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11251  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 20, 2007, 05:05:13 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/20/breaking-osama-to-deliver-new-audio-tape-declares-war-on-pakistan/

So, should our "friend" Mushy buy green bananas?
11252  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: September 20, 2007, 04:55:55 PM
The rules governing the admissibility of coerced testimony and hearsay have a direct bearing on the case of Jose Padilla, who is now being tried in a civilian court. In June 2004 the Justice Department released a declassified document enumerating Padilla’s various terrorist plans and his al-Qaeda connections. The information therein came not only from Padilla’s own admissions, but also from a number of additional al-Qaeda detainees who independently confirmed (sometimes through coerced testimony) the details that Padilla gave, particularly about the plots to detonate a “dirty bomb” and to blow up apartment buildings. But none of this evidence will be admissible in Padilla’s current trial. Consequently, he is being formally charged with offenses of far less gravity than those detailed in the aforementioned Justice Department document. As The New York Times explains:

[C]onstrained by strict federal rules of evidence that would prohibit or limit the use of information obtained during [coercive] interrogations, the government will make a far more circumscribed case against Mr. Padilla in court, effectively demoting him from Al-Qaeda’s dirty bomber to foot soldier in a somewhat nebulous conspiracy. … Senior government officials have said publicly that Mr. Padilla provided self-incriminating information during interrogations, admitting, they said, to undergoing basic terrorist training, to accepting an assignment to blow up apartment buildings in the United States, and to attending a farewell dinner with Khaled Sheikh Mohammed, the suspected master planner of the Sept. 11 attacks, before he flew to Chicago in 2002. But any confessions by Mr. Padilla while he was detained without charges and denied access to counsel — whether or not he was mistreated, as his lawyers claim — would not be admissible in court. And it is unlikely that information obtained during the harsh questioning of Al-Qaeda detainees would be admissible, either....

Trials of terrorists in civilian courts are beset by further practical limitations as well. Consider, for example, a hypothetical instance where U.S. military personnel capture a foreign terrorist overseas and transport him to the United States, against his will, for trial. Explains attorney Mitchell Lathrop: “Immediately apparent are the issues of the legitimacy of the exercise of criminal jurisdiction over him by the United States, i.e., his arrest in the first instance, and his involuntary transportation to the United States. Then come the issues of the selection of the proper jurisdiction for the trial, the application of the laws of his own country, the selection of a jury, and even personal and subject matter jurisdiction of U.S. courts. Any qualified defense lawyer would certainly challenge jurisdiction and a series of complicated appeals would inevitably result. In the final analysis, a plea bargain could well result just to avoid the interminable delays.” Dealing with terrorists under such a set of rules is analogous to participating in a shootout where only the enemy’s weapon is loaded. Moreover, it signals to the watching world that Americans have become consumed by guilt vis a vis the allegedly irredeemable flaws of their own culture and, as a consequence, do not possess the requisite courage for dealing aggressively with those who would seek to destroy their country.

Another exceedingly significant weakness inherent in civilian trials for terrorists is the fact that in such proceedings, there exists a high likelihood that classified intelligence sources will be compromised. If the government wishes to present certain incriminating evidence in a civilian trial, which is open to the public, it must disclose its sources as well as the techniques it used for obtaining the information from them. This obviously would place those sources in grave danger and would quickly lead to the non-cooperation or disappearance of many of them — to say nothing of the future potential informants who would undoubtedly choose to avoid placing themselves in similar peril. Moreover, the effectiveness of any publicly disclosed information-gathering techniques would thereafter be permanently compromised. As John Dean writes, “Many cases have never been prosecuted against criminals because to do so would force disclosure of a valued intelligence source — be it an informant, an enemy code that had been broken, or an illegal electronic intelligence source.” By contrast, military tribunals permit incriminating evidence to be presented to the judge and jury, while being kept secret from the public as well as from the defendant and his attorney.

Critics commonly suggest that, given the foregoing ground rules, military tribunals are little more than kangaroo courts where defendants have no chance of receiving a fair hearing. This may well have been true in Stalin’s Russia, but by no means has it been the case where Western democracies are concerned. Consider the post-World War II Nuremberg trials of the most important captured leaders of Nazi Germany, architects of the Holocaust. The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg acquitted three of the twenty-two major defendants; sentenced four others to twenty years in prison or less; and sentenced three to life in prison. In other words, nearly half of those accused were spared the death penalty. Similarly, United States military tribunals, which were composed solely of American judges, tried 177 other Nazi officials and members of the SS, convicting 142 and executing only 12. It can be reasonably argued that military jurors are less likely than their civilian counterparts to render decisions rooted in “inflamed passions” rather than in solid evidence. Finally, we must acknowledge that those who serve as jurors in the civilian trials of accused terrorists may, if they render “guilty” verdicts, be extremely vulnerable to violent retribution from affiliated terrorist and militia groups — another argument against civilian trials for terrorists.

For those who are concerned about legal precedent, it must be understood that the use of military tribunals for the adjudication of war crimes is in no way a departure from past practices. As noted earlier, military commissions were used commonly during the Civil War. Prior to that, General George Washington employed such tribunals during the American Revolution in the late 18th century. In the era following the ratification of the U.S. Constitution, military tribunals were first convened by Major General Winfield Scott during the Mexican-American War of 1846-48, to adjudicate the alleged war crimes of American troops and Mexican guerrilla fighters alike. World War II also saw the use of military courts, the most famous case involving eight marines of the Third Reich (one of whom was an American citizen named Herbert Haupt) who rode a Nazi U-boat to the east coast of the United States, where, laden with explosives, they disembarked and set off toward various locations with the intent of bombing railroads, hydroelectric plants, factories, department stores, and defense facilities across the country. The saboteurs were wearing no military uniforms or identifying emblems when they were captured, meaning that they were, in the eyes of the law (as defined by the Supreme Court in Ex parte Quirin, quoted earlier in this article), “unlawful combatants.” Refusing to grant the perpetrators civilian jury trials, President Franklin D. Roosevelt quickly created a secret military commission to hear their cases. All eight were convicted and sentenced to death, though two turncoats later had their sentences commuted to life in prison.

Notwithstanding (or perhaps because of) the indisputable fact that trials by military commissions would permit the United States to prosecute terrorism cases much more quickly and effectively than would civilian trials, the political Left overwhelmingly condemns such tribunals, calling instead for greater civil liberties safeguards for suspected terrorists. Columbia University historian Alan Brinkley calls the use of military tribunals “one of the most extraordinary assaults on civil liberties” in American history. Senator Harry Reid, D-NV, complains, remarkably, that the Military Commissions Act of 2006 “does not provide the terror suspects with enough of the civil rights granted to Americans facing trials in U.S. courts.” And Senator Chris Dodd, D-CT, a presidential candidate for 2008, has introduced legislation that would give habeas corpus protections to military detainees; prohibit the introduction of evidence that was gained through coercive methods; authorize military judges to exclude hearsay evidence they deem to be unreliable; and narrow the definition of “unlawful enemy combatant.”

Such is the mindset of the Left — ever prepared to defend the supposed rights and liberties of every last terrorist, as if the Constitution of the United States were nothing more than a suicide pact for the American people.

Sources:

* Spencer J. Crona and Neal A. Richardson, “Justice For War Criminals of Invisible Armies: A New Legal and Military Approach to Terrorism” (Summer/Fall 1996)
* John Dean, “The Critics Are Wrong” (November 23, 2001)
* John Dean, “Appropriate Justice for Terrorists” (September 28, 2001)
* John Dean, “Military Tribunals: A Long And Mostly Honorable History” (December 7, 2001)
* Michael C. Dorf, “What Is an ‘Unlawful Combatant,’ and Why it Matters” (January 23, 2002)
* Henry Mark Holzer, “Who’s Who Among American Terrorists” (October 17, 2002)
* Henry Mark Holzer, “The Fifth Column’s Legal Team” (June 18, 2002)
* Mitchell L. Lathrop, “A Realistic Look at Terrorism Trials” (November 2001)
* Michelle Malkin, “No More Jury Trials for Terrorists” (October 24, 2001)
* Deborah Sontag, “In Padilla Wiretaps, Murky View of ‘Jihad’ Case” (January 4, 2007)
* Jonathan Weisman, “Battle Looms in Congress over Military Tribunals” (July 13, 2006)
* “U.S. Supreme Court: Holtzman v. Schlesinger, 414 U.S. 1304” (1973)
11253  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: September 20, 2007, 04:54:32 PM
Why Civilian Trials for Terrorists are a Bad Idea   
By John Perazzo
FrontPageMagazine.com | February 6, 2007

On November 13, 2001 — two months after 9/11 — President Bush signed an Executive Order authorizing the U.S. government to try accused terrorists in military tribunals (a.k.a. military commissions) rather than in civilian courts. The president’s decision was swiftly and widely condemned by the political Left, which accused him of trampling on the civil rights and liberties of defendants who, the critics said, should be entitled to all the rights and protections afforded by the American criminal court system — where the standards that govern the admissibility of evidence are considerably stricter than the counterpart standards in military tribunals. The indicted al-Qaeda operative and U.S. citizen Jose Padilla — who was initially accused of plotting to detonate a radioactive bomb and to blow up multiple high-rise apartment buildings in an American city — became a cause celebre for the anti-tribunal chorus.

Then in June 2006 the Supreme Court ruled, with a five-Justice majority, that President Bush’s military tribunals were not authorized by federal law. This did not mean that tribunal rules were flawed or unconstitutional in any way, but only that those rules needed to be formally voted into law — or formally rejected — by Congress. In response to this decision, five months later Congress passed the Military Commissions Act of 2006, formally authorizing the adjudication of war crimes and terrorism cases in military courts. The House of Representatives vote was 253 to 168 (Republicans voted 219 to 7 in favor, Democrats 160 to 34 against); the overall Senate margin was 65 to 34 in favor.

According to the Defense Department, military tribunals, where military officers serve as the judges and jurors, are designed to deal with offenses committed in the context of warfare — including pillaging; terrorism; wilfully killing or attacking civilians; taking hostages; employing poison or analogous weapons; using civilians as human shields; torture; mutilation or maiming; improperly using a flag of surrender; desecrating or abusing a dead body; rape; hijacking or hazarding a vessel or aircraft; aiding the enemy; spying; providing false testimony or perjury; soliciting others to commit offenses that are triable by military jurisprudence; and intending or conspiring to commit, or to aid in the commission of, such crimes.

The issue of whether it is appropriate to try someone accused of the aforementioned transgressions in a military court depends upon how one answers a single overriding question: Is terrorism a matter of war, or is it a legal issue where redress should be pursued via the criminal-justice system — like robbery, vandalism, or murder? To answer this question, it is useful to have an operational definition for the term “terrorism.” The FBI places terrorism in a category clearly distinct from the crimes traditionally handled by civilian courts, defining it as the “unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to intimidate or coerce a government, the civilian population, or any segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.”

By sending American troops into Afghanistan to overthrow that nation’s al-Qaeda-sponsoring Taliban regime, President Bush signaled clearly that he considered the atrocities of 9/11 to be acts of war that merited a military response; that is, he did not view the hijackings as mere violations of criminal codes by a band of 19 outlaws, but as acts of terrorism. It would not be enough, he decided, to merely track down whoever may have personally conspired with the hijackers and try them in federal court. Fifteen years earlier, President Reagan had responded similarly to the deadly bombing of a Berlin discotheque frequented by American soldiers. Once U.S. intelligence authorities had gathered convincing evidence that Mu'ammar al-Qadhafi’s Libyan government had sponsored the attack, Reagan deemed it an act of war and, rather than standing pat until redress could be achieved in a court of law, he ordered carrier-based warplanes to strike targets in Tripoli.

The Left largely rejects the notion that the current War on Terror is a legitimate, or even an actual, war — characterizing it instead as a contrived pretext for American imperialism (and oil-grabbing) abroad, and for the erosion of civil liberties domestically. Attorneys Spencer J. Crona and Neal A. Richardson suggest that many Americans have accepted this perspective because metaphorical references to “war” abound in contemporary vernacular — references to such endeavors as the “war on poverty,” the “war on drugs,” the “war on AIDS,” and the “war on hunger.” As a result, say Crona and Richardson, people may be inclined to view the war on terror as yet another social-justice or law-enforcement undertaking that, while it might warrant some financing, certainly does not merit military action.

In addition, a significant proportion of Americans fail utterly to understand the nature of the enemy that has declared war on them. As the late Ayatollah Khomeini (a Shi’ite) of Iran announced in the wake of the 1979 hostage-taking at the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, “We are at war with infidels…I ask all Islamic nations…to join the holy war.” Today Osama bin Laden (a Sunni) preaches a similar doctrine of death. In 1996 he issued his Declaration of War Against the Americans Occupying the Land of the Two Holy Places, and two years later he set forth a Declaration of Jihad Against Jews and Crusaders. Whatever hatreds the Shi’ites and Sunnis feel toward one another, they are united by their shared commitment to wage war on America. Yet leftists choose to pretend that a state of war did not exist until President Bush deployed U.S. troops to Afghanistan and Iraq. Khomeini himself viewed such self-deceivers with the greatest contempt when he sneered: “Those who know nothing of Islam pretend that Islam counsels against war. Those who say this are witless. Islam says: Kill all the unbelievers just as they would kill you all! Kill them, put them to the sword and scatter their armies.”

But opponents of military tribunals argue that even if radical Islamists have in fact declared war on America, the U.S. Congress, which has sole authority to make formal declarations of war, has not done so in this case — and that the use of such tribunals is therefore logically unjustifiable. There is in fact considerable precedent, however, for trying accused war criminals in military courts even in the absence of a Congressional declaration of war: President Abraham Lincoln used military commissions extensively to sentence Confederate terrorists for such crimes as seizure, arson, and the destruction of transportation, communication or other systems of infrastructure during the American Civil War.

In all of American history, Congress has made formal declarations of war only five times: the War of 1812, the Mexican War, the Spanish-American War, World War I, and World War II. But as Henry Mark Holzer points out, presidents acting in their capacity as commanders-in-chief have sent troops into battle at least 130 times in the absence of such declarations. Sometimes those military conflicts, while not formally declared wars, were explicitly authorized by Congress. Among these were the Vietnam War (authorized by a vote of 88-2 in the Senate, and 418-0 in the House); the 1991 Persian Gulf War (52-47 in the Senate, 250-183 in the House); the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan (98-0 in the Senate, 420-1 in the House); and the 2003 invasion of Iraq (77-23 in the Senate, 296-133 in the House).

In other cases the U.S. has engaged in combat against a particular form of enemy aggression, even though our country was not officially at war with the nation from which the aggressors hailed. A good example of this was the 1801 Talbot v. Seeman Supreme Court case, which involved French privateers who were preying on American commercial shipping. In its decision, the Court affirmed Congress’s right to declare a “partial war” against the transgressors. Chief Justice John Marshall wrote at the time: “The whole powers of war being, by the Constitution of the United States, vested in Congress…Congress may authorize general hostilities, in which case the general laws of war apply to our situation; or partial war, in which case the laws of war, so far as they actually apply to our situation, must be noticed.” The parallel with the current war on terror, where intelligence and military forces seek to combat saboteurs and killers from a number of nations that are not formally at war with America, is obvious.

If we accept the premise that terrorism cases can rightfully be categorized under the heading of war, a secondary consideration in determining if military tribunals are the proper venue for their adjudication involves the question of whether a given defendant is a “lawful combatant” or an “unlawful combatant.” The former is entitled to prisoner-of-war status and its accompanying Geneva Convention protections; the latter is entitled to none of that. Article IV of the Geneva Convention defines lawful combatants as those whose military organization meets four very specific criteria: “(a) that of being commanded by a person responsible for his subordinates; (b) that of having a fixed distinctive sign [a uniform or emblem] recognizable at a distance; (c) that of carrying arms openly; [and] (d) that of conducting their operations in accordance with the laws and customs of war.” Al-Qaeda fails even to come close to satisfying these conditions. In the 1942 Ex parte Quirin case, the U.S. Supreme Court spelled out the implications of such failure:

[T]he law of war draws a distinction between the armed forces and the peaceful populations of belligerent nations and also between those who are lawful and unlawful combatants. Lawful combatants are subject to capture and detention as prisoners of war by opposing military forces. Unlawful combatants are likewise subject to capture and detention, but in addition they are subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals for acts which render their belligerency unlawful. The spy who secretly and without uniform passes the military lines of a belligerent in time of war, seeking to gather military information and communicate it to the enemy, or an enemy combatant who without uniform comes secretly through the lines for the purpose of waging war by destruction of life or property, are familiar examples of belligerents who are generally deemed not to be entitled to the status of prisoners of war, but to be offenders against the law of war subject to trial and punishment by military tribunals.

“Our government, the Court added, “by thus defining lawful belligerents entitled to be treated as prisoners of war, has recognized that there is a class of unlawful belligerents not entitled to that privilege, including those who, though combatants, do not wear ‘fixed and distinctive emblems.’”

If a terror suspect does not even qualify for designation as a lawful combatant, giving him access to the civil rights protections of the American jury system can properly be defined as an act of madness.

In recent years a Geneva Protocol relaxed the foregoing criteria in recognition of guerrilla fighters as legitimate combatants in what are nominally “wars of national liberation,” even though they neither wear uniforms nor bear arms openly at all times. But even under this lower standard, the designation of “lawful combatant” requires one to eschew indiscriminate attacks against civilians and to bear arms openly during military deployment and engagement — requirements that al-Qaeda operatives do not fulfill. As Crona and Richardson write, “A casually attired driver of a van carrying a concealed bomb does not fit anyone's definition of a lawful combatant.”

Apart from the question of whether military tribunals are a good idea philosophically, trying terrorists and war criminals in civilian rather than military courts poses a number of serious problems from a practical standpoint. For one thing, the rules defining admissible and inadmissible evidence in each venue differ dramatically. In civilian trials, neither coerced testimony, nor confessions made in the absence of a Miranda warning, nor hearsay evidence can presented to the court; in military tribunals the opposite is true, provided that the court determines such evidence to have “probative value to a reasonable person.” Crona and Richardson explain the profound significance of this:

A relaxation of the hearsay rule might become critical in a prosecution for terrorism where it may be impossible to produce live witnesses to an event which occurred years earlier in a foreign country. For example, the indictment in the Pan Am Flight 103 case details the alleged purchase of clothing, by Libyan intelligence agent Abdel Bassett, for placement in the suitcase with the bomb. The clothing was used to disguise the contents of the suitcase containing the bomb, which was placed inside a radio-cassette player. Under the rules of evidence applicable in U.S. District Court, the prosecution would have to produce in person the Maltese shopkeeper to identify Abdel Bassett as the man who allegedly purchased the clothing back in 1988, as opposed to producing the investigator who tracked down the shopkeeper and showed him a photograph of Abdel Bassett. Even if we assume that the shopkeeper could be located six years or more after the fact, we recognize that it is nearly impossible to secure involuntary testimony from a witness who is a citizen of a foreign country, especially one that historically has been less than sympathetic to the United States. The reach of a federal court subpoena simply does not extend to Malta.

11254  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 20, 2007, 04:28:42 PM
http://www.chicoer.com/portlet/article/html/fragments/p...d=6944877&siteId=135


Video, photos taken at fire stations spark concerns
By GREG WELTER - Staff Writer
Chico Enterprise-Record
Article Launched:

During the last week of July, fire officials in the Bay Area city of Campbell reported that two men had been seen videotaping routine activities at a fire station.
The men were reportedly in their 20s or early 30s, and one was using a sophisticated news media-style camera.

When firefighters attempted to talk with the men, they reportedly jumped into a waiting car and sped off.

The incident prompted the Sacramento Regional Terrorism Threat Assessment Center to send out a request for Northern California fire stations to watch for similar incidents, and report them immediately.

The day the request went out, Sept. 6, a second, similar incident was reported at a fire station in Yuba City.

According to officials, a fire captain encountered two men parked outside the city's main fire station. One of the men got out and allegedly began taking pictures of the fire station's administration building. When the captain approached the men, to tell them they were in a no-parking zone, the photographer jumped in the vehicle and the men left.

The man who took the photos was described as being between 30 and 40 years of age.

On Sept. 12, Fresno Fire Department officials spotted two men in a vehicle allegedly observing activities at a fire training center. When questioned, the driver reportedly said they were just checking things out, then left immediately.

Two days later, on Sept. 14, personnel from the Sacramento Metro Fire Department noticed two men taking photos of a fire station. A third man sat in the back of a car, and appeared to be drawing or taking notes.

When fire officials walked toward them, the two taking pictures jumped in the vehicle and sped away.

The men allegedly took pictures in front of the station, and in the rear. They ranged in age from late teens to about 60, officials recalled.

Tim Johnstone, a commander with the threat assessment center in Sacramento, said all of the incidents are being investigated, but there is no indication they might be related.

"We aren't considering this a specific threat at this time; we're just asking our public safety partners to be on the watch for suspicious activity," he said.

He said the threat assessment center was formed to act as a collection point for homeland security intelligence, and disseminate it appropriately.

Jay Alan, deputy director of communication for the Governor's Office of Homeland Security, said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is concerned about security agencies sharing information, and has made it a top priority.

Local officials said no suspicious incidents involving videotaping or photos have been reported at fire stations.

Fire department personnel are being asked to take note of vehicle descriptions, descriptions of suspicious subjects, and complete license plate numbers. Citizens who witness suspicious activity, near fire stations or elsewhere, should do the same, and report it to their local law enforcement agency.

Citizens should not attempt to contact suspicious individuals.


Staff writer Greg Welter can be reached at 896-7768 or gwelter@chicoer.com.
11255  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 20, 2007, 04:02:57 PM
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/09/20/nyregion/20bomb.html?...jgWDT5ogkDOvdyWX9oqg

September 20, 2007
A Bomb Threat Closes Schools in Bergen County

By TINA KELLEY
Schools in at least a dozen districts in northern New Jersey will be closed today as a precaution after an anonymous bomb threat was received by the mayor of Emerson, in Bergen County, police officials said yesterday. The closings affect nearly 12,000 students.

A letter warned that five schools would be “blown out” at 11:30 a.m., school officials said. It mentioned Emerson’s three schools as well as two others in unidentified nearby towns.

According to a statement from the Emerson Police Department, the borough clerk’s office received the letter around 10:30 a.m. yesterday. The Emerson schools were immediately evacuated, and the Emerson police notified neighboring departments about the threat, the statement said.

The Bergen County police bomb squad searched every school building in Emerson, the statement said. No bombs were found.

School districts in Oradell, River Edge, Closter, Demarest, Haworth, Harrington Park, Northvale, Norwood and Old Tappan will be closed today. Two regional districts — Northern Valley, with schools in Demarest and Old Tappan, and River Dell, with schools in Oradell and River Edge — will also be closed. The schools, all in mostly affluent Bergen County, have a combined student population of about 11,700.

“My first reaction was shock, the concern for my two daughters, then anger,” Emerson’s mayor, Louis J. Lamatina, said yesterday in a telephone interview. “And it’s an anger that’s growing.”

Mr. Lamatina, a part-time mayor, usually collects his mail on Saturdays. But the clerk called him immediately after opening the letter, which had been written on a computer, he said.

“Could it be a prank from a child? From what I’ve heard, that’s obviously a credible theory,” he said, noting that the letter looked a bit patched together. It was postmarked in Teterboro, where the regional post office is located.

“These poor kids’ minds are forming, and they have to live with a threat like this,” he said. “Everything is plastered over the news in front of them, and the fact that someone wants to blow them up is just inhuman. If it’s a prank, there’s no potential justification or explanation of how someone could sink that low.”

He said the schools were evacuated so quickly that some teachers did not have time to grab their purses, which were locked inside.

In Oradell, schools were closed at the end of the day yesterday and will be closed today. All were being searched, the Oradell police said.

“Our department deemed it prudent to treat the threat as credible, to ensure the safety of the students and school personnel,” said Detective Sgt. Mike Oslacky of the Oradell police. Back-to-school nights at the middle and high school were also canceled.

The warning had ripple effects beyond the boundaries of Emerson, which has 7,300 residents and 1,200 students in its schools. In Glen Rock, about eight miles away, the schools will remain open, but, according to the district’s Web site, “All high school students will be required to remain inside the building for lunch, and no outside food deliveries will be allowed.”
11256  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Anti-semitism & Jews on: September 20, 2007, 03:02:30 PM
It used to be that the crazy right was the core of anti-semitism in the US, today it's the allegedly mainstream left of the Daily Kos/Huffington Post/Jimmy "The Dhimmi" Carter.
11257  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: September 20, 2007, 02:58:40 PM
Quite a few, actually. The conflict over slavery almost scuttled the formation of the US. It was left unresolved in the interest of dealing with the primary issue of gaining independance from Britain.
11258  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: September 20, 2007, 12:54:56 PM
Who here thinks the founding fathers would have wanted jihadists to enjoy constitutional protections? "Lawfare" will be the death of us.
11259  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 20, 2007, 01:48:32 AM
http://pajamasmedia.com/2007/09/paris_lights_wanted_heroes_dea.php

Paris Lights: Wanted - Heroes, Dead or Alive
September 18, 2007 12:06 AM

Infantryman Harold Baumgarten

PJM’s Paris editor Nidra Poller spent a moving day on the Normandy beaches with a man who lived through the bloody WWII invasion, and contemplates the parallels with the battles being waged today. “War is hell but nations that do not have the courage to fight back when warred against are damned.”
Support Pajamas Media; Visit Our Advertisers

By Nidra Poller
Dr. Harold Baumgarten is a delightful hero. Supple and springy at 82, as clear-minded about the past as about the present, proud and modest, open-minded and open-hearted, he stands straight and tall physically and spiritually. I had the privilege of spending September 10 at Omaha Beach in the company of Dr. Baumgarten, his wife and son, and a group of over 40 well-informed history buffs on a tour of the Normandy beaches.

The trip began with a two-hour train ride from Gare St. Lazare to Bayeux on a beautiful Indian summer afternoon and then, by cab, to Hôtel Mercure at Port-en-Bessin through the emerald green Normandy countryside, the very image of peace. Cows grazing, apples ripening, timeless cottages basking in the sun; it looks like Technicolor. Little narrow roads, gently dipping and rising, made for the chug of that French tin Lizzie, the “Deux chevaux.” Signs of D-Day at every turn in the road. Monuments, memorials, museums…and cemeteries. Stinging tears in my eyes as I walked out of the provincial train station into the parking lot.
I arrived at the sweet little hotel, checked in, opened wide the picture window looking out on the terrace and pool, and went outside to get acquainted with members the group gathered around a table, while others were taking a swim. I met one of the organizers, Darren Moran, when I spoke to an American Committee for Foreign Relations chapter in Naples, Florida. Now he introduces me to Dr. Baumgarten, his wife Rita and their son Hal.

All that evening, and through the night and the following day, at the dinner table, in the lounge, on the beach, in the tour bus, on the bluffs, standing before the monuments, walking through the museum, walking through the cemetery at Coleville-sur-Mer I stretched my thoughts to the utmost to grasp the reality of that day, that landing, that war and, at one and the same time, this day, this war, this “landing” that has not yet occurred.

Our conversation isn’t an interview, it is communion. At times our stories - and our origins - interlock.
Dr. Baumgarten’s paternal grandparents immigrated to the United States from Austria. They had 15 children. He was studying at NYU on a scholarship. He had already tried to enlist when he was 16. His father had served in WWI.
Spielberg drew on Baumgarten’s experience for the opening scene of Saving Private Ryan. The 19 year-old infantryman painted a huge Magen David (Jewish star) on the back of his jacket, and wrote “Bronx, NY.” He wanted the Germans to know who was coming to get them. Spielberg changed the Bronx to Brooklyn. That’s forgiven, because his reconstruction of the landing was so close to the bloody truth.
A bright young student before the war, a fine surgeon after the war, and yet he wanted to fight. That’s how it was in those days. Our uncles, brothers, fathers went to war. Their portraits, in uniform, looked out from living room windows.
Wounded five times that day, June 6, 1944. The scars on his face are barely visible now, lost in the embroidery that long life applies to flesh and muscles. Looking deep into his eyes, past the decades, to find that smooth young face—nineteen years-old, a man in those days, a kid today – torn apart by shrapnel, “my teeth and jaws resting on my tongue, blood streaming…” Behind them the turbulent waters of the channel, a bitch of a day on Dog Section of Omaha Beach, 20-foot high waves. Ahead, a 3-football-field stretch of wet sand at low tide. Above, on the bluffs, the Nazis in well-heeled bunkers shooting down at the soldiers as they tumbled out of the landing craft. The British seamen scuttled back across the channel and left the foot soldiers to their fate.
“There’s two categories on this beach: the ones who are dead and the ones who are going to die,” the saying goes. I’m not sure if I got the words exactly right. Was it the captain who said it? The essence is there: dead or about to die. And they pushed forward inch by inch in the blood-red sea, up the beach littered with fresh death and, later, up the bluffs to kill the Germans with healthy wrath.
Words and images flash as we sit in a well-lighted room filled with bright, warm, American energy circulating up and down the long tables. Every single face invites my curiosity but I have to concentrate on the central issue; how did he do it? How does a man fight under those conditions? War is hell but nations that do not have the courage to fight back when warred against are damned.
One of the organizers leaves his seat- across the table from us for a minute. A callow waiter bearing a tray full of glasses filled with wine makes a faux pas. Red wine spills over the recently vacated chair. My Frenchified manners bristle at that uncouth wine service. Ca ne se fait pas. You bring the bottle or pitcher to the table and fill the wine glass before the guest’s eyes.
Our D-day hero returned to Omaha Beach for the first time in 1988, for the dedication of a monument to his unit, the 29th regiment of the 116th infantry division. That day, visiting the graves of his buddies in the Coleville sur Mer cemetery, he realized he had to speak for them, because they had been silenced. “God spared me,” says Dr. Baumgarten, with utter modesty, “so I could bear witness.” He shows me a snapshot of himself with George H., Barbara, and George W. Bush. He has been received with honor, decorated with honors, and he bears himself honorably. The Magen David painted on his jacket has never faded. The hero and his wife Rita retired to sleep early, and I spend long hours with their son Hal, who has lived with his father’s war stories since early childhood.
This is the first time he has seen the beaches. Another sort of heroism is required for the son of such a warrior. How to live by his light and not in his shadow, by his side and not in his footsteps? And how to prepare for that fateful day when the survivor will lose the last battle, the one that no one wins.
Breakfast. The bread and cheese are delicious. The coffee is thick, strong, tepid and tasteless. I get acquainted with some members of the group, and just as I am ready to leave I fall again into conversation with Hal and Darren. My search for truth trumps my sense of time. Suddenly it’s a mad dash to finish packing, check out, and jump into the giant tour bus. Six minutes late! The Colonel reminds this “embedded reporter” that this tour is running on military time.
It is a cliché, but how can you avoid it? The site of unbearable suffering has healed. It’s all prettied up. Thickly wooded bluffs rise with deceiving gentleness over a lovely beach basking in the sun. Dr. Baumgarten wearing his medals and that cap… what it is called? I ask a member of the tour, and he says “garrison cap.” That’s not what we called it when my father was in the Marines. Was it “overseas cap”?
We thought we would cry. Hal and I talked about it ‘round about midnight. Something stronger than tears wells up as a man stands straight and tall and tells us what he lived through that day. Something that doesn’t flow like tears but expands, in the heart and mind, and fills you with awe. Awe and a throbbing disembodied pain and, for me, childhood memories - we followed battles day by day, hour by hour, uncle by brother, and we did not know if our forces would prevail. It was called ‘the duration.’
“Icy sea water swept into the LCAs, we took off our helmets and bailed, some were seasick, everybody was scared, many were praying. I kept reciting the shema [Hear O Israel…] . The landing had been carefully planned by our generals in England. But things didn’t go exactly as planned. Passenger pigeons were shot down, air drops fell short, backup came too late… The young men carried a hundred pounds of equipment. The LCAs stayed out of the firing zone. Some of the boys were shot down as they walked down the plank, some sank and drowned as they stepped into deep water.. The Germans had crisscrossed the tidal strip with traps, obstacles, mines. The ship next to me exploded, splashing us with shrapnel and body parts.”
The veteran stands alone, his voice is steady and his words bring the bullets flying, bring to life the young men dying, fill the water and beach with horror. A bullet tears through his helmet, a bullet zings through his rifle, an 88 mm shell fragment shatters his jaw, the tide is coming in, the wounded are screaming, medics landed too far up shore can’t reach them. Officers are killed, and the Germans, supremely secure in their pillboxes, rain down hellfire with utmost cruelty. Baumgarten’s fifth wound was inflicted as he lay on a stretcher, waiting to be evacuated. The Germans fired at the medics, fired at the wounded.
But…it was the beginning of the end for them! Up on the bluffs and from there into the towns and all the way to their starting point in the Third Reich they would be smashed and defeated. I whip out my notebook and jot down a detail that is so incredible I’m afraid I’ll forget it: by midnight on the 6th of June 1944 the German position on the bluffs was totally silenced. They were either dead, POWed, or on the run.
“And we were outnumbered 16 to 1.” We watch our hero kill one. He points… his hand still steady but thinned with age. Up there, to my right, I saw the sun glinting off his helmet, I was a sharpshooter, got him with one shot.
We grunt, tears flowing down our bloody cheeks, as he grabs a buddy by the arm, slings him over his back, and crawls up the beach with him. We shiver as we listen to the gurgles of a young man’s life going down the tubes. And the silence.”
Four thousand men died in that landing! A figure that the anti-war hucksters would never use as a weight and measure for four years of combat against jihadis in Iraq. Anti-war is the upper face of a tarnished medal; the hidden face is pro-cowardice. How was that nearly unanimous courage mustered by our nation in WWII? Patriotism, national identity, heroism; the courage was individual and collective. And single-minded. Once you are in a war, you win. There is no other choice.
We visited the monument to the 29th regiment. A few of us gathered around Dr. Baumgarten’s wife Rita who told us how the young man who monitored her botany exam, saw her peering into a microscope and giving the wrong answer. And fell in love with her. She’s pert, with sparkling eyes, her red jacket is decorated with a sparkling I Love the USA brooch.
After lunch we visit the D-Day memorial museum. Life-size plaster mockups of the landing, scenes of life under the Occupation, an Allied communications post, a German military camp, jeeps and trucks and weapons and mess kits; cigarette packages, photos, and other memorabilia; the concentration camp uniform of a résistant. Traps and obstacles and mines on tripods planted in the tidal zone to kill the soldiers as they landed.
Compared to our day, the military equipment, the weapons, the uniforms look so primitive, just a step above spears and slingshots. My cell phone rings. It’s someone from the French international TV channel France 24 inviting me to take part in this evening’s debate on General Petraeus’s report and the situation in Iraq. Wouldn’t I just love to trudge into that studio direct from the sands of Omaha Beach! But I can’t make it back to Paris in time.
We scramble over the bluffs, peek into underground Nazi bunkers, look down from there onto the beach, imagine their glee at the panoramic shooting gallery. Behind them, a conquered France, the collaborationist Vichy government, a cowed population. La Résistance, yes, but that was a tiny minority. And there were the militia, another minority, actively on the side of the Nazis. The Germans had time to dig in and fortify their coastal defenses.
Ah! But we fooled them. They didn’t expect that invasion, that massive operation, at that point on the coast. And no American or British journalist, jumping with joy, scooped the story. There were warning posters everywhere during the war. “A slip of the lip can sink a ship.” We bought Liberty Bonds, collected tin cans, practiced air raids, did without when the ration stamps were used up. And we didn’t know who would prevail. We followed the war, on all fronts, battle by battle, with baited breath.
The Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial at Coleville sur mer is our last stop. First the museum, then the cemetery. There’s a photo of the young Harold Baumgarten in uniform. Strong resemblance to his son. He’d told us, earlier in the day, that when his lip was torn apart and his jaw smashed, he thought he’d never be whole again. He didn’t know about plastic surgery back then.
There is so much information here in the exhibits, the films, the recorded testimony of other veterans. And so much information on the tour I am accompanying. These people have a wealth of knowledge about the military, the landing, the battles, the formations, the weaponry, the progression of our troops. Our veteran is a treasure house of vivid details remembered as if they were happening in front of our eyes.
There’s no way I could catch up with them, no way I could note and retell all that I heard that day. So I concentrate my heart and mind on the essential: how can a human being bear such fear, face such danger, function with such searing pain, and never give up? Why can’t we recycle their sacrifice into fresh courage appropriate for our day? How can we recreate - in addition to the plaster mockups - the combined sense of uncertainty and determination that would guide us to victory today? General Eisenhower, on the eve of D-Day, said it was a crusade. And no one slapped him down.
We parted company. I wished Harold and Rita Baumgarten shana tova and promised to go to the synagogue for them, too. The tour would be on the road on the first day of Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year, and then they’d be flying back to the States.
As I waited for a taxi on the dark side of the Gare St. Lazare watching creepy figures pass in the dimly lit street, I was ashamed for France. What have you done with your liberation? Why are you collaborating again?
And that was the evening of September 10th and the next day was 9/11 plus six years. A low priority in the French media. They preferred to highlight a court decision in favor of Moulinex employees who hadn’t received their fair share when the firm went bankrupt years ago. What’s a war to preserve us from jihad compared to a juicy labor dispute? Occasionally a news report mentioned that “the Americans commemorate 9/11.” Got it, mon vieux? It’s their 9/11…and their flop of a war in Iraq…we told them so.
The regional channel France 3 is the most anti-American, anti-Sarkozy unit in the state-owned TV network. Here’s how they covered 9/11 on prime time news. Item: the Americans commemorate 9/11. Brief shot of tearful people at a solemn ceremony. Longer item: it’s all very well to commemorate the victims of the WTC etc. but the city of New York doesn’t want to hear about rescue workers ill from breathing that lethal mixture of pulverized debris! Longest Item: it’s tough to be a Muslim in the U.S. after 9/11. Discrimination, insults, attacks. Bridges TV in Buffalo NY is doing something about it. And here are the studios and here is the personnel, see the newscaster in hijab, and how about the news director, an ex-CNN, and how wonderful are their programs and how humane their bridges. Pan to Miss Hijab who says, “We are very careful about our vocabulary. For example, we don’t use the word ‘terrorist’ because one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.” Yeah, sure.
I don’t use the word “terrorist” either. I say “jihadi.” But the worst is yet to come. France 3 just happens to be showing a documentary about the “crimes of the liberators” at 11:30 PM…on September 11th.
Who are those criminal liberators? Three guesses. First, they occupied England. Then they stomped through France. Finally, they roughed up Germany. The GIs bien entendu! The documentary is made in collaboration with Professor J. Robert Lilly, who decided in the spring of 2003 (= “war in Iraq”) to investigate the heinous crimes committed by American military men naively lauded as heroes. Lilly, a reputable criminologist whose research is appreciated in Europe and “unfairly” rejected in the U.S., dug up the dirt in the archives. The monotonous low-budget film is mounted like a do it yourself kit: Zoom on GIs dancing with the local girls, fielding kisses in newly liberated villages, horsing around in pastures; freeze; pan to Lilly’s hands turning the pages of a confidential court martial report; and then bonk with a horror story of brutal rape often ending in murder. It begins in the Normandy villages I just visited and ends at the Coleville sur Mer cemetery. But the heroes are monsters, the liberation is an occupation, rapes and murders are slathered up and down the screen as if they were an everyday occurrence. Lilly, postulating that most rapes weren’t reported, multiplies by a huge X the number of documented cases.
But it’s nothing compared to what they did in Germany, they report. Propaganda taught them to hate the Germans. Terrible brutality, mass rape, but no one was punished: the US authorities considered German women as booty.
Gory scenes — in grainy black & white—of rapists hanging from the gallows as the troops look on were revealed, in the closing credits, to be reconstitutions.
The D-Day landing is misrepresented by archive shots of mop-up operations taken at least ten days later. And the film, apparently produced by France 3 (the production company is named France 33), accuses the Americans of racism for hanging so many black GIs while simultaneously claiming that black GIs were particularly active in rape.
This travesty of a documentary ends at the military cemetery at Coleville sur Mer. As the camera pans from face to face of a group of midshipmen & women visiting the cemetery— the picture of clean-cut upstanding goodness—the voice off intones: “the more patriotic the images the darker the secrets they conceal…the terrible reality of war”… bla bla bla…
I look up from the beach and see the sun glinting off the helmet of a France 33 operative, shooting down on us from the bluff…


Nidra Poller participated in a one-week tour, organized by the American History Forum, was led by multi-decorated D-Day survivor Dr. Harold Baumgarten, author of D-Day Survivor; Col. Robert J. Dalessandro (Director of the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center, US Army War College, Carlisle, PA); Col. Curtis P. Cheeseman (Chief Information Office, Carlisle Barracks, U.S. Army War College, Carlisle Pa(.; Dean Armstrong (Northwest Airlines pilot and expert on the Utah Beach landings); Darren Moran (long-time student of the Normandy Campaign); and Belgian author Michel De Trez
11260  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 19, 2007, 10:34:32 PM
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=5784518

That Old Piece of Cloth

by Frank Miller

 

Frank Miller is a comic book artist whose titles include Batman: The Dark Knight Returns and Sin City (which he co-directed for the movies). Miller recently announced that he's working on a new graphic novel in which Batman pits himself against terrorists.

 
“Patriotism, I now believe, isn't some sentimental, old conceit. It's self-preservation.”
 
Morning Edition, September 11, 2006 · I was just a boy in the 1960s. My adolescence wasn't infused with the civil rights struggle or the sexual revolution or the Vietnam War, but with their aftermath.

My high school teachers were ex-hippies and Vietnam vets. People who protested the war and people who served as soldiers. I was taught more about John Lennon than I was about Thomas Jefferson.

Both of my parents were World War II veterans. FDR-era patriots. And I was exactly the age to rebel against them.

It all fit together rather neatly. I could never stomach the flower-child twaddle of the '60s crowd and I was ready to believe that our flag was just an old piece of cloth and that patriotism was just some quaint relic, best left behind us.

It was all about the ideas. I schooled myself in the writings of Madison and Franklin and Adams and Jefferson. I came to love those noble, indestructible ideas. They were ideas, to my young mind, of rebellion and independence, not of idolatry.

But not that piece of old cloth. To me, that stood for unthinking patriotism. It meant about as much to me as that insipid peace sign that was everywhere I looked: just another symbol of a generation's sentimentality, of its narcissistic worship of its own past glories.

Then came that sunny September morning when airplanes crashed into towers a very few miles from my home and thousands of my neighbors were ruthlessly incinerated -- reduced to ash. Now, I draw and write comic books. One thing my job involves is making up bad guys. Imagining human villainy in all its forms. Now the real thing had shown up. The real thing murdered my neighbors. In my city. In my country. Breathing in that awful, chalky crap that filled up the lungs of every New Yorker, then coughing it right out, not knowing what I was coughing up.

For the first time in my life, I know how it feels to face an existential menace. They want us to die. All of a sudden I realize what my parents were talking about all those years.

Patriotism, I now believe, isn't some sentimental, old conceit. It's self-preservation. I believe patriotism is central to a nation's survival. Ben Franklin said it: If we don't all hang together, we all hang separately. Just like you have to fight to protect your friends and family, and you count on them to watch your own back.

So you've got to do what you can to help your country survive. That's if you think your country is worth a damn. Warts and all.

So I've gotten rather fond of that old piece of cloth. Now, when I look at it, I see something precious. I see something perishable.
11261  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 19, 2007, 10:07:03 PM
I had the opportunity to do some contracting work in Iraq in 2003/2004. It's a good thing that I didn't as the company I was looking at turned out to be scammers that did lots of stupid things and went out of business after burning lots of people. I believe the US DOJ is investigating them these days.

Depending on how things go, I am considering taking a police trainer position in Iraq/Afghanistan in 2009. Depending on if we are even in Iraq in 2009 and if the major attacks CONUS happen, as I anticipate.
11262  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: September 19, 2007, 10:00:54 PM
I had a conversation with a friend in the days after 9/11, we both agreed how we now understood how the internment of American citizens happened in WWII. Funny enough, J. Edgar Hoover was a strong opponent of the internment, but FDR overruled him.

The Clinton administration started the policy of "rendition". http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/pdd39.htm  http://www.fas.org/irp/offdocs/pdd-62.htm

I quote that right wing group, the ACLU:

URL: http://www.aclu.org/safefree/extraordinaryrendition/22203res20051206.html
 
Beginning in the early 1990s and continuing to this day, the Central Intelligence Agency, together with other U.S. government agencies, has utilized an intelligence-gathering program involving the transfer of foreign nationals suspected of involvement in terrorism to detention and interrogation in countries where -- in the CIA's view -- federal and international legal safeguards do not apply. Suspects are detained and interrogated either by U.S. personnel at U.S.-run detention facilities outside U.S. sovereign territory or, alternatively, are handed over to the custody of foreign agents for interrogation. In both instances, interrogation methods are employed that do not comport with federal and internationally recognized standards. This program is commonly known as "extraordinary rendition."

The current policy traces its roots to the administration of former President Bill Clinton. Following the attacks of September 11, 2001, however, what had been a limited program expanded dramatically, with some experts estimating that 150 foreign nationals have been victims of rendition in the last few years alone. Foreign nationals suspected of terrorism have been transported to detention and interrogation facilities in Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Diego Garcia, Afghanistan, Guantánamo, and elsewhere. In the words of former CIA agent Robert Baer: "If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria. If you want someone to disappear -- never to see them again -- you send them to Egypt."

Administration officials, backed by Department of Justice legal memoranda, have consistently advanced the position that foreign nationals held at such facilities, outside U.S. sovereign territory, are unprotected by federal or international laws. Thus, the rendition program has allowed agents of the United States to detain foreign nationals without any legal process and, primarily through counterparts in foreign intelligence agencies, to employ brutal interrogation methods that would be impermissible under federal or international law, as a means of obtaining information from suspects.

The Department of Justice's arguments notwithstanding, the extraordinary rendition program is illegal. It is clearly prohibited by the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Other Forms of Cruel, Inhuman, or Degrading Treatment, ratified by the United States in 1992, and by congressionally enacted policy giving effect to CAT. As Congress made clear, it is the policy of the United States not to:

expel, extradite, or otherwise effect the involuntary return of any person to a country in which there are substantial grounds for believing the person would be in danger of being subjected to torture, regardless of whether the person is physically present in the United States.
Foreign Affairs Reform and Restructuring Act of 1998, ("FARRA"), Pub. L. No. 105-277, § 2242, 112 Stat. 2681 (Oct. 21, 1998), reprinted in 8 U.S.C. § 1231, Historical and Statutory Notes (1999) (emphasis added).

Congress has recently reaffirmed this policy, providing in an amendment to the Emergency Supplemental Appropriations Act for the Iraq War and Tsunami Relief, 2005 (P.L. 109-13) that it will not authorize the funding of any program that "subject any person in the custody or under the physical control of the United States to torture or cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment that is prohibited by the Constitution, laws, or treaties of the United States." P.L. 109-13, § 1031 (2005). The President, too, has confirmed that it is the policy and practice of the United States neither to use torture nor to hand over detainees to countries that use torture. See www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2005/04/20050428-9.html.
11263  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 19, 2007, 09:23:07 PM
http://pajamasmedia.com/2007/09/cia_shut_down_in_iraq.php

CIA Shut Down in Iraq
September 19, 2007 11:58 AM

A perfect storm set to roil Blackwater?
According to exclusive information obtained by Pajamas Media’s Washington editor Richard Miniter, the movement of key CIA station personnel in Baghdad has been all but shut down. Are we witnessing Iran’s counter-strike to the surge?
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By Richard Miniter, PJM Washington Editor
Movements of key CIA station personnel in Baghdad—along with most State department diplomats and teams building police stations and schools—have been frozen for the second day in a row, according to a State department source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.

Essentially, the CIA, State department and government contractors are stuck inside the International Zone, also known as “the Green Zone,” in Central Baghdad. Even travel inside that walled enclave is somewhat restricted.

Pajamas Media is the first to report that the CIA station is all but motionless—as meetings with informants and Iraqi government officials have been hastily cancelled.

What caused the shut down? Following a firefight between Iraqi insurgents and a Blackwater USA protection detail on Sunday (12:08 PM Baghdad time), Iraqi officials suspended the operating license of the North Carolina-based government contractor. While the Iraqi government is yet to hold a formal hearing on the matter, Blackwater and all it protects remain frozen.

“By jamming up Blackwater, they shut down the movements of the embassy and the [CIA] station,” a State department source told Pajamas Media. He is not cleared to talk to the press.

Blackwater provides Personnel Security Details—or PSDs—for most CIA, State department, and U.S. Agency of International Development officers. In addition, Blackwater’s special-forces veterans guard many of the Provincial Reconstruction Teams—or PRTs—that build schools, clinics, police and fire stations and other structures that house essential Iraqi government services. Work on these vital “hearts and minds” projects has all but stopped across Iraq.

The State department has long insisted on using Blackwater and other private security firms so that its convoys and legations would not be controlled by the Defense department.

There are now more private contractors working in Iraq than U.S. soldiers serving there. Many are not U.S. citizens. Triple Canopy, another private firm, usually hires Peruvians to man the checkpoints inside the International Zone and Ugandans to guard distant airbases. The Peruvians, known as “incas” among Americans there, usually do not speak English or Arabic—a persistent source of complaint by Iraqi politicians who speak one or both languages.

At least eight Iraqis are reported dead after the Sunday shoot out and some press reports refer to the local casualties as “civilians.”

“Initial press accounts were inaccurate,” said Blackwater USA spokeswoman Anne Tyrell. “The ‘civilians’ reportedly fired upon by Blackwater professionals were in fact armed enemies and Blackwater personnel returned defensive fire. Blackwater regrets any loss of life but this convoy was violently attacked by armed insurgents, not civilians, and our people did their job to defend human life.”

“Blackwater professionals heroically defended American lives in a war zone on Sunday and Blackwater will cooperate with any inquiry into this matter.”

It’s well known in Iraq that dead insurgents become “civilians” as soon as their comrades carry away their AK-47s and spare magazines. Captured al Qaeda manuals detail how militants should use deaths as a propaganda tool.

TIME magazine received a partial copy of the official incident report.
According to the incident report, the skirmish occurred at 12:08 p.m. on Sunday when, “the motorcade was engaged with small arms fire from several locations” as it moved through a neighborhood of west Baghdad. “The team returned fire to several identified targets” before leaving the area. One vehicle engine was hit and disabled by bullets and had to be towed away. A separate convoy arriving to help was “blocked/surrounded by several Iraqi police and Iraqi national guard vehicles and armed personnel,” the report says. Then an American helicopter hovered over the traffic circle, as the U.S. convoy departed without casualties. Some reports have said the helicopter also opened fire on Iraqis, but a Blackwater official told TIME that no shots were fired from the air.

By apparently lifting Blackwater’s license, the democratically elected Iraq government may stall the forward progress created by the Gen. Petraeus’ surge and change in counterinsurgency tactics.

Indeed, some contend that the actions of Iraq’s Ministry of Interior, which supervises police and some intelligence functions, may be influenced by insurgents or even by Iran.

The staffing and internal rules of the Interior ministry were set up by Biyat Jabr, an affable and charming Shia Muslim who once worked for Saddam Hussein. (He was never a member of the Ba’ath party and thus survived de-Ba’athification with ease.)

Jabr is widely believed to be in the pay of Iranian intelligence services, although U.S. officials caution that there is no firm evidence of this charge. Jabr left the ministry in August 2006 and is now Finance Minister, but before he exited he salted the ranks with people loyal to Iran and hostile to the U.S. “Innocents dying [in the Sunday gun battle with Blackwater] is just a pretext,” the same State department source said.

Enemies of the U.S. inside the Interior ministry have been looking to shut down Blackwater for some time.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has adopted the same hard line against the American company. “This company should be punished. We are not going to allow it to kill Iraqis in cold blood. We have frozen all its activities and a joint panel has been formed to investigate the incident,” the prime minister told wire-service reporters.

“For their own interests, the Americans should hire a new company to protect their people so they can move freely.”

Both the State department and the Congress have signaled that investigations in to Blackwater will begin soon.

The State department hopes to shift blame onto Blackwater’s low-level “trigger pullers,” says the State department source, while Rep. Henry Waxman’s committee is expected to target senior executives at Blackwater and top Bush Administration officials. A perfect storm is set to roil Blackwater.

If Blackwater and other private contractors are shut out of Iraq, Democrats in Congress and Iranian intelligence operatives may have stumbled on a way to end the Iraq War—less than a week after Gen. Petraeus testified that the U.S. is turning the corner.
11264  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: September 19, 2007, 08:44:44 PM
Bush has done less than he should have, not more. Militarizing the borders should have started 9/12/2001. Aviation security still essentially sucks, despite the billions of dollars spent, due to political correctness.

Liberal icon FDR had Americans of Japanese ancestry rounded up into camps for the duration of the war. Give me something done by this president that even begins to approach that.
11265  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 19, 2007, 08:37:42 PM
Blackwater and other companies (Blackwater is the biggest, but far from the only) still fall under US legal jurisdiction. You can be prosecuted for acts far outside America's borders in federal court. Most American contractors would not consider themselves "mercenaries", as they aren't selling their skills to the highest bidder but would only work for the US State department or other USG entities in Iraq/Afghanistan.
11266  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: September 19, 2007, 05:47:06 PM
Nothing President Bush has done begins to compare with what Lincoln or FDR did to preserve the US at times of war.
11267  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 19, 2007, 04:39:45 PM
I'm sure (I'm too lazy to look it up right now) that the Blackwater and other companies that are working for the state department are covered under diplomatic immunity. As an example, that would be why SFPD couldn't ticket a vehicle illegally parked that belonged to the PRC's consulate.
11268  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere on: September 19, 2007, 02:40:58 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/19/new-jihad-watch-footbaths-on-the-march/

Creeping sharia.
11269  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 19, 2007, 12:53:42 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/18/the-blackwater-affair-licenses-who-needs-licenses/?print=1

The Blackwater affair: Licenses? Who needs licenses?
posted at 10:41 pm on September 18, 2007 by Bryan   


If you spend any amount of time at all in Iraq — and I mean that literally, any time at all — you’ll soon observe corruption. Iraq is a country that spent 35 years in survival mode, under the boot heel of a man who admired both Hitler and Stalin and who sought to combine the brutality of both on his way to becoming the next Nebuchadnezzar. The society was traumatized, and its people evidently learned to live by a police state version of the Wimpy rule: I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for what I’m swiping from you today, and mostly because by Tuesday the Mukhabarrat may have swiped me, myself and I, never to be seen again. I’ll be tortured and probably killed, but at least I won’t be out the couple of dinars I would have paid you.

I give you that as a preamble to the latest story about the Blackwater affair because it’s important to understanding how things work in Iraq. You’ve probably heard by now, that the North Carolina-based Blackwater security company is in hot water with Iraq’s Interior Ministry over an incident in which “innocent Iraqis” were killed. I added the scare quotes because the term “innocent” means different things to different people, and it’s not at all clear yet that whoever was killed in that incident was innocent in any way that we would commonly use the term. It’s not clear yet that they weren’t innocent either, or that at least some of them weren’t. It’s all under investigation, but the Interior Ministry has pulled a Murtha and gone ahead and convicted Blackwater anyway. The consequences of said conviction include revoking Blackwater’s license. It’s at this point that someone needs to cue up the laugh track while someone else pops up on camera and says “Licenses? We don’t need no steenkin’ licenses!”

Private security contractors in Iraq say most expatriate companies in the country operate without licenses because corrupt government officials who issue them demand bribes of up to $1 million.

“A couple of companies tried to get licenses, but no one has licenses because the bribes they were asking were too big, up to $1 million,” said a member of the elite Blackwater USA security company which has been ordered by Iraqi authorities to halt its operations.

Yes, we’re talking about the same Ministry that’s accusing Blackwater of crimes. It’s a Ministry run by bribes, that answers in part to the very paragon of virtue himself, the so-called “Mullah Atari,” Moqtada al-Sadr.

Exploiting that anger, anti-American cleric Muqtada al-Sadr demanded the government ban all 48,000 foreign security contractors, whom Iraqis have long viewed as mercenaries, the Associated Press reported.

If nothing else, that’s another reason that we should have taken Mookie out a long time ago.

So if just about every private contractor in Iraq operates without licenses, what’s really going on with Blackwater?

Well, internal politics seem to have a lot to do with it: We could be looking at a shakedown to make up for the bribes that Blackwater presumably didn’t pay. We could be looking at an attempt to weaken the US position in Iraq overall, since Blackwater and similar security companies have about 48,000 personnel on the scene engaged in various security duties. (Do ya think Mookie wouldn’t like to see 48,000 guns that ultimately answer to the US taken out of the game?) And like everything else in Iraq, putting a fixed number on it reduces its actual complexity by several orders of magnitude. A drive through the base complex around the Baghdad airport, for instance, will take you through private security guards from enough different continents and countries that you’d swear you were cruising through a muddy UN session: Nigerians man this gate, Brazilians man that post over there, and Peruvians are running that street from there to there, but beyond them, it’s the South Africans or someone else who will ask to see your papers, please.

I’ll hazard a guess that all the companies hiring and supporting all those nationalities probably aren’t licensed to the nth degree. They’re probably sufficiently paid up on their bribes, though.

Back to the incident that started the current row:

The incident, which left eight Iraqi civilians dead by most accounts, occurred Sunday when Blackwater was escorting a convoy through one of Baghdad’s Sunni neighborhoods.

According to the North Carolina-based company, the convoy was attacked by armed insurgents using small-arms fire. The U.S. contractors returned fire to get their clients out of the area safely.

“By doctrine, you return fire — that’s how you stay alive,” said the Blackwater contractor, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified. “They killed who they needed to kill to get out of there. The teams that try to be all nicey-nicey, guess what? Their guys get kidnapped,” he said.

Several expatriate security contractors who did not open fire have been taken hostage while protecting their clients in western Iraq near Ramadi and in Baghdad.

Along with the bewildering corruption, that’s another reality in Iraq: At times, it’s a kill or be killed kind of place. The fate of those Blackwater contractors killed in Fallujah in 2004 surely informs decisions made in real time today. Undoubtedly most would take condemnation from the Interior Ministry over having their corpses rhetorically spat upon by the likes of Kos after thugs have killed and mutilated them.

I’m loath to predict how the Blackwater affair will turn out, but it is hard to imagine the military or State Dept (especially the State Dept) getting much done without Blackwater’s guys and guns around doing the jobs they’ve been doing for four years now. It probably will blow over. But the corruption is probably there to stay.

Today, the Iraqi government appeared to back down from statements Monday that it had revoked Blackwater’s license and would order its 1,000 personnel to leave the country, Associated Press said. It is not clear whether Blackwater was operating under an active license.

The special operations contractor, who has been in Iraq for four years, said he had seen the Ministry of Interior (MOI) demand bribes of security companies in three different contracts.

“You would apply for a license and it would stall, then someone from the MOI would show up and say that the license application was sitting in a box and that for a certain fee it could be pushed through,” said the contractor, also asking that his name not be used.

The size of the bribe depended on the size of the company, he said, starting in the area of $100,000 and up.

That all sounds hopelessly corrupt, but honestly, quite a bit of Europe doesn’t operate much more clean than that. Of course, Europeans don’t have Sadrist death squads lurking in the background to enforce and collect on the bribes.
11270  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: The 2008 Presidential Race on: September 19, 2007, 12:42:53 PM
Alan Keyes  rolleyes
11271  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: "You go to war with the citizens you have, not the citizens you want." on: September 19, 2007, 12:41:04 PM
It's more of a press release touting the book, but Aaron  Klein is a sharp guy. I used to listen to him on the John Batchelor show. He did great reporting on the middle east based out of Israel.
11272  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: "You go to war with the citizens you have, not the citizens you want." on: September 19, 2007, 01:20:36 AM
Terrorists disclose: We LOVE liberals!
Jihadists respond to Rosie, Clinton, Penn, Pelosi, Fonda, Boxer, Murtha
Posted: September 19, 2007
1:00 a.m. Eastern


© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

 
Klein, left, with the senior West Bank leadership of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, including Ala Senakreh, second from left, the terror group's West Bank chief. The Brigades took responsibility together with the Islamic Jihad terror group for every suicide bombing in Israel the past three years. The Brigades, the most active West Bank terror group, also carried out hundreds of shootings and rocket attacks.
Many analysts and commentators have speculated what America's enemies might think about liberal politicians, celebrities and activists who protest the war in Iraq, call terrorists "freedom fighters," express solidarity with terror-supporting countries or even question who was behind the 9/11 attacks.

In a shocking new book, author and WND Jerusalem bureau chief Aaron Klein actually petitions Muslim terrorists to respond to the statements and actions of American public figures such as anti-war activist Cindy Sheehan, Sen. Hillary Clinton, Sen. Barbara Boxer, Rep. John Murtha, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and entertainment personalities Rosie O'Donnell, Sean Penn and Jane Fonda. The jihadists overwhelmingly applauded the liberal leaders.

In "Schmoozing with Terrorists: From Hollywood to the Holy Land Jihadists Reveal their Global Plans – to a Jew!," Klein in one chapter assembles a panel of senior terrorist leaders and asks them to sound off about high-profile liberals. He also asks about conservative personalities from Ronald Reagan through Rush Limbaugh.

The terrorists were familiar with some of the names, while for others the jihadists were provided with a series of statements and speeches to which to respond.

Klein, for example, had a speech made earlier this year by Penn translated into Arabic. In the speech, Penn, who in 2005 paid a solidarity visit to Tehran, called Iran a "great country," slammed President Bush and Vice President Cheney as "villainous and criminally obscene people" and suggested Iran had the right to obtain a nuclear weapon since the U.S. has a nuclear arsenal.



In "Schmoozing" Klein also read to the terrorists statements from O'Donnell in which she argued terrorists are people, too.

"Don't fear the terrorists. They're mothers and fathers," said O’Donnell.

The former daytime talk host also has raised questions about whether al-Qaida was responsible for 9/11; implied the Iranian seizure of 15 British sailors in March was a hoax to provide Bush with an excuse to attack Tehran; and doubted whether confessed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheik Mohammed really planned the attacks.

Klein discussed with the terrorists demands for a quick U.S. withdrawal from Iraq by politicians such as Boxer and Murtha.

He asked jihadists what they thought of Pelosi's visit last April against the recommendations of the White House to meet with Syrian President Bashar Assad.


Klein with Eiman Abu Eita, chief of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades in Beit Sahour

During a photo opportunity, a smiling Pelosi stated, "We came in friendship, hope and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace."

Syria openly hosts Palestinian terrorist leaders, signed a military alliance with Iran and is accused of arming and funding the Lebanese Hezbollah terror group and aiding the insurgency against U.S. troops in Iraq.

Klein also read to the terrorists speeches and statements by Sheehan, who has called terrorists "freedom fighters" and has accused Bush of waging war in Iraq for Israeli interests.

Why schmooze with the professed enemies of Western civilization?

States Klein: "In the midst of America's war on terror, in the midst of our grand showdown with Islamofascism, with our boys and girls deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan and around the world to defend liberty, it is crucial for all of us to understand the adversary we are up against and how some of our policies and personalities are emboldening the terrorists to think they are winning."

Klein explains he believes America is in trouble. While the U.S. has made enormous advances in the war on terror the past few years, it is encouraging terrorists to attack, and people don't even know it, he professes.


Klein with Muhammad Abu Tir, the No. 2 Hamas leader in the West Bank, suspected of attempting to poison Israel's water supply

"If the American approach to identifying, understanding, and dealing with terrorism is not re-examined in the very near future, if we don't immediately begin to understand how the terrorists think and respond to our policies, we face a devastating reality, with global jihad beating down our doorstep before we even realize what happened," states Klein.

Among the highlights of "Schmoozing with Terrorists:"

Madonna and Britney Spears stoned to death? What life in the U.S. would be like if the terrorists win.
Jihadists list their U.S. election favorites, mouth off about politicians and even threaten to kill one 2008 presidential candidate.
Klein and friends confront well-armed senior terrorists about whether suicide bombers really get 72 virgins after their deadly operation.
A shocking expose on how YOUR tax dollars fund terrorism!
Bibles used as toilet paper, synagogues as rocket launching zones? Meet the leaders of the most notorious holy site desecrations in history.
The under-reported story of Christian persecution in the Middle East as told by the antagonists and victims.
Terrorists offer tips on how to win the war on terror!
Klein has been interviewing terrorists since age 19, when he spent a weekend with a group connected to al-Qaida. He reports daily from Israel, going where many of his media colleagues dare not tread.

Klein is known for his regular appearances and segments on top American radio programs, where he has many times interviewed terrorists live on air. He served as a co-host of the national "John Batchelor Show," currently on hiatus.

The oldest of 10 children, Klein attended Jewish schools from kindergarten through college at Yeshiva University in New York, where he served as editor-in-chief of the undergraduate student newspaper.

To interview Aaron Klein, contact M. Sliwa Public Relations by e-mail, or call 973-272-2861 or 212-202-4453.
11273  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 19, 2007, 01:05:44 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/18/good-news-british-intel-outfit-reports-evidence-of-chemical-warheads-on-syrian-missiles/

I guess we've found Saddam's WMDs.
11274  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 18, 2007, 10:11:56 PM
I'm cheating a bit by reading posts on a forum where lots of contractors post. They don't seem to give it much weight.
11275  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 18, 2007, 09:16:47 PM
Contractors probably won't be going anywhere and much of the story is media hype.
11276  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 18, 2007, 08:33:57 PM
Tom,

I has posted on this story earlier. As far as the Blackwater story goes, it's a non-story in the big picture.
11277  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 18, 2007, 08:05:33 PM
http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/18/video-christians-pray-for-and-with-burned-iraqi-boy-in-california/

CNN worth watching.
11278  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 18, 2007, 06:32:40 PM
 :-oWHOA! shocked
11279  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Legal Issues created by the War with Islamic Fascism on: September 18, 2007, 09:27:13 AM
The WSJ has it exactly right. The legal system isn't designed to fight this war.
11280  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Israel, and its neighbors on: September 18, 2007, 09:19:37 AM
An old IDF joke: "Syria is willing to fight Israel down to the last Palestinian."

I'd love to see Israel stomp a mudhole in Syria right about now.
11281  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: September 18, 2007, 09:13:13 AM
Hopefully a soft revolution. I'd like to think that the returning Mexicans would have learned some good things about the US system and make much needed reforms in Mexico. There is no good reason for Mexico to be so poor.
11282  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Mexico-US matters on: September 17, 2007, 11:21:07 PM
We're well past the point of where we should have militarized the borders.
11283  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 17, 2007, 11:18:37 PM
Woof GM,

In the larger global strategic sense, protecting Saudia Arabia and the straits of Hormuz are about oil. A stable Iraq producing oil is in our best interest, but we aren't getting any revenue from Iraq today.

Above you list three major oil-producing countries.  One is the country of origin of 14-15 of the 19 9/11 hijackers.  One we're at war with now.  One we're threatening to go to war with.  In all seriousness (not in a "no blood for oil!" sloganeering sense) would you agree that oil is the main reason why we even care about what happens in the Middle East?

***It's why everyone on the planet, unless you are a hunter-gatherer has to be concerned about the middle east. Better believe China, India and many other countries have military contingency plans to secure access to oil. Saudi Arabia is the evil jihadist twin stuck to our abdomen. Read up on their history and you'll see how they made themselves invaluable to us while at the same time funding the global jihad. In my opinion, Saudi Arabia is the center of gravity for the sunni side of the global jihad. I dream of the day when another source of energy can make oil obsolete and the Saudis can go back to gathering dates on camelback.***

Quote
If Iraq was just about access to Iraq's oil, we could have cut a backroom deal with Saddam in exchange for our dropping sanctions without a shot being fired.

Agreed.  At the same time I would argue that if it were just about terrorism, we'd be doing a whole bunch of other things differently.

***What things?***

Quote
Afghanistan has 1 location producing oil today, if I recall correctly. I don't see Afghanistan attracting many investors, even if some Saudi sized oil field were discovered.

Again, agreed.

I seem to remember a lot of discussion during the 1990s about readying the US military to fight wars on multiple fronts simultaneously.  You might know more details about this than me.  In any case, it seems like they've gotten the chance to try it out and are no doubt very concerned about the results.


***Yeah, historically under the Reagan administration up to Clinton, the US military was structured to be able to fight two major fronts and a regional conflict all that the same time (In WWII, most resources went to the war in europe, the war against Japan was deemed secondary in importance). Under Clinton, we enjoyed the "Peace dividend". The US military was downsized dramatically. It's a good excuse for the current administration if we were in 2003. Here we are in 2007 and we haven't built back up to pre-Clinton levels. A serious mistake in my book. The rebuilding should have started 9/12/2001.***
11284  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Big Picture WW3: Who, when, where, why on: September 17, 2007, 10:55:12 PM
I'd cut a deal with Putin to be our jr. partner in the GWOT. It's only our pressure that has kept him from burning Chechnya off the planet. I'd give him free reign to do as he wishes with the Chechen problem in exchange for cutting off support to Iran and Syria.

The Russians and Chinese have done much better in the past in dealing with jihadists. I'd use that to our advantage.
11285  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 17, 2007, 04:05:55 PM
http://michellemalkin.com/2007/09/17/dearbornistan-government-at-work-covering-up-for-the-ak-47-jihadi-suspect/

Submission.
11286  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 17, 2007, 03:39:40 PM
In the larger global strategic sense, protecting Saudia Arabia and the straits of Hormuz are about oil. A stable Iraq producing oil is in our best interest, but we aren't getting any revenue from Iraq today. If Iraq was just about access to Iraq's oil, we could have cut a backroom deal with Saddam in exchange for our dropping sanctions without a shot being fired.

Afghanistan has 1 location producing oil today, if I recall correctly. I don't see Afghanistan attracting many investors, even if some Saudi sized oil field were discovered.
11287  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 17, 2007, 03:29:48 PM
Like many stolen vehicles, they could be across the border now serving Mexican schoolchildren. I would prefer that scenario.

The much worse scenario involves child hostages in VBIEDs being detonated on live global television.
11288  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Interrogation methods on: September 17, 2007, 01:58:44 PM
I'd draw a clear line between what domestic LE can do and what can be done by the .mil or more importantly the "OGA".
11289  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 17, 2007, 01:49:21 PM
http://counterterrorismblog.org/2007/09/print/third_911_video.php

Counterterrorism Blog

Third 9/11 Jihadist Video Calls For Attacks on West

By Jeffrey Imm

Media reports state that a third 9/11 Jihadist video, reportedly by Al Qaeda, has been released via Islamist web sites today, calling for Jihadist terror acts on the West to be a daily occurrence and calling for "acts of mass extermination".
AKI and AFP have thus far provided the primary reporting on this new Al Qaeda video.

AKI reports that the new 26 minute video is entitled "The attacks in New York and Washington - reasons and motives".
AFP reports that the video "features a montage of images of the burning World Trade Center towers and scenes from Islamist training camps."

AFP reports that a voiceover on the video states:
"We must take Islamist terrorism to Western countries so that it becomes a normal part of life like natural disasters" and "n that way, we will have acts of mass extermination in which people will feel that their affluence also brings death... and we will have created a balance of deterrence between us and them".

AKI reports that the new video begins with a message from Abu Yahya al-Libi, the leader of al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. On the new video, Al-Libi is reported to praise the role of Al Qaeda in defending the principles of Islam

AKI reports that the new video includes a montage of audio and video footage of previous messages Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri on the rationale behind the 9/11 attacks. AFP reports that the video also includes a clip by Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid, also known as Sheikh Said, the group's commander in Afghanistan.

AKI reports that:
"[a] voice on the video also gives an account of the war in Chechnya, blames the West for having committed a mass extermination and calls for revenge for this action. Also included is footage of interviews carried out by the Arab satellite TV network, Al Jazeera, with university professors, Arab commentators and editor of the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper. The entire video describes various events that occured before the 9/11 attacks, in particular the conflict in Chechnya, and tries to explain the reasons behind the terror attacks."

AKI reports that the video ends with a speech by Abdullah Azzam. Abdullah Azzam, who died in 1989, was an inspiration to Osama Bin Laden and countless other Jihadists.

AKI reports that the new video does not the logo of al-Sahab, Al Qaeda's communications arm, but carries the new logo of "al-Tanzim". AFP reports: "A third release had been trailed by Al-Qaeda's media arm, As-Sahab. In the event the new video was issued in the name of Al-Tanzem, prompting suggestions the network has launched a new media arm."


This posting will be updated as new information is released.

Sources:

September 17, 2007 -- AKI: Terrorism: Al-Qaeda releases third 9/11 video

September 17, 2007 -- AFP: Qaeda urges Islamic terror in West in third 9/11 video

September 17, 2007 -- Agenzia Giornalistica Italia -- Terror: Third Al Qaeda's video, attacks must be normal

April 16, 2002 - Slate: Abdullah Azzam - The godfather of jihad

By Jeffrey Imm on September 17, 2007 1:00 PM

****I really don't like the potential subtext here, as I see it as a potential call for "Beslan" attacks CONUS.****
11290  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Subscribe to Stratfor! on: September 17, 2007, 01:31:55 PM
CD,

Did you learn about Stratfor from me? I can't remember.
11291  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 17, 2007, 01:14:14 PM
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070917/pl_afp/usattacksqaeda_070917103758&printer=1;_ylt=AqNgcBhifs_.o3qDT8SA1gmtOrgF

Qaeda urges Islamic terror in West in third 9/11 video
Mon Sep 17, 8:29 AM ET

Al-Qaeda called on Islamists to sow terror in the West to create a climate of fear, in a third video marking the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States which was posted on the Internet on Monday.

Called "reasons and motives for the attacks on New York and Washington," the video features a montage of images of the burning World Trade Centre towers and scenes from Islamist training camps.

"We must take Islamist terrorism to Western countries so that it becomes a normal part of life like natural disasters," a voiceover says.

"In that way, we will have acts of mass extermination in which people will feel that their affluence also brings death... and we will have created a balance of deterrence between us and them," the unidentified voice adds.

The new video also includes clips from old voice recordings of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and his Egyptian deputy Ayman al-Zawahiri, as well as a short video clip of Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid, also known as Sheikh Said, the group's commander in Afghanistan.

Al-Qaeda already released a videotape and an audiotape featuring bin Laden earlier this month to mark the the sixth anniversary of the attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people in the United States.

A third release had been trailed by Al-Qaeda's media arm, As-Sahab. In the event the new video was issued in the name of Al-Tanzem, prompting suggestions the network has launched a new media arm.
11292  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 17, 2007, 01:12:38 PM
That's not a good development. undecided
11293  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 17, 2007, 12:51:21 PM
http://www.nationalterroralert.com/updates/2007/09/17/school-terror-threat-jihad-boom-postcards-with-threatening-cartoon-sent-to-nine-schools/

This is a "ping", IMHO.
11294  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 17, 2007, 12:15:44 PM
Ah yes, the endless muslim victimhood..... rolleyes

If Denmark is so bad, pack up and move someplace where muslims rule the land, like France.
11295  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Iraq on: September 17, 2007, 12:11:21 PM
It would be nice to see the Sunnis and Shias find some ability to co-exist in Iraq, but that would mean being able to move past a lot of ugly history.
11296  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: China on: September 17, 2007, 12:04:56 PM
IMHO, we'll see China move against Taiwan sometime in late 2008-2009. Most likely this will happen while the US is facing issues elsewhere, like major terror attacks CONUS and/or a open shooting war with Iran.
11297  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Why we fight on: September 17, 2007, 12:18:24 AM
http://hotair.com/archives/2007/09/16/hot-air-video-infiltrating-the-moonbats-in-dc/

There are two Americas.....
11298  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 16, 2007, 09:07:51 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/20...007091402265_pf.html

Converts To Islam Move Up In Cells
Arrests in Europe Illuminate Shift
By Craig Whitlock
Washington Post Foreign Service
Saturday, September 15, 2007; A10

BERLIN -- Religious converts are playing an increasingly influential role in Islamic militant networks, having transformed themselves in recent years from curiosities to key players in terrorist cells in Europe, according to counterterrorism officials and analysts.

The arrests this month of two German converts to Islam -- Fritz Gelowicz and Daniel Schneider -- on suspicions that they were plotting to bomb American targets are just one example of terrorism cases in Europe in which converts to Islam have figured prominently.

In Copenhagen, a convert is among four defendants who went on trial this month for plotting to blow up political targets. In Sweden, a webmaster who changed his name from Ralf Wadman to Abu Usama el-Swede was arrested last year on suspicion of recruiting fighters on the Internet. In Britain, three converts -- including the son of a British politician -- are awaiting trial on charges of participating in last year's transatlantic airline plot.

"The number of converts, it seems, is definitely on the rise," said Michael Taarnby, a terrorism researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies. "We've reached a point where I think al-Qaeda and other groups recognize the value of converts, not just from an operational viewpoint but from a cultural one as well."

Religious converts are sometimes more prone to radicalization because of their zeal to prove their newfound faith, analysts said. They are also less likely to attract police scrutiny in Europe, where investigators often rely on outdated demographic profiles in terrorism cases.

Converts are a tiny subset of the Muslim population in Europe, but their numbers are growing in some countries. In Germany, government officials estimated that 4,000 people converted to Islam last year, compared with an annual average of 300 in the late 1990s. Less than 1 percent of Germany's 3.3 million Muslims are converts.

While religious leaders emphasize that most converts are law-abiding citizens who often promote interfaith understanding, the recent arrests in Germany prompted some lawmakers to suggest that police should keep converts under surveillance.

"Of course not all converts are problematic, but some are particularly dangerous because they want to demonstrate through extreme fanaticism that they are particularly good Muslims," Guenther Beckstein, interior minister for the state of Bavaria, said last week.

The trend is not limited to Europe. In Florida, U.S. citizen and convert Jose Padilla was convicted last month on conspiracy charges for participating in an al-Qaeda support cell. In March, David M. Hicks, an Australian convert, became the first prisoner at the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to be convicted on terrorism charges.

Converts have joined militant groups, including al-Qaeda, for years. Wadih el-Hage, a Lebanese Christian who converted to Islam and became a U.S. citizen, served as an aide to al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden in the 1990s and was convicted for his role in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa.

But counterterrorist analysts and officials said they have become much more common and are now playing leadership roles. They said there is also evidence that militant groups, which used to eye converts suspiciously as potential infiltrators, are now encouraging them to join.

In May, al-Qaeda deputy chief Ayman al-Zawahiri released a videotape in which he repeatedly praised Muslim leader Malcolm X and urged African American soldiers to stop fighting in Iraq and embrace Islam.

"I am hurt when I find a black American fighting the Muslims under the American flag," Zawahiri said, according to a translation of the speech by the SITE Institute, a terrorism research group. "Why is he fighting us when the racist Crusader regime in America is persecuting him like it persecutes us?"

This month, bin Laden released a rare videotape in which he called upon all Americans to convert to Islam. Analysts said bin Laden's remarks, though theological in nature, were probably not intended as a direct recruiting pitch for al-Qaeda. But they said his speech likely was influenced by Adam Gadahn, a U.S. citizen from California who converted to Islam as a teenager and is a media adviser for al-Qaeda. He was indicted in the United States on treason charges last year.

"This has the language and hallmarks of Adam Gadahn and is very reminiscent of his own messages in terms of style and content," said M.J. Gohel, chief executive of the Asia-Pacific Foundation, a London-based security studies organization. "Gadahn, whenever he has appeared in an al-Qaeda video, has always used the opportunity to encourage others to convert to Islam."

Analysts said European converts sometimes are drawn to mosques or organizations at home that have a radical bent but profess nonviolence. After spending time in those circles, however, some seek to deepen their involvement by attending religious schools, or madrassas, in Islamic countries such as Pakistan, Egypt or Saudi Arabia.

Once there, it is easy for spotters from al-Qaeda and other militant groups to recruit potential followers, said Ashraf Ali, a researcher at the University of Peshawar in Pakistan. "That's the point where these new converts fall in the hands of jihadi organizations and they go for military training," he said.

One fundamentalist network that has attracted hundreds of converts in Europe is Tablighi Jamaat, a missionary sect based in Pakistan that characterizes itself as peaceful but is criticized by some authorities as a training ground for extremists. Another is al-Muhajiroun, a movement founded by a radical cleric in London that officially disbanded in 2004 but reorganized into an assortment of splinter groups.

Maulana Muhammad Qasim, a member of the Pakistani National Assembly from the Mardan district who is active in Tablighi Jamaat, said the organization has no links to terrorism or politics.

"It is not the policy of the Tablighi Jamaat to send people for military training or jihad," he said. "But if someone starts off with us and ends up as a militant, that's an individual's decision and has nothing to do with the manifesto of the group."

In Germany, investigators are still trying to determine how the three men arrested Sept. 4 became radicalized and how they came into contact with the Islamic Jihad Union, a South Asian network that has asserted responsibility for the plot to attack American targets in Germany.

Gelowicz, whom investigators have identified as the ringleader of the cell, struggled academically in high school and converted to Islam when he was 18. He was active in radical circles in the southern city of Ulm, home to an Islamic cultural center and other institutions that have long been under police surveillance.

In an interview with the German magazine Stern in July, two months before his arrest, Gelowicz described his introduction to Islam. "I had a good friend who was a Muslim," he said. "At some point, you start to ask questions like, 'Why do you fast?' 'Why don't you eat pork?' You keep asking. At some point you realize that God sent a prophet to fulfill all revelations."

Many Germans have been stunned by news of the alleged plot, and religious leaders said they were trying to counter what they described as a public backlash and heightened suspicion about converts.

Gerhard Isa Moldenhauer, a board member at the Central Institute of the Islam Archive, the oldest Muslim organization in Germany, blamed panicky lawmakers for stirring up distrust.

"The German politicians tell us almost daily that all converts are terrorists," said Moldenhauer, 58, himself a convert. "It is truly sad when politicians have no trust in their citizens."

Special correspondents Imtiaz Ali in Peshawar, Pakistan, and Shannon Smiley in Berlin contributed to this report.
11299  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Afghanistan-Pakistan on: September 16, 2007, 01:37:35 PM

Pakistan's newest threat: Army officer turns suicide bomber

B Raman | September 14, 2007 | 12:17 IST

According to reliable sources in the local police, a Pashtun army officer belonging to the elite Special Services Group, whose younger sister was reportedly among the 300 girls killed during the Pakistan Army's commando raid on the Lal Masjid in Islamabad between July 10 and 13, blew himself up during dinner at the SSG's headquarters mess at Tarbela Ghazi, 100 km south of Islamabad, on the night of September 13, killing 19 other officers.
The incident coincided with United States Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte's visit to Kabul and Islamabad for talks with leaders and officials of the two governments.

According to the same sources, the Pashtun army officer belonged to South Waziristan, but Tarbela Ghazi is not located in the tribal belt. The SSG, to which General Pervez Musharraf belonged, was specially trained by the US Special Forces for covert operations and for counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency duties.

The usually well-informed News of Pakistan reported as follows on September 14: 'The area where the incident occurred is the headquarters of the Special Services Group also known as SSG and Special Operation Task Force of the Pakistan Army. Sources said the blast was so powerful that it destroyed the Officers Mess. There are also reports that a company known as Karar of the SSG based in the area had taken part in the operation on Lal Masjid and Jamia Hafsa in Islamabad where hundreds of religious students, including religious school administrator, Maulana Abdur Rashid Ghazi, were killed. ...There were rumours that CIA personnel were also present in the area where the blast occurred.'

According to the police sources, a training team of the Central Intelligence Agency and a team of technical intelligence personnel of the US National Security Agency were also stationed at Tarbela Ghazi. The NSA personnel were reportedly running a monitoring station to intercept communications of Al Qaeda and the neo-Taliban.

While there are no reports of any American casualties, there have been rumours that the NSA's monitoring station was badly damaged. It is not clear whether it was damaged by the impact of the explosion inside the officers' mess or by a separate explosion.

Pakistani army sources initially projected the incident as due to the explosion of a cooking gas cylinder. Subsequently, they said it was caused by a remote-controlled improvised explosive device and then that it was caused by an unidentified suicide bomber, who drove a vehicle filled with explosives into the mess at dinner time.

They have not so far admitted that it was actually caused by a Pashtun officer of the SSG itself and not an outsider. No other details are available so far.

The daring attack came two days after another attack of suicide terrorism in which at least 17 people, including three security forces personnel, were killed and 16 others injured when a 15-year-old Mehsud suicide bomber blew himself up in a passenger van at Bannu Adda in Dera Ismail Khan district of the North-West Frontier Province on September 11.

The Pakistan army has not been able to re-establish its writ over South and North Waziristan, where the Mehsuds and the Uzbeks supporting them have been holding in custody 240 members of the security forces captured by them and have been repeatedly attacking posts of the army and the Frontier Corps. Repeated use of helicopter gunships by the army has not had any impact on the various sub-tribes of Pashtuns, who have been attacking the security forces almost daily.

   
URL for this article: http://ia.rediff.com/news/2007/sep/14raman.htm
11300  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security on: September 16, 2007, 09:13:31 AM
http://tvnz.co.nz/view/page/1318360/1352120

Germany warns of terror nuclear attack
Sep 16, 2007 3:08 PM

The risk of a terrorist attack in Germany, possibly even a nuclear strike, is high despite last week's arrest of suspected Islamist militants, Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble told a newspaper.

"The terrorist threat has not diminished," Schaeuble told the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, according to extracts published in advance.

"I am no less worried since the arrests. We know more precisely that we are in the crosshairs of Islamist terrorism...the terrorists want to carry out more attacks," he said.

Schaeuble even warned of the danger of a nuclear attack, although it was not clear if he was referring to Germany specifically.

"Many experts are convinced this kind of attack is a question of when, not if," he told the paper.

Last week, Germany said its security forces had foiled a plan by Islamist militants to carry out massive bomb attacks.

Police arrested three men suspected of belonging to an Islamist terrorist group and who, officials said, were planning strikes on Frankfurt international airport and a major US military base.

Schaeuble wants to introduce new measures to combat the threat from international terrorism, but opposition is high in Germany where curtailing civil liberties is very sensitive more than 60 years after the fall of Nazism.
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