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10401  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War? on: June 17, 2008, 11:07:26 PM
Think anyone is listening? undecided
10402  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 17, 2008, 11:04:45 PM
You are free to not have a cell phone, in addition there are ways around the cell phone issue. As far as cameras, do you think they are readily searchable in most cases?
10403  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War? on: June 17, 2008, 07:11:16 PM
Hitler said what he was planning long before German troops crossed any borders, and then as now America slept.
10404  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 17, 2008, 07:08:48 PM
Depends on how the gov't is doing it. If it required a bar code tattoo and rectally implanted GPS tracking device for everyone, then the price would be too high. Certainly that's not even on the distant horizon.
10405  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 17, 2008, 12:16:58 PM
http://www.lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts224.html

I'd cite the above as a good example of what I was talking about.
10406  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 17, 2008, 11:53:24 AM





June 17, 2008, 9:30 a.m.

Obama’s America Is September 10th America
His latest remarks betray an alarming ignorance.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

This is June 2008. That means it marks the ten-year anniversary of Osama bin Laden’s indictment.
He was first charged by my old office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, in June 1998. That was before the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Kenya and Tanzania (hundreds killed), before the bombing of the U.S.S. Cole (17 U.S. members of the U.S. Navy killed), and before 9/11 (nearly 3000 Americans killed). So it’s fair to ask: How is that strategy of prosecuting him in the criminal-justice system working out?

That’s a question Sen. John McCain ought to be putting to Sen. Barack Obama every day.

Sen. Obama, the Democrat’s presumptive nominee, made some astounding statements yesterday which provided his views on confronting the most urgent challenge facing the American people — that of radical Islam.

Taking aim at the Bush approach of regarding our terrorist enemies as, well, enemies, rather than criminal defendants clothed in all the rights and privileges of those American citizens whom these enemies pledge to kill, Obama asserted:

What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks — for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center, we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated.

And the fact that the administration has not tried to do that has created a situation where not only have we never actually put many of these folks on trial, but we have destroyed our credibility when it comes to rule of law all around the world, and given a huge boost to terrorist recruitment in countries that say, “Look, this is how the United States treats Muslims.”

So that, I think, is an example of something that was unnecessary. We could have done the exact same thing, but done it in a way that was consistent with our laws.

This is a remarkably ignorant account of the American experience with jihadism. In point of fact, while the government managed to prosecute many people responsible for the 1993 WTC bombing, many also escaped prosecution because of the limits on civilian criminal prosecution. Some who contributed to the attack, like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, continued to operate freely because they were beyond the system’s capacity to apprehend. Abdul Rahman Yasin was released prematurely because there was not sufficient evidence to hold him — he fled to Iraq, where he was harbored for a decade (and has never been apprehended).

But let’s assume incorrectly, for argument’s sake, that everyone was brought to justice in that case. What about Khobar Towers, Sen. Obama? After Iran and Hezbollah, perhaps with al-Qaeda’s assistance, killed 19 members of the United States Air Force, the Clinton administration responded with … a criminal investigation. The result? No arrests — in fact, no indictment was even filed until 2001.



After the embassy bombings, the aforementioned bin Laden was indicted along with his top henchman Ayman al-Zawahiri and nearly two dozen others. Exactly six of those men have been prosecuted as a result. And of those, the top-ranking al-Qaeda figure, Mamdouh Mahmud Salim, has never been tried for the embassy bombings. When we gave him all the glorious privileges of the American Constitution, he used his access to free legal help as an opportunity to attempt a kidnapping escape from custody — in the course of which he maimed a prison guard by stabbing him in the eye before being subdued.

Then, of course, there was the October 2000 attack on the Cole in Aden harbor. No arrests, no indictment until well after the 9/11 attacks. The indictment has now been on the books for years as our Yemeni “allies” have pretended to pursue the al-Qaeda perpetrators — who, of course, have been permitted to escape from confinement. There is no prospect of an American prosecution because of the justice system’s painfully obvious limitations. Those terrorists are free to plot more American deaths, unless, of course, our military or intelligence operatives get them first.

And that’s the point isn’t it? Khalid Sheikh Mohammed has been under indictment by the Justice Department even longer than bin Laden. He was first charged in 1996, in connection with the so-called “Bojinka” plot to blow up American airliners as they flew over the Pacific (one Japanese tourist killed during a dry run). The plot was also found to include plans to assassinate President Clinton and Pope John Paul II.

So what happened? Because criminal prosecution is incapable of dealing with the likes of KSM — a highly insulated foreign jihadist operating from terror safe havens sprinkled across the globe — he remained free to plot murder and mayhem for years, finally masterminding 9/11.

KSM was apprehended only after the Bush administration changed strategy and started regarding terrorists as what they are: wartime enemies, rather than in possession of Obama’s suggested “criminal defendants” status.

The fact is that we used the criminal justice system as our principal enforcement approach, the approach Obama intends to reinstate, for eight years — from the bombing of the World Trade Center until the shocking destruction of that complex on 9/11. During that timeframe, while the enemy was growing stronger and attacking more audaciously, we managed to prosecute successfully less than three dozen terrorists (29 to be precise). And with a handful of exceptions, they were the lowest ranking of players.

When an elitist lawyer like Obama claims the criminal-justice system works against terrorists, he means it satisfies his top concern: due process. And on that score, he’s quite right: We’ve shown we can conduct trials that are fair to the terrorists. After all, we give them lawyers paid for by the taxpayers whom they are trying to kill, mounds of our intelligence in discovery, and years upon years of pretrial proceedings, trials, appeals, and habeas corpus.

As a national-security strategy, however, and as a means of carrying our government’s first responsibility to protect the American people, heavy reliance on criminal justice is an abysmal failure.

A successful counterterrorism strategy makes criminal prosecution a subordinate part of a much broader governmental response. Most of what is needed never happens in a courtroom. It happens in military operations against terrorist strongholds; intelligence operations in which jihadists get assassinated — without trial; intelligence collections in which we cozy up to despicable informants since only they can tell us what we need to know; and aggressive treasury actions to trace terror funds.

That is how you stop the homeland from being attacked, which is what we have done for the last seven years. And it is that from which Obama wants to move away.

Obama would bring us back to September 10th America. And September 10th is sure to be followed by September 11th .

— Andrew C. McCarthy is author of Willful Blindness: Memoir of the Jihad and director of the Center for Law and Counterterrorism at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.
National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=NTFhZTdmZWZlMGExNDRjOWRlZWUxYzEwNjg0MWEzZDc=
10407  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 17, 2008, 11:30:29 AM
Absolutely. As long as there is police power, there is the potential for the abuse of the police power. Is the answer then to not have police? That would ensure there were no abuses of police power. There are certainly those who call themselves libertarians that advocate such a position. I think a cost/benefit analysis is a better method of examining the issue.
10408  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 17, 2008, 11:00:51 AM
In the US, we (meaning law enforcement, in it's various versions at the local, state and federal level) work for you (meaning the citizenry as a whole). I would not want it any other way. In most states, the county Sheriff is an elected position and especially in the western US the Sheriff has a very powerful role in shaping local level law enforcement. The US is the only nation in the world with elected law enforcement officials. Something I take pride in. Every other law enforcement executive answers to an elected official or officials and every act a law enforcement officer does in this country faces multiple levels of review and potential legal jeopardy for everything we do or don't do. I knowing accept this burden as does everyone else that goes through the laborious process of becoming a law enforcement officer in this country.

I understand that an inherent skepticism of gov't is a part of the core values our nation was founded on. My frustration is when it isn't rational skepticism but something irrational.
10409  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 17, 2008, 10:28:22 AM
CD,

No, it's more generalized towards what law enforcement generally faces from a percentage of the population. What percentage exactly, I don't know, but it's often verbalized under the guise of "civil liberties" or "libertarianism". I've never seen you bash police officers and the part about "donut eating, racist, bullies" was not aimed at you at all. My apologies for my poor articulation of my frustration.

I had a long night at work and was multitasking multiple sites and was viewing www.odmp.org and http://www.sacbee.com/photos/gallery/1017048.html and was in overwrought rant mode.

No disrespect intended towards you.


10410  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 17, 2008, 08:55:50 AM
"Technology will continue to advance. If there is an answer to your concerns, it's from legislation. What legislation do you suggest that will protect your privacy? Would this legislation cover both gov't and private entities? What technology should law enforcement be allowed to use, if any?"

Good and fair questions-- and I readily admit to not having answers to them worked out.  I do think though that as a society we had really better get to it though, before it is too late to stop things from going too far.

I will say that I have no problem with monitoring radiation as discussed in your previous post  cheesy

** "A policeman's lot is not a happy one...." Yeah, in general the public shares your ambiguity towards law enforcement. We should be omnipresent and all powerful when needed and invisible all other times. We are heroes only when our loved ones get a folded flag as bagpipes play "Amazing Grace" and donut eating, racist, bullies when we win the fight and face the monday morning quarterbacking, IAs and state and federal prosecution.**
10411  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 17, 2008, 08:43:54 AM
http://online.wsj.com/public/article_print/SB121366596327979497.html

The Supreme Court Goes to War
By JOHN YOO
June 17, 2008; Page A23

Last week's Supreme Court decision in Boumediene v. Bush has been painted as a stinging rebuke of the administration's antiterrorism policies. From the celebrations on most U.S. editorial pages, one might think that the court had stopped a dictator from trampling civil liberties. Boumediene did anything but. The 5-4 ruling is judicial imperialism of the highest order.

Boumediene should finally put to rest the popular myth that right-wing conservatives dominate the Supreme Court. Academics used to complain about the Rehnquist Court's "activism" for striking down minor federal laws on issues such as whether states are immune from damage lawsuits, or if Congress could ban handguns in school. Justice Anthony Kennedy -- joined by the liberal bloc of Justices John Paul Stevens, David Souter, Ruth Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer -- saves his claims of judicial supremacy for the truly momentous: striking down a wartime statute, agreed upon by the president and large majorities of Congress, while hostilities are ongoing, no less.

1
First out the window went precedent. Under the writ of habeas corpus, Americans (and aliens on our territory) can challenge the legality of their detentions before a federal judge. Until Boumediene, the Supreme Court had never allowed an alien who was captured fighting against the U.S. to use our courts to challenge his detention.

In World War II, no civilian court reviewed the thousands of German prisoners housed in the U.S. Federal judges never heard cases from the Confederate prisoners of war held during the Civil War. In a trilogy of cases decided at the end of World War II, the Supreme Court agreed that the writ did not benefit enemy aliens held outside the U.S. In the months after the 9/11 attacks, we in the Justice Department relied on the Supreme Court's word when we evaluated Guantanamo Bay as a place to hold al Qaeda terrorists.

The Boumediene five also ignored the Constitution's structure, which grants all war decisions to the president and Congress. In 2004 and 2006, the Court tried to extend its reach to al Qaeda terrorists held at Guantanamo Bay. It was overruled twice by Congress, which has the power to define the jurisdiction of the federal courts. Congress established its own procedures for the appeal of detentions.

Incredibly, these five Justices have now defied the considered judgment of the president and Congress for a third time, all to grant captured al Qaeda terrorists the exact same rights as American citizens to a day in civilian court.

Judicial modesty, respect for the executive and legislative branches, and pure common sense weren't concerns here either. The Court refused to wait and see how Congress's 2006 procedures for the review of enemy combatant cases work. Congress gave Guantanamo Bay prisoners more rights than any prisoners of war, in any war, ever. The justices violated the classic rule of self-restraint by deciding an issue not yet before them.

Judicial micromanagement will now intrude into the conduct of war. Federal courts will jury-rig a process whose every rule second-guesses our soldiers and intelligence agents in the field. A judge's view on how much "proof" is needed to find that a "suspect" is a terrorist will become the standard applied on the battlefield. Soldiers will have to gather "evidence," which will have to be safeguarded until a court hearing, take statements from "witnesses," and probably provide some kind of Miranda-style warning upon capture. No doubt lawyers will swarm to provide representation for new prisoners.

So our fighting men and women now must add C.S.I. duties to that of capturing or killing the enemy. Nor will this be the end of it. Under Boumediene's claim of judicial supremacy, it is only a hop, skip and a jump from judges second-guessing whether someone is an enemy to second-guessing whether a soldier should have aimed and fired at him.

President Bush has declared, rightly, that the government will abide by the decision. No American lives are yet imperiled, as the courts will have to wrestle with the cases for months, if not years. But the upshot of Boumediene is that courts will release detainees from Guantanamo Bay, or the Defense Department will do so voluntarily, in the near future.

Just as there is always the chance of a mistaken detention, there is also the probability that we will release the wrong man. As Justice Antonin Scalia's dissenting opinion notes, at least 30 detainees released from Guantanamo Bay -- with the military, not the courts, making the call -- have returned to Afghanistan and Iraq battlefields.

The Boumediene majority has two hopes for getting away with its brazen power grab. It assumes that we have accepted judicial control over virtually every important policy in our society, from abortion and affirmative action to religion. Boumediene simply adds war to the list. The justices act like we are no longer really at war. Our homeland has not suffered another 9/11 attack for seven years, and our military and intelligence agencies have killed or captured much of al Qaeda's original leadership. What's left is on the run, due to the very terrorism policies under judicial attack.

Justice Kennedy and his majority assume that terrorism is some long-term social problem, like crime, so the standard methods of law enforcement can be used to deal with al Qaeda. Boumediene reflects a judicial desire to return to the comfortable, business-as-usual attitude that characterized U.S. antiterrorism policy up to Sept. 10, 2001.

The only real hope of returning the Supreme Court to its normal wartime role rests in the November elections. Sometimes it is difficult to tell Sens. Barack Obama and John McCain apart on issues like campaign finance or global warming. But they have real differences on Supreme Court appointments. Mr. Obama had nothing but praise for Boumediene, while Mr. McCain attacked it and promised to choose judges like Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito, both dissenters.

Because of the advancing age of several justices (Justice Stevens is 88, and several others are above 70), the next president will be in a position to appoint a new Court that can reverse the damage done to the nation's security.

Mr. Yoo is a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley and a visiting scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. He was an official in the Justice Department from 2001-03.
10412  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Book Reviews on: June 16, 2008, 07:45:38 PM
Buchanan makes me ill. The fact that he is treated like a legitimate conservative by the MSM makes me even sicker.
10413  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Communicating with the Muslim World on: June 16, 2008, 09:27:34 AM
http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/general_politics/88_say_free_speech_is_good_but_only_53_oppose_ban_on_hate_speech

Death, by a thousand cuts.
10414  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 16, 2008, 08:44:10 AM





June 16, 2008, 6:00 a.m.

A Quick Way Forward After Boumediene
Either Congress reasserts itself, or terror-friendly bedlam ensues.

By Andrew C. McCarthy

It is difficult to single out the most outrageous aspect of Justice Anthony Kennedy’s majority opinion in the Supreme Court’s cataclysmic Boumediene ruling last Thursday: The reckless vesting of constitutional rights in aliens whose only connection with our body politic is their bloody jihad against Americans; the roughshod ride over binding precedent to accomplish that feat; or the smug arrogance perfectly captured by dissenting Chief Justice John Roberts’s description of a “constitutional bait and switch” — a Court that first beseeches the political branches to enact a statutory procedure for handling combatant detentions, and then, once a thoughtful law is compliantly passed, invalidates the effort for its failure to satisfy the eccentric predilections of five lawyers.
What is done, however, is done.

HANDWRITING ON THE WALL
It should never have come to this. Ever since the Bush administration quite rightly called for a new enforcement paradigm after the 9/11 attacks — the criminal-justice system having proved itself grossly inadequate to protect national security during the Nineties — it has been apparent that shifting to a pure military system was problematic.

The war on terror is not like other wars. No war has a determinate end, but this one does not have a foreseeable ending scenario. With radical Islam, there will be no treaty, no terms of surrender, no conquering enemy territory. Instead, there is only vigilance until the enemy’s capacity to project power is quelled. Because of that, strict application of the laws of war — which permit indefinite detention until war’s end — strikes our influential legal elites as unduly onerous.

Our enemies, moreover, are terrorists who operate in the shadows, in civilian garb not military insignia. In a just world, that would inure to their detriment. In the world we inhabit, it perversely benefits them by sowing doubt about their status. It makes plausible the possibility that we have scooped up at least some people in error.

The public anger over 9/11 has faded. With a relentless campaign, fired by sympathetic media coverage, our legal elites have succeeded in raising popular concerns about the specter of innocents being held in perpetuity at the whim of the executive, without an opportunity to challenge their detention before an independent judge.

This was more of a political challenge than a legal one. Long ago, Congress and the administration should have joined forces to forge a comprehensive system that would answer those concerns. To their credit, the political branches did at least try to shore up the military detention system by providing, for the first time in history, enemy access to a civilian court — the D.C. Circuit federal appeals court — so jihadists could challenge the completed military proceedings. It is beyond arrogance that five Supreme Court justices did not allow that system to work; that, to bask in international huzzahs, they scrapped it before the D.C. Circuit could wrestle with a single case on a concrete record — before the tribunals could prove they were not kangaroo courts after all.

But let’s face it: The handwriting for what happened last Thursday has been on the wall since 2004. That’s when the Court, in a fit of imperious recklessness nearly the equal of Boumediene, decided in Rasul v. Bush that the jihadists had statutory habeas corpus rights. The handwriting was brought into starker relief in 2006 when, in Hamdan v. Rumsfeld, the Court selectively mined and tortured the language of the Geneva Conventions to vest the jihadists with trial rights under Geneva’s Common Article 3.

This has been coming at us like a runaway freight train. Congress and the administration should have seen it and stopped it. They failed to act, so the cure will be harder now — though we must, for the sake of our security, press ahead with a legislative cure.



THE FOLLY OF PUTTING COURTS IN CHARGE
Why harder? Well, until last Thursday, alien enemy combatants had no American constitutional rights. Their rights were limited to whatever the political branches, chiefly Congress, chose to grant them. If Congress, with the administration’s help, had undertaken to devise a comprehensive system of rules and procedures for terrorist detention and trial — what I have several times since 2004 proposed as a “national-security court” (see, e.g., here, here and here — NR subscription required for the last one) — it is very likely that the Supreme Court would have stayed its hand. Indeed, the justices originally declined to hear the Boumediene case before changing their minds at the end of the 2007 term, as public criticism of the military system mounted.

But the political branches ignored the neon signs. Now the Court has decided that the combatants have constitutional habeas rights. If you can follow this, the bloc of liberal justices reasons that the framers designed our fundamental law to empower enemies of the American people to use the American people’s courts as a weapon to compel the American people’s commander-in-chief to justify his actions during a war overwhelmingly authorized by the American people’s elected representatives . . . even as those enemies continue killing Americans.

The upshot of the ruling is that the judiciary, not Congress, could now become the master of deciding what rights our enemies have in wartime. When rights are based on the Constitution, rather than on statutes, Congress may not reduce them. Courts assert the power to define their ultimate parameters.

In the context of war powers — powers that are political, not legal — that would be a disaster. Courts are not responsible for our national security. Their task is to ensure that parties litigating legal cases before them are afforded due process. Moreover, the judicial tendency, when the United States is a party, is to bend over backwards to eliminate not just the reality but the mere perception of unfairness to the adversary — even if that adversary happens to be a ruthless, incorrigible enemy of the United States who would, given his druthers, torch the Constitution and install freedom-hating sharia law.

Worse, while waging war is a society’s ultimate political act, and thus suited for management only by the society’s politically accountable officials, judges are insulated from the political process. They needn’t fear being removed or voted out of office if they impose a regime that is overly solicitous of terrorist rights and heedless of national security. They can do what Leftist politicians would do if they weren’t so worried about the ballot box.

This perfect storm of institutional responsibility, natural proclivity, and political immunity hardwires judges to ratchet up due process demands over time. In the warfare context, the price will be paid in American lives.

The most reprehensible aspect of the Boumediene ruling is thus Justice Kennedy’s diktat that all “questions regarding the legality of the detention [of combatants] are to be resolved in the first instance by the District Court” — as if Congress, the law writing branch of our government, had nothing to say about them.

Congress must ignore that brazen overstatement. Boumediene is a terrible decision, but all it means for the moment is that the jihadists held at Guantanamo Bay have been given the opportunity to press their cases — i.e., to seek their release from custody — in the federal district courts. The combatants have not been ordered released, and the narrow majority did not presume to prescribe a procedure for how the district courts should handle those cases.

THE WAY FORWARD
That is the job of Congress, and it must act now. Bear in mind, even in the civilian-justice system, where the judicial competence is generally undeniable, it is Congress that enacts rules of procedure and evidence. We do not leave judges free to make it up as they go along. How much less should we do so with respect to combatant detention — a war power as to which judges have no institutional competence?

There may not be time now for ambitious, comprehensive projects like sculpting a national-security court. Boumediene has produced a crisis that demands an immediate fix. But Congress could very quickly accomplish the more modest task of enacting rules and procedures for combatant habeas proceedings. In fact, there is already a model of sorts.



Long ago, our lawmakers enacted a statutory scheme to control pretrial detention in federal criminal cases. It is codified at Section 3142 of Title 18, United States Code. In cases involving the most serious charges and defendants with the most vicious criminal histories, Congress has directed courts to grant the government a presumption in favor of detention. In detention hearings, furthermore, the law permits the parties to proceed by offering hearsay and attorney proffers of evidence; the presentation of witnesses is rare, and needn’t be allowed at all. In addition, a court considering detention is entitled to rely on any information developed in other proceedings — including on the fact that a grand jury has found probable cause that the defendant committed the alleged crime.

Mind you, that is in civilian criminal proceedings where the defendant is presumed innocent. We have long permitted lengthy periods of incarceration without trial, much less conviction, and this system has repeatedly been upheld in the face of all manner of constitutional challenge.

Obviously, being held as an alien enemy combatant in a terrorist war against the United States is a far more serious matter than even the drug and violent crimes (to say nothing of flight risks posed by foreign defendants) that routinely result in civilian pretrial detention. Thus, Congress could quickly enact a statute requiring the district courts in combatant habeas cases to afford the commander-in-chief a presumption mandating detention. That is, if the government established a rational basis for believing the detainee was an enemy combatant, he would be ordered detained unless the detainee proved beyond a reasonable doubt that he was not an enemy combatant.

Congress could provide for the presentation of evidence by hearsay, proffer, and affidavit — with a directive that the court may not compel the government (particularly, the military and intelligence community) to produce witnesses for testimony in court. It could provide for classified intelligence to be presented to the judge ex parte, with only a non-classified summary provided to the combatant. It could require the court to give deference during wartime to the conclusion of combatant status review tribunals already conducted by the military (allowing judges to disregard those conclusions only upon a showing that the conclusion was irrational — the same standard that compels federal appeals courts, in every single civilian criminal case, to refrain from disturbing a trial court’s findings of fact).

To promote efficiency, since the issues in these cases are likely to be repetitive, Congress could also direct that all petitions be filed in the District of Columbia, with all appeals to the D.C. Circuit and, ultimately, the Supreme Court. Though I would prefer to see the cases directed to a specialized court, it is not practical to expect one could be designed in the short-term. We need a solution that can be implemented tomorrow.

If Congress were to enact such a law, patterned on the pretrial detention statute but properly imposing greater burdens on petitioners who are alleged to be wartime enemies rather than mere criminals, the result would be that only the most egregious miscarriage of justice would result in a finding that a detainee was not an enemy combatant. That is as it should be — especially given that (a) alien enemy combatants have never before been afforded such rights and (b) only four years ago, in Hamdi v. Rumsfeld, the Supreme Court itself said judicial deference to the commander-in-chief was due even if an alleged combatant was an American citizen.

We must, naturally, anticipate that the federal courts will find the occasional, egregious miscarriage of justice. Thus Congress should also provide for what would happen to such a combatant. In short, he should be detained until he can be either repatriated to his native country or sent to a country of our choosing which is willing to receive him; under no circumstances should he be released into the United States.

On that score, we must be mindful of an oft-overlooked fact: Unlike American citizens who file habeas-corpus claims challenging their detention after conviction in civilian cases, the alien enemy combatants making war on us are not relying solely — or even principally — on legal proceedings. To the contrary, they have governments aggressively pursuing their release by diplomatic means. That is why the detainee population at Gitmo is down to about 270 when once it was over 800.

Naturally, Sen. Barack Obama and other hard-Left Democrats are thrilled with Boumediene. They are enthused by the prospect that federal judges, if left to their own devices, could turn these proceedings into full-blown trials, with all the constitutional protections they would gladly give our enemies if they thought voters would let them get away with it.

We shouldn’t let them get away with it.

Unduly empowered by the bedlam of unguided judicial proceedings, many jihadists will be freed. If that happens, Americans will be killed. It is that stark, and it should be that intolerable. It is the solemn responsibility of our lawmakers to prevent that outcome. With an election looming, with nearly 200,000 young Americans putting their lives on the line, and with an enemy working energetically to reprise 9/11, every member of Congress should be challenged to tell us where he or she stands on Boumediene and its aftermath.

— Andrew C. McCarthy is author of Willful Blindness: Memoir of the Jihad and director of the Center for Law and Counterterrorism at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=ZGEwMTY5YTU3NGRiOWUyMzkxZTU3MDE1ZWUwMDYxOTM=
10415  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: WSJ: Bushing helping Sauds build nukes?!? on: June 16, 2008, 08:25:09 AM
The Saudis plan to become a nuclear power to counter Iran. Wait and see.
10416  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 15, 2008, 08:28:23 PM
**Loss of freedom? Or rational policy post-9/11?**

EXCLUSIVE: Nuclear Monitoring of Muslims Done Without Search Warrants
Posted 12/22/05
By David E. Kaplan

In search of a terrorist nuclear bomb, the federal government since 9/11 has run a far-reaching, top secret program to monitor radiation levels at over a hundred Muslim sites in the Washington, D.C., area, including mosques, homes, businesses, and warehouses, plus similar sites in at least five other cities, U.S. News has learned. In numerous cases, the monitoring required investigators to go on to the property under surveillance, although no search warrants or court orders were ever obtained, according to those with knowledge of the program. Some participants were threatened with loss of their jobs when they questioned the legality of the operation, according to these accounts.

Federal officials familiar with the program maintain that warrants are unneeded for the kind of radiation sampling the operation entails, but some legal scholars disagree. News of the program comes in the wake of revelations last week that, after 9/11, the Bush White House approved electronic surveillance of U.S. targets by the National Security Agency without court orders. These and other developments suggest that the federal government's domestic spying programs since 9/11 have been far broader than previously thought.

The nuclear surveillance program began in early 2002 and has been run by the FBI and the Department of Energy's Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST). Two individuals, who declined to be named because the program is highly classified, spoke to U.S. News because of their concerns about the legality of the program. At its peak, they say, the effort involved three vehicles in Washington, D.C., monitoring 120 sites per day, nearly all of them Muslim targets drawn up by the FBI. For some ten months, officials conducted daily monitoring, and they have resumed daily checks during periods of high threat. The program has also operated in at least five other cities when threat levels there have risen: Chicago, Detroit, Las Vegas, New York, and Seattle.

FBI officials expressed concern that discussion of the program would expose sensitive methods used in counterterrorism. Although NEST staffers have demonstrated their techniques on national television as recently as October, U.S. News has omitted details of how the monitoring is conducted. Officials from four different agencies declined to respond on the record about the classified program: the FBI, Energy Department, Justice Department, and National Security Council. "We don't ever comment on deployments," said Bryan Wilkes, a spokesman for DOE's National Nuclear Security Administration, which manages NEST.

In Washington, the sites monitored have included prominent mosques and office buildings in suburban Maryland and Virginia. One source close to the program said that participants "were tasked on a daily and nightly basis," and that FBI and Energy Department officials held regular meetings to update the monitoring list. "The targets were almost all U.S. citizens," says the source. "A lot of us thought it was questionable, but people who complained nearly lost their jobs. We were told it was perfectly legal."

The question of search warrants is controversial, however. To ensure accurate readings, in up to 15 percent of the cases the monitoring needed to take place on private property, sources say, such as on mosque parking lots and private driveways. Government officials familiar with the program insist it is legal; warrants are unneeded for monitoring from public property, they say, as well as from publicly accessible driveways and parking lots. "If a delivery man can access it, so can we," says one.

Georgetown University Professor David Cole, a constitutional law expert, disagrees. Surveillance of public spaces such as mosques or public businesses might well be allowable without a court order, he argues, but not private offices or homes: "They don't need a warrant to drive onto the property -- the issue isn't where they are, but whether they're using a tactic to intrude on privacy. It seems to me that they are, and that they would need a warrant or probable cause."

Cole points to a 2001 Supreme Court decision, U.S. vs. Kyllo, which looked at police use -- without a search warrant -- of thermal imaging technology to search for marijuana-growing lamps in a home. The court, in a ruling written by Justice Antonin Scalia, ruled that authorities did in fact need a warrant -- that the heat sensors violated the Fourth Amendment's clause against unreasonable search and seizure. But officials familiar with the FBI/NEST program say the radiation sensors are different and are only sampling the surrounding air. "This kind of program only detects particles in the air, it's non directional," says one knowledgeable official. "It's not a whole lot different from smelling marijuana."

Officials also reject any notion that the program specifically has targeted Muslims. "We categorically do not target places of worship or entities solely based on ethnicity or religious affiliation," says one. "Our investigations are intelligence driven and based on a criminal predicate."

Among those said to be briefed on the monitoring program were Vice President Richard Cheney; Michael Brown, then-director of the Federal Emergency Management Administration; and Richard Clarke, then a top counterterrorism official at the National Security Council. After 9/11, top officials grew increasingly concerned over the prospect of nuclear terrorism. Just weeks after the World Trade Center attacks, a dubious informant named Dragonfire warned that al Qaeda had smuggled a nuclear device into New York City; NEST teams swept the city and found nothing. But as evidence seized from Afghan camps confirmed al Qaeda's interest in nuclear technology, radiation detectors were temporarily installed along Washington, D.C., highways and the Muslim monitoring program began.

Most staff for the monitoring came from NEST, which draws from nearly 1,000 nuclear scientists and technicians based largely at the country's national laboratories. For 30 years, NEST undercover teams have combed suspected sites looking for radioactive material, using high-tech detection gear fitted onto various aircraft, vehicles, and even backpacks and attaché cases. No dirty bombs or nuclear devices have ever been found - and that includes the post-9/11 program. "There were a lot of false positives, and one or two were alarming," says one source. "But in the end we found nothing."
10417  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: June 15, 2008, 08:08:27 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/14/AR2008061402032_pf.html

Smugglers Had Design For Advanced Warhead
By Joby Warrick
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, June 15, 2008; A01

An international smuggling ring that sold bomb-related parts to Libya, Iran and North Korea also managed to acquire blueprints for an advanced nuclear weapon, according to a draft report by a former top U.N. arms inspector that suggests the plans could have been shared secretly with any number of countries or rogue groups.

The drawings, discovered in 2006 on computers owned by Swiss businessmen, included essential details for building a compact nuclear device that could be fitted on a type of ballistic missile used by Iran and more than a dozen developing countries, the report states.

The computer contents -- among more than 1,000 gigabytes of data seized -- were recently destroyed by Swiss authorities under the supervision of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, which is investigating the now-defunct smuggling ring previously led by Pakistani scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan.

But U.N. officials cannot rule out the possibility that the blueprints were shared with others before their discovery, said the report's author, David Albright, a prominent nuclear weapons expert who spent four years researching the smuggling network.

"These advanced nuclear weapons designs may have long ago been sold off to some of the most treacherous regimes in the world," Albright wrote in a draft report about the blueprint's discovery. A copy of the report, expected to be published later this week, was provided to The Washington Post.

The A.Q. Khan smuggling ring was previously known to have provided Libya with design information for a nuclear bomb. But the blueprints found in 2006 are far more troubling, Albright said in his report. While Libya was given plans for an older and relatively unsophisticated weapon that was bulky and difficult to deliver, the newly discovered blueprints offered instructions for building a compact device, the report said. The lethality of such a bomb would be little enhanced, but its smaller size might allow for delivery by ballistic missile.

"To many of these countries, it's all about size and weight," Albright said in an interview. "They need to be able to fit the device on the missiles they have."

The Swiss government acknowledged this month that it destroyed nuclear-related documents, including weapons-design details, under the direction of the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency to keep them from falling into terrorists' hands. However, it has not been previously reported that the documents included hundreds of pages of specifications for a second, more advanced nuclear bomb.

"These would have been ideal for two of Khan's other major customers, Iran and North Korea," wrote Albright, now president of the Washington-based Institute for Science and International Security. "They both faced struggles in building a nuclear warhead small enough to fit atop their ballistic missiles, and these designs were for a warhead that would fit."

It is unknown whether the designs were delivered to either country, or to anyone else, Albright said.

The Pakistani government did not rebut the findings in the report but said it had cooperated extensively with U.N. investigators. "The government of Pakistan has adequately investigated allegations of nuclear proliferation by A.Q. Khan and shared the information with IAEA," Nadeem Kiani, a spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, said yesterday. "It considers the A.Q. Khan affair to be over."

A CIA official, informed of the essential details of Albright's report, said the agency would not comment because of the extreme diplomatic and security sensitivities of the matter. In his 2007 memoir, former CIA director George Tenet acknowledged the agency's extensive involvement in tracking the Khan network over more than a decade.

Albright, a former IAEA inspector in Iraq, has published detailed analyses of the nuclear programs of numerous states, including Iran and North Korea. His institute was the first to publicly identify the location of an alleged Syrian nuclear reactor that was destroyed by Israeli warplanes last September.

A design for a compact, missile-ready nuclear weapon could help an aspiring nuclear power overcome a major technical hurdle and vastly increase its options for delivery of a nuclear explosive. Such a design could theoretically help North Korea -- which detonated a nuclear device in a 2006 test -- to couple a nuclear warhead with its Nodong missile, which has a proven range of 1,300 kilometers (about 800 miles).

Iran also possesses medium-range ballistic missiles and is believed by U.S. government officials to be seeking the capability to build nuclear weapons in the future, although an assessment late last year by U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that Iran had discontinued its nuclear weapons program in 2003. Weapons experts have long puzzled over whether Tehran might have previously acquired a weapons design from the Khan network, which sold the Iranian government numerous other nuclear-related items, including designs for uranium-enrichment equipment.

The computers that contained the drawings were owned by three members of the Tinner family -- brothers Marco and Urs and their father, Friedrich -- all Swiss businessmen who have been identified by U.S. and IAEA officials as key participants in Khan's nuclear black market. The smuggling ring operated from the mid-1980s until 2003, when it was exposed after a years-long probe by the U.S. and British intelligence agencies.

Khan, who apologized for his role in the smuggling network in a 2004 speech broadcast in Pakistan, was officially pardoned by President Pervez Musharraf without being formally charged with crimes. The Tinner brothers are in Swiss prisons awaiting trial on charges related to their alleged involvement in the network. They and their father are the focus of an ongoing probe by Swiss authorities, who discovered the blueprints while exploring the heavily encrypted contents of the Tinners' computers, the report said. Several published reports have asserted that Urs Tinner became an informant for U.S. intelligence before the breakup of the smuggling ring, but that has not been officially confirmed.

Switzerland shared the finding with the IAEA as well as the United States, which asked for copies of the blueprints, the report states. The IAEA has acknowledged that it oversaw the destruction of nuclear-design material by Swiss authorities in November 2007. However, IAEA officials would neither confirm nor deny the existence of a second weapons design or comment on Albright's report.

Albright, citing information provided by IAEA investigators, said the designs were similar to that of a nuclear device built by Pakistan. He contends in the report that IAEA officials confronted Pakistan's government shortly after the discovery, adding that the private reaction of government officials was astonishment. The Pakistanis "were genuinely shocked; Khan may have transferred his own country's most secret and dangerous information to foreign smugglers so that they could sell it for a profit," Albright said, relating a description of the encounter given to him by IAEA officials.

Pakistan has previously denied that Khan stole the country's weapons plans. Musharraf has not allowed IAEA experts to interview Khan, an engineer who is regarded as a national hero for his role in establishing Pakistan's nuclear weapons program. Khan, in interviews last month with The Post and several other publications, asserted that the allegations of nuclear smuggling were false.

Albright said it remains critical that investigators press Khan and others for details about how the blueprints were obtained and who might have them. Because the plans were stored electronically, they may have been copied many times, he said.
10418  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 15, 2008, 07:53:02 PM
Technology will continue to advance. If there is an answer to your concerns, it's from legislation. What legislation do you suggest that will protect your privacy? Would this legislation cover both gov't and private entities? What technology should law enforcement be allowed to use, if any?
10419  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: June 15, 2008, 07:13:37 PM
You do not need to be a US citizen to serve in the US military. Currently, a "green card" is required to enlist, however in the past that was not required and many foreign nationals earned their citizenship by serving. Obama's father chose not to serve, just as he didn't choose to parent his many children from different mothers.
10420  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 15, 2008, 06:04:37 PM
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/03/21/earlyshow/printable681949.shtml

'The CSI Effect'
LOS ANGELES, March 21, 2005
(CBS) Call it "The CSI Effect." It seems the popular CBS TV show on crime scene investigators is having an effect on real-life jurors. They want a clear trail of evidence, or they won't vote "guilty."

The latest example: the Robert Blake murder trial, reports The Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman.

She notes that, despite more than one witness testifying Blake had asked them to kill his wife, the jurors wanted more than that. They wanted the razzle-dazzle of "CSI."

Every week, Kauffman explains, stars on the show solve crimes based on intricate analysis of forensic evidence. And that kind of evidence just wasn't available in the Blake case.

"They couldn't put the gun in his hand. …There was no blood spatter. They had nothing," jury foreman Thomas Nicholson said after the trial ended.

It was prosecutor Shellie Samuels' first loss in 50 murder cases. Though she presented more than 70 witnesses against Blake, she couldn't show the jury blood evidence, or conclusive gun-shot residue.

"If she would have had all that information," juror Lori Moore said later, "that would have meant that he was guilty."

More than 60 million people watch the "CSI" shows every week, which means a lot of potential jurors now have high expectations of forensic evidence. "The CSI Effect" is being felt in courtrooms from coast to coast, Kauffman points out.

"Jurors now expect us to have a DNA test for just about every case," laments Oregon District Attorney Josh Marquis. "They expect us to have the most advanced technology possible, and they expect it to look like it does on television."

Trouble is, Kauffman notes, this district attorney works in the small Oregon town of Astoria. The nearest forensic lab is hours away.

Beth Carpenter, who's with the Oregon Crime Lab, says there are expectations well beyond what the reality is, and that has increased the workload quite a bit.

And in a big city like Baltimore, prosecutors blamed "The CSI Effect" when jurors acquitted a man of murder, even though were two eyewitnesses.

"Not even first degree, second degree, third degree, nothing, and they shot my husband," cried Patricia Peterson, the victim's wife.

Even the producers of "CSI" have been surprised at how jurors want to judge fact from their fictional creation.

"CSI" creator Anthony E. Zuiker observes, " 'The CSI Effect' is, in my opinion, the most amazing thing that has ever come out of the series. For the first time in American history, you're not allowed to fool the jury anymore."

In fact, Kauffman adds, at least half the jurors selected for the Blake case say they watch such shows regularly.

"The prosecutor took the approach of, 'We don't need the DNA, we don't need the eyewitness, we've got the big picture here, and if you look at the big picture, who had the motive, who had the opportunity, who acted strangely, who wanted his wife dead -- it was Robert Blake,' " says Loyola Law School Professor Laurie Levensen, a former federal prosecutor.

But clearly, the jury wanted the evidence they see on "CSI" each week.

It may be ironic that a man who made his fame on a TV crime show, "Baretta," was acquitted thanks, in part, to a TV crime show.

Former prosecutor Wendy Murphy, a CBS News consultant, says "The CSI Effect" is real, and an impediment: "When 'CSI' trumps common sense, then you have a systemic problem. The National District Attorneys Association is deeply concerned about the effect of 'CSI.' "

Murphy points out, "This has been a bit of a problem even before the onset of DNA, and shows like 'CSI.' You get jurors who don't have a lot of brain cells asking questions after the case is over about why there weren't any fingerprints on the pillow case. Of course, that makes no sense.

"But once you get the influence of 'CSI,' what they start to expect is not only a lot of forensic evidence, but that this one missing piece would have told them the truth. That's just not reality.

"Most murder cases have a little forensic evidence, but it doesn't really tell the whole story.

"I actually think one of the problems is we're not screening out these jurors who are way too much under the influence of these pop culture programs. They shouldn't be allowed to sit in judgment, frankly."

Defense attorney and CBS News consultant Mickey Sherman disagrees, saying jurors are "a little more educated now, maybe too educated. …If they believe the person committed the crime, forensics or not, they're gonna find him guilty."

The two squared off about the role, if any, of "The CSI Effect" in the Scott Peterson and Blake cases.
10421  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 15, 2008, 05:56:52 PM
http://www.govtech.com/gt/print_article.php?id=90777

Merry CRISmas

Jul 9, 2004, By Jim McKay

If the primary reason to collect crash data is to save lives on the road, evaluating that data more than two years later is counterproductive. But because of outdated technology, those charged with safeguarding Texas roadways have been forced to operate that way for years.

Texas law enforcement, transportation officials and highway engineers will unwrap a big gift from the state Legislature this Christmas that could well solve the problem and save lives -- a built-from-the-ground-up Crash Records Information System (CRIS) to capture, manage and deliver timely and accurate crash data so law enforcement can target areas to patrol, transportation officials can determine the state's most dangerous roadways and engineers can fix them.


Two Years in the Basement
Two years worth of written crash data currently sits in a basement at the Texas Department of Public Safety. The backlog built up because department staff must sift through the paper documents by hand.

"In many cases, the data didn't exist electronically at all. If it did, it was in disparate databases, not one common location where it could be accessed and analyzed," said Amy Thomas-Gerling, an associate partner at IBM Business Consulting Services. "Timely and accurate information is needed to address a lot of the issues Texas and other states are looking at, such as where to put their money for highway improvement projects."

The new system, scheduled to go live in December, will feature electronic data collection, GIS mapping of accidents and a new Web portal to make the information available to officials and citizens immediately. The system will also use a "microstrategy tool" to make sense of all the data, and help officials and engineers develop strategies to make roadways safer.

CRIS should be a vast improvement from the way the data is currently handled. Now, an officer at an accident scene creates a handwritten report that includes time of day, type of vehicle and number of occupants, among other details, and mails it to the Department of Public Safety headquarters -- along with the other 850,000 reports the department receives annually.

One of 96 employees in charge of handling incoming reports processes the report manually and sends it to another group of employees who key the data into the system. The current system is a flat file system, which lacks the hierarchical organization used by most operating systems today, so for instance, there is no "folder" for 2003 crash data. All the crash data that has built up for decades is stored in one repository without categorization.

"You walk in and it's like something from the 1960s," said Catherine Cioffi, CRIS project manager for the Texas Department of Public Safety. "It's really a result of aging technology, the increase in population in Texas, the changes in the roads over the years and the changes in technology that finally got us to the point where we had to upgrade."

Other states have similar problems with crash data and have implemented some of the functions that will be included in this system.

"The crash data is used for a variety of things," Cioffi said. "In the Department of Public Safety, it's used for defining target areas for enhanced law enforcement and the Department of Transportation uses the crash data for prioritization and identification of road projects."

CRIS will be unique in that it will be a complete, enterprisewide system built largely with commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) products, according to IBM's Thomas-Gerling.

"We looked at everything from when you received a crash report from the officer, to when it was needed for federal reports to determine areas that needed specific attention," she said. "We looked at the entire process from the onset and the best way to configure COTS products to address those needs.

"Many states have the GIS mapping component, or they may have the data warehouse or the ability to capture crash records electronically," she added. "But if you looked across all states, very few will have a solution from beginning to end, which is what we're providing."

The Texas Legislature appropriated the money for the IBM contract, which is worth nearly $10 million.


Safety First
That beginning-to-end solution will provide a smooth transition from one process to another, not to mention overhauling some badly outdated individual processes.

Mapping is an example. Engineers currently have access to paper maps only, and the most up-to-date maps come from 1992. The new system will give engineers online maps showing where all crashes have occurred.

"They'll be looking at a screen and seeing all this visually, and be able to have the most recent road information and the tools at hand to do something in seconds that currently takes a manual process that can be very lengthy," Thomas-Gerling said.

All crash data dating back 10 years will be converted for use in the new system -- not to mention the last two-plus years' worth of reports still in paper form down in the basement.

"The system is a major overhaul, but the COTS products allow flexibility as well," Cioffi said. "We want to eliminate all this paper, but we want to be flexible enough so smaller cities that have a couple accidents a month can submit paper if they want and it will be scanned into the system. What we wanted to do with CRIS was to enable the large cities to submit the data to us electronically -- which they can't do today -- or to go onto the Web and enter that data electronically."

The result should provide officials with timely, accurate information that could save lives.

"You're looking at two-year-old data [now]," Cioffi said. "It's difficult to be proactive. If you need to straighten out a curve, you don't know for two years that you need to straighten that curve."

The primary objective of the system is to improve safety on Texas roadways, but it may give the state a leg up on more federal funding. States receive funds based on the crash data they submit, and it won't hurt to have more accurate, up-to-date data, Cioffi said.

"This is something I'm very cautious about because it's one of those unknowns and is unknowable. We can't really put a number on it if there have been losses in construction money, but with the new data, there is the potential for increase."
10422  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 15, 2008, 05:48:11 PM
http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-fbi10-2008jun10,0,3189496.story

FBI background checks for immigrants are far behind, audit says
Inspector General Glenn Fine reports a backlog years long in some cases. He says the National Name Check Program has outdated technology, poorly trained personnel and overworked supervisors.
By Richard A. Serrano, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer
June 10, 2008

WASHINGTON -- The FBI system for performing background checks on immigrants has become so overloaded since the Sept. 11 attacks that thousands of legal immigrants are waiting years to get into the United States or obtain citizenship, according to findings from an internal investigation released Monday.

The Justice Department's inspector general concluded that the FBI's National Name Check Program is working with outdated technology, and that poorly trained personnel and overworked supervisors are falling far behind. As of March, there was a backlog of 327,000 requests for names to be validated, some of which had been pending for up to three years.

The report also said the breakdown in the name checks means that potentially thousands of criminals are slipping through the system.

"The name-check process can result in lengthy delays and the risk of inaccurate information," said Inspector General Glenn A. Fine. He warned that improvements to the system, particularly with the government's ongoing effort to search for potential terrorists in this country, should be "a priority."

The FBI must vet all immigrants before they can get citizenship or a green card. The bureau has been criticized by lawmakers and immigration rights groups for slowing the immigration process.

John Miller, the FBI's head of public affairs, said in a statement that the inspector general's recommendations are being implemented, and that FBI officials will work hard to catch up.

He noted that more than 4 million name-check requests from various law enforcement agencies were made in the 2007 fiscal year alone, and that about 86% were processed within 60 days. The FBI is making 77,000 name checks a week -- completing nearly 97% of all requests submitted in the last five years, he said.

Nevertheless, Miller acknowledged that the 2001 terrorist strikes jammed the system, especially when federal immigration officials asked the bureau to rerun 2.7 million names for more thorough reviews after the attacks on New York and Washington.

"This unexpected deluge of immigration-related name checks overwhelmed existing resources," Miller said. "As a result, the NNCP was not able to address the increasing demand."

In his report, Fine acknowledged the extra burden posed after Sept. 11. Before the terrorist attacks, the system only searched the FBI's main files to see if individuals might be connected to criminal activities. After the attacks, the searches were broadened to encompass information from all sorts of law enforcement databases, adding to the time required for each background check.

"This change was designed to detect derogatory information about individuals who may not have been identified as the direct subject of an FBI investigation, but who are connected to subjects with criminal and investigative histories," Fine said.

The name-check program and its FBI fingerprint database are the largest in the world, containing prints and background histories on more than 50 million people.

The system was taxed all the more after Sept. 11, and the inspector general's investigation turned up processes that are "inefficient and untimely, rely on outdated technology and provide little assurance that pertinent and derogatory information is being retrieved and transmitted."

As of March, 371 employees were working on name checks, an increase of 30% since November. By the end of this fiscal year 300 employees more will be assigned to the system.

But Fine worried that without improvements, "limited training, supervision and quality control measures may result in a higher potential for name-matching errors."

richard.serrano@latimes.com
10423  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 15, 2008, 05:35:45 PM
I'm not sure what the answer is to your concerns. I'll note that the SCOTUS just wrapped the jihadist illegal combatants in GITMO in the same constitutional protections you and I enjoy. We live in a technology driven society, why should law enforcement not use technology commonly in use in other areas of the public and private sector? Do you avoid Las Vegas casinos because of the surveillance technology? I assure you the private security entities in the average strip casino use technology outside the wildest dreams of most anyone in law enforcement. Why is state of the art video and pattern recognition software good in the Bellagio and lowest bidder, outdated tech in the hands of cops have us on the cusp of 1984?
10424  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: June 15, 2008, 09:55:33 AM
http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/an-illustrated-guide-to-obamas-gun-grabbing/

Not a right, says the Obamessiah.
10425  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 15, 2008, 09:06:47 AM
TITLE 42 > CHAPTER 21 > SUBCHAPTER I > § 1983
§ 1983. Civil action for deprivation of rights


Every person who, under color of any statute, ordinance, regulation, custom, or usage, of any State or Territory or the District of Columbia, subjects, or causes to be subjected, any citizen of the United States or other person within the jurisdiction thereof to the deprivation of any rights, privileges, or immunities secured by the Constitution and laws, shall be liable to the party injured in an action at law, suit in equity, or other proper proceeding for redress, except that in any action brought against a judicial officer for an act or omission taken in such officer’s judicial capacity, injunctive relief shall not be granted unless a declaratory decree was violated or declaratory relief was unavailable. For the purposes of this section, any Act of Congress applicable exclusively to the District of Columbia shall be considered to be a statute of the District of Columbia.
10426  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 15, 2008, 09:00:50 AM
**It struck me like a lightening bolt this a.m. as I was going off duty. As the SCOTUS has determined that the GITMO illegal combatants enjoy constitutional protections, then they enjoy ALL constitutional protections. It's like being a little bit pregnant, either you is or you ain't. **

"We hold that Art. I, §9, cl. 2, of the Constitution has full effect at Guantanamo Bay. If the privilege of habeas corpus is to be denied to the detainees now before us,
Congress must act in accordance with the requirements of the Suspension Clause. Cf. Hamdi, 542 U. S., at 564 (SCALIA, J., dissenting) (“ndefinite imprisonment on reasonable suspicion is not an available option of treatment for those accused of aiding the enemy, absent a suspension of the writ”). This Court may not impose a de facto suspension by abstaining from these controversies.
See Hamdan, 548 U. S., at 585, n. 16 (“[A]bstention is not appropriate in cases . . . in which the legal challenge ‘turn on the status of the persons as to whom the military
asserted its power’ ” (quoting Schlesinger v. Councilman, 420 U. S. 738, 759 (1975))). The MCA does not purport to be a formal suspension of the writ; and the Government, in its submissions to us, has not argued that it is. Petitioners, therefore, are entitled to the privilege of habeas corpus to challenge the legality of their detention."

**Ok, as the detainees' due process rights have clearly been violated, not only must they be released, they can file 1983 actions against the USG and the US DOJ better start investigating/indicting every member of the US military for excessive force/illegal search and seizure and other constitutional rights violations. No use of force by the military complies with Tenn. V. Garner or Graham V. Connor or other caselaw. No detainee was arrested with a valid arrest or search warrant or interrogated in compliance with Miranda.**
10427  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 13, 2008, 08:57:35 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/06/13/the-dead-cat-bounce/

Me-yow! The question being, can McCain close the deal?
10428  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: June 13, 2008, 06:43:23 PM
**Two questions: How do you say "right of return" en espanol? When do we stop posting this in "Islam in europe" and post articles like this in "Islam in Islamic countries"?**

- Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com -

Spain, the Once and Future Muslim Province
June 9, 2008 - by Aaron Hanscom

It’s a miracle Matthew Yglesias made it out of Spain alive in 2006. The young blogger described the dangers he confronted on his Spanish vacation in a [1] piece he wrote for the American Prospect shortly after his return to America:

The modern city [of Toledo] features a large traffic circle just outside the medieval town walls known as the glorieta de la reconquista in honor of this distinction. But today in a new ironic twist, it is from that very plaza where the Mullahs issue their fatwas that the craven Spanish government, having chosen the path of appeasement, invariably follows. Toledo’s women, who only in the recent past enjoyed basic legal equality with men albeit in the context of a culture that was highly traditionalistic by American standards, now fear to walk the streets unveiled. Spain’s historic wine industry groans under the crushing yoke of the Islamists’ informal power, the riojas of the past but a fading memory.

Yglesias was obviously writing with tongue firmly planted in cheek. The joke, of course, was on conservative pundits in America, who had predicted devastating consequences in the wake of the March 11 Madrid bombings and the subsequent electoral victory of Socialist José Luis Rodriguez Zapatero. “Appeasement,” it turned out, hadn’t enabled Muslims to reconquer Granada and avenge the Moors’ loss of Al-Andalus in 1492 following more than 700 years of Islamic rule. Spain, Yglesias argued, had instead become a paragon of liberalism, with positions on gay marriage and women’s rights that America “should be so lucky as to have.” Two years after Zapatero fulfilled a campaign promise and pulled Spanish troops from Iraq, Spaniards were living in a socialist utopia — not under sharia law.

Although Muslim extremists surely appreciate some of Zapatero’s policies — he granted the largest [2] blanket amnesty in Spanish history to nearly one million undocumented immigrants and thought it wise to [3] negotiate with the Basque terrorist group ETA — their idea of paradise is quite different from those of Spain’s “[4] accidental prime minister.” Critics such as Matthew Yglesias seem unaware that jihadists will not rest until the caliphate is reestablished on the Iberian Peninsula because they feel compelled to reconquer any country or territory that has at one time been under the domain of Islam. Spain is the most important of these lands because it was the largest Christian territory conquered in Europe and it represented the summit of Islamic civilization. The loss of Al-Andalus was therefore the most important loss ever suffered by the Ummah (the community of Muslims). Thus, freeing Spain from an illegal and illegitimate occupation by infidels would prove that all other Islamist goals can be achieved.

Nostalgia for an idealized Al-Andalus is being passed on to the next generation. Gustavo de Aristegui, the foreign affairs spokesman for the conservative Popular Party, explains in his book [5] The Jihad in Spain: The obsession to reconquer Al-Ándalus that, in schools throughout the Muslim world, maps are used with Spain and Portugal colored green because they are still considered part of dar al-Islam, or the House of Islam. The HAMAS children’s magazine Al-Fateh published a [6] piece in 2006 from the point of view of Asbilia or — as the infidels call it — Seville: “I yearn that you, my beloved, will call me to return, together with the rest of the lost cities of the lost orchard [Andalus] to the hands of the Muslims so that joy and happiness will fill my land, and you will visit me because I am the bride of the country of Andalus.”

Unfortunately, it’s not only terrorists in the making who are being told to reclaim Spain. Osama bin Laden has made many references to “the tragedy of Al-Andalus,” and Ayman Al Zawahiri, Al-Qaeda’s number two man, never misses an opportunity to mention the “lost paradise.” He’s not pining for a Mediterranean vacation and the sandy beaches of Marbella, though. Last year he [7] exhorted Islamists in North Africa “to once again feel the soil of Al Ándalus beneath your feet.” In case that wasn’t clear enough, he later released a videotape in which he says that “the reconquest of Al-Andalus is a responsibility” of all Muslims.

Many are doing their best to live up to that responsibility. More than 300 Islamist suspects have been arrested in counterterrorism operations in Spain since the Madrid bombings. Most recently, twelve Pakistanis were [8] arrested in January for allegedly planning suicide bombings in Barcelona’s subways. Meanwhile, rhetoric about the reconquest of Ceuta and Melilla (Spanish enclaves on the North African coast) is common among jihadists. For example, Zawahiri responded to the arrests of 11 individuals for planning to stage terrorist attacks in Ceuta by referring to Ceuta and Melilla as “occupied cities.” No wonder former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer once warned that if by any chance Israel were to fall and be defeated, the next in line would definitely be Spain.

Some Spanish politicians often seem eager to move Spain up to the front of that line. Zapatero, who has [9] said that “sexual equality is a lot more effective against terrorism than military strength,” appointed a pregnant woman as defense minister in April. According to PJM’s [10] Jose Guardia, this move was meant to symbolize Spain’s new role as a soft power. At least the primer minister isn’t prepared to start giving away land. Representatives of the Cordoba and Seville City Councils signed a document in 2004 that states that Ceuta and Melilla are occupied territories that need to be returned to their legitimate owners. In 2007 the small left-wing party, Izquierda Unida, backed a call for [11] preferential citizenship for descendants of Spanish Muslims expelled from Spain in the seventeenth century. Such a policy would be less disturbing if there wasn’t already an active “foot in the threshold” strategy being employed by irredentist Muslims. Aristegui explains that the “purchase of land, houses and commercial properties in some of the most emblematic cities of the former Al-Andalus…[is]the first step towards dominating the city, the region and eventually, all Al-Andalus.”

It’s worth remembering that the terrorist cell responsible for the Madrid bombings called itself “[12] the brigade situated in Al-Andalus.” Since March 11, 2004, Spanish security forces have successfully broken up plots to blow up such locations as Real Madrid’s soccer stadium and Madrid’s Audiencia Nacional — the highest criminal court where Islamic cases are investigated. But, as former Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar has [13] noted: “Islamic terror is not just a criminal activity. It’s something more. To win over terror we will need much more than just intelligence or police actions. We will need more than defensive measures.” Of course, Spaniards made clear that they prefer appeasement to this uncomfortable truth when they voted Aznar’s party out of power in 2004.

So could Spain could once again fall under Islamic rule? I asked this question to Aristegui in a 2006 [14] interview. “I don’t think so, but the fight will become more difficult and extensive because Spanish society today is not willing or ready to accept the threat we face,” he told me. In other words, Spain might not always remain an ideal vacation destination — even for Matthew Yglesias.

Article printed from Pajamas Media: http://pajamasmedia.com

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/spain-the-once-and-future-muslim-province/

URLs in this post:
[1] piece: http://www.prospect.org/cs/articles?articleId=11371
[2] blanket amnesty: http://spainreview.org/?p=146
[3] negotiate: http://www.city-journal.org/2008/18_2_basque_terrorists.html
[4] accidental prime minister: http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/europe/article691019.ece
[5] The Jihad in Spain: The obsession to reconquer Al-Ándalus: http://www.casadellibro.com/fichas/fichabiblio/0,1094,2900001086733,00.html?codigo=2900001086733
[6] piece: http://frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=BA2D868F-BDCB-429A-8432-E83343375FF9
[7] exhorted: http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=031907C
[8] arrested: http://www.reuters.com/article/latestCrisis/idUSL19433678
[9] said: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,901040927-699350,00.html
[10] Jose Guardia: http://www.iht.com/articles/2008/05/20/europe/madrid.php
[11] preferential citizenship: http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnL21935313.html
[12] the brigade situated in Al-Andalus.: http://www.lawrencewright.com/art-madrid.html
[13] noted: http://www.jcpa.org/brief/brief005-23.htm
[14] interview: http://www.frontpagemag.com/Articles/Read.aspx?GUID=715C1193-821F-47F0-8332-1FA10C86CEB6
10429  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 13, 2008, 01:50:31 AM
http://counterterrorismblog.org/2008/06/how_the_jihadi_propaganda_mach.php

JUNE 12, 2008

How the Jihadi Propaganda Machine Will Win the Guantanamo Trials
By Walid Phares

Jihadism in the 21st century has plans for all types of situations, including Mujahada (Jihadi activity) in a courtroom when needed.

This is now what the world will witness during the trials of the al Qaeda detainees in Guantanamo, Cuba. Both the inmates on the inside and the Jihadi-mates on the outside were waiting for this moment to strike, politically and psychologically, using the media as their weapon. To the well-trained and -indoctrinated five standing trial, the objective is not to gain as many rights and freedoms as possible under current U.S. and international law; rather it is to resume what they began before 9/11 which they deeply wish to fulfill - as they said in their own words - using the trial as a global media opportunity.

This attitude has been anticipated by most experts who have followed the Guantanamo "ideological" battle, particularly the al Qaeda-Jihadist treatment of the issue. It was fully predicted that at least Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (KSM) and Ramzi bin al Sheeba will take the lead in counter-prosecuting the United States and all its allies. Unlike in other comparable cases, analysts know how important it is for al Qaeda and their supporters around the world to bash the United States - and any other democracy that prosecutes Salafi terrorists - when the trials are ongoing. At that juncture, three elements will converge into one powerful force, all determined to score points against America.

First, there is the Bin Laden organization which thrives on fiery declarations issued by its members on trial. Their goal is, of course, to maximize the propaganda dividends. Every word in the statements made by KSM and al Sheeb, and the others as well, will become gold for the as Sahab machine, the maker of the video and audio material. To al Qaeda, the fate of the men in Guantanamo is not the issue, for in their Jihad they don't count. Rather, it is the amount of Jihadi propaganda material they can get out of this "battlefield" that really matters to them.

Second, and more importantly, there are the other Jihadists worldwide. These are the Jihadists who still have their freedom and will be able to carry out virulent attacks against the trials and the United States. In doing this, a political price will be paid by America, even for trying the most obvious terrorists - the planners and backers of the 9/11 operation. Organizations, movements, parties, ideologues, militants and a vast constellation of Salafists - and also Khomeinists - are and will continue to attack Guantanamo itself while ignoring the defendants.

The goal of these other free Jihadists is to deter Washington - and other Western countries - from trying the incarcerated Jihadists. Their thinking is that if the U.S. gets condemned in the global media for prosecuting and trying and eventually sentencing the worst of the worst, America will be intimidated when it tries to prosecute non-al Qaeda Jihadists. In addition, other "hidden forces" sympathetic to the goals, but not the methods, of Bin Laden will support the campaign against the trial by enlisting their resources in the media to serve the "anti-trial" campaign (even though this is not a pro-al Qaeda trend).

Third, the conglomeration of all anti-American political forces, including many radical circles within the United States, will unleash its attacks against Guantanamo and what it represents, meaning the existence of the "War on Terror". A significant ideological segment of the political establishment in America has been pushing the slogan of an "orchestrated war" which must be ended. To them, the trial of the terrorists in Guantanamo is an opportunity to bleed U.S. efforts in the confrontation, thereby enhancing their own domestic political fortunes and agendas.

These three elements are converging into (what is to them) the Battle of Guantanamo. Here is how it will take place.

First, the "team" on the inside of the courtroom will unleash any and all statements needed to create the environment for a martyrdom case: istishaad. They will claim the tribunal is not legitimate, the Guantanamo process is not legal, the procedure is not acceptable and that they want to receive the death penalty so they may become shuhada, or martyrs.

Then, the "production" will be picked up by al Qaeda and other Jihadi-Salafist entities around the world and will reappear in videos, audio and texts, as well as circulate around the world of militant networks.

The in-court "drama" will also be used by the Wahhabi and Muslim Brotherhood networks, that is the long term Jihadists, not praising the defendants but rather promoting some of the arguments made by the al Qaeda detainees. This stealth use of the "production" will serve to produce more incitements and solidify the Jihadi agenda.

For example, the campaign will target American credibility and the concept of a war on terror. Some of the statements by the defendants will be stressed, such as "we do not recognize your laws, but only Sharia." In short, a control room is already in place to feed off the Guantanamo trials and turn it into a victory in the War of ideas. The al Qaeda detainees will make their statements and will be sentenced, but the international Jihadists will thrive on these words.

Meanwhile in America, we have two indicators that we aren't really winning yet on this front. One indication is that elements within our government bureaucracy are now using the absolute wrong words (the so-called "lexicon") to fight this battle. The second indication is the stunningly paltry coverage of what should be known as the trials of the century, in favor of hyped coverage of trials much less significant.

Until these indications change, we are not contenders.

*************************

Dr. Walid Phares is the Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the author of "The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad."
10430  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: What are your daily sources for News? on: June 13, 2008, 01:11:01 AM
michellemalkin.com
jihadwatch.org
frontpagemag.com
counterterrorismblog.org in addition to most of the sites listed by SB.
10431  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 12, 2008, 10:20:42 PM
Endless judicial overreach. Trying to litigate al qaeda into submission during the Clinton administration didn't work so well, but I guess it'll work out now.  rolleyes
10432  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: June 12, 2008, 10:05:16 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/06/12/breaking-supreme-court-says-gitmo-detainees-must-have-access-to-us-courts/

Lawfare triumphant.
10433  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: June 12, 2008, 09:02:23 AM
http://www.jihadwatch.org/archives/2008/06/021366print.html


June 12, 2008

Shock horror! Mainstream Islamic teaching taught at Virginia Islamic school: adulterers and apostates should be killed

What do you expect? The idea that adulterers and apostates should be killed isn't "extremist" or "hijacked" Islam. It's mainstream Islamic teaching, taught in the Sunnah and all the schools of Islamic law. I know that pointing that out will earn me more charges of "Islamophobia," but reality is reality, fellows. This is just Islamorealism.

Oh, and by the way, the 1999 valedictorian of the Islamic Saudi Academy was Ahmed Omar Abu Ali, who is now doing 30 years in the pen for joining an Al-Qaeda plot to kill Bush. Surprised?

"Review: Troubling passages in texts at Va. school," by Matthew Barakat for AP, June 11 (thanks to all who sent this in):

McLEAN, Va. (AP) — Textbooks at a private Islamic school in northern Virginia teach students that it is permissible for Muslims to kill adulterers and converts from Islam, according to a federal investigation released Wednesday.
Other passages in the school's textbooks state that "the Jews conspired against Islam and its people" and that Muslims are permitted to take the lives and property of those deemed "polytheists."

Here is a hadith from Bukhari (the hadith collection Muslims consider most reliable) in which the Jews conspire to murder Muhammad. There are plenty more where that one came from. Here is a hadith from Bukhari in which Muhammad says that the lives and property of unbelievers are safe from him as long as they convert to Islam -- implying that if they don't, their lives and property are fair game.

The passages were found in selected textbooks used during the 2007-08 school year by the Islamic Saudi Academy, which teaches 900 students in grades K-12 at two campuses in Alexandria and Fairfax and receives much of its funding from the Saudi government.
The academy has come under scrutiny from critics who allege that it fosters an intolerant brand of Islam similar to that taught in the conservative Saudi kingdom. In the review, the panel recommended that the school make all of its textbooks available to the State Department so changes can be made before the next school year.

The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a panel formed by Congress, last year recommended that the school be closed amid concerns that it promotes violence and too closely mimics the conservative Saudi educational system.

The commission made its recommendation last year to close the school even though it had not reviewed the textbooks. Now that some have been reviewed, "we feel more confident that the potential problems we flagged before really are there," said the commission's spokeswoman, Judith Ingram.

School officials have long denied that the academy fosters intolerance. It has acknowledged that some of the Saudi textbooks contain harsh language, but says that the texts have improved in recent years and are revised as needed by the academy before being distributed to students....

The commission said it obtained 17 of the academy's textbooks through a variety of channels, including from members of Congress. The texts did appear to contain numerous revisions, including pages that were removed or passages that were whited out, but numerous troubling passages remained, according to the panel:

_ The authors of a 12th-grade text on Koranic interpretation state that apostates (those who convert from Islam), adulterers and people who murder Muslims can be permissibly killed.

Muhammad said, "If somebody (a Muslim) discards his religion, kill him."

_ The authors of a 12th-grade text on monotheism write that "(m)ajor polytheism makes blood and wealth permissible," meaning that a Muslim can take with impunity the life and property of someone believed guilty of polytheism. According to the panel, the strict Saudi interpretation of polytheism includes Shiite and Sufi Muslims as well as Christians, Jews, Hindus, and Buddhists.
See above.

_ A social studies text offers the view that Jews were responsible for the split between Sunni and Shiite Muslims: "The cause of the discord: The Jews conspired against Islam and its people. A sly, wicked person who sinfully and deceitfully professed Islam infiltrated (the Muslims)."
Typical paranoid Jew-hatred.

More generally, the panel found that the academy textbooks hold the view that the Muslim world was strong when united under a single caliph, the Arabic language and the Sunni creed, and that Muslims have grown weak because of foreign influence and internal divisions.
The commission's findings issued come a month after the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to extend the academy's lease for its main campus, which sits on county property.

The county conducted its own study of the textbooks last year at the request of Supervisor Gerald Hyland, whose district encompasses the academy.

Hyland and the county never released results of what they had found, but Hyland said in approving the lease that he is comfortable with the school's teachings, though he did so with a qualification.

"I would be less than frank if I didn't tell you that the curriculum does contain references to the Quran, which, if taken out of context and read literally, would cause come concern," Hyland said at the meeting at which the lease was extended.

Ah yes, those Qur'an quotes are only incendiary when "taken out of context and read literally." Of course. When one puts them in context and reads them figuratively, they're all peace and love. One would think Hyland would hesitate to claim that an Islamic school, staffed by people who know the Qur'an far better than he does, was misreading the Qur'an, but he feels compelled to jump into the PC lockstep, no matter how absurd it makes him look.

When will authorities face the implications of the fact that such teachings are essentially mainstream Islam? I'm inclined to think never.

Posted at June 12, 2008 7:27 AM
10434  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 12, 2008, 08:41:25 AM
I would argue that technological sophistication actually tend to protect civil rights more than threatening them. Corrupt 3rd. world cops need no technology to arrest or murder dissidents or shake down merchants. I came into law enforcement post-Rodney King. It was emphasized in the academy "Don't do or say anything you wouldn't want your family to see on CNN".

Mao, Stalin and Hitler didn't have video cameras or computer databases and created totalitarian nightmares just fine without them.
10435  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 10:23:05 PM
I can assure you that today, the USG and other levels of government in the US are far from omnipotent. I'm willing to bet that private marketing firms know much more about you than any governmental entity does.
10436  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 'America Alone' on: June 11, 2008, 09:23:36 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/12/us/12hate.html?partner=rssuserland&emc=rss&pagewanted=print

June 12, 2008
AMERICAN EXCEPTION
Unlike Others, U.S. Defends Freedom to Offend in Speech

By ADAM LIPTAK
VANCOUVER, British Columbia — A couple of years ago, a Canadian magazine published an article arguing that the rise of Islam threatened Western values. The article’s tone was mocking and biting, but it said nothing that conservative magazines and blogs in the United States do not say every day without fear of legal reprisal.

Things are different here. The magazine is on trial.

Two members of the Canadian Islamic Congress say the magazine, Maclean’s, Canada’s leading newsweekly, violated a provincial hate speech law by stirring up hatred against Muslims. They say the magazine should be forbidden from saying similar things, forced to publish a rebuttal and made to compensate Muslims for injuring their “dignity, feelings and self-respect.”

The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, which held five days of hearings on those questions here last week, will soon rule on whether Maclean’s violated the law. As spectators lined up for the afternoon session last week, an argument broke out.

“It’s hate speech!” yelled one man.

“It’s free speech!” yelled another.

In the United States, that debate has been settled. Under the First Amendment, newspapers and magazines can say what they like about minorities and religions — even false, provocative or hateful things — without legal consequence.

The Maclean’s article, “The Future Belongs to Islam,” was an excerpt from a book by Mark Steyn called “America Alone” (Regnery, 2006). The title was fitting: The United States, in its treatment of hate speech, as in so many other areas of the law, takes a distinctive legal path.

“In much of the developed world, one uses racial epithets at one’s legal peril, one displays Nazi regalia and the other trappings of ethnic hatred at significant legal risk, and one urges discrimination against religious minorities under threat of fine or imprisonment,” Frederick Schauer, a professor at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard, wrote in a recent essay called “The Exceptional First Amendment.”

“But in the United States,” Professor Schauer continued, “all such speech remains constitutionally protected.”

Canada, England, France, Germany, the Netherlands, South Africa, Australia and India all have laws or have signed international conventions banning hate speech. Israel and France forbid the sale of Nazi items like swastikas and flags. It is a crime to deny the Holocaust in Canada, Germany and France.

Earlier this month, the actress Brigitte Bardot, an animal rights activist, was fined $23,000 in France for provoking racial hatred by criticizing a Muslim ceremony involving the slaughter of sheep.

By contrast, American courts would not stop a planned march by the American Nazi Party in Skokie, Ill., in 1977, though a march would have been deeply distressing to the many Holocaust survivors there.

Six years later, a state court judge in New York dismissed a libel case brought by several Puerto Rican groups against a business executive who had called food stamps “basically a Puerto Rican program.” The First Amendment, Justice Eve M. Preminger wrote, does not allow even false statements about racial or ethnic groups to be suppressed or punished just because they may increase “the general level of prejudice.”

Some prominent legal scholars say the United States should reconsider its position on hate speech.

“It is not clear to me that the Europeans are mistaken,” Jeremy Waldron, a legal philosopher, wrote in The New York Review of Books last month, “when they say that a liberal democracy must take affirmative responsibility for protecting the atmosphere of mutual respect against certain forms of vicious attack.”

Professor Waldron was reviewing “Freedom for the Thought That We Hate: A Biography of the First Amendment” by Anthony Lewis, the former New York Times columnist. Mr. Lewis has been critical of efforts to use the law to limit hate speech.

But even Mr. Lewis, a liberal, wrote in his book that he was inclined to relax some of the most stringent First Amendment protections “in an age when words have inspired acts of mass murder and terrorism.” In particular, he called for a re-examination of the Supreme Court’s insistence that there is only one justification for making incitement a criminal offense: the likelihood of imminent violence.

The imminence requirement sets a high hurdle. Mere advocacy of violence, terrorism or the overthrow of the government is not enough; the words must be meant to and be likely to produce violence or lawlessness right away. A fiery speech urging an angry mob to immediately assault a black man in its midst probably qualifies as incitement under the First Amendment. A magazine article — or any publication — intended to stir up racial hatred surely does not.

Mr. Lewis wrote that there was “genuinely dangerous” speech that did not meet the imminence requirement.

“I think we should be able to punish speech that urges terrorist violence to an audience, some of whose members are ready to act on the urging,” Mr. Lewis wrote. “That is imminence enough.”

Harvey A. Silverglate, a civil liberties lawyer in Cambridge, Mass., disagreed. “When times are tough,” he said, “there seems to be a tendency to say there is too much freedom.”

“Free speech matters because it works,” Mr. Silverglate continued. Scrutiny and debate are more effective ways of combating hate speech than censorship, he said, and all the more so in the post-Sept. 11 era.

“The world didn’t suffer because too many people read ‘Mein Kampf,’ ” Mr. Silverglate said. “Sending Hitler on a speaking tour of the United States would have been quite a good idea.”

Mr. Silverglate seemed to be echoing the words of Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes Jr., whose 1919 dissent in Abrams v. United States eventually formed the basis for modern First Amendment law.

“The best test of truth is the power of the thought to get itself accepted in the competition of the market,” Justice Holmes wrote.

“I think that we should be eternally vigilant,” he added, “against attempts to check the expression of opinions that we loathe and believe to be fraught with death.”

The First Amendment is not, of course, absolute. The Supreme Court has said that the government may ban fighting words or threats. Punishments may be enhanced for violent crimes prompted by racial hatred. And private institutions, including universities and employers, are not subject to the First Amendment, which restricts only government activities.

But merely saying hateful things about minorities, even with the intent to cause their members distress and to generate contempt and loathing, is protected by the First Amendment.

In 1969, for instance, the Supreme Court unanimously overturned the conviction of a leader of a Ku Klux Klan group under an Ohio statute that banned the advocacy of terrorism. The Klan leader, Clarence Brandenburg, had urged his followers at a rally to “send the Jews back to Israel,” to “bury” blacks, though he did not call them that, and to consider “revengeance” against politicians and judges who were unsympathetic to whites.

Only Klan members and journalists were present. Because Mr. Brandenburg’s words fell short of calling for immediate violence in a setting where such violence was likely, the Supreme Court ruled that he could not be prosecuted for incitement.

In his opening statement in the Canadian magazine case, a lawyer representing the Muslim plaintiffs aggrieved by the Maclean’s article pleaded with a three-member panel of the tribunal to declare that the article subjected his clients to “hatred and ridicule” and to force the magazine to publish a response.

“You are the only thing between racist, hateful, contemptuous Islamophobic and irresponsible journalism, and law-abiding Canadian citizens,” the lawyer, Faisal Joseph, told the tribunal.

In response, the lawyer for Maclean’s, Roger D. McConchie, all but called the proceeding a sham.

“Innocent intent is not a defense,” Mr. McConchie said in a bitter criticism of the British Columbia law on hate speech. “Nor is truth. Nor is fair comment on true facts. Publication in the public interest and for the public benefit is not a defense. Opinion expressed in good faith is not a defense. Responsible journalism is not a defense.”

Jason Gratl, a lawyer for the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association and the Canadian Association of Journalists, which have intervened in the case in support of the magazine, was measured in his criticism of the law.

“Canadians do not have a cast-iron stomach for offensive speech,” Mr. Gratl said in a telephone interview. “We don’t subscribe to a marketplace of ideas. Americans as a whole are more tough-minded and more prepared for verbal combat.”

Many foreign courts have respectfully considered the American approach — and then rejected it.

A 1990 decision from the Canadian Supreme Court, for instance, upheld the criminal conviction of James Keegstra for “unlawfully promoting hatred against an identifiable group by communicating anti-Semitic statements.” Mr. Keegstra, a teacher, had told his students that Jews were “money loving,” “power hungry” and “treacherous.”

Writing for the majority, Chief Justice Brian Dickson said there was an issue “crucial to the disposition of this appeal: the relationship between Canadian and American approaches to the constitutional protection of free expression, most notably in the realm of hate propaganda.”

Chief Justice Dickson said “there is much to be learned from First Amendment jurisprudence.” But he concluded that “the international commitment to eradicate hate propaganda and, most importantly, the special role given equality and multiculturalism in the Canadian Constitution necessitate a departure from the view, reasonably prevalent in America at present, that the suppression of hate propaganda is incompatible with the guarantee of free expression.”

The United States’ distinctive approach to free speech, legal scholars say, has many causes. It is partly rooted in an individualistic view of the world. Fear of allowing the government to decide what speech is acceptable plays a role. So does history.

“It would be really hard to criticize Israel, Austria, Germany and South Africa, given their histories,” for laws banning hate speech, Professor Schauer said in an interview.

In Canada, however, laws banning hate speech seem to stem from a desire to promote societal harmony. While the Ontario Human Rights Commission dismissed a complaint against Maclean’s, it still condemned the article.

“In Canada, the right to freedom of expression is not absolute, nor should it be,” the commission’s statement said. “By portraying Muslims as all sharing the same negative characteristics, including being a threat to ‘the West,’ this explicit expression of Islamophobia further perpetuates and promotes prejudice toward Muslims and others.”

A separate federal complaint against Maclean’s is pending.

Mr. Steyn, the author of the article, said the Canadian proceedings had illustrated some important distinctions. “The problem with so-called hate speech laws is that they’re not about facts,” he said in a telephone interview. “They’re about feelings.”

“What we’re learning here is really the bedrock difference between the United States and the countries that are in a broad sense its legal cousins,” Mr. Steyn added. “Western governments are becoming increasingly comfortable with the regulation of opinion. The First Amendment really does distinguish the U.S., not just from Canada but from the rest of the Western world.”
10437  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 07:54:55 PM
http://www.missingkids.com/en_US/publications/NC88.pdf

Note the potential use of camera footage in the above investigations.
10438  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 07:33:15 PM
Are we not watched everywhere we go where there are other humans? Do the cameras at ATMs and gas stations make you feel oppressed?
10439  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 06:25:00 PM
http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL33335.pdf

Transnational organized crime brief
10440  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 06:11:57 PM

London bombers staged 'dummy run'

Newly released CCTV footage shows the 7 July London bombers staged a practice run nine days before the attack.
Detectives reconstructed the bombers' movements after studying thousands of hours of film as part of the probe into the blasts which killed 52 people.

CCTV images show three of the bombers entering Luton station, before travelling to King's Cross station where they are also pictured.

Officers are keen to find out if the men met anyone else on the day.

Intensive probe

The three, Mohammad Sidique Khan, Shehzad Tanweer and Germaine Lindsay, were conducting a carefully planned reconnaissance exercise, police said.

Deputy Assistant Commissioner Peter Clarke, head of Scotland Yard's Anti-Terrorist Branch, said: "What we want to know is where else they went and did they meet anybody else while they were in London?

"If any member of the public thinks that they know something about the movement of these men on that day, they should call us on the anti-terrorist hotline."

He added that it was "part of a terrorist's methodology" to check timings, lay-out and security precautions.

Police traced the movements after recovering tickets and receipts from houses connected to the bombers which pointed to their trip.

Mr Clarke said the investigation would carry on for months. More than 3,000 plus witness statements had been gathered and 80,000 CCTV tapes analysed.

Police revealed that two bombs were found in a car left by the attackers at Luton train station on 7 July.

It has also emerged that a landfill site in Skelton Grange, West Yorkshire, is being searched in a bid to uncover more clues.

DUMMY RUN DETAILS
Sidique Khan and Tanweer meet Lindsay at Luton station around 0810 BST
The trio buy tickets and catch a train to King's Cross
The men arrive at King's Cross at 0855 BST and are also seen at Baker Street at midday
The bombers leave King's Cross at 1250 BST and arrive back in Luton at 1340 BST

A dozen officers in fluorescent jackets could be seen on Tuesday afternoon working on the site.

The men, who were wearing overalls under their jackets and white safety hats, appeared to be systematically searching a small area of the rubbish heap helped by two mechanical diggers.

One local resident said: "They've been here for weeks, dozens of them.

"They've been searching the same bit of rubbish every day it seems.

"The diggers skim off a layer at a time and then they move in and search it quite painstakingly."

Detectives believe the site could be connected to the apparent "bomb factory" at a flat in Alexander Grove in Leeds.

Meanwhile, al-Qaeda has said for the first time the group carried out the attacks.

In a videotaped message aired on Arab television station al-Jazeera, al-Qaeda deputy leader Ayman al-Zawahri said the group had the "honour" of carrying out the attacks.

The 7 July bomb attacks killed 56 people - including the four bombers - and injured more than 700.

Tube theory

Three bombs were detonated on underground trains just outside Liverpool Street and Edgware Road stations, and on another travelling between King's Cross and Russell Square.

The fourth explosion took place on a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square, not far from King's Cross.

Evidence of a reconnaissance mission supports the theory that all four had planned to detonate their rucksack bombs on the Underground system.

It is believed that the bus bomber, Hasib Hussain, was prevented from getting onto the Northern Line on the day of the attacks because the service had been disrupted.

The other bombers - Tanweer, Lindsay and Sidique Khan - detonated their devices almost simultaneously.

Anyone with information in connection with the London bombings should ring the anti-terrorist hotline on 0800789321 .

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/uk_news/4263176.stm

Published: 2005/09/20 17:19:35 GMT
10441  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 06:05:53 PM
In reference to the "scary" photos from europe. What's the difference between a cop on the beat in a public place and a cop watching a video feed from a camera in a public place? What's the objection to police wearing riot gear? Even weird european riot gear?
10442  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 06:01:20 PM
If you use it as part of a licensing process, then you can deny for a prior criminal history. If the applicant is a "cleanskin" (meaning no prior criminal history) you use it to identify them should they commit a crime or crimes and attempt to disappear.
10443  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 05:36:05 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/25/us/25fraud.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print&oref=slogin

December 25, 2007
Officials Falling Behind on Mortgage Fraud Cases

By JOHN LELAND
The number of mortgage fraud cases has grown so fast that government agencies that investigate and prosecute them cannot keep up, lenders and law enforcement officials have said.

Reports of suspected mortgage fraud have doubled since 2005 and increased eightfold since 2002. Banks filed 47,717 reports this year, up from 21,994 two years ago, according to statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network of the Treasury Department. In 2002, banks filed 5,623 reports.

“I don’t think any law enforcement agency can keep up with mortgage fraud, because it’s such a growth industry,” said Chuck Cross, vice president of mortgage regulatory policy for the conference of state bank supervisors, an organization of regulators and bankers. “There’s too many cases, not enough agents.”

Mortgage fraud covers crimes like false statements on mortgage applications and elaborate “flipping” schemes that involve multiple properties and corrupt appraisers, title companies and straw buyers.

In one common flipping plot, someone buys a house, has it appraised for more than its true value and sells it to a straw buyer for the inflated price, pocketing the difference. The straw buyer lets the house fall into foreclosure, leaving the bank with the loss.

The cases coming into view reflect the recent boom in mortgages with limited borrower documentation and lax scrutiny.

Law enforcement agencies say they are overwhelmed, especially because investigating and prosecuting fraud can be complex and time consuming. The officials say career criminals and organized-crime rings have increasingly turned from other crimes to mortgage fraud because it offers lower risks and high profits.

“I could hire a dozen investigators and a dozen prosecutors and only scratch the surface,” said David McLaughlin, a senior assistant attorney general in Georgia who coordinates prosecutions of mortgage fraud.

Losses involving federally insured banks totaled $813 million in the 2007 fiscal year, more than double the $293 million lost in the 2002 fiscal year.

These figures most likely represent “the tip of the iceberg,” said the Mortgage Bankers Association, an industry group, because they do not cover mortgage brokers, who arrange more than half of new mortgages. The industry estimates the total loss this year at $4 billion.

Mortgage fraud can damage whole neighborhoods. Derrick Duckworth, a real estate broker in southwestern Atlanta, has watched “about 40 percent” of the houses in his neighborhood, Adair, become vacant as a result of mortgage fraud. The remaining residents cannot sell their houses because of the abandoned buildings and the neighborhood’s reputation for fraud, he said.

“The other day, someone broke into my neighbor’s crawl space and stole her copper plumbing,” he said. “Last week, we had an 18-year-old shot on the street.”

Fraud is especially common with subprime mortgages, the high-price loans for borrowers with poor credit. Lenders and investigators trace part of the foreclosure crisis to mortgage fraud.

For local law enforcement agencies, fraud is increasing as regulatory budgets are tight and other crimes seem more pressing, said Tom Levanti, a fraud investigator in New York.

“You only have a certain amount of resources,” Mr. Levanti said, “and in New York, you need to spend them on counterterrorism, protecting citizens, reducing violent crime. Mortgage fraud cases are long and time consuming, and the victims are usually financial institutions that can write off the loss. So as a police department, return on investment has to be thought about.”

Lenders say they have good relationships with investigating and prosecuting agencies.

“But law enforcement is just absolutely overwhelmed,” said Corey Carlisle, senior director for government affairs for the Mortgage Bankers Association, which has lobbied for more money to fight fraud. “Lenders say they have to market their cases to law enforcement,” meaning showing extraordinarily high sums or multiple criminals.

John Arterberry, executive deputy chief of the fraud section in the Justice Department, said federal prosecutors and the F.B.I. had made progress on mortgage fraud. Mr. Arterberry cited sweeps in 2004 and 2005 that resulted in more than 150 defendants charged in each sweep.

The bureau has 1,210 open mortgage fraud inquiries, up from 436 in 2003. Last year, those cases led to 204 convictions.

“We have limited resources and have to put them where they do the most good,” Mr. Arterberry said. “We’re able to zero in on hot spots and organized efforts.”

This progress is too slow for Kristine Baugh, who said her neighborhood in Dallas had not recovered from a mortgage fraud that left in six vacant houses on her block. Ms. Baugh, a real estate broker, said she discovered what she believed was a fraud scheme in 2005, when six properties sold for far more than she felt they were worth and remained vacant until being foreclosed.

Suspecting fraudulent appraisals, she gathered documents on the sales and took them to the F.B.I., the district attorney and local officials. With neighbors, she sued an investor who she said was behind the fraud.

Years later, there have been no arrests in the case. The residents ran out of money and dropped their civil suit after the investor filed a countersuit. “Our neighborhood is still in shambles,” Ms. Baugh said. “The properties deteriorated and have to be kept up by the city. They’re a health hazard.”

The swimming pools at the vacant sites are breeding grounds for mosquitoes and potential West Nile virus sources, she said.

Such cases are likely to multiply, said Constance Wilson, executive vice president of Interthinx, which develops fraud detection tools for the lending industry.

“The cases we’re seeing today are from 18, 24, 36 months ago, when the market was still good,” Ms. Wilson said. “Now we’re going to see an increase in mortgage fraud, because all those loan officers, brokers and appraisers who were making six-figure incomes, now their back is against the wall. If that loan doesn’t close, they can’t make their home payment.

“So you have a desperation cycle,” she said. “There’s a lot of push for them originate volume.

“The consequences are that people are getting away with it. It’s damaging the entire real estate market. It’s devastating to victims. Not just lenders but consumers. It’s devastating to entire communities.

“When it’s this prolific,” she said, “we just don’t have enough law enforcement or enough prosecutors for all the cases out there.”
10444  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: June 11, 2008, 05:31:52 PM
At the Islamic Center of Roubaix, the suburb of Lille where the marriage took place, there is sympathy for the woman.
"The man is the biggest of all the donkeys," said Abdelkibir Errami, the center's vice president. "Even if the woman was no longer a virgin, he had no right to expose her honor. This is not what Islam teaches. It teaches forgiveness."

**This is why you see muslims oppose honor killings with such fervor around the world, right?**

/a cricket chirps in the distance/
10445  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 05:26:39 PM
....When they came for the residential mortgage originators, I said nothing.....

Seriously, mortgage fraud has become a staple for organized crime. Part of the housing crisis today is related to fraud. It's a serious crime with a serious financial impact on all of us.


http://www.fbi.gov/publications/financial/fcs_report2006/financial_crime_2006.htm
10446  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 11, 2008, 09:52:43 AM
Aside from those whose biometrics are recorded as part of a booking process, everyone else that is fingerprinted/has other biometrics recorded is doing so voluntarily. Why shouldn't law enforcement use modern technology to record other biometrics when it records fingerprints?
10447  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: June 10, 2008, 10:48:55 PM
Domestic spying? Puh-leeze.....  rolleyes
10448  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 09, 2008, 08:38:24 AM
http://www.policelink.com/news/26729-obama-uses-police-memorial-for-porta-potties

Obama Uses Police Memorial for Porta Potties

This photo by Officer Thomas Brennan shows the porta potties setup on the police memorial, with its flag still at half mast.
PoliceLink
May 30, 2008

PORTLAND, OR – Police officers in Portland, Oregon, are still waiting for an apology from Barack Obama after campaign staffers of his recent rally in Portland, Oregon, setup porta potties directly on top of the Portland Police Memorial, which honors the agency’s 25 fallen police officers.

The Obama rally drew a crowd of over 75,000 people.

Officer Thomas Brennan, who was working overtime at the rally, took a picture of the offending toilets, with the American flag still at half mast because of Police Officers Memorial Day, directly behind them. The local law enforcement memorial service had been held at the site only five days earlier.

Despite a large amount of open areas in the vicinity, the campaign staffers claimed the toilets were placed on the memorial for safety reasons to accommodate wheelchair access.

The Obama campaign has not responded to requests for an apology.

Want to express your outrage and ask for an apology? Contact Senator Obama here.
10449  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: June 08, 2008, 09:38:50 PM
http://michellemalkin.com/2008/05/19/tv-news-crew-attacked-at-minneapolis-tax-funded-muslim-school/

More stealth-jihad in the schools.
10450  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 08, 2008, 08:05:12 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/06/08/obama-community-blogs-bring-hope-change-to-enemies-of-jewish-lobby/


They "Hope" you don't see this, so they've "Change"'d the website.  grin
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