Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom
on: November 09, 2009, 05:16:22 PM
"Nidal Hassan Did the Right Thing," by Anwar alAwlaki, November 9:
Nidal Hassan is a hero. He is a man of conscience who could not bear living the contradiction of being a Muslim and serving in an army that is fighting against his own people. This is a contradiction that many Muslims brush aside and just pretend that it doesn't exist. Any decent Muslim cannot live, understanding properly his duties towards his Creator and his fellow Muslims, and yet serve as a US soldier. The US is leading the war against terrorism which in reality is a war against Islam. Its army is directly invading two Muslim countries and indirectly occupying the rest through its stooges.
Nidal opened fire on soldiers who were on their way to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. How can there be any dispute about the virtue of what he has done? In fact the only way a Muslim could Islamically justify serving as a soldier in the US army is if his intention is to follow the footsteps of men like Nidal.
The heroic act of brother Nidal also shows the dilemma of the Muslim American community. Increasingly they are being cornered into taking stances that would either make them betray Islam or betray their nation. Many amongst them are choosing the former. The Muslim organizations in America came out in a pitiful chorus condemning Nidal's operation.
The fact that fighting against the US army is an Islamic duty today cannot be disputed. No scholar with a grain of Islamic knowledge can defy the clear cut proofs that Muslims today have the right -rather the duty- to fight against American tyranny. Nidal has killed soldiers who were about to be deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan in order to kill Muslims. The American Muslims who condemned his actions have committed treason against the Muslim Ummah and have fallen into hypocrisy.
Allah(swt) says: Give tidings to the hypocrites that there is for them a painful punishment - Those who take disbelievers as allies instead of the believers. Do they seek with them honor [through power]? But indeed, honor belongs to Allah entirely. (al-Nisa 136-137) [Koran 4:136-137]
The inconsistency of being a Muslim today and living in America and the West in general reveals the wisdom behind the opinions that call for migration from the West. It is becoming more and more difficult to hold on to Islam in an environment that is becoming more hostile towards Muslims.
May Allah grant our brother Nidal patience, perseverance and steadfastness and we ask Allah to accept from him his great heroic act. Ameen
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: Emergency Tips and Emergency Medicine
on: November 08, 2009, 04:45:57 PM
There is the "golden hour" of getting emergency medical treatment for trauma victims. Those who get treated in that hour have much improved odds of survival. The "platinum 5 minutes" is that initial response in the first 5 minutes of trauma that can be that factor that allows someone to survive into the golden hour.
One need not be a EMT or Paramedic to do what is needed in the first 5. Stopping/controlling blood loss can, and should be done by anyone.
Bottom line, it's about keeping the blood inside so it continues to supply oxygen to the organs/tissues of the victim until EMS arrives.
IMHO, everyone should have this and the concept of triage drilled into them.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The New Kitty Genovese
on: November 05, 2009, 07:00:18 PM
"Teaching Kids To Kill"
By Lt. Col. Dave Grossman
Phi Kappa Phi National Forum, Fall 2000, 2500 words
Authors note: This was published in Phi Kappa Phi “National Forum,” in their Fall 2000 issue. "National Forum is one of the most prestigious, interdisciplinary, academic journals. An earlier version was published in “Christianity Today,” “Saturday Evening Post,” “US Catholic,” “Hinduism Today,” and many other US publications, and it was translated and published in periodicals in nine different languages. I am the copyright holder, and I authorize reproduction and distribution of this article by the readers of this web page.
A Case Study: Paducah, Kentucky
Michael Carneal, the 14-year-old killer in the Paducah, Kentucky school shootings, had never fired a real pistol in his life. He stole a .22 pistol, fired a few practice shots, and took it to school. He fired eight shots at a high school prayer group, hitting eight kids, five of them head shots and the other three upper torso (Grossman & DeGaetana, 1999).
I train numerous elite military and law enforcement organizations around the world. When I tell them of this achievement they are stunned. Nowhere in the annals of military or law enforcement history can we find an equivalent "achievement."
Where does a 14-year-old boy who never fired a gun before get the skill and the will to kill? Video games and media violence.
A Virus of Violence
First we must understand the magnitude of the problem. The murder rate does not accurately represent our situation. Murder has been held down by the development of ever more sophisticated life saving skills and techniques. A better indicator of the problem is the aggravated assault rate -- the rate at which human beings are attempting to kill one another. And that has gone up from around 60 per 100,000 in 1957, to over 440 per 100,000 by the mid-1990’s (Statistical Abstracts of the United States, 1957-1997).
Even with small downturns recently, the violent crime rate is still at a phenomenally high level, and this is true not just in America but worldwide. In Canada, per capita assaults increased almost fivefold between 1964 and 1993. According to Interpol, between 1977 and 1993 the per capita assault rate increased nearly fivefold in Norway and Greece, and in Australia and New Zealand it increased approximately fourfold. During the same period it tripled in Sweden, and approximately doubled in: Belgium, Denmark, England-Wales, France, Hungary, Netherlands, and Scotland. In India during this period the per capita murder rate doubled. In Mexico and Brazil violent crime is also skyrocketing, and in Japan juvenile violent crime went up 30 percent in 1997 alone.
This virus of violence is occurring worldwide, and the explanation for it has to be some new factor that is occurring in all of these countries (Grossman, 1999b). Like heart disease, there are many factors involved in the causation of violent crime, and we must never downplay any of them. But there is only one new variable that is present in each of these nations, bearing the same fruit in every case, and that is media violence being presented as “entertainment” for children.
I spent almost a quarter of a century as an Army infantry officer, a paratrooper, a Ranger, and a West Point Psychology Professor, learning and studying how we enable people to kill. Most soldiers have to be trained to kill.
Healthy members of most species have a powerful, natural resistance to killing their own kind. Animals with antlers and horns fight one another by butting heads. Against other species they go to the side to gut and gore. Piranha turn their fangs on everything, but they fight one another with flicks of the tail. Rattlesnakes bite anything, but they wrestle one another.
When we human beings are overwhelmed with anger and fear our thought processes become very primitive, and we slam head on into that hardwired resistance against killing. During World War II, we discovered that only 15-20 percent of the individual riflemen would fire at an exposed enemy soldier (Marshall, 1998). You can observe this in killing throughout history, as I have outlined in much greater detail in my book, On Killing, (Grossman, 1996), in my three peer-reviewed encyclopedia entries, (Grossman, 1999a, 1999b, and Murray, 1999) and in my entry in the Oxford Companion to American Military History (1999).
That's the reality of the battlefield. Only a small percentage of soldiers are willing and able to kill. When the military became aware of this, they systematically went about the process of “fixing” this “problem.” And fix it they did. By Vietnam the firing rate rose to over 90 percent (Grossman, 1999a).
The Methods in this Madness: Brutalization
The training methods the military uses are brutalization, classical conditioning, operant conditioning, and role modeling. Let us explain these and then observe how the media does the same thing to our children, but without the safeguards.
Brutalization, or “values inculcation,” is what happens at boot camp. Your head is shaved, you are herded together naked, and dressed alike, losing all vestiges of individuality. You are trained relentlessly in a total immersion environment. In the end you embrace violence and discipline and accept it as a normal and essential survival skill in your brutal new world.
Something very similar is happening to our children through violence in the media. It begins at the age of 18 months, when a child can begin to understand and mimic what is on television. But up until they're six or seven years old they are developmentally, psychologically, physically unable to discern the difference between fantasy and reality. Thus, when a young child sees somebody on TV being shot, stabbed, raped, brutalized, degraded, or murdered, to them it is real, and some of them embrace violence and accept it as a normal and essential survival skill in a brutal new world. (Grossman & DeGaetano, 1999).
On June 10th, 1992, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a definitive study on the impact of TV violence. In nations, regions, or cities where television appears there is an immediate explosion of violence on the playground, and within 15 years there is a doubling of the murder rate. Why 15 years? That's how long it takes for a brutalized toddler to reach the “prime crime” years. That's how long it takes before you begin to reap what you sow when you traumatize and desensitize children. (Centerwall, 1992).
The JAMA concluded that, “the introduction of television in the 1950’s caused a subsequent doubling of the homicide rate, i.e., long-term childhood exposure to television is a causal factor behind approximately one half of the homicides committed in the United States, or approximately 10,000 homicides annually.” The study went on to state that “...if, hypothetically, television technology had never been developed, there would today be 10,000 fewer homicides each year in the United states, 70,000 fewer rapes, and 700,000 fewer injurious assaults” (Centerwall, 1992).
Today the data linking violence in the media to violence in society is superior to that linking cancer and tobacco. The American Psychological Association (APA), the American Medical Association (AMA), the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the Surgeon General, and the Attorney General have all made definitive statements about this. When I presented a paper to the American Psychiatric Association’s (APA) annual convention in May, 2000 (Grossman, 2000), the statement was made that: “The data is irrefutable. We have reached the point where we need to treat those who try to deny it, like we would treat Holocaust deniers.”
Classical conditioning is like Pavlov's dog in Psych 101. Remember the ringing bell, the food, and the dog could not hear the bell without salivating?
In World War II, the Japanese would make some of their young, unblooded soldiers bayonet innocent prisoners to death. Their friends would cheer them on. Afterwards, all these soldiers were treated to the best meal they've had in months, sake, and to so-called "comfort girls." The result? They learned to associate violence with pleasure.
This technique is so morally reprehensible that there are very few examples of it in modern U.S. military training, but the media is doing it to our children. Kids watch vivid images of human death and suffering and they learn to associate it with: laughter, cheers, popcorn, soda, and their girlfriend's perfume (Grossman & DeGaetano, 1999).
After the Jonesboro shootings, one of the high school teachers told me about her students' reaction when she told them that someone had shot a bunch of their little brothers, sisters, and cousins in the middle school. "They laughed," she told me with dismay, "they laughed." We have raised a generation of barbarians who have learned to associate human death and suffering with pleasure (Grossman & DeGaetano, 1999).
The third method the military uses is operant conditioning, a powerful procedure of stimulus-response training. We see this with pilots in flight simulators, or children in fire drills. When the fire alarm is set off, the children learn to file out in orderly fashion. One day there's a real fire and they're frightened out of their little wits, but they do exactly what they've been conditioned to do (Grossman & DeGaetano, 1999).
In World War II we taught our soldiers to fire at bullseye targets, but that training failed miserably because we have no known instances of any soldiers being attacked by bullseyes. Now soldiers learn to fire at realistic, man-shaped silhouettes that pop up in their field of view. That's the stimulus. The conditioned response is to shoot the target and then it drops. Stimulus-response, stimulus-response, repeated hundreds of times. Later, when they are in combat and somebody pops up with a gun, reflexively they will shoot and shoot to kill, 75 to 80 percent of the shooting on the modern battlefield is the result of this kind of training (Grossman & Siddle, 1999).
In his national Presidential radio address on April 24, 1999, shortly after the Littleton high school massacre, President Clinton stated that: “A former Lieutenant Colonel and Professor, David Grossman, has said that these games teach young people to kill with all the precision of a military training program, but none of the character training that goes along with it.”
The result is ever more homemade pseudo-sociopaths who kill reflexively and show no remorse. Our kids are learning to kill and learning to like it. The most remarkable example is in Paducah, Kentucky the school killer fired eight shots, getting eight hits, on eight different milling, scrambling, screaming kids. Five of them were head shots (Grossman & DeGaetano, 1999).
Where did he get this phenomenal skill? Well, there is a $130-million law suit against the video game manufacturers in that case, working itself through the appeals system, claiming that the violent video games, the murder simulators, gave that mass murderer the skill and the will to kill.
In July, 2000, at a bipartisan, bicameral Capital Hill conference in Washington, DC, the AMA, the APA, the AAP and the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry (AACAP) issued a joint statement saying that "viewing entertainment violence can lead to increases in aggressive attitudes, values and behavior, particularly in children. Its effects are measurable and long-lasting. Moreover, prolonged viewing of media violence can lead to emotional desensitization toward violence in real life ...Although less research has been done on the impact of violent interactive entertainment [such as video games] on young people, preliminary studies indicate that the negative impact may be significantly more severe than that wrought by television, movies or music."
In the military your role model is your drill sergeant. He personifies violence, aggression, and discipline. (The discipline, and doing it to adults, are the safeguard)(Grossman, 1996). The drill sergeant, and heroes such as John Wayne, Audey Murphy, Sergeant York and Chesty Puller, have always been used as role models to influence young, impressionable teenagers.
Today the media are providing our children with role models, not just in the lawless sociopaths in movies and in TV shows, but in the transformation of these schoolyard killers into media celebrities.
In the 1970's we learned about "cluster suicides," in which TV reporting of teen suicides was directly responsible for numerous copycat suicides of other teenagers. Because of this, television stations today generally do not cover teen suicides. But when the pictures of teenage killers appear on TV, the effect is tragically similar. If there are children willing to kill themselves to get on TV, are there children willing to kill your child to get on TV?
Thus we get the effect of copycat, cluster murders that work their way across America like a virus spread by the six o'clock local news. No matter what someone has done, if you put their picture on TV, you have made them a celebrity and someone, somewhere, may emulate them. This effect is magnified when the role model is a teenager, and the effect on other teens can be profound.
In Japan, Canada, and other democracies around the world it is a punishable, criminal act to place the names and images of juvenile criminals in the media, because they know that it will result in other tragic deaths. The media has every right and responsibility to tell the story, but do they have a “right” to turn the killers into celebrities?
On the night of the Jonesboro shootings, clergy and counselors were working in small groups in the hospital waiting room, comforting the groups of relatives and friends of the 15 shooting victims. Then they noticed one woman who had been sitting alone.
A counselor went up to the woman and discovered that she was the mother of one of the girls who had been killed. She had no friends, no husband, no family with her as she sat in the hospital, alone. "I just came to find out how to get my little girl's body back," she said. But the body had been taken to the state capital, for an autopsy. Told this, she said, "I just don't know how we're going to pay for the funeral. I don't know how we can afford it."
That little girl was all she had in all the world, and all she wanted to do was wrap her little girl’s body in a blanket and take her home. Some people’s solution to the problem of media violence is, “If you don’t like it, just turn it off.” If that is your only solution to this problem, then come to Jonesboro, and tell her how this would have kept her little girl safe.
All of us can keep our kids safe from this toxic, addictive substance, and it won’t be enough if the neighbors are not doing the same. Perhaps the time has come to consider regulating what the violence industry is selling to kids, controlling the sale of visual violent imagery to children, while still permitting free access to adults, just as we do with guns, pornography, alcohol, tobacco, sex and cars.
Fighting Back: Education, Legislation, Litigation
We must work against child abuse, racism, poverty and children’s access to guns, and in rebuilding our families, but we must also take on the producers of media violence. The solution strategy that I submit for consideration is, “education, legislation, litigation.”
Simply put, we need to work toward “legislation” which outlaws violent video games for children. In July, 2000, the city of Indianapolis passed just such an ordinance, and every other city, country or state in America has the right to do the same. There is no Constitutional “right” to teach children to blow people’s heads off at the local video arcade. And we are very close to being able to do to the media, through “litigation,” what is being done to the tobacco industry, hotting them in the only place they understand--their wallets.
Most of all, the American people need to be informed. Every parent must be warned of the impact of violent visual media on children, as we would warn them of some rampant carcinogen. Violence is not a game, it is not fun, it is not something that we let children do for entertainment. Violence kills.
CBS President Leslie Moonves was asked if he thought the school massacre in Littleton, Colorado, had anything to do with the media. His answer was: "Anyone who thinks the media has nothing to do with it, is an idiot." (Reuters. 2000, March 19). That is what the networks are selling, and we do not have to buy it. An educated and informed society can and must find its way home from the dark and lonely place to which it has traveled.
* * * * * * * * * * *
Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, is a retired Army Ranger, West Point psychology professor, and an expert on the psychology of killing. He has testified before the U.S. House and Senate, and his research was cited by the President of the United States in the wake of the Littleton school shootings. He is director of the Warrior Science Group in Jonesboro, Arkansas, and has written Stop Teaching Our Kids to Kill: A Call to Action Against TV, Movie, and Video Game Violence, (Crown/Random, 1999) and On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society (Little, Brown and Co., 1996).
Centerwall, B. (1992). Television and violence: The scale of the problem and where to go from here. Journal of the American Medical Association, 267: 3059-3061.
Grossman, D. (1996). On Killing: The Psychological Cost of Learning to Kill in War and Society. New York: Little, Brown, and Company.
Grossman, D. (1999). Aggression and Violence. In J. Chambers (Ed.) Oxford Companion to American Military History. New York: Oxford University Press (p. 10).
Grossman, D. (1999a). Weaponry, Evolution of. In L. Curtis & J. Turpin (Eds.) Academic Press Encyclopedia Academic Press (p. 797).
Grossman, D. & Siddle, B. (1999b). Psychological Effects of Combat. In L. Curtis & J. Turpin (Eds.). Academic Press Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace, and Conflict. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. (pp. 144-145).
Grossman, D. (2000, May). "Teaching Kids to Kill, A Case Study: Paducah, Kentucky." Paper presented at the American Psychiatric Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL.
Interpol International Crime Statistics, Interpol, Lyons, France, vols. 1977 to 1994.
Marshall, S.L.A. (1978). Men Against Fire. Gloucester, Mass.: Peter Smith.
Murray, K. (1999). Behavioral Psychology. In L. Curtis & J. Turpin (Eds.) Academic Press Encyclopedia of Violence, Peace and Conflict. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.
Reuters Wire Service (2000, March 29). CBS airing mob drama deemed too violent a year ago. The Washington Post.
Statistical Abstracts of the United States, 1957-1997
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The New Kitty Genovese
on: November 05, 2009, 06:55:12 PM
"Many teens today have had years of exposure to violent video games and media images, Parks said, which studies show desensitizes them to violence. Richmond police said they believe some of the witnesses took cell phone pictures of the girl's ordeal – further proof of possible desensitization, Parks said.
These same arguments are raised in the anti-spanking debate. Let's ask a few questions. Why do children imitate some behaviors they see in the media and in their environment while rejecting others? Did Popeye influence several generations around the world to eat much more spinach? http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/249739.stm
With cartoons still showing on satellite television Popeye's popularity shows no sign of waning.
It must be good news for spinach growers who credited the sailor with a 33% increase in spinach consumption in the United States thanks to his trademark song: "I'm strong to the finish 'cause I eats me spinach I'm Popeye the Sailor Man."
Crystal City, Texas has its own tribute to Popeye
Popeye also is credited with having rescued the spinach industry in the 1930s. Popeye's influence on America's eating habits was so strong that in 1937 US spinach growers in Crystal City,Texas, put up a statue in his honour.
Popeye-branded spinach remains a strong seller in America and he has his own brand of fresh spinach and salads.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Science, Culture, & Humanities / Re: States Rights
on: November 05, 2009, 09:49:37 AM
What was the timeline for the end of slavery were it not for the civil war? What confederate state had begun changing it's laws? What slaves had been freed because it wasn't economically viable?
I'll note that slavery exists today in various parts of the world. Appearantely the disapproval and non-economic viability memo hasn't made to them yet?
The people in other states do have a valid complaint when it comes to slavery.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom
on: November 05, 2009, 12:26:39 AM
Counterterrorism: Shifting from 'Who' to 'How'
November 4, 2009 | 1918 GMT
By Scott Stewart and Fred Burton
In the 11th edition of the online magazine Sada al-Malahim (The Echo of Battle), which was released to jihadist Web sites last week, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) leader Nasir al-Wahayshi wrote an article that called for jihadists to conduct simple attacks against a variety of targets. The targets included "any tyrant, intelligence den, prince" or "minister" (referring to the governments in the Muslim world like Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Yemen), and "any crusaders whenever you find one of them, like at the airports of the crusader Western countries that participate in the wars against Islam, or their living compounds, trains etc.," (an obvious reference to the United States and Europe and Westerners living in Muslim countries).
Al-Wahayshi, an ethnic Yemeni who spent time in Afghanistan serving as a lieutenant under Osama bin Laden, noted these simple attacks could be conducted with readily available weapons such as knives, clubs or small improvised explosive devices (IEDs). According to al-Wahayshi, jihadists "don't need to conduct a big effort or spend a lot of money to manufacture 10 grams of explosive material" and that they should not "waste a long time finding the materials, because you can find all these in your mother's kitchen, or readily at hand or in any city you are in."
That al-Wahayshi gave these instructions in an Internet magazine distributed via jihadist chat rooms, not in some secret meeting with his operational staff, demonstrates that they are clearly intended to reach grassroots jihadists -- and are not intended as some sort of internal guidance for AQAP members. In fact, al-Wahayshi was encouraging grassroots jihadists to "do what Abu al-Khair did" referring to AQAP member Abdullah Hassan Taleh al-Asiri, the Saudi suicide bomber who attempted to kill Saudi Deputy Interior Minister Prince Mohammed bin Nayef with a small IED on Aug. 28.
The most concerning aspect of al-Wahayshi's statement is that it is largely true. Improvised explosive mixtures are in fact relatively easy to make from readily available chemicals -- if a person has the proper training -- and attacks using small IEDs or other readily attainable weapons such as knives or clubs (or firearms in the United States) are indeed quite simple to conduct.
As STRATFOR has noted for several years now, with al Qaeda's structure under continual attack and no regional al Qaeda franchise groups in the Western Hemisphere, the most pressing jihadist threat to the U.S. homeland at present stems from grassroots jihadists, not the al Qaeda core. This trend has been borne out by the large number of plots and arrests over the past several years, to include several so far in 2009. The grassroots have likewise proven to pose a critical threat to Europe (although it is important to note that the threat posed by grassroots operatives is more widespread, but normally involves smaller, less strategic attacks than those conducted by the al Qaeda core).
From a counterterrorism perspective, the problem posed by grassroots operatives is that unless they somehow self-identify by contacting a government informant or another person who reports them to authorities, attend a militant training camp, or conduct electronic correspondence with a person or organization under government scrutiny, they are very difficult to detect.
The threat posed by grassroots operatives, and the difficulty identifying them, highlight the need for counterterrorism programs to adopt a proactive, protective intelligence approach to the problem -- an approach that focuses on "the how" of militant attacks instead of just "the who."
In the traditional, reactive approach to counterterrorism, where authorities respond to a crime scene after a terrorist attack to find and arrest the militants responsible for the attack, it is customary to focus on the who, or on the individual or group behind the attack. Indeed, in this approach, the only time much emphasis is placed on the how is either in an effort to identify a suspect when an unknown actor carried out the attack, or to prove that a particular suspect was responsible for the attack during a trial. Beyond these limited purposes, not much attention is paid to the how.
In large part, this focus on the who is a legacy of the fact that for many years, the primary philosophy of the U.S. government was to treat counterterrorism as a law-enforcement program, with a focus on prosecution rather than on disrupting plots.
Certainly, catching and prosecuting those who commit terrorist attacks is necessary, but from our perspective, preventing attacks is more important, and prevention requires a proactive approach. To pursue such a proactive approach to counterterrorism, the how becomes a critical question. By studying and understanding how attacks are conducted -- i.e., the exact steps and actions required for a successful attack -- authorities can establish systems to proactively identify early indicators that planning for an attack is under way. People involved in planning the attack can then be focused on, identified, and action can be taken prevent them from conducting the attack or attacks they are plotting. This means that focusing on the how can lead to previously unidentified suspects, e.g., those who do not self-identify.
"How was the attack conducted?" is the primary question addressed by protective intelligence, which is, at its core, a process for proactively identifying and assessing potential threats. Focusing on the how, then, requires protective intelligence practitioners to carefully study the tactics, tradecraft and behavior associated with militant actors involved in terrorist attacks. This allows them to search for and identify those behaviors before an attack takes place. Many of these behaviors are not by themselves criminal in nature; visiting a public building and observing security measures or standing on the street to watch the arrival of a VIP at their office are not illegal, but they can be indicators that an attack is being plotted. Such legal activities ultimately could be overt actions in furtherance of an illegal conspiracy to conduct the attack, but even where conspiracy cannot be proved, steps can still be taken to identify possible assailants and prevent a potential attack -- or at the very least, to mitigate the risk posed by the people involved.
Protective intelligence is based on the fact that successful attacks don't just happen out of the blue. Rather, terrorist attacks follow a discernable attack cycle. There are critical points during that cycle where a plot is most likely to be detected by an outside observer. Some of the points during the attack cycle when potential attackers are most vulnerable to detection are while surveillance is being conducted and weapons are being acquired. However, there are other, less obvious points where people on the lookout can spot preparations for an attack.
It is true that sometimes individuals do conduct ill-conceived, poorly executed attacks that involve shortcuts in the planning process. But this type of spur-of-the-moment attack is usually associated with mentally disturbed individuals and it is extremely rare for a militant actor to conduct a spontaneous terrorist attack without first following the steps of the attack cycle.
To really understand the how, protective intelligence practitioners cannot simply acknowledge that something like surveillance occurs. Rather, they must turn a powerful lens on steps like preoperational surveillance to gain an in-depth understanding of them. Dissecting an activity like preoperational surveillance requires not only examining subjects such as the demeanor demonstrated by those conducting surveillance prior to an attack and the specific methods and cover for action and status used. It also requires identifying particular times where surveillance is most likely and certain optimal vantage points (called perches in surveillance jargon) from where a surveillant is most likely to operate when seeking to surveil a specific facility or event. This type of complex understanding of surveillance can then be used to help focus human or technological countersurveillance efforts where they can be most effective.
Unfortunately, many counterterrorism investigators are so focused on the who that they do not focus on collecting this type of granular how information. When we have spoken with law enforcement officers responsible for investigating recent grassroots plots, they gave us blank stares in response to questions about how the suspects had conducted surveillance on the intended targets. They simply had not paid attention to this type of detail -- but this oversight is not really the investigators' fault. No one had ever explained to them why paying attention to, and recording, this type of detail was important. Moreover, it takes specific training and a practiced eye to observe and record these details without glossing over them. For example, it is quite useful if a protective intelligence officer has first conducted a lot of surveillance, because conducting surveillance allows one to understand what a surveillant must do and where he must be in order to effectively observe surveillance of a specific person or place.
Similarly, to truly understand the tradecraft required to build an IED and the specific steps a militant needs to complete to do so, it helps to go to an IED school where the investigator learns the tradecraft firsthand. Militant actors can and do change over time. New groups, causes and ideologies emerge, and specific militants can be killed, captured or retire. But the tactical steps a militant must complete to conduct a successful attack are constant. It doesn't matter if the person planning an attack is a radical environmentalist, a grassroots jihadist or a member of the al Qaeda core, for while these diverse actors will exhibit different levels of professionalism in regard to terrorist tradecraft, they still must follow essentially the same steps, accomplish the same tasks and operate in the same areas. Knowing this allows protective intelligence to guard against different levels of threats.
Of course, tactics can be changed and perfected and new tactics can be developed (often in response to changes in security and law enforcement operations). Additionally, new technologies can emerge (like cell phones and Google Earth) -- which can alter the way some of these activities are conducted, or reduce the time it takes to complete them. Studying the tradecraft and behaviors needed to execute evolving tactics, however, allows protective intelligence practitioners to respond to such changes and even alter how they operate in order to more effectively search for potential hostile activity.
Technology does not only aid those seeking to conduct attacks. There are a variety of new tools, such as Trapwire, a software system designed to work with camera systems to help detect patterns of preoperational surveillance, that can be focused on critical areas to help cut through the fog of noise and activity and draw attention to potential threats. These technological tools can help turn the tables on unknown plotters because they are designed to focus on the how. They will likely never replace human observation and experience, but they can serve as valuable aids to human perception.
Of course, protective intelligence does not have to be the sole responsibility of federal authorities specifically charged with counterterrorism. Corporate security managers and private security contractors should also apply these principles to protecting the people and facilities in their charge, as should local and state police agencies. In a world full of soft targets -- and limited resources to protect those targets from attack -- the more eyes looking for such activity the better. Even the general public has an important role to play in practicing situational awareness and spotting potential terrorist activity.
Keeping it Simple?
Al-Wahayshi is right that it is not difficult to construct improvised explosives from a wide range of household chemicals like peroxide and acetone or chlorine and brake fluid. He is also correct that some of those explosive mixtures can be concealed in objects ranging from electronic items to picture frames, or can be employed in forms ranging from hand grenades to suicide vests. Likewise, low-level attacks can also be conducted using knives, clubs and guns.
Furthermore, when grassroots jihadists plan and carry out attacks acting as lone wolves or in small compartmentalized cells without inadvertently betraying their mission by conspiring with people known to the authorities, they are not able to be detected by the who-focused systems, and it becomes far more difficult to discover and thwart these plots. This focus on the how absolutely does not mean that who-centered programs must be abandoned. Surveillance on known militants, their associates and communications should continue, efforts to identify people attending militant training camps or fighting in places like Afghanistan or Somalia must be increased, and people who conduct terrorist attacks should be identified and prosecuted.
However -- and this is an important however -- if an unknown militant is going to conduct even a simple attack against some of the targets al-Wahayshi suggests, such as an airport, train, or specific leader or media personality, complexity creeps into the picture, and the planning cycle must be followed if an attack is going to be successful. The prospective attacker must observe and quantify the target, construct a plan for the attack and then execute that plan. The demands of this process will force even an attacker previously unknown to the authorities into a position where he is vulnerable to discovery. If the attacker does this while there are people watching for such activity, he will likely be seen. But if he does this while there are no watchers, there is little chance that he will become a who until after the attack has been completed.
This report may be forwarded or republished on your website with attribution to www.stratfor.com
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Yogi akbar!
on: November 04, 2009, 01:07:38 PM
Bear mauls, kills two high-ranking separatists hiding in cave in Kashmir
By Ethan Sacks
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Originally Published:Tuesday, November 3rd 2009, 10:35 AM
Updated: Tuesday, November 3rd 2009, 10:35 AM
Mustafa/GettyA Himilayan Black bear like this one mauled two Muslim separatists in Kashmir, police said.
A group of Muslim separatists in Kashmir picked the wrong cave for a hideout.
A police spokesman said an angry bear mauled two high-ranking Hizbul Mujahideen commanders who had set up camp inside its cave in the southern part of the Indian-run state, the Hindustan Times reported.
Though the men were armed with AK-47 machine guns, "the attack seems to have been so violent that both the militants got no chance to fire back at the wild animal," the spokesman, Col. JS Brar, told the Indian newspaper.
Two other militants were injured by the Himilayan black bear, but managed to escape and make their way to a nearby village for help, the BBC reported.
One of the dead men was later identified as Siafullah, the insurgency group's district commander.
Police believe it's the first such mauling of its kind since Muslim separatists launched their 1989 campaign against Indian rule in 1989.
Ironically, wild animal populations like bears and leopards have flourished since the armed conflict intensified - a fact attributed to the absence of poachers in areas of heavy fighting, the BBC reported.
Read more: http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2009/11/03/2009-11-03_bear_mauls_kills_two_highranking_muslim_separatists_hiding_out_in_cave_in_kashmi.html?print=1&page=all#ixzz0VuzbOjGq
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Update: AZ victim dead
on: November 03, 2009, 09:00:03 AM
Arizona: Muslim ran down daughter for being "too Westernized," Islamic apologist hauls out usual denial and deception
Denial and deception instead of any honest effort to come to grips with the root causes of honor killing. "Arizona Police Hunt for Dad Accused of Running Over Daughter: Police Say Faleh Hassan Almaleki Believed His Daughter Was 'Too Westernized,'" by Sarah Netter for ABC News, October 22 (thanks to James):
Police in Arizona are hunting for an Iraqi-American father who they say ran over his daughter with his car to punish her for becoming "too Westernized" and rebuffing the conservative ways he valued.
Memo to ABC News: "conservatives" don't generally run over their daughters with their cars for any reason at all.
Faleh Hassan Almaleki, 48, was last seen fleeing the parking lot of the Department of Economic Development in Peoria, Ariz., Tuesday after hitting his 20-year-old daughter and her boyfriend's mother with his Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Noor Faleh Almaleki is in "life-threatening condition," Peoria Police spokesman Mike Tellef told ABCNews.com today. Her boyfriend's mother, 43-year-old Amal Edan Khalaf, is also still hospitalized, but with non-life threatening injuries. "It occured because her not following traditional family values. We've been told that by everybody," Tellef said. "He felt she was becoming too westernized and he didn't like that." [...]
Not "traditional family values." Western non-Muslims who adhere to "traditional family values" do not generally run down their wayward daughters with their cars.
Noor Almaleki had backed out of an arranged marriage about a year ago, police learned, and had been living with Khalaf and her son in a nearby town.
Tellef said the young woman dressed in American clothing and was wearing typical Western attire when she was struck.
The family were all American citizens, though Tallef believes the parents were born in Iraq.
He said it was unclear if Faleh Almaleki intended to kill his daughter, but "it was definitely intentional that he ran them down." [...]
While Tellef had heard of so-called "honor killings" in other parts of the United States, this was the first such crime in Peoria.
Ibrahim Ramey, human and civil rights director for the Muslim American Society's Freedom Foundation, told ABCNews.com that whenever this type of crime involves a Muslim it can serve to elevate the fears of people who may already harbor misconceptions about Islam.
Typical denial and deception.
In the first place, what is the Muslim American Society?
"In recent years, the U.S. Brotherhood operated under the name Muslim American Society, according to documents and interviews. One of the nation's major Islamic groups, it was incorporated in Illinois in 1993 after a contentious debate among Brotherhood members." -- Chicago Tribune, 2004.
And what is the Muslim Brotherhood?
The Muslim Brotherhood "must understand that their work in America is a kind of grand Jihad in eliminating and destroying the Western civilization from within and "sabotaging" its miserable house by their hands and the hands of the believers so that it is eliminated and God's religion is made victorious over all other religions." -- "An Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal for the Brotherhood in North America," by Mohamed Akram, May 19, 1991.
And secondly, instead of worrying about people getting "misconceptions of Islam," he should be working in the Islamic community to root out the assumptions that lead to honor killing. But you'll notice that he says nothing about that.
"It's reprehensible," he said of honor killings. "It's wrong."
Ramey pointed out that a verse in the Koran specifically states that there is no compulsion in religion, meaning that people can not be compelled or coerced into being Muslim or adhering to a certain set of rules.
"People have to obey or adhere to Islam ... according to the dictates of their own conscience," he said.
Yet despite the fact that Koran 2:256 -- "There is no compulsion in religion" -- is in the Koran, honor killing is broadly tolerated in the Islamic world. No one, of course, dares to confront the root of the problem by pointing out such inconvenient truths as the fact that a manual of Islamic law certified by Al-Azhar as a reliable guide to Sunni orthodoxy says that "retaliation is obligatory against anyone who kills a human being purely intentionally and without right." However, "not subject to retaliation" is "a father or mother (or their fathers or mothers) for killing their offspring, or offspring's offspring." ('Umdat al-Salik o1.1-2).
In other words, someone who kills his child incurs no legal penalty under Islamic law. In accord with this, in 2003 the Jordanian Parliament voted down on Islamic grounds a provision designed to stiffen penalties for honor killings. Al-Jazeera reported that "Islamists and conservatives said the laws violated religious traditions and would destroy families and values."
Then this ABC story drags in Rifqa Bary:
Honor Killings Unfairly Cast Negative Light on Islam
The notion of an honor killing -- Muslim men murdering female relatives for dishonoring the family by violating Islamic tenets -- made the news over the summer when 17-year-old Rifqa Bary ran away from her parents in Ohio and turned up in the Florida home of Christian pastors Blake and Beverly Lorenz. Rafqa Barry [sic] claimed that her Muslim father had threatened to kill her for converting to Christianity.
Rifqa made tearful television appearance, crying on the Lorenzes shoulders, describing how she had to sneak around to attend church.
"They have to kill me because I'm a Christian. It's an honor [killing]. If they love me more than God, then they have to kill me," she told ABC's Orlando affiliate WFTV last month.
Blake Lorenz pointed to other honor killings, including the January 2008 murders of two Texas sisters who were believed to have been murdered by their Muslim father in a religion-fueld [sic] rage.
But Rifqa's father, Mohamed Bary, denied the accusation and said that while he preferred his daughter be a Muslim, she was free to practice whatever religion she chose.
"I don't believe my daughter would say this," Bary told "Good Morning America." "She's completely being coached -- I mean trained, influenced by these people. It's so sad."
An assertion without evidence, contradicted by the fact that she was a Christian for several years before she met those who allegedly coached her.
A Florida judge this month said he planned to send Rifqa back to Ohio after determining there was no evidence that her life was in danger.
See here for the facts.
Ramey said it's expected that incidents such as these will cause some backlash against the Muslim community, especially among Americans who have become fearful of Islam in the years since the war on terror and conflicts in places like Somalia.
But they can also open a door for discussion and questions so the community can understand that Islam is not a violent religion.
"It's certainly not part of the religion," he said," to run people down with vehicles."
That is merely a statement about the manner of killing, not about the killing itself.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom
on: November 01, 2009, 10:53:21 AM
- FrontPage Magazine - http://frontpagemag.com
Detroit Jihad – by Robert Spencer
Posted By Robert Spencer On October 30, 2009 @ 12:24 am In FrontPage | 43 Comments
Luqman Ameen Abdullah, the imam of Detroit’s Masjid Al-Haqq (Mosque of Truth), was killed Wednesday in a shootout with FBI agents. The agents were trying to arrest him on charges of conspiracy, receipt of stolen goods, firearms offenses and more. Agents also arrested eight mosque members; then Thursday, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police caught Abdullah’s son, Mujahid Carswell. Two other accused jihadists also fled, and have not yet been found.
According to the indictment, in his mosque in Detroit Luqman Abdullah was preaching “offensive jihad” and the establishment of a Sharia state in North America. This sovereign Isamic state would be ruled by Islamic law – and by the apparent godfather of Abdullah’s movement, Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin. Al-Amin is the former Black Panther and convert to Islam who gained fame under the name H. Rap Brown. Al-Amin is now serving a life sentence for murdering two police officers, while his disciples, like Luqman Abdullah, carry on the message he articulated so memorably in the 1960s: “If America don’t come around, we’re gonna burn it down.”
In the spirit of his mentor, Abdullah has told his flock: “America must fall.” He has encouraged the Muslims in his mosque to support Hizballah, the Taliban and Osama bin Laden. He exhorted them to bestir themselves to pious deeds: “We should be figuring out how to fight the Kuffar” – that is, unbelievers. “We got to take out the U.S. government. The U.S. government is nothing but Kuffars.” Among the unbelievers were FBI agents, about whom Abdullah declared: “Deal with them, deal with them the way, the way they supposed to be dealt with…. It’s not that complicated, man….If they are coming to get me I’ll just strap a bomb on and blow up everybody.” A law enforcement official wrote in an affidavit that “Abdullah and his followers have trained regularly in the use of firearms, and continue to train in martial arts and sword fighting” – in accord with Abdullah’s dictum that every Muslim believer should “have a weapon and should not be scared to use their weapon when needed.”
Abdullah found justification for all this in the Islamic holy book, the Qur’an, which he said “justified stealing, robbing and other illegal acts, as long as they profit Islam.”
One would think that Muslim spokesmen in America would be anxious to prove their moderate bona fides by repudiating Abdullah, praising the efforts of law enforcement officials, and announcing new measures to teach against the understanding of Islam that prevailed at the Masjid al-Haqq and to shore up the moderate Islam that politically correct orthodoxy insists prevails in all mosques in America in the first place. But no such luck. Instead, they praised Abdullah and excoriated law enforcement.
Dawud Walid of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) reinforced CAIR’s image as an unsavory group with numerous ties to terror – an image newly reinforced by numerous revelations in the explosive new book Muslim Mafia — as he tried to paint a very different picture of Abdullah: “I know him as a respected imam in the Muslim community.” He emphasized the Masjid al-Haqq’s charitable activities, perhaps forgetting that Nazi Germany (and Hamas, and Hizballah) ran social programs as well, and thus their existence is no indication that the one operating them is in every sense benign.
According to the Detroit Free Press, Walid said that a group of imams were going to meet with the head of Detroit’s FBI office, Andrew Arena, to complain, about “linking the weapons and smuggling charges to the Muslim faith” – as if the FBI, rather than Luqman Abdullah, had done this. Arena probably won’t need much convincing: he has already asserted, without explanation, that Abdullah taught “a very hybrid radical ideology – one mainstream Muslims “would not recognize.” For his part, Walid also warned that the death of Abdullah and the arrests of other Masjid al-Haqq would anger Muslims and make them even more suspicious of law enforcement than they already are: “As much as our president says nice, flowery things about Muslims and Islam in Cairo or Istanbul, these types of stories just erode that.”
Meanwhile, the Muslim Alliance of North America, of which Abdullah was a member, complained about the shootout in a statement: “This tragic shooting raises deep concerns regarding the use of lethal force by law enforcement agents. We urge law enforcement and the media not to take undo advantage of this tragedy in order to demonize … African American Muslims in particular.”
These kinds of statements fall into a pattern that has played out many times before. An Islamic jihadist plots murder and mayhem, explicitly justifying it all by reference to Islamic texts and teachings. Then putatively moderate Muslims, instead of support law enforcement efforts, criticize them and complain about Muslims being victimized and Islam being unfairly linked to terrorism. Generally this is followed by the spectacle of media and law enforcement officials bending over backwards to make sure that no one gets the impression that Islam had anything to do with the bloody plots that the arrested parties were planning.
The problem with this pattern is that no one involved is doing anything to keep the story of Luqman Abdullah and the Masjid al-Haqq from being repeated in other mosques in the United States in the future. No one is challenging the Muslim community here to clean its own house and stop the dissembling and finger-pointing. No one is speaking openly and honestly about what the Qur’an really says, and what the implications are of that fact. No one, in short, is doing much of anything to ensure that Luqman Abdullah, one of the first clergymen in the United States to be killed in a shootout with the FBI, is not just the first of many.
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Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Homeland Security and American Freedom
on: November 01, 2009, 08:52:50 AM
November 1, 2009
Smaller-Scale Terrorism Plots Pose New and Worrisome Threats, Officials Say By DAVID JOHNSTON and ERIC SCHMITT
WASHINGTON — After disrupting two recent terrorism plots, American intelligence officials are increasingly concerned that extremist groups in Pakistan linked to Al Qaeda are planning smaller operations in the United States that are harder to detect but more likely to succeed than the spectacular attacks they once emphasized, senior counterterrorism officials say.
The two cases — one involving two Chicago men accused this week of planning an attack on a Danish newspaper that published cartoons of the prophet Mohammad, the other a 24-year-old Denver shuttle bus driver indicted in a plot to use improvised explosives — are among the most serious in years, the officials said.
In both, the officials said, the main defendants are long-term residents of the United States with substantial community ties who traveled to Pakistan’s tribal areas, where they apparently trained with extremist groups affiliated with Al Qaeda. The officials, from American military, law enforcement and intelligence agencies, spoke on the condition that they not be identified because they were not authorized to discuss the cases.
According to F.B.I. documents, David Coleman Headley, 49, the principal defendant in the Chicago case, met with Ilyas Kashmiri, who is regarded by Western authorities as one of the most dangerous Islamic militants operating in Pakistan’s restive tribal areas. Mr. Kashmiri turned to terrorism after serving as a Pakistani special operations commando, and has drawn renewed focus from United States officials after surviving an American drone strike in September.
“He’s a consummate opportunist and a master strategist who has both intimate local knowledge and a vicious global agenda,” said Jarret Brachman, author of “Global Jihadism” and a consultant to the United States government about terrorism.
The authorities have been struck in the Denver and Chicago plots by the central roles played by men who seem to have been more security conscious and better organized and trained than many of those involved in terrorism cases brought since 2001, including a surge of arrests in recent weeks. A number of those arrested were young men inflamed with militant zeal but few skills to carry out an attack.
Some officials said that while the Chicago and Denver cases stood out from lower-level terrorism prosecutions in the United States, it was not new for would-be terrorists to travel to Pakistan and other training grounds and return home to engage in militant activity. They said the activities of Najibullah Zazi, the Denver man, closely resembled the methodology of the Madrid train bombings in 2004 and the London subway bombings in 2005.
A case last year suggests that young men from the United States are also finding their way to Pakistan to fight American forces. Bryant Neal Vinas, 26, grew up on Long Island and worked as a truck driver for the Long Island Rail Road before going to Pakistan. He made contact with a Qaeda group and took part in a rocket attack on an American base in Afghanistan before being captured in Pakistan and brought back to the United States in November 2008. Since then, Mr. Vinas has cooperated with the authorities, helping to identify other extremists who trained for operations in the West.
The model of young men who have lived for years in the United States before traveling overseas and connecting with militant Islamist groups is not confined to Pakistan.
In October 2008, for example, a Somali-American teenager from Minneapolis carried out a suicide bombing in northern Somalia. The teenager, Shirwa Ahmed, had come to the United States in the 1990s and became a citizen. In the months before the attack, he had traveled to the Horn of Africa and apparently joined up with Al Shabab, a militant Muslim group fighting the Ethiopians.
Government counterterrorism analysts said it was significant that the Chicago and Denver cases involved plots that seem less ambitious than the World Trade Center and Pentagon attacks or suspected plots of the past, like those aimed at Los Angeles International Airport or the Sears Tower in Chicago.
Western intelligence officials believed that Al Qaeda’s leadership concentrated on spectacular, mass-casualty attacks to build its credibility in the Islamic world. American analysts said the difficulty of carrying out such grandiose plots offered a measure of protection to the United States.
J. Patrick Rowan, a former top lawyer in the Justice Department’s national security division, said the recent cases could mean shifting away from large-scale plots. “There has always been a view that Al Qaeda wants to duplicate or do something even more substantial than 9/11,” Mr. Rowan said.
“The hypothesis has been that they have focused their resources on carrying out a spectacular attack and decided not to pursue lesser plots,” he said. “These cases would seem to undercut that hypothesis and suggest they might be rethinking their strategy, which is obviously worrisome because smaller operations may be harder to detect and stop.”
One of the most important figures in this emerging trend is Mr. Kashmiri, the operational commander of Harakat-ul Jihad Islami, a Pakistani terrorist group affiliated with Al Qaeda, whom one American official described as a “nightmare guy” because he was “an operator who could make things happen.”
Mr. Kashmiri, 45, has a long history of waging guerrilla operations. As a Pakistani army trainer of Afghan mujahedeen, he lost an eye battling Russian forces in Afghanistan in the 1980s. Later, while working with Kashmiri militants attacking India, Pakistan’s archenemy, he earned wide renown in Pakistan after escaping from an Indian jail where he was imprisoned for two years.
But Mr. Kashmiri turned against the state after President Pervez Musharraf banned his group after the Sept. 11 attacks. He was arrested four years later in connection with an attempted assassination of Mr. Musharraf in December 2003, but released because of lack of evidence.
After the Pakistani government laid siege to Islamic militants in the Red Mosque in Islamabad in July 2007, Mr. Kashmiri moved his operations to North Waziristan and took up arms with Al Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban there. He is listed as the fourth-most-wanted man by the Pakistani Ministry of the Interior, according to Pakistani media reports.
American intelligence and counterterrorism officials say Mr. Kashmiri is among the most dangerous militant leaders in Pakistan today because of training skills, commando experience and strategic vision to carry out attacks against Western targets, like the Danish newspaper.
Mr. Brachman said that while militants like Mr. Kashmiri were not under Al Qaeda’s direct control, they were responding to the terrorist organization’s rallying cry to attack the West.
“For years now Al Qaeda has been calling their movement to arms — sowing seeds across the global movement,” Mr. Brachman said. “What is clear, however, is that the seeds are now starting to sprout.”
Charlie Savage and Kitty Bennett contributed reporting.
DBMA Martial Arts Forum / Martial Arts Topics / Re: The New Kitty Genovese
on: October 31, 2009, 11:24:50 AM
Mob Mentality. Groups of people are the most dangerous nasty entities an individual will have to face. A gun helps with that too, since multiple bullets mean a fair chunk of a threatening group is running a significant risk. That is another factor of being able to carry a firearm. I like you Unorganized concept of Militia, no group/mob concept just people preparing themselves for self-defense.
Assuming there was someone with the will to act, and armed appropriately... what sort of special attention do you think they would have received from the police?
Sexual assault counts as "serious bodily injury"and given the threat of HIV, death. In most states, you can use force, including deadly force to protect a 3rd party from serious bodily injury/death.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / California Nightmare
on: October 31, 2009, 10:40:43 AM
California to withhold a bigger chunk of paychecks
The amount goes up 10% on Sunday as Sacramento borrows from taxpayers. Technically, it's not an income tax increase: You'll get the money back eventually.
By Shane Goldmacher and W.J. Hennigan
October 31, 2009
Reporting from Los Angeles and Sacramento
Starting Sunday, cash-strapped California will dig deeper into the pocketbooks of wage earners -- holding back 10% more than it already does in state income taxes just as the biggest shopping season of the year kicks into gear.
Technically, it's not a tax increase, even though it may feel like one when your next paycheck arrives. As part of a bundle of budget patches adopted in the summer, the state is taking more money now in withholding, even though workers' annual tax bills won't change.
Think of it as a forced, interest-free loan: You'll be repaid any extra withholding in April. Those who would receive a refund anyway will receive a larger one, and those who owe taxes will owe less.
But with rising gas costs, depressed home prices and double-digit unemployment, the state's added reach into residents' regular paycheck isn't sitting well with many.
"The state's suddenly slapping people upside the head," said Mack Reed, 50, of Silver Lake. "It's appalling how brash that is."
Brittney McKaig, 23, of Santa Ana said she expects the additional withholding to affect her holiday spending.
"Coming into the holidays, we're getting squeezed anyway," she said. "We're not getting Christmas bonuses and other perks we used to get. So it all falls back on spending. The $40 gift will become a $20 gift."
The extra withholding may seem like a small amount siphoned from each paycheck, but it adds up to a $1.7-billion fix for California's deficit-riddled books.
From a single taxpayer earning $51,000 a year with no dependents, the state will be grabbing an extra $17.59 each month, according to state tax officials. A married person earning $90,000 with two dependents would receive $24.87 less in monthly pay.
California will probably continue to collect the tax at a higher rate for many years -- or find an additional $1.7 billion to slice from a future budget, an unlikely occurrence. All workers who have state taxes withheld will see their paychecks shrink.
"Many families are sitting at their kitchen table wondering how they're going to make ends meet," said state Sen. Tony Strickland (R-Thousand Oaks). "At the same time, the state of California is taking a no-interest loan."
The provision is one of numerous maneuvers state lawmakers and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger approved in the summer to paper over the state's deficit. Many of the changes, including the extra withholding, were little noticed outside of Sacramento.
Savvy taxpayers can get around the state's maneuver by increasing the number of personal withholding allowances they claim on their employer tax forms, said Brenda Voet, a spokeswoman for the state's Franchise Tax Board.
"People can get out of this," she said, noting that most people would have to change their allowances through their employers. California's budget leaders are banking on the hope that most won't.
The increase is coming at a bad time for store owners, many of whom depend on the holiday shopping season to keep their businesses alive.
"I don't think there's any question it's going to impact consumers' spending," said Bill Dombrowski, president of the California Retailers Assn. "Any time you reduce people's disposable income, there's going to be a negative effect on the retail sector."
But Stephen Levy, director of the Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy, wasn't so sure.
"It's having a relatively small impact on people's income," Levy said, pointing out that many families will receive only $12 to $40 less each month.
Yet Erika Wendt, 28, of San Diego said she already lived on a tight budget: She rides her bike to work, for instance, to save on gasoline and parking costs.
"I am frustrated as this directly impacts my weekly budget -- what groceries I buy, how much I drive and can spend on gas," she said. "Now money will just be tighter, and I'm not sure where else I can cut back."
The extra withholding comes in addition to tax hikes the state enacted this year.
In February, state income tax rates were bumped up 0.25 of a percentage point for every tax bracket. The dependent credit was slashed by two-thirds. The state sales tax rate rose 1 percentage point. The vehicle license fee nearly doubled to 1.15% of a car's value.
Lawmakers and the governor also approved deep cuts to schools, social services and prisons to fend off one of the steepest revenue losses in California history.
Temporary budget bandages, such as the increase in withholding, were included at several points this year to avoid higher taxes and deeper cuts, said H.D. Palmer, a spokesman for the state Department of Finance.
Sacramento, meanwhile, is awash in red ink again. The state controller recently said revenue in the budget year already had fallen more than $1 billion short of assumptions. Outsize deficits are projected for years to come.
Such temporary measures as the withholding tax increase don't really fix the budget gap, "they just more or less hid it," said Christopher Thornberg, a principal with Beacon Economics in Los Angeles. "I call it a fraud."
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / L.A. police patrols boosted at Jewish temples after attack
on: October 29, 2009, 08:18:05 PM
L.A. police patrols boosted at Jewish temples after attack
Editor's Note: Fred Burton, widely considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on terrorists and terrorist organizations began his law enforcement career as a cop in Montgomery County, Maryland. Now VP of counterterrorism for the private intelligence firm STRATFOR, Burton recently told PoliceOne that while most police officers know where the “high-value targets” are in their patrol area — the power plants, transportation facilities, malls, hospitals, sports complexes, rail yards, radio towers, and public buildings — they should also get to know the locations of the synagogues in their area of responsibility, as well as the mosques. This story, as well as the report from Detroit yesterday, nails home that point. Read the full conversation with Burton here.
Synagogue parishioners huddle at the scene in Los Angeles where a gunman shot and wounded two men in the parking garage of a North Hollywood synagogue early Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009. Jewish schools and temples were put on alert in case it was not a lone attack, authorites said. (AP Photo/Nick Ut)
LOS ANGELES — A gunman shot and wounded two men in the parking garage of a North Hollywood synagogue Thursday, frightening worshippers who heard gunshots and screams before the bleeding victims stumbled in during morning services.
Authorities initially put Jewish schools and temples on alert before saying the attack appeared to be isolated.
Police detained a 17-year-old high school student near the temple because he matched a "very loose" description of the attacker, who was described as a black man wearing a hoodie, Deputy Police Chief Michel Moore said. They later released the youth, saying while he was still a potential suspect, they didn't have enough evidence to hold him.
Two men, ages 38 and 53, were shot in the legs near the Adat Yeshurun Valley Sephardic Orthodox synagogue in the San Fernando Valley, Moore said. The men, both members of the synagogue, arrived in separate cars for the morning service shortly before 6:30 a.m. and were in a stairwell leading up to the synagogue sanctuary when the gunman shot them several times, police said.
The victims, who were hospitalized in good condition, told police the attacker did not speak, Moore said.
One worshipper, Yehuda Oz, said he and about 14 others were praying in the temple when they heard four gunshots and screams from the parking area. Two men stumbled into the temple, Oz said, and people rushed to stop their bleeding.
No one saw the attacker, he said.
"Maybe it was crazy person," Yehuda told the Los Angeles Times. "Maybe he was drugged up. Maybe it was a Jew. We don't know."
Even as investigators tried to find a motive, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and other officials moved to calm fears that the attack was part of any organized anti-Semitic violence.
"We certainly recognize the location and we're sensitive to that," Moore said. "But we do not know that this was a hate crime at all."
Police searched the area for several hours but found no one. An alert that sent extra police patrols to local Jewish schools and synagogues was called off.
Security camera footage from the synagogue shows the suspect but not the shooting, and the quality is too poor for investigators to identify the man, Cmdr. Jorge Villegas said.
The attack occurred 10 miles from a Jewish community center where white supremacist Buford Furrow wounded three children, a teenager and an adult, in 1999. Furrow later killed a Filipino letter carrier on another street, and is serving a life sentence without chance of parole.
The synagogue is in an area of long boulevards with commercial districts, tree-studded blocks of post-World War II stucco homes and apartment complexes on the north side of the Hollywood Hills. It has the second-largest concentration of Jews in the city, said Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish rights group with more than 400,000 members in the United States.
About 6,000 Jews live within walking distance of the synagogue, among many more thousands who live in the San Fernando Valley, Cooper said.
"Adat Yeshurun is a Sephardic synagogue, which means it would attract primarily Jews from Morocco, Yemen, Israelis, some Persians," Cooper said.
It would be easy to scope out synagogue members because they show up every morning at the same time, Cooper said. The synagogue is not on a busy thoroughfare, and Cooper said he believed the gunman may have gone out of his way to attack the men.
"It's a bit of an anomaly about what was that guy doing there, and if he targeted, why there?" Cooper said.
LAPD First Assistant Chief Jim McDonnell said investigators were trying to determine whether a similar suspect might have been involved in robberies or other crimes in the area.
Shayan Yaghoubi, 13, was walking with his mother to the synagogue's adjoining school but wasn't allowed to cross the police line.
"The cops told us we can't go," he said. "I feel very bad because this is my favorite school ... I have a lot of friends over there. I hope everyone is OK. There's never been a problem with fighting."
Michael Bloom, 30, an Orthodox organizer with Hatzolah, a Jewish volunteer medical response team, grew up in the diverse neighborhood. He said there had been instances of Jews being insulted as they walked to the synagogue on the Sabbath.
"This has been going on for years. Everything from "death to Israel" to "dirty Jew,'" he said. "There are gangs in the area. It's not the safest neighborhood."
But Sholomo Yaghobi, 18, said the neighborhood was "calm, relatively."
His brother attends the temple's school and was worried.
"I'm upset if something would have happened to my brother, who would answer to that?" he said.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Islam in America and the rest of the western hemisphere
on: October 29, 2009, 06:48:48 AM
October 28, 2009 http://detnews.com/article/20091028/METRO/910280436
Detroit mosque leader killed in FBI raids
The Detroit News
Detroit -- The leader of a Detroit mosque who allegedly espoused violence and separatism was shot and killed Wednesday in an FBI gun battle at a Dearborn warehouse.
Luqman Ameen Abdullah, imam of the Masjid Al-Haqq mosque in Detroit, was being arrested on a raft of federal charges including conspiracy, receipt of stolen goods, and firearms offenses.
Charges were also filed against 11 of Abdullah's followers. Eight were in custody Wednesday night awaiting detention hearings today; three remained at large.
A federal complaint filed Wednesday identified Abdullah, 53, also known as Christopher Thomas, as "a highly placed leader of a nationwide radical fundamentalist Sunni group." His black Muslim group calls itself "Ummah," or the brotherhood, and wants to establish a separate state within the United States governed by Sharia law, Interim U.S. Attorney Terrence Berg and Andrew Arena, FBI special agent in charge in Detroit, said in a joint statement.
"He regularly preaches anti-government and anti-law enforcement rhetoric," an FBI agent wrote in an affidavit. "Abdullah and his followers have trained regularly in the use of firearms, and continue to train in martial arts and sword fighting."
The Ummah is headed nationally by Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, who is serving a state sentence for the murder of two police officers in Georgia.
Early Wednesday afternoon, FBI agents and local police from the Joint Terrorism Task Force surrounded a warehouse and trucking firm on Miller Road near Michigan Avenue where Abdullah and four of his followers were hiding, said Special Agent Sandra Berchtold, a spokeswoman for the FBI in Detroit.
When agents entered the warehouse, four of the men obeyed orders to surrender but Abdullah opened fire and was shot to death, Berchtold said. An FBI dog was also shot and killed, she said.
Through a 45-page complaint filed in the case alleges Abdullah "calls his followers to an offensive jihad" and preaches that every Muslim should "have a weapon and should not be scared to use their weapon when needed," charges in the case to not include terrorism or national security crimes.
The complaint further alleged that an armed group known as the "Sutra team" protected the mosque.
In January, when members were evicted from a building on Joy Road for non-payment of property taxes, Detroit police confiscated two firearms, about 40 knives and martial arts weapons from Abdullah's apartment, the complaint alleged.
The mosque then relocated to Clairmount in Detroit, the complaint says.
According to the complaint, Abdullah told an informant that if the FBI came to get him: "I'll just strap a bomb on and blow up everybody." On another occasion, he said: "We've got to take out the U.S. government," the complaint alleges.
David Nu'man of Detroit, who considered himself a friend of Abdullah, said he is skeptical about the allegations.
"It doesn't seem to be of his character," said Nu'man, who had attended the mosque on Joy Road but was not a member.
Ihsan Bagby, the general secretary of the Muslim Alliance of North America, said Abdullah was a member of the Lexington, K.Y. based group, and his shooting shocked the African American Muslim community nationwide.
"We want to know what happened," said Bagby. "We had no inkling of any kind of criminal activity. This is a complete shock to all of us."
The others charged are:
Mohammad Abdul Salaam, also known as Gregory Stone, 45, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes and sale or receipt of stolen goods.
Abdullah Beard, also known as Detric Lamont Driver, 37, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.
Abdul Saboor, also known as Dwayne Edward Davis, 37, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.
Mujahid Carswell, also known as Mujahid Abdullah, 30, of Detroit and Ontario, Canada, with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.
Adam Ibraheem, 38, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.
Gary Laverne Porter, 59, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes and possession of firearms by a convicted felon.
Ali Abdul Raqib, 57, of Detroit with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.
Mohammad Alsahi, also known as Mohammad Palestine, 33, of Ontario, Canada, with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.
Yassir Ali Khan, 30, of Ontario, Canada, and Warren, with conspiracy to commit federal crimes.
Mohammad Abdul Bassir, also known as Franklin D. Roosevelt Williams, 50, of Ojibway Correctional Facility with conspiracy to commit federal crimes, sale or receipt of stolen goods, mail fraud, supplying firearms to felons, possession of weapons by a felon, and altering or removing motor vehicle identification numbers.
A.C. Pusha, charged in a separate complaint late Wednesday with conspiracy to receive and sell stolen goods.
Salaam, Saboor, Porter, Beard, Ibraheem, Raqib, and Pusha all appeared in U.S. District Court in Detroit late Wednesday afternoon. Bassir is in state custody. Others charged are still at large.
Prior to the gunfight in Dearborn, the FBI executed search warrants at 4467 Tireman and 9278 Genesee in Detroit, officials said.
Yellow police tape was put up outside the Dearborn warehouse and a Dearborn police car was parked firstname.lastname@example.org
(313) 222-2069 David Josar, Charlie LeDuff, Oralandar Brand-Williams and George Hunter contributed.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Media Issues
on: October 25, 2009, 12:30:35 PM
“We’re not trying to delve into areas of privacy or grades,” Ms. Daly said. “Our position is that they’ve engaged in an investigative process, and without any hostility, we’re seeking to get all of the information they’ve developed, just as detectives and investigators turn over.”
The students said they had found, among other things, that two eyewitnesses had recanted their testimony against Mr. McKinney and could not have seen him commit the killing because they were watching a boxing championship (Leon Spinks vs. Muhammad Ali). The students collected an affidavit from a gang member who, they say, confirmed Mr. McKinney’s alibi that he was running away from gang members when the shooting took place.
The students have also suggested alternative suspects in the case and offered witnesses who said they had heard the others admit their involvement.
The students provided their videotaped interviews of critical witnesses and affidavits to the prosecutors, but in June the prosecutors subpoenaed far more — the students’ investigative memorandums, e-mail messages, notes from multiple interviews with witnesses and class grades.
**I think it's pretty clear that they are acting as investigators when rather than researching and reporting, they move into taking statements/affidavits and reconstructing crimes for testimonial purposes for the appealate process. They are acting as defense investigators and not mere journalists, no matter what title they seek.**
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant
on: October 25, 2009, 09:23:52 AM
The peculiar theology of black liberation
Senator Barack Obama is not a Muslim, contrary to invidious rumors. But he belongs to a Christian church whose doctrine casts Jesus Christ as a "black messiah" and blacks as "the chosen people". At best, this is a radically different kind of Christianity than most Americans acknowledge; at worst it is an ethnocentric heresy.
What played out last week on America's television screens was a clash of two irreconcilable cultures, the posture of "black liberation theology" and the mainstream American understanding of Christianity. Obama, who presented himself as a unifying figure, now seems rather the living embodiment of the clash.
One of the strangest dialogues in American political history ensued on March 15 when Fox News interviewed Obama's pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright, of Chicago's Trinity Church. Wright asserted the authority of the "black liberation" theologians James Cone and Dwight Hopkins:
Wright: How many of Cone's books have you read? How many of Cone's book have you read?
Sean Hannity: Reverend, Reverend?
Wright: How many books of Cone's have you head?
Hannity: I'm going to ask you this question ...
Wright: How many books of Dwight Hopkins have you read?
Hannity: You're very angry and defensive. I'm just trying to ask a question here.
Wright: You haven't answered - you haven't answered my question.
Hopkins is a full professor at the University of Chicago's Divinity School; Cone is now distinguished professor at New York's Union Theological Seminary. They promote a "black power" reading of Christianity, to which liberal academic establishment condescends.
Obama referred to this when he asserted in a March 14 statement, "I knew Reverend Wright as someone who served this nation with honor as a United States Marine, as a respected biblical scholar, and as someone who taught or lectured at seminaries across the country, from Union Theological Seminary to the University of Chicago." But the fact the liberal academy condescends to sponsor black liberation theology does not make it less peculiar to mainstream American Christians. Obama wants to talk about what Wright is, rather than what he says. But that way lies apolitical quicksand.
Since Christianity taught the concept of divine election to the Gentiles, every recalcitrant tribe in Christendom has rebelled against Christian universalism, insisting that it is the "Chosen People" of God - French, English, Russian, Germans and even (through the peculiar doctrine of Mormonism) certain Americans. America remains the only really Christian country in the industrial world, precisely because it transcends ethnicity. One finds ethnocentricity only in odd corners of its religious life; one of these is African-American.
During the black-power heyday of the late 1960s, after the murder of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr, the mentors of Wright decided that blacks were the Chosen People. James Cone, the most prominent theologian in the "black liberation" school, teaches that Jesus Christ himself is black. As he explains:
Christ is black therefore not because of some cultural or psychological need of black people, but because and only because Christ really enters into our world where the poor were despised and the black are, disclosing that he is with them enduring humiliation and pain and transforming oppressed slaves into liberating servants.
Theologically, Cone's argument is as silly as the "Aryan Christianity" popular in Nazi Germany, which claimed that Jesus was not a Jew at all but an Aryan Galilean, and that the Aryan race was the "chosen people". Cone, Hopkins and Wright do not propose, of course, to put non-blacks in concentration camps or to conquer the world, but racially-based theology nonetheless is a greased chute to the nether regions.
Biblical theology teaches that even the most terrible events to befall Israel, such as the Babylonian destruction of Jerusalem in 586 BCE, embody the workings of divine justice, even if humankind cannot see God's purpose. James Cone sees the matter very differently. Either God must do what we want him to do, or we must reject him, Cone maintains:
Black theology refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community ... Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love. 
In the black liberation theology taught by Wright, Cone and Hopkins, Jesus Christ is not for all men, but only for the oppressed:
In the New Testament, Jesus is not for all, but for the oppressed, the poor and unwanted of society, and against oppressors ... Either God is for black people in their fight for liberation and against the white oppressors, or he is not [Cone].
In this respect black liberation theology is identical in content to all the ethnocentric heresies that preceded it. Christianity has no use for the nations, a "drop of the bucket" and "dust on the scales", in the words of Isaiah. It requires that individuals turn their back on their ethnicity to be reborn into Israel in the spirit. That is much easier for Americans than for the citizens of other nations, for Americans have no ethnicity. But the tribes of the world do not want to abandon their Gentile nature and as individuals join the New Israel. Instead they demand eternal life in their own Gentile flesh, that is, to be the "Chosen People".
That is the "biblical scholarship" to which Obama referred in his March 14 defense of Wright and his academic prominence. In his response to Hannity, Wright genuinely seemed to believe that the authority of Cone and Hopkins, who now hold important posts at liberal theological seminaries, was sufficient to make the issue go away. His faith in the white establishment is touching; he honestly cannot understand why the white reporters at Fox News are bothering him when the University of Chicago and the Union Theological Seminary have put their stamp of approval on black liberation theology.
Many things that the liberal academy has adopted, though, will horrify most Americans, and not only "black liberation theology" (Queer Studies comes to mind, among other things). It cannot be in Obama's best interests to appeal to the authority of Cone, whose unapologetic racism must be repugnant to the great majority of Americans, including the majority of black Americans, who for the most part belong to Christian churches that preach mainstream Christian doctrine. Christianity teaches unconditional love for a God whose love for humankind is absolute; it does not teach the repudiation of a God who does not destroy our enemies on the spot.
Whether Obama takes seriously the doctrines that Wright preaches is another matter. It is possible that Obama does not believe a word of what Wright, Cone and Hopkins teach. Perhaps he merely used the Trinity United Church of Christ as a political stepping-stone. African-American political life is centered around churches, and his election to the Illinois State Senate with the support of Chicago's black political machine required church membership. Trinity United happens to be Chicago's largest and most politically active black church.
Obama views Wright rather at arm's length: as the New York Times reported on April 30, 2007:
Reverend Wright is a child of the 60s, and he often expresses himself in that language of concern with institutional racism and the struggles the African-American community has gone through," Mr Obama said. "He analyzes public events in the context of race. I tend to look at them through the context of social justice and inequality.
Obama holds his own views close. But it seems unlikely that he would identify with the ideological fits of the black-power movement of the 1960s. Obama does not come to the matter with the perspective of an American black, but of the child of a left-wing anthropologist raised in the Third World, as I wrote elsewhere (Obama's women reveal his secret , Asia Times Online, February 26, 2008). It is possible that because of the Wright affair Obama will suffer for what he pretended to be, rather than for what he really is.
1. See William R Jones, "Divine Racism: The Unacknowledged Threshold Issue for Black Theology", in African-American Religious Thought: An Anthology, ed Cornel West and Eddie Glaube (Westminster John Knox Press).
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant
on: October 25, 2009, 09:02:51 AM
Obama's Church: Gospel of Hate
By: Kathy Shaidle
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, April 07, 2008
Barack Obama’s pastor, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, became a household name last month when ABC News reported on some of Wright’s inflammatory sermons. As his applauding congregation cheered him on, the former leader of Chicago’s Trinity United Church of Christ condemned the U.S. government for “killing innocent people” and for treating American citizens, especially blacks, as “less than human.” “God Damn America,” Rev. Wright preached.
These sentiments were entirely consistent with comments Wright had made many times during his long pastoral career. From the pulpit, Rev. Wright also has taught that AIDS was concocted by the federal government as a genocidal plot against blacks. On another occasion, he declared, “Racism is how this country was founded and how this country is still run! ... We [Americans] believe in white supremacy and black inferiority and believe it more than we believe in God.”
Millions of Americans were shocked to hear such vituperative rage and unrestrained anti-American hatred. They need not have been surprised. Rev. Wright’s passionate disdain for his country, and his belief that black Americans are still singled out for persecution, is entirely in keeping with the political philosophy that underpins his religious views: Black Liberation Theology.
In March of 2007, FOX News host Sean Hannity had engaged Obama’s pastor in a heated interview about his Church’s teachings. For many viewers, the ensuing shouting match was their first exposure to “Black Liberation Theology,” and to the name of one of its leading mouthpieces, James Cone, a professor at New York's Union Theological Seminary and an iconic figure venerated by Rev. Wright.
Until ABC News picked up the story months later, Black Liberation Theology remained a rather obscure discipline, confined to the syllabi of liberal seminaries. But after Wright’s sermons were broadcast again and again on the news and the Internet, Black Liberation Theology once again commanded popular attention. After all, Barack Obama had joined Trinity twenty years earlier, had been married in the Church, and had his daughters baptized there. Obama and his wife had donated $22,500 to Trinity in 2006. The presidential hopeful even took the name of his memoir, The Audacity of Hope, from the title of one of Wright’s sermons. The beliefs held by a presidential candidate’s longtime pastor and spiritual advisor are therefore of great national interest.
And what are those beliefs? Like the pro-communist liberation theology that swept Central America in the 1980s and was repeatedly condemned by Pope John Paul II, Black Liberation Theology combines warmed-over 1960s vintage Marxism with carefully distorted biblical passages. However, in contrast to traditional Marxism, it emphasizes race rather than class. The Christian notion of “salvation” in the afterlife is superseded by “liberation” on earth, courtesy of the establishment of a socialist utopia.
The leading theorist of Black Liberation Theology is James Cone. Overtly racist, Cone’s writings posit a black Jesus who leads African-Americans as the “chosen people.” In Cone’s cosmology, whites are “the devil,” and “all white men are responsible for white oppression.” Cone makes this point without ambiguity: “This country was founded for whites and everything that has happened in it has emerged from the white perspective,” Cone has written. “What we need is the destruction of whiteness, which is the source of human misery in the world.”
If whiteness stands for all that is evil, blackness symbolizes all that is good. “Black theology,” says Cone, “refuses to accept a God who is not identified totally with the goals of the black community. If God is not for us and against white people, then he is a murderer, and we had better kill him. The task of black theology is to kill Gods who do not belong to the black community ... Black theology will accept only the love of God which participates in the destruction of the white enemy. What we need is the divine love as expressed in Black Power, which is the power of black people to destroy their oppressors here and now by any means at their disposal. Unless God is participating in this holy activity, we must reject his love.” Small wonder that some critics have condemned black liberation theology as “racist idolatry” and “Afro-Nazism.”
Furthermore, according to Cone, “black values” are superior to American values. Sure enough, the “About Us” statement on Trinity’s web page includes the following Cone-inspired declaration: “We are an African people, and remain ‘true to our native land,’ the mother continent, the cradle of civilization.”
It is troubling that Barack Obama’s closest friends and allies subscribe to an explicitly racist doctrine. Even more worrying is that the main exponent of Black Liberation Theology sees Obama as a kindred spirit. In the wake of the controversy surrounding Obama’s pastor and Church, Cone said: “I’ve read both of Barack Obama’s books, and I heard the speech [on race]. I don’t see anything in the books or in the speech that contradicts black liberation theology.”
It’s tempting to see figures like Cone and Wright as fringe actors with no constituency in the wider black community. Yet Cone considers himself to be the natural successor to Martin Luther King, Jr., and not everyone finds the comparison jarring.
Similarly with Rev. Wright. At a summit of black pastors held shortly after the recent controversy broke, many defended Wright’s sermons as part of the “prophetic preaching” tradition embodied by the assassinated civil rights leader.
Said Rev. Frederick Haynes III, senior pastor at Friendship West Baptist Church: “If Martin Luther King, Jr. were pastoring a church today, it would look very much like Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago, Illinois, and the sermons you would hear him preach would sound very much” like Wright’s.
Stacey Floyd-Thomas, who teaches ethics and serves as Director of black church studies at Brite Divinity School in Texas, explained that King, foreshadowing Wright, had once called America “the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today.” Moreover, said Floyd-Thomas, King was assassinated before he could deliver his scheduled Sunday sermon entitled “Why America May Go to Hell.”
Black Liberation Theology, in short, cannot be dismissed as a minority view. Americans are thus left with the troubling knowledge that millions of their fellow citizens consider them to be “devils,” having been taught to think this way by their religious leaders. They must wonder, too, why they should entrust the presidency to a man who has surrounded himself with those who actively despise the very country he seeks to lead.
Kathy Shaidle blogs at FiveFeetOfFury.com. Her new book exposing abuses by Canada’s Human Rights Commissions, The Tyranny of Nice, includes an introduction by Mark Steyn.
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant
on: October 24, 2009, 11:16:22 PM
I'm pretty sure that posting an article is somewhat different than attending religious services for 20 years. Louis Farrakhan was the only person to appear on the cover of Wright's church magazine as many times as Obama.
I guess all those issues got lost in the mail.
So Rachel, if your rabbi started doing/saying anything like Wright did, how many decades do you wait until you find another place to worship?
Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities / Politics & Religion / Re: Rules of the Road/Fire Hydrant
on: October 24, 2009, 09:53:42 PM
Jeremiah Wright: Messenger of Intolerance
Jeremiah Wright, the pastor emeritus at Trinity United Church of Christ (TUCC) in Chicago, is once again at the center of a controversy after making inflammatory statements about Jews and Zionists.
Wright blamed Jews for the fact that he has been out of touch with President Barack Obama in an interview with the Daily Press, a Newport News, Virginia-based newspaper, on June 9. Wright noted that "them Jews aren't going to let him talk to me."
In the same interview, Wright asserted that Israel is committing ethnic cleansing in Gaza, which he described as "a sin and a crime against humanity," and expressed his belief that the Obama Administration would have sent a U.S. delegation to the 2009 Durban Review Conference in April if not for fear of losing "the Jewish vote, the A-I-P-A-C vote, that's controlling him."
Wright later stated that he misspoke and that he did not mean to refer to Jews, but rather Zionists. "I'm not talking about all Jews, all people of the Jewish faith, I'm talking about Zionists," Wright said.
Wright's initial comments and subsequent effort to distinguish between Jews and Zionists is reminiscent of his past inflammatory comments, which propelled him into the spotlight during Obama's primary run, and which he maintained had been taken out of context by the media and others.
Wright was thrust into the national spotlight in early 2008, at the height of then-Senator Barack Obama's presidential campaign. As the media investigated Obama's longtime membership at TUCC and his relationship with Wright, at the time TUCC's pastor, several of Wright's sermons and writings became the focus of attention.
In his statements, Wright expressed support for Louis Farrakhan, the anti-Semitic leader of the Nation of Islam; accused Israel of committing state terrorism; asserted that the U.S. brought the 2001 World Trade Center attacks upon itself; and charged that the U.S. government invented the HIV virus as a means of "genocide against people of color."
The media's focus on TUCC raised questions reaching beyond Wright's views on domestic and foreign policy issues. Themes of white supremacy and black repression in Wright's sermons and in the church's guiding principles, along with TUCC's motto "Unashamedly Black and Unapologetically Christian," compelled some critics to charge that the church promoted divisive, separatist views.
Though Wright refrained from responding to criticism and making public appearances throughout much of the election year, he did conduct a round of appearances in response to Obama's March 18, 2008 speech on race relations in the U.S. In Obama's speech, titled "A More Perfect Union," he distanced himself from Wright and some of his past statements.
During interviews, sermons, and televised speeches held over the course of one week in April 2008, Wright addressed issues surrounding religious and racial diversity, emphasized that his sermons has been distorted by the media for political purposes, and portrayed the controversy surrounding his past sermons as an attack against the Black church.
Wright also denied accusations that he is divisive when discussing race relations, stating, "I am not one of the most 'divisive'… the word is 'descriptive." He claimed that real-world conditions, not his commentary, are responsible for the nation's ills.
Under scrutiny for the inflammatory comments about Israel and Zionism that had marked some of his past speeches, Wright was repeatedly questioned about his views on the subjects during these April 2008 talks.
At an appearance that same week at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, Wright refused to denounce Farrakhan's comments about Zionism being a gutter religion when asked about them during the question and answer session. Wright emphasized that Farrakhan made the comment about Zionism, not Judaism, and stated, "He was saying the same thing UN resolutions say, same thing Jimmy Carter and Desmond Tutu are being vilified for." (Former U.S. President Carter and Archbishop Desmond Tutu frequently compare Israel's treatment of Palestinians to South African Apartheid).
He further said he would not denounce Farrakhan, adding that "Farrakhan is not my enemy, he didn't put me in chains, he did not put me in slavery, and didn't make me this color."
When asked about his own views on Israel, Wright challenged the questioner's assertion that he has likened Israeli policy to apartheid ("Where did I liken them?... Jimmy Carter called it apartheid; Jeremiah Wright didn't liken anything to anything"). He stated, "My position on Israel is that Israel has a right to exist, that Israelis have a right to exist." However, he then cited The Link, an anti-Israel publication from Americans for Middle East Understanding, posing the question, "Have you read the Link?"
Wright also addressed Israel and the Israeli-Arab conflict during an appearance at Michigan State University a few months earlier. During his talk on February 7, 2008, Wright described the creation of the state of Israel as "a political decision made in 1948 to solve a European problem of European Jews by putting them in somebody else's country."
He said he identified with Carter, Tutu and Jim Wall of Christian Century, saying that like them he would be "labeled as anti-Semitic" for citing U.N. resolutions and international court findings pertaining to Israel and the Palestinians.
Wright served as the pastor at TUCC from 1972 until he retired in 2008.
In His Own Words
"Them Jews aren't gonna let [Obama] talk to me. I told my baby daughter, that he'll talk to me in five years when he's a lame duck, or in eight years when he's out of office."
"The Jewish vote, the A-I-P-A-C vote that's controlling him that would not let him send a representation to the Darfur [Durban] review conference that's talking this craziness because the Zionists, they will not let him talk to somebody who calls a spade what it is. Ethnic cleansing is going on in Gaza. The ethnic cleansing of the Zionists is a sin and a crime against humanity. They don't want Barack talking like that because that's anti-Israel."
An interview with Newport News, VA-based
newspaper The Daily Press June 9, 2009
"Part of the fight going on now in terms of the religious arguments and tension and polarization and hatred among the fundamentalists especially in each of the major world religions has to do with the political [rather than religious], especially as it pertains to the political decision made in 1948 to solve a European problem of European Jews by putting them in somebody else's country."
From a lecture at Michigan State University,
February 7, 2008
"We supported Zionism shamelessly while ignoring the Palestinians and branding anybody who spoke out against them as being anti-Semitic."
From a sermon at Howard University in
Washington, D.C., January 15, 2006
"The Israelis have illegally occupied Palestinian territories for almost 40 years now. It took a divestment campaign to wake the business community up concerning the South Africa issue. Divestment has now hit the table again as a strategy to wake the business community up and to wake Americans up concerning the injustice and the racism under which the Palestinians have lived because of Zionism. The Divestment issue will hit the floor during this month's General Synod. Divesting dollars from businesses and banks that do business with Israel is the new strategy being proposed to wake the world up concerning the racism of Zionism."
From Wright's Pastor's Page message
Trumpet Newsmagazine, July 2005
"Last year's conference in Africa on racism, which the United States would not participate in, because somebody dared to point the racism which still supports both here and in Israel. I said that dirty word again. Every time you say Israel, Negros get awfully quiet on you, 'cause they scared. Don't be scared. Don't be scared. You don't see the connection between 9-1-1-0-1 and the Israeli-Palestinian? Something wrong, you wanna borrow my glasses?"
From a sermon, September 1, 2002
"We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki and we nuked far more than the thousands in New York and the Pentagon and we never batted an eye…We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done oversees is now brought right back into our own front yards. Americans chickens are coming home to roost.'"
From a sermon, September 16, 2001
On Louis Farrakhan
"Louis said 20 years ago that Zionism, not Judaism, was a gutter religion. He was talking about the same thing United Nations resolutions say, the same thing now that President Carter's being vilified for and Bishop Tutu's being vilified for. Everyone wants to paint me as if I'm anti-Semitic because of what Louis Farrakhan said 20 years ago… Louis and I don't agree on everything….He is one of the most important voices in the 20th and 21st centuries, that's what I think about him…Louis Farrakhan is not my enemy, he didn't put me in chains, he did not put me in slavery, and didn't make me this color."
From an appearance at the National Press Club
in Washington DC, April 28, 2008
"… Farrakhan is not my enemy, Farrakhan did not enslave Africans. He never raped a black woman, and Farrakhan didn't make me this color. Let's be clear."
"[Farrakhan] made some anti-Semitic remarks. Well, you all got water boarding you say is fine, you're killing folk… in Guantanamo there's a secret part of that camp where you been torturing folk… let's talk about that! We're not talking about that, what we keep up in the public is, oh you know Jeremiah Wright… in 1984 I went to… Tripoli and got to know Farrakhan."
From a lecture at Michigan State University,
February 7, 2008
"Everybody may not agree with him, but they listen…His depth on analysis when it comes to the racial ills of this nation is astounding and eye opening. He brings a perspective that is helpful and honest."
"Minister Farrakhan will be remembered as one of the 20th and 21st century giants of the African American religious experience. His integrity and honesty have secured him a place in history as one of the nation's most powerful critics. His love for Africa and African American people has made him an unforgettable force, a catalyst for change and a religious leader who is sincere about his faith and his purpose."
From Trumpet Newsmagazine's cover story on
Farrakhan, who received the magazine's annual "Lifetime Achievement 'Dr. Jeremiah A. Wright, Jr. Trumpeter' Award," November/December 2007
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.