Monday, January 19, 2009

Al Queda Hit by the Plague?!

I couldn't pass up pointing to this story:

The disease, which struck Europe in the Middle Ages killing more than 25 million people, has swept through a training camp for insurgents in Algeria.

The arrival of the plague was discovered when security forces found the body of a dead terrorist by a roadside, the Sun reports.

The victim belonged to the large al-Qaeda network AQLIM (al-Qaeda in the Land of the Islamic Maghreb).

A security source told the paper: "This is the deadliest weapon yet in the war against terror. Most of the terrorists do not have the basic medical supplies needed to treat the disease.

"It spreads It spreads quickly and kills within hours. This will be really worrying al-Qaeda."

Black Death comes in various forms and was one of the deadliest pandemics in human history when it struck in the 1340s killing 75 million people across North Africa, Asia and Europe.

Bubonic Plague is spread by bites from infected rat fleas. Symptoms include painful boils in the groin, neck and armpits. In Pneumonic Plague, airborn bacteria spread like flu. Without medication it can be deadly.

The new epidemic began in the cave hideouts of AQLIM in Tizi Ouzou province, 150km east of the capital Algiers, the Sun reports.

The group, led by wanted terror figure Abdelmalek Droudkal, was forced to turn its shelters in the Yakouren forest into mass graves and flee.

The group now fears the highly-infectious disease could have spread to other al-Qaeda training camps or Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, the paper said.

A source said: "The emirs (leaders) fear surviving terrorists will surrender to escape a horrible death."

Monday, January 05, 2009

Review - The Threat Closer to Home: Hugo Chavez and the War Against America

Douglas E. Schoen and Michael Rowan, The Threat Closer to Home: Hugo Chavez and the War Against America.

In the Preface, Schoen and Rowan explain:
It's important for us to set out this book--why we have spent the amount of time and effort that we have over the last few years writing about Hugo Chavez and working to change politics in Venezuela.

While admiring Chavez's intentions to eradicate poverty and corruption in his country, we have sadly come to believe that Chavez arguably presents a greater threat to America than Osama bin Laden does on a day-to-day basis, and this is our opportunity to set out the reasons why we believe this to be the case.
The authors didn't just "parachute into" Venezuela, sniff around, dig up some dirt and produce an expose. They utilized their extensive experience and contacts in the nation to get to the heart of the problem posed by Hugo Chavez.

In the Introduction, they cover the "five critical fronts of Chavez's initiative against" the United States.
These are his oil; his alliance with Iran; the FARC's guerrilla war in Colombia; promoting anti-American states; and building friendly or so-called soft assets in the United States.
The rest of the work is an amplification on these themes. They are astounded by those who justify his dictator-like actions because Chavez was democratically elected. Perhaps the first time, but not since, they argue. They cover familiar ground concerning how Chavez utilizes Venezuelan oil resources as an economic weapon, often to the detriment of his countrymen. They also explain and document his support of Islamist terrorists and contend the only explanation for such support would be "to harm the United States by any means at hand."

One of their concluding chapters is titled "Useful Idiots", in which they document the lengths to which intellectuals such as Noam Chomsky and Joseph Stiglitz as well as various activists and celebrities and, in particular, former President Jimmy Carter, have gone towards defending or turning a blind eye to Chavez's controversial policies and actions.

In their final chapter, "The Alliance of the Americas", the authors explain how Latin Americans still recent American intervention--both the government and corporations--into the region. They urge for a "post-Cold War, post-Monroe Doctrine relationship of equality with Latin Americans" as the only way to "make the United States a better nation." Clearly, they believe they have the best interests of Latin America in mind and their track record supports this and lends credence to their case against Chavez.