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10651  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why is NEST in China? on: July 09, 2008, 10:38:47 AM
April 11, 2008
Xinjiang Province - The Islamic Jihad Battlefront in China

By Janet Levy
When the 2008 Summer Olympic Games were awarded to Beijing seven years ago, hope arose that China's new-found status as a modern, world power and position in the world media spotlight would prompt increased tolerance and democracy nationwide. Clearly, that optimism has been dashed by the turmoil in Tibet.

Stellar economic performance and reforms, viewed sanguinely by the West as a sure route to liberalization, have occurred in China devoid of political reform. China's use of brutal force and massive arrests against Tibetan protestors bear witness to this lack of progress. Indeed, China today stands revealed as one of the worst perpetrators of human rights violations and religious repression in the world.

Among those singled out for similar harshness and violence is a portion of China's 30-million-strong Muslim community: the Islamic jihadists of the northwestern province of Xinjiang and surrounding areas. With Tibet in mind, the West may be tempted to view this decades-long unrest in Central Asia as yet another example of Chinese aggression and expansionism against a beleaguered population seeking independence. Yet, such a view is shortsighted and dangerous. For, in truth, the Islamic Jihadists of China's Xinjiang are linked to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Al Qaeda. Their terrorist methods and ideology are of a piece with the larger Islamic Jihadist goal to overthrow existing governments and install a religious theocracy. They, in fact, represent the Chinese battlefront of the worldwide Islamic Jihad.

China's Muslim Population

Inaccessibility to China's far flung regions and the exclusion of questions about religion in the last three national censuses make it difficult to obtain accurate figures about the Chinese Muslim population. But it is estimated at around 30 million, the second largest religious group in China after Buddhists. About 20 million are Hui, concentrated mostly in northwestern China. Another 8.5 million are Uyghurs who reside in Xinjiang province.  

The Hui, culturally similar to the majority Han Chinese, follow Islamic dietary laws and some customs of Muslim dress but have engaged in only limited jihadist activity. Evidence exists of uprisings in two Hui villages, as well as some protest activity against the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. However, discrimination and economic deprivation against the Uyghurs and their push for a separate state have made for more extensive and organized jihadist activities by the militant, Uyghur Muslims throughout Central Asia. The nature of this activity -- the extent to which it is an uprising for a separatist state or supports a pan-Islamist agenda -- is difficult to assess given Communist China's history of repression of religious groups, rampant human rights abuses and lack of a free press, but some conclusions can be made.

The Uyghurs

The desire for an independent Uyghur state is a fairly recent development, dating from the 1930's, but the Uyghurs themselves are a historically nomadic people of Turkic Indo-European origin who can be traced back to the 700s.

The province in which they live, Xinjiang, is large and sparsely populated, representing one-sixth of China's total land mass. It borders Tibet, Russia, Kazakstan, Kyryzstan, Tajikstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Indian state of Kashmir. Xinjiang is rich in oil, gas and mineral deposits. It also has numerous military installations and, until 1996, nuclear testing facilities, giving it significant and strategic military importance to China.

The Uyghurs have a separate language, culture, religion and identity from the dominant Han, who are deemed the "true," ethnic Chinese. Uyghurs hold a multiplicity of identities, including Muslim, Uyghur, Turk or Chinese and have historically been opposed to Han or majority Chinese rule. The Uyghurs in Xinjiang maintain an informal ethnic apartheid. They view the Chinese as inferior occupiers, equate Confucianism and Buddhism with idolatry, and frequent their own stores and restaurants. An estimated 23,000 mosques exist in the region, with many small neighborhood facilities, some financed by Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

According to Igor Rotar, a Central Asia correspondent for The Jamestown Foundation, Uyghurs "tend to be more zealous Muslims than their Central Asian neighbors. The majority of local, married women wear burqas, which is quite rare in Central Asia, and middle-aged men prefer to have beards."[1]  Rotar says a Uyghur Muslim in Xinjiang explained to him that "In the Quran it is written that a Muslim should not live under the authority of infidels, and that is why we will never reconcile with the Chinese occupation." China's restrictive policy on family size is also a point of contention in this community.

In direct contrast to this view, visiting Associated Press reporter, William Foreman, recently observed, "Most Uighurs practice a moderate form of Islam. The men wear ornate skullcaps, or "doppi," while most women favor head scarves but rarely cover their faces. Many can be seen dressed in tight skirts or stylish hip-hugging designer jeans and high heels."[2]

As a non-Han people, Uyghurs have been viewed by the Chinese as inferior and portrayed as untrustworthy, shiftless, warring troublemakers. They have been discriminated against in employment and are victims of economic deprivation in an underdeveloped area. Drug use, particularly opium and hashish, is rampant and has added to the hopelessness and poverty. A high incidence of AIDS due to heroin injection appears to have attracted little government intervention to combat the problem.    

The Push for Uyghur Independence

In the 1930s, Uyghur separatists proposed a constitution for a Uyghur republic that referenced Islam and shariah law but focused primarily on economic development and political freedom. The occupation of northern Xinjiang in 1949 by China's military, the People's Liberation Army, was viewed as a hopeful sign because China's leader, Chairman Mao Zedong, pledged an end to "Great Han chauvinism." In reality, Chinese Communists valued Xinjiang, not for egalitarian reasons, but as a strategic and natural, resource-rich asset. Meanwhile, the Han-dominated, Communist Party asserted a unified, Chinese identity and sought to eliminate the distinct Uyghur culture and history.

During the Cold War, the Uyghurs of Xinjiang, surrounded by the Chinese and the USSR, had limited options for self-determination. In the 1980s when restrictions eased in China against ethnic minorities and religious practices, the Uyghurs spoke out about discrimination and injustice. They reasserted their demands for a homeland, which continue to this day. An active Uyghur exile community in Central Asia, estimated at 400,000, has sought to draw attention to the plight of the Uyghurs and their quest for a separate state.

The Uyghur-Jihadist Link  

Motivated by legitimate desires for independence, militant Turkic Muslim Uyghurs in Xinjiang have, since the 1970's, engaged in terrorist activities. These include killing police and military officers, robbing banks, rioting and bombing. The Uyghurs in Xinjiang, members of the 400,000-strong Uyghurs in the diaspora and other Islamist groups in Central Asia have become part of a pan-Islamic movement that developed since the mid-1980's and includes terrorist activity that intensified after the break-up of the Soviet Union. Islamists in Xinjiang have reportedly received financial support and training from the Taliban in Afghanistan, Al Qaeda and the Jamaat-i-Islami of Pakistan.

The potential for the Islamization of the region and the ability of Islamists to capitalize on the existing conflict between the Uyghurs and the Chinese government is a real concern to the Communist government.

The strongest militant Islamist groups in the region include the East Turkistan Liberation Organization (ETLO), the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan (IMU) and the East Turkistan Islamic Movement (ETIM), allegedly linked to Al Qaeda. The IMU renamed itself the Islamic Party of Turkistan and publicly declared that it seeks to create an Islamic state across Central Asia and expand its recruitment efforts throughout the region. For traditional Uyghur separatists, these groups represent a source of wealthy supporters who offer funding, weapons support and terrorist training. They also help buttress and reinforce the global Islamist movement into China. For example, in 1989, Al Qaeda set up a base in China with links to the ETIM and the IMU.

Xinjiang's porous border with Kazakhstan, Tajikstan, Kyrgyzstan and Afghanistan facilitates the conducting of terrorist training just outside of China, as well as the movement of weapons, explosives and terrorist operatives. It also enables the indoctrination of Muslims in extremist ideology out of the reach of China.

China reports that the ETIM has ties to Central Asia Uyghur Hezbollah in Kazakstan and that 1,000 Uyghurs were trained by Al Qaeda. They maintain that 600 of them escaped to Pakistan, 300 were caught by U.S. forces on the battlefield in Afghanistan and 110 returned to China and were caught. At the beginning of the conflict in Afghanistan, U.S. forces did, in fact, report that 15 Uyghurs were imprisoned at Guantanamo Bay.

According to B. Raman, former head of the Counterterrorism Division of India's external intelligence agency, the Uyghurs have been approached by the Hizb ut-Tahrir, a political party whose goal is to unite all Muslim countries in a unitary Islamic state. The Hizb ut-Tahrir in Pakistan and in other parts of Central Asia, has sought to use the Uyghurs to set up sleeper cells in Xinjiang.

10652  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why is NEST in China? on: July 09, 2008, 10:21:49 AM

Special Dispatch Series - No. 1947
June 3, 2008   No. 1947

"The Islamic Party of Turkestan" [i.e. Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, Chinese Turkestan] Posts Its Platform on an Islamist Forum
"The Islamic Party of Turkestan" is a jihadist group operating in Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region (also known as Chinese Turkestan or Uyghuristan), a region in northwestern China inhabited mostly by Muslims.

On May 21, 2008, the Islamist forum Al-Ikhlas (hosted by Piradius.net in Malaysia) posted the party's platform, as issued by its media department. The document sets out the party's goals and beliefs.

The following are excerpts from the platform document:

"We are a group that promotes jihad for the sake of Allah... Its members, [united in] monotheism, devoutness, piety, and jihad for the sake of Allah, aim to liberate Muslim East Turkestan from the apostate Communist Chinese occupation... and impose shari'a [law] in [this region]. By cooperating with the Muslim mujahideen throughout the Islamic world [we aim to] restore the Islamic Caliphate and impose shari'a throughout the world."

"Our Goals Are:

"To train the Muslim Turkestani youth to wage jihad..."

"To prepare the Muslim Turkestani masses [for jihad] and to bring them back to the right path [i.e. to the Salafi creed]..."

"To cooperate with all the groups waging jihad for the sake of Allah throughout the world, in order to repel the attacks of the apostates... and drive the Crusaders, Zionists and apostates from our Islamic world..."

"Principles:

"We believe that, like most Muslim countries, East Turkestan is under the direct and indirect occupation of apostates... and is governed by secular and democratic constitutions and laws...

"We believe that if Muslim countries are under direct or indirect occupation... waging jihad against those who rule them and subject them to apostate laws becomes a mandatory [duty].

"We believe that, since the apostate attacker has invaded our lands, jihad in the path of Allah has become a personal duty incumbent upon every Muslim in Turkestan..."

"We deem it necessary to impose shari'a in East Turkestan and in all [other] Muslim countries after they are liberated from the imperialists and apostates...

"We believe that any presence of the apostate Chinese occupiers - be it military, governmental, political or economic - is a legitimate target for jihad... This statement is a declaration of war upon them, and they must therefore leave East Turkestan immediately."

"We consider the presence of Chinese immigrants in Muslim East Turkestan illegitimate. They represent the most tangible form of Chinese occupation... They must leave Turkestan and return to their places of origin. This statement is [our] first and last warning [to them]...

"We reject... all symbols of Jahili [i.e. non-Islamic] nationalism, as well as the deviant [ideology of] democracy in all its forms, and [declare] our opposition to them...

"We are an independent, organized Islamic group, under the command of an Emir and a leadership... in accordance with the Islamic principles of shura [consultation]."





 

http://memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP194708
10653  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why is NEST in China? on: July 09, 2008, 10:17:10 AM
http://www.cdi.org/terrorism/etim-pr.cfm

 
 In the Spotlight:
East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM)
 
Dec. 9, 2002   Standard Version
 
The East Turkestan Islamic Movement (ETIM) is a separatist Muslim group operating in China's western Xinjiang province. ETIM is the most militant of the various groups in the Xinjiang region that demand separation from China and the creation of an independent state called East Turkestan. China has long viewed the ETIM and similar groups as a threat to its territorial integrity, and after the attacks on America on Sept. 11, 2001, executed a harsh crackdown on the region by increasing its military presence, detaining suspected members, and limiting religious rights. Chinese authorities blame separatist groups, including ETIM, for more than 200 terrorist attacks since 1990, resulting in 162 deaths and more than 440 injuries.

While China has portrayed its battle with ETIM as part of a worldwide struggle against international terrorism, the group's global reach and links to al Qaeda are disputed. In August 2002, the administration of U.S. president George W. Bush froze the group's U.S. assets, and, the following month, the United Nations added ETIM to its "list of terrorists and terrorist supporters associated with Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network." Besides Xinjiang, ETIM cells are said to be operating in Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Pakistan. U.S. officials claim that the group has a "close financial relationship" with al Qaeda, based on information they received from militants currently detained at the U.S. naval base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. A January 2002 Chinese government study found that ETIM members crossed into Afghanistan, where they received training from al Qaeda members, and returned back to Xinjiang to foment terrorist activity. According to the report, ETIM has received money, weapons and support from al Qaeda.

At the same time, critics claim the U.S. decision to recognize ETIM as a terrorist group was a political move, designed to appease China during UN Security Council negotiations over a resolution on Iraq. Human rights groups have accused China of repressing Xinjiang's native Uighur population, the region's Turkic-speaking ethnic majority who practice a moderate form of Sufi Islam. Until recently, the United States had accused China of using the war against terrorism as an excuse to clamp down on political dissent in the region, and castigated the Chinese military for human rights violations against Uighur nationalists. ETIM leader Hahsan Mahsum has denied any connections between al Qaeda and his group.

East Turkestan maintained a measure of independence until the early 1950s, when Mao's victorious rebel armies turned to the peripheries and began securing Chinese borders, capturing Manchuria, Inner Mongolia, Tibet and East Turkestan. It is the country's largest province, estimated to have approximately 40 million residents, as well as large deposits of oil, gas and uranium. The native Uighurs resisted Chinese occupation until the 1960s, but failed to win support from neighboring Muslim states because of their fractured tribal nature. Since the mid-1980s, however, an active pan-Islamic movement has attempted to cement the opposing groups together, a move that Chinese officials see as a tremendous potential threat.

China has pursued political support for its actions in Xinjiang for several years now. In 1999, Algeria and Saudi Arabia issued statements in support of Chinese territorial integrity after a visit by Chinese president Jiang Zemin, a move that was seen by some as condoning Chinese oppression of Uighurs. China maintains strict supervision over the region, encouraging "moderate Islam" under the leadership of "national imams", who are government-employed officials. As in Tibet, Chinese resettlement policies have resulted in a sharp rise of Han Chinese among the population. The number of Chinese residents has increased from 200,000 to 6 million over the past 30 years. Other counterterrorist measures include the transfer of large reinforcements to the border area in order to prevent the smuggling of weapons and people from neighboring countries, and harsh punishment of people suspected of involvement with the group. Human rights activists claim that during 1997 and the later part of 1996, some 1,000 Uighurs were executed and more than 10,000 were incarcerated for political reasons.

While Uighur dissatisfaction over Chinese rule has been a constant thorn in China's side over the past several decades, until recently, protests were limited to riots and demonstrations. The collapse of the Soviet Union and the subsequent independence of several Muslim Soviet republics bordering Xinjiang, as well as the rise of Muslim fundamentalism in the Middle East, have contributed to a rise in terrorist activity in the region. Five Uighurs were killed in riots near Kashgar in April 1990, and the region was put under martial law for several months. In February 1992, six people were killed in a powerful bus explosion in Urumqi, and three months later 22 people were killed in riots in Baaren. The various East Turkestan liberation groups showed signs of consolidation when, in September 1994, the five largest Uighur organizations - the East Turkestan Islamic Party, the East Turkestan People's Party, the Eastern Turkestan Gray Wolf Party, the Eastern Turkestan Independence Organization, and the Eastern Turkestan Liberation Front - met secretly in Gulja to discuss coordinating their activities. In 1995, the province saw sabotage of railroad tracks and oil fields, resulting in extensive damage. The following year, approximately 5,000 Uighurs were arrested after a series of attacks on Chinese interests.

Despite the government crackdown, the separatists' violent attacks have not abated. In March 1997, a bus explosion killed two people and injured 30 on the heels of several bus explosions that took place in Urumqi, the region's capital. An Uighur spokesman, in exile in Turkey, claimed responsibility for the attack, and announced that more Uighurs living in Kazakhstan were prepared to execute additional attacks. Attacks in the form of arsons, explosions, assassinations and kidnappings continued throughout 1998. In 1999, the Chinese government arrested hundreds of activists from dozens of various separatist organizations, a period that saw a significant decline in ETIM's activity. Since then, there have been several armed clashes between the Uighurs and Chinese security forces. In June 2000, a group of Uighurs ambushed a Chinese delegation to Xinjiang, killing one representative and seriously injuring two others.

Although ETIM has traditionally focused on Chinese targets, it may have plans to also attack American interests. In May 2002, two of its members were accused of planning to bomb the U.S. Embassy in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, and were subsequently deported from Kyrgyzstan to China.

Sources

Amer Taheri, 'East Turkestan as a Chinese Colony,' The International Taklamakan Human Rights Association (ITHRA)

Council on Foreign Relations - ' Terrorism Questions & Answers: East Turkestan Islamic Movement'

'Beijing enlists Arab help to fight Islamic movement in east Turkestan,' Muslimedia International, Nov. 16-30, 1999

Boaz Ganor, 'Xinjiang: Profile of a Restless Province,' The International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism

 
By Seva Gunitskiy
CDI Research Assistant
vgunitskiy@cdi.org
10654  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / China vs. Islam on: July 09, 2008, 10:11:48 AM
http://www.washtimes.com/news/2008/jun/20/us-nuke-spotters-sent-to-china-before-games/

U.S. nuke spotters sent to China before games
Secret team acts on attack fears

Bill Gertz
Friday, June 20, 2008

EXCLUSIVE:

The Bush administration has dispatched a secret team of nuclear specialists to China in response to Chinese concerns that terrorists may attempt to set off a radiological bomb during the Beijing Summer Olympics, The Washington Times has learned.

The Nuclear Emergency Support Team (NEST) was sent on Chinese intelligence indicating that any attack likely would involve a radiological device - a conventional explosive laced with radioactive material to enhance its effect - said Bush administration officials familiar with the security efforts.

The NEST deployment was disclosed as China announced this week that it is conducting a citywide drill in Beijing to test responses for a radiological bomb attack. It could not be learned whether the NEST unit will participate in the drill.

The deployment to China is unusual. NEST units usually deploy to areas in the United States and use highly classified equipment and techniques.

The team is part of the Energy Department's National Nuclear Security Administration and was ordered to Beijing as part of U.S.-China security cooperation, the Bush administration officials said.

Asked about the dispatch of the nuclear detection team, an Energy Department spokesman declined to comment, noting that NEST deployments are not announced.

Other officials familiar with the NEST said the team is made up of nuclear weapons scientists and technicians, many from Energy Department nuclear laboratories, who will provide specialized technical expertise in Beijing before the Aug. 8-24 games.

Team members will be outfitted with special nuclear detection gear and will operate in secret, the officials said.

A fact sheet from the Energy Department states that the NEST deals "with the technical aspects of nuclear or radiological terrorism."

The groups conduct search operations. If radiation is detected, they will perform an identification of nuclear materials, diagnostics and assessments of nuclear devices and bomb dismantling.

"Response teams vary in size from a five-person technical advisory team to a tailored deployment of dozens searchers and scientists who can locate and then conduct or support technical operations on a suspected nuclear device," the fact sheet states.

The exact size of the NEST being sent to Beijing could not be learned, but the officials said it will include about 10 people.

The teams use compact nuclear detection gear hidden in briefcases, knapsacks or portable coolers. They travel in vans searching for radiation sources, often at night to avoid public scrutiny.

Under the Atomic Energy Act, the State Department is the lead federal agency for deploying the team, which will work with FBI agents in Beijing.

Henry Sokolski, director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, said the danger of nuclear terrorism is growing and the NEST teams are limited in dealing with the threat.

"We are entering a brave new world where nuclear energy for peaceful purposes literally is providing the fuel for terror," Mr. Sokolski said. "Against this new security sore, NEST teams should be seen as a Band-Aid."

The International Atomic Energy Agency stated in a staff report May 23 that the agency and China are working behind the scenes to "bolster the country's security and minimize threats."

"We have been working with the Chinese authorities over the last 18 months to add a radiological dimension to their existing security plans so that security for the Olympics is as comprehensive as possible," Anita Nilsson, director of the IAEA's Office of Nuclear Security, was quoted as saying in the report.

The IAEA is working to integrate planning for a radiological attack into existing security efforts for police, intelligence agencies and bomb squads. The IAEA is working with Chinese authorities on radiation detection, physical protection and emergency response.

"To guard and look after the Games and its visitors - as the Chinese are doing - is a responsible way of acting," Ms. Nilsson said.

The agency said no specific radiological terrorist-threat information was issued.

The Beijing city government announced Tuesday that it will conduct its first exercise to test responses to a nuclear attack in preparation for the Olympics.

The drill will involve several Chinese agencies including police, fire and environmental responders, Chinese government official Shan Qingsheng told the state-run Xinhua news agency.

The drill will simulate the effects of a radiological bomb set off inside the Olympic stadium.

The dispatch of the nuclear team to China has raised concerns among some counterintelligence officials because of the past compromise of nuclear weapons secrets to China.

The CIA determined that China obtained through espionage details of every deployed nuclear warhead in the U.S. arsenal, and the FBI has failed to identify the source despite investigating for more than a decade.

Computer hard drives from a NEST laptop computer that contained nuclear weapons secrets used to disarm weapons disappeared from a Los Alamos National Laboratory vault in May 2000.

Since the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, countering nuclear terrorism was made a high priority for U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies, based on intelligence reports that al Qaeda planned to assemble and use a radiological bomb in an attack in the United States.

In 2002, the FBI and NEST conducted joint monitoring of Muslim sites in Washington and five other cities looking for signs of a nuclear material, according to U.S. News & World Report.
10655  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Race, religion, ethnic origin on: July 08, 2008, 09:39:09 PM
In America, hard work and education pays off. No matter how the left/professional race hucksters try to spin it, this is the indisputable truth.
10656  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The First Amendment on: July 08, 2008, 08:09:19 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/07/08/why-do-congressional-democrats-fear-free-speech/

Why do Congressional Democrats fear free speech?
POSTED AT 6:30 PM ON JULY 8, 2008 BY ED MORRISSEY   


Efforts in both chambers of Congress have Republicans wondering why Democrats seem to fear free speech.  Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) has proposed limitations on how Representatives can post information to the Internet in a time when we should be demanding more transparency, not less.  According to a source in the Senate, Dianne Feinstein has begun her own campaign to force Senators to seek permission before communicating over the Internet.

Soren Dayton at The Next Right has the story from the House:

In typical fashion, House Democrats are trying to pass rules that stifle debate and require regulation. Rep. Michael Capuano (D-MA) sent a letter to the Chairman of the Committee on House Administration Robert Brady (D-PA). The letter is a response to a debate about whether the House should allow members to use YouTube, first raised by Rep. Kevin McCarthy back in April. …

Well, Capuano’s proposal is a disaster. It creates a list of sites, maintained by the Committee on House Administration that members are allowed to post material. Except, those sites have a caveat:

To the maximum extent possible, official content should not be posted on a website or page where it may appear with commercial or political information or any other information not in compliance with the House’s content guidelines.

In the Senate, the problem gets even worse.  Feinstein (D-CA) would have the Rules Committee act as a censor board, forcing members to get approval for the act of communicating on external websites.  Further, it would appear that the Feinstein proposal would attempt to exercise editorial control over these sites, at least indirectly.

As my source put it, these are the key issues:

Under their scheme, the Senate Rules Committee would become the Internet speech police for everyone in the Senate.
It will be up to the committee to “sanction” which websites and forms of communication they deem appropriate.
The Rules Committee thus gets to pick winners and losers among various websites in terms of which are appropriate for use.
The Rules Committee would get to regulate communication through any site not ending in “senate.gov,” which would include sites like YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter.
Further, this could jeopardize guest posts at sites like RedState and Townhall.
The Rules Committee would require senators to moderate “any public commentary” which would likely mean regulating comments on guest posts and YouTube videos, among other things.
It also raises a number of questions:

Would this rule extend beyond comments to posts on the site?
Would it affect Slatecard & BlogAds?
How about something like The Ed Morrissey Show, which has a live chatroom? Would that have to be moderated?
The Rules Committee would get to act as the “Content KGB” since it can require the removal of content in violation of Senate Rules. And who determines what’s in violation? The Rules Committee.
There are no similar controls on any other form of communication with the public, such as publishing op-eds in newspapers or appearing on radio or television.
The sudden interest in silencing Congress goes right along with the brand-new 9% approval rating the Democratic leadership has earned Congress.  Imagine how much worse it will get when they gag their members and force an end to communication through policy sites, blogs, and Internet media.

Want to ask Feinstein what she’s thinking?  Be sure to e-mail her through her website or call the Senate Rules Committee at 202-224-6352 to express your support for free speech and transparency.  Ask them what they have to hide that the 9% of Americans who still support them shouldn’t find out.

Update: And let’s not forget Feinstein’s other policy goal — re-establishment of the Fairness Doctrine.  Hmmmm.  Can we detect a pattern here?

Update II: Soren had the identity of the House Administration Committee chair.  It’s Robert Brady, not Kevin Brady, a Republican from Texas.  I’ve updated the reference in the quoted material.
10657  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politics on: July 08, 2008, 07:13:18 PM
Anti-Sharia for Congress   
By Jamie Glazov
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Frontpage Interview’s guest today is Vijay Kumar, an émigré from India who is seeking the Republican nomination in a Tennessee primary Congressional race set for August. He is running on an anti-Sharia platform. Visit his website at kumarforcongress.com.
 
 

FP: Vijay Kumar, welcome to Frontpage Interview.

Kumar: Thank you. It is a pleasure to speak with you.

FP: I would like to speak to you today about the anti-Sharia program you are running on. But first let’s begin with your background. Tell us about your life in India, your emigration to the United States, and how you came to your anti-Sharia views.

Kumar: I was born in Hyderabad, India, in 1954. I grew up there in India, in a conservative, middle-class family. I studied classics, political science, and philosophy. During the late 1970s, I was working in human resources for a European construction company, and that work took me to Iran. From 1977 to 1979 I witnessed, firsthand, the radical transformation of Iran from a modern nation to a repressed, fundamentalist state and it left a lasting impression on me. I suppose you could say that my anti-Sharia views began there.
 
The American way of life and its values resonated strongly with me. I emigrated here in 1979 and have been living in the Bellevue area of Nashville for twenty years. I’ve been raising a family and managing my own insurance business, and during it all I’ve been interested in politics.

Right now, our country is dealing with issues – issues like illegal immigration, healthcare reform, the War on Terror – that will shape our politics for the rest of this century. Like many Americans, I’ve grown to feel that the politicians of this country are simply not accomplishing anything on these fronts. As low as the President’s approval rating has gotten, the approval rating for Congress is even lower. So, as a concerned and informed citizen, I’ve decided to run for Congress and help put things on the right track. That’s what living in a democracy is all about.

FP: What has made you make an anti-Sharia platform the central tenet of your campaign?

Kumar: The main focus of my campaign is the War on Terror. What so many politicians do not seem to realize is that our struggle is against more than just “terror.” Terrorism is simply a method, not an end itself. Terrorism is just one tactic being used by Islamic extremists in their effort to force their way of life on the rest of the world. Ultimately, then, this is a struggle over whether the nations of this world will be ruled under Sharia law or not. As Omar Ahmad, founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said: “Islam isn’t in America to be equal to any other faith, but to become dominant.”
 
FP: What are your thoughts about CAIR?
 
Kumar: CAIR is a direct manifestation of Mohammed’s Sunna and jihad. CAIR is actually just one part of Islam’s strategy to annihilate the Western culture. It is far more dangerous than any Mohammed Atta or any other jihadists.
 
Lies and deceit are CAIR’s stock-in-trade.  They claim to be akin to a “Muslim NAACP,” but everyone from the Department of Homeland Security, to FBI counterterrorism chiefs, to moderate American Muslims recognizes the extreme rhetoric that CAIR endorses. At least five of CAIR’s board members and employees have been linked to terrorism-related activities. They are fifth columnists, preying upon our values of tolerance and multiculturalism.
 
But CAIR is just one of an untold number of Islamic organizations in our government and university centers. People forget that Mohammed’s last words were to keep giving the money to kafir ambassadors and that is what Islam is doing in Washington, DC. Capitol Hill is awash in Saudi money and our dhimmi political types cannot get enough of it.

FP: What do you think it says about Islam that non-Muslims cannot enjoy the same freedoms in Muslim nations as Muslims enjoy in America and the West – and many countries around the world?

Kumar: This is proof of the legal inequalities that are built into Sharia law. Sharia is a set of laws designed to apply not just to Mulsims, but to non-Muslims as well. Everyone, believer and kafir alike, is supposed to live a life based upon Mohammed. However, kafirs – those who do not believe – are given distinctly different treatment than believers.

In America, we believe that all human beings are created equal, and that all human beings possess certain natural rights; our entire Constitution is just a logical extension of that one idea. To us, Muslims are humans just like everyone else, and therefore they should have the same legal rights as everyone else. Sharia law, on the other hand, is not based on logic or a belief in natural equality. It is based on religious customs, and part of its design is to elevate believers over non-believers.

Yet, we never bring up this inequality and lack of freedom under Muslim rule. We never point out Islam’s long history of destroying or oppressing other cultures. We never remember the suffering of non-Muslims in Muslim nations. We never teach that Turkey was once Christian, or that Islamic jihad has reduced Hindustani culture to half of what it once was. Muslim groups often like to point to Christians as aggressors, citing the Crusades of the Dark Ages, but the West remains silent about people being oppressed in the Middle East today, right now.
 
FP: Why do you think there is such a silence in the West about Muslim tyranny? Why do you think the Left refuses to stand up for those who suffer under Islamic despotism?
 
Kumar: The Left and Islam share many of the same values. Both deny that individuals have a personal ethic. A central authority should control all things. Both insult and denigrate their opponents and see themselves as victors in the movement of history. Both hate the native cultures and individual efforts.
 
The mindset of the Leftist is one of deliberate ignorance.  I was a Leftist, a bleeding heart liberal until a few years ago.  I came from a Marxist family in India.  The Left, by its silence on the issue of radical Islam, has betrayed its own professed ideals, if it has any.
 
The fight against Political Islam should have been led by the liberal intellectuals in our universities, but instead they deliberately and systematically support a seventh century totalitarian ideology that negates all forms of rational thinking, intellectual pursuit, and pluralism - the very ideals which are supposed to be central to the philosophy of the Left.
 
The Liberals have become the lackeys of Islamic imperialism in their words and deeds. They fail to mention the 1,400 years of Jihadists' terror in this world.  How can we cry for the genocide in Darfur and ignore the cause?
 
The media only has a concern for white oppression and white evil. If the source of evil is non-white and non-Christian, they don’t care. Our Leftist media is forcing us to fight this ideological struggle with both hands tied behind our backs. To them, saying anything negative about other countries or cultures is not telling the truth, it is racism. To them, portraying America’s values and accomplishments in a positive light is propaganda – and God forbid they indulge in anything so base as pro-American propaganda.
 
Another aspect of Leftist thought is that there is no absolute morality. Everything is relative, every kind of behavior and belief should be tolerated, and therefore the American system isn’t better than any other. How can we engage in a battle of ideologies when you see all ways of life – even those that preach an end to tolerance and an end to intellectual freedom – as acceptable? And as we can see in the Obama campaign, you can talk about change as long as you serve the same menu of old ideas with a new smile.
 
We cannot see what we do not understand. Our education system is bankrupt at all levels. Our universities do not prepare our young minds to see anything bad about Islam. Here in Nashville at Vanderbilt University you can get a degree in Islamic Studies and never read the life of Mohammed—and never read the entire Koran. You study Sufi poetry, Islamic art and Islamic history viewed as a glorious triumph. No kafirs suffer in this program and there is no history of Jew, Christian, Hindu or Buddhist suffering under Islamic rule for the past 1,400 years. A graduate from this program then goes out into the world professionally trained to be an apologist for Islam, a dhimmi. And this program is standard at all schools, not just Vanderbilt.
 
All of our textbooks teach a CAIR approved history and doctrine of Islam. All of the young minds are trained to never see any wrong in Islam and to blame all the faults of Islam on us.

FP: What should be done about Sharia law in America?

Kumar: First we have to understand that Sharia denies the values of our Constitutional government and that it has been the constant goal of radical Islam to make all peoples submit to Sharia. We must educate ourselves as to the actual nature of Sharia law and its history. Any American who is reasonably informed about Sharia law should recognize that it is incompatible with freedom and our way of life.

Sharia is the legal condensation of the Koran and the Sunna – the words and actions of Mohammed. Because it is based upon the political submission of everyone – Muslim and non-Muslim – to Islamic law, the Koran is a political document. Sharia dictates what literature and art must be. It dictates public behavior. It asserts that kafirs are legally inferior to Muslims. Sharia can’t be reformed, since it is based on religion and ideology. It is unchangeable and its laws can only be interpreted by select Islamic scholars. The heart of political Islam is that Sharia law must rule over everyone, not just those who choose to be Muslim. Sharia denies the Bill of Rights – it allows slavery; it asserts that women are legally inferior; it dictates cruel and unusual punishment, such as stoning or cutting off the offender’s hands and feet; it denies freedom of religion, freedom of the press, or freedom of expression. The goal of Islamic extremists is to see Sharia annihilate all other forms of law, including our Constitution.

Second, we must demand from any Muslim running for public office where they stand on the application of Sharia law in America. In fact, we should demand that all our politicians make their position on Sharia law clear. We must pass laws that ensure the brutality of Sharia law can never be applied to an American woman. Ultimately, it is vital that all of us understand that we are in a struggle of ideologies, with the ways of freedom, democracy, and human rights on one hand, and the ways of oppression, intolerance, and ignorance on the other.
 
FP: Are you optimistic that the West can prevail against Islamo-Fascism and that we will be able to defend ourselves against Sharia?
 
Kumar: No. Too many of our intellectuals do not recognize the threat of Islamo-Fascism. Our public is not being educated about the goals and beliefs of our enemies. Our government is trying to fight organizations, not the beliefs that give rise to them.
 
Terrorists are products of militant ideologies, not vice-versa. Unless we confront the ideology logically and persistently our efforts are futile. However, in the land of the brave and the home of the free we choke on the truth. Our culture is drowning in the growing cesspool of political correctness. The liberal left in the United States and Europe have become apologists for militant Islamic radicalism. They say that the terrorist attacks are the consequence of America's foreign policy in the Middle East and its unconditional support for Israel rather than the continuation of 1,400 years of jihad. How does this explain Al-Qaeda’s attacks in Indonesia and Saudi Arabia? The Left fails to understand the fact that there are few Americans or Jews in India, Thailand, The Philippines, Bali, Nigeria, Sudan, Russia and host of other countries where Islamic radicalism has been waging a relentless campaign of terror.
 
It is a moral imperative to oppose the nations that practice Sharia Law. We must start scrutinizing way more carefully immigration from Sharia practicing nations. Why should we let on our shores those who want to install and live by Sharia? The progenitors of Sharia Law and Universal Jihad are Iran, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia – the true Axis of Evil. Pakistan and Saudi Arabia are not our allies; they are our enemies. These outlaw nations must be demilitarized, secularized, and democratized. That should be the goal of our "War on Terror.” Make no mistake: unless these nations forego their fundamentalist and militarist theology and join the secular humanity there will not be a lasting peace in the world.
 
FP: Well, the idea of demilitarizing, secularizing and democratizing these regions all sounds good – to an extent. For instance, it has to be ascertained who exactly we are demilitarizing and the problems this may cause, as there are forces in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, for instance, that are confronting Islamist terrorists. This doesn’t mean, of course, that those we think are our friends truly are our friends – many are our enemies and we have to become wiser about this. I am just saying there is a certain balancing act we have to shrewdly play. And how one goes about secularizing and democratizing the Muslim world with Muslim populations is a whole other story – and though it would be a providential godsend if this really did occur, it would be an “objective” on our part with huge complications and obstacles, and we’ll have to leave the discussion of this issue for another time and place.
 
Vijay Kumar, thank you for joining us.
 
Kumar: You’re welcome; it’s been a pleasure.
10658  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Open Letter to Muslims, Liberals, Democrats, et al on: July 08, 2008, 07:06:11 PM
Since when did women get choice in islam? The idea of women having freedom and independence is a concept of the filthy kufir, not islam.
10659  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: July 08, 2008, 02:07:17 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/07/08/dems-retreat-on-energy-wait-for-the-wind/

Dems retreat on energy, “wait for the wind”
POSTED AT 10:45 AM ON JULY 8, 2008 BY ED MORRISSEY   


Democrats in Congress promised to make energy policy a high priority when they returned after the Independence Day break.  Instead, they have quietly scrubbed the schedule of any votes on their energy bill, afraid Republicans will make them vote on increased domestic oil production and force them to choose between popular sentiment for drilling and their environmentalist allies.  Their strategy?  Well, the Hill chooses a good quote:

“Right now, our strategy on gas prices is ‘Drive small cars and wait for the wind,’ ” said a Democratic aide.

Before the break, Democrats heralded two bills that supposedly showed their leadership on energy: an anti-speculator measure and a “use it or lose it” bill that forced oil companies to drill on federal leases — whether or not they had found oil yet — or lose the leases immediately.  They attacked Republicans who opposed both bills as oil-company lackeys, but the truth is that neither bill produces a single drop of oil to solve the supply crisis.

Now, both bills have disappeared off of the legislative calendar, and the Republicans have ideas of their own.  Politico reports that Mitch McConnell has a plan to peel off moderate Democrats in the Senate to get approval for drilling by combining the effort with conservation mandates.  He already has five Democrats ready to vote for more drilling, and if he can find a few more, he can effectively sideline the Slip-Up from Searchlight and keep him from getting ill:

GOP senators believe that a number of moderate Democrats would be open to legislation that balances increased energy exploration with conservation. If they’re right, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) could lose their grip on energy policy, and the Republicans could score a major coup on the No. 1 issue on the minds of voters.

At least five Senate Democrats support more domestic oil and gas exploration, and McConnell is sweetening the deal to make the sale to other moderates: The Kentucky Republican is pushing a package of incentives to boost conservation as well as a measure creating stricter enforcement of commodities markets in exchange for more offshore oil and gas drilling.

Moderate Democrats have now begun asking for a “Gang of 14″ on energy.   Ben Nelson (D-NE) has taken the lead in this demand, and he has nine other Senators from both parties willing to join him.  This amounts to a rebellion against Harry Reid and his knee-jerk opposition to increased domestic production of oil and coal.  His “sick” speech may have been the last straw for Democrats who see the American public demanding more domestic production and recognize the political danger that approaches in November for obstructionists.

Of course, the Democrats always have the option of going into November with the slogan, “Drive smaller cars and wait for the wind.”  I’m sure we’ll see television ads and bumper stickers highlighting that strategy.  Unfortunately for the Democrats, they will be produced by Republicans to demonstrate the utter bankruptcy of Democratic energy policy.
10660  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The First Amendment on: July 08, 2008, 07:18:48 AM
Islamists' Catch-22   
By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Try a little thought experiment.  What would have happened in this country during the Cold War if the Soviet Union successfully neutralized anti-communists opposed to the Kremlin’s plans for world domination?
Of course, Moscow strove to discredit those in America and elsewhere who opposed its totalitarian agenda – especially after Sen. Joseph McCarthy’s excesses made it fashionable to vilify patriots by accusing them of believing communists were “under every bed.”

But what if the USSR and its ideological soul-mates in places like China, North Korea, Cuba, Eastern Europe and parts of Africa had been able to criminalize efforts to oppose their quest for the triumph of world communism?  What if it had been an internationally prosecutable offense even to talk about the dangers inherent in communist rule and the need to resist it?

The short answer is that history might very well have come out differently.  Had courageous anti-communists been unable accurately and forcefully to describe the nature of that time’s enemy – and to work against the danger posed by its repressive, seditious program, the Cold War might well have been lost.

Flash forward to today.  At the moment, another totalitarian ideology characterized by techniques and global ambitions strikingly similar to those of yesteryear’s communists is on the march.  It goes by varying names: “Islamofascism,” “Islamism,” “jihadism” or “radical,” “extremist” or “political Islam.”  Unlike the communists, however, adherents to this ideology are making extraordinary strides in Western societies toward criminalizing those who dare oppose the Islamist end-state – the imposition of brutal Shariah Law on Muslims and non-Muslims alike.

Consider but a few indicators of this ominous progress:

--In March, the 57 Muslim-state Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC) prevailed upon the United Nations Human Rights Council to adopt a resolution requiring the effective evisceration of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Henceforth, the guaranteed right of free expression will not extend to any criticism of Islam, on the grounds that it amounts to an abusive act of religious discrimination. A UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression has been charged with documenting instances in which individuals and media organizations engage in what the Islamists call “Islamophobia.”  Not to be outdone, the OIC has its own “ten-year program of action” which will monitor closely all Islamophobic incidents and defamatory statements around the world.

--Monitoring is just the first step. Jordan’s Prosecutor General has recently brought charges against Dutch Parliamentarian Geert Wilders. According to a lawsuit, “Fitna” – Wilders’ short documentary film that ties certain Koranic passages to Islamist terrorism – is said to have slandered and insulted the Prophet Mohammed, demeaned Islam and offended the feelings of Muslims in violation of the Jordanian penal code.  Mr. Wilders has been summoned to Amman to stand trial and, if he fails to appear voluntarily, international warrants for his arrest will be issued.

Zakaria Al-Sheikh, head of the “Messenger of Allah Unites Us Campaign” which is the plaintiff in the Jordanian suit, reportedly has “confirmed that the [prosecutor’s action] is the first step towards setting in place an international law criminalizing anyone who insults Islam and the Prophet Mohammed.”  In the meantime, his campaign is trying to penalize the nations that have spawned “Islamophobes” like Wilders and the Danish cartoonists by boycotting their exports – unless the producers publicly denounce the perpetrators both in Jordan and in their home media.

--Unfortunately, it is not just some companies that are submitting to this sort of coercion – a status known in Islam as “dhimmitude.”  Western officials and governmental entities appear increasingly disposed to go along with such efforts to mutate warnings about Shariah law and its adherents from “politically incorrect” to “criminally punishable” activity.   

For example, in Britain, Canada and even the United States, the authorities are declining to describe the true threat posed by Shariah Law and are using various techniques to discourage – and in some cases, prosecute – those who do.  We are witnessing the spectacle of authors’ books being burned, ministers prosecuted, documentary film-makers investigated and journalists hauled before so-called “Human Rights Councils” on charges of offending Muslims, slandering Islam or other “Islamophobic” conduct.  Jurists on both sides of the Atlantic are acceding to the insinuation of Shariah law in their courts.  And Wall Street is increasingly joining other Western capital markets in succumbing to the seductive Trojan Horse of “Shariah-Compliant Finance.”

Let’s be clear: The Islamists are trying to establish a kind of Catch-22: If you point out that they seek to impose a barbaric, repressive and seditious Shariah Law, you are insulting their faith and engaging in unwarranted, racist and bigoted fear-mongering.  On the other hand, pursuant to Shariah, you must submit to that theo-political-legal program.  If you don’t, you can legitimately be killed. It is not an irrational fear to find that prospect unappealing. And it is not racist or bigoted to decry and oppose Islamist efforts to bring it about – ask the anti-Islamist Muslims who are frequently accused of being Islamophobes!

If we go along with our enemies’ demands to criminalize Islamophobia, we will mutate Western laws, traditions, values and societies beyond recognition.  Ultimately, today’s totalitarian ideologues will triumph where their predecessors were defeated.

To avoid such a fate, those who love freedom must oppose the seditious program the Islamists call Shariah – and all efforts to impose its 1st Amendment-violating blasphemy, slander and libel laws on us in the guise of preventing Western Islamophobia.

Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is the founder, president, and CEO of The Center for Security Policy. During the Reagan administration, Gaffney was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy, and a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Senator John Tower (R-Texas). He is a columnist for The Washington Times, Jewish World Review, and Townhall.com and has also contributed to The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, and Newsday.
10661  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: July 07, 2008, 04:57:24 PM
http://www.nwfdailynews.com/common/printer/view.php?db=nwfdn&id=9057

Think about 911 before ditching your landline

Robbyn Brooks
June 29, 2008 - 8:12PM
In some ways, it makes sense to ditch a landline bill and use a cellular telephone service.

And it may be awfully tempting to switch to a Voice over Internet Protocol phone service, such as Vonage, when the company advertises lower rates and no need for a long-distance service.

However, such choices come at the cost of a potentially longer response time for an emergency call.

"911 is sometimes an afterthought," said Daniel Dunlap, Okaloosa County's 911 coordinator.

When a call comes through a landline, a 911 dispatch center can see the caller's physical address at the least, Dunlap said. If you're choking and can't speak, rescuers will still know where to go.

A cell phone call, on the other hand, uses global positioning technology to create a map that helps rescuers locate a caller. Triangulation between three towers pinpoints the location, but even then the result may be off by about 300 meters.

"It might just give me a general location," Dunlap said. "Sometimes, we get the location of the nearest cell
tower instead of the cell phone."

Even so, that technology has its benefits. Dunlap remembers a caller who said he was in Fort Walton Beach when he really was in Destin Commons' parking lot.

Companies that offer phone service over the Internet (VoIP) don't use a traditional 911 center, said Ken Bass, the 911 coordinator for Santa Rosa County.

A VoIP emergency call placed through Vonage, for example, is routed through that company's 911 center. A customer service representative then patches the call through to police, fire or medical agencies.

A couple of problems can emerge then, Bass said. When the call is patched through to a local dispatch center, the caller's phone number and address don't appear on the screen. Also, if callers fail to update their home address information after a move, the wrong address is passed from the VoIP service to 911.

Portability available with that type of phone service can be a hurdle. Vacationers sometimes bring their VoIP phones on a trip and don't realize they need to register a temporary location with the company.

"Their system doesn't know you packed your phone up and moved it," Bass said.

As a rule, 911 is available all the time, whether a caller is paying for phone service or not, Dunlap said.

With a landline, a person needs only plug a working phone to access the service. However, that line may not register with the correct home address because numbers are reassigned by phone companies.

Cell phones work in the same fashion. As long as a phone is charged, 911 calls can be made even if service is not paid for.

Bass cautions that even landlines aren't foolproof.
Those who pay a phone service that isn't at their home should make certain the phone company knows the 911 address is different from the billing address. That mixup occurs often with people who pay for an elderly parent's phone service or with people who have vacation homes.

"The biggest problem is that people don't think they'll ever need 911," Bass said. "None of us do until we have to use it."
10662  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: July 06, 2008, 07:39:57 PM

  MSNBC.com
Post 9/11 dragnet turns up surprises
Biometrics link foreign detainees to arrests in U.S.
By Ellen Nakashima
The Washington Post
updated 12:49 a.m. MT, Sun., July. 6, 2008

In the six-and-a-half years that the U.S. government has been fingerprinting insurgents, detainees and ordinary people in Afghanistan, Iraq and the Horn of Africa, hundreds have turned out to share an unexpected background, FBI and military officials said. They have criminal arrest records in the United States.

There was the suspected militant fleeing Somalia who had been arrested on a drug charge in New Jersey. And the man stopped at a checkpoint in Tikrit who claimed to be a dirt farmer but had 11 felony charges in the United States, including assault with a deadly weapon.

The records suggest that potential enemies abroad know a great deal about the United States because many of them have lived here, officials said. The matches also reflect the power of sharing data across agencies and even countries, data that links an identity to a distinguishing human characteristic such as a fingerprint.

"I found the number stunning," said Frances Fragos Townsend, a security consultant and former assistant to the president for homeland security. "It suggested to me that this was going to give us far greater insight into the relationships between individuals fighting against U.S. forces in the theater and potential U.S. cells or support networks here in the United States."

The fingerprinting of detainees overseas began as ad-hoc FBI and U.S. military efforts shortly after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. It has since grown into a government-wide push to build the world's largest database of known or suspected terrorist fingerprints. The effort is being boosted by a presidential directive signed June 5, which gave the U.S. attorney general and other cabinet officials 90 days to come up with a plan to expand the use of biometrics by, among other things, recommending categories of people to be screened beyond "known or suspected" terrorists.

Fingerprints are being beamed in via satellite from places as far-flung as the jungles of Zamboanga in the southern Philippines; Bogota, Colombia; Iraq; and Afghanistan. Other allies, such as Sweden, have contributed prints. The database can be queried by U.S. government agencies and by other countries through Interpol, the international police agency.

Civil libertarians have raised concerns about whether people on the watch lists have been appropriately determined to be terrorists, a process that senior government officials acknowledge is an art, not a science.

Large-scale identity systems "can raise serious privacy concerns, if not singly, then jointly and severally," said a 2007 study by the Defense Science Board Task Force on Defense Biometrics. The ability "to cross reference and draw new, previously unimagined, inferences," is a boon for the government and the bane of privacy advocates, it said.

An FBI mission
The effort, officials say, is bearing fruit.

"The bottom line is we're locking people up," said Thomas E. Bush III, FBI assistant director of the Criminal Justice Information Services division. "Stopping people coming into this country. Identifying IED-makers in a way never done before. That's the beauty of this whole data-sharing effort. We're pushing our borders back."

In December 2001, an FBI team was sent on an unusual mission to Afghanistan. The U.S. military had launched a wave of airstrikes aimed at killing or capturing al Qaeda fighters and their Taliban hosts. The FBI team was to fingerprint and interview foreign fighters as if they were being booked at a police station.

The team, led by Paul Shannon, a veteran FBI agent embedded with U.S. special forces, traveled to the combat zone toting briefcases outfitted with printer's ink, hand rollers and paper cards. The agents worked in Kandahar and Kabul. They traversed the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. They hand-carried the fingerprint records from Afghanistan to Clarksburg, W.Va., home to the FBI's criminal biometric database.

As they analyzed the results, they were surprised to learn that one out of every 100 detainees was already in the FBI's database for arrests. Many arrests were for drunken driving, passing bad checks and traffic violations, FBI officials said.

"Frankly I was surprised that we were getting those kind of hits at all," recalled Townsend, who left government in January. They identified "a potential vulnerability" to national security the government had not fully appreciated, she said.

The people being fingerprinted had come from the Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan. They were mostly in their 20s, Shannon recalled. "One of the things we learned is we were dealing with relatively young guys who were very committed and what they would openly tell you is that when they got out they were going back to jihad," he said. "They'd already made this commitment."

One of the first men fingerprinted by the FBI team was a fighter who claimed he was in Afghanistan to learn the ancient art of falconry. But a fingerprint check showed that in August 2001 he had been turned away from Orlando International Airport by an immigration official who thought he might overstay his visa. Mohamed al Kahtani would later be named by the Sept. 11 Commission as someone who allegedly had sought to participate in hijackings. He currently is in custody at Guantanamo Bay.

Similarly, in 2004, an FBI team choppered to a remote desert camp on the Iraq-Iran border, home to the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), whose aim is to overthrow the Iranian government. The MEK lead an austere lifestyle in which men are segregated from women and material goods are renounced. The U.S. State Department considers the organization to be a terrorist group.

The FBI team fingerprinted 3,800 fighters. More than 40, Shannon said, had previous criminal records in the agency's database.

While the FBI was busy collecting fingerprints, the military was setting up its own biometrics database, adding in iris and facial data as well. By October, the two organizations agreed to collaborate, running queries through both systems. The very first match was on the man who claimed to be a poor dirt farmer. Among his many charges were misdemeanors for theft and public drunkenness in Chicago and Utah, a criminal record that ran from 1993 to 2001, said Herb Richardson, who serves as operations manager for the military's Automated Biometric Identification System under a contract with Ideal Innovations of Arlington.

Many of those with U.S. arrest records had come to the United States to study, said former Criminal Justice Information Services head Michael Kirkpatrick, who led the FBI effort to use biometrics in counterterrorism after Sept. 11. "It suggests there was some familiarity with Western culture, the United States specifically, and for whatever reason they did not agree with that culture," he said. "Either they became disaffected or put up with it, and then they went overseas."

Errors in matching, though rare, have occurred. In a noted 2004 case, Oregon lawyer Brandon Mayfield was erroneously named as a suspect in the Madrid train bombings that killed 191 people. FBI lab analysts matched a print lifted from a plastic bag at the crime scene to his fingerprints that were stored in the FBI's criminal database because of a 1985 arrest for auto burglary when he was a teenager. The charge had been dismissed. After a critical Justice Department Inspector General audit, the FBI made fixes in its system. A recent inspector general report found the FBI fingerprint matching to be generally accurate.

Worries about watch list
Civil libertarians, however, worry that the systems are not transparent enough for outsiders to tell how the government decides who belongs on a watch list and how that information is handled.

"The day when the federal government can tell people the basis they've been put on the watch list is the day we can have more confidence in biometric identification," said Marc Rotenberg, executive director of the Electronic Privacy Information Center.

Vetting the data is the job of analysts at the National Counterterrorism Center, an office park-like complex in McLean run by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. Analysts there scour intelligence reports to create the master international terrorist watch list.

"You cannot draw a bright red line and say that's a terrorist, this person isn't," said Russ Travers, an NCTC deputy director. "If somebody swears allegiance to Bin Laden, that's an easy case. If somebody goes to a terrorist training camp, that's probably an easy case. What if a person goes to a camp and decides, 'I don't want to go to a camp, I want to go home.' Where do you draw the line?"

Investigators are working on ever more sophisticated ways to evaluate the data. Analysts at the Army's National Ground Intelligence Center in Charlottesville, for instance, use software to scrutinize intelligence reports from sources such as electronic surveillance and informants. They then link the information to a person's biographic and biometric data, and look for relationships that might detect terrorists and plots.

For example, a roadside bomb may explode and a patrol may fingerprint bystanders because insurgents have been known to remain at the scene to observe the results of their work. Prints also can be lifted off tiny fragments of exploded bombs, said military officials and contractors involved in the work.

Analysts are not just trying to identify the prints on the bomb. They want to find out who the bomb-carrier associates with. Who he calls. Who calls him. That could lead to the higher-level operatives who planned and financed attacks.

Already, fingerprints lifted off a bomb fragment have been linked to people trying to enter the United States, they said.

In a separate data-sharing program, 365 Iraqis who have applied to the Department of Homeland Security for refugee status have been denied because their fingerprints turned up in the Defense Department's database of known or suspected terrorists, Richardson said.

If Iraq and Afghanistan were a proving ground of sorts for biometric watch-listing, the U.S. government is moving quickly to try to build a domestic version. Since September 2006, Homeland Security and the FBI have been operating a pilot program in which police officers in Boston, Dallas and Houston run prints of arrestees against a Homeland Security database of immigration law violators and a State Department database of people refused visas. Federal job applicants' prints also are run against the databases. To date, some 500 people have been found in the database and thus are of interest to Homeland Security officials.

Steve Nixon, a director at the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, said the effort is key to national security.

"When we look at the road and the challenges, globalization and the spread of technology has empowered small groups of individuals, bad guys, to be more powerful than at any other time in history," he said. "We have to know who these people are when we encounter them. A lot of what we're doing in intelligence now is trying to identify a person. Biometrics is a key element of that."

Staff researcher Richard Drezen contributed to this report.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company
URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25550354/
10663  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: The First Amendment on: July 06, 2008, 09:25:47 AM
The Erosion of Free Speech   
By Janet Levy
FrontPageMagazine.com | Friday, July 04, 2008

Although the headline of the June 8th article in the Daily Times of Pakistan read “Pakistan to ask EU to amend laws on freedom of expression,” the request from high-level government officials was in reality a threat. The six-person Pakistani delegation was set to deliver a warning that unless blasphemy against Islam stopped, terrorist attacks against European assets could escalate. Their cited example was the suicide bomb attack this June 2 on the Danish Embassy in Pakistan in which eight people died and 27 were injured as a result of possible renewed backlash to the 2005 publication of 12 editorial cartoons depicting the Islamic prophet Mohammed.

Islamabad informed the European Union countries that the backlash to perceived insults to the “religion of peace” could jeopardize “inter-religious harmony” and result in uncontrollable attacks on other diplomatic missions abroad.  A high-level delegation representing the Pakistani government was to travel to Brussels to further warn EU officials of the liabilities of free expression.

This apocryphal grandstanding, in which Islamabad seeks to eradicate free speech and reclassify it as an offensive hate crime, is part and parcel of the insidious Islamic effort to establish a worldwide Islamic caliphate under shariah law.  Paradoxically, in most of the Muslim world, the right of free speech is nonexistent. Verbal and physical attacks on non-Muslims are rampant, as is death for apostates, terrorism training for youth, hate indoctrination of non-Muslims in mosques and schools and the oppression of Christians, Hindus and Jews. But Muslims feel free to use democratic precepts in the service of their own radical ideology to, ultimately, overthrow liberty, eliminate individual rights and destroy freedoms in Western societies.  They seek prohibitions on free expression to strengthen Islam, pave the way toward Islamization and keep the Western public ill informed and unaware of potential threats to the democratic way of life.  By couching this effort as merely the elimination of offensive speech, they conceal their true goal of undermining the laws of Western societies, specifically the very foundation of democracy – free speech.

This goal was dramatically illustrated in March of 2008, when the 57 Muslim states that make up the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) struck a blow against free speech by successfully forcing through the United Nation’s Human Rights Council (UNHRC) an amendment to a resolution on Freedom of Expression.  The amendment, requiring extensive changes to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, officially characterizes as abuse and an act of religious discrimination any criticism of Islam. It also calls for the UN Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression to report any individuals and news media issuing negative comments about Islam.

In June, this limitation on free speech was further underscored when representatives of two non-governmental organizations sought to address stonings, honor killings and female genital mutilation sanctioned under shariah law.  As part of the effort to mute criticism of Islam, the Egyptian UNHRC delegate demanded that the speakers be silenced, proclaiming, “Islam will not be crucified in this Council.”

Thus, banned from UNHRC sessions is criticism of shariah laws that oppress women, condemn homosexuals and threaten converts and non-Muslims. Also banned are statements against Islamic law-sanctioned child marriage, honor killings, the hanging of homosexuals and the murder of apostates.

The United Nations is not the only front where Islamic gag orders are in place. Canada’s Human Rights Act, which defines hate speech as any speech “likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt,” was used against Ezra Levant, the former publisher of The Western Standard, who was charged by the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission with offending Muslims by reprinting in 2006 the Danish cartoons of Mohammed. Thus, Canada is increasingly regulating opinion and making it a crime to hurt someone’s feelings.  The right of free speech is being replaced by the right not to be offended.

Also in Canada, author Mark Steyn and MacLean’s magazine were charged by the Canadian Human Rights Commission of “spreading hatred and contempt” for Muslims by publishing in 2006 an excerpt from Steyn’s book, “America Alone.”  The Canadian Islamic Congress filed a complaint with the commission, seeking to ban opinions such as Steyn’s that they deem “Islamophobic.”  Steyn was charged with hate speech for using the term “Mohammedan” to describe Muslims and for failing to incorporate differing points of view in his writing.  Although charges were dismissed in June this year, if they had been found guilty, financial penalties could have been assessed against MacLean’s, which would dampened opinion journalism throughout Canada.  Yet, a Canadian investigator in the Steyn/MacLean’s case, when asked about the importance of free speech in his considerations, remarked, “Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.”

In the United Kingdom, two Christian clerics were recently prohibited from preaching and handing out biblical tracts in a “Muslim area.”  In an ironic twist, a Muslim police officer charged with upholding British law accused the ministers, technically agents of the Church of England, of perpetuating a hate crime by proselytizing. Thus, an officer charged with maintaining law and order in England prevented the preaching of the doctrine of the established faith of England.  Curiously, this event occurred at a time in which the UK is accelerating the hiring of British police officers in Muslim areas in order to “build bridges” with the Islamic community.

Last month, when the Bishop of Rochester warned that Britain was developing “no-go zones” that are the exclusive province of Muslims, he was denounced as Islamophobic. His fellow bishops and government ministers denied the existence of such Muslim-only areas.  The Bishop and his family were placed under police protection after receiving death threats at home warning that he would not “live long” if he continued to criticize Islam.

Yet, “no-go” zones do exist and are apparently being preserved by agents of the British state. They are areas where it is dangerous for non-Muslims to enter, as demonstrated in 2006, when former Home Secretary John Reid was heckled by Islamist Abu Izzadeen who cried, “How dare you come to a Muslim area.”

In January, 2007, the UK government again ignored its illustrious heritage of freedom of expression and undertook an investigation of a television broadcast of the documentary, “Undercover Mosque.”  The program contained footage of radical imams in British mosques spewing hatred of Christians and Jews, advocating the subjugation and beating of women and praising Osama Bin Laden. Other footage included a Taliban who had killed a British soldier and Muslim clerics advocating Islamic supremacy, suggesting that homosexuals should be killed, calling for jihad and justifying the July 7th London bombings.

Instead of scrutinizing the mosques and calling for an end to such hateful and inflammatory rhetoric, British authorities, bowing to pressure from terrorist-sympathizing groups such as the Muslim Public Affairs Committee, the Muslim Council of Britain and others, denounced the program as “Islamophobic.” Local police solicited the services of the Crown Prosecution Services (CPS), which launched an extensive investigation of the network, scrutinizing 56 hours of media footage for possible prosecution under the Public Order Act of 1986: showing inflammatory material likely to stir racial hatred. 

Eventually, the investigation concluded that, although the CPS believed that the editing process had “completely distorted” the sermons of the Muslim clerics, the police were advised to drop their criminal investigation due to insufficient evidence to substantiate charges of incitement.

Essentially, “Undercover Mosque” was an important story to potentially alert the British public to the threat of a fundamentalist ideology endemic throughout the British Islamic community.  Unfortunately, it was discredited by the police who, in a misguided attempt to prevent Muslim backlash in the community, were placed in the untenable position of supporting radical Islamists and opposing British free speech.

Thus, as Islamic calls to prayer ring loudly throughout England from an ever-increasing number of imposing mosques, Christianity, individual freedom and the British identity are being marginalized while Islam is permitted free rein to fill the void.

Within the United States, important dialogue about the threat of radical Islam was silenced by the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department which issued a memo in May instructing bureaucrats on how to talk about the “war on terror.” The memo called for restrictions on terrorist-defining nomenclature in accordance with recommendations from American Muslims.  Thus, definitive and descriptive words such as “jihad,” mujahadeen,” “Islamic terrorist,” “Islamist,” or “holy warrior” were to be avoided, even though Muslims and Muslim media worldwide use this very terminology.

The government memo also advised that the war on terror be renamed a “global struggle for security and progress.”  This change, undertaken to avoid glamorizing the appeal of Islamist ideology and reduce terrorist recruitment, came about after the Secretary of Homeland Security solicited assistance from American Muslims.  These newly proposed “speech codes” were advanced with the intent of eliminating the appeal of the virulent ideology of Islamism.  Thus, the State Department and the DHS advanced the idea that terminology used by the government could fan the flames of radicalism, yet totally ignored the impact of violent rhetoric common in mosques across the country and on the Internet. Instead, the government focused on curtailing the speech of public servants charged with preserving our national security and accommodated the demands of Muslims. Lost was the opportunity for effective communication to inform and alert the American public of the Islamist threat.   

Another instance of DHS curtailment and accommodation of Muslims, occurred when Muhammad Rana, a Pakistani Muslim and new DHS hire was being trained as an adjudication officer at the agency’s Federal Law Enforcement Training Center (FLETC). Rana participated in a seven week training course in which he claimed to have faced discrimination based on his religion and national origin.  In a March 2005 complaint filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Rana said the instructional content of his classes contained “disparaging and factually inaccurate information about the Islamic faith and the Arabic people.”  His in-class protests apparently prompted an instructor to recommend that Rana be investigated for possible terrorist ties.  An administrative law judge ruling found that Rana had been subject to a hostile work environment and ordered $50,000 in compensatory damages, $6,195 in missed overtime, reimbursement for medical and prescription medication costs incurred as a result of the hostile work environment and, most significantly, the removal and destruction of and DHS memoranda regarding Rana’s potential ties to terrorist organizations.  Ultimately, the course in question was discontinued by the DHS.

In these ways, our constitutional right to freedom of expression is being eroded and our democratic principles are being used against us to silence our concerns.  With increasing frequency, free speech is being regulated, banned or categorized as a hate crime through intimidation tactics and apocryphal human rights concerns. We have come to the point where publishers have volunteered to pulp or alter the text of books to avoid lawsuits. Major newspapers freely chose not to publish the controversial Mohammed cartoons. Some organizations that have weathered costly slander lawsuits designed to silence them, have become cautious about weathering other suits that could cost them their insurance coverage.

None of this is coincidental. It is explained in “The Project,” a strategic planning document of the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) written in 1982 but captured in a raid in Switzerland in 2001. It describes a long-term plan to take over the West, a roadmap to defeating the West through propaganda, infiltration and jihad using intimidation, subterfuge and influence operations.  The MB master plan calls for Muslims to take advantage of constitutional freedoms and societal openness and seek employment in every sector of American society, including sensitive civil institutions, law enforcement, politics, the media and others. In addition to individual Muslims, many seemingly mainstream and “respected” U.S. Muslim organizations, some active in America since the 1960’s, are affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and are actively involved in carrying out its mission of “destroying Western civilization from within and sabotaging its miserable house so that Allah’s religion is victorious over all other religions.”

Thus, the very nature of our republic is being challenged by a redefinition of our First Amendment to appease the demands of Islamists seeking to destroy us.  Sadly, as we accommodate the Islamists, we are capitulating to their violent ideology and discriminatory religious practices and losing our precious rights and freedoms. In this way, we become partners in our own demise and hasten the downfall of the free societies we profess to cherish in the West.

Janet Levy is the founder of ESG Consulting, an organization that offers project management, fundraising, promotion, event organizing and planning services for conservative political causes and issues related to terrorism and national security.
10664  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: July 06, 2008, 09:14:08 AM
**I guess NYC's "If you see something, say something" ads have paid off.**

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2008/07/04/2008-07-04_van_left_on_brooklyn_street_packed_with_-2.html?print=1&page=all

Van left on Brooklyn street packed with hazardous material tied to blast suspect

BY SCOTT SHIFREL AND JONATHAN LEMIRE
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

Saturday, July 5th 2008, 12:03 AM

A van loaded with gasoline cans, wires and switches that prompted police to swarm a desolate Brooklyn street may belong to a suspect already in federal custody for alleged bomb-making, law enforcement sources said Friday.

The red Ford with mismatched license plates in Sunset Park contained explosives nearly identical to those previously used by Yung (Mark) Tang, who once tried to blow up a renter during a landlord-tenant dispute, sources said.

Investigators crawled over the van at 37th St. and Second Ave. Friday and discovered several 5-gallon containers and 12-ounce water bottles filled with a clear liquid that smelled like gasoline, according to a police source.

The jugs were connected with wires but no obvious detonator could be found, the source said.

"The bomb squad believes they seem similar, and it was found within a few blocks of [Tang's] house," a source said.

Investigators believe that the van had been parked at 53rd St. and Second Ave. for more than a month, and its dangerous cargo was discovered only after a car thief broke into the vehicle Thursday afternoon.

When the thief realized what was inside, he ditched it on a quiet stretch of 37th St. and called the police.

"He thought it might have been terrorism on the day before the Fourth of July, so he called the cops," said an NYPD source, adding it was unlikely the man would be charged in the van break-in.

Although the vehicle was found near where Tang, 38, had lived with his estranged wife, he has been held since May at a federal detention facility in Rhode Island after being caught with explosives in a vehicle while traveling from New York to Massachusetts.

Investigators think he may have been planning to threaten his wife with explosives.

He also faces 50 years for attempted murder, arson and other charges in state court in Brooklyn related to a 2002 bomb attack on a tenant.

The NYPD did not officially identify a suspect Friday, and Tang's lawyer denied his client was connected to the van.

"It may make for a very interesting news story," said George Farkas, "but as far as I know this has nothing to do with my client."

sshifrel@nydailynews.com

With Kamelia Angelova
10665  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: July 06, 2008, 08:58:27 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/07/05/quote-of-the-day-306/

“If you are fighting to install sharia [Islamic law] on this country, you are going to have to be killed"

**Ah, if only europeans had this resolve....**
10666  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Libertarian themes on: July 05, 2008, 07:19:49 PM
http://michellemalkin.com/2008/07/05/narcoterrorists-i-hate-these-guys/

The global nature of crime in the 21st. century.
10667  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Karambit Vs. straight blades on: July 05, 2008, 05:15:04 AM
Sgt.,

I'm pretty sure i've seen some edged weapon techniques demonstrated as part of a weapon retention system somewhere. It was probably at an ASLET seminar years ago. I'd suggest looking at www.mwarrior.com 's weapon retention/disarming system. It's the best system for law enforcement i've seen.

Why focus on cutting the bad guy's limb when an attempted disarm is a deadly force scenario? www.posai.org has a good model use of force policy for edged weapon carry for officers, in case you need one.
10668  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Karambit Vs. straight blades on: July 04, 2008, 10:19:44 PM
Sgt.,

A few questions:

1. Does your dept. allow for a fixed blade to be worn on your duty belt? I can imagine the fainting spells those with brass on their collars might have at the sight.

2. You have a retention holster, do you have a retention sheath for the kerambit? The more stuff you wear, the more an opponent has to grab onto in close quarters. Just as it sucks to gets shot with your own gun, getting cut by one's own edged weapon would have to suck too.

3. Why the kerambit vs. other blade designs? http://www.hideawayknife.com/main.php  or http://www.lapolicegear.com/kabarknives.html
10669  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: July 04, 2008, 05:15:01 PM
- Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com -

Iran Wielding ‘Soft Power’ Against America
July 4, 2008 - by Lee Smith

“If each Muslim throws a bucket of water on Israel,” said the late Ayatollah Khomeini, “Israel will be erased.” This immortal sentiment, and surreal image, captures the essence of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s public diplomacy campaign these last four years, one of the most effective uses of “soft power” in recent memory.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s threats to destroy Israel have so captured the hearts and minds of the Arab masses that they are too distracted to understand that the Persians are primarily coming after them. And the princes and presidents-for-life who rule the Arabs dare not speak the truth since they have promised for sixty years now to rectify the historical error that led to the establishment of the Zionist entity. With the reflexive Arab humiliation at the failure to annihilate a UN member state, the Khomeinists offer at least hope: if you can’t throw Israel into the sea, then take the sea to Israel — and bring your bucket.

So, while Ahmadinejad — the regime’s dark sorcerer, carny barker, and bearded lady rolled into one — has talked of making Israel disappear, he has effectively dropped his cloak over the rest of the Middle East to hide it from view. Even Washington doesn’t seem to have noticed that Iran has pulled a three-card monte trick with a vital American interest — the Persian Gulf.

To be sure, Ahmadinejad is a messianic obscurantist whose vicious threats should not be taken lightly. But Israel is not the main issue here, nor for that matter is the regime’s nascent nuclear program. For these are merely aspects, albeit important ones, of Iran’s project for the entire Middle East, a revolutionary putsch against the established order. And since Washington for over half a century has underwritten that order, from the eastern Mediterranean to the Persian Gulf, which Martin Kramer has called an “[1] American lake,” the Iranian project by definition means to drive the U.S. from the region. And that’s the main event: not Israel, which has a nuclear deterrent, but the Gulf Arabs, who don’t, and their oil, a vital American interest.

Just as it would be ignoble for the world’s superpower to [2] assign an attack on Iran’s nuclear program to the Israelis, neither should Washington leave it up to Israel to counter Ahmadinejad’s rhetorical onslaught. It is the prerogative of a superpower to formulate strategy, tasks that Washington has so far botched. Consider Annapolis, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice’s redundant effort to convince the Arabs and Israelis of the obvious — that they have a common foe in Iran — and then reward Arab inaction by demanding concessions from Israel on the peace process.

Not surprisingly, the Israelis are confused and frustrated and the Arabs are hardly more impressed. Indeed Arab regime confidence in Washington’s ability to stop the Iranians seems to be at an all-time low. Four years ago U.S. ally King Abdullah of Jordan was stirring up the sectarian hornet’s nest by warning of a Shia crescent; today Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah is hosting unprecedentedly Shia-friendly interfaith conferences in order to pave the way for an accommodation between the Sunnis and those who are awaiting the return of the twelfth imam, a comity that does not need Washington as a guarantor.

And there is no American clarity on the horizon either, for so far neither U.S. presidential candidate has indicated that he will be any more effective than the Bush administration.

Senator Obama says that he’s the man who would speak with the Iranians — apparently ignorant of the fact that every man who has sat in the Oval Office since the 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran has tried to engage the IRI. While this puerile boast richly merits the derision of his opponents, the fact is that Senator McCain has not shown that his Iran policy consists of much more than proving that he is a steadfast friend of Israel. Is it possible that the two men running for this country’s highest office do not know what is at stake?

Perhaps, but it seems likely that policymakers won’t talk about Gulf energy resources because it is one place where the Republicans are as vulnerable as the Democrats are to the inanities of the left. What can the slogan “no blood for oil” possibly mean in the real world? That we won’t lift a finger to ensure that foodstuffs and other essential items are moved in a timely and inexpensive manner from one part of this large country to another? That we’ll just roll over and play dead if our geographic and therefore our social mobility is circumscribed by fuel prices set by Iran? That we won’t fight at all since the fact that all of American life, society, culture, and commerce is organized around the free flow of the affordable energy resources that also sustain global markets is of absolutely no consequence to those of pure conscience?

The question then is not what the next president of the United States intends to do about Iran, but which candidate will treat the American electorate like adults and speak plainly, maybe something like this:

“We have been at war for over five years now with one goal of our fight being to bring freedom to other nations and peoples around the world. But now it is time to speak of our freedoms and our way of life, and how we intend to preserve them.

“I would not be running for this office if I did not have full faith and confidence not only in the strength and resilience of the American people but also in our native genius and creative energy, a living tradition that you and I must stand in awe of as it reaches from Bill Gates back to Benjamin Franklin and thus ties us to our roots in our forefathers, the founders of our great nation. This is our vivid legacy and thus I have no doubt that in due course we will develop a reliable and affordable substitute for fossil fuels. Who knows but that inventors are not already on the verge of a breakthrough? But perhaps we are not so close; maybe the talent who will usher in a new age of cheap and clean energy has just gone off to summer camp with her friends — in a school bus consuming diesel fuel at more than $5 a gallon. That is to say, there are yet harder times ahead for all of us, and surely some will only find warm consolation in the prospect of our children reaping the great benefits of their parents’ courageous sacrifice in relinquishing our position in the Persian Gulf.

“That, my fellow Americans, is one option before us. The other is to do whatever it takes to secure and sustain the privilege won and bargained for by President Franklin D. Roosevelt some sixty years ago and asserted and exercised by every American government since that time — our position in the Persian Gulf. This hard choice will almost certainly mean some form of military action against the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Losing the Persian Gulf to a fanatical, terror-supporting regime that threatens all its neighbors, Israeli and Arab alike, would do untold damage to the U.S. economy and world markets; and by paving the way for nuclear proliferation in an extremely volatile part of the world where states typically use terrorist organizations to advance their strategic goals, our exit would entail a major threat to U.S. national security. The costs of relinquishing our position in the Gulf would be virtually indistinguishable from losing a world war.

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

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/iran-wielding-soft-power-against-america/

URLs in this post:
[1] American lake: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/mesh/2008/06/the_myth_of_linkage/
[2] assign an attack: http://blogs.law.harvard.edu/mesh/2008/06/assign_iran_to_israel/
10670  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Big Picture WW3: Who, when, where, why on: July 04, 2008, 04:29:56 PM
http://pajamasmedia.com/rogerkimball/2008/07/04/thoughts-on-the-july-4-america-and-multiculturalism/

Another must read.
10671  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: July 04, 2008, 07:24:25 AM
http://www.townhall.com/Common/PrintPage.aspx?g=e818e768-97ba-43ff-8bf0-ae02961990fb&t=c

Obama Flips and Flops
Charles Krauthammer
Friday, July 04, 2008

WASHINGTON -- You'll notice Barack Obama is now wearing a flag pin. Again. During the primary campaign, he refused to, explaining that he'd worn one after 9/11 but then stopped because it "became a substitute for, I think, true patriotism."

So why is he back to sporting pseudo-patriotism on his chest? Need you ask? The primaries are over. While seducing the hard-core MoveOn Democrats that delivered him the caucuses -- hence, the Democratic nomination -- Obama not only disdained the pin. He disparaged it. Now that he's running in a general election against John McCain, and in dire need of the gun-and-God-clinging working-class votes he could not win against Hillary Clinton, the pin is back. His country 'tis of thee.

In last week's column, I thought I had thoroughly chronicled Obama's brazen reversals of position and abandonment of principles -- on public financing of campaigns, on NAFTA, on telecom immunity for post-9/11 wiretaps, on unconditional talks with Ahmadinejad -- as he moved to the center for the general election campaign. I misjudged him. He was just getting started.

Last week, when the Supreme Court declared unconstitutional the District of Columbia's ban on handguns, Obama immediately declared that he agreed with the decision. This is after his campaign explicitly told the Chicago Tribune last November that he believes the D.C. gun ban is constitutional.

Obama spokesman Bill Burton explains the inexplicable by calling the November -- i.e., the primary season -- statement "inartful." Which suggests a first entry in the Obamaworld dictionary -- "Inartful: clear and straightforward, lacking the artistry that allows subsequent self-refutation and denial."

Obama's seasonally adjusted principles are beginning to pile up: NAFTA, campaign finance reform, warrantless wiretaps, flag pins, gun control. What's left?

Iraq. The reversal is coming, and soon.

Two weeks ago, I predicted that by Election Day Obama will have erased all meaningful differences with McCain on withdrawal from Iraq. I underestimated Obama's cynicism. He will make the move much sooner. He will use his upcoming Iraq trip to acknowledge the remarkable improvements on the ground and to abandon his primary season commitment to a fixed 16-month timetable for removal of all combat troops.

The shift has already begun. Thursday, he said that his "original position" on withdrawal has always been that "we've got to make sure that our troops are safe and that Iraq is stable." And that "when I go to Iraq ... I'll have more information and will continue to refine my policies."

The flip is almost complete. All that's left to say is that the 16-month time frame remains his goal but he will, of course, take into account the situation on the ground and the recommendation of his generals in determining the ultimate pace of the withdrawal.

Done. And with that, the Obama of the primaries, the Obama with last year's most liberal voting record in the Senate, will have disappeared into the collective memory hole.

Obama's strategy is obvious. The country is in a deep malaise and eager for change. He and his party already have the advantage on economic and domestic issues. Obama, therefore, aims to clear the deck by moving rapidly to the center in those areas where he and his party are weakest, namely national security and the broader cultural issues. With these -- and most importantly his war-losing Iraq policy -- out of the way, the election will be decided on charisma and persona. In this corner: the young sleek cool hip elegant challenger. In the other corner: the old guy. No contest.

After all, that's how he beat Hillary. She originally ran as a centrist, expecting her nomination to be a mere coronation. At the first sign of serious opposition, however, she panicked and veered left. It was a fatal error. It eliminated all significant ideological and policy differences with Obama -- her desperate attempts to magnify their minuscule disagreement on health care universality became almost comical -- making the contest entirely one of personality. No contest.

As Obama assiduously obliterates all differences with McCain on national security and social issues, he remains rightly confident that Bush fatigue, the lousy economy and his own charisma -- he is easily the most dazzling political personality since John Kennedy -- will carry him to the White House.

Of course, once he gets there he will have to figure out what he really believes. The conventional liberal/populist stuff he campaigned on during the primaries? Or the reversals he is so artfully offering up now?

I have no idea. Do you? Does he?

10672  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: July 04, 2008, 03:45:40 AM
http://www.setamericafree.org/blueprint.pdf

Energy security is national security.
10673  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: July 04, 2008, 03:37:01 AM
http://www.centerforsecuritypolicy.org/Home.aspx?CategoryID=132&SubCategoryID=137

Set America Free
CSP Decision Brief | May 19, 2008

by Frank J. Gaffney, Jr.

 

Q.  What do the following recent events have in common?

The President of the United States has prostrated himself for the second time in five months before the King of Saudi Arabia, pleading for more oil.  Despite Mr. Bush’s inducements – an array of advanced, offensive arms; the promise of nuclear technology with which the Saudis can expect (like the North Koreans, Iranians, Pakistanis, etc.) to acquire the ultimate weapons; and U.S. help securing Saudi Arabia’s borders (something the President has declined to do at home) – the American plea was spurned.  The contempt felt by the House of Saud was captured in its oil minister’s quip, “If you want more oil, buy it.”


         The Senate rejected, by a vote of 56-42, an initiative offered by Republicans that called for opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in Alaska and some offshore waters now closed to exploration and exploitation of their substantial oil reserves.


          In addition, that chamber’s appropriations committee refused by a similar party-line vote to lift its moratorium on oil-shale production in Colorado.  It seems that, if we want more oil, we will have to buy it at ever increasing prices from the Saudis and others even more unfriendly to this country’s national security and economic interests – like Venzuela’s Hugo Chavez or Russia’s Vladimir Putin, perhaps even Iran’s Mahmud Ahmadinejad.

One thing the Senate and House did agree upon, by overwhelmingly bipartisan majorities, was suspending purchases of oil to fill the remaining three percent of the capacity of the Strategic Petroleum Reserves.  This action will have negligible (if any) impact on energy prices.  But it will ensure that less oil will be available to us than would otherwise have been the case in the event, for example, the next terrorist attack on the Saudi oil infrastructure succeeds where others have failed and seriously disrupts world supplies.

        Then there is the newly formed coalition, ostensibly spearheaded by the Grocery Manufacturers’ Association, that has launched a multi-million dollar lobbying effort aimed at discouraging the development of one alternative to oil: domestically produced or imported ethanol.  Wrongly asserting that producing this transportation fuel from corn is largely responsible for rising food prices and the attendant global shortages, this instant grassroots (read, “astroturf”) coalition appears to want America to remain essentially dependent on oil. Wonder where the money for this campaign is coming from?

A. These actions – taken against the backdrop of soaring energy prices and the attendant hemorrhage of U.S. petrodollars to, among others, people who wish us ill – represent the sort of behavior in which only a nation utterly unserious about energy security could indulge.

The truth of the matter is that, no matter what we do, we are going to need oil for the foreseeable future.  As a result, we should do our utmost to find it and exploit it in places that are either under our control (for example, near where the Cubans and Chinese are getting it off the coast of Florida) or at least friendly to us (notably, Canada, Mexico and Brazil).

It is equally axiomatic that, no matter what we do, we are almost certainly going to have less oil than we need, certainly at prices we can afford.  The question is:  Are we going to do something to meet the shortfall?  Or are we simply going to allow the economy and security of the United States to bleed-out at the hands of the Saudi-led OPEC cartel?

The Set America Free Coalition – an initiative launched several years ago by unlikely array of national security-, environmental- and energy-minded people and organizations from across the political spectrum – is advancing practical, near-term alternatives to that unappetizing and unacceptable prospect.

At the moment, the Coalition is mounting its own campaign aimed at achieving in the immediate future, a simple yet far-reaching goal: Ensuring that each of the 17 million new cars added to America’s highways each year is capable of being powered by ethanol (from whatever source), methanol (ditto) or gasoline (or some combination thereof).

There are already some 6 million of these Flexible Fuel Vehicles (FFVs) on our roads today.  Most of these are American-made (name another technology in which Detroit has a competitive advantage?)  It costs less than $100 per car to equip new cars with this feature.

Ask yourself, and your elected representatives and would-be Presidents: As each of these cars will last, on average, roughly 17 years, do we want any more of them to be built the old way – namely able to use only gasoline?  Can we responsibly continue for another generation to lock our transportation sector (the principal, and most profligate, consumer of imported oil) into dependence on oil substantially imported from unfriendly places?

Dr. Robert Zubrin – a leader of the Set America Free Coalition and author of the terrific new book, Energy Victory: Winning the War on Terror by Breaking Free of Oil –  observes that at today’s oil prices, we are allowing the Saudis and their friends to impose the equivalent of a 40 percent income tax at a cost of approximately $3300 on every man woman and child in this country.  We literally cannot afford to allow such lunacy to continue.

Sooner or later, Congress will adopt an Open Fuel Standard requiring every new car sold in America to be an FFV.  The effect will be, in short order, to create an immense and highly competitive market for alternative, “Freedom Fuels” that we can make here or buy from friends.  That, in turn, will set America free by beginning to end its cars’ present addiction to oil.  Why wait any longer?
10674  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Energy Politics & Science on: July 03, 2008, 06:04:57 PM
http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/msid-3190779,prtpage-1.cms

World oil market in fear of terror attack in Saudi Arabia
3 Jul, 2008, 0812 hrs IST, AGENCIES

PARIS: An attack -- or even an attempted attack -- by Islamic extremists on Saudi Arabia's oil sector would have disastrous consequences on the world market and the price per barrel, analysts warn.

Of more than 700 people arrested in the course of the last six months in Saudi Arabia, dozens had been part of cells charged with preparing attacks against oil sites, according to authorities in Riyadh.

With the price per barrel rising constantly and the capacity to increase global production almost non-existent, apart from in Saudi Arabia, the world market has never been so vulnerable to an offensive by Jihadists in the kingdom, they said.


Also Read
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Oil prices overvalued by at least 40%: EU

Michael Klare, head of the University of Massachusetts's peace and world security programme and author of the book "Resource Wars", said that even if an attack caused little damage, the impact would still be enormous.

"There would be a tremendous psychological effect because the market is already prepared to expect terrorist events like this. It would have an immediate effect on prices," he said.

"And if an attack actually damaged production or exploration, the effect would be even greater. The rise would be astronomical," he added.

Klare believes that a less significant attack would result in a price hike of no more than ten dollars a barrel.

"(But) if they managed to destroy a major refinery or a major loading facility and cut production that would have a dramatic impact. Prices would go to 200 dollars a barrel," he said.

The Saudi oil sector, which spends considerable sums on security, has been an Al-Qaeda target for years.

Osama bin Laden in December 2004 called on followers in an audio message to "aim your operations at oil production in Iraq and in the Gulf."

In February 2006 assailants using two booby-trapped cars tried to enter the huge Abqaiq complex, the biggest in the world, in the east of the kingdom.

When challenged they detonated the explosives, killing themselves and two guards.

Francis Perrin, editor-in-chief of Arab Oil and Gas magazine, said the current price of oil revealed the concern over the fragility of world supplies and the danger that in future supply will no longer satisfy demand.

"In such a context, an attack against oil installations in Saudi Arabia would have a considerable impact," he said, adding that Saudi Arabia played a unique role in the world market which was on a "knife-edge."

"It is the country possessing a bit less than a quarter of the reserves, it is the leader at the heart of OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries), the number one in terms of unused capacity... It's the only country in the world of capable of producing more in the short term, in weeks," he said.

If an attack was carried out against minor installations, the impact would be significant, he said. But if an attack succeeded against more important installations, "the effect would be absolutely incalculable in terms of price," added Perrin.

Against this background Israeli threats of an air offensive against Iranian nuclear installations only add to the market's nervousness, said Klare.

"If such an attack is conducted, I think the Iranians will try to engineer terrorist attacks in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Bahrain. They would do everything they can to create chaos in the international oil market... Prices would skyrocket," he said.
10675  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: July 03, 2008, 05:56:08 PM
Anyone still want to argue this is "nothing to worry about"?
10676  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Big Picture WW3: Who, when, where, why on: July 03, 2008, 11:48:53 AM
Crossroads in History: The Struggle against Jihad and Supremacist Ideologies

http://counterterrorismblog.org/2008/07/print/jihad_and_supremacism.php

Too long to post here, but a must read!
10677  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: July 02, 2008, 06:54:11 PM
At least he isn't a nazi-hugger like Ron Paul.
10678  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: What would you have done? on: July 02, 2008, 02:32:55 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=5285964


Inmates' Threat: No Segregation, No Peace
Some Fear Court-Ordered Integration May Trigger Racial Violence Among Inmates

By ALEX STONE
July 1, 2008—

When an inmate who is not black enters Will Williams' cell for the first time at San Quentin State Prison in Northern California, one of the last forms of legalized segregation will come to an end.

In a case that went as high as the U.S. Supreme Court, California's prisons must begin racially integrating their cells this month. Integration goes against an unwritten code of conduct among San Quentin inmates, which says they must never communicate with other races.

Click here to listen to a radio report by ABC News' Alex Stone about the San Quentin integration.

Inmates and guards admit they are nervous about the changes because so much of the violence inside the walls of the prison, which sits on the rocky shore of the San Francisco Bay, is caused by racial tensions.

"I just don't think it's going to really work because everybody is so against it," said Williams, who has been locked up at San Quentin for 35 years on a kidnapping and robbery conviction. "The whites are saying they don't want blacks, and the blacks are saying they don't want whites."

Until now, most California prisons, including San Quentin, have been segregated in order to keep the peace. Guards say nearly every inmate in the prison is in a gang. The gangs only recruit their own races, and when the races meet it can often result in deadly violence.

It is hard for outsiders to understand the gang lifestyle inside the prisons.

"We have the whites and they're not even allowed to talk to blacks," said Officer Jamie Allejos, who watches over inmates in San Quentin's B Block. "We've got guys who get beat up just for talking to another race or sharing food with another inmate."

The integration is the result of a 1995 lawsuit filed by a black inmate in California who claimed being segregated infringed upon his rights. The case eventually made its way to the U.S. Supreme Court, which handed it down to a federal mediation court. Both sides agreed to integrate the cells.

Allejos made it very clear that he believes integrating the cells will lead to increased violence.

"The guys who are making these decisions don't know nothing about prison. I think the people who are making these decisions should come here for six months and find out the conditions in here," Allejos said.

Some California prisons will begin integrating this month, but the races will not be fully integrated inside San Quentin until next year because racial issues are so complex at the prison housing California's only death row.

On the fourth floor of one of the prison's cell blocks, Scott Williams, who is known to inmates and guards as "Speedy," studies his law books alone in a cell. Williams used to be what other inmates have dubbed a "shot caller" -- essentially a gang leader who directs members of the Aryan Brotherhood. Guards claim Williams has killed two inmates himself.

Speaking through bars and fencing, Williams explained to ABC News how he would have directed his members to attack other races if they were ever put in the same cell.

"There's many rules that people have to follow in prison, and to integrate these people who have been fighting each other for so long is going to be an extreme problem," Williams said.

Despite the negative views about integration among some inmates and guards, experts point to Texas as an example of where the practice has been successful. That state's prisons integrated in the 1990s and, in time, violence was reduced within the lockups.

When the integration begins in California, it will not be blind. Even though race will no longer be a factor in deciding which cells inmates live in, the California Department of Corrections will evaluate a number of other factors, including street gang affiliation, mental stability, age and size.

California Department of Corrections spokeswoman Terry Thornton said her staff is prepared for the integration and she does not expect any major problems.

"Some inmates are going to be restricted to their own race because they were either the perpetrator or victim of a racially motivated incident," Thornton said.

If inmates refuse to integrate, they will be penalized. In most cases those who will not mix with other races will be sent to solitary confinement for 90 days. Some inmates, like David Glover, who has been at San Quentin for four months on a burglary conviction, said they would rather be penalized than be forced to integrate.

"Not because I have a problem with other races, but because every race has a shot caller and you have to obey the rules," Glover said.

But not all inmates believe they have the option to refuse integration. Will Williams is trying to get parole and if he does not allow an inmate of another race into his cell, he fears he will lose his chances at parole.

"Going home is the most important thing," Williams said. "Regardless of whatever else happens, that's first, so if I have to put up with somebody coming into the cell who's a different race, if that's what I have to do to get out of here, hey, at least maybe I'll be going home."
10679  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe on: July 01, 2008, 12:03:35 PM
The correct response was "If ye dinna like tha wee doggie, gah fock yuirself".
10680  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: July 01, 2008, 01:03:09 AM
Stratfor gives Hersh more credit than I do. It wouldn't surprise me to find his source is made up and he's inventing things, as NY Times reporters have a history of doing.
10681  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: What would you have done? on: July 01, 2008, 12:55:05 AM
Karsk,

I expect violence, riots, shankings and deaths. Hopefully only inmates die. CDC is already a overcrowded powder keg.
10682  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Support our troops on: June 30, 2008, 01:07:10 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080630/ap_on_re_us/blind_soldier&printer=1;_ylt=Aq6UZXum0E5gVdLSa5Z.H9VH2ocA

Blind Special Forces soldier: determined to serve
By KEVIN MAURER, Associated Press Writer
1 hour, 34 minutes ago

When Capt. Ivan Castro joined the Army, he set goals: to jump out of planes, kick in doors and lead soldiers into combat. He achieved them all. Then the mortar round landed five feet away, blasting away his sight.

"Once you're blind, you have to set new goals," Castro said.

He set them higher.

Not content with just staying in the Army, he is the only blind officer serving in the Special Forces — the small, elite units famed for dropping behind enemy lines on combat missions.

As executive officer of the 7th Special Forces Group's headquarters company in Fort Bragg, Castro's duties don't directly involve combat, though they do have him taking part in just about everything that leads up to it.

"I am going to push the limits," the 40-year-old said. "I don't want to go to Fort Bragg and show up and sit in an office. I want to work every day and have a mission."

Since the war began in Iraq, more than 100 troops have been blinded and 247 others have lost sight in one eye. Only two other blind officers serve in the active-duty Army: one a captain studying to be an instructor at West Point, the other an instructor at the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Castro's unit commander said his is no charity assignment. Rather it draws on his experience as a Special Forces team member and platoon leader with the 82nd Airborne Division.

"The only reason that anyone serves with 7th Special Forces Group is if they have real talents," said Col. Sean Mulholland. "We don't treat (Castro) as a public affairs or a recruiting tool."

An 18-year Army veteran, Castro was a Ranger before completing Special Forces training, the grueling yearlong course many soldiers fail to finish. He joined the Special Forces as a weapons sergeant, earned an officer's commission and moved on to the 82nd — hoping to return one day to the Special Forces as a team leader.

Then life changed on a rooftop outside Youssifiyah, Iraq, in September 2006.

Castro had relieved other paratroopers atop a house after a night of fighting. He never heard the incoming mortar round. There was just a flash of light, then darkness.

Shrapnel tore through his body, breaking his arm and shoulder and shredding the left side of his face. Two other paratroopers died.

When Castro awoke six weeks later at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., his right eye was gone. Doctors were unable to save his left.

The Blinded Veterans Association estimates 13 percent of all combat hospital emergency procedures in Iraq have involved eye injuries and more than half of the soldiers with traumatic brain injuries also suffer some visual impairment. That makes them the third most common injury — behind post traumatic stress disorder and brain injuries — in Iraq.

"What he is doing is a strong example that blind individuals can lead exciting and meaningful careers," said Thomas Zampieri, director of government relations for the association.

After 17 months in recovery, Castro sought a permanent assignment in the service's Special Operations Command, landing duty with the 7th Special Forces Group. He focuses on managerial tasks while honing the group's Spanish training, a useful language for a unit that deploys regularly to train South American troops.

"I want to support the guys and make sure life is easier for those guys so that they can accomplish the mission," he said.

Though not fully independent, he spent a weekend before starting his job walking around the Group area at Fort Bragg to know just where he was going. He carefully measured the steps from car to office.

"Obviously, he cannot do some things that a sighted person can do. But Ivan will find a way to get done whatever he needs to get done," Mulholland said. "What I am most impressed with, though, is his determination to continue to serve his country after all that he's been through."

Castro works out regularly at the gym and runs, his legs powerful and muscular. And though he has a prosthetic right eye and his arms are scarred by shrapnel, his outsized personality overshadows his war wounds: Nobody escapes his booming hellos, friendly banter and limitless drive.

He ran the Boston marathon this year with Adm. Eric T. Olson, commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command. Last year it was the Marine Corps Marathon. He wants to compete in the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii and graduate from the Army's officer advanced course, which teaches captains how to lead troops and plan operations.

Mulholland said Castro, who was awarded a Purple Heart like others wounded in combat, will always be part of the Special Forces family.

"I will fight for Ivan as long as Ivan wants to be in the Army," Mulholland said.

Married and the father of a 14-year-old son, Castro still needs help getting to the gym. He recently needed an escort to the front of the headquarters company formation, where he promoted a supply clerk.

Once in front, Ivan took charge.

Affixing the new soldier's rank to his uniform, Castro urged the soldier to perform two ranks higher. In the Special Forces, he said, one has to go above and beyond what is asked — advice he lives by.

"I want to be treated the same way as other officers," Castro said. "I don't want them to take pity over me or give me something I've not earned."
10683  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iran on: June 30, 2008, 10:23:58 AM
**If you see a story with a Seymour Hersh byline, assume that it's weakly sourced and has been spun like cotton candy to fit his very obvious agenda.**


http://michellemalkin.com/2008/06/29/are-we-doing-cloak-and-dagger-stuff-in-iran/

Are we doing cloak and dagger stuff in Iran?
By see-dubya  •  June 29, 2008 03:14 PM

Well, DUH, I hope so. But it’s not like they tell everybody this stuff, you know. It’s supposed to be a secret.
Seymour Hersh, however, would have us believe a whole bunch of anonymous military, intel, and political people are eager to confirm to him that we’re doing something new and secret over there.
You could read the whole New Yorker article, but why bother? Hersh says a lot of nutty things–usually things that can’t be proven and are never proven. Here’s a Fox News summary instead, and I like this White House response:
The White House did not comment on the article. And one administration official, who asked not to be identified, dismissed the piece: “We’ve declined comment on Hersh’s quarterly articles. You can almost tell time by them.”
The thing about Hersh’s rambling is that if Iran believes it, they could crack down on those minority groups and dissidents that Hersh claims we’re funding. And Iran isn’t exactly bound by Boumediene v. Bush in their interrogations, you know?
For that matter, if there is any truth to what Hersh has written, it may compromise operations enough that we have to go to Plan B.
I hope it was worth it, Sy.
UPDATE: More on “Plan B” at Israel Insider.
10684  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Being Prepared without Being Paranoid on: June 30, 2008, 10:15:15 AM
http://www.ignatius-piazza-front-sight.com/2008/06/30/two-strong-reasons-why-you-should-buy-a-gun-get-training-and-secure-a-concealed-weapon-permit/

**Note: The above blog is marketing a firearms training school. I've been a line coach and a student at the school and they do good work, still it is marketing. I post it here because there is value in the material.**
10685  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: June 30, 2008, 09:35:45 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/06/29/AR2008062901478_pf.html

Obama's Dodge on Handguns
By Robert D. Novak
Monday, June 30, 2008; A11

After months of claiming he had insufficient information to express an opinion on the District of Columbia's gun law, Barack Obama noted with apparent approval Thursday that the Supreme Court ruled that the 32-year ban on handguns "went too far." But what would he have said had the high court's 5 to 4 majority gone the other way and affirmed the law? Obama's strategists can only thank swing Justice Anthony Kennedy for enabling Justice Antonin Scalia's majority opinion to take the Democratic presidential candidate off the hook.

Such relief is typified by a vigorous supporter of Obama who advised Al Gore in his 2000 presidential campaign. Believing that Gore's gun control advocacy lost him West Virginia and the presidency, this prominent Democrat told me: "I don't want that to happen with Obama -- to be defeated on an issue that is not important to us and is not a political winner for us." He would not be quoted by name because he did not want abuse heaped on him by gun control activists.

This political reality explains the minuet on the D.C. gun issue that Obama has danced all year. Liberal Democrats who publicly deride the National Rifle Association privately fear the NRA as the most potent conservative interest group. Many white men with NRA decals on their vehicles are labor union members whose votes Obama needs in West Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan. That is why Obama did not share the outrage of D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, an Obama supporter, over the Supreme Court's decision.

What may be Obama's authentic position on gun rights was revealed in early April when he said at a closed-door Silicon Valley fundraiser that "bitter" small-town residents "cling" to the Bible and the Second Amendment. That ran against his public assertion, as a former professor of constitutional law, that the Constitution guarantees rights for individual gun owners, not just collective rights for state militias. But his legal opinion forced Obama into a political corner.

Arguments before the Supreme Court defending the D.C. handgun ban were based entirely on the view that the Constitution's rights applied only to state militias. During oral argument March 18, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg asked whether the Second Amendment has "any effect today as a restraint on legislation," since such militias no longer exist. Walter Dellinger, a former solicitor general representing the District of Columbia, replied that "it doesn't," and added, "You don't make up a new use for an amendment whose prohibitions aren't being violated."

Obama's dilemma was that his reading of a Second Amendment that "means something" made it difficult for him to say the D.C. law was constitutional. His public pronouncements were so imprecise that the Associated Press mistakenly reported that he "voiced support" for the handgun ban at a February news conference in Milwaukee.

In March and April, I tried for weeks to get a simple yes or no from Obama on the D.C. law's constitutionality. When the question was put to him directly for the first time at ABC's presidential debate in Philadelphia on April 16, he answered, "I confess I obviously haven't listened to the briefs and looked at all the evidence." On National Public Radio on April 21, the day before the Pennsylvania primary, Obama said, "I don't know all the details and specifics of the D.C. gun law." He had not been asked and had not volunteered his opinion before Thursday's decision.

The issue will return when Chicago's handgun ban, modeled after the Washington law, is challenged in the courts. As a Chicago lawyer, Obama can hardly plead ignorance as he did concerning the D.C. ban. But with the case wending its way back to the Supreme Court for the next year, Obama will not have to answer the question before November.

While Scalia's opinion for now saves Obama from defending a court that had emasculated gun rights, one inconvenient truth confronts the candidate. He has made clear that as president he would nominate Supreme Court justices who agree with the minority of four that the Second Amendment is meaningless. Would he want a reconstituted court to roll back the D.C. decision when the Chicago case gets there?
10686  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: June 30, 2008, 09:28:11 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/06/30/how-stupid-is-wesley-clark/

How stupid is Wesley Clark?
POSTED AT 8:31 AM ON JUNE 30, 2008 BY ED MORRISSEY   


After decades in the news business, Bob Schieffer may have thought he’d heard it all — until yesterday on Face the Nation, when he interviewed Wesley Clark. Clark came as a surrogate for the Barack Obama campaign and attacked John McCain’s military service, saying that he was “untested and untried”. After Schieffer pointed out that McCain commanded the largest naval air squadron, had honorably endured over five years of torture as a POW in Vietnam, and had been on the Senate Armed Services committee since Obama was in college, Schieffer asked how Clark could claim that McCain was “untested and untried”. Clark stunned him with this answer:


Because in the matters of national security policy making, it’s a matter of understanding risk, it’s a matter of gauging your opponents and it’s a matter of being held accountable. John McCain’s never done any of that in his official positions. I certainly honor his service as a prisoner of war. He was a hero to me and to hundreds of thousands of millions of others in the armed forces as a prisoner of war. He has been a voice on the Senate Armed Services Committee and he has traveled all over the world. But he hasn’t held executive responsibility. That large squadron in the Navy that he commanded wasn’t a wartime squadron. He hasn’t been there and ordered the bombs to fall. He hasn’t seen what it’s like when diplomats come in and say, `I don’t know whether we’re going to be able to get this point through or not. Do you want to take the risk? What about your reputation? How do we handle it publicly?

At which point, Schieffer — after a stunned moment — pointed this out to Clark:

SCHIEFFER: I have to say, Barack Obama has not had any of those experiences either, nor has he ridden in a fighter plane and gotten shot down. I mean…

Let’s point out a few things about Barack Obama:

 In “the matter of national security policy making.” Barack Obama hasn’t ever done anything.
In the matter of gauging your “opponents”, Obama wants to meet with them without preconditions despite having no national-security, military, or diplomatic experience.
Barack Obama hasn’t been on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Barack Obama hasn’t had any executive experience.
Barack Obama hasn’t commanded anything, in wartime or not.
Barack Obama hasn’t dealt with diplomats in any capacity at all.
Barack Obama hasn’t ordered the bombs to fall, although to be fair, he has associated himself with someone who has — William Ayers.
Not only can every argument Clark made get applied more to Obama than to McCain, he has now made it clear that the Obama strategy is to demean and belittle McCain’s military service — and by extension, military service in general.  This will undoubtedly play very well among Obama’s nutcase fringe supporters as well as idiotic fired commanders of NATO, but that’s a mighty thin list of voters.  The rest of the nation will hear these attacks and stand aghast at the dishonorable and outrageously stupid disparagement of a lifetime of service to this nation and understand with crystal clarity the radical nature of Barack Obama and his team.

Nor is this the first such attack on McCain’s service.  Democrats have belittled it on several occasions now.  In May, it was Bill Gillespie, another Obama backer in Georgia and a candidate for the House.  In the same month, Senator Tom Harkin questioned McCain’s mental state for having willingly served in the military.  In April, Jay Rockefeller accused McCain of being more or less a coward for being a military pilot, and again in May the New York Times quoted unnamed Senate colleagues of McCain suggesting that he didn’t understand the Vietnam War because he didn’t fight on the ground and spent most of it lounging around Hanoi in a POW camp.

John McCain put his life on the line for his country.  Barack Obama has not.  While I have never thought that military service was a prerequisite to public office, it certainly gives one a lot more experience and is an asset for the presidency.  And as a bottom line, a candidate whose campaign denigrates military service shows himself as unfit for the role of Commander in Chief.

Wes Clark has done Barack Obama no favors, and as the record shows, it’s not just Wes Clark.  The Democrats plan on attacking the military throughout this campaign.  Obama cannot expect anyone to buy his claims of “a new kind of politics”, unless Obama means that he plans to plumb new lows in class and intelligence in 2008.
10687  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: What would you have done? on: June 30, 2008, 09:15:39 AM
David,

I don't think that means people won't help anyone but their own families. Every individual has their own personal moral paradigm. Some people might feel that if it's not their family, it not their problem, others are more willing to engage despite not having any direct connection to the situation.

Any confrontation with another person or persons may escalate into deadly force, just because your have good intentions doesn't mean you won't be killed or crippled as a result of the fight. If your motives are pure and you win, doesn't mean you get a pat on the back and a key from the city.

If you seriously injure or kill another person in a fight, you will almost always be arrested not matter how justified it might be. Depending on the laws and political orientation of the jurisdiction, you may well be charged even if your act was reasonable and legal. Having gotten through the criminal side, you also face civil litigation, especially if you have any assets worth going after.

Something else to consider, to the majority of the jurors that might judge you, knives are the weapons of bad guys. Hannibal Lecter, Jason from Friday the 13th and Freddy Kruger use edged weapons. John Wayne carried guns. They don't know FMA from TWA.

Having said all that, i'm not saying don't act. I just want people to go into this with their eyes open.


10688  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: What would you have done? on: June 30, 2008, 07:56:10 AM
The basic rule of thumb is: "Is this worth killing/dying/going to prison for?" If the answer is no, then dial 911 and be a good witness.
10689  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: June 30, 2008, 07:20:50 AM
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/06/29/ftn/printable4217516.shtml


Lieberman: U.S. May Be Attacked In 2009
WASHINGTON, June 29, 2008

(CBS) In describing the reasons he believes the Republicans' presumptive nominee for president would be better prepared than the Democrats' to lead the nation next January, Sen. Joe Lieberman said that history shows the United States would likely face a terrorist attack in 2009.

"Our enemies will test the new president early," Lieberman, I-Conn., told Face The Nation host Bob Schieffer. "Remember that the truck bombing of the World Trade Center happened in the first year of the Clinton administration. 9/11 happened in the first year of the Bush administration."

Lieberman nonetheless distanced himself from remarks by McCain chief strategist Charlie Black, who came under criticism for suggesting in an interview that McCain's election chances would be improved if a terrorist attack occurred before November.

"Sometimes even the best of them say things that are not what they intended to say," Lieberman said. "Certainly the implications there I know were not what Charlie intended. And he apologized for it. Senator McCain said he didn't agree. And, of course, I feel the same way.

"But here's the point. We're in a war against Islamist extremists who attacked us on 9/11. They've been trying to attack us in many, many ways since then."

A former Democratic nominee for vice president, Lieberman endorsed McCain for president because, he says, the Democratic Party he joined in the early 1960s is not reflected by the party's current leadership.

He also said that he feels McCain is better prepared to be commander in chief than Barack Obama. "[McCain] knows the world," Lieberman said. "He's been tested. He's ready to protect the security of the American people."

Lieberman also assailed Obama and fellow Senators who called for a timetable of withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and opposed the "surge" of additional U.S. forces pushed forth by President Bush.

"It's now working," Lieberman told Schieffer. "If we had done what Senator Obama asked us to do for the last couple of years, today Iran and al Qaeda would be in control of Iraq. It would be a terrible defeat for us and our allies in the Middle East and throughout the world. Instead, we've got a country that's defending itself, that's growing economically, where there's been genuine political reconciliation, and where Iran and al Qaeda are on the run. And that's the way it ought to be."

However, McCain's readiness was disputed by retired General Wesley Clark, who is backing Obama for president, despite McCain's storied military experience in Vietnam. "Well, I don't think riding in a fighter plane and getting shot down is a qualification to be president," he said.


(CBS)
"I think Joe has it exactly backwards here," Clark told Schieffer. "I think being president is about having good judgment. It's about the ability to communicate. And what Barack Obama brings is incredible communication skills, proven judgment. You look at his meteoric rise in politics and you see a guy who deals with people well, who understands issues, who brings people together, and who has good judgment in moving forward.

"And I think what we need to do, Bob, is we need to stop talking about the old politics of left and right, and we need to pull together and move the country forward. And I think that's what Barack Obama will do.

“Because in the matters of national security policymaking, it's a matter of understanding risk. It's a matter of gauging your opponents and it's a matter of being held accountable. John McCain's never done any of that in his official positions. I certainly honor his service … But he hasn't held executive responsibility."
10690  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: What would you have done? on: June 30, 2008, 07:16:13 AM
On average, more law enforcement officers are killed every year responding to domestics than armed robbery in progress calls. If off duty, I were to see a violent domestic happening, i'd most likely be a good witness and dial 911 under most scenarios.
10691  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Being Prepared without Being Paranoid on: June 29, 2008, 05:01:40 PM
16% of law enforcement officers killed every year are killed while off duty.

You may not be seeking out violence, that doesn't mean it isn't seeking you.
10692  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: June 29, 2008, 03:55:10 PM
Christianity is flourishing in China

José M. Osorio / Chicago Tribune
Zhang Ming-Xuan speaks at a church in Shandong province that sued the government for shutting it down. The ruling Communist Party is officially atheist.
The religion, long repressed and often outlawed in the communist nation, appeals to citizens seeking a moral framework amid the chaotic rise of capitalism.
From the Chicago Tribune
June 28, 2008

BEIJING -- The Rev. Jin Mingri peered out from the pulpit and delivered an unusual appeal: "Please leave," the 39-year-old pastor urged his followers, who were packed, standing-room-only on a Sunday afternoon, into a converted office space in China's capital. "We don't have enough seats for the others who want to come, so please, only stay for one service a day."

A choir in hot-pink robes stood to his left, beside a guitarist and a drum set bristling with cymbals. Children in a modern playroom beside the sanctuary punctuated the service with squeals and tantrums. It was a busy day at a church that, on paper, does not exist.

Christianity -- repressed, marginalized and, in many cases, illegal in China for more than half a century -- is sweeping the country, swamping churches and posing a sensitive challenge to the officially atheist ruling Communist Party.

By some estimates, Christian churches in China, most of them underground, have roughly 70 million members, about as many as the party itself. A growing number of those Christians are in fact party members.

Christianity is thriving in part because it offers a moral framework to citizens adrift in an age of Wild West capitalism that has not only exacted a heavy toll in corruption and pollution but also harmed the global image of products labeled "Made in China."

Some Chinese Christians say their faith is actually a boon for the party, because it shores up the economic foundation that is central to sustaining communist rule.

"With economic development, morality and ethics in China are degenerating quickly," prayer leader Zhang Wei told the crowd at Jin's church as worshipers bowed their heads. "Holy Father, please save the Chinese people's soul."

At the same time, Christianity is driving citizens to be more politically assertive, emboldening them to push for more freedoms and testing the party's willingness to adapt. For decades, most of China's Christians worshiped in secret churches, known as "house churches," that shunned attention for fear of arrest on charges such as "disturbing public order."

But in a sign of Christianity's growing prominence, in scores of interviews for a joint project of the Tribune and PBS' "Frontline/World," clerical leaders and worshipers from coastal boomtowns to inland villages publicly detailed their religious lives for the first time.

They voiced the belief that the time has come to proclaim their place in Chinese society as the world focuses on China and its hosting of the 2008 Olympics in August.

"We have nothing to hide," said Jin, a former Communist Party member who broke away from the state church last year to found his Zion Church.

Jin embodies a historic change: After centuries of foreign efforts to implant Christianity in China, the growing popularity of the religion is being led not by missionaries but by evangelical citizens at home. Where Christianity once was confined largely to poor villages, it's now spreading into urban centers, often with tacit approval from the regime.

It reaches into the most influential corners of Chinese life: Intellectuals disillusioned by the 1989 crackdown on dissidents at Tiananmen Square are placing their loyalty in faith, not politics; tycoons fed up with corruption are seeking an ethical code; and party members are daring to argue that their religion does not put them at odds with the government.

The boundaries of what is legal and what is not are constantly shifting. A new church or Sunday school, for instance, might be permissible one day and taboo the next, because local officials have broad latitude to interpret laws on religious gatherings.

Overall, though, the government is allowing churches to be more open and active than ever, signaling a new tolerance of faith in public life. President Hu Jintao even held an unprecedented Politburo "study session" on religion last year, in which he told China's 25 most powerful leaders that "the knowledge and strength of religious people must be mustered to build a prosperous society."

This rise, driven by evangelical Protestants, reflects a wider spiritual awakening in China. As communism fades into today's free-market reality, many Chinese describe a "crisis of faith" and seek solace from mystical Taoist sects, Bahai temples and Christian megachurches.

Today, the government counts 21 million Catholics and Protestants -- a 50% increase in less than 10 years -- though the underground population is far larger. The World Christian Database's estimate of 70 million Christians amounts to 5% of the population, second only to Buddhists.

At a time when Christianity in Western Europe is dwindling, China's believers are redrawing the world's religious map with a growing community that already exceeds all the Christians in Italy.

And increasing Christian clout in China has the potential to alter relations with the United States and other nations.

But much about the future of faith in China is uncertain, shaped most vividly in bold new evangelical churches such as Zion, where a soft-spoken preacher and his fervent flock do not yet know just how far the Communist Party is prepared to let them grow.

"We think that Christianity is good for Beijing, good for China," Jin said. "But it may take some time before our intention is understood, trusted, even respected by the authorities. We even have to consider the price we may have to pay."

Researcher Xu Wan contributed to this report.

10693  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Politically (In)correct on: June 28, 2008, 04:06:34 AM
CAIR's Traitorous Cop Ally   
By Paul Sperry
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, June 25, 2008

If the Taliban catches an American spy, they slit the informer's throat. If we catch a pro-Taliban spy, he gets a slap on the wrist after getting a letter from a Muslim pressure group urging leniency. Who says we're winning this war?

Last month, Taliban fighters claimed to have killed a "female U.S. spy" for helping American forces in Afghanistan. Once all the evidence against the alleged spy was gathered, they slit her throat with a knife.

Compare that with the kid glove treatment of Sgt. Muhammad Weiss Rasool, a Muslim cop in the nation's capital who tipped off the target of an FBI terrorism investigation into a pro-Taliban mosque.

Despite his arrest, confession and recent conviction in federal court, Rasool, an Afghan immigrant, will do no jail time and will continue to collect a paycheck from taxpayers pending the results of an internal-affairs probe by the Fairfax County Police Department outside Washington.

Rasool took an oath to protect this country several years ago when he joined the FCPD, which is the largest force in Virginia and a key partner with the FBI in investigating major terror cases in the Washington area, including the 9/11 attack on the Pentagon.

But Rasool put his religion ahead of his adopted country when he alerted a fellow member of his mosque that he was under federal surveillance. At his Muslim brother's request, he searched a police database and confirmed that FBI agents were tailing him.

When agents went to arrest the target early one morning, they found him and his family already dressed and destroying evidence. They knew they had a mole and worked back through the system to find Rasool.

That's when agents discovered the police sergeant had breached their database at least 15 times to look up names of other contacts, including relatives, to see if they showed up on the terrorist watch list. (As part of post-9/11 data-sharing, local police now have access to classified federal case files on terrorists maintained within the NCIC, or National Crime Information Center system.)

Rasool's actions "damaged the integrity of the NCIC system and jeopardized at least one federal investigation," U.S. prosecutors said in court papers filed last month. "The defendant's actions could have placed federal agents in danger."

Rasool, 31, at first claimed he didn't know the terrorist target. He confessed only after hearing a recording of his message for the suspect, who was a cleric in his local Taliban-sympathizing mosque. Rasool finally pleaded guilty to illegally searching a federal database.

Despite his subsequent conviction, however, Fairfax County has left him on the force, pending the outcome of an internal investigation. The leniency afforded Rasool is unprecedented, given how he copped to the crime – and not just any crime, but one that betrayed his fellow officers and country.

It also contrasts starkly with the recent handling of other Arab and Muslim government employees caught breaching classified databases.

The city of Rochester, N.Y., for example, summarily fired a Muslim 911 operator, Nadire Zenelaj, well before she was formally charged last month with illegally searching the names of hundreds of friends in the terrorist watch list. And as part of a federal plea deal, Lebanese national Nada Prouty resigned from the U.S. government after confessing she accessed a restricted FBI database to see if relatives were being investigated for terrorist activities.

Unlike these alleged spies, however, Rasool has a powerful patron in Washington -- the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which lobbied on his behalf during his prosecution.

"I have always found Sgt. Rasool eager to promote a substantive relationship between the Fairfax County Police Department and the local Muslim community," wrote CAIR Governmental Affairs Coordinator Corey Saylor in a letter to the federal judge, who ended up denying prosecutors the jail time they requested for Rasool. (He got off lightly with a fine and two years probation.)

Indeed, Rasool acted as CAIR's representative on the police force, and even worked with the group to kill a successful counterterror-training program within the department.

Rasool and other Muslim officers tied to CAIR claimed the course taught by the respected Higgins Center for Counter Terrorism Research portrayed Islam in a bad light. CAIR phoned Fairfax County Police Chief David Rohrer to complain, and the chief canceled the training in 2006.

That same year, Rohrer spoke at CAIR's annual fundraising dinner in Washington, crediting the group with "helping police departments to better understand the Muslim community."

But the chief was being used -- by the Islamist enemy. It turns out his aggrieved sergeant at the time was under federal investigation for aiding and abetting terrorists. And so was CAIR -- the group from whom Rohrer was accepting phone calls and on whom he was conferring legitimacy. In fact, U.S. prosecutors at the time were adding CAIR to a list of co-conspirators in a terror scheme to funnel more than $12 million to Hamas suicide bombers and their families.

Yet CAIR and Rasool teamed up to persuade the politically correct Rohrer to nix the anti-terror training, which included counterintelligence measures to help police guard against the very infiltration from terror supporters and facilitators that has taken place on Rohrer's watch.

Sadly, the chief appears more concerned about protecting the force from charges of "Islamophobia" than Islamist penetration.

Rasool, still on paid leave, says he hopes to be permanently reinstated. If so, it would mark a humiliating defeat in our battle against the growing Islamist 5th column in America. Rasool has a dangerous religious conflict, and should never wear the uniform again.

Paul Sperry is a Hoover Institution media fellow and author of Infiltration: How Muslim Spies and Subversives Have Penetrated Washington. He can be conacted at Sperry@SperryFiles.com.

10694  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: June 27, 2008, 08:06:18 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2008/06/27/kurtz-what-happened-to-american-journalism-on-obamas-gun-ban-flip-flop/

A perfect example of the MSM's bias and corruption.
10695  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena on: June 27, 2008, 03:46:19 AM

Unabashedly Unprincipled
Obama’s repositionings are legion — and make even the Clintons look scrupulous.

By Charles Krauthammer

To be clear: Barack will support a filibuster of any bill that includes retroactive immunity for telecommunications companies.  — Obama spokesman Bill Burton, Oct. 24, 2007
That was then: Democratic primaries to be won, netroot lefties to be seduced. With all that (and Hillary Clinton) out of the way, Obama now says he’ll vote in favor of the new FISA bill that gives the telecom companies blanket immunity for post-9/11 eavesdropping.

Back then, in the yesteryear of primary season, he thoroughly trashed the North American Free Trade Agreement, pledging to force a renegotiation, take “the hammer” to Canada and Mexico, and threaten unilateral abrogation.

Today, the hammer is holstered. Obama calls his previous NAFTA rhetoric “overheated” and essentially endorses what one of his senior economic advisers privately told the Canadians: The anti-trade stuff was nothing more than populist posturing.

Nor is there much left of his primary season pledge to meet “without preconditions” with Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. There will be “preparations,” you see, which are being spun by his aides into the functional equivalent of preconditions.

Obama’s long march to the center has begun.

And why not? What’s the downside? He won’t lose the left, or even mainstream Democrats. They won’t stay home on Nov. 4. The anti-Bush, anti-Republican sentiment is simply too strong. Election Day is their day of revenge — for the Florida recount, for Swift-boating, for all the injuries, real and imagined, dealt out by Republicans over the last eight years.

Normally, flip-flopping presidential candidates have to worry about the press. Not Obama. After all, this is a press corps that heard his grandiloquent Philadelphia speech — designed to rationalize why “I can no more disown (Jeremiah Wright) than I can disown my white grandmother” — then wiped away a tear and hailed him as the second coming of Abraham Lincoln. Three months later, with Wright disowned, grandma embraced and the great “race speech” now inoperative, not a word of reconsideration is heard from his media acolytes.

Worry about the press? His FISA flip-flop elicited a few grumbles from lefty bloggers, but hardly a murmur from the mainstream press. Remember his pledge to stick to public financing? Now flush with cash, he is the first general-election candidate since Watergate to opt out. Some goo-goo clean-government types chided him, but the mainstream editorialists who for years had been railing against private financing as hopelessly corrupt and corrupting, evinced only the mildest of disappointment.

Indeed, the New York Times expressed a sympathetic understanding of Obama’s about-face by buying his preposterous claim that it was a pre-emptive attack on McCain’s 527 independent expenditure groups — notwithstanding the fact that (a) as Politico’s Jonathan Martin notes, “there are no serious anti-Obama 527s in existence nor are there any immediate plans to create such a group” and (b) the only independent ad of any consequence now running in the entire country is an AFSCME-MoveOn.org co-production savaging McCain.

True, Obama’s U-turn on public financing was not done for ideological reasons, it was done for Willie Sutton reasons: That’s where the money is. It nonetheless betrayed a principle that so many in the press claimed to hold dear.



As public financing is not a principle dear to me, I am hardly dismayed by Obama’s abandonment of it. Nor am I disappointed in the least by his other calculated and cynical repositionings. I have never had any illusions about Obama. I merely note with amazement that his media swooners seem to accept his every policy reversal with an equanimity unseen since the Daily Worker would change the party line overnight — switching sides in World War II, for example — whenever the wind from Moscow changed direction.

The truth about Obama is uncomplicated. He is just a politician (though of unusual skill and ambition). The man who dared say it plainly is the man who knows Obama all too well. “He does what politicians do,” explained Jeremiah Wright.

When it’s time to throw campaign finance reform, telecom accountability, NAFTA renegotiation or Jeremiah Wright overboard, Obama is not sentimental. He does not hesitate. He tosses lustily.

Why, the man even tossed his own grandmother overboard back in Philadelphia — only to haul her back on deck now that her services are needed. Yesterday, granny was the moral equivalent of the raving Reverend Wright. Today, she is a featured prop in Obama’s fuzzy-wuzzy get-to-know-me national TV ad.

Not a flinch. Not a flicker. Not a hint of shame. By the time he’s finished, Obama will have made the Clintons look scrupulous.

— Charles Krauthammer is a nationally syndicated columnist.

© 2008, The Washington Post Writers Group

National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=YWJlOWU0Y2I4YTI0M2JmMTljM2Q4OGRkMjllZDc5MWQ=
10696  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: June 26, 2008, 02:01:40 PM
http://www.gallup.com/poll/108394/Americans-Agreement-Supreme-Court-Gun-Rights.aspx

73% agree.
10697  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: June 26, 2008, 01:37:52 PM
http://michellemalkin.com/2008/06/26/outrage-our-friends-in-mexico-release-suspect-in-border-patrol-officers-murder/

More from our "amigos".
10698  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: We the Well-armed People on: June 26, 2008, 01:25:16 PM
Finally, a good ruling from the SCOTUS!!!!!!
 grin  grin  grin

http://michellemalkin.com/2008/06/26/gun-battle-heller-time/

10699  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: June 26, 2008, 09:05:13 AM
**Their troops in action?**


http://www.nationalterroralert.com/jd_interviews.mp3

http://www.nationalterroralert.com/ma1.pdf

http://www.nationalterroralert.com/ma2.pdf

http://www.nationalterroralert.com/ma3.pdf

http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2008/06/23/20080623abrk-homeinvasion0623-ON.html

Man killed in home invasion; drugs suspected
by Ali Pfauser - Jun. 23, 2008 04:34 PM
Six men with guns and body armor ambushed and killed a man in his Phoenix home Sunday, firing over one hundred rounds into the house.

No one else was injured. Investigators believe the house was being used to sell marijuana and the shooting was not random. Nevertheless, the large amount of ammunition alarmed authorities.

"We have seen an increasing amount of these type of violent crimes in the past five months," Phoenix Police Sgt. Joel Tranter said. "We want the public to realize that these types of crimes will not be tolerated in Phoenix."

Phoenix police officials gave the following details about the case: Special Assignments Unit detectives were near the area of 83rd Avenue and Encanto Boulevard when they heard gunshots coming from a neighborhood. The detectives began to drive toward the gunshots where they were directed by neighbors to a nearby house.

Once inside the home, detectives discovered the body of Andrew Williams, 30, shot numerous times, Phoenix Police Detective Cindy Scott said.

As police searched the gunshot-riddled house they determined over 100 rounds of various calibers of ammunition were used.

Police also recovered marijuana and body armor from the house.

As more investigators came to help, they noticed a red Chevrolet Tahoe driving suspiciously in the neighborhood. Detectives followed the vehicle to 7th Street and Coronado Road where Daniel Garcia-Saenz, 24; Manual Garcia-Trejom, 25; and Rodolfo Madrigal Lopez, 19, jumped out and ran from the vehicle before being apprehended by authorities.

All three suspects were wearing law-enforcement-like body armor. Helmets and various weapons were recovered from the suspect's vehicle.

Police believe there are three more suspects still outstanding in the case, Scott said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the Phoenix Police Department at 602-262-6141 or 480-WITNESS.
10700  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: June 26, 2008, 08:32:09 AM
Crafty,

It's an innovation in Albania, not mainstream islam, but obviously arose out of sharia law's influence on gender roles in that culture.
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