Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The Obama Phenomena
on: December 10, 2008, 09:00:05 AM
In scandal, risks for Obama
By: Ben Smith and Jonathan Martin
December 10, 2008 08:31 AM EST
At first blush, Barack Obama comes out of the Rod Blagojevich scandal smelling like a rose. The prosecutor at a news conference seemed to give the president-elect a seal of approval, and the Illinois governor himself was caught on tape complaining that Obama was not interested in crooked schemes.
But make no mistake: The Blagojevich scandal is nothing but a stink bomb tossed at close range for Obama and his team.
Legal bills, off-message headlines, and a sustained attempt by Republicans to show that Obama is more a product of Illinois’s malfeasance-prone political culture than he is letting on—all are likely if the Blagojevich case goes to trial or becomes an extended affair.
Obama and his aides have so far mounted a tight-lipped defense, publicly distancing themselves from Blagojevich’s alleged plans to profit personally from his power to fill Obama’s newly vacant Senate seat with firm but vague denials of any involvement.
Privately, Obama allies are noting that the foul-mouthed governor and the president-elect, though both Democrats atop the Illinois power structure, are hardly close: Obama did not back Blagojevich in his 2002 primary race for governor, and Blagojevich did not back Obama in his 2004 Senate primary.
Republicans, though, plan to keep the pressure on. Republican National Chairman Robert “Mike” Duncan on Tuesday said Obama’s initial response to questions about the governor was inadequate. South Carolina GOP Chairman Katon Dawson, seeking the national party post, went further. He called on Obama to release any records of discussions between his transition team and Blagojevich about Obama’s successor – citing Obama’s oft-repeated pledge for greater transparency.
And, in a Politico interview, Illinois state Republican chairman Andy McKenna, pressed Obama to commit to keeping U.S. attorney Patrick Fitzgerald in his post until the corruption cases run their course.
One prominent Chicago Democrat close to many of those named in the indictment suggested the risk for Obama is “Whitewater-type exposure.” That was a reference to an Arkansas real estate deal that produced a series lengthy and highly intrusive investigations in the 1990s that never proved illegality by the Clintons.
What this Democrat meant with his analogy—which on the facts so far seems a bit premature—was that Obama could suffer by being in the proximity of a back-scratching and deal-making culture, even if he was mostly a bystander. “What will splatter on to Obama is he is to some degree a product of this culture, and he has never entirely stood against it,” said the Democrat, who wanted anonymity for fear of antagonizing the president-elect.
Indeed, at a minimum it will be hard for a transition team that wants to shine a light on their plans to clean up Washington if the steaming compost pile of Illinois politics— and its florid tradition of bribes, extortion, and payback—is in the news.
But there are less obvious hazards. Anyone who has ever been near a public corruption case—and many of Obama’s top advisers have, thanks to their experience in the Clinton years—knows the hassles that can torment even innocent people. Even peripheral figures wind up hiring expensive lawyers. At trial, testimony by minor witnesses becomes a major news event if it is someone close to the president taking the stand.
Prosecutor Fitzgerald pointed out during questions and answers at his news conference that “there's no reference in the complaint to any conversation involving the president-elect or indicating that the president-elect was aware of it.”
Obama advisers argue that Blagojveich's alleged crimes -- extorting campaign contributions from a children's hospital, demanding the firing of the top editors at the Chicago's flagship newspaper in return for state assistance -- are so over-the-top that they speak for themselves, and will only serve to taint the disgraced governor.
Obama aides see proof of his vindication in the fact that Blagojevich, in the secret tapes, complains that the president-elect’s team won’t give him anything. Obama emerged personally untarnished in the 78-page Blagojevich complaint. He was, to the allegedly deeply corrupt governor, the “mother***er” who was owed no favors and a lily-livered reformer who, instead of a bribe, wouldn’t give the disgusted Blagojevich “anything except appreciation.”
But there are enough unanswered questions to give his political opponents plenty of grist, starting with Obama’s curt denial that he had ever spoken to Blagojevich about how to fill Obama’s vacant seat.
His chief political adviser, David Axelrod, Tuesday corrected his own suggestion last month that Obama and Blagojevich had spoken about filling Obama’s vacant seat. Spokespeople did not respond to a question of when Obama and Blagojevich last spoke, and about what.
And there is the question of Fitzgerald’s future . Presidents can appoint their own U.S. Attorneys, but Republicans aim to all but dare Obama to remove the crusading Fitzgerald before he's done cleaning out corruption in Chicago and Springfield.
"What he should do tomorrow is say, 'Patrick Fitzgerald has a job and can have for as long as he wants,'" McKenna told Politico. "Some have wondered if Barack Obama would keep Fitzgerald [as U.S. Attorney]. It would be great if he confirms that he plans to."
Meanwhile, the case is likely to turn reporters into students of Illinois political history, just as the Clinton presidency produced a generation of reporters and opposition researchers obsessed with turning over the rocks of Arkansas politics.
In 2002, when Blagojevich left the U.S. House (opening up a seat for Emanuel), Obama joined other black Chicago Democrats – including his one-time rival Bobby Rush and state Senate mentor Emil Jones –in supporting Roland Burris, an African-American former Illinois Comptroller and state Attorney General.
In a further effort to put distance between Obama and the governor, Obama allies are preemptively noting that incoming Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel’s claim this summer in a New Yorker article that he and Obama were “the top strategists of Blagojevich's victory” in 2002 was inaccurate.
In a subsequent article in the Springfield political publication Capitol Fax this summer, now being circulated by Obama allies, Emanuel walked back his assertion.
"David [Wilhelm] and I have worked together on campaigns for decades,” Emanuel said, referring to the Democratic operative who was a top adviser to Blagojevich in 2002 and strongly denied that Obama had been involved in that race. “Like always, he's right and I'm wrong."
Further, the allies note that Blagojevich did not support Obama in 2004 in what was initially thought to be a hotly contested primary.
Still, as Obama emerged from the sheltered, reformist enclave of Hyde Park in the 1990s, he made valuable friends among the bosses of its political machine – Mayor Richard Daley, Emil Jones and many others. He bragged at times that Illinois had made him tough. He also campaigned on an ethics bill he helped pass in the Illinois State Senate.
And he seemed still to be in that Chicago straddle when asked about Blagojevich’s arrest yesterday, mustering only word that he was “saddened” and “sobered” at a time when even other Illinois Democrats were demanding Blagojevich resign.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism
on: December 09, 2008, 06:21:04 PM
Guantanamo’s Jihad: The Show Begins…
By Walid Phares
Al Qaeda’s great moment for propaganda has arrived, just as I predicted it would when I wrote about this in June. The Guantanamo trials will provide leading figures in the 9/11 massacre their “moment” to deliver a blow to America’s psyche, image and legal system.
As predicted, almost to the letter in my analysis in June, the men charged with plotting the September 11 attacks have declared their readiness to make confessions. According to Associated Press the military judge assigned to their war crimes trial at Guantanamo Bay read aloud a letter in which the five co-defendants said they request an immediate hearing session “to announce our confessions.” The AP report added that Khalid Sheikh Mohammed (aka KSM) has already told interrogators he was the mastermind of the attacks. “Now he’s telling the judge that he and the others want to make confessions at the trial.” The judge at the pre-trial hearing, Army Col. Stephen Henley, is asking each defendant if they are prepared to enter a plea. Three have agreed to do so.
So, is there an Al Qaeda plan being put into motion on the inside? Most likely there is as our knowledge of Al Qaeda training instructions has shown. -Both the government and media of the United States are ill-prepared for this type of jihadi propaganda warfare. Seven years after the beginning of the so-called “War on Terror,” the enemy’s ideology, strategies and methods still haven’t been officially identified. It is like using a Word War I mind set to fight World War II terror strategies.
Here is what the jihadists, both on the inside and the outside of the Guantanamo detention center are planning for:
First, Khalid Sheikh Mohammed and his comrades will use the so-called confessions deal to build a psychological environment for a martyrdom case: “istishaad.” They aren’t interested in saving their lives (at first, although they think they could) but in providing a maximum damage to their enemy through the tribunal proceedings. They will claim the court is not legitimate, the entire Guantanamo process as illegal and that they are ready to die as Jihadis in the path to Allah. Their first target is to grant themselves, in the eyes of millions of militants around the world the status of “Shuhada,” martyrs, even though they could survive it.
The “confessions” turned declaration of victory will be picked up by Al Qaeda and other jihadi groups and transformed into vital material for propaganda: videos, audio and texts. The “show” inside court will be used for indoctrination purpose around the world. A myth will be set in motion and emotional reactions to the “story” will be mutated into future revenge operations.
From there on, leave it to the architects of jihadi propaganda: statements made by the defendants will be used by operatives online, in the chat rooms but also on Al Jazeera (by callers and guests), and in other medium to widen the radicalization of youth in the Arab and Muslim world and within the West as well. An Al Qaeda “control room” will use the feed from the Guantanamo trials to produce a victory in their war of ideas against democracies. The fate of the 9/11 detainees isn’t the issue to Al Qaeda. By pledging loyalty to the “mission” through the so-called “confessions” or statements they have already sacrificed themselves ideologically. What KSM and his comrades are offering to their “brothers” around the world is an unbeatable series of images, footage and audio — pure gold for Al Qaeda propagandists and ideologues.
Ironically, during this time of transition between the two administrations in both the Bush and Obama teams may find they overlook the direct goals of Al Qaeda’s plan. As national security teams meet and wrestle over future options in the War on Terror (will some possibly end up just calling it a “war”?) the other side is waging its own war methodically, relentlessly and unstoppably. Every inch of room to maneuver is used to the maximum to weaken the enemy, even from within the walls of the detention centers. And that is only at Guantanamo that the defendants are openly admitting their responsibilities in spreading terror. Wait until the processing of jihadists hits our U.S. courts here on the mainland. What we see now is just the beginning.
Dr. Walid Phares is Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies
By Walid Phares on December 8, 2008 11:27 PM
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security
on: December 09, 2008, 05:18:05 PM
December 09, 2008, 4:30 p.m.
Why Does KSM Want to be Executed?
By Andrew C. McCarthy
We don’t understand our enemies any better than we did when they first strode out on that great American stage, the federal courtroom, 15 years ago.
That is the upshot of Monday’s latest episode in Mohammed’s March to Martyrdom, a dreadful show that should close in Cuba before ever making it to the Great White Way. Five top al-Qaeda terrorists told a military judge at Guantanamo Bay that they want to skip their commission trial, admit — no, brag about — their guilt, and proceed straight to execution and its promised eternity of Boogie Nights.
Mohammed, of course, is none other than KSM, the black artist formerly known as Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. That was before he orchestrated the 9/11 atrocities, vaulting into that small circle of celebrity where the initials are all you need to know. Infamy is the achievement of a lifetime for this Baluchi marauder turned courtroom diva. It’s what he has always craved: to be known . . . and feared.
In the mid-Nineties, he was just an up-and-comer: anteing up a paltry $660 for the 1993 World Trade Center bombing, then co-designing the off-off-Broadway run of Bojinka: an ambitious 1994 production designed to slaughter hundreds of Americans by exploding their cross-Pacific flights in midair — a production that collapsed when a preview detonation failed to bring down the plane, though it did manage to kill a Japanese tourist.
KSM was green with envy when those pilots became star turns for other terrorists: his mad-scientist nephew, Ramzi Yousef, and Omar Abdel Rahman, the capo di tutti jihadi known in America’s living rooms as “the Blind Sheikh.”
Back in those days, KSM couldn’t get himself arrested. Or at least the FBI couldn’t get him arrested. That was thanks to Qatar, another of our ambivalent Arab “allies” in the war on terror. The emirate is an authoritarian sharia-state and jihadist financial hub — though you may know it better as the home of al-Jezeera, the Muslim world’s virulently anti-American media giant to which KSM once served as al-Qaeda’s official liaison.
A U.S.-educated engineer, KSM had a government job in Qatar’s ministry of electricity and water when he was tipped off in 1996 that the Americans were closing in. In the nick of time, he fled to Afghanistan. That’s where Osama bin Laden, having recently worn out his welcome in Sudan, was just setting up shop.
The rest, as they say, is history. Years later, while confirming his status as an enemy combatant, KSM recounted how he’d become al-Qaeda’s “military operational commander” for all foreign operations, running the 9/11 attacks “from A to Z.”
And that was just the warm-up. Mohammed took charge of the cell that managed production of biological weapons and radiological “dirty bombs.” He planned an unconsummated “second-wave” of suicide-hijacking attacks on the Israeli city of Elat, iconic sites in Great Britain, and the U.S. — where the Empire State Building and other skyscrapers in Chicago, San Francisco and the state of Washington were targeted. KSM directed the bombing of a hotel frequented by Israelis in Mombassa, Kenya — and, for good measure, shot a surface-to-air missile near Mombassa’s airport, barely missing a departing El-Al flight. He plotted bomb strikes against America’s domestic financial centers; American naval ships and oil tankers in Singapore and the Straits of Hormuz and Gibraltar; and American embassies in Japan, Australia, and Indonesia. The list (which you can find at pages 17-18 of the combatant hearing transcript, here) goes on and on.
KSM is going to be put to death. He knows it and we know it. The same is true of his four underlings. The question is not if but when.
These legal proceedings, then, are simply theater. For the Left, that means projecting shopworn themes under the guise of thoughtfully pondering the purpose of the jihadists’ procedural maneuvering. Is KSM scheming to challenge our new president’s redoubling of Islamic outreach? Is he daring Obama to kick off the promised era of good feeling by executing Muslims, even as the new administration backpedals from campaign commitments to shut down Gitmo and withdraw from Iraq forthwith? Or is he, as the ACLU speculated for the New York Times, trying to draw attention to the asserted folly of abandoning the 1990’s model of civilian terrorist trials in favor of “a failed commission process”?
Yes, it’s the silly season.
What we don’t yet seem to grasp, even after all that’s gone on these last two decades, is that our politics and our law are of interest only to us. They matter nothing to jihadists. It’s a fatuous exercise in self-absorption to suppose otherwise — and a foolish one since it demonstrates for all to see that we still don’t get it. The delusion that we can change our enemies by changing ourselves is what makes the useful idiots useful.
KSM doesn’t see Bush or Obama. He sees an American president. He sees a symbol — the embodiment of a people and culture that are his mortal enemy. Back in 1994, when the Bojinka escapade was flushed out in the Philippines, investigators found that the jihadists were also planning an assassination of President Clinton. Thirteen years later, KSM explained to a military judge that he had mapped out “the assassination of several former American presidents, including President Carter.”
Republican or Democrat, conservative or liberal, cowboy or solon — these distinctions matter to us. KSM couldn’t care less.
In 1999, as was the fashion throughout the Nineties, we gave the embassy bombers due process’s version of The Full Monty: a civilian trial in the Big Apple, with multiple taxpayer-funded attorneys and investigators at their beck and call. We thought we were teaching the enemy and the world about America’s high regard for them and for the rule of law.
The Islamic world was unimpressed — much of it mocking the proceedings as a show trial. As for al-Qaeda, it did what al-Qaeda does: it studied our solicitous procedures with an eye toward the usual barbarity. Mamdouh Salim, a KSM confederate in al-Qaeda’s top echelon, determined that the constitutional rights to counsel and to prepare a defense provided a splendid opportunity to kidnap one’s American lawyers and use them as human shields in an attempted jail-break. Salim was stopped, but not before nearly killing the prison guard he stabbed in the eye while making his move.
For radical Islam, it’s not about us; it’s about them. KSM isn’t about us. He’s about KSM. There is no system we can devise, nothing we can do or not do, no one we can elect or anoint, that will alter how we are perceived by the millions who share the jihadist worldview, if not jihadist methods.
So why are KSM and his four fellow detainees trying to end-run their trial and rush to martyrdom? I daresay the answer should be, “Who cares?”
Live jihadists attain a lofty status in our custody, their notoriety enhancing their ability to inspire more terror. The Blind Sheikh issued the fatwa for 9/11 from his American jail cell; Sayyid Nosair, the murderer of JDL-founder Meir Kahane, exhorted the 1993 World Trade Center bombers from Attica prison; those bombers, in turn, egged on Spanish terrorists by sending messages through the penitentiary mail system. KSM and his associates will be no different. If they are ready to die, we ought to accommodate them — for once, our interests are in sync.
If I thought it was worth wasting much attention on his latest ploy, I’d point out that since being captured in 2003, KSM has been what he hates maybe even more than he hates Americans: irrelevant. Now that he finally has his soapbox, he also has his reputation to consider. Since 9/11, he’s best known for breaking under interrogation and thus helping the United States thwart more mayhem than he managed to pull off.
What he wants now is to go out in a blaze of bravado. A full-blown trial — whether military or civilian — might not be the best way to do that. It would broadcast his failures as much as his triumphs. As the outcome is not in doubt, he’d just as soon focus on a heroic, defiant, martyr’s death, with as much spotlight as possible.
We should take his guilty plea, then move swiftly to the capital phase and the inevitable death sentence. That is our law. But once that’s done, KSM ought to be consigned back to obscurity, at least for a while. He’s in a rush, but we don’t need to be. At a time of our choosing, when it will get minimum coverage, KSM and his confederates should be executed without fanfare. A curt announcement should be made, informing the public that the deed has been done.
Most of the world would yawn. That would be justice.
— National Review’s Andrew C. McCarthy chairs FDD’s Center for Law & Counterterrorism and is the author of Willful Blindness: A Memoir of the Jihad (Encounter Books 2008).
National Review Online - http://article.nationalreview.com/?q=M2M2YjliZWM4NGRmMTQ3MDY1YjM1ZTU0ZGMxMjNmNDc=
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India and India-Pak
on: December 05, 2008, 08:56:56 AM
December 4, 2008
After Mumbai: Deciphering the Horizons
By Walid Phares
As the crisis between India and Pakistan is drawing the attention of the international community and the diplomatic efforts of the United States, public opinion has shown an increased interest in the Jihadi agenda in India. In this regard the Counter Terrorism community is focusing on analyzing the long term strategic agenda of the Terror forces involved in the attack. Today's panel discussion in Congress at the invitation of the Counter Terrorism Foundation opened several perspectives in projecting the next stage of the conflict. The minutes of this briefing will be useful to the growing debate about Post Mumbai. Following is a short piece published initially by Fox News.com today, raising some of the issues I discussed at the panel in Congress this morning.
Mumbai’s “bloody week” has ended with shock and awe in India and around the world. Since 9/11, and even before, the jihadists have been leaping from one massacre to another, scarring democracies and civil societies with their violent imprints.
From New York and Washington to Madrid and London; from Beslan and Baghdad to Islamabad and Bali, the seekers of a Taliban-like “Caliphate” continue to adapt their tactics and while staying the course. No civilization or continent has escaped their designs.
But after Mumbai, one has to expect more and worse. Let’s look at what’s on the the horizon:
1) Urban Jihad is Open for Business
My initial assessment of the Mumbai terror attacks leads me to predict that the Mumbai model is now a frame of reference for copycats. These attack can unfortunately happen again, in India, in the region and around the globe. “Urban jihad,” the termed I’ve used in my last three books and in recent op-ed pieces, is a combination of terror activities by Salafists or other adherents of Jihadism aimed at shocking, paralyzing, and seizing part of a city or neighborhood.
The goal of “urban jihad” is to take the battle inside the cities of the enemy, in this case India. But the Beslan school massacre in Russia in September 2004, the terror attacks in Saudi Arabia in November, 2003 the multiple killings in Iraq, Afghanistan and Algeria, as well as the similar scenarios in Israel over several decades, tell us that this form of urban terrorism is now open for business. In the near future I will make more predictions jihadi copycats worldwide.
2) Real Jihadi Claims Beyond Kashmir
Interestingly, the jihadi propaganda machine reacted instantly to the attacks by invoking the issue of Kashmir. So did many in the international media. But the reality is -- using the words of the jihadists -- the goals have mutated and now extend beyond the classical ethnic conflict in Kashmir. The aim is now to establish a Taliban state covering half of India, all of Pakistan and also Afghanistan. It is more the Caliphate then self-determination that the terrorists seek.
3) Trans-Regional Forces Trump Local Forces
As I write, many experts and authorities on terror have been trying to determine if the Mumbai “perpetrators” are the Pakistan-based Laskar e Taiba, the Indian Mujahideen, Taliban inspired factions or simply Al Qaeda. Strategically, we don’t need to wonder too much: all four of these groups are all part of the same web. It’s a web that stretches from Kabul to Mumbai: these are the subcontinent’s jihadists. Decisions are made at a high level with coordination between the big bosses and terrorist actions are carried out by the designated organizations, teams, and cells. The rest is left for our media and commentators to guess and juggle. While it is very useful from an intelligence perspective to determine the chain of command and the entity directly involved in the Mumbai terror attacks, from a global perspective it is important for the public and decision makers from around the world to realize that the three south Asian democracies are all threatened by the same enemy, appearing in different shapes and showing multiple faces.
4) Preempting the Forthcoming Offensive in Afghanistan
Beyond the investigation regarding the Mumbai attackers and their networks, it is equally important for strategic planners inside NATO to read the attacks as a preemptive strike against the forthcoming reinforcement of U.S. and allied troops in Afghanistan. It seems to me that the Mumbai attack, and possibly the other attacks that may follow, are actions designed to break down precarious relationships between the three democratic governments in that region and to weaken the efforts promised by President-elect Obama against Al Qaeda and its regional allies in 2009.
Dr Walid Phares is the Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and the author of The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reproductive issues
on: December 04, 2008, 09:02:59 AM
**Again, a state does not have jurisdiction to charge you for something you do that is legal in the state you do it in. California cannot charge you for patronizing a legal prostitute in Nevada.**
I understand; my point is that if you do something illegal in one state; prostitution or for example perform an illegal abortion, you may be arrested and held and returned to another state if prostitution or for example abortion is also illegal in the state to which you fled/traveled.**It need not be illegal in the state you flee to. CA wants to charge you for patronizing a prostitute. You flee to NV. A NV state trooper stops for for an illegal lane change, runs your license and finds the CA warrant for your arrest. As long as CA will extradite you back for trial, the trooper will arrest you and take you to county pending extradition. NV's legal brothels have no effect on you being sent back to CA to face trial.**
And I understand coercive and invasive searches are legal at the border, but since I often travel internationally, short of chartering a private plane (beyond my budget) I have few choices.
**Private plane or not, crossing an international border, you will face being searched by US Customs and Border Protection officers. The only border crossers that are immune are those with diplomatic immunity.**
Even flying to NY is a very long walk, drive, or train ride. Yet, if during this search, sticking to topic, if evidence was found in my luggage that I had committed an illegal abortion and it was illegal in the state I was traveling from and going to, I could be arrested and/or detained at either location; correct?**I have a hard time imagining what would constitute evidence of an illegal abortion that could be discovered by TSA security screening. They are trained (somewhat) to detect threats to aviation security. If in the process of searching you or your property, they discovered potential evidence of a crime, a sworn LEO would respond. If he/she then found probable cause that a crime, then indeed you would face arrest.**
As for "rent a cop" I was thinking TSA employees; in contrast, I have the highest respect for the training and qualifications of Custom Officers and I know they are doing a difficult job.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Communicating with the Muslim World
on: December 04, 2008, 08:20:40 AM
|**Finally, some expressions of regret! **http://iowahawk.typepad.com/iowahawk/2008/12/apologetic-mumbai-killers-we-didnt-get-the-memo-about-obama.html
Apologetic Mumbai Killers: "We Didn't Get the Memo About Obama"
MUMBAI - Ajmal Amir Kasab, the sole surviving member of the 10-man team of Pakistani gunmen that left hundreds dead or wounded after a bloody three day rampage in Mumbai, today blamed the mayhem on an "email mixup" that left him and his colleagues unaware that Barack Obama had won election as President of the United States.
"What? Oh bloody hell, now you tell me," said Kasab, as he was led away in handcuffs by Indian security forces.
Kasab, 21, apologized to Indian President Pratibha Patil, explaining that no one in his group had known about the recent U.S. election results.
"Boy, talk about having egg on the face," said a visibly embarrassed Kasab. "If we knew Bush was on his way out, obviously we would have called off the crazy random baby-shootings and martyrdom stuff, and signed on with the Peace Corps or Habitat for Humanity. At this point I guess all I can say is 'my bad.'"
"Seriously, I can't even begin to tell you how shitty the whole situation makes me feel," he added dejectedly. "Don't get me wrong, I'm as thrilled as everybody else to find out Barack won the election, but this moment is always going to be bittersweet knowing that all those shootings were tragically unnecessary. Not to mention the six weeks I wasted in training camp."
Kasab, who is personally suspected of killing over 30 victims at point-blank range in a posh Mumbai hotel, was at a loss to explain how he and other members of the terrorist assault team remained unaware of the historic U.S. election results that many American analysts predicted would lead to an immediate and permanent outbreak of rapturous harmony and transcendent brotherly love throughout the universe.
"Jeez, I'm... I don't know, I just never got any kind of memo," said Kasab. "The ironic thing is that just the other day, when we were ritually shaving our testicles for final martyrdom, a bunch of us were talking about how great and symbolic it would be if the American infidels would only elect an handsome, articulate young African-American infidel. That way we could just lay down the suicide belts and scimitars and suitcase nukes and finally get involved in the positive aspects of community activism, like raising awareness for breast cancer research. Look, I know it's a cliche to point fingers at the IT department, but our email system really sucks. And it's hard to find a decent wi-fi hot spot in Northwest Pakistan."
Tragically, though, it appears that internet connectivity was only the tip of the iceberg in a system-wide Obama news communication failure at Al Qaeda Headquarters.
"Obama won? Seriously?" said an astonished Abdul Aziz Qasim, Senior Media Affairs Director for Al Qaeda's Peshawar Office at an afternoon press conference announcing responsibility for the attacks. "I mean... you're positively sure of that?"
After a reporter screened a YouTube video for him showing Obama's election night celebration, Qasim angrily summoned his intelligence department.
"Have any of you seen this? Any of you?" shouted Qasim, jabbing at the laptop screen with his hook, as his staff awkwardly stared at their sandals. "Because it would have been nice to know about it TWO FUCKING WEEKS AGO."
"Can one of you idiots remind me why I pay you?" he continued. "Because all I know is that I'm the only one in this goddamn tent who ends up taking the heat from bin Laden and Zawahiri, and gets stuck doing the damage control caused by you stupid fuckups."
Regaining his composure, Qasim said that Al Qaeda would work to make amends with victims of the Mumbai tragedy, including sending flowers and handwritten apology notes containing 1000 rupee ($12.65) PakMart gift cards to the surviving families of all 173 dead. Wounded victims are slated to receive a 50 rupee coupon good at participating Waziristan Fried Chicken restaurants.
"Ultimately, I know the 'buck stops here,' but I just want to remind everybody in the infidel world that the only gripe that we've really ever had with you is about George Bush," said Qasim. "There's just something instantly irritating about that guy, you know what I mean? It's that smirk, the way he says 'nuke-u-ler' and all that 'evildoers' crap. There's only so much you can take of him before you start flying planes into skyscrapers or bombing subways, or shooting Hindus, or beheading Thai school teachers, and what-have-you."
"Believe me, now that Bush is out of the picture we're just as upset about those senseless killings as everybody else, especially those of us who actually did the senseless killing," he added. "All we ask is that the Indian judges not take it too hard on Ajmal. The poor kid feels bad enough already. It's not his fault he didn't find out about the infidel elections, you know how hard it is to get a decent Verizon cell in Mumbai. Now that we're all on the same page again it would be a great time for all of us, believers and infidels alike, to put all the nonsense of the Bush years behind us and rekindle that beautiful peace and friendship thing we all had going on back in 2000."
"I know my wife is looking forward to another Florida vacation -- even though she'll have to drop a few pounds to fit back into her beach chador," Qasim joked. "She was only ten when we were there for our honeymoon."
"Oh, before I forget, let me finally send our belated congratulations to President-Elect Obama," said the Al Qaeda spokesman. "Let me also say we're very sorry for the snafu in Mumbai, and hope this won't put a damper on our negotiations for the peaceful return of Spain. We're cool, right?"
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reproductive issues
on: December 03, 2008, 10:35:18 PM
**Again, a state does not have jurisdiction to charge you for something you do that is legal in the state you do it in. California cannot charge you for patronizing a legal prostitute in Nevada.**
I'm sorry, maybe I wasn't clear. If using your example, I patronized a prostitute in CA (prostitution is illegal in CA) and took a flight to Utah;
could they prosecute me? **California would have jurisdiction. If you fled and were arrested in Utah, CA could have you extradited back to face trial in California. Neither CA or UT could charge you for patronizing a legal prostitute in NV.**
The transfer of an accused from one state or country to another state or country that seeks to place the accused on trial.
Extradition comes into play when a person charged with a crime under state statutes flees the state. An individual charged with a federal crime may be moved from one state to another without any extradition procedures.
Article IV, Section 2, of the U.S. Constitution provides that upon the demand of the governor of the prosecuting state, a state to which a person charged with a crime has fled must remove the accused "to the State having Jurisdiction of the Crime." When extraditing an accused from one state to another, most states follow the procedures set forth in the Uniform Criminal Extradition Act, which has been adopted by most jurisdictions. A newer uniform act, the Uniform Extradition and Rendition Act, is designed to streamline the extradition process and provide additional protections for the person sought, but by 1995, it had been adopted by only one state.
Extradition from one state to another takes place on the order of the governor of the Asylum state (the state where the accused is located). The courts in the asylum state have a somewhat limited function in extraditing the accused to the state where she or he is charged with a crime. They determine only whether the extradition documents are in order (e.g., whether they allege that the accused has committed a crime and that she or he is a fugitive) and do not consider the merits of the charge, since the trial of the accused will take place in the state demanding extradition.
In some cases, courts considering extradition from one state to another may go beyond the procedural formalities and look at the merits of the criminal charge or at allegations by the accused that extradition will lead to harmful consequences beyond a prison term. These cases are rare because under the U.S. Constitution, states are not given the power to review the
underlying charge. This problem occurred in New Mexico ex rel. Ortiz v. Reed, 524 U.S. 151, 118 S. Ct. 1860, 141 L. Ed. 2d 131 (1998), in which the state of New Mexico refused to return a fugitive to the state of Ohio.
The Supreme Court has identified that a court considering an extradition case can only decide four issues: (1) whether the extradition documents on their face are in order, (2) whether the petitioner has been charged with a crime in the demanding state, (3) whether the petitioner is the person named in the request for the extradition, and (4) whether the petitioner is a fugitive. The New Mexico Supreme Court in Reed determined that the person subject to the extradition, Manuel Ortiz, was not a "fugitive," and refused to honor the extradition order from the state of Ohio. The Supreme Court found that New Mexico courts had overstepped their authority and ordered the New Mexico Supreme Court to return the fugitive.
In BOTH states the "act" is illegal therefore it seems to me one could be prosecuted or extradited from Utah to CA; yes? I mean
if I kill someone in CA (illegal) and flee to Utah (murder is also illegal) I can and in most cases will be prosecuted and/or extradited to CA. Using you analogy,
if one state permitted murder, and I crossed into that state, then you are right, they would not prosecute or extradite me. But going back to the example, if most
states prohibit abortion, I guess the woman has a serious, maybe criminal problem?**Again, you cannot charge/prosecute unless you have jurisdiction. If you legally possess marijuana in California, then cross into Nevada, NV law now applies. The legality ends once you cross out of California's legal jurisdiction. NV cannot charge you for marijuana you possess in CA, but can charge you for marijuana you do possess while in NV.**
Also, regarding searches; even leaving the US I can be subjected to a very invasive search. And while it may be a "consent" search, even domestically,
if I want to travel, business or pleasure, I have no option, do I?
**The courts have ruled that 4th Amnd. protections do not apply at border crossings. As far as consenting to security screening, you can charter a private plane, drive, take a bus, take a train or walk. They may not be your preferred options, but they are options.**
And I find it offensive that they want to search my computer files, yet given that I travel a
lot, I have not choice. "Consent" perhaps, but in reality I have no choice. And if some rent a cop found something on my computer, I miss my flight. **TSA does not inspect the contents of your hard drive. US Customs officers might at a border crossing. They are federal law enforcement officers, hardly "rent a cops".**
The same applies to the woman in the above example. Either one of us might need a lawyer for something innocuous. I guess that is how they could catch criminals like women who have abortions if it is illegal?
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Communicating with the Muslim World
on: December 03, 2008, 09:33:17 PM
Questions that answer themselves
posted at 2:43 pm on December 3, 2008 by Ed Morrissey
Tom Friedman asks in his New York Times column today why we haven’t seen Muslims protesting in the street after the Mumbai attacks:On Feb. 6, 2006, three Pakistanis died in Peshawar and Lahore during violent street protests against Danish cartoons that had satirized the Prophet Muhammad. More such mass protests followed weeks later. When Pakistanis and other Muslims are willing to take to the streets, even suffer death, to protest an insulting cartoon published in Denmark, is it fair to ask: Who in the Muslim world, who in Pakistan, is ready to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of real people, not cartoon characters, right next door in Mumbai?
After all, if 10 young Indians from a splinter wing of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party traveled by boat to Pakistan, shot up two hotels in Karachi and the central train station, killed at least 173 people, and then, for good measure, murdered the imam and his wife at a Saudi-financed mosque while they were cradling their 2-year-old son — purely because they were Sunni Muslims — where would we be today? The entire Muslim world would be aflame and in the streets.
So what can we expect from Pakistan and the wider Muslim world after Mumbai?
I can provide an answer: apathy and rationalization, and not just from Muslims. Deepak Chopra blamed it on the Bush administration and the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, as if the causation was reversed. While Bollywood condemned the terrorist attacks, some followed Chopra’s example.
Has Friedman seen massive protests in the streets against radical Islamist terrorists in these Muslim countries, ever? Did any of them protest the 9/11 attacks, or the Madrid attack, or any of the large-scale attacks on Western civilians or previous attacks in India at all? Either we heard ululating or deafening silence, punctuated with a few diplomatic missives about solidarity and the occasional criticism on the effect the attacks have on Muslims.
In other words, we can either expect delight or a collective yawn from the Muslim world. It’s been a week since the attacks commenced. Thus far, all we’ve gotten is the latter. Why would this surprise Friedman, given the history?
And what does that tell us about the attitude towards the terrorists among the Muslim nations? They may not endorse terrorist attacks, but they certainly don’t strenuously object to them, either. While we’re wringing our hands over interrogation techniques, and not for bad reasons, they’re indifferent to mass murder. At some point, the world — or in Friedman’s tiresome terminology, the “village” — will have to come to terms with that reality.
Muslims will not care about terrorist attacks until the cost becomes too high for them. The risk-to-reward ratio hasn’t reached that level yet, and probably hasn’t come near it. Mewling about the “village” and asking for a little outrage won’t do it, either.
Update: SANEworks has a few thoughts along the same lines.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reproductive issues
on: December 03, 2008, 09:03:24 PM
"secondly, being able to conduct such invasive searches with consent or a warrant is pretty much impossible."
I don't understand;
at the border or at even the airport they they seem to have the "right" and do conduct "invasive" searches all the time
without a warrant.
**Cross into the US at the border or international port of entry and you are subject to very invasive search as a result of entering the US from another nation. Going through security screening by the TSA at the airport is a consent search. You are consenting to being searched in exchange for being allowed to enter the "sterile area" of the airport. You can refuse a search, but then cannot enter the boarding area for your flight.**
I do agree that one cannot "prosecute a person that had an abortion in a state where it is legal" but what if a person
crossed a border to a state from and to where abortion is illegal? Prosecution could result; the same as in your gambling example
if the person gambled in a state where gambling was illegal and went to Utah.
**Uhhhhh.... No. The state only has jurisdiction over what occures within the boundaries of the state. Utah can charge people for patronizing a prostitute in Utah, but has no jurisdiction over someone that patronizes a prostitute in a legal brothel in Nevada.**
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security
on: December 03, 2008, 08:29:02 PM
From the New York Landmarks Plot to the Mumbai Attack
December 3, 2008
By Fred Burton and Ben West
On the surface, last week’s attack on Mumbai was remarkable for its execution and apparently unconventional tactics. But when compared to a plot uncovered 15 years ago that targeted prominent hotels in Manhattan, it becomes apparent that the Mumbai attack was not so original after all.
The 1993 New York Landmarks Plot
In July 1993, U.S. counterterrorism agents arrested eight individuals later convicted of plotting an elaborate, multistage attack on key sites in Manhattan. The militants, who were linked to Osama bin Laden’s then-relatively new group, al Qaeda, planned to storm the island armed with automatic rifles, grenades and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In multiple raids on key targets combined with diversionary attacks, they aimed to kill as many people as possible.
The planned attack, which came to be known as the “Landmarks” plot, called for several tactical teams to raid sites such as the Waldorf-Astoria, St. Regis and U.N. Plaza hotels, the Lincoln and Holland tunnels, and a midtown Manhattan waterfront heliport servicing business executives and VIPs traveling from lower Manhattan to various New York-area airports. The militants carried out extensive surveillance both inside and outside the target hotels using human probes, hand-drawn maps and video surveillance. Detailed notes were taken on the layout and design of the buildings, with stairwells, ballrooms, security cameras and personnel all reconnoitered.
The attackers intended to infiltrate the hotels and disguise themselves as kitchen employees. On the day of the attack, one attack team planned to use stolen delivery vans to get close to the hotels, at which point heavily armed, small-cell commando teams would deploy from the rear of the van. Stationary operatives would use hand grenades to create diversions while attack teams would rake hotel guests with automatic weapons. The attackers planned to carry gas masks and use tear gas in hotel ballrooms to gain an advantage over any security they might come up against. They planned to attack at night, when the level of protection would be lower.
The targeted hotels host some of the most prestigious guests in Manhattan. These could have included diplomats like the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, who traditionally keeps an apartment in the Waldorf-Astoria, or even the U.S. secretary of state, who is known to stay at the Waldorf during U.N. sessions. They also host various business leaders. If successful, the attackers doubtless would have killed many high-profile individuals key to New York’s stature as a center for financial and diplomatic dealings.
Meanwhile, the plots to detonate explosives in the Lincoln and Holland tunnels would have blocked critical transportation infrastructure, sowing chaos in the city as key escape routes were closed off. And VIPs seeking to escape the city via the midtown heliport would have been thwarted by the attack planned for that location. In fact, the heliport attack was planned to be carried out using watercraft, which also could have been used to target transport ferries, further disrupting transportation in and out of Manhattan. The New York City Police Department could plausibly even have quarantined Manhattan to prevent the attackers from fleeing the city.
With the city shut down and gunmen running amok, the financial center of the United States would have been thrown into chaos and confusion until the attackers were detained or killed. The attacks thus would have undermined the security and effectiveness of New York as a center for financial and diplomatic dealings.
At the time, U.S. counterterrorism officials deemed that the attack would have had a 90 percent success rate. Disaster, then, was averted when federal agents captured the plotters planning the Landmarks attack thanks to an informant who had infiltrated the group. Along with the 1993 World Trade Center bombing just four months earlier, which killed six people but was intended to bring down both towers, the United States dodged a major bullet that could have been devastating to New York.
The Nov. 26 Mumbai Attack
A little more than fifteen years later, the Nov. 26 attacks in Mumbai closely followed the script of the New York plot. Militants armed with AK-47s, grenades and military-grade explosives carried out a very logistically sophisticated and coordinated attack on the financial capital of India.
(click to view map)
Clearly, the Mumbai attack involved extensive preoperational surveillance. Attackers had maps of the targeted hotels, and according to the Indian Marine Commandos who raided the Taj Mahal hotel, the militants moved around as if they knew the hotel’s layout by heart. Advance members of the attack teams had already taken up positions in the hotels, stockpiling firearms, ammunition, grenades and food that were quickly accessed and used to maintain the attackers’ positions in the hotels. One of the attackers reportedly also had taken a job as an intern chef in the Taj Mahal hotel kitchen, so his movements raised less suspicion and he had a detailed knowledge of the entry points and corridors. For such attacks, preparedness is key, and escaping alive is a long shot. The attackers therefore must have been highly motivated and willing to die — a rare combination that requires immense amounts of training and ideological zeal.
At least two teams entered the city by watercraft, breaking up into smaller groups as they made their way to the Taj Mahal hotel, Oberoi-Trident hotel complex and Nariman (also known as Chabad) House, a Jewish center in the same area of Mumbai. These tactical teams dispersed across the city, attacking prominent sites where foreign VIPs were sure to be present. They infiltrated the hotels through back entrances and kitchens, thus enhancing the element of surprise as they opened fire on guests in the dining areas and atriums of the hotels.
Beyond killing people and holding hostages in Mumbai’s most prestigious hotels, other attack teams assaulted additional strategic sites in Mumbai, creating a sense of chaos and confusion over the whole city. Mumbai’s main train station, Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, as well as Cama Hospital, offices of The Times of India newspaper, restaurants, a theater, and bars frequented by foreigners also were attacked. The attackers’ excellent coordination — the multiple attacks took place nearly simultaneously — thus ensured maximum confusion and chaos, frustrating police responses. This could explain in part why operations like those at Nariman House and the hotels lasted for more than 48 hours.
Similarities between New York and Mumbai
The similarities between the Landmarks plot and the Nov. 26 Mumbai attack are quite obvious. In symbolic terms, as the Mumbai attack unfolded, many onlookers said that an attack on Mumbai is to India what an attack on New York is to Americans. In more concrete terms, the targets, methods, weapons and geography involved were similar (if not identical), and the unconventional style of the attacks points to a common author.
U.S. counterterrorism forces in 1995 detained Landmarks plot mastermind Ramzi Yousef, who remains in U.S. federal prison. But his ideas obviously did not stay behind bars. This illustrates how a plan’s initial failure does not mean the threat has been eliminated. Indeed, Stratfor observed in 2005 that the 1993 Landmarks plot (among others) should not be discounted, as al Qaeda or other terrorist groups are known to return to past targets and plot scenarios.
The similarities between the Landmarks plot and the Mumbai attack exist at several levels.
The first relates to the target set. Both New York and Mumbai are the respective financial centers of their countries and home to their nations’ major stock exchanges. In both cities, the planners had picked out high-profile soft targets — sites that have less security personnel and countermeasures than, say, a military installation or key government building. Softer security means gaining access to strategic assets and people is easier. Stratfor has long stressed the importance of maintaining vigilance at soft targets like hote ls that cater to international guests, as these are likely targets for militant Islamists. Both plans also involved infiltrating hotel staff and booking rooms in the hotels to gain inside information and store supplies.
The second similarity involves how both plans included peripheral targets to cause confusion and chaos and thus create a diversion from the main targets. In Mumbai, transportation infrastructure like the city’s main railway station was attacked, and militants detonated explosive devices in taxis and next to gasoline pumps. Meanwhile, roving gunmen attacked other sites around the city. In a country where coordination among first responders is already weak, the way the attackers fanned out across the city caused massive chaos and distracted security forces from the main prize: the hotels. Attacking Cama Hospital also sowed chaos, as the injured from one scene of attack became the targets of another while being rescued.
A third similarity exists in the geography of the two cities. In both plots, the use of watercraft is a distinctive tactical similarity. Watercraft gave militants access at unconventional locations where security would be more lax. Both Mumbai (a peninsula) and Manhattan (an island) offer plenty of points where militants can mount assaults from watercraft. Such an attack would not have worked in New Delhi or Bangalore; these are landlocked cities where militants would have had to enter by road, a route much more likely to encounter police patrols. Being centers of trade and surrounded by water, both Mumbai and New York have high levels of maritime traffic. This means infiltrating the area from the water would raise minimal suspicions, especially if the craft were registered locally (as was the case in the Mumbai attack). Such out-of-the box tactics take advantage of security services, which often tend to focus on established threats.
A fourth similarity lies in transportation. In addition to using watercraft, both plots involved the use of deceptive vehicles to maneuver around the city undetected. The Landmark plotters used taxis to conduct surveillance and planned on using a delivery van to approach the hotels. In Mumbai, the attackers planted bombs in taxis, and at least one group of militants hijacked a police van and used it to carry out attacks across the city. Using familiar vehicles like taxis, delivery vans or police vans to carry out surveillance or attacks reduces suspicion and increases the element of surprise, allowing militants to stay under cover until the moment of attack.
An Off-the-Shelf Plan
As indicated, the striking similarities between the Landmarks plot and the Mumbai attack suggest that Ramzi Yousef and other early al Qaeda operatives who helped prepare the Landmarks plot in New York authored the Mumbai plan. Considering that the militants launched their original attack from Karachi, Pakistan, and the previous involvement of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency — which has connections with al Qaeda leaders in western Pakistan — it is very likely that al Qaeda in Pakistan at least provided the blueprints for this attack. On-the-ground operations like training, surveillance and the actual attack appear to have been carried out by the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba in connection with Indian Islamist groups.
Here we see more evidence of the existence of an ideological or strategic battle space that exists in the radical Islamist world, which has been greatly influenced by al Qaeda. Like a contingency plan that might sit on the shelf for years or decades before it is useful, terrorist plots (especially good ones) can have a long shelf life and be applied in various scenarios. In fact, plans that sit on the shelf longer might actually be more effective as security officials focus their attention on evolving threats and forget old ones.
Just because a plot has been disrupted, the threat has not been eliminated. Once terrorists happen upon a successful model, they are likely to follow that model. This can be seen in al Qaeda’s return to the World Trade Center in 2001, eight years after the initial truck bomb attacks in 1993. It can also be seen in the fact that Mumbai has been the target of multiple attacks and threats, including train bombings in 2006 that killed approximately 200 people. Though the tactics might have differed, the target set remained the same. Various parts of the attack cycle can change, but rarely does an attack occur that is completely novel.
Ultimately, the biggest difference between the Landmarks plot and the Mumbai attack is that the Mumbai attack succeeded. The failure of the Landmarks plot probably provided key lessons to the planners of the Mumbai attack, who were able to carry out the stages of the attack without detection and with the full element of surprise. Gauging by the success of the Mumbai incident, we can expect similar strategies and tactics in future attacks.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Reproductive issues
on: December 03, 2008, 08:06:06 PM
The consequences of a police officer a judge deciding whether or not I can get a lifesaving procedure is not acceptable to me.
I have no problem with the fact that in the case of a healthy mother and healthy baby late term abortions are currently not performed. I have problem with a Kansas trying to act in this particular situation like a third world county.
The nightmare scenario I imagining at the border would be something like checking luggage for clothing with blood or carrying lots of sanitary napkins etc.
**Let me dispel your fears. First, given that women have menstual cycles, the clothing with blood and sanitary napkins are hardly evidentiary items, secondly, being able to conduct such invasive searches with consent or a warrant is pretty much impossible. Thirdly, the state that bans abortion would not have the jurisdiction to prosecute a person that had an abortion in a state where it is legal. As an example, the state of Utah has strict laws against gambling, but cannot do anything to the large number of Utah residents that cross into Nevada to gamble.**
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India and India-Pak
on: December 03, 2008, 07:40:48 PM
Mumbai: Where are the 14 Other Pakistani-Trained Terrorists?
Captured Gunman Says Only 10 of 24 Were Sent to Mumbai; Concern for New Delhi
By LEN TEPPER, RICHARD ESPOSITO, and BRIAN ROSS
December 3, 2008—
The lone gunman captured alive in Mumbai has told interrogators only 10 of the 24 young men in his year-long terrorist training course were sent to Mumbai last week, leaving 14 still in Pakistan, ready to strike again, law enforcement and security sources tell ABCNews.com.
Security officials say they have been warned by Indian and U.S. officials that a second attack on the Indian capital city New Delhi is possible.
U.S. officials say the captured gunman's account corroborates other intelligence that points to the role of the Pakistani-based Lashkar e Taiba, a group affiliated with al Qaeda that opposes Indian rule over the disputed state of Kashmir.
U.S. counter-terrorism officials say Lashkar e Taiba's ability to operate with impunity inside Pakistan is one reason U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has warned Pakistan "this is a time for complete, absolute, total transparency and cooperation."
A warning issued by U.S. intelligence agencies to Indian officials in mid-October suggests the U.S. may know the precise location of the training camps or headquarters in Pakistan, according to sources in the intelligence community.
"There's going to have be retaliation, but it could be a while," said former CIA intelligence officer John Kiriakou, an ABC News consultant.
"The location of those bases is the worst kept secret in South Asia, but by now they probably have been abandoned," he said.
Mohammad Ajmal Amir Iman, 21, captured by police at Mumbai's main train station, reportedly told interrogators he began training for last week's deadly attack in late 2007 along with 23 other recruits to Lashkar e Taiba, a terror group affiliated with al Qaeda.
He reportedly described four, three-month training segments at locations in Pakistan: physical fitness, running, weapons and explosives and sea maneuvers.
Gunmen Were Trained Terrorists
The captured terrorist described his trainers as former Pakistani military officers, including one who was known as Cha-Cha, or Uncle.
Indian officials say his account is corroborated by evidence recovered from the group's boats and from intercepted satellite phone conversations that have been recovered from data files.
The officials say they have now heard one conversation in which a gunman is heard telling Lashkar e Taiba headquarters, "We finished off the four goats," a reference to the murder of four crewmen on the boat hijacked by the attackers in Indian waters.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India and India-Pak
on: December 03, 2008, 08:45:56 AM
New template for terror?
Mumbai attacks' sophistication shows need for new approach to defenses, experts say.
By Mark Sappenfield | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor
from the December 3, 2008 edition
New Delhi - Sixty hours in Mumbai have begun to change the calculus of global terrorism.
New reports suggest that both Indian and American intelligence agencies had foreseen the threat to Mumbai (formerly Bombay). Yet the manner of the attack – with 10 heavily armed, highly trained fighters clinically fanning out across the city – meant that no "police force anywhere would have been prepared to counter this type of operation," says Bruce Hoffman, a terrorism analyst at Georgetown University in Washington.
Armed sieges are not a new terrorist tactic, but never before has one been used to such effect. Some experts suggest this could be the most sophisticated terrorist attack since 9/11. Now, other militants might consider copycat operations – and the world's cities will have to be ready for them.
"It was not so much of a success in terms of people killed – it was more the publicity they got for three days, and their ability to project the Indian state ... as helpless," says B. Raman, former head of counterterrorism for Indian top intelligence agency, the Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). "Others will want to repeat it," he predicts.
Indians' anger toward their government continued to mount Tuesday as several reports indicated that there was specific intelligence pointing to an attack on Mumbai from the sea – the way the terrorists entered the city.
On Sept. 18 and 24, RAW intercepted two satellite phone calls in which a member of the Pakistani militant group Lashkar-e-Taiba discussed an operation that would attack Mumbai by boat, according to the Hindustan Times, an Indian newspaper. One call mentioned the Taj Mahal Hotel, where the last fighter was killed Saturday.
Moreover, a US counterterrorism official told CNN Tuesday that "the United States warned the Indian government about a potential maritime attack against Mumbai at least a month before last week's massacre in Mumbai."
President Bush is diverting Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels this week to visit India. She is expected to arrive in New Delhi Wednesday.
India now feels confident it has established a link between the attackers and elements in Pakistan, perhaps Lashkar-e-Taiba. India is now demanding that Pakistan extradite 20 people – including the head of Lashkar-e-Taiba – which India's foreign minister, Pranab Mukherjee, called a "fugitive from Indian law." Pakistan is considering the request.
Significantly, Mr. Mukherjee says India is not currently considering the use of force against Pakistan. US officials were concerned that India might deploy more troops to its northern border, as it did after an attack on the Indian Parliament in 2001. Pakistan would have countered by pulling troops away from the fight against militants on the Afghan border.
That India felt the need to dismiss such an option is a measure of how deeply the country has been shaken by last week's attacks. Purely by the numbers, the attacks were barely more lethal than a series of bombings that hit Mumbai on July 11, 2006, killing 186. The current death toll from the latest attacks is 188. But newspapers and commentators here have repeatedly called this India's worst terrorist attack primarily because of the way it unfolded.
The paroxysm of the bombings was replaced by 60 hours of uncertainty. The militants moved through the city with military precision, killing as they headed toward three rendezvous points – the Taj and Oberoi hotels and Nariman House, a Jewish community center.
In fact, during the fight for the Taj, Indian commandos expressed grudging admiration for the terrorists. They admitted that the terrorists knew the hotel better than the commandos did themselves, and they fought more like soldiers than terrorists.
Employing only guns and grenades, "the individual tactics they used were not that sophisticated," says John Harrison, a terrorism analyst at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies in Singapore. "But how they put them all together showed a tremendous amount of strategic thinking."
The simpler parts of the operation are easily copied. Terrorists in Kashmir, for instance, have long used similar sieges, albeit on a much smaller scale. "I believe this will become the new popular terrorist tactic since no police force in the world is prepared for ... such an attack," says Georgetown Professor Hoffman by e-mail.
He says that even an attack as complicated as the one in Mumbai could be reproduced. It is "very replicable – provided you have the training facilities, skilled trainers, time, and the ability to engage in pre-op [operation] planning and preparation," Hoffman says.
Others disagree, saying the Mumbai attack, with its multiple targets and coordinated movements, was more akin to 9/11, requiring such exhaustive preparation that it cannot be repeated easily.
"The complexity and scale might not be replicable elsewhere," says Professor Harrison, of Singapore.
The proficiency of the Mumbai terrorists has led to questions about Indian authorities' insistence that there were only 10 people involved. But Harrison says the figure "is very plausible," citing how a few terrorists at the 1972 Munich Olympics held off security forces for hours.
In a hotel like the Taj, "it is incredibly difficult for urban commandos to get control of a situation," he says.
Police have since revealed that the militants booby-trapped dead bodies with hand grenades to slow the commandos' progress. They set fires to add to the confusion. They even took cocaine, police reported, so that they could stay awake for 60 hours straight.
It seems likely, however, that the fighters had help in some form from local contacts – perhaps scouting sites or gathering information, experts say. The Indian police say they have not dismissed that possibility.
Their difficulties in coming to grips with the attacks as they happened will now become a global lesson, says Hoffman. Police worldwide will have to match terrorists' rising sophistication – from rescuing hostages quickly to knowing the layout of all potential targets.
"Police forces will have to prepare for more than one major operation," he says.
Find this article at: http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/1203/p01s03-wosc.html
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight
on: November 30, 2008, 07:27:57 PM
November 30, 2008
Mumbai: The Grapes of Wrath of Western Complacency
Raphael Israeli was born in Fez, Morocco, and arrived in Israel at the age of 14. A professor of Islamic, Middle Eastern and Chinese history at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, he is the author of 25 books, including Islamikaze: Manifestations of Islamic Martyrology (Frank Cass, London, 2003) and The Spread of Islamikaze Terrorism in Europe: The Third Islamic Invasion (Vallentine Mitchell, London, 2008).
The events of Mumbai, the “surprise” they caused, the clumsy fashion in which they were treated, and the almost glorifying attitude meted out to them by the world media, demonstrate, seven years after the September 11 attacks, that little was learned in the West from them, while the pledges of Islamic terrorism to pursue its novel strategy proved credible and feasible. For after Madrid, London, Bali and other acts of mega-terrorism, the West still hesitates to pronounce the M-word, and talks about “Militants”, who draw sympathy in the Islamic world, instead of condemning them as Muslim terrorists and trying to rally moderate governments worldwide in support of the war against them. Moreover, instead of vigorously rejecting the Muslim notion of jihad, in the name of which all these horrors are done, the West has been indulging in the vain distinction between Islam and “Islamism”, ignoring the fact that they are one and the same faith and that jihad is the language of both.
Abu-‘Ubeid Qurashi, one of the aides of Osama Bin Laden, published after September 11 in the Arabic press and on the al-Qa’ida site on the Internet a stunning article regarding his organization’s strategy in its unseemly confrontation with the US and Western civilization in general. This article demonstrates that not only do those champions of evil do their homework adequately, and that they are equipped with the requisite patience, sophistication and methodical thinking, the fruits of which were seen in the deadly precision of their operation against the Twin Towers, but that Western democracies have something to learn in the war against terror. For it transpires that the Muslim terrorist organizations which have been waging war against the West directly are inspired by al-Qa’ida war doctrine, and it is not too early to try to comprehend their schemes.
Qurashi, who has obviously studied the most recent Western research in matters of the future battlefields and war doctrines, has come up with conclusions that are alarming: first, that the era of massive wars has ended, because the three war models of previous generations have been eroded; second, the fourth-generation wars of the 21st century will consist of asymmetrical confrontations between well-armed and well-equipped armies, who have a turf, a way of life and material interests to defend, and therefore are clumsy, against small groups armed with light weaponry only, who have no permanent bases and are on the move at all times. Third, in these wars, the main target is not the armed forces, but civil society that has to be submitted to harassment and terror to the point of detaching it from the army that fights in its defense; and fourth, that television is more important than armored divisions in the battlefield. The Twin Towers, the terrorist explosions in London and Bali, the Israeli confrontation with Hamas and Hizbullah on its borders, and now Mumbai all show how these doctrines can be rendered operational.
This war doctrine lies in the gray zone between war and peace. Those who initiate this kind of war, e.g. by wanton terrorism, would not declare it openly, and would leave it to the defenders to announce war and thereby become the “aggressors”. The terrorists themselves would create atrocities that are sure to attract the attention of television so as to “strike fear in the heart of the enemy” (a Qur’anic prescription -- 8:60), and enable them to retreat to their bases, if they can, or sacrifice themselves in what the dismayed victims wrongly call “suicide bombings”, for there is no suicide there, only large scale killing of the enemy even if it involves large scale self-sacrifice. But when the victim strikes back in self-defense, television can again be counted on to show the “abuses” of the “aggressor” and create sympathy for the cause of the terrorists, as in Afghanistan and Gaza. On television, the huge armies which crush everything in their path will always look more threatening than the “poor”, “frustrated” “freedom fighters” who are “oppressed” and “persecuted” by far superior troops. Thus this writer could show that small groups of poorly equipped Mujahideen have been able throughout the past two decades to defeat super- and lesser powers: the Soviets in Afghanistan, the US in Somalia, Russia in Chechnya and Israel in Lebanon and then in Gaza.
According to this analysis, the three major components of modern warfare are early warning, the ability to strike preventively, and deterrence -- exactly the elements that were paralyzed by al-Qa’ida on 11 September. As for the early warning, the terrorists achieved a strategic surprise, in spite of American technology, on the scale of Pearl Harbor in December 1941, or of the Nazi attack against the Soviet Union in June 1941, the assault on the Cole in Aden in 2000, and the Suez crossing in the Yom Kippur War in 1973. On the basis of the above analysis, the terrorists were able to deliver a deadly blow on September 11, and levy on the Americans a very heavy economic and psychological price. The ability to deliver a preventive strike is linked, in the mind of Qurashi, to the issue of early warning, because when the latter fails, then a preventive strike becomes irrelevant. But even if it had worked, there would have been no one to strike against in retaliation, as the terrorists are small groups, hidden and mobile. And finally, deterrence totally collapses in the face of the asymmetry between an institutionalized state which values life and a desire to live and prosper, and a group of Mujahideen who are indifferent to life, and indeed desirous to perish in the Path of Allah and attain the delights of Paradise. Thus, since nothing can deter them, they can always determine, against all odds, when, where, how, what, and whom to strike, without fearing that anyone will retaliate against them.
It is harrowing to reflect on how applicable this doctrine is in our daily lives, starting with the Middle East, but going to the periphery of the Islamic world, in places like Australia and Canada. For example, the Hizbullah in Lebanon, which is linked to al-Qa’ida, not only ideologically, has had some successes, but has also exported this doctrine to the Muslim terrorist movements in the Palestinian Territories, such as the Hamas and the Islamic Jihad. Moreover, “secular” organizations such as the Tanzim and the Aqsa Brigades have been converted to these tactics, once Arafat’s call for martyrdom, with himself at the helm, had become the favorite form of struggle against Israel.
There is, however, a way to counter every deed or doctrine, with a view of reducing its effect, thereby immunizing Western society from its deadly threat and eliminating the terror it imposes on all civilized people. For example, if the terrorists intend to detach Western societies from their armed forces, an area where they have been partly successful by inculcating doubts into the public by supporting protest movements from within, perhaps it is time for these societies to realize that they have been used by their enemies to attain their ends. These ends are to dismantle national unity and to incite populations against their governments, thus playing into the hands of the terrorist subversive doctrine. If television is a declared means to discredit Western societies and their systems of defense, the media should not be allowed to the battlefield until the end of hostilities. Perhaps it is better for governments to be accused of obstructing the media than to let them document the asymmetry between the established strong defenders of freedom and the weaker terrorists in the field.
If terrorism has adopted the recourse of fighting by using Islamikaze "martyrdom", because there is arguably nothing to be done against “suicide-bombers”, each of whom can terrorize and paralyze an entire public, then it is necessary to demonstrate, like President Bush, that we are facing not a war against individuals who are desirous of death and whom we cannot bring to justice when they succeed in their task, but against those who train them, dispatch them, arm them, indoctrinate them, support them and finance them. And that as long as we keep them on the run, they will be less able to concoct and carry out their dark and cruel schemes against the West. That Islamists pursue their campaign of intimidation against the West is not new, but what does seem surprisingly new, compared with the legendary fighting spirit of the British, is the seeming capitulation of European capitals to their tormentors, and the baffling incomprehension they exhibit of the Islamist phenomenon, which has repeatedly declared itself so clearly inimical to them. Just consider the spirit of dhimmitude which has inundated the entire West due to its much-cultivated dependence on Muslim oil and the humiliating consequences thereof. This state of mind, which dictates caution, surreptitious maneuvering in order to survive, and a self-humiliating sycophancy toward the Muslim rulers in the hope of gaining their favor, has been inherited from many centuries of Islamic rule on vast swaths of Christendom, from Sicily to the Iberian Peninsula, from the Balkans to the gates of Vienna. This aggressive Islam which attempted, but failed, to Islamize Europe in the past, had also subjected large Christian communities to the dhimmi regime in the Near East as these communities were conquered by the emerging new faith of Islam: the Copts in Egypt, the Assyrians in Iraq, the Maronites in Lebanon, and countless other Christian communities first became subjugated majorities and then systematically persecuted minorities in their own countries. This amounted, after many centuries of oppression and contempt by the rule of Islam, to a self-diminution of the dhimmis – a loss of their pride and confidence in themselves, in that they did not stand up to the standards set for them by their rulers, and a total distortion of their self-image and the image of their oppressors. So much so, that many Christians and Jews, years after being liberated from dhimmitude, continued to think and act as dhimmis, namely to hold themselves grateful to their Muslim masters, who beat, humiliated, and mistreated them. Any observer of the international arena today would have noticed how Western and Israeli policymakers sycophantically submit to Muslim demands even when they are not compelled to do so.
What is more, the spirit of dhimmitude has been adopted, or taken over, by many Western societies today, which, for reasons hard to understand or explain, pretend not to hear or comprehend Muslim threats. Instead, Western societies evince "understanding" in the face of those threats, and seem to be marching foolishly toward spiritual and cultural capitulation and enslavement. Take, for example, the regime of self-defense and of intruding into the privacy of the air-passengers, which has been imposed in airports all over the world in the past three decades due to Muslim terrorism. Instead of prosecuting it and eliminating it at its roots, the West surrendered to it and adopted, at considerable financial, human and moral cost, taking measures to live with it that have amounted to submission to a mammoth collective punishment of innocents.
Even more ominous is the wholehearted and even enthusiastic support of Europeans for Muslim fundamentalists on their own turf, as when they rushed to sustain Bosnians and Kosovars and other Albanian Muslims in Macedonia who have been supported, financed and trained by revolutionary Iran; and when many Muslim volunteers from Chechnya to North Africa and the Middle East were recruited to fight a jihad for their cause. Again foolishly, the West let Muslim jihad take root on the continent, while emphasizing the Serbian ethnic cleansing (abhorrent in itself), thus causing the severance of Christian continuity between Russia and Central Europe to the Aegean Sea, and creating and sustaining a continuous string of revived Muslim presence from former Yugoslavia to Turkey, hoping thereby to extend the Turkish model of "Islamic moderation" and salvaging the European borders from a Muslim onslaught. As it turned out, Kosovo was totally subtracted from Serbia under UN auspices, while in Turkey a Muslim fundamentalist party took over government in 2002.
Standing up to the menace of world Islam as a united front of all Western and other non-Muslim cultures has then become the key to successful struggle against it. For even Muslim regimes who cooperate with the West, like Egypt, Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan, have a problem of legitimacy in their own countries, and their populace usually takes the pro-Jihadi stance against the policy of their governments. Even in the cases where legitimacy was addressed through democratic elections, as in Pakistan and Turkey, large parts of the population remain anti-American and resent Western involvement in their countries. That means that clearer borders have to be traced between those who give shelter to terrorists, even if halfheartedly, and those who defend themselves against them.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India and India-Pak
on: November 30, 2008, 02:36:40 PM
|**I expect the jewish females hostages suffered very deliberately sadistic sexual assaults, including the use of foreign objects, as is standard jihadi procedure for the treatment of hostages.**
Doctors shocked at hostages's torture
Krishnakumar P and Vicky Nanjappa in Mumbai | November 30, 2008 | 19:53 IST
They said that just one look at the bodies of the dead hostages as well as terrorists showed it was a battle of attrition that was fought over three days at the Oberoi and the Taj hotels in Mumbai.
Doctors working in a hospital where all the bodies, including that of the terrorists, were taken said they had not seen anything like this in their lives.
"Bombay has a long history of terror. I have seen bodies of riot victims, gang war and previous terror attacks like bomb blasts. But this was entirely different. It was shocking and disturbing," a doctor said.
Asked what was different about the victims of the incident, another doctor said: "It was very strange. I have seen so many dead bodies in my life, and was yet traumatised. A bomb blast victim's body might have been torn apart and could be a very disturbing sight. But the bodies of the victims in this attack bore such signs about the kind of violence of urban warfare that I am still unable to put my thoughts to words," he said.
Asked specifically if he was talking of torture marks, he said: "It was apparent that most of the dead were tortured. What shocked me were the telltale signs showing clearly how the hostages were executed in cold blood," one doctor said.
The other doctor, who had also conducted the post-mortem of the victims, said: "Of all the bodies, the Israeli victims bore the maximum torture marks. It was clear that they were killed on the 26th itself. It was obvious that they were tied up and tortured before they were killed. It was so bad that I do not want to go over the details even in my head again," he said.
Corroborating the doctors' claims about torture was the information that the Intelligence Bureau had about the terror plan. "During his interrogation, Ajmal Kamal said they were specifically asked to target the foreigners, especially the Israelis," an IB source said.
It is also said that the Israeli hostages were killed on the first day as keeping them hostage for too long would have focused too much international attention. "They also might have feared the chances of Israeli security agencies taking over the operations at the Nariman House," he reasoned.
On the other hand, there is enough to suggest that the terrorists also did not meet a clean, death.
The doctors who conducted the post mortem said the bodies of the terrorists were beyond recognition. "Their faces were beyond recognition."
There was no way of identifying them," he said. Asked how, if this is the case, they knew the bodies were indeed those of the terrorists, he said: "The security forces that brought the bodies told us that those were the bodies of the terrorists," he said, adding there was no other way they could have identified the bodies.
An intelligence agency source added: "One of the terrorists was shot through either eye."
A senior National Security Guard officer, who had earlier explained the operation in detail to rediff.com, said the commandos went all out after they ascertained that there were no more hostages left. When asked if the commandos attempted to capture them alive at that stage, he replied: "Unko bachana kaun chahega (Who will want to save them)?"
URL for this article:http://www.rediff.com///news/2008/nov/30mumterror-doctors-shocked-at-hostagess-torture.htm
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security
on: November 30, 2008, 10:16:08 AM
Ariz. Muslim leaders face increased FBI scrutiny
Monitoring grew after charity probe, 2 incidents
by Sean Holstege and Dennis Wagner - Nov. 16, 2008 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
The FBI has sharpened its scrutiny of some Phoenix-area Muslim leaders because of their links to two controversial incidents and a federal probe into the financing of terrorist groups.
No Arizonan has been accused of supporting terrorist groups or actions. However, a Mesa man was charged with lying to the FBI during the financing investigation.
The events that triggered the stepped-up scrutiny were the federal probe into a Muslim charity accused of funneling money to the Palestinian group Hamas; a target-shooting episode in Phoenix this year involving a large group of Muslim men and boys firing hundreds of rounds from AK-47s and other guns; and the high-profile removal in 2006 of six Arizona-bound imams from a jetliner after passengers and crew complained of their behavior.
Although some Islamic leaders say they understand the scrutiny, they also view it as another sign that innocent Muslims unjustly fall under suspicion because of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
"Whoever did Sept. 11, go after them and see who they are. I'm not going to pay for them. I'm not going to be guilty," said Marwan Sadeddin, one of the Valley imams who sued US Airways after being removed from a jetliner in Minneapolis. Like the others, he was questioned by FBI agents after the incident, in addition to being questioned about the arrested Mesa man.
The FBI is monitoring the family and community ties among Valley residents involved in the jetliner, shooting and charity probes, said John Lewis, who runs the FBI's Arizona office.
"All of these things come on our scope," said Lewis, the agency's former head of counterterrorism operations.
The FBI routinely watches communities and groups that show patterns of radicalism seen in terrorism cases in the U.S. and Europe; those include radical Islamic theology, anti-Western political rhetoric and fundraising tied to terrorist groups.
Lewis declined to discuss any details of the agency's monitoring activities.
The only Arizonan arrested by the FBI is Akram Musa Abdallah of Mesa. He was indicted by a grand jury in August on one count of lying to FBI agents. The government contended in court documents that Abdallah falsely told agents he had not raised money in the 1990s for the Holy Land Foundation, a Muslim charity that President Bush shut down in 2001.
Five founders of the Texas-based charity are on trial in Dallas on charges of steering $12 million to Hamas after the U.S. declared it a terrorist group.
M. Zuhdi Jasser, a Phoenix physician and Muslim who founded an organization to counter radical Islamic teachings, said Abdallah's arrest, the target-shooting episode and what he says are the imams' extreme views bear vigilance.
"You can't help wonder where this is going," he added.
Shortly before noon on a sunny Sunday in March, two Toyota SUVs rolled to a stop along a dirt road in north Phoenix.
About 20 young Muslim males climbed out, armed with assault rifles, a shotgun, a sniper rifle and handguns. The location near Happy Valley Road and 51st Avenue is a desert recreation site for off-road motorists, hikers and bikers, dozens of whom were enjoying the spring-like weather.
For more than an hour, the shooters blasted away at a granite rock and empty cans in front of a hill.
Officials estimate the fusillade totaled 500 to 1,000 rounds. Some shooters left before police arrived and detained 10 adults and five boys, including an 11-year-old.
The young men and boys told officers the weapons belonged to their parents. They said they were not aware it was illegal to use firearms in the residential area.
Six were arrested and charged with felony weapons violations in Maricopa County Superior Court. Among them were the 20- and 21-year-old sons of two imams at Phoenix-area mosques, as well as the 20-year-old son of Abdallah.
Phoenix police then notified the Arizona Counter Terrorism Center, a clearinghouse for intelligence, and the case was referred to the FBI, Lewis confirmed. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives was called to trace the guns, its Arizona chief said.
Soliman Saadeldin, brother of one of the imams on the jetliner and a board member at the Islamic Community Center of Phoenix, was not surprised by the reaction.
"Twenty Muslims? Of course the FBI, the CIA and the White House would be worried," Saadeldin said.
Valley Islamic leaders were furious at the youngsters, he added, knowing how the incident might be perceived.
"I'm one of those who got mad at them. (But) they went over there just to have fun shooting. ... It's showing off more than anything else," Saadeldin said.
He described the target shooting as merely bad judgment by a group of young guys out for a good time.
The Abdallah case
The FBI's scrutiny of Abdallah came to light in January 2007, when agents raided his Mesa house and loaded what a neighbor said was two vans full of evidence.
Court records show that Abdallah, a 54-year-old Palestinian, denied during interrogation that he had been a fundraiser for the Holy Land Foundation during the 1990s, when the Islamic charity could still legally receive donations.
At the time of the raid, federal investigators were pursuing a criminal case against the foundation based on allegations that it had channeled money to Palestinian terrorists. The organization had been banned after the 9/11 attacks.
The Abdallah case points to the FBI's continued interest in Arizonans who have raised money for any charity suspected of supporting militant groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah.
For many years, several mosques in Phoenix and Tucson legally raised money for the Holy Land Foundation, which was the largest Muslim charity in the United States.
Islamic civil-rights groups argue that Muslim Americans donated to the charities to support hospitals and orphanages in the West Bank and Gaza. Although Hamas and Hezbollah have organized attacks against Israeli civilians, their humanitarian missions are central to Palestinians' fight for survival, civil-rights groups say.
The federal government charged the foundation's leaders with raising $12 million for Hamas. The first trial in Dallas ended in October 2007 with a deadlocked jury, a stunning setback for the government's biggest-ever terrorism financing case. A new trial has gone to the jury.
Abdallah is not a witness or defendant in that case. But as the FBI looked into Holy Land Foundation contributions, he was indicted in August on one count of lying about the fundraising to federal agents. An FBI tactical squad swarmed into a northwest Phoenix cafe to arrest him. Abdallah pleaded not guilty and was released without bail. No trial date has been set.
Abdallah, a naturalized citizen who arrived in the country in the late 1970s, did not return calls.
His 20-year-old son, Saiaf, is one of the half-dozen suspects facing felony charges from the target shooting. The younger Abdallah declined to comment except to say, "In the past five to six years, Muslims have been falsely accused of many things."
The saga of the six traveling imams touched off a national controversy and attracted federal scrutiny. Much of the focus has been on the group's spokesman, Omar Shahin.
Shahin, who lives in Phoenix and presides over the North American Imams Foundation, led the Arizona delegation of six imams to its conference in Minneapolis in 2006. After boarding the return flight to Phoenix, passengers and crew reported that the men chanted loudly to Allah and spoke angrily about President Bush and America's war in Iraq.
All six imams were handcuffed and later interrogated, then released with no charges. US Airways banned the men from future flights.
Shahin led a news conference to condemn prejudice against Muslims. The imams later sued the airline, airport police and an FBI agent, claiming they had been degraded and humiliated unlawfully. US Airways officials have said they acted appropriately. The lawsuit is ongoing.
Shahin's involvement was one factor that drew the FBI's attention to the case and intensified its interest in Muslims' activities in Arizona.
A strident scholar of Islamic law and prolific charity fundraiser, the 47-year-old Shahin had been under the FBI's microscope before but has never been accused of wrongdoing.
In the late 1980s, Shahin served as imam at the Islamic Center of Tucson, where he headed a Muslim youth group. The mosque was a hub for adherents to the radical Wahhabi school of Islam, some of whom later became important aides to Osama bin Laden in the al-Qaida terrorist group.
Weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks, Shahin, a Jordanian-born naturalized citizen, said he did not believe Muslims were responsible for destroying the World Trade Center and questioned the accuracy of the FBI's list of hijackers.
While in Tucson, Shahin raised money for the Holy Land Foundation before the group was outlawed. He also was a fundraiser for the Illinois-based KindHearts Foundation, which the government shut down last year for alleged support of Hamas.
According to tax records, Shahin was a paid employee of a third charity, the Michigan-based Life and Relief Development Inc. In September 2006, FBI counter-terrorism agents seized $134,000 in cash from the home of the charity's founder as part of a fraud case related to the Iraqi oil-for-food scandal. The charity remains open.
Shahin has served as a Muslim community liaison with the FBI and the Phoenix police. A book released by Shahin last year advocated that Muslims living in Western society follow a strict version of conservative Sharia law.
"A Muslim must try his best to abide by the rulings of Sharia whenever possible as much as he can. He should not allow himself to be liable to those western laws that contradict the clear-cut Islamic rulings," Shahin wrote.
Throughout the book, Shahin quotes an extremist Islamic scholar who studied under the man widely credited with inspiring al-Qaida. The scholar was a speaker at Holy Land Foundation events, prosecutors in the Dallas case said in court this year. They showed jurors photos of the man with Hamas and Hezbollah leaders and in videos preaching to kill Jews.
Shahin declined to comment in detail on his writings, the jetliner incident or the fundraising case. He is the father of one of the young men arrested in the Phoenix target shooting, Oday Shahin, 20. Another imam stopped in Minneapolis, Mahmoud Sulaiman, 51, a Syrian native, also has a son who was at the scene of the target shooting but was not arrested, a Phoenix police report stated.
Shahin and his son share other connections with people involved in events that drew the FBI's interest. Omar and Oday Shahin work with a third imam from the plane, Didmar Faja, a 28-year-old Albanian, at a conservative Islamic school in south Phoenix. Saiaf Abdallah, son of Akram Abdallah, accused of lying to the FBI, also works there, and his mother is a board member.
Shahin declined to comment except to say that his son's target-shooting arrest is "no big deal" and to caution against drawing unfair conclusions. "All I want to say is there is no connection between these things."
Civil libertarians, Muslim advocates and Valley imams all point out that even extreme political views don't equate to potential violence.
Marwan Sadeddin said the nation is teeming with Americans who hate President Bush's policies. So why can't he despise U.S. support for Israel, condemn terrorism and love America at the same time?
"The foreign policy is wrong," Sadeddin said. "That's my personal opinion. That doesn't mean I'm going to try to change it by force. I'm using my constitutional right to think the way I like."
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India
on: November 30, 2008, 08:58:08 AM
India: Al-Qaeda websites rejoice over Mumbai attacks
Mumbai, 27 Nov. (AKI) - Al-Qaeda websites on Thursday were swamped with messages from people who were celebrating the devastating Mumbai attacks which have left over 100 people dead and 281 injured. "Oh Allah, destroy the Hindus and do it in the worst of ways," was one of the comments that appeared on Islamist forums on the Internet immediately after the attacks.
"The battle that is underway in Mumbai is a battle for Allah between its servants and the infidels," said another message published on the al-Falluja forum.
Several Al-Qaeda sites also posted several pictures of the victims in Mumbai and provocative statements.
Some media reports are saying that a group calling itself Deccan Mujahideen has claimed responsibility for the coordinated attacks, but this has not yet been confirmed.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India
on: November 29, 2008, 09:01:37 AM
The Long War Journal: Analysis: Mumbai attack differs from past terror strikes
Written by Bill Roggio on November 28, 2008 12:31 AM to The Long War Journal
Available online at: http://www.longwarjournal.org/archives/2008/11/analysis_mumbai_atta.php
Click image to view an interactive graphic showing the attacks in Mumbai. Created by The New York Times.
Almost two days after terrorists attacked the Indian financial hub of Mumbai, the Indian military is still working to root out the remnants of the assault teams at two hotels and a Jewish center. More than 125 people, including six foreigners, have been killed and 327 more have been wounded. The number is expected to go up, as Indian commandos have recovered an additional 30 dead at the Taj Mahal hotel as fighting has resumed.
The Mumbai attack is uniquely different from past terror strikes carried out by Islamic terrorists. Instead of one or more bombings at distinct sites, the Mumbai attackers struck throughout the city using military tactics. Instead of one or more bombings carried out over a short period of time, Mumbai is entering its third day of crisis.
An attack of this nature cannot be thrown together overnight. It requires planned, scouting, financing, training, and a support network to aid the fighters. Initial reports indicate the attacks originated from Pakistan, the hub of jihadi activity in South Asia. Few local terror groups have the capacity to pull of an attack such as this.
While it is early to know exactly what happened in Mumbai as the fog of war still blankets the city, multiple press reports from India allow for a general picture to be painted. An estimated 12 to 25 terrorists are believed to have entered Mumbai by sea. After landing, he attack teams initiated a battle at a police station, then fanned across the city to attack the soft underbelly of hotels, cafes, cinemas, and hospitals. Civilians were gunned down and taken hostage, while terrorists looked for people carrying foreign passports.
While the exact size of the assault force and the support cells is still not known, police estimate about 25 gunmen were involved in the attack. The number of members of the supporting cells that provide financing, training, transportation, and other services could be two to four times this number. Operational security for such a large unit, or grouping of cells, is difficult to maintain and requires organization and discipline.
To pull off an attack of this magnitude, it requires months of training, planning, and on-site reconnaissance. Indian officials have stated that the terrorists set up "advance control rooms" at the Taj Mahal and Trident (Oberoi) hotels, and conducted a significant amount of reconnaissance prior to executing the attack. If the news about the "control rooms" is accurate, these rooms may also have served as weapons and ammunition caches for the assault teams to replenish after conducting the first half of the operation.
A terrorist outside the train station in Mumbai.
The planners of the Mumbai attack appear to have chosen able military-aged males. Witnesses have described the men as young and fit. Some of the gunmen appear to have been well trained; some have been credited with having good marksmanship and other military skills.
A witness who saw one of the teams land by sea described the gunmen as "in their 20s, fair-skinned and tall, clad in jeans and jackets." He saw "eight young men stepping out of the raft, two at a time. They jumped into the waters, and picked up a haversack. They bent down again, and came up carrying two more haversacks, one in each hand."
An Indian official claimed the attackers used "sophisticated weapons," however this may be an overstatement. Reports indicate the gunmen used automatic rifles, hand grenades, and some machineguns, as well as several car bombs. The terrorists did not have sophisticated weapons such as anti-aircraft missiles to attack helicopters supporting Indian counterterrorism forces.
Getting to Mumbai
One of the more intriguing aspects of the attack is how the teams entered Mumbai. Reports indicate at least two of the assault teams arrived from outside the city by sea around 9 p.m. local time. Indian officials believe most if not all of the attackers entered Mumbai via sea.
Indian Coast Guard, Navy, Mumbai maritime police, and customs units have scoured the waters off Mumbai in search of a "mother ship" that transported one or more smaller Gemini inflatable boats used by the attackers. A witness saw one of the craft land in Colaba in southern Mumbai and disgorge eight to 10 fighters.
Two ships that have been boarded are strongly suspected of being involved in the attacks: the Kuber, an Indian fishing boat, and the MV Alpha, a Vietnamese cargo ship. Both ships appear to have been directly involved. The Kuber was hijacked on Nov. 13, and its captain was found murdered. Four crewmen are reported to be still missing.
Indian security officials found what they believe is evidence linking the boat to the attack, as well as linking the attackers to Pakistan. "A GPS map of south Mumbai was found along with a satellite phone on the ship, Coast Guard officials confirmed," The Times of India reported. "There were reports that this phone was used to make calls to Karachi immediately before the shootings began in Mumbai."
Indian police also detained three terrorists from the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terror group closely allied with al Qaeda. The three men are said to be Pakistani nationals, and claimed to have been part of a 12-man team that launched from the MV Alpha. They said the MV Alpha departed from Karachi.
Another Indian official said that it is "suspected that the Pakistan Marine Agency helped the terrorists hijack the trawler (the Kuber)," although this has not been confirmed. Another unconfirmed report indicated the Kuber originated from Karachi, Pakistan.
After landing in Colaba, the terrorists moved north and attacked the Colaba police station, possibly as a single unit. The attack on the police command and control node disrupted the police response and pinned down police units.
The Mumbai police paid a heavy price. Early in the fight, the attackers killed the chief of Mumbai's Anti-terrorism Squad and two other senior officials. At least 14 police were reported to have been killed during fighting throughout the city.
From the Colaba police station, the assault force broke up into smaller teams and fanned out to hit secondary targets throughout Mumbai. At least one police van was hijacked and the terrorists drove around the city, firing automatic weapons from the truck at random targets.
In all, 10 locations, including the police station, were attacked. The assault teams struck at vital centers where foreigners were likely to congregate: the five-star Taj Mahal and Trident hotels, the Nariman House (an orthodox Jewish center), the Cama hospital, the CSP train station, a cinema, and a cafe were all struck almost simultaneously. Two Taxis were also blown up near the airport in the north and the docks in the southern part of the city.
At the Taj, Trident, and Nariman House, several bombs or hand grenades were tossed into the lobbies and in other areas. The Taj Mahal Hotel was set on fire due to the blasts.
Gunmen opened fire indiscriminately in the hotel lobbies and at the cafe, cinema, train station, and the Jewish center. At the hotels, gunmen then sought out foreigners holding American, British, and Israeli passports.
More than 200 hostages were reported to have been held at the Taj and scores more at the Trident and the Jewish center. Mumbai was under siege as police and counterterrorism officials struggled to regain control of the city.
Police appear to have regained control of the situation at the CSP train station, cafe, and cinema relatively quickly, however they were unable to handle the hostage situation at the hotels, the hospital, and the Jewish center. Police officials admitted they were “overwhelmed” by the attacks and unable to contain the fighting.
After a delay, more than 200 National Security Guards commandos and a number of elite Naval commandos, as well as an unknown number of Army forces were deployed to Mumbai. The hotels, the hospital, and the Jewish center were surrounded as the special operations forces prepared to assault the buildings.
Commandos are in the process of clearing the Taj and the Trident in room-by-room searches. Some of the rooms are reported to have been rigged with explosives. Several National Security Guards commandos have been reported to have been killed or wounded in the fighting. Indian forces are also storming the Jewish Center after air assaulting soldiers into the complex. Curiously, it does not appear the terrorists have executed hostages once they were taken.
At this time, police said seven terrorist have been killed and nine have been detained. Several more are still thought to be hiding in the Taj and Trident hotels, and the Jewish center.
Indian Mujahideen claimed responsibility
In an e-mail to local news stations, a group called the Deccan Mujahideen, or Indian Mujahideen, has claimed responsibility for the Mumbai strike. While the Indian Mujahideen’s role in the attack has yet to be confirmed, at least two of the terrorists fighting in Mumbai indicated they were linked to Islamic terrorists.
One of the terrorists phoned a news station demanding jihadis be released from jail in exchange for prisoners. "We want all Mujahideens held in India released and only after that we will release the people," a man named Sahadullah told a media outlet. "Release all the Mujahideens, and Muslims living in India should not be troubled."
Another terrorist named Imran phoned a TV station and spoke in Urdu in what is believed to be a Kashmiri accent. "Ask the government to talk to us and we will release the hostages," he said. "Are you aware how many people have been killed in Kashmir? Are you aware how your army has killed Muslims? Are you aware how many of them have been killed in Kashmir this week?"
The Indian Mujahideen has taken credit for several recent mass-casualty attacks in India. The group claimed credit for the July 25 and 26 bombings in Ahmedabad and Bangalore. At least 36 Indians were killed and more than 120 were wounded in the attacks. The Indian Mujahideen took credit for the Sept. 13 attacks in New Delhi that resulted in 18 killed and more than 90 wounded. The group also claimed credit for the bombings in Jaipur last May (60 killed, more than 200 wounded), and bombings in Uttar Pradesh in November 2007 (14 killed, 50 wounded).
In several of those attacks, an Indian Mujahideen operative who calls himself Arbi Hindi e-mailed the media to claim responsibility. Arbi Hindi's real name is Abdul Subhan Qureshi, an Indian national who is believed to be behind many of the recent terror attacks inside India. Qureshi, a computer expert, is believed to have trained hundreds of recruits to conduct terror attacks in India. He is often called India’s Osama bin Laden.
Indian intelligence believes the Indian Mujahideen is a front group created by the Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat ul Jihad al Islami. The Indian Mujahideen was created to confuse investigators and cover the tracks of the Students' Islamic Movement of India, or SIMI, a radical Islamist movement, according to Indian intelligence.
The Lashkar-e-Taiba and the Harkat ul Jihad al Islami receive support from Pakistan's Inter-Service Intelligence to destabilize India and wage war in Kashmir. Both of these terror groups are local al Qaeda affiliates in Pakistan and conduct attacks in India, Pakistan, and Afghanistan. The Indian “occupation” of Kashmir helped spawn these groups.
Reports indicate signals intelligence has linked the attackers back to Pakistan. Intelligence services are said to have intercepted the terrorists' conversations via satellite phone. The men spoke in Punjabi and used Pakistani phrases.
Indian politicians have been quick to point the finger at Pakistan. Gujarat state Chief Minister Narendra Modi accused Pakistan of allowing terrorists to use its soil as a terror launchpad. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh blamed terror groups backed by India's "neighbors," a reference to Pakistan. Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee said "elements in Pakistan" were behind the Mumbai attacks.
A unique attack
The Mumbai attack differs from previous terror attacks launched by Islamic terror groups. Al Qaeda and other terror groups have not used multiple assault teams to attack multiple targets simultaneously in a major city outside of a war zone.
Al Qaeda and allied groups have conducted complex military assaults on military and non-military targets in countries such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Chechnya, Somalia, Algeria, and Pakistan. But these are countries that are actively in a state of war or emerging from a recent war, where resources and established fighting units already exist.
Al Qaeda has also used the combination of a suicide attack to breach an outer wall followed by one or more assault teams on military bases in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, as well as at the US embassy in Yemen. But again, these attacks are focused on a single target, and again occur where the resources and manpower is available.
Previous terror attacks in non-war zone countries such as India, London, Spain, the United States, Jordan, Morocco, and Egypt have consisted of suicide or conventional bombings on one or more critical soft targets such as hotels, resorts, cafes, rail stations, trains, and in the case of the Sept. 11 attack, planes used as suicide bombs.
The only attack similar to the Mumbai strike is the assault on the Indian Parliament by the Jaish-e-Mohammed, aided by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, in December 2001. A team of Jaish-e-Mohammed fighters attempted to storm the parliament building while in a session was held. A combination of mishaps by the terrorists and the quick reaction of security guards blunted the attack.
The Mumbai attack is something different. Foreign assault teams that likely trained and originated from outside the country infiltrated a major city to conduct multiple attacks on carefully chosen targets. The primary weapon was the gunman, not the suicide bomber. The attack itself has paralyzed a city of 18 million. And two days after the attack began, Indian forces are still working to root out the terror teams.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: India
on: November 28, 2008, 08:46:08 AM
Massacre in Mumbai: BRITISH gunmen seized in commando raid as death toll hits more than 140
By Justin Davenport , Rashid Razaq and Nicola Boden
Last updated at 2:08 PM on 28th November 2008
British-born Pakistanis among arrested militants
Commandos storm strongholds to rescue hostages
Death toll hits 143 as another 24 bodies found in hotel
At least five dead hostages found in Jewish Centre
Bystanders wounded in crossfire at Taj hotel siege
British-born Pakistanis were among the Mumbai terrorists, Indian government sources claimed today, as the death toll rose to more than 140.
Two Britons were among eight gunmen captured by commandos after they stormed two hotels and a Jewish centre to free hostages, the city's chief minister said.
Vilasrao Deshmukh also revealed that up to 25 terrorists were responsible for the series of bomb blasts and shootings that targeted tourists and foreign interests.
Sieges in the Indian city were still ongoing today in dramatic stand-offs at the three buildings. Some hostages emerged unharmed but inside were scenes of carnage.
Calm: One of the young gunmen with his weapon, looking for more victims. Indian authorities say two of the arrested militants were British-born Pakistanis
At the luxury Oberoi Hotel, brought back under control this morning when commandos shot dead two militants, another 24 bodies were found.
Their discovery takes the total death toll to 143. Only one is confirmed as British so far but there are fears this may rise. At least another 300 people were wounded.
Hundreds of other traumatised guests were rescued from their rooms there and at the five-star Taj Mahal hotel but still the fighting did not cease.
At the Taj, commandos were still engaged in a prolonged shootout with militants. Four bystanders were reported wounded in the crossfire.
Indian forces launched grenades at the walls. Inside, at least one terrorist was believed to be holed up in a ballroom.
Commandos also stormed the Nariman House Jewish centre where some of the militants were believed to be hiding to find the dead bodies of at least five hostages.
Around 20 masked officers had dropped onto the building from helicopters on to the roof this morning covered by heavy fire in what was dubbed Operation Black Tornado.
After hours of heavy fighting, a massive explosion ripped through the building, blowing out windows in the surrounding houses. Gunfire and smaller explosions followed before Indian authorities appeared to have control.
Blast: Police throw a grenade into the Taj Mahal hotel as they desperately try to control a militant. Below, officers on guard outside
Across at the Oberoi, traumatised guests were struggling to absorb their ordeal. Many had been locked in their rooms terrified for 41 hours while the gunmen rampaged.
Today, around 100 were rescued after two militants were shot dead. One man was clutching a tiny baby in his arms.
British lawyer Mark Abell emerged with a beaming smile, saying: 'I'm going home, I'm going to see my wife. '
The 51-year-old told how he had spent the night listening to gunshots and explosions and described the scene of 'carnage' when he was eventually led to safety by troops saying 'there was blood and guts everywhere'.
'I was supposed to be working in Delhi but I think I have had more than my fair share of my business trip so I am looking forward to going home to see my family,' he said.
Rescued: A British man is led to safety from the Oberoi Trident Hotel today and below, another guest emerges clutching a tiny baby
A number of the hostages were airline staff still wearing their Lufthansa and Air France uniforms when they emerged from the building.
As they came out some carried luggage with Canadian flags, and two women were dressed in black abayas, traditional Muslim women's garments.ever, at the Taj Mahal hotel today.
Indian police thought they had secured the huge Taj hotel last night after intense fighting but it restarted hours later and was ongoing this afternoon.
Earlier, one commando revealed he had seen around 50 bodies littering the Taj hotel floor after special officers stormed the building and rescued hundreds of guests.
Clad in black, with a mask covering his face, the unit chief said: 'There was blood all over the bodies. The bodies were strewn here and there and we had to be careful as we entered the building to avoid further bloodshed of innocent civilians.'
The terrorists had seemed like young, ordinary men but had clearly been very well trained, he said.
'They were wearing T-shirts, just ordinary looking, but they have definitely been trained to use weapons. There is no way they could handle such weapons without being taught how to.'
Air rescue: A commando drops to the roof of Mumbai's Jewish centre and below, officers span out ready to storm the building
Nine terrorists are thought to have been shot dead in gun battles across Mumbai as police and special forces tried to regain control of the city.
Between six and eight were still holed-up in the two luxury hotels and the Jewish centre this morning but two were then shot dead at the Oberoi.
Three arrested at the Taj Mahal have been officially identified as a Pakistani national and two Indians. Another is reported to be a Mauritian national.
They arrived in the city by sea before fanning out to at least 10 locations. Dinghies were found moored at a jetty by the famous Gateway to India monument.
Today, coast guard officials said they could have hijacked an Indian trawler to drop them off after finding an abandoned boat drifting near the shore.
The captain's dead body was found inside the vessel, along with communications equipment.
Dressed in jeans and T-shirts and heavily armed, they then headed for the city - India's financial centre - and started firing indiscriminately.
It is thought they gained entrance to the hotels by pretending to be staff and hotel guests, according to reports.
Indian authorities have not released any details about the two Britons and the Foreign Office has refused to confirm Indian television reports.
Security services in Britain are now examining images of the gunmen in an effort to identify them.
Gordon Brown said he would be speaking to the Indian Prime Minister again today but warned that it was 'too early' to reach any conclusions about British involvement.
India's High Commissioner Shiv Shankar Mukherjee also said today: 'I have seen nothing more than what is in the media and that is based on speculation. i will wait for the investigation to produce some hard facts.'
A team of Scotland Yard anti-terrorist detectives and negotiators are now on their way to Mumbai to assist in the investigation.
Indian commandos have recovered credit cards and the militants' ID cards as well as seizing a vast arsenal of grenades, AK-47 magazines, shells and knives.
Desperate: A hostage at the Oberoi peeks out of his window during the siege
A previously unknown Islamic group, Deccan Mujahideen, has claimed responsibility for the attacks but terror experts believe is is linked to Al Qaeda.
It is known that dozens of British-born Pakistanis have travelled to Pakistan to train in its camps in recent years.
One security source said recently: 'The camps are full and many of the people inside are Brits.'
Last night, there was speculation that a British Al Qaeda suspect reportedly killed by a U.S. missile strike in Pakistan last weekend may have helped plot the attacks.
Rashid Rauf was among five killed in a missile attack in a tribal area in North Waziristan on Saturday.
Security sources believe that at the time of his death Rauf had been planning a major attack on Western targets.
Met officers were also interviewing passengers returning from Mumbai as they stepped off planes at Heathrow.
There was speculation last night that England cricketers could have been an intended target of the terrorists.
It emerged that some of the team had been due to stay in Mumbai, most likely the Taj Mahal, on Wednesday evening before a late decision was made to switch training to Bangalore.
Shocked player Michael Vaughan said: 'I don't know why it was switched but we could have been there in one of those hotels when they were attacked.
'All our white Test kit is in one of the rooms at the Taj Mahal hotel: All our pads and clothes for the Test series and our blazers and caps and ties. That's how close the danger is.'
The England team will fly back to Britain today.
On the hunt: Two baby-faced gunman brandishing automatic weapons
The bloody drama had begun on Wednesday night when young men carrying guns on their shoulders and hatred in their hearts slipped ashore in Mumbai from a 'mother ship' and fanned out into the city.
Their targets were:
The Oberoi Hotel, in the commercial district. Its restaurant was bustling with diners, many of them tourists;
Also attacked was the Leopold restaurant, a haunt of the city's art crowd. As the fanatics sprayed the packed cafe, diners fled in terror;
Some of the worst scenes were at the major railway station. As they entered the Gothic Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus, once named after Queen Victoria, the gunmen were smiling. With an astonishing air of casualness, the terrorists started to shoot. Within seconds the concourse was a bloodbath. People lay screaming on the floor;
A further prestigious target was the 105-year-old Taj Mahal Palace and Tower Hotel;
More hostages were taken at the nearby Chabad House, headquarters for an ultra-orthodox Jewish group. A rabbi was among those held.
About 15 police officers were killed, including the head of Mumbai's anti-terrorism unit.
India's prime minister Manmohan-Singh has blamed militant groups based outside the country - usually meaning Pakistan - raising fears of renewed tensions between the two nuclear-armed rivals. Pakistan condemned the attacks.
Massacre: Blood splatters the floor at the train station where travellers were slaughtered. Below, two of the baby-faced gunmen
The attack on the train station had echoes of previous terror outrages.
In July 2006 more than 180 people were killed in seven bomb explosions at railway stations and on trains in Mumbai that were blamed on Islamist militants.
On Wednesday night, in a city that works late, droves of homebound commuters stood waiting for trains when the terrorists started to shoot.
Briefcases, shopping bags and suitcases were simply dropped and abandoned in the rush for shelter. Pools of blood trickled over the polished stone floor.
The Jewish centre was attacked at about 10pm. A gunman inside the building phoned an Indian television channel to offer talks with the government for the release of hostages.
He complained about abuses in Kashmir, over which India and Pakistan have fought two of their three wars.
From 10.30pm into the early hours, the terrorists continued their co- ordinated rampage through the city.
At the Mazagoan Dockyard, three people died in a large explosion in a taxi driving along the approach road.
The Mumbai police HQ, in the southern part of the city, came under fire, as did two hospitals, the CAMA and GT.
Hostages: Rabbi Gabriel Holtzberg and his wife Rivka were believed to be inside the Jewish centre. Reports say no hostages inside survived
Also attacked was the Metro Adlabs cinema, a 70-year-old art deco landmark that has become a red carpet theatre for the Bollywood industry. It shows many English language films and is a popular spot for Western tourists.
Mr Brown said the attacks had been met by 'shock and outrage' around the world and pledged all possible UK support for the Indian authorities.
He said: 'This is the loss of innocent lives, people just going about their daily business. We've got to do everything we can now to help.'
But firebrand British-based Muslim preacher Anjem Choudhary backed the terrorists and said any Britons killed or held hostage were legitimate targets because they should not have gone to India.
Choudhary, right-hand man to preacher of hate Omar Bakri, said Britain and America is at war with the Muslim world and their citizens must keep off the battlefield.
'Muslims are being killed in Pakistan, Iraq and Afghanistan every day through acts of atrocity against them. But the media only report events like Mumbai.'
Worried friends or relatives should call the Foreign Office's emergency line on 0207 008 0000.
A map shows the locations of the bombings across Mumbai
Find this story at www.dailymail.co.uk/news/worldnews/article-1089711/Massacre-Mumbai-BRITISH-gunmen-seized-commando-raid-death-toll-hits-140.html
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Re: Reproductive issues
on: November 26, 2008, 10:25:19 PM
Do you want to rephrase your question to include a healthy mother or it that irrelevant.
**I think that is relevant. Reality often involves making hard choices, including ones like that.**
Assuming you just forgot to mention the the health of the mother --- I have no problem with not allowing abortions for healthy women with healthy pregnancies in the third trimester.
**So that can be criminalized then?**
I have serious problems with gathering evidence on all women who had late term abortions . I also have serious problems with the idea that a judge or police officer would tell my doctor what procedures they can or can not do to save my life.
**Police officers enforce the laws on the books. Judges are also supposed to rule based on the laws and constitution, though activist judges like to move beyond that to create "rights" that fit their personal political agenda. An abortion to save a life is one thing, an elective abortion is very different.**
In Illinois it is illegal to buy fireworks. It is not illegal to buy them in Indiana. Near the 4th of July every year cars coming back over the border are searched for possession of fireworks. It is within the realm of possibility if abortions became illegal that women who have abortions over state lines our out of the country could be searched for evidence of an abortion crossing the border.
**Really? How exactly would these searches be done?**
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread
on: November 26, 2008, 07:38:27 PM
On a warm summer day two years ago, a 16-year-old girl put on a skirt and headed to the SuperTarget in her hometown of Tulsa, Okla. As she shopped the air-conditioned aisles, a man knelt behind her, carefully slid a camera in between her bare legs and snapped a photo of her underwear. Police arrested the 34-year-old man, but the charges were ultimately dropped on the grounds that the girl did not, as required by the state's Peeping Tom law, have "a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy," given the public location. In non-legalese: Wear a skirt in public, and you might just get a camera in the crotch.
**I'm surprized they didn't try to charge him with a "sexual exploitation of a child" crime. I don't know OK statutes, but given that she is under 18, i'd think there might be something applicable in their state laws.**
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Political Economics
on: November 25, 2008, 04:00:55 PM
|**Possible, or just Russian wishful thinking?**http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601103&sid=a3sayDZz.QKc&refer=us
Russian Professor Says U.S. Will Break Up After Economic Crisis
By Robin Stringer
Nov. 24 (Bloomberg) -- A professor at the diplomatic academy of Russia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said the U.S. will break into six parts because of the nation’s financial crisis.
“The dollar isn’t secured by anything,” Igor Panarin said in an interview transcribed by Russian newspaper Izvestia today. “The country’s foreign debt has grown like an avalanche; this is a pyramid, which has to collapse.”
Panarin said in the interview that the financial crisis will worsen, unemployment will rise and people will lose their savings -- factors that will cause the country’s breakup.
“Dissatisfaction is growing, and it is only being held back at the moment by the elections, and the hope” that President- elect Barack Obama “can work miracles,” he said. “But when spring comes, it will be clear that there are no miracles.”
The U.S. will fracture into six parts: the Pacific coast; the South; Texas; the Atlantic coast, central states and the northern states.
“Now we will see a change to the regulatory system on a global financial scale: America will cease to be the world’s regulator,” to be replaced by China and Russia, he said.
To contact the reporter on this story: Robin Stringer in New York at email@example.com
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere
on: November 24, 2008, 05:13:28 PM
|**I guess they don't want to make CAIR angry by showing the true face of islam.**
The Case of the Missing Honor Killing
By Phyllis Chesler
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, November 24, 2008
Psychologically, we tend to believe that what we see with our own eyes, especially if it is "acted out" for us, is the "truth." Our brains are wired so that visual images assume a permanent reality--even if that reality is a computer-generated or photo-shopped Big Lie. Mohammed al-Dura did not die in his fathers' arms even though that carefully staged image was seen round the world. Israel did not massacre anyone in Jenin even though that Big Lie has also taken on a life of its own.
I'm glad that America's Most Wanted chose to dramatize the honor killing of Sarah and Amina Said in Dallas on Jan 1, 2008 by their father Yaser Abdul Said, who has been missing ever since. I hope the program helps aid in his capture. I applaud on-camera narrator John Walsh, who has turned his own grief at the loss of his child into something positive for so many others.
However, the dramatization was oddly, perhaps even purposefully misleading. Key figures were either fatally mischaracterized or were entirely missing in action. Malevolent motives, which had no basis in fact, were attributed to the innocent girls and yet their mother, Patricia, was not presented as the collaborator in their murder which she surely was. Their older brother, Islam, a foul-mouthed man who bullied his mother, harassed and monitored his sisters, and ultimately justified their being honor murdered, was not in the TV picture
Why would America's Most Wanted do this?
Patricia, the girls' mother, is and was a white, blonde, blue-eyed Texas-born Christian woman, a child really, when Yaser first married her. The dramatization chose to portray her as an Arab- or Hispanic-looking woman. Although the program has an on-camera interview with the real Patricia, their choice of an Arab-looking actress to play Patricia accomplishes the following:
Viewers might think that the girls really were rebelling against their culture when, in fact, their mother and her extended family are Christian-Americans whose customs the girls were choosing. Second, by failing to show the real Patricia as she enticed her daughters to come home, promised them that their father only wanted to make up, the program blurs, renders indistinct, the fact that this was a classic honor killing, one which always involves a family collaboration. That is probably why they did not include the girls' older brother Islam. He would have also visually and verbally confirmed the concept that an honor killing is characterized by family collaboration. Of course, Islam may also have cursed the producers and threatened to kill or sue them if he was included. Nice guy.
In other words folks, the producers did not want to inflame any white "ethnic" or "racist" passion by showing an Arab Muslim male tyrant dominating a white Christian American woman (his wife) and their daughters. The program wanted no part of the long, historical stench which has attended the usually false, but sometimes true allegations about "Indians" or "blacks" raping white women, and the terrible lynchings that have occurred thereafter.
But, even more: The producers did not want to be charged with 'Islamophobia" by showing what a real, full-blown honor killing looks like. Further, they wanted to appear and present a "balanced" re-creation even if they had to make things up in order to do so. Thus, they showed the two girls as plotting revenge or preemptive self-defense against their father. If only Sarah and Amina had followed through on this imaginary course of action, they might be alive today. But, knowing how American law works, they might also be in jail for life.
While the program tried to pack a lot of information into a limited amount of time, they did not show how brutally and continuously Yaser physically and verbally assaulted his daughters, tapped their phone lines, monitored their computers, watched them and had them watched.
Finally, to be extra careful, the program chose an exceptionally soft-spoken Muslim boy, Zohair Zaid, the girls' friend, who said some strong, true things but who also presented such a peaceful face of Islam. It does exist and yet--what a perfect foil to Yaser Said's cold-blooded murderousness. One cancels the other out and we are left with ... confusion.
Zohair advised the girls to take their fathers' threat to kill them seriously and to go to the police. He also told them that "once you run away, you can never come back. He will become totally insane once he's lost control of you...His honor and dignity (will be) scarred."
What a shame they did not listen to Zohair but instead listened to their murderous mother. On camera, a subdued, soft-spoken Patricia, actually defends Yaser. She says that when she would punish or ground the girls, that Yaser would try to protect them, go easy on them. When she was asked whether Yaser was upset when he discovered that his daughters were dating Christian boyfriends, Patricia says: "I don't think so. He always said that we could work (everything) out as a family."
Either Patricia is dull-witted, exceptionally passive, even mentally retarded; was battered, brainwashed, primed to turn against her own daughters; is one hellava cunning criminal; or, long ago, converted to Yaser's brand of Arabian-Egyptian Islamism, shares Yaser's view that disobedient daughters should be punished, even killed. A typical Islamist mother.
I want to know why the police have not arrested her and why America's Most Wanted has failed to portray her accurately.
I asked Gail Gartrell, the girls' great-aunt, what she thought of the program. Viewing it made her angry and it broke her heart. Gartrell feels that the program failed to present this double homicide as a full-blown honor killing. She quotes John Walsh who said: "Some people say this was an honor killing. But, there's no honor in this."
How dare he. I have worked hard to educate and get the word out about honor killings and he diminished what honor killings entail. You know, they are usually well planned out in advance and others in the family involve themselves as well.
How about this? Yaser shoots the girls, gets out of the cab without a single drop of blood on him, after 11 shots were fired at close range, and simply walks away. Who picked him up? He did not leave there on foot. Someone picked him up and fled with him.
How about it? Who could have driven Yaser away?
I have to give them credit for one thing. They had the means (Was it money? Or attention?) to get the otherwise reclusive Patricia to talk to them on camera. Check her out for yourselves. As I said she's soft-spoken, passive, subdued.
But this is also how an honor killer looks.
Perhaps this is also another face of jihad. Think about it. What if an American-despising Yaser was also interested in marrying Patricia in order to get a green card, become a citizen--and biologically produce American citizen jihadists? Might the fifth column we have long feared, come from such a source? Yaser is known to have owned many knives and guns, known to have taken his family to "Jihad military camps." At least, they are posed wearing keffiyehs and brandishing weapons. Maybe he was only joking. Maybe his annual visit back home to Egypt was only to visit another wife and family. Maybe Yaser is just a petty criminal and woman-hater.
But what if Yaser married as a form of jihad? What if his daughters were in turn expected to marry other Egyptian jihadists who would pay dowries for them?
I hope the FBI is considering all these questions.
Dr. Phyllis Chesler is the well known author of classic works, including the bestseller Women and Madness (1972) and The New Anti-Semitism (2003). She has just published The Death of Feminism: What’s Next in the Struggle for Women’s Freedom (Palgrave Macmillan), as well as an updated and revised edition of Women and Madness. She is an Emerita Professor of psychology and women's studies, the co-founder of the Association for Women in Psychology (1969) and the National Women's Health Network (1976). Her website is www.phyllis-chesler.com
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues
on: November 23, 2008, 06:18:08 PM
Sunday, November 23, 2008
Is it 2008-or 1984? [Victor Davis Hanson]
We should all let President-elect Obama have some honeymoon time, but that said, so far the sudden cessation in 'hope and change' that became part of the American mindset for two years is surreal, and one of the most remarkable developments in recent American political history. Obama's Clintonite appointments, his reliance on those well-known DC fixtures credentialed by Ivy League Law Schools, and his apparent backtracking on radical tax hikes on the "wealthy", instantaneous shut-down of Gitmo, prompt withdrawal from Iraq, and repeal of anti-terror legislation seem to have delighted conservatives, relieved that the Daily Kos and Huffington Post are not calling the shots. But two minor points, it is still November, not late January. So no one knows anything yet and we should suspend judgement, despite the FDR and Lincoln daily comparisons.
Second, if we should see in January that the government really does not want to evict Khalid Sheik Mohammed & co. from Guantanamo, and does want to stay in Iraq until 2011 to finish up, and does want to let the present tax code ride for a bit, and does want to leave most Bush-enacted homeland security measures in place, then Obama has not merely embarrassed his hard-left base, but has terribly humiliated the media as well.
For years now we have been preached to that Guantanamo is a gulag where Korans are stomped and flushed (not laptops provided to the chief architect of 9/11), that we waged a foolhardy, amoral, and hopelessly 'lost' war against the Iraqi people, that the rich plundered the economy on the backs of the poor, and that the Constitution was burned so that covert agencies could play James Bond. I could go on, but you get the picture.
Given all that, are we now suddenly—in 1984-fashion—around late January either to be told all that was not quite so, or will we simply hear no more about how these Bush legacies have ruined America—or what exactly is the party line to be? There is still such a thing, after all, as Google.
The point is that somewhere around early to mid-2007 ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, the New York Times, the Washington Post, NPR, Newsweek, Time, etc. chose to become—in the manner that they selected, emphasized, and presented their news stories—a quasi-official Obama media, or at least a quasi-official what-they-thought-Obama-was news media. Chris Matthews' asinine statement about his investment in the success of the Obama administration was merely a crude summation of the creed of the more sober and judicious.
I don't really think they can now pull off an Animal-Farm-like 'two-legs were bad', 'now two-legs good' complete turn-about just because they've taken over the manor. I do think that the media's unprofessional lobbying for the cause of Obama—not now, but in a decade or two—will become a classic case study in any graduate class on journalistic ethics.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Big Picture WW3: Who, when, where, why
on: November 23, 2008, 03:31:44 PM
Iran receives al Qaeda praise for role in terrorist attacks
Fresh links between Iran's Revolutionary Guards and al-Qaeda have been uncovered following interception of a letter from the terrorist leadership that hails Tehran's support for a recent attack on the American embassy in Yemen, which killed 16 people.
By Con Coughlin
Last Updated: 9:04PM GMT 23 Nov 2008
Delivery of the letter exposed the rising role of Saad bin Laden, son of the al-Qaeda leader, Osama as an intermediary between the organisation and Iran. Saad bin Laden has been living in Iran since the fall of the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001, apparently under house arrest.
The letter, which was signed by Ayman al-Zawahiri, al-Qaeda's second in command, was written after the American embassy in Yemen was attacked by simultaneous suicide car bombs in September.
Western security officials said the missive thanked the leadership of Iran's Revolutionary Guards for providing assistance to al-Qaeda to set up its terrorist network in Yemen, which has suffered ten al-Qaeda-related terror attacks in the past year, including two bomb attacks against the American embassy.
In the letter al-Qaeda's leadership pays tribute to Iran's generosity, stating that without its "monetary and infrastructure assistance" it would have not been possible for the group to carry out the terror attacks. It also thanked Iran for having the "vision" to help the terror organisation establish new bases in Yemen after al-Qaeda was forced to abandon much of its terrorist infrastructure in Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
There has been intense speculation about the level of Iranian support for al-Qaeda since the 9/11 Commission report into al-Qaeda's terror attacks against the U.S. in 2001 concluded that Iran had provided safe passage for many of the 9/11 hijackers travelling between Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia prior to the attacks.
Scores of senior al Qaeda activists - including Saad bin Laden - sought sanctuary in Iran following the overthrow of the Taliban, and have remained in Tehran ever since. The activities of Saad bin Laden, 29, have been a source of Western concern despite Tehran's assurances that he is under official confinement.
But Iran was a key transit route for al Qaeda loyalists moving between battlefields in the Middle East and Asia. Western security officials have also concluded Iran's Revolutionary Guards have supported al-Qaeda terror cells, despite religious divisions between Iran's Shia Muslim revolutionaries and the Sunni Muslim terrorists.
Iran is active in Yemen, Osama bin Laden's ancestral homeland. The country has been a focal point for al-Qaeda, which has found relatively easy targets in its lawless environment. "Yemen is now a key strategic base for al-Qaeda's operations, as well as being fertile recruitment territory," said a senior Western security official. "Iran's Revolutionary Guards have provided important support in helping al-Qaeda to turn Yemen into a major centre of operations."
Apart from the terror attacks against the US embassy al-Qaeda has also threatened to attack the British and Saudi Arabian embassies in Yemen.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe
on: November 21, 2008, 06:26:19 PM
Girls’ Nightmare in Muslim Families: Forced Marriages in Europe
By Azam Kamguian
Every year, many thousands of young girls, living in Muslim inhabited communities in European countries face forced marriages. In Muslim immigrant families, often from the Middle East, North Africa and Turkey, teenage girls are struggling against the pressure of tribal culture and Islamic customs imposed on them by their parents; and forced marriage is often their fate.
A women group against sexual mutilation of women, formed in 1980s in France, estimates that more than 30,000 young girls have been involved in forced marriage since 1990. In Britain, south Asian women groups have records of numerous cases of young girls who have been forced to marry by their parents.
This nightmare started in 1990s, when young girls from Muslim immigrant families in Europe reached their early teenage years and were considered mature and marriageable by their parents. Teenage girls from Turkish immigrant families are especially under intense pressure. According to statistics provided by women groups in France and Britain, in 1990s, 43% of girls from Turkish families, and 36% of girls from South Asian families in Britain, have been involved in forced marriages.
Forced marriage is a taboo, untouchable, and is performed secretly. The secret is revealed when the girl suddenly behaves strangely, gets isolated and is not doing well at school. She often breaks the silence and talks about her painful ordeal with a friend or some teacher at school. In this way, she unveils the bitter reality that is awaiting her. Once the forced marriage becomes known outside the family, the real fight starts. Zahia Hasan, chair of a women association; "Women's Voice" in France, and a victim of forced marriages says: " it is a painful experience, it was a nightmare for me for many years. I was deeply ashamed, I lied about my life and hid my misery"
Girls, who reveal the terrible secret outside family, often clash with their parents and leave home. They even feel ashamed and guilty of revealing the secret and having betrayed their families and relatives. Many young girls under a heavy family and community pressure undergo forced marriage because they don't want to lose their families and relatives. Forced marriage is their inevitable fate, because there is no government or social support network to protect their rights. Forced marriages are practiced in France, Britain, Scandinavian countries and among Turkish community in Germany.
Early marriage is another aspect of forced marriages. Girls, 15 or younger, undergo forced marriages, are considered as part - times wives, continue to live with their parents and go to school, living with their dark and heavy secret.
In most cases, these marriages end to divorce; according to statistics; two out of three. Rape, teenage pregnancy, disrupted education; nervous breakdown, neurological disorders and suicide are all fruits of forced marriages for young girls. But, their families insist that their act is decent and good for the girls. They defend it by referring to Islam and Islamic Law; according to which, a girl cannot marry without the consent of her father, and in the absence of her father, that of her paternal grandfather. These families, not only haven't been affected by advanced and modern culture in Europe, but also are out of tune with the current situation in their countries of origin, where social and cultural norms and values have moved forward. By marrying their young girls in this way, Muslim parents try to block the integration of their daughters into a modern and European life style. As a result, parents deprive their own children of enjoying the civil rights and individual freedom entitled to them. They harm their children physically, emotionally and psychologically.
Under French law, a forced marriage can be annulled if there has been lack of consent. But if the marriage ceremony is a customary one, the French courts cannot act. However, magistrates can intervene before a marriage takes place if an underage girl, who has broken with her family, is in physical danger.
Under the guise of respecting 'others' traditions and Islamic values, the legal system and authorities tend to overlook forced marriages. They say: "there are customs and religion, which are different from those, practiced here. It is not for us to judge these traditions and religion, unless the young girls are in physical danger and there should be proof for that."
Consider a young girl under legal age, undergoing the ordeal of a forced marriage, clashing with her family, without a legal help or a supporting social network, who must provide proof against her own parents in the court, in order to get rid of this nightmare. Isn't it inhumane and shameful? What is respectable in this misery imposed on these innocent young girls? What is respectable in destroying and wasting lives, hopes and dreams of these girls? And of course, both 'Western' and Eastern 'intellectuals', shamelessly, tell us that "to talk of forced marriages is an Euro - centric way of looking at things."
Young girls in Muslim inhabited communities in Europe are victims of tribal and Islamic values and traditions, as well as a racist treatment by government authorities, intellectuals and mainstream media. These girls are born and have grown up in European countries, and should be entitled to all rights and freedom like other European citizens. Forced marriages must be prohibited by law as rape; and mental and emotional damages to teenage girls.
Girls from Muslim families are not the belongings of their families; they should be treated as equal citizens. The governments and the legal system must protect them from the harm caused by their parents. Society is duty bound to help the victims of forced marriages to recover from the emotional, mental and physical damages they firstname.lastname@example.org
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe
on: November 21, 2008, 12:16:46 PM
She took the great English feminist Mary Wollstonecraft as her lodestar, and began to campaign for the state to log the rate of "honour" killings, because nobody was even bothering to count. This led to the centre-right Liberal Party asking her to run to be a member of parliament.[/b]
She accepted, and got one of the highest personal votes in the country. This in turn led her into the path of Theo van Gogh – and to his slaughter. After that, Ayaan was placed under full-time surveillance by security guards and was barely permitted to leave her house.
At this point, two Ayaans were born, with clashing and contradictory views on Islam. Sitting here now, I can feel their presence; I can hear them alternate in her mind. I call the first "revolutionary Ayaan", and this Ayaan says about September 11: "This was not just Islam, this was the core of Islam. Mohammed Atta believed he was giving his life for Allah. This is beyond Osama bin Laden, it is based in the basic roots of Islam."
Without pausing, she continues: "You have to ask – is it a fact that the Prophet Mohamed conquered lands using the sword? Is it a fact that Muslims are commanded to commit jihad? Yes it is."
She has no time for what she sees as the ignorant, woolly Islam-is-peace message of Western liberals, insisting: "I see no difference between Islam and Islamism. Islam is defined as submission to the will of Allah, as it is described in the Koran. Islamism is just Islam in its most pure form. Sayyid Qutb didn't invent anything, he just quoted the sayings of Mohamed."
Revolutionary Ayaan believes that the religion cannot be reformed or changed, only defeated. The millions upon millions of Muslims who are not violent – "the wonderful, decent, law-abiding people" – simply do not really follow Islam. They ignore it, or they live uncomfortably with the explosive "cognitive dissonance" of simultaneously supporting human decency and the demands of Islam.
She lists the awkward truths about the Prophet Mohamed. "All Muslims believe in following his example, but many of the things he did are crimes. When he was in his fifties, he had sex with a nine-year-old girl. By our standards, he was a pervert. He ordered the killing of Jews and homosexuals and apostates, and the beating of women." That is why she concludes that "the war on terror is a war on Islam", and "Islam is the new fascism".
But then there is "reformist Ayaan". This Ayaan says the opposite: that internal reform within Islam is both possible and necessary. She insists: "It's wrong to treat Muslims as if they will never find their John Stuart Mill. Christianity and Judaism show that people can be very dogmatic and then open up. There is a minority [within Islam] like [the reformists] Irshad Manji and Tawfiq Hamid who want to remain in the faith and reform it.
"Can you be a Muslim and respect the separation of church and state? I hope a large enough number of Muslims will agree you can, and they will find a way to keep the spiritual elements that comfort them and live in a secular society."
Ayaan's life story is strewn with Muslims who rejected Bin Ladenist fanaticism. Her father, for example, was revolted by the Wahabbism he witnessed in Saudi Arabia, and told her: "This is not Islam – this is Saudis perverting Islam." She hesitates when I ask her about this fracture line in her thinking; I can almost touch the cognitive dissonance.
Then "reformist Ayaan" says: "Well, my father was trying to combine the commandments in the Koran with his conscience. He has reached a level of civilisation because he's living in the 21st century, but he was also trying to follow a religion founded in the seventh century. So on the one hand he thinks you should accept that the content of the Koran is the true word of God, and on the other hand he is a decent person. He tried to move on by saying that we should only convert non-Muslims by example, not by violence, and [by saying] that only the Prophet Mohamed can call for a jihad." But then "revolutionary Ayaan" adds: "That's not what the Koran says. It says you can never change the faith."
Is there is a danger that the language of "revolutionary Ayaan" is undercutting the very people "reformist Ayaan" wants to encourage? Does she worry that by calling all Islam "fascism" she might encourage the hard right, who want to deny women like her the chance even to come to Europe as refugees?
"I do," she says. "But the group of Europeans, white Europeans, who want to stop immigration altogether, and who reject Muslims, today in 2007, is not that large. But they could become larger if European governments continue the policy of accommodating and appeasing fascist demands made by radical Muslims. They need to oppose fascist demands by Muslims, and the fascist demands by far-right white groups. I think that if there is equal treatment on both sides, the traditional populations of Europe will say that it's fair play."
As we discuss this, I realise there is something odd about this conversation. It is all so disconcertingly normal. Ayaan is speaking in a level voice, at a level volume. If you didn't speak English and you saw us talking, you could assume that we were discussing bus timetables, or the weather. It's not that she seems passionless – not at all – but that her personality seems to be coiled up within her, and I am only seeing the carefully considered tip of it. When she describes the people who want to hack her body to pieces, it is in paragraphs that feel prepacked. Perhaps it is all she can bear to show.
And so we continue. She looks at me politely and says that Europe needs to be more confident about standing up to Islamic fundamentalism. "When we come here as immigrants, we know it will be different to where we come from. It's a choice to come, and we can always choose to leave. If we do not want to adopt European values, we should expect to be criticised."
For example, she says, the veil she used to wear is "a political statement, it's not just a religious statement. It says: I'm different from you and I reject what you stand for." She stresses that she doesn't want to ban it, just to see it challenged. "I'm opposed to banning of political expression, but I'm very much a proponent of competing political expression.
"The message of liberals is so much better, so much stronger, that you don't have to resort to banning. You can wear whatever it is that you want, you can give out whatever message that you want to give out – but you have to understand that if that message is rejected, then you can't call people Islamophobic and expect to be taken seriously. If you choose to wear a veil, people might ridicule and oppose you. That's their right, too."
She speaks with such eloquent intensity because she is arguing against another, younger version of herself. The Ayaan of 2007 is attacking the Ayaan of 1987 – who is damning her right back. If there is a clash of civilisations, it is happening within her. It's hard to remember, as we sit here, that there are tens of thousands of people who want to prematurely bring this fizzing debate inside Ayaan's head to an end – with a bullet.
She fell in love with Holland because of its tradition of unabashed free speech, but it seems the country's politicians have judged that she took free speech too far for them. Last year, the Dutch government began to reinvestigate the lies in her original asylum claim. Ever since she entered public life she had been totally candid about this: she exaggerated the degree of state persecution she faced because being abused by your family isn't enough to be granted refugee status. Now the government was twitchy about the rows she was stirring up – so they suddenly decided to strip her of her seat in parliament. Amid efforts to revoke her Dutch citizenship as well, she fled to Washington and a job with a conservative think-tank.
Her alignment with the American right doesn't seem like an easy fit. She is a militant defender of atheism, feminism and gay rights – all forces they have demonised for decades. She is an illegal immigrant, their ultimate hate figure. But, as our interview goes on, I realise she has depressingly begun to adopt some of their ideas. She wants to abolish the minimum wage. She no longer calls for the closing of all faith schools, but simply Muslim ones, because "they are the only ones that do not respect the division between secular and divine law".
She has even begun to touch on the American hard right's preposterous predictions that Muslims are "outbreeding" the continent's traditional populations and will impose sharia law "within decades". When I challenge her on this, she says that "experts" say it is true.
Then, this month, the Dutch government went further and stripped away her security protection, saying she should pay for it herself. The US government will not pick up the tab – the only mechanism they have for protecting private citizens full-time is the Witness Protection Program, which isn't appropriate.
"Only 11 members out of the 150 MPs voted to keep my security detail," she says. "So it's an overwhelming decision, and when I saw that I did feel betrayed. It's not only a betrayal of me, it's a betrayal of the idea of free expression.
"I think they believe that supposedly provoking Muslims will only make them more angry and hostile. The four large cities in Holland have now got very large Muslim populations, and that number is increasing – the estimate is that they're about 40 per cent. With that kind of electoral power [they think] it's best not to provoke them." Even if that means sacrificing basic Dutch values? "Yes."
She is revolted by the people who claim that it is she, Ayaan, who has "sold out" Muslims. "Tell me, is freedom only for white people?" she has written. "Is it self-love to adhere to my ancestors' traditions and mutilate my daughters? To agree to be humiliated and powerless? When I came to a new culture, where I saw for the first time that human relations could be different, would it have been self-love to see that as a foreign cult, which Muslims are forbidden to practise?"
So here she is, with the last sliver of protection she can afford standing between her and the people determined to murder her, still speaking, still fighting. Her family have said that they will never speak to her again. She knows she can never return to the country where she was born. Is she frightened? She answers quickly, as if reciting a reassuring script. "I know that is what these terrorists want me to be," she says. "So I try not to be scared." Then she pauses, and looks down. "But sometimes. Yes."
She looks up again. "But I am lucky. There are so many crossroads where my life could have become so much worse. If I had stayed in Kenya with the [jihadist] prayer group, if I had entered into the marriage my father wanted... I could have lived like my mother." She nods with confidence. "How many girls born in Digfeer Hospital in Mogadishu in November 1969 are even alive today? And how many have a real voice?"
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was in London to address the Centre for Social Cohesion
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe
on: November 21, 2008, 12:15:32 PM
Ayaan Hirsi Ali: My life under a fatwa
Born and raised by fundamentalist Muslims, Ayaan Hirsi Ali fled her native Somalia for a new life in the Netherlands. Her talents bought fame as a feminist, writer and MP; her criticisms of Islam made her a target for violent extremists. Johann Hari meets a woman who dared to stand up for her beliefs – and paid the price
Tuesday, 27 November 2007
Ayaan Hirsi Ali was stabbed into the world's consciousness three years ago. One wet afternoon in November 2004, her friend Theo van Gogh – a film-maker, and descendant of Vincent – left his house and was about to cycle off through Amsterdam. But a young Dutch-born Muslim called Mohammed Bouyeri was waiting for him – with a handgun and two sharpened butcher's knives.
Wordlessly, he shot Van Gogh twice in the chest. Van Gogh howled: "Can't we talk about this?" Bouyeri ignored his pleas and fired four more times. Then he pulled out a knife and slit Van Gogh's throat with such strength that his head was almost severed from his body. He used the other knife to stab a five-page letter on to Van Gogh's haemorrhaging corpse.Ayaan explains: "The letter was addressed to me." It said that Van Gogh had been "executed" for making a film with her that exposed the widespread abuse of Muslim women. Now, she would be "executed" too – for being an apostate.
She says that, even now, "every time I close my eyes, I see the murder, and I hear Theo pleading for his life. 'Can't we talk about this?' he asked his killer. It was so Dutch, so sweet and innocent." At the trial, Bouyeri spat at Van Gogh's mother: "I don't feel your pain. I don't have any sympathy for you. I can't feel for you because I think you're a non-believer."
This is the story of how a 25-year-old bogus asylum-seeker from Africa came to Europe in search of freedom – only to be nearly murdered here by a Dutchman, on the streets of Amsterdam, for speaking out against religion. The story opens in the blood-strewn streets of Somalia, and it closes amid the shiny white marble of Washington, DC – yet it also ends where it began: with Ayaan's life in danger. This is the story of the refugee who rocked Islam.
Her light, slight figure walks into the room so quietly that I would not have noticed her. But then the bodyguards follow: big, with their eyes darting into every corner in search of the long-awaited assassin, and you realise – yes, she is here. The internet is littered with pledges to torture and slay Ayaan Hirsi Ali. Yet, just a few weeks before we meet in London, the Dutch government has stripped away her security detail. She is paying for her own bodyguards now – and she could soon run out of cash.
So how did this soft-voiced woman come to be so hated – and to be abandoned by the country that gave her sanctuary?
The life of her mother hangs over Ayaan as a morality tale, a warning of what she might have been. "I was determined to never let what happened to my mother happen to me," she says, looking away. "I think that has made me the way I am."By the time her mother gave birth to Ayaan in a hospital on the outskirts of Mogadishu in 1967, she was a broken woman. Like all Somalian women, she had been pressured all her life to suppress her personality, to sublimate everything to men and to God – to become what Ayaan calls "a devoted, well-trained work-animal".
In her youth, her mother had moments when she fought back, briefly and bravely. She insisted on leaving her family. They were desert nomads, in effect living in the Iron Age, with no writing, few metal objects, and a belief that Allah's angels and demons were constantly tinkering with reality. At 15, she walked out of their desert to the city of Aden.But when her father called her back to be married to a man she had never met, she submitted.
There was another flickering moment of freedom: exceptionally for that time and place, she later insisted on a divorce, and got one.But this was all gone when Ayaan was born. The woman striving for independence had soon remarried, and crashed into the sheer weight of cultural expectation. She had been persuaded that "God is just and all-knowing and will reward you in the hereafter for being subservient". Her personality became deformed by it.
"She remained completely dependent," Ayaan says. "She nursed grievances; she was resentful; she was often violent, and she was always depressed." She would take it out on Ayaan, tying her arms behind her back and lashing her with wire for the slightest misdemeanour.
When Ayaan first menstruated, her mother screamed at her: "Filthy prostitute! May you be barren! May you get cancer!" Ayaan tried to commit suicide not long after. But now she says she knows that "all the abuse wasn't really directed at me, but at the world, which had taken her rightful life away."
When her second husband left her, Ayaan's mother was too infantilised to react. "It never occurred to her to go out and create a new life for herself, even though she can't have been older than 35 or 40 when my father left," Ayaan has written.
She remembers waking up every night as a small girl to hear her mother wailing. Once, she went into her mother's bedroom and placed a hand on her cheek; her mother screamed and beat her. After that, Ayaan would simply crouch at the door, listening to the wails, wishing she knew what to do.
Somali culture began to demand that Ayaan too become a submissive woman who scrubbed away her own personality and sexuality. When she was five years old, she was made "pure" by having her genitals hacked out with a knife. It was a simple process; her grandmother and two of her friends pinned her down, pulled her legs apart, and knifed away her clitoris and labia. She remembers the sound even now – "like a butcher, snipping the fat off a piece of meat". The bleeding wound was sewn up, leaving a thick tissue of scars to form as her fleshy chastity belt. She could not walk for two weeks.
Ayaan soon realised that, in a culture so patriarchal that it could not tolerate the existence of an unmaimed vagina, "I could never become an adult. I would always be a minor, my decisions made for me. But I wanted to become an individual, with a life of my own."
By reading novels, she heard whispers of a world where this was possible. For her, even poring over Enid Blyton and Barbara Cartland seemed transgressive, because they depicted a world where boys and girls played together on the basis of equality, and where women chose their husbands rather than having them forced on them by their fathers. Imagine a world so patriarchal that Barbara Cartland seems like a gender revolutionary.
Yet, on the road to this self-determining life, Ayaan turned first to its polar opposite: the very Islamic fundamentalism that now wants to kill her. Ayaan was taught from infancy to revere the Prophet Mohamed and the Koran, and she believed it all. She desperately wanted to please Mohamed, and his path seemed to her the only one.
So, once her family had moved to Kenya, a country where few people wore the headscarf, she chose to don one. She has written: "It had a thrill to it, a sensuous feeling. It made me feel powerful: underneath this screen lay a previously unsuspected, but potentially lethal, femininity. It sent out a message of superiority: I was the one true Muslim."
She began to go to a prayer group where the texts of Sayyid Qutb and Hassan al-Banna – the intellectual inspirations for al-Qa'ida – were pored over. When the Ayatollah Khomeini declared that Salman Rushdie should be murdered for what a maniac says in one of his novels, Ayaan wanted him dead. "I supported it," she says now, "and the logic of my position is that I would have become a martyr myself, or supported the people [who did become martyrs]."
What would that girl, who took to the streets to call for Rushdie's death, say if she could see you now? Would she think you should be killed too? For the first time in our interview, Ayaan pauses. A long pause. "What would that girl of 1989 think of this girl?" she repeats. "I think... well... people change." Another pause. "She would at least approve of it. That's why I try to explain – there is a reason why so many Muslims are silent when, in the name of Islam, violence is committed. It's because we believe that jihad is the sixth obligation. Those, then, who are brave enough to commit acts of jihad must deserve our commendation."
Then, one day, as she slid into jihadism, her absent father reappeared and announced that he had found her a good husband. Ayaan thought the potential life-partner stupid and ugly – but she had no choice. He was from the right clan, he had the right fundamentalist beliefs, and he wanted her. She knew what was expected: "A Muslim girl does not make her own decisions or seek control."
But she could not – would not – do it. She ran. She ran all the way to the Netherlands, on a plane, to claim asylum. She was terrified when she landed in the heartland of The Infidel. She expected to find depravity on every corner. But she was amazed. Here was a peaceful land that seemed like Paradise.
"In the Netherlands, I saw people we called infidels living an amazing life – men and women mixing, gay people being free, you could say whatever you wanted," she says. "Then I went back to the asylum-seekers' centre and almost everyone was from a Muslim country begging for the charity of these infidels. And I thought, 'If we're so superior, why are we begging from them?'"
She experimented in stepping out on to the streets without her hijab, expecting she would be harassed and raped by the sex-crazed infidel. Nobody looked twice. She began to test other democratic freedoms. She drank alcohol, she found a boyfriend – and she headed for the library to discover the principles that had created this place. She began to pore over the works of Enlightenment philosophy.
"Sometimes, it seemed as if every page I read challenged me as a Muslim. Drinking wine and wearing trousers was nothing compared to reading the history of ideas," she says. "The Enlightenment cut European culture from its roots in old fixed ideas of magic, kingship, social hierarchy and the domination of priests, and regrafted it on to a great strong trunk that supported the equality of each individual and his right to free opinions and self-rule." She found that all this was a profound challenge to the severe Islam she had been pickled in since childhood.
She began to study for a political science degree and was slowly rethinking her faith when, one bright morning in September 2001, the island of Manhattan became swathed in smoke. The chief hijacker, Mohammed Atta, was exactly the same age as Ayaan. She feels like she knows him, and that if her life had taken a different turn – if she had stayed in Kenya, with the jihadis – "perhaps I could have done it." And she says something very revealing: "I realised I could either go mad, join the Bin Ladenists, or step out of the religion."This fanatical form of Islam was, she realised, around her in the Netherlands. On the night of September 11, a small group of Muslim men took to the streets to celebrate the massacre. The country's domestic violence shelters were disproportionately crammed with Muslim women fleeing male terror. Forced marriages and "honour killings" continued at a startling rate in Dutch cities. But she found that many otherwise good people were reluctant to speak out against this abuse of women and gay people within immigrant communities.
The Netherlands had a policy called "emancipation within your own circle", and Ayaan saw this as a betrayal. Multiculturalism, she believed, was "elevating cultures full of bigotry and hatred towards women to the stature of respectable alternative ways of life. I wanted Muslim women to be aware of just how bad, and unacceptable, their suffering was. I wanted to help them develop the vocabulary of resistance."
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe
on: November 21, 2008, 11:55:43 AM
|**Just footnoting islam=submission**http://www.ummah.net/what-is-islam/_other/main.htm
ISLAM means submission, that is, submission to the will of God, the characteristic attitude of members of our faith. MUSLIM (also spelled Moslem) is based on the same Arabic root as Islam (s-l-m) and means one who submits to God, that is, a believer in Islam.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in Europe
on: November 21, 2008, 11:22:02 AM
|**Note that the Guardian is very left in it's orientation.**http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/belief/2008/nov/19/religion-islam
Is there really any place for polygamy in English law, as a leading Muslim figure recently argued?
guardian.co.uk, Wednesday November 19 2008 14.30 GMT
The bodies of the Knights Templar were surely spinning under their effigies last night, as someone they would have regarded as an infidel delivered a lecture within the walls of Temple Church entitled "Family Law, Minorities and legal Pluralism: Should English Law give more Recognition to Islamic Law?".
The lecture focused on Islamic marriages and divorces in this country, with Sheikh Faiz ul-Aqtab Siddiqi (of the Muslim Arbitration Tribunal) speaking candidly on many areas. One such topic was that of polygamy, and the refusal of English law to recognise such relationships. Siddiqi boldly stated:
In a jurisdiction where rights are afforded to a mistress, or many mistresses, and where there are same-sex marriages … polygamous marriages should not be such an alien concept.
Siddiqi is a practising barrister, and has been involved with the process of reforming English law to accommodate Muslim cultural practices, especially within the area of family law. As a religious leader, he is at the conservative end of the spectrum. However, he is a well-respected member of a number of unifying Muslim organisations and is at the forefront of attempts to find common ground between sharia law and English law.
Later, after a question from the floor, he clarified his position as being one of confusion as to why relationships such as extra-marital affairs should be recognised under English law, and furthermore how men could be permitted to marry other men, and women other women. He argued that if such relationships were not considered abhorrent, then current attitudes towards polygamy could not, and should not, be justified.The main problem with using this argument in favour of recognition of polygamous marriages both inside and outside this country is that of proof as to whether these marriages have been entered into willingly and freely by the women involved. No one forces a person to have an extra-marital affair, or to enter into a civil partnership, but there is widespread evidence of the forcing of women into polygamous relationships in many religions and in many parts of the world. To compare consensual relationships with forced ones, whether physical or emotional coercion is used, is completely misguided.
Siddiqi said that polygamous marriages derived from the need to protect women from destitution, or from being "business for ... pimps". He alleged that prior to polygamous marriages female children were buried alive because they were seen as a burden to their parents. He spoke of the widows and divorcees left to starve; impoverished and abandoned. The Prophet Mohammad was said to have allowed polygamous marriages in order to give kind and benevolent men the opportunity to save these poor wretches.
He expressed the view that women are no longer in such a position today, glossing over – or, perhaps, forgetting – about women in places like the Indian subcontinent who are still viewed as being inferior to their male counterparts, with some female children still suffering terrible fates. He spoke of the opportunities and choices that women now have, which is true in the western world, but less so in predominantly Muslim countries where some women are denied education and other basic rights.
The crux of this argument was that polygamous marriages should be permitted in a country where sensitivity is professed for people's rights to individual and cultural needs. He asserted that these marriages would be relatively few in number, due to the advances made by women in society negating the need to "save" them from destitution, and that any entered into would be through the free choice of the woman. This line of reasoning contradicted his earlier remarks about the subjugation of women through their lack of knowledge of their legal rights in England, and the dire consequences for such women upon divorce. Similarly, warning bells rang when he spoke of the need to deal with domestic violence through arbitration tribunals due to women's fear of approaching the police as it would lead to marital breakdown. The idea of encouraging a woman to remain in a violent relationship, and for an arbitration tribunal to "deal" with the situation through encouraging the man to change his behaviour, suggests that we can't be confident polygamous marriages would be freely entered into by Muslim women.
The final position Siddiqi put forward by the for the acceptance of polygamous marriages under English law was that of the time-honoured herd mentality. He pointed to the 1.5billion Muslims living across the world, and asked the audience whether so many people could be deemed "stupid" or "wrong" for believing that polygamy is acceptable. The ability of leaders to influence large numbers of people's thoughts and actions does not necessarily mean that the underlying principles are correct. Far be it for me to equate religion with brainwashing, but we all know the answer when such logic is applied to groups such as the Unification Church, or to people living under regimes such as Stalin's Russia.