Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: For the kids, if nothing else

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  • recordari,

    The correspondent's dinner speech has also gone viral. And while the timing of it in the context of the Bin Laden situation seems a little chilling, he certainly seemed to come up trumps.

    Or give Trump his comeuppance.

    <droll>

    AUCKLAND • Since Dec 2009 • 2607 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Politico is quoting an unnamed official as saying the SEALs took away a "treasure trove" of computer hardware from the mansion. That could potentially make quite a big difference.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18962 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Damian Christie,

    Or am I misreading something...

    Not at all, and I don't think the Arab Spring makes much difference there. However other polling has been done in Indonesia, which slightly modifies that picture:

    A year or two ago there was a poll - Pew too I think - and when asked if attacks on civilian targets are ever acceptable to defend Islam about 90% of those who had an opinion said no, never. Of the balance about half said under certain circumstances, and 5% said yes. That still gives a figure of about 20m who said yes or perhaps, but you can take comfort that those other 30m liked the man but not his methods.

    It caused a rukus in Indonesia at the time.

    Edit - Russell: snap.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg, in reply to Russell Brown,

    It will be in single figures by now.

    I'm not sure about that though. Rising Islamic fundamentalism is a huge problem in the country - attacks on churches, conservative takeover of local government, and the Islamification of the tertiary institutes are the cause of much concern.

    If you read the Indonesian press, as I do daily, the dominant theme is the threat to the nation from a shift to a far more conservative brand of the religion, especially in the rural areas.

    Partially it's caused by the fact that the education system is so grossly underfunded that the Islamic schools have filled the void, funded in huge part by Saudi Arabia and other gulf states.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3208 posts Report Reply

  • Rich of Observationz,

    That could potentially make quite a big difference

    Yeah, all they have to do is find the file called SecretListOfAllTheWorldsTerrorists.doc and go nail the bad guys. Easy.

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 4463 posts Report Reply

  • Islander, in reply to Jonty,

    I was intrigued to see a young man (I think) holding a placard with Donne's words on it in one of Gemma Gracewood's photos...over on Jolisa's marvellous post & thread-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Gawd, from the maturity of your writing I’d always picked that you were in your 30s.

    I can’t believe you missed Giovanni and me whimpering pathetically on a regular basis about how Lucy is Better Than Us in Every Way and She is Four Years Old. We do it all the time. ;)

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • James Butler,

    Just went into the lunchroom, where the office TV is, and had the dubious pleasure of seeing Rudolph Giuliani on Fox defending “intensive interrogation techniques” by associating them with the intel leading to the strike – sans any evidence that they played any part at all. Made my feijoa taste as bitter as gall.

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 801 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    It would be nice to think there was a moment here. For the kids, if nothing else.

    It must be served up with a helping of despair for Gaddafi’s three grandchildren. The wheels on the bus...

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson, in reply to Danielle,

    I can’t believe you missed Giovanni and me whimpering pathetically on a regular basis about how Lucy is Better Than Us in Every Way and She is Four Years Old. We do it all the time. ;)

    I just thought that meant she was early 30s. People in this bracket tend to make a meal out of minor differences. My wife is always ribbing me about being an old bastard, on account of the 6 months between us.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8589 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to chris,

    It must be served up with a helping of despair for Gaddafi’s three grandchildren. The wheels on the bus…

    Fair call. So long as you factor in what photojournalist Tim Hetherington -- shortly before he was wounded and bled to death in the street last week -- called "indiscriminate shelling" by Gadaffi's forces of civilian areas of Misrata.

    I don't claim to have an answer, but there's a genuine moral argument to be had there.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18962 posts Report Reply

  • chris,

    Fair call. So long as you factor in what photojournalist Tim Hetherington – shortly before he was wounded and bled to death in the street last week – called “indiscriminate shelling” by Gadaffi’s forces of civilian areas of Misrata.

    I don’t claim to have an answer, but there’s a genuine moral argument to be had there.

    There certainly is Russell. The inexorable factor: Osama consistently dwelt on the need for violent jihad to right what he believed were injustices against Muslims perpetrated by the United States and sometimes by other non-Muslim states and the fact that these children were killed by NATO in operation Unified Protector, is as good a reminder as any of what compels the Bin Ladens of this world.

    中国 • Since Jan 2010 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to BenWilson,

    Gawd, from the maturity of your writing I'd always picked that you were in your 30s

    I thought that when she was 14! O_o

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2153 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    I just thought that meant she was early 30s.

    No, I really only get antsy when people were B.A.W. (Born After Wham!).

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Rich of Observationz,

    Yeah, all they have to do is find the file called SecretListOfAllTheWorldsTerrorists.doc and go nail the bad guys. Easy

    Well, I guess you'd be surprised at how much intelligence can be gained from even the deleted sectors of those hard drives. Try not to be too much of an idiot, Rich.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2153 posts Report Reply

  • Christopher Dempsey,

    I don't really know what to feel about all of this. However, my main impression of the event was the speed to which the news spread around the world. That morning (NZ time) I arrived at the office. My co-workers told me the news. We didn't have anything so fancy as broadband, only email.

    We spent the morning in shock as email news spread around. I remember the speed of the email news. This image at the top of the page, arrived in my email box, within two hours of the event. I remember knowing at that point how connected we all were. Someone took the photo, and emailed it around, where it landed in my work email box two hours later, as I quickly calculated. I was astounded. The world had changed in more ways than one.

    Parnell / Tamaki-Auckland… • Since Sep 2008 • 642 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to nzlemming,

    I thought that when she was 14! O_o

    You thought I was seven the first time we ran into each other online? Now I'm disturbed.

    Well, I guess you’d be surprised at how much intelligence can be gained from even the deleted sectors of those hard drives. Try not to be too much of an idiot, Rich.

    Although there's always the possibility they used something like TrueCrypt. I'd laugh.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • andin, in reply to BenWilson,

    I expect for terrorists it will be business as usual. But the US might take the symbolic opportunity to plot a better course.

    Hmmmm, with warnings that stress beware of reprisals. It seems the symbolic opportunity is turning into ramping up of tension. Maybe its business as usual and terrorism is the excuse...still.

    raglan • Since Mar 2007 • 1228 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Hmmm. Hold up on the "we got the goods by torturing KSM" thing ...

    More and more evidence suggests a key piece of intelligence -- the first link in the chain of information that led U.S. intelligence officials to Osama bin Laden -- wasn't tortured out of its source. And, indeed, that torture actually failed to produce it.

    "To the best of our knowledge, based on a look, none of it came as a result of harsh interrogation practices," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee in a wide-ranging press conference.

    Moreover, Feinstein added, nothing about the sequence of events that culminated in Sunday's raid vindicates the Bush-era techniques, nor their use of black sites -- secret prisons, operated by the CIA.

    It appears that certain Bush-era officials are looking for vindication.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18962 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Croft,

    I moved from New Zealand to the U.S. for graduate school in August 2001 and have been here almost 10 years, so this brings an odd feeling of closure. I remember waltzing onto planes, security free, back then. Since then I've repeatedly been taken out of line and searched when boarding a plane when carrying a NZ passport. I doubt things will change. But the U.S. is in a unique position to move on.

    It seems the White House is thinking of releasing the photos of his dead body, but can someone explain how on earth this will give further closure? Surely it will martyr his image.

    Tuscaloosa • Since May 2008 • 19 posts Report Reply

  • Lucy Stewart, in reply to Tim Croft,

    It seems the White House is thinking of releasing the photos of his dead body, but can someone explain how on earth this will give further closure? Surely it will martyr his image.

    I'd think the only reason to do that would be to prove to the doubters they'd killed him. Personally I don't think anything will do that, but they'll be tempted to try.

    Amherst, MA • Since Nov 2006 • 2093 posts Report Reply

  • James Bremner,

    What a great couple of days in the good ole US of A. A feeling of closure, completion, "we got the bastard"!! It was so frustrating that the US with all its resources etc couldn't find that one little prick. It was just so annoying, a feeling of unfinished business. Now that is done with.
    As for cheering in the streets, why the hell not? He was a bastard who killed civillians as his key means, if anyone deserved to get whacked, it was him.
    A great message to those that would contemplate doing harm to the US, "it might take us a while, but we will get you where ever you are, you bastards".
    And yes a vindication of policies post 9/11, which will be hard for many to swallow.. What has Obama changed of Bush's policies? Not much. While on one hand he has banned waterboarding, on the other he ramped up drone strikes on AQ in Pakistan in a big way. Not exactly stepping back from existing policy. Although I don't like that Obama campaigned one way and promptly turned around and for the most part did the opposite, at least he wasn't stupid enough to do something genuinely stupid just to keep a campaign promise. At least he had the smarts to realize what was the right policy set and keep doing it. And yes, some of the info that resulted in getting UBL came from rendition and waterboarding. KSM gave up the nom de guerre of the courier, and KSM didn't give up anything until he was waterboarded, after which he apparently "sang like a canary".

    Good for Obama. I am no fan of the guy but he is like a real President now, He had the gonads to take a big, big risk and made a very tough national security call, and came up big time. Good for him. It may well make a significant difference in next years' election. I still think that main issue will be economics which will be bad ground to play on for Obama ($5 a gallon gas and 8% unemployment will be tough to overcome), but whatever happens from now on, he will go down as the President that got Bin Laden, and that is no small thing.
    Of course they need to release a photo of UBL after he assumed room temperature (love that phrase) to prove for all to see that UBL got some fine American lead in the face. The Hussein daddy and sons and the Z man were all shown and no one went crazy. As for giving him Islamic burial rites, for that bastard, after what he did? He didn't deserve any respect, let alone craven Islamic butt licking.

    NOLA • Since Nov 2006 • 341 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    <i>He didn’t deserve any respect, let alone craven Islamic butt licking.</i>

    Do you actually believe any shit you write, James, or is this some meta-troll. I do love the way certain sections of the American right have defined down any respect for the rule of law, national sovereignty and simple human decency as "craven Islamic butt licking".

    I'm really not going to nauseate myself further by finding (let alone posting) links to people bitching that Bin Laden's body should have been desecrated and photos made public. I'm genuinely shocked at the moral depravity it would take to say crap like that -- animals don't behave like that.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12034 posts Report Reply

  • nzlemming, in reply to Craig Ranapia,

    I just scroll past anything by Bremner and a couple of others. My blood pressure thanks me.

    Waikanae • Since Nov 2006 • 2153 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown, in reply to James Bremner,

    And yes, some of the info that resulted in getting UBL came from rendition and waterboarding. KSM gave up the nom de guerre of the courier, and KSM didn’t give up anything until he was waterboarded, after which he apparently “sang like a canary”.

    Actually, according to the timeline that Wired has put together, KSM didn’t cough up the name until 2007, after Bush had stopped waterboarding, and well after his 183 waterboarding sessions. As the authors point out, if the timeline is correct, that means abusive techniques failed to get the information.

    Diane Feinstein, the Senate Intel chair, has said pretty much the same thing overnight.

    I still think that main issue will be economics which will be bad ground to play on for Obama ($5 a gallon gas and 8% unemployment will be tough to overcome),

    I think you’re right there. The new Pew/WaPo poll from May 2 has a massive turnaround on overall job approval, to 56-38 – but no gain at all on approval on managing the economy.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18962 posts Report Reply

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