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10851  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: October 05, 2009, 10:26:35 PM
We are watching the end of Israel and America as we knew it.
10852  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The demise of the dollar on: October 05, 2009, 10:18:57 PM
Exclusive report by Robert Fisk


The demise of the dollar

In a graphic illustration of the new world order, Arab states have launched secret moves with China, Russia and France to stop using the US currency for oil trading

By Robert Fisk

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/the-demise-of-the-dollar-1798175.html

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Rex

Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars.




In the most profound financial change in recent Middle East history, Gulf Arabs are planning – along with China, Russia, Japan and France – to end dollar dealings for oil, moving instead to a basket of currencies including the Japanese yen and Chinese yuan, the euro, gold and a new, unified currency planned for nations in the Gulf Co-operation Council, including Saudi Arabia, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait and Qatar.


Secret meetings have already been held by finance ministers and central bank governors in Russia, China, Japan and Brazil to work on the scheme, which will mean that oil will no longer be priced in dollars.

The plans, confirmed to The Independent by both Gulf Arab and Chinese banking sources in Hong Kong, may help to explain the sudden rise in gold prices, but it also augurs an extraordinary transition from dollar markets within nine years.

Related articles
•Sean O'Grady: China will overtake America, the only question is when
•Leading article: The end of the dollar spells the rise of a new order
The Americans, who are aware the meetings have taken place – although they have not discovered the details – are sure to fight this international cabal which will include hitherto loyal allies Japan and the Gulf Arabs. Against the background to these currency meetings, Sun Bigan, China's former special envoy to the Middle East, has warned there is a risk of deepening divisions between China and the US over influence and oil in the Middle East. "Bilateral quarrels and clashes are unavoidable," he told the Asia and Africa Review. "We cannot lower vigilance against hostility in the Middle East over energy interests and security."

This sounds like a dangerous prediction of a future economic war between the US and China over Middle East oil – yet again turning the region's conflicts into a battle for great power supremacy. China uses more oil incrementally than the US because its growth is less energy efficient. The transitional currency in the move away from dollars, according to Chinese banking sources, may well be gold. An indication of the huge amounts involved can be gained from the wealth of Abu Dhabi, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar who together hold an estimated $2.1 trillion in dollar reserves.

The decline of American economic power linked to the current global recession was implicitly acknowledged by the World Bank president Robert Zoellick. "One of the legacies of this crisis may be a recognition of changed economic power relations," he said in Istanbul ahead of meetings this week of the IMF and World Bank. But it is China's extraordinary new financial power – along with past anger among oil-producing and oil-consuming nations at America's power to interfere in the international financial system – which has prompted the latest discussions involving the Gulf states.

Brazil has shown interest in collaborating in non-dollar oil payments, along with India. Indeed, China appears to be the most enthusiastic of all the financial powers involved, not least because of its enormous trade with the Middle East.

China imports 60 per cent of its oil, much of it from the Middle East and Russia. The Chinese have oil production concessions in Iraq – blocked by the US until this year – and since 2008 have held an $8bn agreement with Iran to develop refining capacity and gas resources. China has oil deals in Sudan (where it has substituted for US interests) and has been negotiating for oil concessions with Libya, where all such contracts are joint ventures.

Furthermore, Chinese exports to the region now account for no fewer than 10 per cent of the imports of every country in the Middle East, including a huge range of products from cars to weapon systems, food, clothes, even dolls. In a clear sign of China's growing financial muscle, the president of the European Central Bank, Jean-Claude Trichet, yesterday pleaded with Beijing to let the yuan appreciate against a sliding dollar and, by extension, loosen China's reliance on US monetary policy, to help rebalance the world economy and ease upward pressure on the euro.

Ever since the Bretton Woods agreements – the accords after the Second World War which bequeathed the architecture for the modern international financial system – America's trading partners have been left to cope with the impact of Washington's control and, in more recent years, the hegemony of the dollar as the dominant global reserve currency.

The Chinese believe, for example, that the Americans persuaded Britain to stay out of the euro in order to prevent an earlier move away from the dollar. But Chinese banking sources say their discussions have gone too far to be blocked now. "The Russians will eventually bring in the rouble to the basket of currencies," a prominent Hong Kong broker told The Independent. "The Brits are stuck in the middle and will come into the euro. They have no choice because they won't be able to use the US dollar."

Chinese financial sources believe President Barack Obama is too busy fixing the US economy to concentrate on the extraordinary implications of the transition from the dollar in nine years' time. The current deadline for the currency transition is 2018.

The US discussed the trend briefly at the G20 summit in Pittsburgh; the Chinese Central Bank governor and other officials have been worrying aloud about the dollar for years. Their problem is that much of their national wealth is tied up in dollar assets.

"These plans will change the face of international financial transactions," one Chinese banker said. "America and Britain must be very worried. You will know how worried by the thunder of denials this news will generate."

Iran announced late last month that its foreign currency reserves would henceforth be held in euros rather than dollars. Bankers remember, of course, what happened to the last Middle East oil producer to sell its oil in euros rather than dollars. A few months after Saddam Hussein trumpeted his decision, the Americans and British invaded Iraq.
10853  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: BO's friends and appointments on: October 02, 2009, 11:24:01 AM
The first klingon.

10854  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Chicago graft loses the Olympics! on: October 02, 2009, 10:50:39 AM
Barry-O's corruptocrats lose!

I bet the plane ride back with Lt. Worf will be very, very long. Maybe the empty-suit can start trying to be the president now?
10855  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: September 29, 2009, 09:25:00 PM
http://formerspook.blogspot.com/2009/09/todays-reading-assignment_26.html

Saturday, September 26, 2009
Today's Reading Assignment

...courtesy of Ralph Peters, in the New York Post. In his latest column, Colonel Peters (essentially) asks the same questions we posed yesterday: how long did President Obama know about that Iranian nuclear nuclear facility before he publicly acknowledged its existence? And why keep it a secret, particularly if you're trying to persuade Tehran to give up its nuclear program?

The answer, according to Peters, can be found in the President's lack of military experience; his unswerving faith in diplomacy and humiliation over a situation that is spinning out of control:

Obama didn't want you to know how much progress Iran had made. It's an embarrassment.

And it raises the pressure on the White House to act -- something this president's squirming to avoid. But the Iranians have now realized we know, so they tipped it themselves.

Obama had no choice but to come clean.

Yesterday, he interrupted the G-20 summit to go public -- before Mahmoud Ahmadinejad did. Flanked by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Britain's dead man walking, Prime Minister Gordon Brown, our president offered more uselessly vague rhetoric in response to proof of a major "covert Iranian enrichment facility" and its implications.

So what happens next? Peters predicts a coming apocalypse, caused (in part) by Mr. Obama's refusal to act. We've said the same thing, predicting that the commander-in-chief will face a foreign policy reckoning in the coming months, a catastrophic event that will make last year's market crash seem tame by comparison. Here's how Ralph Peters sees events playing out:

Obama will try more talks. We may see half-hearted sanctions -- which will be violated right and left. Russia, which profits hugely from dirty trade with Iran, can slip goods across the Caspian Sea or through Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan.

And maritime sanctions are meaningless, unless our president is willing to order our Navy to fire on Chinese-flagged or Venezuelan-flagged merchant vessels.

Think that's going to happen?

How will it end? With desperate Israeli attacks that do only part of the job, followed by Iranian counterstrikes on Persian Gulf oil facilities, the closure of the Straits of Hormuz and oil above $400 a barrel.

Only the United States can stop Iran's nuclear program before it's too late. And this president won't.
10856  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: September 29, 2009, 04:48:44 PM
http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/09/28/eveningnews/main5347847.shtml

You think the TSA is invasive now....
10857  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Intel Matters on: September 29, 2009, 10:29:51 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/20/germans-of-course-iran-kept-working-on-nuclear-weapons/

Germans: Of course Iran kept working on nuclear weapons
posted at 1:36 pm on July 20, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

When the American intelligence community reversed itself in 2007 and announced that Iran had quit working on nuclear weapons in 2003, jaws dropped around the world.  George Bush’s political opponents at home and enemies around the world used it to buffalo the administration into reducing its effort to corner Tehran, but European intelligence agencies did not fall for the political kneecapping performed on Bush.  At the time, British intel rejected that conclusion, and now the Wall Street Journal reports that the Germans have thoroughly debunked it:

The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, has amassed evidence of a sophisticated Iranian nuclear weapons program that continued beyond 2003. This usually classified information comes courtesy of Germany’s highest state-security court. In a 30-page legal opinion on March 26 and a May 27 press release in a case about possible illegal trading with Iran, a special national security panel of the Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe cites from a May 2008 BND report, saying the agency “showed comprehensively” that “development work on nuclear weapons can be observed in Iran even after 2003.”
According to the judges, the BND supplemented its findings on August 28, 2008, showing “the development of a new missile launcher and the similarities between Iran’s acquisition efforts and those of countries with already known nuclear weapons programs, such as Pakistan and North Korea.”
It’s important to point out that this was no ordinary agency report, the kind that often consists just of open source material, hearsay and speculation. Rather, the BND submitted an “office testimony,” which consists of factual statements about the Iranian program that can be proved in a court of law. This is why, in their March 26 opinion, the judges wrote that “a preliminary assessment of the available evidence suggests that at the time of the crime [April to November 2007] nuclear weapons were being developed in Iran.” In their May press release, the judges come out even more clear, stating unequivocally that “Iran in 2007 worked on the development of nuclear weapons.”

This rises far above the level of evidence provided in the 2007 NIE.  The court had to determine whether evidence presented by the German government could convict a defendant in an espionage trial, and the case rested in large part on whether the Iranians had continued to develop nuclear weapons.  A lower-court ruling had tossed out the indictment, ruling that the US NIE showed that Iran had not done work on its nuclear-weapons programs during the time that the defendant had allegedly traded illegally and conducted espionage on behalf of their program.  In response, the BND showed the court their evidence of continued work on the weapons program — which the court ruled sufficient to use at trial.
As the authors note, this decision calls into question yet again how the US intelligence service could have concluded otherwise.  Did they not coordinate with the Germans, who have much better access to Iran than either the US or even the British?  The BND says they shared these findings with the Americans prior to the publication of the NIE, but that they were ignored.  Why?
It’s really not difficult to conclude that the higher echelons of American intelligence had gone to war with the Bush administration early in his presidency.  The 2007 NIE was their coup de grace, making Bush impotent and giving them control over American foreign policy.  It also let vital time slip past while Iran continued to develop nuclear weapons, although in the event, Europe simply rejected the NIE as faulty and proceeded along the same path that Bush had demanded.  The NIE gave Russia and China political cover to block the West’s attempts to rein in the Iranians, although that would have happened anyway with other rationalizations.
Democrats are demanding a reckoning with the CIA over a program that never proceeded past the spitball stage.  Republicans ought to demand a reckoning, too — over the NIE and the wool that got pulled over the eyes of Congress.
10858  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: September 29, 2009, 10:02:01 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/07/20/germans-of-course-iran-kept-working-on-nuclear-weapons/

Germans: Of course Iran kept working on nuclear weapons
posted at 1:36 pm on July 20, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

When the American intelligence community reversed itself in 2007 and announced that Iran had quit working on nuclear weapons in 2003, jaws dropped around the world.  George Bush’s political opponents at home and enemies around the world used it to buffalo the administration into reducing its effort to corner Tehran, but European intelligence agencies did not fall for the political kneecapping performed on Bush.  At the time, British intel rejected that conclusion, and now the Wall Street Journal reports that the Germans have thoroughly debunked it:

The Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND), Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, has amassed evidence of a sophisticated Iranian nuclear weapons program that continued beyond 2003. This usually classified information comes courtesy of Germany’s highest state-security court. In a 30-page legal opinion on March 26 and a May 27 press release in a case about possible illegal trading with Iran, a special national security panel of the Federal Supreme Court in Karlsruhe cites from a May 2008 BND report, saying the agency “showed comprehensively” that “development work on nuclear weapons can be observed in Iran even after 2003.”
According to the judges, the BND supplemented its findings on August 28, 2008, showing “the development of a new missile launcher and the similarities between Iran’s acquisition efforts and those of countries with already known nuclear weapons programs, such as Pakistan and North Korea.”
It’s important to point out that this was no ordinary agency report, the kind that often consists just of open source material, hearsay and speculation. Rather, the BND submitted an “office testimony,” which consists of factual statements about the Iranian program that can be proved in a court of law. This is why, in their March 26 opinion, the judges wrote that “a preliminary assessment of the available evidence suggests that at the time of the crime [April to November 2007] nuclear weapons were being developed in Iran.” In their May press release, the judges come out even more clear, stating unequivocally that “Iran in 2007 worked on the development of nuclear weapons.”

This rises far above the level of evidence provided in the 2007 NIE.  The court had to determine whether evidence presented by the German government could convict a defendant in an espionage trial, and the case rested in large part on whether the Iranians had continued to develop nuclear weapons.  A lower-court ruling had tossed out the indictment, ruling that the US NIE showed that Iran had not done work on its nuclear-weapons programs during the time that the defendant had allegedly traded illegally and conducted espionage on behalf of their program.  In response, the BND showed the court their evidence of continued work on the weapons program — which the court ruled sufficient to use at trial.
As the authors note, this decision calls into question yet again how the US intelligence service could have concluded otherwise.  Did they not coordinate with the Germans, who have much better access to Iran than either the US or even the British?  The BND says they shared these findings with the Americans prior to the publication of the NIE, but that they were ignored.  Why?
It’s really not difficult to conclude that the higher echelons of American intelligence had gone to war with the Bush administration early in his presidency.  The 2007 NIE was their coup de grace, making Bush impotent and giving them control over American foreign policy.  It also let vital time slip past while Iran continued to develop nuclear weapons, although in the event, Europe simply rejected the NIE as faulty and proceeded along the same path that Bush had demanded.  The NIE gave Russia and China political cover to block the West’s attempts to rein in the Iranians, although that would have happened anyway with other rationalizations.
Democrats are demanding a reckoning with the CIA over a program that never proceeded past the spitball stage.  Republicans ought to demand a reckoning, too — over the NIE and the wool that got pulled over the eyes of Congress.
10859  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: September 28, 2009, 08:46:07 PM
Counterterrorism Blog
Spread of Jihadi "operations" inside America: a quantitative warning
By Walid Phares
It is unprecedented in American counter terrorism annals: in one day the nation was dealing with three separate Jihadist plots to blow up civilian and other targets inside the Homeland. Although the cases were addressed at different time periods by the FBI and other agencies, nevertheless, the thickening web of Terror attempts breached the crossing line of US national security. This week, authorities revealed three conspiracies by American Jihadists: Michael C. Finton, (other name: Talib Islam) a 29-year-old man who wished to follow the steps of American-born Taliban John Walker Lindh, was arrested after trying to detonate what he thought was a bomb inside a van outside a federal courthouse in Springfield, Ill. Hosam Maher Husein Smadi, a 19-year old Jordanian national was arrested after placing what he believed was a bomb at a downtown Dallas skyscraper. But perhaps the most troubling case is of Afghan-born Najibullah Zazi who set up shop in suburban Denver, scouting the Web and visiting beauty supply stores in a hunt for chemicals needed to build bombs for Al Qaeda. Sources called the alleged plot one of the most significant terror threats to the U.S. since 9-11. Add to the list the North Carolina Jihad cell, led by Saifullah Boyd, which was planning on attacking civilian and military targets across the country.

The immediate question raised by an increasingly worried public is about the connection between all these terror cases: are they all connected? While law enforcement and certainly judicial authorities proceed in a bottom up reasoning, that is to build the case for a global connection between all what is happening with the help of legal evidence, analysts in the field of counter terrorism and conflict are already realizing the meaning of what is happening inside America.

The Zai case suspects

In my book Future Jihad: Terrorist Strategies against America (2005-2006) I clearly projected that Jihadists, individuals and cells will be mushrooming and expanding inside the United States within few years from then and that they will precisely do what they are trying to do now. I have also projected how large they will become, with time. It was a simple deduction: if the Government doesn’t counter this ideological growth, Jihadists will keep coming. And in fact they kept coming, spreading crossing the barriers of ethnicities, races, nationalities and geographical frontiers. The Jihadists committed to harm the US, and based inside our borders, are now by the hundreds. When I suggested this fact on CNN in 2006, and reiterated it on Oprah’s show so that the public realizes what is to come, I raised a few eyes brows. Now unfortunately, we are meeting the cells of Jihadism in our cities and little towns, and sadly the expectation is that we will see more, and we may unfortunately not be able to stop them all from reaching their goals.

The North Carolina cell, the New York subway plot, the Dallas attempt, the Illinois case, added to the previous cases of the shooting of a soldier in Arkansas, the precedent New York cells, Georgia’s young Jihadists, all the way back to the infamous Virginia paintball network, if anything gives us the genome of what is morphing inside the country -- a vast body of dispersed cells with at least one binding force -- the Jihadi ideology. The question thus is to find out who is propagating the doctrines of Jihadism: who is funding it; who is protecting the indoctrination operation which leads naturally to the rise of homegrown or foreign linked, lone wolves or packs of Jihadists, Terrorists. That is the real question: where is the factory?

What should the US Government do? Well, it must first of all come to the front of the threat and lead the nation against it. This is not a matter of only local police or law enforcement efforts. President Obama and Congressional leaders from both parties must give this spreading plague a top priority: for if one of these groups is successful, our national economy will crumble again, or at least will be wounded even more severely, let alone the human consequences of terror. Americans are watching with great concerns, these terror plots being revealed. They expect their elected officials to address these fears before the worse happens.

**********
Dr Walid Phares is the author of The Confrontation: Winning the War against Future Jihad and the Director of the Future Terrorism Project at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies. Dr Phares is an advisor to the US House Caucus on Counter Terrorism

----------------

Talib Islam, aka Finton, planning in Illinois



Hussam Smadi operating in Dallas


Najibullah Zazi targeting New York

----------------------------
Watch a short interview on Canada's CTV: "American and Canadian Jihadists are connected through ideology and more." http://watch.ctv.ca/news/latest/canadian-ties/#clip217436

Listen to a short radio interview on Washington Dateline http://www.podtrac.com/pts/redirect.mp3/feeds.radioamerica.org/rd-bin/rdfeed.mp3?DWP&cast_id=13073

By Walid Phares on September 26, 2009 4:27 PM
10860  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: September 28, 2009, 06:43:17 PM
Israel will burn, Afghanistan will fail as Obama fiddles.

He's busy trying to get the Olympics for Chicago.
10861  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: September 27, 2009, 01:55:47 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/27/video-the-implications-of-the-body-bomb/

Keep in mind that AQ will work to refine this.
10862  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: September 27, 2009, 08:56:36 AM
Fears over 'internal' terror bomb
By Frank Gardner
BBC security correspondent
Security and intelligence experts are deeply worried by a new development in suicide bombing, the BBC has learned.

It has emerged that an al-Qaeda bomber who died last month while trying to blow up a Saudi prince in Jeddah had hidden the explosives inside his body.

Only the attacker died, but it is feared that the new development could be copied by others.

Experts say it could have implications for airport security, rendering traditional metal detectors "useless".

Last month's bombing left people wondering how one of the most wanted al-Qaeda operatives in Saudi Arabia could get so close to the prince in charge of counter-terrorism that he was able to blow himself up in the same room.

Western forensic investigators think they have the answer, and it is worrying them profoundly.

The explosives, they believe, were detonated by mobile phone.

Peter Neuman of Kings College London says the case will be studied intensively, and that there are "tremendous implications for airport security with the potential of making it even more complicated to get on to your plane".

"If it really is true that the metal detectors couldn't detect this person's hidden explosive device, that would mean that the metal detectors as they currently exist in airports are pretty much useless," he said.

The bomber was a Saudi al-Qaeda fugitive who said he wanted to give himself up to the prince in person.

The prince took him at his word and gave him safe passage to his palace.

But there, once he got next to his target, the bomb inside him was detonated.

Miraculously the prince survived with minor injuries, but footage emerging this week shows a sizeable crater in the concrete floor and the bomber's body blown in half.

It is believed the force of the blast went downwards which is why only the bomber died.

Story from BBC NEWS:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/go/pr/fr/-/2/hi/middle_east/8276016.stm

Published: 2009/09/26 01:23:46 GMT
10863  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Gender issues thread on: September 27, 2009, 08:51:56 AM
I doubt many here that would want the power of the state used to interfere in the intimate affairs of consenting adults, just that we would avoid having the homosexual political agenda forced on us by the power of the state as well.
10864  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Education on: September 24, 2009, 09:42:17 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/24/school-indoctrination-video-retrieved/

If you don't want to have your kids indoctrinated like this, you must be raaaaaAAAAAAaaaaaaaacist!
10865  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: September 24, 2009, 09:37:38 PM
Where are all the left wing screamers? Remember "Boooooosh is shredding the constitution!!!!!"

Now all quiet.
10866  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: September 24, 2009, 08:47:33 PM
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/dn/latestnews/stories/092409dnmetbombarrest.1b177db8b.html


http://www.reuters.com/article/marketsNews/idUSN2447383520090924


http://www.reuters.com/article/domesticNews/idUSTRE58N6YT20090924
10867  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The electoral process, vote fraud (ACORN et al), corruption etc. on: September 23, 2009, 07:56:02 PM
I can't wait until the discovery from the suit surfaces! Glad to see these dummies want to keep the story active.
10868  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: September 23, 2009, 11:13:50 AM
http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=8642956

Officials Worry NY Terror Plot 'Still Alive' as Case Broadens
Surveillance Teams "Stretched Thin" with More Than 24 Possible Suspects
By RICHARD ESPOSITO and BRIAN ROSS
Sept. 22, 2009—


Law enforcement officials say the alleged terror plot against New York City may be "still alive" despite the arrest of its alleged ringleader, 24-year-old Najibullah Zazi of Denver, Colorado.

"I have never been so worried," said one senior law enforcement official with more than a dozen years of experience in counter-terrorism investigations.

CLICK HERE FOR COMPLETE COVERAGE OF THE NEW YORK TERROR PLOT AND OTHER TERRORISM STORIES.

In Washington, the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security issued a bulletin to law enforcement authorities urging vigilance at so-called "soft targets" including sports stadiums and luxury hotels.

ABCNews.com reported Monday that Zazi's computer contained information relating to New York area baseball and football stadiums and a video of Grand Central Terminal in New York.

Earlier, the FBI and Homeland Security had warned police about possible attacks on mass transit targets but said there was no evidence of any specific target or timing.

Law enforcement authorities tell ABCNews.com that more than 24 men in New York have been under watch at various times since Zazi's trip to the city on September 11.

One official said local and federal surveillance teams are "stretched thin" as authorities seek to track a group of young men allegedly recruited by Zazi following his return from an al Qaeda training camp in Pakistan in January.

Click here to watch Zazi denying al Qaeda ties to television cameras.

Officials said some of the initial subjects had "washed out" but that others had emerged as "possible players."



Click here to watch Zazi returning home after a day of questioning.

Officials told ABCNews.com that Zazi had organized three distinct teams of four men each and that the investigation had led to more than ten others.

"This investigation is going forward aggressively," New York Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said Tuesday. "We are doing everything we can to protect the city."

Authorities cautioned there is always the possibility of the case "fizzling out," but for a tenth consecutive day, agents were attempting to find a garage or storage shed where they believe Zazi and others may have stored chemicals and bomb components.


Zazi is the Alleged Ringleader
Since a series of raids in New York and Denver, authorities say Zazi's alleged role as organizer and recruiter has come into sharper focus.

Zazi, who had lived in New York since he and his family arrived from Afghanistan in 1999, traveled to Peshawar, Pakistan in Aug. 2008.

According to an FBI affidavit filed in connection with his arrest, Zazi spent four and half months in Pakistan and received weapons and explosives training at an al Qaeda camp located near Peshawar.

Authorities tell ABCNews.com that several other men from the U.S. traveled with Zazi to Pakistan.

Upon his return to the U.S. on Jan. 15, Zazi moved to Denver and went to work at an airport shuttle van service.

Law enforcement authorities say he has been under FBI surveillance since then and that he traveled to New York at least one time before his September trip.

Authorities believe the earlier trip or trips to New York were designed to organize others he allegedly recruited for his network.
10869  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: california on: September 23, 2009, 10:59:20 AM
So when are you punching out, Crafty? AZ or NV?
10870  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / The Fate of Rifqa Bary on: September 22, 2009, 12:37:17 PM
http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?print=yes&id=33638

The Fate of Rifqa Bary
by John Guandolo
Posted 09/22/2009 ET




Fathima Rifqa Bary may not be a household name to most Americans, but she may soon be the international symbol of society’s willful blindness to the dangers of Islamic radicalism already present.

Bary, a seventeen year-old high school student who previously lived in the Columbus, Ohio area, is of Sri Lankan decent and was raised in a Muslim home with her family in Ohio.  Over the last few years, Rifqa, as she is known among friends, was introduced to and chose to secretly convert to Christianity. 

During this summer, she saw growing threats to her safety developing within her family and within the local Muslim community of Columbus, and she fled Ohio to Florida, taking refuge with a pastor and his wife.  Rifqa Bary is a minor who continues to reside in Florida following the ruling of a Florida judge until further investigations can be conducted. 

This case has become a significant matter for both Ohio and Florida officials who are required to uphold the law and promote justice within the legal systems of the respective states.  In doing so, all parties involved are required to take an unconstrained look at the facts of the matter in order to make objective and lawful decisions about the fate of this young American girl. 

The facts are these:  (1) Rifqa Bary left Islam and converted to Christianity; (2) Ms. Bary has provided statements to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE)  that her parents and others have threatened her life because she left Islam; (3) Ms. Bary claims there are requirements in Islamic Law calling for her killing as an apostate; (4) a due diligence search reveals authoritative English translations of Islamic Law are available to investigators seeking to review  it; (5) a review of Islamic Law reveals there are requirements and rules as to how apostates from Islam are to be dealt with (for instance, see The Classic Manual of Islamic Sacred Law, "Umdat al-Salik" also known as "Reliance of the Traveller" -- publicly available in English); and (6) Rifqa Bary’s parents appear to adhere to Islamic Law -- which is considered the “law of the land” in Islamic communities.   

An objective and fact-based analysis of this information logically and necessarily will lead to the conclusion that further investigation into this matter is required.  However, no such reviews or investigations have been conducted to date into the facts of the matter as described above.  Since these facts are ascertainable and knowable, the question must be asked: “Why do law enforcement entities and prosecutors in Florida not understand this?”

Have they, and we as a society, lost the ability to take an unconstrained look at objective facts and make decisions based on these facts?

Rifqa Bary’s parents directly told FDLE officials investigating the threat allegations there are no provisions in Islamic Law for “honor killings” for apostasy.  This statement seems to have been taken at face value without a due diligence effort to discover the knowable facts about this matter. 

The issues of “honor killings” and apostates -- those who leave Islam -- are discussed in detail within Islamic Law, and are two different subjects that should not be confused.  While it appears the phrase “honor killing” has been most prevalent in media and web reports on this matter, Rifqa Bary’s issue revolves around her decision to leave Islam, which has now been publicly declared -- making her an apostate under Islamic Law, which prescribes the penalty of death.  “Honor killings” -- a different Islamic concept -- applies to the public misbehavior of women.  So Bary’s family is correct: there are no “honor killings” of apostates: their death penalty is separately imposed and automatically so.

Further complicating this matter is the fact that the Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR)-Columbus (Ohio) and the Staff Attorney for CAIR were present during the interview of Mr. Bary by FDLE Investigators.  This raises serious questions since the FDLE report was silent on the fact that CAIR is a known Muslim Brotherhood entity and an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history - the Holy Land Foundation (HLF) trial, which proved HLF is a Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood front in the United States.  The Muslim Brotherhood's (MB) creed is  "Allah is our goal; the Messenger is our guide: the Koran is our constitution; Jihad is our means; and martyrdom in the way of Allah is our highest inspiration," and their stated objective in America is a "Civilization-Jihad" to destroy the United States from within in order to implement Islamic Law here.

All of these material facts are relevant for two critical reasons.  First, they should be made known to all officials involved in this case as a matter of course. Secondly, it raises the question as to why law enforcement officials would allow the CAIR officials into the interview at all, in light of the fact they represent an organization objectively known to be hostile towards to the United States and unindicted co-conspirators in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history.  A review of the Muslim Brotherhood writings and approved Islamic legal texts also reveals the MB has strong positions on how apostates from Islam should be dealt with, and the requirements of Islam in these matters. 

Apostasy is specifically addressed in Peace and the Limits of War, written by Louay Safi, the Executive Director of the Islamic Society of North America's (ISNA) Leadership Development Council.  ISNA is a known Muslim Brotherhood entity and is an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terrorism financing trial in U.S. history - HLF.  Safi is also the former Executive Director of IIIT (Malaysia) and the Association of Muslim Social Scientists -- both known Muslim Brotherhood entities.   The book was published by IIIT and was approved by the Secretary General  of ISNA.  In it, Mr. Safi notes that individual apostates cannot be killed for a "quiet desertion of personal Islamic duties," but can be put to death as "just punishment" when the apostate deserts Islam publicly (p. 31).

As a matter of professional responsibility, anyone investigating this matter must seek out and understand these facts, and must remain open-minded in conducting an unconstrained analysis of these facts.  That is the professional responsibility of all men and women who are charged with the duties within the ranks of law enforcement, as well as those charged with prosecuting violations of U.S. and state law.  We take an oath to the Constitution which binds us to these duties, and we must be faithful to this oath.  Truth must prevail.

Mr. Guandolo is a 1989 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy, a former active duty Infantry/Reconnaissance Officer in the United States Marine Corps, and a former Special Agent of the FBI in Washington, D.C. for over 12 years. He currently advises the government on a variety of issues.
10871  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / FBI: Active terror cell aimed at “real deal” NYC attack on: September 21, 2009, 03:10:39 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/21/fbi-active-terror-cell-aimed-at-real-deal-nyc-attack/

FBI: Active terror cell aimed at “real deal” NYC attack

posted at 1:36 pm on September 21, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Two new reports from ABC and the Washington Post underscore the “real deal” nature of the al-Qaeda terror cell uncovered this month in a flurry of arrests and search warrants.  Sources within the investigation now claim that Najibullah Zazi left his fingerprints all over evidence that points to a terrorist attack, which may account for his reported flirtation with a plea bargain.  Others tell ABC that they haven’t yet identified all the plotters:
Investigators said they found notes describing how to make bombs in the handwriting of an airport shuttle driver arrested as part of a terrorism investigation, and they also discovered his fingerprints on materials — batteries and a scale — that could be used to make explosives.
The emerging details show that Najibullah Zazi, who has admitted receiving weapons training from al-Qaeda, played a direct role in an alleged terror plot, authorities said in court documents released Sunday. …
The FBI said it found images of nine pages of handwritten notes on a laptop containing formulas and instructions for making a bomb, detonators and a fuse.
Zazi told the FBI that he must h ave unintentionally downloaded the notes as part of a religious book he downloaded in August. Zazi said he “immediately deleted the religious book within days of downloading it after realizing that its contents discussed jihad.” However, an arrest affidavit says the handwriting on the notes appeared to be Zazi’s. The affidavit doesn’t mention that they were part of a book, but that they were e-mailed as an attachment between accounts believed owned by Zazi in December, including an account that originated in Pakistan.
“It appeared to be consistent with the handwriting as it appeared in the document,” an FBI agent wrote of comparisons of Zazi’s handwriting with the notes.
In addition, agents found Zazi’s fingerprints on a scale and double-A batteries seized during a raid at a home in the New York City borough of Queens on Sept. 14.
Zazi’s legal team denies that it discussed a plea bargain last week, but they may not have a lot of choice.  If the FBI sources are correct about this evidence, it will be very difficult for Zazi to argue to a jury of New Yorkers that plans for bombs from his e-mail as well as equipment for making them just wound up with his fingerprints by mistake.  Zazi isn’t OJ Simpson, and this won’t be a Los Angeles celebrity trial.
ABC offers this less optimistic update:
After overnight arrests this weekend in the alleged New York terror plot, FBI agents believe an active terror cell directed by al Qaeda was preparing an attack on New York City, and authorities say they have yet to identify everyone involved.
Officials say they do not have specifics on the potential targets of the alleged plot, and with so much still unknown, security in New York has been heightened.
A familiar face has joined the defense team for one of the arrested suspects:
Also arrested this weekend was Ahmed Afzali, who was apprehended in his Queens, NY home and charged with making false statements to federal agents. He is alleged to have falsely told authorities that he didn’t tell the Zazis he had been asked by officials about them.
Afzali’s attorney Ron Kuby told ABC News that his client, a respected imam at a Queens, NY mosque who had worked as a source for law enforcement in the past, was doing what authorities asked him to do.
“It was the government that went to him and said we need to know the whereabouts of Najibullah Zazi,” Kuby said. He said that Afzali then reached out to others to find Zazi, located and spoke to him, and then “duly reported this to the FBI.”
“Now the FBI claims he didn’t report everything, or he stated some details of the conversation wrong, so they arrest him,” Kuby said. ” So this is his reward for being a good member of the community.”
Kuby was a protege of William Kunstler, who made his reputation by defending radicals in the 1960s and 1970s.  It doesn’t surprise me to see Kuby on the defense in this case.  At the very least, the defendants will not be able to claim that they didn’t get adequate representation.
10872  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / September Auto Sales Go Clunk on: September 21, 2009, 01:31:43 PM
http://planetgore.nationalreview.com/post/?q=ZDYwYjIwMDMwMjFmY2YzMWVjOTdlYTI4OGI0YjhiNjA=

Friday, September 18, 2009



September Auto Sales Go Clunk   [Henry Payne]

When Congress gave away $3 billion for buyers to trade in their “clunkers” and buy new cars in August, lawmakers thrilled as buyers swamped showrooms to take advantage of the big discounts. “Cash for clunkers has captured the public’s attention . . . (it) has the possibility to truly jumpstart our economy,” said Rep. Candice Miller (R., Mich.). Other, more sober analysts, warned that the clunkers program was only stealing from future sales.

September sales are in, and sobriety can take a bow.

Edmunds.com reports that “September’s light-vehicle sales rate will fall to 8.8 million units . . . the lowest rate in nearly 28 years, tying the worst demand on record. After the cash-for-clunkers program boosted August sales to their first year-over-year increase since October 2007, demand has plunged. In at least the last 33 years, the U.S. seasonally adjusted annual rate has only dropped as low as 8.8 million units once — in December 1981 — with records stretching back to January 1976.”

“Many people regard February as the darkest month of the recession, but even then (sales were) higher, at 9.1 million units,” adds Edmunds.com statistician Zhenwei Zhou.

But sobriety comes hard for Washington. Now NHTSA says that, despite burdening manufacturers with $60 billion in new costs, its new 35.5 mpg fuel mandate will stimulate the economy by boosting auto sales by 65,480 vehicles through 2016 because Washington “expects stronger consumer demand for fuel-efficient models.” Sure.
10873  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: Jungian Psychology on: September 20, 2009, 09:00:29 AM
So what's your take on all of this, Crafty?
10874  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: September 20, 2009, 08:38:23 AM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/09/18/AR2009091803046_pf.html

Shattered Confidence In Europe

By Ronald D. Asmus
Saturday, September 19, 2009



President Obama's decision to shelve the Bush administration's missile defense plans has created a crisis of confidence in Washington's relations with Central and Eastern Europe. The defense architecture the administration proposes may make more strategic sense in addressing the immediate Iranian threat. Nevertheless, it runs the risk of shattering the morale and standing of transatlantic leaders in the region who now feel politically undermined and exposed. The roots of this crisis lie less in missile defense than in policy failures over the past decade. Understanding and rectifying those errors is key to getting back on track with our allies.

Our first mistake was being overly optimistic about what would happen when these countries joined NATO and the European Union. We basically checked the box "mission accomplished." We assumed that Russia would finally accept that Central and Eastern Europe were gone from its sphere of influence and stop trying to interfere in their regional politics. But geopolitical competition didn't stop. Moscow simply tried to pressure and interfere in new ways, using energy and other weapons. It seeks to marginalize these countries in NATO and the European Union by going above their heads. It still wants to create a zone of special Russian interest, influence and lesser security.

The second mistake was poor handling of our commitment to defend Central and Eastern Europe counties under Article 5 of the NATO Treaty. Given the low-threat environment, we decided NATO did not need to station troops in those countries' territory and pledged instead to create a reinforcement capability that could be used in times of crisis. I sat at the table in the mid-1990s as Washington promised Polish leaders that NATO would have a corps-size reinforcement capability to provide for their security.

But that NATO corps-size reinforcement capability never materialized. There are not even official defense plans for these countries. The power of Article 5 was always the fact that these commitments were backed up by planning, exercises and boots on the ground. Yet a lack of leadership and divisions within NATO prevented the alliance from fulfilling such pledges.

The alliance has also decayed in its role as the key crisis manager in Europe. Central and Eastern Europeans have watched as one ally after another has prevented NATO from acting over the past decade. NATO was AWOL during the August 2008 war between Russia and Georgia. When Georgian leaders quietly approached the alliance several months before hostilities, NATO demurred. When war broke out, the secretary general interrupted his vacation for one day to hold a meeting and issue a statement. NATO's supreme allied commander did not even do that much. The NATO Military Committee met only after the war was over. Hardly an inspiring performance.

Given this record, we should not be surprised that Central and Eastern Europeans doubt what NATO would do to help them in a pinch. While they are loath to say it publicly, their leaders have told me that they are no longer certain NATO is capable of coming to their rescue if there were a crisis involving Russia. They no longer believe that the political solidarity exists or that NATO's creaky machinery would take the needed steps.

Had we handled these issues differently, our debate about missile defense would be quite different. The Poles and Czechs bought into the Bush administration's plans for missile defense not because of Iranian missiles but because they were losing confidence in NATO. Atlanticist leaders were seeking additional security through an American military presence on their soil. That is why missile defense assumed a political significance in the region that transcended the merits of the actual program. And that is why abandoning the program has created a crisis of confidence.

We must take real steps toward solving this problem by providing strategic reassurance to Central and Eastern Europe through the front door of NATO and not the back door of missile defense. President Obama has already decided to push for defense plans for these countries. But a top-secret NATO defense plan in some safe in Brussels will not mollify Central and Eastern European anxieties. Their primary worry is not the prospect of an imminent Russian military attack but political intimidation or blackmail or a regional crisis that spins out of control. It is above all their lack of belief in our solidarity in the alliance.

That is why we need a broader package of political, economic and military measures that will reinforce that solidarity and provide reassurance. We also need to fix NATO so that it can again function as a crisis manager, as it did in the Balkans in the 1990s. Nothing prevents us from taking these steps. They do not contradict any of our commitments to Russia. They require only political imagination, will and a modest investment of resources. If we get that right, then the Obama administration's decision on missile defense can be a catalyst that helps us get this relationship back on track. If we don't, the crisis of confidence in the region will only deepen.

The writer, a deputy assistant secretary of state in the Clinton administration, is executive director of the Brussels-based Transatlantic Center at the German Marshall Fund of the United States. The views expressed here are his own.
10875  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 19, 2009, 10:36:23 PM
CCP,

Obama just sold out our allies in eastern europe. Things don't look good for Israel either, just as I predicted last year.
10876  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 19, 2009, 10:30:10 PM
http://www.weeklystandard.com/weblogs/TWSFP/2009/09/brezinski_calls_for_obama_to_s.asp

Brezinski Calls for Obama to Shoot Down Israeli Jets; "A Liberty in Reverse"

In a little noticed interview with the Daily Beast (presumably little noticed because serious people don't read the Daily Beast), Zbigniew Brzezinski suggests that Barack Obama do more than just refuse to support an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear sites -- the American president must give the order to shoot down Israeli aircraft as they cross Iraqi airspace:


DB: How aggressive can Obama be in insisting to the Israelis that a military strike might be in America’s worst interest?

Brzezinski: We are not exactly impotent little babies. They have to fly over our airspace in Iraq. Are we just going to sit there and watch?

DB: What if they fly over anyway?

Brzezinski: Well, we have to be serious about denying them that right. That means a denial where you aren’t just saying it. If they fly over, you go up and confront them. They have the choice of turning back or not. No one wishes for this but it could be a Liberty in reverse.


Contrary to Brezinski's half-hearted disclaimer that no one wishes for such an outcome, there are plenty on the left who would delight in a pitched battle between the United States and Israel. Democrats in Congress routinely support resolutions affirming Israel's right to take whatever steps it deems necessary to assure its own national defense. And Obama has at least paid lip service to the concept. But hostility to Israel among the rank and file is very real on the left -- and among "realists."

So conjure the image -- the Obama administration sending U.S. aircraft up to protect Iran's airspace and it's nuclear installations from an attack by a democracy that is one of America's closest allies. Unfortunately, this may not be so hard to imagine in Israel, where the number of people who believe Obama is pro-Israel is at just 4 percent -- and falling. And given Obama's (literally) submissive posture to the Saudis, his indulgence of the Iranians, and his simultaneously hard-line approach to Israel, it seems even some of Obama's supporters can savor the possibility of a "reverse Liberty."

Posted by Michael Goldfarb on September 19, 2009 03:38 PM
10877  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: September 19, 2009, 03:48:46 PM
http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=8618732

Terror Suspect's Computer Said to Show Sports Stadiums, Fashion Sites
Officials Report Denver Man Sent Texts Suggesting Attack Coming; 'Wedding Cake' Is Ready
By RICHARD ESPOSITO, BRIAN ROSS and CLAYTON SANDELL
Sept. 19, 2009—


A computer belonging to alleged al Qaeda suspect Najibullah Zazi showed he had researched baseball and football stadiums and sites used in the recent Fashion Week event in New York City, law enforcement officials tell ABCNews.com.

Zazi, 24, had been scheduled to spend a fourth day today being questioned by the FBI but his lawyer, Arthur Folsom, canceled the session.

"He has taken the day to consult with his client," said Wendy Aiello, a spokeswoman for the lawyer.

Zazi is not in custody, she said.

While officials say they do not know the targets of the alleged plot, the contents of Zazi's computer are considered a valuable insight into what he might have been planning.

After first denying any ties to al Qaeda, Zazi has now admitted certain ties developed during trips to Pakistan, law enforcement officials told ABCNews.com.

The officials said text messages sent by Zazi suggest the plot was nearing the attack phase. One message said the "wedding cake is ready," which authorities say may have been code to indicate the attack was ready. Al Qaeda operatives have frequently used references to weddings to disguise planned terror attacks.

Zazi's lawyer, Arthur Folsom, said his client was cooperating fully with the FBI during his long interrogation sessions. Folsom told ABCNews.com "no deal has been offered," but authorities say Zazi is preparing a "proffer" of information he would be prepared to testify about as part of a plea negotiation.

Zazi's computer was copied, or "mirrored," by FBI agents last weekend without Zazi's knowledge. His lawyer said the agents probably made the copy after towing away Zazi's car on an purported parking violation. The computer was in the car, and Zazi told his lawyer he discovered it had been tampered with when he retrieved the car at a police lot.

Authorities who have been briefed on elements of the alleged plot said it was a "varsity level" plan similar in scope to the 2005 attacks on London's subways and busses.

A recipe for homemade explosives found on Zazi's computer would have produced a bomb of the same size and type used in London, authorities said.

The suicide bombers in London used backpacks and plastic containers to carry the explosive mixtures.

Raids in New York led to the discovery of 14 new backpacks.

FBI agents in New York, Denver and other U.S. locations are "working around the clock" on the investigation, according to Attorney General Eric Holder.

The New York Daily News reported Saturday that seven New York men with ties to Zazi had unsuccessfully attempted to rent a large rental truck on Sept. 10, the day before Zazi arrived from Denver.

This story has been updated with information from Najibullah Zazi's lawyer.
10878  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: States Rights on: September 19, 2009, 09:58:28 AM
I'd hope that the buying and selling of human beings pretty much invalidates any claim of states' rights.
10879  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 18, 2009, 10:36:03 AM
Obama will support Israel just like he supports our other allies.....
10880  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Why do the dems love to betray our allies? on: September 18, 2009, 08:59:03 AM
Poles, Czechs: US missile defense shift a betrayal
By VANESSA GERA, Associated Press Writer Vanessa Gera, Associated Press Writer
1 hr 45 mins ago
 
WARSAW, Poland – Poles and Czechs voiced deep concern Friday at President Barack Obama's decision to scrap a Bush-era missile defense shield planned for their countries.

"Betrayal! The U.S. sold us to Russia and stabbed us in the back," the Polish tabloid Fakt declared on its front page.

Polish President Lech Kaczynski said he was concerned that Obama's new strategy leaves Poland in a dangerous "gray zone" between Western Europe and the old Soviet sphere.

Recent events in the region have rattled nerves throughout central and eastern Europe, a region controlled by Moscow during the Cold War, including the war last summer between Russia and Georgia and ongoing efforts by Russia to regain influence in Ukraine. A Russian cutoff of gas to Ukraine last winter left many Europeans without heat.

The Bush administration's plan would have been "a major step in preventing various disturbing trends in our region of the world," Kaczynski said in a guest editorial in the daily Fakt and also carried on his presidential Web site.

Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said he still sees a chance for Poles and Czechs to participate in the redesigned missile defense system. But that did not appear to calm nerves in Warsaw or Prague.

Kaczynski expressed hopes that the U.S. will now offer Poland other forms of "strategic partnership."

In Prague, Czech Foreign Minister Jan Kohout said he made two concrete proposal to U.S. officials on Thursday in hopes of keeping the U.S.-Czech alliance strong: for the U.S. to establish a branch of West Point for NATO members in Central Europe and to "send a Czech scientist on the U.S. space shuttle to the international space station."

An editorial in Hospodarske Novine, a respected pro-business Czech newspaper, said: "an ally we rely on has betrayed us, and exchanged us for its own, better relations with Russia, of which we are rightly afraid."

The move has raised fears in the two nations they are being marginalized by Washington even as a resurgent Russia leaves them longing for added American protection.

The Bush administration always said that the planned system — with a radar near Prague and interceptors in northern Poland — was meant as defense against Iran. But Poles and Czechs saw it as protection against Russia, and Moscow too considered a military installation in its backyard to be a threat.

"No Radar. Russia won," the largest Czech daily, Mlada Fronta Dnes, declared in a front-page headline.

Obama said the old plan was scrapped in part because the U.S. has concluded that Iran is less focused on developing the kind of long-range missiles for which the system was originally developed, making the building of an expensive new shield unnecessary.

The replacement system is to link smaller radar systems with a network of sensors and missiles that could be deployed at sea or on land. Some of the weaponry and sensors are ready now, and the rest would be developed over the next 10 years.

The Pentagon contemplates a system of perhaps 40 missiles by 2015, at two or three sites across Europe.

_____

Associated Press writer Karel Janicek contributed reporting from Prague.
10881  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: US Foreign Policy on: September 17, 2009, 04:16:20 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/17/un-nuke-agency-iran-can-build-a-bomb-right-now/

Foreign policy is raAAAAaaaaaaaacist!
10882  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Obama to allies: Drop Dead on: September 17, 2009, 03:33:41 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/17/biden-iran-not-a-threat/

Smart power!
10883  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Obama to allies: Drop Dead on: September 17, 2009, 02:35:38 PM
East Europe grumbles about downgrade in US ties
By KAREL JANICEK and WILLIAM J. KOLE, Associated Press Writers Karel Janicek And William J. Kole, Associated Press Writers
58 mins ago
 
PRAGUE – Scuttling a missile defense shield in the Czech Republic and Poland helps smooth relations between the U.S. and Russia. But at what price?

Some of America's staunchest allies are the East Europeans — and on Thursday, they expressed dismay at what many see as a slight after decades of their support for the U.S.

Among them were some famous names, including Lech Walesa, the former Solidarity leader and Polish ex-president. "I can see what kind of policy the Obama administration is pursuing toward this part of Europe," he said ruefully, adding: "The way we are being approached needs to change."

For most of the past decade, cozy relations with Washington were practically a given across the "new Europe." George W. Bush famously courted the region after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and leaned on it for troops to fight alongside U.S. forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Barack Obama took office undecided about Bush's plan to base 10 interceptor missiles in Poland and sophisticated radar in the Czech Republic — a system designed to shoot down long-range missiles that might be fired from Iran or elsewhere in the Middle East. Building had not started in either country.

The Czech installation was planned for the Brdy military installation 55 miles (90 kilometers) southwest of Prague. The Polish site was slated for a former military air base near the town of Redzikowo, about 115 miles from Russia's westernmost edge.

Obama has been reaching out to Russia, which had expressed outrage at the notion of missiles being pointed in its direction from a region that was firmly in the Soviet orbit just 20 years ago.

On Thursday, Obama announced he was shifting the plan from Eastern Europe to other locations. He and other administration officials said they have concluded that Iran's medium- and short-range missiles pose a greater threat and require more flexible technology.

Obama's decision got a positive reception in Russia, hailed by President Dmitry Medvedev as a "responsible move."

"Now we can talk about restoration of the strategic partnership between Russia and the United States," said Konstantin Kosachev, head of the foreign affairs committee in Russia's State Duma, the lower house of the Russian parliament.

Alexei Arbatov, head of the Russian Academy of Science's Center for International Security, said the U.S. reckons "Russia will be inclined together with the United States to take a harder line on sanctions against Iran."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she viewed the shift as "a hopeful signal for overcoming difficulties with Russia when it comes to a uniform strategy to combat the threat of Iran together."

Officially, Czech leaders said they understood the rationale for abandoning the shield, and they expressed confidence that the country would remain secure.

But some expressed dismay at the reversal.

Former Prime Minister Mirek Topolanek, whose government signed treaties with the Bush administration to build the radar system — and took a lot of heat from Czechs who feared it would make their country a terrorist target — went on Czech radio to vent his frustrations.

"The Americans are not interested in this territory as they were before," he said. "It's bad news for the Czech Republic."

Obama's decision also drew flak in Washington. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell called it "shortsighted and harmful to our long-term security interests."

"We must not turn our backs on two loyal allies in the war on terror," he said.

Obama, however, said the United States will continue to work cooperatively with what he called "our close friends and allies." And Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk expressed hope that his country could have a role in the redesigned U.S. system.

"There is a chance for strengthening Europe's security with special attention given to Poland," Tusk told reporters, adding: "I would not describe what is going on today as a defeat for Poland."

Opponents of the shield, such as Jan Tamas — an activist who had organized numerous protests — hailed Obama's decision.

"It is a big victory for the Czech Republic. We are happy that we will be able to continue to live in our beautiful country without the presence of foreign soldiers," he said.

And Mariusz Chmiel, a top official in the northern Poland region where the missiles would have been based, proclaimed himself "the happiest man in Poland" now that the plan has been shelved.

Even so, scrapping missile defense comes as a huge setback to many Polish and Czech leaders, who viewed it as a way to strengthen military ties with the U.S. in a form of defense against a resurgent Russia.

Fears of Moscow run especially deep in Poland, highlighted by a key anniversary Thursday. Exactly 70 years ago — on Sept. 17, 1939 — Poland was invaded by the Soviet Union at the start of World War II.

Aleksander Szczyglo, head of Poland's National Security Office, characterized the change as a "defeat primarily of American long-distance thinking about the situation in this part of Europe."

"It's quite unfair," said Petr Boubin, 36, who owns a cafe in the Czech capital. "I think Obama is making too many concessions to Russia."

___

Kole reported from Vienna. AP Writers Monika Scislowska and Vanessa Gera in Warsaw and Jim Heintz in Moscow contributed to this story.
10884  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: September 17, 2009, 02:26:16 PM
**It's ok, Obama has yet to begun to appease....**

AP NewsBreak: Nuke agency says Iran can make bomb
Sep 17 01:23 PM US/Eastern

 

VIENNA (AP) - Experts at the world's top atomic watchdog are in agreement that Tehran has the ability to make a nuclear bomb and is on the way to developing a missile system able to carry an atomic warhead, according to a secret report seen by The Associated Press.
The document drafted by senior officials at the International Atomic Energy Agency is the clearest indication yet that the agency's leaders share Washington's views on Iran's weapon-making capabilities.

It appears to be the so-called "secret annex" on Iran's nuclear program that Washington says is being withheld by the IAEA's chief.

The document says Iran has "sufficient information" to build a bomb. It says Iran is likely to "overcome problems" on developing a delivery system.
10885  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: September 16, 2009, 06:31:06 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/16/nyc-terror-plot-fbi-fears-madrid-style-attack-on-subways-planning-more-raids/

NYC terror plot: FBI fears Madrid-style attack on subways, planning more raids
posted at 7:23 pm on September 16, 2009 by Allahpundit

I was thinking today that this story is an object lesson in how utterly useless the color-coded terror warning system is. Major plot, Al Qaeda cell, hundreds of FBI agents scrambling, no arrests made or bomb materials yet found, and more raids on the way. If this isn’t a code red, nothing is.
Note well: So convinced were the feds that these guys are dangerous that they had their hostage team in the city, ready for action in case the raids turned ugly.
The FBI’s elite Hostage Rescue Team arrived in New York in anticipation of the offensive to thwart a Denver-based terror cell with ties to Al Qaeda, police sources told the Daily News.
Another source said an earlier raid uncovered nine backpacks and cell phones, raising memories of the March 2004 bombings in Madrid…
Najibullah Zazi, the Colorado man who triggered a rash of Queens raids Monday, was identified through e-mail, wire taps and a confidential informant as part of the plot, the source said…
Zazi was stopped at the George Washington Bridge on his way into the city, sources told The News. Authorities later seized his rental car from a Queens street, sources said.
In the car, sources said the feds found documents and papers about bomb-making and bombs.
The Daily News claims the cell is comprised of five men but I don’t know how that squares with the detail about nine backpacks. In fact, if you believe ABC News, it was actually 14 backpacks that were found. Remember: It only took four to kill 52 people in the London bombings of 2005. Exit question: Do they really not have enough to arrest Zazi? E-mails and wiretaps and an informant and bomb-making instructions and a cross-country drive to NYC: Seems like there’s a conspiracy and an overt act in there somewhere. Maybe they let him go in hopes that he’ll do something stupid like contacting other members of the cell, against whom the evidence might momentarily be weak. If you want to see him wearing a sh*t-eating grin and denying everything, follow the ABC link and watch the embedded video.
10886  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: September 16, 2009, 04:16:02 PM
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/09/16/2009-09-16_fbi_unit_set_for_more_antiterror_raids_in_queens_sources_fears_of_madridstyle_su.html?print=1&page=all

FBI unit set for more anti-terror raids in Queens; Fears of Madrid-style subway bombings - sources
By James Gordon Meek In Washington and Rocco Parascandola, Alison Gendar and Larry Mcshane In New York
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

Updated Wednesday, September 16th 2009, 3:28 PM

 
Fearful of a Madrid-style subway train bombing, authorities are poised to make more raids to seize bomb-making materials at locations in Queens, sources said Wednesday.

The FBI's elite Hostage Rescue Team arrived in New York in anticipation of the offensive to thwart a Denver-based terror cell with ties to Al Qaeda, police sources told the Daily News.

Another source said an earlier raid uncovered nine backpacks and cell phones, raising memories of the March 2004 bombings in Madrid.

A series of terrorist bombs detonated aboard commuter trains killed 191 people. The source said authorities feared a potential attack on the city subway, with its 5.2 million daily riders.

FBI Director Robert Mueller, speaking at a Senate hearing Wednesday, said the plot posed "no imminent danger."

"New Yorkers are well benefited from the work of the NYPD and (Commissioner) Ray Kelly," said Mueller, offering no other details on the HRT deployment.

Najibullah Zazi, the Colorado man who triggered a rash of Queens raids Monday, was identified through e-mail, wire taps and a confidential informant as part of the plot, the source said.

Zazi, 25, told The News he had nothing to do with any terrorist activity.

"No. Of course, I'm not a terrorist," the 25-year-old Afghan national said Tuesday.

A source said Zazi, tipped while visiting Manhattan last weekend that he was under surveillance, fled back to suburban Denver.

Even as Zazi, of Aurora, Colo., professed his innocence, counterterrorism agents eyed him as part of the first suspected Al Qaeda cell they've uncovered in the U.S. since 9/11.

A bearded and barefoot Zazi, standing in the doorway of his apartment, said he's a hard-working airport shuttle driver who is married and lives with his elderly parents in the Denver suburb.

"I didn't know anything about who was following me," Zazi said of reports he is under surveillance by the FBI.

He confirmed driving to New York last week to visit friends, but denied involvement in any Al Qaeda bomb plot or terror cell.

Zazi was stopped at the George Washington Bridge on his way into the city, sources told The News. Authorities later seized his rental car from a Queens street, sources said.

In the car, sources said the feds found documents and papers about bomb-making and bombs. The massive federal response was "an indication of just how serious a threat they see this as," said Frances
Townsend, a former counterterrorism adviser to ex-President George W. Bush.

Zazi remained under constant surveillance Tuesday, the sources said.

Zazi said he and his newly hired lawyer plan to hold a press conference Wednesday.

FBI officials would not comment on The News' report that Zazi is indeed the target of their ongoing probe.

Scores of FBI agents inundated Denver Tuesday as they closed the noose on what sources say is a five-man cabal with ties to World Trade Center mastermind Osama Bin Laden's terrorist group.

One of the suspects, purportedly Zazi, recently had returned home from a trip abroad to Pakistan, where the U.S. believes a significant number of Al Qaeda's leaders live, sources said.

Multiple sources told The News the FBI believes it had uncovered an Al Qaeda cell for the first time since 9/11, prompting the unprecedented response.

"The FBI is seriously spooked about these guys," a former senior counterterrorism official told The News. "This is not some ... FBI informant-driven case. This is the real thing."

Zazi, seen last week praying and chatting with other worshipers at the Masjid Hazart Abubakr Islamic Center in Queens, was one of the quintet under intense scrutiny, sources said.

Known around the mosque as "Naji," he ran a coffee and doughnut cart in Manhattan before moving to Colorado earlier this year.

"I left New York because it's hard to live there; the rent is too expensive," said Zazi, who was born in eastern Afghanistan and moved here as a child.

His Queens home was in the same Flushing neighborhood where FBI agents swarmed into three apartments Monday, bashing down doors and carrying search warrants seeking bomb-making materials.

"I didn't know what he was up to," said mosque President Abdulrahman Jalili, 58, after he was contacted by the FBI about Zazi. "Islam is against terrorism. It is a religion of peace."

Red flags about an impending attack went up last week when Zazi visited with several people in a single day, combined with worrisome information collected from wiretaps, sources said.

The Queens apartment raids were triggered by the Denver investigation, Zazi's New York visit and the timing of the upcoming UN General Assembly.

New York authorities also detained several men - later released - in a hunt for bomb-making components, explosive powders and fuses.

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said unspecified material was seized from the apartments and shipped for analysis.
10887  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: September 16, 2009, 10:03:49 AM
http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/16/nyregion/16terror.html?_r=1&hp

Man in Queens Raids Denies Any Terrorist Link
KAREN ZRAICK and DAVID JOHNSTON
Published: September 15, 2009
A Colorado man whose visit to New York apparently set off government raids on several Queens apartments on Monday has denied having ties to al Qaeda or any other terrorist group.


Terrorism Task Force Raids Queens Apartments (September 15, 2009) “I have nothing to do with this,” said the man, Najibullah Zazi, 25, who was reached by telephone in Colorado on Monday and Tuesday. “This looks like it’s going toward me, which is more shocking every hour.”

Law enforcement authorities have not divulged the man’s identity, but they confirmed that he was suspected of having al Qaeda ties and was already under surveillance for that reason.

The man whom officials were watching left New York last weekend, according to officials who have knowledge of the raids but were not authorized to discuss them. No arrests were made and no explosives or weapons were found.

Representative Peter T. King of Long Island said agents of the city’s Joint Terrorism Task Force “acted very appropriately” in carrying out the raids.

“It was based on the totality of the evidence, and from what I understand of the evidence, it was important that they acted when they did,” Mr. King said. “I am positive they did the right thing.”

Federal authorities regarded the man to be a legitimate terrorist suspect who had become the focus of intense investigation and elaborate covert surveillance before his trip to New York, according to government officials briefed on the case.

The man’s arrival last Thursday appeared to be the event that prompted authorities to stop his car near the George Washington Bridge and then carry out the searches that began late Sunday night — based on federal search warrants drafted during a frantic weekend in which prosecutors in New York and Washington hastily assembled the necessary legal documents. Officials said they decided to disrupt any plot that might have been imminent, but the raid came before investigators understood the suspect’s intentions, according to several federal officials. Because there were no arrests, officials have been left to assert that they acted out of an abundance of caution.

But several said the raids were carried out well before investigators had a prosecutable case, and before they had figured out the nature of the plot, its intended target or its likely means of execution — if there was a plot at all.

Several federal officials said they were persuaded that the case was an important one and had been moving in a significant direction, but was prematurely brought to a close at the urging of police officials in New York.

Mr. Zazi said on Tuesday that he was contacting a lawyer, but he invited the F.B.I. to question him.

“I was hoping they’d come question me, give me a chance to question them, ask, ‘Why are you following me?’ ” said Mr. Zazi. “If they want to investigate, they can.”

He said he left Aurora, Colo., in a rented car and headed to New York to try to resolve an issue with a coffee cart that he said his family is licensed to operate in Lower Manhattan. A spokeswoman for the New York City health department could not confirm if the man or his father operated a mobile food cart.

Mr. Zazi said he was stopped at the George Washington Bridge by the authorities, who briefly detained him and searched his car. A city official confirmed that officers stopped a man at the bridge and searched his car, and that “everything was clean.” The official could not say what prompted the stop.

Mr. Zazi said he thought the police might be profiling him or suspected him because he has a beard and had rented the car. The next day, he said he thought his car had been stolen, but the police told him it had been towed. The following day, he said, he noticed he was being followed and called the police twice to complain.

Finally, he said, he cut short his stay in New York, deciding to fly back to Colorado on Saturday.

“It was too much for me,” Mr. Zazi said. “I said, ‘I can’t stay here, even for a minute.’ ”

A relative of Mr. Zazi’s who lives in Aurora, Colo., Abdul Jaji, said he has “never seen anything wrong” with Mr. Zazi, and that he works 16-hour days as an airport shuttle driver. He added that Mr. Zazi traveled last year to Peshawar, Pakistan, where his wife lives, and stayed there four months.

It was not known who ordered the searches, but it was evident that that decision worsened the sometimes-quarrelsome relations between the New York Police Department and the F.B.I.

Evidence uncovered as part of the investigation and raids prompted the F.B.I. and the Department of Homeland Security to issue a bulletin to law enforcement agencies around the country, warning them to be vigilant about homemade explosives, officials said.

The bulletin said the two agencies had no specific information on the timing, location, or target of any planned attack. But it noted that chemicals used to form hydrogen-peroxide-based explosives can be found at places like hardware stores and pharmacies, and that recipes for such explosives are easily obtainable.

Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said Tuesday that while “there was enough substance” in the intelligence gathered to result in search warrants for the raids, the city was not under an imminent threat.

At one raid site, a fifth-floor apartment on 41st Avenue, a tenant, Naiz Khan, spoke of Mr. Zazi, who stayed overnight there on Thursday. He said that he had barely spoken with Mr. Zazi on his recent visit but that they had been closer when they were students at Flushing High School. He said he was committed to helping the F.B.I.

“Anything they need, I will help them out,” Mr. Khan said on Tuesday, standing amid a messy jumble of belongings. “It’s my responsibility.”

Al Baker and William K. Rashbaum contributed reporting from New York and Dan Frosch from Aurora, Colo.
10888  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: September 15, 2009, 08:20:31 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/15/report-nyc-terror-plot-wasis-on-scale-of-911/

Report: NYC terror plot was/is on scale of 9/11
posted at 7:05 pm on September 15, 2009 by Allahpundit

Not sure what that means — were the Madrid bombings, for instance, “on the scale of 9/11″? — but an awful lot of people in the know are scrambling. Combine this with that ominous Journal piece from last night and it sure sounds like someone’s worried about WMD, probably of the chemical variety given the FBI warnings to cops about foul odors and large window fans.
Hundreds of FBI agents are on the ground in Colorado, conducting round-the-clock surveillance on five suspects - including a man who recently visited Queens, sources told The News…
“The FBI is seriously spooked about these guys planning another 9/11,” a former senior counterterrorism official told the News. “This is not some … FBI informant-driven case. This is the real thing.”…
The 24-7 counterterror operation included Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants used to intercept calls and e-mails, as well as overseas-linked wiretaps to eavesdrop on Arabic and Pashto-speaking targets.
Sources said the investigation’s targets are Afghans - an unusual development. Al Qaeda prefers Arabs and Pakistanis as there [sic] overseas operatives.
The Post IDs the Colorado suspect as an Afghan known as “Najibullah” and claims that he trained with Al Qaeda. Could be that AQ wants to put an Afghan stamp on the next attack to frame it as some sort of reprisal for the U.S. occupation, but that’s just me guessing. As for how he got away, it seems we jumped too soon:
The FBI, meanwhile, is furious with the NYPD for bungled intelligence gathering that tipped off Najibullah that he was under surveillance, sources said.
Federal agents working with the Joint Terrorism Task Force asked their NYPD counterparts to discreetly gather intel on Najibullah.
Rather than slyly contact their list of sources and informants the NYPD canvassed the suspect’s old Flushing neighborhood and flashed around his picture.
Eventually the imam of the Masjid Hazrat Abu Bakr Islamic Center learned of the investigation and contacted the man’s family to let them know that he was subject of a law enforcement inquiry.
Great work, imam. You’re a true patriot. No arrests so far, no bomb materials recovered. Where do they go from here?
10889  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: September 15, 2009, 02:11:22 PM
Queens terror raids part of FBI probe into Denver-based cell plotting attack on 9/11 scale
BY James Gordon Meek In Washington AND Rocco Parascandola AND Larry Mcshane In New York
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

Updated Tuesday, September 15th 2009, 12:47 PM


The massive FBI probe that triggered raids in Queens is focused on a Denver-based terror cell plotting another attack on the scale of 9/11, the Daily News learned Tuesday.

Hundreds of FBI agents are on the ground in Colorado, conducting round-the-clock surveillance on five suspects - including a man who recently visited Queens, sources told The News.

New York authorities searched three Flushing apartments and detained several men - later released - after getting a warrant to look for bomb-making components, explosive powders and fuses.

"The FBI is seriously spooked about these guys planning another 9/11," a former senior counterterrorism official told the News. "This is not some ... FBI informant-driven case. This is the real thing."

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told reporters it's an ongoing investigation with plenty of "substance."

The 24-7 counterterror operation included Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act warrants used to intercept calls and e-mails, as well as overseas-linked wiretaps to eavesdrop on Arabic and Pashto-speaking targets.

Sources said the investigation's targets are Afghans - an unusual development. Al Qaeda prefers Arabs and Pakistanis as there overseas operatives.

FBI officials are furious at Kelly over Monday's raids because the NYPD seemed intent on scaring off the cell - which is believed to be plotting a New York attack.

The FBI hoped to wait and determine what the Colorado cell was planning.

Two other sources confirmed the FBI-NYPD rift. An investigator involved in the case said Kelly prefers to "act too soon rather than act too late."

NYPD spokesman Paul Browne said it is "an utter fabrication that the FBI is furious with Kelly or that Kelly fought to shut down the action early."



Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2009/09/15/2009-09-15_queens_terror_raids_part_of_fbi_probe_into_denverbased_cell_plotting_attack_on_9.html?print=1&page=all#ixzz0RChXmFKt
10890  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Nuclear War, WMD issues on: September 15, 2009, 10:52:09 AM
Obama forcing Israel to hit Iran is what he wants. When the American public is paying 20.00 dollars a gallon for gas, it'll be "them Jews" at fault. Rev. Wright will be very proud.
10891  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / This should work out well.... on: September 15, 2009, 10:04:35 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/09/15/is-obama-the-next-herbert-hoover/

Is Obama the next Herbert Hoover?
posted at 10:55 am on September 15, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

The last President to initiate a trade war during a recession wound up creating the biggest economic catastrophe in American history. Yet the current President appears to have ignored the lesson of Herbert Hoover and the Smoot-Hawley Act in slapping tariffs on China and its tire exports while the economy struggles to come back to life after a deep recession. The Wall Street Journal wonders where Barack Obama is leading the US, or whether Obama wants to lead at all:

The smell of trade war is suddenly in the air. Mr. Obama slapped a 35% tariff on Chinese tires Friday night, and China responded on the weekend by threatening to retaliate against U.S. chickens and auto parts. That followed French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s demand on Thursday that Europe impose a carbon tariff on imports from countries that don’t follow its cap-and-trade diktats. “We need to impose a carbon tax at [Europe's] border. I will lead that battle,” he said.
Mr. Sarkozy was following U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu, who has endorsed a carbon tax on imports, and the U.S. House of Representatives, which passed a carbon tariff as part of its cap-and-tax bill. This in turn followed the “Buy American” provisions of the stimulus, which has incensed much of Canada; Congress’s bill to ban Mexican trucks from U.S. roads in direct violation of Nafta, prompting Mexico to retaliate against U.S. farm and kitchen goods; and the must-make-cars-in-America provisions of the auto bailouts. Meanwhile, U.S. trade pacts with Colombia, Panama and South Korea languish in Congress.

Through all of this Mr. Obama has either said nothing or objected so feebly that Congress has assumed he doesn’t mean it. Despite his pro-forma demurrals, Mr. Obama’s actions and nonactions are telling the world that the U.S. is abandoning the global leadership on trade that Presidents of both parties have worked to maintain since the 1930s. His advisers whisper that their man is merely playing a little tactical domestic politics, but he is playing with fire, as the last 80 years of trade history should tell him.

Not only does this ignore the history of trade wars and recessions, which the Journal outlines, but it also ignores Obama’s own big-spending policies. Obama wants to spend trillions of dollars in deficits over the next ten years, especially on his overhaul of the health-care and energy industries in the US. That will take a lot of happy bondholders buying US debt, and for the last several years, that means China. What happens when China stops buying — or worse yet, starts selling what Treasuries they already hold?
If an American administration wanted to confront China on trade, it should have prepared itself by eliminating the need to sell debt. That administration would have pared down spending dramatically, lowered corporate taxes to allow for better competition in the global marketplace for American companies, and encouraged domestic investment by lowering capital-gains taxes. The Obama administration has done the exact opposite instead, leaving the US completely unprepared for a trade war against China, especially over tires, which impacts a mere 7,000 jobs in the US.
Bill Clinton, for all his faults, understood the power and the necessity of open trade. George Bush learned that lesson after a fumble on steel tariffs in 2001. No other president since Hoover has made the mistake of thinking that a trade war would help bolster the economy here in the US or abroad. Picking a fight with the US’s largest debtholder as we prepare to issue more debt in the next few years than we have over the course of the past 230 seems like a foolish, ignorant strategy — the worst of both worlds, with the worst possible outcomes.
10892  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues on: September 15, 2009, 08:25:03 AM
Dan Gainor 
 - FOXNews.com
 - September 14, 2009
ACORN Story Grows But Mainstream Media Refuse to Cover It

This story has everything you could ever want – corruption, sleazy actions at tax-funded organizations, firings, government ties, sex, hookers. It is a network news director’s dream. Imagine the ratings. But almost no one is covering it.


Bruce Springsteen once wrote: “From Small Things (Big Things One Day Come).” I doubt he expected that story of love gone wrong would become ideal political commentary for the group known as ACORN.

The small scandal showing an embarrassing video of Baltimore ACORN staffers looking like they were giving tax advice on how to set up a brothel, is now national news. -- This story has everything you could ever want – corruption, sleazy actions at tax-funded organizations, firings, government ties, sex, hookers. It is a network news director’s dream. Imagine the ratings!

Only almost no one is covering it.

This is the news media in the era of Van Jones and President Obama. The major outlets cover what they want and create the themes they want. When they find something inconvenient, they let it pass. They didn’t like the Van Jones story, so they ignored it. The network news media liked the financial entity known as Fannie Mae, so they ignored that scandalous organization for years. ACORN is getting the same treatment.

But it isn’t working any more. The ACORN fiasco has now impacted three offices – Baltimore, Washington and New York – with laugh-out-loud videos reminiscent of the hookers and pimps from the 1970s “Starsky and Hutch” show. Huggy Bear returns! Four employees have been fired, with more likely to come. And the controversy was so laughably bad that the Census Bureau cut off all ties to the group known formally as the "Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now." -- They called it the “tipping point” to shed themselves of ACORN. More nuts for someone else, I guess.

And yet. And yet it’s still been ignored by the network news. Nothing on ABC, CBS or NBC. The only thing any one of the three broadcast networks has done appeared in a blog post by ABC’s Jake Tapper. It's hardly worth noting except to show that the networks know about what’s going on. They just don’t care to report it. Only FOX News has bothered to report on the controversy.

The video scandal is only part of the fiasco that is this Saul Alinsky-esque community group. Just last week CNN reported that other ACORN employees were arrested in Florida. “Arrest warrants were issued Wednesday for 11 Florida voter registration workers who are suspected of submitting false information on hundreds of voter registration cards, according to court documents,” said CNN.

That’s typical. The Web site "Rotten ACORN" is devoted to election fraud complaints against the organization. The site’s map shows 14 different states where complaints have been filed. The last time any one of the broadcast networks talked about that was before the 2008 presidential election. That was NBC on Nov. 1. Nothing since.

Yes, the newspapers have taken a passing glance at the video story. The Post wrote about the firings in D.C. The New York Times ran a story by the Associated Press. Nothing more. I am underwhelmed. At least the Times covered it this time. With Jones, the Times waited until he had resigned to report he was under fire.

What’s worse with ACORN is that we’re paying for all this. At least in part. The Washington Examiner writes that they “found that ACORN has received at least $53 million in federal money since 1994.”

For its own part, ACORN naturally blamed someone else. In this case, FOX News, calling itself “their Willy Horton for 2009.” The ACORN state reads like a paranoid’s interpretation of the videos. Here’s Bertha Lewis, Chief Organizer, for the group:

“The relentless attacks on ACORN's members, its staff and the policies and positions we promote are unprecedented. An international entertainment conglomerate, disguising itself as a ‘news’ agency (FOX), has expended millions, if not tens of millions of dollars, in their attempt to destroy the largest community organization of Black, Latino, poor and working families in the country. It is not coincidence that the most recent attacks have been launched just when health care reform is gaining traction. It is clear they've had these tapes for months.”

Yeah, all that about under-aged prostitution, corruption and government connections isn’t news. People are just out to get ACORN. No wonder their name symbolizes a kind of nut. Too bad the rest of the media don’t want us to know that.

Dan Gainor is The Boone Pickens Fellow and the Media Research Center’s Vice President for Business and Culture. His column appears each week on The FOX Forum and he can be seen on FOXNews.com’s “Strategy Room.”
10893  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 9/11/09 on: September 14, 2009, 01:24:54 AM
September 11, 2009, 4:00 a.m.

Our National 9/11 Schizophrenia
The great debate over 9/11 and the American response — is it coming to an end?

By Victor Davis Hanson


Ninety-six months ago, 19 Islamic terrorists — led by Mohamed Atta, organized by Khalid Sheik Mohammed, and ordered by Osama bin Laden — hijacked four American airliners. They destroyed the World Trade Center, damaged the Pentagon, and murdered 2,974 people. The al-Qaeda–planned attack was the most lethal on the American homeland in our history.

In response, the United States quickly attacked and removed the Taliban government that had offered sanctuary to the killers. About 15 months later, in March 2003, America successfully invaded Iraq, deposed the dictator Saddam Hussein, and fostered a constitutional government in his place.

At home, a new Department of Homeland Security oversaw fresh counterterrorism measures. The government stepped up wiretaps and email intercepts of suspected terrorists. It established military tribunals, continued renditions of jihadists abroad, and inaugurated Predator-drone assassinations of terrorists along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. The Bush administration ordered the creation of the detention center at Guantanamo Bay.

All of these post-9/11 measures were debated in the congressional election campaigns of 2002, and during the presidential campaign of 2004. Incumbents responsible for such a muscular response to al-Qaeda were mostly reelected — given that, despite the steep human costs, the Taliban regime and Saddam Hussein were gone, democracies were in their places, and the United States had not suffered another attack when most experts had affirmed that such an event was inevitable.

In addition, almost immediately after the removal from power and later capture of Saddam Hussein, Pakistan put its nuclear proliferator, A. Q. Khan, under house arrest. Libya voluntarily surrendered its stockpiles of weapons of mass destruction and its facilities for manufacturing more. A peaceful “cedar revolution” in Lebanon led to the removal of long-standing Syrian occupation troops.

None of this was easy. Almost 5,000 Americans died in the two wars; over $1 trillion was spent. At home the country was torn apart in domestic acrimony. The last eight years have seen a resistance culture spring up, let by such as Ward Churchill, Michael Moore, Code Pink, Cindy Sheehan, and Joe Wilson — coupled with congressional fury in which senators have characterized our own troops as analogous to Pol Pot, Nazis, Communists, terrorists, and Saddam Hussein’s Baathists.

Today one-third of Democrats believe that President Bush was involved in the planning of September 11. Best-selling books have alleged that 9/11 was a planned government operation. Novels were published and movies screened envisioning the assassination of George W. Bush. Politicians as diverse as Robert Byrd, Al Gore, and John Glenn all compared the president or his policies to Nazis or Brownshirts. All that was in response to the losses in Iraq, Abu Ghraib, and Guantanamo, in addition to the partisan advantage sought by discrediting the Bush presidency.

Now, on the eighth anniversary of the assault, the world has changed almost beyond belief — even if many circumstances that led to the attack on America have not. The Taliban regime and Saddam are still gone. Democracies still function in their place. America remains safe from attack. Yet rarely do we credit anyone for such facts.

Indeed, we are now in a post-9/11 sort of limbo. On the one hand, popular culture, the Democratic Party, the Democratic-led Congress, and Barack Obama have at various times denied the utility or morality of Guantanamo, elements of the Patriot Act, rendition, military tribunals, Predator attacks, or the conduct and very necessity of the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. The new post-9/11 narrative is not so much that a radical fringe of fundamentalist Muslims had established nefarious relationships of mutual interest and benefit with Middle Eastern dictatorships in order to terrorize Western targets, but that an insensitivity and chauvinism on the part of the United States had driven proud Muslims through desperation and angst into Islam’s radical fringes.

This narrative proved to be a winner in 2006 and 2008 for both congressional Democrats and Barack Obama. In varying ways, during the luxury of quiet from terrorism at home, they promised a respite from Bush’s costly optional wars, his unnecessary and largely unconstitutional “war on terror,” and the general notion of an us/them dichotomy between the West and radical Islam. Candidate Obama at one time called for all American combat brigades out of Iraq by March 2008, repeal of much of the anti-terrorism protocols, and a rapid closing of Guantanamo.



But reality was far different from rhetoric. America, after all, was still safe in a manner that no one envisioned after the 9/11 attacks — and perhaps for a reason as well. So if Barack Obama and his supporters once damned tribunals, wiretaps and email surveillance, renditions, and Predator assassinations, now in power they strangely began to approve of, or at least tolerate, most of them.

The detention facility at Guantanamo is deemed abhorrent, but its continued presence suggests that even its critics acknowledge a certain utility. Iraq was written off as “lost” by opponents, but over 130,000 Americans still shepherd its fragile democracy. The “good” and older war in Afghanistan is now more violent and more controversial than the relatively quiet “bad” conflict in Iraq. Apparently, eight years of the Bush policies in reaction to 9/11 are as silently ratified as they are publicly condemned — an Orwellian moment in which “Bush did it” has become a public slur, while a privately appreciated fact.

What lies ahead? The present schizophrenia, I think, is untenable. The public is happy that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the mass murderer of September 11, was waterboarded and thereafter expounded on his terrorist network; the Obama administration, in contrast, believes that all those who extracted that information in the bleak months following 9/11 should themselves be investigated and, if need be, tried and punished.

For the last two years, polls in the Middle East have shown a radical drop in support for both bin Laden and the tactic of suicide bombing. We in response have apologized to the Muslim world and magnified its glories at the precise moment when, of its own accord, it has turned on its radicals, who have brought death, destruction — and defeat — to all in their midst.

Few Americans now support our continued presence in Afghanistan and Iraq. And yet even fewer ever thought that the Taliban and Saddam would be quickly dispatched, and two constitutional governments would still be surviving in their absence.

In short, we are reaching a critical moment of clarity. We continue practices that we say are either futile or wrong, and we demonize their architects in speech even as we ratify them through action. At some date, the Democrats and Obama may well close Guantanamo, try our own CIA interrogators, cease tribunals and renditions, ground the Predators, pull out of Afghanistan and Iraq, reach out to Iran and Syria, and distance the United States from Israel.

At that point, when liberal deeds at last match liberal rhetoric, the great 9/11 debate of the last eight years — are we still in lethal danger from radical elements of Islam or not? — will finally be decided by either our continued safety or another September 11.

— NRO contributor Victor Davis Hanson is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution.
10894  DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine on: September 13, 2009, 04:06:02 PM
Course outline: http://www.thebackup.com/pdfs/classes/TLS.pdf

http://www.thebackup.com/Tactical-Lifesaver-P52.aspx

The primary goal of the Tactical Lifesaver course is to improve the survivability of accidental and non-accidental life-threatening injuries encountered by law enforcement and corrections officers, with a secondary goal of decreasing liability for the officer's department. The course is not designed to turn officers into medics, but rather teach the time-critical skills that may permit survival long enough for victims to obtain definitive medical care.
___________________________________________________________________________________________

I recently completed the above "digital based" class. For me, it was worth the 50.00 and time invested. If you are an EMT, Paragod or TEMS, this would probably be a waste of time and money.

If you aren't someone with advanced medical training, then this is something I'd recommend to go along with your basic First Aid/CPR training, no matter if you are a LEO or armed citizen.
10895  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom on: September 12, 2009, 09:43:13 PM
http://michellemalkin.com/2009/09/11/special-report-how-obama-cronyism-threatens-rail-security/?print=1

Special report: How Obama cronyism threatens rail security
By Michelle Malkin  •  September 11, 2009 07:29 AM

How Obama cronyism threatens rail security
by Michelle Malkin
Creators Syndicate
Copyright 2009

New Delhi. Mumbai. Chechnya. Madrid. London. The question isn’t whether America will suffer a jihadi attack on our passenger rail lines, but when. So, why has President Obama neutered the nation’s most highly-trained post-9/11 counterterrorism rail security team?

All signs point to business-as-usual cronyism and pandering to power-grabbing union bosses.

Amtrak’s Office of Security Strategy and Special Operations (OSSSO) grew out of a counterterrorism and intelligence unit developed by the Bush administration in the wake of global jihadi attacks on mass transit systems. The office was staffed with Special Forces veterans, law enforcement officers, railroad specialists, other military personnel, and experts who collectively possessed hundreds of years of experience fighting on the front lines against terrorism. Each member underwent at least 800 hours of rail security-related training, including advanced marksmanship, close quarters, and protective security exercises.

OSSSO’s mobile prevention teams acted as “force multipliers” working with local, state, and federal authorities across the country to detect, deter, and defend against criminal and terrorist attacks on mass transit. They conducted hundreds of show-of-force, uniformed, and rail marshal rides.

OSSSO also provided security services for President Bush, the Pope, the 2008 Democrat and Republican conventions, then-Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s campaign events, and then-Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden’s Amtrak whistle stop tours. The counterterrorism unit’s push to conduct random passenger and baggage screening earned predictable criticism from civil liberties absolutists, but also garnered bipartisan praise on Capitol Hill. Even Democrat Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas hailed the rail security team’s work last year:

“Let me congratulate them for being aware” of the threat to rail passengers, the chairman of a House Homeland Security subcommittee on transportation security, told USA Today in July 2008. “(But) this has to be the new standard for Amtrak.”

How will Congress react to the news that this high standard has been obliterated?

According to multiple government sources who declined to be identified for fear of retribution, OSSSO’s East Coast and West Coast teams have not worked in a counterterrorism capacity since the summer. Their long-arms were put under lock and key after the abrupt departures of Amtrak vice president for security strategy and special operations Bill Rooney and Amtrak Inspector General Fred Weiderhold.

Weiderhold played an instrumental role in creating OSSSO’s predecessor at Amtrak, the Counter-Terrorism Unit (CTU). He tapped Rooney to oversee the office. But Rooney was quietly given the “thank you for your service” heave-ho in May and Weiderhold was unexpectedly “retired” a few weeks later — just as the government-subsidized rail service faced mounting complaints about its meddling in financial audits and probes.

As I reported in June, Weiderhold had blown the whistle on intrusion of Amtrak’s Law Department into his financial audits and probes. A damning, 94-page report from an outside legal firm concluded that the “independence and effectiveness” of the Amtrak inspector general’s office were “being substantially impaired” by the Law Department – which happens to be headed by Eleanor Acheson, a close pal of Vice President Biden.

Biden, in turn, is tight with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP), the powerful union that represents the Amtrak Police Department. According to OSSSO sources, the APD brass have been aggrieved over the non-unionized counterterrorism unit’s existence from its inception. A West Coast OSSSO team member told me that union leaders blocked police credentialing efforts by his office for more than a year. An East Coast OSSSO team member told me that the FOP recently filed a grievance against one of its counterterrorism officers for assisting a train conductor who asked for help in ejecting a ticketless passenger.

Unlike the highly-specialized officers at OSSSO, APD officers possess minimal counterterrorism training. Past studies show alarmingly low pass rates among APD patrolmen who have attended undergone basic special operations classes, according to government sources. The Amtrak FOP continues to squabble over turf with the rival Teamsters Union; its leaders can’t even agree on minimal physical fitness standards for its members that have yet to be implemented. Nevertheless, OSSSO is now under the command and control of the APD — and federal stimulus funding specifically earmarked for the counterterrorism unit has now been absorbed by the police department.

Amtrak did not respond to my questions about OSSSO by my column deadline Thursday afternoon.

Al Qaeda operatives have repeatedly plotted to wreak havoc on our mass transit systems. And they will try, try again. American jihadi Bryant Neal Vinas recently gave the feds details about a plot blow up a Long Island Rail Road commuter train in New York’s Penn Station. As America marks the September 11 anniversary and the “Never forget” mantra echoes, an OSSSO team member told me: “There is no room for internal protectionism, vested interests of unions, or asset-manipulating bureaucracies where the safety of our national passenger railroad is concerned.”

Does anyone else in Washington agree?

***

The RAND Corporation conducted an internal review of the Amtrak Police Department’s deficiencies in counterterrorism training, and made the following observations:

Although APD officers receive police training, they do not receive special counterterrorism training either as part of their initial training or in training activities after they join the APD. The lack of counterterrorism training might explain why every APD officer interviewed indicated that he or she saw no fundamental difference between police and counter-terror work.


(By counterterrorism training, we refer to knowledge and skills to conduct counter-surveillance, special training to respond to chemical, biological, radiation, and nuclear threats and familiarization with attack methods that might involve the use of these types of weapons, profiling techniques to identify suspicious behaviors, knowledge about protocols for security information sharing, and awareness of how to work with Federal Government agencies and other entities involved in counterterrorism.)

…Moreover, there are no metrics in the Amtrak Security Threat Level Response Plan against which to monitor compliance or to gauge the effectiveness of prescribed countermeasures. There are no performance metrics for the divisional security coordinators program either. RAND’s review of Amtrak security documents and interview responses also did not find any explicit criteria guiding the selection of additional or alternative countermeasures or shifts in response levels within the system. It was, thus, not clear what would guide the Chief of Amtrak Police’s decisions on these matters. In this connection, it is also not clear how management would know with high confidence that the response posture chosen by APD translates into reduced vulnerability for Amtrak….

***

Major Observations

Recruitment and retention issues severely impede capacity building for security preparedness
Counter-terrorism training for APD officers is inadequate
Deployment options for APD officers are impaired by jurisdictional and work rules issues
Close corporate oversight of APD is lacking
10896  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 9/11/09 on: September 11, 2009, 05:21:43 PM
09/11/2009

 Editor's Corner
with PoliceOne Senior Editor Doug Wyllie

American cops: Force multipliers in counterterrorism
 

Editor's Note: I don't typically write in "first person" on this Web site. This is, in fact, the first time I’ve ever done so. One of the great pleasures of my job is that I get to talk to heroes every day. From cadets to Chiefs of Police, from the rookies to the recently retired, I’ve had the privilege of speaking with hundreds of outstanding police officers. But I don’t often get to speak with one of our country’s heroes who has hunted (and bagged) international terrorists. Fred Burton has been there and done that, and a few weeks ago I had the opportunity to spend some time with him. What follows are a few of the highlights of that conversation. I will refer back to this interview at times in the future — my intent here is merely to relate some of the wisdom he shared with me during our talk, the sum of which is this: American cops are on front lines against potential terrorist attacks on our soil.

— Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Senior Editor
 

 
Some PoliceOne Members already know a little bit about Fred Burton through his regular columns on current counterterrorism activities both here and abroad.  For those of you who don’t know his work, a little bit of historical context will go a long way.


Fred Burton began his law enforcement career in a way many police officers can relate to — a young man with the desire to help people in his community became a cop in Montgomery County, Maryland, which borders our nation’s Capitol. In the first chapter of his book, GHOST: Confessions of a Counterterrorism Agent, he writes, “I was a Maryland cop. I protected my community. I loved law enforcement, but I wanted something more.”

He applied for federal service, and the Diplomatic Security Service of the U.S. Department of State offered him a job. Before he began training for the DSS in November 1985 — around the time terrorists hijacked the Achille Lauro cruise liner — he had never even heard of the organization. By the time he retired from DSS, Fred had helped create (and then lead) the agency’s Counterterrorism Division. “Very few people have ever heard of us,” Fred writes. “My training for that work was as a street cop back when terrorism was in its infancy.”

He orchestrated the arrest of Ramzi Yousef, mastermind of the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. He investigated cases including the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, the killing of Rabbi Meir Kahane, al Qaeda’s New York City bombing plots before 9/11, and the Libyan-backed terrorist attacks against diplomats in Sanaa and Khartoum. He has served his country in ways that may remain secret forever. 

Today, Fred Burton is widely considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on terrorists and terrorist organizations.  As Vice President for Counterterrorism and Corporate Security at STRATFOR, a global private intelligence company, Fred Burton leads a team of experts (with input from human intelligence sources around the world) that analyzes and forecast the most significant events and trends related to terrorism and counterterrorism.

To this day, he carries with him at all times a list of about a dozen names — handwritten into a small journal — of known actors, unidentified suspects, rogue intelligence operatives, and terrorists’ aliases or code names. When a bad guy is caught or killed, the name is scratched off the list. The number of names varies, he says, “depending on the speed of justice in the world.”

The NYPD Beat Cop Concept
Most police officers have a pretty good handle on where the “high-value targets” are in their patrol area. Many even think beyond the typical list of power plants, transportation facilities, malls, hospitals, sports complexes, rail yards, radio towers, and public buildings. But it goes way beyond even that. Burton says that agencies and officers should be aware of where the offices are whose CEOs or managers are particularly high-profile, or unexpectedly low-profile. He says that targets could be among the most innocuous-looking structures and areas.

“It’s still surprising to me the kind of blank stares I get at times — officers may know that they patrol an area that has a nuclear reactor, or that there’s a large dam. But they may not know, for example, that large oil, chemical, or gas lines run through their areas or that your suspicious person call in the vicinity of a location may be connected to those kinds of places.”

Further, Burton advises that police officers get to know the locations of the synagogues in their area of responsibility, as well as the mosques. “Have you made any effort to reach out to the Imam of the mosque or the Rabbi of that synagogue and establish some dialogue? What I sense — what I know and I’m sure you know too — is that cops are responding to their radio calls and they don’t have a lot of opportunity to get out and just develop some very granular contacts in the community. But these could turn out to be valuable information conduits.”

If you have a good avenue of communication within your various communities, he explains, they’re more apt to bring more information to your attention. “Say, for example, if they have someone — whether it’s in the jihadi community or in the right-wing Jewish extremist community — that they want to talk to you about...” Burton offers, and then allows that sentence hang in the air, unanswered.

Individuals working day-to-day in ethnically-owned private small business — from the deli to the hot dog cart to the self-storage businesses — are always good conduits of information if you really know your area of responsibility. When he visits police agencies around the country, he asks for a show of hands among the gathered group: ‘who here knows those business owners, or even where the synagogues, Jewish day care centers, or mosques are located?’

“You’ll get a hit or miss response,” he laments. “In an audience of 100 you might get 25 hands. Whether folks don’t want to respond, or what, I don’t know. But I get a sense there’s still not a lot of understanding of your different communities... where you can play a significant role in the war on terror.”

Information about all of these types of people and places has meaning — specifically it can mean the difference between an attack that’s carried out and one that’s prevented.

It’s the old beat cop principle that New York City is so famous for — knowing everything that is happening on your beat. “You really do need informational resources in the community as well as good observation skills to know what changes are taking place.”

Who’s Watching the Watchers?
Most pre-operational surveillance — such as sitting on a park bench, taking a picture, or shooting scenic video — is innocent-looking in nature and generally does not break the law. The real problem with this isn’t the legality of the activity, it’s that in too many cases, virtually no one is taking note that it’s happening. Burton says that often, no one has the mindset to wonder, ‘Why is this person taking a picture of this building?’

Worse, omong those who do make the observation, few will take the time to write it up in an intelligence report and make sure that it gets to the local Joint Terrorism Task Force for further investigation. “There may be three or four of those things that happen across a region,” Burton says, “but no one would know to make an analysis because no one bothered to send the sighting up the line.”

According to Burton, there’s a prevailing expectation among too many cops that someone else is doing that, but in fact, nobody is. “I think street cops think, ‘Well, the FBI must be doing that.’ And that’s just not the case. You know, the FBI — especially today’s FBI — they have an operating manual that’s about the size of an old Bell telephone book. They’re under a lot of bureaucratic requirements and scrutiny as to when they can talk to people and when they can’t. It takes a lot of supervisory approvals and so forth. So, your average street cop or your average detective has much more probability of running into a real terrorist than your average federal agent does. They also have the ability to just do more intelligence collection through interfacing with their area of responsibility.”

Burton contends that the thwarting of a terrorist attack is more probable at the street level than at the federal level. “I spent a lot of time with these folks across the country and I talked to a lot of different people and do a lot of speaking engagements with counter-terrorism agents. Even in the post-9/11 environment with DHS and your joint terrorism task forces with intelligence division agents and detectives — everybody kind of senses that somebody else is doing this stuff. In reality, they’re not.”

Jails: The Jihadist Jack-in-the-Box
Where would a jihadist go to cultivate new recruits? Where would he find recent converts to Islam who could easily be radicalized? Where are there large numbers of young men who feel disenfranchised and prone to violence? You’ve probably already guessed the top two places (hint: they’re not colleges and mosques). Cartels and gangs on the streets, and their related populace who live behind bars.

“You have a couple of environments that are very conducive for the recruitment for jihadist criminal activity. Obviously, one is the prison systems — more at the local and state level than the federal system because the federal system usually has folks that are put away for a good number of years due to federal sentencing guidelines. So, in essence, at the local and state levels where you see more of the recruitment of gang members as well as you get the converts to Islam, you get the captive audience that has to join the group for self-preservation phenomena.”

Burton says that there are some outstanding programs underway in some state and local corrections agencies that are beginning to develop actionable intelligence on these prisoners to garner how they’re doing recruitment. Despite these excellent efforts, there remain some “huge intelligence gaps” due to the difficulty of getting that kind of data and making sense of it. But strides are being made by extending some of the intelligence gathering activities devoted toward drug cartels and their criminal cadre who occupy our prisons.

“The other phenomena — and we see it especially when it comes to the Border — is that relationship between your various cartels and your criminal enterprises, your street gangs. Whether it’s MS-13, Barrio Aztecas, or a lot of smaller ones, you know there has to be an interface between the cartels that are pushing the dope north and the flow of weapons, stolen vehicles, and cash going south. You have that hand and glove interface there.”

Case in Point: A Successful Model
At the center of the successful take-down of a grassroots jihadist cell in May are some of the very things Burton discussed with PoliceOne:

1. among these homegrown terrorists, only one was reared as a Muslim — the other three converted to Islam in prison
2. relatively ordinary local synagogues were among the terrorists’ intended targets (the other target was a U.S. military transport aircraft)
3. one well-placed informant in a mosque was the conduit of information to law enforcement
4. the would-be terrorists used cameras bought at Wal-Mart to photograph their targets, doing their pre-operational surveillance in the open
5. vigilant observation of the suspects — and information being quickly passed to federal agents — led to the successful prevention of an attack

Of course, we’re talking about the Newburgh plot. In STRATFOR’s excellent analysis of the failed plot, Burton and his team write that “with an informant in place, the task force in charge of tracking the Newburgh plotters most likely constructed an elaborate surveillance system that kept the four men under constant watch during the investigation and sting operation, using technical surveillance of their residences and potential targets.”

Having the ability to closely observe the group’s communications and movements, STRATFOR estimated, law enforcement officials were able to gain control over the group’s activities to such a degree that they felt confident in letting the plotters plant a 37-pound inert explosive device in the trunk of a car outside of Riverdale Temple and two similarly harmless bombs outside the Riverdale Jewish Center, a synagogue a few blocks away.

There’s one other element to the Newburgh plot that Burton discussed with PoliceOne, and it’s as esoteric as it is concrete. The suspects told their arresting officers that they “wanted to commit jihad” because they were “disturbed about what happened in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”


Going Home... Eyeing the Horizon
Burton was recently invited to do a presentation on terrorism for his old PD, Montgomery County Police. “I guess it was about 250 police officers, and they had invited the U.S. Park Police and ICE and ATF... it was good going back and having an opportunity to talk to my old department.”

Among the things Burton said to the group is something he tries to talk about wherever he goes — that police officers are so focused on the day-to-day of patrol that they sometimes fail to recognize how the events which take place abroad can impact security here in the States.

“Whether that is a Mumbai attack or the current saber-rattling between Israel and Iran, they don’t put it in a domestic perspective. Meaning, ‘how does this international event resonate here? What are the possible ramifications to us here on my beat and in my city?’ I talk to a lot of police officers and what I see is that once you start talking about this issue, they clearly get it then and recognize that it’s important.”

Burton says that once the international trigger incident occurs, it is way too late to go back and start laying the foundations to those relationships and making those intelligence inroads. The “quiet times” on patrol are the best times for doing security surveys at those facilities, or establishing liaison with the owner of those properties. He asks, “Have you done a walk-through when you’ve got some down time to know these sites in case you’re called for an active shooter that takes place at this location?”

Just one example from which you can choose — among the topics he covers at STRATFOR — Burton points to the tensions between Iran and Israel right now. “Whether or not Israel is going to conduct a preemptive strike on Iran is a topic that we discuss here every day. That event, in the event that it occurs, will significantly resonate here in the United States. One: does your average police officer recognize that? And two: you’ll be in a much better position if you already know within your area of responsibility those Jewish-owned, multi-national Jewish schools, synagogues, as potential target sites and you’ve made an effort to establish contact with all of them. Because that brings you to the new phenomena of your lone-wolf jihadi and how in all probability — again, back to your street officer — your street officer is going to be the most probable interface between the victim and the perpetrator.”

Counterterrorism Force Multipliers
Burton states with conviction that police officers in the United States are at the front line of the preemption of a terrorist attack on our soil. He adds that strictly from a data-collection perspective — and all police officers are data-collectors — cops are “our best eyes and ears for detecting pre-operational surveillance by anybody. If you could marshal those assets nationally, from sea to shining sea, you could have a much better picture of events from a real-time surveillance perspective than we currently do.”

The good news, he says, is that America’s cops are a counterterrorism force multiplier, especially when you’re entering into times of heightened concern.

The bad news is chillingly simple: “Based on my investigations and the kind of work I’ve done in the past, once that suicide bomber starts rolling toward target they’re going to be about 95 to 97 percent successful in carrying out their mission and killing somebody.”
 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A veteran of more than ten years in online and print journalism, Doug Wyllie was writing about digital music before Napster, streaming video before YouTube, and wireless technology since the original Palm Pilot debuted. As senior editor of PoliceOne, Doug is responsible for the editorial direction of the PoliceOne website. In addition to his editorial and managerial responsibilities, Doug writes on a broad range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community.
 
10897  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 9/11/09 on: September 11, 2009, 05:08:05 PM
Pajamas Media - http://pajamasmedia.com -

Eight Years After 9/11: Are We Getting Complacent?

Posted By Ryan Mauro On September 11, 2009 @ 12:00 am In . Feature 01, . Positioning, Homeland Security, Middle East, US News, World News | 48 Comments

We can all remember the first anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Almost all of us can remember the second anniversary. The third, a lot less; the fourth, even less. Eventually, something happened: we forgot about 9/11.

I began working at Hollywood Video, a movie rental store, in 2004 and saw this process happen. On September 11 of each year, I’d walk in and almost no one would mention the significance of the date, and the number of those that did steadily declined to zero by 2008, my final year there. Customers frequently asked the date, as they always did, not even realizing that it was September 11, but they always managed to remember the release date of the movie they were waiting for. And, I must add, this was in New Jersey, only a short train ride from New York City.

This complacency can be seen in public opinion polls, the media, and even the government’s reaction to incidents that would have sparked fear nationwide and saturated media coverage in the years immediately following 9/11.

Take some of the incidents where radical Islam showed its head this year alone, such as in the case of Rifqa Bary [1], a 17-year-old girl who converted to Christianity from Islam. When her father found out, she claims, he threatened to kill her, causing her to flee to Florida. Her attorney says she had been abused at home. We now know her father’s mosque, the Noor Islamic Cultural Center of Colombus, had Salah Sultan [2], a radical preacher of anti-Semitism known for preaching about the future destruction of the U.S. and with ties [3] to the Muslim Brotherhood, as a “resident scholar.” Bary’s attorney, John Stemberger, pointed [4] to many other ties the mosque has with terrorism in his 35-page court filing [5].

Although the case has received a fair level of media attention (but far from the amount it deserves), very few reports have mentioned the extremist ties that give credibility to Bary’s fears. Instead, MSNBC ran an AP article [6] titled “Parents Say Local Runaway Was Brainwashed.”

The Orlando Sentinel ran a piece [7] on August 30 that opened with “Mohamed Bary is a doting Muslim father, intent on giving his daughter the best education he can. But he says he made a terrible mistake last October: He bought her a laptop computer.” A little further down it has a subheading of “Friends back family,” which says that “people who know the Barys say Rifqa’s allegations are crazy. … Mohamed Bary, 47, is a kind, gentle man who loves his daughter.” Not a mention is made of Stemberger’s court filing or the ties of the family’s mosque.

On July 14, I wrote an article [8] for Pajamas Media about the arrests of three individuals for trying to sneak weapons on board two separate U.S. Airways flights to Phoenix, taking off from Philadelphia and Tampa about 35 minutes from each other. The FBI’s initial reaction was to dismiss any connection among the arrests and the media dropped the story. I am not aware of a single news article mentioning all three arrests and the similarities of their circumstances, and I can only find a small handful of articles covering any of the individual arrests. Just like those walking into the video store I worked at, the impact of 9/11 on the media has dissipated.

The 30-second news culture of today is causing the media and the public to fail to see the size of the problem. The case of a convert to radical Islam shooting [9] at soldiers in Arkansas is forgotten before the next story of the arrest [10] of seven in North Carolina for training to join overseas terrorists hits the news.

When each is given short attention and treated as the isolated actions of the few wackos that inevitably exist in a large population, the big picture is missed and they are looked at as little speed bumps on America’s road — and not the potential traffic-stopping train crash they can become.

The fact that there hasn’t been a major terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11 is an advantage to the terrorists of the future. As long as they aren’t too blatant about their objectives and they throw out nice words about condemning “terrorism,” they are free to organize without much media scrutiny. They will be armed with the unreasonably high standard of proof that is demanded before labeling someone as a radical.

The resolve of the American people to fight overseas is quickly weakening. Americans seem content to believe that our post-9/11 efforts have sufficiently weakened the enemy and therefore that their rhetoric shouldn’t be taken as seriously. Those that try to raise awareness about the threat are dismissed or even attacked, as the Christian Action Network learned [11] after releasing its Homegrown Jihad documentary earlier this year about radical Islamic compounds in the U.S. that have been used for paramilitary training.

The government’s current attitude towards gathering threats seems to reflect a decreasing concern about terrorism and the growth of extremist networks at home. Just by being a little craftier than al-Qaeda, groups like the Muslim Brotherhood and governments like that of Khamenei and Ahmadinejad and Assad are able to appear moderate and flexible. The FBI decided to end its relationship with the Council on American-Islamic Relations [12] following its designation as an “unindicted co-conspirator” in the Holy Land Foundation trial, only to continue ties [13] with the Islamic Society of North America [14], another “unindicted co-conspirator” in the same trial.

The media and American people certainly do remember the events of 9/11 in terms of history, but the impact and lessons of 9/11 have been forgotten. On that day, we realized that enemies seeking the most horrid of goals come in different shapes and sizes, and use different strategies and tactics. By dismissing each case of terrorism and extremism as “isolated,” rather than yet another example of the reach of radical Islam in all its forms, enormous portions of the media, the government, and the American people have forgotten what 9/11 taught us. One day we will be taught again.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/eight-years-after-911-are-we-getting-complacent-about-terror/

URLs in this post:

[1] Rifqa Bary: http://frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=35988

[2] Salah Sultan: http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/198541.php

[3] ties: http://www.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=25879

[4] pointed: http://www.floridabaptistwitness.com/10715.article

[5] filing: http://www.floridabaptistwitness.com/noormemo.pdf

[6] article: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32421714/%20

[7] piece: http://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/local/orl-bary-family-in-columbus-083009,0,4902721.story?page=1

[8] article: http://pajamasmedia.com../../../../../blog/foiling-the-next-911-and-not-even-knowing-it/

[9] shooting: http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/06/01/arkansas.recruiter.shooting/index.html

[10] arrest: http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-terrorism-arrests28-2009jul28,0,3376969.story

[11] learned: http://pajamasmedia.com../../../../../blog/cbs-tries-to-discredit-homegrown-jihad-documentary/%20

[12] Council on American-Islamic Relations: http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6176

[13] only to continue ties: http://www.investigativeproject.org/1074/fbi-replaces-brotherhood-tainted-liaison-with

[14] Islamic Society of North America: http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=6178
10898  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 9/11/09 on: September 11, 2009, 03:16:57 PM
Updated: Fri., Sep. 11, 2009, 10:39 AM 
Betraying our dead
By RALPH PETERS

Last Updated: 10:39 AM, September 11, 2009

Posted: 1:13 AM, September 11, 2009

Eight years ago today, our homeland was attacked by fanatical Muslims inspired by Saudi Arabian bigotry. Three thousand American citizens and residents died.

We resolved that we, the People, would never forget. Then we forgot.

We've learned nothing.

Instead of cracking down on Islamist extremism, we've excused it.

Instead of killing terrorists, we free them.

Instead of relentlessly hunting Islamist madmen, we seek to appease them.

Instead of acknowledging that radical Islam is the problem, we elected a president who blames America, whose idea of freedom is the right for women to suffer in silence behind a veil -- and who counts among his mentors and friends those who damn our country or believe that our own government staged the tragedy of September 11, 2001.

Instead of insisting that freedom will not be infringed by terrorist threats, we censor works that might offend mass murderers. Radical Muslims around the world can indulge in viral lies about us, but we dare not even publish cartoons mocking them.

Instead of protecting law-abiding Americans, we reject profiling to avoid offending terrorists. So we confiscate granny's shampoo at the airport because the half-empty container could hold 3.5 ounces of liquid.

Instead of insisting that Islamist hatred and religious apartheid have no place in our country, we permit the Saudis to continue funding mosques and madrassahs where hating Jews and Christians is preached as essential to Islam.

Instead of confronting Saudi hate-mongers, our president bows down to the Saudi king.

Instead of recognizing the Saudi-sponsored Wahhabi cult as the core of the problem, our president blames Israel.

Instead of asking why Middle Eastern civilization has failed so abjectly, our president suggests that we're the failures.

Instead of taking every effective measure to cull information from terrorists, the current administration threatens CIA agents with prosecution for keeping us safe.

Instead of proudly and promptly rebuilding on the site of the Twin Towers, we've committed ourselves to the hopeless, useless task of rebuilding Afghanistan. (Perhaps we should have built a mosque at Ground Zero -- the Saudis would've funded it.)

Instead of taking a firm stand against Islamist fanaticism, we've made a cult of negotiations -- as our enemies pursue nuclear weapons; sponsor terrorism; torture, imprison, rape and murder their own citizens -- and laugh at us.

Instead of insisting that Islam must become a religion of responsibility, our leaders in both parties continue to bleat that "Islam's a religion of peace," ignoring the curious absence of Baptist suicide bombers.

Instead of requiring new immigrants to integrate into our society and conform to its public values, we encourage and subsidize anti-American, woman-hating, freedom-denying bigotry in the name of toleration.

Instead of pursuing our enemies to the ends of the earth, we help them sue us.

We've dishonored our dead and whitewashed our enemies. A distinctly unholy alliance between fanatical Islamists abroad and a politically correct "elite" in the US has reduced 9/11 to the status of a non-event, a day for politicians to preen about how little they've done.

We've forgotten the shock and the patriotic fury Americans felt on that bright September morning eight years ago. We've forgotten our identification with fellow citizens leaping from doomed skyscrapers. We've forgotten the courage of airline passengers who would not surrender to terror.

We've forgotten the men and women who burned to death or suffocated in the Pentagon. We've forgotten our promises, our vows, our commitments.

We've forgotten what we owe our dead and what we owe our children. We've even forgotten who attacked us.

We have betrayed the memory of our dead. In doing so, we betrayed ourselves and our country. Our troops continue to fight -- when they're allowed to do so -- but our politicians have surrendered.

Are we willing to let the terrorists win?

Ralph Peters' new thriller, "The War After Armageddon," goes on sale next Tuesday.
10899  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: 9/11/09 on: September 11, 2009, 10:15:46 AM
http://www.artistic-designers.com/bkgds/heroes.html

The Blood of Heroes
10900  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / 9/11/09 on: September 11, 2009, 09:27:06 AM
I mark the day, as I have since 9/11/01.

I mourn after going off duty.

My wife is training in a police academy, preparing to go into harm's way to defend and protect her adopted country.

I know that if I live to 100, this day will always carry the same weight with me.
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