Server Issues and SSSD

As you may have noticed, FTB’s daily hits have exceeded our server’s capability and a move to a faster server is in progress. Also due to an overall shitty day (got “Dear John’ed” and had the internet cut out for the majority of the day), I am declaring a Super Secret Squirrel Day. Please take the below /b/ photo dump as my apology.

Also thanks for the continued donations for Donors Choose, keep at it people! Kids are counting on you.

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Today in Iraq – 5 October 2011

Reuters reports (via

RAMADI – A roadside bomb went off and a car bomb detonated in succession in central Ramadi, 100 km (60 miles) west of Baghdad, killing one civilian and seriously wounding 14 others, including five policemen, police said.

BAGHDAD – Two insurgents threw a hand grande at an Iraqi army patrol in Baghdad’s western Ghazaliya district, killing one soldier and wounding another, police and hospital sources said. One of the attackers was captured after a short time.

TAJI – A roadside bomb went off near a bus carrying Iranian pilgrims and wounded four in the town of Taji, 20 km (12 miles) north of Baghdad, an interior ministry source said. Another police source said five pilgrims were wounded. [Read more…]

Today in Iraq – 4 October 2011

Reuters reports (via

KIRKUK – A roadside bomb blew up, killing one person and wounding two others in the southwestern outskirts of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

TAJI – A parked car bomb went off near an Iraqi army checkpoint, killing a soldier and wounding eight people including four soldiers, in central Taji, 20 km (12 miles) north of Baghdad, hospital and police sources said. [Read more…]

Today in Iraq – 2 October 2011

Reuters reports (via

BUHRIZ – Gunmen stormed the house of a leader of a government-backed militia and killed his wife in Buhriz, about 60 km (35 miles) northeast of Baghdad, a local police official said.

MOSUL – A bomb attached to the car of an off-duty army officer killed him in the north of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, a local police source said.

BAQUBA – Gunmen using silenced weapons shot dead two policemen in western Baquba, 65 km (40 miles) northeast of Baghdad on Friday, Brigadier General Jameel Al Shimari, the head of police in Diyala province, said in a press conference.

BAQUBA – Gunmen using silenced weapons also shot dead a civilian in eastern Baquba on Friday, Shimari said.

UDHAIM – Gunmen using silenced weapons shot dead a member of government-backed militia in Udhaim, 90 km (60 miles) north of Baghdad on Friday, Shimari said.

pic of the day:

It has been 3,123 days since the Invasion of Iraq.

Syrian Revolt Enters a New Stage

The Free Syrian Army

The “Arab Spring” continues to affect the Middle East. Protests continue in Egypt in response to slow reforms by the military rule, Libyans continue to weed out the last of the former regime’s strongholds, and Syrians continue to be slaughtered in brutal crackdowns.

But that is changing.

Military defectors in Syria are attempting to form an armed resistance in response to President Bashar al-Assad’s relentless assaults against the public protests opposing his rule. This represents a marked change from the peaceful protests that have been the norm in the country, even in the face of armored tank assaults by the military.

Right now, the “Free Syrian Army” is more bark than bite, full of ambitions but lacking in man power and arms, but desertions in the Syrian army have increased greatly in the past few weeks.

Syrians find themselves at a decision point. Will they go the way of Libya or Egypt? Or is it even possible for peaceful protests to succeed in the face of a government committed to unrestrained violence?

(source: Washington Post)

Soldier Dies in Kirkuk

FORT POLK, La. — The Army has announced the death in Iraq of a Fort Polk soldier from Georgia.

A news release from the Louisiana base on Saturday said that 23-year-old Spc. Adrian G. Mills of Newnan, Ga., died Sept. 29 in Kirkuk, Iraq. He died from wounds suffered when his unit was attacked by insurgents.

Mills was assigned to the 272nd Military Police Company, 519th Military Police Battalion, 1st Maneuver Enhancement Brigade.

(source: Army Times)

Today in Iraq – 26 September 2011

Reuters reports (via

BAGHDAD – Gunmen using silenced weapons killed Mohammed Ali, office manager of the Minister of Health, in the Yarmouk district of west-central Baghdad, an Interior Ministry source said.

BAGHDAD – Gunmen in a speeding car opened fire at a police checkpoint, killing a policeman and wounding two others in the Shaab district of northern Baghdad, police said.

KIRKUK – A roadside bomb killed three people and wounded another in the southwestern outskirts of Kirkuk, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – Gunmen killed an off-duty soldier in the eastern outskirts of Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

MOSUL – Gunmen opened fire at a police checkpoint and wounded a policeman in western Mosul, police said.

pic of the day:

It has been 3,117 days since the Invasion of Iraq.


French Militants Increase Tensions at Jewish Settlements

In an previous blog post, I covered what IMHO was a potentially bad idea by Israel to supplement the army enforced protection of Jewish settlements by arming the settlers with ostensibly non-lethal arms in order to counter possible protests by Palestinians in the wake of their soon to fail UN bid for statehood. My main concern is that actions by the armed settlers in an already tense environment could lead to a violent confrontation as the settlers lack the crowd control training of the army. Non-lethal rounds, in my experience, are used more freely than lethal munitions. Shooting a guy throwing rocks at you with a bean bag round is emotionally and legally easier than killing him but, non lethal rounds if used incorrectly can kill. Miss center of mass and strike your target in the head and he is dead, get unlucky and slam the round too close to the heart and you can cause heart failure. I foresee a possible blood bath if one protestor is shot and dies, as angry mobs are not rational actors. Turning a peaceful protest towards violence or giving extremists the opening they need to push the Palestinians closer to another round of armed conflict.


Armed French citizens ‘tanning under the sun’ in a West Bank settlement [Photo: Jewish Defense League] – From Al Jazeera English

Now the French chapter of Jewish Defense League has sent 55 armed militants to supplement several settlements and they are reported to carry assault rifles. In the picture above, taken from the linked Al Jazeera English article, I count only one of the seventeen weapons that is capable of less than lethal fire, the M203 grenade launcher, unless of course the assault rifles are heavily modified. I doubt these fighters will heed the words of Israeli military authority. Who do they report to? Who commands their deployment? Who will watch them to ensure that deadly force is used only as a last resort and in self defense? Armed fundamentalists of any type are never a recipe for non violence. They have an agenda, unlike the Israeli Soldiers who, if they are anything like American Soldiers, don’t really want to be there in the first place and are following orders of a Government that is not necessarily spoiling for a fight.

Worse, JDL in France has had numerous members convicted of vandalism and violent crime against French Muslims, notably the assault of 4 university students. Not the people I would want with me to keep a complicated standoff from getting worse. As the UN bid for Palestinian statehood marches towards its inevitable no vote from the Security Council, tensions are rising to a breaking point throughout Israel. What was already a powder keg of potential violence now has a French extremist militant standing close by with a lit match.

Today in Iraq – 24 September 2011

Reuters reports (via

MOSUL – Armed men threw three hand grenades at a central bank office, wounding two policemen in central Mosul, 390 km (240 miles) north of Baghdad, police said.

BAGHDAD – Iraqi security forces arrested a senior leader of the Shi’ite militia Asaib al-Haq, or Leagues of Righteousness, in Baghdad’s eastern district of Sadr City, police said.

BAGHDAD – Gunmen using silenced weapons killed a Foreign Ministry employee in Baghdad’s western district of Jamiaa, an Interior Ministry source said.

FALLUJA – Gunmen attacked four houses belonging to former members of a government-backed Sunni militia, killing a man and wounding three other people, on the southwestern outskirts of Falluja, 50 km (32 miles) west of Baghdad, police said.

Quote of the day:

After a rocket was launched from outside one side of the base, flew completely over, and wacked some sheep on the far side, “I like these insurgents, can we keep them?”

It has been 3,115 days since the Invasion of Iraq.