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Friday, April 18, 2003


Where's Raed? In Jail?

Steven Den Beste has a very interesting article on the possibility that Raed Rokan Al-Anbuge, arrested on March 25 in New York City, might have been the author of Where's Raed, last updated on March 24. I have to admit that I have always been sceptical about the Where's Raed blog. A gay man in Iraq? I bet that it would be much safer for an Iraqi to be gay and living in New York. Another point that no one has picked up on is that the fact that Raed Rokan Al-Anbuge was the son of an Iraqi Diplomat probably gave him access to the Internet connection at the embassy, that was probably linked back to the Uruklink network.

Considering that network and security engineering is my day job, and I regularly design systems like this I will offer some conjecture here:

1) If Raed Rokan Al-Anbuge was the son of a member of the Iraqi diplomatic mission at the U.N. he may have had access to a dialup network to the mission office in New York.
2) If I ran the office in New York and was as paranoid as the Iraqi leadership appears to have been, then I would not let my people get AOL, MSN or Earthlink accounts, which could be easily monitored by the CIA, NSA, or FBI.
3) I would install a dedicated modem bank for private dialup networking to the New York office, but all of the Internet access would go through a central location in Iraq.
4) My office network in New York would be connected to Iraq (for this example I will assume that Uruklink is the sole Internet provider in Iraq) via dedicated link. If a dedicated link was not possible I would have a point to point hardware based VPN tunnel with encryption between the New York office and Iraq. I would also probably require all of the New York users (LAN or dialup) use a CheckPoint SecureRemote VPN connection.

In the example above a dialup user would get an IP address out of the Uruklink space regardless of location. If a private network addressing scheme was used then everyone would appear to the Internet to be coming from one Uruklink address.


TV Footage Said to Show Saddam on April 9

Why is this important? There will most likely be a good explanation for the emergence of this tape from U.S. intelligence sources at some point. One note that an Arab expert on MSNBC noted, that I think is very relevant, is that he is convinced that this is a deliberate media manipulation by well funded unnamed Saudi groups. I would venture to guess that the stock of every Sadaam appearance or Sadaam double appearance is being culled for ways in which the can be reedited for "leaking" to the gullible Arab media. The desperation of the Arab media to color the coalition campaign as less successful than it actually was is immense. Of course U.S. networks will gladly run the video as "breaking news" based on the fact that another news organization has already run the story.


Dr. Atkins

Megan Rosenfeld has a nice article in the Washington Post Paying Respect to Low-Carb Visionary, about the untimely death of Dr. Atkins. I cannot possibly begin to say enough good things about the man and his tenacity. All I can do is report his plan worked for me (40lbs lost since Sept. 2002). Naysayers be dammed...


Thursday, April 17, 2003


Why Programmers Should Have Kids

OK this is a bit of a stretch, but caring for infants is sort of like debugging a program. Until they are about 2 years old they are mostly a series of problems to be solved. Baby crying, investigate the possible causes: Hungry, check; Dirty diaper, check; Sibling took their favorite toy, check, etc. It is all about getting through the day with the minimum of disturbance to their environment and your sanity. For those who are creative problem solvers dealing with an infant is for the most part a joy, especially as you find patterns and tricks that make you, but most especially your infant happy. Tickling, Baby Einstien videos, trips to the mall, etc. can all be answers to the problem of bored/crancy/fussy infants. You will get much satisfaction is solving these "problems".

At around 18 months to 2 years old the rules of the game change and it is not at all like debugging a program - it is more like a battle of wills, theirs vs. yours. In this arena programmers may be overmatched by the social and manipulative skills of their children...


Wednesday, April 16, 2003


Erik Kirschbaum of Reuters reports Anti-War Front Collapses as Iraq Gold Rush Begins. An interesting tidbit at the end on the possibility of Germany dropping from the pro-appeasement bloc...

Political analysts said Schroeder's evident discomfort at a St Petersburg meeting last week with the Russian and French presidents showed their alliance was effectively dead and that each would pursue his national interest from now on.



Greg Easterbrook's war wrapup Truth in Advertising at TNR ia must read. An interesting paragraph on renumeration, that I think is actually a very good idea.

As a demonstration of goodwill toward the people of Iraq, our side should pay compensation. Suppose $10,000 went to the family of each civilian killed. Too expensive, you say? If there were 1,300 Iraqi civilian dead, $10,000 for each tragedy would be about the cost of 10 naval cruise missiles. (We launched 800.) Considering the cost-no-object ordnance showered on Iraq, it would be an outrage if we didn't pay at least a relatively small amount for those wrongly killed. If 1,300 is the number, the United States could even pay $100,000 per death for a total expense of less than one night's bombing during the campaign. In addition to being the right thing to do, think of the effect such payments might have on Arab public opinion--communicating that we really do care about typical Iraqis, and that, unlike Arab governments, which kill without compunction, we really do grieve over our errors.


From OxBlog - An excellent article on the vodoo of body counters...

OxBlog HEY, LOOKIE THERE! I have an online article at the Weekly Standard website today on civilian casualty predictions and counts. (Yes, more Herold bashing. But a few other groups come in for some criticism, too.)

But the best part? I got to use the phrase "fools and knaves" in a reputable publication!


Tuesday, April 15, 2003


Creating a new Iraqi government

According to the CIA - The World Factbook 2002 -- Iraq Iraq (pre-invasion) had 18 governorates (muhafazat, singular - muhafazah); Al Anbar, Al Basrah, Al Muthanna, Al Qadisiyah, An Najaf, Arbil, As Sulaymaniyah, At Ta'mim, Babil, Baghdad, Dahuk, Dhi Qar, Diyala, Karbala', Maysan, Ninawa, Salah ad Din, and Wasit. I have not checked the actual boundaries as they relate to the autonomous Kurd region, but important point to make here is that a way to effectively give representation to the various Shite, Sunni, Kurdish groups is to follow the model of the United States.

Consider the struggles of America's founders in dealing with states rights and a central government. Small states were worried about proportional representation which begat the Senate, while large states got proportional representation in the House. And independent judiciary and executive branch, of course, rounded out the equation. States rights advocates wanted local political power and a limited central government, and they got it. 200+ years of history has seen the role and responsibility of the central government increase, but the case can be made that states have signed on to this to a certain extent.

So for all the factions meeting today at Tallil air base in Iraq the real goal should be to carve our United States of Iraq.



Monday, April 14, 2003


Don't miss Esquire's Sex Tips from Donald Rumsfeld.

My favorite:

Dear Secretary Rumsfeld: My wife and I are happily married, but the spark seems to have gone out of our sex life. How can we spice it up? —Harry Blumenthal, Bakersfield, California

Secretary Rumsfeld: There's no great mystery here, Harry. It can't be that hard to understand. You get in there, you do your job, you develop an exit strategy, and you get the heck out of there. That's the way sex works. Why does everything have to be so difficult?


Check this out. I deceided to have some fun with the sayings of Mohammed Saeed al-Sahhaf (Bahgdad Bob - ooops that's Baghdad Bob), so I created the Iraqi Information Minister Quote Generator.


An interesting look at Britian's failed plans to reshape the Middle East in 1955 from BBC - BBC NEWS | Middle East | Lesson from history: 1955 Baghdad Pact. Hopefully the neocon's are studying this...


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