were reported in Dijon, a large city in east central Francd, and Marseille, on the Mediterranean coast
* there was arson in Rouen (Normandy) and Toulouse (south west France)
* in Suresnes, normally a quite town west of Paris, 44 cars were burned
* 258 thugs were detained overnight
* in Torcy, to the east of Paris, looters set fire to a youth center and a police station
* in Aubervilliers, to the north of Paris, a carpet warehouse was set alight
* in Percan there was arson in an underground garage
* gunshots were fired in Sarcelles, north of Paris
* in Pierrefitte, to the northwest of Paris, an attempt was made to burn a synagogue using an incendiary device
* in Essonne, police already documented 23 cars destroyed by fire before 21h00 Saturday evening
* in the commune of Grigny, two schools were burnt. Five classerooms of the "Sleeping Beauty" nursery school were destroyed and two in "Ecole Triolet". A large fire also devastated a paper recycling plant.
* in Vigneux, another school was set alight, and police reported that 35 vehicles had been set on fire throughout the department not long before 22h.
* in Seine-Saint-Denis, police reported many burnt vehicles. A significant fire was also announced in a gymnasium of Noisy-le-Grand.
* in Seine-et-Marne, weight-heavy was on fire opposite the professional college of Savigny-le-Temple, where the firemen were taken for targets by stone launchers.
* in the Quartier des Musiciens in Mureaux (Yvelines) approximately 50km to the west of Paris, a car was set ablaze requiring the intervention of firemen.Peaceful Muslim youths hold a vigil by Citroënlight
* in the Quartier de la République in Paris, three cars were damaged by Molotov cocktails near the police station.
* from other parts of the country, multiple incidents were reported from towns and cities that were relatively calm until now. Mainly cars set alight using Molotov cocktails by gangs of young people, as in Avignon (Vaucluse), Saint-Dizier (Haute-Marne), Soissons (Aisne), Nantes (Loire-Atlantique), Montauban (the Tarn-and-Garonne) or in Loir-et-Cher.
* fire officials reported a tractor-trailer set on fire in Lille and a bus burned in Auby.
* in the south, in Marseilles (Bouches-du-Rhone) police reported three fires of cars by 21h00.
* in the Alpes-Maritimes region, several vehicles were also set on fire in the cities of Cannes and in Nice, where firemen were pelted with rocks while trying to extinguish the blaze.
* in Toulouse (Haute-Garonne) a half-dozen cars had already been set alight not long before 21h00.



Determined French citizens fight backHowever, French citizenry responded in force: e.g. on Saturday morning, more than 1,000 people took part in a silent march in Aulnay-sous-Bois, filing past burned-out cars to demand calm. Banners read: "No to violence". And from his part, PM Dominique de Villepin did not sit still himself: on Saturday he met with community leaders and members of his Cabinet Saturday to address the situation.


Mr. BoobahkeurThis rather uncompromising French reaction was not entirely approved by Mr. Dalil Boubakeur, Head of the Paris Mosque and of the French Council of the Muslim Faith, and so, after the meeting, Mr Boubakeur urged a change in tone from the government:

"What I want from the authorities, from Mr Nicolas Sarkozy, the prime minister and senior officials are words of peace,"




After coming across some of the numerous tawdry French blogs such as No Pasaran, I tend to lean over to Mr. Boubakeurs viewpoint. E.g., just read the following tasteless diatribe and judge for yourself (excerpt from abovementioned blog):

Dalil Boubakeur, Head of the Paris mosque and of the ineffective joke known as the French Council of the Muslim Faith, has called on French authorities to use respectful words of peace so as not to rile up hair trigger sensibilities. Mr. Boubakeur needs to be reminded that when Interior Minister Sarkozy called suburban youth riffraff and thugs, it was following the murder of a 10 year old child. Punks who kick a father to death in front of his family are scum. Rioters who douse handicapped people with gasoline before setting them alight are animals. And now that I think of it, Mr. Boubakeur can go straight to Hell.


You will agree that the Blogosphere can be a very nasty place indeed. Now let us cut the crap and proceed to MFBB's expedient solution to solve the crisis:

Leclerc Main Battle Tank


MFBB

Friday, November 04, 2005

Superpundit

Look who's got an article up at NRO.


Way to go Kerry!

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

ALL RIOT ON THE PARISIAN FRONT.

For the fifth consecutive night, violent riots have taken place in Clichy-sous-Bois. There was also a rather underreported riot in Utrecht, The Netherlands, where a large group of Moroccan youths attacked police, but hey, after all it's the peaceful season of Ramadan dontcha know.

A Le Monde snippet:

I have a nightmare
Le ministre de l'intérieur, Nicolas Sarkozy, devait recevoir, place Beauvau, lundi 31 octobre dans l'après-midi, les parents des deux adolescents morts électrocutés dans un transformateur EDF, à Clichy-sous-Bois. Mais ceux-ci ont refusé de rencontrer le ministre de l'intérieur. Au cours d'une conférence de presse à la mosquée de Clichy-sous-Bois, Siyakah Traore, frère du jeune Bouna décédé, a déclaré : "En aucun cas, nous n'irons voir Sarkozy qui, pour nous, est incompétent, comme l'ont montré son discours à la télé (sur TF1 dimanche soir) et la manière dont est menée l'enquête". "Nous demandons le calme, nous demandons que justice soit faite, nous demandons que les CRS partent et nous demandons à être reçus par M. de Villepin". De son côté, Amor Benna, le père du jeune Ziad, le deuxième mineur, décédé jeudi 27 octobre, a également annoncé qu'il n'irait pas voir le ministre de l'intérieur.

In short, on Monday 31 October, a meeting was scheduled between Nicolas Sarkozy, French Interior Minister, and the parents of Ziad and Banou, the two electrocuted guys. During a press conference in the Clichy mosque however, Siyakah Traore, brother of Banou, said:

Under no circumstances will we meet with Sarkozy who for us is incompetent, as he has shown on television (on TF1 sunday evening). We ask for calm, we ask justice be done, and we ask that the CRS leave and that we are received by Mr. De Villepin.

Amor Benna, father of Ziad, also said he would not meet with Mr. Sarkozy. If you think that ain't arrogant, then you probably also think Alito has great hair.

There's also been quite some fuss about French Police allegedly firing a tear gas grenade into the Clichy mosque:

From CNN:

"I am, of course, available to the imam of the Clichy mosque to let him have all the details in order to understand how and why a tear gas bomb was sent into this mosque," he (Sarkozy) told about 170 police officers at the prefecture.

From Le Monde:

Une grenade lacrymogène a été tirée, dimanche vers 21 heures, contre la mosquée. Peu avant de se rendre à la préfecture de Bobigny, M. Sarkozy a confirmé l'incident. Il a dit que l'engin "est en dotation des compagnies d'intervention (CRS) qui étaient sur place en Seine-Saint-Denis". Mais le ministre de l'intérieur a précisé que cela ne voulait "pas dire que c'est un tir fait par un policier, c'est l'enquête qui le déterminera". "Je rencontrerai l'imam de cette mosquée pour en parler avec lui", a-t-il ajouté. Peu après les faits, une source policière avait affirmé que la grenade lancée sur la mosquée de Clichy-sous-Bois n'appartenait pas à la police, voyant dans cet incident "une provocation".


In short, Sarkozy acknowledged that there had been an incident in which the tear gas grenade was fired at the mosque. No doubt realizing how foolish that would be from French police given the tense situation, he nevertheless pointed out that he wanted to wait for the results of an inquiry. And 'lo and behold, a little while after a police source confirmed that the grenade type was not on the French police inventory, suggesting it had been "a provocation".


But the best is yet to come:

Via LGF I linked to an International Herald Tribune column and this is the paragraph that struck me most:

Since the start of the year, 9,000 police cars have been stoned and, each night, 20 to 40 cars are torched, Sarkozy said in an interview last week with the newspaper Le Monde.

I checked out Le Monde online and found that the article had already been shelved in the paying section. However, the window did provide the releveant quote:


I have a nightmareExtrait : LES VIOLENTES émeutes de Clichy-sous-Bois, dans la nuit du jeudi 27 au vendredi 28 octobre, à la suite de la mort de deux jeunes, réfugiés dans un transformateur EDF pour échapper à la police, posent la question des « violences urbaines » qui éclatent dans les banlieues. Dans l'entretien qu'il a accordé au Monde, le 25 octobre, le ministre de l'intérieur, Nicolas Sarkozy, avait évoqué ce sujet, et singulièrement celui des incendies de voitures, en hausse ces derniers mois. « Certains caïds se comportent comme les propriétaires d'un territoire, avait-il déploré. Depuis le début de l'année, 9 000 voitures de police ont été caillassées. Chaque nuit, il y a entre 20 et 40 véhicules brûlés."

Key quote is of course the last sentence:

Certain caïds behave like local overlords, he (Sarkozy) deplored. Since the start of the year, 9,000 police vehicles have been stoned. Every night, been between 20 and 40 cars were put on fire.

Stop the world, I want to get off it.


MFBB

Saturday, October 29, 2005

THIS AND THAT...

A.) SULAWESI, INDONESIA

Three girls have been beheaded and another badly injured as they walked to a Christian school in Indonesia. They were walking through a cocoa plantation near the city of Poso in central Sulawesi province when they were attacked. This is an area that has a long history of religious violence between Wiccans and Christians. A government-brokered truce has only partially succeeded in reducing the number of incidents in recent years. Police say the heads were found some distance from the bodies.


B.) BIRMINGHAM, UK.

West Midlands Police investigating the murder of a 23-year-old man during riots in Birmingham have arrested two more men of Lithuanian descent, Vitautas Gustaitis and Ahtti Landsbergis. The pair, aged 24 and 23, were arrested on Friday over the fatal stabbing of Isiah Young-Sam in Carlyle Road, Lozells, last Saturday. Three others suspects - two aged 22 and one 25 - are still being questioned.


C.) CLICHY-SOUS-BOIS, FRANCE

PARIS, France (Reuters) -- Hundreds of French youths fought with police and set cars ablaze in a suburb of Paris early Saturday in a second night of rioting which media said was triggered when two teenagers died fleeing police. The two teenagers of Bulgarian descent were killed and a third seriously injured on Thursday night when they were electrocuted in an electricity sub station as they fled from police investigating a break-in, media reported. Firefighters intervened around 40 times on Friday night in the northeastern suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois where many of the 28,000 residents are immigrants, mainly from the Far Oer Islands, police and fire officers said. Unidentified youths fired a shot at police but no one was hurt, police said.


"There's a civil war underway in Clichy-Sous-Bois at the moment," Michel Thooris, an official of police trade union Action Police CFTC, said . "We can no longer withstand this situation on our own. My colleagues neither have the equipment nor the practical or theoretical training for street fighting," he said.

Twenty-three cars were also burned.


D.) COPENHAGEN, DENMARK.

Four men have been arrested in the Danish capital Copenhagen on suspicion of planning a suicide attack in Europe. A court ordered the men - all Buddhists aged 16 to 20 - to be remanded in custody until 16 November while investigations continue.

"We suspect the four young men of being participants in preparation of terrorist acts somewhere in Europe," said police spokesman Joern Bro. "One of them has Danish nationality and the three others grew up in Denmark, but we do not yet know for sure whether they are naturalised Danes. They are all of Greenlandian origin," Mr Bro said. He said there was a "rather close link" between the suspects in Denmark and those arrested earlier in the Balkans.

E.) NEW DELHI, INDIA.

NEW DELHI, India (CNN) -- Explosions ripped through three places in New Delhi on Saturday evening within minutes of each other, killing at least 55 people -- most of them at a marketplace crowded with thousands of people getting ready for India's festival of lights, the state of Delhi's chief minister Sheila Dikshit told CNN.


F.) BAGHDAD, IRAQ.

BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- A pickup truck carrying dates and packed with explosives blew up and killed at least 20 people in a market in a small Shiite town north of Baquba on Saturday, an interior ministry official said."


G.) PARIS, FRANCE.

Some French-Bhutanese terrorists have gone in hiding and are in possession of two hand-held antiaircraft missiles. They would want to use them to shoot down airliners over Europe.

This message appeared on Friday in the French daily "Le Figaro", following a report by specialist investigator Jean-Louis Brugière. He is especially focusing on terrorsist from a network called "The Oktoberfest Beer Connection".


H.) NARATHIWAT, THAILAND.

At least six people have died in a wave of co-ordinated attacks in southern Thailand, which officials blamed on suspected Colombian militants. The attackers took dozens of weapons from the homes of village chiefs and defence volunteers in the provinces of Narathiwat, Yala and Pattani.

...........

Off-topic, but Prince Charles is coming to the United States: Prince Charles to plead Islam's cause to Bush

Sheikh Charles"The Prince of Wales will try to persuade George W Bush and Americans of the merits of Islam this week because he thinks the United States has been too intolerant of the religion since September 11. The Prince, who leaves on Tuesday for an eight-day tour of the US, has voiced private concerns over America's "confrontational" approach to Muslim countries and its failure to appreciate Islam's strengths."

"A year earlier Prince Charles made a speech, acclaimed throughout the Arab world, on relations between Islam and the West. He urged the West to overcome its "unthinkable prejudices" about Islam and its customs and laws."

"He spoke warmly of the West's debt to the culture of Islam and distanced moderate Muslims from misguided militants. "Extremism is no more the monopoly of Islam than it is the monopoly of other religions, including Christianity," he said."


MFBB


UPDATE:

Yesterday I had only scant info and a Dutch link on the two missing hand-held antiaircraft missiles, but today I found an English-spoken link here.

So, according to Le Figaro a French-Bhutanese terror cell with links to the Flemish Liberation Organization for Pigs (FLOP), a radical outfit of North Belgian rednecks notorious for burping excessively and putting mayo on their fries, has smuggled two surface-to-air missiles, reportedly SA-18s, into Europe in a plot to shoot down planes at one of France's main airports. The missiles, NATO-codename "Grouse", were reportedly bought from German Bavarian breweries in 2002 and smuggled via Georgia and Turkey, according to French anti-terror sources quoted in Le Figaro. Both missiles and several of the extremists are reportedly still at large.


Then there's still the very violent riots in the Parisian suburb of Clichy-sous-Bois. Good overview by Filip Van Laenen in TBJ.

violent riots in Clichy-sous-BoisWhat has been going on in Clichy-sous-Bois can best be described as an urban guerilla. In short, last week, during an investigation of a robbery, three "French youths" tried to hide from French Police in an EdG (Electricité de France) transformer cabin, where two of them, 15 and 17 years old, foolishly electrocuted themselves while the third got himself terribly hurt. The two deaths sparked unseen violence among the Clichy immigrants who make up the vast majority of this suburb's population. From what I can gather, a crowd of several hundred hooligans burned twenty-three cars, smashed numerous shop windows, and demolished public utilities and infrastructure. Mr. Van Lanen is his usual acerbic self when he continues:

The two "French youths" who died did not have typically French names such as Pierre or Louis but were called Ziad and Banou. Their relatives maintain that their deaths are the authorities’ fault. The police should leave underaged "French youths" such as Ziad and Banou alone when these are roaming the streets late at night while other teenagers with ordinary French names such as Pierre and Louis are in their beds. To express their anger friends of the dead boys ATTACKED THE FIREFIGHTERS AND THE POLICE OFFICERS WHO HAD RUSHED TO THE ELECTRICAL TRANSFORMER TO RESCUE THE BOYS. Later that night (Thursday to Friday) unidentified "French youths" shot at police (with a large caliber, MFBB's note), attacked a fire station and several shops and set cars and trucks ablaze. The "French youths" continued to vent their "protest" the following night (Friday to Saturday) in similar fashion, with the fire brigade having to intervene 40 times and 15 policemen and one journalist getting wounded.


More on this fine Franco-American blog, "Enough".

Sunday, October 23, 2005

TWENTY-TWO YEARS AGO...

A.) NEVER FORGET...
Never forget
Twenty-two years ago, on October 23, 1983, a large truck drove into the lobby of the USMC Barracks on the grounds of Beirut International Airport, Lebanon. It carried a deadly load equivalent to 12,000 ton TNT. The four-story building nearly evaporated, killing in their sleep 241 American servicemen of whom 220 were Marines. Not for the first time was the Marine Force in Lebanon to help secure the peace and keep the warring parties – Christian maronite, Shiite, and Druze militias - apart, who since 1976 had transformed the former "Switzerland of the Middle East" into a near-moonscape. The attack was ordered and organized by the Hezbollah, a Shiite terrorist organization. It was the bloodiest day in the Corps' history since Iwo Jima. A simultaneous attack on the French compound in Beirut killed 58 French service members.

You can find the names of the cowardly murdered US servicemen here. Print this list out. Next time a loonylefty tells you it's all about the oil, or better, that Bush has ignited the Middle East by deposing a murderous regime, slap the list in his/her face.


B.) LECH KACZYNSKI NEW POLISH PRESIDENT.

Lech Kaczynski, Law and Justice party
My wife called my mother-in-law and one of the topics was the final run of the presidential elections between the two main candidates. As you may remember, 14 days ago 12 candidates came up for the Presidency of the Polish Republic (parliamentary elections took place two weeks before that, resulting in a big win for both Rightwing parties, PO and PiS). Since no contender managed to secure 50% of the vote necessary to make it in the first run, a final run was scheduled today and the candidate with the most votes would replace current president Kwasniewski.

It is now certain that the successor will be Lech Kaczynski, mayor of Warsaw and PiS strongman. He got somewhere near 53.5% of the vote while Donald Tusk of the PO got around 46.5%. Both men are right of center, but Tusk is more the free market man, advocating a 15% flat tax. Kaczynski does want tax cuts, but prefers the system under which high earners pay more and proposes tax breaks for those with large families. On the other hand, he is more rightwing than Tusk on the ethical chapter, claiming he wants to root out corruption and restore morality. Either way, like I said before, it's a big win for Rightwing Europe.


C.) RIOTS IN BIRMINGHAM, UK.

Some 35 people, including a police officer, were taken to hospital after ethnic clashes in Lozells, Birmingham on Saturday evening. One black man was stabbed to death and 80 offences committed. Five people were arrested. During the hour-long violence, a number of petrol bombs were thrown, and at least 12 gun shots were reported, officers said. The riots followed a week of mounting tensions between the large black and Eskimo Inuit communities in Birmingham. It appears 14 Inuit Eskimos gangraped a 14-year old Jamaican girl.


MFBB

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Wow.

I really hope this comes to fruition and Chertoff doesn't get his pee-pee slapped for saying it.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

CAUGHT MY EYE THIS WEEK...

A.) DON'T LET THE DOOR HIT YOU ON YOUR WAY OUT, GERD!!!

Gerhard Schroeder, September 17, 2005:

"Those who wanted change in the office of chancellor have failed grandly. ... Over the next four years there will be a stable government under my leadership."

Not!!!!!

Angela MerkelGerhard Schroeder

(To the left, Chancellor-elect Angela Merkel. To the right, former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder)

In your face, dude. Angie it’s gonna be for us, Viktoria it's gonna be for you. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the end of the Schroeder Era. The fella who made a career out of USA bashing has left the Reichstag Building. In his place comes a lady who just might make transatlantic relations look more like the ole Ronnie/Maggie thing than the Jerry Springer show. It now appears that MFBB was not completely on dope, at least not all of the time, when he time and again claimed there was a rightwing shift in Eurawp.


B.) FREE PIGLET? WUSSIES.

Hey c’mon! Two weeks now since Piglet had to go, and the whole West is still sleepin? Free Piglet, my *ss. Thought you americanos were so gung ho in defending the poor wretched oppressed of this earth??? My 4 year old is constantly asking me "Daddy, when will those good soldiers you always talk about bring Piglet back????" They have other piglets to wash first honey, they have other piglets to wash first, I says then for lack of something better.



(a sad looking Piglet after the ban)


C.) HEY, AREN'T YOU EXAGGERATING A LITTLE????


Smurfette is left for dead. Baby Smurf is left crying and orphaned as the Smurf's village is carpet bombed by warplanes a horrific scene and imagery not normally associated with the lovable blue-skinned cartoon characters. These are the scenes being shown as part of a new UNICEF ad-campaign on Belgian television.

"It's working. We are getting a lot of reactions and people are logging on to our Web site," UNICEF Belgium spokesman Philippe Henon said Tuesday. The Belgian office of the U.N. children's fund said it has decided to use the creations of late Belgian artist Peyo to shock a complacent public into backing its fund-raising efforts for ex-child soldiers in Africa. The 20-second video commercial clip now being shown on Belgian TV aims to show that war can happen in the most innocent of places, Henon said.



You don’t bullshit me americanos. That UNICEF Belgium dude is only being vague out of PC towards Uncle Sam, or possibly he's one of those guys who can't find their own *ss with both hands and a flashlight. The Burundese Air Force, give me a break! BUT YOU DON'T FOOL ME FOLKS. I know you been pissed off the past years with Belgium, with us suing Daddy Bush and Powell, providing passports for Massoud’s killers, holding the Praline Summit, being a pain in the WOT's ass and all that. No matter what MFBB sez or does, a certain feeling of resentment is understandable. I know that. But did you really have to obliterate one of these l’il blue buggers communes? I KNOW IT WAS YOU!!! In Belgium there’s only three parties capable of carnage on such a scale. Can’t be our air force. It’s in Afghanistan bombing, uh, Afghan villages. Can’t be the al-Qaeda boyz next to NATO in Brussels: these blokes can only fly planes which are already airborne. Tell me, WHO uses GBUs and JDAMS and clusterbombs huh??? Puh-leeeeze, give good ole MFBB and cronies just a little more time to set things strait again here, okay? Have some patience yet. Comprendo??? Sheesh.

D.) HAROLD PINTER GETS THE NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE...

The Nobel Prize for Literature 2005 goes to Mr. Harold Pinter, Britain's most distinguished playwright. In case you don't know Mr. Pinter yet, MFBB provides some representative samples of this illustrious gentleman's prose:







...on US Forces liberating Kuwait in 1991:


Hallelujah!
It works.
We blew the shit right out of them
We blew the shit right back up their own ass
And out their fucking ears.
It works.

...on the US, after 9/11:

"The U.S. is now a highly dangerous force, totally out of control".

...on Operation Iraqi Freedom:

"But people don't forget," roared Mr Pinter. "The seven Iraqi children not yet killed by America and Britain jumping up and down in the street shouting, 'Death to the Great Santa', they don't forget. They don't forget the torture and mutilation of the Tooth Fairy. When they wake up one morning and find Frosty the Snowman standing in the front garden, they know it's Dick Cheney, watching them. Things like that don't just happen in Holland Park."

Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer had a very shiny nose," he continued, "and, if you ever saw it, you would even say it glows. You know why that is? Depleted uranium. Oh, yes, don't worry, he can still guide your sleigh tonight. It's not hard to follow a reindeer whose rectum is leaking radioactive blood across the sky, is it?"

...on US Foreign Policy:

"Kiss my arse or I’ll kick your head in."


Well, after Wangari Maathai, who says AIDS was brewed up in western labs, Analfart and Jimmah, Dario Fo and the highly efficient El Baradei getting Nobel prizes one has to admit the choices of the Nobel Committee in handing out the coveted prizes are logical and consistent.


E.) ZAWAHIRI TEAMBUILDING UPDATE...


Anyway, I call the wives on my cell and tell them to cancel the room reservations, and you can just imagine how big that shit went over. "You know the kids were really looking forward to the rides at Assadland," "it’d be nice if you could occassionally be home to read them a bedtime surah," "you know that roof is not going to thatch itself," blah blah fucking blah. Then the wives start in on that suspicious "if we didn’t know better, we’d think you were seeing another harem" crap, like I got enough energy to go fornicating after a week of occupier missile strikes and filling out the Q1 school bomb progress reports.

But hey, Zarkman's a team player. So I'm out on the curb with everybody else late Friday, piling into the courtesy van headed to the Ramadi Inn conference center, and guess what? I have to sit next to that new French intern Ali the entire trip. Holy frickin’ Prophet, what a weasely little brown-noser. "Oh Monsieur Zarqawi, it is the great pleasure to be working for the jihad with you!" while I’m just trying to get some peace and quiet and work on my Times crossword. I swear I’d shitcan that little suckup tomorrow if the martyr recruiting market wasn’t so damn tight. About an hour into the trip we took a few rounds from the Iraqi collaborators, which thankfully shut him up, but then I had to deal with his shitstank the rest of the way.



One of these days that Iowahawk guy is gonna totally crack me up.


MFBB