Also, I would highly recommend buying a copy of The Auschwitz Volunteer: Beyond Bravery, an English translation of Pilecki’s report about his time in the camp.
Archive for the ‘International’ Category
Tags: Auschwitz, Books, History, Holocaust, International, Poland, World War II
Tags: Anonymous, Arab Spring, Bashar al-Assad, Hacking, Humor, International, Syria, Technology
Hackers leak Assad’s astonishing office emails
Hundreds of emails from the office of Bashar al Assad have been leaked by the hacker group Anonymous.
By Phoebe Greenwood, Tel Aviv
4:30PM GMT 07 Feb 2012
The group used the simple password “1234″ to log into the mail accounts of several of the Syrian president’s closest aids.
Tags: Heart Transplant, International, Medical, Mexico, Miscellaneous, Surgery
Save this one for the Medical Malpractice Hall of Fame… I can totally see one of the medics channeling Jack Sparrow saying, “Where’s the thump-thump?”
Mexican team bobbles heart headed for transplant
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexican medics are drawing catcalls after they dropped a heart being rushed to a hospital for a transplant.
Mexico City police say they used a helicopter to deliver the heart in “a rapid, precision maneuver.” But after exiting the chopper, a medic stumbled and the plastic-wrapped heart tumbled out of a cooler onto the street.
Tags: Arab Spring, Egypt, Foreign Policy, International, Muslim Brotherhood, National Security, Obama Administration
If you only read one article on U.S. foreign policy today, it should be this piece from the New York Times:
CAIRO — With the Muslim Brotherhood pulling within reach of an outright majority in Egypt’s new Parliament, the Obama administration has begun to reverse decades of mistrust and hostility as it seeks to forge closer ties with an organization once viewed as irreconcilably opposed to United States interests.
The administration’s overtures — including high-level meetings in recent weeks — constitute a historic shift in a foreign policy held by successive American administrations that steadfastly supported the autocratic government of President Hosni Mubarak in part out of concern for the Brotherhood’s Islamist ideology and historic ties to militants.
The shift is, on one level, an acknowledgment of the new political reality here, and indeed around the region, as Islamist groups come to power. Having won nearly half the seats contested in the first two rounds of the country’s legislative elections, the Brotherhood on Tuesday entered the third and final round with a chance to extend its lead to a clear majority as the vote moved into districts long considered strongholds.
The reversal also reflects the administration’s growing acceptance of the Brotherhood’s repeated assurances that its lawmakers want to build a modern democracy that will respect individual freedoms, free markets and international commitments, including Egypt’s treaty with Israel.
Don’t be surprised if this becomes a GOP talking point to bash Obama – particularly from Romney or Santorum.
Tags: In Memoriam, International, Kim Jong Il, North Korea
You knew this was going to happen… Somebody edited the video of North Koreans mourning the death of Kim Jong Il and set it to the “I’m So Ronery” song from Team America: World Police.
Tags: ABC News, Arab Spring, Barbara Walters, Bashar al-Assad, Foreign Policy, International, Protests, Syria, Violence
In his interview with Walters, his first sit down with an American journalist since the protests began, Assad denied he ordered a crackdown and blamed the violence on criminals, religious extremists and terrorists sympathetic to al Qaeda he claims are mixed in with peaceful demonstrators.
He said the victims of the street violence were not civilians protesters battling decades of one-party rule, he insisted.
“Most of the people that have been killed are supporters of the government, not the vice versa,” he said. The dead have included 1,100 soldiers and police, he said.
Assad conceded only that some members of his armed forces went too far, but claims they were punished for their actions.
“Every ‘brute reaction’ was by an individual, not by an institution, that’s what you have to know,” he said. “There is a difference between having a policy to crackdown and between having some mistakes committed by some officials. There is a big difference,” said Assad.
“But you have to give the order,” countered Walters.
“We don’t kill our people… no government in the world kills its people, unless it’s led by a crazy person,” Assad said.
At another point he said, “There was no command to kill or be brutal.”
The whole thing is well worth reading and watching, if only to ask yourself if he really does believe what he’s saying. If he doesn’t, he’s a bold-faced liar who won’t take responsibility for his own actions. If he does, he is drinking way too much of his own Kool Aid. I’m not sure which of the two possibilities would be more disturbing.
Andrew Sullivan did a pretty good job juxtaposing images of the unrest in Syria [Warning: Graphic photos/videos] with al-Assad’s comments to Walters.
Kudos to Walters and ABC for getting the big interview and pressing al-Assad on his regime’s crackdown against the opposition.
Tags: Central Intelligence Agency, Foreign Policy, International, Iran, National Security, Predator Drones
The National Journal’s Marc Ambinder has uncovered some more details about that ill-fated drone mission the Iranians have been claiming they shot down.
The super-secret drone that Iran claims to have recovered was on a CIA “Focal Point” mission, gathering intelligence and likely crashed though it remains uncertain whether it was able to self-destruct, U.S. officials told National Journal on Tuesday.
Controllers lost contact with the prized stealth unmanned aerial drone, the RQ-170 “Sentinel”, last week over western Afghanistan, said one government official who spoke on condition of anonymity. Based on its projected glide path, officials assume it fell just inside the Iranian border.
Though the CIA has used the Sentinel to monitor Iranian nuclear convoys before, the precise nature of the mission this time is not known.
The Sentinel is the top-of-the-line UAV, with highly sensitive cryptographic and stealth technology. If it indeed reaches Iranian hands undamaged it will represent a compromise in the latest of U.S. stealth technology, said officials with knowledge of the program.
The key question here is whether or not the drone’s self-destruct mechanism was activated before it went down. If it worked and some of the equipment and technology onboard was destroyed, that would at least mitigate some of the damage to U.S. national security. Regardless, as was the case with the stealth helicopter that went down during the Osama bin Laden raid in May, the Pentagon should assume that if the Iranians do indeed have custody of the downed drone, they will be studying its capabilities and will at a minimum attempt to reverse engineer it themselves, or bring in outside help from China or Russia.
Tags: Ho Chi Minh City, Photography, Traffic, Travel, Vietnam
Check out this amazing time-lapse video of traffic in Ho Chi Minh City:
Having been there myself a few years ago, I can personally attest that yes, traffic in HCMC is indeed that insane.
Tags: Covert Actions, Foreign Policy, International, Iran, Missile Programs, National Security, Nuclear Programs, Nukes, Predator Drones
Two must-reads about recent developments in Iran… Both articles are analytical/speculative, but still worth reading and considering.
First, Danger Room’s skeptical take on Iran’s claim at having forced down an RQ-170 drone flying over western Afghanistan.
Second is this report in the L.A. Times connecting several events on the ground in Iran as evidence of possible covert actions against the regime to sabotage its nuclear weapons and missile programs.
Although both articles are largely based on analysis and interpretation of events, they are well worth reading.
Tags: Al Qaeda, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, Anwar al-Awlaki, Foreign Policy, National Security, Predator Drones, Terrorism, War on Terror, Yemen
Intelwire’s J.M. Berger makes the following observation on Twitter: “The fact Awlaki’s death was announced in Arabic but not English may tell us something about the prospects for Inspire going forward.”