Monday, July 28, 2003

Odai and Qusai ; the unintentional martyrs

I haven't been posting much recently because quite a lot has been happening that infuriates me, and I tend to lose focus when I'm mad. One of these events was the apparent deaths of Odai and Qusai Hussein. The manner of their deaths completely dispelled a number of media-created myths about them and challenged the credibility of many others.

According to commonly accepted knowledge, Odai and Qusai, despite being brothers, hated each other intensely, and even attempted to have each other killed more than once. Yet these brothers died together, defending themselves and each other.

Commonly described as cowardly and corrupt, they were said to have stolen billions before fleeing to Minsk or Damascus or Monaco, yet they died at home in Iraq, fighting to the end against impossible odds.

For Iraqis, I am sure that the deaths of Odai and Qusai will bring mixed feelings. After having felt betrayal and disgust at rumors of Saddam's sons having escaped to exile, Iraqis were informed that not only were the brothers in Iraq, but they had fought the Americans to the death. While I am sure that the un-conditional haters of the old regime will see no significance in this, those resisting the American occupation either overtly or covertly will be inspired.

Whoever or whatever Odai and Qusai were, or however much they were hated in life is almost irrelevant now, because in being allowed by the Americans to make the honorable sacrifice of falling in combat, the brothers achieved a kind of redemption. And now in refusing to surrender the corpses of the dead for burial and making a public spectacle of their deaths, the Americans are bringing more and more attention to their deaths, and dishonor to their killers. Whether or not the Americans intended it, Odai and Qusai have been given martyrdom.

Saturday, July 19, 2003

Egypt's paper tiger will roar forever..

I deserve a medal, really, I do!Once, not so long ago, there was a war in a certain country in Europe. I was drawn to this war for personal and moral reasons. At the tender age of 18, I travelled to the above-mentioned European country and volunteered for frontline service. I saw and did many things. After one year had passed, I decided that I had seen and done enough things, and asked to be discharged as was my right after a full year of combat service. About a year later I was awarded a wartime service medal by the country I had served.

As any veteran of any war will tell you, I am fiercely proud of my wartime service, but I also harbor a deep hatred for those who claim to have done and seen what they clearly haven't. You would be amazed at how many people claim to have been in war when they haven't. I would say that out of every 5 "veterans" I have met, only 1 has turned out to be bona fide. When I discover this kind of lie I feel that my own service has been dishonored, and I am tempted to inflict extreme violence on the offendor. It might sound extreme, but if you ask any (real) war veteran about this I am sure he will concur.

True heroes only pleaseIn 1983, Hosni Mubarak, who had been president for less than two years since Anwar Sadat's death, awarded himself the highest military decoration in Egypt, the Order of the Sinai Star (pictured left). He is very proud of this medal, as it is the topmost on the long list of his military decorations that is displayed on his personal website.

What is the Order of the Sinai Star? The Sinai Star was awarded to about 200 people (almost half of them posthumously) in the aftermath of the 1973 October War. Since that war, only 15 of these medals were awarded, all posthumously, to the commandos and pilots who fell in Cyprus in 1978, during an attempted anti-terrorist operation (For reasons unknown, they were attacked upon landing by Cypriot regular army forces).

I have the honour of personally knowing two individuals who were awarded the Order of the Star of Sinai. One of them parachuted under heavy fire behind the Barlev line into occupied Sinai on October 6, 1973, and led units in the capture of Israeli anti-aircraft and artillery units. His unit sustained unbearable casualties but nevertheless prevailed. The second is my aunt's husband, who (I can't be too specific, sorry) commanded a large force in and around Suez during the war, and led several key units across the canal in the initial cross-water assault.

Anwar Sadat was known to be extremely careful about who received this medal. Each commendation was scrutinised and carefully judged before the medal was awarded. One reason perhaps was that this medal was posthumously awarded to Sadat's own brother, Atef, who was shot down over Sinai on the first day of the October war. Sadat often wore his brother's medal around his neck (leading to some false rumors that he had also awarded himself the medal). The medal was only awarded to those who had shown unusual bravery in battle, and whose actions had caused serious damage to enemy forces. Perhaps in memory of his brother, Sadat made sure that the medal was awarded only to the deserving few.

The key phrase for wannabes, and I hope our noble President-monarch is paying attention , is bravery in battle. Every single recipient of the Sinai Star, every single one, had amply demonstrated his courage under fire, and in many cases made the ultimate sacrifice for his country, all, that is, for the very last recipient - Hosni Mubarak.

Hosni Mubarak has has never been in a battle zone. He served as a Tu-16 bomber pilot for the EAF, and afterwards commanded a wing of Tu-16s in the 1960's, before becoming EAF commander. Never once did he directly participate in combat. Mubarak's service is of course commendable, and he deservedly received many service and merit decorations, but on what grounds was he awarded the nation's highest military honor? Did he paddle accross the Suez Canal in a rubber dinghy like my uncle? Did he parachute into occupied Sinai from a helicopter like my other friend? Did he command a tank in armored assaults on Israeli columns? Did he fly fighter-bombers low-level all the way to Haifa and Tel-Aviv for precision strikes? I met one Egyptian fighter ace who during his career had been shot down twice, once by friendly fire. He didn't receive the Sinai Star for his actions, yet King Hosni did!

Shame! Shame on you Mr. President!!!

Thursday, July 17, 2003

Congress received a Blair-ing..

I like to be in Ameerica, OK by me in Ameerica!I'm sitting here trying to peacefully code a small software utility (in C of course), but someone switched on BBC world and I got treated to the sight of Tony Blair addressing the US congress. Just yesterday he was being laughed at and abused by his entire parliament, and here he is today telling jokes, shedding crocodile tears, and waxing love about America and everything American. I almost expected him to pull out a cowboy hat and put it on. My brother asked: "is he trying to get a job in the USA or what? LOL..












Saturday, July 12, 2003

Latest Arab Street gossip...

Joo Nazi!Wondering what is the hot topic of discussion in the coffee shops in Egypt? The latest bombings and diplomatic intrigues in Palestine? The growing anti-American guerilla resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan? Guantanamo Bay prison? The sudden suspension of free trade agreement (FTA) talks between Egypt and the USA? Nope, none of these topics are currently of any interest to most Egyptian armchair analysts.

I haff my veys...Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi's remarks comparing a German official to a Nazi and the reaction of Gerhad Schroeder are much more interesting. Everywhere I go, people are talking about Berlusconi's latest retort to German ire at his "Nazi" remark. So far I am rather confused; I don't know whether people are just happy for a bit of comic relief from all the bad news that has been going on for so long, or whether this is more of the head-in-sand culture of denial that has become a constant feature of our society ever since Sadat threw away the victories we should have gained in 1973.

Anyway, I wonder what Berlusconi would have to say if the head of Egypt's gestapo-like "Administrative Control Agency", General Hitler Tantawi were to visit Italy (No, I'm not joking, there really is an Egyptian general by that name).




Sunday, July 06, 2003

Phrack #61 in 12 days...

This picture is only here because it looks cool...OK, this has nothing at all to do with the Middle East, but it's my blog and since it's an Arab blog, it can't be a democracy, can it? Anyway, Ever wondered where Neo and Trinity learned their hacking skills? From Phrack magazine, of course! Phrack is releasing issue #61 on July 18 or soon thereafter. I can't wait. And this time they even posted a teaser, with links to some of the most vital Phrack texts ever produced:
PHRACK MAGAZINE is one of the longest running electronic magazines in existence. We taught Trinity how to use nmap [2] and how to code her ssh crc32 exploit [3]. Morpheus believes in our prophecy [4]. Neo cant stop thinking 'it feels more real when I read phrack than when I do not'.

Since 1985, PHRACK MAGAZINE has been providing the hacker community with information on operating systems, network technologies and telephony, as well as relaying features of interest for the international computer underground. PHRACK MAGAZINE is made available to the public, as often as possible, free of charge.

The staff is throwing in one red pill after another to get the release done on schedule, do your part and submit a paper. PHRACK MAGAZINE -- only for those who know how deep the rabbit hole goes.


Sincerely,

PHRACK MAGAZINE STAFF
phrackstaff@phrack.org

[1] An agent told us that there might be a hardcover release.
[2] Port Scanning, history and applications
[3] Smashing the C stack with buffer overflow vulerabilities
[4] The conscience of a hacker, by Mentor
[5] sorry madonna.

Bring 'em on!

Hey George, pull my finger! A couple of days ago, President Bush dared Iraqi guerillas to attack American forces. "Bring 'em on", he said, and went on to say that the USA has sufficient forces to crush any resistance. I wonder what US soldiers in Iraq think about Bush's challenge. Stan Goff, formerly of the US Army special forces, was wondering the same thing, and wrote some words:

In 1970, when I arrived at my unit, Company A, 4th Battalion/503rd Infantry, 173rd Airborne Brigade, in what was then the Republic of Vietnam, I was charged up for a fight. I believed that if we didn't stop the communists in Vietnam, we'd eventually be fighting this global conspiracy in the streets of Hot Springs, Arkansas. I'd been toughened by Basic Training, Infantry Training and Parachute Training, taught how to use my weapons and equipment, and I was confident in my ability to vanquish the skinny unter-menschen. So I was dismayed when one of my new colleagues--a veteran who'd been there ten months--told me, "We are losing this war."

Related Link: Full text at counterpunch.org



Thursday, July 03, 2003

Anti-government ECM

This story is actually a few months old, however I just remembered it now and thought it would be worth ranting about here. After the terrible Luxor tourist massacre in 1997, the wise and illustrious GOE (gov. of Egypt) undertook a wide scope of security measures across the country. GOE officials, being the evil, money-grubbing sweetheart economists that they all are, naturally had to find some way to profit from all the activity and spending that was going on, and so they came up with a crude, yet ingenious method: Force businesses to buy stuff from GOE-approved companies. And so it happened that every hotel in the land was required to purchase walk-through metal detectors and security camera systems from a certain GOE-approved company, or else face the bureaucratic music. Multiply x (profit per unit) by y (number of hotels in Egypt) and you will get an idea of the bucks thus nefariously earned by our glorious leadership.

Six years on, they seem to have run out of customers for the metal detectors, because they are proposing a new mandatory "security upgrade": Every toursim-registered vehicle or vessel must be equipped with GPS tracking equipment, again provided by a single, GOE-approved company. Vehicles lacking the properly sanctioned and licensed equipment will not have their registrations renewed. Supposedly the GOE will build an enormous high-tech room filled with gadgetry that will allow the continuous tracking of every tourist vehicle or vessel, thus apparently increasing everyone's safety. Something tells me that the GPS hardware is going to be even more exhorbitantly priced than the metal detectors were.

In my humble opinion, metal detectors and GPS trackers aren't going to help in the fight against extremists and terrorists, unless by defeating terror you mean lining the pockets of oligarchs like Alaa Mubarak & co. (in case you don't know, Alaa is Hosni's capitalist swine of a son).

In a desperate, yet forceful cry of protest against the rampant nepotism of the GOE, I'm going to go ahead and post a link to this article in Phrack magazine, issue #60, which details the do-it-yourself construction of a powerful GPS jammer. And especially for the occasion, I'm going to coin a new phrase for my fellow revolutionaries: "Freedom CAN be won by the flip of a switch."

Wednesday, July 02, 2003

Hamas goes international

Just in time for all the diplomatic shenanigans going on, The Hamas (Palestine Info) website is back online, with multiple servers in different countries, serving the site in an Al-Qaeda-esque array of languages (Persian, Urdu, Arabic, Malawi, Russian, and English). I wonder if American & Israeli script-kiddies will be able to take the site(s) down with DOS attacks this time.

The site has undergone a radical change, providing a more mainstream face to Hamas. One interesting point worth noting is that the site doesn't actually mention the fact that it belongs to Hamas, although almost every other news article praises Hamas in some way. Nevertheless, the new site is pretty informative, and doesn't take ages to download like the old site did. I'm almost tempted to move the link from the "freaky Arab propaganda" section, but choose to side with caution, and see what happens.

Latest Palestinian rantings

image shamelessly stolen from palestinechronicle.comI've never really warmed to Ramzy Baroud's over-emotional scribblings, but his latest rant over at Palestine Chronicles is almost OK. I wish he'd develop a more proud and steeled patriot's attitude, like that of Ahmed Amr (who unfortunately stopped writing last year). Baroud comes off to me as a bit of a sissy, with his endless wailing about Palestinian and Arab tragedies, without any proud fighting rhetoric for manly balance.







Tuesday, July 01, 2003

"God told me to do it"

My brane herts...This text from the Moscow Times is so amazing that I quoted the whole thing ad-verbatim. Kind of a new take on the Nuremburg defense:

Errand Boy - God Personally Told Bush To Invade Iraq
By Chris Floyd
The Moscow Times.com
6-30-3


"God told me to strike at al-Qaida and I struck them, and then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East."


MOSCOW -- SO, now we know. After all the mountains of commentary and speculation, all the earnest debates over motives and goals, all the detailed analyses of global strategy and political ideology, it all comes to down to this: George W. Bush waged war on Iraq because, in his own words, God "instructed me to strike at Saddam."

This gospel was revealed, appropriately enough, in the Holy Land this week, through an unusual partnership between the fractious children of Abraham. The Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz was given transcripts of a negotiating session between Palestinian Prime Minister Mahmoud Abbas and faction leaders from Hamas and other militant groups. Abbas, who was trying to persuade the groups to call a cease-fire in their uprising against Israeli forces, described for them his recent summit with Ariel Sharon and Bush.

During the tense talks at the summit, Bush sought to underscore the kind of authority he could bring to efforts at achieving peace in the Middle East. While thundering that there could be "no deals with terror groups," Bush sought to assure the rattled Palestinians that he also had the ability to wring concessions from Sharon. And what was the source of this wonder-working power? It was not, as you might think, the ungodly size of the U.S. military or the gargantuan amount of money and arms the United States pours into Israel year after year.

No, Bush said he derived his moral heft from the Almighty Himself. What's more, the Lord had proven his devotion to the Crawford Crusader by crowning his military efforts with success. In fact, he told Abbas, God was holding the door open for Middle East peace right now -- but they would have to move fast, because soon the Creator and Sustainer of the Universe would have to give His attention to something far more important: the election of His little sunbeam, Georgie, in 2004.

Here are Bush's exact words, quoted by Ha'aretz:

"God told me to strike at al-Qaida and I struck them, and then He instructed me to strike at Saddam, which I did, and now I am determined to solve the problem in the Middle East. If you help me, I will act, and if not, the elections will come and I will have to focus on them."

You can't put it plainer than that. The whole chaotic rigmarole of Security Council votes and UN inspections and congressional approval and Colin Powell's whizbang Powerpoint displays of "proof" and Bush's own tearful prayers for "peace" -- it was all a sham, a meaningless exercise.

NO votes, no inspections, no proof or lack of proof -- in fact, no earthly reason whatsoever -- could have stopped Bush's aggressive war on Iraq. It was God's unalterable will: the Lord of Hosts gave a direct order for George W. Bush to "strike at Saddam."

And strike he did, with an awesome fury that rained death and destruction on the mustachioed whore of Babylon, with a firestorm of Godly wrath that consumed the enemy armies like so much chaff put to the flame -- and with an arsenal of cruise missiles, cluster bombs, dive bombers and assault helicopters that killed up to 10,000 innocent civilians: blasted to pieces in their beds, shot down in their fields and streets, crushed beneath the walls of their own houses, boiled alive in factories, ditches and cars, gutted, mutilated, beheaded, murdered, women, children, elders, some praying, some wailing, some cursing, some mute with fear as metal death ripped their lives away and left rotting hulks behind. This was the work of the Lord and His faithful servant, whom He hath raised high up to have dominion over men.

And this is the mindset -- or rather, the primitive fever-dream -- that is now directing the actions of the greatest military power in the history of the world. There can be no doubt that Bush believes literally in the divine character of his mission. He honestly and sincerely believes that whatever "decision" forms in his brain -- out of the flux and flow of his own emotional impulses and biochemical reactions, the flattery and cajolements of his sinister advisers, the random scraps of fact, myth and fabrication that dribble into his proudly undeveloped and incurious consciousness -- has been planted there, whole and perfected, by God Almighty.

And that's why Bush acts with such serenity and ruthlessness. Nothing he does can be challenged on moral grounds, however unethical or evil it might appear, because all of his actions are directed by God. He can twist the truth, oppress the poor, exalt the rich, despoil the Earth, ignore the law -- and murder children -- without the slightest compunction, the briefest moment of doubt or self-reflection, because he believes, he truly believes, that God squats in his brainpan and tells him what to do.

And just as God countenanced deception on the part of Abraham, just as God forgave David for the murders he ordered, just as God blessed the armies of Saul as they obliterated the Amalekites, man, woman and child, so will He overlook any crime committed by Bush and his minions as they carry out His will. That's why Bush can always "do whatever it takes" to achieve his goals. And by his own words to Abbas, we see that he places his election in 2004 above all other concerns, even the endless bloodshed in the Middle East.

So what new crimes will the Lord have to countenance to keep His appointed servant in power?

© Copyright 2003 Moscow Times