Target Centermass

4/30/2005

Experts Claim Akbar May Never Be Executed

Filed under: — Gunner @ 5:19 pm

Every day that convicted murderer Sergeant Hasan Akbar continues to live is a day too many. Now, some supposedly say he may not meet the justice to which he has been sentenced.

Some experts think Army Sergeant Hasan Akbar may never actually face execution, despite being sentenced to death for attacking his fellow troops.

The military has not executed one of its own since 1961.

Akbar was sentenced to die this week for killing two officers in March of 2003 in a grenade attack in Kuwait.

Currently, there are five people on military death row; three whose cases are in appeals and two are awaiting action from the president.

Akbar’s trial goes to automatic appeal.

Hours after giving a brief, barely audible apology, Akbar was sentenced to death by a military jury for attacking comrades with a rifle and grenades early in the Iraq invasion.

He could have been sentenced Thursday to life in prison with or without parole for the March 2003 attack on members of the elite 101st Airborne Division at Camp Pennsylvania in Kuwait. Two officers were killed and 14 other soldiers were wounded.

[…]

Jurors took about seven hours to reach their decision Thursday. Last week, the same 15-person military jury took just two and a half hours last week to convict Akbar of premeditated murder and attempted premeditated murder.

The sentence will be reviewed by a commanding officer and automatically appealed. If Akbar is executed, it would be by lethal injection.

Although the defense contends Akbar was too mentally ill to plan the attack, they have never disputed that he threw grenades into troop tents in the early morning darkness and then fired on soldiers in the ensuing chaos. Army Capt. Chris Seifert, 27, and Air Force Maj. Gregory Stone, 40, were killed.

Prosecutors say Akbar launched the attack at his camp — days before the soldiers were to move into Iraq — because he was concerned about U.S. troops killing fellow Muslims in the Iraq war.

“He is a hate-filled, ideologically driven murderer,” chief prosecutor Lt. Col. Michael Mulligan said. He added that Akbar wrote in his diary in 1997, “My life will not be complete unless America is destroyed.”

Akbar is the first American since the Vietnam era to be prosecuted on charges of murdering a fellow soldier during wartime.

“Hasan Akbar has robbed me of so many things,” said Tammie Eslinger, Stone’s fiancee, after the sentencing. “He stole my love, my family, my dreams and my future. But he could never steal my spirit.”

Seifert’s widow, Theresa, said she was satisfied with the military justice system. She called Akbar “a nonentity to me.”

Defense attorney Maj. David Coombs told jurors that a sentence of life without parole would allow Akbar to be treated for mental illness and possibly rehabilitated.

“Death is an absolute punishment, a punishment of last resort,” Coombs said.

Yes, death is an absolute punishment. Tell that little whine to the victims, his fellow soldiers that he killed in a cold, premeditated manner. Death is an absolute punishment that won’t come too quickly or too painfully for this creature.

Funny thing about this story, though, is there are no statements from experts doubting his possible execution. Just a headline and an opening paragraph that make claim of those so-called experts.

Laramie Men Face Charges for Snow Phallus

Filed under: — Gunner @ 4:57 pm

It’s spring, and young men’s fancies turn to thoughts of … cold penis sculptures.

Two Laramie men are facing obscenity charges for allegedly building a snow sculpture of a phallus in their front yard.

Brandon Arp, 20, and Aric Davenport, 19, were arraigned Friday in Albany County Circuit Court on charges of promoting obscenity. Both men pleaded not guilty and are free on a $1,000 bond.

If convicted, they could each face up to one year in jail and a $1,000 fine.

According to police reports, the men made the sculpture in the 1200 block of Custer Street on April 21. Reports say the sculpture was “offensive to other residents in the area.”

The sculpture was destroyed, and initially, police said no citations had been issued. That same morning, a second sculpture involving an “anatomically correct snowman” was destroyed in the 700 block of South 17th Street.

Laramie Police Commander Dale Stalder said police questioned whether the sculpture was protected under the First Amendment.

Davenport’s attorney, Michael Vang, has filed a motion challenging some of the claims. Vang said it was unclear who was offended by the sculpture or how it violates Wyoming obscenity laws.

State statutes say a person promotes obscenity if he or she “produces or reproduces obscene material with the intent of disseminating it.”

Additionally, that person is guilty if he or she “possesses obscene material with the intent of disseminating it” or “knowingly disseminates obscene material.”

In this case, Vang said the obscenity statute was “being selectively enforced.” Police failed to show how the sculpture was obscene under the First Amendment, he said.

Sheesh! Alright, folks, now we’re getting silly in our law enforcement. If there’s ever been a harmless obscenity, I’d say one that will shortly melt would qualify.

The selective enforcement issue is exactly why these charges will go nowhere, but a little sense of perspective should have kept them from going this far.

Phil’s Answers are Up

Filed under: — Gunner @ 3:00 pm

Phil has his answers posted to my interview questions. As I’d expected, he did a far better job answering than I did questioning.

4/29/2005

Fall of Saigon — Thirty Years Later

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:27 pm

Vietnam Marks War’s End

Tens of thousands of people gathered here today to commemorate the 30th anniversary of the end of the Vietnam war with the fall of Saigon to Communist forces and the defeat of the US-backed South Vietnamese regime.

Gala celebrations got under way in the southern economic capital, now renamed Ho Chi Minh City, as people massed on the street in front of the former regime’s presidential palace, now called Reunification Palace.

Top leaders including Communist Party General Secretary Nong Duc Manh, state President Tran Duc Luong and Prime Minister Phan Van Khai were joined by Raul Castro, Cuba’s defence minister and brother of President Fidel Castro at the ceremony.

“The victory of April 30, 1975 opened a new era for the Vietnamese people. This glory and this victory belongs first of all to the heroic Vietnamese people,” declared Nguyen Minh Triet, politburo member and party secretary of Ho Chi Minh City.

The glory and victory of the invading North, the actual aggressors along with their Soviet allies, were not to be shared by all of the Vietnamese people, as thousands were subsequently killed by the conquering communists and thousands upon thousands more suffered for almost two generations under the dictatorship of a gasping, dying ideology that now turns to the “aggressor” U.S. for friendly cooperation.

The day is also marked rather differently by John and the denizens of Argghhh!!!. I especially direct you to the remembrances of the day in the comments, where several, including some vets, have posted their memories of the moment. Here’s a painful one from John:

I just stood behind my Dad in the family room, watching the blood flow from the 5 Purple Hearts his tour in Vietnam garnered… as a little bit of his soul leaked out of each one, as he sat watching the television.

In his book Summons of the Trumpet, an excellent history of the U.S. involvement in Viet Nam, Dave R. Palmer did not write of the glory of the fall of Saigon but instead looked at how the U.S. failed an ally and scrambled to save what and whom it could.

Meanwhile, with the time bought by the ARVN stand above Saigon, the United States was able to evacuate most Americans and tens of thousands of South Vietnamese who were related to Americans or were marked for death because of their affiliation with various U.S. activities in South Vietnam. The last group out was extracted in a day-long helicopter shuttle started after North Vietnamese gunners began shelling the city. Two American marines were killed when a round struck the building which had once housed the MACV headquarters. The last to die in the long war, neither had been born when the United States began to back Diem with advisors in 1954.

When the final chopper lifted off, carrying the last marine guards, it signalled the humiliating end to a once bright American dream of preventing a communist takeover of South Vietnam. The trumpet was silent.

That is the true heritage of the day. And the U.S. military has unfairly been forced to labor vigorously to salvage its reputation — globally, historically and in the eyes of the American people — ever since that day thirty years ago, a day when the American military did not lose but the U.S. did.

Death Sentence for Murderous Traitor

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:19 pm

One huge step closer to justice.

A United States soldier has been sentenced to death by a military court for killing two comrades and wounding 14 more in a “hate-filled, ideologically-driven” attack launched on the eve of the Iraq war.

Hasan Akbar, a Muslim, confessed in his diary that “destroying America is my greatest goal”. He is the first soldier since the Vietnam era to be convicted of murdering a comrade during wartime.

The sentence, which will be automatically appealed, makes him only the sixth person on military death row. The last military execution carried out by the US was in 1961.

Relatives of his victims wept as Akbar was shackled and led from the courtroom at Fort Bragg, an army base in North Carolina.

“Hasan Akbar has robbed me of so many things,” said Tammie Eslinger, the fianceé of Major Gregory Stone, who died as a result of the attack at a military camp in Kuwait two years ago. “He stole my love, my family, my dreams and my future.”

Akbar, 34, from Los Angeles, was among members of the army’s elite 101st Airborne Division preparing for the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

After rolling two live grenades into troops’ tents as they slept, he raised his rifle and shot at those who tried to flee the attack.

Maj Stone, 40, was hit by 83 pieces of shrapnel. The other victim, Captain Christopher Seifert, 27, was shot in the back.

In a computer diary dating back 13 years, Akbar documented his hatred for the military and US government, a dislike of white people and conflicting loyalties over the pending invasion of Iraq, which began two days after the incident. “I will have to decide to kill my Muslim brothers fighting for Saddam Hussein, or my battle buddies,” he wrote.

This is the sentence that is deserved and that I’d hoped for, though I did say that I would not be surprised if he managed to dodge axe (or noose or firing squad or whatever is currently proscribed by the military for offing swine). Justice will truly be done when Akbar draws his last, hopefully painful breath.

Third Interview – Phil

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:05 pm

Phil of Shades of Gray (Umbrae Canarum) has asked to be my third interview subject. I’ve had a very difficult time coming up with questions for Phil but have enjoyed reading through his archives while pondering this interview. I find the difficulty surprising as I’ve been reading Shades of Gray for quite some time now. These may not be the greatest of questions but I do hope Phil finds some enjoyment in answering them.

The rules are here. I’ll ask him six questions, even though he only has to answer five and can opt not to answer any one of them:

1. You’re a grad student at my alma mater Texas A&M. What area are you studying and what degree level will do you hope to reach? Will you finish up your graduate work at A&M? What do you hope to do after school, teach or use your studies in another way?

2. A&M has a reputation as one of the more conservative universities in the nation. As a conservative yourself, do you feel that this was part of the attraction for you? Do you feel the reputation is deserved, and have you found that there is any variance in the general political leanings of the undergraduate student body, your fellow grad students and the faculty?

3. “Bleem” is a word you seem to enjoy using on Shades of Gray. Please explain the term, it’s origins and why it has stuck with you.

4. How would you describe your current political beliefs? From your studies, name a political philosopher you feel is close to your beliefs and why? Has any other philosopher over the years caused you to alter your beliefs and, if so, who and how?

5. Name a place any where in the world you haven’t been to that you would want to visit. What would your ideal trip there entail?

6. (Blatantly lifting from my interview by TexasBestGrok) What got you into blogging? If you had to write a mission statement for your blog, what would it be? Do you have any conscious role models for or influences in your blogging?

I will link link to the answers when posted.

4/28/2005

Hammertime’s Answers are Up

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:48 am

Hammertime has his answers up to my interview questions. I find it interesting that the question two, the one I thought a throw-away, was the one he seemed most enthused about answering.

Still to come are questions for Phil. Two interview slots are still available for the meme. If interested, leave a comment here.

4/27/2005

Crying Wolf in the Land of the Mapleleaf

Filed under: — Gunner @ 11:09 pm

Damian Brooks at Babbling Brooks been pointing out the shriveling of the Canadian military for some time. Now, in one thorough post, he collects a lengthy listing of evidence that is, to say the least, very persuasive.

You spot shadows in the woods and yell ‘wolf’. Everyone ignores you.

Read it all. Our neighbors up north have certainly taken a leisurely walk down the path of international obsolescence, whistling merrily along the way. Had the country a fraction of the love and respect for their military and its past glory that it did for hockey, Damian’s efforts would not be needed.

Also, read the comments for a good Tolkien analogy and this sad observation from Damian:

Our military is collapsing, and Canadians don’t seem to care.

A Look at the Day’s Stories

Filed under: — Gunner @ 10:35 pm

Army Funding Running Low, Rumsfeld Warns

Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has sent letters to congressional leaders urging them to pass the final 2005 budget supplemental bill before the Army runs out of operating funds.

The Army has slowed its spending, so it can continue operations in Afghanistan and Iraq through early May when the funds are due to run out, Rumsfeld said.

He sent the letters Wednesday, along with handwritten notes that read, “Our folks out there need these funds.”

Rummy goes on to denounce draft ideas and to discuss armored leggings being evaluated.


British Suspect Convicted in Attempted Missile Sale in U.S.

A British businessman has been convicted in the United States of trying to sell anti-aircraft missiles to terrorists.

The verdict against Hemant Lakhani was announced Wednesday in a New Jersey federal court. Lakhani now faces up to 25 years in prison at his sentencing hearing, scheduled for August 8.

Hard to believe the moronic clown defense didn’t work. Lock up, lose key.

Analysis: Victory is up to Iraqis

Is the United States winning in Iraq? Yes, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says.

“I think we’re definitely winning. I think we’ve been winning for some time,” said Gen. Richard Myers.

His civilian boss, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, took a more circumspect view of the situation. The outcome of the war is up to the Iraqis.

“Winning or losing is not the issue for ‘we,’ in my view, in the traditional conventional context of using the word winning and losing and of war,” Rumsfeld said Tuesday at a news conference. “The people that are going to defeat that insurgency are going to be the Iraqis.”

The story seems to give up hope of Iraq becoming the bright, shining city on the Arab hill that could serve to shake up the Arab world by offering an alternative to the environment that has allowed the radical Islamist view to fester. I still hold out that hope, as it is already starting to bear fruit in the region.

Reagan Presidency Diaries to be Published

“Each day during his eight years in the White House, Ronald Reagan recorded his innermost thoughts and observations in his personal diary,” adds Frederick J. Ryan, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Trustees for the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation. “Although they were not initially intended for publication, we feel that these volumes offer an unprecedented insight into the Reagan Presidency.”

This will be a must-freakin’-own. And I mean hardback. ‘Tis a shame an copy autographed by the author is out of the question. The world would be a better place were that still possible.

Moussaoui Seeks Muslim Land Grave

Moussaoui said that he wanted assistance in ensuring his burial in a Muslim land, otherwise “I will be buried in Arkansas or they don’t give a damn where”.

Arkansas sounds just fine, pig.

New Lebanese Government Calls Elections from May 29

Lebanon’s new government won a confidence vote in parliament Wednesday and immediately called elections, the first without a Syrian military presence for 33 years, to start on May 29.

The announcement, a day after Syria pulled its last soldiers and spies out of Lebanon after 29 years, means parliamentary polls will be held on time as demanded by the international community and Lebanon’s anti-Syrian opposition.

The new cabinet, led by wealthy businessman Najib Mikati, won a ringing 109-1 endorsement from MPs in the 128-member chamber, with three abstentions.

Interior Minister Hassan al-Sabaa then signed a decree for elections to begin on May 29, officials said. Parliament also extended by three weeks its own term, which expires on May 31.

Some sources said there would be three rounds of voting — on May 29, June 5 and June 12. Others said there would be a fourth on June 19. Lebanon usually holds parliamentary polls staggered over several weekends as regions vote in turn.

The Cedar Revolution came to a head. Now it’s come to a vote. Also, feel free to check out the Lebanese Freedom Babes, courtesy of Publius Pundit.

Jaafari Includes Shia, Sunni Arabs and Kurds on Iraqi Cabinet List

After weeks of damaging delays and political wrangling, Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Iraqi’s prime minister-designate, yesterday confirmed that he had completed his cabinet list, which includes Shia, Sunni Arab and Kurdish politicians.

He declined to give details about who would head the 32 ministries, other than to confirm that a Sunni Arab would get the key post of defence. He said delays were due to efforts to include all parties in the government.

“This government could have been concluded within a week by the two major coalitions [Shia and Kurd] but it is our commitment and desire to see that we have a conclusive government that will reach out to the one main [Sunni Arab] community that was not fairly represented in the elections,” Mr Jaafari said.

Better late than never, especially if there’s any payoff for reaching out to the Sunnis, but better never late. Not when lives may depend on it and delay feeds the hopes of the terrorists.

Eric’s Answers are Up

Filed under: — Gunner @ 9:22 pm

Eric has his answers up to my interview questions. As expected, they make for an interesting read.

Still to come are answers from Hammertime and questions for Phil. Two interview slots are still available for the meme. If interested, leave a comment here.

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