Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Some Gave All: Sergeant Barry John Weston

A Military Operations news article

31 Aug 11

It is with sadness that the Ministry of Defence must confirm that Sergeant Barry John Weston, from Kilo Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines, was killed in Afghanistan yesterday, Tuesday 30 August 2011.

Sergeant Barry Weston with his daughters, Jasmine, Poppy and Rose
[Picture: via MOD]

Sgt Weston was killed while leading a patrol operating near the village of Sukmanda in southern Nahr-e Saraj district, Helmand province.

The patrol was participating in an operation to draw insurgents away from the civilian population in order to disrupt their activity and further expand the influence of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

During the patrol, Sgt Weston was fatally injured by an Improvised Explosive Device (IED).

Sergeant Barry John Weston

Sgt Barry 'Baz' Weston was born in Reading on 27 February 1971. He joined the Royal Marines on 30 September 1991 where he impressed from the outset as one of the fittest members of his Recruit Troop.

Upon successfully completing six months of arduous training, Sgt Weston was passed fit for duty on 22nd May 1992 and joined Mike Company, 42 Commando Royal Marines.

He went on to enjoy a varied career which saw him serve in many operational theatres including Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Sierra Leone and Iraq. He distinguished himself as a Reconnaissance Operator, Platoon Weapons Instructor and Recruit Troop Sergeant, amongst many other talents.

Sgt Weston joined Kilo Company, 42 Commando in May 2011 as part of 1 RIFLES Battle Group, Combined Force Nahr-e Saraj (South) in Helmand Province.

He leaves behind his wife, Joanne, and their three daughters, Jasmine, Poppy and Rose.

Sgt Weston's family paid the following tribute:

"We are devastated by the loss of Baz; he was a caring, loving husband and son and a devoted father. He died doing the job he loved and we are very proud of him."

Lieutenant Colonel Ewen Murchison MBE Royal Marines, Commanding Officer 42 Commando Royal Marines, Coalition Force Nad 'Ali (North), said:

"Sgt Baz Weston joined 42 Commando shortly after the start of the tour. He was seconded from 30 Commando, where he had been a lynchpin in the unit and extremely dedicated to his mates and his job. Such was his commitment to the Royal Marines he volunteered, at short notice, to deploy to Afghanistan as a battle casualty replacement.

"Parachuted in as Multiple Commander in to an extremely demanding area with Kilo Company, he rose to the challenge with considerable ease and had an immediate and decisive impact.

"His passion for the men in his charge was obvious and he looked after their interests and welfare with a dogged determination; he was like a father figure to them and they looked on him with the utmost respect. One of life's real characters, he will be remembered for his dry, sharp sense of humour and canny ability to make light of the direst of situations.

"A hugely experienced individual and a weapons and reconnaissance specialist of note, Sgt Weston was an ardent custodian of the highest standards and the finest traditions of the Royal Marines.

"He was selfless and courageous to the end and when his life was tragically cut short, he was leading his men in an extremely high threat area with his trademark professional dependability.

"On the cusp of promotion, he still had so much to give and we have tragically been deprived of one of our finest Royal Marines Senior Non-Commissioned Officers.

"Gone but never forgotten, he will be remembered amongst the great and good and his memory will live on forever. Sgt Weston had two great passions; the Royal Marines and his family; a loving husband and doting father of three, you could never meet a more committed family man.

"At this unbearably difficult time our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Joanne, and his children, Jasmine, Poppy and Rose; may they somehow find the strength to face the days ahead."

Lieutenant Colonel James de Labillière DSO MBE, Commanding Officer, The First Battalion, The Rifles, Coalition Force Nahr-e Saraj (South), said:

"Sgt Weston had been with Kilo Company 42 Commando Royal Marines, attached to the 1 RIFLES Battle Group in Nahr-e Saraj (South) since May. He made an instant impression and quickly placed himself at the heart of the team of 'Black Knights' in Check Point SAQRA.

"The Company has been fighting a constant and pernicious close-in battle against IED layers and gunmen throughout the tour, partnered with the Afghan Police in a crucial area for the Battle Group's campaign.

"Sgt Weston showed his natural leadership and grit when the Multiple suffered casualties, guiding and supporting his team during some tough times. His natural character always shone through; enthusiastic always, laughing – almost constantly, he inspired by his selfless example and was utterly dedicated to the men he commanded.

"He was possessed with the type of humour and approach to life that never went unnoticed and had an instant effect on those around him. He also displayed dedication and commitment that inspired confidence in his men and epitomised the professionalism of the Royal Marines Commando.

"He will be sorely missed but our loss is nothing to that of his family, to whom he was so obviously devoted. Our thoughts and prayers are with Joanne and his beloved girls at this most tragic time.

"Swift and Bold."

Go here, spend some time with this fallen hero, in the words of those who love and know him the most.

Rest in Peace, Sir.

ALWAYS honoured and remembered - with gratitude and respect.

Irene over NY

9/11 Survivor Lauren Manning: Unmeasured Strength

Survivor Lauren Manning finds 'new normal' after 9/11

By Bob Minzesheimer, USA TODAY

NEW YORK – A decade after nearly being burned alive at Ground Zero, Lauren Manning has learned to live with "my new normal." Or, as she says, "I dwell in an imperfect place, but it feels just right to me."

At lunch at Philip Marie, her favorite Manhattan restaurant — her husband, Greg, proposed to her here, on bended knee, in 1999 — she needs both of her hands to hold a glass of iced tea.

That's because her hands, along with 82% of her body, were severely burned on 9/11 — part of the story she tells in her memoir, Unmeasured Strength (Holt, $25), published today.

Her daily life is "all compromises," she says, rather matter-of-factly. "But I don't dwell on the compromises. I think about the outcomes. So what if I can't hold a glass in one hand? Or if I have to hold a knife and fork differently? At least I can."...

Go - NOW - and read the rest of this about another amazing 9/11 survivor here.

Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Kathi

Russell E. Tucker Sr.
Russell E. Tucker Sr.
72 years old from Buffalo, New York
1899? - 1971
U.S. Marines

Seven years shy of a century later, Russell E. Tucker Sr. got his due Friday at a ceremony where he was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart Medal for wounds he suffered as a Marine in World War I.

In June of 1918 Russel Tucker and his fellow Marines marched into German machine gun fire in Belleau, France and drove the enemy back. Russel, then only 19-years-old, was shot in the temple and in the right hand losing part of his knuckle on his index finger. But because there was no such award as the Purple Hart at the time it's taken almost a century for it to finally be awarded.

You can read more about Russel Tucker, Sr. here

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
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Tuesday, August 30, 2011

To White House: 9/11 is a day of REMEMBRANCE!

As the 10th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on New York draws closer, apparently once again the Mouth in Chief is trying to tell us all how to respond.

It really is no surprise that as usual the MIC works cynically at 'framing the response' to the 9/11 10th anniversary, and of course, no surprise that the msm airwaves are all atwitter with talking heads pontificating, as some of us reach for more bp meds in our fury at this latest blatant attempt by the MIC to remove the remembrance of that day from the lexicon and substitute the notion of 'service.'


SOME of us need no 'guidelines' on how to honour those we lost on 9/11. SOME of us do not need to look to a government site (Serve.Gov) 'to find ways to help within their own communities.

Some of us most certainly do NOT need a repeat of the MIC picture holding a paintbrush at a photo-op demonstrating his commitment to community service on 9/11.

For some of us - you know, those who lost loved ones on 9/11 - there is no 'positive moving forward' or, as one talking head was quoted as saying, 'getting over it.'

The msm may be doing their usual parroting of the BHO party line, but no family even remotely connected to the terrorist attack on American soil that day, needs YOUR guidance on what that day really means. YOU may call for a one day of service; these families live with the loss from that day The families of the First Responders that day, the service their loved ones gave, is a sacrifice they live with forever. Calling any 9/11 a call to one day of service makes a mockery of the enormity of the many who served their fellow countrymen and women that day.

FACT: I don't care what flowery, insincere words you, as Mouth in Chief, use in your attempts to change the sacred, solemn meaning of 9/11. MANY of us see right through it for what it is. And heartfelt it ain't.

The only way to recognise our 9/11 fallen is to REMEMBER and honour what they gave that day. You, Mr President, have proved woefully inadequate for the task of leading any of us in that profoundly sacred duty.

There is a saying that goes something like: Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

Mr Obama: GET OUT OF THE WAY and shut *** **** up!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Gilad Shalit: Another Birthday in Captivity

From Israeli Soldier's Mother:

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Happy Birthday for Gilad

Today, Gilad Shalit is 25 years old. He's a man - by every definition of the word. By age, by experience, by maturity. He was last seen by his family, friends, and fellow soldiers, when he was 19 years old. There is a world of difference between who he was and who he is now.


Happy birthday, Gilad. We all want you to come home. We have not forgotten you, we will never forget you. May next year's birthday find you home with your family, far from the memories you have gained over the last years...

There is much more (plus video) here.

More here.

Praying that next year you'll be home where you belong.

Music and Me

You can chase a dream that seems so out of reach
And you know it might not ever come your way
Dream it anyway


You can pour your soul out singing a song you believe in
That tomorrow they'll forget you ever sang

Sing it anyway Yeah, sing it anyway
I sing, I dream I love

And I dooooooooooo!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Aqsa Parvez Memorial dedication in Israel

Aqsa Parvez Memorial Grove dedication in Israel, August 24

Wednesday at American Independence Park in Israel we had the dedication of the Aqsa Parvez Memorial Grove, dedicated to her memory and those of all victims of honor killing. This was the first public declaration anywhere by anyone that we will not allow these girls to be forgotten, and will keep speaking out against this barbaric practice until law enforcement authorities take decisive action to stop it spreading further in the West.

Much more, plus pictures and video, here.

Remember Aqsa? No? Aqsa, a 16 year old Toronto woman, was murdered in 2007 by her father and brother. I wrote about her:

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Aqsa Parvez: Rest in Peace

Aqsa Parvez was a victim of the 'religion of peace.' Living in Canada, she was murdered by her father and brother:

Father, son plead guilty to Aqsa Parvez murder

Mississauga, Ont., teen strangled in 2007 after argument over hijab

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 15, 2010 | 6:27 PM ET

The father and brother of Aqsa Parvez, 16, have pleaded guilty to killing the Mississauga, Ont., teenager in 2007.

Muhammad Parvez and Waqas Parvez pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Tuesday and now face automatic life sentences.

Initially it was believed by police that Muhammad Parvez had killed his daughter, but in court it was revealed that the brother had strangled Aqsa.

"[Muhammad Parvez] decreed she should be murdered, but Waqas Parvez is no less guilty. He had so many opportunities in those days to stop his father," said Crown prosecutor Mara Brasso inside the Mississauga court.

"The plan was in play at least two or three days before it happened. He never warned Aqsa. He never warned police. Even when they got to the home he obviously didn't falter on the threshold, on the doorstep and he carried on and murdered her," said Brasso.

"Home," said Brasso, "was the most dangerous place for her."...

Read more here.

I originally wrote about Aqsa on
Tanker Bros when she was killed. At the time (and yes, still today,) I was outraged that muslims across the country were calling for calm, and saying none of us should jump to conclusions, or blame Islam. The muslims would have had us all believe that Aqsa's death was, rather, a case of domestic violence. To refresh your memories, I am going to copy my column from TB in full below:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

What happens over there...

...has nothing to do with us"? How many times have we heard this? How many times have the complacents among us said "
we should all just leave the middle east alone, and they won't bother us?" "Not our business, since it is not here in our countries.."

How many times? Well, folks, as I have been saying all along, What is happening "over there" has EVERYTHING to do with us. Don't believe me? Take a look:

Aqsa Parvez. The 16-year-old clashed with her devout
Muslim family over strict rules. (source)

Think that is "over there"????? Think again. That young woman lived in Mississauga, (a suburb of Toronto,) Canada. Lived there, that is, until Wednesday when her father - "a devout Muslim" - killed her. ..

You will know I had much more to say, here.

For me, Aqsa became yet another indelible face of that so called 'religion of peace.'

Pay attention, and NEVER forget Aqsa.

Family Matters Blog: Talking Natural Disasters With Kids

With Irene hovering, a timely article via the DoD:

Family Matters Blog: Talking Natural Disasters With Kids

By Elaine Sanchez
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Aug. 25, 2011 – I got a call from the school counselor yesterday about my son. An earthquake that had rattled windows and walls on the East Coast the day before also had rattled my 7-year-old.

Yesterday, he was so nervous about an aftershock that his teacher sent him down the hall to the counselor to talk about his fears. My son flooded the counselor with questions, she told me. “What if we get another earthquake? Why do we have to go under our desks? Why would we go outside?”

All valid questions, we agreed.

But the tricky part is finding the right answers. And I figured I’d better do that soon, since another natural disaster, Hurricane Irene, is due to strike the East Coast this weekend. I’ve already caught my son nervously listening to weather reports to see if the storm will hit Maryland.

After some research, I learned the most important thing I can do is create an open environment so my son feels comfortable asking questions. Here are some other tips for talking to kids about natural disasters, courtesy of the American Psychiatric Association’s Healthy Minds, Healthy Lives website:

-- Give children honest answers and information. Children usually know, or eventually will find out, if you're making things up. It may affect their ability to trust you or your reassurances in the future.

-- Use words and concepts children can understand. Gear your explanations to the child's age, language and developmental level...

More commonsense here.

Friday, August 26, 2011

It's Friiiiiiiiiday!

Support the troops :)

Citizens and Subjects

Food for thought from War On Terror News:

Friday, August 26, 2011

Citizens & Subjects

Throughout the majority of history, the common man has been a subject of the government. A subject is dependent on the ruler of the land for every benefit, for every grace given, for his livelihood, and he is subject to the whims of the ruler, to the dictates and decrees of the ruler. In history, their have been benevolent kings, who ruled their subjects graciously and mercifully, but they ruled their subject, and the subjects had gratitude for their wisdom and grace.

In Ancient Greece, arose the city-states, with citizens, rather than subjects. Citizens had responsibilities, and rights. They were free men, with a responsibility to educate themselves on the responsibilities to learn what it took to take part in their self-governance, in the direction of their lives and the laws their government put upon them. Citizenship was earned, by the residents of the city. It had responsibilities. The Greek City-States were powerful and one colony of it grew to a republic and then an empire: Rome.

Rome's decline began even as its empire grew. Its Caesar was not meant to be an Emperor, but an Emperor he became. Its citizens became its subjects, as the empire grew, even as the citizens of Rome retained their rights, their security, and their benefits. Its citizens forgot and abandoned their responsibilities, because they had those benefits.

Eventually, the citizens, even of Rome, became the subjects of the Caesar, of the Emperor. The powerful concept of citizenship, of the government of the people was lost to history, to the Dark Ages, along with the technological advances the era of citizenship had brought. The era of fealty, of kingdoms, of subjects, returned. Again, kings ruled their subjects, their lords, their serfs, their counts, and barons. Some ruled with grace & mercy, but ruled they did. They were the educated elite. They were entitled by birth, intelligence, and divine intervention to rule the unwashed masses, to whom they granted house, food, health and doctor, peace and war. It was the ruler, the lord, the baron, the king whom secured the borders and ruled his subjects....

And there is more. Go read here.

Libya: Nuclear experts warn of "dirty bomb" risk in aftermath

From Jihad Watch:

There is the matter of Gadhafi's chemical weapons stockpiles. Together with the radiological materials, they could make for the jihadist garage sale of the century, matched only by a similar potential scenario in Syria. "Nuclear experts warn of Libya "dirty bomb" material," from Reuters, August 24:

A research center near Tripoli has stocks of nuclear material that could be used to make a "dirty bomb," a former senior U.N. inspector said on Wednesday, warning of possible looting during turmoil in Libya.
Seeking to mend ties with the West, Libya's Muammar Gaddafi agreed in 2003 to abandon efforts to acquire nuclear, chemical and biological weapons -- a move that brought him in from the cold and helped end decades of Libyan isolation.

We may find out now if he had a backup plan, or how thorough he really was in disarming.

A six-month popular insurgency has now forced Gaddafi to abandon his stronghold in the Libyan capital but continued gunfire suggests the rebels have not completely triumphed yet.
Olli Heinonen, head of U.N. nuclear safeguards inspections worldwide until last year, pointed to substantial looting that took place at Iraq's Tuwaitha atomic research facility near Baghdad after Saddam Hussein was toppled in 2003.
In Iraq, "most likely due to pure luck, the story did not end in a radiological disaster," Heinonen said.
In Libya, "nuclear security concerns still linger," the former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said in an online commentary. Libya's uranium enrichment program was dismantled after Gaddafi renounced weapons of mass destruction eight years ago. Sensitive material and documentation including nuclear weapons design information were confiscated....

More here.

NASA: A Tale of Three Galaxies

Thursday, August 25, 2011

One picture...

...says a thousand words.

Once in a while a picture jumps off the screen and kicks you in the heart. This is one of those.

(H/T Buzzy)
The hands of a heavily injured US soldier is pictured in the Medevac of 159th Brigade Task Force Thunder during a flight on August 23, 2011 to Kandahar Hospital Role(official tag line)

And from Buzzy:

Flight Medic Brandon L. holds the hand of a fatally wounded soldater in a Medevac helicopter of 159th Brigade Task Force Thunder @ Kandahar Hospital Role 3, 24AUG2011.

Who also adds:

As to hand holding, we all do it. [Macho huh?] I think some healing energy does transfer somehow, dumb yeah, but you feel something, hard to xplain without getting too mushy.

You can also find more pictures here.

THIS is what war looks like, and I am so grateful that we have medics who put their skills and their hearts on the line for all our troops

Golf anyone? Compare and contrast

Interesting column comparing President Bush's time at 1600 with the current resident. Take a look:

Monday, August 22, 2011
Obama golfs

President Barack Obama at the Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, Mass., on Friday, Aug. 20, 2010. House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina is with the president. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)

( – The White House has released some information about President Barack Obama’s vacation on Massachusetts’ upscale Martha’s Vineyard including his golf games, but no open press coverage of his time on the links has been allowed.

President George W. Bush, who routinely allowed journalists to accompany him on golf outings early in his presidency, told Politico in May 2008 that he decided to give up the game in August 2003 after a bomb attack on the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad that killed a top U.N. official.

“I don’t want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf,” Bush said. “I feel I owe it to the families to be in solidarity as best as I can with them.”

“And I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong message,” Bush said...

Yes, emphasis mine. NO added commentary from me needed. Read the rest here.

(H/T MaryAnn)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Out of the Ashes: 9/11 Trailer

Think about THIS:

Documentary website.

Yes, I AM working on more about this very topic for the weeks ahead.

(H/T you know who you

al-Qaeda involved in attack on Israel???? *gasp*

Quelle Surprise! NOT!

From Jihad Watch:

U.S. intel suggests al-Qaeda role in attack on Israel

Further evidence that "the Egyptians have completely lost the Sinai." "'US intel investigating al-Qaida link to Eilat attacks'," from the Jerusalem Post, August 23:

US intelligence agencies were investigating reports that terrorist groups connected to al-Qaida played a major role in carrying out last week's multi-staged terror attacks near Eilat which killed eight Israelis and wounded dozens more, the Washington Times reported on Monday.
According to the report, a US government assessment of the attacks came to the conclusion that the Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) or the Gaza-based Army of Islam (Jaish al Islam), a Palestinian group sympathetic to al-Qaida, carried out the attacks which emanated from Egypt's Sinai peninsula.
Israeli officials have blamed the PRC for the attacks and killed several of the Gaza-based Palestinian terror organization's members in IAF air strikes, including the group's secretary-general , Kamal al-Nayrab.
The PRC, who played a key role in the abduction of IDF soldier Gilad Schalit in June 2006, has denied all connection to the attacks.
According to the Washington Times report, an initial US intelligence assessment of the attacks identified a new group who may have been connected to the incident, al-Qaida in the Sinai Peninsula.
Egyptian security officials have acknowledged that new groups affiliated with al-Qaida have begun to gain a foothold in the Sinai desert....

You just know there is more here.

Are YOU paying attention?

NASA: Hurricane Irene

Wednesday Hero

This Weeks Post Was Suggested By Michael Golch

RMC Thomas James Reeves
RMC Thomas James Reeves
46 years old from Thomaston, Connecticut
December 9, 1895 - December 7, 1941
U.S. Navy

On December 7, 1941, Radioman, Chief Thomas Reeves was aboard the U.S.S. California. During the attack he helped load the anti-aircraft ammo, by hand, until he was overcome by smoke and fire. For his actions that day RMC Reeves was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor.

His citation reads: "For distinguished conduct in the line of his profession, extraordinary courage and disregard of his own safety during the attack on the Fleet in Pearl Harbor, by Japanese forces on 7 December 1941. After the mechanized ammunition hoists were put out of action in the U.S.S. California, Reeves, on his own initiative, in a burning passageway, assisted in the maintenance of an ammunition supply by hand to the antiaircraft guns until he was overcome by smoke and fire, which resulted in his death." In 1943 the destroyer escort USS Reeves was named in his honor.

These brave men and women sacrifice so much in their lives just so others may get to enjoy freedom. For that I am proud to call them Hero.
Those Who Say That We're In A Time When There Are No Heroes, They Just Don't Know Where To Look

This post is part of the Wednesday Hero Blogroll. For more information about Wednesday Hero, or if you would like to post it on your site, you can go here.
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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Huge bomb making stash found

From MoD:

Afghan forces find biggest ever haul of bomb-making chemical

A Military Operations news article

22 Aug 11

Afghan forces, supported by British troops, have uncovered more than four tonnes of illegal fertiliser, which is used by insurgents to make homemade explosives and improvised explosive devices (IEDs).

Afghan soldiers with the bags of fertiliser found in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province [Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2011]

Hidden in the Lashkar Gah district of Helmand province, the find of ammonium nitrate, an important bomb-making substance, is the biggest made in the UK's area of operations since 2006.

Acting on intelligence from the Afghan National Directorate of Security (NDS), soldiers from BOST 170, an elite arm of the NDS who focus on counter-terrorism, planned an operation out to an area called Khosh Kowa, around 20km east of the city of Lashkar Gah.

In total, sixty troops from BOST 170, partnered with Task Force Helmand's Brigade Reconnaissance Force (BRF), were airlifted in two Chinook helicopters to where the intelligence had suggested the cache was hidden....

Read the rest here.

Bloomberg gets it WRONG - again!

This may be last year names of 9/11 victims are read at memorial service: mayor

August 19, 2011

This could be the last year when the names of every victim in the 9/11 terror attacks are read during the annual memorial service at Ground Zero.

On his radio show today, Mayor Bloomberg said the 9/11 memorial foundation intends to survey family members of the victims and first responders to get their feelings about making changes to the solemn ceremony.

"Some people have said we should go on forever," said the mayor. "Some people have said change is good. The subject's come up a couple of times. I think we've said the foundation board will talk about this. It's on Port Authority land...

"We'll talk to a lot of the family members and talk to a lot of the existing first responders and see what people think. You'll never have unanimity. There will always be dissension. The papers will make a big deal of it. You look at the stuff. It's a quiet news day, cycle, in New York right now so people are trying to make a big deal."...

"...trying to make a big deal."

Bloomberg proving once again how clueless he is. Read the rest here.

"Cease fire"? Rockets continue from Gaza

From JihadWatch:

As expected, jihadists violate Gaza "lull" with rocket fire

The jihadists know the double standard that is in place means that while Israel will observe the "lull," the world will indulge Hamas and its fellow travelers a few slip-ups -- in other words, a few free shots. And here they are.

"Lull breached; rockets hit western Negev," by Shmulik Hadad for YNet News, August 23:

The fragile armistice declared by the Gaza terror groups was breached once more Monday evening, as several rockets were were fired from northern Gaza at Israel's southern communities.

More here.

Also go read Monkey in the Middle, who asks: What Truce?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Rest In Peace Jack Layton

Jack Layton, 61, dies after struggle with cancer

"... Libya belongs to the Libyan people.."

From NATO:

22 Aug. 2011

Statement by the NATO Secretary General on the situation in Libya

The Qadhafi regime is clearly crumbling. The sooner Qadhafi realises that he cannot win the battle against his own people, the better -- so that the Libyan people can be spared further bloodshed and suffering.

The Libyan people have suffered tremendously under Qadhafi’s rule for over four decades. Now they have a chance for a new beginning. Now is the time for all threats against civilians to stop, as the United Nations Security Council demanded. Now is the time to create a new Libya – a state based on freedom, not fear; democracy, not dictatorship; the will of the many, not the whims of a few.

That transition must come peacefully. It must come now. And it must be led and defined by the Libyan people.

NATO is ready to work with the Libyan people and with the Transitional National Council, which holds a great responsibility. They must make sure that the transition is smooth and inclusive, that the country stays united, and that the future is founded on reconciliation and respect for human rights.

Qadhafi's remaining allies and forces also have a great responsibility. It is time to end their careers of violence. The world is watching them. This is their opportunity to side with the Libyan people and choose the right side of history.

We will continue to monitor military units and key facilities, as we have since March, and when we see any threatening moves towards the Libyan people, we will act in accordance with our UN mandate.

Our goal throughout this conflict has been to protect the people of Libya, and that is what we are doing.

Because the future of Libya belongs to the Libyan people. And it is for the international community to assist them, with the United Nations and the Contact Group playing a leading role. NATO wants the Libyan people to be able to decide their future in freedom and in peace. Today, they can start building that future.

War on Terror News has this:
Monday, August 22, 2011

Tripoli Falls to Libyan Rebels

VoA News: Libyan rebel fighters have pushed into Tripoli's central Green Square after moving past the city's outer defenses and announcing they had detained two of leader Moammar Gadhafi's sons, including his one-time heir apparent, Seif al-Islam.

Rebel troops approaching from the west met little resistance as they raced through government positions outside the capital. Thousands of Tripoli residents celebrated as opposition fighters entered the symbolic square that they have renamed Martyrs Square, where jubilant Libyans tore down posters of Mr. Gadhafi and stomped on them. Until recently, the government had used the area for mass demonstrations in support of Libya's now embattled leader.

Rebel leaders acknowledged early Monday that pockets of resistance still remain in and around Tripoli. A spokesmen said opposition fighters had surrounded the Bab al-Aziziya compound where they believe Mr. Gadhafi may be holding out, but that they are reluctant to begin an all-out assault.

A rebel spokesman said insurgents sent a group of fighters into the capital by sea from the port of Misrata. He also said the elite presidential guard in charge of protecting Mr. Gadhafi had surrendered, enabling the opposition to seize large parts of the city.

Earlier, the International Criminal Court confirmed that Seif al-Islam is in detention. He is indicted along with his father and Libya's intelligence chief on charges of crimes against humanity for allegedly planning and ordering illegal attacks on civilians in the early days of the violent crackdown on anti-government protests....

More - including a timeline of the the citizens uprising - from War on Terror News here.

BBC is carrying live reports from Libya here.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Every Day Hero

Meet Marine Corps Sgt. Tristeza Castellanoz:

What began as a casual interest in photography for Marine Corps Sgt. Tristeza Castellanoz has grown into a long-term hobby, a method of expression and a potential career for the Nyssa, Ore., native. U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Rashaun X. James

By Marine Corps Cpl. Rashaun X. James
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing

CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan, Aug. 15, 2011 – Marine Corps Sgt. Tristeza Castellanoz hasn’t let her deployment here get in the way of her passion for shooting – pictures, that is.

Capturing moments in time is a passion for Castellanoz. What began as a casual interest in photography has grown into a long-term hobby, a method of expression and a potential career for the Nyssa, Ore., native.

Castellanoz’s interest in photography began when she was around 13, she said, when she always had an abundance of film rolls to be developed, full of whatever images she captured in the world around her.

Now Castellanoz is an aviation operations specialist deployed here with 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing. As the wing’s air tasking order chief, she oversees air support requests from Marines and their coalition partners operating in southwestern Afghanistan.

Castellanoz has a busy job during her year-long deployment here, but when a lull in her schedule presents itself, she often grabs her professional-grade digital camera and continues to hone her skills, finding her weaknesses and strengths. The thing she enjoys most is photographing people.

“I like seeing how a person grows over time,” she said. “It’s interesting for me to see how my siblings, who all have children now, have grown up and how much their children favor them.”

The people around Castellanoz often become the subjects of her photos. “I took pictures of the Marines in my exercise class and let them have them afterwards,” she said. “My officer in charge was telling me that he sent them to his wife as well as other Marines that work for me.”

Having had no formal training, Castellanoz progresses her skills by experience alone, taking any opportunity to capture a unique moment.

“Since I got my new camera, I’ve gotten a lot of offers from people to come and take photos for them,” she said. “I do photography jobs on the side now, mostly for friends and family. When I went home on emergency leave, I did a photo session for my best friend to give to her father on Father’s Day.”

Castellanoz said she has received several offers to photograph weddings and other events, but has had to turn them down due to her deployment. However, being deployed to a foreign land yields its own set of unique opportunities....

Go read the rest here.

Thank you for your service, Sgt!

Music and Me

Saturday, August 20, 2011

9/11: Ten years on, every single day

The msm and the rest of the world may have shifted their focus back on to 9/11 since this year is the 10th anniversary of that terrible day. However, a reminder (if one is needed) that the families of those we lost on 9/11 live with their loss -

A mother remembers Keith Fairben

Keith Fairben, 23, of Floral Park, was a paramedic with New York-Presbyterian Hospital. He died helping the injured in the south tower.

A mother remembersHis mother, Diane, said Fairben -- her only child -- "had a real gift" as a paramedic. A longtime member of the Floral Park Fire Department along with his father, Kenneth, he had a "rapport with patients that was quite extraordinary," she said.

At 6-foot-4, he was an imposing figure. "He looked like he could stomp on you, but he had the biggest heart," his mother said. "One of his friends said to me Keith was the only person in high school no one had anything bad to say about."...

More here.

Carol Gies of Merrick, whose firefighter husband Ronnie died in the attacks, says:

"You move on a lot, you move on tremendously," she said. "But not a day goes by that I don't think of my husband; not a day goes on that I don't think of Ronnie."

Go read from more of the families here.

And of course, for more on Keith, from those who love him the most, go here and here (for starters.)

Iran seizes 6500 Bibles, citing rich missionary conspiracy

From Jihad Watch:

As the propagation of non-Islamic faiths is forbidden under Islamic law, missionary work is banned. But that won't stop the mullahs from being paranoid about it, and taking the opportunity to remind the unbelievers of their place in the Islamic Republic of Iran. "Iran Seizes 6,500 Bibles to Stop 'Deceiving' Christian Missionaries," by Fionna Agomuoh for the Christian Post, August 17:

Iran has seized 6,500 copies of the Bible in northwest Iran in what appears to be the latest crackdown by Iranian authorities against Christianity in the country.
Few details are known about the seizure, however, Christian news agency, Mohabat News, reports that Dr. Majid Abhari, adviser to the social issues committee of the parliament in Iran stated, "These missionaries with reliance on huge money and propaganda are trying to deviate our youth."
In a government interview with Mehr news agency, Abhari explained that the Bibles were taken because of governmental concerns that Christian missionaries mean to "deceive" young Iranians with "false propaganda."
"The important point in this issue that should be considered by intelligence, judicial and religious agencies is that all religions are strengthening their power to confront Islam, otherwise what does this huge number of Bibles mean?" he told Mehr.
According to persecution advocacy group, Voice of the Martyrs, missionary work is banned in Iran, though Christian conversion has been growing in the majority Islamic country in recent years.
Conversion from Islam to another religion, known as apostasy, is also a crime in Iran, and offenders are often arrested and tried in court. Recent legislation is aiming to have the crime of apostasy punishable by death.

The death penalty for apostasy comes from Muhammad's own orders, and has clearly survived in Shi'ite as well as Sunni traditions...

Much more here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

NASA: A Pulsar and Its Mysterious Tail

Video: We the People

Back in August 2009, I wrote a column called Barack Obama: The Best Thing to Happen to America. I know some readers thought I had lost my mind - until they actually read what I had to say.

I was reminded of that column, and my thoughts back then, when I was recently sent this video:

[H/T Sylvia....]

I believe in America..


3AM and all is quiet in Bratville. Hard to believe it has been over three years since Assoluta Tranquillita 'opened its door'...when I threw out my very first column called "Silence." At that time, I had recently 'graduated' from what I like to call my apprenticeship on one of the best milblogs, Tanker Bros. At that time, I resisted the calls to start this site, believing as I did, and still do, that the internet is already overcrowded with too much empty noise.

Much has changed since those days in Bratville, and within the global community, I have learned so much, but the world, it seems, not so much. Just as current events prove certain universal truths remain constant so, too, do I still look to silence for my own truths. Decided to reprint today the very first column from the genesis of this site. Read on:

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


"Silence is the mother of truth."

So said Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister for two terms in the late 1800's. He was also a writer with many adventures in publishing to his name. You can read more on him here.

At first glance, the above statement might seem paradoxical coming from a politician and a writer. For both professions, words are seen as the currency. However, I believe that both professions sometimes give the practitioners a more acute awareness, respect for the power of the word. That some politicians and some writers choose to debase that currency is a topic for another day ;)

As a writer myself, I have great reverence for words. I have always been aware of the impact of words. Conversely, I also have come to know that within
silence is great tranquility. Silence also has great impact. Just as I use words as tools to convey truths, so I revel in silence. I need silence, sometimes, to find my own truths.

Words used carelessly can send out huge negative ripples. Words not chosen well, can completely negate the truths that we should be sharing from our hearts. The heart needs no words to convey meaning. Oftentimes, our heart truths are better conveyed through silence - not words.

In today's world, with its seemingly incessant noise, it can be hard to find silence. I constantly seek out times of silence so I might listen, hear, the truths we all have within us. Ironically, in the "wee small hours of the morning" when my world sleeps, is when I most become one with the truths only found within silence. Silence, for me, actually speaks very loudly. Think about that - it is not as contradictory as it may at first appear.

For me, silence is sometimes splendid; IS to be embraced, welcomed. For me, within silence IS tranquility.

How about you?

And yes, the eagle still soars :)

It's red shirt Friday

This Canada Goose wears red every day to show support for our troops - and so can you.!

Denmark extends Libya mission

Written by defenceWeb Monday, 15 August 2011


Denmark will take part in NATO operations against Libya for another three months, and will allow the rebel National Transitional Council to send envoys to Copenhagen.

On Thursday the country announced its six F-16s would continue to participate in Operation Unified Protector after the current mandate expires later this month. Four of the F-16s actually take part in combat missions while the remaining two are on standby.

"There is a broad agreement that the strategy we have chosen is the right one," Danish Foreign Minister Lene Espersen told AFP.

"The pressure must remain on Gaddafi, so we will maintain our strategy, but adjust it so that it fits the developments of the past couple of months," she said.

"We agree that Denmark must be patient and steadfast. We will continue both the military pressure on Gaddafi and our political efforts to find a political solution to the problems in Libya," she said.

On August 9, Denmark declared the two remaining Libyan diplomats, appointed by the Gaddafi regime, as being persona non grata (unwelcome people) and ordered them to leave the country. Denmark subsequently identified envoys from the rebel National Transitional Council as legitimate representatives of Libya.

"We have chosen to say that we are positively inclined to letting the National Transitional Council have a political representative in Denmark in order to have a partner for political dialogue so we are also able to ensure they move along the road of democracy," Espersen said.

Only one party, the leftist Unity List-the Red-Green Alliance, opposed extending the mandate. "We have broad consensus among most political parties in parliament about this military mission, so I do not see any changes in the Danish policy towards Libya," Mogens Lykketoft, the foreign policy spokesman of the main opposition Social Democrats, told AFP.

Denmark was one of the first countries to offer air assets for the international air campaign to protect Libyan civilians from Gaddafi’s forces.

Its fighter jets have been participating in the mission since March 20 and are stationed at the Signonella base of the Italian island of Sicily.

Meanwhile, neighbouring Norway became the first country to set an end date to Libya operations and withdrew its remaining four F-16s at the beginning of this month.

Originally, Norway had six F-16s engaged in operations over Libya but withdrew two on June 24 as part of an agreement to bring back all F-16s on the first of August.

On June 10, the centre-left government announced it would slowly withdraw its F-16s based at Souda Bay on the Greek island of Crete, saying that Norway’s small air force could not sustain a large contribution for a long period of time.

The UK recently sent another four Tornados to the region, filling the gap created by the F-16s’ departure. NATO has around 250 aircraft under the command of Unified Protector.

Out of NATO’s 28 member states, only eight have flown combat missions over Libya since it took over command from the United States on March 31. These include the UK, France, Canada, Belgium, Denmark, Italy and the United States.


Thursday, August 18, 2011

7 Dead, Over 25 Wounded After Terror Attack

And make NO mistake, this IS a TERROR attack. From Monkey in the Middle:

Thursday, August 18, 2011

So much for working towards a 2-State Solution. There can be no "solution" to the conflict in the region as longs as the Arabs refuse to renounce terrorism against Jewish civilians.

Today the world saw another "fine" example of Arab Military Tactics.
Seven people were reported dead and at least 25 injured in a three-stage terrorist attack along Israel’s border with Egypt on Thursday.

IDF forces were still searching the area around Eilat and the Egyptian border out of concern that there may be terrorists still in the area. Sources said that it is possible that there were as many 20 terrorist in the area, both in Israel and on the Egyptian side of the border.

They added that there may be another terrorist cell hiding in the area. IDF and special police counter-terrorist forces killed seven terrorists during the three coordinated attacks.

The terror attack began at noon Thursday when terrorists opened fire at an Egged bus traveling on Road 12 near Eilat.

Several minutes later, a number of bombs went off next to an IDF patrol traveling along the border with Egypt. There were also reports of mortar fire from Egypt into Israel. The terrorists apparently then moved on to another spot and fired an anti-tank missile at another vehicle, injuring a number of passengers....

There is video, and much more here. GO read it.

Pay attention..